Mormons

If you enjoy watching Prepare to Serve video interviews with returned missionaries, you should be pretty excited about this. Lifey.org will soon host custom-built, embeddable video players for each mission, so that you’ll be able to easily browse all the video interviews for each mission.

Here’s an example of what the mission video players look like:

It takes a good chunk of time to create 450 of these mission video players, so it may take until the end of the summer for them all to be completed, but we’re adding new mission video players every week.

Simply click on your mission in this Lifey LDS Mission Index to see what resource we’ve created for your mission so far.

And if you live in the Utah area and would like to share your mission stories on the Prepare to Serve YouTube channel, email [email protected] . Thanks!

If you were inspired and entertained by the new Saturday’s Warrior, you’re sure to be inspired and entertained by some of the stories Elder Kestler (Clint Pulver) shares in his new interactive video autobiography. Enjoy! Some of his mission stories are hilarious..just sayin’!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Trump Inauguration
Image from Mormon Newsroom of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Bush inauguration in 1989.

If I didn’t have the worst singing voice known to mankind, and I was talented enough to earn a spot with the Tabernacle Choir, I would sing with all my heart at the Presidential Inauguration. Here’s why.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is America’s choir. Of course they should sing at the Presidential Inauguration. They are not necessarily singing for Donald Trump. They are singing for America. But even if they were singing for Donald Trump… would it be so much worse than so many of the other immoral men that have graced that presidency and defiled that White House with their immoral actions, extra-marital affairs, and perpetual dishonesty?

Look… I’ll be honest. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else on my ballot when it came to president for that matter. I loathed… no, I gagged on both choices. I did vote… but when it came to voting for President, I was completely paralyzed while standing at the booth. Judge me if you will… but I couldn’t bring myself to throw my support behind any candidate. I did not view either of them as leaders I would want to follow. I pride myself on choosing good leaders to follow… and so I withheld my vote on principle alone. Many people would argue that was stupid, and that I could have at least voted for the lesser of two evils. Maybe they’re right, but I made a personal political decision to stay neutral.

That was politics… but when it comes to being a missionary, or as Christ said, “letting your light so shine” before mankind… we are required to be “no respecter of persons” as the scripture states. I may not vote Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, but I would still knock on their door, Book of Mormon in hand, smile on my face, light of Christ in my heart… and love for whoever decided to open that front door. I would mow their lawn, paint their fence, help them move furniture, feed their horses or sing at their inauguration any day of the week if it meant that I could in some way bring the Spirit of the Lord into their lives.

READ FULL POST on GREG TRIMBLE‘s blog.

In the LDS Church, we have high expectations and high ideals. Leaders do not shy away from teaching a very specific ideal family constellation, sexual purity before marriage, and patterning our life after the Savior’s life in every possible way. There is nothing wrong with teaching ideals and one could argue that that is the primary job of religious institutions. However, in real life, holding up ideals often leaves members never feeling  “good enough” because they have not achieved the ideal righteous Mormon life. Chronic feelings of  “never good enough” because your life doesn’t look like an Ensign magazine cover, your child has left the Church, your spouse isn’t committed to church callings, you’re struggling with the word of wisdom, you’re having difficulty forgiving someone, you’re not a good provider, or you’re not an attentive mother or father, can erode our whole sense of self.

What is shame?

Shame is a universal emotion defined by researcher Brené Brown, PhD as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” Shame inspires us to hide ourselves from others, to judge ourselves and to go deeper into secretive behaviors.

Shame triggers

Religious institutions are not the only place we get messages about ideals. We are bombarded with messages about how we “should” be–what ideal women and men look like and act like, what the ideal house and household looks like, how your children should behave and more. Not living up to our ideal identity or how we want to view ourselves and be viewed by others has been identified as the primary trigger for shame.

One of my ideal identities is the desire to be viewed as a “good mother.” If I am not behaving as a “good mother” – if I’m being preoccupied with work, forgetting their doctor appointment, or losing my patience– my ideal identity is challenged and I am susceptible to feelings of shame. Shame can be triggered not only by how we view ourselves, but also by how we think others view us.

What’s wrong with shame?

You may be thinking, “What’s the problem with feeling shame when you don’t measure up to your ideal? Doesn’t that make you want to change?” No, shame does not inspire self-improvement. It most often initiates and fuels self-destructive behavior. Chronic feelings of shame are present in toxic perfectionism, eating disorders, problematic sexual behaviors, substance abuse, and sexual abuse. Over time, shame can become integrated into our self-image, into our core experience of who we are (not what we have done).

Where shame gets particularly tricky for Mormons is that while we can discount the world’s messages about our ideal selves as shallow, uninspired and sometimes downright evil, faithful members can’t easily discount the ideals put forward by inspired Church leaders. Nor should we. How do we accept the ideals set forth by our Church leaders without spiraling into self-destructive shame because we don’t measure up?

