Thursday, March 31, 2011

Needs Vs. Wants

I love music!
There, I said it.

We as missionaries don't listen to the radio or anything that is not done by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so as to invite the spirit and keep ourselves focused on our work. There are few ways better to invite the spirit and dwell on happy and uplifting thoughts then as you are listening to music of a calm nature.

The music that I loved before my mission though was usually of a more of a... uh, less then spiritual nature. I enjoy my rock and roll, my alternative, my industrial music, my metalcore, even the occasional hip-hop track. Still, there are other things I would rather have in my life more. In my life I NEED the spirit and a positive attitude, but I only WANT the other stuff.

The famous set of lyrics come to mind at this universal truth:
You cant always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!
Even the Rolling Stones Know This Gospel Principle
Our Father in Heaven wants to give us all the he has, and has prepared his kingdom for us as his children to inherit and enjoy. He wants us to be happy, wants us to grow and experience life to the fullest. He is willing to give us so many blessings and gifts and all we need to do is ask for them and be worthy of them. Our temporal life is blessed through him as well as our spiritual lives. He is willing to give us what we want (like playing with neighborhood friends), but he is more concerned with what we need (keeping us and our friends out of the busy street) as any loving parent would be, even at the sadness of the child. Its all a matter of perspective in this case.

Jesus talked about taking no thought of things that didn't really matter in Matthew 6:25,31-34 saying, "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" Some things really matter, and others just don't quite cut it in the long run. Because of this, even though I miss Green Day, System of a Down, The Offspring and a host of others, I choose to focus on things that really matter most and trade in something I want for something I really need.

All of us can choose between Wants and Needs or Good and Better, and its my hope that we can all take a look at ourselves and focus on things that matter most.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blessings From Serving a Mission

Life as a missionary is something else. We almost feel like there is no real point in unpacking since we might get shipped off somewhere new every six weeks, we gotta "learn the area" and the geography of the land, we get to talk with brand new people who we've never met before about the gospel, and we always have at least one person in the area we are serving that takes us missionaries under their wing while we are there.
Learning the area is big on my mind right now seeing as how I've only been in Gallatin for about eight days now. I got two way awesome Elders who got it down so we don't get lost, but I'm convinced that the GPS came about to help further missionary work! The quickest it took me to learn an area was about two and a half weeks in Leitchfield Kentucky, but with larger area's you can plan on devoting mucho time to studying maps and such for the first four weeks of the transfer!

Its been an amazing change for me as I've been talking with people also... I never really went out of my comfort zone or anything before I came out on my mission, but now I'm getting to the point where I'm comfortable being uncomfortable. I guess it just naturally happens when you spend about eight solid hours a day talking with people, but it still surprises me that it has come so quickly.

However, the best thing so far has been the change I've seen in people. One of the first nights I came to Tennessee the other Elder and I split up to be more effective for the night, each of us going with another member from the local congregation to visit people. The family we talked to that night was having a really rough time, most likely the lowest point in recent memory for them. I knew next to nothing, I was far from eloquent, but as we talked and comforted each other we all found peace and felt the spirit.

Over the next ten weeks, that family grew immensely in their faith despite continued hardships. They put their trust in god and started coming back to church. Every time we returned, they smiled bigger and laughed deeper. The outside world had no sway over the spirit that was contained in that loving household that we were met with as we continued to talk with them. Though things were far from perfect, they started to bounce back.

Witnessing their growth strengthened my testimony. Their continued gratitude to god despite hardships deepened my love for my heavenly father and reminded me constantly to be grateful. I can honestly say that my life is fuller because of the wonderful example this family provided to me, and it makes me want to be the same thing for other people in life. If all of us start with ourselves and "Let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which art in heaven", I know we can make good things happen in the world starting with us.

A Change...

I think we can all agree that there have been points in our lives where we recognize a need for change. We see that there is a better way to do things, a more productive or happy way that can benefit us and those we come into contact with. I'm personally starting with my blog as of right now. Thus far, I think perhaps I have given a decent amount of information, yet I feel like its not in a way that really matters or actually reaches anyone. Information doesn't really matter sometimes (most times...) when compared with how its understood once conveyed, and I really would rather focus on things that have a bit more practicality with them.

