Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Father still waits...

Once, there was a young man. He had two brothers, and a father. They were all very hard workers. They managed their own land, and were pretty successful, and were very financially well off. One day, the young man started thinking about his life. He started thinking about what would happen if he just stayed in the family business and didn't try something new. He thought about the world, and all the excitement and adventures that were out there that he could have. He wondered if he really wanted to stay on this farm, or if he wanted to go to the big city, and live a life of excitement and partying, like he saw on TV. The more he thought, the more boring his life appeared, the more dull the future appeared, and the more appealing it seemed to leave where he was and go try something much more exciting. He approached his father.
"Dad, I feel like I'm old enough I can make my own decisions, lead my own life. I want to leave. I don't wanna work on the farm anymore. I want to go to the city and live a fun, exciting life."
The father responded, "That's fine. You're right, you're old enough. You do what you want."
"Well, then," said the son, "I want my portion of the inheritance. I need money to do this."
The father thought for a moment. He didn't think his son had been all that serious, until this request. He realized that he was really going to leave, and the father knew about all the dangerous and terrible things that were out there. Finally, though, he conceded, and gave the son his portion.
A few days later, the son was off. The father and brothers said their goodbyes, wished him well, and told him how much they hoped he would return. They were very sad to see him go, but the departing son left with a smile on his face. He was ready for his exciting life.
He got to the city, and soon was involved in the fun party life he wanted. He got introduced to drinking, drugs, and sex. He drank more and more, got into harder drugs, and chased promiscuous women. He lived lavishly, in posh apartments, and would go on expensive vacations, bringing friends along. He had a yacht that would often be the place of parties that had lots of expensive alcohol and drugs. He was finally leading the life he truly desired.
However, pretty quickly, his funds dried up. He spent all his money on parties, drugs, and alcohol. He had no true friends, just hangers-on who used him for his money. He had no true love, just one night stands and women who only associated with him for his notoriety. After all the money was gone, and there were no more parties, the yacht was taken from him, he couldn't pay the rent on his apartment, his friends left him, the women left him, everyone left him. He was left alone, destitute, and depressed. He was addicted to substances he could no longer afford, so he resorted to crime to afford them, and this often led him to trouble with the law. He had diseases, and was sick, but had no way to afford the medical bills. He had reached rock bottom.
Finally, one day, he awoke in a gutter, and realized what a mistake he'd made. It took him a long time to realize it, but now he did, and he knew what he had to do. He started a long journey back home.
After a few long days of walking, the man could finally see his home and the farm in the distance. He was walking along the dirt road, approaching the house, and in the distance he could see his father. His father looked up, saw him, and came running over. He didn't say a word, he didn't scold his son, or yell, or even express disappointment. He didn't say anything. He just hugged his son and cried.
The son began to cry and say "I'm so sorry. I never should have left."
The father responded, "It's ok. You're back now."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

This is one of my favorite talks ever. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin does an amazing job of giving us advice on how to deal with times that are less than favorable. We all go through hard times, and often don't know what to do. We are left questioning why it's happening to us, and oftentimes we just let ourselves fall into despair and unhappiness, wallowing in our unfortunate circumstances. But there is a better way. There are ways we can deal with these things, and make our bad times better. Just watch the video, and follow Elder Wirthlin's advice, and you can work your way out of any bad situation, guaranteed!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who is God?

