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Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Present and a Potential New Years Resolution for You



Behind the Scenes of "LDS Perfect Day"


This is our 200th post. This blog began on February 5, 2012 with a meek story of a master pianist who overlaid his hands atop a young boy's hands so they could together render a touching version of "Chopsticks".

Since that post, the response to LDS Perfect Day has been far and beyond anything I could have imagined. Amidst a lot of struggles, anguish and heartbreaks these last (almost) six years, I've made new friends, discovered new truths and grown closer to God in ways I never thought possible. He has taught me, shown me and told me things I dare not reveal to many others, if anyone.

Every new post on this blog is a surprise to me in one way or another. Take this post, for example. I thought I'd be spending a few hours today researching the next in a series of posts on discernment. Instead, ever since waking up this morning, I've felt almost compelled to side track and write this instead.

Many of the things that happen on this blog are surprising and even miraculous.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I was in my car and had just pulled into a drive-up window to grab some lunch. I was listening to some podcast (which I can't remember). Right after I grabbed my lunch, I pulled into the parking lot to eat. As I was listening to the podcast, the thought hit me that I should participate in a podcast, perhaps as an existing podcast's guest. I quickly repelled from the thought because I like spotlights to be directed to the Savior, not me. But the thought of the podcast persisted. Maybe there would be a way to maintain my anonymity while doing the podcast. "Oh well," I thought. "If it's to be, God will let me know." I mentally discarded the concept, then started thinking about other things.

I told no one about the podcast concept.

Two days later (Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 7:54 AM), I received an email from a friend. The subject line of "A word for you" intrigued me. In it, he said he was feeling strongly impressed to tell me that I should begin producing podcasts of my blog posts, and that if I did so, I would be blessed. He ended the email with a question: "Maybe this is something you've considered?"

Here's my reply (Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 8:05 AM):
Wow. Amazing. 
Confirms some thoughts that popped in my head 2 days ago. 
Wow wow wow. 
Lets talk soon, k?
The first podcast was posted the next day.

Since then, I've heard from numerous people about how this podcast or that podcast touched them, changed them, uplifted them. And with every one of those testimonials I receive, I'm reminded of how the Lord has pulled this off, despite my misgivings and shortcomings, fears and faithlessness.

"Have a Very Merry Christmas"


The Holy Ghost is one of God's greatest gifts to us. Through it, God guides us through life and ultimately back to Him.

In the above example, the word "podcast" was strongly (and privately) impressed upon me. The purpose became much clearer two days later, and only amplified in many, many comments and emails to me since then.

I don't believe I'm unique in this respect. I believe the Holy Ghost speaks to you, too, just the same way He spoke to me a year ago.

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained,
“A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; … those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 151)
These intimations often come in words or sentences:
"Another manifestation of revelation is the unspoken word, a good illustration of which is given us by Enos. He says: ". . . while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying" (Enos 1:10). Then he tells us what the voice of the Lord put in his mind. This is a very common means of revelation. It comes into one's mind in words and sentences. With this medium of revelation I am personally well acquainted." (Marion G. Romney, "Revelation", April 1964, p. 122-126).
Usually, these words and sentences aren't necessarily audible, but felt:
“Ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words.” (1 Ne. 17:45)
Elsewhere, we're told, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart,” (D&C 8:2) or “I did enlighten thy mind,” (D&C 6:15) or “Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts.” (D&C 100:5).

So, I think we can safely conclude that the Holy Ghost can and will speak to us in words and sentences which we feel.

Which brings me to my Christmas present to you.

I often hear from folks saying, "There's so much stuff on your blog! How can I make sense of it" which I interpret as, "How can I make the most of my time on your blog?"

Fair question.

First, it's important that you live your life so that you're in tune with the Spirit. Listen for those words, phrases and sentences which the Holy Ghost is constantly broadcasting to you (of this, Pres. Kimball once said, "Expecting the spectacular, one may not be fully alerted to the constant flow of revealed communication").

Second, it's incumbent upon you to study these promptings out in your mind (see D&C 9:7-9). We're told time and again to turn to the scriptures for further enlightenment. I believe that the Lord is under no obligation whatsoever to give us further enlightenment until we have received the words He's already given us in the scriptures.

