Monday, December 29, 2014

6 Tips to Empower Your Children Against Pornography



It’s no secret that pornography has become a major issue in our society, especially among youth. According to one study, over 90 percent of boys and over 60 percent of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.[i] Other studies have linked pornography to a number of detrimental effects on children’s social, emotional, and psychological development.[ii] With this in mind, it is perhaps more important now than ever before that parents consciously confront this pervasive problem. So where do we begin? Below are a few ideas from professional experts and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter “the Church”):

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Three Gifts a Modern-Day Wise Man Can Give



In honor of the Christmas season, here are three gifts a modern-day wise man can give the Savior that won’t cost you a penny.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Underused Parenting Tools for LDS Families

 
 


Family home evening, family scripture study, and family prayer – we know these as the core building blocks that shape lasting foundations for our families. We also know that the family is under attack and Satan is working harder than ever to destroy lives by simple and often unnoticed devices. There are other parenting tools that are often overlooked…tools that can have a profound effect on the well-being of our children.

Recently I published a post entitled “4 Surprising Mistakes LDS Families Make” which received an overwhelming display of positive feedback and requests for more ideas. Today I examine 5 commonly underused parenting tools that can have a significant and lasting positive effect on our children and families.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Ways Other Religions Have Made Me a Better Latter-day Saint




The Prophet Joseph Smith once described a fundamental belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as our respect for the right of all people to “worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). Brigham Young similarly taught that Mormonism embraces all truth, 

“whether [it] be found with…the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties” (Journal of Discourses 7:284). 
As I reflect on the many ways my own life has been enriched through associating with people of different religious faiths, I see clearly that much of what I know about how to be a devoted Latter-day Saint comes from lessons I have learned from those outside my faith. I have been strengthened in unique ways by the virtues and values reflected in the lives of the followers of many religious faiths. Here are five simple ways other religions have touched my life and helped make me a more committed Latter-day Saint:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

7 Simple Christ-centered Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

In a world where Christmas season starts at midnight on Oct. 31, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of Santa, reindeer, toys, gadgets and Black Friday madness. It can be even easier to overlook the real reason for the season. Add to that work parties, school parties, church and family get-togethers, it can be hard to find time to help your kids learn more about the Savior's birth.

Here are some ways to make it easier to focus on the Savior and the miracle of His birth during this hectic holiday season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

3 Surprising Benefits of Gratitude and a Recipe for Accessing them Year-Round


There is something remarkable about this time of year. Beyond the food, football, or even time with family, as we gather together and vocally express thanks for the blessings in our lives, it seems to bring a great sense of happiness, peace, and contentment. As I sat down to write this post and figure out what makes being grateful…well, so great…I was pleased (and even a little surprised) to find that this is much more than some abstract or ethereal concept; it has been backed by science! A number of recent studies in what has been termed “positive psychology” have linked gratitude to incredible physical, emotional, social, and psychological benefits. The key to gaining these benefits, though, is to make gratitude a regular practice. While it’s great to spend a day focusing on our blessings, if we make a habit of regularly recognizing our blessings and demonstrating sincere gratitude for them, we can seriously improve our quality of life.

Following is a list of what I found to be some of the most intriguing benefits of gratitude and a few ingredients for incorporating gratitude into our everyday “diet” to realize them, even after the leftover turkey and pie are long gone.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Supporting Children with Invisible Special Needs at Church


“The body [of the Church] hath need of every member, that all may be edified together.”
Doctrine and Covenants 84:110

I think it’s safe to say that most people want to be tolerant and loving towards people with disabilities. We wouldn’t hesitate to make accommodations for a person with physical limitations or to someone who is deaf or has a visual impairment. However, there has been a significant rise in the number of young children diagnosed with what can be classified into a group called invisible special needs. Society in general is lagging behind when it comes to supporting these children and their families. What’s worse is that many families are being pushed out of their own churches, the very places that should be the most compassionate and accepting.

