Tag Archives: God

I dedicate this post to the dedication of the dedicated…

22 Sep

A couple of weeks ago, we New York missionaries were asked to ponder the question “How can I be a successful missionary?”. In the midst of my pondering, I came across a story told by President Thomas S. Monson:

Elder Thomas Michael Wilson entered the mission field already having battled cancer in his 23 years of life. His companions described his faith as ” unquestioning, undeviating, and unyielding”. 11 months into his 2 years of service, cancer returned, but Elder Wilson persisted in his missionary efforts. He underwent surgery and the amputation of his arm, but stayed in the mission field. President Monson relates how “Elder Wilson continued month after month his precious but painful service as a missionary. Blessings were given; prayers were offered. Because of his example of dedication, his fellow missionaries lived closer to God.” As the end of his mission drew near, so did the end of his short life, but he asked, and was allowed, to serve one additional month. Elder Wilson died shortly after returning home, and was buried with his missionary nametag in place.

As I read this story, I recognized it as a success story. Elder Wilson’s life was short. He didn’t make a lot of money. He didn’t raise a beautiful family. He didn’t set any records or break any barriers. But he dedicated himself completely to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’ve also seen this same quality over and over in the mormon.org videos. These are quick glimpses into the lives of members of the LDS church and each one seems to be a glimpse into a life of success and joy. The common thread that I’ve seen is that each person featured talks about their dedication to worthy causes — family, talents, interests, life.

One of my favorite quotes comes from George Bernard Shaw, who said:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

Dedication is success. In the last few weeks I have formed the opinion that to be successful in life, all one has to do is find something worthy to be passionate about, and be dedicated. For my part, I choose to be dedicated to my family, to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and, for the next week and a half, my mission as a representative of the Lord.


Repent ye! Repent ye!

9 Aug

I’ve learned an incredible lesson the last couple of weeks.

Being a missionary is a big responsibility. We are called by the Lord to “stand in his place … to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the people to whom he has sent [us]” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie). I can tell you quite honestly that I fall short of that every day. It can really start to weigh on you, all the times that you don’t quite do enough or don’t quite get it right. It’s hard to face the eternal consequences of the work of salvation. Even the little mistakes start to add up.

But this week I’ve been doing something different. Every night, as I pray before going to sleep, I spend some time thinking about those little things that I missed. I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness for specific things, not just the lump sum of falling short. Each and every little thing I can think of, I take the time to make right with the Lord.

I can’t say that I’m finding fewer little things, and I know I’m not finding all the little things. But I’m trying. And when I wake up in the morning I feel good. I feel clean. I feel more worthy to have the Holy Ghost as my companion.

I’ve learned these last couple of weeks that repentance is not just for big sins, it’s also for all the little things that we know we could have done better. And repentance isn’t painful or fearful, it’s the most peaceful, joyful thing we can do.

I know that Jesus Christ came into this world to suffer for our sins and to make it possible for us to be healed of spiritual pain. I know that He loves us. I know that He will lead me back to my Heavenly Father. And I know that all of this depends on my willingness to act and to apply the atonement to my life. I’ve been working harder on that, and I want to recommend it to all of you. Repent! Not because you’re afraid of the consequences of big sin, but because it will take away the burden of little stones that has built upon your back.

The Secrets of the Mormon Church

28 Jul

I am about to reveal the 5 great secrets practiced and followed by all the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were revealed a little over a year ago by a General Authority of the Church, in a meeting which I was privileged to attend:

Secret #1. Pray every single day.

Secret #2. Read from the scriptures every single day.

Secret #3. Hold a Family Home Evening every single week.

Secret #4. Attend the temple as often as possible.

Secret #5. Always pay a full and honest tithe.

Okay, okay. These aren’t exactly secrets. But when the speaker we were listening to in that church meeting said he was going to reveal the secrets of the leaders of the Church and then listed off those things, I was as surprised as you probably are now.

But then, none of us are really surprised, are we? These are the things we are taught to do from the scriptures and in church lessons. And we are promised in the scriptures that they will bring us great strength and joy. Success and happiness follow these regular, consistent actions:

    • Prayer and scripture study open the doors of communication with our Heavenly Father, so that we can receive His guidance and His love.
    • Spending quality time each week with our families fosters love and peace in the home, strengthening the eternal relationships of families.
    • Attending the temple often is an opportunity for members of the Church to receive greater learning by the power of the Holy Ghost, within the sacred walls of the House of the Lord.
    • And paying a full and honest tithe unlocks the blessings found in Malachi 3: 10-12.

    Following these principles has blessed the lives of the church leaders. They have developed great faith and they are able to tell us, with the knowledge of their own experience backing them up, that this is the right path. The secret to success is found in these simple actions.

I promised myself again, the day that I heard these secrets, to live them. I know that they will bless my life.

What are we bearing?

21 Jul

A few weeks ago, as I sat in church, I heard a talk about testimonies. The speaker read the definition of “bearing”, since we often say within the church that when we state what we know to be true we are “bearing a testimony“. He listed off some of the different uses of “bearing”

1. bearing arms

2. bearing a burden

3. bearing a cross

As he read these, it struck me that we are really bearing only one thing at a time in this life. Perhaps we are bearing arms–holding a grudge against the world and hoping to get back at someone, or fight for what we think is ours. Or, maybe we’re bearing a burden–suffering through some trial or affliction. Maybe that burden has become a cross that we bear–something that is literally or figuratively killing us.

But we don’t have to bear any of these things if we are bearing a testimony. A testimony is a knowledge of God, gained by the power of the Holy Ghost. When we read from the scriptures, attend church, or pray to our Heavenly Father, He answers us by sending the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to lift us up and to teach us what is true.

So if we turn to God with trust and if we continue to draw closer to Him, no matter what we have been bearing in the past, we can set aside that load and take up the lighter yoke of a testimony, something that will help us through this life and keep us close to our Savior and our Father.

Facing the Blowtorch

24 Jun

I saw the coolest video the other day!

It started with a paper cup–just a normal, empty paper cup. And a blowtorch. When the blowtorch was turned on, the cup was completely destroyed by the fire in about 20 seconds.

But that’s not what made the video so cool.

Next, a paper cup was filled halfway with water. The blowtorch was turned on, but only the top of the cup burned and blew away; the cup was safe wherever it was touching the water.

But that’s not what made the video so cool, either.

For the last segment, a paper cup was filled completely with water. The blowtorch was blasting on that cup for two full minutes, but the cup came out victorious! All it had was a little burn mark on the side. Eventually, the water would boil away, and the cup would once again be vulnerable, but until then, the cup was impervious to even the fire of the blowtorch.

What really made this video so cool was that we can apply it to our lives. So, if we are the paper cup, and the blowtorch and the fire represent everything that is hurled at us in this life — everything that tries to destroy us — how do we fill ourselves with water so that we can be victorious?

We read in John, chapter 7: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (verse 37). To the Samaritan woman at the well Christ said: “…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4: 14).

The teachings and the gospel of Jesus Christ are the water that keep us safe from trial, from temptation, from everything that would destroy us. We must fill ourselves with this water. And when the heat comes, and the water begins to evaporate, it is by making a habit of prayer, scripture study, and church attendance that we will replenish our cup.

True, we still receive some wounds in life. We still have to face tough times, just as the cup still received some marks from the fire. But as we continue to fill ourselves from the well of Christ’s love and teachings, we can handle the bumps and bruises along the way, and we won’t be destroyed. I know that the water of Christ is a well that we can draw from forever, that it will never dry out and never fail us. And I know that it will keep us strong.

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