Sunday, November 10, 2013

Imperfectly Perfect

Are you perfect? Do you consider yourself to be perfect? What about your life; is your life perfect? Take some time to ponder those questions, then continue reading this post.

Last October, in the Saturday morning of session of general conference, Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Seventy spoke on the subject of temples. He shared a very instructive story about the attention to detail that is in every single aspect of building a temple, even those aspects that would be entirely unbeknownst to all but a very select few such as the quality of the sanding beneath wallpaper.

The very precise nature of the temples is one of the many things that makes it such an amazing and inspiring place to be. Every temple I have visited has been a marvel to behold. The intricate carvings on the doors and the handrails, the peaceful nature of the paintings on the walls, even the flowers see to point to peace and serenity and help me feel the Spirit of the Lord in great abundance as I attend the temple. The grandeur of each and every temple is truly a marvel to behold.

I was raised with the understanding that temples are houses of the Lord. On the outside of every LDS temple is the engraving "Holiness to the Lord - the House of the Lord". As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we put such an emphasis not only on temples in generally but on the beauty and cleanliness and perfection of every temple because we believe that they are quite literally the houses of the Lord. As such, we believe they should be constructed to the best ability possible so as to demonstrate our love and appreciation to our Father.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Logan, Utah awakened this morning to the sight of a fresh-fallen snow. I didn't find this out until I logged onto Facebook while eating my breakfast and saw that a few of my friends had commented on the snow. "That is strange," I thought, "At about midnight last night the sky was clear and I was more than warm enough in the light jacket I had on." Yet in spite of the comforts I had enjoyed just seven hours previous, here I was faced with a centimeter of pure snow.

Along with this snow, I was faced with an decision that to me was a no-brainer but which I considered as I pondered about writing this blog post today. I love the snow. I absolutely adore everything about the snow: how it improves the landscape, how it feels, the symbolic nature of everything being covered in pure white, the cleansing, etc. Snow is one of those tender mercies of the Lord so for me, snow is one of the ways that my Heavenly Father reminds me that He is still there, that He is aware of me, and that He loves me. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two Months

Two months ago today I awakened to the hustle and bustle of preparations being made for a wedding. It was the first time in two years--731 days--that I didn't wake up to the obnoxiously loud and terrifying shrill of my $5 alarm clock from Walmart. While I did enjoy being able to sleep past a highly regimented hour, a part of me felt hollow and distant. That alarm clock had been one of the only consistent things in my life over the last two years.

As cheap as it was and as much as I hated it, that alarm clock symbolized to me the most important and most powerful time in my life. And now, waking up without it for the first time, it hit me that this period of my life had come to a close. Tears came to my eyes as I thought back to what I would be doing at that same time on a Monday morning one week before. "Right now," I thought, "I would have finished my two hours of studying and I would be in the midst of an hour-long Skype call with Johnathan."

But not this Monday. No, this day, I would awaken alone, shower, prepare for the day alone and wonder what I would do with my time, a pattern that would fill each day of my new life. So many more choices; so much more freedom; so much less accountability. It was liberating. It was exciting. It was terrifying.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Coming Home

Following is the transcript of the talk I gave when I came home from my two-year mission on July 14th, 2013 (pictures taken from a special exhibit at Thanksgiving Point of statues of Christ):

If there’s one thing I love, it’s being able to witness people making covenants. If there’s another thing I love, it’s being able to witness people renewing those covenants. I love sacrament meeting. I love sitting at the front, getting to watch people as they rely on the Atonement. There’s nothing more important, more fundamental to the gospel—to our lives—than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Isaiah taught, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” I testify of that.

I’d like to thank the youth speakers. Thank you, for setting the tone, for inviting the Spirit. Thank you, also, to the young women for that beautiful song. I have gained an undying witness that that is true, that He will not fail us. And that is exactly what I want to talk about today.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Christlike Part 4: Synergy

As his civilization was under attack and his people about to be completely wiped off from the face of the earth, Moroni, the last Nephite, spent his days running from the savage Lamanites and keeping a record. The record that he kept and preserved and eventually hid is one that has changed the world forever. His father Mormon compiled the great record and Moroni was given the charge of making sure they were safely deposited so that they could come forth in a later time.

Doing his best to not only preserve these records, but to add his own voice and his own teachings to them, the young prophet made some of the greatest contributions to the book, many of which are quoting from letters that his father had written to him. What would you write to your child if you were two of the last ones in your civilization? What would you write as you are on the brink of destruction and your enemies about to overtake everything you have ever known?

Would you begin your letter by stating how depressing your conditions are? Would you start by saying how scared you are for your life? What about starting by talking about how hard it is to continue to follow God when you are one of the very last ones doing so?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Christlike Part 3: If Ye Have Not Charity, Ye Are Nothing

Towards the very end of Christ's mortal ministry, some of the Jewish leaders came to Him with a test, as they often did. They hated Him and were constantly trying to find things that they could use to condemn Him to death. In this particular instance, they came up to Him as asked, saying, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

This response by the Savior exemplifies the importance of the third Christlike attribute that I want to share: charity. Jesus Christ perfectly personified all of the attributes I have previously written about and many others, but to me, this is the most prevalent and constant attribute of Christ. When I think of who He was, His love--charity--is the very first thing I think of.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Christlike Part 2: Which Hope...Maketh An Anchor to the Souls of Men

"I hope you have a good day."
"I hope my team wins the big game."
"I hope the weather clears up in time for the picnic today."

