Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's God All About and How Do I Know For Myself

God is there, regardless of what you and I believe but it's far too important a subject to base on the beliefs, convictions or words of other people. Even worse than the convictions of other people could be your own preconceived notions. There's a lot of differing opinions on the subject of God, and among it all there's the truth but how do I know and what do I do when I find out? 

The truth about God will continue to exist, even if we ignore it--but is that really what you want to do? The responsibility remains whether we choose to ignore the truth, or act on it. Consciously ignoring the truth will change everything from that moment in time, acting on the truth will also change everything but only you can decide the direction of your changes and only you will know the feeling you're left with in your heart, after deciding. Find out the truth and you'll have to act on it, act on it and everything takes on a new perspective. 

Beliefs are important but my beliefs are of little consequence to anybody else but me and although I have been blessed to know for myself that God lives, cares and does answer prayers, I can't give that conviction to anybody else. I can try to convert some of my feelings into words but words are a poor match for something this great. Nothing I can say will do my personal knowledge any justice or truly share what's in my heart, because I myself am nothing more than a person with nothing more than words and their unfortunate limitations.

I could try and share some of my reasons, some of the history of how all this came to be available to people like you and me, or some of the events that brought this into my life. I could even share some of the great miracles that has happened consequent to my seeking divine intervention on the behalf others, I could share some of the events that you would call impossible but that is not how it works. The way it works is that you might hear something that might interest you, it might seem right and you might think that it should be right. If it is right and you indeed want to know, your whole world could change and this makes it of paramount importance but you must first open your heart. 

I have witnessed God answer sincere and honest prayer and know that only God and I share the greatness of those moments, because no words can express such an experience with sufficient impact and power; no words will give you a sufficient foundation to believe it and know it, the way I believe and know this to be true. 

Learning to pray is a process but anybody can do it, learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is a matter of preparation and you must be prepared to accept and act on an answer. Often, an answer to prayer can be found in the scriptures and the Holy Spirit will help you recognise this. A wise man and man of God once said that if you want to talk to God, pray, and if you want answers, read the scriptures.

It comes to this: If you want to know about God, seek Him. If you want to know how God operates, read what He has done; If you are ready to pray and ready for an answer, ready to accept truth and live by it then do so. 

If you want to know if God is there for you, if He can and will answer prayer, ask Him! It's all true but if you want to know for yourself ask God in sincerity, honestly and with an open heart and you can know too. 

Elder Jepsen - God gives me peace, balance and purpose

I love life as a missionary. There is so much to do and now after having been a missionary for almost nineteen months there is still so much to learn as I am just beginning to get some perspective on the true meaning of an infinite learning curve. As a District Leader I appreciate the efforts and hard work of missionaries in the district and benefit greatly from hearing their stories of both failures and success and I can relate, because all missionaries experience both ups and downs many times during their missions. They are good, experienced missionaries that I can rely on, trust to do their part and they make our district great. 

I have some good people to look up to in the Washington Spokane Mission. Our leaders are great and I have a great appreciation for our Mission President, he is truly amazing and I couldn't wish for any better. He's a good man and I support his leadership. 
We've had to do a lot of finding in our area this last little while, as many of the people we were teaching have turned us down. It's helpful and inspiring in times like this to remember that when one door closes, others often open. As long as we keep doing our part, God will help us find the people that seeks Him, that He has prepared for us to teach. 

We are here to teach and there is a lot of people seeking the peace and balance that God has to offer, although sometimes they might be unaware that what they are seeking comes from God. But, with preparation, prayer, God's help and an open heart, we will find them and help them find that peace and balance again. 

That's why I love what I do and why I find it rewarding, even on days where the obstacles seem to dominate my view. God gives me peace, balance and purpose and there is no greater moment than when I experience others make that same discovery for themselves. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

What Does It Take To Make a Mormon Missionary and What Does He Do?

As of February 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints operates  405 missions around the world. 

To quickly update the info image posted to the left: The current number of missionaries has risen to  60,000 young men and women serving full-time missions since this very informative picture was made.

