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Cover image via BGR and Shutterstock found via ldsmag.com

In the wake of the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Daughter and mother) just a day apart, Huffington Post published a surprisingly open article concerning the LDS beliefs about eternity from author Mary Bell. 

We’re all here on Earth for about 10 minutes. OK, not 10 actual minutes. But relative to eternity, doesn’t it seem like it’s going to feel like we were here for just minutes?

Ideally, we would like these minutes to be… well, ideal. We would like to be consistently overflowing with joy, bursting with happiness, and swimming in purpose―like joyful, happy porpoises with retirement plans. But life, as we’ve noticed, can also be hard. And that, as I continue to learn, is “a good thing” (thank you, Martha Stewart).

Recently, I was in a situation with a lot of people that I loved but hadn’t seen for a while. It was joy to see them again. We were waiting for something to begin, and we were all trying hard to be quiet, but still, we were a little covertly giggly. I remember thinking, “This reminds me of being a little girl with my many siblings gathered around me, waiting for bedtime stories to begin.” We needed to settle down so the book could be read, but we were all so excited! We were all there in our pajamas! We were all snuggled near each other like happy puppies! We had a hard time stifling laughter.

I was remembering this that day when something suddenly surprising whispered to my soul. “Someday you will feel this with all those with you in heaven, for everyone is a literal child of God. You are all brothers and sisters.”

It hit me: love in heaven does not come just from God and Jesus and people of that caliber. It comes from the multiplied love of all of us. Individual relationships (deep, pure, and fun) are possible between each of us.

To read the full article on the Huffington Post, click here. 

Thanks to Meridian Magazine that brought this article to our attention.

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cover image from chron.com

When Trina Morford was confronted with her third-grade daughter’s language arts homework about three years ago, she felt helpless – half of the lessons were in Spanish because she was in a dual-language program. Faced for the first time with being unable to help her child, and knowing her daughter was on her own, she panicked.

But her daughter, now 13 and a student at Spring Forest Middle School, lives in the U.S. where her first language of English is the common tongue, and she was easily able to find support for her studies.

That panicked and helpless feeling was the motivation behind her bringing the “Daily Dose” project to Spring Forest, where she is a parent volunteer, and to Principal Kaye Williams when it became clear that the school was in need of ESL services because of the sudden enrollment of 30 to 40 refugee children last year at the SBISD campus.

Williams says her campus has the highest number of refugee children – 42 right now – in all of SBISD.

They all come from war-torn countries, said Williams, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and several African nations, and many of them were born and raised in refugee camps.

Get the full story at the Houston Chronicle.

LDS Mission presidents
cover image from utahvalley360.com

Black name tags dot the globe as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share the message of the restored gospel. The statistical report at April 2016 General Conference reported there were more than 74,000 missionaries in this vast Army of Helaman.

But every army needs a leader. Each of the 422 missions of the LDS Church is presided over by a mission president and his wife. According to Mormon Newsroom, each president presides over approximately 175 missionaries at a time, with 600 missionaries passing through their mission during their three-year calling.

These mission presidents give of their time and talents to help spread the work. Get to know these leaders through some numbers gathered from mission presidents serving in January 2017.

1. Returning to the field

via utahvalley360.com
via utahvalley360.com

Only 11 percent of mission presidents did not serve as full-time missionaries in their youth. Of the mission presidents who served missions, 32 percent are serving in the same country they served their mission.

Read the rest of the interesting mission president statistics on Utah Valley 360.

The Church Shows Joseph Smith’s Seer Stone for the First Time: Five Things to Know about the Seer Stone
Seer stone used by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Photo by Weldon C. Andersen and Richard E. Turley Jr.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 124:125, it says “I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet.”

We know what most of those things are, but what exactly does it mean to be a “seer”?

A 2015 Ensign article explains the following about seers:

“’Seeing’ and ‘seers’ were part of the American and family culture in which Joseph Smith grew up. Steeped in the language of the Bible and a mixture of Anglo-European cultures brought over by immigrants to North America, some people in the early 19th century believed it was possible for gifted individuals to ‘see,’ or receive spiritual manifestations, through material objects such as seer stones.”

In the Guide to the Scriptures, it also states that “In the Book of Mormon, Ammon taught that only a seer could use special interpreters, or a Urim and Thummim.”

