Podcasts about mormon stories

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  • 47PODCASTS
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  • Oct 21, 2021LATEST
mormon stories

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Best podcasts about mormon stories

Latest podcast episodes about mormon stories

Mormon Stories - LDS
1492: Sexually Assaulted by My Companion as a Mormon Missionary - McKay Johnson Part 1

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 189:49


McKay ‘Spartacus' Johnson is our guest today for this fantastic two-part Mormon Stories interview. Carah Burrell takes the reins again as lead interviewer as we talk to McKay about battling a “Nephi complex” growing up, early exposure to pornography, and his mission to Brasil where he describes being groomed by his mission companion and sexually assaulted. It's an intense and undercover topic and we thank McKay for coming on the podcast to share his experience being a male sexual assault survivor. In part two, McKay tells us about what it was like to heal from his mission and deconstruct the homophobic ideas he carried with him after his assault. Eventually getting married and divorced, we discuss with McKay what happened the night he confessed to his wife he had been occasionally viewing pornography and what can be done in Mormon culture to shift the unhelpful and counterproductive labeling of men like McKay. McKay is also a talented TikToker and musician, so we are happy he could find time to take a break from playing rock god to join us on Mormon Stories and we hope you'll support him wherever his talents take him!  Content warning: This episode contains discussion of sexual assault. ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 ————— Show notes:  @Spartacus_Unchained on TikTok Healthier approaches to porn and masturbation @ExMoLex on TikTok @ExMormonMindy on TikTok @NuanceHoe on TikTok SuitUpSoldier.com

Mormon Stories - LDS
1490: Mormon Questions on Air - Marc Oslund's Excommunication and BYU Soaking?

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 118:52


What questions are on your mind this week? Do you have something you've been wanting to ask? What queries have you, our dear Mormon Stories listeners? Tell us! Join John and Carah for a live stream as we chat, answer your questions, and hit the hot topics of the week in the Mormon/post-Mormon realm. ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 —————

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
13. Jacob Dunford: Whatever your child's journey is, go together. Talking about the LGTBQ+ community and being gay in the mormon church.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 62:59


When is the last time you gave up something sacred to show your love for someone else? How many of us need to expand our awareness and understanding of the LGTBQ+ community and show more love to these members that are around us? Do we need to expand our personal social circles to have more diversity?I got the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with Jacob Dunford who shares his story of being Gay and navigating being Mormon. One of my favorite parts about Jacob's story was his parents absolute support and love for their son. They are truly a beautiful example to us all.Jacob works at Encirle which has a beautiful slogan, "no sides, only love.' They embody a culture and an environment that there is a place for everyone at the dinner table. Jacob shares, "What does that really break down to? Mormon or atheist, or anything in that spectrum? gay or straight? Male or female, Republican or Democrat. There's a place for you at the dinner table. That's our motto. That's our methodology. That is how we go about everything. "Jacob also shares that he feels that a lot of people within religion and outside of religion are looking for a way to show up for the LGBTQ community in the way they know how. "So often what happens is we sort out people of religion and people who have left religion into  two groups that can't communicate." Jacobs feels strongly about being someone that wants to be that person who reaches accross the isle and bridged the divide and he's doing damn good job at it. There were several beautiful pieces of this interview that I was so honored to listen to and now share with you. Let's assist the world in building bridges, of holding and giving unconditional love for everyone. To learn more about encircle go here:https://encircletogether.org/Follow Jacob on IG @jacobdunfordGet signed up for my Leaving Religion Course here:https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/leavingreligioncourseReady to reignite your heart with your souls purpose? https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/leavingreligioncourse@amanda.joy.loveland 

Perspective Underground
Book of Mormon Stories Introduction/ Chapter 1

Perspective Underground

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 52:44


In this episode Jordan and Marcus start a new series looking at the Book of Mormon Stories on the LDS Website! Tune in to see how they will explore these "stories" and how to have step by step conversations!  For the BOM stories website click here.  To buy Witness to Mormons in Love click here.  To find resources or donate to Trigrace Ministries, Perspective Underground or to  Jordan or Marcus specifically click here. 

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
12. Audrey O'Brian: Emancipating herself truly created Heaven.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 79:37


Even before her birth, Audrey's family system was quite unique and somewhat divided.  One side of her family being very orthodox Mormon and the other side being less traditional, her Grandmother a feminists in nature, and then later having her father and mother divorced as her father came out as being gay.Having her family be so secretive about her youth, Audrey was forced to really do her own diving into her healing & her personal work to find true peace. Her story is both heartfelt and painful to listen to as she went through some pretty difficult and challenging circumstances through her youth. Being sexually abused by her step-uncle, then being taken to the bishop instead of counseling as she needed to repent for her sins to becoming pregnant at 16 years old and being kicked out and many other things that pull at your heart. Audrey shares her beautiful story of a emancipation from her religion and her family of origin. Find Audrey at  https://www.thebreathingco.com or her Instagram @thebreathingcoJoin my heart opening retreat! https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/heartopeningLeaving religion and looking for some help? My 13 week Leaving Religion course launches Nov. 9th. Reserve your spot at https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/leavingreligioncourse

Mormon Stories - LDS
1482: Coming Out to My Husband After Leaving the Mormon Church - Laren Rogers Pt. 2

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 125:03


Lauren Rogers is our guest today for this epic two-part Mormon Stories interview. After suffering through a restrictive diet, harassment, and medical neglect on her Mormon mission to Chile, Lauren found herself permanently disabled as she made her way back home to the US. In part two, Lauren also tells us about the same-sex attraction she repressed throughout her life as a devout Mormon and descendant of Brigham Young, eventually leading to an extremely fascinating exit from the church and a wildly eye-opening description of how she continues a healthy relationship with her husband. It's a gripping story from start to finish! Even Lauren's shelf breaker and realizations about God might be a first-ever for Mormon Stories! We hope you'll resonate with Lauren's incredible, epic story! ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 ————— Show Notes: Lauren's Tiktok Ted Lyon MS episode Gospel topics essays Matt Harris Mormon Stories episode Eldon Kartchner Josh and Lilly Weed

Mormon Stories - LDS
1481: My Mormon Mission Left Me Disabled - Lauren Rogers Pt. 1

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 143:17


Lauren Rogers is our guest today for this epic two-part Mormon Stories interview. After suffering through a restrictive diet, harassment, and medical neglect on her Mormon mission to Chile, Lauren found herself permanently disabled as she made her way back home to the US. In part two, Lauren also tells us about the same-sex attraction she repressed throughout her life as a devout Mormon and descendant of Brigham Young, eventually leading to an extremely fascinating exit from the church and a wildly eye-opening description of how she continues a healthy relationship with her husband. It's a gripping story from start to finish! Even Lauren's shelf breaker and realizations about God might be a first-ever for Mormon Stories! We hope you'll resonate with Lauren's incredible, epic story! ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 ————— Show Notes: Lauren's Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@exmo_mom_?lang=en Ted Lyon MS episode: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/missionary-sexual-assault/ Gospel topics essays: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/essays?lang=eng Matt Harris Mormon Stories episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmjj2kbxFnQ Eldon Kartchner - https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/eldon-kartchner-mixed-orientation-marriage/ Josh and Lilly Weed: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/josh-and-lolly-weed-on-their-love-story-mixed-orientation-marriages-and-ldslgbt-issues/

Mormon Stories - LDS
1476c: Telling Loved Ones about Losing Your Faith - Margi & John Dehlin Pt. 3

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 171:31


Today's Mormon Stories episode we are joined by Margi Dehlin as we continue discussing how to communicate with believing family and friends about losing your faith. --------------- If you would like to see this sort of content continue on Mormon Stories Podcast, please become a monthly donor to the project here: https://donorbox.org/the-gift-of-the-mormon-faith-crisis-podcast --------------- Show notes: Resources for your faith crisis Gift of the Mormon Faith Crisis website Conscience parenting The Holistic Psychologist Beauty in the Now website

Mormon Stories - LDS
1477: Serving a Mission at Historic Mormon Sites - What I Wish I Would've Known - Camille Jones p.1

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 133:09


Are Mormon missionaries who lead tours at historic church sites like those across upstate New York told to teach false information about the church's founding? Mormon Stories producer and co-host Carah Burrell takes the reins for her second episode as lead interviewer of our guest Camille Jones as we talk with her about serving in Palmyra, New York at the LDS church's visitor center. In part one of our two-part interview with Camille, we discuss the narrative the church wants to be forwarded about the church's founding versus what Camille wishes she would have known while volunteering as a full-time missionary. We cover topics from the golden plates, to the Hill Cumorah, and more. Camille also discusses the confusing and uncomfortable advances older Mormon men have made on her throughout her teen years. This eye-opening experience highlighted the power imbalance between Mormon men and women, a theme that carries on into part 2 where Camille discusses being employed by the church. Show notes: Ghost of Eternal Polygamy by Carol Lynn Pearson What Progressive Mormons Want with Julienna Viegas-Haws

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
11. Jessie Funk: Death by a 1,000 paper cuts.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 45:36


Are you a victim to the culture of Mormonism? Have you experienced being shamed for who you were or what you were choosing because your loved ones chose the Mormon culture over you? Well you are not alone! My guest today is the amazing Jessie Funk. You may have heard about her, @dearauntjessie, from her singing and sharing her talent with EFY. Maybe  you have seen her speak, or seen her work with the youth, her books that she's published or more recently her events and retreats that she is facilitating. Jessie is a power house and I was thrilled to have her on the show today!Jessie shares that for years she clung onto the phrase, "a testimony is found by the bearing of it".  She felt that if she did all the little things, held onto faith, tried to do her very best to be as sincere as possible, as loving as possible, you name it that it would help her with her testimony in the Mormon church. But, it never worked.She shares that her transition out of Mormonism could be described as 'death by 1,000 paper cuts'. You can be happy and free. You can and will be blessed, even when you leave religion.See the magnificence of who you are. For more about Jessie's retreats go here: www.Especiallyfortruth.com Find her on IG & TickTock: @especiallyfortruthFor my 13 week leaving religion course go to: https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/leavingreligioncourseFor our Heart Opening Retreat go: https://www.amandajoyloveland.com/upcoming

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
10. Trevor Winn: From religion to alcoholism to finding himself. After leaving religion, addiction was the only coping mechanism he could use.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 57:57


Sitting down with Trevor Winn today. Trevor shares that he felt he left over his ego and egotistical values. Where his mind and heart were going were not in alignment with the church, Trevor felt he was living in hypocrisy.  Having some interactions with the Mormon leaders over some disciplinary council that his wife was going through, Trevor went to his wife's defense. He was told that this wasn't okay by the mormon authorities which seemed contrary to the family values that the church seemed to hold.Trevor shares that he wishes that he would have given people more credit. He made per-determined decision that certain relationships die and he burned bridges that he wishes he didn't. Leaving religion Trevor shares that he consciously let the pendulum swing and he became and alcoholic. Trevor had resentment towards the church, towards the members and he felt that he went from the addiction of Mormonism, of religion, to an addiction of alcoholism.  Connection and addiction are opposite of each other, so the cure for addiction is connections.Life is like a ball of yarn and religion is just one thread in that yarn. Sometimes we have fear about what else will be untangled if I pull this one string but it should not stop you from moving forward. When you can accept where you are at in your life, where you have been, you are now able to accept others on their path.Books Referenced: The New Earth - Eckart TolleFour Agreements - Don Miguel RuizThe Surrender Experiment - Michael SingerThe Four Agreements are: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDDON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLYDON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONSALWAYS DO YOUR BESTJoin us in Springdale, UT for our upcoming heart opening retreat. Details here: www.amandajoyloveland.com/upcomingReady to lean in to your healing and dive into my 13 week leaving religion course? Details here: www.amandajoyloveland.com/leavingreligioncourse

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
09. Adam Nugent: Be curious, ask the questions & be brave enough to lean in.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 55:58


Sitting down with Adam Nugent today was an absolute pleasure! Adam questioned if his spiritual experiences were because of ‘the church' or if it was because they were just spiritual experiences because he was serving and helping people. Talking about the culture, his mission, marriage, divorce you name it.Everyone has access to a higher power, spiritual experiences, without religion. You can find more about Adam here:https://nugentgoodnews.com/http://www.foresightmgt.com/

Mormon Stories - LDS
1466: Mormon Nuclear Submarine Commander & His Family - Kelly and Heather Laing Pt. 1

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 238:49


Batten down the hatches and prepare for an epic Mormon Stories interview like you've never heard before! Part of what is often called “the Silent Service”, former nuclear submarine commander, Kelly Laing and his family, finally speak out. We dive deep in this three part interview and hear from Heather and Kelly Laing, followed by two of their four children, Britton and Mason, in part 2. In this episode, we discuss Heather and Kelly's courtship as teens, the road Kelly took into the military, and the ways they kept their family and love life afloat.  Show notes:  Mark E Petersen Chastity pamphlet: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/mark-e-petersen/chastity/ ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 —————

Mormon Stories - LDS
1465: Elder Holland - Losing Control Over Mormon LGBTQ Support at BYU

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 75:11


On August 23, 2021 Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland spoke to staff at Brigham Young University during the first day of the institution's 2021 university conference.  During his speech Elder Holland condemned: 1) a recent BYU valedictorian for "coming out" as gay during his graduation commencement address, 2) a recent uptick in LGBTQ-affirming demonstrations at BYU, and 3) a recent surge in LGBTQ support by BYU students and faculty.  His comments appear to be in response to a corresponding surge in concerns expressed by orthodox ultra conservative/Deznat-affirming LDS church adults who are concerned that BYU is becoming to LGBTQ affirming (descending into "Babylon").  During his speech Elder Holland invoked war metaphors, including the statement, "I am grateful we have scholars today who can handle, as it were, both trowels and muskets.” Today we will talk with Kyle Ashworth (host of Latter-Gay Stories Podcast) and Gerardo Sumano about the recent events.  The main topic will be: is the LDS Church losing control over LGBTQ support at BYU and church-wide? Show notes:  Kyle's Mormon Stories interview: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/when-a-gay-mormon-man-marries-a-woman-kyle-ashworth-pt-1/ Gerardo's Mormon Stories interview: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/a-mexican-mormon-story-gerardo/ Latter Gay Stories: https://lattergaystories.org/ Color the Campus: https://www.instagram.com/colorthecampus/?hl=en Encircle: https://encircletogether.org/ Affirmation: https://affirmation.org/ ————— We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate and keep this content coming! Click here to donate monthly: $10 $25 $50 —————

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
08. Chris Shurian: Ditch the guilt & be patient with your process.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 60:24


Today I am talking to Chris Shurian who was an absolute pleasure! His way of story telling captures your heart and engages your mind. Come join us as Chris shares about his journey through joining the church, he was not raised in the LDS church, to going on a mission, getting married  in the temple to later on leaving the mormon religion because he started asking questions within himself. Questions like, why am I going to church today? Why am I putting on a suit?As Chris trained for an iron man he tells about how the time he had to himself really started allowing space to start asking the questions within himself. This is another beautiful episode and I am honored to be sharing Chris' story with you all. 

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind
06. Tony Gerber: Moral superiority, the patriarchy and a male perspective on leaving religion.

Leaving Religion & Those We Leave Behind

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 65:36


I got to sit down with my first guy! I was thrilled to have Tony Gerber on my podcast and to have him share his journey and his perspective from the masculine.  Side note, he's quite funny and easy to listen to!Born and raised in Mormon religion it was Tony's language. It wasn't something he bought into, it was just his reality. Going to Rick's college, serving a Mormon mission, all provided experiences where Tony started question what spirituality really meant to him. He started finding that he struggled with the idea of anyone telling him what his relationship with God should be. Sharing his thoughts and wisdom on moral superiority, the patriarchy,  family experiences including a bit of his wife's challenges with religion. Tony supported a lot of the core beliefs associated with the Mormon religion but he didn't align with the organizational government of the church. Sharing nuggets like, "Every time we are not being authentic with yourself it's nature pushing us to examine something within ourselves." or "A negative expression of masculinity is when a man tries to dominate and control.  Men & women should council together." You will love this episode! I know I did. Find more about Tony and his upcoming men's retreats at: www.tribeofpassage.com

Mormons on Mushrooms
56: A Lil' More Vitamin Jeez w/ Carah Burrell (aka Nuancehoe)

Mormons on Mushrooms

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 114:33


Buckle up! We've got a fun for you this week as we welcome Carah Burrell (aka Nuancehoe) and chat about her story, finding ourselves post faith crisis and approaching life with more....nuance. Carah is amazing and her story will resonate so much. Enjoy!About CarahCarah Burrell, AKA Nuancehoe, spent 30 years in the Mormon church as well as several years living in the not-so-Mormon world of stand-up comedy. After some time in LA, Carah moved back to her home state of Utah to pursue the standard Mormon housewife life, all for her shelf to come crashing down in 2019. Carah's TikTok channel "Nuancehoe" started as a way for her to satirize Mormonism, but quickly snowballed into a career, permanently landing her as the new producer and co-host of Mormon Stories.Carah's TikTokCarah's Instagram

Mormon Stories - LDS
1459: Expelled from BYU for Having Sex - Kelly Trust

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 296:30


Is there a double standard at BYU when divvying out punishments to athletes vs students who break the honor code? Mormon Stories producer and co-host Carah Burrell takes the reins on this intense episode as lead interviewer of our guest Kelly Trust as we take a deep dive into answering that question! Finally feeling freed from the constraints that kept her quiet for too long, Kelly describes the confusing, unhealthy sexual messages around her body that plagued her youth, the relationship with a star BYU athlete that led to her expulsion from the school while the player stayed, and the faith crisis that ensued after reading the CES Letter.  Content warning on this episode for strong sexual themes and profanity.  We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate! Links and show notes:  Honor Code Stories Instagram:  CES Letter:  “Leaving the Saints” by Marth Beck:  “Braving the Wilderness”  by Brene Brown:  Instagram:

Mormon Stories - LDS
1458: 7 Lesson I've Learned as a Post-Mormon Mom - Leah Young

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2021 191:55


One of our most popular Mormon Stories guests is back with wonderfully salient advice for post-Mormon growth! Leah, along with her husband Cody and daughter Brinley, told their story to John during an epic multi-part Mormon Stories series on their faith transition and excommunication in 2019. In this episode, Leah shares seven lessons she's learned while rebuilding a meaningful life for herself and her family. So many good takeaways in this episode! We hope you'll find it valuable, share it, come back to it more than once during different life stages, and comment on what lessons you've learned along your journey as well.  We are 100% donor funded! Please click HERE to donate! Mormon Stories #1044: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - From Fear Into Joy (Part 1) Pt. 1: Mormon Stories #1098: The Excommunication of Leah and Cody Young Pt. 1: Mormon Stories #1048: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - A Teen's Perspective on Faith Transition Pt. 1: Balanced Living with Leah website: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma: “She Let It Go” poem: Email Leah: balancedlivingwithleah@gmail.com Active Listening the Kids Perspectives: Leah's courses: Leah's instagram:

Mormon Stories - LDS
1457: Lessons I've Learned Leaving the Mormon Church as a Teen - Brinley Young

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2021 161:57


Our guest today is Brinley Young, daughter of Leah and Cody young, a family famous for telling their story to John during an epic multi-part Mormon Stories series on their faith transition and excommunication back in 2019 when Brinley was just 15 years old. Now 18, post-faith crisis, and with wisdom beyond her years, Brinley joins John and Margi in studio for 7 lessons she's learned after leaving the church on topics ranging from communication, owning her sexuality, and following her intuition. This is a special one you won't want to miss! Show Notes: Mormon Stories 1044: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - From Fear Into Joy (Part 1) Pt. 1 Mormon Stories 1098: The Excommunication of Leah and Cody Young Pt. 1 Mormon Stories 1048: Leah, Cody, and Brinley Young - A Teen's Perspective on Faith Transition Pt. 1 "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle

Mormon Stories - LDS
1454: Understanding & Treating Self-Harm with Kelceymarie Warner

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 29:31


Trigger warning for our viewers as we bring you a special short episode on this under-covered topic. In a follow-up to our Mormon Stories interview with Kelceymarie, we go further in-depth on the issue of self-harm. How to view it, understand it, and find help. Kelceymarie Warner is a mental health advocate and graduate student getting her second masters in clinical mental health counseling. Kelceymarie has connected with hundreds of thousands through her books, journals, and TikTok by opening up about her struggles with depression, anxiety, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders. Check out the links below for resources! Kelceymarie's TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kelceymariewarner?lang=en Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelceymariewarnertiktok/ Kelceymarie's Linktree to resources, book, etsy, etc: https://linktr.ee/kelcemariewarner "The Sparrow's Box” Site: https://www.thesparrowsbox.com/shop

Radio Free Mormon
Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories

Radio Free Mormon

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 101:23


Today we wit down with John Dehlin, host of Mormon Stories and Pioneer who blazed the trail into historical transparency regarding Mormon History and Social Dysfuntion using the internet as the vehicle. His podcast pioneered a new phase in Mormonism where Scholars talked openly and and the Church could be held accountable for its unhealthiness. […] The post Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories appeared first on Radio Free Mormon.

Mormon Discussion by Bill Reel
Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories

Mormon Discussion by Bill Reel

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 101:23


Today we wit down with John Dehlin, host of Mormon Stories and Pioneer who blazed the trail into historical transparency regarding Mormon History and Social Dysfuntion using the internet as the vehicle. His podcast pioneered a new phase in Mormonism where Scholars talked openly and and the Church could be held accountable for its unhealthiness. […] The post Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories appeared first on Mormon Discussion by Bill Reel.

Mormon Discussions Podcasts – Full Lineup
Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories

Mormon Discussions Podcasts – Full Lineup

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 101:23


Today we wit down with John Dehlin, host of Mormon Stories and Pioneer who blazed the trail into historical transparency regarding Mormon History and Social Dysfuntion using the internet as the vehicle. His podcast pioneered a new phase in Mormonism where Scholars talked openly and and the Church could be held accountable for its unhealthiness. […] The post Mormonism LIVE: 028: John Dehlin and the Origination of Mormon Stories appeared first on Mormon Discussions Podcasts - Full Lineup.

Post-Mormon at the Movies
018 - Tangled

Post-Mormon at the Movies

Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2021 51:10


Happy Mother's Day! Join Nick, Dan, and special guest Stephanie from My Great and Spacious World as they discuss Disney's Tangled and its connections to life in and out of the LDS Church. After the episode, we invite all mothers to remain seated as the young men and women hand out a small gift from the bishopric. You can find Stephanie and My Great and Spacious World on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Follow the links and give her a follow/subscribe! Mentioned in this episode: 1. Friday Night Lights 2. M. Russell Ballard's 2014 general conference talk "Stay in the Boat and Hold On!" 3. M. Russell Ballard's 2016 general conference talk "To Whom Shall We Go?" 4. "No One Is Alone" from Into the Woods Extra Resources: 1. Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact by Neylan McBaine 2. "Dear Mormon Man, tell me what you would do." by Amy McPhie Allebest (and her interview on Mormon Stories) 3. "30 Questions Nobody Asks My Husband at Church" by Dr. Julie Hanks (and her interview on Mormon Stories) Find more information on our website. Post-Mormon at the Movies is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe for regular updates.

