"The most important covenant we prepare for is being sealed in the temple"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Your Wonderful Journey Home

In the April 2013 general conference meeting for the Young Women President Uchtdorf gave a talk all about enjoying your journey and what our road map back to eternal life with our father in heaven is. 

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints we have a shared goal. The goal is to return to our Father in Heaven that we may be able to live as he does; eternally. 
Eternity isn't something we can WAIT for. Eternity is something we have to PREPARE for. 
Hence... "Preparing for Eternity not Waiting for it." 
Preparing to return "home" isn't always easy, but I know it will be worth it. 

How do we get Home? 
What is our road-map? 
How can we more fully enjoy our journey? 

President Uchtdorf gives examples of "Journey Stories." 

"I believe that every life is a collection of individual 'journey stories.'

I am sure you are aware that every cultural tradition is rich with journey stories. For instance, you may be familiar with the journey of Dorothy and her dog, Toto, in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and Toto are swept up in a tornado and deposited in the Land of Oz. There, Dorothy finds that distinctive, yellow-brick road that marks the path for a journey that eventually leads her home.

Then there is Charles Dickens’s Ebenezer Scrooge, whose journey takes him not from place to place but from time to time. It’s a journey right within his own heart that helped him to understand why he became the way he was and to see what would happen to him if he continued on his path of selfishness and ingratitude.1

One of the great classical novels of Chinese literature is Journey to the West. Written in the 16th century, it tells beautifully the adventure story and pilgrimage of a monk who, with the help of four friendly characters, journeys toward spiritual enlightenment.

And of course there is Bilbo Baggins, the small, unassuming hobbit who would have very much preferred to stay home and eat his soup. But after a knock at his door, he follows the call of the great unknown and steps out into the world, together with a wizard and a band of dwarfs, to fulfill a dangerous but vitally important mission."

Our lives are full of "Journey Stories." Some journeys are longer then others, but every journey you go through in life create who you are and who you can become. As you all clearly know, I am going through a journey of having a missionary out in the field serving the Lord. It is a journey that is forming me to become a better person and it is helping me to grow. This in not an easy journey but it is a journey that is worth it. It is a journey that I have to make the most of. That's the way it should be with every journey you go through in life. Regardless of how hard it is, you need to make the best of it! By making the best of every situation, you get more out of every situation. 

"Perhaps these stories also remind us of a journey we all should be familiar with—a journey story in which each one of us plays an important part.

This story begins a very long time ago, long before the earth began spinning in its orbit, long before the sun began to reach its fiery arms into the cold of space, long before creatures great and small had populated our planet. At the beginning of this story, you lived in a faraway, beautiful place.

We do not know many details about life in that premortal sphere, but we do know some. Our Heavenly Father has revealed to us who He is, who we are, and who we can become.

Back in that first estate, you knew with absolute certainty that God existed because you saw and heard Him. You knew Jesus Christ, who would become the Lamb of God. You had faith in Him. And you knew that your destiny was not to stay in the security of your premortal home. As much as you loved that eternal sphere, you knew you wanted and needed to embark on a journey. You would depart from the arms of your Father, pass through a veil of forgetfulness, receive a mortal body, and learn and experience things that hopefully would help you grow to become more like Father in Heaven and return to His presence.

In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been “Will I return safely to my heavenly home?”

There were so many things that would be out of your control. Mortal life would be hard at times, filled with unexpected bends in the road: sickness, heartbreak, accidents, conflict.

Without a memory of your previous existence—without remembering that you once walked with your Father in Heaven—would you still recognize His voice amid all the noise and distractions of mortal life?

The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain—so filled with risk.

It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort.

So, there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope—and, I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear.

In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.

And so, you took a deep breath …

And a great step forward …

And here you are!

You have, each one of you, embarked on your own wonderful journey back to your heavenly home!"

"He didn’t send you on this journey only to wander aimlessly on your own. He wants you to come home to Him. He has given you loving parents and faithful Church leaders, along with a map that describes the terrain and identifies the dangers; the map shows you where peace and happiness can be found and will help you plot your course back home.

Now, where do you find this map?

• In the sacred scriptures.
• In the words of prophets and apostles.
• And through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost.

This map is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, and the joyful way of a disciple of Christ. It is the commandments and example given to us by our Advocate and Mentor, who knows the way because He is the way."

"Of course, simply having a map doesn't do any good unless you study it—unless you use it to navigate through life. I invite you to make it a high priority to study and apply God’s word. Open your heart to the Holy Ghost so that He can direct you along your journey through life.

Your map is full of encouraging and instructive messages from your Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Today I would like to share with you three of those messages that will help you to have a successful journey back to your heavenly home."

The way back to our heavenly home is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that if we live the way that we are supposed to, our journey will be a lot easier. Not 100 percent blissful but much more doable!


-Thanks for reading!  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finding Joy in the Journey

Our life here on earth seems to be a big roller coaster ride; with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs. We often times are faced with unexpected trials that throw us through a loop. Sometimes we are rewarded with blessings from doing ever thing that we are supposed to be doing and we find our selves riding on the straight track upwards, after that big upwards climb we drop back down and the cycle starts over again. 