What is an “invisible” special need? Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder), Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays, mental and emotional difficulties, anxiety, and giftedness are some of the most common special needs that would fall into this category. Kelly Priest (a school counselor and mother to a son with Asperger’s) gave the following definition:
“Kids who seem pretty typical much of the time, but have significant trouble, of neurodevelopmental origin, with self-regulation, social interaction, friendships, flexibility, abstract thinking, sensory management, attention, language and communication, and self-advocacy. Special, yes, in some ways … but ordinary kids in some ways too.”
It is likely that in a large church congregation of 200-300 people there are probably at least 5-10 children and teenagers who have invisible special needs. It’s also important to note that not every child with challenges will have an official diagnosis, but they still might need extra support at church just as they would at home or at school. For church leaders, teachers, and church attendees, here are 12 ways you can support children with invisible special needs and their families at church:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Four Ways Motherhood Has Changed Me


Mom: one of the most beautiful words in the English language. Each language throughout the world has some term designated for motherhood. For me, the word is accompanied by feelings of safety, warmth, comfort, work, tenderness, and love. When I first became a mother, trying to live up to the title was overwhelming. It still is! Every day, I strive to be the best mom I can be, and as I do that, I am changing into who the Lord would have me be. How has motherhood changed me? Here are four of the ways:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3 Lessons Fatherhood Has Taught Me About God


Every once in a while an event occurs in our lives that teaches us something about the true meaning of life and offers us a glimpse into the eternities. For my wife and me, one of those events occurred earlier this year when, after more than three years of trying unsuccessfully to have children on our own, we were able to adopt our sweet baby girl. More than anything else, becoming a father has helped me gain a better understanding of the nature of our relationship with God. So, while I certainly realize that I am only at the beginning of this great adventure called parenthood (and have a LOT more to learn), here are just three of the lessons I have found most meaningful during my short time as a father. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

20 interesting facts about LDS temples you may not know

There are over 15 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world and temples are a central part of the Church's teachings.

Here are some interesting facts about LDS temples found across the world.




1. There are currently 143 operating temples in 47 countries. Three are under renovation, 13 more temples are under construction and 14 have been announced.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Book of Mormon: 5 Simple Reasons I Believe


One of the most distinguishing features of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints is our acceptance of the Book of Mormon as a companion volume of scripture alongside the Bible. For millions of Latter-day Saints around the world, we revere the Book of Mormon as the word of God, a sacred scriptural text recorded by ancient prophets in the Western Hemisphere and preserved for our day as a second powerful witness to the Bible that Jesus is the Christ.

How the Book of Mormon came into existence is an incredible story: an uneducated farm boy in upstate New York, visitations from heavenly messengers, and plates of gold with engravings in an ancient language. Yet nearly 185 years after the first copies of the Book of Mormon rolled off the printing press in New York in 1830, no credible alternative explanation for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon has ever been offered. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once said, "The only thing more miraculous than an angel providing [Joseph Smith] with those plates and him translating them by divine inspiration would be that he sat down and wrote it with a ballpoint pen and a spiral notebook.”[1]


In pondering my own personal reasons for believing and defending the Book of Mormon as ancient scripture and a new witness for Christ, I have come up with 5 simple reasons I believe it with all my heart, mind, and soul.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

4 Surprising Mistakes LDS Parents Make

 

Good parenting, as James E. Faust said, “Is the greatest challenge in the world.”[I] Because we know that families are eternal and central to God’s plan for us, we understand the great importance of doing our best to be good parents. It can be daunting as we try to raise righteous children in a world where evil is all around us.  With all the hustle and bustle in our lives today, it can be very easy to get distracted and lose focus on our most important priority, which is the family.  Here are four parenting mistakes to avoid as you strive to protect and strengthen your family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

12 Inspiring Quotes from General Conference

Over the past two weekends, Church leaders addressed the world in the General Women's Meeting and other sessions of the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These conferences are an opportunity for members and non-members of the Church alike to receive guidance and inspiration to help us improve our lives and more fully commit to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. Here are just a few of the key lessons from this conference.

Visit lds.org to read, watch, or listen to all of the talks from conference.

 



This past weekend, General Authorities and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to members throughout the world in our annual General Conference. Here are a few of the most inspiring and encouraging quotes spoken. 

Visit lds.org to read, watch and listen all of the talks from conference. - See more at: http://www.aggielandmormons.org/2014/04/30-uplifting-quotes-from-general.html#sthash.NEKdN1Gj.dpuf
This past weekend, General Authorities and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to members throughout the world in our annual General Conference. Here are a few of the most inspiring and encouraging quotes spoken. 

