The Mormon Channel

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When at first you don't succeed...

Since their move to the Bay Area in 1958, the San Francisco Giants struggled to find any post-season success.  There seemed to be some sort of curse that kept them from winning the world series.  Their first attempt to become world champions came in the 1962 World Series facing the mighty New York Yankees.  In the final game of that series, the Giants were down 1-0 with two runners in scoring position.  The great Willie McCovey came up to bat, and nailed a line drive that popped right into the 2nd baseman's glove.  Many Giant's fans wondered, as did Charlie Brown:

But that failure didn't keep the Giants from dropping everything and walking away miserable for eternity!  THEY KEPT AT IT!  Through miserable season to disappointing season, they finally made it back to the World Series in 1989.  Let's just say that this World Series was more famous for the earthquake that interrupted it than the fact that the Giants were humiliated by the Oakland A's.

Then came 2002!  13 years later they make it back to face the Anaheim Angels.  In the 7th inning and ahead 5-0 in what would be the Giants fourth win in the seven-game series, the Angels started steaming back into the game, won it 6-5, and eventually stole the World Series from the Giants the following game.

So what would happen in 2010?  When I left to become a missionary in 2009, the Giants were a team with great pitching but no offense.  They had not been to the playoffs since 2003 and were a team that was almost embarrassing to be a fan of.  Such was the case, and though I don't quite know what happened in 2010 because of my missionary service, I do know one thing:

"The torture was worth it."  After 52 years the San Francisco Giants can now claim victory in the most historic game in all of sports.

While the prophet Joseph Smith was imprisoned in Liberty Jail in the winter of 1839, the Lord taught him that "all these [hardships] shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  The trials that I faced my entire life as a Giants fan allowed me to better appreciate their accomplishment.  The same is true with any experiences we may face.  Everything worth having in this life (and the next) is worth working towards.  When working to accomplish something of great import, when at first we don't succeed, try, try again!

I know that God loves us.  When we experience opposition and hardships, DON'T GIVE UP!!!  When we follow Christ, we follow the path towards success.  It won't be easy, but it is worth it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


With the advancement of modern technology and the invention of mass communication throughout the entire world, we have been able to get information spread out to more people than ever before.  When looked upon even a century ago, what we are able to experience is a modern day miracle!  Even though we have mass networking groups online and are able to instantly send messages across the globe, at times there seems to be a lack of communication with our friends, associates, and especially the Divine.

Communication is more than just talking or words.  What is this young man communicating to his date?  We communicate with others using words, emotions, body language, attitudes, actions, tone of voice, so on and so forth.  Anthony Robbins once said:

"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determine the quality of our lives."
Just as communication helps others understand our needs and desires, it is vital for us to communicate these needs, desires, and an expression of gratitude to our Father in Heaven. 

We can do this through prayer.

The Apostle Paul taught that we need to do everything "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Phillipians 4:6)"  The great Book of Mormon missionary Amulek taught that we need to pray over our flocks and fields, against temptation, for mercy, in our houses, in secret, and ultimately to "let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually... (Alma 34:17-27)"

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle has taught us that:

"Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father."
Let us not only speak and listen to our Father, but also communicate to Him our love by acting as He would; by being loving, grateful, kind, full of charity, and respectful towards all of God's children.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flash Mob!

Back in March of 2009, something extrodinary happened in the Central Station in Antwerp, Belgium.  Take a look!

Wasn't that COOL!?!?!!?!!!  As I watched the reaction with the rest of the crowd and everything, this scripture came to mind (Matthew 5:16):

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

What started off as a single man doing something kinda weird in the middle of a train station turned into more than 200 people joining in and dancing.  Not only was it that, however; millions of other people have been uplifted, edified, and left with a smile because of their willingness to share it! :)

Pay attention to this group of youth in Hawai'i and how they let their own light shine as they celebrate the rededication of their temple in Laie.

Imagine the strength the world would receive if we all would share the light, the life, the truth, and the way; even Jesus Christ!  We never know who may be in the "gall of bitterness" or in need of His atoning power, so to represent Christ in all that we do is an essential aspect of being one of His living disciples.

"And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness." (Alma 38:9)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Growing up as a young boy, I loved being able to hear and read the stories of legends with great powers and capabilities.  I loved engulfing myself in the constant conflicts between good and evil and the triumph of the righteous.  I loved.... superheroes!

Some of my favorites were the X-Men,

and of course.... the Power Ranges!

(Actually, my brothers and I still love the Power Rangers!)
As I've grown older, though I still love and admire these fictional characters who always beat the bad guys, my idea of what a hero is has changed.  One of my heroes that I've grown to love and admire is Captain Moroni.

What is it about this Book of Mormon commander that is so heroic? 

Besides the obvious worldly acclamations he received as a phenomenal war strategist and courageous leader; he was a man of dignity, a man of honor.  The scriptures describe him as a "strong and mighty man... a man of perfect understanding... a man who did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and freedom of his country, and his brethren... Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith in Christ..." (Alma 48:11,13).  So strong was his faith in Christ that it was further testified that "if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men" (Alma 48:17).

