Feb 20

If You Only Take One Class in College, Let it Be This One


Recently I was pondering this question: What was the most valuable thing I learned in college? Out of everything I learned, what has been the most helpful? If I could go back and only take one class, what class would that be? Or if I could tell my kids to take only one class, which class would I tell them to take?


After sorting it all out, I think that class would be: Critical Inquiry and Research Methods. 


Was it my favorite class? Nope. Not at all. In fact, it was rather boring and tedious compared to some of my other college classes. But I feel like it ended up being one of the most valuable skills I ever gained in my entire college experience.



Why should we take the time to educate ourselves about research methods?

Why is it important to understand the principles behind research, such as the importance of sample size, different types of samples, or to understand terms such as “confounding variable”, “selective bias”, “selective use of data,” “preliminary study,” “validity,” “independent variable,” etc.? Why does it matter?



Here’s a few reasons why knowing a few of the basic principles of research methods can make a world of difference:

It can help you become a better consumer of information. 


Not all scientific studies are created equal! 


But the media, or we, as uninformed consumers, often tend to treat them as if they are. (For more on this, please see the embedded videos towards the end of this post!)



Understanding research methods is important because:

It is not possible to differentiate between biased research outcomes from unbiased ones without a proper understanding of each aspect of research.”1  


Different research methods have different purposes, and understanding these differences can help us measure how accurate the conclusions of any certain study likely are. The type of study and the methods used affect how the results should be interpreted. For example, would the thing that is being researched by means of a case study actually be better served through conducting a longitudinal study? Is the sample random, systematic, or stratified? Because it makes a difference! Does the research have a high measure of validity? [validity = whether or not a study measures what it is supposed to measure]. Because validity will be affected depending on how the study is conducted. The results of research with a high measure of validity will be able to provide stronger evidence.2  



Here’s just one example of a common pitfall you can easily avoid by understanding some basic principles of research:


Correlation does not equal causation!


Often people confuse correlation with causation. But just because a research study shows a strong correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks, it does NOT mean that ice cream causes shark attacks. They are simply correlated– there is likely a third variable at play: high temperatures. (People are more likely to be outside swimming and buying ice cream during warm weather).

ice cream sales

Now it doesn’t mean that correlation is useless– it can be a great starting point for further research. We just shouldn’t take it at face value. We need to look deeper to see if the other variables are being controlled, or if there are confounding variables that are likely influencing the results of the research.


Relying on “common sense” or “folk wisdom” can sometimes lead us astray.

Just because you’ve always believed or been told that something is true, doesn’t mean that it is.


Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

Part of our problem in the quest for truth is that human wisdom has disappointed us so often. We have so many examples of things that mankind once ‘knew’ were true but have since been proven false.

For example, in spite of one-time over­whelming consensus, the earth isn’t flat. The stars don’t revolve around the earth. Eating a tomato will not cause instant death. And, of course, man actually can fly—even break the sound barrier.”


Often folk wisdom gets handed down from generation to generation based solely off someone’s anecdotal evidence. But there’s a problem there– isolated events that are tied to an individual’s personal experience may have been true for that person in that specific circumstance, but that doesn’t mean you can generalize it to be true in every circumstance and for every person. Because other factors weren’t controlled. In order to establish whether or not something holds true across the board, you’d have to be able to conduct valid experiments where all other variables are controlled to determine if the results are still able to be replicated.



Helps you be a more independent thinker.

Man Browsing the want ads, looking for a job in this very challenged economy. He's using a magnifying glass!

Learning about research methods can help you develop your critical thinking skills and be a more self-reliant life-long learner. Not just blindly accepting what people or ”experts” tell you without questioning it or digging deeper for yourself.  It rescues you from basing your opinions off of skewed data or faulty research that is often presented as fact. Which prevents you from being led into great errors.



It can help you cut through all the confusion!


Trying to come to any certain conclusion about what is true and what is not can be confusing, especially when there are so many different research articles all coming to different conclusions. Sometimes it can make you want to throw your hands up in the air or even throw in the towel at the whole scientific community, and conclude that they must not know anything since many studies seem contradictory.

I’m grateful for scientists and researchers. They are not the enemy. The enemy lies within ourselves and our own ignorance.  Lack of knowledge can lead to prejudice [a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience], based on fear of things we don’t fully understand. Educating ourselves can help us rise above prejudice and misinformation.


It is always good to keep in mind that just because something is printed on paper, appears on the Internet, is frequently repeated, or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.

Sometimes untrue claims or information are presented in such a way that they appear quite credible. . .What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)


Don’t believe every claim just because it’s backed up by “research”


Just because there are a hundred research studies that say that a certain something is true, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Because if all one hundred of those research studies are using deeply flawed methods, then it doesn’t matter how many times you replicate it– those numbers don’t really prove anything. But you wouldn’t know it unless you looked into it yourself, and unless you knew what specifically to look for. 


“If you read that ibuprofen relieves headaches faster than aspirin, or that children learn more in private than in public schools, you should not believe it just because the findings are based on ‘research.’ “

(Charles Stangor, from his book Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences, page 13. Screenshot below)


Screen Shot 2021-02-11 at 6.40.26 AM

Bottom line: Just because “research shows” this or that, doesn’t automatically make it true. 


Who’s behind it?

People have agendas. Who is funding it? Do they have a conflict of interest, or a reason why they’d want to have this research study done? “Follow the money” can be a useful bit of counsel. But, this is not the only thing to consider. Just because a certain someone is funding it doesn’t necessarily mean the results are automatically skewed and worthless. The research methods themselves are important to consider and hold more weight in the end.


Don’t fall victim to manipulation


If you don’t know how to go in and analyze a research study yourself, you are victim to being manipulated by whoever is trying to convince you of something. And that’s scary! Because there are people who are very good at presenting lies in ways that seem totally credible, even to people who are otherwise educated and discerning. 


It can be easy to manipulate research and conduct it in such a way that you manipulate the results to sway public opinion. Marketing experts know that if they can run a commercial that says “Research shows” something, or spits out an impressive statistic, that many people will simply take their word for it and be convinced enough to buy into something.


The problem is, that if the research methods used are not the ones best suited to the subject being studied- or if there are confounding variables that are being overlooked, the findings will not be reliable, no matter how plausible and convincing they sound.


Be Wary of Headlines


We often hear about the importance of making sure it is a “peer-reviewed study.” And rightly so. But even if it’s peer-reviewed doesn’t mean that the conclusions drawn by news media headlines are accurate. (News media is notorious for misrepresenting or misinterpreting research, often making the researchers themselves cringe. Why? Because no one wants to read an article with the headline: “New research study shows that there may be a link between such-and-such and such-and-such, BUT more research needs to be done, and this actually might not even be accurate because it’s a preliminary study and the sample size was ridiculously small.”🤣 No, their headlines need to be short, and because the way they word their headlines affects their viewership and click-through rate, even well-meaning journalists are going to try to put a more attention-grabbing twist on it). As a result, headlines can often be a little out-of-context and misleading.


Now I’m not saying that journalists are bad or that all news media is out to get us. I believe that there are many good journalists and reporters who seek to do the best they can and are trying to represent information accurately. But it’s just the nature of the industry. They need views. Their headlines have to be succinct. That’s a tall order and often results in the over-simplification of complex research. So we as consumers have to take some responsibility to look into the research ourselves rather than just accepting everything we read at face value.


We shouldn’t generalize! But we so often do. Results of a particular study are generally not applicable to the general population. Results of preliminary studies on mice don’t usually translate to humans. Results of studies done on women can’t necessarily be generalized to apply to men.  That’s why it’s important to take a close look at who we are sampling. Or to be aware of other things that can greatly skew the results, like the “placebo effect” or “observer bias.”




Here’s a video that does an excellent job explaining why we shouldn’t take every scientific study at face value:

And I also highly, highly recommend watching these 4 short video clips below! They do a good job of presenting some of these things in an engaging way and explain it a lot better than I can:


(While we’re on the subject, taking a statistics class
in college is also super valuable!)






Resisting our Natural Impulse to Jump to Conclusions Too Hastily



Simon Weil said it beautifully:

“All faulty connection of ideas..are due to the fact that thought has seized upon some idea too hastily, and being thus prematurely blocked, is not open to the truth…”  



It’s something we all do; it’s just human nature. But we ought to take care not to jump to conclusions or form opinions too hastily, based on the information we come across & current research findings. 


Dr. Kate Holbrook expounded on this idea (italics added):


“To make ourselves feel less vulnerable, we humans like to define things. We often grab onto a definition [or research finding!] quickly because having the definition makes us feel comfortable and safe. As Weil suggests, the problem with the speed is that we can reach a wrong conclusion. I believe this too quickly finding and holding tight to a potentially false definition– is what leads to some of our greatest sins against one another, such as bigotry, which rears its ugly head in every nation and every political party, as we misunderstand each other’s intentions and lash out in response. Excessive speed can also mean we teach a false principle in a lesson, or argue on social media, in a way that treats someone unfairly.” (Kate Holbrook)




Smart people can sometimes have different opinions, even on valid research.


Even if it is a well-done research study, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the results drawn are all-conclusive. There’s often still room for interpretation and further study, especially in the social sciences. There may be two very intelligent people reading the same research study who come to different conclusions or have different takeaways on the research. And that’s important to understand.

But what if I never took a research methods class?

So what if you never had the chance to take a class like this in college? Never fear! There’s hope! Luckily, because of Covid, many college professors have been putting up their class lectures on YouTube, for free! So I can almost guarantee that through a quick online search, you’ll be able to find lots of wonderful resources now, available for anyone who wants to become more adept at research methods and deciphering a faulty research conclusion from a sound one.


I’m not saying I’m not perfect at it. But knowledge is power! And when applied, it can really help us in sorting out errors and discerning truth when faulty studies are presented as reliable and credible, when they are in fact, not.


So next time you have stats thrown at you or you see a news headline citing ‘research’, don’t forget to take a step back and look a little deeper before jumping to conclusions, or accepting someone else’s.





Jan 26

“How can I tell when God is trying to tell me something?”

(From a talk I prepared a while back, which I’ve been feeling impressed to share)

Recognizing the Lord’s voice in our daily lives


I’d like to share some thoughts about learning to recognize the Lord’s voice in our daily lives.  

When I was younger, I really struggled with this. I occasionally would feel that warm feeling testifying to me that something was true, but I didn’t have as much confidence as far as understanding how to receive guidance in my daily life; I hadn’t yet figured out how to recognize promptings from the Spirit, and distinguish them from my own thoughts.  It was frustrating. I remember just crying to my mom one day about how “I don’t know how to recognize if Heavenly Father is answering my prayers.” 

It wasn’t until later on as a teenager that I began to recognize when the spirit was trying to tell me something.  I was working as a waitress at a small family restaurant, and I remember I was earnestly trying to seek to recognize the spirit more at this time in my life.

I remember at work, occasionally I’d have a very subtle feeling to do something. For instance, one time I felt impressed to go back to check on one of my customers, even though I had just checked on them. I felt a little sheepish, but I decided to just go with it, figuring, why not, it can’t hurt, and hey- what if it’s a prompting? It was really interesting because as soon as that customer saw me coming back around the corner he said something like, “Oh, I’m so glad you came back!” and it turns out that he had been hoping I would come back because he had forgotten to mention something, confirming to me that what I had felt to do may have been a prompting. And that’s just one example–there were lots of other little experiences like that, as I began to ‘experiment’ my faith. This was the beginning of when I started to realize that I might be recognizing the spirit.

Now that may seem silly or trivial to some, but I believe that Heavenly Father can use small and simple things as a “training ground” for us to learn about the workings of the spirit, so that we can be more prepared for more important promptings down the road. He’ll prompt us in the little simple everyday matters where the consequences aren’t as huge. If we’re looking only for great and miraculous instances where we are guided in some super important thing, we may be missing the mark. At least in the beginning, when we’re just trying to get our spiritual footing.


President Russell M. Nelson has repeatedly pleaded with us to increase our spiritual capacity to receive revelation, and to “Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”


10-day social media fast

About two and a half years ago President Nelson challenged the women of the church to take a 10-day fast from social media, and from any other media that brings negative and impure thoughts to our mind. He specifically encouraged us to pray about which influences to remove during our fast. When I prayed I felt impressed to take a break from my favorite news site, which surprised me, because I think it’s a good thing to be informed, and I had never thought of that as being something that might be distancing me from the spirit.

But as I accepted that challenge, I noticed that I was feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost more, and I began to recognize that some of the online media I had been consuming on a daily basis, had been filling my heart with some negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety – It was getting me all fired up and preoccupied with the matters of the world. And taking up a large portion of my mental and emotional energy and bandwidth.

president nelson 10-day social media fast invitation

In her recent conference talk, Michelle Craig said “The distractions and noise that fill the world and our homes and our lives can make it more difficult to hear His voice. These distractions can so occupy our minds and hearts that we leave no room for the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost.” 


Strong Emotions and The Spirit

holy ghost overcome by strong emotions like jalapeno

Richard G. Scott also shared an insight that I believe is absolutely filled with truth, and a super important principle to understand:


“The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeño pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.”


 spirit like a candle lds

I’ve often thought how the still small voice of the spirit is like a candle; it is easily extinguished by strong winds. We have to be careful not to let strong emotions or distractions override it. Galatian 5:22-23 reminds us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”. When I’m feeling these emotions, I know I’ve tapped into the right spirit.


I’ve noticed that when I’m truly feeling the spirit, it actually tempers my strong emotions, even in things that matter and that I would normally get worked up about. Rather than hardening my heart, contributing to my own stubbornness, it softens it. Rather than filling me with a sense of anxiety and urgency, it stills me. It fills me with hope and light and peace, even love. And gives me a peaceful calm assurance of what steps to take and what I ought to do, which is most often not accompanied by strong negative emotions. 

 president nelson holy ghost

President Nelson has warned us that the advances of the adversary are increasing and that “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”


Satan desires to distance us from the spirit. In Elder Owen’s talk in the October 2019 general conference, he warned us that the adversary “will bring things to your attention that seem urgent but in reality aren’t that important. He would have you become so ‘troubled about many things’ that you neglect the ‘one thing [that] is needful.’ ”  


Subtleness of the Spirit’s promptings

We should never underestimate how subtle the voice of the spirit is. 


Elder Boyd K. Packer taught:

“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all…

“Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening”


Many voices in the world compete for our attention, and they can easily drown out spiritual impressions if we are not careful.


The prophet Elijiah had experience with this. He saw “a great and strong wind rent the mountains…but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12)


Sometimes we talk as if the stronger the prompting is, the more legitimate it is. Like, “I felt this undeniable, overpowering prompting from the spirit.” Or, “I had the strongest feeling.” But I’ve noticed in my own life, that some of the most powerful experiences I’ve had with spiritual impressions have actually been the more subtle ones. The ones that were easiest to second guess or to brush aside. And I think that’s because it takes more faith to act on those promptings. And greater faith brings greater miracles. 


Having an Open Heart


A couple years ago, I felt impressed about a course of action I should take having to do with my son’s education. It was so subtle that almost brushed it aside, especially because it went against a very strong opinion I had about what was best for my son. It was a very subtle nudging idea that would occasionally come into my mind. I eventually recognized that this gentle nudging thought might be a prompting. Since following it, we have been blessed in ways I could never have anticipated. A lot of the concerns that I had originally harbored, actually ended up being resolved, or becoming non-issues because of factors that I could never have foreseen, and it has confirmed to me that Heavenly Father was indeed guiding me in this direction.


But it was interesting to me that I had to be super deliberate about not brushing it aside, and I nearly missed it. It made me wonder how many other promptings I’ve been neglecting because I’m so preoccupied with other things or because I’m so stuck in the rut of my own opinions.


Michelle Craig said: “Do we miss or dismiss personal errands from the Lord because He has prepared ‘a way’ different from the one we expect?”  


How many times do we inadvertently put parameters on what the Lord is trying to tell us? Because we’re not willing to think outside the box and let him lead us in a different direction than the one we were expecting?


Trusting in the Spirit more than on Physical Evidences


Richard G. Scott: “I witness that as you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear.”


 An Experience on my Mission

learning tagalog native companion

As a missionary in the Philippines, I was struggling to learn the Tagalog language. Although I had studied hard in the MTC and felt confident in the language, when I first arrived in the field, the people talked so rapidly that I couldn’t understand hardly anything. Sometimes I could pick out a few words here and there, other times I got nothing. I wanted so badly to be able to help these people and understand what they were saying, and I felt like having to learn a second language was really holding me back and hindering me from fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. But now looking back I realized that it actually was a huge blessing, because it forced me to rely more on the spirit, than on what I could tangibly see or hear.


One time, my companion and I were teaching a lady. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was expressing a concern about the gospel, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I had such a strong desire to help her, and to help resolve her concern, but I didn’t know what she was so concerned about. At that moment, I had a scripture from the Book of Mormon come clearly into my mind, that had to do with the Restoration and the Prophet Joseph Smith. I knew instantly where it was located and had the impression that I needed to share it. But I was afraid that it wouldn’t match her concern and that it would be totally unrelated and awkward. And what was my surprise when my companion, who could understand exactly what was going on (as she was a native Filipina fluent in Tagalog) turned to the exact scripture, even the exact verse, that I had been impressed to share — It was a huge testimony to me that God knew what that lady’s concern was, and that the language barrier didn’t need to be a barrier, because the Lord could pour into my soul what she needed to hear.


And later on in my mission, when I could fully understand the language, and everything the people were saying, I leaned back on this experience in learning to trust in the spirit. There were several times when I was teaching someone who seemed to be fine, but the spirit would help me discern things that were unspoken concerns or needs. And I knew from previous experiences to rely on the Lord to guide me another way.  My mission trained me to rely more on the spirit than on physical evidences of things I could see or hear.

tagalog missionarylds missionary phllippines


President Monson’s Incredible Experience

monson peter mourick elder asay story

President Thomas S. Monson had an incredible experience related to this that I’d like to share. It was when he conducted at the dedication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple. He said:


“On Saturday we had a session for our Dutch members who were in the Frankfurt Temple district. I was well acquainted with one of our outstanding leaders from the Netherlands, Brother Peter Mourik. Just prior to the session, I had the distinct impression that Brother Mourik should be called upon to speak to his fellow Dutch members during the session and that, in fact, he should be the first speaker. Not having seen him in the temple that morning, I passed a note to Elder Carlos E. Asay, our Area President, asking whether Peter Mourik was in attendance at the session. Just prior to standing up to begin the session, I received a note back from Elder Asay indicating that Brother Mourik was actually not in attendance, that he was involved elsewhere, and that he was planning to attend the dedicatory session in the temple the following day with the servicemen stakes.


As I stood at the pulpit to welcome the people and to outline the program, I received unmistakable inspiration once again that I was to announce Peter Mourik as the first speaker. This was counter to all my instincts, for I had just heard from Elder Asay that Brother Mourik was definitely not in the temple. Trusting in the inspiration, however, I announced the choir presentation and the prayer and then indicated that our first speaker would be Brother Peter Mourik.


As I returned to my seat, I glanced toward Elder Asay; I saw on his face a look of alarm. He later told me that when I had announced Brother Mourik as the first speaker, he couldn’t believe his ears. He said he knew that I had received his note and that I indeed had read it, and he couldn’t fathom why I would then announce Brother Mourik as a speaker, knowing he wasn’t anywhere in the temple.


During the time all of this was taking place, Peter Mourik was in a meeting at the area offices in Porthstrasse. As his meeting was going forward, he suddenly turned to Elder Thomas A. Hawkes Jr., who was then the regional representative, and asked, “How fast can you get me to the temple?”

Elder Hawkes, who was known to drive rather rapidly in his small sports car, answered, “I can have you there in 10 minutes! But why do you need to go to the temple?”

Brother Mourik admitted he did not know why he needed to go to the temple but that he knew he had to get there. The two of them set out for the temple immediately.


During the magnificent choir number, I glanced around, thinking that at any moment I would see Peter Mourik. I did not. Remarkably, however, I felt no alarm. I had a sweet, undeniable assurance that all would be well.

Brother Mourik entered the front door of the temple just as the opening prayer was concluding, still not knowing why he was there. As he hurried down the hall, he saw my image on the monitor and heard me announce, “We will now hear from Brother Peter Mourik.”

To the astonishment of Elder Asay, Peter Mourik immediately walked into the room and took his place at the podium.

Following the session, Brother Mourik and I discussed that which had taken place prior to his opportunity to speak. I have pondered the inspiration which came that day not only to me but also to Peter Mourik. That remarkable experience has provided an undeniable witness to me of the importance of being worthy to receive such inspiration and then trusting it—and following it—when it comes. I know without question that the Lord intended for those who were present at that session of the Frankfurt Temple dedication to hear the powerful, touching testimony of His servant Brother Peter Mourik.”

learning to recognize the holy ghost promptings

I think it’s so inspiring that President Monson was so acquainted with the spirit’s voice that he was able to trust in it more than what he could see or hear. And I know that that can be true for all of us, as we seek to become more familiar with the voice of the Holy Ghost.

But how do we do this?


In a recent general conference talk, Michelle Craig said, “As you..carve out time every day to draw close to God’s voice, especially in the Book of Mormon, over time His voice will become clearer and more familiar to you.”   What a powerful promise! I know that the Holy Ghost is real. It has helped so many times in my life, that I could never deny it.