Almost everyone has the idea of a supreme being, some higher power that governs our world. Some people think of it as an energy, some kind of cosmic force that keeps everything in line and that acts on Karma. Some view a collaboration of beings, each responsible for their specific role or purpose. Some think of it as a Spirit, unspecific of form or being, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. This has been a long discussed idea, debated by qualified scholars, learned clergymen, philosophers, and people with no more qualifications than curiosity and scriptures. Thankfully, we now have a way of knowing for sure what and who God truly is. We have modern-day revelation, and we have prophets, just like they did in biblical times. Thanks to these two things, we know that God is a man, with a body of flesh and bone just as we have. He is our literal Father, and as such loves us like a father. He knows us all, better than anyone else, and knows what is best for us and what we need most. We can always rely on Him, and always go to Him with any troubles or concerns we may have. We can always pray to Him. He wants us to, and if we do, He'll listen, and He'll answer. He'll send his comforter, the Holy Ghost, to help us when times are hard. Everything he does has a purpose, and we can always have confidence that, through obedience to his commandments and faith on Him and His Son, we can make it through and hard times, and come out much better off than we were before. God is not some intangible being, floating out in the cosmos, seeking our praise and adoration, dishing out vengeance on the wicked, and keeping us all in check. God is our Loving Heavenly Father, fully invested in the actions of His children, wanting the best for them, wanting them to succeed, and helping them become the best they can.
However, not all people accept modern-day revelation and prophets, and as such are still in the dark about God's identity. They believe different things, and have no firm foundation for their thoughts on who He is. As such, we often find people just filling the part with what they would most like to see, and in essence, create their own God and assign themselves to that role. From this, they are able to justify their actions with thoughts like "I don't think God minds if I do this." Who are we to assume we know what God approves of or disapproves of? It's hard to confess to believe in God and Jesus Christ and not accept the Bible. Through the Bible, we can see, at least in some amount, what God approves of and disapproves of. Through the scriptures, we can form a very good foundation of God's desire for us. Often, those of the mindset "I don't think God minds" are off the mark. Their ideas are not scripturally grounded, and as thus they have no basis for their ideas. This is a trick of the Devil. Satan has done everything he can to try to keep us from our Heavenly Father, and one of his greatest tools is robbing God of his identity. He does this by obscuring what we know, and making God seem mysterious, unknown, and unknowable. Through this, we are unable to form the strong, familial relationship with our Heavenly Father, and to truly relate with him how we should. Also, if we don't truly know God and what He wants of us, then we can justify our sins and iniquities, and are more likely to follow the enticing of Satan because "I don't think God minds if I do this." Odds are, if you have to justify it, it's wrong.
I am so grateful for modern-day revelation and prophets, who have, once again, revealed the true nature and identity of our Heavenly Father, that I may know his role in my life, and in the lives of all His children. I am grateful that I can always turn to Him in prayer, and through the scriptures, and be comforted when I need it, and have my questions answered. I know that God lives, as much more than some cosmic entity, and I know that He loves us all, as we are His children. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is Faith?

There are, of course, many ways to answer this question. Faith is being sure that things will work out, that God does care for us, and will take care of us. Faith is the assurance that our prayers will be answered. Faith is confidence in things like the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration. "Now as I said concerning faith- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore, if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." Alma 32:21. So, now that we've established what faith is, what is faith not?
As it says, "faith is NOT to have a perfect knowledge of things." If there's something you don't understand, say in the Bible, you don't have to go back to the Greek and Hebrew translations, and study up on the guy who wrote that particular part, and know exacty what every part of the statement means. You don't have to see the Golden Plates to know the Book of Mormon is true. Sometimes, we just have to let go of our need to have everything explained and proven without a doubt, and just let ourselves go to faith. We can't always have the answers, we can't always have the proof we want, sometimes we have to except what we're being told, and go to the Lord with it. The Spirit will testify of the truth. It won't tell us everything, it won't throw out every answer to every concern, and it won't lead us to all the proof, but it will tell us that it is true.
If things don't quite sit right, don't make perfect sense, or you're not sure if you can quite accept it, go to the Lord. Through earnest prayer, and a sincere desire to know, the Spirit will tell you that it is true, "and by the power of the Holy Ghost, you may know the truth of all things."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