When they come to your door, please take the time to hear what they have to say. Their message is worth a listen.

Missionaries teaches, serves where needed and assists in disaster areas, when extra hands are needed and they do this every day of the week, every week and every month and year for the full duration of their mission. They do this voluntarily and they are not payed to be missionaries but they do have a purpose. Like an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints once said: "Every truth that a missionary... teaches is only an appendage to the central message of all time--that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, the Holy Messiah, the Promised One, the Savior and Redeemer of the world."

The missionaries do this service in the hope that as a result more people will have better lives and find more peace and happiness in their day. 

Don't be fooled by their young age, they bring eternal wisdom in the words of God, they bring a message that can conquer agony, distress and confusion. 

While it is true that we must develop endurance and strength for our own good in life, many problems can be avoided, many of our questions and worries can be answered simply and easily, just ask the missionaries. This might sound like an easy way out or even unlikely but if that's what you think, why don't you give it a try and ask the missionaries?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

Mothers, the angels entrusted by God to guard and guide our most promising treasures. Stand by them, love them and help them in very way possible, our future world depends on it!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Every Mother, Everywhere!

"Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a Mother!"
To every Mother. Thank you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Power of the Holy Spirit: It's Yours For the Asking

I often wonder what I actually expect when I pray to God for help, direction or intervention in what life has dealt me. Then I remember that prayer is a request, or as the meaning of the word "Prayer" indicates, a plea to someone more powerful than ourselves, in this case our omnipotent Heavenly Father and God. Prayer is never an order or demand and so I must never expect anything other than what the Lord may deem best for my needs. But, prayer does allow me access to the most powerful force known to the universe, its very creator and God, our Lord and Saviour. He has promised that:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (The Holy Bible, James 1:5-6)

Life is my opportunity to learn, gain experience and grow. Sometimes it helps me to view life from the known perspective of an athlete: Only when a burden is increased does strength and endurance improve. The burden must be heavy, the stride must be difficult or nothing will be gained but as I endure I will benefit and grow. This is a fact and is well applied to many other situations.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. (The Holy Bible, James 1:12-14)

I know that as I endure, blessings will come. Why? Because they always have, they always do and they always will as long as I seek God's counsel when making decisions, setting the course for the day, or for my life! Blessings are often answer to prayers but not always in the way that I had expected and sometimes not in ways that I would have wanted, ignorant as I sometimes may be when relying on my own wits and my own strength, instead of God's.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (The Holy Bible, Matthew 6:33)

Making God a part of my life has worked. I have noticed that as I seek God, pray and seek His directions as given through the scriptures, it becomes easier for me to see and understand His answers to my prayers and the blessings He has already given me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (The Holy Bible, James 1:17)

Seeing the great gifts that God has allowed me to enjoy, my heart and mind opens to receive more of His directions and counsel.

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal. (Doctrine & Covenants 42:61)

Knowledge is power and knowing that God is there for us is empowering unlike anything else. God has let us know that can know, and if we desire to know we may ask Him and He will answer our prayer if prayed in honesty, sincerity and faith.

And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.  (Doctrine & Covenants 93:24)

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (The Holy Bible, John 8:32)

BYU Men's Chorus Free Download (Complete Album)

BYU Men's Chorus has released a free album "Set Apart" for your enjoyment:

Please download it, share the link and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Light of Christ, Choose It and Share It!

Living in harmony with our conscience or being able to sleep at night are some of the many ways that people often explain or address the subject of that inner balance in life, essential to keeping stress and anxiety at a minimum. 

To be in harmony with our conscience we acknowledge the good in our conscience and choose the right, although the right is not always an easy choice. But, how we end up feeling has a lot to do with the choices that came before. An old tale of two wolves adds a little thought to the subject: 

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said: "My son, the battle is between two "Wolves" inside us all: 

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. 

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" 

The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed." 

Following our conscience brings inner peace and balance, while going against our conscience brings confusion, unrest, anxiety and stress. Some might also know our conscience by terms such the Light of Christ, Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Christ or the Light of Life. These are all references to a force of light or good, and like our conscience compels us to do good or to do the right thing. Following our conscience or the Light of Christ will lead to repentance, redemption, inner peace, optimism and hope. 