When the Joseph Smith papers released a picture of a brown seer stone owned by Joseph Smith in connection with a printing of an original Book of Mormon manuscript, many questions were asked about seer stones—from where they came from to how they are used. We know from the Joseph Smith Papers that Joseph’s original brown seer stone made its way, through the years, to seven different people before it was donated to the Church. We also know he had a second seer stone.

READ FULL ARTICLE AT LDS LIVING.

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LaVell Edwards BYU football Mormon mission
image via deseretnews.com

Mormon missions ruin football players.

The idea is heresy today, but it was considered gospel inside and outside the LDS Church in the 1950s, ’60s and when LaVell Edwards took over as BYU’s football coach in 1972. It seemed irrefutable. Nearly everyone believed players left on missions as fiery competitors, strong and fast, and that they returned home soft, weak and slow.

Edwards and his assistants had scant evidence to the contrary, so in his first two seasons, they did what every college coach had done for decades. They told BYU players who left on a missions that they couldn’t guarantee them a scholarship when they returned.

It’s unimaginable that a coach would yank a scholarship over a decision to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today, when 16 different college football teams from coast to coast fielded 162 returned missionaries last fall.

But in 1961, brothers Bruce and David Handley sat in a BYU team meeting with late head coach Hal Mitchell. “Handley,” Mitchell said to Bruce, “you still going on that mission?”

“Yes,” Bruce said.

“Then you don’t need to stay in this meeting,” Mitchell said.

Bruce Handley got up and left. David Handley didn’t.

“To this day, that’s the biggest regret of my life,” David Handley, who is 78, said this week, “that I didn’t get up and walk out with my brother.”

Edwards, the Hall of Fame coach who died Dec. 29, arrived at BYU as an assistant coach in 1962. The story of how he overhauled the missionary culture in the school’s football program mirrors other sweeping innovations he introduced to the sport. It starts with players who wanted to shatter mission myths and includes a new LDS Church president who was about to call for a massive expansion of Mormon missionary work.

Read the full article on Deseret News.

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Cover image via AP/George Frey found on ldsmag.com

For those who have so readily pounced on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for sending its famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, there is a case to be made for the choir’s appearance based on LDS history, doctrine and ethos.

First, take a look at LDS history. It was the Fourth of July 1857 and a large group of New City-area Mormons gathered at Norwalk, Connecticut. They boarded a sloop that sailed into Long Island Sound toward an islet they called “Nauvoo Island.” The moniker honored the faith’s one-time headquarters in Illinois during the 1840s near where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. The island became the scene of a patriotic celebration filled with orations, a “clam bake” and, of course, singing. A small brass band accompanied hymns and patriotic songs. It became front-page news when reporters from the leading newspapers of the day, The New York Herald and New York Times, both sent reporters to cover the event.

Ironically, while Mormons put on a show of unparalleled nationalism, an expedition of several thousand U.S. soldiers was already being organized to go the Utah territory to put down the perceived “rebellion” and Brigham Young’s anti-nationalism. While there wasn’t praise for President James Buchanan’s “Utah Expedition” that July Fourth on Nauvoo Island, there was effusive praise for the ideals of America and its Constitution.

One LDS leader said of U.S. Constitutional laws: “The terror of despots, the wonder of the world, the boast of Columbia’s sons, when administered according to their spirit and letter.” There were toasts to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Brigham Young. There was no toasting James Buchanan.

Read full article at Meridian Magazine.

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Mormon Missionaries Soul Pancake
YouTube screenshot from Soul Pancake channel

A YouTube channel widely known for their Kid President videos, Soul Pancake, set up a piano on a street corner and put some holiday sheet music on it to see who might show up and play something. They got plenty of people to come play and sing. What we didn’t expect was to find two LDS missionaries with name tags on the video playing Christmas songs!

We all love a Mormon featured on the news or in a large publication so it was fun to see Soul Pancake’s video with our two elders playing their little Christmas hearts out.

Here is what they said in their description:

We put a piano on a street corner with holiday sheet music, and waited to see what would happen. The result: some incredible moments of holiday cheer as strangers played music and sang together. This holiday season, we invite everyone to treat your fellow people with kindness, because you never know who you might end up coraling with next to the Holiday Pop-Up Piano 😉
Happy Holidays! Love, SoulPancake

Here is the video:

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Every year we set new years resolutions, some of them are wise and some are foolish, but most only last until mid-January.  Why? Well, I could write about how we don’t actually set goals correctly, and I did last year (Click here for how to set goals and achieve them). But this year I wanted to focus on worthwhile goals, I looked to the Brethren and found 5 New Years Resolutions every Latter-day Saint should consider in 2017.

