Monday, October 29, 2012

love others.

Have you seen this commercial? This is perhaps one of the most beautiful videos I have ever seen. Enjoy. And then share. :)

There are so many things I take for granted.

I feel so selfish sometimes. 

I am so lucky to be living where I am living.

I am so lucky to have the family I have, and the gospel in my life.

I am so lucky to have the freedoms I have.

The past while I have been been really sad about the condition of our country. 

I fear for it.

But you know what? It is still great. It is still good.

I am probably living in better conditions than 99% of the world.

And I'm grateful for Sundays.

I'm grateful for my ward family.

I am grateful for my friends. 

I am grateful for my sight.

When I take a little step back, I can see the world from a different perspective. We are all just plugging along, trying to do what we think is best.

And life is hard. Not just for me or you, but for everyone. 

We weren't meant to be self-sufficient. We need God in our lives.

And I want to help people.

I want to make them grateful for me. 

I want to change someone. 

Maybe even change a few someones. 

Little teeny tiny actions on our part really can have a profound effect on someone's life.

Or someone's eternity.

What better way to show gratitude to your Savior than to love and serve your fellow men?

Matthew 25
34 - Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 - For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 - Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 - Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 - When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 - Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 - And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

How amazing, right?

The scriptures say that in the last days, love of many shall wax cold.

We see this everywhere... divorce, violence, nasty words...

One place I always notice it is on the internet. I will click on the article of a tragic death, and all I read is, "how could you be so foolish" or "you shouldn't have left your child alone..."

I read nasty words everywhere on the internet. 

I just think, "Would you say these things to someone's face?"
"Do you think that because you can anonymously write unkind words that they will be forgotten or dismissed?"

"Do you think this isn't bullying??"

I mean sheesh, hasn't anyone ever heard of netiquette?

The internet isn't the only evidence of love waxing cold... just the one that came to mind at the moment. 

Keep in mind that no one - not even the angels in heaven - not even the prophet - knows when Christ will come again.

People have been making predictions for thousands of years. Click here to see a list. It's actually very interesting.

But no one knows. 

We have knowledge of signs that will proceed the coming of Christ, but I think people sometimes suppose that it will take a long while for them to be fulfilled. 

I wonder if some people think, "when we have missions in China, then it will be time."

Well the gospel is already being preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. I'm pretty sure we don't have to have a China mission for that to be fulfilled.

And don't forget Hong Kong.

Don't take this as doctrine, but I wouldn't be surprised if Christ came tomorrow and the signs were just fulfilled in different ways than I had supposed. 

I mean I'm pretty sure that there are still signs that have to be fulfilled... but I don't know... just a thought.

What if when the Savior comes and despite what's going on around you, you are still loving and serving your fellow men?

I don't think those people - people who really, truly love others... even those they don't know - have anything to fear. 

So what is your take on this? What lesson is to be learned?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

no worries.

Our message is a simple one.

Our doctrine is easy.

I mean, sure there is a lot to learn.

The truths of eternity stretch on forever and ever. No man living here on earth could ever or will ever know everything.

But that's really okay.

You don't have to know everything. You actually only need to know a few things.

All the knowledge you need to obtain eternal life is available to you.

And all things considered, you don't need to do much.

Just be a good person and love God.

Do what you can. The Lord is merciful.

I am confident that in the end, you will receive the lightest consequences that are possible for your sins...
And the most abundant blessings possible for your faithfulness.

And pretty soon, if you are doing your best, your best will be better.

And you will want to do more.

It's a natural part of conversion.

Like Henry B. Eyring said just a couple weeks ago, having a testimony means you know the gospel is true.

And being converted is being true to the gospel.

Once you realize this your life will change so much for the better.

Imagine how proud your Creator will be when you return to Him.

Maybe you will be a little battered and not entirely perfect, but that's how the world returns you.

And then heaven makes you perfect.

Jesus Christ makes you perfect.

Again, sometimes it seems really hard and complicated.