Why would conscience and the Light of Christ be the same thing? I could ask it in different way: What good is a conscience that does not compel you to do the right thing, take the "High Road" or keep you from sinking to someone's level that perhaps has chosen a more selfish, deceptive or less ethical path? 

Without a Light of Christ, God would not be God, and there would be no difference between good and evil, because there would be no God and without God there would be no reason to be good. All reasons to do good has to rest in deity or it would just be a matter of what everybody can get away with, without getting caught! Yet, the strange fact remains that most people, even self-proclaimed atheists usually believe in doing good and dealing fairly with other people. Continuing a differentiation between good and bad, right and wrong should be redundant to the atheist, yet they usually have a conscience compelling them to do good? How can that be, if they seriously deny God's existence? 

We have a dog in our family. It's a BIG dog and it's also a good dog but our dog has selective hearing, just like some teenagers do. Our dog sometimes conveniently makes a choice when to hear us and when to hear absolutely nothing. Atheism with a set of ethics is like having a selective deity, saying I'll choose the things that are good, for myself, for me and my best interest. However, when you are the the one that sets the standard for what is right, what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, you choose to recognise the existence good and bad (sometimes known as truth) but choose to adapt and bend it for your own selfish purposes. You can't bend truth or good and bad, and when you do, you conveniently place yourself above God in the chain of command, essentially making yourself the object of your worship. 

Without good and bad, or God and devil, there would no foundation for just laws. There would be no good or bad choices, no right or wrong but only choices that suit the individual best without any consideration of who else might get hurt. 

Although not the same as the Holy Spirit, the Light of Christ may help us make good choices or judge right from wrong. "... the Spirit of Christ is given unto every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade  to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is from God." (Moroni 7:16) 

Given a way to judge, comes an accountability for how we judge. A responsibility for our decisions: "... seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged." (Moroni 7:18) 

When absorbing light, some light will always reflect and when light is absorbed, light will show and add light to the surroundings. Those who pursue the energy, power and influence found in the Light of Christ will in some way share in it themselves, and in some indescribable way radiate that same light to those around them, and therein lies a further responsibility that others may share in that same light. "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." (Matthew 5:15) 

We all depend on light, it's what life is made of. Enjoy the light, pass it on and share it without any expectations, limitations, obligations or conditions. Choose the light and share it! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Ultimate Price: Have I Been Worth It?

In the midst of Easter Parades, Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs, amidst the abundance of pink and yellow ribbons overflowing the shelves in the supermarkets, we might be reminded of the meaning of Easter through days with names like Passover Thursday, Atoning Friday and Resurrection Sunday, that Easter had a beginning and that beginning is about making the choices in deed, and in courage, and in faith; choices that must be made to be true to who we are and what we believe, in response to the charge given us with the atonement.

Jesus Christ paid the price for our every wrong, that as we repent we may be freed from our sins or payment would reach into the eternities. Through the atonement we were given the possibility to repent, to receive forgiveness, and go on, without having to carry the heavy burden of every wrong we ever did.

Because our Saviour, Jesus Christ atoned for us, suffered and paid the full price for our every wrong, we can actually receive forgiveness from God. As we realise our wrongs, do not repeat them, and to the extent that this might be possible, do our best to correct our wrongs; we may if receive His forgiveness and once again find peace in our hearts.

This payment for our sins didn't happen because it was easy or convenient but because of His love for us. While it would be impossible to fully understand how Our Saviour Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, it may help us trying to imagine how difficult this might have been, even for the Son of God. As we remember the words of Jesus, when in Gethsemane: "... Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done... And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:42, 44)

I imagine that in this dark and sad moment of history, God would desperately want to reach out and lift the pain, to stop everything. Yet, it went on and in preparation for the crucifixion Jesus was beaten, whipped, mocked, rejected, humiliated and treated as a criminal; all while His and our Heavenly Father must have cried heavy tears.

