I Know My Worth: Part One

This post was written by the one and only Marci, who is the queen of all things Average Mormon graphics.

I love yard sales. I love the anticipation of not knowing what you'll find. I love shuffling through random objects and then finding that one, unique item that you instantly know what to do with or where to put it in your home. And then of course being able to buy that item at a relatively cheap price is always nice. ;)

The thing with yard sales, is that the seller can list a price but the customer always has the ultimate control on what they are willing to pay. The customer determines the worth of an object.

A month or so ago, this analogy really hit me. We are like the items at the yard sale and the world is trying to tell us what we're worth. If we're pretty or if we're smart. If we're useful or if we're not. But in truth, they have no say in our value because it is the costumer who will determine that. And thankfully, we have already been bought by our Savior Jesus Christ.

this is me. plain. simple. me.

My name is Jessica. 

My whole life I have been average.  I was an average teenager.  I did things average teenagers did. 

You know those movies? The ones that show these AMAZING parties with people drinking, hooking up and having fun? Well, that's what teenagers were supposed to do, so that's what I did. I had FUN. I was happy. 

What wasn't to love about a life like that?  Sure, I woke up on Sunday, not remembering Saturday night,  (it was before the days of text messages, and YouTube, so i didn't' have visual reminders of just how compromised I allowed myself to become)   but it was GREAT. I was skilled in the art of hiding it from my Mother, so I never got caught... I had an amazing boyfriend who loved me, and we were going to grow up and get married. We had life figured out. I was on top of the world......

The Book of Mormon Musical, and the conversion that took place because of it.

This post is from Liza, a new friend of mine with an awesome story about how she was introduced to—and became a member of—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s a repost of what she recently shared on her own blog, which I would recommend checking out.

On September 25th, 2011 I was lucky enough, to attend a performance of the Book of Mormon, on Broadway. Being a musical theater major, this was a very exciting opportunity for me.

I sat in the theater with my family, dancing and laughing in my seat. I thought it was simply an evening of entertainment that I would look back on and laugh about. Little did I realize, that night changed my entire life. Forever.

After seeing the musical, I was convinced that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church) was filled with psychotic people who knew nothing of what real life is.

I decided in my sassy and entitled mood, that I would go onto Mormon.org and see just how insane they were. I also discovered, once on the website, that there is a button that says "Chat with missionaries" I thought, this was my perfect time to destroy everything those missionaries were "told" to believe.

Peace and Assurance Forever

This post is by Karina, a person who loves being outdoors almost as much as she loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This Easter season, as I tried to focus more on Jesus Christ, one vivid image repeatedly came to my mind. That image comes from an experience I had on a rock climbing trip of all places!

I was with two of my favorite people on the planet on a multi-pitch tower in the desert. (That means we did several climbs stacked on top of each other to reach the top.) The ascent took longer than we had expected and we reached the summit about sunset. We had repelled back down several pitches and had one last repel to go, when one end of our rope got caught high above us, and we were stuck. It was cold and dark, and we had no way to get down. The only solution was for one of us to haul themselves up one end of the rope to free the other end. So we decided on the lucky winner, and he started working his way up, gradually disappearing into the darkness. The two of us left could only wait.

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

This phrase has been running through my mind all week. And even yesterday at church a friend mentioned it in his comment in Sunday School.

I've been thinking a lot about this phrase. I know it to be true.

A few years ago, my swell friend Dani shared this story with me.

There was once a fish named Nemo. Nemo lived with his father who set up clear rules for Nemo to follow. Nemo decided to disobey one of his father's rules and ended up in the clutches of a power greater than himself. Nemo was then put into a fishbowl, where all he could was sit and watch other people make decisions and live their lives.
In order to get out of this fishbowl, it took the help of those around him--he couldn't do it on his own.

It is amazing to me that even Disney can capture this concept that so many of us seem to forget. It is when we are obedient that we are truly free.

Another truth that is closely tied to the principle of obedience = freedom is that sacrifice will bring forth
the blessings of heaven.

