March 31, 2011

Be Still My Soul

"Be Still, My Soul" is a hymn originally written in German during the latter half of the 17th century. This period of time marked by a revival that broke out across Germany. Lutherans as this time were practicing Pietism. This doctrine was composed of religious devotion, ethical purity, and charitable activity. The newest hymn at these revival meeting was "Be Still, My Soul."
     Three different composers worked to create "Be Still, My Soul." A woman involved in the Pietism Movement, Katharina von Schlegel wrote the lyrics. A century later, Jane Borthwick, a Scottish-born composer, translated the hymn into English. The last contributor was Jean Sibelius, Finland's finest composer. The music from "Finlandia" is used as the tune for this hymn. God used three people with three different languages to give us this wonderful example of Christian patience.

Be still, my soul--
The Lord is on thy side!
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide.
In ev'ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul--
Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul! thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul! the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul! when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

     "Be Still, My Soul" was the favorite hymn of the Olympic athlete Eric Liddell. He became famous in 1924 for not competing on the Sabbath. He became a missionary in China and in World War II was captured. He taught this song to fellow prisoners at the compound where he was held. Eventually he died in the prison camp of a brain tumor.

"Be Still My Soul" Story
LDS Radio "History of Hymns"
Be Still, My Soul

March 30, 2011


While Jesus was in His earthly ministry He invited different men to come and follow Him.  One of these men was named Matthew, a publican or tax collector.  Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to come to his house and have a feast.  When the Pharisees saw that Jesus was associating with Matthew they asked the disciples why He was eating with publicans and sinners.  Jesus overheard them and answered saying, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."  He continued and said, "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

We go to doctors to make us whole.  Whenever we have a health problem, we consult a doctor to proscribe the best treatment.  Likewise, whenever we have a moral problem we need to go to the Savior to receive the best care.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate physician.  He performed many miracles; causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the sick to be made whole.  We all have different 'sicknesses', but the Doctor of our Souls can heal us spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.  Jesus didn't go to the people that were whole, but the people that needed help.  None of us are perfect so we all need His healing powers.  Through His great sacrifice we can be made whole by repenting of the wrongs we have done.  Isn't it time for your check-up?       

Mark 2:17 Matthew 9:12-13 Luke 5:31-32

March 22, 2011

Spiritual Crocodiles

President Boyd Packer shared a great analogy about the danger of spiritual crocodiles.  While touring the church in South Africa he was given the opportunity to visit a game reserve. It was very dry that season and there wasn't much water, just really muddy spots.  When the elephants stepped into the soft mud, the water would seep into the depression and the animals would drink from the elephant tracks.  Some antelope would approach the mud hole, only to turn and run away in great fright.  President Packer could see no lions and asked the guide why they didn't drink.  The guide answered, "crocodiles."  President Packer thought he was joking and said, "Nonsense, there are no crocodiles out there.  Anyone can see that."

They drove closer to get a better view and the guide said, "There, see for yourself."  He couldn't see anything except the mud, a little water, and the nervous animals in the distance.  Then, all at once he saw it!  It was there all along, but it took a trained eye to see it.

"Those ahead of you in life have probed about the water holes a bit and raise a voice of warning about crocodiles. Not just the big, gray lizards that can bite you to pieces, but spiritual crocodiles, infinitely more dangerous, and more deceptive and less visible, even, than those well-camouflaged reptiles of Africa.
These spiritual crocodiles can kill or mutilate your souls. They can destroy your peace of mind and the peace of mind of those who love you. Those are the ones to be warned against, and there is hardly a watering place in all of mortality now that is not infested with them."
Although, some temptations in our lives won't be as quick and sudden they can be just as deceptive.  We must always be on the lookout and put trust and faith in those people who have experience.  We can learn from other people's wrong choices and not put ourselves in spiritual danger.  As we follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can be sure that we'll be far away from any crocodile-infested water holes.

