We Continually Honor our Savior
and His Plan of Redemption
by Dale J. Neilson
Latter-day Times Newspapers
We Humbly Remember Our Savior
Even as Christmas 2009 memories fade, we still celebrate the birth, life, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His is the only perfect life ever lived upon Earth and ever will be. He is our advocate with God Our Heavenly Father. He did for us what no one else could ever do.
We commemorate, too, the Dec. 23 birthday of Joseph Smith (1805-1844). In 2009, it was also the 12th anniversary of my son’s birth mother’s last communication with my dear wife and me. Because his is a closed adoption, we may never know much about her in this life. But we have hope.
Joseph Smith as prophet, seer and revelator was the Lord’s messenger on earth of hope. He is the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of repentance and forgiveness. We testify that Thomas S. Monson is the Savior’s earthly messenger today.
We believe that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared in a remarkable vision to the 14 year-old boy-prophet Joseph in 1820 in answer to his simple, yet profound question: Which church is right?
Beginning with this visitation, young Joseph had many other communications with heavenly beings. He became the instrument through which our Savior restored His Church with the same authority, commandments, saving ordinances and Gifts of the Spirit which our Lord bestowed upon His followers in ancient times.
This knowledge comes through the influence of the Holy Ghost. It is the only way we can know the truth of all things, as testified in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:5).
Praise to the Man Who Sought for God
“Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that prophet and seer. Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him and nations revere.” (Hymns, # 27, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah; 1985).
So begins the hymn in which the latter-day church praises its first prophet, seer and revelator—Joseph Smith. We regard him as a prophet like unto Adam, Moses, Peter, Nephi, Mormon and others chosen of God noted in the Bible and Book of Mormon.
Since ancient times, our Lord Jesus Christ has always communicated to His people through apostles and prophets. All God’s children should learn and live sacred truths of Christ as testified by inspired leaders and others.
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)
What a beautiful testimony by Nephi! We can know our Savior and how to repent and gain exaltation through Him, by working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
We must demonstrate an easiness to be entreated (Alma 7:23), which is accompanied by a host of other verbs referring to an unconditional willingness to obey the commandments: humility, submissiveness, gentleness, meekness, patience, forgiveness, temperance, diligence, prayerfulness, sacrifice, faith, hope and charity.
Young Joseph Smith and his charitable parents, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith, exhibited similar qualities, as did his siblings.
The Smith children were taught to pray earnestly and live truthfully. Most important, they learned to respect Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. Its very apparent family prayer and scripture study was an integral part of this family life.
Ingrained Devotion to Learn God’s Will
This mindset and accompanying heartfelt devotion to God and family was ingrained early into the boy Joseph’s soul. We know from his multiple references he often prayed and studied scriptures. He wanted to know God’s will concerning him and his search for truth.
It was natural, then, that he would read and study James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Joseph learned that without faith through our Savior Jesus Christ, it is impossible to please Heavenly Father. (Heb. 11:6) Those who supplicate to Him must believe He is and that He rewards all who diligently seek Him. Young Joseph followed his good parents’ example in reaching out to an approachable God who unconditionally loves all His children and rewards them according to their obedience to His commandments.
The boy-prophet asked of Heavenly Father through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing wavering (James 1:6).
Because he had been taught by obedient parents to develop living and active faith, the miracles which happened in his life continue to help strengthen others in truth.
The greatness of the Prophet Joseph in following the Lord’s will cannot be overstated. He “left a fame and name that cannot be slain,” wrote then-apostle John Taylor (Doctrine & Covenants 135:3; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Salt Lake City, Utah; 1998), who became one of his successors as the prophet and church president. “He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; …”
He set an example in following our great Exemplar and Savior Jesus Christ in obedience to and worshipping our Heavenly Father.
BYU Had Their Back—Again—
in the Land of Jill and Jack
by Dale J. Neilson
Latter-day Times Newspapers
Viva Las Vegas Times Five
We're back to have your ba-aack! So BYU’s football team seemed to say to Las Vegas merchants before the Dec. 22, 2009, Las Vegas Bowl
But this time we brought our men’s basketball team with us.