People go through lots of changes, sometimes in a very short amount of time. Just looking back at your life over the past couple years, I'm sure you've experienced quite a bit of change (especially if you're on a mission). I look back at just 5 years ago, to being a 16 year old, and it blows my mind. Back then, I was anarchist, atheist, anti-religious, and probably would have punched you in the face if you had told me I was going to join the LDS Church, and serve a mission. If not punched, then certainly laughed (yes, laughed you in the face). That would have been a ridiculous thing to say.
And yet, here I am...
The change was gradual. It took time. I'd say it was at least 2 years from the initial start of the change to the final, ultimate change. And it was one heck of a change. But it was a good change, I'm glad for it. It's been the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's brought me happiness, purpose, drive, and a reason for... just about everything. I couldn't be happier, and I'm so grateful for all the people that helped make it happen.
At some point in our lives, we reach crossroads. We have to decide which path to take. Sometimes they're minor, sometimes they're major, but either way it is a decision that needs to be made, that will effect us in the long run.
The major ones are often the ones people freak out about. They can change everything, starting immediately. They can change how you act, what you do, and who you are. But, if we all just stay on the same course from birth, what would be the point? We all need to change, to adapt, to mature, and to better ourselves. We're given these chances to, hopefully, make the best choice, and come closer to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes they may be obvious, like in the case of me joining the church, others we may not see exactly how they would possibly help improve our relationship with God.
Now the question arises: When the choice isn't obvious, how do we know what the right path is? There's an easy solution to this. You can always ask the Guy who always knows what's right and what's wrong, what's best for you and what isn't, and what you should do and what you shouldn't. Any guesses who He might be? That's right, your Heavenly Father. How can you ask him? Through prayer. When you come to that crossroads, and you just have no idea where to go, rather than walking blindly, try kneeling. He will never lead you astray, and will always help you make the right choice.

From:                                                             To:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Book of Mormon

A lot of people we talk to, when asked if they've ever heard of the Book of Mormon, will say yes. However, when we ask if they know what exactly it is, they'll say no. So, what exactly is the Book of Mormon? Well, by just looking at the name, we can obviously assume it is a book. True. But it is so much more than that. The full title is "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ". Now, as the subtitle implies, it is another testament, not a replacement testament, not a better testament, not a more accurate testament, another testament. The Book of Mormon goes hand in hand with the Bible, they both witness of God's love for his children, both have accounts of prophets dealing with the people, and both testify of the divinity of Christ and his role as the Son of God, and the Savior of the whole earth.
What exactly is in the Book of Mormon? Well, the Book of Mormon is an account of a man named Lehi, who was a prophet, and was warned by God to leave Jerusalem before it was destroyed (which it was when Babylon took it over). He took his family, his wife and four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Samuel, and Nephi, and headed for the wilderness. They also brought Ishmael and his family. After time in the wilderness, where they experienced trials and afflictions, the Lord commanded them to build boats, and, just as with Noah, the Lord gave them specific instructions. They built these boats, and followed the logical next step, they set off on the open seas. After a long trip, they arrived in the promised land as was told them by God. This land was what we know now as the American continents. They settled there, and after Lehi died, he left Nephi, the youngest son, in charge. He did this because Nephi was the most righteous and faithful of his sons. The oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel, were both very angry with this. They were not righteous, and did not follow God's laws. The anger amidst the family resulted in two major groupings to be formed: The Lamanites (those who followed Laman) and the Nephites (those who followed Nephi). The Lamanites were typically more wicked people, and the Nephites were typically more righteous, but throughout the account, we see a kind of roller coaster with the Nephites, seeing them being righteous, then prideful and wicked, then righteous again.
As time elapses, we see accounts of numerous prophets, such as Alma, Abinadi, Ammon, etc. We see their dealings with Nephites who have gone astray, and Lamanites. They taught the word of God, just as prophets did in the old continent (like Moses, Noah, and Abraham). And one thing that all the prophets prophesied was the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. All the believers awaited in great anticipation the coming of the Lord. Around the time he was to come, the nonbelievers were really sick of the believers, and threatened that if the sign didn't come (a day, a night, and a day where there was continual light, as if there were no night),  then they would kill all the believers. But, the sign came, and many were converted.
Several years later, following Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, during the 40 days he tarried on the earth, he taught his disciples on the old continent, and visited his people on the new continent. He called 12 to preach the gospel, just as he did in Israel, and he gave them a sort of abridged version of his ministry. Again, many were converted, and Christianity swelled. However, shortly after, the people fell victim to pride and became wicked, so much so that they were all killed, until the only Nephite left was a man named Moroni, who had been given the records of the people, which had been abridged, keeping all the most important parts, and compiling them on a set of gold plates. He knew he wouldn't survive for much longer, and that the plates needed to be protected, so he sealed them up in the earth, where they would remain until the time came for them to be discovered.
These plates remained buried for about 1400 years before a man named Joseph Smith was led to them by an Heavenly Messenger, the man who had hidden the plates himself, Moroni. Joseph Smith then set about to translate the plates, and that has become known as the Book of Mormon (so named for Mormon, Moroni's father, who had abridged the plates).
Besides just being a book, it is another volume of scriptures, and it is the fruits of the Prophet Joseph Smith's labors. It is convincing evidence of the truth. If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church restored again, and all the men following Joseph Smith are prophets.
I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that we are still guided by a prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's restored church. I know this because I have prayed about it, and God has told me, through the Holy Ghost, and I know that the same can happen for you, if you read the Book of Mormon, and sincerely pray about it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stay in your Stronghold