I know that as we earnestly seek to draw closer to his voice and immerse ourselves in the words of the Lord, especially in the Book of Mormon, it will make a huge difference in our ability to be led by the Spirit. Because we will be more familiar with His voice. Not that the promptings we receive will get any louder or stronger, but that our ability to discern them will increase.

Nov 22

Why I’m Grateful for the Book of Mormon!

Some things I wouldn’t know were it not for the Book of Mormon,
or things which I understand more clearly because of it

best book to get closer to god


I’m immensely grateful for the Holy Bible. But have you ever wondered why there are so many different interpretations of it? And so many different churches, based on all these different interpretations? While in many ways the Bible is very clear in laying out the gospel and ministry of Jesus Christ, there are also many areas that leave a lot to our individual interpretation. In a way, that’s nice. People can imagine up to themselves what certain passages mean, according to their own preferences and understanding. But I don’t think that’s exactly what God had in mind. He established the law of the witnesses (Deut 19:15, Matthew 18:16, John 8:12-19): By the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established– and the Book of Mormon, a record of God’s dealings with His children in the Western Hemisphere, is the 2nd witness that He established to clarify and establish the doctrines of the Bible. I’m so grateful we aren’t left without this 2nd witness in order to fully understand the word of God. It is miraculous evidence of God’s great love for us and the active role He still plays in the world today.



Here’s a list of things I know because of the Book of Mormon (or that I know more clearly– many of these things are taught, or alluded to, in the Bible, but the Book of Mormon confirms and removes all doubt about it):



I feel like the Book of Mormon confirms the nature of God, and teaches that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and thus is actively involved in His children’s lives, and will be until the end of time. The way He worked in Bible times is the same way He works today. He loves His children in these latter days as much as He loved his children from the beginning of time. The Book of Mormon removes all doubt that God is a loving, tender father who just wants the best for us, and wants to see us succeed and be happy, just as an earthly parent would.


tree of life quotes

The Vision of the Tree of Life! Oh my goodness- one of my favorite parables in all of scripture is recorded in the Book of Mormon: the prophet Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. (Found in 1 Nephi 8- go read it, if you haven’t! It is profound.) It has so many elements that shed light on so many things about the gospel of Jesus Christ– the tree with pure white fruit that fills you with indescribable joy (The love of God), the strait and narrow path, the iron rod (word of God) which leads to the tree and keeps you on the path, the midsts of darkness (temptations of the devil) that arise to lead people away from the path, the river of filthy water (depths of hell) and the “great and spacious building” full of people (representing the pride of the world), just to name a few. It is such a beautiful and symbolic allegory representing our journey of discipleship here on Earth, and it gives me so much strength and purpose as I relate it to my own life. I love Lehi’s vision and the remarkable truths it teaches!  This scriptural gem is something I wouldn’t have were it not for the Book of Mormon. Everyone needs to read this!



Sheds Light on the Fall of Adam and Eve

The Book of Mormon clarifies how the Fall fits into the plan of Salvation. Contrary to popular belief, the Fall of Adam and Eve was not a terrible tragedy that never should have happened or something that we would be much better off had it not happened. It was actually an essential part of God’s plan, and the very event that would allow his plan to roll forth. The atonement of Jesus Christ wasn’t just a last-minute plan-B to compensate for Adam and Eve’s mistake. It was in the plan already, as was the fall. God knew that the fall would happen, and indeed that it had to eventually happen in order for his plan to unfold. 


The Book of Mormon reveals that if Adam and Eve had not fallen, they would have had no children, and none of us would have been able to come down to experience this mortal testing period we call life. We must come down to a fallen world in order to be able to have a true experience where we learn how to choose between good and evil. If Adam and Eve had not fallen, everything would have remained perfect in the garden of Eden, forever, and there would have been no opposition introduced into the world. They wouldn’t ever have had the chance to truly choose between good and evil, and to grow and learn and progress thereby. It was a necessary step to set everything in motion. But it had to come by way of their own free will, because God, being perfect, holy and just, would never put us in a fallen world. It had to be brought upon by man’s own agency.


Grace and works! 

The Book of Mormon lays out the relationship between works and grace in a very clear manner, and in a way that cannot be misunderstood. Over and over and over, it teaches that man cannot be saved without grace, and that no matter what we do, we could never make it to heaven on our own. It always makes me smile and shake my head when I hear people accusing us Latter-day Saints of trying to work our way to heaven. Uh, have you read the Book of Mormon? Go read it, and you’ll see how perfectly in harmony with the Bible it is on these matters. And it expounds upon them, so as to remove all doubt. We are saved by grace, after all we can do. As Jesus taught abundantly, God does require certain things in order to qualify for every blessing He has in store for us. But what is required is like a drop in the bucket compared to what perfect justice would actually require. Christ’s atonement makes up for what we lack, which is an incredibly huge amount. That’s the miracle.


We cannot work our way to heaven. It is only through the merits and mercies of Christ that we are saved, after all we can do. We will all be ‘saved’ in a sense– both the wicked and the righteous, in that we will all be brought back to life/resurrected and inherit a degree of glory. But we must do all we can to follow Christ’s teachings in order to qualify for complete exaltation in the kingdom of God. There’s a difference between salvation and exaltation, and the latter is what we’re striving for.


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Justice and Mercy

Along with that, the Book of Mormon clearly teaches about two important eternal principles: Justice and Mercy. And how both are absolutely essential in God’s plan. God is perfect. Which means he must be perfectly just. If not so, he would cease to be God, because He would no longer be perfect. There are certain immutable laws, like the law of justice– we must be punished for our sins. We cannot dwell in a state of never-ending happiness if we are tainted with sin. The only way to bring about Mercy and let mercy override justice was for there to be an ultimate atonement made by Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. But in order for the demands of the law of Justice to be satisfied, there are still certain things absolutely required of us in order to receive all of the blessings God has in store for us. I feel like the Book of Mormon really helps me gain a much clearer perspective of how mercy and the law of Justice work together, and what part I have in that interplay. In our world today, often Christian teachings lean towards one extreme or the other, based on their different interpretation of Biblical passages. Either that God loves us, and therefore, his mercy completely overrides the law of justice. Or the law of Justice is emphasized as our ultimate doom- the argument that because God is just, sinners must go to hell. Neither are completely true. “Can mercy rob justice? No, not one whit!” The Book of Mormon touches on this quite a bit, and gives a very well-rounded perspective about how Justice and Mercy are interconnected and how both are indispensable in God’s plan for the salvation of His children. A correct understanding of this is crucial if we are to have confidence in how to approach life.


The role of agency. If it weren’t for the Book of Mormon, I think I wouldn’t have as firm of an understanding of the role ‘freedom to choose’ plays in my life and in Heavenly Father’s plan. I feel like I might be more prone to feeling like fate controls my destiny, or that God already knows what’s going to happen and thus he controls what’s going to happen, and thus everything that happens was somehow meant to be and ultimately I have no control over my own fate. I feel like I’d take a lot more of a passive approach in life because I wouldn’t as clearly understand this concept of agency. The Book of Mormon establishes the doctrine of agency. It clearly teaches that agency is a precious gift given to us from a loving Heavenly Father, and that it is a major reason why we are here on Earth. Understanding the role of agency brings a lot more clarity and purpose to life and why I’m here, and gives me a lot more hope, knowing that God will guide me and make more out of my life than I can, as I choose to follow his son, Jesus Christ.


The purpose of life! Without the Book of Mormon, I feel like my understanding of the purpose of life would be a bit more hazy. I would feel a lot more aimless and not as sure about all the reasons why this life is even necessary. The Book of Mormon clearly spells out the purpose of our existence here on Earth, and adds a breadth and depth of understanding that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It teaches that this life is a probationary period, designed for our learning and spiritual growth, where we are allowed space and time to develop faith, repent and prepare to meet God. I love the Book of Mormon for its teachings on the purpose of life!


Answers so many questions of the soul, and explains The Plan of Salvation – talks so much about the plan of salvation and God’s purposes in creating us and in the purpose of our existence on the Earth. I remember watching a video produced by another faith, and I was taken back at how unfulfilling and empty their answers seemed to be. For instance, ‘Why did God create us?’ The answer was “Because he’s creative.” …. I was like, Huh? …That’s it? Or ‘Why did he send us here?’ “To glorify himself.” I mean, there’s truth to both of those answers, but they were so limited in scope that it didn’t really make sense and left me unsatisfied. It really made me appreciate the clarity of the Book of Mormon’s teachings to those fundamental questions of the soul. The Book of Mormon provides so much more context! Where did we come from? Why are we here? And where are we going? 



Repentance! Removes all doubt that repentance is absolutely essential for complete salvation. You cannot be saved without it. No unclean thing can enter God’s presence. We cannot stand in the presence of God in our natural state- we must be cleansed by the power of Christ’s atonement, and this requires repentance. 


The Bible does say you’ll be judged by your works, but it also says you are not saved by works but by grace. (I feel like the wording is a little more confusing in the Bible, thus leading to many different interpretations. The Book of Mormon makes this doctrine crystal clear.)



America as a promised land.  About 600 B.C., Jesus Christ showed the prophet Nephi a remarkable vision (that included the discovery of America, and the revolutionary war!) From it we learn that the independence of America was of great importance in God’s plan. And that God delivered us from all other nations and helped us prevail over the British and gain our independence. 


America is a promised land and that as a nation we are under a covenant with the Lord – we will be blessed with freedom and the Lord will preserve us from all other nations, if we serve Him. The strength and freedom of America depend on its inhabitants serving Jesus Christ. We must follow him in order to prosper and remain independent from all other lands. Ether 2:12.)


Exposes Satan’s tactics. I’m so grateful for the Book of Mormon in providing so much valuable information on this. He stirs us up to anger, he leads us to be complacent, to deny the reality of hell or Satan himself. The Book of Mormon helps me to more clearly understand the intent of the enemy of my soul, and the strategies he employs, which is pretty important if we are to combat Him.



It was written for our day! Many of the Book of Mormon prophets actually saw visions – where they saw the latter days. They saw us! And many of the things they recorded are in direct response to that- because they knew that they were writing for us, in the latter days, right before the second coming of the Savior. How cool is that?


Spells out several false philosophies that are prevalent in the world (“eat, drink and be merry”, “when they are learned they think they are wise”, the philosophy that revelations and miracles are done away, or popular false doctrines about the nature of God. It helps me to be able to identify many temptations and deceptions that are prevalent in the last days. 


Power to overcome sin! Whenever I read The Book of Mormon it gives me greater motivation and strength to resist temptation. It is a powerful persuader to help in overcoming sin.


Doctrinal Clarity

The Book of Mormon provides context and clarifies many things about Christ’s doctrine, and the how and why behind the ordinances of his church. For instance, one clarification is found in one of the last chapters, where the prophet Mormon clearly explains why little children should not be baptized until they reach the age of accountability. (Moroni chapter 8)


Hope! I feel like The Book of Mormon brings so much hope to life!! So many messages, stories, that reassure of God’s love and of the great plan of Happiness that was laid for us.


Details about the state of our spirits in the afterlife. Without the Book of Mormon, I would have many unanswered questions about the afterlife, and what happens to our spirits after we die, and when. The Book of Mormon tells about where our spirits go after death (the spirit world) while they await the final judgment.


A promise that more records will come forth. The lost ten tribes also have records that will eventually come forth, in the own due time of the Lord.



God prepares a way- always!

As taught in the Book of Mormon, the Lord doesn’t give any commandments that are too hard to keep – he always prepares a way for us to accomplish what He commands us- though it may take several attempts for us to find the way He has prepared. The Book of Mormon refutes the notion that ‘if it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be’, or that if we meet opposition and adversity, we should consign ourselves to the idea that “God didn’t will it” to happen and therefore we can justify ourselves saying “I tried” and just give up. God always prepares a way for us to succeed, when it comes to keeping his commandments! And the blessings and miracles that follow our extra valiant efforts to be obedient are totally worth it. We miss out on those blessings and miracles if we aren’t obedient.


The Holy Ghost and the role that it can play in our individual lives. There are so many insights in the Book of Mormon about the Holy Ghost and how it works! Through the Book of Mormon, I know that it is only by the power of the Holy Ghost that I can know the truth of all things. The teachings of Jesus Christ to the inhabitants of ancient America also confirms that the gift of the Holy Ghost is an ordinance of salvation that is conferred by priesthood power (Jesus Christ conferred the authority to administer this gift to his 12 disciples in the new world). I love the Book of Mormon for it’s wonderful teachings about the Holy Ghost! 


Additional insights about Charity 

The Book of Mormon defines charity as “the Pure Love of Christ.” It is one of His defining characteristics. And a defining characteristic of all true followers of Jesus Christ. (Moroni 7:45-48). The Book of Mormon further clarifies that we cannot be saved without charity, and that we must pray with all the energy of heart in order to be filled with this type of God-like love. If we truly have charity, in the last days we will be able to see Christ as He is, and be purified as He is pure. 



Christ was kind!

The Book of Mormon removes all doubt that Christ is truly kind-hearted, gentle, loving, patient, full of love, etc. Surprisingly, I’ve read articles written by some Bible-believing Christians arguing that Christ was not “nice” and therefore, his followers need not be “nice.” But the Book of Mormon powerfully confirms that Christ was full of kind-heartedness and long suffering and pure love towards all mankind. He never does anything unless it is for our benefit, and His followers are commanded to also be loving towards all men. It is the very essence of discipleship.


Humility is absolutely required for salvation

The Book of Mormon removes all doubt that being meek and lowly of heart (humble/penitent) is absolutely required in order to be saved. (2 Nephi 2:7, Moroni 7:44). Faith is vain unless you are meek and lowly in heart.



The Pride Cycle

The Book of Mormon shows the great destructiveness of pride and its effect on the inhabitants of ancient America. It shows a pattern: God blesses people for being righteous, they begin to prosper and become prideful, they turn away from God and His commandments, God chastises them for their pride, sends down judgments upon them until they humble themselves again and repent). All throughout the Book of Mormon, it gives specific examples of what pride looks like in our everyday lives (costy apparel, separating ourselves into classes, having stiff necks and high heads, turning our backs on the poor, being puffed up because of learning/riches, disregarding the counsel of God, being unrepentant and unwilling to change or submit to the will of God, etc.)


easter jesus

Removes all doubt that Christ was truly the promised Messiah. Which is pretty important in a day where the basic doctrines of Christianity are being undermined and disputed by many in the world.


True nature of the Godhead. Removes all doubt that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings, one in purpose.


 A few Biblical teachings that the Book of Mormon clarifies:


  • Many people died because they would not look upon the brazen serpent that Moses made. Because the way was too simple.
  • The Book of Mormon explains exactly what it means to be like a little child (Mosiah 3:19)
  • Explains more about why Christ was baptized. Explains what it means to “fulfill all righteousness.” (2 Nephi 31)
  • Shows exactly what Christ meant when he said “other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (John 3:16)
  • Shows the true meaning of “the fulness of times” and “restitution of all things”, which are alluded to in the Bible.



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Clarifies what happened in Gethsemane. That it wasn’t just Him praying/crying because he was going to be killed on the cross. It tells why he bled from every pore. He took upon him our pains and iniquities right there in Gethsemane. It shows that Christ’s suffering in the garden of Gethsemane was a huge part of the atonement. That’s where it started, where he actually suffered for our sins, and that his sacrifice for us culminated on the cross. It also expounds on the Biblical record showing that, because of his great anguish when suffering for our sins, he literally bled from every poor (entering a state of hematidrosis). It wasn’t just a figurative thing (Mosiah 3:7). 


Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t know that Christ didn’t just suffer for my sins only. He also took upon him my pains, heartaches, sicknesses, and every type of affliction you can imagine that come upon us as a result of living in a fallen world. Thus, there is nothing I have experienced that he also has not experienced. He truly understands me, no matter what I’ve gone through, because he has felt it too. Quite literally.


The Book of Mormon “refutes the notion that happiness can be found in wickedness” (Russell M. Nelson). True happiness can never be found in wickedness. God is the very definition of happiness, and keeping his commandments leads to true and lasting joy. Breaking those commandments and rejecting his counsel always leads to misery, because we are cut off from God’s presence.


Confirms that the God of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ. It’s not as clear and unmistakable in reference to the Bible alone that this is the case.


The Bible. That the Bible was pure and perfect when it was first compiled, but that before going forth unto all nations, there were some plain and precious things removed from the Bible, including many covenants, because of it passing through the hands of some wicked people. Resulting in many true followers of Christ stumbling and falling into great errors. But that the Lord, in His great mercy, will bring forth a second witness (The Book of Mormon) which will restore much of the things which were lost. That was one of the covenants He made to the House of Israel, which has been fulfilled.


That among those prophets whose writings were lost or removed in the Bible, but which ancient peoples had access to, were Zenos and Zenoch.


Importance of Covenants

That covenants are super important in the Lord’s plan for each of His children, and the means by which we can fully access the grace and power that is available to us because of Jesus Christ. Lost knowledge about covenants is one of the reasons why the Book of Mormon was prepared by the hand of God for us in these last days– to restore those precious truths to the world, and to gather the House of Israel back to a knowledge of the covenants of their fathers.


Alma 13 – Shows that those who are called to be high priests/prophets, are called according to their exceeding faith and good works. They are more holy than other men. So often I see Christian movies portraying prophets as just random guys who were called as a prophet, despite being very worldly and still given to the ‘natural man’. I suppose they do this to make them seem more relatable. But the Book of Mormon clearly shows that prophets truly were holy men who have ‘put off the natural man’, who are closer to the spirit than most, and who have proved their worthiness by their exceeding faith and works. They are not worldly. They are not called in sin- they are called in imperfection (because all of us are imperfect). But they are chosen because they have laid aside many of the sins of this world and have chosen a humble and repentant lifestyle.


Interesting tidbits:

  • Proof that baptisms were performed before Christ was born (some Christians believe that baptism wasn’t introduced until after Christ came).
  • Reveals that Christ came to visit the ancient inhabitants of America after his Resurrection.
  • Christopher Columbus was led by the spirit of God to America.
  • Not all the sons of Zedekiah (King of Judah) were killed. One of his sons, Mulek, escaped and was led to the Americas, and became a great nation.
  • That every prophet since the beginning of time has prophesied of Christ.
  • That Joseph in Egypt foresaw our day and even prophesied about the restoration of the gospel in the latter-days. 
  • That “he that hath the spirit of contention” is of the devil, not of Christ. The devil is the one who stirs people’s hearts up with anger, to contend one with another. We shouldn’t have the spirit of contention, even when discussing vitally important matters, such as Christ’s doctrine. Christ is not pleased when we contend and dispute over His doctrine. He said so himself. One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to lay down such contentions (2 Nephi 3:12).
  • That John the apostle was indeed the one who wrote the book of Revelation (debated in the Christian world).


  • Baptism is required for salvation.
  • We will all be resurrected and eventually inherit some degree of glory, regardless of our faith/works in this life.
  • We will be judged according to our works and desires of our hearts.
  • That it matters to Christ how ordinances of baptism and the sacrament are performed, and that it requires power/authority from him in order to administer these ordinances.



Makes the Old Testament make so much more sense! Explains the reason behind the Law of Moses and why it was done away. Really clarifies a lot of things in the Old Testament! Brings all of scripture into one coherent whole. Everything in the Law of Moses was intended to point people’s hearts to Christ! 


Provides rationale for plural marriage in the Bible (that some plural marriages in the Bible, such as those to David and Saul, were NOT sanctioned by God and were an abomination, whereas some plural marriages, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were sanctioned by God to bring about his purposes in raising up a righteous generation). God has commanded marriage to be between one mand and one woman, except for a few instances when God chooses to have his servants practice polygamy to bring to pass a specific righteous purpose. 


Additional contextual insights about the Book of Isaiah was written for our day, and that it was and that it was prophesied that in the last days people would be able to come to understand many of the things which Isaiah wrote. The Savior actually commanded us to search the words of Isaiah, affirming that “great are the words of Isaiah.”


Christ’s atonement covers those who died without law. The Book of Mormon clarifies that Christ’s “blood atoneth for the sins of those who have … died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.” (Mosiah 3:11–12.) And those who haven’t reached an age of accountability, such as little children, are also covered. What a comforting doctrine! Little children and those who died without law are redeemed.


Testifies of the needfulness of Christ’s atonement

The Book of Mormon provides so much context about the how and why behind Christ and what He did to atone for our sins. It sheds light on how it all works and why it was so essential in God’s plan. It tells about what would have happened had Christ not atoned for our sins. Were it not for the Savior’s atonement, all the earth’s inhabitants would come under Satan’s control, and we would inevitably have become like him. (2 Ne. 9:8.) Yikes! I’m so grateful for Jesus Christ and His power to save us.


All will be resurrected:

“Christ’s death on the cross brought about a universal resurrection for all mankind, regardless of a person’s belief or performance. Much of Christianity believes that the effects of Christ’s atonement are limited. Many people teach that belief in Christ is necessary for resurrection.” (Gilbert W. Scharffs)


Jacob clearly taught that Christ “suffereth [the Atonement] that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before [Christ] at the great and judgment day.” (2 Ne. 9:22) Moroni wrote, “Because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, … all men are redeemed, … which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep.” (Morm. 9:13.)


I know that just reading some of these things, there may be some that might be thinking, “Wait – that’s not what I’ve believed my whole life” or who might think that some of these points, at face value, go against some Biblical teachings. But I encourage you to read the Book of Mormon for yourself, rather than just taking what I’m saying out of context. Please don’t take any of this out of context! Because I promise it will all make perfect sense and you’ll see how perfectly it actually aligns with the Bible and you will be so grateful! The Holy Ghost will make known to you that what I am sharing is true, and that the Book of Mormon is a precious gift from our Heavenly Father, showing his great mercy and love to all of us, His children. He will not leave us alone to grapple in confusion with His word. He has kept his promise that He will recover Israel and has provided a second witness to establish His doctrine and deliver us from the designs of evil men in the last days. I’m so grateful for the Book of Mormon in my life!


