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Friday, September 30, 2011

General Conference

"It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)"

God has given us, throughout all Biblical and Book of Mormon history, two channels by which we receive revelation, or communication from Him.  The first is the personal channel, or what we call prayer.

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)"

Another means by which we receive communication from God is through His servants, holy men we call prophets.

God speaks to His prophets, and they in turn speak to us.  Because the prophets not only spoke their testimonies of the Savior but wrote them also, we have scriptures, such as the Old and New Testaments along with the Book of Mormon.

This weekend we have the blessed opportunity to hear the words of modern day prophets and apostles.  We are blessed to hear the word of the Lord directed to His children in 2011. 

Come hand hear the word of the Lord this weekend!  It can be viewed on tv on BYUtv, online at, you can listen to it online at, or view online at any LDS Chapel Saturday and Sunday from 11am-1pm and 3-5pm (Central Standard Time).  Click here to find the closest Chapel to you.

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Malt Shoppe and Obedience?!?!

When I was going to college, I got my first real job working at the Malt Shoppe!

Yes, that is right!  The Malt Shoppe is an old 50's burger and shake joint that had lights, music, a juke-box, and GREAT food and desserts!  It was a fun place to be, and even though I never want to work fast-food ever again in my life, it was a job I loved.

I loved my job, but I wanted to make sure others knew that I loved being a Malt Shoppe employee.  While some people would just make a shake, I loved to MAKE that shake!

For example, if someone ordered a german chocolate shake, I wouldn't just mix in chocolate syrup, walnuts and coconut shavings with the vanilla ice cream, but after I did that I would artfully place coconut shavings and walnuts on top of the shake and then drizzle some chocolate syrup lightly on the top of it.  It not only tasted good, but it looked amazing.

Going the extra step in making these shakes really impressed my bosses, and they knew that I really enjoyed my job and that I tried my best to make our customers happy.  :)

Now you may wonder how this analogy applies to the principle of obedience?

God has given us commandments for our benefit.  They are not restrictions placed on us to prevent us from enjoying freedom, but are rather guidelines on how we can find meaning, joy, and security in life.  But as we keep the commandments of God, what is our personal attitude towards keeping them?

When speaking of Jesus Christ being baptized, the prophet Nephi asks and answers us a question as to the purpose of why the only perfect person to ever walk the Earth needed to be baptized.  Said he:

"Know ye not that he [Jesus Christ] was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. (2 Nephi 31:7)"

Jesus Christ didn't need to receive a remission of His sins, but He was obedient to the commandments of the Father to be baptized.  Just as Christ showed us that we need to follow God's commandments, the scripture continues:

"And he [Christ] said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? (2 Nephi 31:10)"

We need to be willing.  It doesn't say that we have to be perfect (that is what repentance is for), but we can't live our whole lives grudgingly following the Savior.  When we follow Christ with a loving and joyful heart, we receive so much more from obedience than if we simply go through the motions.

I loved my job as a shake maker.  I love being a missionary.  I love my Savior, and I'm willing to show my love by willingly obeying His command.  I love being able to help others follow Christ, and I know that true joy comes from joyfully following the Master.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snake House

A couple of years back, a young family in Southern Idaho was looking to upgrade their home situation by moving out of their apartment and into a nice country home.  The home took quite a bit out of their financial savings, but it was for a brighter future... or so they thought!

While we may not go through exactly what the Sessions went through with Garter snakes infesting our home, but are our homes infested with spiritual snakes?

What are some of those spiritual snakes that may creep into our home?  Drugs, abuse, pornography, disrespect, intolerance, infidelity, contention, or any sinful or addictive behavior that drives the Spirit of the Lord away.

Jesus Christ taught that His kingdom was "not of this world (John 18:36)", and warned us "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mark 8:36)?"  The way that the world views standards of morality is different than the way the Lord views standards of morality.  The prophet Alma gave his son Corianton this great counsel:

"Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness (Alma 41:10)."

The devil along with "the world" is full of lies.  As you watch this video, notice how the enticement of the spiritual snake of pornography can infest a home. 

"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; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)"

That is how our homes can be protected in this day and age.  The 21st century is the most scary time to raise a family, but God has provided a way for our families to be protected.  It is the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ that enables our homes to receive strength, for there is no stronger foundation upon which our homes can be built upon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exercise, Cutco, and Motivation

I saw this picture at the Library the other day and thought it was quite humorous.  Here it is:

I chuckled for a little bit, but then the scripture in Alma in the Book of Mormon came to mind.  It reads:

"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words (Alma 32:27)."

In order for us to want to do something, we need to have a desire, or a reason to do it.

For example, my brother Jordan returned home from his mission in Brazil in March of 2009.

