Saturday, October 30, 2010


It's so cool how God looks out for us.  Through thick and thin, He's always right there.  And when we're in need, He knows exactly what to send.

Yesterday He sent me two missionaries.

Matthew and I took the elders to Marie Callender's last night.  I had been looking forward all week to feeding them; I love doing stuff for the missionaries, because I know what it's like to be them.  I miss being one of them, and I'll take any chance I can to be with them. 

And we had a great time!  We were all well fed and left satisfied.  But the best was still yet to come.

After dinner we came back to the house for a thought from the scriptures.  The elders brought such a wonderful spirit into our home; it was something unique, and I felt it so strongly as they spake.  It was something I had forgotten a little about what it was like to be a missionary.  I wondered if this was what the members in Texas felt when they had me in their homes; it was just such a good feeling.

My brother is a champion.  He took the initiative to ask the missionaries if he could go with them to a lesson, and next thing we knew, both of us were with the elders at the doorstep of their next appointment.  It was Matt's first time going out with the missionaries, and I was as excited for him to have the experience as I was for myself.  It just felt so good to be waiting at someone's door again, ready to teach!

Well, it wasn't the incredible lesson we thought it would be, because nobody answered.  It ended up being an average night in the life of a missionary--the kind that doesn't make it into letters home after the fiftieth time.  But I was pumped anyway, because this was still the missionary life, and I was starting to remember again.  

One of the more difficult things for me as a missionary was finding a backup plan when things didn't go the way we expected.  I have many memories of sitting in the car in some parking lot with my companion, going over all our lists of people to visit and trying to figure out where we should go.  More often than not, everyone we had in mind had already been visited too recently, so it wouldn't have been too effective to see them just then.  In the end, we knocked on a lot of doors.

And that's what was happening with our elders last night.  We tried a couple doors, and whenever no one answered, the missionaries would flip through their planners to find someone else to visit.

It was the last house we tried.  They were a family in our stake, whose daughter the missionaries had been teaching.  A young man answered the door, and we just talked with him outside for a while.  I remembered him.  He remembered me.  We had gone to Boy Scouts together, but hadn't seen each other in years.  Yet something remarkable happened when we met again.

"Did you go on your mission?" he asked me.


"Where did you go?"

"I went to Texas."

"Texas?  What part of Texas?"

"San Antonio and Austin."

He got real excited then.  "You served in AUSTIN?!  I used to live in Leander!"

"No way!"  I was excited now, too.  "I spent like nine months in Cedar Park and Georgetown!"

I knew Leander; my area in Cedar Park had taken in part of that town, and Georgetown was close, as well. We had a connection, and it turned out to be a good, successful visit.

I had a companion who, up to when we were together, had only spoken English on his mission, and he was concerned because he had been called to speak Spanish.  His experience was similar to mine; I didn't get to use too much Spanish, either.  That companion took his concern to our mission president, who gave him some counsel that has encouraged me and taught me the importance of keeping an eternal perspective.  It basically went along the lines of, "Every calling comes from the Lord.  If you never get to speak Spanish on your mission, perhaps you are simply being prepared for a time after your mission when you will need it."

A similar approach can be taken with just about everything else.  I was called to serve in Texas for more reasons than those two years alone.  It would be impossible to list all the many reasons why Texas was the perfect starting point for the rest of my life, but last night was an example of one: being able to relate to those connected to Texas (and there's a lot of them--it's a big place).  For me that experience was a valuable reminder of the eternal nature of everything we do.

But just being with the missionaries helped, too.  I've made it through the hardest stuff, but I'm still in a little bit of an awkward phase right now.  It's one of those times when I'm in between stages, and a lot of things in my life are uncertain.  And to be honest, I've been really tired lately.  It can be hard to stay balanced sometimes; there are days when I don't want to be social . . . other days when I don't want to go to the gym or sit through class . . . and still other days when I really don't have much desire to be spiritual.  I know what I know, and I know what I gotta do about it.  But some days, it feels easier not to.  I'm human.