1st. Read The Book Of Mormon Cover To Cover This Year.

The thing that shocked me the most as a missionary is how many members had never actually read the Book of Mormon cover to cover! Our mission president told us that the average convert only reads 34 pages of the Book of Mormon before baptism! It does not matter of you are a new convert, or if you are like everyone else and working on your ongoing conversion, strengthen it by reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover this year.

  • Tip. To reach this goal, strive to read the Book of Mormon every day, you can also listen to while driving or at the gym!

“Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.”
Elder Kevin W. Pearson

search-the-book-of-mormon

2nd. Make 2017 The Year Of The Temple.

Only within the Temple can we receive the exalting ordinances that will enable to qualify for eternal life. It is imperative to our eternal progression that we strive to receive all the blessings the Temple has to offer.

One way we can make this year the “year of the temple” is by focusing on the importance of making and keeping Temple covenants. Another is to set a goal is to more frequently worship in the Temple!
Read the rest at MyLifeByGogoGoff.com

Joseph Anderson has been home from the mission for eleven years. Since returning he has watched countless returned missionaries feel like a fish out of water when they get back. Because of this he created a free 90 day training course for any RM who wants to just watch his videos. You can watch them on his YouTube channel or find them on his website RMUniversity.co. On the website there are also worksheets to download every day that accompany the videos. This sets it apart from any other training out there.

About this project, Joseph said this:

“A few years back, I heard the story of Mark Mabry. If you are unfamiliar with his story, he is the photographer that created the reflections of Christ exhibit. He had talked about how he wanted to use the talents and gifts that he had been given in order to build the kingdom of God. As I reflected on this, it got me to thinking, “How is it that I can use my gifts and talents to further build the kingdom of God?”I pondered on this for a while.

“One day as I was playing guitar, an idea came to me so strongly of what I could do to build the kingdom of God. Over the past few years, there have been many RM’s coming home from their missions and falling away from the church. It was brought to my attention that the number of RM’s falling away was far too high! And it occurred to me that these RM’s would come home and often feel like a fish out of water. There lives had been planned for them since they were little kids and now they had many decisions and choices to make. It was during this time of figuring things out that many would fall away.

“For many years, there has always been a joke about creating an RMTC that taught RM’s how to return to regular life and still keep their spiritual depth that they gained on their mission. So as I was playing my guitar this powerful impression came that I should create one. For the past 14 years of my life I have studied personal development and have my own life, business and relationship coaching practice. I realized that many of these tools could be valuable to RM’s when they return, however most RM’s are broke and have no money. In the scriptures, it says that they did receive great learning because of their riches. I wanted to provide that learning to all RM’s in a convenient resource. So that being said, Welcome to RM University!

Here is the introduction video:

Go to his website to see more and watch the videos or to share these videos with any returned missionary you know who just got home or who may have been home for a while. Really anyone could benefit from the principles that Joseph shares.

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drug dealer to LDS Missionary
cover image from ldsliving.com

On Thanksgiving day, Kayden Carlos stepped off a plane in Salt Lake City after completing a two-year assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Maryland Baltimore Mission.

For some, his tearful and cheerful family reunion at the bottom of the airport escalators seemed like the classic final scene of an honorable Mormon mission. But for Carlos, the traditional removal of his cherished black name tag isn’t the end of the real mission that matters most.

It’s just the beginning.

Carlos, of Brigham City, Utah, first determined to serve a mission as an energetic boy in Primary.

“I was going, no matter what,” Carlos said during a phone interview this week. The decision to serve was made as his parents reconciled from a near-divorce and while his father struggling with chronic illness.

“My family wasn’t very active in the church and my mother was a meth addict, but a meeting with the missionaries and their invitation for her to start reading the scriptures again changed her life,” he said. As Carlos’ father was dying, his mother got clean, got back to church and the family was mended.

But while Carlos’ mother, Julie, was celebrating sobriety, her 12-year-old son was dancing with alcohol for the first time.

Read the full story at LDS Living.