Energy Is Love Podcast
ELP 240- Be a good Mormon

Energy Is Love Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2021 75:17


We recently started listening to the podcast "Mormon Stories" and have been fascinated. It's made us both look at our "Mormon Stories" and the history we each have with the Mormon church. So we dive in to our own stories in this episode. Enjoy!   Sponsors: Love Good Fats- https://www.lovegoodfats.com/?rfsn=4663415.e770fc Enter ENERGYISLOVE at checkout and save 20%

Scientology: Fair Game
Episode 37: Mormon Stories Host Dr. John Dehlin

Scientology: Fair Game

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 81:56


Leah and Mike venture into the world of Mormonism with Dr. John Dehlin to learn about problems in the Mormon world, the many similarities with scientology, and some important differences which have tended to make the Mormons more successful, and certainly a lot more powerful and wealthy, than scientology. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com

This is the Gospel Podcast
We Are All Connected

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2021 61:48


Stories in this episode: Julie, Whitney, & Brooke each have a story to tell about the struggle and surprises of a life lived in pursuit of discipleship, but they can't tell their story without one another and they can't tell their story without the extraordinary life of Jonah, the little boy who brought them all together.  Get more info and shownotes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel or find us on Instagram and Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast TRANSCRIPT KaRyn  0:03   Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.  I kind of feel like today's theme doesn't need much of an introduction at all. So I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Because if there is one principle of the gospel that we all understand just a little bit better after a full year of social and physical distance, it's the power and purpose of human connection and just how inextricable that connection is, to our spiritual practice. And have we got a story about connection for you.  Actually, it's one big story with two little stories in the middle. And it's kind of hard to explain, but I think it's going to become clear soon enough. First, we'll start with our storyteller Julie, then you're going to hear from Whitney, and then Julie again, and then Brooke, and then back to Julie, and then Brooke and then Julie.  And just a quick note for sensitive listeners that this story does involve some trauma related to loss. Here's Julie: Julie  1:07   Our first son Jonah came into the world 10 days late. It was my first baby and I had all these ideals about what his birth would be like, and my whole pregnancy had been so good, and I had felt so healthy and strong. And all of our ultrasounds that we had were fine. We never had any indication that there would be any problem or any challenges for our baby.  It was just this beautiful experience to be pregnant and to feel him move inside me. I was sure that I was just gonna let him come on his own terms. And 10 days after his due date, my doctor said, "No, we need to induce you."  That day was so exciting. The birth was good, but when he was finally born, the doctor put him up on my belly. And when I first looked at him, I could tell right away that something wasn't quite right. And I didn't get very much time with them because they whisked him off my belly. And all of a sudden there was this flurry of activity around us and the respiratory therapists came in and they took Jonah and kind of moved him away from me. And I remember my mom coming over and comforting me and I just didn't even know what was happening.  I just said remembered seeing his little ears. They looked almost like little flower petals that hadn't quite opened all the way. My husband Jordan was over by the nurses and he was kind of watching what was going on, and he came over to me and I remember him saying, "Julie, he has the most beautiful lips." And I think he was in this moment of trying to process, you know, what we were experiencing. But it turned out that he had a lot of problems with his facial structures. He had a cleft palate, his jaw was underdeveloped, his cheekbones were underdeveloped, and his ears were not fully open, like they had just started to develop and stopped midway through that development.  We didn't know what caused it or whether he'd be able to see or whether he'd be able to hear. We didn't know if he would have any kind of mental delays, but we loved him so instantly. And it wasn't until the next morning after a night of changing diapers and trying to figure out how to feed him that our doctor came in and told us what his diagnosis was. He told us about Treacher Collins syndrome, which is a syndrome that affects the facial structures and development of the face. And the other thing the doctor told me is, "I'm almost 100% sure that you are the carrier of this genetic disorder."  It was good to know what he had because we knew that he would be able to see and he wouldn't be able to hear with the help of a hearing aid, we knew that he wouldn't have any kind of developmental challenges. But I had this place in my heart that just hurt so bad because I knew that I had carried this, you know, thing that was inside me that had . . . that wasn't my fault. But I felt the strange responsibility for being the carrier of that gene. And almost the immediate realization too, that any children that we tried to have in the future would have a 50% chance of having the same experience that our sweet Jonah was having.  We knew that he was going to face a lifetime of surgeries to correct some of those things that he had to deal with, and it was all so overwhelming. And I tried to put on a brave face and I tried to be really present and to be optimistic. But as soon as I could get up and I got into the shower–that's where I just fell apart. I just prayed that Heavenly Father would help me to know how to move forward. And the distinct impression that I received was that Jonah deserved to have a joyful mom. And that there was a lot that we didn't know, and there was a lot that I couldn't control. But I could control how I approach the experience of being this mom. And so that's what I tried to do. After a while, we just didn't think about his syndrome very much. We were just normal parents, and just raising this little boy and that was beautiful. People just were attracted to him and they wanted to know about him. And my husband and I are, well, especially my husband, we're kind of private, you know, we're not the kind that really reach out, but with Jonah, people just came to us. And it was a heart opening experience to watch how people just loved him right away.  But there was also a realization that people could be cruel. As he got older, we had more experiences of people stopping and staring or children saying things that were hard, and he was young enough, that didn't really affect him, but you know, we wondered how that would affect him as he got older. That was a challenge.  When Jonah was 14 months old, my friend had invited us over, she wanted to can spaghetti sauce, and our kids would play together while we made the spaghetti sauce. That morning, I had felt this hesitation that I couldn't put my finger on, but for some reason, I just didn't really want to go. And she was my dear friend and I love spending time with her and I couldn't understand why I wouldn't want to get out of the house and go there.  But we went, and Jonah played with her kids and we made our spaghetti sauce. After a couple hours, she needed to go and pick up her oldest daughter. And I said, "Okay, that's fine. I'll watch the kids." And we were in the backyard playing. And almost immediately after she walked out the door, the kids had been eating snacks and Jonah ate a fruit snack.  I could tell right away that something was wrong. I could see it in his eyes that he couldn't get any air. And I knew that he was choking. And I was holding my friend's new baby and I have these children around me and I looked around and there was a blanket on the ground. So I put the baby down and I scooped Jonah up and I tried to do the Heimlich maneuver and tried to you know, pound this fruit snack out. It wasn't working and I could feel his body just go limp in my arms.  You know, I started to panic. And I grabbed my phone and I grabbed him and I knew I just went to the front of the house because I thought if I can get out there someone can help me. And I left all these kids in this baby in the backyard and ran to the front of the house and laid him out on the driveway and called 911.  They did their best to help me and I was doing everything I knew how to do to help him. You know, I don't think it was very long before the ambulance got there. But just as I looked at him, I had the strongest confirmation I think I've ever had in my life, and the confirmation was that he was not he was not going to make it.  My friend came around, you know, the corner to see these ambulances and fire truck at her house and she ran out and she didn't know who was in trouble, you know. And when she saw that it was Jonah. She said, you know, "This is the time to have faith and this is the time to be strong." And I said, "He's not going to make it."  Within a matter of 30 minutes I'd gone from being the mom of this vibrant, lovely boy to holding him in my arms and his spirit was so clearly gone. That was the most devastating moment of my life.  And I'll never forget leaving the hospital that day with my husband, Jordan. And we got into his truck and we didn't have children with us, you know. And it was so surreal and strange. And we just drove home together. And then just crawled into bed and just cried all night. We just cried all night.  And then the next day people started showing up at our door. They came until . . . you know we went to bed that night, they just kept showing up. We just all grieved together as a community and as a family and this just tragic loss that we had all experienced.  The weeks and months that followed Jonah's death were just surreal. And at night, when I would try and fall asleep, I would see in my mind the experience of losing Jonah, over and over again. And I prayed for Heavenly Father to help me to be able to . . . to let that go and to be able to sleep. And I had a strong impression that I needed to write it down. And so I started by writing everything I could think of in my journal, and I wrote it down. And that night, I slept. And then I had the impression that I needed to write it in a more public way. And that felt really scary, but I decided, since I had this time, that I would begin sharing my experience and start a blog. I remember pressing, publish, and just feeling sick inside, like just feeling like I put my whole heart and soul out into the world, and not knowing how people would receive it. But that blog, and that ability to write became so therapeutic to me.  Another thing that was therapeutic for me, at that time was gardening. And I decided that I needed to put a garden in a new place in our yard, and I went out one day, and I just started tearing out the grass. It was this hard, physical work. That was just like, I was channeling all my anger and my rage into pulling out this grass. I was so angry and so upset. And I wasn't angry at God, but I just had this anger in me from this experience. And so I just began to pull out this grass. And I was just out there by myself and I was quiet.  I just remember having this feeling settle on me. It wasn't a vision, it wasn't a dream, it was just this quiet impression of two little souls that were going to come to our family. Part of me thought, oh, I'm just, you know, dreaming about what I want, then wondered if it was a real feeling. But it was the kind of feeling that just stays with you. And it just kind of sunk into my heart.  When Jonah died, Jordan and I had this immediate realization that if we wanted to have more kids, we had to decide how we were going to move forward and that felt so overwhelming, because we had just experienced this incredible loss that was tied to Jonah's genetic condition. He had a small airway, and that's one of the contributing factors to why he choked on that fruit snack. And so the idea of just having another baby was terrifying.  So we started talking about it and trying to figure out how we could possibly move forward. We knew that there was a possibility that we could do genetic testing, to help us to make sure that we had healthy embryos, and that we wouldn't pass on this genetic disorder. And I felt this real hesitation in that space when thinking about that possibility.  Because part of me wondered if I was somehow rejecting Jonah and the beauty and light that he brought into our home if I chose not to have another baby like him. And if I chose to use science to select out the healthiest embryos, if I'd somehow be denying myself the experience that I just had, that was so powerful–being his mother. And that was really hard for me to wrestle with.  I have always been the kind of person–I want to do what's right, and I want to do what God wants me to do. And I want to be in tune with the Spirit. And I just wondered if somehow I was leaving God out of the equation. There was part of me that felt like if I had real faith, then I would just roll the dice and let God decide, right? That somehow if I were truly faithful, that we would just move forward without a question.  And luckily, my husband didn't feel that way. He felt that it was okay to move forward with genetic testing. That would still require a lot of our faith. And so we moved forward with that. It took a full year for an embryo transfer and we had one healthy embryo that we could work with.  And so all of our hopes were wrapped up in this one moment. And when it came time to do the transfer, my doctors cancelled it. They discovered that I had scar tissue from my first pregnancy, and that it probably wouldn't work. And so after this full year of waiting and hoping we were faced with this new challenge. During this time, I decided that I needed to get a job to fill my time. And I was lucky enough to get a job at the Springville Museum of Art, which was great. And I had a colleague there who was working at the BYU Museum of Art. And they were getting ready for the Carl Bloch exhibit that was coming up.  Carl Bloch is really well known artist in LDS culture, maybe not by his name, but almost everyone would recognize his paintings. They are beautiful paintings of the Savior and His life. And the BYU Museum of Art was in the process of putting together this incredible exhibit of his works. But they wanted to have a spiritual component that connected to real people in their lives.  And my friend Ashley, who was working there asked me to share my experience of losing Jonah, in relation to one of Carl Bloch's, beautiful paintings, "Christ the Consolator," and I was really hesitant to do it, because I don't like being on video. And I knew it would be seen by a lot of people, but I knew from my experience, writing, that the experience I had of losing Jonah was really a powerful story for other people. that I got so much feedback from people about how it changed their hearts, or changed the way that they mothered their children or brought them closer to the Savior, that I moved past my hesitations and decided to go for it. Whitney  17:07   My husband and I were encouraged by lots of family and friends to go to the BYU art museum to see the Carl Bloch exhibit. So on a Saturday, we went for a little day date. And I was told by my mom, "Make sure you get the iPad version of the tour." So I got the iPad and started to walk around the gallery. And I wasn't as familiar with Carl Bloch before going to the museum.  So I walked in, and I just was like, "Oh my goodness, I know that painting, I know that painting." I didn't realize the Carl Bloch had done so many paintings of Christ. I just was blown away how much beautiful artwork Carl Bloch had done. And then as I kept going around the museum, I turned the corner and walked over to a big painting, a very large size painting of Christ teaching.  And I can't remember the details of it, but I very specifically remember there was an image of a little boy in the painting. And this little boy in the painting, was very intently listening to Jesus. There were other people in the painting, who would turn their heads, were scoffing, not paying attention, but this little boy was so significant to me because he was peacefully listening and looking at Jesus Christ.  So as I'm looking at this painting, I looked on the iPad, and noticed there's a button that you can push to have somebody tell you a story about this painting. So then I clicked on that button to hear a testimony of a woman. And she immediately started to tell some things that were happened in her life. She talked about a baby that was born to her and her husband, that didn't look like every other baby you see.  And as she started to describe this baby, my heart just stopped. I didn't have to see a picture of him, but I knew the second she described it. The way she described his eyes slanting downward, and his little chin and his tiny ears, and his missing of cheekbones, and the jaw, I immediately knew she was describing my son, who was born a month earlier.  There's only one out of every 50,000 births that these babies come into this form. And I knew immediately she was describing Treacher Collins syndrome that her little boy had. And so I kept listening and I actually listened to it twice because my heart was just so moved as I heard her journey of not only having a baby who wasn't a baby you anticipate, but then her experience of losing this baby and my heart just broke for her. And my heart was just in pain and suffering as she described this experience, but then listening to her to she described how much she was able to do it because of Jesus Christ.  And it was a very weird, surreal moment to be in so much pain for somebody, but also feel so much joy. Such anguish and peace at the same time. In that moment, in this large gallery, I completely felt and knew that I wasn't alone, and that God knew me. He knew my son. He knew this woman and He knew her son. And people will say, "Wow, what a coincidence." But to me, it was a knowledge that God knew of my situation. And he had a one of his children–one of my sisters–say, "I know what you're feeling. I know what you're experiencing."  I had this eternal connection with this woman. For the first time since my son was born, I felt like somebody understood. After leaving the museum, I became obsessed. And I know that sounds scary, but I became obsessed with trying to find this woman. So I got on the internet, like all stalkers do, and I started Google searching everything I could find. And I searched and searched, I looked, I knew I knew her picture. I didn't know her full name, I just knew her picture.  So I would Google, "Little boy dies choking on fruit snack," I googled, "Treacher Collins syndrome boy." I googled as many things I could find. And then I clicked on images one day, and I saw her picture and I knew that was her. So I clicked on that link, and it took me to her blog. And then I spent the next three days just reading every word of that blog.  And I just . . . my heart became even more endeared to her. Reading the way she beautifully was explaining her circumstances and situation life. It was like I was reading scripture, it was so holy to me to hear how she explained her trials and her good times, and her hard times.  I knew I needed to make contact with her. I knew I needed to connect with her in person. So I did what the best thing I feel like I could do, and I started to write a letter to her. I wrote a letter just thanking her for the peace she brought into my life, the answers that she brought to my life, the realization that God was aware of me. I remember thinking, she's gonna think I'm crazy. This random person, bearing her testimony, having a very spiritual experience, because of her situation, that was a hard situation, she's gonna be like, "This woman is crazy."  Even my husband was like, "Mmm... Whitney this might be a little bit out there for you." But I felt so prompted to write the letter. So that's why I had to do it. I needed to connect with her and let her know that her story changed my life.  But then I didn't know where she lived! So I started to stalk her again, and I googled, as much as I could to find out, and I found an address. I was a little nervous to send it, but then I kind of in the back of my mind said, "But, you know what? She probably might not even get it." So I sent a letter. And to be honest, after sending it, I kind of forgot about her. Like, it kind of left my mind and left my heart. And I kind of stopped being so obsessed.  And so I thought, "Okay, that's what I needed to do. I just needed to send that letter and I would move on." Even if I never heard back from her. That experience in the museum was a pivotal point for the rest of the journey of my life on this earth. Because it was such a defining moment where I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God knew me. He was aware of me. That He knew the prayers I've been praying the last month. He knew the heartache I was . . . the fears I was having about the future of my son. And in that moment, I can still see where I'm standing when I was looking at that exhibit and feeling as if in a huge museum–I was the only one in the room. And God was personally saying, "Whitney, I hear you. I'm aware of you. And I see you." Julie  24:14   As a mom, I'm constantly telling my children, "Go help your brother and sister do this." "Go help your brother do that." And I truly believe that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are doing that constantly. That they are reaching out to us as their children and saying, "Go help your brother, go help your sister." Because we are all connected. We are all an eternal family and we are all God's children, and our purpose on this earth is to get everyone to come back to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.  Whitney  24:43   So let's say you get a prompting to send a text message or to go visit somebody or to be even maybe write a letter to somebody like I did, my advice would be just do it. Act on that prompting. Write that letter. Send that text message. Go visit somebody. Because Heavenly Father is inspiring you for a reason. Julie  25:11   We were finally ready to do our first embryo transfer. Everything seemed like it was going to work. And the problems that I had had seem to be fixed. They transferred one healthy embryo that we had, and I miscarried almost immediately. It was so devastating. We decided that we couldn't do the genetic testing again. It was just too many variables, too many questions about why I had miscarried.  And so we decided to try an egg donor. And once again, all of the ethical and moral questions and religious questions came up with this choice and not knowing if we were doing the right thing, or if we should do something different. But we felt okay moving forward. And we chose an egg donor.  Around this time, my sister, Brooke, offered to be an egg donor for us. I didn't even know that that was the possibility. I didn't know how that would be. But I did know what it was like to go through an in vitro cycle, and all of the shots and all the hormones, the doctor's appointments that were associated with it, I just felt like it was too much to ask my sister, so we decided to move forward in a different direction.  We were able to get 12 healthy embryos. And when you're doing fertility stuff, they give you constant updates. So they'll call you after three days and say "This many have developed." And then they'll call you in two more days and they'll say, you know, "Five more are looking good." And so you're just waiting for these phone calls and hoping that things go well. The first call we got was good. They said, "We have 12 and they're developing." And the next call we got was not as good. And they said, "Well, now we only have six, but they're still developing." And then the final call, we got said that none of them, they all just stopped developing.  Our fertility clinic said they had never had that happen before. After the anonymous egg donor embryos didn't work out for us, I felt really strongly that we could move forward with Brooke, my sister, and the offer that she had made to let us use her eggs. My sister is so generous, she always has been and she's so willing to guide me and direct me and help me in every way that she can. And it just felt like, "Of course. This is what we're gonna do." And I don't know why it had been so hard before them because at that moment, it seemed to make the most sense of anything in the world, that these embryos would still be connected to my family through her, you know. And they would still have a connection to my parents and to my grandparents. And that just felt like such a gift that I hadn't even realized that I wanted. Brooke  28:26   Julie and I were just typical siblings. As we grew older–we were three years apart–as we grew older, I think our connection just grew apart as well. We were in different places of our life in different stages. I got married really early, I had my first baby really young. So by the time Julie got married, I had five kids.  My youngest was really close with Jonah, when he was about a year old, I had decided to go back to school and I was working a couple days a week and I was going to school a few times a week. And so Julie and Jonah would go pick up Lindsay from school every day. She just have the sweetest little relationship with him, she just loved him so much.  The day he died I was at the preschool that my family owned, and I got a phone call from Julie's friend saying that I needed to call my mom and have her go to the hospital. And I thought well, you know, I had taken kids to the hospital for stitches and stuff like that. and I think in my deep in my heart, that's what I wanted it to be. But I knew from her voice that that's not what it was. And I said "Okay, I'll call her. Is he going to be okay?" And she said, "No, I don't think so." And I remember the world just going fuzzy. I sat there for a long time trying to think about what to do. I didn't want to be at work. I needed to be there. So as I was driving to the hospital, I called my husband and asked him if he would go pick up the kids from school. So I got to the hospital and I was sitting in the parking lot, and I got a phone call from my mom saying that Jonah had died. And I really don't remember how I got to the doors of the hospital. I didn't do it well, because at some point, a nurse came out of the hospital and walked me in. I just remember her arms around me. And she asked me if I was his aunt, and I told her I was. And she walked me in.  I walked in there and I saw Julie holding Jonah, Jordan sitting next to her. And my heart just shattered. It wasn't very long after that, well, maybe about an hour after that. The same nurse came back in and told me that my kids were at the hospital. I walked into this little side room that they had outside the emergency room and I just collapsed. All five kids came running to me and put my arms around them and told them what had happened. And we just grieved. We just wept.  I did not think that I could inflict another heartache on my kids. Two weeks before, I had asked my husband to move out, my kids were really suffering. And I was already foggy, I was already so confused about what was right and what was wrong. But I also knew that I needed to know what the right thing was to do for my children, for my family, how we were going to move through this grief and this heartache.  So I said goodbye to my kids, they went back with their dad. And I walked out to my car and I sat down in my car. My prayers to God at that point were like David in Psalms. You know, like, angry and sad and hopeful . . . and all of those things at the same time. And I sat in the car and I just cried to the heavens, "You have to tell me what to do today. Because I cannot break the hearts of my children anymore that they're broken."  And I started driving, the same prayer just going over and over and over in my head. And by that night, I knew that my marriage was over. It was a really, really, really dark and sorrowful night. And that night, my kids, all five of them climbed into bed with me and I remember us falling asleep to me singing or humming "Abide with me tis eventide." Cause my whole family, my children, myself, my sister, her husband, my parents, we were all slipping into the darkest dark. We spend a lot of time crying.  Julie took care of me. I remember just being awed by her. And how she just in her profound grief took care of me, took care of my children. And sometimes I felt guilty about it because I just I didn't know if I even had the emotional capacity to be able to do for her what she was doing for me.  My darkest dark lasted about two years and it was really, you know, we sometimes it felt black. But I met a man at the end, as I was nearing the end of that and coming through and healing, I met a man that I really loved and who really loved to me and we decided to start our lives together and bring our families together.  At the same time, Julie was still wandering through that dark, dark. And as I healed, I was even more aware I think of the pain and grief she was experiencing.  I started to have dreams that I had something of my sisters that I . . . but I didn't ever know what it was or how to give it to her. I just knew that I had something that I needed to give to her. I would have them pretty regularly. And I'm not a dreamer. Like I don't, I don't get answers to prayer and dreams. I don't . . . my dreams are usually just super weird. But these felt these felt like there was something there that I was supposed to be paying attention to. And I remember I would wake up and I would just lay in bed and think like, what, what is it? What is it? For a long time, I thought it was just grief, I thought that it was . . . I was supposed to be attending to her grief.  At this point, Julie had gone through a miscarriage and a failed IVF. And my mom came to visit and she was out for a couple of weeks and we were driving her back to the airport. And she said, "Julie and Jordan are thinking about using donated eggs." And it was like just this complete knowing. It was a knowing. That's the only way I can describe it. All of a sudden, I knew exactly what those dreams had meant. I knew exactly what I was meant to do.  And I just said, "Well why . . . why not mine?" Like why . . . why are we not doing this? And from there on it was that was just what was meant to happen. I offered Julie, I told her that I would do this for her. And I remember she she was very thoughtful about it. And she said, she said no. I didn't really feel discouraged. I remember thinking that it was a big thing. And that it was something that doesn't happen very often, at least in our experience and known world.  And so I just told her, it's an open offer, if you change your mind, I will do this for you. I don't remember ever thinking it wasn't going to happen. I just knew that she needed time to really think about it and decide if that was okay. And then she came to me and said, "I'm ready. Let's do this." I remember feeling really excited.  I don't know anybody that is supposed to be a mother more than Julie. And watching her go through all those years of sorrow and heartache and loss . . . I was just so happy to be able to help her be a mother. So I was older, I was 35, had to go through a bunch of tests to make sure that I was, it was even a viable option. I was. So we went through the process. And one of the things that we had to do is speak with a psychologist. And I had to be there, my husband had to be there, Julie had to be there and her husband had to be there.  And the feminist in me it really like pushed against that. I was so like . . . why? Why? Why does my husband have to be there? Why did he have to give me permission to do this? I think part of it too, was pushing back against a former life I had had and I wanted to make these decisions.  In the end, I was so glad that he was there because I was able to see just how much healing had happened in my life. The psychologist wanted to know how I would feel about to raising these babies, if I would be okay with that. And I was stunned because they were never mine. They were always meant to be Julie's. Like my dreams had told me from the very beginning, I had something that was hers. And I was just holding on to them until they were ready, until everybody was ready.  My husband was asked how he felt about it. And I remember him saying that he was going to completely support whatever I needed to do and however I needed to do it. And that was such a departure from my former life. Which is why I was so glad he was there because it was just another reminder of the grace of God, another reminder of healing.  There is a quote by Neal A. Maxwell and I'm just going to paraphrase it because I don't remember it completely, but since the moment I heard it, it has always stuck with me. And he talks about how the Star of Bethlehem was placed in orbit millennia before Christ was born, but it was there so that it could shine on that night, it could lead people to Christ.  And I've thought about that a lot, and how that light, that star shone on that night in the darkest dark. And I think about how there are moments in time that are placed in the orbit of our life, that will shine on our darkest darks. We don't know when and we don't even know what they are, but they're there. And they will come. And we will encounter God in those moments. Julie  40:46   We moved forward with Brooke going through an in vitro cycle, and she was able to get four healthy eggs for us. So we scheduled a time that we could implant two of those eggs. And we felt this renewed energy and excitement about it, that this time, it would work. The process is fairly simple. When they put the embryos in and then you just wait until you have a blood draw. And they can check to see if you're pregnant, and then you wait for another blood draw and see how your progesterone levels and all sorts of other levels to see if it's moving forward.  Initially, we got that first blood draw that said, "Yes, we were pregnant." And we were just so thrilled and ecstatic and hopeful. That part of our hearts was always reserved, because we'd experienced so much lost. And we didn't want to get our hopes up. Then we had our second blood draw, and the news was not good. They told me that my progesterone levels were dropping, and that I would probably miscarry.  We were just devastated and heartbroken and I felt lower than I had in any of the previous losses. Not Jonah's loss, but in the previous miscarriages and setbacks that we'd experienced, because I just felt so hopeful about this time. We got the phone call on a Saturday, and the next day was church. My husband was in a bishopric and he would go over early to have meetings and things and I would meet him later. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go to church. I didn't think that I could, because I was so heartbroken and devastated and sad. And I felt like I could have stayed home, and that would have been okay, but I got myself ready and I started driving and I was just crying in the car.  And on my way, I just felt like I needed to go to Jonah's grave. So I turned and I took a detour and I went to the cemetery and I went to his grave and I just knelt down right next to his headstone. I just felt so alone. And I wondered if God cared about what I cared about, if God wanted the same things that I wanted. If he knew me, if he was aware of me and my struggles, and I just didn't know if I could keep going. You know, it was so emotionally draining to go through this process over and over again.  I just prayed and I asked Heavenly Father to show me, to tell me, to let me know somehow that I was loved, that I was known, that there was a greater plan, and to give me the strength to keep going. I stayed there for a while just being alone there in the cemetery. And I got myself up and I went to church. And I don't remember anything about being at church. I just remember sitting around the hall. I'm feeling so sad. The next day, I went to work and I was gone most of the day, just tried to get through it. And when I got home, I checked the mail and there was a letter. It was a letter from someone that I didn't recognize the return address and I went inside and opened it.  Her name was Whitney, and I'm just going to read what she said. "I hope that this note is something that can strengthen your testimony and reminds you The Lord has a divine purpose and plan for all of us. I hope this note reassures you that prayers are truly answered, because you were an answer to ours. When I read what you wrote, it felt like a direct answer to my prayer the day before." I knew that she had written that note days before, weeks before I don't know when, you know, when she wrote it, but it had come to my doorstep the very day after I had said this really heartfelt prayer.  And it had answered all the questions that I had had about whether God was involved in the little day to day parts of my life. And all of the questions that I had heard about whether He cared about me and loved me and what role He played in our choices, and whether I could ask for the things that I really wanted and needed. This little letter just after that for me and confirmed to me that God loved me. And it felt like the most miraculous and beautiful gift from my Heavenly Father. At the time, we only had two embryos left from my sister. And it had been so devastating to miscarry that I wondered if I would be able to do it again and go through the process and the shots and the appointments, and the phone calls, all of it. But this letter just gave me this hope and energy and this belief that God was with us.  And I remembered that feeling I had in the garden as I was pulling up the grass, and that feeling of these two souls and two spirits. And I just felt like we had to keep moving forward, that we were moving towards a greater plan for our family.  During this time, I had many random experiences in which people told me about a different doctor that we should go to. Everyone from my visiting teacher to my phlebotomist that took my blood seemed to be telling me to go to this new doctor. And we had these two embryos, and we decided that what we had been doing wasn't working, and we need to try something else. So we decided that we would go to a new doctor.  The funny thing was that my husband, Jordan had to go get these embryos, from the fertility clinic, he had to pick them up in this little nitroglycerin case, and drive them on the freeway to the other clinic. And he was terrified. He was so worried that they would fall over and they'd get ruined and they're these tiny little cells that he had to move across Utah Valley to this new place. It was so absurd and strange to think of our . . . these two embryos moving before they were even little people down the freeway. But he was brave, and he did it, and he took those embryos to a new doctor.  And our new doctor immediately identified that I had a blood clotting issue and I had an immune reaction that we didn't know about, and he was able to pinpoint these things that had been ending my pregnancies and causing me to miscarry. That was so helpful to move forward with him and to have some answers to what we had been facing.  Knowing that we only had two embryos left, I finally asked my friends and family to fast for us. And I think part of the reason I hadn't asked for that before is because I had worried that if I asked for it, if we didn't have a successful pregnancy, my faith would just be broken. And it's such a vulnerable experience to go through these IVF cycles. Somehow, it felt safer to do it alone. Even though it felt safer, it was undeniable to me that God could use all of these different people in my life to create a powerful outcome.  So we went ahead with embryo transfer and the really amazing thing is that they show you a picture of these embryos before they put them in. So we were able to see what they look like and have a printed out picture of these embryos. And they were our last hope. They were the last two that we had. They did the transfer and it was right before Thanksgiving and I just remember being terrified. I was having panic attacks and I was so afraid, and we found out that I was pregnant. And then that just made it worse because I was so scared.  I was so scared that I would lose another pregnancy. And so we were just hanging on day to day, just taking it one day at a time moving forward. And we eventually were able to have an ultrasound at like eight weeks and we saw their little hearts beating every step along the way. We were terrified and scared but we just kept moving forward. And it was miraculous and amazing to see them growing.  It was hard and long and stressful, but we made it. Simon and Clara were born just after noon, on July 14. I remember before we went to the hospital, Jordan had talked to me and he said, "We shouldn't let people hold both babies at the same time," because he was so afraid of them getting hurt or something happening. And so I said, "Okay, if that's what you mean, like, we'll tell people they can't hold both babies at the same time."  And when I had the C section, they whisked Jordan back to where they were washing up the babies and the next thing I know, he comes out, and he's holding both of these babies at the same time. And it just felt like we had been through this incredibly hard, five years, and we were so afraid, and we were so hurt. And our hearts had been broken, like over and over again. And here he was holding both of these babies at the same time and it felt so brave. You know, I just felt like we were both so brave, and that God had been with us.  Even though I was afraid that I was leaving Him out of this experience, He had shown up for us all along the way. He showed up for us with my sister, when He'd given me that impression in the garden that was so powerful that stayed with me and kept me going. And He'd given me Whitney at the time that I needed this reassurance in this powerful, powerful way. And now here, Jordan was brave enough to hold these babies at the same time and they were with us, and they made it. We were so grateful. Brooke  52:08   The night, well, the day the babies were born, I got a call from my mom saying that it was time and Julie was going to go in to have a C section. And so I got right in the car, and I bought a plane ticket. And I just . . . so much hope and wonder and I couldn't wait to meet these babies. And I got there and got to the hospital. And Julie and Jordan were both just so exhausted. Both so exhausted, and I offered to spend the night with Julie that night and I stayed up all night and just stared at them.  Just in wonder and awe at the miracle of them. I was reminded over and over that night about the scripture at the end of Genesis where Joseph is talking to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery. And because of that, Joseph had suffered and grieved and had lost so much. And as he's speaking to the brothers, he says to them, "What happened was really painful. And it hurt a lot. But God has made it good and I am in the place of God." And that night as I lay there on that really uncomfortable cot with this precious baby in my arms, I just kept thinking, we are in the place to God. He has always been here in every moment, making it good even when we didn't know that it was good. It was beautiful. I've had the opportunity in my life to grieve. And in the moments of grief, I'm not sure I would have called it an opportunity. It was painful. It really, really hurt. But grief is one of those things that if we allow it to open us up, our grief will tether us to the hearts of other people and we will see how connected we are. We will see how similar we are. We will have compassion and love for other people. And I think when that happens when grief really opens us up, we are given the opportunity to participate in miracles and encounter God in everyone and in every story. Julie  54:47   The amazing thing was that Simon and Clara were born just a week after Jonah's birthday. And so as we went through their first year of life, all of their milestones lined up in the same seasons and times, as Jonah's did. And so we had this incredible reminder of Jonah, all through that first year, because it was just like we were walking through the same space that we had walked with Him.  We had not moved past our fear, we were still very afraid, but we have come to this incredibly beautiful moment where I realized that God and His plans are huge. They're enormous, and they're beautiful, and they're interconnected. And we don't always understand them, but they are divine in ways that we cannot even understand. KaRyn  55:52   That was Julie, Whitney, and Brooke. And I don't know about you, but my heart is just swimming with all the feelings after this story. There's just so much to witness here.  But for me, it's all really summed up in that quote that Brooke shared from Elder Neal Maxwell. She paraphrased it beautifully, but here's exactly what he said, quote, "The same God that place that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the babe, has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits, so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others, but warm them as well," end quote.  Couldn't you feel that precision of our placement in orbit as we listened to Julie light the path for Whitney, who lit the path for Julie, so that she could walk towards Brooke who is lighting the path for Julie after Julie lit the path for Brooke? If it sounds complicated or circuitous–it is. But it's also insanely simple. We are all connected to each other by divine design. And when we decide to live our lives focused on Christ and His plan for our happiness, everything we do and everything we are becomes meaningful and useful in his plan. And we can't help but bump into one another in our efforts to live a life of discipleship because we are all pulled into the extraordinary orbit of the Son–together.  And then of course, there is Jonah. Sweet, sweet Jonah and his beautiful life that became the catalyst for so much connection. The whole time I was listening to the story, I was imagining Jonah ascending home like a reverse shooting star, full of joy as he sprinkled his life like powerful star dust to settle on each of these women who longed to see and know God.  I could also imagine his utter delight as he watched them embrace his gift and light up for each other, bringing warmth to the spaces where there was only darkest dark, and knowing to the long, quiet parts of that eternal orbit that felt completely unknowable.  And I could imagine him in that room with Julie and Brooke, and Simon and Clara, testifying that we are all one eternal round, and the connections that we have here on Earth, they're only a tiny part of what waits for us beyond right now. We are all connected. And if we've learned anything from this year of heartache, and masks and air hugs and zoom and loss and reckoning, it's that we can't actually do it alone. We really do need each other desperately. And if we will illuminate the landscape of our individual lives by connecting ourselves inextricably to Christ, the source of all connection, then our light may not only lead others, but it will warm them as well. That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel," and I cannot think of a better way to close out the season. Thank you to our storytellers, Julie, Whitney and Brooke for sharing so much of themselves with us all and for showing us the beauty of true connection.  You can learn more about our storytellers in our show notes at LDS Living.com/Thisisthegospel. All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it. You can call and pitch your story on our pitch line at 515-519-6179. And maybe you're listening and thinking I don't have a story to tell. Well, we're going to help you find it. We're working on a few bonus episodes during this in-between time that will help you learn how to find your own story so stay connected with us to know when those bonus episodes are coming by following us on Facebook or Instagram at @thisisthegospel_podcast.  Didn't you love the season? Tell us all about it. We get really lonely during the season breaks and it's so fun to hear from you. You can leave us a review on Apple, Stitcher or whatever platform you listen on. We read every one and truly appreciate your help and knowing what's valuable to you our listeners.  This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay with additional story production and editing by Erika free and Kelly Campbell. And truly they deserve a medal for making this episode happen from just an idea in my head. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDS living.com slash podcast. See you soon   Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mormon Stories - LDS
1409: Jared Hess and Tyler Measom - Murder Among the Mormons

