Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shake It Off

A little long, but definitely worth the read. You can all relate, I promise!
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
MORAL: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.
Remember that God is in every aspect of our lives. We can choose to follow Him and rise above the world or we can decide to let the dirt get the best of us. I invite you all to shake it off and step up. Follow the invitation of our Savior to "Come Follow Me". Step up to the bar that the Savior has set for each of us. I know that it is in reach for each of us!

2 Nephi 3

This chapter is the best! Well... there are many chapters that I think are the best, but this is definitely one of them. The introduction to the Book of Mormon testifies that by reading the Book of Mormon we will "gain a divine witness from the Holy Spirit and come to know that Joseph Smith is God's revelator and prophet in these last days". This chapter testifies of Joseph Smith.
In this chapter, Lehi is telling his son Joseph of some other "Josephs". In verse 4, he tells of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. Joseph, the son on Jacob, saw the day of Lehi in a vision and foretells of their scattering. 
In verse 6, Lehi is tells his son of a Joseph to come (aka Joseph Smith). He calls this Joseph a "choice seer". He says of Joseph; 
"he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work."
"And unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins."
"And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people."
"They that seek to destroy him shall be confounded."
"By the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation."
"And I will make for him a spokesman. He shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins."
"Being an instrument in the hands of God he will work mighty wonders and will bring to pass much restoration."
Joseph Smith, a humble and uneducated teenager, was foretold of and predestined to be the one through whom God restored His gospel. He submitted his will to the Lord and was called as the Prophet of the Restoration. Through Him, the fullness of Christ's church was restored to the earth. Because he was so willing to learn and be led by the Lord, we now have revelation and Priesthood power back on the earth. How grateful I am for Joseph Smith who followed what he read in his scriptures. Who heeded the council of the Lord. Who rose above every challenge he was given to help move the work of our Lord forward. I love this gospel. I love the knowledge that I have. This church is true!

Friday, December 27, 2013


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 How grateful I am for my family this time of year. One year ago, this is where I was. Looking back, it is crazy to think where I am now compared to where I was just one year ago. My family is everything to me. They raised me and taught me and loved me. Now they are fully supporting me in my decision to serve a mission. One of the hardest things about serving a mission is being away from my family for this long. But I have decided to leave them for 18 months to share the wonderful knowledge that others can be with their families for eternity. And that is the best way to spend my time. Thank you family for all that you do. I miss you tons but I will see you in one year!!

Book of Mormon pt. 2

So I really have been on a Book of Mormon high this last week. It is incredible! Every day my testimony of this book has been strengthened more and more.
This morning I read the talk, "My Words... Never Cease" by Elder Jeffery R. Holland in the 2008 April General Conference. He is one of my all time favorite speakers. He is so bold in his deliverance and he loves what he says. I invite all of you to watch or read his address. Man oh man is it a good one. (Click Here to watch or read his article).
Some quotes that I love...

One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. Perhaps there are even more than these.
But there is a simpler answer as to why that passage in the final book of the current New Testament cannot apply to the whole Bible. That is because the whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written. For centuries after John produced his writing, the individual books of the New Testament were in circulation singly or perhaps in combinations with a few other texts but almost never as a complete collection. Of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts, only 35 contain the whole New Testament as we now know it, and 34 of those were compiled after A.D. 1000.
This quote was especially nice. I had someone in one of my teaching appointments ask me this question about the scripture in Revelations. I didn't completely know what to say. So this was nice being able to know what to say for next time.

Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. 

Please do not misunderstand. We love and revere the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our “standard works.” Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time. But even then, Joseph knew the Bible alone could not be the answer to all the religious questions he and others like him had. He said in his own words, the ministers of his community were contending—sometimes angrily—over their doctrines. About the only thing these contending religions had in common was, ironically, a belief in the Bible, but, as Joseph wrote, “the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question [regarding which church was true] by an appeal to the Bible.” Clearly the Bible, so frequently described at that time as “common ground,” was nothing of the kind—unfortunately it was a battleground. Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true.

“The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ ”  In other words, “Scripture itself points … away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.”  So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation. We believe in a God who is engaged in our lives, who is not silent, not absent, nor, as Elijah said of the god of the priests of Baal, is He “[on] a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be [awakened].”  In this Church, even our young Primary children recite, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

How grateful I am for continued revelation. For the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the knowledge that I have of a living prophet who is called of God to receive revelation to lead and guide the church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is literally Christ's church upon the earth. I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ and that it's words, along with the words of the Bible, contain the fulness of the gospel. How grateful I am to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Book of Mormon

 I know I post a lot about the Book of Mormon. I do because it is the most important book a man can read. It truly is a second witness of Christ and a confirming testament of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tad R. Callister says it so well;

Years ago my great-great-grandfather picked up a copy of the Book of Mormon for the first time. He opened it to the center and read a few pages. He then declared, “That book was either written by God or the devil, and I am going to find out who wrote it.” He read it through twice in the next 10 days and then declared, “The devil could not have written it—it must be from God.”
That is the genius of the Book of Mormon—there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud.