Sometimes I am asked questions about the church that are really quite deep.

And sometimes I know how to answer, sometimes I don't, but then I wonder to myself, "who cares?"

Who cares if I don't know everything there is to know. It isn't even possible, and it isn't necessary for my salvation.

Don't get me wrong, knowledge is beautiful and important and required.

But don't let the little tiny details you don't know keep you away from the huge things that you do know.

Do you know the gospel is true?

Have you felt the Spirit - have you gained a testimony?

At least a little piece of one?

The gospel will always be true.

And when you take a step back, it will always be simple.

So... hakuna matata. 

and have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

it's impossible to master the recorder...

I have no idea why the following video is so funny. I watched it at least twelve times in a row and couldn't stop laughing.


The following video is actually very funny.

I know it's long, but it's worth it. haha...

Haha sorry you have to see him shirtless at 3:12 (pretty bad, haha)... but it kinda adds to the funniness.


I'm dying.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

you know what you know.

We, as humans, long for acceptance.

I think it's just in the nature of the natural man.

We know what we know. The wildebeest in the above video knew the whole time that it was a crocodile that he was looking at in the water. But he just had to prove his point. He wanted to make sure that the other wildebeest knew who was right.

And he paid for it.

Do we find ourselves doing this?

I certainly have a tendency to do this sometimes... I want people to see things how I see them.

You know?

But here's the thing... you don't have to prove things to others. Even things you know are true.

If you know it's bad, stay away.
If you know it's good, cleave to it.

Of course I am not suggesting that you shouldn't share knowledge and try to enlighten your friends.

Let me try to illustrate this thought...

I love the gospel.

It's everything to me.

It makes me so happy.

The knowledge it brings...

The peace it brings...

The joy it brings...

It's unexplainable.

My ward family is everything to me.

My neighbors - my friends in my ward - are truly my family.

They mean the world to me and have helped to raise me. I don't think many outside the church truly realize what an amazing thing a ward is.

And the gratitude that enters into my heart whenever I think of my Savior...

The gospel is a miracle.

And I love it.

But the thing is... just because I know the church is true doesn't mean everyone I talk to will believe the church is true.

That would be awesome, but it just isn't like that.

Sharing the gospel is so important. You can bless the lives of those around you for eternity.

But I've been trying to remember that I can't convert anyone.

The Spirit can convert people. And I can try to make people sensitive to feeling the Spirit, but I can't just have a nice chat with someone and make them love the gospel. I will never be able to.

The Spirit changes hearts, not me.

So I guess if I want to help change hearts, I need to make sure I am sensitive to feeling the Spirit myself.

So that others can feel it through me.

Something that breaks my heart is when you see people who have had the gospel their whole lives and still they don't truly appreciate it. They have been surrounded by truth, and maybe at one time had a testimony. Maybe they still do have a testimony, they just don't have the conviction and motivation to become fully converted.

And it makes me so, so sad. Like, so sad.

And sometimes I just want to annoyingly yell at them... don't you know what people have sacrificed for you to have this gospel? Don't you know exactly who you are? Who you can become? How much God loves it when you are faithful to Him?

Don't you realize how happy you will be when you become fully devoted to your Creator?

But I don't say these things to them... (At least I don't yell these things to them... haha)

I do what I can. But they have truth right under their noses. And sometimes nothing I say or do will make them see it.

I just pray for them. That their hearts will be softened and changed. And that it won't take some drastic, life-shattering experience for them to become converted.

Alma 30:44But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

What an amazing scripture, right?

All things denote there is a God.

Look at all the tiny details that work together perfectly... The earth is like one big, perfectly engineered machine.

When you look at the beauty of nature... the beauty of humanity... the beauty of love and forgiveness...

There is no way it all just created itself.

It wouldn't make sense.

I always think of Elder Nelson's talk from last April...
"Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely 'seen God moving in his majesty and power'..."

And still, so many people believe that all of this just happened. That a Big Bang could create intelligent, loving, and truly beautiful people.