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2021 142:30


Join me today for this amazing Mormon Stories interview as I talk to Jared Hess and Tyler Measom about the making of their new Netflix documentary, "Murder Among the Mormons."

This is the Gospel Podcast

Stories in this episode: The sudden loss of his corporate job throws Dave into a new and sometimes confusing role at home; Jenny's once-thriving life is upended by an unwelcome diagnosis that offers her a powerful connection to some of her Church History idols. Get more info and shownotes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel or find us on instagram and facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast TRANSCRIPT Coming soon... Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

This is the Gospel Podcast
Song of the Heart

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 1, 2021 37:50


Stories in this episode: Steve gets to choose the song at his mission farewell and discovers pirates in the hymnal; Lillie finds herself leading a choir of cloistered nuns in singing her least favorite hymn; The last few lines of a treasured song turn out to be Holly’s only solace as she faces heart wrenching disappointment in her journey to adopt. View shownotes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel Follow us on instagram and facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast Transcript:  KaRyn  0:03   Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.  I am really excited because we have something so fun to introduce our theme today. I was scrolling through my social media feed–as one does–and this comedy bit from Steve Soelberg popped up. And as I was watching it, I was like, "Oh, my gosh, he's read my diary about some of the hymns that we sing on Sundays." So I thought there was no better way to get us talking about music and our gospel practice than to start by having a good laugh together. Here's Steve. Steve  0:40   You know, I do have this theory, though. I think it is good to be embarrassed and do things that make yourself feel awkward and kind of out of place and stupid sometimes. And I think that's healthy. I think it's good to do that. That's why I went on a, I went on a two year mission for my Church. Because it made me feel embarrassed and awkward. I had a lot of doors slammed in my face, and I think that's healthy.  One of my favorite parts of it was even before I left. Before I left, they said, "Steve, you get to pick the hymns that the congregation is going to sing before you leave." It was like a little farewell thing. And I thought that's cool. That's a big responsibility and I didn't want to mess it up. So I asked my dad, I was like, "What hymn should we sing?" And my dad goes, "I don't care, just don't sing the pirate hymn." And I was like, "Wait, what? There's a pirate hymn? What are you talking about? We have a pirate hymn?" And I've done some research on the pirate hymn. The pirate hymn–the lyrics are used across many Christian churches. And as far as I know, my Church is the only one that uses this particular tune. The tune is also used by 1950's Disney movie that was about pirates and the ocean. And so I go, "Dad, please explain to me, what is the pirate hymn?" And he goes, "Well, it goes, it goes yeah, da da da da," and I was like, "Okay, that does sound kind of piratey, but keep going." And he goes, "Yeah, da da da da da" And that felt so piratey I was like, "Oohh... and I started the swashbuckle a little bit"–I don't know why my pirates are Irish, but they are. It just feels . . . I don't know why that's how that goes, but I don't know how to do a pirate accent. It's all Irish. Sorry, if you're in Ireland, and you're watching this.  I didn't recognize the song yet. Right? "Ya da da da da da," I  was like, "I don't recognize it yet." And I was like, "Dad, please sing it." And he's like, "Ugh." He didn't want to, but he did. And he goes, "Well, I'm gonna sing it the right way. With the pirate accent." My dad sings, he goes, "Okay, this is the song. 'Who's on the Lord's say who? Now is the time you show.'"  I was like "Oh! That is a pirate hymn." "We ask it fearlessly!" Fearlessly? What is that! Like, running the Jolly Roger up like, "Are you on the Lord's side? Fly the flag then, we ask it fearlessly. Who's on the Lord's side?" And then it doubles down on the pirate theme, it goes yeah, "Ya da da da da da da, ya da da da da da" at that point seaspray is hitting you in the face. My favorite part, "Who's on the large side who," And the whole congregation sings that line, everybody goes "Whoooooo," You have grandma's next year going "Whooo." Is that how we sing that? Then you look up at the top for direction and it goes "Sing pirately." You go, "Oh there we go. That makes sense."  Sing it pirately.  You go, "Are you on the Lard's side?" "The Lord?" "The LORD?" "The Lord?" "The Lord's side! He's on the starboard side." Of course we sang that when I left. I was like, "Dad, I'm shoving off! We gotta sing the pirate hymn." So excited. KaRyn  4:55   That was Steve Soelberg at Dry Bar Comedy. We love Dry Bar and Steve Soelberg for lots of reasons, but the fact that they specifically offer stand up that doesn't make us bleep anything, that's kind of a big deal. In fact, Steve has a whole special that you can watch on the Dry Bar app that doesn't require any bleeping.  So maybe you're a better person than me, but I really resonated with this whole thing. I'm admitting here and now that I have giggled through more than a few hymns in my day, "Scatter sunshine," "Put your shoulder to the wheel," those have always made me feel just a little like we're all "Yo, ho ho ho-ing" through the rest hymn. And I just realized that I miss the rest hymn! I miss it. And if that's not a pandemic miracle, I honestly don't know what is.  Music is such a funny thing in our gospel worship. There are a lot of different camps of opinion about our hymns. Maybe sometimes we wish they were a little more lively or a little bit more modern. Or in the case of the pirate hymns, maybe we wish they were a little less lively? A little more reverent? I think the reason we have so many different feelings and opinions about the music in our church is because sacred music is one of the ways that so many of us connect to heaven. It's the workhorse of our spiritual communion. It can be a conduit of praise and revelation, a way to express our gratitude and keep a prayer in our hearts.  We use it to spiritually prepare ourselves for participating in holy ordinances. And for me, it's often the tool that God uses to soften my heart so that he can correct me and invite me to come closer. Maybe I forgot to list the way that sacred music wends its way into your gospel practice. But if you think about it, I'm sure something came to your mind.  Today we've got two stories about the way our sacred music tutors and blesses us as disciples. Our first story comes from Lillie, whose love for music and languages gave her the unique opportunity to start a choir, quite different from any that she'd been a part of before. Here's Lillie. Lillie  6:50   The year my husband and I got married, I was teaching high school Spanish so I had summers off, and he was still in school so he had time in the summers as well. So we decided to volunteer. I needed more experience with Latin American countries so that I could feel like I was a better teacher. So I decided to–we signed up for this nonprofit to go and do nonprofit work in Ecuador, with a man named Washington Zambrano, he was actually a bishop at the time too, but he was a dentist. We signed up to be there for almost four months.  And when we got there, there were a bunch of nurses there that were volunteering with him, actual dentists, dental hygienists, so we basically did whatever he asked us to do. One particular service we were asked to do was go and help a bunch of nuns that lived in a monastery there in the historical district of Ecuador and Quito. Cloistered nuns take vows to never leave the convent. And they vow to just basically study and pray and be close to God. So it's pretty amazing that these women chose these things.  Some of the women that we met while we were in there doing their dental work, had actual jobs before they had taken their vows. And so some of them hadn't entered the convent until they were in like their 50's. And others were young, there were a couple of nuns that hadn't taken the vow to be a cloistered nun yet, so those were the nuns that would go out and get food or take some of the prepared food that the nuns made, and give it to the homeless population there in Quito.  So when we went to do dental work for the nuns who obviously hadn't had dental work in a long time, we felt really lucky to have been invited. And we kept hearing from the director, "We are so lucky to be here. They don't let people come in." And so we did feel that and we were really expressing how happy we were to be there, and we knew that it was probably the only time we'd be let in there.  They were super excited when we came because they didn't see people very often. They were talking our ears off. It was super fun. And so while one nun was getting her teeth cleaned, we'd be chatting with the other nuns and getting to know them. I do remember two nuns, they were actually radio personalities in their previous life. They were hilarious, and I think that they missed the attention. Oh my goodness, they were wonderful.  So somehow music came up with the nuns while we were there, and they had missed music in their lives and didn't have anyone to lead a choir. And my husband is a musician and he plays the guitar really well and oftentimes when we would go to do the dental work at the schools or in little villages I would play the violin and he would play the guitar and we'd just play music for them. They said, "Well, we would love a choir, can you teach us music? Can we form a choir? Would you come and do that?" And it was like our dream come true, "Yes!" You know, because I mean, dental work is one thing, but doing music is is exciting and super fun. So yes, we said we'd love to.  And so myself, my husband, and so we got it all set up, and I got these folders, I thought they would feel really important having you know, their folders. I wanted them to know that I was taking it seriously. So I gave them their folders, they had a pencil, you know, to mark anything. The real problem was I didn't have music. And the only music I had access to was the church hymns. So I found a hymnal. It was in Spanish, of course. And I chose some songs that I thought were simple. And I was really drawn to, "As Sisters in Zion" And then the other song was, "As I Have Loved You", and "Keep the Commandments." [Nuns singing "Love One Another" in Spanish"  So the "Sisters in Zion" song, it was an interesting one, because I'm going to be honest, I haven't always loved that song. I haven't always enjoyed singing it. Maybe because I grew up listening to Relief Society sisters sing it, and maybe, you know, there were older voices in there that weren't always the most lovely to listen to–I don't know, it just wasn't a song that I always loved. But as I read the words in Spanish, the translation, it's called, "We Serve United." And what I think is neat about that is they are, they were cloistered nuns serving together.  The first line, the first part of the song, "We serve together because we're sisters." And then it's saying that they hope God blesses us in our work, and we will edify his kingdom on the earth, bringing service in love. It's very simple, and there's nothing that says even Zion in it. And I felt like it translated perfectly for their situation, I thought that they would relate to it, and that it would help them feel strength in their purpose.  So when I brought this song in their little folders with their little pencils–which, they were just giddy when we arrived, I still remember their faces. And remember, they're wearing habits, just like on "The Sound of Music," and they were so excited to see us that of course, we were just thrilled. And I remember singing the song with them, they really caught on pretty quickly. And after they sang it, they looked at me and they said, "Wow, did you write this for us?" Like, "No, actually Janice Kapp Perry wrote this, but it does relate," like, they loved it. They just loved it, it almost became their anthem.  And what I love about it is it completely changed my perspective on this song. I cannot sing this song. Without thinking about these sisters. I really, I saw them as my sisters. I–when we sang that together, I just felt so much love that Heavenly Father had for them.  They let us come several more times during that time we spent in Ecuador, and they weren't really preparing for anything, they didn't have a choir concert, I think it was for their own edification. I think they just really wanted to sing.  So I've always loved music, and I feel like music is what helped me build my testimony throughout my younger years and even now, if I have questions, they're often answered while I'm singing hymns. And I feel like this experience solidified that for me, because, as we sang, the Spirit was there. Music invites the Spirit. And it doesn't matter what religion we are, we are all children of God, and singing a song or singing a hymn that speaks words of truth invites the Spirit. And I felt that so strongly and I looked around at these faces of these beautiful nuns singing "As Sisters in Zion," and I could see the love that they had for the same Heavenly Father, and I feel like it really did unite us in a cause for good. And I'll never sing that song again without that feeling. KaRyn  15:34   That was Lillie. We first heard her story on our pitch line and were mesmerized by her description of acquire of cloistered nuns in Ecuador singing "As Sisters in Zion." My favorite spark of gospel from Lillie's story is that when we sing songs that speak truth, the spirits present, regardless of our faith tradition. And that's only amplified when we sing those songs together.  All my fellow choir nerds out there know that something really cool happens when we join our shaky, imperfect voices in praise of Jesus. And I think that something is a taste of Zion. The things that make us different or disconnected seem to fall away as we exert the same kind of effort to take individual notes and individual voices, and meld them into one. I think it's a really transcendent experience, and it can change the way that we see one another.  Maybe it's the erstwhile fiction writer in me speaking here, but I have this vision that someday anthropologists in the year 3000, will find this recording of a Spanish translation of Janice Kapp Perry's, "As Sisters in Zion" in an abandoned nunnery in Ecuador, and it'll spark a historical mystery for our posterity that will end with them coming to the conclusion that we were a unified and connected people across cultures and continents.  I know, it's a little far fetched, but a girl can dream, right? And maybe, just maybe, when we get back from this quarantine, we'll all decide to take another look at joining the ward choir. Just a thought. Our next story about the power of music comes from Holly who needed additional strength to move forward after a devastating setback. Here's Holly. Holly  17:16   My husband and I were married in 1986, it seems like a really long time ago. And in 1991, we did our first adoptions. We had three biological children and in 91, we went to Romania, to adopt and adopted two little girls from orphanages there and decided that we would really want to welcome kids into our home who had been abandoned, neglected, in some way–hard to place, because we also had a biological daughter with disabilities, and so it really opened up a world of possibility for us to add to our family.  When we decided to adopt, when we felt inspired to adopt another child, or add another child, we always took it to the Lord. We always prayed, we always got confirmation, we both had to be on the same page. I think my husband would tell you that, if we had adopted every child that I had felt would be a good fit, we'd probably have 50. And we don't have quite that many, but we always got confirmation. And that was one of the things that I relied on, right? Is feeling confirmation from the spirit that these were the children that I needed to add to my home.  So in 2007–actually beginning in 2006–we started to pursue an adoption from a country in Africa, it's no longer open, but at the time it was open, and we had that same familiar feeling, it's time to go add to our family. We did all of the paperwork, and I traveled to that country prepared to adopt. My husband was going to stay home, I was going to go and I took one of my teenage daughters with me to do this adoption. And we actually spent months there.  We lived there to complete these adoptions, and we found three little girls. One was in an orphanage, and two were actually abandoned in the hospital, and they were legally adopted to us. We got birth certificates, and passports in the Richardson name, the courts released them into my custody and I started taking care of them, while we were still undergoing the rest of the legal process and the court process.  Absolutely bonded, I fall in love with my kids very quickly. The last step is to go to the American Embassy and get visas to bring them home to the United States. We went to the American Embassy and they . . . they said "No." They turned us down. First they said "Well, we need to go verify where these girls actually came from." So we tracked down all the information we had, we tracked down the police report where the kids were abandoned, I mean, we tracked all of this information down, provided all of the paperwork, and then there was another reason. And we just couldn't figure it out. And it started to get concerning.  One day with my teenage daughter who had come with me, we got a knock on our apartment door where we were staying and it was Child Services from this country, and they were coming to take the kids back into their custody. Two of them were newborns, one of them was only three months old, so they were really close in age. And I had been their full time caregiver around the clock for a couple of months at least. And here, these people show up and they're like, "We're here to take your babies." And I'm like, "What? What . . . like, How can that be possible?"  And they just said, "Well, we know you're having trouble with the American Embassy, so you go work it out in America, and we're going to take care of the girls here," and told us to go home and work on the problem at home. And we were just like, I was just stunned. I . . .I couldn't believe it, right. It was really traumatic and very sad.  And here I had been, trying to be faithful, following the spirit, and it had not worked out and I was in shock and grief. I did not feel the Comforter, I did not feel supported, I actually felt betrayed. I felt betrayed by God, that He had led me so far, and then taken away the ability for me to get these little girls home.  I had this realization that I was at a moment of choosing. And I did debate a little bit on on whether this was going to be the last straw for me, because we'd gone through some really rough stuff. I could have said, "Okay, I'm done. I'm out." I had, at the time, this was 2007, so I had a laptop, it  used to have a CD player and I had CD's with me from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And as I played, "How Firm a Foundation," I was stuck on the last verse. And the last verse says, "The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I cannot, desert to His foes. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, I'll never no never, I'll never, no never, no never forsake."  And I literally put that on repeat. This music helped calm my soul, it was so soothing, and I just sat there and listened and cried and listened and cried and cried. And made that commitment that I'll never forsake. I'll never forsake, no matter how hard it is, I'll never forsake and that was, that was really my moment of choosing. That music really helped me choose faith.  I heard later, one of the people that was helping us said that they had just participated in a meeting where the woman who had come and taken my children from me, stood up and said that Mormons were not Christian, and that she had saved these children from a fate worse than death by preventing them from coming to an LDS home. I don't know exactly what her difficulties were with my religion, but it was very clear that that was the reason that they decided that they were going to prevent these kids from coming home.  Now what happened is, I went home and I spent, we spent many, many hours with attorneys and working the legal process, and the reality was–it never happened. And they didn't come home.  I entered a period of really dark depression, because I couldn't bring them home. And it just felt so awful that I knew where they were, and I couldn't do anything about it. People would ask me, "How are you doing?" and I would literally burst into tears. I look at pictures from that year, I never did my hair, I never wore makeup, I put on sweats, like I could barely get myself out of bed. But because I chose to stay in the gospel and to do the things that I needed to do to feel the light again, because I didn't for a long time.  One morning, in December of that year, I woke up and I could tell that things were a little bit better. That was the day that I started to really feel like I was healing from that. And now it's been, what, 14 years. And every time I still hear that song, I remember that commitment that I made, both to myself, but to God as well to say, I'm going to stay, and I choose faith.  And I think sometimes. . . II think sometimes people think that, that people stay in the church out of maybe naivete, but, but I choose to stay in spite of the difficulties, and I choose to stay in spite of not knowing. And I chose to stay even when things were really hard and I felt like they were really not fair–and they weren't fair. But I knew that I would have dark times but I also knew that I could rely on Heavenly Father and my Savior, I knew that they would be there, and I knew that I would get through it. And I did it.  And I think part of it for me is knowing that if I hold on during those dark times that the light will come again. I've gone to the temple where I felt not one thing. I've prayed where I felt like not one thing, nobody was listening, nobody cared. But I just did the things I knew I was supposed to do, and the light came back. KaRyn  25:37   That was Holly. Holly and her husband, are parents to 25 children who've come into their family in various ways. And if that doesn't tell you what you need to know about her willingness to commit when the Spirit directs her, I don't know what does.  I appreciate what she learned about the beauty of our hymns as spiritual teachers, that when we listen to and surround ourselves with sacred music as part of our discipleship, we're creating a little well of inspiration that we can dip from when we need to learn something or decide something in a moment, even if that moment is characterized by pain or grief. Those songs will float upward and act as a catalyst for the Spirit. But even better, after we've had that experience with the Spirit, the moment is gonna fade, but that song will still remain.  And just like Holly said, every time we hear it, it becomes this tangible touchstone of a time when we were inextricably connected to heaven, a solid reminder to recommit or to stay strong or to have additional peace.  I suspect that most of us could point to a pivotal moment when a song, a sacred song, offered an answer or comfort to us. I know I can. For me, it always seems to come from the song, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." In fact, that song has become kind of an inside joke between me and the Lord. Every single time I don't want to do something scary, or I'm on the fence about following inspiration or revelation. Invariably, I go to church, I sit in the back pew, I argue with the Spirit about it, and then we sing this song for the closing hymn.  This conversation with music and the Spirit happened when I was trying to decide whether to serve a full time mission. And it happened when I was feeling nervous about my decision to leave my job and move to South Korea. And it happened again when I didn't get into a graduate program that I desperately, desperately, wanted to be a part of. And when the answer was to stay right where I was for the time being. It's this line that gets me every time, "But if by a still small voice He calls to paths that I do not know, I'll answer Dear Lord with my hand in thine, I'll go where you want me to go."  I admit that it has some of the lilting of a pirate hymn, but it's my pirate hymn. And every time I hear it, I am reminded that sacred music is a powerful and personal tool of communion between me and my Heavenly Parents. There's one other piece of this that I think is worth mentioning. In a Church Educational System talk the President Nelson gave in 2008 he spoke about the power and the protection of worthy music.  And at the outset, it might seem like our stories today were all about the power of music, the power to unify, to transcend differences, to anchor us to the gospel and soothe our troubled hearts. But when I look a little bit deeper, I can see what President Nelson was talking about when he said, quote, "Music is not only a source of power, but also of protection," end quote.  Surrounding ourselves with sacred music–and that could be lots of different kinds of music, I'm not just talking about hymns, but surrounding ourselves with sacred music offers a shield against the darts of the adversary. It covers our efforts to share eternal truths when disagreements, misunderstandings, or cultural differences could easily drive a wedge between an ad hoc choir director and her newly formed corral of nuns. Sacred music can hold us still, while our hearts break in a hotel room far from home. And it can fill us with a hope that is strong enough to cast out the doubt and the dissonance that threatens to send us far from God's goodness.  In my own life, I've seen sacred music fill the space between the angry words in my head and my sometimes too sharp tongue. It stopped me from saying things that I couldn't take back. And I have experienced the presence of angels after a light filled song open the gates of heaven against a darkness that felt like it could own me.  Worthy music is a power and a protection. Is it any wonder then, that President Nelson warned us in that talk to use that power and care for that protection intentionally, when he said, quote, "Do not degrade yourself with the numbing shabbiness and irreverence of music that is not worthy of you. It is not harmless. It can weaken your defenses. Fill your minds with worthy sights and sounds. Cultivate your precious gift of the Holy Ghost. Protect it. Carefully listen for its quiet communication, you will be spiritually stronger if you do," end quote.  And to that, my friends, all I can say is amen. And in the spirit of our theme today, I want to leave you with one more thing, a hymn that my Pappy used to sing with all of his heart and soul in our sacrament meeting, arranged and sung by some of my favorite musicians. I hope it gives you an added measure of power and protection today. This is "II Stand All Amazed" by the Bonner family. Bonner Family  31:33   "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me."  "Wonderful to me. I marvel that he would descend from His throne divine. To rescure a soul so rebellious and proud as mine. Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me. Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me."  "I stand all amazed at the love, I stand all amazed. Wonderful to me. Wonderful to me."  KaRyn  34:33   That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Lillie and Holly, and comedian Steve Solberg and Dry Bar Comedy for sharing their stories and their love for all worthy music, including the piratey ones.  We'll have a link to Steve's full length comedy special–that again requires no bleeping–and more info about each of our storytellers in our show notes. We'll also have a way for you to find more of that gorgeous music from the Bonners. Seriously, they're bringing a whole new energy to our hymns, and I am here for it. You can find our show notes at LDSliving.com/thisisthegospel.  One of my favorite things besides the Bonner family and cake is hearing from you. We love to hear how this podcast is adding to your practice of the gospel. You can find us on social media at @thisisthegospel_podcast, or leave us a review on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. Reviews are super helpful in pushing us up in the recommended section of a lot of platforms, so more people can find us easily.  All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers. We find so many stories through the pitch line and we'll be gathering those stories and ideas for season four soon so get ready to share them. You'll have three minutes to pitch your story when you call 515-519-6179. This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay, with story production and editing from Erika Free. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDSliving.com/podcasts.   Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