When discussing sacrifice, we may immediately think of giving up stuff. But I think there are other ways we can look at sacrifice. At least I have seen these to be true for my life.

We often hear of sacrificing our will for the will of our Heavenly Father's. I think we are all pretty good at that. But what about sacrificing our own opinion and aligning it with God's opinion? To me, that is a really difficult sacrifice. There are things that I think and believe and when contradicted by a Prophet of God, it is I who needs to change, not the Prophet.

Anxiously Engaged

This post is from Kiley. A kind-hearted, thoughtful person who loves to make people happy.

I came to a sudden realization this past Sunday. I live to serve. That is where I find my true happiness.

And, it shows.

Last month, I had eight huge projects simultaneously on my plate, all of which were very service-oriented—involving PTA functions, primary lessons, cub scouts, and parties to celebrate both birthdays and babies.

This month, the count is right around ten, depending on how you classify things.

It might be an understatement to say that I am overwhelmed with service.

And, when I consider all this service, I am simultaneously filled with both satisfaction and guilt.

God is Listening… and Answering!

This is a post from Jessica M., a lady who is beautiful inside and out.

The other day I was discussing prayer with a group of friends. We talked about this powerful quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland:

"God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He
always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe."

And I thought to myself, “Do I really expect God to answer me?”

We talked about how we remember what we have prayed for and how we recognize answers.

And I thought to myself, “Do I remember what I prayed for this morning?”

The answer was no.

“If I can’t remember what I prayed for, how can I recognize if God is answering?”

And all of the sudden, I realized that I probably do not recognize God’s hand in my life as much as I
should. I have missed so many opportunities to feel of His love, to understand who He is as my Father, and to gain a greater appreciation for how many times He really does answer me.

Those times when I felt God wasn’t listening, I was probably the one not listening or noticing.

I'm a Mormon.

For several months now adverts for the Book of Mormon musical have been showing up around London in preparation for its recent West End opening. These adverts have featured the catch phrase “The Mormons Are Coming.”

And quite simply, I don’t think that anyone could have put it better.

Unlike with previous openings of the Book of Mormon musical in other locations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is responding with an all-out marketing campaign. As part of this “I’m a mormon” campaign, over the next four weeks mormon.org.uk adverts featuring British members of the Church will cover the Charing Cross mainline station, ten tube stations (including Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus), and the sides of 250 double-decker buses.

There was Something That Kept me Holding on... Hope

This post is by Ashlee Clark, a person who is equally hysterical and spiritual!

I don’t know why bad things happen, and I wish that I could make sense of them, but most of the time I can’t. I haven’t even been able to make sense of the bad things that have happened in my own life. But through all the trials I have faced, and all the times I wanted to give up, there was something that kept me holding on... Hope.

We Are Never Alone

This post is by Kristen Hamilton, a girl with a big smile and even bigger heart.

One of the many amazing blessings that comes from being a member of the church of Latter Day Saints is the reassurance that we are never alone. Over and over in the scriptures, the bible and the Book of Mormon, God declares that He will not leave us--meaning ANY of His children--comfort less. "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, ...And mine angels shall be round about you, to bear you up." (D&C 84:88)

There is so much going on in the world. So much anger, hate and violence. God grants man their agency and though some would use that agency for evil, it gives me great hope to know that we are never alone. I have seen the hand of God in every step of my life and felt His spirit giving me comfort and strength. Knowing this gives me the strength to face this world with optimism and faith. It is through the gospel of Jesus Christ that I have come to know my Father in Heaven on a more personal level. It is through this gospel that I can hope for a bright future and believe in the goodness of people.

We've Been Praying For a Way To Help Our Daughter...

Another great post from Ben Jenkins.

I have a very hyperactive 3 year old. Sometimes she is very destructive and is often frustrating for her mother and I. She also often tells us that she is scared or afraid of different things; something new each day. Though we acknowledge that it is important and normal for a 3 year old to be hyperactive and scared of different things, we desire for her to also learn peace and self-control. We have been praying lately for ways that we could help her to be calm and peaceful. We have noticed that the times that she is calm and peaceful she is bright and happy and we feel the spirit more in our home.

