Honesty and Parenting

by Kiley

Have you ever read an article about current parenting trends?  As I’ve raised my three little ones and tried to figure the art of mothering out, I’ve dabbled in these how-to blurbs every now and again.  And more often than not, the prevalent theme that I read was this: be positive.  Instead of telling a child what not to do, you encourage them to be good (and even great).  In my striving to put those techniques into play, I remember that when we brought our second new baby home, our then-two-year-old got quite a lot of encouragement to ‘be soft’ with the tiny newborn (I had to hold my tongue quite a bit as I really wanted to tell him to ‘not hit’ so many times!).  Now, I’ve even learned that I, myself, thrive in positivity and shrivel up in depression with constant negativity.

Recently, I was studying about the topic of honesty.  I was struggling with the content I was finding, because most everything focused on the don’ts of honesty: don’t lie, don’t steal, and don’t cheat.  Even the scriptures dealt heavily with these warnings, as found especially in the Ten Commandments in the Exodus chapter 20: ‘Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.’


A Touching Letter

Dear Ajay,

Tonight is a big night for you and I felt that you needed some advice as you grow up. Not advice on how to be rich, famous, and successful in todays world. Nope that comes by luck, and who you know..which you will know many who will know you.  Instead his letter of advice is how to stay strong in the gospel..because as you grow up there will be many challenges, hardships, adversity, temptations and other ways of the temporal life that will catch your eye but you must with all your might "stay to the Iron Rod."  

8 years old is an important age and you know that..you've known that for a while now.  Being raised by good parents will do that to you.  Moments ago, you completed and passed your baptismal interview with your bishop. Now just sit there in the foyer as you read this and and as they come out of the office you will hear your father tell the Bishop how proud he is of you and that you are a good kid.  He's going to be very proud of you that day on September 4th. I want you to know how much your Dad loves you. Sure you two have and will continue to have your disagreements and arguments every so often..but Ajay he sure does love you.   

You will be a valiant primary child, and the best part is having your mom in the Primary Presidency.  Warning though: You will need a box of tissues for one of her lessons.  It will be about not judging others..something you have been and will be the victim of for years to come..because you're different, and though it's okay to be different, it's something that your peers were not ready to deal with yet.  That lesson will help you know that you are created by God and that he does NOT make mistakes. You will see the love in your mothers eyes as she teaches those around you that very same principle.  I have to be honest, talking about it now almost makes me cry again. You may even start liking country music that day too..a guy named Gary Allen and a song called "Don't laugh at me" will do it to you. 

Christmas Advent Calendar

Quotes and Scriptures were Gathered by Brooke Watson


December 1st

“Little of Mary’s life is recorded in the scriptures. But what is recorded shows that Mary 
1) faithfully obeyed the word of God, 
2) expressed joy for God’s blessings 
3) received God’s witness and counsel from his servants. And 
4) had a posterity who glorified God. 

In the life of Mary, we find a pattern of righteousness for all Saints to follow.”  



December 2nd 

“And what of Joseph? What kind of a person would the Father select as the husband of Mary and the guardian and earthly model for Jesus? The scriptures are not entirely silent, although direct references are few. Because the father is to teach correct principles by precept and example and be a counselor, we must conclude that our Heavenly Father made careful selection in his choice of Joseph. That Joseph was spiritually sensitive and of a kindly disposition is reflected in the scriptural record. He was susceptible to divine guidance through the ministrations of angels and by dreams (see Matt. 1:20; Matt. 2:13, 19, 23); he wished not to bring embarrassment upon Mary nor to “make her a publick example” (Matt. 1:19). In addition, we would expect to find in Joseph certain moral, intellectual, and social qualities befitting his important assignment.”



December 3rd 

“Artistic renderings of the Nativity typically depict the Wise Men worshipping the newborn, as if their visit occurred shortly after the Savior’s birth. The scriptures, however, reveal that the Wise Men were not present at Jesus’ birth in the stable or anytime during his infancy. The Wise Men actually visited the child, Jesus with His mother, Mary. “When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11


Wandering in my Own Wilderness

by Emily Lewis


I didn't always love the Spanish Book of Mormon. 

In fact, not even after months and months of reading it did it sway me to think otherwise. To me, it was just a leather book with gold rimmed pages. 

September 29, 2013. The sun sneaked in through the wooden slats covering the window. Eyes open, back flat, sheets tossed to one side, I laid in quiet silence. I was becoming slowly aware of the inevitable back pain from the ancient dirty mattresses that we were forced to sleep on. I wondered if the floor was more comfortable.  I waited in peace before the phone alarm rang, ending my tranquility. 

'Another day in this country,' I grumbled so unwillingly in my head.

I flopped out of bed. Glancing over my shoulder to see my companion do the same. I knelt down, and prayed. I did not want to be there. But I pretended that I did. I was a robot, passing through the normal morning routine. I sit at my desk, with my mind and heart thousands of miles away, wandering in its own wilderness. 

I clenched my Spanish Book of Mormon, walked to my bed, and sat down. I read. And read some more. I had read the Book of Mormon over ten times in English, yet, now I was reading lines and words and characters that I did not understand. I did not love this book. It wasn't my book yet.

I slammed it shut. My heart's frustration began leaking through my eyes. I let my head fall back on my pillow. I looked at my watch. It was 11:23 am. But what I really saw was a time clock telling me 11 more months as a missionary.

My vision blurred and the tears streamed down my face, soaking my pillow. I looked up at the wall—hanging there perfectly by four small pieces of scotch tape, a painting of Joseph Smith’s first vision, ripped out of the latest Ensign. Time stop. In this instant I knew everything was true. My heart opened in that moment to a flood gate of peace and happiness—I was feeling pure gratitude for Christ’s gospel being restored on the earth, by a man, just as human as me. I felt an immediate love for the book that I held in my hands that I didn't understand. God taught me something through feelings. It was then I felt the reality of Him in my life—how much He had prepared me to feel this change. 

Thanksgiving to God

by Stephanie

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Thanksgiving”? Turkeys? Family gathered around a table? Football? Pilgrims? Pie? Those were the kinds of thoughts that I had, up until recently. While these are all very good things, there is a deeper, sacred side to this holiday that I hope all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can enjoy.