This is the Gospel Podcast
Good Judgement

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 22, 2021 43:16


Stories in this episode: Brett’s charge to defend a man who has committed heinous crimes is almost too much to bear until a desperate plea to God in the middle of the courtroom restores his hope; As a new judge, Carey faces a crisis of conscience when a temple recommend interview offers new insight; When Jennifer is unfairly judged by her colleagues, the consequences send her into a bitter tailspin that only a vivid dream from heaven can stop. View shownotes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel Follow us on instagram and facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

This is the Gospel Podcast
The Gift of Curiosity

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 15, 2021 34:38


In this episode, we explore one of the ways that we can become better storytellers and better listeners through cultivating our holy curiosity. In honor of Black History Month, we revisit the faithful story of Isaac Thomas, a black Latter-day Saint who converted to the gospel in the 1970's despite the fact that he would be unable to hold the priesthood or participate fully in the restored gospel he loved. We'll also hear from Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes, (aka the Sistas in Zion) who give us their tips for better ways to interact with one another across cultural divides.  SHOW NOTES:  If you're looking for ways to get curious about the lived experiences of our brothers and sisters of color in the gospel, you can find a list of resources (as promised!) at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel TRANSCRIPT  KaRyn  0:03  Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay. If you've ever spent any time with a three year old, then you might not agree with the central tenet of our theme today, that curiosity is a gift. But listen, if we can get past the exhaustion that comes from answering those rapid fire questions of our tiny humans, we'll eventually come to that magical place where we admit that the ability to look into the wide world and ask a million times, "How does this work?" That's pretty awe inspiring. It's interesting, when we talk about the commandment to become as a little child, I think our minds often go straight to humility. But is there anything more humble than acknowledging that there's so much we don't know and so much that we want to know? Curiosity is a function of true discipleship. And when we tap into it, we open the door to so much beauty and possibility in our efforts to become a true child of Christ. Now, listen, I'm pretty sure that I am preaching to the choir when I say this, but I can't think of a business that is more suited to a cultivation of curiosity than the work of storytelling, and it's necessary companion act of listening. When we dive into a story and allow ourselves to feel something from someone else's experience, that's evidence of a curious heart. And that translates when we tell our own stories. Having the spiritual gift of curiosity about others will make us more introspective about ourselves, our motives, our fears, so that when we bear our own stories of faith, we'll convey the heart of the story instead of just the details. If curiosity can really do that, then I think it's something lovely, of good report and worth seeking after. I've also been thinking about how curiosity, storytelling, and listening can be tools for us as we try to accomplish what President Nelson has charged us with, when he said in the October 2020 General Conference, that Latter-day Saints and followers of Christ must, quote, "Lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice." I firmly believe that offering a curious heart to one another and listening from the starting place of, "I don't understand and I want to understand," is the key to beginning that work. So as we celebrate Black History Month here in the U.S. in February, I figured maybe we could start there today. Start by practicing a holy curiosity about a part of our church history, that sometimes hard to hear. Today, we've got a story about faith, pain and hope from Isaac Thomas, an African American Latter-day Saint who converted to the gospel in the 1970's, despite the ban that precluded Black men like him from holding the priesthood. We first shared Isaac's story in season one of the podcast. So you may have heard it before. But even if that's the case, I'm a huge believer that with a little bit of a prayer in our heart, the spirit will show us new insights. Here's Isaac. ISAAC: I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I've been a member of The Church for 46 years. I was part of the Civil Rights movement, I was involved in the marching and the sit-ins and those types of things, and campaigning and being a non-violent protester for rights not only for blacks but for everyone. That was what I was doing at the time when I first started college. It was 1967 to 1971. It taught me patience, if nothing else, and long-suffering because during the Civil Rights movement to sit in at a cafe, and to be hosed in those things, there's a lot of patience involved in that, and a lot of long-suffering.  I first came in contact with the church through a young man that was in my basic training unit when I was in the Air Force, and he gave me a Joseph Smith pamphlet for me to read. That was my initial contact with The Church. I actually didn't get a chance to read it all. I just got to the first paragraph, explaining who Joseph Smith was. And then my drill instructor took it out of my hand and told me that Mormons were racist and bigots. Oh, okay well, forget that. I don't need racists and bigots in my life. I almost ended it. After that, I went to my next duty station and again, there was another Mormon on base that asked me for, you know, said he’d give me a ride at the chow hall and he asked me to go to his church with him that night. I forgot to ask him what church I was even going to. It didn't occur to me that everybody in the jeep that I was in, leaving base, was white but me. And the church was on the road in Southwest Texas alone by itself, I’m squinting, going where’s the church, and I realize it's a Mormon church. Ahh, it's a Mormon church! It's a Klu Klux Klan meeting and I'm going to be the burnt offering. I was, I couldn't believe it. I said I'll get out of the Jeep. I'll stand here, They'll go in and I'll walk back to base. Nobody moved until I did. I'm walking into this church, I'm going, "Please let there be another person of color in here." There was not. They had a mahogany foyer and I was going, if I stand close enough I can blend in and they won't notice I'm here. I expected for the chapel doors will open I would enter and see the grand dragon with hood in sheet. I could not believe I had gotten myself into such a terrible, terrible situation. KARYN: What Isaac found that day was actually far from what he feared. The rumors were untrue. There was no grand wizard lurking in the chapel, and instead, he felt something sweet and meaningful. He agreed to take the missionary discussions that soon came across some difficult information that was hard to process. ISAAC: The first time I learned that I couldn't hold the Priesthood was when they gave me the last lesson which was added to the series of lessons that they were giving me and they explained it to me. They told me all the reasons, all the reasons that the time that they were told. And I listened. And then I said, "You'll have to tell me that again". And they repeated everything. And then something just said, "It's okay." And I said, "Fine. Fine, I'm okay." The thing that kept me anchored was I knew Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I knew that, got that witness,  can't deny that. I knew the Book of Mormon had been restored by the prophet of God, can't get rid of that one either. If those two are true, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church of God. There was some dissonance because I didn't know what other blacks would think of me, how they would accept me. I wasn't sure how the rest of my family members would accept me which troubled me because we were very close family. And so I was wandering in this mist of darkness really, just feeling my way, but I could not deny what I know to be true. I actually joined the church December 15 in 1972 in an old chapel in San Angelo, Texas. I remember just fighting with myself in the restroom, going, "Should I leave? Should I stay? No, Get out of here, this is bad. No, you need to stay this is going to be good for you." But I indeed stayed and I was baptized  and it was glorious for me. Really, I’d never felt so good and all my days. I remember the feeling of being light and forgiven. My parents' reaction when I joined the Mormon Church, my father was not there when my mother asked me, "What church did you join?" And I said, "The Mormon Church," and she dropped the skillet. My cousin left cussing. My brother said, "You did what?" And I just kind of sat there silently. And then my grandparents, when they heard about it, they said, "Just leave him alone, it’s one of his passing things. It'll be okay." But after a while, when I stopped drinking, smoking, carousing, doping and all those things, my grandmother finally said, "I don't care what church it is, hallelujah to it." It got me to be the person that they wanted me to be. Because my grandmother, when I was younger, I was ill and she promised the Lord that if I was saved, or live, that I would dedicate my life to the Lord. And I have to admit, I found that out and I purposely tried not to be that person, but here I am. Well, I decided once I got out of the military that I wanted to go on a mission. That was 1976 or 77. And I knew I couldn't, so I wrote President Kimball a letter and said, "Dear President, I'd like to go on a mission. I don't care if I can't baptize people, somebody else can do all that. All I want to do is be able to get in there and to teach people, just to teach them the Gospel." I got a letter back and it said, "Dear Brother Thomas, we're sorry, you can't go on a mission because you don't have the priesthood." Then, I went, "Women go on missions!" So I wrote him another letter, "Women go on missions!" I got another letter back saying, but they had to go to the temple and take out their endowment. And for you to go on a mission, you'd have to take out your endowment. So you can't go." And I said, I'm going to mission one way or the other, okay? And then my mindset, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Okay, I'm going to go, I'll figure it out, then I'll let them know. That was my mindset. I had not given up, but I accepted what he said, I understood what he was saying and why it was being said. But I figured there was some other way for me to accomplish the thing that I wanted to do. Because after all, the Lord gives no commandment unto the children of men unless He provides a way to accomplish the things that he has commanded.  Well, I realize how to serve that mission. When the kids came home from school and they told me about this song and dance group at BYU that did missionary work, and all they did was sing and dance. And they said it’s Young Ambassadors. And I went, "I can do that!" So me and my friends jumped in his MG, drove up here inAugust of 1977 for me to audition for the Young Ambassadors for my mission. But I got there and I was intimidated by all the talent that was there. I mean, I hadn't had music lessons or dancing lessons so I didn't audition. But then I was getting ready to go do baptisms for the dead and the phone rang and it was the director of the Young Ambassador's asking me to come up and audition. The director of the Young Ambassadors was told to call me because when I was in Thailand, a group from BYU came over to entertain the troops. And I worked the lights for them and Randy Booth was playing the piano and I met him and I was doing USO shows. Apparently, somebody told him that I was there. And a dancer had dropped out of the Young Ambassadors so they had called me to see if I wanted to come up and audition. And so I went up, after I'd gone to the temple, sang and danced, sand and danced, and they said, "Yes, we want you to be part of our group.” We want you to know that you're going to be in a fishbowl, that everybody will be watching you that this won't be easy. There will be a lot of questions, a lot of pressure that you will be under. It was going to be pressure because I was a black member of The Church. And at that time, there were not a whole lot of us around, particularly in a performing group at BYU. And because we were going to be traveling all over, that there will be non-members and other people that would take me to task and take The Church to task on their stand about why blacks could not have the priesthood. And I said, "Well, that's their problem. This is my mission for two years. I don't have time for that." Done. That was one of the greatest learning experiences of my time being a member of the Young Ambassadors. I learned more about performing, I learned a whole, whole lot about brotherhood. When I say brotherhood, I include sisterhood as well. The love and care that they had for me was genuine and real. There would be some that would leave and go on missions and they would tell me, "Isaac, I'm gonna baptize this many people in your name." I was promised that I would have special friends and associates that would be for my good. And that was indeed quite true with that group. When something untoward happened, like a member or somebody would not let me stay in their home because I was black, some of the girls— they got very, very upset—and I didn't like that kind of thing. So I would have to stay in a hotel or something with the director. But they were always there. I never had to worry about my back. Ever. There were some challenges while I was on my mission with the Young Ambassadors, and there was a time where we were doing a number in Georgetown, Pennsylvania and a girl jumped about two inches off the floor, ripped her knee out, hobbled off stage. I was the only one off stage because I had a solo number after that one. And I carried her off and the director came back and said, "Isaac, go get someone that has the priesthood." And he might as well hit me upside the head with a wrecking ball, or taken a machete and just gutted me. I was devastated. He wasn't being mean, it was just a fact. And really, I think for the first time, I really did feel inferior in some way because of that. Like Man's Search for happiness, I just didn't know what was happening in my life because I had no question about the priesthood for six years. I'd been a member for six years, what's going on? And I was talking to Brad Smith, he was my roommate, and I just told him I felt like I was holding on to my testimony by the skin of my teeth at that point. But then, I realized, we have to trust in God because man will disappoint us every time, but God will not. He may not come when you want Him all the time, but He's always on time. So about June, end of May of 1978, we were in Toronto, Canada. And the missionaries brought this young lady to the show for me to talk to, she was black. And the director kept bugging me to talk to her. And I said, "Okay, fine." But when I jumped off the stage, there was a bunch of anti-Mormon people that came to the show. I was surrounded by all these people that are calling me a traitor to my race. That I was an Oreo, an Uncle Tom, and I just didn't need that my life. I finally talked to this young lady and I told her she’d do more for a family in the church and she ever could outside of it. And I left. We jumped on our bus, traveled to Kansas City, June 8, and we had lunch with my mom and we sang songs, we got back on the bus and we start going through Kansas. I went to sleep. Cause Kansa, it’s flat, there's nothing there and I'd seen it before. I went to sleep. They woke me up when we got to Salina, Kansas and told me to get off the bus. I got up, I got off the bus, didn't know what was going on. When I got back to our equipment van that had our costumes and instruments in it, Gary, our piano player was driving that when he said, "Isaac, we heard something on the radio. We don't know if it's true." I said, "Well, Gary, what did you hear?" He said, "Well, we want you to hear, we just don't know what to think." He kept going on and on and on. I recognized the station, it was WHB in Kansas City. I thought they had heard that my mom had been an accident. I said, "Gary, if you don't tell me what you've heard, I'm going to be all of you like stink on a monkey." He said, "They gave the blacks the Priesthood!" I said, "Don't, don't believe that, please. We're in the heartland of the reorganized church, the heartland of the reorganized church. They could be giving the cows the Priesthood for all we know out here. And don't tell anybody on that bus because I can't handle if it's not true. I can’t handle all that disappointment. No, don't want to deal with it. I got in the van, we drove to a mall, the director gets out runs in the mall. I figure we're going to go in, pass out some pamphlets about The Church get some contacts for the missionaries and sing some songs. Done it before, no big deal. Gets back on the bus. The bus pulls in front of the van and I see every, all 40 something people on one side of the bus hands and faces waving. At that point, I knew that they had told them about this fictitious rumor about this Priesthood thing. I went, "How could they do that to me?" and then on the CB radio, I hear, "Elder Thomas, it is true." My entire life passed before my eyes. And I went, wait a minute did I sleep through the Millennium? I was always told what happened in the Millennium. And then I went wait, well who's coming in these clouds? And I didn't know if I should look or not. It was like being in a dream. I get on the bus and they say "Bare your testimony!" I couldn't think of my name. I don't know what I said, I said something and I sat down by the director. At that point, people start singing songs, "The Spirit of God like a Fire is Burning," and then someone would bear their testimony. "I am a child of God." "I know that my Redeemer lives," all of those harmonies from all those talented talented people floated across Kansas. But everybody that I'd ever know from the Laotian border from Karamursel, Turkey, San Angelo, Texas, the family that got me in the church was trying to find me that day. For they had been there supporting me all this time. Praying along with me for this day to come, like many, many, many of the silent majority of the members of The Church, praying for this very, very special thing. It wasn't my letter, either one of them, it was a collective effort for those that wanted this to be done and for the Lord to hear the prayers of His children that were given in righteousness and in devotion unto Him.  After the revelation, our last show was in Loveland, Colorado. The bus pulled up and there was like, hordes of people there to welcome us and at that show that night, the audience was great. Several encores, several testimonies, but when we got back to BYU, it was a little different because there were people that would speak to me and thought I could walk on water because I didn't have the priesthood. Now that I could, they would not speak to me. There were also advertisements taken out the newspaper denying the priesthood revelation that made me feel bad. And it took me a while to understand that that was their choice if they were cheating themselves out of their own exaltation. That was hard, but for the more part, it was grand. I wanted to write someone black, the only black person I had, which was this young lady I met in Toronto, Canada. Well, she came down for General Conference because they were going to be you know, ratifying and talking about the Restoration of the Priesthood for conference. So she came down, stayed with her missionary's that converted her. I met her and we, you know, went to a couple of sessions together and then Sunday night, we were walking on Temple Square, and we were just talking and I asked her what she was going to be doing and told her what my plans were and we got up by the Christus, and all of a sudden I heard these words come out of my mouth, "Will you marry me?" And I was so startled by what came out of my mouth. I couldn't believe it. Because I promised I would never have a Mormon romance, you know what I mean? And she said, "I'll have to think about it." I'm going, it's a good thing somebody's thinking because  obviously I am not. She came back a couple days later and said, "Yes." And we talked about will we get married civilly first? Will we wait and get sealed? And we decided to wait to get sealed. And we got married June 15, 1979. We were the first black couple to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. There were so many people at my sealing. I can't tell you who was there. All I know is there was standing room, people everywhere, halfway out the door. And when we walked out of the temple, there were all kinds of people taking pictures, it was in the Deseret News and I'm going, okay. But we were, we were so dizzy just from being nervous about being married. But really, it was another surreal experience in my life, but a great one. My testimony helps me when things aren't connected as far as race and understanding in the church. People can say and do anything, there will always be bigots, some knowingly being bigots, some unknowingly being bigots in every religion, they're there. No matter what the trial is, or what the circumstance is or what's been said to me or thrown at me, literally. The Lord is there. We sing a song in my grandmother's church, it went, "I trust in God, I know he cares for me. On the mountain tops, on the stormy sea. Though the billows may roll, he thrills my soul. My Heavenly Father watches over me." KaRyn  23:12   That was Isaac Thomas. I produced the video for LDS Living that first told this story in 2018. And it's amazing to me that I've heard Isaac's story literally dozens of times. And I still heard something new as I listened.  Maybe you found yourself like I did filled with gratitude and wonder at Isaac's faithfulness and his determination, that part about choosing to serve a mission even when he couldn't formally serve, I mean, that just gets me every single time. And maybe you, like me, heard those stories of pain and wounding from Isaac and wondered if maybe you'd inadvertently allowed a bias or lack of understanding to get in the way of another child of God feeling the full stature of their divinity.  If that's the case, well, then good. Good, good, good. That is the gift of curiosity, doing its beautiful job, reminding us that we're still alive here on this earth and that our time is not over yet, we still have some spiritual growth left in us. It can be painful, a real gut punch to be curious about ourselves in that way, to search out the moat in our own eye.  But our love for Isaac and all of our brothers and sisters of color demand that we do it. Our desire to be more like the Savior demands it as well. And I firmly believe that he will help us to push past the shame and the fear that that self examination can bring up if we let him.  In the spirit of practicing curiosity, I want to share one more quick little thing with you today. It's audio from a video series that LDS Living did a while ago called, "What and what not to say at church." We did the series to help us all navigate potentially awkward situations at church with a little bit more love and a little more self awareness.  And one of the topics that we tackled was talking to our Black brothers and sisters. I don't know about you, but I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and my interactions with Black culture were really limited until I was in college in Philadelphia. And I made a lot of mistakes. And I acted on a lot of assumptions. And I know I hurt people.  I really love that saying that is making the rounds lately, "When you know better, you do better." Admitting fault and vowing to do better is the very heart of our gospel practice. And that's true of navigating cultural differences. It's a holy work that requires God to help us complete. But bridging the gap is possible, and listening to others with a different life experience, really listening to them without defensiveness, that's the first step.  So here are Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes, also known as the Sistas in Zion, with their tips for doing better at interacting with each other at church. And here's a funny thing. This video was done long before President Nelson asked us to stop calling ourselves "Mormons," so you're going to hear that in this audio, but just know that we know that we don't use that anymore. Here you go.   Tamu   Sometimes people will come up to you and grab you hair.   Zandra   If this has ever happened to you at church, you might be a Black Mormon.   Tamu   On a serious tip, at church, sometimes we say things like, "I don't see color," which is not true, but it is awkward. And we understand that. We're going to have some awkward moments, but we're just going to ride it through. And we're going to get through this because we are all brothers and sisters, and we're in this together.    Zandra   Absolutely, so we're going to give some tips.   Tamu   So what do you say to people who just come up to you and touch your hair?   Zandra   So we know you're curious, and that's okay. But we really shouldn't touch people without permission. So if you're interested in my hair, get to know me. Know my name, what are my interests, and once we're friends, maybe we'll get to hair.    When we serve admissions around people of color, we often like to share with them that we've connected culturally with an experience that might resonate with us.   Tamu   Basically, what you want us to know is that you love Black people, and we want you to know we love you back.   Zandra   But while we're seeking connections, there are some assumptions that can actually disconnect us.   Tamu   For example, I'm from California, not from Ghana, where you served your mission.    Zandra   And that sister from Ghana is not from the hood, where you served yours.    Tamu   People think I can sing because I'm Black, so they want me to be in the choir. I'm not a good singer. Also, I'm a convert to the church to the LDS faith. She is not.   Zandra   I am a convert, actually, everybody's a convert to the LDS faith, but I don't have a gangster to gospel story that you're looking for.    All Black people don't know each other. I cannot get Alex Boye to speak at your farewell.    Tamu   So sometimes people will come up to me and they'll say, you know, "Oh, my gosh, I served my mission in Chicago, Illinois. Do you know champagne?" And I'm like, "Yeah!". . . I don't.   Zandra   But the truth is, all Black Mormons kind of really do know each other.   Tamu   Don't speak slang to me if that's not your native language.    It's okay to ask me, "Are you Black? Or are you African American?" I'm both. And I'm also Tamu.   Zandra   When it comes to asking questions, motive matters. If your motive is the loving one, it'll shine through.   Tamu   Sometimes we have these conversations in the church, and sometimes race is a part of it. Don't skip over the race part. We want to be a part of that conversation.   Zandra   Tamu and I don't speak for all Black people, so the best rule of thumb is treat everybody like individuals, get to know them. And then you'll find out what they like, what they don't like. All are like unto God. But that doesn't mean that we are all alike. It means that we're striving to love each other, like God loves each of us.   Tamu   I'm excited to see you on Sunday.   Zandra   Catch me in the pew, how about that?   Tamu   How about that.   Zandra   And when we wear our wraps and hats to church, don't ask us to move to the back row because you can't see over them. Come on up and join us. The more the merrier on the pew.   KaRyn  29:20   That was Zandra Vranes and Tamu Smith. We'll have a link to that video in our show notes so you can see what you can't when you're just listening to the audio. Tamu and Zandra have never been shy about sharing what it feels like to be a woman of color in a church that sometimes doesn't reflect their experience.  And I for one, am grateful for their willingness to speak up with plainness and love and self respect. They brought up an interesting point in the video that I had honestly never thought of until just now. It's the difference between a holy curiosity and a nosy curiosity. And here's what I mean.  Holy curiosity respects people's boundaries. It's motivated by love and acknowledges the godliness and the divinity in every person, while also asking, "What's it like for you to be here?" But nosy curiosity is just the opposite. It's actually all about you, and meeting your needs to know, at the expense of another person's dignity.  It's doing what I know I have done before, touching someone's hair because you want to know what it feels like regardless of how that might make them feel. Or asking someone if you've hurt them, only to try to defend yourself.  I love what Zandra said, that our motives matter. And it's going to shine through as we press forward through awkward moments in our attempts to form genuine familial connection. I don't know what it's like for you, but my church life sometimes seems like it's all awkward moments. Ministering, teaching over zoom, accepting ministering, all of these great things require me to be slightly uncomfortable all the time.  So after listening to these tips again, I'm going to try to put this into practice. To ask myself if my curiosity is holy or nosy, to pause before talking and check myself to see if my curiosity is motivated by a desire to really know someone and understand their life on their terms, or if it serves only me.  I'm hopeful that as I do that, that my comfort and ease will grow as I do the work of discipleship. We can't leave this theme of curiosity without recognizing that ultimately, we seek this gift so that we can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Talk about a holy curiosity.  Despite the fact that he knew all and could perceive every single thing, Christ asked hundreds of questions during his ministry. And those are only the things that we have recorded in canonized scripture. I'm sure there was more. Christ loved curiosity. And in Matthew chapter seven, verse seven, he promised us that our sacred curiosity would be rewarded, he said, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you."  So back to that charge from President Nelson to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice, I think it all starts with engaging with the gift of curiosity, asking Heavenly Father to show us what we don't know. And listening to stories from people who've lived it, like Isaac, and Tamu and Zandra, and others. Asking questions with a motivation of love and a commitment to do better, when we know better.  If you're feeling that desire right now, we will have a list of really great resources to feed your curiosity in our show notes, including some links that offer opportunities to hear directly from our brothers and sisters of color who go to church with us. I don't think we have to wait to be perfect to lead out. We just have to be like a little child willing to let people see us and our growth and our curiosity. And then we can truly call ourselves, all of us, the children of Christ. That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storyteller, Isaac Thomas, and our wonderful Sistas in Zion, Zandra and Tamu. We'll have more info from all of these storytellers in our show notes at LDS living.com/Thisisthegospel. That's also where you can find a transcript of each episode.  If you haven't already started to follow us on social media, go find us on Instagram or Facebook at @thisisthegospel_podcast, we work hard to make sure that it will add to your scrolling instead of taking away.  The stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers, we find lots of our stories through the pitch line. So if you have a story to share about a time in your life when you learn something new by practicing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to hear from you. The best pitches will be short and sweet and have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You'll have three minutes to pitch when you call, 515-519-6179.  If you want to help spread the word about "This Is the Gospel," we'd love for you to give personal recommendations to your friend. Find an episode you love, send it in a text message personal recommendations are the way to go. And you can also leave a review of the podcast on Apple, stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. Reviews help this podcast to show up for more people in their search functions.  This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay with additional story production from Davey Johnson and the producer director of that "What not to say" video, Skylar Brunner. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios, our executive producer is ErinHallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDS living.com slash podcasts. Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mormon Stories - LDS
1394: Tyler Glenn & Paull Cardall: "I Know it Hurts" Video Premiere on Mormon Stories