Honestly, its like the difference between being book-smart and street-smart. You can find all the information i've presented so far on in the FAQ or among other sites, but this shouldn't be about me presenting doctrine. Positive and uplifting messages: "Yes"... Sermons: "No".

Here on out, things are going to be a little bit different. If I haven't lost you yet, thank you for sticking through some growing pains with me, and lets do this thing right!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Following the Spirit

All people (missionaries included) can use as much help as they can get. So often we have heard wonderful and inspiring messages from across the world in regards to stories where someone followed a, "whispering" or simply knew that, "there was something they needed to do" to avoid disaster or help someone in need. I can personally testify to the power of the spirit and the blessings that come to those who heed the gentle call from the spirit, as well as the great benefit that it can be to those people with whom they come into contact with.

We read in Kings that the spirit is not loud, but we are promised that who ever qualifies for the spirit will feel of its presence and be guided and led at all times and in all places. Granted, the spirit will not dwell in places where it is not invited or would be offended, so it is a continual effort on all of our parts to be living our lives in accordance to a way that would keep the spirit close to us.

We must also be willing to listen. How often would you be willing to give advice or try to help someone who just isn’t getting the message? Same thing here... the spirit can and will strive with anyone who will strive with it no matter who that person is or what their understanding of the spirit is, "for he speaketh unto men according to their language unto their understanding."

We can all feel of the Holy Spirit according to its power as we live our lives in a way that is in line and in tune with the spirit of god. To gain the Gift of the Holy Ghost (in which we always have that spirit to be with us as we live faithfully and righteously), we must receive it through the laying on of hands after baptism by one holding the proper priesthood authority of god. Still, that spirit, though not always with us fully until we personally receive it after confirmation, has touched all of our lives at one point or another. Many who have not received it still can recognize it and be led, guided, and comforted through the hardships and trials of life because of the wonderful love that god has for all of his children.

I invite everyone to personally consider the times in their lives where they have been influenced by the Holy Spirit and remember that experience as vividly as possible. Like any good golfers swing, bask in that moment to allow yourself to further get in touch with what it is and how it feels. As we follow the promptings and whisperings of the Holy Ghost, I can promise great blessings from listening to the guidance we are all provided.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life of a Missionary

I love Preperation Day. As a missionary, we follow a pretty tight schedule that involves getting up at 6:30am every morning and staying out spreading the gospel and doing service from 10:00am to 9:00pm, but once every week we are allowed time to ready ourselves for the upcoming week. We shop, we email family and write letters home, we hang out, we play basketball or do other athletics, we visit historical sights, we do laundry and wash our car and home, and then once 5:00pm comes around we go right back to work spreading the gospel!

When we work, we spread the message that Jesus Christ himself taught to people and invite other to come unto him by living and experiencing his message firsthand. Often, we try to find service opportunities to better our community and be helpful to our neighbors. As we go about our days we work very hard to keep our minds focused on the work by not watching television or movies, not listening to most kinds of music, and keeping ourselves in the word and spirit of god so as to be better led and guided to those who would recieve Christs message.

We come out for a variety of reasons, but we are all united in our common belief in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his atonement. We have felt in our lives the influence of the spirit and experienced the blessings of following gods commandments and invite others to do so. We have a firm belief that the message we bring betters the lives of those who take it into their hearts and act upon it, and we know that God continues to show his love to his children today in a variety of ways.

If you are interested in learning more about the message that they share or having the missionaries share that message personally with you, go to and look around and invite the missionaries to visit!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Comforter

Our Father in heaven loves each and everyone of his children dearly, so dearly that he always is standing with his arms outstretched and at the ready to pour out blessings upon us. One of these great blessings we can receive is the Gift of the Holy Ghost that comes upon us after baptism by someone holding the priesthood or the authority of god. Though we will always have trials in our life, the Spirit gives us guidance and comfort and strength as we remember god and the promises we make at baptism, to take upon ourselves the name of Christ in all the things that we do. This blessing of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is beyond value!

