Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Agency, or the ability to choose given to each of us by our Father in Heaven, is an incredible blessing and gift. It has also become one of my very most favorite gospel principles to study and learn more about over the last two years. This past week while studying more about the creation and our first parents, Adam and Eve, in class at BYU I have been struck yet again by the importance of this fundamental doctrine of the gospel and how our Heavenly Father understands its importance as well. Agency has been a part of God’s plan from the beginning and played a huge role in the Garden of Eden. In Moses 3:17-18 we read, “And I, the Lord God, commanded the man [Adam], saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. God laid out the commandment and the consequences exactly and explicitly and clearly so that there would be no misunderstanding; NEVERTHELESS, God also explained very clearly that it would be their choice whether or not to partake of the fruit. They were given their agency. That is what put the whole plan into motion. Our Heavenly Father had enough trust in Adam and Eve to let them make that choice. He loves all of us as His children to allow us to do the same thing.

Oftentimes, that is incredibly difficult for us to do- allow those we love to make decisions out of a desire to protect them rather than give them those opportunities of growth and personal progression. Elder Richard G. Scott gives wonderful counsel in a General Conference session of April 2014, “The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted. Every child of God chose the Savior’s plan. Trust that given the opportunity, they will do so again.” When speaking of his wife, he said, “She loved me enough to share her conviction and then give me the opportunity to work out the direction of my own life”. Part of showing our love for others is protecting their agency. Exercising faith through exercising agency is what sets forth the path of progression to becoming more like Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Love one another.

One of the greatest commandments of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the commandment to love one another. There is no better example of this than Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They love each one of us with a love so infinite and so perfect that it goes beyond our comprehension. This love is manifested in many ways -- through guidance given to us by ancient and modern revelations of the prophets, the creation of the earth upon which we live, the everlasting sacrifice offered by the Savior to save the world from sin. There are countless ways in which we experience the effects of that great commandment to love one another.
Oftentimes, I feel the love of my Father and my Savior through the acts of others. As children of God, we have the opportunity to show His love through service and be the answer to someone else’s prayer. This is a sure outcome when we follow promptings from the Spirit. One of my favorite examples of this is found in the Book of Mormon in Alma 8 when Alma is commanded to return to the city of Ammonihah after being rejected and cast out by the people there. Alma was faithful and obedient to this commandment and returned speedily to the city by another way, as it says in verse 18. Because of this, he was met by an equally faithful and obedient man -- Amulek -- who had followed promptings from the Holy Ghost. This account can be found in Alma 8:18-27. After Alma asks Amulek to receive him into his house, Amulek gives this reply, “…I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house”. Amulek had been prepared to answer the prayer of his fellow man, Alma. Later, Alma blesses Amulek and his household twice (verses 22 and 26). These two were some of the greatest missionaries found in the Book of Mormon because of their ability to love others, bring to pass miracles, and touch lives.

I was reminded of this concept last Friday while visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City. There, I met two sister missionaries from Mexico serving in the Visitors’ Center. It was wonderful speaking with them and hearing about their experiences. They helped me to remember that the small, daily acts we do for others, especially when we cannot see the outcome or “fruits” of those acts, really do mean something and make a difference. Simply loving others allows us to feel a small part of what our Heavenly Father and Savior feel for us. This is essential in developing the pure love of Christ and becoming more like Him. Today is an excellent day to set goals of serving others and answering the prayer of someone in need. I know that as we put forth an effort to do so, “God [will provide] a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore [we become] a great benefit to [our] fellow beings” (Mosiah 8:18).

Sunday, January 15, 2017

To my dear friends and family.

It has now been 5 weeks since the return home from serving the people of Mexico City. What an extraordinary experience full of blessings, miracles, and (of course) adventures! My heart longs to be with the family and friends I now have in Mexico -- people who taught me more than I could ever teach them -- but it is so wonderful to be home with you all! We have just enjoyed “the most wonderful time of the year” celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with those we love, as well as ringing in a new year. Now, after having enjoyed the festivities that come with Christmas and New Year’s Day, we are left to move forward into the unknown. Beginning a new year is always a daunting task and can leave us with a feeling of longing to go back to the joys of the Christmas Season. I have had similar feelings since returning home from a mission. Let me share a few thoughts that I have had over the course of this last week during my personal scripture study and the religion course I am currently taking.

In the “Christ and the Everlasting Gospel” class I am enrolled in this semester we read parts of Moses 1 found in “The Pearl of Great Price” during the week. Something interesting that was discussed was the fact that Moses, after having been in God’s presence and literally speaking with Him face to face (verses 1-8) was then left to himself (verses 9-11). Almost immediately after, the Adversary came to tempt him (verse 12). How difficult that must have been to be in the presence of the Supreme Creator for a time and then to be attacked by the enemy of all righteousness! Moses was hit with tribulation so soon after a marvelous, faith promoting experience. Each one of us has experienced something similar- returning to the “real world” after serving a full time mission or going back to the daily routine of school and work after a wonderful Christmas vacation. It may even be facing what lies ahead after a particularly rich scripture study, temple visit, church meeting, or General Conference session. When we feel that we are at our peak, something comes that rocks us to the core and challenges us in such a way we have never before experienced. I am grateful to know and understand (thanks to the incredible lecture from my professor Brother G) that these trials are meant for our good. This “equal and opposite reaction” of a difficulty following an incredible experience is meant to teach and underscore the contrast of such experiences; cultivate humility; and provide necessary growth and progression. Moses experienced the power of the Savior when he called upon His name to cast out Satan in Moses 1: 21 and recognized the grand difference between these two beings. So it is with us if we will choose to call upon the powers of heaven during difficult times.

It is a comfort to know that we will never be abandoned if we hold true to what we know. One particular verse that captured my attention this past week is found in Alma 4: 15 of “The Book of Mormon”. Alma experienced great sorrow due to the sinful state of his people and the persecution of the faithful; however, the last line of this verse reads, “nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him”. My dear friends, I know that as we strive to do our best to remain steadfast and true to the Lord, His spirit will never abandon us and we will be able to grow during the trials that come our way. They are learning opportunities that bring us closer to our beloved Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I desire for each of you a wonderful week full of peace and personal growth.