(Gotta love him!!)

When Jordan came back from his mission, he got a job working for Cuto.

He would go around trying to get people to buy these knives or what not, so when he got the job he wanted to practice on the family.  I agreed, but was thinking of how much more I wanted to play on my X-Box or watch a movie or listen to music or something.

So Jordan got into talking about how awesome the grip of the handles were, how these handles were made of the same material bowling balls and football helmets are made of, how nice the blade was, how the teeth were perfect for cutting and..... blah blah blah.  IT'S KNIVES!!!  WHO CARES?!?!!

Then Jordan asked the family to get our favorite knife to cut things with and to cut this piece of leather we had.  We got the knife and sawed at the leather a little, but it cut it pretty well.  Then Jordan asked us to cut the leather with this Cutco butter knife.

WOW!!!  It cut the leather like a hot knife in butter!  IT WAS AMAZING!!!  All of the sudden the knives became something I needed, something I wanted...

something I desired.

Watch this video and find out how Ever from Honduras was able to find that desire and exercise faith in the Gospel.

"Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ. (Moroni 7:25)"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


One of the great blessings of modern technology is the rapid pace by which we are able to receive information.  It always tends to be that when we become aware of some sort of exciting news or event or what not, the first thing we want to do is...


For example, I would DEFINITELY post the fact that the 49ers beat the Seahawks to begin the regular season of the NFL, because that is some bodaciously fantabulous news!!!

Whenever we watch a great movie, or see a funny youtube video, or we've read a good book or heard a new song on the radio the we really like or something, we have a desire to share it.  We want others to experience what we have experienced.  We joy in giving our friends or family something to enjoy.

We don't want to keep it to ourselves.

That is every reason why I am serving a mission.  I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am so indebted to Him for literally saving me from hell and misery time after time.  I know that His Gospel is real, and that it is meant to be given to all of God's children.  I have seen Him work in my life, and I know that He truly is "mighty to save."  I can't deny that which I know to be true, and I have a love for the people that I've been able to serve with here in Southern Illinois, or Western Kentucky, or Middle Tennessee.  I want them to find what I have in the Restored Gospel.

When Christ visited the America's, after His first and marvelous sermon, He told His disciples:

"Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. (3 Nephi 11:41)"

I am so privileged to share this incredible message.  Coming out for 2 years of my life and putting everything aside as far as education or work or family is the least that I can do for my Savior and what He's done in my life.

Watch this video of other missionaries who dedicate their lives for a season to the Lord.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)"

Saturday, September 10, 2011


It was the early morning over on the West Coast, and I had gotten up a little early to do some 7th grade homework I hadn't done the night before.  I was writing a journal on the history of football when I walked out to the living room and my mother told me that the World Trade Center had been attacked and destroyed in New York City.

I had no idea what this meant, or really the impact that it would have, but I was scared.  Especially since I live near a large city like San Francisco I knew that it was very possible that the West Coast might receive some sort of attack.  Needless to say, it is the most tragic attack that I've been a witness of in my lifetime.

It has been 10 years since that fatefull day.  I soon came to realize that while these times are dangerous and unpredictable, there is no need to allow fear to take over our lives.  When we have fear, we have no faith.

Watch this video of Victor Guzman, a 9/11 survivor.

"It's faith that really takes the courage. The belief in things unseen." ~Jaquelyn Mitchard

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baby Steps

In the movie "What About Bob?", Bill Murray plays the role of Bob.

Bob has some issues; no.... Bob has a LOT of issues!  After going through several doctors and specialists, he is finally referred to the revered and respected Dr. Leo Marvin.  As Dr. Marvin and Bob meet, Bob receives a tremendous and insightful way to look at the world and help take care of his problems.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple, but it does require a lot of work and effort.  The Lord recognizes that, and he doesn't want us to feel overwhelmed as we go about living life and striving to follow Christ.  He's there to support us, and has actually given counsel for us to take "Baby Steps" in our lives as we progress.

In Isaiah 28:10, we read:

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"

The Lord gave us, through the prophet Joseph Smith, this counsel (Doctrine and Covenants 98:12):

"For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith."

God will give to us a little bit at a time.  To the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul told them that "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it... (1 Corinthians 3:2)."  The Lord doesn't expect us to have it all figured out all at once.  Just as we start off as a baby with milk and baby steps, we learn, we grow, we improve, we change and we work so that we're eventually able to eat meat or make leaps and bounds.  But, we need to be patient and faithful.  The knowledge that God is our loving Heavenly Father is a beautiful source of strength in knowing that God does prepare His children, line upon line, to receive something greater.

Watch this video of a man who received eternal truths line upon line, precept upon precept.

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30)"