I'd like to share with you an story about two men, Amalickiah and Lehonti. These are people from the Book of Mormon, specifically the book of Alma, and this story comes from Chapter 47.
Lehonti was the leader of the Lamanite army. Amalickiah wanted to be the king over all the land. Amalickiah had an ingenious plan to make this happen, and it first started with taking control of the Lamanite army. He would then become king of the Lamanites, and from there would take over the whole land and be king of all. He was going to start with the Lamanites because the Nephites didn't have a king, and it's awfully hard to become king over a people who aren't in a monarchy. Amalickiah's plan began with Lehonti. When Amalickiah approached with his portion of the army that he was put in charge of, Lehonti took his men and they retreated up a mountain and refused to come down. Amalickiah then sent up an embassy, requesting Lehonti to come down and talk to him. Lehonti said no. The embassy came down and reported to Amalickiah, so he sent up another embassy to try to convince him to come down just to talk. Again, Lehonti said no. Once again, Amalickiah sent an embassy up and, once again, Lehonti refused to come down. Amalickiah saw that Lehonti was pretty set on staying up on his mountain. So, Amalickiah, in his cunning craftiness, went up the mountain, almost to the camp, and requested that Lehonti come down, just a little ways, with his guards. Lehonti didn't see much wrong with that, so he came down, just a little ways with his guards, and talked to Amalickiah. Amalickiah then laid out his plan: he told Lehonti that he didn't want to fight, and that Lehonti should bring his troops down in the night, and surround Amalickiah's troops, and Amalickiah would give them up into his hands, as long as he could be second in command. Lehonti is totally down with this idea, because it gets him more power, so he does exactly what Amalickiah says. Now, Amalickiah is second in command of the army. And how do you get from second in command to first in command? You kill the first in command. As it says in Alma 47:18 "And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died."
Amalickiah in this story is just like Satan. He'll tempt you all the time, and sure, you can say no to the big ones, like coming all the way down the mountain, but eventually, he'll be more subtle. He'll come almost all the way up to your camp, so you just have to come down a little bit, and he'll even let you bring your guards. He'll lull you into that false sense of security, and he'll make you feel like you're in charge the whole time. And then, once you've fallen into his trap, he'll administer poison to you by degrees until you die. Notice, Amalickiah didn't have someone thrust a spear into his heart, or administer one big dose of poison and kill him instantly, rather he did it slowly, by degrees. Just like Satan. He'll slowly lower you, bring you down, until you're spiritually dead. We must always remember to resist even the little temptations. We shouldn't even go down from our camp a little bit. Never let the enticements of more power, or gain, or pride, or self satisfaction be a reason to lower yourself at all. Stay in your camp on your mountain. Never leave.
Don't leave here. You're safe here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Parable of the Pasture

In my first area, Lewistown, Montana, the First Counselor in the Bishopric told this parable over the pulpit. He, like many Montana natives, is a bit of a cowboy, so this is definitely a cowboy story. But, it's great! It won't be word for word what he said, but it'll be the same story and same message.

