Melanie Stroud

Blog Categories

I was reading the Book of Mormon yesterday and came across this scripture in Alma 23:14  “And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one;” And I got to thinking about this one random Amalekite. How did they know there was one? Was this person outspoken about his/her faith? They must have been! Right? How else would the tally even know to mention them? We never hear anymore about this person.

I thought about it and wondered, are we like the one Amalekite? If someone in the future wrote a history of our book club, job, neighborhood, etc., would they mention us? Would we stand out enough among those we associate with that we could a mention in the history because of our faith?

All of a sudden, I am so curious about this one Amalekite. I want to be like this person. I want people to know I was there and that I loved the Lord and represented enough to be remembered and recognized.

I made a little thought about it on Instagram. You can check it out HERE.

I have also been somewhat obsessed over the new ChatGBT and AI Art generators. It’s fascinating! Elder Gong gave a talk about it at BYU a few weeks ago. You can watch it HERE.

I asked ChatGBT to “Write me a fictional story about the one converted Amalekite in the Book of Mormon that we know nothing about.  Why did he convert? What made him stay? Did he convert others?” (I’m sorry I didn’t write “she”. Don’t be mad. I’m adding now that it could have been a girl or a boy. Man or a woman.) The result BLEW MY MIND. Within seconds ChatGBT wrote this story. If you want to imagine it was a girl, name her Annie.

I also got into StarryAI and asked it to paint me some pictures of these two characters. It originally made them both old, so I’m sticking with those pictures. Pretend they were taken near the end of their lives.

Here is the fictional story that ChatGBT wrote about the “One Amalekite.”

Once upon a time in ancient America, during the time period described in the Book of Mormon, there lived an Amalekite named Amos. He was a young man who grew up in a devout Amalekite family, deeply rooted in their traditional beliefs and practices.
Amos was known for his adventurous spirit and curious nature. He was fascinated by the different cultures and religions he encountered in his travels. One day, while on a journey to trade goods with neighboring cities, Amos came across a group of Nephite missionaries preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Intrigued, he listened attentively to their message and found himself drawn to the teachings of love, faith, and repentance.
As Amos learned more about the gospel, he began to question the beliefs and practices of his own people. He found that the Amalekite ways were often steeped in violence, materialism, and selfishness. This troubled him deeply, and he started to feel a yearning for something more meaningful and fulfilling.
Over time, Amos developed a deep testimony of the gospel and a strong desire to change his life for the better. He chose to be baptized and formally converted to the Nephite faith. His decision was met with mixed reactions from his family and fellow Amalekites. Some were intrigued by his newfound faith and respected his choice, while others were skeptical and ridiculed him.
Despite facing challenges and opposition, Amos remained steadfast in his faith. He devoted himself to studying the scriptures, praying, and serving others. He found great joy and fulfillment in living the principles of the gospel, and his life began to transform for the better. He let go of his old ways of selfishness and violence, and he started to cultivate virtues like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Amos’ exemplary conduct and sincere testimony became a powerful witness to those around him. He often shared the gospel with others and invited them to come unto Christ. His kindness and Christ-like love won over many hearts, and he was able to help several Amalekites embrace the gospel and make positive changes in their lives.
As time went on, Amos became known as a respected leader in his community. He served as an example of a true disciple of Christ, and his unwavering faith and righteous deeds touched the lives of many. He continued to live a life of devotion and service, and he remained a faithful member of the Nephite faith until the end of his days.
Amos’ conversion not only brought him personal joy and fulfillment, but it also had a ripple effect on the lives of those around him. His unwavering faith, genuine love for others, and Christ-like example inspired many others to follow his path and find truth and happiness in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He left a legacy of faith, love, and service that endured long after he was gone, and he was remembered as the one converted Amalekite who touched the hearts of many and helped bring others to Christ.

The End

Mind blown.

BUY NOW

I can’t believe it. The day is finally here. I am a published author!

I would like to thank all the people and say all the things, but for now, I will just jump up and down and cry some happy and some kind of scared tears.

I’m am so happy. This is something I felt like I should do for the last 30 years. I have a hard time getting things finished, so this really does feel like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. This has been a labor of love for sure. There were so many times I wanted to give up, gave up, or thought it was just a dumb idea. But God wouldn’t leave me alone about it and put the right people in my path so that I was able to finally complete it.