One thing that she can sit through, for perhaps hours, is us reading her books to her. This morning I was reading her newest favorite book which is a bunch of bible stories for children. We were reading the story of Jesus calming the sea and the fearful hearts of the weary sailors. It occurred to me as I was reading this story that the answer to our prayers for the well being of our growing daughter is in Christ.

God took me for who I was and made me into what he needed to be.

This post is from Storie Stinger Johnson, a person who has an incredible amount of energy and zeal for life.

I am an average Mormon. I have been a member my whole life, but I haven't always lived the Mormon lifestyle. I was always searching for that right 'something' that would being me peace and true happiness. I searched for a long time taking roads I am not happy about, sadly what I was search for was already in my life.

I will always be eternally grateful that God never turned His back on me even though I turned my back on him.

Today Was a Great Day

This post is from Dayna Janes. Read her previous post here.

Today was a great day for me. I was able to attend the Temple for the first time in over two years. The whole time I couldn't stop thinking about how absolutely grateful I am that because of my Savior, I am able to correct mistakes I have made and start over and today I did.

I had several wonderful thoughts and feelings that let me know that it was okay for me to be in the Temple today. That I was supposed to be there. The Spirit, something I did not feel for a long time, was so strong. I love the Gospel. I'm so thankful for repentance and forgiveness. I'm so thankful that I'm a Mormon!

Fear Thou Not; For I am With Thee

A post from Camille Hunting. A person you will want to strive to be more like!

My spirit has been lifted so much just reading what others have written for the blog. Here is something that has been on my mind a lot lately:

I have been pondering a lot lately about trials and the things they can teach us. It is becoming clearer to me the older I get that trials are indeed blessings when we invite the Savior to help us experience them and learn from them. Adversity is what oft times brings me to my knees and causes me to truly hunger and thirst after the Spirit in my life. Most times I cannot see the blessings, the things I learn, and the way my character is molded until the storm is calm and the dust has settled. Then my eyes are opened, my perspective expanded, and my heart filled with gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who blessed me with an opportunity to grow and become that much closer to Him and to being the woman I long to be.

Keep On Trying

This post is by Tonya McKee. A twin to her mom and one of the kindest hearts you'll ever meet.

I LOVE the Mormon message by Elder Holland titled, "Good Things to Come."

When I watch this I feel the spirit so strong! Life can give us some hard trials but I love the message this gives, keep on trying and for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ there will be good things to come!

I love this gospel!

Doubt Not, Fear Not

This is a post by Rachelle Ormond. Her message is one all of us need to remember!

I would love to share a thought on one of my favorite scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants 6:34-37. While one of my sisters was on her mission, I was going through a difficult trial in my life at the time and I remember asking for her advice at the time. She sent me this scripture. I love the reminder in verse 36 especially, to doubt not and to fear not.

Stereotypical? Yes. Fulfilling? Beyond measure.

This post is from Shannon Ellsworth. A person with a great sense of humor, big heart, and beautiful smile!

Just an average Mormon. That describes me perfectly.

Conference Renewed My Hope

This is a post from Jake Williams, an obvious fighter.

I've been diabetic since 8 years old.
Then, on my mission I had heart surgery.
In 2005 my kidneys failed and I was blind for 3 months.
I did dialysis for 2 years until I had a transplant in 2007.
And then the transplant failed in 2011 and I've been doing dialysis for a little more than a year again.
I am on a transplant list and have been since September of last year.

I have been fasting every Sunday since the beginning of December for my transplant. I have lost a little bit of hope here and there, until a good friend organized a ward fast just recently.

I love being a Mormon

This post is from Dayna Lyn Janes. She is an amazing friend, example, and loves to make people happy.