One day, I was driving my truck down the highway, admiring the vast scenery that surrounded me. As I was taking in the beautiful landscape, one particular pasture caught my eye. Just on the other side of it was this beautiful view. I had never seen anything so breathtaking. I had to get a picture of it. The problem was, it was too far away for my camera to truly capture its beauty from where I was at. I would have to cross the pasture to get there.
I got out of my truck and walked over to the fence. I was about to hop over it, when a man came out of seemingly no where, and asked what I was doing. He was a very well dressed man, clothed completely in white: white hat, white shirt, white duster, white chaps over his white jeans, and white boots. I asked if he was the owner of the ranch, and he said no, he was the manager. I asked if I could walk across the pasture to see the view on the other side. He said he'd have to ask the manager. Suddenly, I heard a voice, but saw no one else. It was the owner, and he was clearly shy, as he didn't come out to talk to me. He said, "You may walk across the pasture, but there is one condition: you can only enter into the place on the other side if your boots are completely clean." I looked down at my new, shiny boots and thought no problem. The manager then said, "Here, you may need this." He handed me a white handkerchief. I looked at it, and read the tag. On it, it said "REP, Ent." I was intrigued by the label. I'd never heard of the company before, but I thought nothing of it, and hopped the fence and started on my way.
I had no sooner started my trek, when I noticed that the field that lay in front of me was a seemingly endless bovine minefield. I had apparently not been paying much attention to the actual state of the pasture. But, nevertheless, I decided to proceed. I walked with the utmost care, weaving in and out of fresh piles of cow pies. Every so often, I would bend over and wipe my boots clean with the handkerchief the manager had given me. The destination seemed so far, and the handkerchief was getting filthier and filthier. I began to worry.
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, I reached the other side. The white handkerchief now fully brown, I felt that I had accomplished the difficult task: I had reached the other side with clean boots. I was about to open the gate and enter in, when I noticed it was locked. Then, I saw the manager coming over, holding the key in his hand. "Welcome," he said. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. Then, I heard the voice again, the voice of the owner. I still saw no one, but I could distinctly hear him say "I'm sorry, but you can't come in. Your boots are dirty." I was shocked. I had surely wiped them. I looked down, and sure enough, there on the tip of my toe, was a spot of brown. I was crushed. I was so close, and there was just a little bit. I hung my head, and was about to turn back, when I heard the manager say, "Wait!" I turned back and looked at him. He walked over, bent down, and with his own spotless, pure white duster, he wiped the last bit of dirt from my boots, making them look as clean as new. He smiled at me, and I returned the smile.
"Very good," said the owner. "You may enter."

Let us always remember to repent, and know that through Christ's unfailing love for us and ultimate sacrifice, that we may be washed clean, and able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

That is probably the most commonly asked question of all time (except for maybe "where's the bathroom?"). A lot of the times it's a little more specific, like "why do bad things happen to good people" or "why do bad things happen to me?". Well, the Gospel answers all form of that question, from why do bad things happen in general, to why do bad things happen to specifically you.
Today, I'd like to quote the Prophet Helaman from the Book of Mormon. In the opening verses of chapter 12 of the Book of Helaman, he writes:

1And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
 2Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
 3And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.

Basically, what's going on here is the people had forgotten their God, and had become a wicked people, so the Lord caused that they should be in wars and many people died. Helaman then went to the Lord and asked for the wars to be replaced with famine, and the Lord did just that. Then, the people, starving, remembered the Lord their God and repented, and because of that the famine was lifted from the land. Well guess what? After they started prospering again, they became prideful and once again forgot their God.
That is why bad things happen. We rely on the Lord for everything. As Helaman later goes on to point out, "the children on men... are less than the dust of the earth" (Helaman 12:7). So, if we're less than the dust of the earth, what have we to be prideful of? Why would we be so quick to forget our God, when everything we have is from him and by his grace? It's when we turn from our Lord when bad things happen. We see it everywhere: movies, TV, sports. Everywhere, there is moral corruption that is proof that we are turning away from our God, and when we do that, the Lord chastens his people to remind us who's truly in charge. So don't forget who's in charge. Don't forget where everything comes from. We're here because of Him, and we're here for Him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On the Best Football Club Imaginable