Third, once you have thoroughly received God's words to you on a particular topic, seek out words of wisdom among the best books.
"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;" (D&C 109:7; D&C 88:118).
"And set in order the churches, and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people." (D&C 90:15)
These days, "books" are practically synonymous with "websites". Thus, we can learn from the "book" of General Conference talks which are available online, to see what else has been said about an inspired keyword. God has also inspired other mortals from time to time. Their words, which are congruent with the truths you have learned in the scriptures, should be given serious consideration.

Which brings me to this blog.

It's my hope you find this blog useful, and that it has some utility, in helping you make sense of the keywords and phrases the Spirit speaks to you. There are three ways you can do that:

  • Use this blog's search engine. In the right-hand sidebar, you'll find a search field with "Search The Perfect Day" above it. Just type in the keyword, and voila, all the blog posts which contain that word will pop up.
  • By clicking here, you can take advantage of the blog's "Posts by Topic" page. In the blue, left-hand column are keywords. Click on a word, and a blog post concerning that word will be shown.
  • You can also browse past blog posts by date here. This is especially useful to see the various mini-series which have been posted.

So, even though I can't physically give you a present, I can at least point you in the direction of something that will help make this blog more meaningful to you, and help you better understand the intimations which God is constantly blessing you with.

"...and a Happy New Year"


I'm constantly amazed by the caliber of people I've met because of this blog. Although imperfect, they're good, meek and doing everything they can think of to draw closer to the Savior.

This is constantly reinforced by those seeking their Second Comforter and/or having their calling and election made sure -- two supernal blessings.

Yet I think that in the tremendous online discourse about these two doctrines, we've kind of lost our way in how to effectively, correctly seek after these blessings.

If you're seeking either -- or both -- of those blessings, then I invite you to read "Rend the Veil of Unbelief, Part 1: Why Your Efforts to Part the Veil May Be Failing", published July, 23 2017. I also invite you to read "Do You Have Spiritual AIDS? Part 2 of 2: Rise Above the Selfishness of Seeking the Second Comforter."

The common denominator in both these posts?

People often encounter futility in hearing, feeling or even seeing God because they're mainly focused on themselves. They want these blessings for THEM. And they want them without having first developed a deep, constant, daily relationship with Him.

So, how do we develop a relationship with Christ? As I've stated a lot of times here, we should be reading about Christ constantly, and seeking to emulate His life in our lives. In my opinion, one of the best things we could do to emulate the Savior is to quit pointing the metaphorical arrows at ourselves, and instead, point them outwards, towards others (see here).
"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:39; see also Matthew 10:32–4116:24–28Mark 8:34–38Luke 9:23–2617:33).
Within the last two days, I've been privileged to have learned a lot from two of this blog's visitors about how to do just that. One shared a page from her personal journal, which said:
"Today I reread the beginning Perfect Day posts.  It was really motivating in some ways.  As I looked at the list of post titles, one of the more recent posts had a title about what to do if you don’t hear God’s voice.  The remedy is to stop being so selfish and self-centered.  That made me kind of sad, because I’m really self-centered and know it’s hard to change.  I’m more selfish than I realize.  I focus a lot on what I want to get done during the day, and what I want to spend my money on, and how I want to spend my free time.  I feel like if I give up all my desires, I won’t get to do anything I want to do anymore.  But that’s what Jesus’ life was like - His life was constant service, except when He retreated to the mountains to pray.  Obviously I can’t dedicate my entire day to service, since I have to work.  And I would still need time to do other must-do items.  It’s just so hard to think of changing my life so much.  I think about Aunt ______ and my dad and how they live lives of service.  My dad spent a lot of time Saturday fixing _______ for someone in their ward.  He could have done something else with that time.  ... 
To be like Jesus means to devote myself to service.  If I want to live with Him again, I have to be like Him.  I do like doing some forms of service.  Anonymously delivering flowers to ______ felt really good.  I liked sending my thank you cards last year.  I guess I need to pray for the desire to devote myself to a life of service, and to recognize the promptings to serve."
Here's another message to me, sent by an anonymous reader:
"In my last ward I had a gospel doctrine teacher who was a police officer, and he pleaded with our class not to give panhandlers anything because so many of them were drug addicts and we were just enabling them. I think I felt a little cognitive dissonance sitting in class listening to him and looking at the verse in Mosiah, but I wasn't sure how to resolve the contradiction. I have occasionally given something to panhandlers, but usually when we drive by, I avert my eyes and refuse to make eye contact while feeling horribly guilty. 
When I first read your blog post where you stated, "I am not aware of any instances where God said it's OK to turn away a beggar, and not seek to help him or her. Ever," it really made me think. It took a couple of months, but I decided you were right. 
I didn't do anything about it till last month. I bought the supplies for a number of care packages to give out - socks, gloves, snacks, water, bus token, list of homeless services in the area, hand warmers. Then I loaded a few in my car to hand out. Now when I drive around town, I'm on the lookout for panhandlers. I WANT to see panhandlers so I can give them a care package! It has completely changed my attitude. I know some of them are drug addicts, and some of them may just throw everything I give them in the trash since it's not money. But I also have been volunteering with an organization that helps drug addicts get sober, and I figure maybe if someone shows a panhandler some love and compassion, he won't think he's too far gone and will seek out help. 
Thanks for telling it straight."
(To the person who sent me this -- thanks! You've inspired not only myself, but my family, to action).

