Saturday, February 26, 2011

Choice: Our Power to Become

God is the greatest teacher.  He knows how to get through to us. He knows His children. His plan for us to become like him is perfect. The way is prepared through Jesus Christ. That way is called the Gospel. Through it we all can return to live with Him despite our imperfections. As we live the Gospel we become more like Christ and the Spirit changes us.

I have experienced that change this past week. I was taught in a very direct way to be temperate in all things. I've got a very addictive personality and once I get going on something I really get going. It's all or nothing for Elder Mahrt. This gets me into trouble sometimes. It can be very destructive if I neglect the other things in my life. Well, God put experiences in my path that woke me up to those others things. Purification is a painful process sometimes, but I'm grateful that I was shown to ease up a bit. I know that I was able to grow because of my obedience. I live the commandments therefore I am entitled to the Spirits guidance.

Everyone is entitled to be taught by God. It is within us all to grow and become like our Savior. As children of God we have great potential. In fact we are commanded to become like Him. "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48). That's a goal we probably wont achieve in this life. However, it is a goal to strive for, not obsess over.

We can know we are on the right track as we keep other commandments God has given us. In the Bible we are taught, "hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." (1 John 2) Thus we see that when we keep the commandments we become like Him. Our choices are so important in our progression.

Elder Christofferson stated in a recent address: Our own choices will always be critical to what we become, and the capacity and power to choose are . . . dependent on laws instituted by or under the authority of God. These laws link particular actions to fixed outcomes, which gives meaning to the power to choose." Whenever we obey the laws God has given us we become. This is because we are entitled to recieve the consequences for those actions. The Lord is bound when we do what He says (D&C 82:10).
I know that as we are obedient we can rest assured that we will become like our Savior. God will guide us along the path. It will be a long road, but it is in essence the very reason we are here experiences life in mortality.

I am grateful that the Lord has taught me so much and continues to guide my path. I love making choices. Obedience is a quest, not a burden. I invite everyone to have greater hope to become more like our Savior. God will help us along this path. He will not leave us comfortless. I leave with this scripture in the book of 1 John. This is my hope:

 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"To Choose or Not to Choose"

I have been thinking a lot lately about how our choices affect us. A Book of Mormon scripture teaches us that all, "men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil." (2 Nephi 2:5) We are all born with the Light of Christ which teaches us right from wrong. Since we are all children of God "we are instructed sufficiently" thus we each are going to be accountable for the choices we make. If it were not so "God would cease to be God."(Alma 42:22)

Every parent knows the importance of accountability while raising a child. Every teacher knows the importance of establishing rules and consequences in establishing order within a classroom. All Managers establish guidelines for their employees to live by to ensure efficiency within the workplace. This principle is not new. It is the most important principle in governing anything. It is how we learn.

It is no different in heaven. God will hold us all accountable, however he lets us choose. He gives us commandments, yet he lets us act for ourselves. Agency is important in Gods plan. In the "For The Strength of Youth" pamphlet established by the church we learn about agency:

"Your Heavenly Father has given you agency, the ability to choose right from wrong and to act for yourself.... While you are here on earth, you are being proven to see if you will use your agency to show your love for God by keeping His commandments.While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. When you make a choice, you will receive the consequences of that choice. The consequences may not be immediate, but they will always follow, for good or bad. Wrong choices delay your progression and lead to heartache and misery. Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life. That is why it is so important for you to choose what is right throughout your life."

It goes on to say:

"You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances."

I add my testimony that these things are true. It is so important to make good decisions. However, I also know that no body is perfect. That's why God sent His Son. I know that through our Savior Jesus Christ we can be cleansed from the mistakes we make. When we stand before God to be judged we will be guiltless before the Father. We have to follow him and keep his commandments. We must repent, be baptized by one holding the authority, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Through this we can inherit Gods kingdom. Without it we are left to suffer the consequences for our actions.

The prophet Nephi teaches this clearly: "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."(2 Nephi 2:27)

It is either liberty and eternal life or captivity and death. Very simple. I think I'll chose the first one. I know that as we follow the commandments we can be happy and we can return to live with God. It is so important to exercise our agency righteously and choose to obey rather than rebel.

Obedience = Happiness
Disobedience = Unhappiness

Sin is so destructive. I cannot say it enough. We must do as Nephi says and "look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom."(2 Nephi 2:28-29)

These things are true and I speak boldly of them because I know so. We cannot allow sin to destroy us. The righteous use of our agency will bring eternal life which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where Did That Thing Come From?!

Birth is a beautiful thing. The ability we have to give life is a sacred responsibility. I always find myself dreaming about how it must feel when a newborn enters the world. It is a crazy thought to be able to look into your child's eyes. You just created life! How incredible? This picture to the left just cause me to wonder: Where did that thing come from? How did you get here?