Pardon our interruption, but the now 15-1 basketball team took out Jan. 7 (not for dinner) the UNLV Rebels by 77-73 in the BYU Marriott Center. Next game for the #23 USA Today and #25 Associated Press—ranked Cougars is Sat., Jan. 9 at former conference foe Texas-El Paso.
We now return you to our regularly-scheduled blab.
Did we mention, again, that this is our fifth consecutive Vegas Bowl? You guys might be bored with our values and lifestyle, but we all know you’re only interested in our money—which seems to be worth less than toilet paper these days.
You folks take it anyway.
Ultimately, the football Cougars routed highly-respected Oregon State by 44-20 and the Y basketball squad ruled the Las Vegas Classic championship game with an 88-66 runaway over national defensive scoring leader Nebraska. It seemed a new NCAA world-order was in order.
After all, the Mormons founded this town. Enough already! Wasn’t it about time to return such to the original owners?
BYU has won more football games in this city than any other college team, which should determine some type of ‘ownership’. Try telling that to the UNLV Rebels.
While the Rebs’ football squad is usually a punching bag for its Mountain West Conference rivals both home and away, the opposite is true of the men’s basketball team. BYU has never won the MWC tournament here at the Thomas & Mack Center campus arena and lost it twice to the home boys.
UNLV defends its home court very well, but gets a tremendous assist from its emotional fans.
The MWC powers-that-be have apparently considered moving the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to the Orleans arena, which is near campus. The idea is to somewhat reduce the home teams’ tremendous home court advantage by playing off-campus. Why they don’t is speculative, but the rowdy and packed Thomas & Mack may produce more revenue.
We all know, of course, what singer Neil Diamond said is true: Money talks. It can smile, giggle, flirt, sing, dance, walk, serenade, kiss-up, cajole, intimidate, threaten and anything else it wants.
BYU Plays Vegas Bowl and Classic
Las Vegas, Nev., has many nicknames, Sin City being among them. But the only ‘sin’ committed recently by local standards is the thrashing BYU’s football and basketball teams gave their opponents in walking away with championship trophies. The Cougars, though, didn’t part the Red Sea and walk through on dry land.
That’s for next year.
Otherwise, their opponents would have followed them into the sea bed, thus having another flood to worry about. Pick your demise: drowning or a 30-point whuppin’.
So what are Mormons doing in a place like this, anyway? Winning championships, embarrassing nationally-renowned programs while increasing their own continental visibility, enjoying themselves, shoring up their substantial home-away-from home fan base, spending as little money as they want and irritating merchandisers still whining about the last time Latter-day Saints wouldn’t spend comparatively much here.
That’s usually the rule when the Cougars ‘rule’ Vegas. Some things never change, some might say. If BYU would just get adopted by some BCS conference, then maybe another team would visit Vegas and spend a lot more for longer.
Dream on! Outside the major bowls, apparently more Mormons visit Vegas with their team than anyone else does with theirs and still spend more money. Vegas may be BYU’s best alternative outside of a BCS bowl invitation.
Put a hold on BYU jumping to the BCS. The Cougs are necessary to help Vegas’ merchants survive, while the bowl itself provides them great national exposure. Who’s the dimwit trying to cast out whom, anyway?
It’s ironic that a town known for its worldliness, and a university both renowned and chided for conservative values would come together for such an opportunity to rewrite history. This may be the ultimate opposites attract.
Then, again, ultimate is what everything Vegas seems supposedly about. Winning three of the last four Vegas Bowls, BYU has found circumstances quite hospitable and even weathered 2009’s turbulent weather.
That’s what BYU usually does in Vegas: win again. The Cougars have already won again and again. They relish the chance to set the bowl and team record for three consecutive wins whenever possible.
They desperately want to win back-to-back-to-back in the land of Jill (beautiful women) and Jack (notorious gambling atmosphere).