It wouldn’t be here without my amazing Publisher, Chloe Simons, from E n’ S Publishing. She took a brave leap and followed a prompting that eventually (when I finally got brave enough to do this thing) led us to this place. She spent countless hours behind the scenes getting permissions for quotes from Salt Lake, working with editors and design and spent who knows how many grueling hours go over and over this manuscript of mine. She’s a hero. She was an instrument in God’s hands for sure. If you need a publisher, look her up. She is professional, patient, organized and so easy to work with. (enspublishing@gmail.com)

I’m scared. I feel like the little fawn that was born in my front yard last year – all wobbly-legged and scared. I hope people will be nice. I hope the message will outweigh my mistakes. I think it will. No, I know it will! The reading method I present is life changing and if you learn it and do it you feel the Savior and Heavenly Father’s influence powerfully in your life. I promise.

It’s with so much gratitude that I am sharing this with you. Thanks for listening to the podcast, believing in me, and helping me see that my voice and perspective are needed in this world. I love you!! Your love, messages and kindness have changed my life. It’s been so fun getting to know Jesus right alongside you. What a fun and rewarding journey it has been.

After you read it, (in one sitting, I’m sure, haha) please take the time to head back over to Amazon and leave a review. That is how this book will get pushed to the top so that others can find it. Let’s flood the whole dang world with the power and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Yay!! We are doing this! This is happening.

You can buy it in Kindle or Paperback format at the moment. There will be an Audible version in about three weeks.

BUY NOW

This episode is about the Sermon on the Mount, being peacemakers, being persecuted for righteousness’ sake and how to be saltier – in a good way.  

Click HERE for the lesson in the manual.

Click HERE for resources I mention in the podcast.

Don’t forget to go to www.melaniewstroud.com to sign up for the email list so you’ll be first to know about anything new!  

Shine on

Resources coming soon. Please check back.

Episode 7 Notes

John 2-4
Ye Must Be Born Again

In the beginning, I go over some comments about people heading back to the temple and stopping doing the little things that may keep up from doing bigger, better things. I tell the story of my husband almost dying on a plane years ago. After many digressions, this lesson actually talks about the miracle of turning water into wine, faith preceding the miracle, being born again, how Christ makes our lives magnificent, the woman at the well, and then finally some FHE helps. (Ha Ha – wait for it).

Quotes from the lesson

President Monson:
Faith precedes the miracle. It has ever been so and shall ever be. It was not raining when Noah was commanded to build an ark. There was no visible ram in the thicket when Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Two heavenly personages were not yet seen when Joseph knelt and prayed.
First came the test of faith, and then the miracle. Remember, remember, that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught,
”My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life …..
If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children!
“Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” Ensign May 2016, 127).

Joseph B. Wirthlin taught,

These latter days are a time of great spiritual thirst. Many in the world are searching, often intensely, for a source of refreshment that will quench their yearning for meaning and direction in their lives. They crave a cool, satisfying drink of insight and knowledge that will soothe their parched souls. Their spirits cry out for life-sustaining experiences of peace and calm to nourish and enliven their withering hearts.

Let us work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength to show our thirsty brothers and sisters where they may find the living water of the gospel, that they may come to drink of the water that springs “up unto everlasting life.”

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/04/living-water-to-quench-spiritual-thirst?lang=eng

And the podcast I mentioned was Better Than Happy by Jody Moore

Episode 5
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (click link for lesson in manual)

This episode is about repentance and how the gospel can change you! This episode introduces Mark as one of the contributors to the New Testament. We learn a little more about John the Baptist and how he started calling people to repentance and baptizing them. Then I speak about repentance – a lot. I give the Parable of the Dairy and talk about Alma the younger’s experience with repentance. I then talk a little about a Christian author named Jen Hatmaker and her feelings on helping our kids build a better relationship with the Savior. I end with the parable of the Prodigal Son.

(And if any of your kids draw John the Baptist and you email them to me at comefollowmeforus@gmail.com, I’ll post them on this blog!)

Here’s a link to Jen’s book, “For the Love” It’s probably my favorite of hers.

Here is a link to the book I love the most of hers.

