Happy New Years friends and family! It has been awhile since we have written. I am told that others in the family will start writing this year, so the blog may become far more relevant, interesting and fun in 2017.
The work of God is progressing. Young men and women arrive every 6 weeks from all parts of the world to serve the greater Ogden community. They are at food banks, homeless shelters, building homes, cleaning parks and helping hose in need, but most importantly they are sharing the "good news." We have a Heavenly Father who lives and loves us and hears and answers our prayers. His Son, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world!
This week, our oldest daughter Mackenzie will receive her mission call to serve in someone's community for the next 18 months. We are excited, but nervous. We have learned to love and care for hundreds of young people. Sending our own somewhere else is just...different. We know she will perform a remarkable service and that she will be kept in Gods hands as she serves.
Emma is preparing to sing and act in the Bonneville High School Musical, "Children of Eden." Eliza will be joining her in the children's choir. They are loving their mission experience in Utah.
Consistent with the mountainous region in which we reside, snow has fallen for the umpteenth time. We dream of the beach on occasion but find time to hit the snowy slopes with the kids a few times a month.
Josh passed the sacrament (the bread and water in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus) today for the first time today. As he passed it, I thought about how the priesthood was restored to the earth after Jesus and all the apostles had been killed many years ago. There was only one way for the priesthood to come back...it had to be conferred by angels who had already died and were resurrected. The experience was miraculous. Joseph Smith recounted the experience in his history.
68 "We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
70 He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
71 Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me--after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood--for so we were commanded.*
72 The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized."
Wow! What an amazing experience! The heavens are open! God speaks to men and women today. Angels are real! Jesus Christ lives and leads the work!
Later revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith confirm the purpose of the priesthood.
18 "And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live."
And oath and covenant (promise) Josh made when he received the priesthood...
33 "For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.
34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.
41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come."
The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth! We love serving Him. God bless you and your families wherever you are.
Love, Jeremy, Amy and Family