As my husband, Ben, and I have studied the word “Thanksgiving” from a gospel centered perspective, we’ve had a couple of interesting epiphanies. 

The first epiphany came from the literal definition of the word. 

thanksgiving
[thangks-giv-ing] 

  1. the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
  2. an expression of thanks, especially to God.
  3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
  4. a day set apart for giving thanks to God.

That definition was just taken from dictionary.com, a completely secular site.  It struck me how this word is tied so closely with, not just any kind of gratitude, but gratitude to our Heavenly Father. It seems that this should be counted as a religious holiday. Have I been approaching it as such? Not really.

So, how can we make sure that the true meaning of Thanksgiving doesn’t get lost in the festivities? For me, the answer came in the form of another epiphany. As Ben shared Alma 45:1 with me, we made a new connection.  Besides fasting for blessings, we can also fast for gratitude. The more we read, the more scriptural accounts we found of people fasting in thanksgiving. So, I decided that this year I will make the day before Thanksgiving a day of fasting and prayers of gratitude for all that I have been blessed with. This may not be appropriate for everyone, but I look forward to just focusing on saying thank you to the One who has given me everything from the air I breathe to my beautiful son.

Whether or not my fast becomes a yearly tradition for me, I am grateful that my perspective on Thanksgiving has been permanently changed.

The Truth About Romance

by Miranda

There is verse of scripture that reads: "for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls." (Jacob 4:13) 

One morning as I lounged in my bed, refusing to get out from under my down comforter, there was a bit of truth running around in my head. A touch of something ‘as it really is’ that had been nagging at me. And, finally, I was able to give it a name.

Romance.

Wait. What?

That's right, I'm talking about romance. Can the Spirit teach us about such things? Most definitely.

You see, I posted this to facebook not so long ago:  

"Writing poetry by firelight. My world is rather romantic.
Or it would be if boys weren't having a bionicle war at my feet, 
the laundry from winter ice storm adventures wasn't piling up
 and dear husband wasn't asking for dinner."

It was funny and cute at least I thought so. And it wasn't truly a complaint, merely a statement of fact. I didn't mean to suggest that I don't love hearing my boys play war games without end. Someday, I'll miss all those machine-gun and bomb-explosion sound effects. I didn't want to suggest that I begrudge the housework I do as a stay-at-home mother. I'm actually incredibly grateful to have the option to stay home, to build my home; it's a rarity in today's world and on our economy. Furthermore, I would be heartsick if my husband thought I despised taking care of him, or his children, when the truth is I actually thrive on it. I feel the happiest when I am taking care of my little flock. I guess that's why something underneath this little bit of sarcasm kept nagging at me, prompting me to come clean.

See the truth is, real romance accounts for menial everyday tasks, the ever-present background noise of children and the constant necessity of setting aside one's own self interest.

Isn't that why we love to watch romance movies and read romantic novels? Isn't that what makes our hearts flutter with anticipation of onscreen kisses?  

Even in Hollywood, romance involves hardships to overcome, comical everyday mishaps, painful heartbreak and frustrating misunderstandings. Romance isn't this magical fairy tale realm where nothing ever goes wrong and the hero and heroine's every whim is fulfilled. In fact, fairy tales are fraught with strife: wicked stepmothers or witches, fearsome creatures that steal your happiness in the night, the nasty, hurtful negative consequences of someone else's choices, pitfalls and traps, snares even, that sing to our weakest characteristics and call them to the surface. Sounds a bit like real life doesn't it?

Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard, romantic and platonic, familial and friend. These things try us to our limits and they require constant effort and this dreaded thing called work. No one ever reached a happily ever after without intense trials and callus-creating work first. Why do we think we can have the reward without first earning it?

The bottom line is this: Romance, no matter how the dictionary, nor man or woman defines it, is, in fact, nothing more than the knowledge that, at the end of the day both despite and because of whatever has gone wrong, you are loved and that you love in return.

So the reality is, my life is perfectly romantic. 

An Increased Testimony

by Jessica Smith

It's hard on me when the LDS church gets, what I perceive, as negative national attention. I love seeing it praised, loved, and admired because that's how I see it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been the greatest blessing in my life without question. Because of my membership in it, every other blessing has been made better. And in turn, my sorrows are made lighter.

While I could go on and on about the blessings in my life, that's not what this blog post about.

This last week, a lot of national news was directed at the standing of just a few members of the LDS church. A lot of comments had been made about this and most are valid.

I think the main outcome we should watch is a demonstration of integrity. We now can have increased confidence that the LDS church leaders do not bend to the requests of individuals, groups, or other well-intentioned people.

They honor the doctrine that God has established (no matter what personal beliefs they may have about a topic). They do not bend to the pressures of negative national attention. They aren't bullied into making changes that God hasn't directed.

My testimony and confidence in the leaders of the LDS church has increased while watching these events unfold. We aren't being led by people who have any other motive than following what God directs. And I'm so grateful for that!

The Opposite of Fear Is...

Faith. That's the correct answer. We've heard that often. As well as faith and fear cannot coexist. While I absolutely know this to be a true principle, it's actually really hard for me to implement. But I've found a stepping stone that is really helpful for me.

Maybe it can help you too.

For me, the opposite of fear is gratitude. 

I find that fear, for me, is often based around the unknown of the future. Or the outcome of something that I cannot control. When I notice that I am feeling fear, I take a minute and try to be grateful. And it refocuses me.

I don't know what the future holds. I can't control much of anything. But I can express gratitude to my Heavenly Father for prophets who are on the earth today. For the scriptures which can help me know how God guided people in times past. For the beautiful mountains that I can stare at all day. For my parents and siblings who are amazing examples. For a wonderful job. For a beautiful home. Incredible friends who let me talk their ear off.

The list could obviously go on and on. 

Gratitude helps me focus on the here and now. One of my former stake presidents said, "Jessica, you have a lot of haves and very few have nots. Make sure you focus on the haves and not the have nots."

That's probably when I first started noticing that the opposite of fear, for me, is gratitude.

