Tag Archives: Missionary

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I know this Church is true. My life has purpose and satisfaction because I understand who I am and what I can become.

I am not a produce of my circumstance but my choices.

“Sin limits our future choices: drugs, alcohol, infidelity quickly become addictions that become very difficult to break free from. The addiction becomes the master and we its slave.”

I trust in the Lord to help me make better choices today than yesterday, and I leave you with my witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Today Elder Stainback and I had the wonderful privilege of being guest teachers for the Relief Society of the Ukiah 2nd Ward. We were asked to talk about missionary work with the sisters and we had a wonderful discussion. We focused on the “what” and “worries” of missionary work as sisters in Zion. The sisters had marvelous questions and I pray that we were able to lift and encourage them with answers that will help them to be bold with those in whom are around them by sharing their testimonies.

I saw this video the other day and it was really moving. I have felt the Spirit much as I reflected on how blessed I am to share this message to the world using the power of the Internet and the beautiful people of northern California. I am so blessed and I hope that you will be able to feel the spirit as you watch this video. I know that this is the Lord’s work and we all have our part in it. These things I leave in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


This was one of my favorite talks given in General Conference last week. It was really cool to hear and to receive answers to my personal prayers from this talk. So much of life is much more than just doing something, but how we do it. We can become something more when we do things with purpose and diligence. I know that this is true and I have seen it in my life. As I have gone about doing this with steadfastness the situation in which we are in can change us into a better people.

What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?

By Lynn G. Robbins

Of the Seventy


“To be, or not to be” is actually a very good question. 1 The Savior posed the question in a far more profound way, making it a vital doctrinal question for each of us: “What manner of men [and women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27; emphasis added). The first-person present tense of the verb be is I Am. He invites us to take upon us His name and His nature.

To become as He is, we must also do the things He did: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27:21; emphasis added).

To be and to do are inseparable. As interdependent doctrines they reinforce and promote each other. Faith inspires one to pray, for example, and prayer in turn strengthens one’s faith.

The Savior often denounced those who did without being—calling them hypocrites: “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6). To do without to be is hypocrisy, or feigning to be what one is not—a pretender.

Conversely, to be without to do is void, as in “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17; emphasis added). Be without do really isn’t being—it is self-deception, believing oneself to be good merely because one’s intentions are good.

Do without be—hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself.

The Savior chastised the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe”—something they did—“of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23). Or in other words, they failed to be what they should have been.

While He recognized the importance of do, the Savior identified be as a “weightier matter.” The greater importance of being is illustrated in the following examples:

  • •Entering the waters of baptism is something we do. The be that must precede it is faith in Jesus Christ and a mighty change of heart.
  • •Partaking of the sacrament is something we do. Being worthy to partake of the sacrament is a weightier and much more important matter.
  • •Ordination to the priesthood is an act, or do. The weightier matter, however, is power in the priesthood, which is based “upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36), or be.

Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am.

Or as a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents. And to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior.

Christlike to be’s cannot be seen, but they are the motivating force behind what we do, which can be seen. When parents help a child learn to walk, for example, we see parents doing things like steadying and praising their child. These do’s reveal the unseen love in their hearts and the unseen faith and hope in their child’s potential. Day after day their efforts continue—evidence of the unseen be’sof patience and diligence.

Because be begets do and is the motive behind do, teaching be will improve behavior more effectively than focusing on do will improve behavior.

When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But the do—their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts.We might ask ourselves, “What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future? Being patient and forgiving when annoyed? Loving and being a peacemaker? Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming?”

How do parents teach these attributes to their children? We will never have a greater opportunity to teach and show Christlike attributes to our children than in the way we discipline them. Discipline comes from the same root word as disciple and implies patience and teaching on our part. It should not be done in anger. We can and should discipline the way that Doctrine and Covenants 121 teaches us: “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge” (verses 41–42). These are all Christlike be’s that should be a part of who we, as parents and disciples of Christ, are.

Through discipline the child learns of consequences. In such moments it is helpful to turn negatives into positives. If the child confesses to a wrong, praise the courage it took to confess. Ask the child what he or she learned from the mistake or misdeed, which gives you, and more important, the Spirit an opportunity to touch and teach the child. When we teach children doctrine by the Spirit, that doctrine has the power to change their very nature—be—over time.

