Sunday, May 1, 2011


An experience we had this past week has really caused me to step back, consider things and ponder a little bit about what joy is, what true happiness is. We met a really nice man in a wheel chair a couple weeks ago and we decided we wanted to go back and visit with him so hopefully we could help his day go better. Well, he was home and he invited us inside, and as we began talking he told us that God doesn't really matter to the world, that it's only money that really matters. I'm pretty sure he lives alone and I have no idea if his family even lives in the U.S. He proceeded to say that he probably wouldn't mind being a member of our church if the church gave him everything he needed to survive just like it does for us, but I guess he didn't understand that we pay our own way out here.
We then asked him what made him happy in life, and he replied that traveling made him happy. And then it got me thinking, is this man truly happy? Am I truly happy? What is happiness? What is joy? And what makes a person happy? Can a person be truly happy even if they don't know God?

And that's the big question: Can a person be truly happy in life here on earth if they don't know God? There definitely are people who don't know God or that there even is a God. Or some don't believe that He literally is our Father in Heaven and that we are very literally His spirit children. And because some people won't have the opportunity to know about God in this life, I guess it is possible to still be happy in this life without knowing God. But what about eternal happiness? That's where the knowledge of God comes into play.

But when I was still pondering A LOT about what true joy is, I got to thinking, when in my life have I been the happiest? There are two general times that stick out in my mind when I think about the happiest times in my life: they are now, as a missionary, when I am forgetting myself and serving others, seeking their happiness above my own. And second, when I'm with my family. So can we experience true joy without love? Because I love the people out here, and I sure as heck love my family more than anything else in this world.

So... joy? What is it? I don't know. All I know is I have experienced it when I've forgotten myself and made others happy. The Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 2:25 says "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy."  God put us here on earth to experience joy. Obviously life is not perfect and we still have trials but when you do experience joy, you'll sure know it! And when you find out what joy really is, please let me know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

And What is is We Shall Hope For?

I don't know about y'all, but for me, life is hard!!! Wow, what a way to being a blog post about hope, right? As a missionary, I meet a lot of people from different backgrounds-- some are very well-off and others are not. But we all have one thing in common: we all have this mortal experience with trials and challenges. There is death, unemployment, arguments, natural disasters, heartache, and pain. Something that I do to relieve stress is to listen to music or to play my cello when I was back home. I love music so much, and it has the power to heal grief and pain. But even more so, the power of Jesus Christ's love has the power to heal all wounds, no matter how deep, whether they be physical or spiritual. And I know this is the University of Utah (YUCK! go BYU!) Singers, but my rivalry doesn't extend beyond sports, so this one is approved to put on my blog.  :)

For me, my ultimate source of hope is Jesus Christ. From the Book of Mormon we read, "And what is it ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according ot the promise" (Moroni 7:41). We all have hard times, there is no doubt about that; but when we come to truly know and understand that Jesus Christ has overcome the world for us, we realize that we can make it through the tough times with hope and confidence. Jesus Christ has suffered for everything negative we ever go through, every grief, pain, affliction, sickness, and especially every sin. He knows how it feels, and therefore, He knows exactly how to heal us. Alma, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon stated, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me" (Alma 7:11-12).

It gives me such comfort and hope to know that Jesus Christ will always be there for me, and I know that the power of Christ's atonement can and will heal any of our pain if we only let Him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Look at this awesome picture of the temple in Nashville, TN! The cool thing is it's actually in Franklin, about a 30 minute drive from downtown Nashville. I love the temple so much, and it's only a 5 minute drive from our apartment, and conveniently enough, located right next to the chapel. Several times each week I get to see the temple, and I love it each time. I can't wait til it warms up so that in a couple weeks we can sit on the benches that are on the temple grounds and have lessons with some of our investigators. I have never been to a more peaceful place on the earth than in the temple. It is such a sacred place, and I look forward to one day being married in it for time and all eternity. Because the priesthood authority was restored by Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, family relationships can be extended beyond the grave and into the next life. How grateful I am for temples and for the restoration of the priesthood authority!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Ultimate Book of Hope and Faith

A couple weeks ago my mission companions and I went to visit one of our investigators and he gave me the title for this blog post! We got to talking with him, seeing how he was doing and everything, and then we asked him, "Have you been able to read from the Book of Mormon recently?" He turned to us and said something like, "You know what, I have that book figured out."
When he said that, I really wasn't sure what to expect. So many people bash the Book of Mormon because they think it is adding to or taking away from the Bible or they think that it's just a book of mormon rules. They don't take the time to read it, to ponder it in their hearts, or to even pray abou it. But this is what he said:
"That book is the ultimate book of hope and faith."

And that's exactly what the Book of Mormon is! I love it so much and reading the Savior's words in it have brought me so much closer to Him. It is another testament of Jesus Christ that helps us strengthen our faith in Him and allows us to have greater hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The final prophet to write in the Book of Mormon, in some of his last words, said this: "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."

I am so grateful for my Savior who makes it possible for us to overcome death and sin and to live with Him in eternal joy. And I am so grateful that God has given us the Book of Mormon as evidence of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's what makes me smile!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Book and a Smile!

So I'm sure y'all (yes, I'm in the South now) have seen us walking down the street: white shirt, tie blowing all over the place in the wind, a book in a hand, and a smile on our faces. Yes indeed, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or more commonly known as Mormons. This book in my hand is the Book of Mormon. It will change your life, so give it a read. And most of all, it will make you smile!