The Pruning

By Jackie Leishman

I love Spring! Tulips are my favorite flower, and watching all of them emerge out of the ground, and stretching for the sunshine after a long winter brings joy to my heart. Watching their tender, colorful petals spreading open with the sun's rays is magical to me. I don't have a green thumb, but I do love the beauty of this world, so I'm trying to learn how to best care for the plants that I have in my yard. We have quite a few rose bushes that stretch along our fence, and they have grown unruly from my lack of time and knowledge to care for them.

The other day I decided I was finally going to prune them, and watched some videos online to help me learn how to do the task. It looked fairly simple online, but as I went outside to my own bushes I suddenly felt overwhelmed. Where should I start? Some of these bushes were almost 6 feet tall, and I was supposed to cut them down to about 18 inches high. Not only that, but I was supposed to clear out all but 5 or 6 of the canes, leaving the strongest canes with the best shape for the plant. My roses have already started to bud so I didn't want to cut off the stems that were already growing so well. I was afraid that I would kill my plants.

I decided to start doing it anyway, and started cutting out the dead wood first. After that I had to decide which canes were the strongest and would stay, and which ones I had to cut down. Then I looked for the ones that were crossing in the wrong direction and were interfering with the proper growth of the plant. As I continued to get more brave with each plant, my son complained that I was "cutting them all off!" It was difficult to explain to my 4 year old that this would help the plant to produce more flowers and that it needed to be done.



Yesterday morning as I was reading my scriptures I ran across this verse that reminded me of my experiences with trimming the rose bushes just a couple of days before.

John 15:2 "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

I knew that this scripture wasn't just talking about plants, but about our Heavenly Father's children. In the footnote for the word "purgeth" it says that it means to "purify", and to "test". I started to think about how difficult it was for me to cut down my roses. How fearful I was that it would be too much for them to handle, and would possibly kill them. I thought about my own children and how I see a need for discipline, but I hate to see my kids sad. These precious little boys that have been entrusted in my care mean so much to me, and I don't want them to be unhappy. But I also know that if I let them grow without guidelines and consequences, wild and free, that they won't achieve their full potential. I try my best to discipline with an increase of love afterward. And this led me to ponder on when I have been been "cut down" in my own life. At times it has seemed far too much to bear.

Didn't Heavenly Father know that it would almost break me? That I wasn't as strong as I thought I was before the trial came? But looking back, I can see that I have grown to be more than I would have been if I had just kept living my life without the "pruning".

At times I have tried to handle my challenges on my own. My rose bushes still require watering and the nourishment from the soil that they are planted in or they will die. And so it is with me. My challenges can be too much to bear and the heat will scorch me if I don't supply the proper nourishment to my Spirit. I have felt an increase of my Heavenly Father's love when I have searched Him out. I've learned so much from my trials. I've grown stronger, and I can see that Heavenly Father is shaping me into a more beautiful version of myself than I was before. The most remarkable part of all of it is that just because I've endured one trial, doesn't mean that another one isn't right there to follow the first. And I find myself saying, "Again? What did I not learn the first time? Why, again? Why more? I've already learned so much." But the truth is, I may have already blossomed more than I previously had, but I still have growth to be made. I still have things to learn. Just like my rose bushes need to be pruned again, and again, likewise, so do I. And with each "pruning", I am being shaped and am blossoming into a better version of myself. And this will continue my whole life long until Heavenly Father has made me into what He needs me to be.

I think the reason that I love watching my tulips emerge out of the cold hard ground year after year is
because they are a symbol of hope. Just like my tulips, I can emerge from my trials and sorrow if I reach for the SON. And even though the breeze may continue to toss me, I can blossom into something colorful, resilient, and beautiful!

I love Spring!

The Chronicles of Narnia and Easter

This post is by Adam Watson and was originally posted to his Sunday Movies Blog. Read it. Follow it. You'll love it.

Four children stumble into a magical world where animals talk, the snow queen doesn’t sing, and hairy legs count as pants (at least if you’re Mr. Tumnus).



If you’ve never read The Chronicles of Narnia series as an adult, you are missing out. Like seriously missing out. Like the kind of missing out where you spend all day inside only to later discover that outside, on the very same day, a massive sea of bacon had fallen from the sky.

I loved these books so much that I used to read them aloud to my roommates in college. Eventually my neighbors started sitting in. Soon I started holding weekly Narnia readings on Sunday afternoons while people took naps on the floor. Students came from miles around just to listen to my golden voice. (Not really, but by the time I got through all the books, I was by far the most well known Narnia-reader in southern Provo.)

But hey, let’s talk about the movie:

Walden Media (the ones behind other inspiring films like Amazing Grace) acquired the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia back in 2001. They co-produced the film with Disney and it was a huge success.

The lion, Aslan, is voiced by Liam Neeson — try not to think about how this was the same cold-hearted ninja-assassin who tried to poison Gotham City’s water supply the very same year.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Did I mention I love these books? In fact, if C.S. Lewis were alive today, and I got to meet him in person, I would probably hug the man. For a long time. Like until it got really awkward. And then I would apologize profusely for being overzealous. And then he would say it was alright if I promised never to do that again. And then I’d say ok, let’s be best friends. And then we’d live next door to each other, and our wives would be best friends too, and our kids would play together, and he’d come over and read us stories in his golden voice. And then we’d feast on bacon that fell from the sky…

C.S. Lewis once said, “At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time. Apart from that, I don’t know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together.”

This brings us to the most important scene in the movie. Before going on, you should watch it:




This story, of course, is an allegory of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. As you saw in the clip above, Aslan sacrifices himself in behalf of Edmund, a traitor who belongs to the posterity of Adam and Eve.

Aslan is executed on the Stone Table, which cracks when he is resurrected, just as the law once engraved upon the stone tablets of Moses was overthrown when Jesus Christ’s Atonement enabled a higher law that satisfied both justice and mercy.

Taunting Aslan in his darkest hour, the white witch, who had ruled in his absence, whispers, “Did you honestly think by all this that you could save the human traitor? You are giving me your life and saving no one.”