These, and many others like them, are commonly heard around the world in our society today. But what is hope? What does it really mean to hope for something? Where should our hope be placed?

Throughout the scriptures, we are taught the importance of having hope. For most of my life I honestly couldn't tell you the difference between faith and hope because in almost every situation it seemed as though they could be used synonymously with each other. With each of these I felt as though a simple substitution of "hope" with "faith" would leave the scripture exactly the same. For example:

"Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever." (Psalms 131:3)
"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" (Romans 8:24, especially when combined with Alma 32:21)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Christlike Part 1: If Ye Have Faith Ye Can Do All Things

In 1842, as part of a document later to be known as the "Wentworth Letter", Joseph Smith summarized the basic beliefs of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Of all the aspects of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the lives that members of the Church lead, Joseph did his best to summarize these things into thirteen short, concise statements so that people who are not members of our Church could gain a pretty basic understanding of who we are in a relatively easy and convenient manner.

In the fourth one of these statements--known as the Articles of Faith--we read, "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

As the prophet taught there and as is taught throughout scripture, faith is the first and most fundamental aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation upon which our belief is built. As the ancient Apostle, Paul, wrote, "For we walk by faith, not by sight". Faith must come first for without faith we will not receive a witness of the truth. But for the purposes of this blog post, I want to turn to a different aspect of faith; that of a spur or motivation to what we are capable of accomplishing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One By One

There are a number of things that I personally love about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Okay, that is an understatement. There are thousands of things that I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I come to find more and more with each day!

I love the fact that it is all about knowing for ourselves; this is not a gospel where we go to church and just believe whatever we are taught. No, we are encouraged to listen to what is taught, to study them for ourselves, and to ask God if they are true! I love that!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


As I grew up, my love and hunger for learning how the world works increased. I started taking more and more math and science classes. That is one thing I love. I love numbers and using them to describe the world around me! This strong love and appreciation for math always put me in the higher math classes and eventually put me in the higher science classes as well. I distinctly remember sitting in a number of chemistry and physics and calculus classes eating up everything that I was taught.

Being on a mission has been hard for me because, among other things, it has taken me away from the classroom, away from that comfortable and familiar atmosphere, and away from learning how the world works. That was a challenge for me to come to grips with at the start of my mission because I just wanted to learn! I craved it! I soon learned that, although I was no longer in a college setting, I was still learning and in a classroom of sorts: the Lord's classroom!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Blessing to Hope

Difficult circumstances can prove to either be the foundation for our testimony or the beginning of our downfall. There are many great stories of people finding courage in even the most difficult of situations. In the Book of Mormon we find a number of  groups of people who are personal and living testaments that such courage and even happiness and joy can be found in even the most dire of circumstances. Two such circumstances come to mind--the wilderness and prison.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rebecca's Baptism

I just realized that it has been a long time since I last made a post about someone I taught who got baptized! Well thankfully that is changing right now!

Back in July I met a girl on our system named Rebecca. She seemed really interested in learning more about our beliefs so I worked on helping her get involved with missionaries in her local area. Unfortunately, because of scheduling, she wasn't able to meet with them for a while and eventually we kind contact for a time. A few months later I felt like I should send her a message on Facebook and see how she had been doing. Much to my surprise she had been meeting with missionaries in her local area and going to church and even had a date to be baptized!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Will You Let Go?

I recently watched a great Mormon message. In this video, a man hears rumors of great wealth to be found in the California gold rush. After planning everything out, he sells everything that he owns to go to California and seek his own fortune, one which he hears will be far greater than what he presently had. Once he gets there, he soon realizes that it is nothing like he had imagined and that the wealth isn't coming as quickly as he had hoped. But after the help of an experienced prospector, he is eventually able to begin to build and gain that wealth.

I have watched this video a number of times but as I watched it this time, something new struck me. This man had heard rumors of great wealth and was willing to give up everything to seek them. He hadn't gone out ahead of time to scope it out. He didn't hold on to his stuff and take a quick little trip to see if it was true. Rather, he decided that it was something that he wanted, he knew that he would need to give up everything that he owned in order to obtain that, and that is just what he did.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Behind Thee

Well it is that time of the year again when everyone is obsessed with setting new goals and improving themselves. As you may recall from a previous post, I am not generally a huge fan of the concept of the cyclical pattern of setting new goals once a year that you break two weeks later, give up on completely, and wait until the next year to try again.

Of course, that is how I had always seen it before my mission but with the help of someone last year my view was able to shift and I was able to set goals for myself that actually mattered, that meant something to me, and which have become so ingrained within me that I haven't had to look at them in over eight months. Because I set goals that were so meaningful to me, I didn't have to look at a little piece of paper or a note card to remember what they were. They meant so much that after thinking of them numerous times a day, day in and day out, they became a part of me.

At the beginning of each new year, we all have the opportunity to start again. It is a fresh start, a new beginning of sorts. We are like a new flower awaiting to blossom. And the great thing is that we have the ability to choose how our life will blossom over the coming year. We can do this by the goals that we set. They will set the pace and the focus for our entire year if we set them well!

And now it is yet again another new year.