Friday, July 31, 2015

It Landed on Tails

So last Sunday was interesting. First, my Sunday School teacher asked who would be there next week. I knew what was coming, but my hand was already up. And yeah, I got the lesson on Sunday.

Not only that, but the first assistant in my priest's quorum is moving, so he was released on Sunday. But guess what he asked me to do before he was released? That's right! Give the lesson in Aaronic priesthood.

Luckily I stayed clear of the bishopric so I don't have to prepare a talk as well.

But anyway, for the Sunday School lesson, Sister Davis gave me an outline, so that's good. But I didn't even get a topic for the Young Men's lesson.

Throughout the week, I was thinking, and eventually I decided on either Missionary Work, or Personal Revelation. Upon praying, I found that either one is good, so I left it up to a coin toss. Heads missionary work, tails personal revelation.

It landed on tails.

I kind of also decided that whatever I'm not giving a lesson on, I'll give a thought about. So here's a thought I have about missions.

I was nine years old when I first remember somebody going on a mission. That was my brother, who was called to Arizona.

I'd like to say that I missed him so much, and that I was so proud of him, but sorry bro, that wasn't the case.

I mean, yeah, I wasn't used to him being gone, but he was going on a mission. I was always taught that that's just what you do. That that's what happens after high school.

So when my other two brothers went on their missions, I was unfazed.

But after my third oldest brother left for Texas, I realized that I was next. The sister in between us didn't seem to have a desire to serve a mission, which is totally fine, but that meant I was my family's next missionary.

I never had a time where I actually didn't plan on go, or wasn't decided. But shortly after my brother left when I was a freshman, that October Conference, I saw President Monson address the church. He welcomed us as he would. He announced new temples, and talked about ones that were recently dedicated. But than he got going on missionaries.

He said this.

I think I was very similar to those young men and young women showed in the audience who were half crying, half laughing and overall shocked.

In my phone, I have the annoucment of the young men's age change marked and labeled, "Awesome!!"

When the missionary age was changed, I was 14 years old. I think when I heard that, I said to myself, "Looks like I've got one less year."

But still, I never got too into preparation. I attended the mission prep classes the stake occasionally held, but I never decided to start perparing.

Until just a few months ago.

Let's just say I had had an awful day. Those of you who are close to me know exactly what this day was (or in the very least can guess), and you know that I was very different than I usually was for several...actually I think I was different for the remainder of the school year.

For the sake of the story, but also because I'd rather not talked about it, I'll say a certain distraction I had was no longer that. And I didn't choose for that to happen.

I'm trying to be subtle, but can you guess what it was?
Also, disclaimer to the person I'm talking about here, if you happen to be reading this, you did what you needed to do. I'm not trying to offend you or anything.

Right after it happened, (like really, mere seconds after) I had a thought. You need to prepare for your mission.

That hit me. This was around in April in my junior year. A year from that time, I could've had my mission call. From there, I decided to prepare for my mission in whatever way I could.

"Yay!" you're saying, "Happy ending for you, right?"

See, missionary work is kind of important. Naturally, it requires a lot. And since it is as important as it is, the devil hates it.

I was working hard, I was learning so much. I was a new man. I was dedicated to serving the Lord! However, guess who came running up and hit my joy over the head with a two by four? Who else?

Sadness because of what happened, and other issues involving friends and something else that I'm definitely not going to talk about, kept popping up and worrying me.

These thoughts that I was weak, and that I wasn't anything special, really slowed me down. Satan really tried to tear me down. And I'll say that he still is. Back then, it was hard. I don't like saying that because it sounds a little...whiny? But I'm going to say with full honesty, that that was the most difficult time in my life. Everything came crashing down, except the essentials.

And let me tell you, it was difficult.

I want to tell you that I'm that hero of this story, and that it'll be smooth sailing until I get that call in the mail, but like I said before, Satan's still fighting back.

Satan doesn't want me going on a mission because he knows I'll be successful out there. He knows that I'll introduce people to the gospel, and in turn will get people baptized, and get them to help build the kingdom. That's the last thing the adversary wants.

That's why he's not going to give up. But don't worry, neither am I.

I guess I have a moral here. And it's one I've been living by recently. If things are bad, and you don't feel like you deserve it, that only means that things are about to get so much better for you.

I kind of strayed from missionary work, so I'll get back to it. I love missionaries. Those elders and sisters you see are dedicating part of their life to the Lord.

This time next year I'll be one of them, and I hope I'll be ready when I get that call.

But that's just a thought.