Sep 25

Christmas Morning Quiche

Spinach quiche

I love quiche! This is the recipe my mom always made for Christmas morning breakfast, and it’s the best. We would have it with muffins and juice. There are all sorts of variations you can do with it, but my personal favorites are the sausage quiche and the broccoli quiche. But they’re all good!




Ham & Cheese Quiche



4-6 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups diced ham (or other toppings, like ground sausage, or chopped broccoli, etc.) *

14 large eggs

2 (9-inch deep-dish) pastry shells

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

2 cans Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup

1 Tablespoon flour



Bake pastry shell 5 minutes and cool, then sprinkle ham on bottom of the pastry shell (1 cup in each pie shell). Toss cheese with 1 tablespoon flour and spread in shell over ham. (About 2 cups cheese in each pie shell.)  Beat eggs, salt, and pepper together. Mix soup with the milk, then add to the egg mixture; slowly pour into the shell. Cover crust edge with strips of tin foil to prevent overbrowning (I don’t always do this because I don’t mind them extra brown). Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Serves 12-16.



  • Sausage Cheese Quiche (use cooked ground sausage in place of the ham)

  • Broccoli Cheese Quiche (use cooked broccoli florets, chopped up).

    (You can also add bacon bits to the this, but last time I made it I left them out and actually liked it better!)

  • Spinach Cheese Quiche (use cooked frozen chopped spinach, well drained)


Ham cheese quiche




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Sep 23

My Favorite Supplemental Resources for Come Follow Me

Okay first let me make a disclaimer:
I’m not a fan of leaning on supplemental materials. There are SO MANY supplemental resources out there! So many lesson ideas, summaries, handouts, youtube lessons, etc. and I’m sure a lot of them are really great. But I’ve found (at least for me) that it can be SO EASY to get sucked into the never-ending world of supplemental materials and learning from other people’s insights ABOUT the Come Follow Me curriculum, that we let it crowd out our own personal studying of the actual primary resources for ourselves.


too many supplemental resources ldshow to simplify come follow me

In fact, as I was looking in my journal over the past year or so, I came to a realization:
Most–if not all–of the more significant spiritual impressions/personal directions I’ve received from studying Come Follow Me, have actually come as a result of me studying the actual manual/scriptures, NOT from supplemental resources. Notwithstanding how amazing many of those supplemental resources are. I think there’s something to be said about really getting down to the primary stuff yourself. That’s where most of the magic happens!


As a result, I’ve decided to make a rule for myself to not do any supplemental materials until I have done the actual CFM reading myself, because it’s way too easy to get distracted and sucked in to all the other stuff and never get around to fully doing the primary stuff on my own.


Have you noticed the italicized headings in the manual? I feel like it’s trying to train each of us to better receive personalized revelation as we are studying. I love it! I’ve come to find out that those tiny, fleeting promptings that come while I’m reading the scriptures actually do more good and impact my life to a much greater degree, than some of the mind-blowing, sensationalized, and even awesome spiritually edifying insights to be gained from listening to other people’s personal studies and commentary. Because it comes straight from the Holy Ghost, the best mentor of all, who sends a perfectly personalized package of direction just for me.


Best Come Follow Me Supplemental Resources


That being said– I’ve checked out a lot of the different Come Follow Me supplemental resources out there, and have found, what are, in my personal opinion, the very best ones– the ones worth your time, once you’ve already done your own primary studies. Others may have different ones they like, but here are are some of my  favorites that I wanted to share:




 1. Come Follow Me Insights by Book of Mormon Central




By Tyler Griffin and Taylor Halverson. Okay, these guys are amazing! I’ve checked out many of the other YouTube Come Follow Me weekly commentaries, and this Book of Mormon Central series is (in my personal opinion) the best, most well-done of them all. It’s always so spiritually edifying; I always leave wanting to be better. And they do it in a way that is interesting, bringing a lot of wonderful insights to the table. I love how they pull in clips from the relevant Book of Mormon videos as they are talking about the stories, to help bring it more to life. And I love how humble they are. You can tell that they both have a great love for The Book of Mormon and are passionate about helping people understanding and appreciate the scriptures on a deeper level.


It reminds me sitting in a BYU religion class, or an extremely well-done Sunday school class. They both are professors at BYU and bring some very solid understanding and context into the scriptures. After watching these, I really wish I had taken a class from Brother Griffin when I was going to BYU. He’s a very gifted teacher! I love how grounded it is in the actual scriptures; They really stick to the doctrine and don’t spend too much time philosophizing over interesting but non-doctrinal stuff. (Lol occasionally Brother Halverson makes some slightly off-the-wall speculations about potential word meanings that make me laugh or cock my head a little, but for the most part I feel like a lot the stuff is pretty spot on, and I love so many of their insights). Highly recommended! 




2. Latter Day Kids YouTube Channel


I love this so much! I came across this about a year ago, and was very impressed at the quality and simplicity of the videos.  I LOVE how simple it is and easy to understand for kids. It makes for a great attention-grabber for a Family Home Evening lesson, as a launch pad to discuss a certain gospel principle. And the one who makes them does an excellent job finding creative ways to present gospel lessons in ways that kids can really relate with. I just love it and can’t say enough good about it.




3. The Conference Talks mentioned in the Manual


So technically I guess this isn’t really “supplemental” because it’s in the actual manual. But for a while I kinda just brushed over these while I was reading (in the manual where it says “See also [insert conference talk title here]”. But as I started to actually look up those conference talks, I’ve realized – Wow, these are super good ones! I feel like they hand-picked some of the very best ones to include in the manual. It seems like such a small thing, but I’ve noticed that when I read those talks, significant insights and impressions come to me that are super relevant and actually make a huge difference in my life and perspective for that week. And a lot of the principles and quotes from those talks have lingered with me and have come back into my mind again and again, even though I listened to them months ago– and they’ve really helped me! It’s made me want to go back to the beginning of the manual and read all of the ones that I missed!


Here’s an example of some of the talks that have been included, just to name a few:


Highly recommended!



4. Conference Talks from the latest conference


It always amazes me how many of the most recent general conference talks are super related and relevant to the Come Follow Me materials for any given week. I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to one every day, and I’ve found that immersing yourself that way makes you super familiar with the messages so that, as you’re going through the Come Follow Me chapters, you can be like “Whoa! Elder Renlund’s talk goes along perfectly with this week’s lesson!” General Conference talks are so inspired!



5. The Friend  and The Ensign  Magazines


Probably one of the best supplemental resources, honestly! Put together by the church- it can be a great blessing for families. I don’t always have time to read them through cover to cover for each month, but I’m always amazed at how edifying and inspirational the stories and articles are, and they always include several that go along with the Come Follow Me lessons for that month. It’s great. The Ensign includes sections with weekly Come Follow Me insights and support articles/activities. The Friend  has fun FHE ideas or little lesson cut-outs to go along with Come Follow Me, which I’ve used and loved. And lots of stories geared for kids that often go along with Come Follow Me principles for that month. My kids love listening to stories from The Friend at night as they’re going to sleep.



6. The Primary Manual


I love the Primary Come Follow Me manual. There are often object lesson ideas and video clips that go along with that week’s lesson to help teach the concepts in a way that is great for more concrete learners. And I love simple. The primary manual is a resource that breaks things down very simply and outlines key principles that can be drawn from each week’s lesson, for children. But it can be a great reference for adults too. The primary manual is a great one to refer to when I’m feeling overwhelmed about teaching all these things to my kids.



A couple other resources I’ve used and liked: Ponderfun, Sketch n Chat, and the Animated Living Scriptures videos. Also, did you know that the church website actually has a site where they’ve compiled the relevant video resources for each week, all in one place? Check out the 2020 Book of Mormon Media Resources page. I wish I’d known about this sooner!


One last note: As we were doing home-church, I was all excited about finding some online “Primary singing time” videos on YouTube for my children to watch, and I found some really great ones! But one day my daughter straight up asked me “Why can’t we just do it ourselves?” and told me that she preferred me teaching them. That surprised me because I felt like some of the online resources were a lot more creative and well-done than the stuff I usually come up with. But that’s what my children actually preferred. It taught me that there’s nothing that can replace parents teaching their children, simple as it may be. No matter how amazing the supplemental materials are, there’s something about that simple personalized one-on-one interaction between parent and child that children apparently treasure the most.


Centered my Life on Christ More


I love the Come Follow Me curriculum. It’s been a huge blessing in my life and I feel like it’s helped me center my life on Christ more than I ever have before. The weeks when I’ve taken it the most seriously, I feel more spiritually anchored and strengthened. And I’ve come to strongly believe that doing it every week will bless our lives immeasurably. I’m amazed at how relevant it always seems to be with what’s happening that week. Like, world events that unfold and things I’m worried about that week: Always there’s something in that weeks’ lesson/scriptures will speak to me and turn out to be EXACTLY what I needed at that week.


This is an inspired curriculum. There’s no doubt about it. The Lord’s hand is in it, and He has prepared it as an amazing tool to help us spiritually thrive, no matter what’s happening in the world around us that seeks to drag us down. “Feasting on the words of Christ” will keep us afloat!

Jul 24

An Interesting Pattern I Noticed at General Conference

I loved the April 2020 General Conference! It was so amazing! I want to share something that stood out to me that I thought was pretty interesting. 


First of all, to set the stage, this is important:


At the beginning of the year, speaking specifically about the upcoming conference and our need to “act now” in doing what he has asked us to do to prepare, President Nelson said the following: 


“This is a hinge point in the history of the Church, and your part is vital.” 


The choice of words he used is very insightful! 


What is a hinge point? 

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A hinge point suggests a turning point where you are going to see a significant change take place. It’s the point where something literally pivots.


It’s also a term used by teachers. A hinge point is:


“the point in a lesson when you need to check if students are ready to move on, and if yes, in which direction.” 


Isn’t that interesting? 


An Interesting Pattern


In light of that, I thought this was fascinating: During April’s conference, did you catch how many times President Nelson repeated many of the challenges and directives he has previously given in past conference addresses and messages? It was pretty striking!


For instance, in his Saturday evening address, he spent a good amount of time emphasizing again the importance of restoring the correct name of the church1  (a repeat from the address he gave in 2018) and he again emphasized the importance of the ancient law of the fast2 (which was a main theme of his October 2019 address) as he again called for a church-wide fast for Covid-19 (a repeat of another call to fast he had made the previous week).


And then on Sunday morning, he renewed his plea3 (using those words) for us each to increase our spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation and learn how the Holy Ghost speaks to us (a repeat from that landmark address he gave in 2018, when he first became president of the church). He also emphasized again the importance of regular temple attendance and family history work, and of the need to be daily ‘immersing’ ourselves in the scriptures4  (a repeat from his plea5  in the October 2018 general conference, and previous talks  in 2017 and 2018). 


And what’s more- he emphasized the need to hear, heed, and hearken6 to the words of the Lord. And of the importance of following the counsel of His prophets.  Why would he feel the need to do that? Could it be that maybe we, the church, as a whole, haven’t been taking President Nelson’s past invitations seriously enough? 


In light of the fact that he decided to focus the bulk of his remarks largely on repeating and re-extending earlier invitations— Could it be, perhaps, that we are not quite ready to “move on to new material” / other things the Lord may have in store for us?  


I just thought that was super interesting and insightful!

Let it Inspire Us to Greater Heights


I hope this doesn’t make us feel discouraged but rather motivates us. I love President Nelson’s encouraging and kind response to those who had not completed the specific challenges he gave to the sisters in the October 2018 conference: He said, 

“I hope that each of these invitations has brought you closer to the Savior. If you have struggled with any of them, please don’t be hard on yourself. You can start today. The Lord is happy with any effort we make to draw closer to Him.

I believe he would say the same to us, with regard to these repeated invitations in this April’s conference. I love President Nelson’s ever optimistic outlook, even when we sometimes fall short. It inspires me and motivates me to do better!




Just for reference, I’ll include some of his quotes here:




1. President Nelson said: “When we remove the Lord’s name from the name of His Church, we inadvertently remove Him as the central focus of our worship and our lives.”

restore the correct name of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints

I really love the incredible promise given:

“I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints,17 the likes of which we have never seen.”

(I looked up that footnote in his talk, and it pointed to a scripture that suggested an outpouring of knowledge from heaven. Isn’t that exciting?  We know that in these latter days, “God will yet reveal many great and important things”. What a wonderful time we live in!) I think it’s interesting that President Nelson repeated this promise again in the April 2020 conference.  It seems like such a small & simple thing, but maybe that’s the test (Alma 33:19-20, Alma 37:41,46). Who knows, maybe these invitations our prophet has felt impressed to give us are the very things that will prepare us for the greater light and knowledge coming down the road, that are only held back because we haven’t quite yet done our part to be ready for / worthy to receive them?


(Just to note: From here on out I’ve bolded some phrases for emphasis and easier skimming/reading, but the italicized words were already italicized in the text of his original talks).


2. October 2019:

“To assist members of the Lord’s Church in distress, we love and live the ancient law of the fast. We go hungry to help others who are hungry. One day each month, we go without food and donate the cost of that food (and more) to help those in need.

I will never forget my first visit to West Africa in 1986. The Saints came to our meetings in great numbers. Though they had little in terms of material possessions, most came dressed in spotless white clothing.

I asked the stake president how he cared for members who had so little. He replied that their bishops knew their people well. If members could afford two meals a day, no help was needed. But if they could afford only one meal or less—even with family help—bishops provided food, financed from fast offerings. Then he added this remarkable fact: their fast-offering contributions usually exceeded their expenses. Surplus fast offerings were then sent to people elsewhere whose needs exceeded theirs. Those stalwart African Saints taught me a great lesson about the power of the law and the spirit of the fast.

As members of the Church, we feel a kinship to those who suffer in any way. As sons and daughters of God, we are all brothers and sisters. We heed an Old Testament admonition: ‘Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy.’ “

And again in April 2020:

“As followers of Jesus Christ, living in a day when the COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in commotion, let us not just talk of Christ or preach of Christ or employ a symbol representing Christ.

Let us put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into action!

As you know, members of the Church observe the law of the fast one day each month.

The doctrine of fasting is ancient. It has been practiced by biblical heroes from the earliest days. Moses, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, and many others fasted and preached of fasting. Through Isaiah’s writings, the Lord said: ‘Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free?’

The Apostle Paul admonished Saints in Corinth to ‘give yourselves to fasting and prayer.’ The Savior Himself declared that certain things go ‘not out but by prayer and fasting.’ “

“In my video message, I invited all to join in fasting on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Many of you may have seen the video and joined in the fast. Some may have not. Now we still need help from heaven.

So tonight, my dear brothers and sisters, in the spirit of the sons of Mosiah, who gave themselves to much fasting and prayer, and as part of our April 2020 general conference, I am calling for another worldwide fast. For all whose health may permit, let us fast, pray, and unite our faith once again. Let us prayerfully plead for relief from this global pandemic.

I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.

How do we fast? Two meals or a period of 24 hours is customary. But you decide what would constitute a sacrifice for you, as you remember the supreme sacrifice the Savior made for you. Let us unite in pleading for healing throughout the world.”





3. His original invitation in 2018:

“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.

My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. .Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”

Holy Ghost Nelson Quote revelation crucial

And again in April 2020:

“We..hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord. I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.

Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.”


prophet holy ghost quote lds





4. April 2020:

read the scripturesDaily immersion in the word of God is crucial for spiritual survival, especially in these days of increasing upheaval. As we feast on the words of Christ daily, the words of Christ will tell us how to respond to difficulties we never thought we would face.”


Previous invitations:

“I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions. . .We need to feel, deep in ‘the inmost part’ of our hearts, that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it.”

. . .

“While worshipping in the temple is presently not possible, I invite you to increase your participation in family history, including family history research and indexing. I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him.”

. . .

“Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.

president nelson temple quote scriptures quote family history quote




5. His plea in October 2018:

why I love latter day saint temples

“My dear brothers and sisters, the assaults of the adversary are increasing exponentially, in intensity and in variety. Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time. Invest time in your future and in that of your family. If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord—to be in His holy house—then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples.

And again in April 2020:

“When these temporary COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, please schedule regular time to worship and serve in the temple. Every minute of that time will bless you and your family in ways nothing else can. Take time to ponder what you hear and feel when you are there. Ask the Lord to teach you how to open the heavens to bless your life and the lives of those you love and serve.”





6. In His main conference address, “Hear Him”, President Nelson said the following:

“Repeatedly, past prophets have declared ‘great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe.’ It is no different in our day. Through the years, great and marvelous things have been heard from dedicated pulpits across the earth. Yet most people do not embrace these truths—either because they do not know where to look for them or because they are listening to those who do not have the whole truth or because they have rejected truth in favor of worldly pursuits.”

. . .

“The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken. It means ‘to listen with the intent to obey.’ To hearken means to ‘hear Him’—to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His counsel. In those two words—’Hear Him’—God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us!”

. . .

“What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.”


Wow, those are some pretty cool promises! And as I was going through these quotes again, it was cool to see incredible promises attached to each these invitations! I hope we can all commit to better hearkening to the words of the Lord and the inspired invitations of His prophet, so that we’ll be able to see the realization of all these blessings in our lives. As it says in Doctrine & Covenants 82:10: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”  Let’s go claim these promises!

Jul 17

Don’t Suppress A Tiny Voice

I heard this song a few years ago, and it really touched me!


Letting Perfectionism Suppress Our Voice

I feel like it can be easy to feel tempted to suppress our voice, and to doubt our contribution because of our imperfections and weaknesses.  We might think, who am I to speak up? Especially when surrounded by louder voices, well-spoken and eloquent voices who seem to be carrying the discussion just fine. We might doubt our ability to even make a difference with our tiny voice.


We might not have everything together. We might even be dropping the ball on some important things. That’s just human.  It shouldn’t exclude us from having the courage to share what we know and let our voices be heard. We don’t have to be perfect in order to speak up and share those things that come into our heart. We are all a work in progress. We can still bear testimony to principles we know to be true, even when we sometimes fall short.  If everyone waited until they were perfect before sharing their testimony or insights, we would live in a very silent world.

It reminds me of these words, written about 400 A.D., by the ancient prophet Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Moroni 9:31)

Imagine throwing out the entire Book of Mormon because of a perceived imperfection in the person who compiled it. What a tragedy that would be! How much wonderful light and truth we would miss out on!



Some of the lyrics also remind me of the Holy Ghost. That tiny, still small voice. It really is so easy to let the noise of the world drown it out.  But how important it is to give it heed, and to let it be heard. And to speak the things that the Spirit is pouring into our hearts and give it voice.

“Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices. .speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts” (Doctrine & Covenants 100:5)


As the song goes, “The more you overlook it and miss it day by day, it’s slowly disappearing- don’t let it fade away.

When we feel that light of Christ swelling in our heart and testifying about a certain principle, we shouldn’t suppress it, but share it. Let it shine through!   You’ve got some good things to say! Will it resonate with everybody? Maybe not, but it might resonate with somebody, and may be just exactly what that person needs.


We Each Have a Unique Contribution to Make

As I’ve been thinking about these things, it has inspired me to appreciate more, and not easily dismiss, other’s voices, and to not discount anyone’s unique contribution.


I love this insight from Hans T. Boom:

“In 2016 The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square came to visit the Netherlands and Belgium. And since I was involved in that exciting event, I had the opportunity to enjoy their performance twice.”

Gong Player

“During their performance I was thinking about what a tremendous undertaking it was to move a choir of that size. My mind was drawn to the big gong, which was difficult and probably costly to ship over in comparison with the violin, the trumpet, or other instruments you could easily carry under your arm. But looking at the actual involvement of this gong, I realized it was only hit a few times, whereas the other smaller instruments were involved for most of the concert. I reflected that without the sound of the gong, the performance would not be the same and so the effort had to be made to move this big gong all the way across the ocean.”


“Sometimes we might feel that we are, like that gong, good enough only to play a minor part in the performance. But let me tell you that your sound is making all the difference.”


Speaking to the women of the church (but I believe it can also apply to men), President Nelson said:

“Whether by exhortation or conversation, we need your voice teaching the doctrine of Christ. We need your input. . Your participation is essential and never ornamental!” 



I love that. A couple other quotes it makes me think of:


 “People are wonderful. Each one has a story, each something to give, each knows something interesting, something that can make your life richer.” (Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” (Fred Rogers)



We each have unique experiences that have shaped who we are and how we see the world. You bring a unique perspective to the table, and that perspective is needed!




I absolutely love these thoughts from Elder Holland:

“Remember it is by divine design that not all the voices in God’s choir are the same. It takes variety—sopranos and altos, baritones and basses—to make rich music.”

“Our Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in our own voice, not someone else’s. Believe in yourself, and believe in Him. Don’t demean your worth or denigrate your contribution. Above all, don’t abandon your role in the chorus. Why? Because you are unique; you are irreplaceable. The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society or the margins of the Church.”


Think of some of the more unique people you know. What if they stopped letting their light shine and being themselves? What if they suddenly became discouraged and doubted their voice, and stopped contributing to the conversation? What if they felt self-conscious about being different, and as a result decided to fade into the background. That makes me so sad to think about! Life would be less rich and beautiful without their unique contribution.




