The last calling we receive
Three weeks ago, my wife and I got a phone call. Hope, my 57-year-old mother-in-law, had run out of options for chemotherapy and was starting in-home hospice. Doctors estimated she had some weeks left. Hope wanted to hug her grandchildren again while she could, so we loaded the kids in the car and started the 8-hour journey to North Carolina.
2 hours away from my in-laws' house, we received another...
Letting God Prevail over Politics
An online forum asked Church members if the Church endorsed Republicans or Democrats. One member's highly-voted answer essentially said:
The Church stays out of politics. But when you look at our faith's teachings about family values, sexual morality, drugs, and self-reliance, it's no surprise that, in my experience, most Church members are Republicans like me.
Another highly voted answer showed a different perspective. Something like:
Trials that harden, trials that soften
2020 wasn't the dumpster fire everyone makes it out to be, but it has been a roller coaster year. COVID, lockdowns and their religious liberty concerns, and the most contentious election of my lifetime.
Thankfully, my ward has been less affected than many. Very few members got sick and no one died. Most members were able to work remotely. Our state eased restrictions earlier than others, allowing...
I can't bear it (and that's okay)
A few months ago, I watched the movie Unplanned, the true story of Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson's conversion to pro-life. She had spent her entire career working on the administrative side of things, but when they were short-staffed one day, she was asked to assist the doctor in the procedure room. That's when Abby finally confronted the gruesome reality of abortion.
That moment broke Abby. And it...
Nourish, dig, and prune
Jacob 5, if you are not familiar, is a long allegory about the house of Israel. Zenos, the author, compares the house of Israel to an old, decaying olive tree and describes all the efforts of the master gardener to save the tree and its fruit. It's one of those chapters that tend to get only touched on lightly. There just doesn't seem to be much there. Israel is like...
Rejoice in the trials of the wayward
Sometimes the scriptures are funny. Here's one example: Alma the Younger. He and his gang of "bishop's kids" were always causing all sorts of shenanigans and making their parents' jobs much harder. They were getting into some pretty serious transgressions: preaching false doctrines, encouraging pride, leading many away from the Church, and pretending they're not home when their ministering brothers came by.
I could really use a sign right about now
There's a gloom in my house right now. A family friend in our ward passed away this past week after a short but vigorous battle with cancer. He leaves behind an amazing family with kids ages Primary through missionary. Our heart breaks for his wonderful family and will miss the cheery smile and spirit he always brought into the room. He was the kind of guy that always made...
Taking advantage of trials
I have a confession to make. On my mission, I didn't agree with a certain part of the missionary manual. But before you stone me for heresy, hear me out, and I'll tell you how that changed.
When brothers become enemies
Often called the "Psalm of Nephi" because it follows the rich Hebraic poetic structure of the Psalms of David and Solomon, 2 Nephi 4 is one of the most emotive and power chapters is one of the most emotive and powerful chapters in all of Scripture in my opinion.
Even among the Lamanites
It was 18 BC. Nephi, the prophet, had recently returned from his mission to the land of the North, only to find that the Gadianton robbers had taken control of the government. The Nephites were in a very spiritually low place, to say the least. Nephi miraculously announced the murder of the chief judge, but it had little to no effect on the hearts of the people (signs never...
Visited in our afflictions
Things have been difficult for me and my family recently. We've been hit by deaths, cancer, mental health problems, and a lot of other bad news from friends and family we know and love. These situations weigh heavily on the minds of my immediate, extended, and ward family. And then there's the awful Florida school shooting, rising international tensions, and increasing level of vitriol and hatred from...