Thanks for listening,


Friday, July 24, 2015


Woah, what? It's Pioneer Day? Jeez, living outside of Utah really makes you forget doesn't it? But I think this is the perfect day for a thought!

Can I start calling my posts "thoughts"? Okay, cool.

So let's talk pioneers!

So I recently went on a Youth Trek. Four days of living the life of a pioneer. And I loved it. It was my second trek ever, and by far the best. I was ready, and my family was just incredible! As we say in the Frog family, "A family who cheats (I mean improvises) together, stays together."

I went on my first trek when I was thirteen. Back then, I think I was just happy to be there. I liked the pioneer stories, and yeah, I felt the spirit, but I didn't really get into it as much as I wanted.

But this time. My goodness. See, I was the "Big Brother", which really just meant I was the oldest boy in the family they put me in. In my biological family, I'm the sixth child out of seven. So I wasn't used to being an example to others. My younger sister is really it, but I'll probably talk about her more in another thought.

Here though, there were plenty of young boys and girls who looked up to me (both physically and spiritually). I mean, I like to think I'm usually a pretty good kid, but this time it was serious.

But there was a lot more to Trek than just having the chance to teach younger kids valuable lessons. See, I've had a lot of growth recently. Also something I'll talk about later. I've always wanted to go on a mission, but over the course of the last several months, I've dedicated myself to go and to prepare now.

Let me tell you, that wasn't easy. The devil didn't like that so much. But I grew so much closer to the man I need to people through everything. During my first trek, I was not even close to how I should be. I hung out with the wrong crowd, I said some words that aren't in the Holy Ghost's dictionary, and I was overall a naughty kid. I like to think that that was my rebellious phase.

This trek I had been excited for since I heard about it. So like, last year. And I prepared for it. There are some experiences I had on trek that are far to personal to share on my blog, but what I can share is that my testimony concerning the pioneers was strengthened so much through those four days.

There was one day that we did a "Men's Pull". Exactly what it sounds like. The girls left for a bit, and the boys all pulled the handcarts on their own. At first, a few of us were a little bitter. Why is this hill so long? It's so hot? Is that another hill?

Then I heard a group either ahead or behind us. They were singing. I think they were singing "Army of Helaman". Well, I joined in, and more people joined in. Soon, we had nearly every boy in the stake singing as we pulled that heavy handcart up the hill.

I think that excellently captures the pioneer spirit. There's that primary song. "Pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked." We did the same. We didn't complain. We sang. When that song was over, we sang a new song, and a new one. We never allowed ourselves to get discouraged, and kept walking and praising our Father in Heaven.

The pioneers did the same. However, it wasn't just a steep hill, or four days. It was months. It was thousands of miles. And they didn't choose to leave. Many of them had to. The Saints had been driven out of nearly every home they had. They'd lost family, or been forced to leave it behind. They'd left their jobs, their land, everything they had. They left, and went to Zion.

Everything they've been through was so humbling for them. Miracles happened out there on the plains, and I know that. I know that they didn't waste their time or effort. They did that so that the Lord could establish his kingdom. So that all of us could have the circumstances we do.

There are many lessons we can learn from these pioneers, and I urge you all learn them.

That's not just a thought. It's the truth.

Happy Pioneer Day!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Garbage Fun!!

Wow! Look at this! I actually made it to post #2! I don't think you people understand how great an accomplishment this is for me. I usually start things and don't finish them for months or even years! (I'm looking at you Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

Well, I don't really have much for today except...Garbage Day's tomorrow!

Okay, okay, okay, that's not a thing. But's it's gonna be. I'm gonna start this thing. It's always been a dream of mine to start a thing.

I don't really see a thing called Garbage Day catching on, but hear me out. So here, where I live, garbage day is every Thursday, which is tomorrow. Um...I'll be right back...

Now, there a kind a Garbage Day we should all have. Not a physical garbage day necessarily, but also a mental, spiritual, behavioral, etc. garbage day. See where I'm going with this?

I propose (like an RM two weeks back) that once a week, we should pick something negative in our lives, and throw it out. It could be judging others, it could be your weird obsession with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it could even be your Uncle Frank. Cause let's face it, Frank is such a deadbeat.

"But Sir Nathaniel," I hear you say, because I hear everything you say. "I'm perfect in every way and I have no flaws because I'm perfect. What can I throw out?"

Now first of all, thank you for using my proper title. Secondly, you could begin with throwing out that bullcrap. As pre-crazy Miley Cyrus once said, "Nobody's Perfect".

I'm far from it. So I'm going to begin Garbage Day by throwing out this old bowl of cereal! It's really getting gross. Almost as gross as your Uncle Frank.