We must make a simple choice with the Book of Mormon: it is either of God or the devil. There is no other option. For a moment I invite you to take a test that will help you determine the true nature of this book. Ask yourself if the following scriptures from the Book of Mormon draw you closer to God or to the devil:
“Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
Or these words of a loving father to his sons: “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation” (Helaman 5:12).
Or these words of a prophet: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).
 If the foregoing scriptures from the Book of Mormon teach us to worship and love and serve the Savior (which they do), how can they be from the devil? If so, he would be divided against himself and thus be destroying his own kingdom.

But why is the Book of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered why there are so many Christian churches in the world today when they obtain their doctrines from essentially the same Bible? It is because they interpret the Bible differently. If they interpreted it the same, they would be the same church. This is not a condition the Lord desires, for the Apostle Paul declared that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). To help bring this oneness about, the Lord established a divine law of witnesses. Paul taught, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

The Bible is one witness of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon is another. Why is this second witness so crucial? The following illustration may help: How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.
What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses.

Again and again the Book of Mormon acts as a confirming, clarifying, unifying witness of the doctrines taught in the Bible so that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” For example, some people are confused as to whether baptism is essential for salvation even though the Savior declared to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The Book of Mormon, however, eliminates all doubt on that subject: “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, … or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 9:23).

Many believe that revelation ended with the Bible even though the Bible itself is a testimony of God’s revelatory pattern over 4,000 years of man’s existence.  A belief in the cessation of revelation causes the doctrine that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9) to fall; it causes the doctrine taught by Amos that “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7) to fall; and it causes the doctrine that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) and thus speaks to all men of all ages to fall. But fortunately the Book of Mormon reenthrones the biblical truth of continuous revelation:
“And again, I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations. …
“Do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever … ?” (Mormon 9:7, 9).

Together with the Bible, the Book of Mormon brings us to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” That is why the Book of Mormon is so crucial in our lives.

Obviously this talk is so good that you should just read the whole thing... (Click Here) but in case of time, I invite you to read what I have copied over. This engulfs why I talk about the Book of Mormon so much. Because it is true!! And you can all know it. I know that you can know it, because I know it. My testimony echos that of Tad R. Callister;

Some years ago I attended one of our worship services in Toronto, Canada. A 14-year-old girl was the speaker. She said that she had been discussing religion with one of her friends at school. Her friend said to her, “What religion do you belong to?”
She replied, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons.”
Her friend replied, “I know that church, and I know it’s not true.”
“How do you know?” came the reply.
“Because,” said her friend, “I have researched it.”
“Have you read the Book of Mormon?”
“No,” came the answer. “I haven’t.”
Then this sweet young girl responded, “Then you haven’t researched my church, because I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true.”
I too have read every page of the Book of Mormon, again and again, and I bear my solemn witness, like my great-great-grandfather, it is from God. 

I bear my witness that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. That it is written for us. I know that by following what is written, that we will know the path that God has planned for us. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. I love the path that I have been guided to take.

Merry Christmas

Couldn't get on my blog yesterday, but I wanted to wish all you devoted readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope that these last two days has been filled with lots of food and fun and hopefully a little bit of Christ. How grateful I am for my Savior who gave His life for me to be able to have mine. How grateful I am for His Atonement and His gospel that I am able to be a part of. And not only be a part of, but share with others. There is a reason why LDS missionaries have proselyting missions verses service missions. It is because we know that our message is true and we want that for everyone! This is the way to return to Christ. 
I know it, I live it, I love it!!!
Photo: “And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name." (Mosiah 3:9)

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas in the Americas

I always love reading the Book of Mormon. It is such a priceless treasure to be able to have a second witness and testimony of our Savior and Redeemer.
I love reading about Christmas in the Americas. I think it is a fascinating time. Five years prior to the birth of our Savior, Samuel comes to the people and begins to testify of the coming of Christ and the need to repent. He tells of the signs of Christ's birth. That there will be "great lights in the heaven", "no darkness", "a new star [shall] arise", "[many] shall be amazed and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth", etc (Helaman 14).
Many people believed the words of Samuel and came unto him to be baptized for the remission of sins. Many did not believe and were angry and turned their hearts away.
Well... naturally, 5 years later, (3 Nephi 1) both the believers and the nonbelievers were awaiting the sign of the coming of Christ. Many of those who did not believe were mocking the believers. They set a day apart that all those who believed would be put to death except the sign should come.
10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
 11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
 12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
 13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
That night, there was no darkness upon the face of the earth. A new star appeared and many were astonished so much that they fell to the earth. 
18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
We have no reason to fear. We have the words of the prophets to lead and to guide us. Hearken to their words! They can guide us down the right path. I testify that God has called a prophet for our day. God leads and guides His church through our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know that we can be happy and we can be spared from the evils of the world by following the council that comes from our prophet.