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 6, 2021 116:16


Please join me as Neon Trees front man Tyler Glenn and award-winning pianist and composer Paul Cardall return to Mormon Stories Podcast to premiere a new music video: "I Know It Hurts", from Paul Cardall's memoir-style album "The Broken Miracle." We would welcome your questions for Tyler and Paul during this live Q&A.   “I Know It Hurts” was co-written by Cardall and Glenn after they met several years ago at the famed LOVELOUD Festival, where they were both performing. Glenn is co-founder of the festival, alongside Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynolds.   “Before writing this song, Tyler and I discussed at length the challenges we all feel that result from trauma,” Cardall explains. “In my case, though my heart transplant was a beautifully orchestrated miracle, it was still the grand finale to a lot of years of medical trauma. It triggered anxiety and depression. For everyone who is suffering, not necessarily physically, but because they are different or feel like an outsider, I want to say to them, ‘I know it hurts.’ This song acknowledges that you are not alone. This song validates our feelings in a way that says, ‘keep going, keep fighting, we understand.’”   Glenn adds,   “I wanted the lyric and performance of this song to convey a sense of understanding how it feels to get through a trauma or heartache. So much of life for many is the search for a sense of belonging, a sense of self-worth. This song feels more like an acknowledgement of that, and I hope it brings a feeling of being seen and comforted. I hope those in pain from whatever it may be, feel a sense of validation.”   The video, directed by Rob Norbutt, is in stark black and white, the simplicity of which amplifies the power of the message:   You’ve been floating out in space You just wanted to believe There were tears upon your face And your body felt no ease Dear God is there not more Cuz it’s cold on the church floor   Cardall’s new album is more than a colorful collection of 19 emotionally-charged songs. The Broken Miracle is a musical memoir, a personal manifesto that celebrates a life filled with nearly unfathomable tragedy and heady triumph. An enthusiastic collaborator, Cardall welcomes an all-star cast of creative partners on The Broken Miracle. The title track was penned with Christian music veteran Matt Hammitt and Carter Forge, and is sung by Hammitt. “Broken Machine” features singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata’s vocals on the tune Cardall co-wrote with Yamagata and Trevor Price. In addition to Glenn, the project also includes appearances by Ty Herndon, J. Daniel, and Akelee; while pop star David Archuleta sings the power-ballad “My Heart Beats for You.” His collaboration with Thompson Square on “All I See is Snow” was declared “ the Christmas song of the pandemic.”   Cardall’s evolution as an artist continues with the release of The Broken Miracle, a title inspired by his true-to-life story of being born with a congenital heart defect, which nearly took his life numerous times. Cardall received a heart transplant 10 years ago and continues to thrive as a father, husband, and artist. The Broken Miracle will also be released as a biographical fiction novel written by J.D. Netto. The book will be released February 2.

This is the Gospel Podcast

While sorting her late daughter’s belongings, Becky makes a surprising discovery that eventually takes her across the world to India, where her eyes are opened to a whole new world. Consumed with the desire to “do something” but unsure of what to do, the answer to Becky’s prayer is startlingly simple, and begins an effort that will eventually impact thousands, but most importantly, lead Becky to personal healing through Jesus Christ. Get pictures, bios and more in our shownotes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel You can also follow us on Instagram or facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast TRANSCRIPT KaRyn  0:03   Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people, who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay.  As someone who works full time – and maybe a little bit more than full time, because I really love my job – Saturdays are my only day to run errands. And when it comes to General Conference, I'm not organized enough to remember to get everything done ahead of the Saturday sessions. So I admit, sometimes I find myself on the road when conference starts. And I tell you this so that you'll understand why I remember that I was sitting in the parking lot of a dollar store when I first heard sister Craig's talk, "Eyes to See" from the October 2020 General Conference.  I picked it up right as Sister Craig was telling the story of a friend who was in the middle of a painful divorce. That friend really just wanted to come to the chapel and go unnoticed on the back pew, because Sunday's had become really hard days for her with the change in her family situation. But there was a 16 year old girl who had other plans.  She saw the sister sitting at the back of the chapel, and then made it a point to go and talk to her, to hug her, to comfort her that Sunday. And then she did it again and again, week after week after week. And Sister Craig quoted this friend who said, "It made such a difference in how I felt about coming to church. The truth is I started to rely on those hugs, someone noticed me, someone knew I was there, someone cared." And I of course, sat crying in my car in the parking lot, having all the feelings, because that concept of seeing others deeply from this talk, it resonated with my storyteller heart.  It's basically the whole reason that "This Is the Gospel" exists. Because seeing people deeply is the key to the kind of charity that isn't just giving things away. It's the kind of charity that demands and offers us Christlike connection to every person, and the kind of charity that defines our Christian discipleship.  The thing I loved most about Sister Craig's talk – look, I'm crying before we even get started – the thing I love about a Sister Craig's talk was that she acknowledged that in order for us to see others deeply, we first have to have eyes to see. And that part is going to take some introspection, and a commitment to examining the terms of our covenants.  So today, we have one powerful story from Becky, a woman who desperately needed eyes to see, and how the Lord offered that gift to her in a truly unique way.  A quick note, this story contains a brief mention of suicide and descriptions of disease that might be difficult for some sensitive listeners. Here's Becky. Becky  2:41   My oldest daughter, Amber, was severely bipolar. Amber struggled in and out of mental institutions when she got into high school, for the next seven years, trying to find healing. And she eventually gave up and took her own life. I was devastated. The loss of a child is always soul rending, but the loss of a child through suicide is absolutely crushing.  She was in college at the time that she died, and when we went through her things, we found that she had been sending part of the money we gave her for college every month to support an orphan in India. I was really surprised to find this out because, you know, typically college students are really struggling to make ends meet. But I think maybe because she suffered so much she just had a tender spot for the underdog. And I think it lifted her and it kind of helped keep her going.  So we decided that her funeral, instead of having people send flowers, we just asked them to send donations to this little orphanage that she was sending money to. People were so generous than enough money was sent in that the orphanage asked me to be on the board of directors. And I thought, okay, if I'm going to be on this board, maybe I better go to India and see what it is I'm doing.  But there was more than that. I was struggling to find healing for this gaping wound that seemed to have hit my own soul. And I was really hoping that when I got to this orphanage and saw what Amber was so involved in, that it would bring some closure for me, also.  When I got to India, the children in the orphanage were darling. 54 of them, and this was back in 2000. As we would go from our hotel to the orphanage and then at night back again, on the streets of India, every time our car stopped at a stoplight, these beggars would just engulf us. Pounding on the windows and these were not normal beggars. Their faces were sunken. Some of them their eyes were gone. They had pus dripping down their arms and rotting hands and feet. I just have never seen anything like it.  They're suffering to me just seemed almost palpable. And they were pounding the windows. And I was with three other women, and so we would just start talking to each other whenever the car started slowing down at a stoplight, because we didn't want to look at them. We didn't know what we could do for them. I said to our driver, "Who are these people?" And he said, "Oh, those are the lepers." I said, "What are you talking about? There's no leprosy in the world today." He goes, "Yeah, we have millions in India."  And I thought, seriously? Millions of people live this way? Why doesn't somebody do something? At night when I would be in my bed trying to sleep, I would just keep thinking about these people. And I just thought, this problem is huge. What can I do? I mean, who am I? I'm a homemaker. I mean, I'm not anyone that could do anything. But I kept thinking, why doesn't somebody do something? And then finally I thought, well, duh, you're somebody do something.  One night, I just started to pray. And I said, "If you want me to do something, you need to teach me. I mean, I have no idea what to do." And the thought just came to me, you can just look at them. And I thought, what? I just have to look at them? I mean, seriously, that's it? But I thought about it, I thought, well, maybe no one looks at them. Maybe they need to be validated or accepted as human beings. So I thought, well, you know, this is a little thing.  Yes. Okay, so I can look at them. So the next day, I was determined to look at them. But, as we got in the car and started to go in the morning, it was just that same sense of feeling – so sad to look at them. I had a hard time. But then we came to a stoplight. And the driver said, "Becky, open the window, stick your head out and tell that woman to back away. I'm afraid that when the light turns green, I'm going to run over her." So I opened the window and put my head out. And here's this woman who had crawled up to the car on her belly. Now, you have to know that everyday in India in the summer in Chennai is over 100 degrees, that blacktop is boiling hot. But she crawled up, she was bone thin. This ragged, sari draping, and of course, saris are just a long piece of material, there's no – they're not really sewn. And so it was, you know, separating as she crawled and she was there scratching the tires on our car trying to get our attention.  And I leaned my head out the window and yelled at her, you know, "Move away, move away." And she looked up, and there was just the split second that our gazes met. And I thought, oh my gosh, she's just a woman. She's just like me. She's probably a mother. I mean, I have no idea, right? I mean, it just, it was so fast. And then the light was green, the car was gone. And that was it. You know, there are moments of life – they're gone. You just can't get them back. And that was one of those moments, but I could not get her out of my mind the rest of the time I was in India.  When I finally got home to Georgia, I had the same problem. I couldn't sleep because these images just haunted me at night. And finally, one morning after a long night, I got up and I thought okay, Becky, well, you can have insomnia forever, or you can do something about this.  And so I called three of my friends who were also homemakers. These were people I'd worked with over the years in different organizations, Young Women's, Relief Society, whatever, and people that I knew were doers. And I said, "I have a project for us. It's a surprise, come on over to my home, and let's talk about it." They came over, we sat around my kitchen table and we talked about my experience. And I said "We gotta do something, ladies."  And they said, "Well, what are your thoughts?" I said "Well, I don't really have any thoughts." "Well, what do you think we should do?" "I have no idea. But you are very creative people. Maybe together we can think of something. At the very least we need to raise money and hire a doctor. Those people over there need to get their wounds treated for one thing." So they said, "Okay, well we could raise money to hire a doctor."  But really, we were clueless. Frankly, we threw out ideas, we didn't know anything, but we were excited. And everybody left excited. So when my husband, John, got home a few minutes after they left, I was still very excited. I said, "John, you are never gonna believe what I did today." He said, "Becky, those are words that strike fear into my heart" –does have a history. But he said, "Alright, hit me." And I said, "Okay, so, you know, my friends came over and we have formed a charity. We are going to serve people in India that have leprosy," and he just was stunned. And he said, "Seriously?" He said, "Becky, what do you know about leprosy?" And I thought, oh, well, nothing. And he said, "Okay, well, what do you know about medicine?" And I said, "Well, not a lot . . .  I mean, you know, nothing – essentially." And he said, "What do you know about India?"  And I said, "I was there. I was there for 10 days." And he just kind of rolled his eyes and he said, "What do you know about running a nonprofit or a business?" And I said, "Okay, nothing." And he said, "Well, what do you think you're going to do?" And I said, "I don't know. But we're gonna do something. And I know, if people donate to us, we're gonna need a license that says that they don't have to pay taxes, you're an attorney, you need to get us that license." And he said, "I see." He said, "That's called a 501C3 license, and normally, Becky, when you ask the government for one you have to tell them what you're going to do."  I said, "Great. Just tell them we're going to do something." And that's how we started. We were four housewives and a secretary. And we thought we were going to change the world, right? But I have learned since then, that it is possible for one person to make a difference in this world. There's all kinds of things written about the power of one, but when one person is joined by others, then that power is multiplied exponentially. And in our case, we just literally saw that happen. Not because we were smart, or we were anything, because we weren't nearly smart enough to create what has followed. And we made mistakes. And we were humbled. We encouraged each other though, rather than give up.  But I kept wanting – when I would go back – to find that one lady, I just kept looking for her. I never did find her again. But God brought many wonderful people to help us. One day, I was sitting in my bedroom in Norcross, Georgia, and the phone rang and the woman was on the phone. As she said, my name is, "Padma Venkatraman and I work in India with people that have leprosy, why don't we partner?" And I just thought, well, who are you? And I didn't learn from her then, but later, I learned that she was the daughter of the former President of India, that she had been the permanent woman's representative to the United Nations from India for 20 years, and that during much of that time, she was the Head of the Council on women's affairs. So essentially, the top woman in the world on women's issues. And so she had all the experience that we didn't have, and she began to teach us and to try to guide us.  In India, there's a very strong caste system. The government claims that it was outlawed, and it no longer exists, but it's very much alive in the hearts of the people. And the leprosy affected know that they're not to be touched. In fact, they're that very, very bottom of the untouchable caste, there are hundreds of well defined levels within each caste. And they are the very, very bottom – they're the most cursed by God. In fact, they are so untouchable that until just the late 1980's, by law, if their shadow touched you, you were considered defiled, and you were justified by law in beating them almost to death.  So they were frightened when we first started touching them. Because in India, typically the lighter your skin, the higher your caste. And since we have light skin, they were afraid that if anyone saw, that they would become angry, and that they would beat them because they were being touched by a high caste person. So they were in fact afraid of being touched by us. So there was a huge gulf there that we had to learn to cross, and they had to learn to be able to cross it.  We could not find a single doctor that would work for us, because the leprosy affected are considered the very bottom of the untouchable caste. And they are so stigmatized that when we tried to hire doctors for any amount of money, they'd say, "Oh. I could never work with people that have leprosy, because then I would become defiled and all my patients would leave me and I would lose my entire practice. And so no, I can't work for you." When Padma joined as she said, "Oh, I've worked with so many doctors at the UN, with leprosy, I can surely find you a doctor in India." And she did. And we were able to start a little mobile medical clinic. But every time I came to India, I noticed that the wounds weren't really getting any better. They seemed to be just the same to me. As I said to our doctor, "Hey, we're paying you all this money, how come these wounds aren't getting any better?" And he just looked so discouraged. He said, "You know what, it's because they never do anything I asked them to do." And I was astounded. I said, "What do you mean, why? Why won't they do what you asked him to do?" And he said, "I don't know."  I asked Padma, and Padma was quiet for a few moments. And then she said, "You Americans. You come to India, and you just give things away. I know it probably makes you feel good, but the truth is, nothing given free has any value. And anytime you give something to someone, you diminish that person, because in essence, all you're doing is making them beggars to you. If you truly want to lift people, make them responsible for their own well-being. You can't just give away medical treatment."  And I said, "They don't have any money". She says, "Well, they can pay two rupees" – which is like about three cents, U.S. – "and they'll feel like they're paying for their medical treatment." But she said, "If you want to lift them, give them the power to lift themselves." And so we started charging two rupees to see the doctor. Well, the amazing thing is the next time I came to India, those wounds were all healing. And the doctor said, "They're doing everything I asked them to do."  So we created a campus at Rising Star Outreach. And in this campus – all of our students have to live on campus because the leprosy colonies are so far spread apart, they couldn't possibly come and go every day. They're not welcomed on public transport. And so the donor who donated the money to build the girls and the boys dorm, they got to name them. And they decided to name the little girl's dorm, the "Amber Douglas Home for Girls," after my daughter, Amber, who really was the one that started all this. And I have to tell you that every time I go to India, and I've now been 66 times – but every time I walk on that campus as see her picture over the doorway, I get chills. And I think you know, there are hundreds of girls on this dorm right now, and there are hundreds, over the years that will go through this dorm, and their lives will be vastly different. They will be able to go back into normal society, they will lose this stigma of being an untouchable. And these girls will one day marry and have children, and those children's lives will be vastly different. Because their mothers came to Rising Star.  And over time, thousands and thousands of little girls lives will be changed for the better, and all because my daughter suffered. I think that God is so incredibly wonderful. That he can take our most terrible tragedies, and he can find a way to bring beauty and joy out of them and healing out of them.  There was a time in 2004, this terrible deadly tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, and was ranked as one of the top natural disasters ever recorded, because it killed a quarter of a million people across several countries. And our little children's home was right across the street from the ocean. And that tsunami, it was six feet high. It was traveling over 500 miles an hour, it destroyed everything in its path. And our children's home was on a hill, and we were above six feet. And so that wave literally came to the bottom of our porch and stopped and pulled back. And it was just this unbelievable, tender mercy of God. We didn't lose the single life. But all around us were tens of thousands of deaths. It was just absolute devastation.  I caught the next flight to India, and spent the next several weeks trying to help these people recover. Trying to help mothers find their children or their husbands. We worked 18–20 hour days with just a few hours of sleep at night. And one day when we came home, the guy who was with me, his name was Gopi. He was the leader of our children's home. And he looked at me and he said, "Becky, I'm afraid I'm losing my belief in God. What kind of a God would do something like this?" He said, "Look at the suffering that we see, all day every day. I just can't believe that you talking about a loving God."  And I felt like I needed to have an answer for him. And so I just sent a little prayer heaven ward, and I truly felt the presence of my daughter, who just immediately was in that car with us. And it was so sweet and so overwhelming. And I knew immediately the answer. And I said "Gopi, the hardest thing I ever did in my life was bury my daughter." And he knew that, because that's what had brought me to India. And he, I mean a little tear came down his cheek and I said, "But Gopi, if I hadn't buried Amber, the children in the children's home that you love – as if they were your own – where would they be today? If I had not buried Amber?" And I said, "You know Gopi, God is so wonderful. He gave the Atonement for us and that's why he can take anything that is so horrible in our lives, then He can bring good out of it. And He will bring good out of this. I don't know how, I have no idea what. But He will bring good."  And by now, his head was in his hands and he was sobbing. Just, I mean, he was so stunned by this whole thing. He went home, years later after he left Rising Star I got an email from him and he said, "Becky, do you remember that night when we had that talk?" and I went, "Oh, do I remember that night. Yes, I do." And he said, "I didn't believe you." He said, "But you know what? You were right." He said, "Look at what's happened." He said, "All these international charities poured into India, those miserable huts that the fishermen lived in, have all been rebuilt, close – further inland, they now have water and electricity and bathrooms. They've made they've built schools for their children."  And he said, "And the best thing of all," he said, "You know what, I just thought about it. I've never seen a higher caste person reach down to help a lower caste person in India. But at that time, they came from all over Chennai. They brought food, they brought blankets, they brought cooking oil, they brought bandages, water, they came by the hundreds. And they came day after day after day trying to help these lower, untouchable people." And he said, "That's the only time I've ever seen India come together as brother and sister." And he said, "Good did come from that."  And I think that little moments like this, I did learn that each of us has a power within us to make a difference in the world.  We work with 65,000 people today, across the nine states of India, 160 leprosy colonies, we have 1300 children in school. And I think, God did this because my daughter suffered.  The other thing that happens is – I have to tell you, I feel her. When I go to India, I feel a closeness with my daughter, that I don't normally feel. And there have been times in India, when that feeling is so overwhelming, it just brings tears to my eyes. I feel like I'm being taught not only by God, but by my daughter. And that because of the sacrifice she made, many people have been healed. And of all the people that have been healed, I feel like I have been the most healed.  And I just have to humbly say how grateful I am to the Savior. Because it was His Atonement, that made this all possible. He was the great exemplar. It was his suffering that made it possible for all of us, to not – to be able to be healed of our sufferings, right? And I just feel like the fact that we can in some small way, do a small thing for others, we are following in His footsteps.  God has equal love for all of His children. I think sometimes we get confused by the term, "Chosen people." But I believe that we're chosen to serve and to bring God's truth to others. But God Himself, I don't believe plays favorites. Because I have seen as many miracles in our school for our Hindu students, as much as I have seen miracles in the lives of the few students that are members of the Church over there. I think that we need to learn to see people that same way we need to see them as God sees them, that every life has equal value. And I have learned that even through tragedy, He empowers us.  We sometimes say, "Who are we?" "I'm only a student, I'm only a wife, I'm only a mother, I'm only a secretary," whatever, "What difference can I make?" But the truth is, we all have a power within us to make a difference, because I've seen it happen. You know, I have to admit that there are times in my life when I would walk past a beggar on the street, and I would purposely not see them. I didn't want them to think I had money and that I could give it to them. Plus, it made me feel helpless to see people that were homeless. And so the fact that this was India was not the first time I had ever not seen someone. But, I don't look at beggars the same way anymore. I see them as people that just haven't had the opportunity to develop their talents, and I don't look away.  If you have eyes to see, if you're willing to see, then you have to also have a heart that cares. And if you will see, and if you will care, then you have to take some action. And once you take that action, you bring the power of God into your life. When our volunteers come to India, they always say, "I'm here to help. I'm here to heal, I'll do anything you need to do. I just can't clean up those leprosy wounds." We go, "Okay, okay." And we assign them different duties to do, working with the patients and they fall in love with the patients. And before long, all those volunteers are cleaning out leprosy wounds.  Because when you love a person, you don't see them as a disease. You see them as a friend. You see them as a child of God, and that makes all the difference in the world. And people who never thought they could do it, they'll sometimes tell us when they leave that that was the most meaningful experience that they had. These are God's children. And honestly, I think when we reached out to help his children, I feel like it opens the heavens and God pours blessings on you and you are healed. And I just think that that's a beautiful thing. That God gave us a gift, that we can reach out to others so that we can find wholeness within ourselves. KaRyn  25:17   That was Becky Douglas. We are so grateful for the years of soul searching and effort that she put into her quest for eyes to see. It led her to an understanding about the true value of every human life.  And we agree, if you or someone you love is struggling with mental health or thoughts of suicide, please, please reach out to someone for help. You can text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, because there is always hope for healing and light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe after listening to Becky's story, you feel like I do, that there are almost too many lessons to take from it. There is so much good stuff here. But one thing I love about the spirit is that it helps us to hear what each of us needs to hear individually. So maybe what you heard was that when people are united in a righteous cause with hearts turned towards the Savior, they can accomplish anything. Or that sometimes we need other people like Padma and Gopi, to show us what we don't know as we embark on our mission.  Maybe it was the lesson that when we see each other with the pure love of Christ, it transforms any act of service from an obligation to a true joy. Whatever it was, you heard, write it down. Don't forget it. We've been lucky enough to sit together in the Spirit today, to have our eyes open, and it's our privilege to write it somewhere permanent so it can be written in our hearts.  Since first recording this story I've been drawn to look closer at a painting that we have hanging in our living room. It's Carl Bloch's healing at the pools of Bethesda. It shows the Savior moving among people who were by many objective standards, untouchables, like the friends that Becky met in India. They were lame, diseased, disfigured and hidden from society.  In the center of the painting, there's a little shack made of sticks and straw and a drape of fabric covering a man who we learned from scripture is at the pools because he hopes for healing from its waters. But there's no one there to help him get down from his perch and into the water fast enough. And of course, he has no idea that the source of all true healing and hope is standing right in front of him, not until the Savior tells him to take up his bed and walk. That he doesn't need the pool, he's healed without ever having to touch the water.  I love that story. But I love the painting because it shows Christ actively uncovering the hiding place of this man. Lifting the curtain of his darkened makeshift shack, and bringing him into the light so he can be seen and see the miracle that is about to occur.  Sister Craig said this, "Jesus Christ sees people deeply. He sees individuals their needs and who they can become. Where others saw fishermen, sinners, publicans – Jesus saw disciples. Where others saw a man possessed by devils, Jesus looked past that outward distress, acknowledged the man, and healed him." End quote. He looked, He acknowledged, and then He healed.  I loved how Becky put it in her story, if we will have eyes to see, then we'll care and once we care, will act just as the Savior did. Loving action is the natural result of the gift of Godly vision and eyes to see. And that action definitely doesn't have to look like all of us running off to India to do exactly what Becky did.  I always think of Sister Linda K. Burton's talk, "I Was a Stranger," where she wisely reminded us with a story I might add, that as we seek to do good in the world, we should also go home and serve our neighbors. I say let's start there. Let's start by asking humbly for eyes to see what's really going on around us in our current sphere. And let's ask for the courage to look beyond the things that feel strange or different or confusing.  As we practice the spiritual skill of looking, opportunities to see deeply will come. We'll grow in our ability to acknowledge one another the way that Christ did, and it only gets better. From there, our vision, our vision will bloom and grow and deepen and expand until, like those volunteers who couldn't possibly imagine cleaning the wounds of a leper, we will be filled with the love of the Savior that makes it possible for us to do whatever we are called to do. To lift the curtains of those hiding places, to bring one another into the light to be seen, and to finally see the miracles of Christ's healing. That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storyteller Becky Douglas and all the people she works with at Rising Star Outreach. We'll have more about Becky and her experiences in India including pictures in our show notes at LDSliving.com/thisisthegospel.  You can also get more great stuff by following us on Instagram or Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast. We love to hear how this podcast and specific stories have stuck with you, you can leave a review on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on.  All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storyteller, and we find a lot of our stories through our pitch line. If you have a story to share about a time when maybe you were sitting in $1 store parking lot and learned something new about the gospel of Jesus Christ, well, we want to hear from you. The best pitches will be short and sweet and have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You'll have three minutes to pitch your story when you call 515-519-6179.  This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay with so much story production and help and editing from Sarah Blake, Erika Free and Kelly Campbell. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and all the other LDS Living podcasts at LDSLiving/podcasts.   Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

