Melanie Stroud

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Episode List

Episode 10 - Matthew 8; Mark 2–4; Luke 7 “Thy Faith Hath Saved Thee”

Come Follow Me for Us
Come Follow Me for Us
Episode 10 - Matthew 8; Mark 2–4; Luke 7 “Thy Faith Hath Saved Thee”
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This Episode is about the faith of different people who the Savior touched.   Here is a to the lesson on the church's website.  I will add the show notes as soon as possible.   For the latest on everything, please visit

Episode 9 - My interview with Will Cook about the power of the Book of Mormon

Come Follow Me for Us
Come Follow Me for Us
Episode 9 - My interview with Will Cook about the power of the Book of Mormon
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This episode is a special stand-alone episode about the power of the Book of Mormon.  I had the great opportunity to speak to a very humble man named Will Cook about his experience with finding, leaving, and then returning to The Church of Jesus...

1 5 6 7

 

August 24–30

Helaman 7–12 

“Remember the Lord” Part 2 

This episode covers the second half of Helaman 7-12.  I talk about the pride cycle and ways to avoid it.  I also talk about prophets and how amazing it is that we have a living prophet on the earth today. I go back through April’s conference and point out all the things that the prophet asked us to do.

Included in this podcast is President Nelson reading the new

Thanks in advance for sharing this with your friends, following me on Instagram and/or Facebook, and for leaving a review on Itunes.  It means a lot!! 

Shine On! 

Resources coming soon!

August 24–30

Helaman 7–12

“Remember the Lord”

Nephi’s father, Helaman, had urged his sons to “remember, remember”: he wanted them to remember their ancestors, remember the words of the prophets, and most of all remember “our Redeemer, who is Christ” (see Helaman 5:5–14). It’s clear that Nephi did remember, because this is the same message he declared years later “with unwearyingness” (Helaman 10:4) to the people. “How could you have forgotten your God?” (Helaman 7:20), he asked. All of Nephi’s efforts—preaching, praying, performing miracles, and petitioning God for a famine—were attempts to help the people turn to God and remember Him. In many ways, forgetting God is a bigger problem even than not knowing Him, and it’s easy to forget Him when our minds are distracted by “the vain things of this world” and clouded by sin (Helaman 7:21; see also Helaman 12:2). But, as Nephi’s ministry shows, it’s never too late to remember and “turn … unto the Lord your God” (Helaman 7:17).

Part 2 coming soon!

https://youtu.be/Drf7JZj8vQQ

Helaman 1–6

“The Rock of Our Redeemer”

The book of Helaman records both triumphs and tragedies among the Nephites and Lamanites. It begins with “a serious difficulty among the people of the Nephites” (Helaman 1:1), and the difficulties keep coming throughout the record. Here we read about political intrigue, bands of robbers, rejection of the prophets, and pride and disbelief throughout the land. But we also find examples like Nephi and Lehi and “the more humble part of the people,” who not only survived but thrived spiritually (Helaman 3:34). How did they do it? How did they stay strong while their civilization began to decline and fall apart? The same way any of us stay strong in the “mighty storm” the devil sends to “beat upon [us]”—by building our lives “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, … a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

https://youtu.be/2zanJexA5SE

Alma 53–63

“Preserved by His Marvelous Power”

(THIS IS PART B)

When compared with the Lamanite armies, Helaman’s “little army” (Alma 56:33) of 2,000 young Nephites shouldn’t have stood a chance. Besides being few in number, Helaman’s soldiers “were all … very young,” and “they never had fought” (Alma 56:46–47). In some ways, their situation might seem familiar to those of us who sometimes feel outnumbered and overwhelmed in our latter-day battle against Satan and the forces of evil in the world.

But the army of Helaman had some advantages over the Lamanites that had nothing to do with numbers or military skill. They chose Helaman, a prophet, to lead them (Alma 53:19); “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47); and they had “exceeding faith in that which they had been taught.” As a result, they were protected by “the miraculous power of God” (Alma 57:26). Even though they were all wounded in battle, “there was not one soul of them who did perish” (Alma 57:25). So when life inflicts spiritual wounds on each of us, we can take courage—the message of Helaman’s army is that “there [is] a just God, and whosoever [does] not doubt, [will] be preserved by his marvelous power” (Alma 57:26).