"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him," (Luke 23:33) our Heavenly Father, Father of Jesus Christ must have trembled to His very core, with tears flooding His eyes, hearing Jesus lovingly, in a Spirit of kind forgiveness praying and pleading for His assailants:  "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."(Luke 23:34)

Still, amidst a constant flow of mockery, the crucifixion continued in what must have been an abundance of tears and empathy from those who loved Him.

What must have been hours later, drained, fatigued and thirsty, as pain and feelings of abandonment would seem overwhelming in what must have been the most lonely hour of His life, Jesus, overcome with agony of the whole experience cried out in a loud voice of ultimate loneliness: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

Hearing such a plea, our Heavenly Father certainly would want to reach out and spare His only begotten son from such suffering. As the literal Father of Jesus Christ, He must have wanted to respond in ways I can't begin to imagine. Even with God's perfect knowledge and understanding of what had to happen, He must have have agonised as His son was beaten, whipped and crucified, and finally left to die while hanging on the cross. The Heavens must have grieved and cried that day, to see the Son of God suffer such misery!

Jesus had walked the earth, shared His teachings and dealt with people's doubts, hypocrisy, lies and mockery, all while they conspired against Jesus the Christ to ultimately crucify Him. He had preformed miracles, helped where He could and in return suffered the full extent of evil in the world. Jesus Christ was subjected to a process of blind injustice, suffering every measure of trials, agony and difficulty that we might ever face in a lifetime, only to finally suffer a crucifixion with common criminals. He had truly earned the right to finally say "It is finished." John 19:30 and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." A long and hard road had finally and mercifully come to an end, and He gave up His Spirit.

Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ both suffered this, all of this, out of love for us that we may be allowed repentance. And, as we truly repent of our wrongs, we may be allowed redemption, to once again find peace in our hearts and sin no more. He walked this long and hard road alone, that we don't have to, and after reviewing some small understanding of what my Saviour did for me, I can't help but ask myself: Have I been worth it, will the sum of my life and what I have done with what I've been given, all be worth His great sacrifice or have I rejected it all with my many shortcomings?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Message: This is Easter

In this short and direct video, President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bears witness and testifies of Jesus Christ with only a few but well-chosen words.

Missionaries: Who Are They All, Where Do They Come From and Why Are They Here?

Who goes on a mission, why go on a mission, and who are all these missionaries anyways? What makes a young man or woman give up two years when in the prime of their lives?

I went on a mission, as did my wife and we raised our children on same the principles that helped prepare us for life when we were young. Our three sons all chose to serve on missions and one is still out there, as can occasionally be seen on the blog when we share some of his messages home. They are all too short but sweet, as we see him grow from his experience in the Lord's service. But, why did his brothers go and why did he go? In spite of them having been, or in the case of the last one still being a missionary, they are not naturally men of many words and I have never really asked them to go or why they went. They just did because they wanted to and it was the right thing to do, knowing what they know.

They are good and just men, the two that have returned from their missions are happily married and better men for having given up two years of their lives to serve God and what they believe in. The missions they served has served them well as they did so with all their heart and sincerity, and probably a little fun and goofing off just for good measure if I know them right.

Every young man and women choosing to give up their valuable time and money has a slightly different reason for going but the general purpose is the same. Some sell their cars, motorcycles or computers to go, most have to save up for a long time to go, often in menial and low paying jobs as they usually also must interrupt their not yet completed education, they all come to their missions with different levels of enthusiasm, some more timid than others but they come to share in the work of teaching a message of the gospel, they themselves love and live by.

They come to share this with those prepared to hear what possibly might be strong and significant enough to move thousands of young people to give up everything, with the sole purpose of telling you and your friends about it. Do you want to know why or what they have to say, does your friends want to know? If so, please follow this link: 

If you reside near Antarctica (I am guessing there are no missionaries there but I could be wrong) and missionaries are few and far between or if you're the shy type, you may follow this link to chat with missionaries online: 

If you don't live near Antarctica but rather in the US or Canada, you may also call the missionaries:


If you see them walking down the street, or coming to your door: Please, invite them in and hear what they have to say, give it a chance, open your heart a little and see if you might catch the Spirit of what they have say. You might discover it to be very much what you believed all along but never heard anyone else say out loud, the way it should be.