I love this little clip! Every time I watch it, it encourages me to not shrink, even when I feel a little out of place, or a little discouraged. And to see everyone around me the way God sees them- as someone with a  unique contribution to make and a valuable addition to the choir.


Every voice is needed ❤️


Jul 17

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Waffles

Healthy pumpkin pie semi sweet chocolate waffles

I came up with this recipe one day when I was trying to figure out a way to use up a little leftover pumpkin I had on hand, and it’s become one of our favorites. My kids love these. Hope you do too!


2 large eggs

1 3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 tablespoons brown sugar (or white sugar)

2 cups flour (I used white wheat)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (or however much you like)


Whisk together all the ingredients until well blended and cook in waffle iron. Easy peasy! (I’ve found that it turns out better and is less likely to stick when I let it cook a bit longer than I do with regular waffles, and also when I spray it with oil before cooking each waffle).

belgium waffles pumpkin spice

Jun 23

Messages from the Lord vs Messages from the Adversary

In our day, we are bombarded with messages. Those messages come in many forms and through many mediums- i.e. the internet, social media, symposium, videos, op-eds, ted-eds, memes, books, teachers, forums, and even our friends. Many messages may seem harmless, but are propagating false ideas that do not come from God. Sometimes messages from the Lord are overlooked or dismissed in favor of these alternative voices and ideas. Why is that? And how can we correctly determine with voices to listen to and which to tune out? Here are a bunch of great quotes I’ve come across! And a few key scriptures that help in more clearly distinguishing between God’s voice and the world’s.

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Messages from the Lord vs Messages from the Adversary

“The adversary is clever. For millennia he has been making good look evil and evil look good. His messages tend to be loud, bold, and boastfulHowever, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him.” (President Russell M. Nelson)


“Who has not heard and felt the enticings of the devil? His voice often sounds so reasonable and his message so easy to justify. It is an enticing, intriguing voice with dulcet tones. It is neither hard nor discordant. No one would listen to Satan’s voice if it sounded harsh or mean. If the devil’s voice were unpleasant, it would not entice people to listen to it. Shakespeare wrote, ‘The prince of darkness is a gentleman’. ” (Elder James E. Faust)

Isn’t it easy to see why it is so easy to accept the wrong types of messages? Because they are constantly surrounding us- they are loud, persuasive, enticing, maybe even exciting. And they can easily drown out the subtle and quiet messages streaming down from our Heavenly Father. 



 few there be that find it

Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Savior said that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)



A great quote by Elder James E. Faust:


“The adversary tries to smother [the still small] voice with a multitude of loud, persistent, persuasive, and appealing voices:

  • Murmuring voices that conjure up perceived injustices.

  • Whining voices that abhor challenge and work.

  • Seductive voices that offer sensual enticements.

  • Soothing voices that lull us into carnal security (see 2 Nephi 28:21)

  • Intellectual voices that profess sophistication and superiority.

  • Proud voices that rely on the arm of flesh.

  • Flattering voices that puff us up with pride.

  • Cynical voices that destroy hope.

  • Entertaining voices that promote pleasure seeking.

  • Commercial voices that tempt us to “spend money for that which is of no worth, [and our] labor for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Nephi 9:51)

  • Delirious voices that spawn the desire for a “high”. . .to the pursuing of dangerous, death-defying experiences for nothing more than a thrill. Life, even our own, is so precious that we are accountable to the Lord for it, and we should not trifle with it. Once gone, it cannot be called back.”


As Paul said: “There are … so many kinds of voices in the world”  that compete with the voice of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 14:10.)





The Lord’s voice is small but “piercing” :


“They heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. They heard the voice a second time and did not understand. When they heard the voice the third time, they “did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.” (3 Nephi 11:3)

 (See also Luke 24:32)


I love this quote:

“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. . .

Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening.” [Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, January 1983, p. 53]



And this one:

“The [Lord’s] voice is still. It is small. And it whispers. When you think about that, it becomes clear that hearing the voice of the Lord has inherent challenges. It would be much simpler if the Lord spoke in a voice of thunder or used a microphone and 80-megawatt speakers. Then there would be no doubt. But he does not. He whispers. His voice is still and small.”  (Elder Gerald N. Lund)


A Still Small Voice

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1 Kings 19:11-12:

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire:

And after the fire a still small voice.


Which voice?

“Today we are barraged by multitudes of voices telling us how to live, how to gratify our passions, how to have it all. . .How are we possibly going to select which voices we will listen to and believe?. . .  

I suggest a simple solution for selecting the channel to which we attune ourselves: listen to and follow the voice of the Spirit. This is an ancient solution, even eternal, and may not be popular in a society that is always looking for something new. It requires patience in a world that demands instant gratification. This solution is quiet, peaceful, and subtle in a world enamored of that which is loud, incessant, fast paced, garish, and crude. This solution requires you to be contemplative while your peers seek physical titillation. . .This solution is one unified, consistent, age-old message in a world that quickly becomes bored in the absence of intensity, variety, and novelty.” (Elder James E. Faust)


Perhaps satan’s voice is easier to listen to because it often comes more immediately– Doesn’t require patience or work on our part. 




How to know if we are listening to the right voice: The Fruit Test!


test the fruit lds

Christ was the one who taught us to use the fruit test, in determining whether something is coming from the right source:


“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit . . .Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.”  (Matthew 7:18, 20)


What are the fruits?  (or- Where does it lead? What’s the end result?)

 unnamed (1)

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23)


Does the voice or message we are listening to lead us to the fruits of the spirit? Does it manifest these qualities in our hearts? Does it lead us to be more gentle, patient, and meek? Or does it harden our hearts and drive the fruits of the spirit out?

“The language of peace, as spoken by the Lord, embraces a sense of quiet confidence, comfort, and warmth. It is gentle and calm, amiable and sweet; it is temperate and kind; it is orderly and identified by happiness, joy, and feelings of love” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, The Holy Ghost [1989], 14).


“Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy  (Doctrine & Covenants 11:12-13)


 Again, where does it lead…


I’ve seen this meme floating around a few times, and I love it. I think it’s pretty accurate:

how to discern god's voice


One way we can know if it’s from God:


I love this scripture. It breaks it down so simply:


“For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.  (Moroni 7:15-17)

Satan’s voice always tries to get us to deny Christ, either in our thoughts or our actions. To turn our heart away from His gospel and the power of His atonement. Or to misunderstand how to access that power.




Another great scripture that provides a valuable insight:


Christ said: “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”  (3 Nephi 11:29)



“For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.”  (2 Nephi 28:20, talking about one of the devil’s tactics in the latter days)

In other words, anything that stirs us up to contention and anger is not inspired of God.



I think Satan often takes one of two extremes. He either puffs us up with pride, stubbornness, and arrogance-  OR, he drags us down and encourages self-loathing:

“Our inherent worth as children of God means that we are never worthless, even when we have sinned. The Spirit’s voice will never encourage you to hate yourself, rather reminding you of your eternal worth as a child of God (see Moses 1:4). The voice that says you are worthless and unlovable will always be Satan’s (see Moses 1:12).”


“Satan’s [voice will try] to get you to believe that all hope is lost, that change cannot occur, and that you will never be able to live up to your potential as a child of God.” (McKell A. Jorgensen)

Satan tries to get us to minimize our agency (free will) and doubt our ability to change for the better through God’s grace. God’s voice, on the other hand, will always empower us and remind us of our true identity as a beloved child of God.


2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”


How do we become more attuned to God’s voice?

Become familiar with the scriptures!


read the scriptures

  • “The scriptures are the pre-recorded voice of the Lord.”  (Elder David A. Bednar)

  • “To know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them.”  (Elder Richard G. Scott)

  • “Be intentional about creating time and space to hear God’s voice. As you use your agency to carve out time every day to draw close to God’s voice, especially in the Book of Mormon, over time His voice will become clearer and more familiar to you.”  (Michelle Craig)

I second her advice to read the Book of Mormon! Did you know that this book was specifically prepared by the hand of the Lord and written for our day?  It is the powerful second witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ, confirming the truths He taught as recorded in the Holy Bible and restoring many lost truths.  It powerfully outlines many of the tactics of the adversary and exposes many of the alluring/dangerous messages he propagates in the latter days. It helps us familiarize ourselves with His voice and gives us the tools to be able to correctly distinguish between messages that come from God from messages that come from the adversary. I love the Book of Mormon!


One way to identify messages from the Lord is if it follows the pattern of communication that the Lord has always used. How will you know if it contradicts the Lord’s pattern? Only by studying the scriptures. You won’t be able to tell if something contradicts divine patterns unless you are very familiar with the way He has worked with others, and yourself, in the past, and throughout history.




“Much of what comes from the devil is alluring and enticing. It glitters and is appealing to the sensual parts of our nature. His message sounds so reasonable and easy to justify. His voice is usually smooth and intriguing. If it were harsh or discordant, nobody would listen, nobody would be enticed. Some of Satan’s most appealing messages are: Everyone does it; if it doesn’t hurt anybody else, it’s all right; if you feel there is no harm in it, it’s okay; it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do. Satan is the greatest imitator, the master deceiver, the arch counterfeiter, and the greatest forger ever in the history of the world. He comes into our lives as a thief in the night. His disguise is so perfect that it is hard to recognize him or his methods. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” (James E. Faust)

“Although Satan will lie to you, you can count on the Spirit to tell you the truth. That’s why the gift of the Holy Ghost is so essential. The devil has been called the great deceiver. He attempts to counterfeit every true principle that the Lord presents. Remember, counterfeits are not the same as opposites. The opposite of white is black. The counterfeit for white might be off-white, or even gray. Counterfeits bear a resemblance to the real thing in order to deceive unsuspecting people. They are a twisted version of something good. And just like counterfeit money, they are worthless.

Let me illustrate. One of Satan’s counterfeits for faith is superstition. His counterfeit for love is lust. He counterfeits the priesthood by introducing priestcraft. And he imitates God’s miracles by means of sorcery. Although his imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing and they cannot bring happiness.

Here are some more examples: the Lord blesses the Church with inspired patriarchs, whereas Satan offers the world fortune-tellers. The world yearns for prophets; the devil offers them psychics. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but same-sex marriage is just a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation.” (Elder Larry R. Lawrence)



“A man must have the discerning of spirits. . .for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” (Joseph Smith)


Just to recap:

Messages from Satan (what to watch out for):





Enticing, captivating

Appealing (or appears so on the surface)


Uses flattering words

Persuasive, sounds reasonable


Dulcet tones (sweet and soothing)

Does not persuade us to do good, serve God

Persuades us to deny Christ

Peace “as the world giveth” (may fill us with counterfeit feelings to try to trick us into thinking it is from God- i.e. he counterfeits lust for love and calls it love. Thus we need to be very familiar with the true fruits of the spirit)

“The spirit of fear” rather than faith

Encourages or stirs us up to contention; hardens our hearts

Tells us lies about the nature of God, His justice and mercy

Tells us lies about our true identity/potential as sons and daughters of God

Tries to get us to minimize our agency and our ability to change

Promotes selfishness; focus on self.  Success = forging ahead without regard for the welfare of those around us; leaving others behind in the dust.

Excuses the “natural man”

Denies the need to repent


Messages from the Lord:

Easily drowned out by other voices (takes deliberate action on our part)





Plain (not sensationalized or pleasing to the carnal mind. This may cause many to look ‘beyond the mark’ and fall for counterfeit voices; failing to appreciate the precious truth because of its utter simplicity and plainness)

Pierces our hearts/causes our hearts to burn within us (see Luke 24:32)

Invites us to do good, serve God

Persuades us to believe in Christ

Empowers us (“power, love, and a sound mind”)

Does not fill us with the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind

Fills our hearts with joy, love, and peace

Causes us to feel the fruits of the spirit (Galations 5:22-23)

Promotes selflessness; concern for others, not just self. Success = bringing others along/serving and lifting those around us. (Points us outward, not inward)

Encourages us to repent, moves us towards positive change



And here’s another list put together by Aimee Benefield, that includes a few additional ideas I thought were worth sharing:

Some of Satan’s Tactics:

Smoke and Mirrors* (ganging up on your spouse or self)
Appeals to the Natural Man (Ego)
Encourages division
Destroys trust in true prophets**
Destroys hope, faith and charity in your marriage
Encourages you to become a law unto yourself
Encourages violence, betrayal, depression, disconnection and/or codependency
Encourages suicide
Constant streams of revelation (gives us a ready answer for any question. No need to work for revelation.) ***
“Marriage should be easy” **** 
Appeal to your ego—you are the exception, your spouse is clueless, do your own thing
Hypersensitive to Criticism
Only associate with those that agree with you ***** 
Degrades and attacks your identity as a precious child of God of infinite worth
Impatience/Act before you have time to think

*The obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information.

**He does this in two ways:
1) by using rhetoric such as: “just lean on your own inspiration”, to get you to believe that prophets aren’t really necessary, when in reality we need BOTH (see President Oak’s talk “Two Lines of Communication”)
2) by getting you to focus too much on human imperfections, in ways that lead you to overlook or dismiss ways the Lord is working through them.
***This is not the way God works. God requires us to put forth faith/effort and have patience in His timing.
****Tries to get us to think that everything should be easy and not require work. Against the Lord’s pattern / gospel law of the harvest. (Galatian 6:7, Mark 4:1-20)
*****This is a big one. Satan works hard to isolate us and get us to close ourselves off to feedback from others. He’d love to eventually get us to a place where we can only hear his voice.


Why is it important to make sure we’re listening to the right voice?


I love this quote by Elder David P. Homer:

“We live in a world with many voices seeking our attention. With all the breaking news, tweets, blogs, podcasts, and compelling advice from Alexa, Siri, and others, we can find it difficult to know which voices to trust. Sometimes we crowdsource guidance in our lives, thinking the majority will provide the best source of truth. Other times we ‘halt … between two opinions,’ choosing to be ‘neither cold nor hot.’ Still other times we follow what is convenient, focus on a single voice or issue to guide us, or rely exclusively upon our own ability to think.

While each of these approaches can be helpful, experience teaches that they are not always reliable. What is popular is not always what is best. Halting between two opinions brings no direction. Convenience rarely leads to things that matter. Fixation on a single voice or issue can impair our ability to see. And relying solely upon our own thinking can lead us into a hyperintellectual stupor of thought. If we are not careful, the wrong voices can draw us away from the gospel center to places where faith is difficult to sustain, and we find little more than emptiness, bitterness, and dissatisfaction.”  

 . . .

“If we spend too much time in faithless places, seemingly well-intended voices deprive us of the spiritual oxygen we need.

 . . .

“We need to decide which among all the different voices we will obey. Will we follow the unreliable voices advocated by the world, or will we do the work required to allow our Father’s voice to guide us in our decisions and protect us from danger? The more diligently we seek His voice, the easier it becomes to hear. It is not that His voice gets louder but that our ability to hear it has increased.”          <– I love that!

By the way, this is an amazing talk I highly recommend! 




 Another great quote by Elder Devin G. Durrant:

“Voices surround us..They can be loud and obnoxious, concealed and cowardly, or subtle and deceptive. Sadly, I must acknowledge that the voices of the world seem to be having some success in changing hearts. This is not a new trend, but it is a concerning one. . .It takes self-discipline to choose to listen to righteous voices and block the voices of evil.”


“It is critical to listen to the voice of God as we navigate through life’s channels. But it may not always be easy to distinguish God’s voice from other voices. . . How will I know which voices to listen to and which to ignore? Sometimes the answer to that question is easy, but sometimes it is difficult. Always we must proceed with caution. Three loud voices the world presents, among others, are the voices of fear, negativity and evil. 


The Lord’s voice will not necessarily be loud, obvious, or spectacular. Instead it may be soft—still and small. For that reason we need to be sensitive to His voice. He can speak to us when we are willing to listen. We hear His voice when we are at peace. We hear His voice when we approach Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. We hear His voice when we find ourselves in holy places and when we participate in holy activities.”

(Elder Devin Durrant in Commencement address, BYI-Idaho, 2016)


“The distractions and noise that fill the world and our homes and our lives can make it more difficult to hear His voice. These distractions can so occupy our minds and hearts that we leave no room for the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that most often God reveals Himself ‘to individuals in private, in their chamber; in the wilderness or fields, and that generally without noise or tumult.’

Satan wants to separate us from God’s voice by keeping us out of those quiet places. If God speaks in a still, small voice, you and I need to draw close to hear Him. Just imagine what would happen if we were as intent on staying connected with heaven as we are on staying connected to Wi-Fi!  Pick a time and place, and listen for God’s voice every day. And keep this sacred appointment with exactness, for so very much depends on it! “(Michelle Craig)


images (3)

I love the prophet Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life. One of the biggest lessons we learn from this vision was the absolute essentialness of the “iron rod” (representing the word of God). Those who did not hold firmly to the word of God were not able to stay on the right path that lead to the Tree of Life, and found themselves following other voices that led them to wander in roads leading to destruction. There were many mocking voices coming from the “great and spacious building”, representing “the pride of the world.” Lehi warned followers of Christ to not pay attention to those voices: “For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.”  But to always stay grounded and keep our focus on the word of God.


I hope this was helpful! This has been on my mind a lot lately, and I wanted to share some of these quotes and ideas I’ve gathered in my personal studies, because I feel like it’s such an important topic to learn the difference. So we can tune into the right spirit and not allow ourselves to fall for counterfeit voices.

Jun 10

One of the Most Important Pieces of Counsel the Prophet Ever Gave

June 20, 2020

I want to talk about what is (in my opinion) one of the most important, and perhaps overlooked, pieces of counsel that our prophet President Nelson ever gave.

Back in January of 2016, I attended a devotional for young adults, where President Russell M. Nelson spoke. It was an amazing talk! One thing that stuck out to me was this specific warning/directive that he gave. As he talked about preparing to meet the challenges in the latter days, he urged all in attendance to:

“Plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment. Then live and work to be worthy to receive that gift so that when confusing events arise in the world, you will know exactly what is true and what is not.”

*He was the president of the quorum of the 12 apostles at the time (which means, he held the office of “prophet, seer and revelator.”)

I remember when he said that, his wording intrigued me. “Confusing events?” I wondered what that could possibly mean:  In fact, I remember talking it over with my husband at the time, as we pondered what “confusing events in the world” might be coming down the road.


And then, oh my goodness- In the past few years, I personally feel like we’ve started to see his prophecy beginning to be fulfilled, right before our eyes. 

Politics, anyone? Remember last election cycle? It was unlike any we’ve ever experienced. I remember that being a very confusing time! It was hard to know what was true and what was not. What was hype and what was accurate. Who we could trust and who we couldn’t. And what was the best course of action to take in casting our votes. It was frustrating and bewildering on so many levels.

And now again with Covid-19! I feel like these past few months have also been confusing in a lot of ways. News media on both sides are saying different things. There are so many different opinions about how serious this pandemic really is and how we should be approaching it. There are conspiracy theories gaining momentum. There are “experts” saying one thing, and other “experts” saying the opposite. It makes it hard to know what you should believe! What is really going on? What is true and what is not?


(BTW, it is my belief that there are errors on both sides of the spectrum. The truth is somewhere in between, and not something we’ll be able to discover through our own research and observations alone, but is only to be fully discovered with the help of the gift of discernment. I know that the gift of discernment is real! And that it’s one of the things we most need to develop, especially with everything that’s going on in the world right now).


Honestly, I kind of wish I had taken his advice more seriously at the time & implemented it earlier. And it gives me a greater desire to apply his future counsel with more fervor. It strengthens my testimony of the divine foresight of prophets, in discerning things coming down the road. I’ve learned that when President Nelson urges us to pray for the gift of discernment because we’re gonna need it, we’d sure better listen, because chances are, he is spot on!  I’m grateful for a living prophet.

Let’s delve a little deeper into his directive and what it entails:

The directive:
“Plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment. Then live and work to be worthy to receive that gift”

The promise:
“When confusing events arise in the world, you will know exactly what is true and what is not.”


Wow, what an incredible promise!

I want that, don’t you?

I think it’s telling that he didn’t say: make sure you’re tuning into the right news sources. No, he said plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment. 

In my opinion, this is because that’s the only way we’re going to know for sure what is true and what is not. We won’t be able to rely on our own discernment and rationale to make sense of things. The deception is going to be that good, that the only way we’re not going to make errors in our discernment is if we’re able to get our answers from a higher source. 

 *      *      *       *      *      *      *      *      *       *      *
I believe President Nelson foresaw that “confusing events in the world” are going to increase and that deception is going to reach a whole new level. I believe this is one of the reasons why he has been so emphatic the past couple years about our need to learn how the Holy Ghost speaks to us individually and to really hone that skill. In order that we might be prepared for what’s currently happening and for additional things coming down the road.

I’m grateful that God calls prophets and apostles, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” (or by every wind of news media coverage, or trending post on social media)



What is the Gift of Discernment?

It is a spiritual gift (see 1 Corinthians 12).

“The gift of discernment consists of the spiritual quality or skill of being able to see or understand, especially that which is hidden or obscure.” 


I didn’t always understand what was meant by the “gift of discernment.” I sometimes assumed that having the gift of the Holy Ghost automatically means that you have the gift of discernment. But I’ve since learned that the gift of discernment is kind of a separate thing on top of that. It is given through the power of the Holy Ghost, but just because you have the gift of the Holy Ghost, doesn’t automatically give you the ability to discern things to the level that having the ‘gift of discernment’ gives you. (Though becoming very attuned to the spirit’s promptings lends itself to also being able to receive the gift of discernment, as it’s kind of a prerequisite).3

But we need to seek it. The scriptures teach us to “seek earnestly the best gifts.” For instance, the prophet Moroni pointed out that the gift of charity (the greatest of all spiritual gifts) only comes if you “pray with all the energy of heart.”  I feel like such earnest seeking applies to this gift as well.