Here are the key quotes from the lesson

Elder Holland. “However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”

Henry B. Eyring.
“When responsibility is accepted and the urgency to repent is felt, the question may come, “Where do I start?” Each life is unique. But for all, repentance will surely include passing through the portal of humble prayer. Our Father in Heaven can allow us to feel fully the conviction of our sins. He knows the depths of our remorse. He can then direct what we must do to qualify for forgiveness. For serious sin, we will need to confess to a judge in Israel and accept his guidance. Prayer alone will in that case not be enough. But for all of us, whatever the gravity of our sins, prayer will open the door to repentance and forgiveness. Without earnest prayer, repentance and cleansing are not possible. When the door is opened by prayer, there is a possibility for peace.”

Jen Hatmaker
“If they don’t love Jesus and people, it matters zero if they remain virgins and don’t say the f-word. We must shepherd their hearts, not just their hemlines.” and “Jesus operates beyond the tidy boundaries of good behavior. Rather than simply enforce his rules, we should show our kids his kingdom. That’s where they will discover a savior to fall in love with.”

Picture from the great ice cream fight that led to the Parable of the Dairy

All I can say is wow! Wow, Elder Corbridge, you are amazing!! I want to meet you. I want to chat with you. I want to be your friend. You always touch me so deeply when I read your words!

He has an article in this month’s Ensign that you can’t miss. His points about why the pioneers did what they did are so spot on! I think I could listen to him talk forever. (Oh, but here you have to read it. Actually read words. Dang it.)

(And if you haven’t listened to his talk, Stand Forever yet, shame on you! I only tell you every day that you need to listen!! Here is a link to that one. (STAND FOREVER)

Surviving and Thriving like the Pioneers

By Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge

Served as a General Authority Seventy from 2008 to 2019

From a Pioneer Day devotional, “Survive or Thrive,” delivered July 24, 2019, in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.

With heavenly help and pioneer persistence, we can not only survive adversity but also thrive because of it.

There is nothing easy about the pioneers and the story of the Restoration, but there is nothing easy about the children of God receiving and following His guidance from the beginning of time. The best and highest road, the road of greatest worth, the only road to fulfillment and eternal life is not an easy road.

Hardship, suffering, disappointment, failure, and faith—always leading to ultimate triumph—have been the common lot of the faithful in all ages. When I think of the Restoration, including pioneers, I think of hardship and suffering, but I also have questions.

1. Why did so many intelligent people give up so much and willingly endure such great suffering to gather with the Saints?

This is a particularly relevant question today, as some chart a course of ease, cherry-picking among what the gospel, the Restoration, and the Church offer. They quietly hunker down in the routines of their lives and shrink from any level of inconvenience, sacrifice, and service—much less the level of hardship willingly endured by the early members of the Church.

Why not accept the ordinances and the scriptures and live a good life without extraordinary sacrifice? Why not simply embrace a new religion and remain in place? Why uproot everything and everyone? Why leave one’s family, home, and homeland forevermore to traipse off to a strange land, however great the promise may be? Why not build the kingdom of God in New England, the British Isles, Scandinavia, or wherever is home? Could the Saints not simply live the gospel where they were? Does faith, faithfulness, and righteousness require willing abandonment of almost everything else?

Our natural instinct understandably is to shrink from hardship, but it is a grave mistake for that to be life’s primary objective. That kind of thinking wrongly equates the pursuit of joy with the hollowness of ease. While that has some appeal, it is a deeply flawed strategy because suffering and joy are not incompatible but rather essential companions. You can suffer and never know joy, but you can’t have joy without suffering. (See 2 Nephi 2:23.)

On April 6, 1830, the restored Church of Jesus Christ was organized. In September of that year the Lord declared:

“Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect. …

“… The decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:7–8).

Over time there were four gathering places, beginning with Kirtland, Ohio (1831–37), then Missouri (1831–38), followed by Nauvoo, Illinois (1839–46), and then Utah (1847–early 1900s).

In a series of wagon trains and a few handcart companies over 22 years, between 60,000 and 70,000 people gathered in the Salt Lake Valley.1 By 1900, about 90,000 Saints had gathered to the United States. Approximately 50,000 emigrated from the British Isles. About 30,000 came from Scandinavia. Others came from Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Australia, and the South Pacific.2

You can’t explain it as religious fanaticism, not on this scale. It is one thing for a new convert or even a few zealots here and there to pack up a few things and leave everything else behind blinded by a new faith. It is quite another for tens of thousands of intelligent, good, rational people to do that in the same time frame and do it willingly and largely independently of others. They were, as Charles Dickens described them, “the pick and flower of England”3 and other nations.