This is the Gospel Podcast
Every Living Thing

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2021 36:16


Stories in this episode: A quest to solve the mystery of bees flying through cracks in their walls lead Kristen and Matt to discover important truths about God's laws of nature; Spencer’s childhood memories of catching bugs under yellow street lamps teaches him what it takes to recognize God’s hands in our lives. To view shownotes for this episode, go to ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel TRANSCRIPT  Coming soon! Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mormon Stories - LDS
1834: How Mormon Stories Podcast Helped Our Family Heal

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2021 58:44


In a recent video released by paid actors supported by FAIRMormon and the More Good Foundation, Kwaku El, Brad Witbeck, and Cardon Ellis make the claim that I and Mormon Stories (and Jeremy Runnells) are intentionally "homewrecking for profit" with the work we do. In an attempt to combat this hurtful claim, I reached out to our amazing Mormon Stories Listeners, requesting your help by sharing if/how Mormon Stories Podcast has helped your family. I have been deeply honored and humbled by the overwhelming support we have received, and would like to personally thank each one of you that were brave enough to share your own “Mormon Story” with me. Mormon Stories podcast seeks to understand, explore, challenge, and improve the Mormon experience through stories, and has never had the intention of harming families in any way. In fact, we strive to support and mend family relationships by promoting healthy communication skills and unconditional love. The primary objectives of Mormon Stories podcast include: Providing support to Mormons who are transitioning away from either orthodox Mormonism, or from Mormonism altogether, with a particular emphasis on: Minimizing the anxiety, depression, and occasional suicidality that can accompany a transition away from religious orthodoxy. Reducing the number of unnecessary divorces attributable to Mormon faith crises. Creating a community of support for liberal/progressive and post-Mormons. Building greater awareness regarding accurate LDS/Mormon church history, doctrine, and theology – so that both active, believing Mormons and investigators of the church can make informed decisions regarding their investment in, and engagement with the church. Identifying opportunities for growth/improvement within the LDS church, and within broader Mormon culture. Mormon Stories Podcast by no means benefits from the destruction of families, and we are saddened to see our community mis-represented in this way. It is my hope that the personal accounts represented in this video will be evidence of how Mormon Stories has actually benefited the lives of our listeners, and lay to rest the claim that Jeremy Runnells and myself have ever participated in “homewrecking for profit.” Thank you.

This is the Gospel Podcast
Unanswered Prayers

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2021 34:13


Stories in this episode: Anna’s teen years are spent in anger and frustration at God for not saving her mom until an unwelcome opportunity sparks a new perspective; Juan is stopped in his tracks on his way into a fast-food restaurant when a sign from heaven sheds new light on an unanswered prayer that haunted him for years. Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mormon Stories - LDS
URGENT: Has Mormon Stories Podcast Destroyed or Helped Your Family? Please Share Your Story.

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2020 5:42


Mormon Stories Listeners, I really need your help.  The Mormon Church is funneling millions of dollars each year into non-profit "charities" like the More Good Foundation and FAIRMormon to smear my name and Jeremy Runnell's name, in hopes of destroying the positive impact of Mormon Stories Podcast.  Watch any cult documentary.  It's what cults do. In a recent video released by paid actors supported by FAIRMormon and the More Good Foundation, Kwaku El, Brad Witbeck, and Cardon Ellis make the claim that I and Mormon Stories (and Jeremy Runnells) are intentionally "homewrecking for profit" with the work we do.  Here's a clip of their lies. https://youtu.be/3jYZNBwsS3Q?t=86 I could really use your help in the following way: Please record a short video or write out a paragraph or two describing if/how Mormon Stories Podcast has helped (or harmed) your family. Feel free to include what role (if any) the LDS Church, and/or apologetic sites like FAIRMormon played in promoting family health and unity, or in harming your family. Please email your videos to me here: mormonstories@gmail.com, or you can message them to me on Facebook. Or if you prefer to write your story, please do so in the comments below. Please know that these videos and/or this text could be used publicly. This would mean the world to me, and will help blunt the lies that FAIRMormon, Cardon, Kwaku, Brad, and the More Good Foundation are telling people. Thank you so, so much for your support. John Dehlin

Check Your Bias
Britt Pixton - Fear, Pain, and Freedom: Leaving Mormonism

Check Your Bias

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2020 64:31


Britt Pixton shares her experience of growing up in, then as an adult leaving the Mormon church.

This is the Gospel Podcast
Practical Religion

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2020 47:51


Stories in this episode: Armed with yeast and flour, Ben jumps in to make a difference for his community after his involvement in two tragedies; Lecia grapples with three-in-the-morning anxiety until one simple practice brings peace; Chris finds himself stuck in the mud and snow with no way home—except to follow the nudges he gets from the Spirit. NOTE: Ben's story has a brief mention of suicide. If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to someone you trust. You can text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. Or, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 SHOW NOTES To see pictures and more from this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel to view the shownotes. TRANSCRIPT KaRyn Lay  0:04  Welcome to This Is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay. You know, there are a lot of things about the gospel of Jesus Christ that can feel pretty abstract sometimes. For example, have you ever wondered what it actually means to apply the Atonement to our lives? We throw that phrase around, like it's just a thing we come into the world knowing how to do. But if I'm being totally honest with you, I'm not exactly sure all the time what that looks like in practice. What about receiving forgiveness, or more importantly, giving forgiveness to someone else? And don't even get me started on the concept of receiving revelation or accessing and using the power of the Priesthood? There are so many, "But how?!"– moments in my life. I'll never forget in the October General Conference of 2019, when it felt like President Nelson was speaking directly to me and my questioning heart. He had just gotten done inviting the women of the Church to explore and integrate the covenant power of God in our lives through the priesthood when he said, quote, "Now, you might be saying to yourself, 'This sounds wonderful, but how do I do it? How do I draw the Savior's power into my life?'" end quote. And you know that scene in movies where the main character looks around to see if someone is in the room with them reading their diary? That was me in that moment. It's possible that I had even written that specific question down. "But how?" He continued, quote, "You won't find this process spelled out in any manual. The Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know, and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating." End quote, and . . . mic drop. As someone who can sometimes get caught up in that desire to do everything right, the fact that there is no checklist for how to apply some of these gospel principles in my life? Well, I guess I needed a prophet of God to remind me that the work of discipleship is all about the process, and that the process is spiritually invigorating. So even though we are necessarily on our own personal journey to understand how to "do" the Atonement, and all those other wonderful parts of the gospel – the good news is that we can still learn from one another in our practice. And on today's episode, each one of our storytellers is going to share their experience of taking a principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from theoretical to practical in their lives. Our first story comes from Chris who fine tuned his ability to follow and trust the promptings of the Spirit, long before he would need it. Here's Chris. Chris  2:47  I got a call from my mother one evening, and she said, "Chris, I heard dad's truck drive by my window, just making sure it's you, because your dad is in the TV room watching TV." And I said, "No, I wasn't me. It must have been somebody else." My mom and dad moved on my 20 acre property about 24 years ago. They live just about as close as, you know, hitting a golf ball to their home. I borrow his truck occasionally, but I usually ask. So she found that this was a little unusual that I didn't ask. Dad had a habit of leaving his keys in the ignition in his truck, because he often misplaces them. And he uses it for everything. Being on 20 acres, he uses it continually. So he just leaves the keys in the truck, and when he needs it, it's always there. So somebody had definitely stolen his truck. We called the police and the police kind of looked over the country a little bit, but they didn't find a thing.   My mom and dad were devastated that the truck was gone. Simply because dad uses it all the time. And mom works and she uses the car, so dad is left without a truck. The next day, I was getting ready for work. I had a strong impression that I needed to go find the truck. And this feeling I had gave me the confidence that I could find it if I just go look for it. That feeling continued to be with me through the whole day, and so when I got home from work, I quickly put my jeans and T-shirt on climbed in the truck, said a prayer in my heart that I would be led to the missing truck.   The area that I live in is out in the country. Our acreage is mostly desert, as well as all the property and countryside. Not a lot of trees. Just a lot of open space. I remember going to the end of the driveway, and I was faced with my first dilemma. Do I go left? Do I go straight? Or do I go right? I tried really hard to listen to the enticement of the Spirit. Basically giving up the steering wheel – so to speak – to the power greater than me.   I've learned through my life that the Spirit talks to me through impressions. And basically speaking to my mind, not in an audible voice per se, but thoughts that are not normally mine or my way of thinking. I think about this experience where I really found this to be true.   A few years previous, I decided to go hunting one Thanksgiving before the Thanksgiving feast that evening. So I took off to the hills with my gun, and very unprepared for anything. All I cared about is just having my gun and my truck and taking off. I went to the mountains and found a road that went for miles. The further I went, the deeper the snow became. And I knew that I could get into trouble. But I thought I was safe. Because my truck has four wheel drive. The snow was getting deeper and deeper. As I came around a corner, I slid off the side of the road. And I definitely got stuck. So I threw in four wheel drive. And it did not seem to help at all, the tires just spun.   It got deeper in the snow and deeper in the mud, and before long I was high centered, there was no way I was getting out of the situation. My only option here was to start walking back to the road. I had been on this road for a long time, and walking it was going to take a long time. So, knowing this, and given that it was Thanksgiving Day, there weren't gonna probably be a lot of people out. And I didn't tell my wife where I was going because I didn't know exactly where I was going. So really, nobody knew where my location was. That was perhaps maybe one of the scariest feelings. Just knowing nobody knew I was there – to help me. I started my journey. And I noticed up on the side of the hill, there was some construction going on. Some removal of brush and some trees and things like that. I thought maybe if I go up there, there will be some tools like a shovel or some things that may just help me to get out. As I walked up the hill, I found really nothing that would help me. But to my right I noticed this huge machine, it was a huge earthmover. I thought man, if I could just drive that down the road and pull myself out, that would be great. It didn't take me long to think, yeah, I think maybe I could do this. I'm gonna go see if I can somehow get this down the road. So I jumped inside, look for the key, as I put my hand down to the side of the seat, I noticed a little pocket on the side and reached in there, and lo and behold, there was a key, and it actually fit the ignition. I tried turning it over. And it started right up – to my amazement. I figured out how to put it in gear, and I stepped on the accelerator. The engine revved a little bit, but it wouldn't move. And I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get this thing to move.   I kept stepping on the accelerator and nothing. Time is starting to get short, I need to do something. Since I couldn't move the machine, I turned it off, put the key back and started walking down the road again. As I was walking, I had an impression in my mind that said turn around and go back and try again. I knew that this wasn't coming from me because I was so set in walking. I knew that that was my only choice. But as that impression came to my mind, I knew that maybe I had another choice, and I was going to give it a shot. So I hopped back in put the key in started it up, hit the accelerator, and still, nothing happened. So I gave up, turned it off, put the key back and started walking again. As I walked, I had that same impression come to my mind. I turned back around, got back in this machine and started it up again. This was the third time and I thought okay, third time, it's got to be the charm. I stepped on the accelerator. Still nothing happened. I was getting frustrated and just wondering what in the heck am I gonna do? And I sat there with the engine running, just contemplating what other choices do I have? I tried one last time – I stepped on the accelerator. And I thought I felt the machine move just a little bit. And that gave me some hope and some courage. The longer I let the machine sit there and run, the more this machine was starting to move. And it suddenly dawned on me that we're dealing with a machine that that works with hydraulics. Perhaps this thing just needs to get warmed up. So I let it warm up a little Bit more stepped on the accelerator, and before long I was moving down the road. And was able to get to my truck and pull it out.   I've learned to trust my impressions since that Thanksgiving experience and realized that is how the Lord speaks to me. By giving me the impressions and gentle enticements, to do something. And now here I am at a crossroad listening to that enticement and being nudged, to take a left. So I turn left and continue down the country road a while when a feeling came over me to turn left on the next road. I slowed down and took a road that veered off through the desert, which was full of potholes, mud, and wondered why I'm going down this road. I drove for 20 more minutes until I came to a canal bank. On one side of the canal was just water. And the other side was probably about 20 – 30 acres of just trees and heavy brush. Then the impressing came to me stop and just get out.   So I got out of my truck and walked down the other side of the canal bank into a thicket of bushes, which emptied into a large field. And I could see the tree line on the left of me going up the field. I got about 500 yards, and the adversary really started to work on me. Putting thoughts into my mind saying, "What in the heck are you doing? Why are you going this way? There's no really possibility of anybody coming down here in a vehicle? There's no roads, there's nothing. This is a waste of time." So as these thoughts hit my mind, I convinced myself that it was probably true.   So I turned back and headed back to the truck, and as I was walking back, I got that same Thanksgiving Day impression, "Turn back around and keep walking." So I made a deal with myself that I would walk to the end of the tree line enough to look around on the back end of the trees. but that was it. That's as far as I was gonna go. As I started to look around the back–end of it, I saw a little red truck, tucked back in some trees. It was my dad's truck. And I stood there with an amazed look on my face, and was humbled to know, I was led by my Heavenly Father, to find this needle in this huge haystack.   I started walking to the truck. And as I got closer, I noticed the perpetrator was still in the vehicle. When I got to the hood, I noticed him passed out, or sleeping. And my thoughts immediately went to: I have no idea what to do now. The blessing of being led by the Spirit though, through this whole ordeal gave me a sense of calmness. Which still applied here. No thoughts of being in danger, but just being aware of the whole situation.   In my attempt to wake this person up, I started banging on the hood really hard. And he didn't wake up. So I started hitting the hood some more and this time, he woke up to me looking at him gazing into the window. This startled him a little bit, and long story short – we had a conversation. For reasons beyond my understanding, I wasn't angry at him. For some reason I had compassion on him and let him walk away without consequences. I even offered him a ride back home, but he rejected the offer.   So, when he left, I went ahead and got back into my truck and went back home and told my mom and dad that I had found the truck. They were in awe, and asked, "How did you find it?" The only thing I could tell them was that I was led and directed by the Spirit.   The way the Holy Ghost speaks to us is different for each person. For me, these promptings come as thoughts. And they're usually followed by a feeling in my heart or my chest that confirms the message is right.   I haven't told very many people this story, just those who are closest to me. But I have had a couple of people ask me, "How do you know that the Spirit actually directed you to the truck?" And what I tell them is that I've learned in life, that when I get impressions, that are righteous impressions, that I need to follow my Heavenly Father's guidance. And I've learned that when I do listen and do exactly what the Lord wants me to do, I always benefit from the results.   Because of this experience, I have had the ability to pay more attention to what the Lord is telling me, especially as the Church is going into the ministering. I've had many experiences now where I'm just driving down the road, and I get the impression that I need to call somebody or go visit them. And I've been amazed each time when I follow through and go visit somebody just out of a whim, that they needed somebody to talk to, or they needed help with something. That is the spirit. That is revelation. Just the ability to recognize when He speaks to me.   KaRyn  15:56  That was Chris. You know, my favorite part of Chris's story, besides that moment when his mom called him, is the way that both his experience on Thanksgiving Day and his experience with finding the truck in the impossible field, transformed the way he ministers.   I heard someone say once that our God is an efficient God. I can't remember who said it. But I think Chris's story proves that. None of our practice sessions with the gospel are wasted on God. It might have taken Chris three times to trust himself with the message from the Spirit and get that earthmover moving, but it only took him one time to trust the message from the Spirit in the field when he got out of the truck. And now as he ministers, it takes him no time to heed the message, when he feels that nudge to check on a neighbor.   It's a beautiful illustration of that eternal principle that we get better and better when we show up to practice. Unless you're me on the JV soccer team in 10th grade. No amount of practice is improving that game. While our next two stories seem to have similar elements at the beginning, with each storyteller making a pretty difficult discovery, they find their own unique path of practical gospel application.   A quick note to our listeners, even though they are told carefully, these next two stories include references to emergency medical events, and a brief mention of suicide. First up, we'll hear from Leica.   Leica  17:20  My husband Jay had a major medical event when he was 42, but that's not the story I want to tell today. But in order to understand my story, you are going to need to hear a little bit of his.   It was a Saturday morning when my seven year old daughter and I found my husband slumped on the bathroom floor. He was not breathing, and his face was a horrible purple gray kind of color that I will never forget. I was a little bit  – not a little bit, I was panicked in that moment. I hollered at my daughter to go call 911. I'm gonna be honest, My hands were trembling so much that I wasn't totally sure if he had a pulse or not. But I assumed he didn't, and so I just started doing CPR, and the people in the 911 phone call agreed with me that that was the best course of action.   And the paramedics arrived, and then they were able to shock him with their defibrillator paddles and got his heart back into a normal rhythm. So they had to defibrillate his heart again in the ambulance, and again, when he first got to the hospital. They had put him in a medically induced coma to prevent brain damage from the oxygen he had missed out on. So they had intended for him to be in this coma for maybe a day or so, but he stayed in for three days. He wouldn't wake up like they had wanted him to or expected him to.   His neurologist came in at one point and said to me kind of harshly, "Quit saying 'when he wakes up' and start saying 'if.'" And that really threw me. I, I couldn't go home for a while when I left the hospital that day because I was upset and I didn't want my kids to see how scared I was. I did think he was going to die. His mother always thought he would live and come out of it, but I did not feel that. And I was scared. And the hospital chaplain came and visited with me and to prepare me for the worst like they do, and that didn't help.   I had four kids at home who I needed to care for and be strong for and I had a son on a mission who was due to come home in less than a month. I was really worried about him. I was worried about him not being there and not seeing his dad. And I spoke about my fears to one of the ICU nurses and she said, "Yeah, if you want your son to see his dad one more time, you should bring him home immediately." So I called the mission President and I talked to them and I talked to my son, and he he felt like he could stay. He felt like he could stay until his release date and so I honored that. And I guess I'm kind of embarrassed that both my mother-in-law and my son had more faith in, you know, a positive outcome. But I just, I think I was just scared.   So eventually, miraculously, and that's a whole other story, but my husband did recover from this event, he came home and he recovered completely. But I almost did not recover.   I have always considered myself to be capable and independent woman. I mean, I get things done, right. That's who I am. But after Jay's incident, I started to come unglued. Things that normally were really easy for me were suddenly very overwhelming. I specifically remember one of my kids coming home from school with a flat tire on their bike, and I just burst into tears. Like the thought of having to change that tire was just too much for me, even though I've literally changed dozens of flat tires for my kids over the years. This one just felt way bigger than the rest.   Everything that happened felt like too much. You know, sometimes when you're having a lot going on, and then you get that one more thing, and it's the last straw? Everything was the last straw. And it's so unlike me, but it just – I don't know – I don't like changing tires anyway, but I can do it, I've had lots of practice with it, but this one, I was just like, "No, I cannot do this." Everything felt like that. Everything made me want to cry, I was just on edge a lot.   I began having panic attacks, I had this weird sense of my own physical vulnerability. So something small would happen, like I would get heartburn or something, and I would be convinced that I was going to stop breathing. That my heart was going to stop, that something really bad was happening in my own body. And it was going to be really scary, the way Jay's had been. And so my heart would start racing, and I would have just a full on panic attack, based on these thoughts and feelings that I couldn't seem to control. I had never had panic attacks before, and they are scary in how real they feel. You, you really feel like something is majorly wrong with your body, and you're gonna die.   I had terrible night anxiety, which robbed me of many hours of sleep. So one night I woke up maybe a few weeks after my husband had come home, and it was the middle of the night and I was gripped by all the usual fear and worry and anxiety that had been bothering me for these few weeks. And, and I started to think about a primary selling that my children were learning at the time. And it describes some of the miracles that Christ performed when he was on the earth.   And I began to silently sing the lyrics to that song in my mind, and as I did, I tried to picture the events that went with them. So things like Christ walking on the water, or calming the storm, or healing the leper. And I found that centering my thoughts on Christ was a lot more effective at calming my night terror than anything else had been. I had tried things like, you know, thinking about something that was fun or exciting coming up in my life, or a good memory that I just had, or you know, some of those Christmas memories that we had just gone through. And it helped a little but not very much.   But, but these thoughts calmed me and I went back to sleep. So it was way better than anything else I had tried. So as I remembered him in those scary nights, as I thought about the words to the song, the miracles he had performed, the way that he loved and cared for people and still does – I felt myself unlocking really powerful blessings. Blessings of having his spirit with me, like he had promised. And the fruit of that spirit, which is peace. And that peace is what allowed me to calm down and go back to sleep.   I still feel anxiety sometimes, although it's not as strong as it was in the month right after my husband's incident, but it is something that I continue to struggle with, that I take medication for and that I often still wake up in the night because of. So, my Christ centered thoughts didn't cure my anxiety, I don't think that there is a cure for anxiety, it's something we all have sometimes, but it did help. It did give me something that gave me relief in the worst moments of it. But I also have a lot of other tools that I use including, meditation and medication and different things like that.   I went for many years not understanding what it meant to access the power of our covenants, and I still don't think I have a handle on it, but I love that he gave me a little bit of it as I went through this experience. The how for me in this situation was always remembering him by thinking about him in moments when I was not strong. In moments when I was weak, I could lean on him for his strength by just thinking about him. Thinking through his life, things he had done for other people, things he has done for me in the past. That was a really practical "how" for me to know that this, this big concept of leaning on the Savior for his strength could be affected by thinking about Him. By always remembering Him.   It wouldn't make any sense to tell everybody, "Hey, to keep your sacramental covenant, you should wake up at three in the morning and think about Jesus Christ while you battle your anxiety." That's just not a useful application for everybody, but it's useful for me.   I love that my Heavenly Parents believe that I can figure it out. That they also see me as a strong and capable woman who, through the Spirit can learn everything that I need to know to live a life that is as practical as it is powerful.   KaRyn  26:21  That was Leica. Talk about calling down the powers of heaven. I am a huge fan of visualization, but I'd never thought about using it to keep Christ continually in my heart, or to dispel chaotic thoughts. I really appreciate Leica's example of allowing Heavenly Father to guide her toward the practical application of the Atonement that would work for her. It makes me think of what President Nelson said about the process. There's no manual because the truth is that the "how" of the gospel is different for each of us. It's deeply dependent upon our needs, our current situation, and our unique spiritual gifts. And what works for Leica might work for me, but it might not. So the trick is to offer my heart to my Father in Heaven, and then wait. Wait for inspiration about what's going to work for me. I actually think it's beautiful that there's no one fits all solution, because that also means that I can let go of comparison and judgment and fear about getting it wrong, and focus instead on getting it right.  figuring out what the practical application of the gospel looks like for me in my life, in my circumstances, and make it happen. Our final story about putting our spiritual theories into action comes from Ben.   Ben  27:39  Last May, I had been asked to speak at a Relief Society function, and I went up to get in my car and realized that my neighbor's car was blocking my driveway. I recognized the car because it was an odd color of green that had a couple of dents in it, and then I realized that it was still running. And I went to the window and the driver was still in there, looked like she was looking in her glove box, I kind of knocked on the window and realized that she wasn't looking in her glove box at all, but was passed out or something was very wrong. I knew it was my neighbor, I'd met her a few times before. I, you know, opened the door and was shaking her leg and was saying, "Wake up, wake up what's going on?" And you know, I don't even know remember what I was saying, but just really, you know, freaked out.   She, she wasn't responsive. I call 911 as quick as I could, and they said you need to get her out and you need to begin CPR. And so I ran into the house, and just you know, yelled at the door, "I need help now!" And you know, my family was still sitting at dinner. My son who was 18 at the time, helped me lift this woman out of the car. We laid her on the grass, it's starting to rain, and I know CPR, but I knew – also knew that she was gone, you know, completely gone. And the fire truck pulled up about a minute and a half after we had her out on the lawn, and they took one look at her and said, you know, "We're not even going to try CPR. She's obviously gone."   The 911 operators is with us the whole time and you know, "Tell me her name. Tell me – How can we . . ." and I couldn't remember this lady's name. I had nothing. And so it's raining, you know, I have to leave I have no way of contacting the people. The paramedics are there and, and basically no they have to wait for the crime scene investigator to come and check everything out. By this point I'm, you know, 20 minutes late already and my son's car was parked out on the street, so I took his car and, and went.   And I think probably one of the most traumatic parts of the story for me is the fact that, you know, I'd known this woman for years, she's, she's been my neighbor for, for 10 years, and I guess I shouldn't say that I really knew her because we wave to each other as we came and went, you know, I knew that she had a partner, they would often sit and smoke cigarettes on the wall, you know, three doors down from me, and I'd wave and say hi, but I had forgotten her name. And, you know, three doors down. I felt like I failed. And I felt like a really, really bad neighbor. And that, that really hurt.   I, you know, promised myself that I would get to know my neighbors better and, and spend more time understanding who they were and a little bit of their story. So, you know, heaven forbid, if anything ever happened like this, again, I'd be able to give it a good answer. So in some ways, I definitely tried to follow through with that, that promise to myself and got to know the guys next door, their names and a little bit of their stories, what they were studying in school. In some ways, I feel, you know, proud that I was able to connect with more of my neighbors after this experience, and recognizing, you know, learning names and, and figuring out a little bit more about their stories, but it really wasn't until another tragedy took place that I realized something much more needed to be done.   A 19 year old neighbor, chose to end her own life. And I was involved with going out and searching for her and reading the note that she had left for her mom's. And ultimately, finding her gone. And in her letter, she talked a lot about feeling hopeless. You know, she had been dealing with some depression for a while, but was getting help and seemed to be doing really well. You know, a sophomore in college and really making good progress – we thought – and then to see this note, and just to see what she, that she just had gotten to the point where she had no hope left in her. And I, and I felt absolutely overwhelmed with the sense that something needed to be done.   My wife and I were on a humanitarian trip in India shortly after this, and spent a lot of time putting together some thoughts and doing some journaling, really feeling like there were some answers that were coming to me about what needed to be done. And one of those came in the form of, I guess, a memory of President Uchtdorf's talk from 2010 that says, "You are my hands." This is the story of Christ, a statue of Christ being bombed during World War Two, and the the villagers as they put their village back together, wanted to repair the statue of Christ. And his hands were badly broken, and they were able to make the repairs on most of the statue, but they decided not to repair his hands and instead hung a sign from the statue that says, "You are my hands."   I felt a need to share some hope and optimism with others. Several months before all this I had been baking bread and taking it and sharing it with my neighbors getting to know neighbors, you know, nobody is ever upset with you when you show up on their doorstep with a loaf of fresh bread. And so, sourdough Sunday had begun with that. So I would start on Saturday nights and and bake on Sunday, and go out and visit people on Sunday afternoons.   Right after we got home from from India, we began a crazy experiment. And that was to move Sourdough Sunday indoors and to begin inviting people, random people, whoever wanted to come, to come and eat a slice of bread and share a story. And so every Sunday until COVID started, we threw open our doors and invited people to come in and just talk. And there was laughter and there were tears and there were strangers that showed up on my door that I'd never met before that saw my post on Instagram or Facebook and wanted to come in and wanted to talk and it was such a crazy experiment, but so much fun. And my kids thought I was completely bonkers. But they joined in. And, you know, I, I baked sourdough, I baked yeast bread, I always had some extra dough sitting around in the fridge waiting to be baked, if more people showed up, you know, sometimes the people would stick around for an hour or two. And sometimes they stuck around for five or six hours. And we had to say, you know, it's time for bed now.   But it created a sense of community and a sense of hope, and a sense of connection, that, that we absolutely needed – that I didn't know that I needed. Many of them came back multiple times, and especially the younger kids that we just returned home from India with, you know, there were, there were kind of a core group of three or four of them that came every week, but it was a different different group every week. And like I said, many of these were strangers, and to see people that weren't members of my faith, but felt a desire to connect to humanity on a Sunday afternoon. To break bread. And you know, maybe that's what pure religion is, right? To learn to love and connect with people. And I felt I felt that connection, so, so strongly during that time.   And when COVID began, we kind of fudged and kept, kept it going for a couple of weeks after COVID was going because I thought, you know, this, this is probably going to go on for a long time, and I don't want to, I don't want to go into hibernation with this for too long. So since since COVID, started, we've continued on with the sourdough Sunday, I bake eight small loaves of bread every Sunday, and it's been really fun to go and deliver these to people at – usually at the end of, especially in the beginning, we delivered at the end of  an 18 foot telescoping paint rod. So, so people would come to their front door, and they just start laughing at this bread that was dangling in front of their faces. And, and, you know, there's some people that we've visited, over and over again, that are a little bit more vulnerable or susceptible to feeling isolated. And just feeling like we got to do something to help people know that we see them.   There's a, there's a great quote that I love from Mother Teresa that says, "If we have no peace, it's because we forgotten that we belong to each other." And I, and I think about that frequently. Especially right now with everything that's going on. We, we have to find ways to connect. We have to find ways to see each other and to recognize the pain and the suffering that we're all enduring.   The idea of, you know, mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that stand in need of comfort is, is a huge part of not only my baptismal covenant, but my my role as a Christian, you know, that we, we absolutely have to see each other. And I've found this to be the case now, as I have always, you know, whenever you go out and visit somebody, your problems disappear, because someone else's issues and struggles and problems. You recognize the pain that they're suffering, and your pains are gone, as you focus more on them, and help them to get through whatever they're going through. And sometimes you can't help them get through it. But just having someone to share that burden with you know, "A burden shared is a burden lightened." And I really believe that's what my religion is all about.   And really, we're probably not living our religion until we, we are getting our hands dirty in the act of loving people.   You know, one woman showed up with her husband, and after spending a couple of hours with us said, "You know, I haven't been active in the Church for 25 years. And this is the closest thing to church that I've had in that amount of time. I think if this is what church is about, I think I need to go back." I don't know what her story is or where it will end, but she knew that I was a member of the Church. It really felt like there was a lot of healing that took place as I listened to her talk about her reasons for leaving the Church and, and as you know, she listened to me testify of the love of God. And I suppose that's really the, the best thing I can share is that there's so many things that I don't know about the gospel for sure, but I do know that God loves me and that he loves all of his children. And if I can, I can help share that with other people, I don't know if there's anything that's more hopeful in this world than that we have a Father in heaven who loves us, and He wants us to be happy. And if we will remember those things, life makes so much more sense and, you know, the problems that we deal with and the challenges that we face, there, there will always be an eternal perspective on those things.   KaRyn Lay  40:53  That was Ben. I'm grateful for his willingness to share these experiences that have shaped his desire to practice charity and share hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please, please reach out to someone for help. You can text: 741741 anonymously from anywhere in the US, or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I promise you, you are not alone. I first came across part of Ben's story on an Instagram account that I started to follow this past summer during the Coronavirus times. I was feeling really disconnected and helpless, even though I was trying hard to serve my neighbors and my family the best way that I could. Reading the news, watching things start to disintegrate as we got closer to the election – I guess I was just longing to feel some sort of connection and control. I found this account called Protopians United which was sharing stories of people who needed kindness, and offering ways to actually do something kind for them. So I jumped in and started to participate. And then I realized that the person behind the account was actually the artist Ben Behunin, who makes this really beautiful pottery I had admired at the Deseret Book downtown stores for a long time. Now that I've heard the whole of Ben's story, I realized that that Instagram account that I first started following, it's just an extension of those sourdough Sundays. Everyone's invited to jump in and learn each other's names, and love our neighbor in word and in deed. I have always had a thing for vintage dishes and cookware, my collection of jadeite, and milk glass and Mikasa plates from the 1960's started when I was just a wee baby freshman in college. And even though I literally have nowhere to put one more dish in this tiny house, I still can't help myself from checking the glassware section of any thrift store that I ever visit. I do have one rule for myself with these treasures, though. I won't buy it if I can't actually put it to use. I'm not interested in it if it's too precious to slap some potato salad in for the ward picnic – back when those still happened. And that also means that sometimes, sometimes I drop the jadeite cake stand carrying it to the Relief Society social, or a stray ball from an illicit indoor game of catch shatters the rare, milk glass pedestal dish that was holding the mail. The loss of these pieces is sometimes really, really, really painful for a hot minute. But I've decided that I actually get more joy out of the everyday use of them than pain from the loss of one. I guess I like my religion like I like my glassware. I need it to be as beautiful as it is functional. And the good news is that as followers of Jesus Christ in these latter days, we are part of a truly practical faith. President Brigham Young once said this, quote, "The religion of Jesus Christ as a matter of fact, religion, and taketh hold of the everyday duties and realities of this life. The principles of eternity and eternal exaltation are of no use to us, unless they are brought down to our capacities so that we practice them in our lives." What this means is that we can't keep the beautiful concepts of priesthood and revelation, forgiveness, repentance, Atonement, charity, and faith – we can't keep those hidden in some cabinet or high on some shelf with the intention to use them for special occasions, or only when we really, really need them. We have to bring them down to where we are and figure out our personal "how–to," right now. Every day. We have to walk back to the earthmover even though we know the light is waning. And we have to close our eyes and visualize those miracles of Christ while our chest tightens and our breathing grows ragged. We have to swing the doors wide open, or hang bread from a pole to reach one another in these days of distance and anonymity. And while we're bringing these sacred treasures of eternity closer to the ground, we'll probably drop a few vases along the way. Maybe even that one that you inherited from your great grandmother, and that will hurt. But this promise from President Nelson can bring us comfort. He said that as our understanding increases and we exercise our faith, our ability to find and draw upon the spiritual treasures will increase. We will find the next practical piece of our treasure anytime we go looking for it. That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Chris Leica and Ben. We will have more information about our storytellers including pictures of some of Ben's artwork, as well as links to President Nelson's talk and more, in our show notes at LDS living.com/thisisthegospel. You can also get more good stuff by following us on Instagram or Facebook at @thisisthegospel_podcast. All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate, as affirmed by our storytellers. And of course, if you have a story to share about living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please call our pitch line and leave us a story pitch. The best pitches will be short and sweet and have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You can call 515-519-6179.  To leave us a message. If today's stories have touched you or made you think about your practical discipleship a little bit more deeply, please tell us all about it. You can leave a review of the podcast on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. Leaving us a review really does make it easier for people to find this podcast when they're just browsing around looking for something to lighten their day. And if you can't figure out how to leave a review – which I totally get – check out the highlights on our Instagram page for some tips. This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay, with story production and editing from Erika Free and Kelli Campbell. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six Studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDSliving.com slash pad . . . slash podcasts.   Show Notes + Transcripts: http://ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Mormon Stories Video Shorts - Please Help me Reach Thousands More