However, when Aslan rises from death, he tells the women who are first to see him, “If the witch knew the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the deep magic differently — that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery is killed in a traitor’s stead, the stone table will crack, and even death itself would turn backwards.”

Such an infinite Atonement required an infinite Being. And since Jesus Christ was the sinless Son of God, it was He who wielded the priesthood power of resurrection.

On this Easter Sunday, may we remember that because of Him, all the “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve” will be resurrected, and that because of Him, all are given the chance to become kings and queens, priests and priestesses, and that because of Him, death is not the end, but the beginning.

“Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed…” – Revelation 5:5

An Answer to a Prayer, A lesson to be taught.

By Ajay

This past Saturday, I had a chance to serve and yet learned a valuable lesson. I had just returned from work early afternoon and was getting ready to go mow my lawn, when I received a phone call from Angie, a friend of mine. My phone was on vibrate so I barely heard it in time before I went to my room. When I answered the call, Angie's voice was in concern and she asked if I was busy. I told her that I was free and she then said that her bunny by the name of Pancake had escaped her opened cage and took off. Angie asked for help in looking for the bunny and I was out the door as quick as I could to get to her friends house where the bunny was staying. When Angie walked out the door, you could see the panic, and worry on her face. I tried to calm her, telling her it would be okay. Pancake was last seen next door to her friends house around 7am, but the neighbor didn't know that it belonged to an owner. The lady explained to us in what direction Pancake was going and we started there. We found ourselves in a big field and my thoughts of where Pancake could be, were overtaken by the many instincts of a bunny. What is it scared of? How fast can it run? Where does it feel most comfortable? I asked these questions to Angie and she did her best to answer them while still frantically looking. Angie then said, “Ajay, maybe we should pray?” I immediately agreed and we got on our knees to do so. Angie said the prayer, and it does it no justice in even the least bit to explain what I felt as Angie, with her voice quivering, mind spinning and heart poured out to Heavenly Father, prayed with sincere intent asking where Pancake might be and that we would find it. Think of it, a child of Heavenly Father pleading to find one of His loving creatures who was lost. I teared up just a bit, but was able to keep my emotions in check long enough to not let Angie see. Her prayer gave me hope that WHEN we would find Pancake, we would find him alive. We started our search and thought of where Pancake could have gone. Angie was surprised that Pancake had even left the yard. I called another friend, Brent, to come help and he was willing to do so.

The search started at 11:47am. We looked in fields, tunnels, and backyards. Angie made flyers with a picture of Pancake on it asking for those who may see it to call her. However, efforts to find Pancake were coming up empty, and the failure to find the bunny was taking a toll on Angie. It was two hours later and the wind started to blow and clouds threatened to storm itself on top of us. My desire to find the bunny was starting to get anxious knowing that Pancake could be outside and alone. Angie and I were walking on the side of the street, hope seemed to be crawling further away from her grasp. She then sighed and nearly in the thought of giving up, asked, “We aren't going to find him are we?” My mind was ready to answer but before I could even take a breath Heavenly Father reminded me, in vision, that sincere and heartfelt prayer that Angie gave just a couple hours earlier, persuading me to respond....with no response at all. I felt it was my job to stay calm, and have faith..the same faith that I had when Angie ended her prayer. Another hour was coming to a close when I walked into a backyard, and then saw a barn. As I was about to walk in, something held me back. I all the sudden got spooked by something. Maybe it was the chickens in the cage (I've always hated chickens..except when cooked), maybe it was the some cords that were laying on the ground that looked like snakes..but nonetheless, I took a couple steps further in, and then saw, straight ahead of me behind two boards, a bunny. It sat there barely even moving. I didn't want to startle it so I slowly walked out then sprinted to the yard where Angie was, called her over and with her ran back to the barn. I told Angie that if it was Pancake then it would recognize her voice. She walked in, and called it by name, the bunny didn't move. She then squatted down next to the boards, reached out her hand to grab it and was able to bring it out from the trapped area. It was Pancake. Angie's voice said it all. She thanked me, and I in turn immediately thanked Heavenly Father. So many lessons to learn of this experience, for me. First, Heavenly Father answers prayers, as long as you keep believing and searching..He'll answer, in His own due time and in His own will. Second, Heavenly Father loves everybody and everything He has created. As I mentioned earlier, a daughter of Heavenly Father pleading for help to find one of His creatures..you'd have to be there to experience the feeling I had of love for both of them. Third, when doubt creeps in, take yourself back to when you first had that incredible amount of faith that it was all going to work out for you. Fourth, when Heavenly Father has answered your prayer, your fears are vanished, your heart stops trembling, and your doubts are washed away..remember why. When I returned home I quickly went to my room, got on my knees and offered a heartfelt prayer, and started to cry. This time, it was to thank Him for answering a prayer and teaching me that when we are in the service of our fellow being, we are in the service of God. 

Standing as a Witness

Between the ages of 12 and 18 on a weekly basis I said out loud, with my peers in Young Women, that I will "stand as a witness of God." That always seemed really straight forward to me... make sure to testify of God all of the time. This can happen in our dress and appearance, in our actions, words, etc.

Just a few weeks ago, this phrase came to mean something totally different to me.

I was watching a friend being baptized, considering all that happened that brought her to this point and I was stunned. It had taken awhile and the hand of God was obviously there. And it was nothing that I did.

And at that moment, I was standing as a witness of God. I was just standing, witnessing what God had done. And it was incredible to me.

I find that the more I get out of the way and stand as a witness of God, a lot more gets done, and I get to join the ride on some pretty incredible adventures.

This weekend, I get to, once again, stand as a witness of God while I watch and learn at the feet of apostles and prophets. All that is required of me is to be there with an open heart and the Spirit is poured into my life. My questions get answered and guidance seems very obvious.

Oh the beauty that I find when I stand as a witness!

“Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”

by Camille Hunting

As children of a loving Heavenly Father, we are all on a quest. Our individual journeys through mortality present us with opportunities to learn and grow each day. We are here to make our own decisions, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately become the disciples of Christ that He knows we can be. I know these things are true. I have a testimony of the gospel and have made covenants that I strive to keep with all my heart. The thing is—life is hard. I wake up with the best intentions and still find myself floundering halfway through breakfast as I have one child crying for “his” spot at the counter, one bemoaning her choice to stay in bed rather than having time to get a fancy hairdo for the day, and another that is ticked because he wasn’t the first one awake. Really? How do I keep doing this day after day? And that is just within the first hour of being awake. The trenches of motherhood, although exactly the place I always wanted to be, are exhausting for me sometimes. My spiritual armor gets chinks in it as I wage battles with my enemies of discouragement, fear, doubt, and feelings of inadequacy. I find that my spiritual and emotional batteries get drained and I hunger and thirst for a recharging power to lift me up and keep me going. Does this sound familiar?

Enter General Conference. Boom! This is just what the doctor ordered to strengthen me in the challenges I face, the problems I encounter, and the responsibilities I have upon my shoulders. I always seem to desperately need my spiritual recharge just in time to partake of the living waters that flow from General Conference. (And I shamelessly admit that I get a little giddy when Conference is approaching—I can’t wait!!) What a blessing it is to listen to servants of God who speak under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost! In Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 the Lord declares that “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” It is priceless to know that God still speaks to His people, and one way He does this is through those who address us during General Conference. What a comfort that is, for who knows us better than Heavenly Father? He knows me and each of you intimately and loves us unconditionally. He knows the desires of our hearts, our struggles, and our insecurities. He sees the tears we cry. He sees the sacrifices we make that appear to go unnoticed. He watches us fall and waits to help us up. He. Speaks. To. Each. Of. Us.

President Howard W. Hunter said, “Conference time is a season of spiritual revival when knowledge and testimony are increased and solidified that God lives and blesses those who are faithful . . . a time when souls are stirred and resolutions are made to be better husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, more obedient sons and daughters, better friends and neighbors.” Many times during Conference I feel that the speaker is talking directly to me—giving me just the personal counsel and comfort I need at that moment. My soul is indeed stirred and I make commitments to be a better disciple of Christ. Here are a few of the gems from General Conference in October 2013 that touched my heart:

“In the sight of the Lord, it is not so much what we have done or where we have been but much more where we are willing to go.” --Elder Edward Dube, “Look Ahead and Believe

“Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward . . . My dear friends, there will be times when you think you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and His love. With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power and hope of the restored gospel, you will be able to walk tall and continue on . . . I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength –President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Can Do It Now!

“It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand.” – Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Put Your Trust in the Lord

“I testify that many of those who need our help are there waiting for us. They are ready for their valiant brothers and sisters to reach out to them and rescue them through small and simple means.” –Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela

“Yes, there are signs of storms forming all around us. Let us look up and prepare ourselves. There is safety in a strong testimony. Let us cherish and strengthen our testimonies every day.” –Elder Adrian Ochoa, “Look Up

“Living the gospel and standing in holy places is not always easy or comfortable, but I testify that it is worth it!” –Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Be Ye Converted

“Believe in miracles . . . Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.” –Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel

What a spiritual feast I enjoy during General Conference! At its conclusion, I feel uplifted and renewed. My spirit has been buoyed up, and I have been reminded of Heavenly Father’s love for me and the potential I have as His daughter. The chinks in my armor are filled in, and I am ready to face my battles with greater trust in God and a willingness to do whatever He asks me to do.

In his book, When You Can’t Do It Alone, Brent L. Top talks about the power and blessings of General Conference. He says, “How grateful I am that the words of living prophets and apostles can fortify my faith, strengthen my spirituality, and lift me up when I am down . . . challenges remain . . . enemies still gather . . . I still had to face the fight, but I was infused with a renewed sense of protection and power.” (p. 83) This infusion of strength and power can be ours. Participate in General Conference. Listen or watch or attend in whatever capacity you can. Bring your worries, fears, burdens, questions, broken hearts, sorrows, and weaknesses.

God will speak to you through His prophets and apostles. Your questions will be answered, your burdens lifted, your ability to endure increased, your perspective broadened, your testimony strengthened. God wants to speak to you through General Conference. And He will. I promise.

Renewal


Spring is my favorite time of year: flowers blossom, the trees re-grow their leaves, birds and rabbits come out of hiding adding their sounds to the symphony of the season.  The whole world becomes alive again, fresh and new and exciting.

Spring reminds me of Jesus.  It was in the springtime that He took his body up again, being resurrected and becoming immortal.  Christ said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).  He is our Savior.  He came to this earth for the sole purpose of saving us… because He loves us.  He loves you.  I know this to be true.  Each one of us can know this to be true.

Just as the flowers and trees grow and blossom this spring, so too can a testimony.  We learn in Alma 32 that Christ’s words (and deeds) can be compared to a seed, which when nourished and experimented upon can swell and grow within us.  “Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good…  If ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof; it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.” (Alma 32:26-41)

Seeds need sunlight, water and good soil to grow.  A testimony needs things too: prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments.  When we do these things we are experimenting like scientists, testing the gospel out and seeing for ourselves what fruit it will produce in our own lives.  I promise as you conduct your experiment, if you nourish the seed of your testimony, it will grow to fill your whole soul and you will find joy that lasts longer than any season, it will last eternally. 

We all have 'winters' in our lives, those seasons of trial, darkness and cold loneliness.  They cast a shadow upon everything, making it all wilt, strangling our growth.  Remember what President Uchtdorf boldly said, "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."  They are called the trials of our faith for a reason, the whole point is to experiment with the tools God and Christ have given us, to see for ourselves what they can harvest. So, throw off the fog and doubts of winter, put on your work boots and plow ahead.  Touch and feel and experience once again Christ's gospel. Spring is a time for renewal, let this year's be the renewal of your faith and testimony.