I have such a patient Heavenly Father.  He's not letting me just get out of this weird position; instead, He is constantly reminding me why I love serving Him, and where my next step is.  He keeps dropping little blessings in my path, and pouring tender mercies from Heaven.  I'm learning and growing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  It's not the easiest place, but I love where I am.  It's an uphill climb all the way, but the view from the top is incredible.

The time I spent with the elders last night strengthened me; it was like God was whispering, "Thanks for doing this for two years.  It's a blast, isn't it?  And with me right here next to you, you're gonna turn out alright."

That's what it means to be a TSAMer for life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The sporting--er, music event of the season!

Allow me to geek out for a moment.

I love my music class more and more every week.  We listened to the following recording today, in which P.D.Q. Bach (Peter Schickele) explores a solution to popularize nineteenth-century music in this day and age.  Band geeks and orch-dorks, this is for you:

Right on target, Mr. Schickele!  Call me a music nerd, but I found that absolutely hilarious.  And, to be perfectly honest, a great concert would be my Superbowl. 

But there's so much truth in this recording, too!  Beethoven wasn't just a nut job.  He was a brilliant nut job!  If what he wanted to write didn't fit the musical conventions of the day, he'd just change the rules and do it anyway!  And sure, previous musicians did that sometimes, too, but how many of them had anything crawling in their heads even close to the 4th movement of Symphony No. 9?  Beethoven's stuff was exciting and new.  Nobody saw it coming.  I definitely owe him a great debt; imagine what we'd be listening to today if this guy hadn't come along!

End geek-out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Texan I've become

November 12, 2008

Landed in San Antonio.  As I stepped off the plane, I was hit by something for which I hadn't been prepared--about 85 degrees, high humidity.  My mission president teased me for what I had brought from Utah.  "You're not gonna need that coat, Elder!"

October 25, 2010


Friday, October 22, 2010

Back in the saddle

After more than two years being dormant in my choice hobby, things were finally in order enough this week that I could pull out the Lego and create something.  It's not the flashiest masterpiece; just a simple scene to take off some of the rust and get me back into building.  Still, I like how my little rodeo turned out:

More pictures can be found here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When doors open

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

As I waited at a red light on my way home from class this morning, I watched the happenings at the gas station next to which I was stopped.  It was a simple scene, but one that stood out to me.  Two strangers left their cars at opposite ends of the convenience store.  One was well dressed and looked to be a business-type man; the other, if only going on appearance, I would have misjudged as some sort of trouble-maker.  Both reached the store entrance at the same time . . . and the man I wouldn't have expected to stopped and opened the door for the other, letting him go first.

So what? one might think.  This type of thing happens all the time.

But that's the point.  Think of what opening the door for someone actually means!  For me, it's like saying, "Hey, I've got someplace to be, but I see you're trying to get somewhere, too.  I want to help you get there."  Someone will take two seconds--if even that--and help a stranger.  They probably don't even think about it after that, but it means something.

And it happens all the time.

There's a lot of bad in the world right now--but also a lot of good.  And as long as strangers are opening doors for each other, in the end, we're gonna be alright.  All of us are brothers and sisters, and when even the smallest act of kindness is performed, those involved are reminded, at least in some way, that we're just one big family.  For one brief moment, it's not "You're this and I'm that"; it's "You're human, and I'm human, too!"

There's a lot of good a door can do.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kirkman and Scott can see into the future

My mom read this comic yesterday and said it was me in ten years.  I would have to agree.

And by the way. . . as of this past weekend, my collection is finally out of the garage.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How the tables turn

I had two friends enter the Missionary Training Center today.  It's always bittersweet seeing a friend begin his or her journey, but it's often at times like this that poetry happens.

One of these new missionaries was a young man I had known in Texas.  My companion Elder Allred and I would take him to lessons with us sometimes when we served together in his ward.  Even back then I saw great things in the future of this boy's service to the Lord; he was a good help to us, and a good friend.

Today, Elder Allred and I were reunited with this young man to enjoy a final meal before he entered the MTC and started his own mission.  It was like old times--a sweet verse written first in the heart of Texas months ago. 