Click Link below to listen to Jody Moore’s episode on Agency.

https://jodymoore.com/agency/

Alma 53–63

“Preserved by His Marvelous Power”

When compared with the Lamanite armies, Helaman’s “little army” (Alma 56:33) of 2,000 young Nephites shouldn’t have stood a chance. Besides being few in number, Helaman’s soldiers “were all … very young,” and “they never had fought” (Alma 56:46–47). In some ways, their situation might seem familiar to those of us who sometimes feel outnumbered and overwhelmed in our latter-day battle against Satan and the forces of evil in the world.

But the army of Helaman had some advantages over the Lamanites that had nothing to do with numbers or military skill. They chose Helaman, a prophet, to lead them (Alma 53:19); “they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47); and they had “exceeding faith in that which they had been taught.” As a result, they were protected by “the miraculous power of God” (Alma 57:26). Even though they were all wounded in battle, “there was not one soul of them who did perish” (Alma 57:25). So when life inflicts spiritual wounds on each of us, we can take courage—the message of Helaman’s army is that “there [is] a just God, and whosoever [does] not doubt, [will] be preserved by his marvelous power” (Alma 57:26).

Here is the letter someone wrote about their mom. Thought I’d include it.

“My mom is someone who knows how to talk to the Lord. As we grew up, we always knew where to find mom in the morning if she was missing and it was quiet; in her bedroom, kneeling in prayer. If we were lucky, we could slide between her arms and get a back scratch while we waited for her to finish her prayer (which means we would be there a while!) My mom showed me there was nothing the Lord didn’t care to hear or help her work out. 

All throughout my life, I knew I had my mom praying for me over the things I shared with her (and probably the worries of her heart over the things she knew I wasn’t saying). As I became a mom her prayers took on an even more powerful influence in my life. I would tell my mom (and my sister, whose like a second mom) things that were going on with me or one of my boys, and I could feel the power of her prayer almost immediately. I would ask, “you’ve been praying for me about this, haven’t you?” And sure enough she’d say, “of course I am!” And I would tell her the little miracle I witnessed because of her willingness to plead with the Lord on my behalf. 

I have had years of watching my mother pray like this, and I am not surprised at all that one of the things I feel like I can bear testimony of the most is that GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYERS. My mom is a powerful influence of faith and virtue, and when I struggle, I know I can lean on her and say, “I do not doubt my mother knows it.” 

Alma 43–52

“Stand Fast in the Faith of Christ”

When we read these words at the beginning of Alma chapter 43—“And now I return to an account of the wars between the Nephites and the Lamanites”—it’s natural to wonder why Mormon included these war stories when he had limited space on the plates (see Words of Mormon 1:5). It’s true that we have our share of wars in the latter days, but there is value in his words beyond the descriptions of the strategy and tragedy of war. His words also prepare us for the war in which “we are all enlisted” (Hymns, no. 250), the war we are fighting each day against the forces of evil. This war is very real, and the outcome affects our eternal lives. Like the Nephites, we are “inspired by a better cause,” which is “our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our [families].” Moroni called this “the cause of the Christians,” the same cause we are fighting for today (Alma 43:45; 46:12, 16).

 

Alma 39–42

“The Great Plan of Happiness

”When someone we love has made a serious mistake, it can be hard to know how to respond. Part of what makes Alma 39–42 so valuable is that it reveals how Alma—a disciple of Christ who once had his own grievous sins to repent of—handled such a situation. Alma’s son Corianton had committed sexual sin, and Alma, as he often did, trusted the power of true doctrine to encourage repentance (see Alma 4:19; 31:5). In these chapters, we observe Alma’s boldness in condemning sin and his tenderness and love for Corianton. And ultimately, we sense Alma’s confidence that the Savior “shall come to take away [sins and] declare glad tidings of salvation” to those who repent (Alma 39:15). The fact that Corianton eventually returned to the work of the ministry (see Alma 49:30) can give us hope for forgiveness and redemption when we are “trouble[d]” (Alma 42:29) about our own sins or the sins of someone we love.”