Alma 7

 Alma chapter 7...
 7 For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all—for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people.
 Behold, I do not say that he will come among us at the time of his dwelling in his mortal tabernacle; for behold, the Spirit hath not said unto me that this should be the case. Now as to this thing I do not know; but this much I do know, that the Lord God hath power to do all things which are according to his word.
 But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying—Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.
 10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

My testimony echos that of Alma's. The Lord has said, "COME, follow me." To come implies that we leave behind all other things to follow Christ. He asks us to "follow thou me". In all our ways, we are asked to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am that I have a knowledge of my Savior. How grateful I am for the birth of Christ and the life He lived. It is a wonderful time of year!


“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

I know that Jesus Christ was born to be our Savior. I know that He came into the world to do the will of our Father. I know that it is through Him that we can be saved. He is the light and life of the world. He brings all joy and happiness. May we all remember Christ this CHRISTmas season!

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
—Luke 2:10-11

I know Jesus Christ was born to be our Savior. He is our perfect example. He is our Redeemer. He lived a perfect life and atoned for our sins. He never leaves us alone. He is my strength, my hope, my salvation. He is the reason for the season. Please remember Him through this CHRISTmas season.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book of Mormon Challenge...

All the missionaries in the Illinois Chicago Mission just got a Book of Mormon Challenge from our wonderful Mission President, President Woodbury. He challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon before General Conference in April. He also asked us to look for anytime the Savior is referenced or the Atonement is talked about. I started re-reading the Book of Mormon this morning. I read 1 Nephi chapters 1-7. I figured to finish in time I have to at least read 6 pages a day. I know I can do way better than that though. I am excited to take time everyday to focus on my Savior and His Atonement. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about our Savior and His Atonement. Without Him, we wouldn't have a way to return to live with our Father in Heaven again. Jesus Christ fulfills God's purpose given to us in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Jesus Christ also helps us fulfill our purpose given to us in Doctrine and Covenants 11:20, "Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength." How grateful I am for this wonderful challenge. I challenge any reader to follow along with me :)


 We got to go to the temple yesterday. The temple is the best place on earth! I have never felt the spirit more than I have in the temple. I know that the temple is the House of God. I know that He resides there. I know that by participating in temple work that we will be blessed and others will experience the joys of the gospel. Because of the temple, I will be with my family forever. That is the best comfort of all.

I just thought this whole article was so good!

The Mission of Elijah

“Many of your ancestors died never having the chance to accept the gospel and to receive the blessings and promises you have received. The Lord is fair and He is loving. And so He prepared for you and me a way for us to have the desire of our hearts to offer to our ancestors all the blessings He has offered us.

“The plan to make that possible has been in place from the beginning. The Lord gave promises to His children long ago. …
“'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
“'And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse' (Malachi 4:5-6).”

Blessings for the Dead

“Many of your deceased ancestors will have received a testimony that the message of the missionaries is true. When you received that testimony you could ask the missionaries for baptism. But those who are in the spirit world cannot. The ordinances you so cherish are offered only in this world. Someone in this world must go to a holy temple and accept the covenants on behalf of the person in the spirit world. That is why we are under obligation to find the names of our ancestors and ensure that they are offered by us what they cannot receive there without our help. …
“Remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them.”

Blessings for the Living

“We must accomplish the priesthood temple ordinance work necessary for our own exaltation; then we must do the necessary work for those who did not have the opportunity to accept the gospel in life. Doing work for others is accomplished in two steps: first, by family history research to ascertain our progenitors; and second, by performing the temple ordinances to give them the same opportunities afforded to the living.
“Yet there are many members of the Church who have only limited access to the temples. They do the best they can. They pursue family history research and have the temple ordinance work done by others. Conversely, there are some members who engage in temple work but fail to do family history research on their own family lines. Although they perform a divine service in assisting others, they lose a blessing by not seeking their own kindred dead as divinely directed by latter-day prophets. …
“I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.”

Click Here to see an awesome video about temple work!

Inn vs. Stable

Photo: What crowd are you in? 

