This blog shares my ongoing study of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and my studies draw from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, as well as teachings of LDS Church leaders past and present, many of which are prophets and apostles. This site is not an official representation of Latter-day Saint doctrine and practice. For official sites, please visit or

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a Mother.

This quote struck me as it appeared in a video I watched this morning concerning mothers. A number of additional realizations ensued: (1) How very grateful I ought to be for the wonderful mother I was provided, (2) How humbling it must be to take on the responsibility of motherhood, and (3) How desperately I wish everyone could have a mother completely committed to their happiness and well-being.

The film also highlights the fact that one of the only people to stay with Christ until the end was His mother. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother..." (John 19:25). Also, one of the last things Christ accomplished during His mortal ministry was to ensure support for his mother, "Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home" (John 19:27).

I am so grateful for my mother. She is one of my best friends, and she took it upon herself (and still does!) to teach me what is important in life and how to be happy. She has proven to be a most invaluable and irreplaceable manual, and I love her very much. She directly taught me at a very young age to be sensitive to the needs of others (she would often sit me down and ask me things like, "How do you think your friend felt after you told him 'such and such' on the phone just now? I still remember this!) and to be honest in all that I do. Both have played important roles in my professional and personal lives, and I don't know where I would be without her consistent, careful, and care-filled coaching. Thank you, Mom.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Answers to Prayer

"Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer." Jacob 7:22

Receiving an answer to prayer is tremendously faith promoting. Anyone that recognizes an answer to prayer feels closer to God and more inclined to believe in Him. Conversely, when someone doesn't see their prayers being answered, they often conclude that either God isn't there, or, if He is, He doesn't care about them. How very important, then, to recognize the answers to our prayers.

President Thomas S. Monson recently taught:

"Reinforced constantly during my own review of the years has been my knowledge that our prayers are heard and answered. We are familiar with the truth found in 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon: 'Men are, that they might have joy.' I testify that much of that joy comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered—perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness. Hasn’t He promised us, 'Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers'?

"...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." ("Consider the Blessings," October 2012 General Conference, paragraphs 4 and 5.)

I want to highlight that he mentions keeping a journal. Much of my testimony of prayer comes from writing down questions I ask in prayer and then later reviewing them and recognizing that they have been answered.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rethinking Endurance

William Barclay declared, "Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory." (

I like this because it reminds me to expect more of myself when I am enduring something difficult and it provides me with hope that there can be a positive outcome to what I am experiencing. This past school year was a great challenge to me. I was at a new school, teaching new subjects (AP Statistics and Precalculus). I was required to put in many many extra hours on almost a daily basis just to stay ahead with my lesson plans. The school culture was also quite different and took me a while to grow accustomed to. It was easy to slip into the mindset of "just endure, this too shall pass," but then I came across this quote and I thought, "I want to do more than survive this, I want to turn it into glory!" Ultimately I was able to build a large number of new friendships and I learned a great deal of mathematics that has already begun to benefit me professionally. I am now very grateful that I had the school year I did.

Christ taught, "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life" (3 Nephi 15:9).

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has explained, "... [E]nduring to the end is not just a matter of passively tolerating life’s difficult circumstances or “hanging in there.” Ours is an active religion, helping God’s children along the strait and narrow path to develop their full potential during this life and return to Him one day. Viewed from this perspective, enduring to the end is exalting and glorious, not grim and gloomy" ("Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?" Ensign, Nov. 2007, emphasis added).

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Throughout my life I've been reminded of the importance of setting goals. I've decided this morning to focus on goal-setting more and more. A recent talk in church reminded me to set at least one goal each day. Now I've got a set a goal each day. Ha ha ha.

Elder M. Russell Ballard taught, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great difference in the results you attain in this life." (Click here to go to talk.)