There is no way of telling what this journey through life has to give, but there is one thing that we can give our lives throughout this journey despite our trials, and that is: showing our life that we can FIND JOY IN THE JOURNEY! 

This life is a hard life, and that is something that we all need to face. Things don't always go our way. In fact, things rarely go the way we want them to go. One of the ways I have found to ENJOY THE JOURNEY is by relying on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Relying on our Savior allows to be able to find the good in all most every situation. When trials come our way we need to think "I was given this trial to make me stronger, and stronger I will be." rather then the typical "Why does this have to happen to me?" 
Trials are given to EVERYONE! It doesn't matter if you are doing everything right! No one person is exempt from trials. The sooner we learn to accept that, the sooner we will start to FIND JOY IN OUR JOURNEY. One of my favorite quotes of all times says this "When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile." How much happier would our lives be if we were constantly reminding ourselves of the things in our lives that make us happy. Focus on the good in your life rather then the bad. 

Something that has helped me to remain positive in my life: Writing down 3 things that went on in my day that I was thankful for. Big or little. It doesn't matter. Writing down the things you are thankful for keeps negative thoughts out of your mind and helps you forget about the bad that went on throughout your day. When you least want to write down things you are thankful for, that's when you need to the most. 

I love this Mormon Ad 
All we need to remember is to Rise Above the Blues. 

We must create our own Heaven here on earth so that we may be able to more fully ENJOY THE JOURNEY. 

Thomas S. Monson Stated: 
"Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.
Said one well-known author: 'Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.'...Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey." 

What changes can you make in your life this week to more fully ENJOY THE JOURNEY? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scripture Study Testimonies

The following includes testimonies from a few of YOU (my readers) about Scripture Study

Jennifer Hedelius 

You know, I used to avoid scripture study. I convinced myself I didn't have the time to do it, or I'd just forget. Meeting my missionary though, and sending him off on his mission showed me that I don't have until tomorrow to learn what the scriptures have for me to learn. I need to be reading and studying now, and developing habits that will influence the rest of my life and my children's lives. More than anything I desire to be a mother and with as scary as this world is becoming I know I need to be strong and have a firm knowledge of the gospel principles in order to be able to teach them. I know the Book of Mormon is True and that the stories and prophecies contained within are for our day, not just a past people. There are so many things that are relatable to even stuff that is happening around us, and instead of feeling fear, we can feel at peace because of what is said, prophesied and promised. I know that the Gospel teaches us to become close to Christ, in fact, all scripture testifies of Him. He is our Brother, our Savior and can be your best friend if we allow him to be.

Jenny Harris 

Scripture study has changed my life. It brought me out of my trial with ease. During my life, I've always heard the stories over and over again, but when I rediscover them, I find a new appreciation for them. I've signed up for institute every semester and summer so far so that I can constantly be learning more about the scriptures. My testimony has grown SO MUCH just by taking these classes and learning more about the scriptures. I've found so many new insights in the same stories I've heard before and so many new things that pertain to my life now. I always find something new each time I read, which amazes me because the words never change! It is the Word of God and He has given us so many writings to use in our lives and find guidance from. If we just simply turn to the scriptures and study the messages written inside, our lives will be changed for the better. I've learned so many things that I can't wait to take into my future marriage and teach to my children. These words will ALWAYS lead us back to God

Hunter Peterson 

I know that by reading your scriptures daily, your life will be blessed so much. And that reading your scriptures can help you with your school work, job, and at home. And that we become nearer to God as we diligently study the scriptures.

Lindsay Schwab

I know that the scriptures are for us, here and now. God has given us the scriptures as tools to help us progress and overcome our challenges. The promises in the scriptures are true - God will stick by his promises always. If we liken the scriptures unto us, there is a whole new world of blessings and beauty that awaits us! Reading and studying the scriptures brings protection and success in life. When we make the effort to read God's word, He makes the effort to bless us. I know this is true.

Audrianna Christopherson 

The scriptures have helped me SO much; it helps me through the hard times and gets me to the easier days. I am so glad that I have made a habit of scripture study. It has done so much for me. The spirit is so much stronger when you read the scriptures daily.

Hayden Rush 

Scripture study has literally made me who I am; it's made me a better, happier, more confident, and more knowledgeable person. It absolutely should be part of everyone's life. I know for a fact that The Book of Mormon is the true word of God and that Joseph smith was a true prophet, and that he translated it. I have a strong testimony of this church, I know it's true!

Yours Truly; Savanna Westberg 

I know that the things all the people before me testified of is true. How do I know it's true? because I have experienced some of the same things as they have. I know that when you study your scriptures you can be more in tune with the spirit. There have been times when I haven't been good about study the scriptures, but once I made it a daily habit and a goal to read and study my scriptures daily my life changed. Study the scriptures allows you to be happier and allows you to make better choices.  If you make a goal and habit of scripture study I promise your life will be blessed and you will start to see more fully all the good that is going on around. 
There is power in diligently reading and studying our scriptures! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scripture Study Question&Answer

Thank You to All Those Who So Willingly Helped Me Out! 

I hope that that the following experiences touch you as much as they touched me. 

Question #1 What kinds of things do you study for your scripture study?