But this time the tables had turned; my companion and I were the members, and he was the missionary. 

God is the greatest of all poets.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear friends

Just because I don't feel I've shown enough gratitude to you, who have been such a powerful influence for good in my life.  Our respective obligations keep us busy, and we may not get to see each other or talk as much as we'd like these daysBut to you, my dear friends, I give my sincere "thank you."

Dear Friends
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dreams into the stars

From Deseret News:

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — When U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly blasts off to the International Space Station, he will have one unlikely consolation as he begins five months away from his family — his identical twin will drop by.

Kelly and Russia's Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka will take off early Friday on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome leased by Russia in southern Kazakhstan for a five-month mission.

Scott Kelly will be joined at the space station by his brother Mark, another NASA astronaut who will fly the Endeavor space shuttle.

"As kids, we never thought we'd be in this unique and privileged position to be able to do this," Scott Kelly told reporters from behind a plate of protective glass. The cosmonauts are kept in strict isolation in the days ahead of the launch to avoid exposure to infection.

During the pre-launch news conference Mark Kelly looked at Scott from the other side of the glass as he sat next to journalists, engineers and NASA officials.

Mark Kelly told The Associated Press he had thought it unlikely that he and his brother would meet in space, even when they both were on space flight training programs.

This twist of fate became possible after Mark Kelly's shuttle flight was postponed in July. "It wasn't planned. I should have landed by now," he said.

Perhaps it's the kid in me, but this may be the most heart-warming news story I've read since I've been home.  Who among us never at least once looked up to the stars as a kid, turned to a sibling or a friend, and said, "We're gonna go up there someday"?

Some of my most precious memories involve gazing at the stars with my friends.  As kids we would sometimes lie on the trampoline and talk about being astronauts, dreaming of when we would someday look down at the earth in wonder.  It's so good to see two brothers realize their boyhood dream, not only for them, but also for the sweet reminder it is to me.

What closer bond is there between brothers than the dream?  I'm grateful that my brother and I have dreams.  He and I made many plans, before but especially during my mission.  And I'm grateful that we're going out and making them happen.  We've explored the mountains a little.  We're taking Institute classes together.  And in the next few weeks, we're getting on a plane, and Matthew is gonna fly it.

These are our stars.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Conference thoughts

I know I said I would leave my last post up top here for a few days, but as strongly as I feel about its contents, I've come out of Conference weekend just excited to exchange thoughts--and what better time to do that than when the talks are fresh in our minds and hearts?  That last post is right under this one, though, so anyone who wants to can still get to it; but I did all the talking there, which is something I learned on my mission to avoid doing.  Rather, I want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this past General Conference!

As for me, at every Conference I hear something I really need, but this one struck me the most as a returned missionary.  Over the past few weeks, I haven't been very patient with myself.  Things are going well and life is basically back to normal, and I'm enjoying it.  But at the same time, going from my mission into real life hasn't been the easiest transition, and I've struggled to always know exactly where I need to be and on what I should be spending my time.  I'm involved in school, church, and family, but even still I have wondered how well I'm doing with those and the other things that need my attention.  This concern has weighed heavily on me since I've been home.

I had the blessing of being able to attend the Saturday morning and Priesthood sessions in the Conference Center, and I went that morning with questions I wanted answered concerning life after the mission.  About twenty minutes or so before the first session began, everyone stood up thinking the prophet had entered the auditorium.  I think false alarms like that probably happen in every session of Conference, because that wasn't the first or last time I'd experienced it.  But most of us stayed standing after that, waiting for President Monson.  It was at this time that I felt very touched by the Spirit, who whispered that I was in the right place.

That meant a lot to me; very few times since I'd come home had I been absolutely sure I was exactly where I needed to be.  But here I knew I had the Lord's approval, and now that my doubts were gone I could truly open myself up to inspiration.