Here’s the link to this book 

Here’s the link to the picture, “Through His Light” by Kate Lee 

 

 

 

Alma 36–38

“Look to God and Live”

When Alma saw wickedness around him, he felt deep “sorrow,” “tribulation,” and “anguish of soul” (Alma 8:14). “Wickedness among this people,” he said of the Zoramites, “doth pain my soul” (Alma 31:30). He felt something similar after returning from his mission to the Zoramites—he observed that “the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word,” and this made his heart “exceedingly sorrowful” (Alma 35:15). What did Alma do about what he saw and felt? He didn’t simply become discouraged or cynical about the state of the world. Instead, “he caused that his sons should be gathered together” and taught them “things pertaining unto righteousness” (Alma 35:16). He taught them that “there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. … Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness” (Alma 38:9).

I’ve got so much stuff to link today!! Whoa.  Ok here they are in no particular order. 

 

How Rare a Possession

This is a terrible quality screen recording of this movie produced by the church I think. If I’m adding to piracy, I’m sorry. I have it on VHS somewhere, perhaps in Japanese. But that isn’t going to do anyone any good.

2019 Pioneer Day Concert with Sissel

Why didn’t I know about this woman? She has a voice of an angel. She may actually BE an angel. I can’t say for sure. Her song “Slow Down” made me feel all the feels and cry like a baby. It’s at minute 48:06. But I’m looking forward to watching all of it.

https://youtu.be/hmSSg215C9A
The Blessings of Scripture
Small and Simple Things

I didn’t end up using this talk but it’s listed as a resource and it’s good.

I Know That My Savior Loves Me

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHIASMUS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON

I wish that there was a video of Elder Corbridge giving this talk, but there’s not. Here’s the link to his talk Surviving and Thriving like the Pioneers in this month’s Ensign.

And here is the link to the Discourses of Eliza R Snow. Beware, you might spend 4 hours over there.

If I forgot something else I said I’d link let me know. Shine On!

Alma 32–35

“Plant This Word in Your Hearts”

For the Zoramites, prayer was a self-centered, routine practice that happened only once a week. It consisted of standing where all could see and repeating vain, self-satisfied words. Perhaps worse, the Zoramites lacked faith in Jesus Christ—even denied His existence—and persecuted the poor (see Alma 31:9–25). By contrast, Alma and Amulek boldly taught that prayer has more to do with what happens in our hearts than on a public platform. And if it doesn’t lead to compassion toward those in need, it is “vain, and availeth … nothing” (Alma 34:28). Most important, it is an expression of faith in Jesus Christ, who offers redemption through His “infinite and eternal sacrifice” (Alma 34:10). Such faith, Alma explained, is born of humility and a “desire to believe” (Alma 32:27). It grows gradually, like a tree, and requires constant nourishment. As you read Alma 32–35, you might consider your own faith and prayers; do you ever feel any Zoramite-like attitudes creeping in? How will you nourish your faith in Jesus Christ so it will become “a tree springing up unto everlasting life”? (Alma 32:41).

Here is Rachelle’s full talk.  It’s so beautiful.

“Faith is not Blind” Talk

To help with my talk today, I will be using some quotes from a book by Elder Bruce C. Hafen titled, “Faith is not Blind.” In speaking of our life experiences and the process of maturing our faith, he says:

“When we are young, we tend to think in terms of black or white–there is very little gray in our perspective. 

As time goes on, however, our experience with real life often introduces a new dimension–a growing awareness of a gap between the real and the ideal, between what is and what ought to be. Let’s call the distance between where we are and where we want to be “the gap.” We first see the gap when we realize that some things about ourselves or about other people are not what we thought they were. …We might run across information we haven’t heard before about [the Church]. Or maybe we encounter something posted on the internet that raises religious questions we don’t know how to answer. …We might find ourselves becoming a little skeptical, or we may begin to ask questions that haven’t occurred to us before. Not everyone will encounter these things in the same way, but as we grow and increase in our awareness, most of us do run into some uncertainty and opposition. 