I have personally witnessed the ability of the Spirit of God to bless and uplift those who receive it. Though it helps with everyday struggles as well, it is most apparent in times of crisis... a father losing his job, a mother finding herself in illness, then the loss of their child. I cannot pretend to know exactly what happened in this situation or how deeply the spirit really did impact the lives of that family, but I know through listening to the prayers of gratitude that the family shared afterwords and through the ability they had to press forward in faith that their comfort came from the Spirit.

To continually bless you, the gift of peace that the Holy Ghost brings has to be given to you. Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). While the spirit can and does touch the lives of all mankind throughout their mortal existence, having the comforter there always must be given through the laying on of hands. As we then receive that gift and welcome it through reverence and prayer, we can all come to know firsthand the blessings that come from having someone who brings peace continually and brings happiness and light into our lives.

The influence is undeniable. The blessings are real. The Comforter is willing, so long as we are willing as well to be healed and take peace.

Additional Link:
Christ Asks Us to Come Unto Him and Be Healed
3 Nephi 9:13-14

Friday, March 25, 2011

Effective Scripture Study

Many people have a brief familiarity with the Bible and the Book of Mormon as to what they are, but very few ever become, "Master Scriptorians" as the very well versed are called. It can be a lifelong pursuit that may never be fully realized, but through careful dedication and study ANYONE can become well acquainted with the words of the prophets, Jesus Christ, and God. Thus, EVERYONE can work to open up the windows of heaven and pour out the blessings and the spirit that comes from the written word.

In 2 Nephi 31:3, we come to read that "The Lord giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding". The belief that someone who doesn't read well or understand the "thee's" and "thou's" of scripture wording have a very real concern that the lord himself has spoken on! Perhaps the understanding of the scriptures varies from person to person, but the impact and knowledge that come to the mind of a person who diligently studies can not be dismissed. I have witnessed firsthand the blessing of the Lord through his holy spirit as was granted unto a man who wanted so badly to know whether or not the gospel we taught was true. Through his earnest effort, despite a severe learning disability, that man overcame his struggle and came to a knowledge of the redeeming power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I can testify that god gives unto his children his gospel through the medium of the Holy Scriptures and the power of the Holy Ghost.

We read in St. John 16:13 that, "... the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak". With this in mind, it is important to approach scripture study with prayer and in a reverent manner so as to invite the spirit to dwell with us and teach to our hearts and our minds. If not for this, we could not effectively apply what we learned through our studies. Knowing may be of the head, but truly doing something good with that knowledge is being wise, something you can only do if you internalize and make a principle or doctrine a part of you and your life.

Nephi 19:23 has the same basic thought process for us as we read, to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning". Looking at stories and putting ourselves in those shoes help us with the real world application of the knowledge we gain while reading, and make for effective ways to help younger children understand and grow a love for reading of the scriptures.

We have been admonished and told repeatedly to study and come to our knowledge of the gospel. 2 Nephi 32:3 gives my favorite way of putting it as it reads, "...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." What a strong promise this is! I have experienced in my own life the joy and peace that comes from reading and pondering the message of the scriptures, and I know for myself and countless others that reading of god’s word gives answers and guidance in ways otherwise missed. As we all do so, treasures will come that can be credited specifically to the reading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time Spent in Search of Christ

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they feel the need to figure out where they are at, where they are going, and find where their place is in a world. Many questions that arise and cause a great stir among us that can bring confusion or frustration if easy answers don’t present themselves. While there are no "easy" answers in life, all of us can find peace and comfort as we study and learn life firsthand as taught by Christ, the Master Teacher, through the Holy Spirit. What a blessing it is then to have the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Given to every man is the Light of Christ (verses 15-20) . It is given unto everyone the ability to choose right from wrong, and though we all sin and are acquainted with iniquity, god has not left us alone without guidance. The Light of Christ and the influence of the Spirit give us direction and guidance to help us pick the right choice and to live our lives in accordance to gods design and will. As time wears on, many may cease to allow this to influence their lives, but nevertheless, it is still given to every man as often as they are listening and living in a way so as to invite the Spirit.