How does one explain that, tens of thousands of times over? There is nothing like it and there is no good explanation, at least in human terms. You cannot explain it away by the charisma of Joseph Smith, whom these emigrants had never met, and you can’t explain it away as the power of a so-called cult either, not on the scale of what actually occurred.

Some have said it was the result of a sense of community. But while a sense of community evolved over time as diverse converts gathered and melded together in increasingly greater numbers, that was after they had left home and homeland. A sense of community might have kept them together once they were together, but what sense of community would have urged leaving home in the first place?

What about a need to find refuge from persecution and the evils of the world? Maybe, here and there, but can that explain the scale of sacrifice we are considering? Can’t you hunker down at home and let the winds of scorn blow overhead?

Another explanation is a common cause. Yes, the greatest cause on earth is to build up the kingdom of God, but why not take up that cause and build up God’s kingdom at home?

This leads us to another explanation closer to the heart of the matter. Surely the gathering would not have occurred without the call of the Lord through His prophet to gather not only to Zion but also to a temple, where His people would be endowed with power from on high.

One of the tens of thousands was Jane Charters Robinson, converted on the Isle of Man. She said: “In the year 1855 … I, together with a younger sister, left home and sailed … for Liverpool, and arrived there next day for the purpose of going to America, very much against my father’s wishes. But I believed in the principle of the gathering and felt it my duty to go, although it was a severe trial to me in my feelings to leave my native land and the pleasing associations that I had formed there, but my heart was fixed. I knew in whom I had trusted, and with the fire of Israel’s God burning in my bosom, I forsook my home, but not to gather wealth or the perishable things of this world.”4

In the end, however, all of the above explanations fall short. There is no satisfactory explanation, at least in human terms, because it was not merely a human endeavor but rather the work of God. The story of the Restoration, the pioneers and the westward migration, the willing and total sacrifice of tens of thousands, and the hardship and suffering and making the desert to blossom as a rose is the story of God’s hand bringing about His purposes. It is that simple. This story stands alone in history and is a testament to the truthfulness of the Restoration and the work of God gathering Israel, which continues today on both sides of the veil.

2. Why did the early Saints persist after repeated failure and constant opposition?

Some say that nothing breeds success like success. If that is the formula for success, then the story of Joseph Smith, the Restoration, the pioneers, and the early Saints should have been a very different story because it is a story of repeated failure and unrelenting opposition. It is the story of ultimate success arising out of the ashes of repeated failure.

The early Saints were driven from home and lands in New York to Kirtland, Ohio, where they built homes, a community, and the first temple in this dispensation. After a 900-mile (1,450 km) march to Missouri, Zion’s Camp failed to regain land from which the Saints had been dispossessed. The bank established under the direction of Joseph Smith failed. From Kirtland the Saints were driven to Missouri, but soon an order was issued from the highest level of the state government to expel them.

Some were massacred, and others were beaten, tarred and feathered, and left for dead. Many women were brutally assaulted, and time and time again, houses were robbed; food, wagons, tents, and clothing were stolen; and livestock was driven off. Joseph Smith and other leaders were imprisoned for many months. Opposition came from every direction, from without and within. There was apostasy, dissent, and betrayal even among trusted leaders.

The Saints were driven from Missouri to Illinois, where out of the swamps of the Mississippi River they built another temple and the beautiful city of Nauvoo. Within a few years, persecution and discord infiltrated Nauvoo as well. The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were imprisoned and martyred by a mob of about 200 men in nearby Carthage. The Saints were driven into the bleak winter, at first without a clear destination in sight. The temple was ransacked and burned.

During the trek across the western plains, hundreds, if not thousands, would die along the trail.5 Once the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, homes, farms, and communities had to be carved out of the wilderness. Surely some, if not many, questioned, “If this is God’s work, where is He?”

People ask a similar question today. Some lose faith because of hardship. A daughter dies and, in their grief, parents question their faith in God. Another thinks her life should be happier and better because of her righteousness. But it is more than “Why me?” Rather, it is “Where is God? Why would He allow this to happen despite my faithfulness?”

God declared His purpose for the creation of the heavens and the earth, saying, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25).

The question is not whether we will be faithful when things go well; rather, will we be faithful when they don’t? Faith is faithfulness in uncertainty and disappointment, faithfulness not to get one’s way, faithfulness regardless of the outcome.

