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, 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?"