There Is Purpose to This, Pt. I

In a talk on trials and faith, President Gordon B. Hinckley once quoted a letter which had originally appeared in the Manchester, England Guardian. He said it was something which he turned to when life was hard and he needed a laugh. The letter was from a bricklayer who had been sent to the West Indies to repair damage to a building following a hurricane. It was addressed to his employers, and read:

Respected Sirs:

When I got to the building I found that the hurricane had knocked some bricks off the top. So I rigged up a beam with a pulley at the top of the building and hoisted up a couple of barrels full of bricks. When I had fixed the building, there was a lot of bricks left over. I hoisted the barrel back up again and secured the line at the bottom, and then went up and filled the barrel with the extra bricks. Then I went to the bottom and cast off the line. Unfortunately the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was, and before I knew what was happening the barrel started down, jerking me off the ground. I decided to hang on, and halfway up I met the barrel coming down and received a severe blow on the shoulder. I then continued to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my finger jammed in the pulley. When the barrel hit the ground it bursted its bottom, allowing all the bricks to spill out. I was now heavier than the barrel and so started down again at high speed. Halfway down, I met the barrel coming up and received severe injuries to my shins. When I hit the ground I landed on the bricks, getting several painful cuts from the sharp edges. At this point I must have lost my presence of mind because I let go of the line. The barrel then came down, giving me another heavy blow on the head and putting me in the hospital. I respectfully request sick leave.

It's hard not to laugh when reading that, and perhaps equally hard to not feel guilty about doing so. I wonder how long it was before this poor bricklayer could laugh himself about his experience. Sometimes it can be hard to say, “I will look back on this 20 years from now and laugh about it.” Because the thing about trials is… that they are trials.

After reading the above letter, President Hinckley continued his address by saying (emphasis added):

“Life is like that—ups and downs, a bump on the head, and a crack on the shins. It was ever thus. Hamlet went about crying, ‘To be or not to be,’ but that didn't solve any of his problems. There is something of a tendency among us to think that everything must be lovely and rosy and beautiful without realizing that even adversity has some sweet uses.”

Prison-Temples

Currently, I'm in the midst of learning—anew—that adversity “has some sweet uses”. Is it a hard thing to have to learn? Most definitely. But when we are striving to live up to our divine potential as spirit children of Heavenly Parents, I think that there is great purpose to the adversity that God places in our lives—especially in regards to the realization of that potential.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once gave an address that has pretty much been on my mind ever since. To me, it is the talk on adversity. Titled Lessons From Liberty Jail, it was given as a CES fireside on September 7th 2008. In it, he discusses the time that Joseph Smith and others spent in Liberty Jail, referring to Liberty Jail as a sort of prison-temple. I love the symbolism and insight he shares:

“Certainly this prison-temple lacked the purity, beauty, comfort, and cleanliness of our modern temples. The speech and behavior of the guards and criminals who came there were anything but temple-like. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the liberating, merciful spirit of our temples and the ordinances performed in them.

“So in what sense could Liberty Jail be called a ‘temple,’ and what does such a title tell us about God's love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest? In precisely this sense: that you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.

“In one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, every one of us is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not be our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution, we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones, we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives.

“But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it. These difficult lessons teach us that man's extremity is God's opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.”

A Barrel of Bricks

The last few years I have spent living as a student in the UK. It is such a wonderful place filled with such wonderful people. Last spring, nearing what should have been the completion of my PhD in astrodynamics (I'm a bit of a space geek), I felt strongly impressed that I should return home to write up my thesis. And not only did I feel good about it, I was happy to have some time home—after having spent so long away from family—before being off again with a career. And so, at the end of June, I found myself back in the mountains of northern Utah (oh how I love and missed the mountains).

Unfortunately, though, about a year's worth of my PhD research didn't find its way back to me in the move. Of course, fate would have it that I didn't have any backup copies of my research notebooks; I had planned on making copies, but due to the time constraints in making preparations for the move was unable to do so. It was the embodiment of every PhD student's nightmare…

And I would like to tell you that, after much fasting and prayer, my boxes of notes miraculously appeared. Indeed, with absolutely adorable nieces and nephews praying and even fasting that my boxes would arrive, how could they not come? How could God hear such innocent, sincere pleading and not cave in? Nevertheless, it was not meant to be. I spent over three months doing everything I could to find them, to no avail (so much for tracking numbers and priority express mail).

So here I am, racing against a deadline—trying to do twelve months of work in half that time. And to do that work without all of my textbooks, as 50 of them were lost along with the notes (as well as a pair of scriptures [ouch], some personal books, and all of my British scarves; you may laugh about the scarves, but I'm almost as sad about losing my scarves as I am about losing my research—it's nearly impossible to find decent man scarves Stateside).

Admittedly, the situation is a little tough. When you get so close to finishing a project of such magnitude as a PhD, the thought of soon being done is both exciting and encouraging. But to then, at the very end, be set back so far as I have is quite the blow.

And you would think that that would pretty much be enough to have on your plate, but of course when it rains it pours (and here I thought I had left the British weather behind me). Although too personal to go into here, significant adversity has found its way to my family's doorstep; adversity that just keeps on compounding. Just when you think that the next straw will break the camel's back, you're given an anvil. And it's difficult because when things are rough, it's often the strength of others that carries you through. But when everyone around you is being battered by the tempest, it can be hard to find in each other the needed reassurance.

Faith or Bust

I have found that with the greatest of adversity comes an interesting situation. It has to do with faith. Through faith I will often seek from God the blessings I desire in life. Specifically, I approach Heavenly Father in prayer (and at times in fasting) to know if a blessing I desire is what God is willing to grant unto me—and whether there are further blessings he would have me receive. And although I may hope for a blessing, or even believe I will receive it, it is not until God has sent me a witness from the Spirit that he is willing to grant the blessing unto me that I can have faith in it. Faith can only be built on a sure knowledge. And when God promises me a particular blessing, I know that as long as I do my part it will be fulfilled (God always requires us to do certain things on our parts in order to receive some blessing). It has to be fulfilled, because God cannot lie and is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.

But I tend to imagine in my mind how the blessing will be realized. Yet, it is not uncommon in life that just after God promises a blessing, the way towards its fulfillment becomes hedged up. And as that happens to me, the ways I see the blessing being fulfilled drop out one-by-one as possibilities. And sometimes, when things get really difficult, I'm left without any more possibilities (and I have quite the imagination). Now, if the blessing being sought is a luxury—something wanted but not necessarily needed—this situation might prove to be nothing more than confusing. But when it is something more fundamental, something necessary for you to simply keep going, it's an entirely different story.