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Christmas time is the best time of year! The birthday of our dear brother Jesus Christ. This season, I hope we can all remember Christ. There is plenty of room in the good 'ol Stable my dear friends!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I am writing a talk to give at my Zone Christmas Party on Wednesday. The topic is, "Why are you excited to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ during Christmas time?" As I thought about what to say, I thought about how happy Christmas is. There is so much love and joy and giving. It is a very special time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer. But sometimes we get caught up in too many other things. The shopping we have to do, the things we have to get done, the parties we have to attend. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we hear the joyful songs of Christmas, promising peace, and wonder if there really could be peace on earth. One song puts it perfectly... 

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
Till, ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
I, along side the angels of Heaven, proclaim the birth of Jesus Christ singing, (or saying) "Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth, good will to men. Peace on earth, good will to men." Jesus Christ brings all hope and peace. In this crazy world, may we all remember Him and the reason we are celebrating Christmas. May we let Christ into our hearts and let our bells chime the message that Christ lives. That through Him, we can find peace. 
That is why I am excited about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ this season. There are so many who are searching for peace, but who don't know where to find it. Christ has it. He has made it available to all who follow His word. And I have His word to share. I love being a missionary. I love sharing the happiness that can come from choosing to follow Christ. It brings me true joy to serve my Savior. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church that Christ established on the earth. I know that it is the way for us to be happy here and in the eternities. I love my Savior. I am so grateful to get to serve Him.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Share Your Faith Day

Happy Share Your Faith Day! I am extremely grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church upon the earth, restored through God's chosen prophet. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be in Chicago representing my Savior and sharing this true message of hope and joy in coming closer to Christ. It has changed my life forever! Without the knowledge that I have of eternal families, of chosen prophets who lead and guide our day, of the Book of Mormon, and of other restored truths of Christ's gospel, I would be lost in a world of confusion. I am truly blessed with the gift of knowledge from my Savior.
Don't forget to share your faith today ♥

Families Can Be Eternal

Tomorrow I am teaching the lesson at my church. The topic is Families Can Be Eternal. Doing some studying and looking into some material, I have become more and more grateful for my eternal family! I have had a rough couple of weeks recently with the passing of my niece and nephew. But the knowledge that I have that I will get to see them again lightens he load that comes from a death. How grateful I am for my sweet parents who raised my siblings and I in love. How grateful I am for their example of happiness and joy and commitment. How grateful I am for my siblings who have chosen to live their lives as disciples of our Savior. I am truly blessed to have the gospel in my life!

This picture is from a while ago... but you get the point. I sure love my family!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Sister Holden and I had such a wonderful experience teaching this morning.
The questions that came up in our lesson were all about the Book of Mormon. How it came about, why we need it if we have a bible, how there were people in the Americas if we didn't discover America that early on, etc. For all those who may be questioning points of the Book of Mormon, I invite you to learn more. I invite you to not take my word for it, but to study it out for yourself. The prophets have said;
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith WILL gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
My invitation echos that of God's chosen and beloved prophet. I have tried it. I have come to know for myself the truthfulness of this book. Experiment upon the words of Christ. He will testify of truth and the path we need to take to follow Him. He loves us enough that He will not leave us without the path to follow. The only way to know is to experiment. And that is all we are asking as missionaries. All we want is for others to experience this change of heart that we have experienced. I know that this message is true. I know that the Holy Ghost will testify of truth to the hearts of any who take upon themselves the decision to experiment upon the words of Christ.

Some cool findings from our study this morning...
1. Why do we need the Book of Mormon if we already have the Bible?
I invite you to read 2 Nephi 29. It is an amazing chapter all about the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

I would just put the whole chapter on, because it is SOOO good, but I am restraining myself. Read the rest of it! To cross reference, we were reading in the Bible and in Ezekiel 37:17;

16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions (aka the Bible): then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions (aka the Book of Mormon): 
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

We were also reading in Matthew 18:16 and in 2 Corinthians 13:1;

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

We are so blessed to have the knowledge of this second witness of Jesus Christ and His true gospel. Every word has been established by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Together with the Bible, these two books contain the fulness of Christ's word. "It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come."

2. How can you say that people were here before America was even discovered?
Well... have you ever wondered how the Native Americans got here when the pilgrims discovered America? They don't really teach that in History class. 
"The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. (If you will read from the Book of Mormon you will find that the Lamanites received a "skin of blackness" for their wickedness...) The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians."

The more we learn about Christ, the closer we can come to Him and His path. I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church that has been restored on the earth today by God's chosen prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, brought forth in the time that the world needed it the most. I know that through following the words of Christ, all men may be saved by the grace of God.  I love being a missionary. I love this gospel!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The best compliment...