"But sir!" I can still hear you say because I have been listening very closely. "You need something real to give up! If this thing is gonna be a thing, you have to start the thing by thinging a thing!"

Well, maybe I need time to think of this. I'm under a lot of pressure, okay?

But won't this thing be the thingiest thing of all the things? It's like New Year's! And Lent! Every week!

Speaking of Lent, I 'Lent' your Uncle Frank twenty bucks once. Guess who still needs twenty bucks?

I don't really feel confident that this thing will ever be a thing.

"But sir!" You whine as you do whenever things don't go your way on the Bachelor. That's right, I know. "If you're going to start a thing, you have to be committed to it! Everything requires dedication, and starting a thing requires dedication!"

And my answer? Oh my gosh, will you just stop arguing with me? Let's get real here. This thing is called "Garbage Day". Can you really imagine that as a trending topic? Something the kids chat about under the slide? Do kids still do that? Maybe if it were a cooler name, than yeah, I'd be more dedicated. But the main reason for this is 1) To fill a whole post about something because I'm consistent, 2) Because I can't think of anything better, and 3) Because how else are we gonna get your Uncle Frank?

But whatever. That's just a thought.

Good night and get out Frank.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Truth of God and Other Interesting Words

Well, I caved. I joined in my family tradition and created a blog. I recently decided to do this to help me piece my ideas together. I finally got around to it, and now I have to write a first post.

So as a 17 year old Mormon, I'm no expert. I've read the Book of Mormon, yes. But I'm nowhere near the level of spirituality that the First Presidency and the Apostles are. Heck, there are people in my small town in Wyoming that are so much more spiritual than me.

But to my credit, I do feel as though my relationship with my Father in Heaven is in a good position right now. I do have what would be called an "unshakable" testimony.

That's one thing I want to make very clear. It seems to be a Christian (specifically Mormon) stereotype that all of them are just blinded by the faith of their parents. That none of them have actually read the Bible (and the Book of Mormon). That if they just ask a few questions, they'll "discover the truth". I cannot adequately address how wrong this assumption is.

While to be perfectly honest, I have not read the Bible cover to cover. That is something I am currently doing. I'm still in the book of Genesis however. I have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, along with the Doctrine and Covenants.

And the thing is, the questions that people often think Mormons should ask to "wake up", I've asked them. I "know for myself" that the church is true.

I believe that everybody's testimony relies on at least one truth. One thing that is obvious to them, and that they cannot deny. For me, that is the existence of a God who hears and answers prayers.

At first, yes, the existence of God was reliant upon the faith of my mother and father. When I was younger, I wasn't 100% sure. All I knew is that Mom and Dad said that God was real, and Mom and Dad are never wrong.

As I grew up and became a teenager, naturally, I recognized that my parents can be wrong. Going further, I figured that they were always wrong. So with that, I stopped caring about the existence of a Heavenly Being. I think deep down, I still believed, but the way my life was, thinking about God made me feel guilty and alone.

As I grew up more and attended seminary, I found peace in there. I found that the love I felt in my seminary class was unmatched by anything I had ever felt before. Naturally, I wanted more of this.

So I attended seminary regularly. I learned. I read the scriptures, I prayed, I attended church and the temple. And all these acts and all these places gave me the same warm feeling. The same peace from my sinful life.

I began to notice that the one thing that all these had in common, was that they were religious acts and places. I began to know for myself that God was real.

So I began to pray for specific things. Help with certain trials. Blessings for my family and friends. Forgiveness for my sins. And these prayers were answered. Not all at once, but they were answered. I saw that when I prayed, things went well. When I didn't, things went bad.

I recall my freshman year in high school during finals week (or maybe it was midterms). In seminary, Bro had admonished us to pray before each of our tests. And so I did. Well, all but one. My science final.

I got the results back from these tests, and saw how I did. English, I did rather well. I've always been good at that. Math, also well. Then came the science grade. I think it was a C. I passed the class, but I immediately noticed that the one I bombed was the one I didn't ask for help with.

And that's just one example. Let's not even mention the 30-Day Challenge.

I felt God love for me because I saw answers to my prayers. You could argue that it was coincidence or placebo, but I'm going to tell you that it was God. I'm going to tell you that God is the loving Father of all of us. I'm going to tell you that my life has been blessed by, not the idea of, nor things in the name of, but just God.

God lives. That's the basic principle I live by. I base my entire life around the notion that God lives and that he loves me.

But that's just a thought. Happy Sunday.