  • I usually study the Book of Mormon ,General Conference talks, and occasionally Preach My Gospel. 
  • As of right now I am working my way through the Book of Mormon as well as the current conference ensign. Then on the side I'm reading Christ's Continuous Atonement and when that's done I want to read Believing Christ.
  • I study the Book of Mormon  and I take notes as i read. I just kind of simplify the chapter so that its easier to understand. At the end of the chapter I make note of a "lesson" to be learned from the chapter.
  • I study the Book of Mormon. If there is something else I should be studying for Seminary or Institute, I'll study that on top of my Book of Mormon study, but the Book of Mormon is always part of my daily study.
  • Right Now I study the Book of Mormon everyday so that I can finish it by the time school starts. Also the Book of Mormon is something you should be really really familiar with as a missionary and that's what I'm preparing for.
  • I study from the Book of Mormon, Bible, and General Conference talks when I study 

#2 When do you study your scriptures?

  • During the school year I have the most stable schedule, so I usually study in the morning and at night.
  • I basically do whenever I have time but I like to wake up early to do it, while my house is still quiet 
  • I typically study my scriptures first thing in the morning. I like getting them done first thing because A. if my day gets busy I wont forget and B. because it makes my day feel so much better if I start with in influx of the spirit in my life
  • I usually study them at night right before I go to bed.
  • I study my scriptures every night before bed and during church on Sundays.
  • I study my scriptures at night, I keep them right next to my bed to remind me.

#3 How long do you spend studying your scriptures?

  • The length of time I spend reading my scriptures varies. I try to get as much as i can out of my scriptures without staying up too late. I always read an entire chapter though.
  • That varies a lot. Sometimes I will wake up 20 minutes early so I can read a lot more in the morning, and sometimes I can only read for about 10 minutes in the morning. And then at night I spend about 5-15 minutes, depending on if my brothers are awake distracting me.
  • I try to spend a minimum of 30 minutes studying because then I don't limit myself to "one page" or "one verse". Some mornings though when I'm really busy, I do only get a few verses or a chapter done but I feel if you have the time to read then take the time to read.
  • I usually spend 5-10 minutes each night reading/studying the scriptures, but occasionally I will spend 30 minutes to an hour in El Libro de Mormon, because I'm trying to learn Spanish.
  • There isn't really a set amount of time when I study. I just read until I've finished that chapter or couple of pages. I study long enough to understand the message being presented.
  • At least 15 minutes a day

#4 Where do you study your scriptures?

  • Well in Preach My Gospel it says to study sitting at a desk or something, but I lay in my bed haha.
  • In my living room or on the deck. I like doing it on the deck because then I can sometimes concentrate more, and it helps with pondering I've found because I'm not surrounded by a million other things that can detract my attention.
  • Wherever it's the most quiet/peaceful 
  • In my bedroom or living room.
  • I usually study in my room, but it really doesn't matter. I find that I study the best when I'm alone and in a quiet area.
  • I study my scriptures on the floor next to my bed, to remind me to pray on my knees.

#5 Why do you study your scriptures?

  • Because I want and see the blessings that come from scripture study ( See the previous post on the blog for list of blessings). 
  • Because it helps me feel better about myself and about life. I struggle with depression, but I feel like a constant scripture study can really help me to remember who I am and pull me out of that pit of despair. Also, constant scripture study I've found really helps my attitude, and I feel better about life in general
  • I study my scriptures because for 1, we are counseled to read them daily, and 2, because i am trying to gain my own testimony of this church.
  • I study my scriptures because I know that they are the word of the Lord. The Book of Mormon was written for me and there are treasures untold in the pages of that book, and in all of the books of scripture and words of the prophets. The scriptures tell me what I need to know to be that best I can be.
  • I study because, one, it's a commandment! And two, because I love to. There's always a message for me every time I read. I enjoy hearing the stories and discovering Christ's life, or what Nephi's family sacrificed, or what Isaiah predicted for the future. They are a comfort to me and I enjoy finding my answers in them 
  • To prepare to be the best missionary I can, and to be familiar with the Word of God which contains the words of the Holy Prophets and the commandments of God. How can you obey the commandments if you don't know them?

#6 How do you make your scripture study effective?

  • I underline a bunch of stuff with a pen. If the phrase stands out to me or it just seems cool it gets underlined. Also I make sure to always say a prayer before I start. And I read the chapter headings.
  • I take notes, which really helps me to focus on the stories and meaning and not just skim the pages.
  • Well, right now, I have a thought in mind while reading the Book of Mormon. But honestly, right now I'm doing it to learn for myself so that way I can be a better wife and mother. Because I'll KNOW, therefore I'll be able to Teach my children what is right and how to Trust the Savior.
  • Well specifically our ward received a challenge to read the Book of Mormon and highlight every reference to Jesus Christ or the Father in red and every important missionary scripture in blue, so that's what I'm doing, it's pretty cool actually even though it's a lot of work, it forces me to think about what I'm reading all the time and helps bring the spirit. 
  • Well, I am not the most effective scripture student... however, I am very consistent. I haven't missed a day of scripture reading in over three years! I don't miss a day, because I know I need the blessings of the scriptures every day.
  • To make my study effective, I remove myself from 'outside noise' like talking and technology. If I'm texting someone while reading, I find that I have absolutely NO idea what I just read. If I put all my energy into studying, I receive my answer. I also always have a pen with me so that I can underline things that mean something to me or ask questions on the side of the verses. This way I know I'm actually getting something from the text.

#7 How has studying the scriptures made a difference in your life?

  • I think that it has helped me in my classes at school so much! And it helps me to be more productive.
  • I feel a lot more confident, the world doesn't seem as dark, and it's easier to remember to make better choices because I have the spirit with me in my life.
  • Studying the scriptures has brought many blessings into my life - I have most especially seen these blessings in my academic pursuits and personal safety.
  • It has definitely made a difference in my life! There was a time where I was slacking big time and I was also going through a really hard trial. I wasn't finding any relief and that bothered me. But then after praying, I realized I hadn't read in quite some time and that I was always slacking. When I realized that, I made a pact with myself that I would read everyday no matter what. That was two years ago and I've only missed about a week's worth of reading during that whole time. My life changed! I'm happier and find joy in the little things. Not to mention, I got out of that trial so easily after that! 
  • Studying the scriptures is what ultimately saved me from the natural man. It's made every difference in the world haha it's made me who I am and without it I would be a terrible person I can honestly say.
  • Scripture study has helped me to feel closer to my savior and it has given me the peace and strength that I need to go throughout my day.

#8 What would you want someone who doesn’t study their scriptures to know?

  • They are missing out, and the Prophet has commanded us to do it 
  • You're missing out on spiritual experiences, you're forfeiting blessings and you're not keeping the constant connection with God that you should have. You speak to God through prayer, but if you're not reading the scriptures then He can't speak back to you.
  • That they're missing out on not only knowledge and blessings, but also the spirit in their lives. You don't see it until you do constant study, but I've found that I'm more grumpy on the days I miss or I skim through my study. 
  • I would want someone who doesn't study their scriptures to know that it doesn't have to be anything big - but just do it! Consistent scripture study will bring about great blessings.
  • I would want them to know that the scriptures can only change your life for the better. It cant HURT to read them. It can only HELP.
  • I want everyone to know the joy and love I have for reading the scriptures. I've grown up hearing the stories, but actually rediscovering them for myself and finding the deeper meanings has made an impact on me. I've found stories I absolutely love and stories that have made a difference in my life. Simply put, the scriptures can change your life in ways you don't even realize 

#9 Have you ever received an answer to your prayers while studying the scriptures?

  • Yes, lots of times. Mostly I just see small things that I need to change. I mean there have been times where I'll read about someone in the scriptures that made the same or similar mistakes to me, and I'll see that I need to change. You need an open mind and heart when you read the scriptures
  • Proverbs 3:15, really helped me to find myself and it helped me know that I'm not worthless.
  • Yes I have, its not always the answer I want to hear though.
  • Yes, I really have, many times. The one that comes to mind was when I was going through a difficult time in my life I came across the scripture Jacob 4:10 which taught me to trust the Lord because He see's the whole picture. I later had a stressful situation come up and I turned to Him and turned myself over to Him because I knew that He knew what was best. Everything then fell into place and within a week, it was all taken care of with little to no problems.
  • Mostly, I have found answers by just randomly flipping to a scripture. Often, I will open to a scripture that is exactly what I need at that moment. I have had specific answers, but I find that the small, day-to-day answers are just as beautiful.
  • I haven't really received an answer from my prayers while reading, but I've had similar experiences. I'll be thinking of a question or problem or just something I want an answer to, but it never is revealed to me when I read that same night. It's always about a week or so later when I get my answer through reading. To me, it seems like it's all about my diligence and drive to keep reading, even though I haven't received my answer yet. My answer is always there, I just have to find it 

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Update From Elder Walker

    How are you all? Hope this email finds you healthy and happy! I am still here in Texas! I don’t think I’m ever gonna leave!;) The work is progressing, we have two baptisms planned for the next two weeks, I am very excited for that. Other than that there isn't a whole lot to report on! This next week is going to be super busy! We have interviews with our new mission president, and meetings and baptisms! So it should be a solid week for the most part! I want to share something that I've been studying a lot in the book of Mormon, specifically in Alma, where he refers to a "book of life" and he talks about how everything we have ever done, said, thought, thought of doing, or desired will be in said book. And then a talk by Elder Arnold said that there will come a day when this book will be read to us at the judgment seat. Kind of a scary thought huh? But the wonderful truth that i have taken out of it is that through the atonement of Christ, anything that we want, can and will be taken out of the book through using the atonement of our savior. It doesn't matter if we want a word deleted, a paragraph, or 3/4 of the book, the atonement will take care of it and we will have a perfect book! I love the sacrifice Christ has made for us, and i can testify of its power.

    The Spanish is coming slowly but surely. I’m getting a lot of help from the people here. It is crazy how lost you get in the needs of the people, I find myself "wrestling with god in mighty prayer" asking what I need to do to be better for them. I’m just trying to be the best missionary I can be! Thank you all for your love and support, my thoughts and prayers are with you always!!