Spiritual Crocodiles

March 19, 2011

Green Eggs & Ham(Mormon Style)

I am Lurch.
From the Church.
That Brother Lurch, that Brother Lurch a do not like that Brother Lurch.
Do you like the Mormon Church?
I do not like the Mormon Church.
Would you Read the Book of Mormon here or there?
I would not read it here or there, I would not read it anywhere. I do not like the Mormon Church, I do not like it Brother Lurch.
I will not go into your house, I will not let you teach my spouse. I won’t read your book here or there. I will not read it anywhere. I do not like the Mormon church. I do not like it, Brother Lurch.
Would you read it in a box? We could talk about it with our latest convert, Bro. Fox
I won’t discuss it in a box, I will not meet with Bro Fox . You won’t indoctrinate my spouse, so don’t invite us to your house.
You may like it, you will see. We’ll talk about [Joseph] Smith and genealogy.
I could not do genealogy, not Joe Smith, Lurch, let me be.
A train! A train! A train! A train! We could go to Utah on a train.
Not on a train, not genealogy, Lurch, let me be I won’t discuss it in a box, I will not meet with Brother Fox. You will not get me or my spouse to set one foot inside your house!

You will have to give up your champagne.
There’s nothing wrong with my champagne, I’ll need some when I get off this train!
Maybe you think Mormons are weird, were you told we have horns and a beard?
Mormons have parties with [green jello] and root beer? You shouldn’t believe everything you hear!
You know, I kind of like root beer, and parties are not all that queer. I think I’ll give up my champagne. I hear that stuff can melt your brain. But no more cigarettes or tea? I can’t do that you see? I won’t discuss it in a box, I will not meet with Brother Fox. I will not come into your house, and keep your distance from my spouse. I won’t read your book here or there. I will not read it anywhere!
You do not like the Mormon Church?
I do not like it, Brother Lurch.
You do not like it. So you say. Try it! Try it! And you may. Try it and you may, I say!
Brother Lurch, if you will let me be, I will try it, you will see.
Say! and I will invite my friends to come and hear, and teach them all to love root beer!
I’ll throw away my champagne and head to Utah on a train, I’ll do my genealogy, It’s so, so fun, you see.
So we’ll discuss it in a box. I’d like to meet with Brother Fox. You can take me to your house, and have the elders teach my spouse. I’ll read the scriptures here and there and convert my good friends everywhere!

March 15, 2011


Piano is a fairly big part of my life.  Everyone in our family was given the opportunity to start a sport and start playing a musical instrument at the age of eight.  I chose to play soccer and play the piano.  I saw my older brothers playing the piano and couldn't wait for my turn to start lessons. 

When I first started as an eight-year-old I was excited to be able to play.  I wanted to play the fun songs and not have to go through all of the boring basics.  I became discouraged every time I heard my older brothers playing the cool songs and I was still in book one learning hand positions and chords. 

Practice became very important to my progress as a young pianist.  I could really tell the difference that practice made when I would go to my lessons every week.  If I diligently practiced throughout the week I could pass off a song every week and move closer to the fun songs.  If I didn't practice regularly my improvement suffered, and I would stay on that song until I did practice.

The same is very true with learning and living the gospel.  At first, we need to understand the basics and work at them.  In 1 Corinthians 3:2 it reads: "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able."  As babies, we could only digest milk before we could ever handle meat or other foods.  We need to have faith before we can repent and we need to do something right before we can be blessed. 

We also need to 'practice' and work at living the gospel.  If we're not improving ourselves, we're stuck on the same song and not progressing.  In a sense, if we're staying the same we're actually going backwards.   Over the summer if I never touched the piano I would have to actually go back a couple of songs and re-learn some things.  Only when we diligently learn and live the gospel can be enjoy the symphony of blessings that attend our efforts. 