There were so many great talks, but my favorite was by Elder Christofferson about living a consecrated life.  His remarks were what I needed most in my circumstances, but most especially the statement that "all honest work is the work of God."  I reached the conclusion last week that to invite the Spirit more in my life, I had to do the Lord's work.  With Elder Christofferson's talk, I realized that this work need not be limited only to Church service--but I am also doing the Lord's work as I apply myself in school to obtain an education, find a good job, strive to improve my personal character, and encounter many other opportunities to lift those around me.  This is a great comfort to me, because now I am aware that I'm doing more good than I thought I was, and I know where I can go from here.

I'm grateful for prophets in this day, whose counsel has lifted me and strengthened me every single time I have followed it.  We live in a crazy world, but because of what I have, I face the future with confidence, and know that the Lord will not leave me alone.

What stuck out to you about this Conference?  

Friday, October 1, 2010

The big deal about Conference

It's Conference time again, so I wanted to do something here to celebrate and prepare for the great weekend ahead.  For those unfamiliar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, every six months we have what's called a General Conference, where the leaders of our church give talks on various subjects relating to the unique circumstances of our day.  These talks are broadcast worldwide in many different languages, and can be viewed and heard over television, Internet, and radio.

The goal of this post is to answer the question of why this Conference is such a big deal to members of the Church, and what it could mean for anyone else who takes interest.  I will tell you right now that this will be a somewhat longer post than I usually write here, but because it is so important to me, I'll leave it up top for a few days to make up for its length.

So, what's this General Conference thing all about?  Let's go back a ways, to the very beginning: our relationship with God.  Romans 8:16 states that "we are the children of God."  If we are His children, that makes Him our Father.  He created us.  He loves us, and wants the very best for us.  Take the best, most loving father in the world, and multiply that by infinity, and you've got our Heavenly Father.  He's awesome.

That being said, it only makes sense that He would want His children to be around Him.  But while we're here on earth, away from the physical presence of God, we make mistakes.  We're walking by faith, and not by sight; and sometimes we trip.  I love Romans; in chapter 3, verse 23, we again read, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  We've all come short.  And because none of us are perfect, none of us can dwell in the presence of a perfect God.  So how are we ever going to make it?

Well, our Father in Heaven gave us a way through His Son Jesus Christ, who took everything we could not do ourselves . . . and did it.  From Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."  And the words of the Savior Himself, in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which makes it possible for me to have joy in this life and return to my Heavenly Father in the next.  I am a weak, imperfect man, but I know there's hope because of my Savior, and that keeps me going. 

To actually apply this Atonement in our lives, we gotta know about it, right?  Even from the time of Adam all the way to the birth of Christ, people knew a Savior was coming, because it was that important--it was what would save them, too, just like it's what saves us.  How did they find out about it?  Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."


Remember what I said a few paragraphs ago, about walking by faith?  Let's imagine, for a moment, a wall.  God is on one side, and we're on the other.  We can only see what's on our side.

We can communicate with God by sending paper airplanes over the wall.  He'll answer by flying paper planes back to us.  This is prayer.

The great thing about prayer is that it's deeply personal.  We can have a close, individual relationship with our Heavenly Father this way.  But it's important to remember that the returning "paper airplane" is meant for the person it was sent to--meaning, I can't go to my neighbor across the street and say, "Hey, I was praying last night and God told me you need to work on your food storage."  It just doesn't happen that way.  

Allow me to illustrate again with the classic analogy of the cop and the ice cream man.  Let's say we've gotten together on some lovely Saturday afternoon, and we're having a good time.  I'm driving, but I'm enjoying your company so much that I don't realize I'm going over the speed limit.  Then all of a sudden we hear an annoying little jingle behind us.

Diiing-ding-ding ding-ding-ding-ding-ding. . . .

Why, it's the local ice cream man!  And it looks like he really wants our business.  I think we'll stop and buy some ice cream.  

Well, we get talking with him, and it turns out that's not why he chased us down.  Next thing I know, the guy's writing up a big ol' speeding ticket, and . . . wait a minute.

Is this guy giving me a speeding ticket?

. . . But he's . . . the ice cream man. . . .