So, back to the primary question: Why did the early Saints keep going after repeated failure and constant opposition? Why not step back from the lightning rod of the body of the Saints, hunker down, keep the faith without talking about it so much, and live a life of quiet devotion? Wouldn’t that be the prudent course of action?

Surely some quietly stepped away, but we know little about them, and in that fact alone, we find the answer to our question. Faith does not step back or hunker down. Faith is rarely, if ever, quiet or obscure, and in this case, silence is not golden.

3. What are the characteristics of people who not only survive but also thrive in great adversity?

It is one thing to survive the desert but quite another to make it blossom as a rose. It is one thing to survive; it is another to thrive. What makes the difference?

Just four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, President Brigham Young (1801–77) stated “that he intended to have every hole and corner from the Bay of San Francisco to Hudson Bay known to us.”6 Small settlements emerged along the Wasatch Front almost immediately to the north and south of the Salt Lake Valley. Within 20 years the Saints had established approximately 350 communities in the West. That is not surviving but thriving in hardship.

While serving in Chile, my wife and I experienced the fifth-strongest earthquake in recorded history anywhere in the world. In the aftermath we observed different reactions.

We witnessed what some experts have termed the 10-80-10 principle, which suggests that 10 percent of people will handle crisis and trauma with a relatively calm and rational state of mind. They pull themselves together quickly. They accept the situation, make decisions to improve it, and take action. However, the vast majority of us, 80 percent, are immobilized, stunned, and bewildered and wait for help to come or someone to tell us what to do. The group we try not to be in, however, is the last 10 percent. They freak out and make the situation worse.

Our missionaries in Chile responded quickly by helping others rebuild their lives and homes. They were in the first group, the top 10 percent, perhaps because they were on the errand of the Lord.

Another characteristic of those who not only survive but also thrive is adaptability, or coming to terms with a new reality. We are most rattled when our lives suddenly change, especially by events outside our control. Those who fare best are the most flexible and less dependent on their environment and the normal routines of life for stability. This is more than optimism or a positive attitude. It is faith, which is different.

Survivors and thrivers see things for what they are—good and bad—and they deal with them. Bad things happen, but as did the early Saints, we must accept life’s realities, even the harsh ones, and trust that with the Lord’s help we may endure well and that all things, both good and bad, will ultimately work together for our good (see Doctrine and Covenants 98:3).

Adapt With Faith

I am grateful for the marvelous heritage we share. I testify of the hand of God in bringing about His purposes both in the early days of this last chapter and today. I pray that we will be valiant, that our faith not be quiet or obscure, that we not step back or hunker down, that we adapt with faith to whatever our circumstances may be, knowing that all things will work together for our good if we endure them well. I pray that we will not only survive the adversities of life but also thrive because of them.

*Editor’s note: The Police Officer(s) that killed George Floyd is absolutely not the adulterer in this story. I was using how the Savior reacted to a situation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on in the world right now. I’ve wanted to know what the best thing to do or say would be. As the host of a podcast about the Savior, I have to watch my words. People look to me as an example. And although most of the time my example is saying, Guys, learn from my mistakes, this wasn’t the place I wanted to do that. I needed some insight here. So I turned to my go-to when I need guidance. The scriptures and prayer.

The story that kept coming to my mind was the story of the woman taken in adultery. I wasn’t sure why at first, it didn’t seem relevant to the problems we are facing. But upon further examination, I think there are some important lessons we can learn from this story about how the Savior dealt with conflict.

The scene opens with Jesus Christ sitting in the temple teaching the people. A commotion arises as a group of Scribes and Pharisees drag this woman in and toss her at the feet of Jesus. (There’s a video you can watch, I’ll link it.) 

These guys are mad. She had broken the law. The law said they should stone her. And that they easily could have done without bringing her to Jesus. But they brought her to Jesus, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. They were like,  This guy preaches love and commandments all the time. Let’s see how we can catch him in this, make him look bad.  They wanted to make Jesus misstep, and they also wanted her to publicly get what she had coming to her.

So, they come in all riled up. (Watch the movie). They say to Jesus, but what sayest thou?  Everyone is watching; the scribes, Pharisees, and everyone else who was at the temple who was listening to him preach.  

And what does Jesus do at that moment? He kneels and starts writing in the dirt, as though He heard them not. 

