Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's a Good Day to Be a Mormon

On Friday, I had my first cross country meet of the season. Both our boys and girls teams took first in the meet. Then, we got back in town, and went to the first home football game of the season.

We also won that.

Later (as probably most of you have seen), I posted on Facebook about how "it's a good day to be a Red Devil".

I was legitimately proud of how our football team did. It really was a good day to be a Red Devil.

But everyday, it's a good day to be a Mormon.

We are part of a great church, 15 million strong. With 148 temples, and 85,000 missionaries, we've come a long way from the 6 people at that first church meeting after the Restoration.

We have the fullness of the gospel, and we have knowledge of the truth. We have not just one, but two testamants of Jesus Christ. Both the Bible and Book of Mormon are true. We also have the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Modern Prophets, Church magazines like the Ensign and NewEra, Teachings of Church Presidents, Preach My Gospel. And so much more that we can learn of Christ from. And not to mention that these are available in a little plastic box that fits in our pockets.

We have seminary, Sunday school, mutual, stake and general conferences, firesides all to give us time to be with like-minded people, who agree with us that Christ lives and he love us all.

And those are just things that the church has put out. Church members are always out there. People like Lindsey Sterling and Al Fox and Studio C, all help spread the gospel with their uplifting talents, and entertain us too.

Then there's our personal victories. I for one am glad that I woke up this morning and read my scriptures. Not only that, but I got something out of it. I prayed. I went to my stake conference today. Not to mention the daily battles I win against the devil. The victories we have against Satan far outweigh the losses. Next time you beat Satan, smile. Tell yourself that you did good. Because you did.

This is the same Lucifer that convinced one third of the host of heaven to follow him. Who has influenced the worst people imaginable. He's influenced murders, rapists, and countless others. He's put into play drugs and pornography. Alcohol, tobacco. The same Satan is responsible for all the evil in the world.

And you just beat him.

The person who was telling Hitler what to do next, you just beat him in a battle. Can you honestly tell me that that doesn't make you feel powerful?

It makes me feel powerful, that's for sure.

My cross country coach has a lot of little things he always says. One of them is celebrate your successes.

We need to forget the failures we have. You said a word you shouldn't have. You keep putting off talking to that girl about the gospel. Maybe you relapsed into an addiction even. So what? What did you do right today? I bet you anything that the list of things you did right today, is far longer than what you did wrong (so long as you recognize that you did wrong).

Be proud of who you are. You're a child of God. You're a winner. You're magnificent! You're absolutely stellar!

God lives, and he loves us.

But don't listen to my thoughts. Have your own.

Peace out.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Life Sucks? Good!

Hey. Have a seat. Want me to get you some lemonade? Cookies? Let's talk for a while.

So I understand you've had a rough time. What's that? You don't want to talk about it? Oh that's alright. I understand. I have no idea what you could be going through. It could be the death of a loved one, it could be struggling with an addiction, it could even be as simple as not feeling like you worth it. Or heck, maybe you've just have a rough day.

But whatever happened, I don't need to know. I just know that you have doubts about whether or not you can make it through this.

Well, I've have times like that. Yeah. Really.

I've struggled with things too. Most of them, I'd rather not discuss right now. But back in middle school, I felt really lonely. I didn't feel like I had any real friends. I mean, I was incorrect, but the feelings were real, and I would cry. It's true.

But it got better. I made friends. I got more confidence. I even convinced a few girls that I'm worth going on dates with (It's up to them if I was right).

There were a few months in there that I was about as happy as I could be. My life just was going so well. Because of this, when my life crashed again (crashed isn't the right word here...maybe slowed down?), I was ready. Because I had learned that if things get bad, that only means things are about to get better.

I learned this simple truth in the scriptures. Did you expect me not to bring these things up? Ha! Oh Jeeves! Could you bring me my quad? Thank you.

Now, let's take a look shall we? Ah! Here it is! Doctrine and Covenants. Section 122, verse 7. "Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

It's right there. The word of God saying that it's for the best that you're going through this. And think of what Joseph Smith was going through when he received this revelation. Liberty Jail. Ripped from his family. Small quarters. Filth that guards called food that was often poisoned.

Yes, even that experience was for Joseph's good.

And yes, things did get better for the Prophet. He eventually returned to his family, which was likely a wonderful day in his life. Now, Joseph is with Emma for all eternity. The church he was called to restore is 15 million strong, and still growing.

Now let's look at one more person who was called to go through a hard time. Can you guess who it is?

That's right! (Or not) It's our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was called to go through the ultimate hard time. Think of all the pain, all the trials, all the sins you've had. Now imagine those all at once. Now one more, imagine all of that times billions of people. For everyone who ever has, or ever will exist.