While watching this next video, pay attention to the true characteristics of a hero, whether it is that of worldly acclaim or more.

A hero is someone that does right, no matter what.  Even when doing right may seem dangerous, hard, or burdensome, a hero steps up and acts.  Let us be our own heroes to our families, friends, and peers and do what is right.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Stories... wow, as human beings we LOVE to tell, share, and even experience stories!  For countless generations we've been sharing with our children folk tales, legends, super heroes, adventures, epic battles, loves being won, and so forth.  What is it that causes us to continue this legacy of storytelling?

There is something about overcoming obstacles that inspires the human heart.  When we are able to achieve, it stirs something inside of us and influences us to share our triumphs with our brothers or sisters to gain the courage to achieve as well.  In order for us in our own lives to reach our "happily ever after", we must experience adversity, we must conquer that adversity, and we must finish the race so to speak.  A modern-day apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, talks more about how these fairy tales correlate with our everyday lives.

We experience our own "happily ever after" as well follow Jesus Christ.  In Mosiah 2:41 it reads:

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

We can live "happily ever after", and we don't have to be alone doing so!  Not only can we achieve this goal of "eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7) with our Father in Heaven and His Only Begotten, but we can experience the eternities with our families through ordinances performed in holy temples.

I know that God desires us to find joy not only in this life, but to truly find joy "forever after".  I'm grateful that "happily ever after's" are not only found in fairytales but can be found here this life.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Joseph Smith

In the Spring of 1820, a young boy wanted to know truth.  At 14 years of age, he was confused by the various religious parties contending for the faith in upstate New York.  If there was one book which everyone knew was the word of God, why were there so many different churches professing different opinions as to the interpretations thereof?

Finding that the teachers of religion were only adding to the chaos of his troubled heart, this young man went straight to the Bible, and in James 1:5 he read:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..."

If we have a question regarding truth, who better to ask than the author of ALL truth, our Heavenly Father?  So he asked God which of all the churches he should join, and in answer to his question he received an answer!  In his own words, he describes what happened:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me… When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

Joseph Smith, that young inquisitor, was answered by God the Father and His Only Begotten Son to join none of the churches currently established, but was to wait until a future period when Christ's church was to be Restored on the Earth again.  Joseph Smith was eventually called to be that Prophet to restore the Church of Jesus Christ as founded in the New Testament.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Music and the Plan to Create

I love music.  I love being able to sit down and engulf myself with the sound of pure spiritual healing.  Because I love to listen to music, I have a strong passion and desire to create music.

I barely started tinkering around with the piano a couple of years ago.  I grew up mainly singing, but during my Senior year of High School, I tried to teach myself how to play the piano.  Since that time, I learned how to play by ear and have gotten pretty good at giving the impression that I actually know what I'm doing on this instrument :).  The last piece that I've finished working on is a piano and voice arrangement of "Nearer My God To Thee". 

When constructing this arrangement there were several elements I wanted to implement to give this sacred hymn a sense of style and feeling.  I wanted the piece to be in a comfortable octave for my voice, so I wasn't singing too high or too low.  I wanted it to be a fairly up-tempo arrangement with syncopation and vocal freedom.  I didn't want the song to feel like it finished too soon, so I added a piano interlude.  I wanted there to be a build-up from the first verse to the second verse, to quiet down in the beginning of the third verse, and then to reach it's climax during the second half of the third verse.  All in all, this is the outcome of my plans and design to create an appropriate arrangement to this beautiful psalm.

Just as there was a plan in my mind in order to create this arrangement, there is a grand designer that has architected a loving plan for all of us.  We have purpose in this life, and what would it mean to know what this purpose is?

"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39)."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom to Choose

Decisions.... everyday the course of our lives are created by decisions.  The human soul desires to make decisions that build up, that edify, that improve the direction that our mortal experience is traveling on.  An intregal component of this journey we call life is the God-given freedom to select a path: one that will bring us joy, or a path that will not.  We all have the desire to find contentment and peace, thus furthering our progression towards happiness; but how is this tranquility obtained?. 

The prophet Lehi taught his sons that there are but two choices to be made in life.  In 2 Nephi 2:27, he teaches:

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh... And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death..."

Freedom comes through Jesus Christ, the "great Mediator of all men".  When we choose to become a disciple of Christ, all aspects of our lives are enhanced and uplifted.  In addressing this topic, King Benjamin beautifully proclaims to the people of Zarahemla in Mosiah 2:41:

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual..."

As we make that choice to prioritize our lives by following Savior of the World and to follow His word, we come to personally know what it means to have peace, to have fulfillment in our daily adventures.  In order to know what activities we need to give most dilligence towards, we must answer this question: What is it that matters most?

"And now... I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit (2 Nephi 2:28);"