    Love, Elder Walker

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    The WHY of Scripture Study

    "If you develop the habit of DAILY scripture reading while you are still young, you will reap lifelong blessings of increased wisdom, understanding, spirituality, compassion, and the blessings of a fulfilled life." -Elder Jack H. Goaslind

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we are commanded and encouraged to consistently study the scriptures; that includes: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and Modern Day Scriptures (general conference talks). But still we find youth questioning, "Why should I study the scriptures? How do they benefit me?" 

    If you have been one to ask the big
    please, read on!

    The obvious answer to why we should study the scriptures is simply because we are commanded too. Hard concept to grasp? Well why are we commanded to study the scriptures in the first place? 

    As we study the scriptures, "benefits and blessings of many kinds come to us," as promised by President Howard W. Hunter.  

    A lot of times when I am struggling with something or feeling sad I always open up my scriptures and read the words which are written in them. As I not only read the words but STUDY the words my mind is often filled with comfort and I feel my Savior wrap his arms around me. Elder Dallin H. Oaks once said "We often hear... that the scriptures have answers to all of our questions. WHY is this so?...Reading...the scriptures will... put us in positions where we can obtain inspiration to answer any doctrinal or personal question, whether or not that question directly concerns the subject we are studying in the scriptures. That is a grand truth not understood by many...Again. even though the scriptures contain no words to answer our specific personal questions, a prayerful study of the scriptures will help us obtain such answers." There have been many times when I have been praying for an answer and in my scripture study I come across a word a phrase that answers my question, or makes me feel a certain way about the things I was praying for. 

    The following is a list of Blessings and Promises given to us by our Prophets that we can receive from studying the scriptures...

    • Increased Success in your daily activities
    • Increased alertness to your mind
    • Will give you comfort and rock-steady assurance when the storms of life descend upon you 
    • Obtain inspiration to answer doctrinal or personal questions
    • Greater Power to resist temptation
    • Power to avoid deception
    • Power to stay on the straight and narrow path
    • Studying the scriptures gives you a dimension to your life that nobody else gets and that can't be gained in any other way EXCEPT by studying the scriptures
    • Increase in faith and desire to do what's right 
    • Your mind will be enlightened and your spirit will be lifted
    • Testimonies will increase 
    • Personal revelation will flow
    • Your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased
    • Restore confidence in one's ability to overcome the challenges of life
    • Accelerate physical healing
    • Increased Wisdom
    • Increased Understanding 
    • Increased Spirituality
    • Increased Compassion
    • Scriptures can become a form of foundation of support
    • They can become stalwart friends
    • Awaken the Holy Ghost
    • Enlarge our memory
    • Calm an agitated soul
    • Brings Peace
    • Studying the scriptures can show and remind  you of who you are
    •  Show you why you are here on earth
    • Show you what you should be doing with your life

    If those aren't reasons to convince you of WHY you should study the scriptures, then I don't know what is!! 

    I Love the scriptures. I have seen a lot of those blessings and promises in my life as I have established a daily habit of scripture study. I know those things that the Prophets have promised us are true. I KNOW that as you form a daily habit of scripture study that you will see a difference in your life and that you will feel the companionship of the Holy Ghost as you do so. 
    If you have not already developed the habit of daily scripture study, start now and keep studying. 
    Howard W. Hunter confirms "It is certain that one who studies the scriptures EVERY DAY accomplishes far more than one who devotes considerable time one day and then lets days go by before continuing. Not only should we study teach day, but there should be a regular time set aside when we can concentrate without interference." 

    I hope that as you read this you learned something and that you will consider your scripture study and do something this week to make your scripture study more meaningful so that you may receive the promised blessings given to us by our prophets.

    My Handsome Missionary.
    What a great example he is to me of someone who
    really immerses himself into the scriptures.
    I learn something new from him all the time.

    "Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ."
    Elder Richard G.Scott

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Q&A about music

    "Music Can Change Your Life For Better or Worse. The Good Thing is That You Get to Choose How You Want Your Life To Be."
    -Geena Kelley 

    I wanted a little bit of insight on your ideas and opinions about music so I asked a few of you (my readers) how music has affected you. 
    The following answers are direct quotes and are to remain anonymous. 


    Question: What kind of music gives you negative thoughts?

    •  Well If I am listening to rap or hard rock and a bad word or innuendo come on in the song, that word or phrase kinda stays with me, so it makes my thoughts negative and puts a downward spiral on my day.
    •  The music that gives me negative thoughts are those with subliminal messages. There’s a lot of music that has a great beat and the vocals sound fantastic, but when you really listen to the lyrics, you realize the message is not what you expected.
    • The holy ghost is your constant companion  so if the music causes the holy ghost to leave then you know it’s bad and it gives you bad thoughts
    • Well I personally don’t listen to that much music. I don’t have an ipod and usually have the radio off when I am driving. However, I would have to say that there are definitely a lot of songs out there on the radio that are not appropriate. So you really have to be careful about what radio station you are on. Whenever I am in the car and I hear something inappropriate (usually rap, or other stuff I don’t know the name for haha) I turn the radio off or switch it. 

    Question: What kind of music gives you positive thoughts?

    • Whenever I am at church I always hear some great music! So my first answer for that would be religious music (excluding ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’) then next I would probably have to say that country music is usually pretty light, relaxing, and pleasant. And I have mixed feelings about Taylor Swift.