I love soccer. It is by far and away my favorite sport. The amazing skill and athleticism required to play the game is amazing. The average soccer player will run anywhere from 6 to 8 miles a game. Factor in that they play 2 or 3 games a week, and that's just 16-24 miles in game play. There's still practice, which could be up to 9 or 10 miles of running, and they practice everyday. It takes a good deal of stamina, timing, skill, foot-eye coordination (which is tougher than hand-eye coordination), and a good bit of luck. I don't know if you've ever tried to kick a ball, and make it noticeably curve, several feet, then come back and hit on target, but it's not easy. Far from it. There are players who can stand outside the box, which is 54 feet from the goal, and crank a perfect shot that curves to where it looks like it's going to not come anywhere near the goal, then suddenly curve back in and squeak in the upper corner of the goal. Players will practice so they can hit the crossbar every time from outside that 54 foot box. The talent they posses is amazing. But, soccer (or football) is still a team sport (despite what Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo may like to think). Every person plays a huge part in the game, a major role being just support. Whether you're forward, middie, or defense, you support the rest of your team. In soccer, you're a defender who attacks, and an attacker who defends. Despite what your normal position is, your overall desire is the same as all the other player's: keep the ball from going in your net, and get it into the theirs. 10 people (because the keeper just stays in the goal, he doesn't do much else) all trying to get that little ball to the other side of the field. It would be impossible to do that on your own.
This is just like Missionary Work. My team is the Montana Billings Mission, our pitch is Montana and the Great Horn Basin of Wyoming, our manager is President Larry H. Gardner, our owner is the Lord, and we're playing our biggest rival: Satan. This is bigger than the MLS Cup, bigger than the Carling or FA Cup, bigger than the Champions League, or the UEFA Euro Cup, or even the FIFA World Cup. This isn't just for a cool trophy, lots of money, worldwide respect and notoriety. This is for the salvation of our brothers and sisters. And we can't do it alone. I can't do it without the Spirit, and without my companion. We as a companionship can't do it without the support of the members, and no one can do it without the Lord. We're all on the ultimate All-Star team: we have better forwards than Ibrahimovich, Drogba, or Messi, better midfielders than Lampard, Ronaldinho, or Donovan, better defenders than Puyol, Pique, or Terry, and better keepers than Howard or Casillas. Our forward is the Spirit, our midfielder is Christ, our defender is the Truth, and our Keeper is our Heavenly Father. How could we possibly lose?
Those who know me won't be surprised that I used a picture of Didier Drogba of Chelsea.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So do all who come to see such times...

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who come to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All they have to decide is what to do with the time that is given them.
I love that quote. It is one of my favorite movie quotes ever (I also love those movies). How often are we put in situations that we don't want to be in? That we wish that none of it had ever happened. One bad things turns to another, turns to another, turns to another. Sometimes, it's on accident, sometimes it's because of something dumb we've done. And sometimes, it's because we were given responsibility that we are asked to see through. When we came to Earth, we were given certain responsibilities that we were to follow through on. Many times, we don't live up to those responsibilities, and are put into situations where we'd rather not be. And when we're in those situations, often times we just like to wallow and feel sorry for ourselves. We try to figure out just what we did to get into this mess, and wish and wish and wish that none of it had ever happened. But, we're not the only ones who think that way. It's up to us to make the best of our decisions, and the situations we're in. It's up to us to do the right thing with the time that is given us. If we choose to start making things better, they'll get better. So make the best of what you've got, and it'll turn around. And always remember, when you're at your lowest, and things seem to be at their worst, you can always turn to the Lord and He'll help you out. He'll be your safety line, your guiding light, and your friend. Always know, He is there and He loves you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Holes in the soles of my shoes

I have holes in my shoes. It's unfortunate, but not uncommon for Missionaries. Add in the fact that, over the past couple months Bozeman got a fair amount of snow, and that past couple days have been mid 40s, it is quite wet out there. Puddles everywhere. So, the water goes right through the holes, which are of course in the soles of my shoes, and gets my socks all wet and cold. Not pleasant. By the end of the day, they are so wet I could probably wring them out and fill up a glass with all the water that comes off. Pretty ridiculous, but it feels really nice to have those wet, heavy socks off my feet.
Now, to relate this to the Gospel.
We all have holes in our souls (see what I did there?). We all sin, and do dumb things that we know we're not supposed to and we know the Lord wouldn't approve of. And when we do these things, it's like stepping in a puddle with holes in our shoes. We get wet socks, and it's really uncomfortable. We have feelings of guilt and shame, and it makes us feel uncomfortable to do certain things. As we go through life, we'll constantly be walking through puddles, and constantly getting our socks soaking wet. But, there's hope. There's always that opportunity to peel those wet socks off and take them off, and enjoy no longer being weighed down by them. This is, of course, a metaphor for repentance. By repenting, we can get rid of those things in our life that are weighing us down, making us feel guilty or uncomfortable, and are just causing us overall problems. Granted, after we put on that fresh, dry pair of socks, we're just going to walk through more puddles and get our socks all wet again, but there is always another pair of dry socks we can put on. All we have to do is peel off those old ones, and start fresh.
Ya gotta love repentance!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Put your trust in God, not Google

So I'm sticking on this whole "trust" kick. It works.
You can find just about anything on the internet, all you have to do is look. And the easiest way to find these things is by going to Google. Need to find info for a paper you're writing? Go to Google. Need to check the scores for last night's game? Go to Google. Need to get a recipe for dinner? Go to Google.
Need to get information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
What's so dangerous about using internet search engines for finding out information on something like a religion? Well, like I said, you can find just about anything on the internet. Sure, you could find good resources that would actually be beneficial (like,, etc.). But, it's also very easy to find websites made by people who don't like the Church, and will simply bash on it, just because they can. The internet is a great place to rant and rave. I'd venture to guess that there are way more websites containing anti-Mormon information than websites that actually give you straight answers without rumors and here say. It's very easy for people to turn to the internet, because it's a lot less scary than asking people who would actually know (such as Missionaries, like myself). They can just type in "Mormons" or "LDS Church" into Google, and they'll get thousands of links to find "information". They can then get caught up in anti material, and form a very skewed view of the Church. That's part of the reason why missionaries are now doing Online Proselyting. People are constantly on the internet. They do it at school, at work, or just in their free time. But they're always on. And if we're on, too, then it makes it easier for people to find honest, true information on our Church and what we believe, rather than leaving it up to Google, and whatever people feel like posting.
I would encourage anyone out there reading this who has questions, to ask someone who would know. Ask a member of the Church, or a missionary. If you're not comfortable with that, go to,, or add a Missionary on facebook (people with "Elder" or "Sister" before their names are typically missionaries). The internet can be a good thing, as long as it's used correctly. But, always, in cases where faith is involved/required, put your trust in God, not Google.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011: Entrusted by Heaven