I believe that the gift of discernment is one of these “best” spiritual gifts, that each one of us ought to seek earnestly to obtain.

The Gift of Discernment vs. Our own Discernment

As humans, we naturally pick up on patterns that we see; we’re good at connecting dots and forming hypotheses based on our own observations. But that’s not necessarily the same thing as having the gift of discernment. I feel like it can be easy to assume that because we feel like we’re picking up on things, we must have this gift. But not so fast. It is something God-given, that takes earnest seeking, mighty prayer, and living worthily to obtain in its entirety. (And to maintain this gift, too!)  And..just because we are given the ability to discern something on a particular occasion, doesn’t necessarily translate to us being a possessor of the gift of discernment in all things across the board. It takes continuing effort and worthiness.


I love this definition:

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the gift of discernment can help us (1) “detect hidden error and evil in others,” (2) “detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves,” (3) “find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others,” and (4) “find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us” 6


I also love this quote by Charles Spurgeon: 

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”


It is being able to detect the difference between 100% on course, and a very slight .0001 off-course direction, that if bought into, subtly, imperceptibly and gradually leads us off course and to an entirely different destination than the one we were planning on. (see Elder Utchdorf’s talk on this subject– it is amazing!)

And yes, the gift of the Holy Ghost helps you to discern between right and wrong, but I believe that it takes the gift of discernment to detect between right and “ever so slightly off.” I believe that Satan often wraps his lies in a bundle of truths, hoping that it will blind us to the little lie that is hidden somewhere in the middle. Detecting hidden error requires the gift of discernment.


uchtdorf quote lds


In his talk, President Nelson pointed out that throughout history evil has often been very difficult to detect. I love what he says:

“You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness. . .I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. . .Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, ‘To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!’ ”

I know that this is true! Our Heavenly Father is eager to pour down knowledge and spiritual gifts to bless and help us. They are for the asking! But we do have to do our part.

But how? 



How do you obtain the gift of discernment? What are the steps?

Elder Bednar of the quorum of the 12 apostles, gave an excellent talk on this very subject.

Here is one interesting insight he shared:

1. Being “quick to observe”

“Being quick to observe is a prerequisite to and a preparation for the gift of discernment. We can only hope to obtain that supernal gift of discernment and its light of protection and direction if we are quick to observe.”

See his entire talk for more context into what it means to be “quick to observe.” 


2. Being sensitive to impressions from the Holy Ghost


Referring to the gift of discernment, President Stephen L. Richards said:

“I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions.”

In other words, learn how the Holy Ghost speaks to you, and become very familiar with and attuned to that still, small voice. Here are a few excellent talks about learning to recognize promptings from the Spirit, as well as a few of my own thoughts:

How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration For Your Personal Life, By Elder Richard G. Scott 

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives, by President Russell M. Nelson

 How I Learned to Recognize Promptings of the Holy Ghost


 3. Pray for it! And live worthy of it.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.”  (3 Nephi 18:20)


 “Seek the gift of discernment which comes by prayer and living the commandments of God”   (President Ezra Taft Benson)


As President Nelson said, we must “Plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment. And then live and work to be worthy to receive that gift.” It requires a willingness to follow the Savior’s teachings and keep ourselves pure and unspotted from the world, by striving with all our might to keep His commandments in our daily lives. 





Why is the gift of discernment so important?


1. Helps us detect hidden dangers 


The gift of discernment can warn us about things we may not be able to see with our natural eyes.

I love this:

“As we are blessed with eyes to see and ears to hear, the Holy Ghost can increase our capacity to look and listen when we may not typically think we need to look or listen or when we may not think anything can be seen or heard.”  (Elder David A. Bednar) 

That is the gift of discernment!

 a warning is most needed when we do not think we need to be warned


2. Helps us to detect evil and protect ourselves against it


“One of the gifts of the Gospel which the Lord has promised to those who enter into covenant with Him is the gift of discerning of spirits—a gift which is not much thought of by many and probably seldom prayed for; yet it is a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. . .

Now, the gift of discerning of spirits not only gives men and women who have it the power to discern the spirit with which others may be possessed or influenced, but it gives them the power to discern the spirit which influences themselves. They are able to detect a false spirit and also to know when the Spirit of God reigns within them. In private life this gift is of great importance to the Latter-day Saints. Possessing and exercising this gift they will not allow any evil influence to enter into their hearts or to prompt them in their thoughts, their words or their acts. They will repel it; and if perchance such a spirit should get possession of them, as soon as they witness its effects they will expel it or, in other words, refuse to be led or prompted by it.” 10  (George Q. Cannon)


3. Helps us to read under the surface and uncover hidden truths:

This includes helping us to see the good  that we may not otherwise be able to see!

 gift of discernement see things not visible

President Stephen L Richards said:

“First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate . . . between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, if you will—to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed.  The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them.”  11


4. Protects us against deception


 “Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given.”  (Doctrine & Covenants 46:7-8)


President Richards continues:

“Every member in the restored Church of Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. He could not be deceived with the sophistries of the world. He could not be led astray by pseudo-prophets and subversive cults. Even the inexperienced would recognize false teachings, in a measure at least. . . . We ought to be grateful every day of our lives for this sense which keeps alive a conscience which constantly alerts us to the dangers inherent in wrongdoers and sin.”

Helps you detect wolves in sheep’s clothing- (Remember, it was to his most faithful and devoted disciples that Christ issued the warning to “take heed lest any man deceive you.” 12 I believe that some of the latter-day deceptions are going to be so clever, and so good, that even the elect will not be able to detect them without the gift of discernment. It will be nearly impossible).


But not only that – it can help us discern the good in people who we might be naturally inclined to criticize.13 The apostle Paul prophesied that in the last days, there will be many “despisers of those that are good.” 14 Ancient prophets have warned followers of Christ not to fall into that boat: “Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.” 15


5. Helps us make correct decisions

To possess this gift is to receive divinely revealed understanding of opposing spirits–the spirit of God and the spirit of the devil. Persons possessing such a gift also correctly perceive the right course of action (D&C 63:41). 16


6. Helps us discern the thoughts and intents of others


Not only can the power of discernment distinguish good from evil  (Moroni 7:12-18), the righteous from the wicked  (D&C 101:95), and false spirits from divine  (D&C 46:23). .but its more sensitive operation can also make known even the thoughts and intents of the heart of other persons (Hebrews 4:12, D&C 33:1). 17

Think Ammon and King Lamoni. Ammon had the gift of discernment!


There may be times and reasons when we will need to be able to see into someone else’s heart, in order to be able to help them, or to protect ourselves or those we love.


I know that the gift of discernment is real and it comes from God to benefit his children. He loves us, and will not leave us alone in the dark! Spiritual gifts are available to help us navigate through life. They are ours for the asking, and are worth every effort to obtain.

With all my heart I urge everyone reading this to follow President Nelson’s counsel and seek for the gift of discernment! Pray for it and strive for it! The best place to start is by refining our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. We absolutely need to have this spiritual gift in these turbulent times in which we live. As President Nelson recently warned: “It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now.” 18





  1. Ephesian 4:11, 14
  2. Encyclopedia of Mormonism, see also 1 Corinthians 12:10
  3. See Stephen L. Richards quote under the 2nd point (“Being sensitive to impressions from the Holy Ghost”)
  4. Doctrine & Covenants 46:8, 1 Corinthians 12:31
  5. Moroni 7:48, 1 Corinthians 13
  6. “Quick to Observe,” Liahona, Dec. 2006, 19.
  7. Doctrine & Covenants 42:61
  8. “Quick to Observe,” Liahona, Dec. 2006, 19.
  9. Watchful Unto Prayer Continually” (Elder David A. Bednar)
  10. Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of George Q. Cannon, comp. Jerreld L. Newquist (1987), 156–57.
  11. In Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 162–63
  12. Mark 13:5
  13. Many of the scribes and pharisees were inclined to criticize Jesus because he went against their traditions, which were based on their incorrect interpretation scripture (i.e. Mark 3)
  14. 2 Timothy 3:3
  15. Moroni 7:14
  16. Encyclopedia of Mormonism
  17. Encyclopedia of Mormonism
  18. “Hear Him”, President Russel M. Nelson, Conference Address, April 2020
    President Nelson has repeatedly warned us that learning to receive personal revelation is essential to our spiritual survival in these latter days. “We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. The constant availability of social media and a 24-hour news cycle bombard us with relentless messages. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelationIn coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. . .Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.” (emphasis added)
    Here are a few additional tips he shares on how to increase our spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation from the Holy Ghost: “What will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort. Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation.’ “

May 11

On Discerning Truth, Prophets, & The Family Proclamation


I’ve felt impressed to share some thoughts from a church lesson I taught (about a year ago, I think). I put it all on video (above)


But since it’s quite long I also put some of the main points on here. I may come back later and add to it when I have more time.



The Blind Men and the Elephant

Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about:

Six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.

One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.

Each is describing truth.

And because his truth comes from personal experience,
each insists that he knows what he knows.

The poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!


absolute truth vs moral relativism

“The thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it. . .

We simply don’t know all things—we can’t see everything. What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf


“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

why people don't understand religion

In order to understand the things of God, we have take it from a perspective of faith, not skepticism. There are many things that don’t make sense to the world and that many in the world scoff at and dismiss as foolishness, but which are, nevertheless, true. Only when we are willing to see it through a lens of faith will the dots all line up and allow us to see the beauty of the artist’s rendition.

Natural man recieveth not the things of Godways to know what is really true

Let’s talk about prophets.



Eye of Faith Lesso7n

Prophets are rarely popular. They tell us what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear. Not everything that a prophet speaks is going to line up with what the world teaches.

My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways

The Holy Ghost can confirm to our hearts that the prophet and apostles are teaching the truth.

trust in the lord



Let’s look at the Proclamation on the Family through an eye of faith:

proclamation to the world on the familyDoes God call Living prophets true

What Led to the Proclamation

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

In 1995 a President of the Church and 14 other Apostles of the Lord issued these important doctrinal statements. As one of only seven of those Apostles still living, I feel obliged to share what led to the family proclamation for the information of all who consider it.

The inspiration identifying the need for a proclamation on the family came to the leadership of the Church over 23 years ago. It was a surprise to some who thought the doctrinal truths about marriage and the family were well understood without restatement. Nevertheless, we felt the confirmation and we went to work. Subjects were identified and discussed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve for nearly a year. Language was proposed, reviewed, and revised. Prayerfully we continually pleaded with the Lord for His inspiration on what we should say and how we should say it. We all learned “line upon line, precept upon precept,” as the Lord has promised (D&C 98:12).

During this revelatory process, a proposed text was presented to the First Presidency, who oversee and promulgate Church teachings and doctrine. After the Presidency made further changes, the proclamation on the family was announced by the President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley. In the women’s meeting of September 23, 1995, he introduced the proclamation with these words: “With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn.”

I testify that the proclamation on the family is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children who seek eternal life. It has been the basis of Church teaching and practice for the last 22 years and will continue so for the future. Consider it as such, teach it, live by it, and you will be blessed as you press forward toward eternal life.

Forty years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.” I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is one of those tests for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test.

prophesies that have come true

philosophies of men vs truth

prophesy fulfilled jesus christ


The Lord inspired the prophet and apostles to write the Family Proclamation, long before we would ever need it.



The World Walking Away

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

In my lifetime, we have seen a dramatic change in the world’s beliefs about many of the principles taught in the proclamation. During my teenage and early married years, many in the world walked away from the Lord’s standard we call the law of chastity, that sexual relations are to occur only between a man and a woman who are lawfully married. In my 20s and 30s, many walked away from the sacred protection of the unborn, as abortion became more acceptable. In more recent years, many have walked away from God’s law that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman.

Watching many walking away from the boundaries the Lord has set reminds us of that day in Capernaum when the Savior declared His divinity and sadly “many of his disciples … walked [away].”

The Savior then turned to the Twelve: “Will ye also go away?”

Peter answered:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”



Will you stick with the Savior and his prophets? 

stay with the lord wilt thou also go away


Pick and choose what we accept

I think we all have our own ideas about what the Proclamation is. We read it, and certain things stick in our minds. And sometimes we overlook parts of it because we’re so focused on one particular principle. Are we picking and choosing what we accept in the proclamation?


what is the proclamation on the family


“If we pick and choose
what we accept in the proclamation,
we cloud our eternal view,
putting too much importance
on our experience here and now.”

“By prayerfully pondering the proclamation through the eye of faith, we better understand how the principles are beautifully connected, supporting one another, revealing our Father’s plan for His children.”

I believe that the Family Proclamation are divinely inspired. Even the wording and phrases are greatly inspired. It was not just haphazardly thrown together, but came through direct revelation from heaven. It is the word of the Lord, just as binding as any scripture written by ancient prophets, because it was inspired by that same God, in these latter days.

Natural man recieveth not the things of God

“Should we really be surprised when the Lord’s prophets declare His will and, for some, questions remain? Of course, some reject the voice of the prophets immediately, but others prayerfully ponder their honest questions—questions that will be settled with patience and an eye of faith. If the proclamation had been revealed in a different century, there would still have been questions, just different questions than those of today. One purpose of prophets is to help us in resolving sincere questions.”




We need to remember that in order to get the full picture of truth, we need all 5 of these things. We tend to overemphasize and lean on our own experiences when discerning truth, but we should trust in the Lord and take a more balanced approach:

Prayer, scriptures, experiences, prophets, Holy Ghost

We can know that God speaks through prophets and through the power of the Holy Ghost, who helps us see “things as they really are.”

spirit speaketh of things as they really are

Defenders of the proclamation

I’m grateful that God calls prophets in these latter days, just as He did anciently. I know that the Proclamation on the family is inspired of God, and is truly the word of the Lord, meant for us in this generation. As we exercise faith and patience, and take our sincere questions to the Lord, that in time, He will help us see and understand His plan more clearly, and we will be able to gain our own conviction of the truthfulness of the principles taught in the Family Proclamation. It is true. God lives!

Apr 30

A Hardened Heart

A hardened heart

Crusted over

Closed off to the light, 

to the Spirit

To change.


But it wasn’t always that way.


It hardened over time


A little pride here, 

a little there.

And all the while you thought you were fine,

Learning, growing, maturing, developing, becoming


But what are you becoming?


Hard to see it at the time, 

but all those things you were so consumed with,

which so occupied your mind and heart

Were actually driving you away from the very things 

that matter most.


And took its toll on your heart.


A little pride here

A little stubbornness there

All in the name of some good cause

Which masked its true insidious purpose of

feeding the natural man,

And puffing up the ego.

driving out meekness

and any desire to change.


A hardened heart:

Can’t penetrate it.

No longer soft, 

No longer receptive.

Locked. Blocked.

Iron walls

which you thought were being built for your benefit

But which now turn against you.

Built over time, 

Like plaques on an artery wall

Closing yourself off to that life-giving Spirit.

To the light and joy and love that could be yours 

If you would only

Let it in.


A hardened heart.


I started writing this poem after pondering the many references there are in the scriptures to the state of one’s heart.  For instance, most recently when I read The Book of Mormon cover to cover, it really struck me- how many times it talks about having a soft heart vs. having a hard heart. There are so many times where ancient prophets have pled with God’s children to “harden not your hearts,” and I find that fascinating. 


I’ve also been pondering about how many of life’s experiences and pursuits can lead us to a ‘change of heart’, or can have an affect on our hearts – whether hardening it or softening it. And how indiscernible it is!  The hardening that builds up inside our heart is often hardly noticeable as it’s building up. You don’t even realize it’s happening. And the sad irony is that: by the time your heart is fully hardened, it can be harder to feel  that your heart is hardened, because your heart is hardened. And then we become “past-feeling”, no longer penetrable- no longer receptive to the true light that seeks entrance but which now just bounces off our now hardened heart.  


And even seemingly harmless things can lead to our hearts becoming hardened! I think Satan will try just about everything to get us to harden our hearts. He doesn’t care by what methods, provided that the cumulative effect leads to the hardening of our hearts. There are countless ways and diverse means, and he cleverly disguises the “hardening agents” he uses and tries to introduce into our hearts. He knows he won’t get the soft-hearted to take his bait easily, so he wraps those “hardening agents” in a cloak that makes it seem good. He lies to us, telling us that any ‘change of heart’ must be good. He tries to get us to harden/close ourselves off from the good, by convincing us that we’re merely closing our hearts off to the ‘bad’. How careful we must be to not let ourselves become hard-hearted without recognizing it, and to not allow things into our heart–anything— that will have the cumulative effect of hardening it over time. Doubtless some things will make their way in, but let us always stay in a state so we can remember what it was like to have a soft heart, and thus be able to revert back to that again before the hardening takes too strong of a hold on our hearts. We have the power to rise above deception. We can choose to stay soft hearted! 


Symptoms of a hardened heart:

  • Stubborn, unyielding, inflexible, obstinate

  • Prideful, critical, cynical, unbelieving.

  • Stiffnecked; only looking one-way; unwilling to bend; tunnel vision.

  • Believing that you see all things clearly while others don’t.

  • Trusting too much in your own wisdom, experiences, expertise.

  • Insisting you know better. Believing you are always right.

  • Not willing to admit that you may be wrong. Not open to feedback.

  • Resisting counsel and advice, unwilling to receive direction.

  • Insensitive, past-feeling, spiritually numb

  • Feels justified in everything, doesn’t feel any need to change.


A hardened heart is rooted in pride. Pride is so easy to detect in others, but, ironically, so hard to discern in ourselves. In our hardened state, we’re so blinded to it that often takes a wake-up call to recognize where pride has seeped in. I’ve had a few of those.

I’ve found that the spirit of the Lord is often a spirit of correction. We too often think of it as merely a spirit of ‘validation’– something that makes us feel good. But it’s not.  It’s a spirit that invites us to do better, be better, which calls us to repent and to make changes to align our will with God’s. (Hebrews 12:6: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth”).  It’s a spirit that the ‘natural man’ resists, because yielding to this voice requires a willingness to change. This is why having a soft heart (humility) is so important! It keeps us open and receptive to that still, small voice.  I’ve also found that feeling ‘defensive’ is a pretty good key indicator of the beginnings of a hardened heart. Soft hearts are inclined to be charitable and quick to forgive, while hard hearts tend to respond defensively and get easily offended. 


A hardened heart resists change.

The moment we start being resistant to positive change is the moment our heart is beginning to become hardened.


Change is what life is all about! A culture of a willingness to change should be ingrained into every Christian heart. It should be our way of life. That’s what repentance is! It’s all about letting God change our hearts.  We should constantly be repenting, trying to improve, adjusting our perspective, and aligning our will with God’s. And we’re never fully there yet; it’s a lifetime pursuit. A soft heart embraces the idea of “change.” 


Along these same lines, here is a little video I love because it teaches children about the difference between a soft heart and a hard heart in a very simple, fun way:



And a couple of amazing conference talks on the subject that I highly recommend!

Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change (Elder Dale G. Renlund)

Opening Our Hearts (Elder Gerald N. Lund)




Just a few thoughts I’ve been pondering that I felt like sharing!

Dec 18

Why I Love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my faith— what I believe, and why I believe it, and reflecting on my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And recently I just have this burning desire to share about why I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to shout it from the rooftops! I guess blogging is sort of a way of doing that, right?


There are just so many ways my family and I have been blessed by our membership in the restored Church of Jesus Christ. And I just wish that everyone in the world could come to know the joy I’ve found from being a part of it. So I’m gonna share! (This might end up being a super long post, because I’ve got so much bubbling up inside me right now of things to say!)

Here are a few reasons why I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:



empowerment training for moms christian

Empowers me as a parent!


I love being in a home-centered church, with their emphasis on parents being the primary gospel teachers to their children, which I agree with whole-heartedly. As a parent, God has entrusted these children to my care; I am the one who knows them best, and thus I have the special ability to tutor and to nurture them in the gospel most effectively, in a way suited best to their needs. I love that it’s all home-centered, but church-supported; everything we do at church is meant to strengthen and support what parents are teaching in the home. The church really honors the role of parents. 


I love that the church empowers me as a parent, particularly through it’s amazing new curriculum, “Come, Follow Me.”  I believe that it is truly inspired and heaven sent. And it just came out this year!


I’m continuously impressed with the quality of the curriculum, the thought-provoking questions and topics, and how inspiring and edifying it is in the way it was designed. This year it’s all been focused on an in-depth study of the New Testament. It’s been a wonderful journey, and a blessing to our family. Next year will be focusing on the Book of Mormon, and I’m so excited!


As I’ve gone through this curriculum, I truly do feel more empowered to teach the gospel to my children. I feel like it empowers me with tools to combat the advances of the adversary in these turbulent times we live in, where evil is portrayed as good and good, evil. And where so much of society is embracing worldly philosophies and giving in to the culture of declining morals. It can be easy to give in to a sense of pessimism about the state of our world, and to have less hope about raising faithful, resilient children in this kind of toxic environment. But this new curriculum really brightens my hope for the future of my family, and gives me confidence as I seek to raise my children to withstand the evil that surrounds them. It’s like putting on the armor of God; it equips me to be able to deal with anything life throws at me and my family.