    •  If I listen to fin upbeat music with a good message, I am happier and I have better, cleaner thoughts.

    •  The music that gives me a positive feeling, in all honesty, is classical and Disney. The beautiful melodies and lyrics included in Disney music especially always have a good message and can convey positive thoughts. Classical music gets my mind wrapped around amazing compositions and Disney always always uplifts me.
    • Music with a good message and obviously music I like. It doesn't have to be church music either. If it gives me good thoughts and makes me happier or brings peace then it’s good and brings good thoughts to my mind and puts me in a better mood. 

    Question: In what ways do you feel music controls your thoughts?

    •  Well one of the ways that it controls your thoughts is that it sends subliminal messages to your brain. So even if you are not completely focusing on the music your brain is still picking up the beat and lyrics. Plus once you hear songs they can get stuck in your head. And your brain will play loop it over and over and so if the song you were listening to wasn't appropriate there is a big problem because you won't be able to get that out of your mind. The brain, and music itself is very powerful, so use it for the good!

    •  I think all sorts, good and bad can control you. Depending on what kind of music you listen to, that’s how your day will go. If I listen to music that isn’t very nice, I also end up being a little more on the edge that day, and I’m even mean or rude to those around me because of it. So if you want to have a good day, and be nice, you have to choose music that projects that also.
    • Music controls my thoughts constantly. I always have a song in my head and if the lyrics aren’t the best, my thoughts and actions aren’t the best either. Having a positive song playing through my mind makes my day a million times better!
    •  Whether you realize it or not, music you listen to a lot affects who you become and your mindset, it really can hurt you if you listen to bad music a lot. 

    Question: How has music affected your life?
    •  Well, I have grown up with music in my house. Everyone in my family has played an instrument. And my mom is an amazing singer. So I learned at a young age that music can influence your life, good or bad. When I think back to things my parents told me about what I was like when I was little, I remember a story they told me. My mom was getting ready for work, I was just a baby, lying on my mom’s bed and my sister who was 7 at the time was laying with me making sure I was okay. I started to cry and she didn’t know what to do. My mom told her to sing to me, so she sang “I am a child of God” and I stopped crying immediately. It has been like that my whole life; if I ever feel stressed about school of work, I can turn on some church or EFY music and It completely relaxes me. I know that music is a way I can express myself when I sing, play piano, or play the flute, and It can make me feel better about a hard trial or situation.
    •  Music is probably one of the biggest influences in my life. I’ve been playing piano for 14 years and viola for 9. I’ve always been surrounded by music. Although I enjoy classical music more than anything, I’m constantly influenced by other genres. There’s always some sort of music in commercials, movies, TV shows, or public places. What they advertise is always influenced by the music playing. Basically, music influences everything  
    •  Music has made me a better person for sure! I mean… my guitar is kind of my life…but gospel music always brings the spirit and makes me happy, and it can get rid of temptations. But even regular music is important and makes you a well-rounded person

    Question: Do you believe that the type of music you listen to can affect your behavior?

    • Definitely!! If you listen to a song that is about sex, that is what will be running through your head, and what you think about directly relates to your actions
    •  Music definitely influences behavior!! Obviously I haven’t studied this, but I belive if you listen to uplifting music, your day will ALWAYS be better. And if you listen to rough, loud music, you can have negative thoughts and that can lead to negative actions. It’s all about those messages being implanted in our minds.
    • Well if it affects your thoughts, it definitely affects your behavior. What you think is what you do. 

    Question: How has learning how to play an instrument changed your outlook on music?

    • Oh that’s a tough one. I have a better appreciation for artists because I know personally how difficult it is to play something, try to make It perfect, and add emotion and personality throughout the piece. When I was younger, if an instrumental piece came on the radio, I would change it, but now I can listen and I know the instruments that are being played and I can even pick out the key that the piece is in. I understand the difficulty that the artist and musicians went through to make that one song, and it makes me appreciate music even more.
    •  I see music as a challenge now. Could I play that? Could I change the song in this way? Could I perfect that song? It always inspires me to take a new song on or explore it in a different way. Instead of just hearing the music, I think of the technicality and musical ability put into use. I basically take the songs apart in my mind and rediscover them as I put it all back together again.
    •  Learning an instrument has given me a huge appreciation for people who make music, and how talented they are 

    Question: Do you see music as an “escape?”
    • Allll the time! After a stressful day, I listen to a nice symphony by Beethoven and all my worries and stresses melt away with the music. I also play the piano for hours on end to let out any frustrations and to let music fill me up. I completely lose myself in music
    •  Yeah music is an escape If I need one, it can calm me down or just take my mind off things
    •  Yes and no. I try not to shut the world out by blasting my music and forgetting all my problems. But, when I’m at school and I go to bad class, even if I don’t particularly like everyone in the class, it is one of the only times during the day when I feel relaxed and safe from the sins of the world. I can play my music and not be judged, or even worry about being judged. Everyone there just wants to play music. So I try to think of music as a sanctum or sanctuary, not an escape.  

    Thank you for reading. 
    I hope this got your mind going and that you are able to better
    acknowledge the way music affects your thoughts, words and behavior! 

    I would love to hear the way the music has affected your life and In what ways you keep the music you listen to clean.  

