Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: You are a Child of God

If there was only one thing I would tell everyone in the world, it would be that they are a child of God.  These words mean so much to me and the phrase "I am a Child of God" started my conversion.  Knowing that you are a child of God is so important!  Being a child of God is so special!  God loves you and me and every single one of us.  What's even better is that we can turn to him for anything.  He is there for you and is watching out for you!  Turn to Him when you need Him and if you are afraid, I know for a fact that He will be there.  I testify that we are all children of God.


He Lives - Celebrate Easter Because Jesus Christ Lives

Monday, March 30, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Music Changed My Life

Music is the most powerful force of change.  It has been used for good and for bad.  Good in the form of classical music and church music.  Bad in the form of modern pop songs talking about rebellion, drugs, and immorality.  Pop songs are not bad but the messages they convey usually are.  

I had both in my life.  I definitely like the good one better.  It brings joy and lasting peace.  It was sent from God because he knew I would need a good influence in my life.  I know that, like anything else, music comes in good and bad forms.  We must stop leaning towards the bad and immerse ourselves in hymns, symphonies, and other classical, peaceful music.  

I know that music changed my life and so did Jesus Christ. 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Why are YOU here?

Have you ever thought why are you here?  

I have thought this a couple of times.  I know I'm here for a reason because I was one of the last adoptions from  Russia.  If my parents hadn't followed the promptings of the Spirit, I wouldn't be here.  So I know that the Spirit guided my parents to me.  I have a purpose.  I have something important to do in life.  I know my Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and my testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan for me is strong.  I know these things to be true and self-evident.  

Other ways you know that a plan is laid out for you is when you have, let's say, a near-death experience but you miraculously survive.  That right there is living truth of a plan your Heavenly Father has laid out for you.  I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me and I'd like to say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Courage

I have never witnessed a miracle such as those surrounding Lazarus at Jesus' side. I have never stood in wonder and amazement before God or angels as did Joseph Smith.  But I know through small and simple things great things come to pass.  

I have seen miracles in my life. They may not be big to some, but they mean everything to me.  I've seen God place people in my life and in my family's life.  

My sister unknowingly married a terrible, abusive man.  Her once innocent countenance turned cold and her attitude to her loving family grew distrusting.  Through seven hard years alone my sister endured, until one man reminded her how much her family loved her and regardless of what she had done, they would love her.  

Within that year she came back.  She had the courage to leave, to be in a better place, to come home. 

C.H. 10th Ward youth member (blog post submitted by anonymous)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Closer to God

The last little while I have had a hard time getting to read my scriptures.

It's hard to wake up early and read your scriptures, but over this last week I was challenged to read my scriptures every day so..... I did, and it has been great!  I honestly feel better.  Previous to this week I was tired and groggy, and this week when I woke up early I have been happier and more full of life.

I know that reading your scriptures and praying will bring you closer to God, so I challenge you to do the same.

C.H. 10th Ward youth member (blog post submitted by anonymous)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: Prayer Can Help Anyone

My name is Anna.  I am 16 years old and I am a Mormon.  

As a teenager I go through many difficulties of finding out who I am and what my purpose is in life and that is why prayer is very important to me.  

I'm not perfect.  I go through a lot of struggles and trials.  Whenever I feel like nobody is there for me, whenever I feel worthless and alone, I pray.  I feel His presence there and that He is watching over me and loves me so much.  He sends me the Holy Ghost when I feel so down and alone.  It helps me feel happy and helps me get through whatever I'm going through.  I don't think I have ever heard the Holy Ghost actually speak to me.  I know the Holy Ghost is there by feeling a sense of peace. The air is easier to breathe and I feel free and calm.  

Prayer can help anyone.  It doesn't have to be out loud with you on your knees and folding your arms every single time.  It can be a short little prayer inside your head asking for strength, courage, anything, everything that you want, need, or have difficulties with.  Every single night I pray for everything I need to get through the next day.  Prayer is a true gift from Heavenly Father.  It has helped me get this far in life without falling apart.  I know prayer can help me get through the rest of this very challenging life.  And I know prayer can help every single person in this world.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Youth Mini-Mission Message: To Learn

Why do we have trials in our lives?  Simple: to learn.  

I recently finished a battle with cancer, but I would be lying if I said it was easy.  However, I would never forsake that trial, because I learned that things come in Heavenly Father's time and that Heavenly Father sends the Holy Ghost to comfort us in times of need.  After my diagnosis, my dad gave me a priesthood blessing and the first words he said were, "All things happen for a reason," which helped me know I was in the right hands.  I am through that trial now, and by going through it I have bonded with my Heavenly Father.  

I testify that He knows what we are going through, and loves each and every one of us individually.  He sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins.  That is how much Heavenly Father and our big brother in Heaven, Jesus Christ, love us.  I know I can face anything because I have Christ's hand that I can hold when I need to.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anxiety and the Atonement: My Story

Hello! My name is Sherrie and I have anxiety and OCD. 