It's kind of an awkward moment, which I'm glad you break by purchasing a Spongebob popsicle.  Satisfied with the exchange, the ice cream man goes on his merry way, and we're left wondering what just happened.

This guy was an upstanding citizen.  His heart was in the right place, and his intentions were good.  But you know, he was the ice cream man.  He could sell me all sorts of frozen treats, but there was no way he could give me a speeding ticket and expect me to pay it.

So we continue down the road, and I'm being a little more careful but eventually get distracted again.  Finally I see some red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror. 


That's a big fat speeding ticket.

And I have to pay it.

The principle here is authority.  The policeman had it, so he could rightly give me a ticket.  The ice cream man didn't have it, and even though I was breaking the law, there was nothing he could do.

There are some messages God wants the entire world to receive, which are so important that we sometimes cannot all be relied upon to get the mass email in our personal inboxes and read the same thing.  So, He chooses someone Himself and puts that person on top of the wall: He gives him authority.  This is a prophet--a representative, a mouthpiece, a messenger.  Standing on that wall, the prophet can see what's going on on both sides.  God shows him what needs to be said and done, and he in turn declares it to our side of the wall in a voice that all can hear and understand clearly.

One example of this is the Old Testament prophet Moses.  Through him, God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel.  The Lord didn't just whisper the message in everyone's ear and hope they were listening; He sent Moses to deliver it to them.  After that, they knew what the law was, and they were all held accountable to it.

Noah is another well-known example.  In his case, I'm sure the people of the world at that time would have been too wicked to hear or understand any spiritual communication from God, so a prophet was all the more necessary.  The Lord's message through Noah was that the world would be flooded, and the people must repent.  Yet even after hearing such a clear, tangible voice, they still mocked him.  Under God's direction Noah built the ark that would prevent the total extinction of mankind from the earth.  Everyone but a very precious few died.  

We see a pattern throughout the Bible of righteousness and apostasy.  When the people heeded the counsel of the prophet of their time, they prospered.  When they rejected the prophets, they suffered.  There were a lot of times, in fact, where the people would start out really good, but eventually became so comfortable in all their blessings that they forgot where those blessings came from, and finally fell away.  But after such periods, when the people had finally been beaten down and humbled enough so they were ready for it, God always sent another prophet.

The scriptures are the recorded teachings of these prophets.  And you'll notice that in studying those teachings, every prophet testified of the Savior, and pointed to Him always.  Everything a prophet did or taught in his calling was to the credit and glory of God; none sought attention or praise for himself.  His job was to bring people unto Christ--not to build a popular following or to gain wealth.

And Christ came.  His life and ministry were the pivotal mark in the history of mankind.  Salvation was made possible through Him, and His teachings also showed us the way to live happily in this world and prepare for the world to come.

Another important thing the Savior did while He was here was the calling of twelve apostles--men who had the authority to teach the Gospel of Christ, lead the Church He established, and act in the name of God.  "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.  (Luke 9:1-2)"   "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  (John 15:16)"

Jesus did this because He knew He wasn't going to be on the earth with us forever.  The time would eventually come for Him to return to the Father, so there had to be an organization established so that His Gospel could spread to fill the world.  And, sure enough, once Christ had ascended into Heaven, the Church on earth was left in the care of the Twelve, who received revelation from the Lord to direct it.  Christ never stopped being the Head of His Church; He led it personally, guiding His chosen servants in what they should do.  And, as we read in Acts about the callings of new apostles like Matthias, Paul, and Barnabas as vacancies happened, it's clear that this organization was meant to continue.

And they got off to a good start.  The Church grew, and the Twelve had a lot to do.  But the world was a much bigger place back then.  There were no telephones or email, no satellite broadcast.  The Apostles had to write letters and travel long journeys to keep the Church on the right path.  This was a monumentally difficult task; in addition to the massive persecution that was going on at that time, there were also many new members of the Church who brought their old Jewish and pagan traditions with them.  Others simply just needed help understanding true doctrine, and little falsehoods and contentions began to seep in.  The Apostles did the best they could--they devoted everything to their calling--but they simply could not move quickly enough in that world to keep the whole Church together, and because of a number of factors including death and not being able to meet together often, no new apostles were called after them. 

