Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Reasons I Believe in God

I was born into a Spanish speaking family who were the descendants of the early explorers (Columbus, Coronado, Balboa, etc.). My parents were Catholic and made sure that all their kids went to confession every week and attended Catechism. There were seven in our family, so we kept the priests busy. It was hard for me to come up with real sins every week, so I had to invent a few white lies. I was an altar boy for many years and volunteered for weddings and funerals because you could always count on tips from the families. I was seeking more truths as I grew up and went through stages of doubt, agnosticism, atheism, and then periods when I just accepted the fact that all religions were designed for old people who needed a crutch.

My life changed after being taught by two sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It required a major adjustment in my life of smoking, drinking, and Sabbath breaking. I was excited when the missionaries invited our family to the stake center. I was expecting a night of feasting on steaks cooked by the Mormons. There was a lot of feasting, but unfortunately or fortunately, it was on the scriptures. The Church offered me the truths that I had been seeking all my life. I was excited to learn from President Eyring’s grandfather that you did not have to believe anything in the Church that was not true. Brigham Young said that there is no difference between true religion and true science. I had learned early that I could find truths in science and now I had the opportunity to learn the truths of religion.

Below are five reasons I believe in God:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Inspiring Memories of the Prophet Joseph Smith

As the founding prophet and leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, Jr. is a fascinating historical figure. I have often thought that if I could go back in time and meet any person in modern history, I would love to have the chance to look into the eyes of the Prophet Joseph Smith and hear him preach one of his magnificent sermons. Although he died as a martyr before he reached his 40th birthday, Joseph Smith's influence on faith and religion is unparalleled among figures in American history. What began as a group of six people in a small home in upstate New York when the church was officially organized on April 6, 1830, has grown into a vibrant, worldwide, Christ-centered faith with a membership over 15 million.

Below are five brief accounts from eyewitnesses, including young children, who met or associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith during his lifetime. Each recollection describes an element of Joseph Smith’s character or personality, and each attests to the goodness of the man Mormons revere as a divinely called prophet through whom God restored the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in modern times. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Everyday Conversion and Coaching – Texas A&M Football Coach Larry Jackson

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At the beginning of their third season in the Southeastern Conference, the Texas A&M University football team once again has the world of college football talking. Their surprise road win last week against #9 ranked South Carolina ended the Gamecocks’ 18-game home win streak--the longest in college football. The Aggies have found a formula for success in the toughest football conference in the country, and nothing seems to be slowing them down.

Alongside head coach Kevin Sumlin, one person making an impact on the Texas A&M University football team is strength and conditioning coach, Larry Jackson. Respectfully nicknamed “Black Death” by his players for the extreme workouts that push even the most conditioned players to their limits, Jackson is credited with fostering a culture of discipline, rigor, and strength that has allowed the Aggies to compete with the biggest teams in college football. Larry Jackson has coached some of the best football talent in the world -- Heisman winners Johnny Manziel and Jason White, as well as NFL MVP Adrian Peterson. However, if they were to see Jackson on a Sunday afternoon at his local church congregation, they might not recognize him.

Instead of lifting weights or commanding his players to push themselves harder, Jackson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can be found worshipping with his family and carrying his daughter’s Hello Kitty tote bag. It is a different persona for a man who occupies a high-stress job in the intense world of college football.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5 Simple Ways to Keep Christ at the Center During the School Year

Ready or not, the school year is back! If you’re like most people, that means life is about to get a whole lot busier. Whether you’re a working parent trying to balance keeping food on the table, shuttling kids back and forth from their many activities, and keeping up with laundry, dishes, and everything else it takes to maintain a home; a young single adult trying to get through college courses and still have a social life; or a high school student navigating the awkward teenage years and going back and forth between the aforementioned activities that keep your parents’ heads spinning, the increase in secular activity during this time often makes it easy to let some of the seemingly less pressing spiritual aspects slip through the cracks. So how can we balance our various activities and obligations and still keep Christ at the center of our lives and homes during this busy time?

Elder Richard G Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles defines a Christ-centered home as one “where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds.”[i] Below are 5 simple things we can do during the school year to fulfill our many secular responsibilities while still successfully building this kind of home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 Common Words That Mean Something Different to Mormons

Mormon jargon can be confusing with specially defined words and acronyms.  Here’s a list of 10 common words that have a different meaning to Mormons. 

1.  Beehive

What it means to everyone else: A habitation for bees.
What it means to a Mormon: A name given to the 12-13 year old girls as they enter into the youth program.  The beehive was a symbol of harmony, cooperation, and work for the early pioneers of the Church.  Beehives today learn to work together in cooperation and harmony as they strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and prepare to stand for truth and righteousness.