But just like it passed for me, and for Jospeh Smith, it passed for Christ. And he gained experience. "That he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people" (Alma 7:12). Now, he's helping us through it. And he's helping you through it.

This will pass, as all things do. Don't be discouraged. Don't cry out that God is not there. That's wrong in every way! God is always there! His love is your strength!

Keep moving. Keep fighting. You deserve to smile again. You deserve peace. And you will recieve it.

If right now, you're looking at your life, and you're saying that your life sucks, good! That only means that it's about to get better.

You're almost there. You're so close to joy. A little bit longer. You can do it! You have the greatest cheering section in the universe on your side. They all want you to beat this. And you can.

Keep that thought in mind.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Open Letter to You-Know-Who-You-Are

Dear, You-Know-Exactly-Who-You-Are-And-Don't-Deny-It

So the Stake Dance last night sure was fun wasn't it? Of course, you'll just have to take my word for it. After all, you weren't there.

See, other people I invited to come had excuse along the lines of "I'm out of town." "My leg's broken and a dance wouldn't be fun for me." I can understand that.

There were several people though who I invited that did come. And who did have fun.

But you. When I invited you, you said, "I don't want to." I mean, I appreciate honesty and all, but I can't seem to wrap my mind around why you wouldn't want to go to the dance.

Here is this setting where you are not only allowed, but encouraged to get to know the attractive young ladies around you. Where you have a chance to show off your dance moves.

Where you can impress people. Yeah, I did it. I wore a tie. With a casual shirt. It looked nice (as I was told). While you were probably watching a movie in a plain shirt and pair of Cheeto-stained shorts, I was in the middle of a dance battle (at least I think he was challenging me).

While you were trying to come up with a half decent reason why you shouldn't go (which, by the way, failed), I was building friendships.

And don't try to tell me that you wouldn't have fun, because that would be your own fault.

In my experience, fun and happiness is a choice. If you go somewhere, dedicated to have fun, you'll have fun.

However, if you have this paradigm that you won't have fun, than guess what, you won't have fun. It's as simple as that.

I think too often we refuse to do the things that we probably should do because we don't think it'll be worth it. And not just in life, but in the Gospel as well.

I think too often we have this view of how things should go, but that view ends up being completely wrong. However, the actual way things should go is full of happiness. But if you stay stuck with your own ideas and expectations, you'll never see the things that are actually going pretty well. Maybe even better than before.

For example, if you are prompted to do a certain thing, say, invite someone to church, you may hesitate. "But they won't want to go. They're not like that." But we know that "great shall be your with him in the Kingdom of my Father" (D&C 18:16).

All that you do, if done correctly, will be worth. Every experience you have in this life will be an opportunity to grow.

Even if that is something as simple as going to a Stake Dance. Because at least you'll build friendships.

So don't refuse an experience because you can't immediately see happiness or enjoyment. Have the experience and look for that. Or better yet, create the enjoyment.

I mean, at the Dance, I was partying it up. I looked good, felt good. I hope I helped a lot of people enjoy it. I tried to create an enjoyable setting for others.

But you stayed home, so just take my word for it.



P.S. That just a thought.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

11 Things All Mormon Youth Love

In case you couldn't tell, I am in fact LDS, and I am a youth. What that means for ya'll non-members out there is that I am between the ages of 12 and 18 (17 and a half actually).

We do a lot in our groups. We go to mutual (which is a planned activity once every week), we love seminary (pretty much it's church in school), and we love the LDS church.

Naturally, there's a few things that we all have in common. So I've compiled (made up, same thing), a list of 11 things that all Mormon Youth love. If you're Mormon and Youth yourself, see how many of these apply to you.

These are my opinions. This is my list. I've exaggerated these so much. You're no less Mormon if these don't apply to you. Thank you and tonight.

1) We love Disney.

We've all been there, right?

Maybe it's the magic. Maybe it's the music. Or maybe it's the fact that we have claimed Frozen and Anna would totally be the coolest Mormon girl in the world and nothing you can say can make it otherwise. We don't know the reason, but we all love Disney movies.

My personal favorite is Hercules, but I also am a fan of Princess and the Frog, the Lion King, and Aladdin. I'm totally gonna have a Disney marathon one of these days.

2) We all play the ukulele.

That's a G chord right there.

I think I'm the only one who ever noticed this, but don't you know a lot of Mormons who can play the uke?

I don't know about you, but I know a lot. I don't know why this would be the case. Maybe it's just a cultural thing. Like Mormons just play the uke. No reason.