March 12, 2011


While I was growing up every year we would take out all of the Legos during General Conference and build all of the sets that had been dismantled over the year.  This was a pretty epic undertaking and the whole floor would usually be covered in the hundreds of sets of Legos that we had.  While we endeavored in this huge project, we needed three basic things to assemble each set.  We obviously needed the instructions to each set, all of the pieces to that set, and the ability to not become distracted.  These things relate to what we need on our journey through life back to our heavenly home.
How could I know how to build the Lego if I didn't have the instructions for the set?  In this life we have been given instructions for us.  Scriptures provide a lot of direction in our lives.  Through them we are able to build our testimonies of Christ and better live His gospel.  “But these [things] are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31.)  The scriptures should be of the greatest importance in our lives. Our spiritual survival during the stresses of our society and the temptations of our time is greatly dependent upon the strength that we will receive from searching the scriptures and listening to the words of the prophets, seers, and revelators.

All the Pieces
This was one of the biggest problems we had while assembling the Legos.  You couldn't continue to the next step if you didn't have the right piece.  It's the same with our gospel progression.  We start out with a desire to believe, and then continue on to faith.  We will want to exercise our faith and turn from sin.  Once we have repented we will want to make promises with God and we do this by being baptized by one holding the proper authority.  Baptism is incomplete without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.  After we make these promises, is that all?  Nope, we have to continue on in our progression and endure to the end.  We constantly build our faith, repent, renew our promises with God, and continue to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  As we do this we become complete(Matt. 5:48), just like our Lego set.

Don't get Distracted
Along the way to completing the Lego set, we might become distracted.  There might be a nice shiny piece that we want to add, or an idea to change it a little.  I know that I would always want to start another project before I finished the one I was working on.  We can't allow ourselves to become distracted from our goal of following the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just like in Lehi's vision, we need to hold to the rod of iron and keep on the straight and narrow path.  By doing this we will inherit the greatest gift of all, eternal life.

Each of us must strive to (1)follow the instructions given to us, (2)find 'peace' in life by having all the pieces of the gospel, and (3)not get distracted on the way.  By doing these simple things, I testify that we will find happiness not only in this life, but in the life to come as well.

March 5, 2011


Photo by David Daniel
Here is a picture of the historic tabernacle in Provo Utah. It was built in 1883 and has a lot of intricate and hand-carved woodwork. The Tabernacle has been used as a community center for musical concerts and occasional Church meetings. The historic tabernacle was heavily damaged by a four-alarm fire Dec. 17, 2011 that is believed to have begun in the building's second story.

A replica painting of the second coming of Christ survived the fire. On Friday it was hanging just inside a doorway unburned.  Unfortunately, fire crews were not able to stop the burn until the next day on Saturday.  During the night, the fire kept on smoldering and something amazing happened...

Photo by John Curtis
By Saturday morning the fire crews had put most of the fire out.  While surveying the damage, Mayor John Curtis snapped this picture.  Miraculously, the portion of the painting outlining Christ had been untouched while the rest of the painting was charred.  Some are calling this a Christmas miracle. 

Was this just a coincidence?  What do you think?  God's hand was certainly in this.  The Creator of the Earth definitely has control of all the elements.  His very voice commands them and they obey.  God is in control and as long as we obey Him we will escape the fiery darts of the adversary.

March 2, 2011

Get Lost

Get Lost Stickers
Here in Montana we often see this sticker on people's cars.  When I first saw it I was a little offended and thought that the people of Montana didn't want any outsiders coming to their state.  This is partially true so they can maintain the beauty of the state, but not what the intent of the sticker is for.  The purpose of the stickers is totally opposite of what I first thought it meant. 
Closer examination of the stickers shows that it actually says: Get Lost.(In Montana).  Going to the website( gives you more information and the site's title states, "Lose Yourself Finding the Best of Montana."  The stickers are a marketing campaign to promote tourism in Montana.  It totally doesn't seem like it would attract tourists, but it does. 

This reminded me of the cliche statement of "Don't judge a book by it's cover"  There are a lot of people we come in contact with that put a label(sticker) on Mormons right away that says: "Get Lost."  Our job as missionaries is to help promote understanding  and have people examine us closer.  Our sticker really says: "Get Lost in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."  Give it a try, don't judge a book by it's cover, and help us promote understanding.  What do you have to lose?

To promote understanding check out these websites and offer them to your friends:

To find the "Get Lost" stickers, go to a local Town Pump or Wheat Montana this summer.

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