Preach My Gospel states, "Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans, our hopes are transformed into action. Goal setting and planning are acts of faith. ... Challenging goals will help you work effectively and lead you to stretch and grow." (p. 146)

I've always felt like there was something magical about goals. The Universe seems to acknowledge and honor those with clearly-defined goals and the determination to accomplish them. I think of movies like Rudy, Secretariat, Stand and Deliver, and Lean on Me. These stories always leave me feeling more determined to focus myself and set goals and go accomplish something really significant.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

French Snoopy Socks for Christmas

Some years ago I served as a missionary in France. Christmas was a special time for us because we all knew we could expect to receive a package from home full of our favorite foods and other things. As the holiday approached packages arrived for the other missionaries in my apartment, but not for me. Deciding that mine was delayed, I had no expectation of seeing a package for me on Christmas morning. When that day finally came, I was surprised by the brown box addressed to me. The other missionaries were hiding it! As I began to open it, they all watched me closely. I pulled out a pair of Snoopy socks...with french print on them that said "Je ne supporte pas le matin!" (I can't stand mornings!), a jar of jam...also with french print on it, and some other french products. I knew exactly what had happened. My holiday package had not actually come in time and these good brothers took it upon themselves to make sure I had something to open on Christmas morning.

(Yes, I still have them!)

I can only imagine their excitement when they had the idea to put together a package for me and selected various items to put in it. I believe we have all experienced the joy of giving. If giving a pair of Snoopy socks can bring us great joy, how great must be the joy of our Heavenly Father in giving us all that He has!

Jesus asked, "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:9-11)

I know that our Father in Heaven loves us and loves to bless us. He is the great Giver of Gifts. He also loves to employ us in the great work of blessing His children so that we might experience His joy. I hope we can all accept that employment this Holiday Season and rejoice with Him.

P.S. My mom did, in fact, send me a package but the delivery service got the addresses mixed up and delivered it to my mom some weeks after she had sent it. (Here's a package for you from France! ha ha ha... No.) She re-delivered it and I ended up getting it in February if I remember correctly. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pen and Page

I heard a powerful analogy in a church meeting yesterday that has stayed with me. I try to always take note of the thoughts and ideas that linger with me for more than a day or so.

A friend explained to us that it's useful to compare our lives to a blank journal that we are given when we are born. The journal itself is of such quality we sometimes hesitate to write within its pages. The choices we make determine what is written. He asked us, "are the choices we are making worthy of the pages they are written on?"

This simple analogy has gotten me to thinking about what is written in my book. What will I hope to see in there at the end of my life? What will each of us hope to see in our own books? These are some of the things I hope to see in my own book:

1. Selflessness
2. Bravery in doing what I know to be right even when so many others are not
3. Faith overpowering fear
4. Belief
5. Moments of taking risks
6. Creativity
7. Many many editorial marks made by our Savior and His atonement

There are certainly others, but those are things currently on my mind. I love the talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin entitled "The Abundant Life." In this address he says, "The abundant life is within our reach if only we will drink deeply of living water, fill our hearts with love, and create of our lives a masterpiece."

I know it is within our power to create, with God's help, a masterpiece of our lives - a book truly worth reading.

(P.S. I also love the lyrics of Natasha Bedingfield's song, Unwritten, as pertaining to this concept.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Loving More

I had a friend recently point out to me that repentance really means to love God, yourself, and others more than you currently are. I think she's right. Concerning repentance, the Bible Dictionary says, "The Greek word of which this is the translation denotes a change of mind, i.e., a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world." Wouldn't the fresh view spoken of here include one of greater love and respect for God, oneself, and the world?

If love isn't the inspiration behind and the fruits of our repentance, is it repentance at all? I think that just might be the difference between godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world. Paul taught "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." It seems that godly sorrow originates from love and leads to greater love while worldly sorrow is born of fear and brings spiritual death. 

Jesus Christ set the perfect example for us in all things. His love for us is a model for how we need to love ourselves. I need to learn to love Nate just as much as He loves Nate. Hopefully the power of His example can motivate me (and you) to try. As we seek to repent on a daily basis, it might be worthwhile to ask ourselves, "do my actions reflect the fact that I love Him, I love myself, and I love the people around me?"