Without the "foundation of the apostles and prophets" (see Ephesians 2:19-20), the Church fell.  There was no longer anyone who had the authority from God to receive revelation for the Church, and without that guidance, those who were left had only the writings of the prophets and apostles before, and their own ability to interpret them.  Many disagreements arose, resulting in councils where theologians argued and voted on doctrine.  And more often than not, their vote was not in harmony with what the Lord had revealed years before.

Well, this was bad.  When you start changing doctrine, you're asking for trouble.  And it didn't stop there, either.  At length certain selections of the scriptures were compiled into what became the Holy Bible.  I will forever be grateful for the truths contained in the Bible; it is an immeasurable value to me, and truly is the word of God as far as it's translated correctly.  But again, whatever was put in there was chosen by vote, leaving out many other prophetic writings.  And over the years, the Bible passed through many hands in translation and interpretation.  Things would be changed around or removed altogether, and because the general populace could not read or write, preachers could say just about anything they wanted and call it truth, and no one would know the difference.  If someone did contest what was being taught, the majority of the time they were brutally silenced.  This was a time when excommunication from the Church essentially meant execution.  When the scriptures finally did become more available, doctrinal disagreements increased, factions separated, and all of a sudden we had so many different ideas flying around (from people using the same book, too) that an appeal to the Bible and religious leaders alone became unreliable in the search for the whole truth Jesus Christ originally taught.      

This particular period of apostasy had been prophesied.  From Amos 8:11-12: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."  And 2 Thessalonians 2:3: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the Second Coming of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

But our loving Heavenly Father could not forget His children; and so a restoration was also promised.  This is sometimes referred to in the Bible by such names as "restitution of all things" and "dispensation of the fullness of times" (Acts 3:19-21; Ephesians1:10)--i.e., every blessing and truth enjoyed by God's children in every age before would be brought back in the days preceding Christ's Second Coming.

After nearly two thousand years of apostasy, the world was finally ready for this Restoration to take place . . . and God called a prophet once more.  Through this prophet the Church of Jesus Christ was brought back as it had been when the Savior walked the earth, complete with twelve apostles and real authority.  Once again, God's children could enjoy the blessings that come from truly knowing what their Heavenly Father wanted them to know, and living it.  And it has grown to fill the earth, never again to be taken away.

Now Jesus warned us that false prophets would arise.  But He never said there would be no true prophets.  So how does one tell the difference?  How do we discern between a true prophet and a false prophet? 

The Savior gives us some guidance on this in Matthew 7:16-17: "Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."

A true prophet will do good.  He will point only to Christ; you won't see his face on a billboard or his name in lights.  He will not accept money for his preaching, nor will he use his message to gain power or influence over any other person.  He's simply doing what the Savior would do if He were here.  And those who heed his words will experience the good fruits promised, which may include peace of mind, a greater presence of the Lord's Spirit, better physical health or financial stability, a happier marriage--the list goes on, and on, and on.

And he will have true authority from God--not some school of theology or a democratic vote or an appearance on Oprah.

But you know, information alone will only take us so far.  "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.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." (1 Corinthians 2:14-15)  What's the best way to know?  The Spirit of God.  As you hear the words of a prophet--truly listen and apply what is learned--then come the fruits of the Spirit as a testimony from our Heavenly Father.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

It's life changing.  That's why General Conference is such a big deal.  I have learned for myself, by the Spirit of God and the good fruits of living what I have learned, that God truly has sent a prophet to us in these days to guide us Home.  He loves us.  And Conference is where the prophet speaks the words the Lord would have us know right now, so we can have peace even in the turbulent world around us.

I'm excited to hear what's going to be said this weekend.  And I'm excited to talk about it.  I think we'll do that next post, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite talks from last Conference.

He is Risen! -- Thomas S. Monson
Act in All Diligence -- Henry B. Eyring
Continue in Patience -- Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The Blessing of Scripture -- D. Todd Christofferson

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