Twice in the last month Sister Holden and I have been given the compliment of having Jesus in us. Both times we started conversations with complete strangers and when we introduced ourselves as missionaries, we had the people say, "I knew when I saw you that Jesus was in you". I have never in my life received such a grand compliment! 
I am a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. I wear His name on my shoulder and I proclaim His true Gospel. If you want to learn more and experience His love in your life, I would love to share with you the message of His Gospel. I know that it will benefit your life if you allow it to.

The Book of Mormon

I want to finish the Book of Mormon before Tuesday of next week. Why Tuesday? Well transfers are on Tuesday... that's why. I have set some goals for myself (study wise) that I would love to accomplish in the short 18 months that I am here.
1. Read the Book of Mormon 3 times.
4. Read the Doctrine and Covenants.
2. Read Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.
3. Read Ester.
It has taken me a little bit longer than I would have liked to finish the Book of Mormon this first time. I think it is partially because I am making a timeline of events that occur while I am reading. I am also looking for and highlighting specific characteristics of Christ throughout the stories. Right now I am starting Mormon. I feel like I could finish before Tuesday. Wish me luck and feel free to read along with me!!
I know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. I know that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. I can say this with such strong conviction because I have read it. I have taken the challenge in Moroni 10:3-5 seriously. I have read, pondered, and prayed. And I have received my answer. I know that God loves His children and wants nothing but the best for them. I know that He will direct us in the path we need to take IF we ask him what path that is and have a heart open just enough for Him to fill it. We don't need to change for this church. We will want to change for God. 
So grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. He is my light and my life. He is my reason for living. 
The church is true my friends!
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
Experiment upon the words of Christ!! Alma 32:27

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

3 Nephi

Yesterday we had a real interesting day. With no car, I am not surprised. We ended up being stranded in Lake Villa with nothing to do. So naturally, I pulled out my scriptures and began to read. I got so fully engrossed into my reading. I experienced something that I have never experienced before.
I started reading in 3 Nephi 6. By the time our ride had come I was finishing 3 Nephi 16. I seriously LOVE the Book of Mormon. The words and stories and teachings are so fabulous and teach me a ton about the person that I want to be. 
I love 3 Nephi especially. Anytime that Christ is speaking specifically to us as His children, you know it is pretty important. 3 Nephi 11 is just outstanding! About when Christ first show himself to those in the America's. Do you want to know the first things He says to His children?
He first introduces Himself.
 10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
 11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
 12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
He, then, invites all to come know Him.
 13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
 14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
 15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
And what do you think is the very first thing Christ chooses to teach His people?
18 And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth.
 19 And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet.
 20 And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him.
 21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
 22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
 23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
 24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
 25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
 26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
 27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
 28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize.
Christ lets His people know that baptism in His name by His power is important. He speaks for pages and pages in 3 Nephi all about loving each other, and being charitable, and the sacrament, and coming unto Him, but the VERY first thing that He does is give His prophet the priesthood power to baptism by His name into the kingdom of God. We can't see the whole picture... but God sure lets us see lots of it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Being on a mission I have realized how grateful that I am for so many little things that I took for granted before. How grateful I am for the knowledge that I have of my Savior and of His Gospel. How grateful I am for loving parents who taught me the importance of a Gospel study and to ask the Lord when I have questions. How grateful I am for my Seminary and Institute teachers who took the time to teach me the importance of following the way of the Lord.
Missions are hard work. There are lots of times of frustration and sadness. There are lots of times of homesickness and sorrow. But how grateful I am for this opportunity to experience a sliver of what Christ experienced while He walked the earth. How privileged I am to get to bear His name and share His unique message to all who will soften their hearts enough to listen. 
I know that God loves His children. I know that He has provided a path for us to take to return to Him. I know that by following that plan do we get to be heirs to the Kingdom of God. I know that we have a prophet for our days who has been called of God and given His priesthood to lead and guide His church. How grateful I am for my friends, my family, my parents, my teachers, and most importantly, the Lord, who continually help me to come closer to my Savior.

Click Here to watch an awesome video of my cute brother and the importance of Seminary :)

The Spirit of Christmas

I know it isn't December yet, but I just can't wait for this one. Definitely one of my all time favorite videos! There will always be bumps in the road. There will always be things that don't seem to go quite right. But we can't focus on those things. Our minds are only big enough to think of one thing at a time. If we waste that space with nonsense, where is the room for Christ?
 I got a letter in the mail from my Dad yesterday. He reminded me of the Spirit of Christmas. He said, "Make sure to ask yourself this year...
Are you part of the INN crowd, or part of the STABLE few?"
A little play on words, but a very valid question nonetheless. Where is our standing with Christ this year? The best present we could ever give Him is to take one more step closer to Him this holiday season.
May we ever live in the spirit of Christmas.
Click here for a special clip about the Spirit of Christmas.