Though I’m still learning the art of effectively implementing it in my home, I’ve already seen glimpses of how “Come, Follow Me” is blessing my family thus far, and I’m really looking forward to see how the next few years unfold. 


The People

I love that this is a worldwide church, which means there is a lot of diversity. I love how it doesn’t matter where in the world I go to church; wherever you go, it’s the same. Nice, good, down-to-earth people with the same vision and goals. All at different levels/points on the path of discipleship. No we’re not perfect. But we’re seeking to be saints. We view the church as a hospital; we all need healing and help. We all have the common goal to become more Christ-like. I love how we call each other “brother” and “sister” as a reminder that we are children of our Heavenly Father. Through the church, I’ve been able to rub shoulders with so many amazing people- individuals and families who are bright, gifted, full of light and goodness, letting their light shine. It is inspiring to see.


Most of all, I just like belonging to a worldwide network of people who share my same standards and perspective, who I can relate with on multiple levels. I believe there is great power in gathering with fellow disciples of Jesus Christ who are also trying to be strong, in a world that is often pulling us in the other direction.


Wonderful resources


I love all the great resources that the church puts out!

The church’s website, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, is a treasure trove of great stuff. Countless articles, videos, and resources on all sorts of niche topics, such as goal-setting, family history helps, parenting helps, provident living, overcoming challenges, mental health, religious freedom, helping refugees, serving in your community, and even helps for learning different languages. Tons of inspirational videos, helpful apps, I could go on and on. I’ve also heard amazing things about the church’s 12-step addiction recovery program. Seriously, everyone I know who has gone through the program absolutely swears by it and can’t say enough good about it.  And I love how the church has a wonderful welfare program, along with self-reliance and employment courses. And it’s all free! To anyone, member or not.


I love the church magazines- the Friend (for kids), The New Era (for teens), and Ensign (for adults). I often let my kids listen to stories from the Friend at night. They teach and reinforce great moral values, applied to circumstances that children can relate to.


And the music! I love the hymns and children’s songs. Also, look up EFY and FSY music- it’s great. And of course, everyone’s heard of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. They’re currently in the process of compiling an updated version of our hymnal, which will include a lot of new songs, which I’m super excited about.  I especially appreciate how all the music shows great reverence in spirit/attitude towards and about the Savior Jesus Christ. 


The church also has a wonderfully inspired Seminary program for youth. I went through it as a teenager, and I’m so grateful for the way it strengthened and fortified my testimony during my high school years. 


Also, I’m so excited about the great Children and Youth program (also new, as of this coming year). I’m honestly a little jealous of my kids and the things that they will get to participate in. Church programs just keep getting better and better. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ!


Lay members do everything

Congregations have no paid clergy. This includes the bishop (pastor), organist, priests, church speakers, youth & children leaders– they all are regular members freely volunteering their time and energy. It’s wonderful!


  • Brief run-down of how “church callings” work: it’s all done by inspiration. Church leaders seek to know God’s will through prayer, and receive guidance and inspiration on who to place in certain callings. And callings are transient, so that most people get opportunities to serve in many different capacities over the period of their life.  Leaders are called to serve, not to be served, and it’s a lot of work. There is no lobbying or voting people into office. You don’t seek to be appointed as a bishop or any other ‘high-status’ calling (and if you did, you’d likely not be qualified, as one of the requirements is humility). Also, one calling is not thought of as being better or higher than another. When you get a calling with greater responsibilities, it’s not thought of as ‘moving your way up the ladder’; instead, everyone just ‘moves around’. You lift where you stand; everyone’s part is important. A former bishop may get called to serve as a nursery teacher after his release. It’s all the same. You work to build up God’s kingdom where you’ve been called.


I love it because it means that everyone can contribute and participate in a variety of ways. And we can all learn from each other’s insights and experiences.


  • Growth & Unity. This set-up provides the perfect laboratory for developing talents and skills. But not only is it a huge growing opportunity for everyone involved, but I feel like it’s also a great unifier. The teacher is not esteemed as greater than the student. We are all a work in progress. We all have a common goal- to come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and His gospel, and to lift and help and support each other as we make and keep sacred covenants with God.


  • Efficiency. When I donate to the church’s humanitarian fund, I know that 100% of the proceeds will go to people in need, because it’s run by volunteers. I love knowing that ‘making a profit’ isn’t the motive in church programs and initiatives.


  • It works! It’s actually kind of cool that there are so many people worldwide who are passionate enough about this religion to give their all in service/giving of their time and talents to the church, without receiving so much as a penny for their labor. And it runs/operates pretty seamlessly and functionally in most parts of the world.




why I love latter day saint temples


I love the temple!  If you’re not a Latter-day Saint, you may be wondering about temples and what goes on inside them. To date, the church has 166 operating temples around the world. Our temples are much more sacred than our regular church buildings. The temple is a place where we go to learn more about the creation, God’s plan of salvation, the purpose of our life here on Earth, and to be taught from on high. Most importantly, it’s where we go to make higher, holier, sacred covenants with God, which open the floodgates of power and peace into our lives. It’s a place of prayer, quiet pondering, and gospel instruction. A place where you can be sealed by God’s power in marriage that can last not only “until death do you part”, but forever. Everything about the temple in centered on Christ.


I love going early to attend a session at the temple, just to sit in the chapel and read the scriptures, or just to ponder. There’s a feeling of peace and joy within the wall of the temple that is hard to describe, but that comes upon all who enter there. You may have felt a taste of it if you’ve ever attended an open house (they have it open to the public before it is dedicated– thereafter, you have to be a member in good standing in order to attend). It’s a refuge from the storms of life – a place where we can go to get away from it all and leave our worldly cares at the door. It’s the best place to go to feel empowered.  You know the Disneyland slogan, “The happiest place on Earth”? Well, let me let you in on a little-known secret: as happy as Disneyland is for the young at heart, it’s actually the temple that is the happiest place on earth, in my opinion. Obviously not in the amusement park, pleasure-seeking type of way, but in the lasting happiness, peace-filled way. There is a power that comes whenever I emerge from worshipping in the temple, that is hard to describe. But it is real. It feels like I’ve been literally armed with power and a greater measure of the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life. I love it.

Best place to truly improve your life


The way that the church is organized is very inspired! I’m convinced that everything about it is set up in a way that can truly transform your life, if you fully engage and participate. Simply stated, it works! It’s a pattern for happiness. Embrace it. Live it. Let it change you. 


Because it’s lay-member-run, you grow up giving talks, participating, and engaging from a very young age. It builds your life skills in many areas and provides the perfect environment for discovering and developing your personal talents and gifts. You get a lot of experience working with different people over the years, and a lot of experience with learning to mesh with different personalities, pressing on through little bumps in the road, even learning to exercise patience and forgiveness at times. It can refine you if you let it.


And let’s not forget about the amazing missionary program! Having been on a mission (18 months preaching the gospel in the Philippines), I can testify of the extraordinary amount of growth and learning that takes place on a mission. It’s like earning the equivalent of a phD in human relations, for one thing (I once heard someone describe it that way, and I kind of agree.) Secondly, my mastery/understanding of the gospel grew leaps and bounds; I feel like it gave me a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ. (And believe me, it’s no vacation. You get up 6:30am every single day, and you’re at the plow pretty much until 9pm, studying, serving, teaching, and giving your all for the Lord and His children from sun up to sun down.) It is hard work! And takes an incredible amount of self-discipline. But you come home feeling like a totally transformed person. It’s seriously as if you have a decade of life experiences under your belt, even though you were only out there for 18-months to 2 years. It’s hard to describe, but that’s exactly how it felt. Some of the sweetest, most sacred experiences of my life came from my mission, and it will always be something I’ll look back on with a lot of reverence and gratitude. I want my children to be able to experience that same kind of growth. I love being a part of a church that provides this kind of opportunity for its young people.


The overarching reason why I feel like the church provides the best place to improve your life: it’s all about change! Everything is about repenting and accessing the grace of Jesus Christ by exercising faith. Becoming more like our Savior. Letting Him change you. The church’s unofficial slogan could be: “Come as you are, but don’t plan to stay as you are.” 1  We believe in the possibility of eternal progression, and when you take things from that perspective, it gives a lot of hope and really motivates you to continuously seek to repent and improve each day.



power of covenants at baptism

The Power of Covenants


It’s also all centered on making and keeping sacred covenants (two-way promises) with God. The conditions of the covenants are set by God, and He promises certain blessings in return for keeping those conditions. This is the way God has always worked with his children (think Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). It’s the established way by which He helps us, His children, to more fully progress in life and become closer to Him. 


When the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the Earth, the *priesthood power was restored along with it. *(The power & authority to act in God’s name and administer saving ordinances, like baptism). This is the same power that Christ conferred on his disciples, by which they could baptize, confer the Holy Ghost, heal the sick and perform miracles, just as Christ did. 


I love having a husband who is ordained with this priesthood power, and who is able to give me and my children priesthood blessings in times of need. Through this power, my family and loved ones have experienced miracles and healing. I love having the power of God in my home. 


I testify that there is a power that comes with covenant-keeping that really helps you get to the next level in your discipleship.  This is how the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ becomes fully effective and active in our lives. It’s how we gain direct access to His power, which can flow freely into our lives to bless us and those we love. 


With covenant-keeping, we experience a multitude of blessings, including an increase in testimony, faith, knowledge, wisdom, and revelation. The ability to see spiritual things more clearly, and an increased ability to discern between right and wrong. Increased knowledge to know what the Lord would have you do, and how to go about it. Sustaining power to endure life’s challenges and to overcome temptations.  Covenant-keeping requires some effort in our personal lives, but the rewards far outweigh any sacrifice required.


We enter into covenants through priesthood ordinances (sacred rituals that God has ordained for us to manifest our commitment. Baptism is one example). 


The feeling I got when I got baptized was exhilarating and indescribable. And so many I know who have been baptized under this same power have experienced it too and can testify of this same indescribable feeling. I felt completely washed clean from all my sins. It wasn’t just a personal feeling of excitement or joy- it was definitely outside of myself. As if God himself was impressing upon my heart the validity of the ordinance and putting His stamp of approval on what I had just done. I know that the power of God has been restored to the Earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that it enables us to receive all of the blessings He has in store for us. God has given His children on Earth the extraordinary privilege of acting in His name to bless the whole earth! 


After baptism, you receive “The gift of the Holy Ghost” by that same priesthood authority. Which is the promise of having the constant companionship and direction of God’s spirit, as long as you stay faithful and worthy. Most valuable thing I’ve ever received in my life. I have absolutely no doubt that the gift of the Holy Ghost is real. I could never deny the many experiences I’ve had with it ever since being baptized and learning to recognize that still small voice and its increased frequency in my life. 


It’s the Holy Ghost that confirms the validity and efficacy of our covenants and seals God’s promises upon us.2 It’s incredible to be able to have confidence that your course is pleasing to God, and that He is honoring the covenants you have made with Him. 


I know that the restored church of Jesus Christ has the power and authority from God to man to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it is amazing to me. But it is true! And it is wonderful! And I want everyone to know about it! 


Living prophets and apostles! 


There is such a thing as modern prophets called by God. Just as real as Moses and Noah and Elijah. And just as the children of Israel were blessed by following the inspired direction given to them by a prophet of God, the whole world has the opportunity to be blessed by direction and guidance given to us by a modern prophet of God! It’s amazing! But it’s true! The Heavens are not closed. God still speaks to man. Our Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and there are things truly manifested from heaven that will help greatly heal and bless families around the globe, if we only listen. 


There are also modern apostles, just as real as Peter, James, John, and Paul. And they are just as inspired from heaven. One of the things that confirms to me that these men are truly called of God, is that whenever I have followed their inspired counsel, life is better for me. I have come to find more peace and happiness, even amidst my trials and the hard things in life. And as I’ve seen their prophecies fulfilled, and the blessings that they promise come to pass in my life, and it confirms that truth in my heart! That they are truly servants of the Lord, commissioned to preach His gospel to all the world. I’m so thankful that God loves us enough to still call prophets in our day! What a blessing! 


But even if I didn’t know that Russell M. Nelson was God’s living prophet on the Earth, I’d still place great value on his advice. I’d still pick him to be my mentor. President Nelson is one of the most Christlike people you’ll ever meet and the type of person I seek to emulate. He’s the type of person that I’d want influencing my children; his values match those that I want to be instilled in my children.


And that goes for all of them. Even if I didn’t know that these 15 men were called of God, I’d still seek to heed their counsel, merely because of who they are. The more I study about each of them and their personal lives, the more my respect for them deepens. It’s inspiring to learn more about them, from those who have worked with or rubbed shoulders with them over the years, and especially from the perspective of those who know them best, such as their own children and family members.  In their personal lives, they are full of integrity and virtue– devoted family men who are hard-working, intelligent, wise, loving, and good; true followers of Jesus Christ. They’re not perfect, but they’re servants of God, and I believe that their counsel is inspired.

prophets and apostles in the last days

Plus, each of them have led very interesting lives, and many have had incredibly unique experiences (like Elder Uchtdorf, who was a German refugee during WWII, and Elder Christofferson, who was one of the first two people to ever hear the WaterGate tapes, as he was serving as the clerk to Judge Sirica at the time). Several of them served in the military. Many of them have overcome great obstacles and have experienced great hardships. They have all had very distinguished careers and are very well educated in a variety of fields. Elder Oaks was a Supreme Court Justice, many of them have phDs. Several of them served as President of distinguished universities, and many excelled in their field as business leaders. And the prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, was an internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, known for pioneering the effort of building the first heart-lung bypass machine.  Pretty cool!


The reason I share this, is not because such backgrounds are required to be called as a prophet or apostle – God could call a simple uneducated farm boy if He wanted to (and He has!). But it is clear me that the Lord has prepared them for their callings as prophets, seers, and revelators, and to lead a worldwide church in this particular day and age. And yet, the thing I love is that they are not puffed up/arrogant because of how much they know. Rather, they follow the Savior’s example and take upon themselves the role of a servant, and spend their days working to serve and help those who they preside over.  Oh, and by the way, apostles don’t ever retire; they’re in it for life, working long hours; it’s a full-time gig. They remind me of the fisherman on the seashore who, at the call of the Savior, left their nets (their careers/personal agendas) and followed him for the rest of their lives. 


And the amazing thing is: they are humble and meek. They stand in stark contrast to the leaders we see so commonly in the world today, who seem to set themselves up as the light that they want others to flock to. But these 15 men don’t seek that. They are more concerned with pointing people to the Savior and to HIS light. They hold up a window that points us to Christ, rather than holding up a mirror pointing to themselves. 


It reminds me of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs:

“I want to be a window to His love, so when you look at me you will see him.

I want to be so pure and clear that you don’t even know I’m here,

for His love will shine brightly through me.

A window to His love- a doorway to the truth.

A bearer of the message He’d have me bring to you.”


That is exactly what these 15 inspired men are doing. And I’m so grateful to have living prophets and apostles on the Earth today. It is truly a manifestation of our Heavenly Father’s great love for us. He will not leave us alone in the dark. He loves us just as much as He loved the people in Biblical times. And heaven knows, we live in a world that needs prophets and heavenly direction just as much today as the children of Israel needed them in their day. 


The Bible tells us how to discern between true and false prophets: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”3 I have seen and tasted the “fruit” of these modern day prophets and know that the fruit is good. The fruits I see in my life as I follow their inspired counsel is good. There is no doubt about that. I encourage everyone to come and see, and test the fruit to see if it is good because I testify that it is!


The Book of Mormon is the “fruit” of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and powerful evidence of the divine call of the prophet Joseph Smith, who was instrumental in restoring Christ’s church back to the Earth in these last days. And well, there’s no explaining away the Book of Mormon; it speaks for itself. 




best book to get closer to god

The Book of Mormon!


This is the biggest/underlying reason I love the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! All of the other things I’ve mentioned wouldn’t really exist were it not for the Book of Mormon.


The Book of Mormon is amazing! I know, without a doubt, that it is the word of God. There is power in that book. My love for The Book of Mormon in no way diminishes my love for the Bible, but rather enriches it. It greatly enhances my understanding of, and sheds a lot of light on numerous biblical teachings. It’s coming forth was prophesied about in the Bible, and what’s more– it was written specifically for our day and time.  


I wish I could convince every one of my wonderful Bible-loving friends to read The Book of Mormon as well. It is a second witness of Jesus Christ! If you’ve only read the Bible, you’re missing a piece of the puzzle. A BIG piece. The Book of Mormon is a record of what was happening on the Western hemisphere during the times that the Bible events were happening. They knew about Christ too, many years before His coming, and there were prophets inspired to teach His gospel before Christ also appeared to them, His “other sheep”,4 shortly after his Resurrection (John 10:16). It’s a beautiful testament that God loves ALL his children, everywhere. And he wants them all to have the chance to hear and know about His gospel and the grace He offers us through His son Jesus Christ.


I could seriously talk for hours about the Book of Mormon. I’ve read it cover to cover more times than I can remember. (Like, more than 50. Maybe closer to 100, I don’t even know.) For anyone who is curious, I’d love to give you the load down/answer any questions you might have about what’s within those pages, maybe even share some of my favorite passages, etc. I’d even gladly sit down and share with you a long paraphrased version of all the amazing stories, people, places, etc. if you want (which would probably take a few hours but I’m sure would be fascinating & intriguing to someone who’s never read it) — But, really, to get the full effect, you’d ultimately have to read it for yourself. There’s just no way I could do it full justice. Suffice it to say, it’s a powerful, life-changing book. It teaches/clarifies so many things about Christ and His gospel. It’s another witness of Him, and will greatly enhance one’s feelings about the Bible and strengthen your conviction about who Jesus Christ really was. Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon will come to know more clearly what God is like, and will draw closer to Him as they apply its precepts. I’m absolutely convinced of that. 


The thing is, even if The Book of Mormon were a work of fiction, which it is not, I’d still want it to be a part of my life.  Because it enriches my life so much! It persuades you to do good, to love God, to serve others, to live honorably and with integrity, to stand up for what you know is right, even when it’s hard. Just to be a good person in general. I’d still want to use it in my home with my children because of how it inspires high moral character. I’d want to teach those inspirational stories to my children to help mold their character and give them a sense of the love that God has for them.  I know of no other book that teaches about Christ and His gospel with such power and clarity.




how to I know for sure which church is true

Emphasis on finding out for yourself. Gaining your own testimony. 


One of my favorite things about the church is that, in everything practiced and taught, there is always a huge emphasis on finding out for yourself. We are each encouraged to gain our own witness that God lives, that the scriptures are true, that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that the church He established has been restored to the Earth, etc. Don’t just blindly follow. Study it out. Go directly to the source and find out for yourself whether or not all this is true. And pray to know. It’s all built upon the premise of James 1:5– “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” He’ll tell you, by the power of the Holy Ghost, if you really want to know, and if you go to him with full faith, a sincere heart, and real intent to act upon the answer given. 5  


I love that the church’s new curriculum is really emphasizing helping people to be able to recognize that still small voice for themselves. In each lesson, we are encouraged to study the word of God prayerfully and to record the ideas and thoughts that come into our heart as we do. I love how the church empowers its members by helping us each be more spiritually self-reliant rather than having us lean on someone else’s testimony .


It’s interesting to me how many who convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are those who have been soul-searching for a long time, often bouncing around from church to church, and studying about all the many different denominations with an open heart and mind. In fact, we’re kinda known for being the church that genuine seekers of truth eventually end up settling on, after researching every other option/alternative with an open heart and conducting such a thorough search to know for themselves.

how to know if it's true


It’s True!


I love the Restored Church of Jesus Christ! It is a wonderful, inspired church that I believe is actively led by the Savior Jesus Christ himself. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but I believe it to be true, and I feel it with every ounce of my heart! It’s amazing, but it’s true! And I can’t hold it in any longer.


Sometimes I struggle to know how to express my testimony and the things I hold most dear, to those around me. I’m not super great at expressing myself in day-to-day conversations and getting past the small talk most of the time. But inwardly I yearn for deeper conversations, and for the opportunity to share more meaningful experiences with those who may not yet have found what I have. Writing seems to make it a bit easier. Didn’t really intend for this to come across so much like a sales pitch, haha, but I guess that’s what happens when sharing about something I believe in so much. I love the way my friend Linda once put it: It’s like you’re enjoying a big glass of delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice, and someone sitting across the table from you doesn’t have one. Wouldn’t it be true that they, too, might perhaps enjoy some of that orange juice? Why keep it to myself? 

Over my lifetime I’ve seen many embrace Christ’s restored church, and find greater fulfillment and peace than they previously thought possible. As one convert put it: “When I heard the gospel, it filled a hole in my heart I didn’t know was there.” Another said, “I have finished the search I didn’t know I was on.” 6

If you’ve never been to a Latter-day Saint service, I invite you to in me this Sunday! Come and see! If you need a friend to walk beside you as you test the waters, let me be that for you. And if you ever see any of those missionaries with black name tags around, I encourage you to invite them in; they would love to talk with you! I know they have tools that can strengthen and help you with whatever you’re currently going through. Bring them your questions, listen with an open heart, and see if they don’t have something in their message that may add to the richness of your life. Bring all the good that you already have, and let us see if we can add to it. 7   I promise you won’t regret it.

does jesus still live


  1. “Songs Sung and Unsung” by Jeffrey R. Holland (2017)
  2. “The Power of Covenants” by D. Todd Christofferson (2009)
  3. Matthew 7:16-18
  4. John 10:16
  5. Moroni 10:4-5
  6. “Preach My Gospel”, Chapter 9
  7. “The BYU Experience” by Gordon B. Hinckley (1997)


Oct 16

Grandma Gunn’s Famous Applesauce Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Whole wheat applesauce cookies healthy

My Grandma used to make these all the time, and so this is a very nostalgic recipe for me. She was always very health conscious, and so these are her “healthy” cookies, made with whole wheat flour, applesauce, and nuts. What a lady!



