My Testimony

This post is by my amazing sister, Jamie. She's such an example to so many!!

Recently I've realized that a person can easily fall away from the church just by not living the gospel
principles that are the most important on a daily basis. I don't ever want this to happen to me.

I have been inspired by other people and the Spirit to become better at prayer. When I stop praying I feel very alone. I have family but, by not praying, I don't have my Heavenly Father guiding me every step. When I don't pray, it becomes just me, guiding me. And I don't like that.

I know that the Spirit wants us to pray and so we should.

I know that through praying we can know that the church is true. And when we pray life becomes easier and better. I love being at BYU Idaho and having the Spirit here on a frequent basis. The other day I was sitting at devotional at BYU Idaho and I had the prompting that Joseph Smith really is a prophet of God and so is President Monson.

I know if we follow our childhood habits, such as praying we can have the Spirit and we will remain strong.

Through praying during my trials I have become closer to the Lord. Even if it takes many years for you to find an answer to your prayers, it's okay, you know you've taken the path Heavenly Father wants you to take. And that's the best way to go.

The Power of Scripture Study

This post is by Amy Jane Wells.

Lately I have really been feeling like I needed to improve my scripture study. Excuses kept cropping up:
  • Well, today we are visiting family, I'll do better tomorrow.
  • Well, today we are camping, I'll do better tomorrow.
  • Well, today I got out of bed late and only had 10 minutes to read, I'll do better tomorrow.

The excuses keep piling up and will if I continue to let them. Yesterday, I sat down intending to "search" better than usual. I have been reading in the book of Revelations trying to understand the overwhelming amount of symbolism. I had a question and thought, "Oh, that's probably one of those questions that may be answered in a couple of years." So, I read on, "But can't I check cross references now to see if my answer is there?" I concluded to go back and check the cross references and get over the fact that I may not be able to complete the chapter today. As I checked the references, I realized my answer was there in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Wow! So, simple questions can be answered in a few short minutes? Amazing! The scriptures can give peace and guidance and can answer our questions if we will allow it.

In the Harshest Environments

Note from Jess: This post is by Storie Stinger Johnson. Storie shares such an incredible truth here. Notice the advice she gives to those who are at their lowest points. It sounds like the exact same guidance we get at church week after week. So profound, so beautiful, and so true! Thanks for sharing Storie!

I love my job. I help empower people who have been given a less than ideal situation in life. I help people who have been abused, who starve, who don't have a place to call home, people who struggle to find jobs, people who are ostracized and shunned from the majority of the population. I am a social worker. I have worked in agencies that deal with some of the lowest, harshest, darkest and downright scariest situations that life can deal out. I have worked with drug addicts, the chronically mentally ill, physically and mentally disabled, teens who were abused in every way possible known to man, the rich and poor, the young and old, every race, color and ethnicity. I have not seen or dealt with it all, but I have seen and dealt with more than the average person.

From all of the people, situations and environments that I have experienced I have learned one very important and universal truth- It has been the harshest environments of my life that I have been able to do the most good.

These populations of people are misunderstood, hated and shunned, but they are God’s children too. They need help, love and support just like the rest of us. God is aware of their situations and he has placed people like you and me into their lives to help them up, help them heal, and be their friends.

While working in a drug rehabilitation facility working with a client who was really struggling trying to reconnect with God in her life again. She has just lost her pharmaceutical license for using drugs and she was drowning in her own sea of despair. She was diving into the Bible trying to find something to grasp from, and I grabbed a Book of Mormon and shared two verses from it with her to supplement what she was reading in the Bible. She thanked me and took the Book of Mormon with her back to her room.

Another client in the same facility was struggling with finding any hope in her life. She had begun praying again but was struggling to get anything from it. After asking her how she was praying I mentioned that she could try kneeling on her knees and praying out loud. The next day after trying that she reported that it was a way more powerful experience, and that it had brought her some needed peace.

I Always Want to Be With My Own Family

This post is by Stephanie Allred.

When I began to attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a teenager, one of the things that stood out to me the most was the concept of an eternal family. I loved my parents and brother a great deal and felt that it only made sense that, if we are to live forever, this bond is one that is meant to carry on as well.

I gradually gained a testimony that the principle of eternal families is true and that the only way to obtain this amazing blessing is through covenants made in the temple. Around the time I started high school, I decided that a temple marriage was my highest priority in life.

Eventually, I met a man named Benjamin who I fell head over heels for and, in return, he loved and respected me more than I ever knew was possible. Early on in our relationship, we discussed the importance of the temple in our lives and I was thrilled to learn that he felt as strongly about creating an eternal family as I did!