And there comes this point, when you are left with no way of seeing the blessing's fulfillment, when you have no crutches left for your faith, where you simply have to make a choice if the one and only thing you have left—your faith—is enough for you to go on. Faith or bust.

It reminds me of the story of Abraham and Isaac. I can't possibly imagine how hard it would be to have to offer up your son (or Son), but it's not Abraham's unquestionable obedience or trust that I want to focus on—it's his faith. Previously, God had promised him certain choice blessings, known collectively today as the Abrahamic covenant, stating that those blessings would be fulfilled through Isaac. These blessing not only pertained to Abraham, but extended to all of his posterity—through Isaac—and even to all the world. But then, before Isaac had any children through whom the blessings could come, indeed, before he was even married, God commanded Abraham to offer him up as a sacrifice.

So there Abraham is, knowing on the one hand that in order for the promised blessings to be fulfilled he must be obedient to all that God requires of him, yet on the other hand realizing that being obedient to God would seemingly preclude the fulfillment of the blessings. Talk about being in a difficult situation (let alone the whole having to offer your son as a sacrifice thing).

But I think that there is a very important lesson to be learned, one that seems to me to be ever so pertinent to the times we live in. In Doctrine & Covenants 101:4 the Lord states that his saints must be “chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.” Does that mean that we will have to offer up our children? No, of course not. But I do think that it means this: that there will come a time in each of our lives when obedience to God's commandments may seem to stand at odds with the fulfillment of our desired happiness and the blessings we seek (and have been promised).

And when that happens we will have a choice to make: to trust in God or to go our own separate way. The crux of the matter may be a doctrine of the gospel, a tragedy that has occurred in our lives, a trial before us we fear we don't have strength sufficient to endure, or uncountably many other things. But the choice is the same. And I can raise my voice in harmony with Nephi's: I know in whom I have trusted; my God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions; he hath filled me with his love; he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time; O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.

I love the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, especially these lyrics:

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I'm come.
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

I can say for myself, that very personal and sacred experiences come when a child of God, in their extremity, places their full confidence, faith, and hope on their God—without holding anything back. And although the answers to the questions we face aren't guaranteed to come when we make that final no-way-to-back-out-after-this-point commitment, it has been at this point—when I feel I cannot go on and yet am willing to yet trust in God—that I have immeasurably felt the love of my Father flood over me. And when I have felt his love to that extent, the need for answers to questions has simply disappeared in my knowing, my feeling, that everything is going to be alright.

Hold On, Hope On

Sometimes it's not easy to hold on, to keep going, to get back up after being knocked down yet again. Sometimes it's hard to muster the strength you need to have for others, when there is a mountain of adversity in your own path. But when I find myself at that point I'm reminded of two quotes—both from fictitious characters I highly admire. The first one is from Samwise:

“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going.”

The other quote is from a conversation between Samurai Jack and the Mountain Monks:

Samurai Jack: What is at the peak of this mountain?
Mountain Monk: Truth.

If you are in the midst of a difficult trial in life, I invite you to plan a time where you can be alone and uninterrupted, and then to watch Elder Holland's talk Lessons From Liberty Jail (you can find it on the Mormon Channel here). I say “watch” because it is just one of those talks that needs to be watched and heard, not read. If you're having a bad day, I imagine that you will get a lot out of it. But to those who are at the end of their rope wondering where they will find the strength to go on, this is it—this talk is meant for you.

In the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Our destiny is greater than we can imagine. If only we understood who we are and what is in store for us, our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness that it would enlighten even the darkest sorrows with the light and love of God, our Heavenly Father. The next time you feel unhappy, remember where you came from and where you are going. Rather than focus on things that dampen your thoughts with sorrow, choose to focus on those things that fill your soul with hope.”

The time will come when I will see more fully the reasons for the adversity I currently face. With all that he did to lead me to the specific means of sending my research home, I know that God has a purpose in my research being lost and in my being here in Utah longer than anticipated. His hand is so clearly apparent in my life, and I know and trust that he knows what he is doing. And the day will come when I look back on this period of my life not only with understanding, but with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. And when that day comes, I'll write Pt. 2 of this post.

Until then, “Hold on thy way. … Fear not … , for God shall be with you forever and ever” (D&C 122:9).

Lost... and Found

by Vivienne Lewis


Several weeks ago I had misplaced my glasses. I searched everywhere. I couldn't understand how they could just "vanish." I tried to think of all the possible places they could be, but no luck. I prayed that I could find them. Still nothing. I had to use an old pair of glasses so I could read, but they were awkward and not the right strength. Soon the headaches started, so I prayed with more earnest. But I couldn't find them. After a day, Crismon (my husband) joined in praying for them, too.

I was baffled after a day past and then two. Why was I not being inspired where to look for them? I thought I had gone through every room in the house, even rooms I hadn't been in for awhile in the basement.

One morning as I was praying again, pleading for help to find them as I didn't have insurance for a new pair, the thought came so clearly to my mind and heart, "I have lost much. I have lost so many of my children." I immediately felt so humbled to think that Heavenly Father's loss was so much greater than any loss I would ever experience. I was making a big deal over the loss of my glasses, but suddenly I needed to change my desires and my prayers. I prayed this time, "Heavenly Father, who of your children have you lost that you want me to find?"

With that change of heart, also came an answer to my prayer to find my glasses. Just 15 minutes later I found them. I walked into the downstairs bathroom and there they were in plain sight on the counter! It almost scared me to see them. I then realized that I had searched the basement but hadn't gone into the bathroom. It was almost like I wasn't suppose to go in there. I remembered that because the garage was so frigid cold that I was going to do some wash in the basement, but instead didn't do it. Otherwise, I would have seen my glasses much sooner. I know that I didn't find them because I had a lesson to learn first.


Although, each day Crismon and I have been praying for missionary opportunities, this experience helped me feel that desire in a different way. That became clear to me after the Saturday evening Stake Conference meeting. Crismon had asked permission to use my story about losing my glasses as part of his talk on missionary work. He told the congregation that I was always the one in the family who would find everything if it was lost. It was like, "Mom, we need you to pray." The kids would call and ask me to pray for them if they needed something, because Mom's prayers were always answered. But this time, it was different. He shared my change of heart and my prayer to help find someone who was "lost."

Immediately after the closing prayer a brother in our stake approached me and said, "May I be the first one to ask you to pray for someone who is lost. It is my wife. She hasn't been to church in several years." I was surprised to hear this as I knew what a stalwart member she had been. Of course, I said.

I called this sister a few days ago. I was nervous because I was afraid how she might react to me calling her. To my surprise, she was kind, sweet, and appreciated my call, and....we're going out to lunch. The process has just begun.


The picture on this card is called "Winter Save." It is the story of the Shepard tending his flock, the cowboy rescuing the calf from the storm. Isn't it appropriate that he is bringing the calf in from the cold, just like rescuing one of God's children. We bring them in from the cold and warm them with the light of the gospel and the spirit of the Holy Ghost. This card was sent to us by a stake member after our Stake Conference, expressing her gratitude.

Running and Reading the Scriptures

This post is by Garrett Smith.

I got married and became a runner.

Running is not what I was expecting but I went from making fun of those who ran, to running multiple times a week, even through the winter. I was told marriage changes who you are for the better but this is not what I imagined. And it didn't stop with running, now I own a road bike, a gym membership, and shiny new goggles so I can swim.

What is going on in my life? How did this happen? When I get together with my in-laws guess what we talk about. . . Running!

They even plan vacations around races! Running is not a vacation! That is right, we drive somewhere not to sit on a beach but to run. Five years ago my in-laws were not runners, they were active but this wasn't who they were. They talked about other things, normal things. So what happened?One day one of them signed up for a 5k. That is all it took.Now people are loosing weight, watching what we eat, spending hours preparing to enter another event. Now I should say right here that none of us are the fastest runners, we are all very average. We all start a race knowing we are not going to be the fastest but we start anyway and then we talk about the race for the next day, week, month, even years. We are all converted runners. Little by little, step by step, mile after mile we have all grown to enjoy running in one way or another. There are days when I do not want to run, it is the last thing I want to do. I complain, I stomp my feet, I pull the covers back over my head hoping it will all go away. But guess what, it never does. Those miles sit out there waiting for me to check them off. Sure I can avoid it for a little while but it makes it so much harder to start again. Doing a little almost every day is so much easier than doing a lot every so often. (That concept took me about a year to figure out.) And usually what happens, once I am a couple of miles into a run and I glad I started. I have spent a lot of time passing mile after a mile in my running shoes, on my bike, or in the pool and all of this gives me time to think. I reflect on almost every aspect of my life including the gospel.

One aspect that has repeatedly come to mind is that the more of something I do the more I like to talk about it with others. Sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to close my mouth especially when I have performed exceptionally well in a race.

I have found this true with the gospel as well. When I am deeply involved in a scripture story or preparing for a lesson guess what I talk about with others. That is all I want to talk about and it really is all I want to think about. That is one way I believe to have an “eye single to the glory of God” just study a little bit more.

What do you think Enos’ father spent time doing? In Enos 1:1-3 we read “he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord . . . and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.”

What do you think Alma the Elder frequently talked about? In Alma 36:17 Alma the Younger shares his conversion saying, “And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of on Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world."

What did the Nephites spend time doing? In 2 Ne. 25:26 they share, “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.”

What did a young Joseph Smith spend time doing? In JSH 1:8 he wrote, “During this time of great excitement my mind was called up in serious reflection and great uneasiness” He also shares of how he went to many meetings with many different religious groups. In verse 9 he says, “My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant.”

President Packer in a recent conference address shared an experience where he was working with Elder S. Dilworth Young of the Seventy. Elder Young asked President Packer to speak with a stake that was “struggling with tensions and difficulties among the members.” He relates: “I asked President Young, ‘What should I say?’ He answered simply, ‘Tell them to read the scriptures.’ I asked, ‘Which scriptures?’ He said, ‘It really doesn’t matter.’”

Want to become a better runner? Spend a little time as often as you can doing a little bit of running.

Want to become a better member missionary? Want to become more fully converted to the gospel? Want to make it easier to talk to friends about the gospel? Want to grow closer to our Heavenly Father?

From my experience and study the answer is the same spend a little time every day in the scriptures and it really doesn’t matter where.

Are there Benefits of Falling On Your Face?

by Jess

You’re about to read a blog post that will likely not provide you with any answers. It won’t be a perfect representation of your situation, it isn’t meant to be. Likely the argument won’t be very well written, or present any wildly impressive ideas. But, in order for me to further understand the purposes of the Lord, it is necessary for me to write.

So that’s what I am doing, trying to sort something out that’s been on my mind.

I recently read in the first book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon about Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi; their father sent these brothers back to the Jerusalem. Do you remember why? To get the brass plates. Lehi dreamed a dream where the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to “seek the records.”

Do you remember what Nephi said? “I will go and do…

THEN!

“For I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

So what happened after this?

They made a plan. Nephi says that God will prepare a way for them, and they made a plan. And the first one didn’t work.

So they tried again.

They probably thought it was an excellent plan. Likely they prayed and felt good about it. So good they went and gathered all of their possessions to exchange for these precious plates. They probably approached Laban confidently because they knew that God would prepare a way for them.

And what happened? They were robbed and almost killed.

Now, I am making some assumptions here, but judging from the response of Laman and Lemuel, that they really thought it was going to work. They beat Nephi with a rod. And an angel came and stopped them.

The Worth of Souls

This post is by Jess Adamson.


You. Yes, you. You who are sitting at your computer reading this work...

You, who are looking at your smartphone while you hear chants of "MOOOOMMMMMYYYY........" in the background,

You who are taking a break from cramming for that ONE test that your aren't sure if you are going to pass....

Do you know what great worth is hidden within you?

Do you know that you are not just valuable, but indeed you are PRICELESS in the eyes of God?
Do you know that that worth, shines through your eyes, and almost everyone can see it?