Grandma Gunn’s Super Healthy Whole Wheat Applesauce Raisin Cookies:



Two days before, soak raisins in diluted frozen grape juice. Keep in refrigerator. (Grape juice can be used over and over, if kept frozen in between making cookies).


Cream together:

1 cup butter

2 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)


Add and mix together with the above:

3 large eggs, beaten

3 cups applesauce


Measure in separate bowl, stir thoroughly, then add to the above and mix well:

1 cup white wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons allspice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt


Now add and mix with the above:

2 cups white wheat flour

2 cups quick Quaker oats, ground fine in blender


Stir in: 

3 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

3 cups raisins


Drop on greased cookie sheet, 1 rounded tablespoon each. Check oven temperature: 350 degrees, 14-15 minutes. 325 degrees, about 20 minutes.

Top with cream cheese frosting.

(Can mix in Bosch Machine using lighter beaters at first, then heavier dough attachments when blending in raisins and nuts).

Oct 16

Easy! Light & Fluffy No-Bake Cheesecake

Easiest ever 3-ingredient cheesecake

This is my favorite go-to cheesecake recipe. Been wanting to post this for a while. It’s super easy and yummy! I’m usually not a huge cheesecake fan— a little too rich and heavy for me. But I LOVE this recipe (it’s more light and fluffy). And it’s delicious topped with berries! Definitely one of my very favorite desserts. Hope you enjoy!

Super Easy 3-Ingredient Cheesecake

1 package cream cheese, softened

1 small tub cool whip

1 cup powdered sugar


Blend all together with an electric mixer until smooth. Dish on top of a graham cracker pie crust, and chill in refrigerator. Best served with frozen berries (thawed and crushed).





Sep 28

Italian Lemon Chicken (Freezer Meal)

I didn’t take any pictures of it, but this recipe was pretty good, so I thought I’d share!


Ingredients: (Sorry about the imprecise amounts – this is just what the recipe said)

1 lb. Chicken
A little less than 1/4 cup lemon juice (or 1/2 of 1/4 cup….1/8 cup)
A little less than 1/4 cup canola oil (or 1/8 cup)
A little less than 1/4 teaspoon each: garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.

Put it all in a plastic freezer bag, seal it, and then squish it around a little with your fingers so the flavors can mix.

(I also added a little lemon zest)

Freeze it until you want to have a quick freezer meal. Cook in Crockpot until done and serve over rice!


This was so good!

Mar 30

Grandma’s Faith: Putting the Lord First

It’s Easter time! I love this time of year, when we can reflect on the Savior and the joy/peace that comes from embracing gospel principles. In light of the church’s #PrinceofPeace initiative, I want to share about someone in my life who I look up to as an example of faith.


Grandma's Faith

Velda Kay (Boekweg) Chipman

Meet my Grandma, Velda Kay. She was born in the little town of Willard, Utah in 1937, the 8th of 10 children. She got married young and had nine children. Grandma’s life hasn’t always been easy. Because her husband struggled with poor health for most of their married life, she had to work part-time to help provide for their growing family. Though finances were sometimes limited, she relied on faith and raised her children in the light of the gospel, holding fast to her testimony of paying tithing and following the prophet. In 1991, she lost her husband to a heart attack, leaving her a widow at only 57 years of age. But she carried on in faith and became a shining example of optimism, knowing that she would see him again someday. Always cheerful and serving, ever bearing testimony and exhorting her posterity to keep the commandments. She’s like an anchor of faith in our family.

Though Grandma’s entire life is strewn with examples of faith, one story in particular  stands out to me that I’d like to share:

I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go

VeldaKay Chipman

Grandma holding Nephi, one of her g-grandsons

After retiring at age 65, Grandma moved to a small rural town to live next-door to several of her children who had all built homes next to each other. It was a great opportunity to be near so many of her posterity, including 27 grandchildren all still living at home. Her daughter had built her a really nice mother-in-law apartment, with a “great room” big enough to host the whole family for reunions and get-togethers. Talk about the dream set-up!

She’d only been settled in her new home for a year or two, when, at the suggestion of her bishop, she began to consider stepping away from it all to serve a full-time senior mission.

Going on a mission would mean missing special family events and activities. It would mean sacrificing precious time in her golden years that she could be spending with her loved ones. This was a woman who who always remembered birthdays and special occasions (and still does), and who loved to be actively involved and present in her children and grandchildren’s’ lives.

It would’ve been so easy for anyone in her situation to justify staying home and enjoying their retirement and that cherished time with family. She finally had the ideal situation, where she was settled quite comfortably, surrounded by her posterity. (And besides, grandchildren grow up much too quickly. Surely, this wasn’t the time for a mission.)

But not Grandma. She knew what was most important. She took it to the Lord in prayer and got a confirmation that that’s where the Lord wanted her, so she put in her papers and received her call to the Canada Vancouver mission, where she served joyfully and full-heartedly. (A few years later, she served a 2nd mission in Kansas).

Grandma C Mission Picture (1)

The Faith That Her Family Would Receive Blessings

Grandma had faith that if she put the gospel first, the blessings her family would receive would far outweigh any sacrifice.

There’s something that makes this story more personal to me. I remember shortly before she left, Grandma shared with my parents how she had prayed that the blessings for her serving would go to her family, and she specifically requested that Heavenly Father send more children to our family (my parents had been struggling with infertility for 8 long years).

Not too long after Grandma entered the mission field, my mom found out she was miraculously expecting twins!  I know that this miracle, was wrought in part, by Grandma’s faith-filled decision to serve a full-time mission.


Jennifer & Jessica (the miracle twins)


Leaving a Legacy of Faith

 Grandma and her companion with Elders

Throughout her mission, Grandma sent cheery faith-filled letters every week detailing her adventures and bearing testimony of the truth of the gospel. My life was touched and blessed by her service. And my testimony was strengthened that our families will receive many blessings when we put the Lord’s plans first in our lives.

I’m sure it wasn’t always easy (especially since Grandma didn’t have the luxury of going with a full-time companion, but had to learn to adjust to living/working with lots of different companions throughout her service, just like younger missionaries do), but I know she loved every minute of it.

In fact, I think that if you were to ask her now, she wouldn’t consider it a great sacrifice, but something that she truly wanted to do because she loves the Lord.


She’s a living example to me of what it means to have faith.

How Faith has Brought Me closer to Jesus Christ



Grandma’s faith has inspired me to greater faith in my own life. It has brought me closer to Jesus Christ by helping me come to know and understand His faith a little better…Because, when you think about it, that’s exactly what Christ did- He had the faith to put His life completely in the Lord’s hands. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” (St. John 6:38) It was always ”Thy will not mine”– Heavenly Father’s plan above His own– because He had faith in it.

Every time I exercise faith, even in a small way, it strengthens my commitment to keep my covenants,  follow the prophet, and obey the commandments.   As a result, my faith in Jesus Christ increases.

 Faith Brings Peace

There’s a certain peace that comes when you set aside your own plans & ideas of how your life should go, and fully embrace the Lord’s plan for your life. Peace knowing your life is in His hands and that everything will work together for your good. Peace that you’re doing the right thing.  This kind of faith allows peace to prevail as we “let go and let God.”

Grandma with her Mission President

Sister Boekweg with her mission president and his wife

Learn about the Principles of Peace


I encourage you to visit ComeUntoChrist.org to learn more about the principles of peace and how they can help bring you closer to the Savior. You might even share your own stories of people who live one of these principles. Who do you know who exemplifies these Christlike virtues?  How have these principles brought peace into your life and brought you closer to Jesus Christ?


Mar 02

Things I Love About Lisa! (+ some little-known stories)

I love raving about particularly awesome people. And my sister Lisa is one of those people worth raving about! Seriously, she’s a gem. I’m so glad I have a sister/best-friend like her. And she just had a birthday! Time to make her blush a little 😉

Here’s a few reasons why I think she’s amazing!

 sweet lisa

Super Duper Thoughtful / Always Thinking of Others

I love how thoughtful Lisa is. I think this one of her biggest strengths.

When she’s out and about, going grocery shopping, at the thrift store, the dollar store,  or wherever– Lisa is constantly thinking of others. She’ll often pick up a little something, for a roommate, a friend, or one of us sisters. No reason, just because. She does stuff like this for me all the time, like randomly surprising me with a Lindor truffle, or a cute shirt she thinks would be my style, or some scones/yummy food she decided to pick up on the way home. It seems to bring her a lot of joy to do thoughtful things like this for others.

I’ve noticed that Lisa is very observant when it comes to people. She’s mindful of what people like or dislike, things they’re obsessed with, or things they lack/are in need of.   “Oh! This would be perfect for_____!” is something I often hear her say when we go shopping together. She seems to pay attention to the little things she notices- like if someone mentions that they’re out of a certain thing, or need to get something, it’s like she takes a mental note of it (and might perhaps surprise them with it sometime down the road if the opportunity ever arises).

Lisa is very thoughtful when it comes to gift-giving. She gives of her time, doing things like making you dinner or homemade ice cream, crocheting cute little hats or blankets, getting personalized photo mugs made, or hand painting something special just for you, etc. Whatever you get from Lisa she usually put a lot of thought and effort into.

Here’s an example of one of the onesies she decorated for Nephi when he was a baby:


Something super nice that Lisa did for me a while back: (in the midst of an overwhelming time when Nephi and Celeste were both super little)  She got me tickets to go to BYU Education Week, with free babysitting provided by her! I was so surprised! She even got work off for it. She knew how much I loved Education Week, and how overwhelmed I was with motherhood at that time, and gave me a much needed break to recuperate.

Oh and Lisa makes the best homemade cards!! She’s known for her awesome card-making skills in our family. They are always so colorful and happy and have funny poems/random silliness that bring out Lisa’s personality  🙂


Lisa’s often willing to go out of her way to spend quality time with or do things for those she cares about (like riding her bike a mile to your house, or offering to pick something up at the store or run a needed errand). She good about giving of her time and doing one-on-one time with me. She’s a good listener.

One time when I had to walk home in the dark, she asked me to text her to let her know I got home safely, and I completely spaced it. So what does she do? She finds a ride and shows up at my doorstep in her PJs at 2am, just to see if I was okay.  “I can’t sleep until I know you are safe”  she said. That’s the kind of person Lisa is. Always watching out for others.


Lisa cares a lot about others. She has a big heart. I’ve noticed that she becomes easily attached emotionally and grows to love people deeply. She sees the good in people and often brings up the positive qualities of others. Lisa makes me feel better about myself when I’m around her because she points out little things she likes about me; I feel truly cared about and accepted when I’m with her.

I love how easily Lisa accepts people and new friends. One cute example, from when she was little: I remember once we were at the mall with my mom, and Lisa saw this girl about her age standing at the bottom of an escalator. Well, Lisa lit up and immediately reached out to her in all sincerity, “Hey, wanna be friends?”, expecting a reply, as the girl went up the escalator and as we walked right past in the opposite direction– it was hilarious 🙂

I like how Lisa is very open-minded/accepting and tries not to judge someone before getting to know them. She’s treats everyone with the same courtesy and respect, even those who are different (or who people tend to treat differently). Something that’s a really big deal to her is treating everyone kindly, and it really bothers her when she sees people being unkind to those they don’t like. She cares about people’s feelings, and often does kind things to help cheer someone up when she knows they are feeling down.


Close to the Spirit

Lisa has always seemed to be spiritually sensitive. Here’s one of my favorite stories of this. Well, let me give some background first: So my mom has struggled with infertility a lot. I remember every day in our family we would always pray that Mommy would be able to have another baby soon. Well, one day after praying in her room, Lisa (age 8) came up to my mom and said, “I have a really strong feeling that you’re gonna have a baby.”  Well, a couple months later, my mom found out she was indeed pregnant, and later found out it was twins! (It had been 8 years since she was able to conceive). That’s just one example of how close to the spirit Lisa has always been.


I also remember once when we were at a family reunion at Deseret Towers, Lisa was playing and accidentally got stuck in the stairwell. We were looking everywhere for her. Well, come to find out, she had prayed for help, and then my dad had a prompting to check the stairwell, and there she was.


I’ve noticed that Lisa is very keen on whether or not certain things invite or drive away the spirit’s influence in her life. Like with music and movies, she is careful about the lyrics/messages and strives to stay connected by avoiding things that don’t help her to feel close to the spirit. I think that’s cool.



Service should be Lisa’s middle name! It’s just a part of who she is. She’s one of those people who just goes about quietly and does service. Very nonchalantly. So many little acts of kindness go unheralded– I know I’ve missed a ton. It’s just so much a part of her nature that it’s easy to overlook what an angel she is. But it’s seriously such a blessing to have her living with us. She’s so helpful with babysitting and helping out with meals or holding the baby while I cook. Helps with dishes, entertaining children, running errands, and so forth. She even offers to change diapers at times when she’s not babysitting for us! Yeah, I kind of wish that she could stay here forever.


Selfless / Giving

She is very selfless and giving  with her time. It  seems she’s always willing to spend her time with and for others. I can’t remember how old my little sisters were, but there was a period of time when Lisa would go in and sing the twins to sleep each night (which I imagine took a while because they were pretty rambunctious and didn’t go to sleep very fast if I remember correctly).


Maybe it’s a middle-child thing, but Lisa’s always been the peacemaker at home. She’s always the one to bend first and to be the one to smooth things over.


lisa prom

Devoted & Christ-like

 I’ll always remember when she was called to be a sunbeam teacher in our home ward in Mount Pleasant– how much thought and effort she would put into preparing each of her lessons, in order to make it special for those little 3-year-olds. One thing that super impressed me is how, after church each Sunday, she would always sit down and make a cute little homemade handout for each child who didn’t come, expressing her love to them and explaining in detail what they’d talked about in class. She’d carefully color cute little designs and a flower border around the message, and then she’d drop them off to each child that had not been in attendance that day (even if they never came at all).  Week after week. I thought that was super inspirational that she cared that much about each of those 3-year-olds and their families, and I’m sure it made an impact on them.

Lisa is a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. She goes to temple regularly.  She even worked as an ordinance worker at the temple for about a year (of her own initiative), which took up a large chuck of her Saturdays. I know this took a lot of sacrifice on top of school, but she did it willingly.  I would see her even taking other people’s shifts throughout the week.



Takes her covenants seriously.  One of Lisa’s favorite scriptures is D&C 97:8 about being “willing to observe [our] covenants by sacrifice.” And that’s something she does, out of faith. I see her wearing either her Young Womanhood Award or “I am a Child of God” necklace all the time, like everyday.


I admire how faithful Lisa is with her personal scripture study (she still strives to do an hour every morning, like on the mission). It’s very important to her; she doesn’t let anything interfere with her having time to study, even if it means foregoing or postponing some fun activities. This girl has her priorities straight. I’ll often see the scriptures, a copy of Preach My Gospel, a Conference ensign, and even her Tagalog Book of Mormon on her desk.


I’ve also been  inspired by how faithful she is in observing the Sabbath, paying tithing, fasting, and holding herself to high standards when it comes to media choices and dressing modesty. She isn’t into all the worldly fashions/pop culture, but keeps herself pure and her sights set on an eternal perspective. I love that about her.

Good at Teaching

Lisa’s great at teaching one-on-one. She’s been teaching Nephi the alphabet sounds and how to read, and she’s good at it (because she comes up with silly stories and creative games that capture his attention). He always asks to play “the letter sound game” or alphabet bingo, etc. I’ve been impressed at how much he’s learned and how fun she makes it for him.

Years ago, Lisa helped our twin sisters (who were 2 1/2 at the time) learn all the lyrics to and record a bunch of Christmas songs onto CDs. She also taught them piano lessons growing up. When Lisa was in 8th grade, my mom had written a song to help her memorize the Bill of Rights, and Lisa decided to use it to teach the twins to memorize the 1st amendment…(just imagine the cuteness of hearing little 5-year-old girls reciting/singing “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….[and so forth]”)


She’s good at teaching hard-to-grasp concepts. She has a Tagalog YouTube channel where she has created a bunch of tutorials to teach Tagalog grammar and concepts, and they are amazing! The way she explains things is so clear and easy to understand– she has a good grasp on stuff like that and she’s very good at organizing information in a way that makes sense.

  Screenshot 2017-03-02 at 10.24.44 AM

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Fun & Quirky!

This is one of my favorite things about Lisa. She can be very silly and fun! Whether it’s the funny poems she writes in her birthday cards, or silly stories she comes up with, or random cheesy puns she makes up on the spot, Lisa’s unique sense of humor is endearing. There’s a lot more laughter with Lisa around.

For example:

 I think Snapchat and Lisa are a match made in heaven– it’s totally up her ally of silliness!


And this is the random theme song for her tutorial channel, at the end of all her videos (it’s a Tagalog jingle she made up):

(A rough English translation: “We’re so happy now  you see, because now we’ve learned how to speak Tagalog just like a native! And if you enjoyed this video, then come on back and join us next time,  so that we’ll be able to have more fun / enjoy ourselves even more!”)

 These represent her silly sense of humor pretty well: (at one time she had these as her profile pictures, haha!)

lisa giraffe cartoon
profile picture


And here’s a little taste of Lisa’s photoshopping humor:IMG_5128

Queen of randomness 🙂

Growing up, Lisa’s Halloween costumes were always fun & quirky: a baked potato, a slice of pizza, waldo, a mad scientist, or just wearing a sign around her neck that says “I am a frog.” 🙂 Lisa just likes being Lisa – she plays to her own tune and does her own thing.

Growing up, she always came up with silly nicknames for boys she had crushes on, kind of like a secret code so that we could talk about him without anyone knowing — some of them were super ridiculous and random (Doi Doi, The Muffin Man, Pink Toilet Paper, Mr. Scrunchy, to name a few- hehe!)

She comes up with silly names for other things too, like stuffed animals. For instance, she has a stuffed bear named Mr. Fuzziness,  and she gave Nephi a little stuffed animal and named him “Wonkin Foo Foo”. Random, right?

Oh and how could I forget her goofy usernames to like EVERYTHING…she never picks something boring or normal. It’s always something extremely random that you’d never guess, like fluffystarfish or penguinchopsticks or fifferfefferfeff, etc. (just examples). Inside Lisa’s brain is like a Dr. Seuss book! In fact, I  bet she and him would get along 🙂



I remember growing up she would write/tell funny (because they were so ridiculous) stories, like about the sandwich who was hungry, or a dog who had no ears, or the porcupine who just wanted a hug. Click here for a few random short story samplings to make your day 🙂

Queen of Puns:

Lisa’s the queen of cheesy puns! She has a very word-oriented sense of humor. Whatever you say, she’s sure to twist it into something funny if she possibly can. (Like, for instance, this snippet from today):

Screenshot 2017-03-01 at 5.02.04 PM

She comes up with so many word puns that I convinced her a while back to make a blog with all her silly word definitions. Check it out here: Vocabtastic (this is the stuff Lisas are made of)

Along with that,

Fun to study with

Lisa’s the best person to study with! Especially when it has to do with a lot of memorization of random terms and things that are hard to memorize. Because she is so  good at coming up with the most RANDOM ridiculous ways to remember things. and so we come up with all these silly associations with words/definitions, which (along with making us laugh) makes them way easier to remember!

Lisa as a child (more little-known stories):


So…Lisa was a funny kid.  I think some people who don’t know Lisa very well probably just  see her as reserved and sweet–which, yes, she totally is super sweet– but if you didn’t know Lisa growing up, you might not know about her crazy side!

One time my mom was the director for a stake primary choir, and at practices Lisa would take her shoes off and lay down on the bench by the other children who were singing, with her feet sticking straight up and her coat over her feet. It was a really funny sight from the bleachers. That’s how noncomforming Lisa was growing up. She just did her own thing, always.  (Haha, my dad even had to come and personally sit by Lisa, so that that wouldn’t happen during the actual performance).

When she was younger, she went through funny phases of unique obsessions – like the year she was totally obsessed with snakes. Or on her 11th birthday when she was obsessed with the color purple and shamelessly went around sporting 11 eleven braids in her hair, wearing purple-colored sunglasses and purple everything. She was kind of a tomboy when she was younger. She loved to play in the mud, climb trees, etc. and preferred to always go barefoot everywhere, often leaving her shoes at friends’ houses.

My mom wrote her this song called “Don’t Wanna Grow Up” that Lisa would occasionally sing for talent shows. It was kind of like her childhood theme song. I love it – I think it perfectly describes Lisa  as a child.

When she was 10 or 11, she was cast as the jester in a community play called “The king who loved his lollipops” (a spin off Rumpelstiltskin). She was hilarious and did over-the-top exaggerated emotions/different impersonations for each of her lines. She also played the old hag in my “Cinderella and the 7 little pigs” play and was hilarious in that role too.

To give you an idea of what a unique personality Lisa was when she  was younger, here’s another story. When Lisa was 9 or 10, we’d go to Classic Skating every month.  Well, she would go and sit right in the middle of the skating rink in  a crossed-legged position and close her eyes like Rafikki, humming loudly & pretending to meditate. Haha!

rafikki meditating

I remember knocking doors with her in an apartment complex when we were out selling girl scout cookies. Once she accidentally knocked on a door we had already been to.  She realized her mistake, and without thinking she immediately wiped her hand up and down on the door, frantically trying to “erase” the knock she had just made. We still laugh about that.