Visit lds.org to read, watch and listen all of the talks from conference. - See more at: http://www.aggielandmormons.org/2014/04/30-uplifting-quotes-from-general.html#sthash.NEKdN1Gj.dpuf
This past weekend, General Authorities and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to members throughout the world in our annual General Conference. Here are a few of the most inspiring and encouraging quotes spoken. 

Visit lds.org to read, watch and listen all of the talks from conference. - See more at: http://www.aggielandmormons.org/2014/04/30-uplifting-quotes-from-general.html#sthash.NEKdN1Gj.dpuf
This past weekend, General Authorities and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to members throughout the world in our annual General Conference. Here are a few of the most inspiring and encouraging quotes spoken. 

Visit lds.org to read, watch and listen all of the talks from conference. - See more at: http://www.aggielandmormons.org/2014/04/30-uplifting-quotes-from-general.html#sthash.NEKdN1Gj.dpuf

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Things My Mission Taught Me


Missionaries serving for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come from all different backgrounds and places around the world. They each set aside their own personal lives and motives to help others come unto Christ. After their 18–24 months of service is up, undoubtedly, each missionary returns home a different person because of the experiences and lessons learned while serving the Lord and His people.

Each person who chooses to serve a mission has a different experience. I was less than thrilled when my mission call assigned me to labor in the Montana Billings Mission, but I soon realized that it was where the Lord needed me. Today, as I reflect on my experience I know that I was meant to serve there and cross paths with the many people I connected with. The lessons I learned about Jesus Christ, His gospel, and life in general have aided me each day since I returned and will continue to do so. Here are five select lessons I learned from serving as a missionary.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

8 amazing quotes from LDS women at General Conference

Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been meeting together for over 172 years. What started out as a meeting of 20 women has grown to an organization of over 6 million women in 170 countries.

Almost a year ago, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the historic announcement that instead of having two separate annual meetings for the Relief Society and Young Women, they would combine the two and have a twice-yearly general women's meeting. All women, young women and girls ages 8 and over are invited to attend this meeting, which takes place the Saturday before General Conference. The next General Women's Meeting takes place this Saturday at 7 p.m. CDT and can be viewed online or in LDS Stake centers.

We invite you to attend the meeting this Saturday. Here are eight meaningful quotes from past general conference and women's meetings to help inspire and uplift you.



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

Photo credit: 12thman.com
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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

President Uchtdorf's 10 Best Talks of All Time


President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was called as second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. Previously he had been serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October 2004. He was born in the former Czechoslovakia, but spent most of his growing up years in Germany, where his family joined the Church. Known for his accent and endless airplane analogies, President Uchtdorf has quickly become one of the most beloved speakers in the Church. His talks often offer encouragement to live the gospel through simple steps. Please enjoy the list and let us know your favorite. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dispelling 5 Myths about Mormons


Please also see our follow-up post "Dispelling 5 More Myths about Mormons."

Myth #1: Mormons are not Christians.

Over the years, I have had many friends from other faiths sincerely question whether Mormons are Christians. In reality, Jesus Christ is the center of our faith, a truth made clear by the official name of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our first Article of Faith states “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” We love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world and believe that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We believe Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and that “through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved" (Articles of Faith 1:3). Like other Christians, Mormons believe the gift of eternal life is possible only because Jesus willingly suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross at Calvary to offer Himself a ransom for all of God’s children. We are united with all Christians in our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and our conviction that the Gospel He taught provides the pathway to lasting peace and happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 LDS Books That Will Feed Your Mind and Soul


I am a reader, constantly on the lookout for a new book that promises to enrich my life or strengthen my faith. The Lord Himself commanded us to “teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). When I trace the origins of my personal testimony, of course no books have had more influence on my faith than the scriptures. I feel closer to the Lord when I study the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price than when I study any other books. Each book of scripture is deserving of a lifetime of devoted study.