The word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active. Prophets speak of having a “firm hope” (Alma 34:41) and a “lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3). The prophet Moroni taught, “Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).
When we have hope, we trust God's promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do “the works of righteousness,” then we “shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (Moroni 7:41).
As we strive to live the gospel, we grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). We increase in hope as we pray and seek God's forgiveness. In the Book of Mormon, a missionary named Aaron assured a Lamanite king, “If thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest” (Alma 22:16). We also gain hope as we study the scriptures and follow their teachings. The Apostle Paul taught, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
The principle of hope extends into the eternities, but it also can sustain us through the everyday challenges of life. “Happy is he,” said the Psalmist, “that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5). With hope, we can find joy in life. We can “have patience, and bear with . . . afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions” (Alma 34:41). We can “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).

Click Here to watch an incredible short story about when President Uchtdorf was a young child. He learned that his mother was a great example of how hope and faith can overcome fear.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Samuel the Lamanite

The story of Samuel the Lamanite has always been one of my very favorite stories! I love the fact that this man who came from a very strong unfaithful upbringing is now a man called of God to cry repentance to the people. That is pretty incredible! 
Helaman chapters 13-16 are fabulous to read. Samuel teaches the people who are hard hearted and don't listen. He leaves and the Lord commands him to return. As he does, the people refuse to let him in. But he was called to go in, so he fulfills his calling...
And it came to pass that in this year there was one Samuel, a Lamanite, came into the land of Zarahemla, and began to preach unto the people. And it came to pass that he did preach, many days, repentance unto the people, and they did cast him out, and he was about to return to his own land.
 But behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart.
 And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart.
How far are we willing to go for the Lord? I know I ask this a lot, but sometimes I need a constant reminder. We are truly blessed to have a prophet who is called of God to lead and guide Christ's church. Through the prophet we can receive divine and pure revelation specific for our day. The more we learn, the closer we allow ourselves to come to Christ.


We had a great Thanksgiving! Spent with people we have dearly come to love. We made and delivered cookies with little notes and a DVD about Christ to some people we have been teaching. We are so grateful for them and for their willingness to listen to our message and experiment upon the words of Christ. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has prepared the way for us to be happy and return to Him. All we have to do is to ask Him what path he wants us to take. Are we willing to try? I am grateful that I experimented on the words of Christ. I am grateful that I have found for myself that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church upon the earth. I have so many things to be grateful for. So grateful for this special time of year to remember my Savior and the blessings I have received for following Him. I love this Gospel and the light I have for following God's plan for me. The path I have been asked to take has been far from easy, but it has been beyond worth it! I will forever be grateful for this opportunity I am given to share the message of Christ's Gospel. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I think in many ways we are all a little lost. Without the knowledge of God's plan for us, the path we get to take, and how to best live now to experience salvation, what do we have to look forward to?  What is the purpose?
I know that God has a purpose for us. I know that He has created a perfect plan and road map for us to be able to follow to return to Him. We all get our own personal GPS. Are you going to use yours?


Tis the season. Happy Thanksgiving to all!  
The more often we see the things around us, the more they become invisible to us. We can live in thanksgiving daily by noticing the wonders and beauties of this world. What are you thankful for this season? Can you think of 1,000 things?
Elder Richard M. Romney shares the importance of living in Thanksgiving. "Great joy comes from acknowledging the hand of the Lord in all things".
Click Here to see an awesome video about how we can all live in Thanksgiving daily.

Helaman 11

11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction.
12 And behold, now it came to pass that when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him, concerning their destruction if they did not repent.
17 And it came to pass that thus he did go forth in the Spirit, from multitude to multitude, declaring the word of God, even until he had declared it unto them all, or sent it forth among all the people.
The work must go on my fine brothers and sisters! How much are we willing to give?

Saturday, November 23, 2013


My MTC companion and one of my very best friends and role models has an amazing and inspirational blog that I am honored to share. Love you Sister!


 This is and will most likely forever be my saving grace. I love this quote! We can never forget that happiness is a choice. And man do we have lots of it in store for us if we choose it now.