For those of you who know me pretty well or have ever worked with me on a project or assignment, this information might have confirmed your suspicions. For some, this information might be surprising. 

In February 2015 I experienced a very severe panic attack. Through this experience I learned some important lessons that I would like to share. But first, some background information might be helpful. 

I've always had a little bit of a tendency to worry. I have inherited what I lovingly call the “worry gene” in my family. As I've gotten older, perhaps since I've had my children, I've slowly and steadily become more anxious. Usually whatever I am worried about resolves itself naturally and fairly quickly and I am able to relax and move on. 

Last month, however, was very different. At the end of January, I went with a group of friends to Disneyland. Because of the measles outbreak that had centered there over Christmas, prior to my leaving I checked in with doctors, asked my Mom about my childhood vaccination history, looked up my vaccination records on a public database and received another MMR vaccination. I did all of this because I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I wanted to be certain that I did all I that I could possibly do to avoid the measles and most importantly not bring it back home with me. After I did all of this, I went to Disneyland, had a wonderful time and didn't give the measles another thought. (Well, not too many.) 

All was well during the trip and for about a week after I got home. However, the news, Facebook posts and the Internet in general were constantly updating me on the newest cases and outbreaks of the measles across the country. I started to read everything I could about signs, symptoms, incubation periods and contagious periods. Because of all of this reading I was very acutely aware that measles generally started with a fever about 7-10 days after exposure. With all of this information circulating in my brain, I started to check my temperature every day and began to check my face and hairline for the telltale spots. Every day. Every time I passed a mirror. I grew increasingly afraid that I was contagious and didn't know it yet. At that point I began to break down. The Sunday a little over a week after I got home I cried through the entire three hours of Church because I was certain that I was breathing measles everywhere and on everyone. The fact that I hadn't shown any symptoms and had received three or four MMR vaccinations in my life was not at all comforting to me during that time. My brain had convinced me that I was a measles-breathing fire dragon. It may sound funny, but it was very real to me. 

After that Sunday, my husband who has some experience with mental health, found me a counselor to go talk to because this particular fear was starting to affect me living my life. I retreated to my house. I did everything I could to avoid being out of my house and especially around children. I didn't touch the Sacrament trays on Sunday. I made excuses to my kids' friends for reasons they couldn't come in and play. I had my husband run my errands for me. Any time I couldn't get out of doing something, I did it with a giant pit in my stomach and feelings of overwhelming guilt. There were several times where I had to force myself to be “normal.” 

My counselor taught me some techniques to help me retrain my brain to react to stress and fear. I worked on them at home and made some good progress but one day I completely broke. In an attempt at “normal” life I had been at the school doing some volunteer work. But simply being there around so many kids pushed me over my limits. Still not showing any signs or symptoms, my frenzied brain insisted that I had just exposed an entire school to the measles. Later, I was alone in my house trying to calm myself, but nothing I tried worked. I knew that I was going to be the lady on the news who had knowingly exposed hundreds of innocent children. The fear, the stress and the guilt were crushing. 

At that moment my best friend came to drop something off and found me in a complete and total panic attack. So many thoughts were flooding my brain and I was hysterical. My husband called to check on me at that point as well. My friend convinced me to come with her for a drive. I resisted at first, not wanting to infect anyone, but she was eventually able to persuade me. She got me to her house where her husband and a neighbor gave me a priesthood blessing of comfort. My friend arranged for me to go the doctor and get a blood draw done that could determine my level of immunity. The next day the tests confirmed that I had “very high levels of immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.” With that news, almost instantly, my fear subsided. 

I don't tell this entire story to get sympathy. I share it because of the very important things I learned. 

First, one in 40 people deal with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My situation, while completely consuming and awful, only affected me and my family for about 2 weeks. I have to believe that there might be someone reading this who is struggling with disabling anxiety every day, non-stop. I wanted to share my experience to say that there is help available and to please not be ashamed to ask and seek out help from friends, family members and professionals. My anxiety still manifests itself, but I am learning to manage it before it gets out of control. 

Second, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we learn about the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. We learn that our Savior suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross to redeem us and save us so we can return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. We also learn in Alma 7:11-12; 
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people.  
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. 
I have a firm testimony that my Savior knew how I felt because He had felt it too and because of that, He knew what I would need to be comforted. I prayed, but my prayers were not answered by my fears and anxieties being taken away. Rather, my prayers were answered in the comfort I received from my husband and my friends and the help they provided that the Savior knew I would need. Looking back on this experience, I see the tender mercies and the hand of the Lord throughout it all; my husband having experience with mental health and recognizing when I was in serious trouble and being kind and understanding and helping me to get help, my friend for listening to promptings about how to help me and following through with them, and the Priesthood holders who were willing to take time out of their work day to give me a blessing.