I’ve thought about this before but thought harder about it today. Why the pause? Why writing on the ground? We never find out what he wrote.  

I think, maybe, he was giving them a minute to settle down.  

They were genuinely mad. She was genuinely wrong. They wanted justice! They wanted her punished. I think the Savior understood this. Even knowing their underlying agenda, I think He was giving them a chance to be heard and to be mad. The Savior knows when we are frustrated.  He knows we need to feel heard.  

So He did that. He listened.  

In the very act! they yelled. They jeered. 

And still, He just sat there, writing in the dirt. 

He didn’t stand up and say, Calm down. Everyone just stop. You being mad is wrong. The way you are handling this is all wrong!  He just gave them a minute to settle down. Then, when some time had passed, He stood and said, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 

And then he knelt back down and continued writing in the dirt.  

He didn’t start calling any of them out. He knew all of them, their hearts, and their deeds. He could have laid right into them. Tim! You steal from the treasury all the time. Jebadiah! You slept with the woman up the street last night! He could have stood up and called them all out. But he didn’t. He left them to think for a minute. He gave them time for some introspection. 

And I don’t know why this one time the Pharisees decided to be humble, but they did. Maybe because the question came with the power and force of the Holy Ghost into their hearts. Maybe for that moment, they couldn’t deny who was speaking to them. I don’t know, but they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.  

They didn’t justify anything. They didn’t say, Ya, but what I did wasn’t as bad as adultery! She’s worse than me! They stopped looking around at everyone else and just took a good look at themselves. 

The story continues, And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  

He goes to her now, the one who was hurting. The one who had just been dragged into the town square, embarrassed and humiliated. He turns to her to comfort her, not to judge her. And he says, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 

She said, No man, Lord. 

And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

And that’s the end of the story.  

Here’s what I learned from the Savior about how to deal with conflict. I want to follow His example as much as I can in my life. He laid out the ideal for all of us. He taught us the right way to act.

First, I’m going to sit at the feet of the Savior and listen to all He has to say as often as I can. The story started with Him teaching a bunch of people in the temple. I can take more time out of my life to give place for Him and His teachings. When I read and study His life and His teachings I always want to be better.

Second, I’m going to spend less time rounding up people to throw in the dirt and spend more time judging myself.

The thing that made the Pharisees the worst was that they couldn’t be content to just be good themselves. They didn’t feel happy or worthy unless they were MORE worthy than everyone else. 

So if I don’t want to be a hypocritical Pharisee, I need to spend my time looking at myself and my family’s attitudes. I don’t make myself look better by pointing out how bad everyone else is doing. It’s an important thing to remind myself.

Third, I’m going to try to spend more time writing in the dirt. I’ve spent too much of my life immediately reacting to the world around me. Legend has it, that my Grandma Marge used to go outside in the back and count and take some time when she was angry to settle down. I never saw her even ruffled before, so I don’t believe it, but if it’s true I need to learn how to do it too. I need to spend more time out back.  

I watched the movie about Mr. Roger’s life last week. He was such a good dude. Part of the reason why was because he took some time to swim out his anger or pound loudly on the piano every once in a while. Mr. Rogers didn’t pound on people when they disappointed him. He found other ways to get that frustration out. He didn’t pound on people.

I need to learn better ways to behave when I’m angry. And better ways to respond to other’s anger. Maybe a few more minutes writing in the dirt before I respond is a cool lesson.  

I can incorporate the Savior’s example by just keeping quiet and letting people vent their frustrations. I don’t have to respond to everything I read or every opinion someone puts on social media. I just don’t.  

Sometimes people need to vent. I don’t have to get sucked into telling them what I think about what they think. Very seldom does that lead to anyone feeling uplifted. It just leads to more contention. Sometimes I just need to listen and try to understand.

Next, I need to remember what the Savior did after the crowd dissipated.  

The Savior of the world, the man who wrote the laws and had all the power and authority to enforce them didn’t judge the woman on the ground in front of Him. He comforted her and gave her some good council. He didn’t judge her.

The scriptures are replete with warnings from the Lord that He is the only righteous judge. He sees things as they really are. He sees hidden hurt and factors I don’t see. I can’t judge with all the facts, no matter how well I’m doing. Because it isn’t my job. I need to quit thinking it is. I just get myself in a mess when I start thinking I know more than everyone else and that my way is the best way.