"There will always be things to complain about—things that don’t seem to go quite right. You can spend your days feeling sad, alone, misunderstood, or unwanted. But that isn’t the journey you had hoped for, and it’s not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take. Remember, you are truly a daughter of God!
With this in mind, I invite you to walk confidently and joyfully. Yes, the road has bumps and detours and even some hazards. But don’t focus on them. Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in every step of your journey. Happiness is the destination, but it’s also the path. “Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” is what He promises. That is why He commands us to “be of good cheer.”
As you joyfully use the map your loving Father has provided for your journey, it will lead you to holy places and you will rise to your supernal potential. You will grow into the daughter of God you hoped you would become.”
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Helaman 5

What an interesting chapter!
Nephi and Lehi are such amazing men. So strong in their faith and in their works that God literally sent down fire to save them! And what does God have to say to the wicked men who are not listening to His missionaries?
29 And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.
30 And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—
31 And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse—
God is real! His power is real. He WILL let us know exactly what we need to hear. And boy will he make sure we hear it! Listen to the voice of the Lord. "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Heart and a Willing Mind

I haven't been on in a while so I got lots of reading done. I finished Alma and moved on to the first couple chapters of Helaman. These chapters still are not the easiest for me to follow along to. But that is okay. You can still get lots out of the chapters.
I think the biggest lesson I am learning lately is the difference between doing something grudgingly because we know we need to do it, or doing something with a positive attitude because it is the smartest thing to do. In every decision we have two choices. To do something, or not to do something. And even then, if you choose to do it, you have to decide to do it grudgingly, or to do it because you know you need to.
This morning for personal study I got a big slap in the face with lots of information about everything that I have been thinking about lately...
#1: In my Book of Mormon reading today I read Helaman chapters 2-3. In chapter 3 the people had begun to be a little prideful. This pride on both sides led to contention and war. We are all in charge of our dissensions. We don't control anyone else's pride, but we sure can control our own. If only one party is being prideful, it can't lead to contention and war. We need to make sure, for ourselves, that we are not being prideful. In verse 35 it says, "Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." God can fill our souls with joy. He can allow us happiness even in times of turmoil. We need to allow him to.
#2: I was reading the talk "The Fourth Missionary". It is such a fabulous talk. I was reading the differences from the Third and Fourth Missionary. They both do the work. They both do their missionary things, but they do them so differently. "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." The Third Missionary serves with his might and strength, but his heart and and mind are missing. We can't have a missing heart and mind. We can still do the work without it, but we won't grow at all if we do. And are we not here to grow? Sometimes I grudgingly make phone calls and lead out in lessons even when I definitely don't want to. But what is that teaching me? And how is that helping anyone, especially myself? God will allow us happiness if we let him.
This talk also related this; 
"Elder Holland teaches that a great swimmer once said when asked his secret of success: 'I kick when I don't want to kick, and I stroke when I don't want to stroke.' Like the First, Second and Third Missionaries there are times when the Fourth Missionary doesn't want to kick and doesn't want to stroke either. The difference between the Third and Fourth Missionary is that the Third Missionary will kick and stroke because it is his duty, because that is what is expected of him and he will hate and resent it, while the Fourth Missionary will kick and stroke because he knows that it is the only intelligent thing to do."
" Even Jesus, the One Perfect One, prayed: 'Father let this cup pass from me...' There were things that He too did not want to do. Those desires that He '...even God, the greatest of all...might not drink the bitter cup and shrink...' (D&C 19:18) did not diminish Him; in fact, they made Him greater."
Why are we doing the things we are doing? It is because we know it will take us to the finish? Is it because we know if we don't we will be sitting ducks? Is it because we know it is the smartest thing to do?
#3: Lastly, I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 121 verses 34-46. All about leadership qualities. I struggle being a leader. I am not very patient and I am not very good at letting others do things for themselves. I would much rather do things my way to ensure that they will get done right. But that is an awful leadership quality. So, while reading this, I decided to give it to God. To let him help me let my companion guide. To let her lead. It will be far from easy for me, and probably a bit frustrating for her, but we will live. 
I am really coming to understand what it means to be a missionary. What it means to literally give my heart and mind to the Lord. He has given us all, and what does he ask in return?
"In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time, two years, and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him."
The Lord requires a broken heart so that He can heal it. What are we willing to give the Lord?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Plan of Salvation

Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I received emails from my family notifying me that my sister-in-law, who is pregnant with twins, was having difficulties. They told me that she would be in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy. I later received more emails informing me that both twins were still born. They were perfect little babies. At first it was really hard for me to handle. Why wouldn't God let these two beautiful spirits be a part of my family? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how blessed I am for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation. Joshua Alvin (Joshua-named after Kyle's best friend Joshua Spencer and Alvin-named after the brother of Joseph Smith; who both died at a young age) and Adelaide (Amanda's favorite name) must have been needed in heaven. They were so perfect that all they needed was to get their precious little bodies. 
How grateful I am for my understanding that I will get to meet little Joshua and Adelaide one day. How grateful I am that I know where they are and whose they are. I know that families will be together forever because of the Plan of our loving Heavenly Father.
"Its not just about the here and now... its about eternity!"
"The key to anything is to keep an eternal perspective!"
Remember there are more important things than here and now. Remember that life continues after death. 
The way we act and respond to things have eternal consequences. Turn to the Savior. Let Him lead us through.
Click Here to see how we can be happy through the midst of trail and death.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Families CAN Be Together Forever

"We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always held the family as a central unit of our faith. Learn why, and how we can strengthen this from Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum on the Twelve Apostles.

Photo: Happy Anniversary to wonderful parents.  They have created quite a wonderful posterity if I say so myself!!

Alma 53-54

Alma 53: This basically just says it all...
11 And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that they never would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them.
13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country.
16 But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites. 17 And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage.
Alma 54:
This chapter scared me just a little bit. I can't believe that Moroni and Ammaron could argue like this. Sometimes I think that wars are really sad. I don't love knowing that people are fighting. I just wish that the world could be peaceful and that we could compromise. But this was needed. It will always happen unfortunately. Whose team are we choosing to be on?

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Probably one of the best talks given in the history of General Conference. Elder Holland sure knows how to get a point across. I believe the Book of Mormon to be another testament of Jesus Christ. I know it teaches truth. I know that God will testify to the hearts of all its readers that it is correct. My testimony echos that of God's chosen disciples...
"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, 'No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.'" 
If you question the Book of Mormon, if you don't know what it is, if you want to learn more, I invite each of you to watch this video. Let the Spirit touch your hearts to testify of the truth. Christ is standing at our door knocking. LET HIM IN!

Missionary Life

Being a missionary is nothing like what I had originally expected it to be. It is a lot harder, a lot more frustrating, a lot more exhausting. But at the same time, it is a lot more joyful, a lot more loving, and a lot more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. To think about where I was a little over three months ago and compare it to where I am now, it is pretty incredible. To think about the person that I used to be, the things I used to think, the woman I wanted to become, the knowledge I thought I had... boy oh boy have my eyes been opened.
This has been the hardest three months of my life. I would be lying if I said that I loved every minute of my mission and wanted to be nowhere but here. This experience has stretched me farther than I ever thought imaginable. I have seen and done things that I didn't think I ever needed to see or do. Every minute is a struggle, but I do love my mission. I love teaching about my Savior. I love teaching about the plan that God has prepared specifically for each and every one of His children. I love sharing the beautiful and joyful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, in all reality, I would not like to be anywhere but here right now. And I do love every minute of my mission. In different ways than what I originally thought for sure. Sometimes I have to remind myself of the reasons why I want to be here, and why I love it here. Sometimes I feel like I am given too much to handle and reasons to quit. But I will never give up. This gospel means way too much to me to keep it to myself. My Savior means way too much to me to not follow His counsel to walk in His paths and help His sheep. How much are we really willing to do?

Alma 51-52

The war chapters in Alma are just a bit harder for me to read. I think because I have never been a huge fan on history or wars. I am not really an action girl. Anyway, there is lots to learn nonetheless.
Alma 51:
This chapter made me laugh. Mostly because I think the king-men are a bit crazy! I mean, yeah they didn't get what they wanted, but in verse 13, "And it came to pass that when the men who were called king-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country." Really? Really? I mean, I get that they are mad about the outcome of the vote to keep Pahoran in office, but they were glad when they heard that the Lamanites were coming to battle against their people. We will always be given reasons to be offended and not happy about things. That is part of life, and there is nothing we can do about that. On the other hand, we will never have a reason to dwell on those things and let them bring us down or change us. That is something we can control. Funny people.
Naturally, Moroni, being the stud that he is, whips the king-men back into shape in verses 14-17;
"And it came to pass that when Moroni saw this, and also saw that the Lamanites were coming into the borders of the land, he was exceedingly wroth because of the stubbornness of those people whom he had labored with so much diligence to preserve; yea, he was exceedingly wroth; his soul was filled with anger against them."
"For it was his first care to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people;"
"And it came to pass that Moroni commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth, or they should take up arms and support the cause of liberty."
And boy did he accomplish his goal. The people really should have thought twice before angering Moroni.
Alma 52:
Really, I just think that Moroni was too clever for his calling. I also think that the Lamanites should have been a bit smarter. But that is okay. In all honesty, you can guess for the most part who will win and who will lose. It is a given. But the Book of Mormon is still exciting to read.
I am grateful for the leaders and followers of Christ that I have to look up to from the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the experiences they went through so that I have a standard to follow. I am grateful for the example they set and for the lives they lived. I am blessed to know for myself that, today, we have a prophet who leads and guides Christ's church. I am grateful for my knowledge of God's plan for me and how I will be able to accomplish that plan. This IS the true church. It is so simple and it just makes sense. I love my Savior. I love my God.
Until next time (Alma 53-54).
Sister Spackman