Beyond the scriptures themselves, the list of other books that have profoundly strengthened my testimony is a long list indeed. Below, I highlight ten LDS books that have blessed my life and fed my mind and my soul. In some cases, I was fortunate to find these books early in life; others I discovered more recently. In each case, they have become part of the fabric of my testimony and have brought me to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the truths contained in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mormon Pioneers in Texas


“October 29, 1853 –The night we lay at or near the top of the divide there fell a deep snow which greatly impeded our progress. After this the weather turned intensely cold and on the second night after, my splendid mule, “Texas,” was frozen to death. This was a severe loss to me and I felt somewhat sad at his loss. He had served me so faithfully for so long a journey.…though his value was very great to me, I cheerfully parted with him as I have for the sake of this kingdom suffered so many sacrifices in friends and relations in Missouri, and in lands, and homes and farms, in silver and gold, in toils and sufferings, that now there is hardly any sacrifice that I know of which the Lord might call me to make, which I would repine at. 
“But upon this trip my heretofore indomitable spirit almost failed me. Beneath my accumulated sufferings and three times when lying down at night I prayed to the Almighty that I might never awake to see another morning so great were my sufferings. My feet were badly frost-bitten, my old boots were entirely worn out. I had a new pair, but they hurt me so I could not wear them. The snow was deep and I was obliged to walk…After I had prayed that I might depart and go into the spirit world, in order that I might be free from my great sufferings, then the Spirit whispered, ‘not yet, you have a great work to do on the earth.’”
So wrote Elder Preston Thomas, one of the first missionaries to Texas and especially the Brazos valley, as he led a wagon train of Texas converts over the mountains to Salt Lake City. It took them until November 27th to complete the harrowing journey. The following June, Elder Thomas was called to return on yet another of his five missions to the Lone Star state.

July 24 marks Pioneer Day for LDS congregations in the United States. The great saga of the Mormon pioneers typically focuses on journeys along the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, or handcarts from St. Joseph, Missouri, to the Salt Lake Valley. Somewhat lost in history however, are wagon trains of Texans who braved the five-month journey through hostile territory, sometimes offering nearly all the food they had in order to pass safely. As Philip W. Hosking, one of these early Texas converts records:

“Tuesday, July 1, 1856 – We arrived at an Indian town, stretched along the banks of the Arkansas for over 2 miles. It seemed today as if the devil had let his imps loose to destroy our little company. At the lowest estimate there were 800 Kiawas and Comanches and when we nooned the [Indians] came round in swarms, begging... As discretion is the better part of valor we gave them what they wanted [sic].”

The faith and courage of Preston Thomas and other early Latter-day Saint Texans provide a legacy for all who live here. In April, 1857, Elder Thomas concluded a letter to mission headquarters with these thought-provoking comments: 

“The field for preaching in Texas seems about as good as it ever was; and why it is that the people receive the gospel more readily in this than in any other of the states of the American Union, I cannot tell…”

God continues to bless Texas!

— President Tom McMullin, counselor in the College Station, Texas Stake


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

8 Hymns of the Restoration


One of the highlights of my life was the opportunity to visit Nauvoo and participate in The City of Joseph Pageant. My family and I were members of the pageant for ten years, and the events we experienced on an annual basis will always be a treasure to me. Not only did we walk where those early saints walked, but we sang their songs, read their stories, and portrayed their lives. As a result, the foundation of my testimony will always be deeply rooted in the Restoration.

One of our pageant’s great traditions was a nightly devotional where we sang the Hymns of the Restoration. Each night before our performance, all 600+ City of Joseph cast members would gather together—dressed as pioneers—in the Nauvoo Chapel and sing these wonderful songs. It was like nothing I had (or have since) experienced. When we sang, the halls of the chapel bellowed with faith, with devotion, and with belief. We didn’t sing for each other. Instead, we sang for our Savior and Redeemer and for those wonderful prophets and saints of the Restoration who sacrificed everything in order that we could return to Nauvoo and remember the great blessings of the Lord.