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2020 3:17


Mormon Stories Podcast Friends, Have you ever been touched, inspired, or educated by a particular 3-10 minute segment of a Mormon Stories Podcast episode? If so, I could really use your help. I am looking to create 100 short, 5-10 minute YouTube videos that include highlights of the most touching or memorable Mormon Stories podcast moments. Consequently, I am seeking volunteers who are willing to go to YouTube and email to me the episode link and time codes (start and stop) of their favorite highlights from past Mormon Stories Podcast episodes. From there I will chop up the videos and put them on my new "Understanding Mormonism" YouTube channel.   If you are willing to help, please email the YouTube link and time code (start/step) to:  understandmormonism@gmail.com And thank you SO much! John Dehlin

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1346: Shannon Caldwell Montez - The Secret Mormon Meetings of 1922

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2020 242:36


Join us today as we bring back the wonderful, groundbreaking historian Shannon Caldwell Montez. Previously on Mormon Stories, Shannon shared with us: Her research regarding how LDS Church general authority, historian, and chief apologist B.H. Roberts lost his testimony in Book of Mormon historicity, and Her own heartbreaking and inspiring story as a Mormon woman, wife, and mother. Today Shannon returns to share with us her research regarding "The Secret Mormon Meetings of 1922" - which were organized by LDS Church General Authority B.H. Roberts after he failed to obtain any meaningful or useful answers from the LDS Church First Presidency, Quorum of the 12, or other General Authorities regarding the deep and significant scientific problems that completely undermine the credibility of the Book of Mormon as ancient history. Shannon's thesis is outstanding, and it can be found here.

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Idaho Falls Mormon Stories Podcast Billboard Campaign - 2020

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2020 7:17


For the past year a generous donor has been supporting a Mormon Stories billboard in Idaho Falls, Idaho (picture below).  Unfortunately, because of a change in financial situation, the donor is no longer able to continue supporting the billboard. If we can raise recurring pledges of $650/month from community members, or $7800 in total donations, we can continue this billboard for the next year.  If we can raise $3300 (only $700 more at this point) we can secure it with a 6 month contract. Please know that 100% of billboard donations go to billboards, and are fully tax deductible in the U.S. Here is the link to donate to this billboard campaign: https://donorbox.org/idaho-falls-mormon-stories-billboard-campaign-2020 Please support this billboard if you would like to see it continue in Idaho Falls.  Also, please spread the word if you know others who might be able/willing to support.

This is the Gospel Podcast
BONUS: Come As You Are

This is the Gospel Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2020 34:25