You guys, there are an infinite number of signs - an infinite number of evidences - of a God.

And people praying for some big sign... they just don't get it. 

There are signs everywhere

You are a living, breathing, evidence of a God. 

No matter what anyone else believes... You know what you know. Nothing could ever change that.

And if you feel you need to prove a point... stop. Remember to be patient with people. 

We're all just living life the best we can.

Remember who converts people... who changes hearts.

Do what you can, and pray that the Lord will make up the difference. 

Because, in the end, He always does.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a magical and extraordinary thing

Are you ever struck - just at random times - with wonder and with awe?

Like... isn't it crazy that... well... that we exist?

Life is amazing.

God is amazing. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

a heightened desire to serve

"Only when our testimony transcends what is in our mind and burrows deep into our heart, will our motivation to love and to serve become like unto the Savior's. It is then, and only then, that we become deeply converted disciples of Christ and powered by the Spirit to reach the hearts of our fellow men."
-Russell M. Nelson (Afternoon Session)

I suddenly had the increased desire to do missionary work about a year ago. I say suddenly, but really, that was a step in my conversion. Many, many things, over the course of my whole life, led to my desire to serve others and to share the good news of the gospel.

It's why I started this blog. It was the first thing that popped into my head... An easy way to share my thoughts. Maybe not everyone will read them, but a few will, and if you can change the lives of even just a few... well, you've done your job right.

When I talk to my nonmember friends, it seems that that desire - that unexplainable need to do missionary work (what my friend Sydney would call a pulsing of the heart) - almost explodes inside of me. 

Those people are happy. You can live a happy life without the gospel. But can you live a fulfilled life? (haha... kinda reminds me of that post I did a few days ago... )

The gospel has brought me comfort. 
A true appreciation for sacrifice.
The belief in an Almighty God - One who loves unconditionally and would never forsake.
It's eased my burdens in an unspeakable way.
Taught me to hope.
Taught me to love.
Taught me to trust.
Given me a love for people.
Taught me that there is a balance in all things - a reason for every trial and triumph.
Shown me the beauty of humanity.
The goodness of the human spirit.
Taught me to marvel at God's creations.
Instilled in me the knowledge of who I am and what my Divine Purpose is.
Given me a sense of amazement and awe at what my Savior has accomplished.

The list truly could go on and on.

And if I can help just one person to partake of the glorious freedom and joy that the gospel has to offer... I will be the happiest, most successful person alive.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

(-Emily Dickinson)

A strong desire to serve God's children came with the desire to share the gospel. The two are inexplicably linked together.

It's why I'm going to Fiji, although I am a strong believer that the most meaningful service you will ever do will be among your own peers.

I am still going to jump at the chance to serve people of another culture, though. The chance to see the world and interact with people that are living in such a different way from me will be an amazing experience.

The desire to serve is a strong one that has also been blooming and blossoming and maturing within me for a long time.

But never before has it been so strong.

The age change for missionaries announced today was maybe one of the biggest answers to prayer that I have ever had.

It was actually an answer to unspoken prayer, because although I have been worrying and wondering about a mission, I'm not sure I ever brought my thoughts to the Lord.
He knows my heart, though.

I'm pretty sure it's the only major announcement that the church has made that I can remember...

(I guess that it depends on what you would consider a major announcement, but I can't remember another that directly impacted me and affects me the way this one does.)

I've sorta briefly described my change of heart toward missionary work and service. For a while now, I have had the strong desire to serve a mission, but I've never totally known if I would.

I mean, you never know what I will be doing by the age of 21. Maybe I will want to get married by then. And I don't feel like putting a family on hold for a mission is a good choice for me to be making...

I wanted to go on a mission so bad, but it was always still kind of a maybe.

Well it is not a maybe anymore.

I freaked out when I heard that announcement, and I have been giddy with excitement all day.

Like every time it crosses my mind, my heart fills with so much joy - I can hardly begin to explain it.