Her nickname when she was little was “Relisaciety.”

Random quirky fact: She once filled in for the missing bass section in our ward choir during practice, just for kicks and giggles.

When Lisa was 10, she was a flirt! She would flirt big time with all the high school boys and try to impress them by saying “I bet I can pick you up!” and then she would lift them over her shoulder and they’d be super surprised. (Haha & she’s still a flirt!  And it’s cute because now she does it so innocently, without even realizing she’s doing it sometimes. She just has a naturally flirtatious personality I guess).

1930570_568427819109_829_nlisa sweet

A couple of her old high school pictures (oldies but cuties!)


  • Fluent in Tagalog (I think she has a better accent than me)

  • She can french braid!

  • She makes the best coconut cookies ever.

  • Knowledgeable about communication disorders, especially language development, and ear anatomy/ear infection stuff.

  • Artistic

  • Musical

    (Those last two each deserve a whole point of their own)



Lisa is very creative and artistic! She loves to crochet, draw, paint, and do artsy crafty stuff. She’d love to go into illustration someday, and I think she’d be good at it. She draws fun little comics that make my heart happy. Like this one (based on Matthew 7:3):


Lisa has her own kids coloring YouTube channel, where she colors all sorts of cute little cartoons for kids to help them learn how to draw different things. (Her top  video has over 400,000 views, and she only started a few months ago). She can just look at a picture of Winnie the Pooh or something, and can usually copy it more or less (without tracing). I definitely don’t have that gift, so I think that’s pretty cool.

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She plays the piano. I always think of her whenever I hear Yanni songs, like this song she learned on the piano. I always was the one to pick bouncy upbeat songs on the piano and it seems like Lisa often opted for the more soothing classical pieces. We have a bunch of fun little duets we like playing together (like chopsticks, etc.)

Sings. I’ve always loved how soothing Lisa’s voice is. It’s soft and sweet. Hearing Lisa sing, you can’t help but feel more calm and relaxed. It’s like a motherly type of voice–you feel like you’re in a safe zone when you hear it.

She can write her own alto part to songs. She’s really good at improv harmonizing alto. One thing that’s super cute and endearing is how she automatically starts humming an alto part to whatever songs are playing at the moment, like when we go to the grocery store, she’ll start harmonizing along with the pop song currently playing in the background- and she doesn’t even realizing she’s doing it until you point it out. Haha it’s adorable! 🙂

We have a long tradition of singing duets together, like “Danny Boy,” “Baby Mine,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and other 40s songs (mostly Andrew sisters stuff that my mom used to sing in her trio). We like singing in the kitchen while we do dishes, in the car, in the rain, etc. And recording cheesy singing answering machine greetings! When we were younger, we had a singing group with our neighbor friends called “Neighborhood Stars” that mom directed. We’d often perform at rest homes and stuff, which was fun.

 singing in the rain sisters


Good with children

Lisa just has a way with children. She always has. Perhaps because she’s a very gentle & loving type of person, I’ve noticed that little children actually seem drawn to her. It kinda reminds me of how little children are drawn to the Savior- she just has that sweet innocent Christ-like aura about her. I remember when she was in high school, there was this single mother in our ward with four young children who she would regularly babysit for, and Lisa would often go sit by them in sacrament meeting to help out with the children. It was obvious that those children loved her.


Lisa’s the best auntie ever! Always up for playing games and spending time with the kiddos doing things they like to do. Nephi and Celeste absolutely love her. It’s fun having Lisa around because she’s always coming up with fun ideas for activities to do with them. I love how she enjoys doing  things that make them feel loved and valued and build their reservoir of childhood memories.

 good with children



I love Lisa’s hair – it’s super wavy & gorgeous. I call it “Duggar hair.” (if you’ve ever seen 19 Kids & Counting, it’s like the wavy hair that a lot of the Duggar girls have). One thing that’s interesting about that is that I didn’t really notice the waviness until after her mission – it’s like her hair changed on her mission, which is interesting 🙂

#BlessingsofServingaMission? #YourHairWillBecomeDreamy #NotThatitWasntBefore

Pretty Brown Eyes (I’ve always secretly been slightly jealous of her deep brown chocolatey eyes)

My parents often comment how Lisa was the prettiest baby they think they’ve ever seen. (I wish I had a digital copy of a baby picture to post, but I don’t.)


Other random fun stuff about Lisa:

She loves Mexican food, Cafe Rio, Chocolate, and BearClaw ice cream. She loves feel-good movies like Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, & InsideOut, etc. She loves the color deep red.  She likes hymns, seminary music, and anything uplifting. One of her primary love languages is quality time.

She is very neat and organized. Compared to me at least, haha. Like her purse/bag- she seems to carry things with her in an organized way (whereas I just stuff it all in my bag). And she seems more or less prepared for everything.  In high school I remember we would tease her because she would always carry around her toothbrush/floss in her backpack. Lisa’s a bit of a germaphobe. She’s very cleanly-  it’s great ’cause I always know I won’t get food poisoning when she cooks 🙂


Her Mission to the Philippines!


 Lisa and me tricycle
(Picture of Lisa and I riding a tricycle when she came to the Philippines with my parents to pick me up from my mission)

I LOVE the fact that Lisa got called to serve a mission in the Philippines, just like I did!  It’s so fun talking to each other in Tagalog and reminiscing together about our fun memories in the Philippines. I remember when Lisa put in her mission papers, she was thinking it would be stateside as she didn’t think she could handle a 3rd world country (per her germaphobeness). None of us were thinking Philippines, since that’s where I’d been called, so of course she would be called somewhere else). But then lo and behold- she opened her call to the Philippines! And so she went in faith, and now she loves the Philippines just as much as I do!  That has brought us closer together than ever- it’s fun being able to go back and forth about our experiences. I’m so glad I have someone who can totally relate with me on that. I mean sure I can tell other people about those experiences but there’s just no one else who will get it quite like Lisa does.

Here’s a link to a mission interview we did with her right after she got home from her mission 🙂


Other memories with Lisa that remind me of her:

  • Watching girly movies together

  • Making Filipino food together

  • Going grocery shopping together

  • Using all of our birthday club coupons together (since our birthdays are 4 days apart! It’s the best!)

  • Going running together

  • Random sisters outings

  • Eating vanilla ice cream with peanut butter together (everyone else thinks it’s strange but we totally get it)

  • Being in the Mormon Miracle Pageant together!

  • Working together at the MTC Mailroom! I always loved having shifts together because we could do sister talk in the back while forwarding letters.

  • Weekly lunch dates with our daddy!

  • Late night talks

  • Taking silly pictures together

  • Incessantly quoting movies we both grew up on as part of nearly every conversation

  • Bringing up silly inside jokes that sound super weird to anyone else but to us are utterly hilarious


sistersmormon miracle pageant

So there you have it. Now you know a few reasons why Lisa’s one of my favorite people in the world.

Yeah pretty much, whoever she ends up with is gonna be the. luckiest. guy. in the world.

I’m so glad I have a sister like you, Lisa! Thanks for being the bestest friend ever 🙂

Mahal na mahal kita!! <3




Sep 28

Quotes about Journal Writing!

I was researching about what has been taught by modern prophets and church leaders about keeping a journal, and found a lot of good quotes I hadn’t read before. I thought I’d share it here on my blog for those who are interested 🙂


Keeping a Journal

journal writing quotes

“I personally believe that the writing of personal and family histories will do more to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to children than almost anything we can do. I am sure you will never turn your own children’s hearts more to you than you will by keeping a journal and writing your personal history. They will ultimately love to find out about your successes and your failures and your peculiarities. It will tell them a lot about themselves, too. They will get a great desire to raise a family of their own when they see what a great blessing they were to you.” (Hartman Rector, Jr.)



“Sometimes we feel we just don’t have time to write in our journals. I wonder. President Kimball stood before the World Conference on Records last August and said: ‘By now, in my own personal history, I have managed to fill seventy-eight large volumes, which are my personal journal. There have been times when I have been so tired at the end of a day that the effort could hardly be managed, but I am so grateful that I have not let slip away from me and my posterity those things which needed to be recorded.’ ” (Hartman Rector, Jr.)


“When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. … I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done. More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened. My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done.”  (Henry B. Eyring)


“Of course, it is the right of every father and his duty as patriarch of his own family to give a father’s blessing to his children, and it is our hope that every father will give a sacred blessing to each of his children, especially as they are leaving home to go to school or on missions or to be married, which blessing should then be noted in the individual’s private journal. “(Spencer W. Kimball)


“A word about personal journals and records: We urge every person in the Church to keep a diary or a journal from youth up, all through his life. Would every family, as they now hold their home evenings, train their children from young childhood to keep a journal of the important activities of their lives, and certainly when they begin to leave home for schooling and missions?” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal. It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families. If there is anyone here who isn’t doing so, will you repent today and change—change your life?” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“I am grateful for a teacher who encouraged his students to keep a journal of the whisperings or promptings of the Spirit in their lives. He directed us to note what we felt and what resulted. Little things became evident.” (Sydney S. Reynolds)


“Our responsibility to keep a journal and to write our own personal histories and those of our ancestors, particularly those who belong to the first four generations of our pedigree, has not changed.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“It is to this intent that I shall endeavour henceforth to keep a journal of my travels, that when required I may give an account of my stewardship.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“While walking in a rapid stream we cannot tread twice in the same water. Neither can we spend twice the same time. When we pass out of that door, the work of this meeting will be closed to us forever. We shall never spend the time of this evening again. Then should we not keep a record of our work, teachings, and counsel which we give in this meeting? We should.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Write your history and the dealings of God with you in all the world for your own benefit and that of your posterity, for the benefit of the house of Israel, for the benefit of Jew and Gentile, for the benefit of future generations.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“It may be considered by some not important to write or keep a record of our work or the work of God, but I believe it is. Otherwise the prophets would not have been moved upon to exhort us to faithfulness upon this subject. The Lord has told us that what we seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven and what we record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and what is not sealed or recorded on earth is not sealed or recorded in heaven [see D&C 128:7–8]. Therefore it appears to be very important that we do keep a true and faithful record in all things.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Every man should write a brief history of his life: his parentage, his birth, his religion, when he was baptized and by whom, when ordained, what to, and by whom—give a brief sketch of all his missions and of all his official acts and the dealings of God with him. Then if he were to die and the historians wished to publish his history, they would have something to go by. Many may think this a dry subject and unimportant, but it is not so to me.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“I would advise you to get all of your blessings written and preserve them. … I do feel to enjoin it upon you to make a record of every official act of your life. If you baptize, confirm, ordain, or bless any person or administer to the sick, write an account of it. . .If the power and blessings of God are made manifest in your preservation from danger, … you should make a record of it. Keep an account of the dealings of God with you daily. I have written all the blessings I have received, and I would not take gold for them.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Should we not have respect enough to God to make a record of those blessings which He pours out upon us and our official acts which we do in His name upon the face of the earth? I think we should.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Now, should we not keep a journal, record, and history of the dealings of God with [us] as they transpire day by day before our eyes? We should. . .Instead of neglecting this branch of our work let every man who can, keep a journal and record events as they pass before our eyes day by day. This will make a valuable legacy to our children and a great benefit to future generations by giving them a true history of the rise and progress of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth in this last dispensation, instead of leaving it to our enemies to write a false history of the true Church of Christ.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“We are not apt to think of the importance of events as they transpire with us, but we feel the importance of them afterwards. We are living in one of the most important generations that man ever lived on earth, and we should write an account of those important transactions which are taking place before our eyes in fulfillment of the prophecies and the revelations of God. There is a great flood of revelations fulfilling in our day, and as they are transpiring before our eyes we want a record made of them.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“I wish to say to my young friends that it will be a great blessing to them, and their children after them, if they will keep a daily journal of what takes place with them and around them. Let all the boys and girls get them a little book, and write a little in it almost every day.”  (Wilford Woodruff)


“What shall I write?” you ask. Write about anything that is worth preserving, or the best you have; and if you begin this while you are young, it will be quite easy for you when you become men and women. How pleasing it would be to you, and to your children, thirty, fifty, or eighty years hence, to sit down and read what took place around you in your childhood and youth! Would you not like to read what took place with our fathers, and mothers, and grand parents, while they were young and during their lives? But the object is not so much to get you to keep a journal while you are young, as it is to get you to continue it after you become men and women, even through your whole lives. This is especially needed in the generation in which you live, for you live in as important a generation as the children of men ever saw, and it is far more important that you should begin early to keep a journal and follow the practice while you live, than that other generations should do so.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“It is now a great pleasure to me and my family to sit down and read an account of our travels, where we have been, and what we have done, and the dealings of God with us, and the many good times we have had with our friends. I can read in my journals the good teachings I have heard many years ago from Presidents Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, the Twelve Apostles, and many other good elders, and the good times we have had together. If my young friends will begin to do this and continue it, it will be of far more worth than gold to them in a future day.” (Wilford Woodruff)


“Perhaps the day will come that the Savior will point out the experiences of my life and ask, ‘Wasn’t that important? Significant? Sacred?’ And when I agree, perhaps he will say, ‘Why are these things not recorded in your journal?’ ” (Michael K. Parson)


“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?”  (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.”  (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. ”  (Spencer W. Kimball)


“There is something about journal writing that causes us to meditate, to recommit, and to receive spiritual impressions in the process of such pondering. Frequently, you will have cause to rejoice at how the Lord has been sensitively involved in guiding and watching over you and those you love and care about”  (Elder L. Edward Brown)


“You may be tempted to write about a Sunday-best version of you with perfect thoughts and habits. Your pages will be a lot more interesting if you write about the real you, even if that person occasionally falls asleep in algebra class, has holey socks, and sings off key. Don’t focus too much on the positive or the negative. Just be honest.” (From the New Era- answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.)


“Journal writing is the perfect place to sort out your feelings, solve problems, set goals, preserve memories, and develop dreams. It’s important to write about experiences now while your memories are fresh. Years down the road you will rediscover your words and be amazed at how much you’ve grown and how much the Lord has blessed you.” (New Era)


“You may never be remembered for your superior writing skills, profound insight, or miraculous experiences as a teenager, but you’re the only one who can describe the night you finished the Book of Mormon for the first time, or the flustered feeling you had on your first date, or the smell of fresh roses at your grandpa’s funeral, or anything else in your life. If you’re the only one who benefits from your efforts, that’s enough.” (New Era)


“On a number of occasions I have encouraged the Saints to keep personal journals and family records. I renew that admonition. We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do—but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“You should continue on in this important work of recording the things you do, the things you say, the things you think, to be in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Your private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant. Your journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are “made up” for a public performance. There is a temptation to paint one’s virtues in rich color and whitewash the vices, but there is also the opposite pitfall of accentuating the negative. Personally I have little respect for anyone who delves into the ugly phases of the life he is portraying, whether it be his own or another’s. The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative. Even a long life full of inspiring experiences can be brought to the dust by one ugly story. Why dwell on that one ugly truth about someone whose life has been largely circumspect?” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“Remember how he has worked in your life. Write in your journal about the times when you have felt his love for you. Write about the times when he has intervened in subtle or obvious ways, to make everything work out okay for you. And when you feel abandoned and desperate, those memories will renew your faith and keep you trusting until you understand better.” (Virginia H. Pearce)


 “Do you keep a journal? If not, we would again enjoin it upon you, and upon all who have not before heard the admonition, to commence forthwith to keep a Journal, or write a history; and see to it, that what you write is strictly true and unexaggerated; so that in the end, all may know of all things concerning this last work, and all knowledge may flow together from the four quarters of the earth, when the Lord shall make his appearing, and we all may be ready to give a full account of our mission, our ministry and stewardship.” (Parley P. Pratt)


“Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others.” (Richard G. Scott)


“Revelation can also be given in a dream when there is an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness. If you strive to capture the content immediately, you can record great detail, but otherwise it fades rapidly.”  (Richard G. Scott)


“Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of receiving further light.”  (Richard G. Scott)


Sacred experiences gain validity by being recorded. Any experience assumes perspective. And seen over a period of years, a life recorded day by day and page by page assumes pattern and purpose. A journal thus becomes a vehicle for seeing God’s interaction with us.” (Janet Brigham)


“Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life. There may be a flash of illumination here and a story of faithfulness there.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“I urge all the people of this church to give serious attention to their family histories, to encourage their parents and grandparents to write their journals, and let no family go into eternity without having left their memoirs for their children, their grandchildren, and their posterity. This is a duty and a responsibility.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.” (Spencer W. Kimball)


“As I view it, in every family a record should be kept. … That record should be the first stone, if you choose, in the family altar. It should be a book known and used in the family circle; and when the child reaches maturity and goes out to make another household, one of the first things that the young couple should take along should be the records of their families, to be extended by them as life goes on. … Each one of us carries, individually, the responsibility of record keeping, and we should assume it.” (John A. Widstoe)


“Why is the writing of personal and family histories so important? There are many reasons. I will focus on just a few. … By writing personal and family histories and doing the research required thereby, we inevitably have our hearts turned to our fathers as well as to our children. … Also, by writing personal and family histories, we are helped immeasurably in gaining a true, eternal perspective of life. Writing our histories with the proper blend of fact and feeling (and so often, feelings in spiritual things are the real facts) gives us a deep spiritual insight into the meaning and purpose of our lives. I wonder if, as in so many things, we don’t deny ourselves this deeper spiritual insight by simply neglecting to write our histories…. Writing our histories will certainly help us keep our eyes on the most important of all goals — even the goal of eternal life. … There is something eternal in the very nature of writing, as is so graphically illustrated by the scriptures themselves. In a very real sense, our properly written histories are a very important part of our family scripture and become a great source of spiritual strength to us and to our posterity. … I have a strong feeling that when this life is over, our personal and family histories and the influence they wield will be of much greater importance than we now think.” (John H. Groberg)


“Some people say, ‘I don’t have anything to record. Nothing spiritual happens to me.’ I say, ‘Start recording, and spiritual things will happen. They are there all the time, but we become more sensitive to them as we write.’ ” (John H. Groberg)


“I ask that every bearer of the priesthood resolve to do what is necessary to write in his personal history. . .If you resolve to do it, you will do it. Do not let anything stand in your way.” (John H. Groberg)


“A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family. Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.” (Dennis B. Neuenschwander)


“I would like to share with you just a tiny sampling of the experiences I have had wherein prayers were heard and answered and which, in retrospect, brought blessings into my life as well as the lives of others. My daily journal, kept over all these years, has helped provide some specifics which I most likely would not otherwise be able to recount.” (President Thomas S. Monson)


“Each member of the family should keep a daily journal, and from that he can prepare a personal history.” (Royden G. Derrick)


“A personal history becomes a family treasure that enables children to emulate the virtues and personal characteristics of their forebears. Their forefathers become the David, the Samson, the Moses, and the Abraham of their lineage. Writing family and personal histories is becoming the popular thing to do. More and more people throughout the world are becoming interested in this exciting pastime to them, but sacred responsibility to us. The hearts of the children are indeed turning to the fathers.” (Royden G. Derrick)


“This history of the dealings of God with his people and the experiences they had constitutes our present scripture. It is nothing more or less than sacred family history. Because it was written under the influence of the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, it became scripture. . .Much of what we now regard as scripture was not anything more or less than men writing of their own spiritual experiences for the benefit of their posterity. Therefore, as a people we ought to write of our own lives and our own experiences to form a sacred record for our descendants. We must provide for them the same uplifting, faith-promoting strength that the ancient scriptures now give us.” (Elder Theodore M. Burton)


“Life is soon gone. Grandparents do not live forever. Parents all too soon become grandparents and in turn pass away themselves. They and their influence will then in part be lost as memories begin to fade. All too soon our imprint in the lives of our descendants begins to dwindle. We can keep that flame of love burning brightly if we write down a personal history of our lives and that of our families. By so doing we can pass on to our descendants in a more permanent form the courage, the faith, and the hopes we felt within us as we lived our lives and solved the problems which faced us. Passing an account of these experiences on to them will provide them with vital guidance and direction.” (Elder Theodore M. Burton)


“Not everything we do is important. Not everything we write is important. Not everything we think is important. But occasionally we are in tune with God. Inspiration sometimes comes to us without our even recognizing it. At such times the Lord whispers things into our minds, and what one then writes can become inspirational to one’s descendants.” (Elder Theodore M. Burton)

Sep 26

Easy Coconut Chicken Curry (Freezer Meal!)

I love freezer meals. This is a recipe I came across that turned out really good. I’ve made it several times 🙂



1 lb. raw chicken, cubed

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped (in sticks)

1 cup sweet potato, chopped (don’t substitute regular potatoes or it will get too mushy during the prolonged cooking time. Sweet potatoes are best because they hold their shape and don’t break down as easily).

3 cloves garlic, minced

Almost 1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce


Put all the above ingredients into a plastic freezer bag and seal it. Gently squish the bag around with your fingers so that the flavors mix. Freeze until ready to use.

freezer meals chicken curry coconut

When ready to use, put contents of freezer bag into a crockpot and add 1 cup coconut milk, or half a can (don’t forget to mix it first since the fat/liquid are separated).

Cook in crockpot until done! (On low for 4-6 hours? or on high for 2-3 hours? I can’t remember how long I cooked it last time – just watch it)

You can add a little more water/liquid if needed while it’s cooking.


This is so easy and so good!


Easy zucchini chicken curry freezer meal crockpot

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