Stories in this Father's Day bonus episode: While John admits he's not very handy, his attempts to create the perfect swing set falls short when he allows comparison to take over; Donald isn't sure he's got what it takes for fatherhood to begin with but when infertility makes that even harder, he learns that "what it takes" might be different than he imagined.  SHOW NOTES To see pictures and links for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel TRANSCRIPT KaRyn Lay  0:03  Welcome to “This is the Gospel” and LDS Living  podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay. For this bonus episode, we have two stories from faithful men who are braving the wilderness of fatherhood. I think we can all agree that parenting, and its accompanying highs and lows is not for the faint of heart. It takes real courage to jump into the woods and even more humility and skill to navigate that path through the forest filled with unknowns, and so many detours. Can you tell that I'm planning a father's day camping trip this weekend? I'll cool it with the outdoor metaphors. But what I will not cool it with, is my admiration for the men in our lives who take that role of fatherhood seriously and with an eye toward the Savior, just like today's storytellers. Our first story comes from John whose attempt at an epic creation for his children is almost foiled by his own weakness. Here's John. John  1:02  A lot of dads are really good at fixing things. But I've got to be honest, I'm not very handy. I cannot fix things is almost literally impossible. If there's a screw, I can screw something in. If there's multiple levels, or if there's an instruction manual, especially, I'm just not very good at following those instructions. It just doesn't make sense to me. Like a few years ago, one of our toilets stopped working. So I tried a few different things. I used the plunger that didn't work, I grabbed a snake. This is the tool by the way, not the animal. That didn't work. And so I gave up I was like, "Well, I guess we'll never be able to use this toilet again." I came home from work a couple days later, and here's my wife, she's rocking the toilet back and forth. She picked it up, I didn't even know you could pick up a toilet. And she threw it on the ground and "click," out popped this little jewelry box that one of our kids had shoved into it. So the good news was the toilet was fixed. But the bad news was I didn't fix it. But you know, you can only call on your ministering brothers so many times to come fix stuff for you before you start to feel like, "I should be doing this for myself." So a couple years ago, I decided it was time for me to build a swing set for my children. So I went to a manly store, Toys R Us, and bought a swing set kit, brought it home and unwrapped it. And it turns out there were about 27 steps to building the swing set. And the first step took me eight hours. It was so painful. I talked with someone recently and they said that their family for fun over the weekend bought and built a swing set. They put the whole kit together in 48 hours. That was not my experience. It took us 12 weeks, tons of help from my brothers in law. But finally the magical day came when the swing set was completed. It was in May, weather was nice, we're eating pizza on the lawn. The only downside was that one of my daughters came up to me and she said, "Dad, I love the swing set. But there's one problem, it just has three monkey bars." And I said "Honey, you will love those three monkey bars cherish each one because I promise you I am never building another swing set." But other than that, it was great. So right now I'm a religion professor at BYU, but at the time when I was building the swing set I was a full time seminary teacher, which meant every day I would teach high school students lessons from the Bible or the Book of Mormon. And so the day before finishing the swing set on a Friday, we had this class focused on comparison and not comparing yourself to others. One of the things that I got really excited about, a little scripture connection I hadn't noticed before was that Moroni was talking with the Lord. And Moroni was really worried that people would make fun of the Book of Mormon and not like it. And he says, Look, I'm not as good of a writer as the brother of Jared was. And I'd never noticed that Moroni was comparing himself to the brother of Jared. And that was the context in which the Lord said to Moroni, "My grace is sufficient, I can make weak things become strong unto you." And I was surprised to see that even amazing heroes from the scriptures like Moroni compared themselves and so then I gave the students a challenge over the weekend. See if you compare yourself to people like Moroni did and how it makes you feel. So that was Friday, finished the swing set on Saturday. On Monday, I was back at seminary teaching and I handed them a little three by five card and I said write down your experience of what happened over the weekend with comparison. Collected all the three by five cards. That night, my family and I, we were driving over to our brother in law's house for a little get together. And as we're driving my wife and I are reading these three by five cards, and I could not believe how many of my students were struggling with comparison. Everyone seemed to say something like, I always compare myself to others, and it makes me feel so terrible. I felt sad. I thought, I love my students, that are high school students, are 15, 16, 17, I thought, Oh, how tender that they're going through this tough time of adolescence. And they're just struggling with comparison, I felt so bad. And I still remember, I got out of the car and I thought to myself, these people have a real problem with comparison. So we parked the car on the street and as we're walking into the backyard, I noticed I think for the first time, that my brother in law had a swing set. I don't remember ever seeing a swing set in his backyard before. I looked at it and it was obviously bigger than my swing set. And I just happened to notice the monkey bars. And I counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 monkey bars on that swing set. And I thought, my swing set is garbage. I think I was particularly sensitive to it because I wanted to build this awesome swing set for my kids. I never fixed anything. I never build anything. And although everyone had had a lot of fun on Saturday playing with the swing set, the one complaint that I'd received was that there were only three monkey bars. So kind of even imagining maybe my kids were looking at his swing set being like, "Oh, now this is a real swing set." Just a couple moments ago, I've been like, Oh, those teenagers have a problem with comparison. I feel so bad for them. But then I realized, I have a problem with comparison. This swing set that I cherished was my prime creation two days ago. Now I hated and the only difference was the comparison, comparing my swing set to somebody else's. I started to notice lots of different ways in my life where I compared myself to other people, it wasn't just the fact that I couldn't fix things. Here's another real example. That probably sounds silly. It does sound silly as I look back on it. But at the moment, it was so raw. I was speaking at a girls camp with Brad Wilcox. Many of you have probably heard of Brad Wilcox, who's this incredible youth speaker. And he was going to speak second. So I was speaking first getting my stuff set up and this little 12 year old girl came up towards me with her camera, and I thought, "Oh, that's so precious. She probably wants her picture taken with me." And she looks at me with these big guys and said, "Are you, Brad Wilcox?' And I said, "Oh, no, that's the next speaker." And she just said, "Oh," turned around and walked away. And I felt so small. I'm like, I am not Brad Wilcox. And, and, then it, but again, I realized I can't be Brad Wilcox. I'm not Brad Wilcox, and I can't compare myself to Brad Wilcox. The day after seeing my brother in law's swing set when I went back to my seminary class, and we talked a little bit more about comparison. It was more real for me. It wasn't a problem that they had or something that I had to help them fix. It was something that we all were struggling with, and something that we could all be working on, hopefully, finding ways to overcome the challenge. I love going back to this phrase from Jesus though, when he says to Moroni, "My grace is sufficient." Because Moroni, I mean, he was working on a really big, important project, and he felt like his efforts weren't enough. And I can relate to that sometimes. And who knows, maybe Moroni, maybe he really wasn't as great of a writer, as the brother of Jared. And maybe I'm not as good as that other person. But the Lord has put me in this place right now. Maybe I'm not the best father in the world, but I am the father of my children. And I don't need to compare myself to other fathers out there. For me, this idea of comparison is obviously a, an issue that I continue to struggle with. I'm struggling with as recently as today. Knowing that I was going to record this story I've been listening over and over again to some of the “This is the Gospel” podcast stories which I've heard before and I've loved but I was listening to them with a different ear today thinking about the story that I was going to be sharing. And I literally thought this morning, my story stinks. Compared to these other stories. These other stories are so inspirational, so powerful, I have nothing to share. And what's ironic is I did not even think for about until about three hours later, oh, I just compared myself again. The more I understand grace, it helps me in my fatherhood, because I realized I don't have to do it all. I want to be a super Dad, I want to be the dad that fixes the toilet. that builds the amazing swing set that does all these super cool things. But I fall short a lot. And understanding that the grace of Jesus Christ is there to strengthen me, to help me get through things that I couldn't do on my own also helps me feel a little bit more patient and understanding with myself when I don't meet my own high expectations. I'm a perfectionist and I want things to be perfect. But I realized I don't have to make things perfect. That's the job of Jesus. I do the best I can, and I don't have to worry about what others think. I don't have to look sideways; I can look up to heaven. He can take weak things and make them strong, His grace is enough. And the three monkey bars are enough. And that brings a lot of peace. KaRyn Lay  9:20  That was professor and author John Hilton. I love the connection that John noticed between his own peace and his efforts to stop comparing himself as a swing set builder and parent. The fact that Christ's grace is sufficient to cover everything from my deepest character flaw to my poor efforts to put together an Ikea bookshelf, that's a powerful truth that can change our lives and our relationships if we let it. And I'm so glad that John with his unique talents was able to illustrate that in his story. I think all of those years researching and writing about the ways we access peace through Jesus for his book, The Founder of Our Peace have already been a huge blessing to so many and to me personally. Thanks, John. Our next storyteller Donald is a good friend of LDS Living . We featured his story in our podcast episode 23, called "How We Move Forward," which I highly recommend, even if you've listened to it before, it's worth going back and re-listening. And today he shares a story about what it takes emotionally, spiritually and mentally to prepare yourself for first time fatherhood. Here's Donald. Donald  10:27  My relationship to fatherhood is, it's been an up and down journey. I didn't have my dad in my home for a long period of time as a kid, then a mom and dad that had separated. And then as I got older, my mom remarried when we came to the United States, and that was Jake. And Jake didn't have like a long tenure in my life. And then we, my sister's dad came into picture several years later. So, I had different individuals that were there, but over the long span of that time period my mom was a single mom, and to not have that steady father figure, it was a, it was an absence that was notable. Luckily, I was able to have the guidance from other people outside that helped me to realize what it is to be a father. And then that's where the church came in the village, so to speak, to help me to see that and now becoming a dad, it wasn't easy because of the challenges and complexities I didn't know about. When I first met my wife, the thing I loved the most about her was that she was the opposite of me. She was quiet and reserved, and I was the outgoing talkative type and I felt that was, there's something was mysterious, and she's cute. So it was that pulled me in. When we were dating and the desire, desire to you know, to eventually get married and courting and talked about the idea of family, we both knew that's something that we wanted, we both knew we wanted to have kids. We had, we had different spectrum though. My idea was not coming from a family of three of us, I was thinking, you know what, it'd be cool to have a big family because again, those families that have friends that I've had in the church, their families were big. And you saw how much fun they had as a bunch of kids. I'm like, yeah, we can, it'd be cool to make a soccer team. Right? Cool to have a bunch of kids that could play you know, play with, at least the basketball team. Christina's idea was, well, maybe one and if there's an opportunity for twin for two, then that'd be great. So you find yourself coming to some quick compromise, but we knew we wanted kids. We, the number was, I'm a salesperson. So, I figured you just you take what you get in and you just keep upselling. But it was 2015. We got married in September 2013. When I was called to be a bishop, a member a couple people saying "Don't you have to have a family to be a bishop to the kids to be a bishop?" Remember people making that, that, that joke, but you know, obviously there's a little bit of jab to that. And obviously, there's nowhere in the handbook where it says anything like that. We were definitely laggers according to societal norms and the ecosystem of the Church, because Christina and I got married when we were 27. So that's, you know, my friends which, seemed like they had grandkids by then. We knew we were gonna have kids but and we knew we wanted to have kids but we just we both felt that we were on the same plane with God, spiritual like, we prayed about it and we fasted, we talked to our Bishop and so forth and you know, the before then they're like, just whenever your take your time on that, and that gives us comfort to know, you just go into when you feel right for you. So not that we were postponing a family for any other reason to just go travel or you know, to get a nice little dog or anything like that. We, we just, it was scary. And we were worried and it, it didn't feel right. I think the biggest thing about becoming a father that made me the most nervous was, Do I have the right stuff? To take care of a tiny human? Do I, what do I not know that I don't know? Am I going to be able to raise this individual in the right way that they're going to grow up to become a righteous priesthood holder or righteous daughter of God? Or do I have what it takes to make that happen? I think that it was, it was definitely like a fear and also like the idea of taking care of somebody. I mean, the challenges with our family in the past, my mom in the situation was, we were, were poor. And it was, am I going to be able to take care of a family? Am I going to be able to always have that? It nags you in the back of your head. What if? What if that was to happen? You want the situation to be perfect, you want the scenarios to be: the planets align and Jupiter to be bright in the sun, in the sky. But the problem is, I don't think it was ever or it, ever was going to be and thats one of the things I've learned, that we're going to go down this path, and we're going to try and we're going to mess up and we're going to keep learning and growing. But for me, being sometimes a little perfectionist, I want to make sure all is right beforehand. And that freaked me out. Donald  15:18  So let's fast forward now. And I think it was 2017 when we said, "Let's, we want to have a family, we want to start doing that." And the thing that helped us to decide that that was the right time and to overcome the fears and the challenges, I think it was just it was timing. For us just felt that it was right. It did not go as planned. At all. So we tried. My ignorance, thinking that you're, yeah, you're gonna have a baby right away when you have a desire to have a baby. But it wasn't. That was a huge upset and it was a huge setback emotionally. I mean, and to be honest, I feel like there was some, like, some guilt in that to say, did we wait too long? Now you're in your early, early 30s, you should have started right when you got married, and it's kind of like validating and everything that people have said, "You should have kids right away should have kids." And it's like, you know, did we miss a window? Do we miss an opportunity? And there was guilt on both sides, right? Because Christina was feeling guilty. Like, "Is it because of me that we're not having kids?" And spiritually, it was, "Well, I'm doing what you said, God, I am serving. Why do we have to face this struggle, and this burden if we're doing what's right, if I'm serving, and giving enough time?" and so forth. I mean, I'm just trying to be real with you. Like, that's what it felt like in, but I knew that just like with, like Abraham or Sariah and in all of those people that had children later on in their life, we had faith that we would have children. But in the moment, that's what that feeling was like. It was "Why us? " So, we found out we were pregnant, and then went to the doctor. That was the hard part. And I remember the ultrasound specialist tech going, leaving out of the room, and she sayings she's going to get the doctor and then you're like, "Okay, so what does that mean? Maybe there's some chance, maybe there's a hope there's something that happened." And then, eventually having a meeting with a doctor, and I knew when I saw Christina's face, she knew that it wasn't, wasn't good. So then we met with a doctor and found out that it wasn't and we had to have surgery. And that was bad. Hearing that news and leaving the day but then the day when she had the surgery, to watch my wife go through that was horrible because there was absolutely nothing that I could do. And it's, it was the, you know her physically in pain and then emotionally and then spiritually in pain and I, no matter what, what can you say? What can you say? "I understand?" No, I don't I can't push a kid out of my body. I can't birth a kid. I don't understand what that feels like. But having as much empathy and love for your wife and trying to console her and take care of her in that situation and physically taking care of her, still having to go and work and running your own business that was does the pinnacle of the worst part, right? I thought that was the pinnacle, until round two. When a year later, everything happened again, the same exact way. And that, if this was a depth of your lowest, then the second time around, it was even lower. I felt physically sick, because I remember going back to work that day, and not telling noone. Not telling team member not telling, my mom didn't know anything. I think the only person that knew was her sister. And it was just like carrying that weight and that burden and then feeling that I can't help her and the guilt that she felt, was saying "That it's, you know, it's my fault," and it wasn't her fault. And I couldn't get that through, she was saying "It's twice that happened, so must be it must be me. And something I'm doing wrong." And, and trying to take that weight from her. That was hard. It was hard. Donald  19:41  We kept it to our self into our immediate family. And it was a lot. I didn't want to validate, I mean, just speaking again, I didn't want to validate anybody's to say, "Yeah, you should have gotten, you should have had kids a lot sooner, you should have tried a lot sooner." So, even some of that was there. So it's like I'm not going to talk to anybody about it. We're not going to do anything. I did talk to my Stake President about it in my one-on-one with him, because he was just we won't know how you guys were doing how we were doing. And he gave counsel and, and was very supportive and helpful in that. And very helpful and supportive to Christina. And that meant a lot to us as well. One of my best friends, he and his wife, it took them a while before they have a kid. It took them 10 years, and came to the point where they said, "You know what, God, you just take the wheel. Really, like if there's a way that we can foster and we're going to foster." And they started preparing their home for fostering, and it was crazy. All of a sudden, they got pregnant and they had a kid. And he was vocal, I mean, he was open to talk about it. So now it gave me an opportunity to say, "I could talk about it to him, and he could then understand what I'm going through." You know, I mean, and I think that's the biggest thing with guys, we assume too much that, "He's my Bro, he knows what I'm going through," as opposed to saying, "I love you. I cannot imagine what that feels like, do you want to talk about it?" Like giving that window and maybe sometimes people are not ready to talk about it yet, but at least they know, "I have somebody that I can go to." It gave me an outlet. It gave me an opportunity to know that I wasn't alone. It gave me an opportunity to know that there', that it wasn't. It wasn't a punishment from God, you know, others felt the same or went through similar challenges as well. It opened up a whole different side to our relationship. That helped me to minister to Christina, my wife, better, because I had hope, more hope. I mean, I had faith but then now it was even more hope, because my friend went through it. We have, we have a hope of something to look forward to, that we could still have the same blessings like he did, he and his wife. So I wish that men in general could feel, could feel comfortable to go and talk to other men, about the struggles and the difficulties that they're going through. Donald  21:59  So my wife posted on social media for uh, nobody knew why. But she was like, "What's a talk? One of your favorite talks on, I think it was like on hope, or to get through a tough time." And then one of our friends, he posted a talk by Elder Holland, it was Elder Holland's talk, "Lord, I Believe" I think that's what it is. And it's like, "Lord, I believe, Help thou my unbelief." Maybe she can recite that talk verbatim now, because she's listened to it over and over. And the idea in that was, "that come with some faith, come with hope, come with something, and I'll carry the rest." And that was very helpful. And then all of a sudden, we had stake conference and Elder Holland came to Florida, and he came to our stake, and we visited with Elder Holland, just for like, probably like two or three minutes to explain to him what was going on. And you know how the talk was good and it helped us. But it's something about him. He looked he just looked and he said, "Don't you worry, you guys will be fine, you guys will be fine. Things will be fine for you." Yeah, so getting that from an apostle was like, "That's kind of cool." At least it gave comfort, right? And we had hope. So we said, "Let's put it back in the Lord's hand, let's just wait and not worry."  And then life went on until 2018. And Christina wasn't feeling good, the end of the year. She said, "Oh, maybe I need to do a pregnancy test." And "We're like, no, it's, that's not the situation." And then "She's like, I think I should." She did. And we were pleasantly surprised. But also equally worried because we're like the third time, if this isn't, it's going to be a huge blow. And I remember we went to the doctor's office, and because we've had two miscarriages before, the doctor wanted us instead of coming in later come in early, so we went in at I think it was six weeks. And there was like a little speck on the sonogram, just like this little, this little thing. But there was something there. And then as we kept visiting saw a little heartbeat and saw a little progress. We couldn't believe that there was something, we were excited. But we were very, very, very scared. Because before we saw stuff, so we didn't want to get the false hope that this was going to work. So we just took it with a grain of salt, and just went one day at a time. I mean, week 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. It kept going. Every week, we went back, there was a movement and kept growing and it was things were looking right. And we weren't clearly out of the woods at all. But our doctor was very excited for us. And then we got the news that yes, it's a, we're having a little boy. We're having a little boy. And it was, um, that day was, it was a, it was, I can't think of a word to describe it. It was happiness. It was peace, that no matter what difficulty, no matter what dark moments you go through, no matter what timing you have, trust in God, and as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but if not, we still gotta have hope. Oh, the day Caleb was born. I was the stereotypical dad because Christina was like cleaning the house and stuff. It was the craziest thing and I would fall asleep and then she screamed, it was like, "Hey, I think my water broke."  I'm like, "What..what?" And I remember , I wish we videotaped it but I was running around trying to, like, "What, what?!" She tells this story better so maybe you can get her side one day. You know, I was running around, "Okay, okay, let's go. Let's get this. Let's get the car seat. Let's get the bag." We went to the hospital and the next day, August 1, he was born. When I first saw him, I could not believe that, that was our child after that whole journey. After that whole time, after the miscarriages after the surgeries, after the emotions, after giving up, after having hope, after feeling false hope, after all of that, that now we were trusted, at this time, to be to be a dad and to be a mom. It was awe inspiring. It was just, it was it made me feel that God is mindful of us. It made me want to be the person that he desired me to be and full circle now to become the father that I didn't have, to this child to help them become the individual that Heavenly Father wants them to be. For guys going through the same thing in the thick of this, we cannot deviate or forget that the Lord is there, and be open. Be willing to talk to somebody else about that it, it does us no good to hold it back. It liberates us when we're able to release it. And we can get ministered to in the scriptures that teaches us that we are here to minister and to help one another with their burdens. But it's kind of hard to help somebody with their burdens if we don't know they have that burden. And I feel that if you feel that way, you're more than willing to reach out to me, I'm more than willing to talk to you. Because I had a buddy and a friend that was there for me during that moment. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There's a Father in heaven who is mindful of you and your wife's situation. And He's here and there to help you. KaRyn Lay  27:44  That was Donald Kelly. I laughed out loud when he said that as a salesman his idea is to upsell his wife on the number of kids they have. I'm lucky enough to know his lovely and spirited wife Christina and I can only imagine the negotiations in the Kelly household. The thing I think I will really take from this story is that clarion call to make space for the people around me to really share what's going on in their lives, by allowing others into my life. It's not always easy to do that. Vulnerability is absolutely a risky business. But I think the rewards of this kind of true ministry is worth the calculated risk. When he was talking about this, Donald mentioned our baptismal covenant to bear one another's burdens. And I think there's something really important for us to take note of, as a community committed to discipleship. we strengthen the fathers, we strengthen the mothers, and in turn, we strengthen the children, the future Body of Christ when we allow for all people to share their authentic experiences, so that we can minister in real time to our real needs. Lately, I've become weirdly obsessed with historical novels and books that forced me to imagine myself in a different time with different social structures. I love the creative energy it takes to look through the lens of historical context and try to find myself in the places and the stories of the past. And maybe it's because we're living in this unprecedented time with this pandemic and unrest and all of these things I, I hope someone will look back and read it and try to put themselves here before they judge me. Well, though it isn't a novel I have been reading the book Fathers of the Prophets, which has biographical sketches of you guessed it, fathers of the modern prophets of the restoration, and I have found myself absolutely transported. What strikes me in my reading is the amount of variation in the fathers who parented prophets. Some fathers had no idea their child would be anything special, while others knew by some divine guidance. Some of the fathers were really physically present to their children, while others were called to faraway places for long periods of time. Some were devoted servants of God, while others found little use in organized religion. But in all cases, these fathers and their gifts of imperfection were necessary building blocks to the unique talents and strengths that their children would use in their call to the ministry. Most of us will not raise a capital P prophet or a Relief Society general president. In fact, some days we might even have a hard time seeing that 13 year old who just broke his arm flinging spaghetti at his brother, or that 10 year old who just refused to comb her hair for the sixth straight day in quarantine, as heirs to the throne of much of anything. But I think the lesson from our stories today and the stories of these fathers from the past are the same. God needs us to show up as ourselves in our parenting. Because these kids, they're the future of everything. He needs us to open up to a friend who's been there before, so that he'll have enough hope to keep trying to become a father. He needs us to admit that we can't fix the toilet and then trust him to tutor us on what we can actually fix. He needs us to show up in our pain and our triumph and our weakness and our power so that our children will get exactly what they need from us, as he fills in the gaps of everything else with his grace. And more importantly, he needs us to show up in our less than perfect state so that we can model for them, where to go for peace and wholeness when their own imperfections, will inevitably bring doubt and discouragement into their lives. We may not all be raising a child who will hold a high calling in church structure. But we are all raising children, all of us whether we're biological parents or not. We are all raising children, who will be disciples of the high priests of good things to come. So let's go back to the beginning. Fatherhood, and loving and caring for children is not for the faint of heart. But that's the good news because with humility, trusting God and a brave willingness to let others help us bear our burdens, our hearts, however weak will not fail us. That's the promise.   KaRyn Lay  32:31  That's it for this bonus episode of This is the Gospel. Thank you to John Hilton and Donald Kelly for sharing their stories and burdens with us today. And for helping us all to see that three monkey bars is enough. We'll have pictures of Donald's sweet baby Caleb and John's swing set masterpiece as well as a link to John's book The Founder of Our Peace in our show notes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel. I'll also add a link to the book Fathers of the Prophets there. Which honestly if you're looking for a last-minute Father's Day gift. This one's so good. Every father will be able to see himself somewhere in the pages of that book. If you aren't already following us on Facebook or Instagram, you really should. We'll have more information about our storytellers there, including follow-ups with some of the stories you've connected to most on the podcast. So, go there, find us at @ThisistheGospel_ podcast on both Instagram and Facebook. Also, we're currently gathering stories for season three. So if you have a story to share about living the gospel, please call our pitch line and leave us a pitch. We often find many of our stories from that pitch line and we love to hear how the gospel has blessed your life. Call 515-519-6179 and pitch your story in three minutes or less. We also have old bonus episodes that give you some top tips on how to pitch your story in a really compelling way. So, go and listen to those on iTunes if you haven't already. This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay, with additional story editing by Erika free. It was mixed and mastered by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and all the other LDS Living podcasts at LDLiving.com/podcasts. It's that easy. See you soon.  

Mormon Stories - LDS
1286: Kalin Orgill Organ - Losing and Finding One's Self in Search of Truth Pt. 5

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2020 59:56


Periodically on Mormon Stories Podcast I try to interview “normal” or everyday Mormons about their faith journey – and in every case these “normal” Mormons turn out to be extraordinarily thoughtful and courageous. Today’s interview is no exception to this rule. Today on Mormon Stories podcast I am interviewing Kalin Orgill Organ. Aside from Kalin being a super thoughtful and courageous human, Kalin’s story includes several important themes in modern Mormonism: Kalin was raised in an orthodox Mormon home in California and in Highland, Utah – with seven siblings. She was sexually abused as a child, which possibly awakened her to her own sexuality early than other children. She began masturbating as a girl, before she even knew what the term meant.  This instigated a multi-year effort between herself, her parents, and her Mormon bishop to try to stop the behavior, and to become “worthy” in God’s eyes. Kalin “lost her virginity” as a Mormon teen, which, along with her inability to stop masturbating, only made her feel less worthy. Kalin had doubts/questions as a Mormon teen, and even listened briefly to Mormon Stories podcast PRIOR to serving her mission.  She fought hard to gain a testimony while on her mission. Over time, three of Kalin’s siblings came out to her as LGBTQ, which multiplied her confusion and doubt. After returning from a successful Mormon mission, Kalin married her husband Aaron in a Mormon temple, wherein they became to onlookers the “perfect Mormon couple.” Over time, after a lifetime of struggling to feel worthy, Kalin’s doubts began to consume her, and she began to contemplate suicide as a Mormon wife and mother of two children. Kalin is currently navigating a mixed-faith marriage, and remains an active non-literal believer in her Salt Lake City ward. This is Kalin’s story – how she lost her orthodox Mormon faith, but found herself (and her own voice) in the process. You will not be disappointed with this interview. I hope you will join us. And please spread the word if you can!

Mormon Stories - LDS
1285: Kalin Orgill Organ - Losing and Finding One's Self in Search of Truth Pt. 4

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2020 65:36


Periodically on Mormon Stories Podcast I try to interview “normal” or everyday Mormons about their faith journey – and in every case these “normal” Mormons turn out to be extraordinarily thoughtful and courageous. Today’s interview is no exception to this rule. Today on Mormon Stories podcast I am interviewing Kalin Orgill Organ. Aside from Kalin being a super thoughtful and courageous human, Kalin’s story includes several important themes in modern Mormonism: Kalin was raised in an orthodox Mormon home in California and in Highland, Utah – with seven siblings. She was sexually abused as a child, which possibly awakened her to her own sexuality early than other children. She began masturbating as a girl, before she even knew what the term meant.  This instigated a multi-year effort between herself, her parents, and her Mormon bishop to try to stop the behavior, and to become “worthy” in God’s eyes. Kalin “lost her virginity” as a Mormon teen, which, along with her inability to stop masturbating, only made her feel less worthy. Kalin had doubts/questions as a Mormon teen, and even listened briefly to Mormon Stories podcast PRIOR to serving her mission.  She fought hard to gain a testimony while on her mission. Over time, three of Kalin’s siblings came out to her as LGBTQ, which multiplied her confusion and doubt. After returning from a successful Mormon mission, Kalin married her husband Aaron in a Mormon temple, wherein they became to onlookers the “perfect Mormon couple.” Over time, after a lifetime of struggling to feel worthy, Kalin’s doubts began to consume her, and she began to contemplate suicide as a Mormon wife and mother of two children. Kalin is currently navigating a mixed-faith marriage, and remains an active non-literal believer in her Salt Lake City ward. This is Kalin’s story – how she lost her orthodox Mormon faith, but found herself (and her own voice) in the process. You will not be disappointed with this interview. I hope you will join us. And please spread the word if you can!

Mormon Stories - LDS
1284: Kalin Orgill Organ - Losing and Finding One's Self in Search of Truth Pt. 3

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2020 49:06


Periodically on Mormon Stories Podcast I try to interview “normal” or everyday Mormons about their faith journey – and in every case these “normal” Mormons turn out to be extraordinarily thoughtful and courageous. Today’s interview is no exception to this rule. Today on Mormon Stories podcast I am interviewing Kalin Orgill Organ. Aside from Kalin being a super thoughtful and courageous human, Kalin’s story includes several important themes in modern Mormonism: Kalin was raised in an orthodox Mormon home in California and in Highland, Utah – with seven siblings. She was sexually abused as a child, which possibly awakened her to her own sexuality early than other children. She began masturbating as a girl, before she even knew what the term meant.  This instigated a multi-year effort between herself, her parents, and her Mormon bishop to try to stop the behavior, and to become “worthy” in God’s eyes. Kalin “lost her virginity” as a Mormon teen, which, along with her inability to stop masturbating, only made her feel less worthy. Kalin had doubts/questions as a Mormon teen, and even listened briefly to Mormon Stories podcast PRIOR to serving her mission.  She fought hard to gain a testimony while on her mission. Over time, three of Kalin’s siblings came out to her as LGBTQ, which multiplied her confusion and doubt. After returning from a successful Mormon mission, Kalin married her husband Aaron in a Mormon temple, wherein they became to onlookers the “perfect Mormon couple.” Over time, after a lifetime of struggling to feel worthy, Kalin’s doubts began to consume her, and she began to contemplate suicide as a Mormon wife and mother of two children. Kalin is currently navigating a mixed-faith marriage, and remains an active non-literal believer in her Salt Lake City ward. This is Kalin’s story – how she lost her orthodox Mormon faith, but found herself (and her own voice) in the process. You will not be disappointed with this interview. I hope you will join us. And please spread the word if you can!

Mormon Stories - LDS
1283: Kalin Orgill Organ - Losing and Finding One's Self in Search of Truth Pt. 2

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2020 62:56


Periodically on Mormon Stories Podcast I try to interview “normal” or everyday Mormons about their faith journey – and in every case these “normal” Mormons turn out to be extraordinarily thoughtful and courageous. Today’s interview is no exception to this rule. Today on Mormon Stories podcast I am interviewing Kalin Orgill Organ. Aside from Kalin being a super thoughtful and courageous human, Kalin’s story includes several important themes in modern Mormonism: Kalin was raised in an orthodox Mormon home in California and in Highland, Utah – with seven siblings. She was sexually abused as a child, which possibly awakened her to her own sexuality early than other children. She began masturbating as a girl, before she even knew what the term meant.  This instigated a multi-year effort between herself, her parents, and her Mormon bishop to try to stop the behavior, and to become “worthy” in God’s eyes. Kalin “lost her virginity” as a Mormon teen, which, along with her inability to stop masturbating, only made her feel less worthy. Kalin had doubts/questions as a Mormon teen, and even listened briefly to Mormon Stories podcast PRIOR to serving her mission.  She fought hard to gain a testimony while on her mission. Over time, three of Kalin’s siblings came out to her as LGBTQ, which multiplied her confusion and doubt. After returning from a successful Mormon mission, Kalin married her husband Aaron in a Mormon temple, wherein they became to onlookers the “perfect Mormon couple.” Over time, after a lifetime of struggling to feel worthy, Kalin’s doubts began to consume her, and she began to contemplate suicide as a Mormon wife and mother of two children. Kalin is currently navigating a mixed-faith marriage, and remains an active non-literal believer in her Salt Lake City ward. This is Kalin’s story – how she lost her orthodox Mormon faith, but found herself (and her own voice) in the process. You will not be disappointed with this interview. I hope you will join us. And please spread the word if you can!

Mormon Stories - LDS
1282: Kalin Orgill Organ - Losing and Finding One's Self in Search of Truth Pt. 1

Mormon Stories - LDS

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2020 66:07


Periodically on Mormon Stories Podcast I try to interview “normal” or everyday Mormons about their faith journey – and in every case these “normal” Mormons turn out to be extraordinarily thoughtful and courageous. Today’s interview is no exception to this rule. Today on Mormon Stories podcast I am interviewing Kalin Orgill Organ. Aside from Kalin being a super thoughtful and courageous human, Kalin’s story includes several important themes in modern Mormonism: Kalin was raised in an orthodox Mormon home in California and in Highland, Utah – with seven siblings. She was sexually abused as a child, which possibly awakened her to her own sexuality early than other children. She began masturbating as a girl, before she even knew what the term meant.  This instigated a multi-year effort between herself, her parents, and her Mormon bishop to try to stop the behavior, and to become “worthy” in God’s eyes. Kalin “lost her virginity” as a Mormon teen, which, along with her inability to stop masturbating, only made her feel less worthy. Kalin had doubts/questions as a Mormon teen, and even listened briefly to Mormon Stories podcast PRIOR to serving her mission.  She fought hard to gain a testimony while on her mission. Over time, three of Kalin’s siblings came out to her as LGBTQ, which multiplied her confusion and doubt. After returning from a successful Mormon mission, Kalin married her husband Aaron in a Mormon temple, wherein they became to onlookers the “perfect Mormon couple.” Over time, after a lifetime of struggling to feel worthy, Kalin’s doubts began to consume her, and she began to contemplate suicide as a Mormon wife and mother of two children. Kalin is currently navigating a mixed-faith marriage, and remains an active non-literal believer in her Salt Lake City ward. This is Kalin’s story – how she lost her orthodox Mormon faith, but found herself (and her own voice) in the process. You will not be disappointed with this interview. I hope you will join us. And please spread the word if you can!