Alma discovered this same principle, that “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword” (Alma 31:5; emphasis added). Why? Because the sword focused only on punishing behavior—or do—while preaching the word changed people’s very nature—who they were or could become.

A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?

We have all heard the advice to condemn the sin and not the sinner. Likewise, when our children misbehave, we must be careful not to say things that would cause them to believe that what they did wrong is who they are. “Never let failure progress from an action to an identity,” with its attendant labels like “stupid,” “slow,” “lazy,” or “clumsy.” 2 Our children are God’s children. That is their true identity and potential. His very plan is to help His children overcome mistakes and misdeeds and to progress to become as He is. Disappointing behavior, therefore, should be considered as something temporary, not permanent—an act, not an identity.

We need to be careful, therefore, about using permanent phrases such as “You always …” or “You never …” when disciplining. Take care with phrases such as “You never consider my feelings” or “Why do you always make us wait?” Phrases like these make actions appear as an identity and can adversely influence the child’s self-perception and self-worth.

Identity confusion can also occur when we ask children what they want to be when they grow up, as if what a person does for a living is who he or she is. Neither professions nor possessions should define identity or self-worth. The Savior, for example, was a humble carpenter, but that hardly defined His life.

In helping children discover who they are and helping strengthen their self-worth, we can appropriately compliment their achievement or behavior—the do. But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.

In a game of sports, a wise way to compliment our children’s performance—do—would be through the point of view of be—like their energy, perseverance, poise in the face of adversity, etc.—thus complimenting both be and do.

When we ask children to do chores, we can also look for ways to compliment them on being, such as, “It makes me so happy when you do your chores with a willing heart.”

When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.”

During family scripture time, look for and discuss examples of attributes discovered in your reading that day. Because Christlike attributes are gifts from God and cannot be developed without His help, 3 in family and personal prayers, pray for those gifts.

At the dinner table, occasionally talk about attributes, especially those you discovered in the scriptures earlier that morning. “In what way were you a good friend today? In what way did you show compassion? How did faith help you face today’s challenges? In what way were you dependable? honest? generous? humble?” There are scores of attributes in the scriptures that need to be taught and learned.

The most important way to teach to be is to be the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us. He is the one perfect parent, and He has shared with us His parenting manual—the scriptures.

My remarks today have been addressed primarily to parents, but the principles apply to everyone. May your efforts to develop Christlike attributes be successful so that His image may be engraven in your countenance and His attributes manifest in your behavior. Then, when your children or others feel of your love and see your behavior, it will remind them of the Savior and draw them to Him is my prayer and testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


I took this photo while I was on exchanges in Dixon a couple months ago. It was a wonderful view of the sun just bursting up over the mountains bright beaming colors of yellow and orange. I was lucky enough to get a beautiful photo to remind me of the wonderful small town feel of Dixon and it’s beautiful country lifestyle. I love sunsets and sunrises. They are special to me for many reasons. Some more sentimental than others but they are all near and dear to me.

I am always reminded of how beautiful this world is and how it is all set up in the cosmos. To create a planet with an atmosphere that can radiate so many colors every day is truly wonderful. Too many things are set into motion, so preciously placed to be by chance. There is a Divine Creator and He happens to be our Eternal Father. He knows and loves us by name and created the cosmos for us to marvel and always remember Him by. Let us look towards the beauty of the earth and truly see how we can see our Heavenly Fathers love.

I know he is there. He loves me. He loves you and will always love you. These things I leave with you in the name our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.


A few months ago our mission had the privilege of having Elder Patrick Kearon spend the day here in California and talk with us. I remember Elder Kearon’s talk from last General Conference and was excited that he was making an unexpected visit to the California Santa Rosa mission. This is the text of that talk given in October 2010. I felt impressed to share it with you this day.