So life is full of ambiguity, and learning to manage the gap between the ideal and the real is one purpose of the mortal plan.”

Elder Hafen then addresses how to deal with these uncertainties. He suggests a three-stage model:

“Stage One is simplicity on this side of complexity, innocent and untested. Stage Two is complexity, the gap between the real and the ideal, where we struggle with conflicts and uncertainty. Stage Three is the simplicity beyond complexity, a settled and informed perspective that has been tempered and tested by time and experience.” 

When I became a mother, I entered stage two complexity and today I am going to share with you the tools that helped me progress my faith from stage two complexity, to stage three: Simplicity Beyond Complexity. 

After entering motherhood my world was turned upside down. I suddenly found myself struggling with depression which I had never experienced before in my life. I also felt a huge imbalance in gender roles and didn’t understand why God made male and female roles the way that He did. These feelings led to me asking a lot of hard questions about God and His Church. I went through what I used to call a faith crisis that lasted almost 4 years. I have now learned that while it felt like a spiritual free-fall at the time, it was actually just my faith progressing through these necessary stages that Elder Hafen has taught us about. I stand in front of you today able to confidently testify that God is real and that this is His Church, but coming to that reality has been a process over the last 4 years.  During this progression of my faith, every time I encountered a new question, I followed a 3 step process. This process consisted of: 1) Praying, 2) Studying, and 3) Waiting. 

Let’s discuss the first step, PRAYING. Even when I started to question if God was real, I knew it was important to keep my communication open with Him in case He was. Praying in itself is an act of faith. When we pray, we are showing that we have faith that He is there, and that He will answer us. While I was questioning God’s reality the scripture in Alma 32:27 would often come to mind. It reads:

“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”

I had a desire to believe that God was real, so I decided to experiment upon His words. One night, when I was depressed I had a very heartfelt and sincere prayer. I told God that while I wanted to believe He was there, I didn’t and I was feeling like everything leading up to this point in my life had been a lie. I was raising my children in the Gospel, but for what? If He was real, I needed an answer and the rest of my life and my family’s life depended on it. The next morning, I took my boys to the park right behind our apartment where we used to live. I was pushing my son in a swing when a girl came and sat at a picnic table and opened up a notebook and started to write. She then began to sob, loud and heavy sobs. Immediately I heard a voice just like if I were talking to someone on the phone. He said, “Talk to her.” In my mind I responded to the voice, “I feel so awkward, what would I even say?” Then the voice said so clearly, “Tell her that I see her, she is noticed, and I love her.” I hesitantly and awkwardly walked over to the girl and said, “Are you ok?” She loudly sobbed that she wasn’t.  And then I told her what God told me to tell her. I said, “I just want you to know that God is telling me to tell you that He sees you. He notices you. And He loves you.” She then began to sob even harder and told me that that is exactly what she needed to hear. We ended up talking for a bit and I learned that her name was Destiny. I invited her to our home for dinner and after we ate and she had calmed down she said she was ready to go back home. When I dropped her off she said, “You were my angel today. When you approached me, I was writing my suicide letter and was about to jump in front of the train. I was feeling so invisible and like no one even cared about me anymore.” That experience was exactly what I needed to know that God was real. That day he answered two prayers simultaneously: mine, and Destiny’s. I will never be able to forget or deny that experience, especially because I know Destiny witnessed it and felt Him that day too. 