Those of you reading this who are fellow MBM-ers, you'll know exactly what it is. Those of you who keep tabs on the missionaries blogs, you'll probably have seen this phrase before. Those of you who haven't seen this before are probably wondering what exactly this means. So, I'll give you a quick break down. Our Mission does a yearly theme. Last year was "2010: Let the Miracle Begin" in regards to our attempt at the miracle of bringing 1000 Souls unto Christ (we achieved this goal, getting 1006 reactivations and baptisms!). It's just a simple little phrase that keeps us focused on what we want to do and accomplish. A nice, quick, rhyming catchphrase to that's easy to remember.
Fortunately, 11 rhymes with Heaven, which works perfectly for a religious group! Entrusted is a really cool word. It's interesting to think about it. Obviously the word "trust" jumps out, but it's not just trust. There's an "en" on the beginning. First, let's look at trust: Trust, as defined in Webster's is "assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something." Wow. That's pretty cool. Character, strength, or truth. But why "or"? Why not "and"? I'd like to think, as missionaries, ranging from age 19-27(ish), we're trusted with a lot, and that trust is certainly an assured reliance on character, strength, AND truth.
So, what happens to the word "trust" when you add an "en" in front of it? The definition becomes: "To commit to another with confidence." Again, wow. So when you trust someone, you have confidence in them, but you entrust someone with something. We have been given the Gospel, we've taken the Lord Jesus Christ's name upon us (literally, in the sense of our name tags), and have been given the title Elder. We are to go out and invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. That is a huge responsibility, especially to such young men and women. But we have been entrusted by our members, by our Prophet, and by the Lord himself with this great responsibility. In order to be entrusted with something, whoever is entrusting you with it needs to have trust in you. "Assured reliance" is the same as "confidence", and that is the main link. The Church has confidence in us, we have confidence in the truth of our message, and in our Lord, and we can help those we teach have confidence in us.
It is my sincere desire that I earn the trust of the members I serve, and especially of my Lord, and that I can be worthy to be entrusted with this work.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MMB and The Gospel

"Why you walk around with your head low down?
The true King rules without a crown.
If your boat's afloat after the typhoon
Row it safely back to the lagoon.
And never mind the green grass you won't mow,
Or what it is you have or don't to show,
Or what it is you can or can't afford.
The good are good without reward."
          -Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Everybody's Better"

While the lyrics to the above song aren't necessarily religiously inspired, they can certainly be applied to the gospel. How often do we "walk around with our head[s] low down"? We are often pretty hard on ourselves, and most of the time it's unnecessarily. We often compare ourselves to others, or focus too much on our weak points or what we don't have, and this can lead to feelings of low self worth and low self esteem. But we should never let anything we, or others say drag us down. We should always be focused on the "true King" who "rules without a crown." Christ is the King of kings, and rules without a crown, without a palace, and without robes of the finest silk. From humble beginnings, a life of homelessness and poverty, to a brutal death at the hands of nonbelievers who mocked, scorned, and spit on him, He never thought any less of Himself, never questioned His worth, and never let anyone make Him forget that He was the Son of God.
We are all Spirit Children of our Heavenly Father, and as such, we are all loved unconditionally. "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." D&C 18:10. We should never forget who we are, and who sent us here and why. We are the Children of God (Romans 8:16). He loves us all, despite any shortcomings we may have. He doesn't "mind the green grass [we] won't mow, or what it is [we] can or can't afford", He loves us because of our faults. We are humans, after all, and He knows that. He also knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, and wants us to follow His example, and to be like him. He wants us to be good, without expecting a reward. And though we may not see a reward now, it will be given us in the Day of Judgment, and we will have our ultimate reward. God Bless you all.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Lord works!

Yesterday, we had a lesson with a guy who's been meeting with missionaries for a long time. He's a way cool guy, with a sincere desire to learn. Since he's been meeting with missionaries for so long, there's a lot he's already heard, and it can be kinda hard to think of new things to teach him. Yesterday, we just decided, since he agreed to come to Church, that we would talk about Church. We discussed the basic outline of Church, what happens, and what to expect. Then, we went into a little more detail about the Sacrament, what it is, what everything represents, all that. It got onto to the discussion of using water instead of wine, which sparked his interest. He asked why we did that, then why we didn't drink in general. I was a little surprised, because I had just assumed that he'd been taught the Word of Wisdom, as it's one of the first things usually taught to people. So, we went over Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, all about what the Word of Wisdom is, and why we live it. It was a way good lesson, and the Spirit could definitely be felt there. It was great. He understood everything, and seemed to agree with it, even making the comment of wondering why people would do that to themselves (in regards to drinking).
While I am grateful for an amazing lesson, I'm also grateful for the way the Lord works. He thought that this guy could use a brief course on Church, but saw that he really needed to hear the Word of Wisdom, and found a way to do both in one lesson. We may not always understand the way the Lord works, but it's important to know that he does work, and much more effectively and efficiently than we do. Always put your trust in the Lord, in his plan, and in his approach, because believe me, His ways are WAY above our ways!