Mormon Channel Mobile App

This might be old news to many by now but for some this is just ready to be discovered. If you have read the blog before you'll know that I have used videos from Mormon Channel throughout this blog because they so beautifully sum up so much in just a short message. I have found these videos on YouTube under "Mormon Messages" or as they are now called: "Mormon Channel" and enjoyed them for a while.

If you're new to the blog, or haven't noticed the many videos featured here, please don't hesitate, they're nearly the best thing on the blog!

Here is the great news that almost everybody already knows: You now may have access to all the same videos and more from the Mormon Channel, on a new app that allows you to play them on mobiles and tablets of various kinds. Watch the video and find out more: 

Flag of British Columbia

The current Flag of British Columbia was introduced June 14, 1960 by Premier W.A.C. and was first flown aboard the BC Ferries motor vessel Sidney. 

Elder Jepsen - From Half Way Around the World to Where I Was Born?

Going out on a mission usually does not mean going home but this is very nearly the case. I have really enjoyed my time in Pullman, Washington but I'm off to Grand Forks, BC, Canada, only 135km/84 miles from my birthplace! I have come here to serve, as a missionary from half way around the world and like a salmon (Canadian Salmon) I almost return to where I began, the world is getting smaller every day. 

Working with Elder Hsieh was a privilege and I learned a lot from him. I'll miss his insight, experience and working with the Chinese people but one thing is certain on a mission and that is transfers, there'll always be another one. I learned to appreciate Elder Hsieh, he's a good man, a good missionary and I'll miss him.

I am grateful to be able to serve a mission, to be here, and to the best of my ability be an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing His teachings to those who want to hear, learn and do. 

Time on a mission is in short supply, as the two short years duration of a mission turns out to speed by in what seems like the blink of an eye. Dad warned me, this was going to happen but it's hard to imagine how fast time flies until you're here. I just began my mission, it's almost over and I'm just beginning to catch on but God is there always and I can trust that He'll be there for all these people that I have met and taught so far, long after I am gone. 

I know that I'm not indispensable and I have met many great missionaries, much better at this than I but I can contribute where I go, and hope to make the best small difference that I can. 

I don't bring much beyond my time and effort but I hope and pray to bring enough of the Lord's Spirit and my testimony, that I know this gospel to be true, that God lives and is here for us, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I pray that those spiritually prepared to hear it, will recognise it for what it is and act on it.

The gospel is true and I know it

Love you guys,
Elder Jepsen

Keeping the Sabbath Holy, God's Way

Many would think of keeping the Sabbath holy as listening to a sermon in church. While the church is where you learn much of what it means to strive to be better person, the proof is in the doing, Sabbath or any other day of the week. 

When in the middle of disaster people sometimes begin to ask themselves questions. Instead of sitting around and asking "Where was God?" people from near and far
 chose to become an instrument in the Lord's hands by helping those in need, and no further questions were needed. Instead of asking "Do you have plan B?" or even "What can I do to help?" they clearly saw the need where they came and consequently stepped into action. 

Every set of helping hands brought a portion of God's teachings to these people, not by talking but by doing. Everywhere there was "Helping Hands," there was some happiness and good in the middle of all the loss, sadness, grief and disaster, showing the true meaning of being a Christian. God gave us each other to be there for each other as brother and sister. When everything becomes too much for just one set of hands, two or more hearts can share it better! 

When the Hurricane Sandy hit in the Fall of 2012, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints didn't sit around in church for long, to wait for more learning. With winds of up to 109 mph or 175 km/h, affecting the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, Eastern Canada and Eastern United States where it hit 24 states and caused damage in the US alone, estimated at over $71 billion(2012 USD), there was no need to first wait and see how bad it was! 