It was in these meetings, as I sang my heart out with my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, that I realized the meaning behind these wonderful hymns. Tears poured down my cheeks as we sang the words:
But if our lives are spared again,
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!
I felt the Spirit of God burn within me as we stood, sang, and shouted:
How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!
I felt a deep sense of gratitude and admiration for Joseph Smith when we sang:
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.
These memories continue to touch my heart—particularly at this time of year. Pioneer Day is a special day when we remember all of the pioneer’s sacrifices for the establishment of God's Kingdom in these latter days. It is in this spirit that we share the following hymns with you, as well as some information pertaining to them. We encourage you to study the lyrics, read their associated scriptures, and learn of their history. We promise that when you do, your hearts will be full, and your lives with be touched with deeper gratitude for those who have gone before.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Facing Infertility With a Perfect Brightness of Hope

Photo Credit: Tiffany Feger, Fishy Face Photography
When I was four years old, I shared a room with my infant sister. One time in the middle of the night, recalls our mother, my sister awoke and began to fuss. Then all was silent. When my mom came in the bedroom to check on the baby, she was quite startled to see that she was not in her crib. My mom looked towards my bed and saw me sitting there, gently rocking the baby. She had no idea how I got her out, but it warmed her heart.

Even as a young child, I had a strong desire to be a nurturer, and that feeling has stayed with me into adulthood. My deepest desire was to get married and have lots of children. Now fast forward almost three decades later. My husband and I have a five year old son, and we have been praying and hoping for more children. After we decided to try for a second child a few years ago, I began to feel impatient as it was taking longer than I had hoped. I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing. After the blessing, I felt a sweet reassurance that things would work out, and I felt renewed strength and patience.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Mormons Explain Why They Were Sealed in the Temple

Have you ever driven past a Mormon temple and wondered what happens inside?

Temples are holy places of worship where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participate in sacred ordinances performed by the authority of the priesthood. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the atonement of Jesus Christ. One temple ordinance is celestial marriage, in which a husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity.

"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." -Matt. 16:19

Through a temple sealing, a husband and wife and their children can have the promise of being an eternal family. For Latter-day Saints, the covenants they make in the temple (bound on earth) will last forever (be bound in heaven), if they stay worthy.

Below, ten Mormons explain why they were sealed in the temple:


1. Tiffany, Utah. Married August 2009 in the Mt. Timpanogos, Utah temple.



"I got married in the temple because I knew it was the right way back to our Father in Heaven. I loved my husband so much and wanted to be sealed to him forever. I also only wanted my children to be born into an eternal family. It was the only way for me."

Monday, June 23, 2014

8 Beliefs Mormons Share with Other Christians




My five-year-old son has spent a month memorizing the 6th Article of Faith.

“We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.”

As I was helping him learn and understand what he was reciting, I began to reflect on similar beliefs I have with my friends of other Christian faiths. Below is a list of some fundamental doctrines members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, share with all Christians.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Discovering Who You Really Are

This post was originally published on The Small Seed. We publish it here with permission. Click here to view the original post. 

The moment for me was one of deep reflection, one in which memories seemed to play before my eyes like a series of movie scenes. This cinema of memories occurred as I was seated in a beautiful house of worship in Nauvoo, Illinois (USA)—a temple—a building which members of my faith consider to be the literal house of God. My memories were triggered by an event held just a few days earlier in which I had accomplished one of the most significant feats of my life—graduating with a Ph.D. from a highly regarded university. My wife and I had set the goal when we were newly married and had nothing to live on except for love and Ramen Noodles that I would complete a graduate degree in something, somewhere. Little did we know at the time that our higher education journey would extend for eight years, take us to three different states, and at times, zap every ounce of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy that we possessed.

And now, seemingly all at once, our journey had ended—I had marched in my doctoral robe to “Pomp and Circumstance,” received my long-awaited diploma, and been “hooded” by my graduate adviser. Furthermore, I was about to move our family once again to begin a new job as a professor at one of the top universities in my field.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fatherhood: Inspired Counsel from 15 Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ


One of the most cherished memories in my life occurred when I first heard the April 1999 General Conference talk, The Hands of the Fathers, by Elder Jeffery R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

At the time, I was serving as a missionary in rural Brazil, with no access to satellite broadcasts and limited written communication from family. In those days, letters arrived at the mission home hundreds of miles away, and they would only be delivered periodically at zone conferences. Therefore, receiving the May Ensign six months after conference was a real treat!