I’m a Mormon.  I love being a Mormon. I have been raised in the LDS church and it’s been part of me all my life.  It wasn’t until just recently that it became more important to me than anything else.  I share my story because I want others to understand how wonderful the Gospel is.  I took being a member of the Church for granted for many years. It wasn’t until I was without the Spirit and the other wonderful blessings that come from being a member of the Church that I realized just how much I needed it in my life. Now that I have the blessings back in my life, I will never again put the Gospel second to anything. Here is my story…

My whole life I felt like I was a faithful, strong member of the Church. I went to Church, studied the scriptures, attended the Temple, paid my tithing, and prayed every day. It wasn’t until I was 31 years old that temptation took me by the hand and I followed. I had met someone and I broke the promise I made to my Heavenly Father.  For two years I still went to Church but stopped doing everything else. I felt a darkness in my life that had never been there before.  I didn’t feel like I had changed but those around knew that something was different. All this time I knew what I need to do but didn’t have the strength to do those things. Then the consequences came. I was left with heartbreak, an illness, pain, and misery. Not being able to mentally deal with the consequences, I knew I needed the Gospel back in my life.

We all have weakness. We all have strength.

This post is by Skye whose life dream is to serve as many LDS missions as humanly possible.

Skyler’s post hit home with me, and I’d like to share some thoughts.

There are some aspects of Christianity that, while seemingly paradoxical, are quite beautiful.

True Christianity broadens the mind and narrows the path.
True Christianity is most elite and most inclusive.
True Christianity acknowledges man’s nothingness and accentuates his Divinity.
True Christianity commands perfection and seeks out the sinner.
True Christianity elevates man to a higher plane while increasing the humility in his heart.
True Christianity separates one from the world while uniquely uniting him with all of God’s children.

Through my service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have met and developed dear friendships with men and women from all walks of life. I have known and loved the poor and the rich, young and old, the religious, spiritual, and atheistic, the simple and complex, city slickers and country folk- people from many colors, creeds, and cultures. I have been blessed by this diversity and have learned a few things about God and His great, all-encompassing love. It is real. It is unwavering. It is unconditional... I have also learned, through these associations, that as we serve Him and His children, He will infuse our own soul with a measure of this love.

How I finally learned tolerance from the Prophet

This is a post by Skyler Smith, who is basically just awesome. Awesome at computers, climbing, and being married.

During conference I felt a theme pop out from small parts of the talks from the brethren. It probably wasn’t too prevalent, but became immediately relevant to me in my circumstance. It gave me the resolve: I need to be more accepting.

Elder Packer started off the conference, and as he began to give his testimony at the end of his talk he said these words:

“The scriptures teach us ‘that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.’

Alma taught that ‘the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.’ In order to understand this, we must separate the sin from the sinner.”

Something that will always impress me is how I can hear something my whole life, and it means something more every time I read it! I was touched.

I Love All of God's Children

The following post is written by Ben Jenkins, an avid adventurer and family man. The quotes he shares are from President Boyd K. Packer's talk, "These Things I Know."

"Alma taught that “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” In order to understand this, we must separate the sin from the sinner.

For example, when they brought before the Savior a woman taken in adultery, obviously guilty, He dismissed the case with five words: “Go, and sin no more.” That is the spirit of His ministry.
Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, when exaggerated, it transforms itself into a vice. We need to be careful of the “tolerance trap” so that we are not swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity." -Boyd K Packer

I know it. I live it. I love it!!

This post is by Ajay Salvesen. An awesome example of being happy and willing to serve!

This talk by Sister Dibb really stood out to me in a couple ways. She states, "The scriptures teach that we must be “doers of the word, and not hearers only.”We live the gospel and become “doers of the word” by exercising faith, being obedient, lovingly serving others, and following our Savior’s example. We act with integrity and do what we know is right “at all times and in all things, and in all places” no matter who may or may not be watching." I love that as Mormons, we come to understand that as we read the scriptures, we must also apply, and as we apply, then we become more like our Savior by word, and by deed.

What I Did This Weekend

I listened to Prophets of God teach me about what I need to do to be happy. The answer I heard? Be obedient. Couldn't agree more.