Humility is going to change hearts far faster than any amount of name-calling and social shaming is going to. What if we all took a good, long, hard look at ourselves and then made some necessary changes? ALL OF US?  

Can you imagine if all of us came clean instead of calling everyone else out?  

Have I laughed when I shouldn’t have? Did I not step up when I could have? Have I tried hard enough to understand what is going on around me?

And if we find faults in ourselves after some private introspection, I hope we can say, I’m so sorry. I want to be better. I want to change. Please forgive me. 

Being convicted by [our] own conscience sounds pretty refreshing about now.

Finally, I will go comfort someone who is hurting.

I can ask a black man, a Hispanic woman, or a police officer,  How are you feeling? How is your grief? And then I can listen. I can try to better understand. I can love unconditionally and I can try to console and help anyone who needs it.  And I can teach my children to do the same.

And listen closely, because this is true. If I ask a police officer how his grief is, it doesn’t mean I’m a racist and I hate black people. And if I ask a black man to tell me his experiences with racism it doesn’t mean I hate the police. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let’s be more like Christ. Pharisees wait to see who they can point at. The Savior waits to see who he can help and love. 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said this and I think it’s a fitting ending.

No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. …. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other.

Let’s call for reform and stand up for change. Let’s hate what happened, but not each other.  We can be better.

Shine on friends!

In this week’s episode, I talked about how we can choose to follow God and choose to have his light in our lives. But I want to stress the realness of metal illness. I went through times in my life when, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t feel that light in my life. I would pray and fast and get blessings and still, things felt pretty dark. It wasn’t until I went to the doctor and got on some medication that I was finally able to feel peace and God’s love again. The clouds lifted. If you are doing the things to bring you closer to God, repenting and searching for his light, especially in the pages of the Book of Mormon and you just can’t feel it, please talk to someone. Please seek medical help. The Lord wants us to be happy. He designed us to be happy. And sometimes, our rotten physical bodies get sick, including our minds and we need help. You aren’t failing if you ask for help. You aren’t failing if you get on medication. You are winning!! God created genius people and medical miracles to help heal us. Trust that! Jeffrey R Holland said, “If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.”

https://youtu.be/kNAx2Rgq-uI

This was an episode of mine where I addressed some mental health issues last year.

This week the lesson referenced a talk by Elder Eyring called, “The Book of Mormon Will Change Your Life.” I loved it! I called my ever talented sister in law Cheryl and asked if she’d make me some printables to give out so people could print them and put them in their homes. And look how awesome they turned out!

And I didn’t even know she had an Etsy store! She does cute printables and baptism programs etc. Check it out! WellmanDesigns But these below are FREE. Download them straight from here. The Book of Mormon Printables (The pdf’s are for printing at home. You will need to trim them. The jpegs are for sending to a lab.)

I will link the whole talk below. And include an excerpt.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2004/02/the-book-of-mormon-will-change-your-life?lang=eng

“Some years ago, my son Matthew came home from a seminary council meeting and said, “Dad, I want you to carve something.” He gave me the text. The plaque I carved says, “The Book of Mormon will change your life.”1

My message to you is simple: What was written on that plaque is true. Did you notice the words of the quotation? It does not say the teaching or the study of the book will change your life. It says, “The Book of Mormon will change your life.” – Elder Eyring

I echo these words 1,000 times and LOUDLY!! Read it every day. Study its pages. Hold it in your hands. And you’ll be amazed at what the Lord is ready to teach you.

(Some people were having problems downloading the files above. They work for some people so… here are a few you can just click on a download. The only problem is the 8×10 jpeg is too big. It won’t let me add it. So if you need that one, leave a comment and an email and I’ll email it for you.

Sorry if it was frustrating.

5×7 pdf. Best for printing at home
8×10 pdf. Best for printing at home
5×7 jpeg. Best for printing at a lab

Study Bookmark

Someone sent this bookmark they made with the steps for reading the Book of Mormon as I taught. Feel free to print them out. Thanks Cody!

3 thoughts on “What’s New”

    1. It will be on Amazon soon! I’m sorry it’s taking longer than I thought. Hopefully it will be out in the next few weeks. We really thought it would be out by Valentines Day. I guess I have to learn patience or something hard like that.

  1. I’m listening to your book. I love it!
    I also look forward to the next Come Follow me for Us every week! I’ve learned so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *