Night and Day

My wife and I attended a hockey game Friday night. It was my wife’s first time. After the first period, I went up to the concession stands to grab a pretzel and a soda. No, this isn’t a rant about the ridiculously high prices. These are thoughts I had today as I compared my surroundings as I waited in line at that concession stand to the events of Saturday.

Standing behind me in line were some young men who were constantly swearing. They were pridefully hyping about being drunk, smoking drugs, and just plain being obnoxious.

As I stood in front of them, it was hard not to listen to them. I felt completely out of place, like I was in the wrong crowd. I felt different.

Saturday morning I was in the temple of God with my wife’s family. There were eight of us in total.

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What. A. Difference.

The temple is such a special place. When I go to the temple, I leave the world at the door. Nothing else matters but me and my relationship with my family, and my relationship with my God and my Savior.

The difference between these two atmospheres was literally like night and day. The world’s standards have fallen, and continue to fall. But God’s standards never change.

I’m glad that my wife wasn’t exposed to the things I was at that concession stand. However, I’m so grateful to have shared the memories we had in the temple today with her family.

How I Met the Mormons

This week the Church launched a brand new full-length feature film called Meet the Mormons. The movie literally takes you across the world, and into the lives of six members of the Church with fascinating stories.

I sMeet-The-Mormons-Poster-600x776aw the movie this weekend. It is nothing short of inspiring. These people will bring tears to your eyes. Well worth the trip regardless of what faith you belong to. The whole purpose behind the movie is for everyone to understand that members of the Church (Mormons) are regular people. We have a lot in common. We are normal.

As a convert to the Church, I was introduced to the faith in high school. Two of my best friends invited me to attend with them one Sunday. It was a totally noticeable difference in spirit and atmosphere from any other worship service I had previously attended. The spark of interest from that first service I eventually ignited into a huge flame that eventually led to my membership in the Church.

I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe in God. He is my Father. I believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, my life is whole. I pattern my life after Him. I try to live as He did.

Every penny of revenue from this film is donated to the Red Cross. Give it a chance. Go and see something that will inspire you. I couldn’t recommend this movie enough. It makes you feel good.

To read my entire story about how I eventually joined the Church, click here.

The Good of Technology

I recently made a trip to my “Disneyland away from Disneyland,” the Apple store. Those of my close friends and family know I am an Apple guru. I have always had a deep passion and interest in Apple products. When I walk into an Apple store I am literally filled with all kinds of  excitement and anxiety.

This post is not intended to praise Apple or its products. While I was in the store tonight, I found, or saw rather, a story.

Those who have been in the Apple store know that the company offers free hour-long workshops. Customers can sign up for a time, come in to the store, and ask questions and learn more about Apple’s products, and how to get the best use out of them for their individual needs.

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Tonight I saw an older couple sitting at a table with the Apple employee, learning the very basics of their Macbook, paying every bit of attention with pen and paper in hand, taking notes as they learned.

It was amazing to me. Technology is a major part of an individual’s life, not only for this generation, but this day and age. So many people, especially the older generation, push technology away. But this couple was embracing it. They were so engaged in their lesson, so eager to learn and understand. I couldn’t help but feel excited for them as they learned even just the basics of a machine that will soon become a well-known friend to them, rather than what probably seems to be a stranger-like relationship at present.

Technology is a good thing. Embrace it with eagerness as it continues to become more a part of your life. Technology can be and is used each day for good and bad. Choose to use technology for good. Share goodness online and offline.

Use the good in the world for the good of the world.

2014 General Conference Notes – Sunday Afternoon Session

Conducting – Henry B. Eyring

Opening Hymn – Lo, The Mighty God Appearing

Opening Prayer – David F. Evans

M. Russell Ballard

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Remember the rule, stay in the boat!

Through life we find challenges like white water rapids.

Comparing life to white water rafting.

Stay on the old ship Zion. – Brigham Young

God is at the helm and will stay there. – Brigham Young

How do we stay on the ship?

Experience a continuing conversion by increasing faith in Christ and faithfulness to His gospel.

Can ye feel so now?

The leaders of the Church will not, and cannot lead you astray.

Those who have become lost and confused have forgotten that the leaders of the Church speak for the Lord.

“Whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

Church leaders have been tutored by life’s experiences and by the Lord himself.

Church leaders are living far from inside a bubble.

Combined, the leaders of the Church have experienced it all.

“We are not out of touch, brothers and sisters, with your lives.”

Always wear a life jacket and hold on with both hands.

The scriptures act like a spiritual life-jacket, and help us know how to hold on with both hands.

Focus on studying, and living, and loving the doctrine of Christ.

We need to give ourselves to much prayer and fasting.

Stay focused on the simple things and avoid becoming distracted.

Many have lost their focus on the central truths of the gospel.

Fundamental truths are concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again on the third day.

Focus on the fundamental principles rather than the appendages.

Having questions and experiencing doubts are not incongruent with dedicated discipleship.

Members are always free to ask questions and earnestly seek greater understanding.

The important questions focus on what matters most, Heavenly Father’s plan, and the Savior’s Atonement.

We must bear one another’s burdens.

If any have fallen out of the boat, we will seek you, find you, and minister to you, and pull you safely back.

Richard G. Scott

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Because Adam and Eve never experienced hard times, they didn’t know they could be happy.

By eating the fruit, they were no longer in a state on innocence.

Knowledge of good and evil was introduced into the world.

We are blessed with agency, the ability to make and be accountable for our decisions.

We are able to understand peace because we experience turmoil.

We live in trying times.

Each of us are aware of our own struggles of temptation, pain, and sadness.

We are here to be tested, tried, and stretched.

For it must be that there is an opposition in all things.

We must take time to actively exercise our faith.

We have been given tools to come unto Christ.

Choose to converse with your Father in Heaven often. Make time everyday for Him.

Share with Him your full range of feelings and experiences.

God will never force you to pray to Him.

Your heart will begin to feel buoyant peace.

Parents safeguard your children by arming them at night with the power of family prayer.

Protect your children from negatively worldly influences by fortifying them with the blessings of family prayer.

Family prayer should be a non-negotiable priority in your daily life.

Study the scriptures and ponder them.

Study the scriptures with your children.

Don’t yield to Satan’s lies that you don’t have time to study the scriptures.

Feasting on the word of Christ is more important than any activity.

You may need to reorganize your priorities for the study of the word of God.

Do it!

Peace won’t come from the outside world. It will come from within your home and your own heart.

Challenges are an important part of mortality.

Through daily consistent scripture study you will find peace and power to resist temptations.

All will be made right according to God’s timing.

Weekly family home evening.

On Monday nights your family will be together at home for the evening.

Do not let anything else become more important than family night.

The gospel should be taught both formally and informally.

Family home evening is a precious time to bear testimony in a safe environment.

These are the practices that take away stress and add protection to our homes.

Go to the temple.

There is no more peaceful place on earth than in the temples of God.

If you don’t have a temple recommend, qualify to get one.

Schedule a regular time to attend the temple.

The temple is one of the best places to come to understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Our Savior is the Prince of Peace.

We came to mortal life to grow from trials and testings.

The Atonement of Christ makes it possible to endure the challenges.

As we strive to come unto Him, we can endure every temptation, challenge, and heart ache.

Carlos A. Godoy

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Moments of great decision. Each with a consequence.

If you continue to live as you are living, will the promises in your patriarchal blessing be fulfilled?

Looking forward to the promises of the future.

It’s not a decision of right and wrong, but between good, better, and best.

We need to consider our options with the end in mind.

Understanding who we are gives us the broader vision we need.

What does the Lord expect from each one of us?

We need to be prepared for the challenges to come.

Are we willing to pay the price for our decisions?

Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones in search of a better place?

We are children of Almighty God. He is our Father. He loves us, and He has a plan for us.

God wants us to grow and achieve our potential.

Expand your knowledge both intellectual and spiritual.

When we decide on a certain path, the people we love will be affected.

Family support is essential.

Allan F. Packer

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Don’t become distracted with other things.

We must be willing to change. Frequent, small corrections are less painful than large corrections.

Qualifying for exaltation is like entering another country. We must have a spiritual passport.

Through the ordinances of the gospel, all may be saved.

God sets the requirements for exaltation. Not Church leaders.

The Church focuses on divinely appointment responsibilities.

The ordinances are required and not optional.

The family is the center of the plan of salvation.

The ultimate end of all activity in the church is that a family can be happy at home.

Our success is determined by how faithfully we live the gospel at home.

It should be a family activity more than a Church activity.

I want my family records to be in the book!

Family history is more than genealogy…it includes our present history.

Family history and temple work should be a part of our personal worship.

This work can and should be done by all members at any age.

Doing the work now is much easier and only limited by a number of members who make it a priority.

Whatever your past perceptions about family history work, it is different now.

It is an individual’s decision to do the work.

A little time on a consistent basis will yield the joy of the work.

Relatively few members are regularly involved in finding their own family names to take to the temple.

Don’t fight the change. Embrace it.

Everyone can do it.

It’s time to take the cover off our hatchets and go to work.

We must not sacrifice the exaltation of our families for less important things.

Hugo E. Martinez

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In the Church we are given the blessing to serve.

Remember that the Savior focuses on the individual and the family.

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

We are His children, and we have the potential to become as He is.

First observe, then serve. – Sis. Burton.

Our personal ministries answer the prayers of others.

God and Jesus Christ provide what we need to reach our divine potential.

The Good Shepard will gather all of His sheep.

Being a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ is our best letter of introduction.

We become the weak and the simple fishers of men.

We can keep a journal and write our family histories.

It is all about linking our family, generation by generation, to eternal bonds.

Larry S. Kacher

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There are many currents in this earthly life, some safe and others not.

The gospel provides direction and meaning to life.

In the Lord’s time He will reveal all things.

It is much wiser and better for a man to accept the simple truths of the gospel.

Much of what has been revealed is the result of prayer.

Be wise enough to hold fast to what you know to be true, in spite of questions you might have.

Our choices do not only affect us.

Allow the principles of the gospel and the patter of Jesus Christ to direct your life.

Heavenly Father has blessed us with the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost to guide our choices.

Make whatever adjustments are needed.

We must never trifle with sacred things.

David A. Bednar

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To non-members.

Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to explain their beliefs?

Devoted disciples of Jesus Christ always have been and will be valiant missionaries.

The Church always has and will be a missionary Church.

Latter-day Saints take seriously the responsibility to teach all people and nations.

We are not trying to sell a product.

We are not seeking to increase the numerical size of the Church.

We are not attempting to coarse you to believe as we do.

We do not wish to diminish what you believe. Bring all you know that is good, and test our message.

Come and see.

Missionaries help the members of our Church to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

Our desire to share the gospel with you is a reflection of how important these truths are to us.

Sharing with other people things that are meaningful and helpful to us is not unusual at all.

The greatest manifestation of God’s love to His children is in the life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our service should stretch far beyond just going through the motions.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides the cleanser necessary for us to be made clean.

In a future day every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Our invitations grow out of the positive effects the gospel has had in our lives.

Our simple desire is to share with you the truths that are of the greatest worth to us.

Thomas S. Monson

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Two glorious days of inspiring messages.

As we conclude, we thank our Heavenly Father for His many blessings that have been provided to us.

Resolve to be better, kinder, more thoughtful.

Reach out to those not of our faith with respect.

Remember the elderly, and those who are homebound. They are loved and valued.

May we be people of honesty and integrity, trying to do the right thing at all times.

May the truths we’ve heard help us to become more valiant disciples.

October 2014 General Conference Notes – Sunday Morning Session

Conducting – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Opening Hymn – Praise to the Lord

Opening Prayer – Don R. Clarke

Henry B. Eyring 

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Feel love and light from God.

Hundreds are praying to know how to rescue lost sheep.

Human judgement and logical thinking are not enough to answer the most difficult questions of life.

The very existence of the Church stems from knowing that God answers prayers.

The restoration of the Church allows for continuous revelation.

Each of us is entitled to receive personal revelation.

I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded.

The revelation of a parent has its lasting effect in the personal revelation that continues in a child.

The value of the revelation depends on those who are being led receiving value and confirming revelation.

I have been blessed to follow inspired leaders.

We must all seek personal revelation.

The Lord often gives counsel that is hard for people to accept.

God can reveal things to us beyond all earthly education.

The sealing power confirmed to Peter continues today in the Church.

Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He loves you. He knows your name.

He loves you beyond your ability to comprehend.

Russell M. Nelson

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As members of the Church, we sustain of prophet of God.

If the restoration did anything, it shattered the age old myth that God has stopped talking to his children.

We heed the Lord’s voice as it comes to us through His servants, the prophets.

No prophet has ever been elected.

We do not vote for church leaders. But we do sustain them.

Man’s ways are not and will never be the Lord’s ways.

Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling to be legitimate and binding upon us.

We will stand behind the prophet, pray for him, and carry out his good name.

The living Lord leads His living Church.

The Lord’s will truly will be done in His Church.

The Church today has been organized by the Lord himself.

Counterbalances and safeguards abound so that one man can never lead the Church astray.

There should not be any doubts or concerns about the government of the Church.

I assure you that the Church is in good hands.

Come way may. There is no need to worry or to fear.

Carol F. McConkie

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The prophet reveals the word of the Lord to guide and direct the entire Church.

We sustain the prophet, and choose to live according to his words.

The leaders of the Church do all things in the name of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the Church.

God reveals His word to His ordained servants.

When we choose to live the words of the prophets, we are on the path that leads to eternal perfection.

In a world throated by famine and spiritual starvation, we have been commanded to follow the prophet.

Following the prophet may be unpopular, but following the prophet is always right.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding.

The Lord will feed those who trust Him.

In every age, the Lord gives His people the direction they need.

The words of the prophets give faith and hope.

The words of the prophets are words of comfort, love, strength and cheer.

May we open our ears to hear, our hearts to understand, and our minds, that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view.

May we choose to stand with the prophets and live acceding to their words.

Robert D. Hales

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When we do what is necessary to know Them and Their love, we will obtain the greatest of all gifts of God.

Do you remember the first time you knew there was a God, and could feel His love?

As I recognized the beauty of this earth, I knew that Heavenly Father loved me.

We are all children of a Heavenly Father.

The words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.

God and Christ are literally a Father and a Son.

We love Them because They first loved us.

When the Father created the earth, He did so by His Only Begotten Son.

God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son.

The Father and I are one.

The Father and the Son are one because they are united in purpose.

Jesus is a God, yet He continually distinguishes himself as a separate being from His Father.

The restoration of the gospel began with not one, but two glorified Beings.

“This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

You too can seek our Heavenly Father and this Jesus.

Heavenly Father has provided a special way to you to know the truth for yourself.

Ask with a sincere heart, and real intent.

By the power of the Holy Ghost you may know with a surety the truth of all things.

The rains may come, the winds may blow, but we will not fall and will not fail.

Our Savior is Jesus Christ. He lives.

James J. Hamula

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This do in remembrance of me.

No longer would animal flesh and blood be shed.

Participation in this ordinance would signify to all the significance of the promised redemption of Jesus Christ.

This shall ye always observe to do, and it shall be a testimony unto the Father that you do always remember me.

The Sacrament needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us.

With torn and broken bread, we signify that we remember the body of Jesus Christ.

While that same body was laid to rest in death, it was raised again from the grave.

With a small cup of water, we signify that we remember the blood Jesus spilled.

His blood and suffering atoned for our sins.

By the power of the resurrection all of us will be restored to the presence of God.

All of us will return to the presence of God, but not all of us will remain with Him.

No unclean things can dwell in His presence.

By shedding His innocent blood, Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of justice for every sin and transgression.

Upon our receipt of the Holy Ghost, we are cleansed and purified.

This is the doctrine of Christ.

When we receive the doctrine, we are washed in the blood of Christ and made clean.

We will always remember His precious Son.

We declare that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son.

When we commit ourselves to these principles, we are promised to have His Spirit to be with us.

The Spirit is the agent who cleanses and purifies us from sin and transgression.

The most important event in time and eternity is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The ordinance of the Sacrament helps us to endure to the end and receive grace for grace.

The ordinance of the Sacrament prepares us to see the face of God, and live.

Thomas S. Monson

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The primary purposes of our existence on the earth are to obtain a body of flesh and bones, and gain experience.

When we came to the earth, we brought with us our God-given gift of agency.

Decisions determine destiny.

He did not send us here without direction and guidance. He has given us the tools we need.

To help guide us we have the words of God, and His Son. We have prophets.

We have been provided with the perfect example of Jesus Christ.

We can return safely to our Heavenly Father, we can live with Him forever.

Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked.

All of us can walk the path He walked.

His example lights the way.

Jesus faced many of the same challenges that we face in life.

Jesus walked the path of temptation.

Jesus walked the path of pain.

Each of us will walk the path of disappointment, temptation, and pain.

We as servants can expect no more than the Master.

Though we will find sorrow, we can also find great happiness.

To obey is better than sacrifice.

The end result of disobedience is captivity and death.

The end result of obedience is liberty and eternal life.

Jesus walked the path of prayer. He taught us how to pray.

Not my will, but thine be done.

He asks us to let our lights shine.

He teaches us to be morally clean, in our thoughts and our actions.

He tells us it is more important to lay up treasures in heaven.

As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives…He has promised to share with us eternal life.

Nothing on this earth can make us what He can.

Ponder the path of thy feet. – Proverbs.

The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything we do.

His path will take us safely home.