Or maybe because the guitar is too overrated for Mormons so we have to shrink them in the dryer. No? Okay, moving on.

3) We all love seminary.
In my school, I can letter in seminary. How neat is that?
Okay, maybe this one doesn't apply to some people in my seminary class last year (maybe it only applies to me), but it's so comforting to have a place to go away from all the cursing and immorality of high school. Seriously, that stuff is gross.

And not to mention a seminary teacher can be your best friend sometimes. Bro Richens, I'm looking at you!

4) We live for Youth Conference and/or EFY.

This was taken after I started a flash mob in front of hundreds of people I didn't know. Yep.
Okay, I need to clear one thing up. I've never been to an EFY. But, I have had Regional Youth Conferences for as long as I can remember. As far as I can tell, those are pretty much the same thing.

Please refrain from slitting my throat for being wrong.

But I just love having the opportunity to dance in front of a bunch of people I don't know, and then meet these people during a slow dance, only to not remember their name in a week (unless it's Cereal Girl).

But the thing is, that selfie right there, isn't just from my last Youth Conference, it's from my last Youth Conference, if I leave for my mission in early June like I want to.

But at least I have the memories. And Cereal Girl's number.

5) We actually enjoy dressing like we're from the 1800's and pulling all our stuff for days without running water or internet access.

And waka waka waka waka waka waka............etc.

Oh yeah! Trek is where it's at! There's just something about it that is so amazing to youth!

I personally love the families we get. I'll always be part of the Frog family. I went deeper into the pioneers with an earlier thought, so you can just go check that out.

6) Mormon Boys love Mormon Girls and vise versa.

That's right. I'm looking at a picture of the Provo City Center Temple.
Mmm-hmm, Modest definitely is hottest. This is something I just had to add. Because there's nothing more attractive to me than a righteous young woman (extra points if she can pull off hipster glasses. Just a preference.)

Mormon boys are just drawn to Mormon girls. Very similar to how moths are drawn to flames.
Nailed the analogy!

7) Missionaries are just plain awesome.
"Do you have a moment to hear about the worst secret cult ever?"

This is one that I didn't really check on to see if other people like it. Want me to stop doing that? Haha, this is my list. I can do whatever I want.

I always get so excited whenever my family feeds the missionaries, and I look up to them. That's gonna be me pretty soon. I can't wait!

8) April and October are the best months in the year!
This guy right here.
Oh yeah, Ya'll know what it is! General Conference! This one isn't even that hard to explain.

Going to church in your pajamas, hearing parables about aviation from a German. Not to mention everything is just so awesome around this time.

#ldsconf is trending, I'm telling my mom that I'll eat breakfast as soon as this session is over, I have to skip back to hear that awesome quote again so I can write it in my notes. Just so cool!

8 1/2) General Authorities are legends.
Well you're not wrong.
Don't you love the General Authorities? They're just so cool. They age so gracefully, they are powerful speakers, and Chuck Norris has nothing on Elder Holland!

9) Anyone wanna binge watch Studio C?
"Maybe surprise and fear?"
Oh my heck, how in the world did I not put this one further up? It's so hilarious. It's by far one of my favorite shows, and it's the main source of all my stolen jokes.

It's literally the best show ever!

I could go all day about the Man, the Myth, the Legend, Scott Sterling, but I'd much rather just watch Studio C.

10) Stake Dances are bigger than Prom.
When you roll up with the squad to the stake dance.
Okay, that statement isn't entirely true. Prom's pretty big. But my point still stands. Stake Dances are the bomb. As I've stated before (see #4), I have no shame making a fool of myself in front of other people. I actually love it.

I love partying with my friends, and swing dancing and the Cupid Shuffle. And if that Meghan Trainor song comes on, I won't be embarrassed to sing along to every single verse absolutely on-key and flawlessly.

I won't.

11) And finally, just plain being Mormon.

This is what we all love about being youth. Just being who we are. Mormon Youth love spending time with each other. We love being a "peculiar people". We love Studio C. We love Trek. We love 1 o' clock church.

We love going to church and mutual. We secretly rejoice when we're asked to give a talk or a lesson. We love group dates, and saying "modest is hottest". We love Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf.

We love our modern day prophets and the Book of Mormon. We love seminary, the uke, Mormon messages, our friends.

We love telling you about our faith, because our faith is everything to us. It's our lives. It's who we are.

"For [we are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16). We love everything about the church, because we know its true. We know that Joseph Smith restored Christ's true church on the earth, and the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ.

We know that Christ suffered for our sins, and that he did it out of love for us. And we love that.

But I don't speak for everyone. That's just my own thought.