The second step in this process is to STUDY.  When I began my journey of asking what I call, “the hard questions,” I made a commitment to myself that I would only look for answers in the doctrine of The Church. I have learned that there is some confusion among members of the Church about what is actually considered doctrine so I am going to define it because it is important and I have had many friends leave the Church over things that weren’t doctrine that in their minds, was. The doctrine of The Church is really quite simple. It consists of: 1) The Standard works, 2) The Living Christ and The Family: A Proclamation to the World), and 3) The Articles of Faith. If we are seeking to know if this is indeed the Lord’s Church and His Gospel, we should start by knowing what His gospel is. The year I became a mom, I read the entire Standard Works. I am not exaggerating when I say doing that saved my life. Like I said, I was battling severe PPD at the time and reading the scriptures literally saved me. I kept a tiny notebook of the scriptures that spoke to me. It is one of my most prized possessions to this day. There were days I was just praying I would make it to see another day. I felt so weak and inadequate and not fit for the life I had been given. Each morning I would say my prayers and tell God I needed his help getting through one more day. And each day, as I opened my scriptures, he answered me with the most incredible scriptures. The first page of my notebook has scriptures like, “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid..with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles.” (2 Chronicles 32:17) And then there was Esther 4:14 which reads: “And who knoweth whether thou art come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?” And Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Every day I would write down whatever new scripture spoke to me and put it on the bathroom mirror where I would see it often. I would repeat the scripture to myself over and over again throughout the day or week or however long I needed to. That year I gained a real and tangible testimony of the power of the scriptures as each day I felt an actual physical strength come to me from these verses as I repeated them to myself throughout each day. 

The third step to receiving answers, and to me,  the one that is the most underrated, is to WAIT. When starting this journey I knew it wouldn’t be fair to give the Lord a timetable. I committed that I would search for answers in the right places and wait until Kingdom Come if I had to. Waiting means taking time to ponder and allowing the Lord to speak to you. This waiting period is crucial in receiving answers. It took me almost 4 years of waiting for some of my answers and those answers are priceless to me now. And to be honest, some answers still haven’t come yet. But my journey throughout this process has deepened my understanding of God and His Church and has left me with such a trust in Him that I know I will receive answers to the questions that matter to me someday. There is a popular quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk, “Good Things to Come” where he says, “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” I have found that exchanging the word “blessings” in this quote for the word “answers” is also true. So it reads, “Some [answers] come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” 

As we are faced with the complexities of life and enter stage two of our faith journey, it is my prayer that we do not stop there. The Lord has so many answers in store for those who diligently seek through 1) PRAYER 2) STUDY, and 3) WAITING. By following this process, I know you can be lead to see the simplicity beyond the complexity. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

There was a last section that I didn’t get to that included this talk. Also amazing. Take a listen.

Alma 23–29

They “Never Did Fall Away”

Do you sometimes wonder whether people can really change? Maybe you worry about whether you can overcome poor choices you’ve made or bad habits you’ve developed, or you may have similar worries about loved ones. If so, the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies can help you. These people were the sworn enemies of the Nephites. When Ammon and his brethren decided to preach the gospel to them, the Nephites “laughed [them] to scorn.” Killing the Lamanites seemed like a more plausible solution than converting them. (See Alma 26:23–25.)

But the Lamanites did change—through the converting power of the Lord. Where once they were known as “a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14), they became “distinguished for their zeal towards God” (Alma 27:27). In fact, they “never did fall away” (Alma 23:6).

Maybe you have false traditions to abandon or “weapons of … rebellion” to lay down (Alma 23:7). Or maybe you just need to be a little more zealous in your testimony and a little less prone to falling away. No matter what changes you need, Alma 23–29 can give you hope that, through the atoning power of Jesus Christ, long-lasting change is possible.

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2 thoughts on “Podcast”

  1. Brooke Covington

    Melanie,
    I love to listen to your podcast on my lunch hour at work. You are so inspiring with your great stories and to help me remember that I am important in the Saviors eyes even when my world is upside down and it feels like I’m not. Thank you for what you do!

  2. Karen Johnson Logan utah

    You and your sister are so great together! I do believe Heavenly Father has a sense of humor:)
    You help remind me to find answers to ALL questions in the scriptures. I have been a listener since the beginning. I know I was lead to you. You truly speak my language and I feel I can relate to “the way you teach.” 😉 air quotes
    Thanks!

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