As our love for each other grew, we held strong to our commitment to be worthy of a temple marriage and, on December 16th, 2011, that dream became a reality. We knelt across the altar from each other and made sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father. That was easily the happiest day of my eternities up until that point. At the time, my main focus was on how awesome it was that I was going to have my best friend with me forever! We became literal BFF’s. What I did not realize at the time was how crucial these covenants would become to me very soon.

Through fasting and prayer, we felt that we should not delay in growing our family. We were beyond excited to learn in February, that we were expecting our first child, due in late November. I’ll never forget the glow on Benjamin’s face when I told him he was about to be a father. Through a harrowing battle with morning sickness, that enthusiasm remained with both of us. We began to make plans. We picked out names. I wore my maternity pants with pride. Each ultrasound was a sacred occasion for us as we caught a glimpse of the miracle we were being allowed to take part of.

Then, on Father’s Day 2012, with no warning and no explanation, my water broke. After rushing to the hospital, we learned that there was nothing they could do. Our baby was still too young and his body was not yet prepared for life in this world. We would have to wait for our child to pass away and then begin the labor and delivery process.

Snail Mail: Small & Simple Things

This post is by Shara Jackson Harper, a woman who listens and acts.

Every year I try to pick a few specific things to put on my New Years resolution list that would enrich my life and help me bless the lives of others as well. One of the things I have tried to do regularly is to prepare and send real mail.

Not emails, facebook messages, texts, voice mails or instagram comments...but real, sealed, stamped, sent in the mailbox MAIL. I have a stash of cards, try to keep stamps on hand, and if I'm on top of things--I'll have it all together on Monday mornings to send some out that day.

I know how I feel when you receive a surprise note in the mail--who wouldn't want that? I love the feeling I have when I am writing kind words--I know it is the Spirit testifying of the power in these kinds of "small and simple things".

Those Speechless Moments Connected with Eternity

This beautiful post was written by Jess Adamson.

*disclaimer* there are many people involved in these stories that are not mentioned, but it doesn't mean they are not important.....I just figured you probably didn't want to be reading this blog post for hours on end....

There is something to be said for speechless moments. The ones where no words could adequately describe the raw emotion in your heart...

I have only had a few of these in my life, and they all seem to revolve around the principle of Eternity.....

Remember my baptism I told you about a few months ago? Well there was something about that day that I left out.  My dearest Grandfather was the one waiting for me in that water....

Before that day, he had watched my crazy teenage life progress with great anticipation in his eyes, because unlike me, he had always known my potential. He always saw me as a beautiful daughter of God, but he knew that I didn't see it.

The day I told him that I had made the decision to be baptized, he was speechless, and told me that he would be HONORED to be the one to baptize me.

The Great Plan of Happiness

This post is by Derek, a fantastic home teacher.
Just last Sunday, in our Gospel Doctrines class, I learned something really neat.

We were studying a talk that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave to the young women of the church. He talked about God's individual plan for each of us.

The part that I liked the most was when he talked about enjoying life right now. He shared how we each have problems and struggles and that sometimes life is hard. Many times we don't enjoy life now but look forward to some future time when we will be happy.

God doesn't want this for us, He wants us to be happy and enjoy life throughout. God's plan is for us to be happy and we can be so even if we are only working toward our goals. It was something that really helped me out, it made me realize that maybe not everything is turning out like I planned or hoped but that doesn't me everything is lost.

I think it's something everyone can benefit from and will help us all out in the long run.

Remember His Familiar Face

Another great post by Lisa Puga.

On the wall of my children's bedroom is a picture of Jesus Christ with children from around the world.  Every time my seven-month-old daughter sees Him, her face lights up. She moves her whole body with excitement. If I turn away while holding her, she squirms to see Him again. Other pictures hold her interest for about half of a second. Interestingly, my now three-year-old son acted the same way when he saw this picture of Christ when he was a baby.

Why does my baby show such a strong emotional reaction to pictures of the Savior?

She knows Him. She loves Him. I believe she hasn't forgotten completely the time when she lived with Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father as a spirit daughter before birth.

Pres. Ezra Taft Benson, a modern prophet, said, "Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us."

I am so grateful for this knowledge of our divine heritage. God is our Father. He knows us. He loves us. He is not a distant father. Though we may not recall how well we knew Him before this life, we can come to know Him or rather remember Him through prayer, scripture study and service. He will help us recognize His hand in the very details of our lives. His plan provides for lasting eternal happiness for His children.

Read more here, here, here, and here. You'll be glad you did.