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Missionary Music & My CD

    Missionaries are always wanting music to be sent to them. The only problem is... What in the World do you send them? and How do you know what kind of music they are allowed to listen to? 
    All missions are different and different mission presidents have different rules on the music they allow them to listen to. 
    My suggestion to you: All missionaries are allowed to listen to church hymns. So never be afraid to send them anything that is sacrament meeting appropriate.
    For more details about what YOUR missionary is allowed to listen to,
    contact their mission president or ask them personally. 

    My Missionary: 

    So before my missionary left I couldn't decide what in the world I should get him as his last BIG thing he received from me. I thought about all the things he liked, but I wanted it to be something that he could hold on to throughout his whole mission and I wanted to give him something that was more then just another "thing." 
    I thought about all the things he told me he liked about me and the things that we liked to do together. 
    Things such as; Hiking, listening to music, playing guitar, he always loved listening to me play the piano, playing games, walking around the mall, bowling, batting cages, and so on. 

    THEN.... IT HIT ME!! 

    I was going to record a CD  of me playing instrumental piano music. 
     I only had about 2 months before he left so I jumped on the Idea. I called up my cousin who has a recording studio and asked him if he would help me do it. He was nice enough to help me out. One Idea, 
    One pianist (me), and 15 songs later, I had the CD that I was going to give my missionary. 

    Recording a CD was such a great experience for me. I was able to be reminded of why I love the piano so much and I was also able to feel My Saviors Love For Me as I expressed my Love for Him Through Music.  
    Somehow I was able to keep this whole thing a surprise for Easton. He had no Idea that all of this was going on and was so surprised when the time finally came for me to give it to him. 

    The songs I recorded include the following: 

    *Baptism Hymn
    *A Child Prayer
    *Come Thou Fount
    *His Hands
    *I know That My Redeemer Lives
    *I know My Savior Loves Me
    *If The Savior Stood Beside Me
    *What Heaven See's In You
    *Eternal Families
    *Praise to The Man
    *Fireside Medley 
    *God Be With You Till We Meet Again
    *God's Love
    *I Need Thee Every Hour
    *I Feel My Saviors Love 

    If You Would Like a Copy For Your Missionary or Even Yourself Please Email me at the following: 


    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Week 3 In the Field Update from Elder Walker

    Otro Semana de Milagros!

    It has been another week of miracles! how is everyone doing? i have a few things to share with you all so bear with me:)

    so we have an investigator named Gizmo. and he is really into the discussions. he gave up a lot to be clean and prepare himself for baptism. we were teaching him a few weeks ago before he went into his army training, and he wasn't sure if he was going to bring his book of Mormon because he didn't know how the other guys would feel about it, and he didn't want to be left out. i was inspired to tell him if he brought the book, and prayed, he would find a latter day saint there to help him, and read with him. Those of you who know about my experience with Elder Christofferson, when we were talking he told me this: "if the Lord prompts you to say something, he will ALWAYS validate what he tells you to say. no matter what it is, you will promise the truth" so on Tuesday he came back from training and called us late at night to meet with us, we met him the next day and he looked at me and said "when i got into the barracks i met a white guy, who told me he had returned from his Mormon mission in mexico. when he told me that i knew you were here because God sent you"

    I can hardly type those words without weeping. i know i am called of heavenly father and this work is HIS and i have the sacred priviledge to be here as a tool for him. i love my heavenly father and my brother Jesus Christ. on another note, i am riding a bike now... we all know how good i am at that... in 4 days i have fallen 8 times, once over the handlebars, down a hill, onto the street... IT WAS AWESOME!;) haha i know heavenly father is protecting me! no broken bones!;) well i want you all to know that i love you very much. i am so thankful for the support i have back home, i feel your love and prayers daily, and hope you feel mine! thank you for being a source of strength for me!

    I love you all!

    Elder Walker

    Music and Its Powerful Control


                                Have you ever felt like you were being controlled, and that there wasn’t really an explanation to why you were feeling that way? You may be feeling that way because of the type of music you listen to. Music has a powerful control over the human mind and body; whether you realize it or not, music is a huge part of society. Think about it, music is everywhere: in movies, on the television, at the grocery store, in our cars, on our phones, in advertisement, commercials, and at our schools. Music is not only everywhere, but has been around since the beginning of time; which just shows how important music is to the human race. Music can be both influential and imperative to the human mind and body. “How?” you may ask. The music we listen to affects our brain activity: behavior, ability to learn, thoughts, and emotions. 

                 My Focus this week is going to be on music. Obviously music is important to everyone. Music often times
    allows you to feel and express emotions that are hard to convey through just your words. I will be talking about how the music you listen to effects not only your thoughts but behavior as well and how you can be in control. You Choose the music you listen to, Therefore, you choose the way that you feel, 
    and you choose the thoughts that enter into your mind. 

    I never really noticed the way that music effects me until I started paying attention to the way
    different types of music made me feel. 