It's messages like these which prove some people get it. They don't focus on themselves, but others -- just like the Savior. They live lives (or want to live lives) not of selfishness, but service -- just like the Savior.

And although they may not be aware of it, I have no doubt that they are drawing closer to the Savior faster, and more solidly, than those who are solely focused on their own Christmas wish list for Father:
"The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.241)
(Note that in that last quote, Joseph says they're getting nearer "to our heavenly Father". Think about it).
"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." (History of the Church, 4:227; from a letter from Joseph Smith to the Twelve, Dec. 15, 1840, Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Jan. 1, 1841, p. 258; this letter is incorrectly dated Oct. 19, 1840, in History of the Church)
And what of those who are filled with the love of God?
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)
(Note that here, we read that those who are filled with this love are considered "true followers of his Son". They may eventually become "sons of God" and it's "when" -- not if -- Jesus Christ will appear to them).

So here's my invitation:

In 2018, make your New Years resolution to quit focusing on you. Just...stop it. Resolve not to focus on your 2nd Comforter nor on your calling and election. Don't focus on the end destination, because -- rest assured -- He who is omniscient already knows the desires of your heart, and will grant them (Alma 29:4; also see here).

Instead, focus on the thing that's a little more demanding, and requires more effort. It's your journey, which should have, as a key cornerstone, your desire to L-O-S-E  Y-O-U-R-S-E-L-F in the work of the Son, which is to feed His sheep. Feed them with love. With hope. With mercy. With forgiveness. With non-judgmentalism. With Him.

It's my prayer that this holiday season, you'll give my invitation serious consideration. As you do so, be on the lookout for words or phrases which come at you from out of nowhere, when you least expect them, which will help you accomplish that worthy task.

My blog is here to help. And know that at least one person (me) is in your corner and is praying for you.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
from LDS Perfect Day

P.S. Here's the song that got this ball rolling this morning...



6 comments:

  1. Powerful words...Thank you for speaking truths. Thank you for challenging me to become more “CHRIST LIKE”. It is ALL about HIM. I LOVE HIM SOOO MUCH.

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  2. I just came across this blog. And this is exactly what I needed to hear tonight. Thank you for being a messenger to me.

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  3. I desire to add my testimony. While in the pursuit to establish safe havens for others, working to free the captives, and striving to build uplifting communities, I've experience the most personal growth and connection to Him.. and likewise when I have slowed my outward Focus or attempted to work on myself instead, I have felt more disconnected from Him. Over the last year I haven't been able to put in words this balance, thank you for your posts and your clarity!
    It is humbling to have learned that service and work for the kingdom are the answer to our personal struggles.

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  4. Thanks for your support. I just discovered your blog today, and I already feel like we're friends. It's comforting to know someone is in my corner and praying for me. I'm going to accept your challenge to make 2018 different by stretching myself.

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  5. Great post! It's just what I needed to hear!

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