I know my Heavenly Father knows me and my needs. I know that the Savior has felt all that we feel and because of that, He knows how to help us. It may sound strange, but I am truly grateful for this experience. I know that all experiences we are given on Earth are for “our profit and learning.” For me, this experience has taught me greater empathy, true love and kindness and my testimony of the miracle and gift that is the Atonement was expanded and strengthened. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sealed for Time and for All Eternity

As proud grandparents we watch with great interest and many prayers how our 18 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren are growing, developing and dealing with life’s challenges.  As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we can see this has a great influence in helping our loved ones to know who they are, as children of their Heavenly Father, and to see them develop a caring, honest, energetic approach to life.

Six of our grandchildren are married, working at good jobs and/or pursuing a college education and other worthy goals.  As an authorized official in our church, I have had the privilege of performing a licensed marriage in one of our temples for four of my grandchildren.  It is such a wonderful blessing to feel the assurance that when these marriages are performed under the priesthood authority received from God, these marriages will last into eternity if the couple honors their covenants.

The most recent marriage I performed was for my grandson Steven and his sweet bride Kelsea in the beautiful Idaho Falls Temple situated on the banks of the Snake River.  It was a wonderful feeling to look into the faces of these young people to see the hope, joy, trust and commitment they have to each other and to their marriage covenant.

Life brings its challenges and surprises to all of us but with the sacred, solid start of an eternal marriage and with help from our Heavenly Father, a faithful couple can learn, grow and surmount those challenges and have the joy of a satisfying and enjoyable life together.  We can see these joys of life as we follow the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Roger Fuller

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Converted Women & Temple Blessings

As I considered the wonderful women of the Church, particularly in my family and our ward family, I am deeply grateful for their faith and courage as a beacon of love, life, and light.  Although we often note that the highest blessings of the temple are made available through the power of the priesthood, some may forget to recognize the essential role of these beautiful women in bringing forth these blessings.

At the August 2013 Campus Education Week at BYU, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve taught “The power of a converted woman’s voice is immeasurable…  A woman’s sphere of influence is a unique sphere, one that cannot be duplicated by men… In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan… a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman.  In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife… The endowment is literally a gift of power. All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike…” (BYU Campus Education Week, Aug. 2013).

In speaking to the women of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley said “you are an absolutely essential part of the plan.  Without you the plan could not function.  Without you the entire program would be frustrated… the crowning act [of creation was] the creation of woman.  Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright.” (CR, Oct. 1996)

Although priesthood authority may be conferred upon the men, the full measure of priesthood power and temple blessings does not exist without the faithful women of the Church.  Your influence in the home, in the Church, and in your community is far reaching and extends throughout the eternities.  May you seek refuge in the House of the Lord, draw often from the power that is found therein, and remember your divinely appointed role that allows the blessings of the temple to be extended to all men, women, and children on both sides of the veil.  To the women, young women, and girls in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may you remember that you are magnificent and of infinite worth!  To the men, young men, and boys in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may we remember to always honor and respect these beautiful daughters of our Eternal Father.

By: Brother P.N. Felipe Chou

Monday, March 9, 2015

Families can be forever...

About 6 years ago, I was waiting for my children to finish up their ski lessons.  I sat on a park bench right next to the ski run and watched my three children pass me every so often with their ski instructor.  After a short time of lonely bench sitting, a mother doing the same thing as myself joined me.  I was excited to have someone to chat with and before too long we were laughing about raising our children and the “joys of motherhood”.    After a short amount of time we had connected and become,  in my mind, “kindred spirits”.
Now, I thought I was prepared for what happened next.  Before I knew it, she was asking me, “What do Mormons believe?”   I thought I had prepared myself for this question.   But this is where my story goes terribly bad….I started rattling off a bunch of doctrine/beliefs that we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe.   I was talking about things that I’m sure meant nothing to her!   After about ten minutes, she “suddenly” had to be somewhere else.
As she stood up and walked off, my heart sank.  I watched my “kindred spirit” walk away.  I had done a lot of talking but didn’t tell my newfound friend why being a “Mormon” really is so wonderful.  So today, this post goes out to my “kindred spirit” and what I wish I had said.   There are a lot of things I could have said but I promise to keep this post short and sweet.

As a “Mormon” I get to be with my family forever!  This means I have the opportunity to learn and grow with them and be connected with them even after this life.  As a family we work together for a common goal to go back and live with a Heavenly Father who loves us.
As a “Mormon” we believe in service!  I have had many wonderful opportunities to help others and have help in return.  There is a joy that comes with serving other people that cannot be found anywhere else.
As a “Mormon” we believe in Jesus Christ!  We can learn about His life as we read the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.  His life is the perfect example of how we should live.   When we keep God’s commandments then our lives have true joy and happiness, even during the hardest times.
I am a “Mormon” and I love it!

By: Heidi Prosser

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Believing VS. Knowing

Have you ever wondered why Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. "Mormons") are so eager to share their beliefs with you?  What's the difference between believing something, and KNOWING it?

I wanted to share these answers, and my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through video.  I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and creating videos is one of my true passions.

I look forward to making more videos soon.  Let me know in the comments below what other questions you'd like me to answer!

By: Mark Hamilton