                                              Is one really aware of their demeanor as music plays in the background of their mind? Douglas R. Fields, journalist from Scientific American gives the following scenario: “You walk into a bar and music is thumping. All heads are bobbing and feet taping in synchrony. Somehow the rhythmic sound grabs control of the brains of everyone in the room forcing them to operate simultaneously and perform the same behaviors in synchrony.” Fields then goes on to ask the following questions:  “How is this possible? Is this unconscious mind control by rhythmic sound only driving our bodily motions, or could it be affecting deeper mental processes?” Research proves that rhythmic sound synchronizes brain waves. The ability to experience and react to music in embedded in our nervous system. Let’s say you walk into a party, you hear Eminem playing in the background, and observe what is going on at the party; people are dirty dancing, making out in the corner, yelling over each other, being destructive, using foul language and drinking. The next song on the playlist that comes on is Jason Mraz’s I won’t give up. Instantly the atmosphere changes; people are talking to each other quietly, the people making out in the corner are now engaging with everyone else in the room, everyone has now set their drinks down, and people are beginning to relax. Does the atmosphere change because of the music that is being played? Or is it merely a coincidence?

                                    People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.Adolescents, especially, are susceptible to the effects of music. The types of music adolescents listen to can be a predictor of their behavior. Those who listen to heavy metal and rap have higher rates of delinquent activity, such as drug and alcohol use, poor school grades, arrest, sexual activity, and behavior problems than those who prefer other types.

                                    A majority of the music in today’s world is all about sex and drugs. Let’s say you have a song stuck in your head, the lyrics are playing through your mind. If the lyrics are talking about sex and drugs then the likelihood that you are thinking about sex and drugs is probable. Pretty soon those thoughts become actions.  Lao-Tze once said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become action. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” The music you listen to can affect and change your entire life. The ability to experience and react to music is embedded in our nervous system.

                                          Our brain reacts to music in different ways depending on whether a person is listening to music, playing an instrument, and whether or not the music involves lyrics. Author Michael D. Lemonick states, “A tune can induce emotions ranging from unabashed joy to deep sorrow and can drive listeners into states of patriotic fervor or religious frenzy--to say nothing of its legendary ability to soothe the savage beast.” Music can influence an individual, and those who play an instrument have an advantage over those who do not. Lemonick expresses, “Intensive practice of an instrument leads to discernible enlargement of parts of the cerebral cortex, the layer of gray matter most closely associated with higher brain function.”  Many studies of music and the brain show the difference between the brains of those who study music and those who do not.  Scientists are continually studying what happens inside the brain of listeners and musicians; the secret of music’s strange power. Scientists have studied famous composers who have experienced brain deficits as a result of injury and have found that after tragic accidents musicians can sometimes still remember and play songs that they have written or can even continue to write new music

    It has been found that the way you listen to music also affects the way your brain responds to it. 

                              Music greatly affects both the human body and mind. Music has positive and negative effects; music influences the way we think and behave; music has been around since before recorded history. Music is extremely important to the human race; it is our responsibility to make sure that it is being used in proper ways. Be aware of what you listen to; the beat of a song can cause you to either feel relaxed or anxious. However, even more so than the beat of a song, the lyrics of a song can influence the way you think. Lyrics of songs can be either uplifting or demeaning, the music you listen to not only affects you but it affects everyone else around you as well.

                               Music can enrich our lives; it can edify and inspire us to do good continually. Music has profound effects on our mind, spirit and behavior. Next time you turn on the radio pay attention to how you feel when you are listening to the music that is being played. Uplifting music can move you to make good choices, help you to excel in your education, and help you withstand the ways of the world. Although music can be good, constantly listening to music is not. You need to allow yourself time for thinking and feeling in peace and quiet. Again, Lao-Tze expresses, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become action. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Time Capsule/Memory Box

    This week has been full of all kinds of craft. Crafts are seriously one of the best ways to keep your mind busy, while at the same time keep you from forgetting.

    For a while now I have been wanting to make some sort of Time Capsule/Memory box that I can add things to throughout these next two years. Mostly memories that my missionary and I have created together. This box is also a great place to store letters you receive from your missionary (or whoever) all in one place. 

    Here Is How It Can Be Done... 

    Things you will need...

    • A Paper Mache box (any shape, I got mine at Michael's 3 for $9.)
    • Mod Podge (16 fl. oz. $9.) 
    • A container you can pour the Mod Podge in (Probably into something you can just throw away because cleaning the mod podge can be really time consuming and frustrating. FREE right from your kitchen) 
    • Foam Paint Brushes ($1)
    • A few Sheets of patterned paper (I bought 6 sheets for ($1.20)
    • and Pictures (optional) 
    Total Project Price... about $25

    The above picture is what is looks like when it is complete. The patterned paper I used were things that were meaningful to us, which include: Clocks(for time), Sheet music, and words. I used pictures of the Gilbert temple and a picture of us on the lid to add more of a personal touch. 

    As for the flower that goes on the top...

    • You can use the extra paper you have from decorating your box
    • Jewels (optional)
    • Glue
    • and a Pencil 
    • You may want to get some scrap paper to practice with first 

    Here is the Tutorial for the Paper Flower: http://brickabrack.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/diy-paper-flowers/

    And this is what it looks like when it is done...
    I left out the pipe cleaner and just stuck a jewel in the middle instead.
    To keep it together I just glued it.


    Any Question?? 


    Comment or Email: ssbbww@gmail.com