1. Draw clear distinctions between ideal and real

I am not suggesting that we throw away the ideals presented by our doctrine and teachings. What I am suggesting is that we overtly discuss that the image of an ideal family, ideal mother, ideal priesthood holder, ideal child or teen as something to strive for, not to actually achieve anytime soon. I have seen the damaging consequences of believing that the religious ideal is actually attainable in this life contribute to destructive perfectionism, depression, anxiety, low self-worth, and shame. Dr. Brené Brown suggests that “healthy striving” toward a goal is very different than toxic perfectionism.

As an adolescent, I recognized my blessed and privileged life and yet, for a period of time, I still wasn’t happy. I concluded that something must be inherently wrong with me. I started to experience deep feelings of shame–that I was somehow flawed because I went through periods where I wasn’t able to feel joy and gratitude. I have the Gospel. I should be happy. I slid into several years of toxic perfectionism, denying my emotions, and hiding my authentic self.

Read full story by Dr. Julie De Azevedo Hanks on Meridian Magazine.

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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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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:

Life after paralysis: Hope
Image found on LDS.org

What if? It’s a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another.

“What if I had married that one person?”

“What if I had gotten into college?”

“What if I had gotten that job I really wanted?”

“What if I didn’t get sick?”

What if …

It’s a question we can spend all day thinking circles around, and if we’re not careful, it’s a question that has the ability to paralyze us in the past instead of propelling us in the present. So how do you move past living “What if?” to live “What is” and to find joy in it? It’s by no means easy, and it doesn’t happen right away, but after spending over a decade in a wheelchair, this is what I’ve learned.

Nightmares Can Be Real Life

That was me—the girl who loved doing gymnastics and dancing on the back of a moving horse. The sport is called equestrian vaulting, and I fell in love with it at a young age. I spent 10 years training in equestrian vaulting to become an international competitor. At that time, I was also a ballerina, I did gymnastics, I did cheerleading, and I was also a member of my high school diving team. I saw myself as an athlete and as a horsewoman.

But on June 21, 2005, I was training with my equestrian vaulting team and miscommunicated with my partner on the horse. I went for my aerial dismount and hit my partner with my leg. It changed my rotation in the air, and I landed in a position that broke my back and severed my spinal cord. I became permanently paralyzed from the waist down. My dreams for the future were crushed. My life drastically changed.

READ FULL STORY ON LDS.org.

And Watch her Mormon Channel “Hope Works” Talk below:

 

Children in Ethiopia receive a nutritional porridge called Atmit produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help relieve starvation Image from mormonnewsroom.org

A lot of people aren’t looking for a true church, they’re looking for a good church. They want to be part of an organization that is fundamentally sound and makes its members and the world around it better.

I’m not trying to say the Church is perfect. But we so often get stuck focusing on its minor faults and its truth claims that we often miss what an outstanding organization it simply is. Here are 21 reasons we are lucky to be members.

1) Takes Care of Their Own

The Church does good by those who are members. Through fast offerings, bishop’s storehouses, and job services, along with ward councils and home teachers to make sure no one slips through the cracks, the Church is wildly efficient at caring for its own members.

2) Does Good in the Community

The Church and its wards regularly serve at the community level. Whether it’s participating in local service projects, working at local food banks, or organizing with the new JustServe.org website, Latter-day Saints strive to make where they live a better place.

3) Does Good Around the World

But not only is the Church focused locally, they keep their perspective worldwide. They are regularly praised for their quick response to disasters. The Church’s clean-water initiative has helped over four million people in Africa alone. The Church itself is actually present in more than 137 countries doing good in its communities.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MORMON HUB.

image from MormonHub.com

The writer Alain de Botton had just published his book Religion for Atheists, and he knew one thing for certain: He wasn’t going to visit Utah on his book tour.

After all, why would Mormons care about a book specifically for nonbelievers? Why would they buy a book that says atheists should embrace the positive aspects of religion? Mormons already have religion. They wouldn’t want to read about it from the perspective of a nonbeliever.

His book simply wouldn’t sell in Utah.

Right?

Imagine de Botton’s surprise when he discovered that book sales were eight times higher in Utah than in any other state.

In a radio interview, de Botton explained his theory for the booming book sales. He suggested that there are people in Utah who love parts of Mormonism but struggle with many of its public stances and truth claims. Often these people are so unsettled that they leave the fold, distancing themselves from friends and family.

This trend is a major source of cultural tension in Utah right now, as well as throughout the global Mormon community. For the most part it’s happening behind the scenes, but as sales of Religion for Atheists suggest, the tensions are more widespread than we may think.

I’ve wrestled with these tensions myself.

My wrestling started more than a decade ago, while I served as a Mormon missionary in California. Through conversations with investigators, I learned things about church history I hadn’t known before — that Joseph Smith looked into a hat to translate the Book of Mormon, that he had nearly three dozen wives (many young, many married), and that his translation of the Book of Abraham differs completely from the papyrus on which it was based.

If I didn’t know these facts about the church, what else didn’t I know?

Read Jon Ogden’s the full article on MormonHub or buy his book Mormons Who Doubt.