And there is no uncertainty at all - not the slightest of a doubt in my mind - what I will be doing when I turn nineteen.

I am so excited and so grateful that I won't have to wait to leave or wait to make that decision.

One of my sweetest tender mercies.

And I think - because of the sweet miracle that took place for me in the first five minutes - this has been my favorite conference so far. Ever.

And the talks have been great. Have you tried taking notes?

I just thought of something that we read in seminary yesterday... (I took a picture of the following quote with my iPod so I could share it with you guys...)

Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down, he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down, and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said, "There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now," said he, "when compared with the [living] oracles, those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books."

This is of course not to say that the scriptures aren't important. The scriptures are the word of God and the prophets that wrote in them were Divinely called and their words apply to us today.

The Book of Mormon has been called the keystone of our religion, the most perfect book that exists today.

But even above those books, are the words of our Prophet and the apostles who are on the earth today.

I pray that each of you will tune in to conference tomorrow and listen to the amazing and essential advice that the Lord's disciples have to offer you. Whether you watch from the seats in the conference center, the pews in your stake center, the couch in your family room, or your spinny-computer chair...

I know that you will feel the Spirit witness to you that the words being said are true... that the amazing speakers you will listen to are truly conveying the Lord's will to you.

Click here to watch.

10:00-12:00 pm and 2:00-4:00 pm MDT.

You guys are awesome.

Happy Conference Weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

vanuinui vinaka e nomu volau!


I'm going to Fiji next summer???

Just got my spot saved for next year! (click)

Soooooo excited!

(It's about time working after school every day during prime homework hours paid off - and paid off big time! (:  )


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

general conference is for YOU!

I'll tell you... it sounded really hard to me the first time I was challenged in seminary to take notes for all four sessions of general conference...

But I did it and you know what?

I am so passionate about it now that I took notes last conference too... and I wasn't even assigned to.

Really and truly though... in the past, every time I'd watched general conference, it kinda seemed like they were all talking about the same things and all of the talks sorta... blurred together.

But I am still hearing different random quotes and things that either I will recognize from a recent talk, or things that will instantly remind me of a specific talk.

And I seriously remember so many talks and what they were about and who was the speaker.

And I love that. Because before I took notes, I seriously would forget what I heard pretty soon after conference ended.

But not anymore.

General conference talks are scripture. Just like reading Matthew or Mark or the book of Jacob.

If you got the chance to go hear the Savior speak to you from the pulpit, you wouldn't miss it for anything. (At least I'm hoping so!)
You would be there listening and you would do whatever He counseled you to do.

And I'm pretty sure you would remember it for the rest of your life.


The Lord speaks today. He speaks through the prophets. Revelation and communication with the Divine exists today... just as it did in times of old.

Don't miss the opportunity to hear direct counsel that comes literally straight from the Savior.

I can't even tell you how much it will bless your life if you take notes and don't just brush off conference when it ends.

You will feel the Spirit so much during conference, and it will give you a spiritual high. And spiritual highs are always good.

Oh and one more thing.

Something neat about the talks you will hear are that they are written for us now. In 2012. They aren't words from thousands of years ago. The scriptures written then apply to us now too, but you know, they just aren't as specific to our time.

Read this quote from last October...

"I know our greatest happiness comes as we tune in to the Lord and to those things which bring a lasting reward, rather than mindlessly tuning in to countless hours of status updates, Internet farming, and catapulting angry birds at concrete walls. I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us."
- Ian S. Ardern

Isn't that awesome? He referenced Angry Birds in his talk. 

(And how did that particular example just pop into my head? Notes! You remember things when you write them down!)

Anyways just a thought. The prophets know today's world. At our last stake conference, one of the members of the presiding bishopric came and spoke to us. And he read scriptures off of his iPad.

Don't just brush off the words these amazing people say.

They apply to you now!

This post ended up way longer than it was going to be. I was seriously going to just share the video and  suggest taking notes.


Have a lovely day and conference weekend!


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