The Bible teaches us that we lived with God before we were born. In Jeremiah 1: 5 we read, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." God was telling Jeremiah that he know him before he was born. He knew him well. From this we know that we were with God. Prophets today teach us that,

"Before we were born, we lived with God in heaven. All of our spirit brothers and sisters were there, too—everyone who has lived or will live on earth. In this “pre-earth life,” each of us was an individual with the same ability we have now to learn, reason, and make decisions. We were only spirits then. God is the Father of all our spirits, so we call Him our Heavenly Father."

While there we were able to learn and grow. God loved us so he created a plan for us to continue our growth. As part of this plan we needed to come to earth and gain bodies.

"In our pre-earth life, God knew that in order for us to grow and gain knowledge, we would have to leave His presence for a while. So, as part of the plan He prepared for us, He sent us to earth to experience the joy—as well as the pain—of mortal life. When we were born, our spirits received mortal bodies, giving us the opportunity to have families and to develop mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God taught through one of His prophets that this life is the time to prepare ourselves to live with God."

This life is a gift. It is meant to be enjoyed. It is a time to learn. We are all Gods children and we are all part of His plan. If we follow His son we can return to live with Him. We are not alone. God knows us because we lived with Him and we are His children. 

I am so grateful for this life and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to bring life into this world. We all need to take this responsibility seriously. As children of God we all must support each other.

The knowledge that we are brothers and sisters has been restored. I'm happy to know where I came from before I was born. It helps me to see what I am meant to become in the next life.

To find out more about Gods plan for us visit this website.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who Am I

I have always been a huge Lakers fan. For  my school picture in the 1st grade I wore a Lakers jersey. The main reason I liked the team was because my favorite player in the NBA was Shaquille O'neal. He was my hero. I had a Shaq poster and Shaq movies. Everything was Shaq. It got so bad that I had myself tricked into thinking that he was my Dad. I was so convinced that I brought it up with my parents multiple times. Everytime they replied, "No son, I'm positive you are our son." Everytime I was disappointed. I wanted to be related to my hero.

Since then nothing has changed, I'm still David Mahrt son of Peter and Jolene. However, throughout the years I have come to know that God is my Eternal Father. He is the Father of my spirit. This is a great doctrine that has changed my life. I may not be the son of Shaq but I'm the son of the creator of all things in heaven and earth. I mean something. I have divine potential. What a great truth. I'm happy that I have come to know this. states that "The central truth of the restored church is that God is our Heavenly Father and we are his spirit children. He knows us personally and loves us more than we can comprehend." He loves us so much "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Coming to understand this truth is so key to living a successful and happy life. It is essential for eternal life. We read: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast Sent."(John 17:3) Not only will it give us strength to face our challenges in this life, but it is required for eternal life. We must come to know this is true in order for us to return to live with God. That is one important reason why God and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith.

Joseph relates his experience: "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17). Those two beings were God and Jesus Christ.

That important truth was restored through this vision. It is so important to know that this is true. When we know this is true we know with an absolute asurety that God is our Father and that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. What a great message. 

The truth of this message is found in a book, The Book of Mormon. "The Book of Mormon testifies that Jesus Christ did indeed live on the earth and still lives today as our divine Savior. It’s a second witness affirming the existence of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible." It is a record of people who lived in the America. God called prophets who wrote down their prophesyings and revelations. When we know this Book is true we know that God is our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is His Son. We know this because we know that they appeared to Joseph Smith. We come to know the book is true as we, read the Book of Mormon, ponder in our hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. "Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Intro)

I know these things are true. I know we are Sons and Daughters of God. He has a plan for us. I invite everyone to find out for themself by reading the Book of Mormon.

For more information about this message visit:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Today is Superbowl Sunday. Packers vs. Steelers. It is that time of the year again. Time to bring out the crab cakes and soda. Everything throughout the season has been working towards this day. The hard work of these two teams has brought them to where they are.

In sports there is a lot of rivalry. Where I'm from the Bruins and the Bengals are crosstown rivals. We battle each other in every sport. Even off of the field there is tension between the two schools. It's almost like we are enemies just because of where we get our education. I'm sure it is just the same in other places. It's funny how we treat each other sometimes.

A friend of mine wrote me an email today that really touched my heart. She was a girl I got the privilege of teaching in Crescent City who was just recently baptized. She shared with me a story about how someone close to her gave her an earful about joining the church. What he said had really hurt her, but instead of getting angry and leaving the Church she took her concerns to the Lord. She prayed FOR him instead of against him. She prayed that he would find God and that he would be blessed. She prayed that he would come to see the truth. I'm so grateful for her story. She loved him instead of esteeming him as her enemy. I admire the purity and faith of this daughter of God.

Jesus Christ has taught us this higher law. He speaks to us in the Gospel of Matthew:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

We need to love everyone. Especially those who we would normally esteem as our enemies. There should be no rivalries because all are one to God. Even amongst the different religious sects there should be no animosity. We are Gods children. When I think of this story I think of the fruit that comes from living the gospel.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" Gal 5

True conversion comes when we exercise faith by showing Christlike love to everyone. Remember to love your neighbor this Superbowl Sunday. React with love.