I know the power of the Savior and His Atonement. It was an act of true love and it can heal any wounds that the world or ourselves have inflicted us with. I know that as we take heed to not go out without our shoes on that we will be protected from the dangers both seen and unseen. These things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


“Come unto Me with Full Purpose of Heart, and I Shall Heal You”

Patrick Kearon

Of the First Quorum of the Seventy


Tonight I would like to share a message of comfort and healing with any of you who feels alone or forsaken, has lost peace of mind or heart, or feels that you have thrown away your last chance. Complete healing and peace can be found at the feet of the Savior.

As a seven-year-old boy living in the Arabian Peninsula, I was consistently told by my parents to always wear my shoes, and I understood why. I knew that shoes would protect my feet against the many threats to be found in the desert, such as snakes, scorpions, and thorns. One morning after a night’s camping in the desert, I wanted to go exploring, but I did not want to bother with putting on my shoes. I rationalized that I was only going for a little wander and I would stay close by the camp. So instead of shoes, I wore flip-flops. I told myself that flip-flops were shoes—of a sort. And anyway, what could possibly happen?

As I walked along the cool sand—in my flip-flops—I felt something like a thorn going into the arch of my foot. I looked down and saw not a thorn but a scorpion. As my mind registered the scorpion and I realized what had just happened, the pain of the sting began to rise from my foot and up my leg. I grabbed the top of my leg to try and stop the searing pain from moving farther, and I cried out for help. My parents came running from the camp.

As my father battered the scorpion with a shovel, an adult friend who was camping with us heroically tried to suck the venom from my foot. At this moment I thought that I was going to die. I sobbed while my parents loaded me into a car and set off across the desert at high speed toward the nearest hospital, which was over two hours away. The pain all through my leg was excruciating, and for that entire journey, I assumed that I was dying.

When we finally reached the hospital, however, the doctor was able to assure us that only small infants and the severely malnourished are threatened by the sting of that type of scorpion. He administered an anesthetic, which numbed my leg and took away any sensation of pain. Within 24 hours I no longer had any effects from the sting of the scorpion. But I had learned a powerful lesson.

I had known that when my parents told me to wear shoes, they did not mean flip-flops; I was old enough to know that flip-flops did not provide the same protection as a pair of shoes. But that morning in the desert, I disregarded what I knew to be right. I ignored what my parents had repeatedly taught me. I had been both lazy and a little rebellious, and I paid a price for it.

As I address you valiant young men, your fathers, teachers, leaders, and friends, I pay tribute to all who are diligently striving to become what the Lord needs and wants you to be. But I testify from my own experience as a boy and as a man that disregarding what we know to be right, whether through laziness or rebelliousness, always brings undesirable and spiritually damaging consequences. No, the scorpion did not in the end threaten my life, but it caused extreme pain and distress to both me and my parents. When it comes to how we live the gospel, we must not respond with laziness or rebelliousness.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ and as bearers of the priesthood, we know the commandments and standards we have covenanted to uphold. When we choose another path from the one we know to be right, as taught by our parents and leaders and as confirmed to our own hearts by the Holy Ghost, it is like stepping onto the desert sand in flip-flops instead of shoes. We then seek to justify our lazy or rebellious behavior. We tell ourselves we’re not really doing anything that wrong, that it doesn’t really matter, and that nothing all that bad will result from letting go just a little from the iron rod. Perhaps we console ourselves with the thought that everyone else is doing it—or doing worse—and we won’t be negatively affected anyway. We somehow convince ourselves that we are the exception to the rule and therefore immune to the consequences of breaking it. We refuse, sometimes willfully, to be “exactly obedient” 1 —as it says in Preach My Gospel—and we hold back a portion of our hearts from the Lord. And then we get stung.

The scriptures teach us that “the Lord requireth the heart, 2 and we are commanded to love the Lord and serve Him with “all [our] heart.” 3 The promise is that we “may stand blameless before God at the last day” and return to His presence. 4

The Anti-Nephi-Lehies in the Book of Mormon laid down their weapons of war and buried them deep in the earth, covenanting never again to take up arms against their brethren. But they did more than that. “They became a righteous people” because “they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more.” 5 Their conversion was so complete and so profound that they “never did fall away.” 6

But before their conversion, remember their state: they were living in what the scriptures call “open rebellion against God.” 7 Their rebellious hearts sentenced them to live “in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” because they had “gone contrary to the nature of God.” 8

When they laid down their weapons of rebellion, they qualified themselves for the Lord’s healing and peace, and so can we. The Savior assures, “If they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them. 9 You and I can accept His invitation to “return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal [you].” 10

Contrast this miraculous healing with what happens “when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride [or] our vain ambition. … The heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved;” and we are left alone “to kick against the pricks … and to fight against God.” 11

Brethren, we find healing and relief only when we bring ourselves to the feet of the Great Physician, our Savior, Jesus Christ. We must lay down our weapons of rebellion (and we each know what they are). We must lay down our sin, vanity, and pride. We must give up our desires to follow the world and to be respected and lauded by the world. We must cease fighting against God and instead give our whole hearts to Him, holding nothing back. Then He can heal us. Then He can cleanse us from the venomous sting of sin.

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” 12

President James E. Faust taught:

“When obedience becomes our goal, it is no longer an irritation; instead of a stumbling block, it becomes a building block. …

“… Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated.” 13

Last week I met a 92-year-old man who had been involved in many of the major campaigns of World War II. He had survived three injuries, one of which was a land-mine blast to the jeep in which he was traveling, which killed the driver. He learned that to survive in a minefield, you must follow exactly in the tracks of the vehicle moving ahead of you. Any deviation to the right or left could—and indeed did—prove fatal.

Our prophets and apostles, leaders and parents continually point out the track we must follow if we would avoid a destructive blast to our souls. They know the path that has been safely cleared of mines (or indeed scorpions), and they tirelessly invite us to follow behind them. There are so many devastating traps to entice us from the track. Straying into drugs, alcohol, pornography, or immoral behavior over the Internet or on a video game will head us straight toward an explosion. Deviating to the right or the left of the safe track ahead of us, whether because of laziness or rebelliousness, can prove fatal to our spiritual lives. There are no exceptions to this rule.

If we have strayed from the track, we can change, we can return, and we can recapture our joy and our inner peace. We will discover that returning to the track from which the land mines have been removed brings enormous relief.

No one can find peace in a minefield.

Our Savior is the Prince of Peace, the Great Healer, the only One who can truly cleanse us from the sting of sin and the poison of pride and change our rebellious hearts into converted, covenant hearts. His Atonement is infinite and embraces us all.

The invitation given to the Nephites, when He ministered to them as the resurrected Christ, is still in force for you and for me: “Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them. 14

Not one of you has thrown away your last chance. You can change, you can come back, you can claim mercy. Come unto the only One who can heal, and you will find peace. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


I took this photo on the way to the Oakland Temple. I had never seen such big interstate intersections before and I wanted to take a picture of it…

All the overpasses and underpasses and rail lines. It could no way be accomplished without lots of careful planning and considerations. I pondered about complex systems and was reminded of my Heavenly Father.

Now I haven’t always had the strongest faith in knowing that my Heavenly Father exists or even knows and loves me individually. But I know now how wrong I was. He is real. He loves me and loves each and every one of His children.

During the times in my life when I felt as though God wasn’t real or he didn’t care, looking back those were the times where I distanced myself the most. That’s when I didn’t pray. That’s when I didn’t bother reading my scriptures on my own. That’s when I went to church out of habit and not out of love for my Heavenly Father and Savior.

As I have made those things apart of my life as a missionary I see His hand in so much of my life. I see Him watching over me, leading and guiding me to where He would have me be. And when I think back on the times I thought he wasn’t and I see now that he was. Ever so much.

Just as an architect knows every nook and cranny of a building. Our Heavenly Father is mindful and aware of each one of His children.

I hope that as we go through this life that we can see God’s hand in everything, including interstates. These things I leave with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.


I know that this man Elder David A. Bednar is an Apostle of the Lord. He is called to teach and to testify of Jesus Christ. He is a special witness and knows that He lives. The Lord provides for us a way in which we can know what he wants and expects from us through personal revelation and through prophets and apostles like Elder Bednar.

I am grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel and the authority of the Priesthood. Prophets and Apostles are again on the earth. The guidance they give is incomparable. I know that they are called and led by the Lord. These things I leave in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



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