In my own life I can see many instances where I was being acted upon to make a better choice then I regretfully ended up making, and as a result of that the feelings of peace and harmony withdrew from me as did the spirit itself left. However, every time I started doing right or living my life in accordance with the gospel, that spirit returned to comfort me and provide me with guidance I so truly desired.

As we live the gospel of Jesus Christ and exercise our faith, repent of our past transgressions, be baptized by his priesthood authority and live worthily to have his spirit be with us, we can all find answers to life’s greatest questions as we allow our minds and our hearts to be opened to the whisperings and enticing of the holy spirit as it testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel. As we truly live the gospel, the blessings that flow from it will be a testimony to each of us of its divinity. I invite everyone to know and understand that message personally through their firsthand experience by exercising faith unto living the message Christ himself gave unto all man.

If you would like to get in touch with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please don’t hesitate to visit and to explore Have a blessed day!

Building a Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ

Many people have taken years to develop a personally relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As people often find themselves at odds with the world and the struggles it presents, it's such a blessing to have the knowledge that there is one concrete thing in this world that all people, regardless of who they may be, can draw strength and peace from. All of us are loved so much and cared for so deeply as to remove any doubt or concern so long as we keep Jesus’ message with us in our minds and in their hearts.

Some are led to ask, "What can a personal relationship with Jesus do to actually help me?" which once answered and understood inevitably leads to the next question, "What can I do to strengthen that relationship?"

A relationship with Jesus Christ brings about the blessings of his gospel. Knowing him brings about thoughts and ideas that are uplifting, a peace of mind, courage to face opposition and struggles, and an assurance that there is one who is always there who knows you as an individual of great worth. Indeed, through our earnest effort in coming unto him whose arms are always outstretched, we can be numbered as his sheep and through him find exaltation and ever lasting life.
In the short term, we can find answers to life’s greatest questions and find personal guidance for everyday living as we build ourselves up and give unto him our time and diligence in doing those things that show a humble willingness to be perfected in him.

As all of us are different, we may not all necessarily come by our personal relationship with the Master in the same way, but there are several things that be done to increase faith and the blessings that come from our relationship. The best way to truly know of his gospel is to first of all know it. Through scripture study of the Bible and The Book of Mormon, testimony of prophets of old concerning the Redeemer of the world can add a witness that so many today have of the divinity and truthfulness of Christ and his gospel. The individual passages in which we read the direct words from Christ himself allow us gain a direct knowledge of the principles or actions that he admonishes all of us to live and strive for. As we live these principles, we can gain a personal testimony of the light that enters into our lives and as we do so come to know of him through his teachings.
Another way we gain a personal relationship is through prayer. In your own earthly family, those we love and build relationships with need and adore those times where all you do is talk. God and Jesus both are the same way. There is no better way to come unto Christ then through prayer, just as talking with your family is an important and enjoyable activity that brings you closer together. We are commanded to pray and pray often for our welfare, but also because of the great love that our Father and his Son have for us. I would encourage anyone looking to build their relationship with the Savior to pray earnestly for half an hour each night for the next week. It is amazing how after the initial five minutes where you run out of personal thoughts, the influence of the Holy Spirit can lead and guide your prayer as you ponder and talk on a one on one level with your Savior. As you do this, allow yourself to think of him and his loving concern for you and know that he hears you.

Though it’s never easy, it’s always well worth it. I have seen and felt that in my own life as I know each and every one of us can.

Links: What It Means to Know Christ - Ensign, September 7th, 1974

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I will be starting this blog with very few purposes in mind. Mostly they shall be thoughts from my mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ideas that come to my head, or subjects that I have been puzzling on that accidentally make their way onto cyberspace. However, I justify this due to fact that if it was important to me enough to write it down once, perhaps it can prove beneficial to someone looking for answers and reading the thoughts of someone else going through a similliar situation.

I am so excited to be starting this up, and I hope that all of you who read this can feel enlightened and have new thoughts come to your mind as I go about not-so-aimlessly sharing thoughts on matters of a spiritual nature. If there is a particual topic you would like for me to cover sometime, give me a notice or comment and I can oblige you.