Finally the letters arrived, and I was excited to see that my father had sent me audio-cassette tapes of the April 1999 General Conference. The next morning, I turned on my Walkman and heard the voice of Elder Holland talking about the sacred responsibility of fathers. I will never forget the feeling that I had as I stood at the window of our old, beat-up, missionary apartment and heard Elder Holland recite this poem:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Our Journey of Hope: Kate's Story


This week marks four years since the birth of our daughter, Kate Austyn, on June 5, 2010. Kate was our fourth child, our third daughter. Looking back, it is startling how unaware we were of what awaited us when we drove calmly to the hospital in College Station, Texas, that Saturday afternoon. What we thought would be our fourth routine delivery became the beginning of a journey that would teach us to hang on to hope through the heartache of losing a child. Rather than trying to retell our experiences from memory, what follows are excerpts from emails we sent to our family and friends describing our experiences in “real time.” These notes reveal some of the emotions we felt. There was fear and sadness, but we also felt strength and hope from our faith in Jesus Christ and from the words of love and encouragement from family and friends who supported us through it all. Today, our conviction that families can be together forever through the ordinances and promises of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger than ever. With great anticipation, we look forward to reuniting with Kate again one day. It is our hope that Kate’s story will be a blessing to all who read it; in that way, her influence for good will live on.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Elder Bednar's Top 10 Talks of All Time


Elder David A. Bednar was called to the Quarom of the Twelve Apostles in 2004 after serving as president of Brigham Young University—Idaho for seven years. Elder Bednar grew up in California and served an LDS mission to Germany. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brigham Young University and a doctorate degree from Purdue University in organizational behavior. He went on to teach at Texas Tech University and the University of Arkansas before heading to Rexburg, Idaho. He and his wife, Susan, have three sons and have been married for 39 years. 

Here are a few of his talks that have touch and inspired us. Our hope is that they will do the same for you. Please share your favorite talk below as well as any other thoughts and comments you have. 

10. A Reservoir of Living Water, 2007 

"Not only are we blessed to have these scriptures so readily available to us today, but we also have the responsibility to use them consistently and effectively and to drink deeply from the reservoir of living water. I believe this generation of youth is more immersed in the scriptures, more deeply acquainted with the words of the prophets, and more prone to turn to the revelations for answers than any previous generation. But we still have a great distance to travel along the strait and narrow path—more to learn, more to apply, and more to experience."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

8 Verses Most Christians Would Never Guess Come from the Book of Mormon


Over the years, I have had many friends from other faiths sincerely question whether Mormons are Christians. I believe their questions often arise because of Latter-day Saints’ distinct belief in the Book of Mormon as additional scripture. Mormons love and revere the Bible as the word of God. We regularly study both the Old and New Testaments in our families and in our church meetings. Our belief in the Book of Mormon as an additional witness of Jesus Christ takes nothing away from the Bible and is not associated with any perceived inadequacies in the Bible. Instead, the Book of Mormon complements the Bible and supports its teachings. 

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon's powerful witness of Jesus Christ and for the way my life has been blessed by its teachings. I have read the Book of Mormon many times and feel strengthened each time I open its marvelous pages. This week, we highlight 8 verses that most Christians would never guess come from the Book of Mormon. Notice the way each verse testifies of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and His mission. If you are interested, please request a free copy of the Book of Mormon on our website.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

14-year-old Texas girl gives up money from shoe design hobby to help family in need


COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A jar full of money sits in the room of 14-year-old Kate Hinckley. While other kids might be saving up for the latest iPhone or clothes, Kate is saving her money for a family in California in desperate need of help, using her creative talent to make unique shoes.

Kate, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was never really into art when she was younger and says she didn't have a knack for it. That all changed the moment she stepped into her eighth grade art class earlier this year.

“I was never really a good artist when I was younger, but my art teacher has really helped me have a love for art,” Kate said in a video for the College Station Independent School District. “I love to really just doodle and draw to make stuff.”

Kate’s doodling turned into beautiful designs, and she brainstormed for a way to use this talent. Together with her parents, Shane and Amy Hinckley, they decided to see what Kate could do with a white pair of tennis shoes. Amy came home one day and surprised Kate with her first pair of shoes and told her to “just go at it.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

11 Loving Quotes About Mothers



In honor of Mother's Day, we have highlighted 11 quotes from LDS leaders about mothers and motherhood below. We hope that we can all remember the doctrine of motherhood, and wish all women and mothers a Happy Mother's Day and hope that your work is always appreciated. 

File through the quotes by using the navigation arrows on the left and right of the image.