Thousands of members cancelled church and travelled to the areas where help was needed. They arrived by bus, air and train from across the country to help, and this is where keeping the Sabbath holy takes on a whole new spirit. To paraphrase the scripture in Luke 14:5 "If a pair of helping hands is what's needed when disaster strikes on a Sabbath, then you go and be those helping hands, help your neighbour and be a sister/brother!" 

Many people have the impression that missionaries are people that spend their days in search for people to teach. While that is a portion of the truth, there is another side to the story, rarely seen because it just quietly happens when and where it's needed and it happens all the time. This is why you should see this video and see what also sometimes happens on a mission: 

Hurricane Sandy Helping Hands from Joshua Brown on Vimeo.

Joshua Brown ( and ( made the video and the music is credited to

Hurricane Sandy turned out to be the second-costliest hurricane in United States history, the deadliest (totalling 285 fatalities) and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season (

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Online Magazines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints function with the same organisation that existed in the church described in the Holy Bible, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. 

Life would not allow for growth if void of problems and difficulty. Ask any athlete about the value of increased burdens when training and preparing to to improve one's ability, he'll tell you, they're invaluable and the only way to grow stronger. 

But, sometimes we need help or encouragement as problems seem insurmountable. Searching the scriptures, sincere and honest prayer are the usual approaches that help many people make their way though the more trying times in life. Both scripture and prayer are good solutions but sometimes a few words of counsel from others with a different angle of insight might help, sometimes it would really be of help to hear what God might have to say on the many issues we sometimes are facing.   

For this reason we have living prophets addressing us today about the problems that we face, just as they were in the Holy Bible. The writings of these prophets as well as people from all parts of the church are published in the monthly magazines published by the church and they are all available online for you to read, just follow the link:

Request a Free Copy of the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is scripture, meaning a written record of God's dealings with His people. While the Holy Bible is a record of the people in and around the old Israel, the Book of Mormon is a record of God's dealings with the inhabitants of ancient America (you may learn more about the Book of Mormon here: 

If you wish to know for yourself, if you want to request your own free copy of the Book of Mormon, follow this link:

Request a Free Copy of the Holy Bible

While most people have heard of the Holy Bible, many has yet to hold/read/own a Bible and yet The Holy Bible testifies of Jesus Christ and shares His many teachings, good principles that can help us all through times of difficulty.

To get your own free copy of the Holy Bible (limit of one Bible per household, may not apply to all parts of the world), follow this link:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Confessions of a Mormon Bishop

by Russ Hill on March 19, 2013 

I pulled into my driveway at 12:30 AM this morning. 
I sat in the car in front of our dark house for a few minutes. Everyone inside was asleep. The whole neighbourhood was still and yet my mind was racing. So many questions. So many emotions. Sadness. Hope. Inadequacy. 

Welcome to the life of a Mormon bishop. 

Like pastors, priests, and clergy in other religions, those of us asked to serve as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints spend hours behind closed doors meeting with people who allow us into the darkest corners of their lives. 

They come to us for various reasons. Because of guilt. Because they have lost hope. Because they have been betrayed. Because they don’t know where else to go. Because they feel worthless. Because the person they are isn’t the person they want to be. Because they have questions. Because they have doubts. Because they believe in a forgiving God yet feel disconnected from Him. 

They come and sit in front of me. Some hesitate. Take a deep breath and grasp for courage to say out loud what they have been hiding inside for days, weeks, or years. 

Others almost run in. They spill before I sit. They’re anxious to clear their conscience or announce their doubts. Each one is different. 

For hours every week I sit, and listen. 

I did not ask for this opportunity. I never considered I might someday have an office in a church. I have no professional training for this position. I am not a scriptural scholar. I have not walked through vineyards with robe-wearing monks. And, if you’re wondering about vows of celibacy let me introduce you to my four kids. 

All I did was answer a phone call. Show up for a meeting. And nod when asked if I would serve.

I don’t sometimes wonder why me. I always wonder why me. 

And yet they come. Share their stories. And look to me for wisdom. I’m not sure any of them have learned from me. But, I have learned so much in the hours I’ve sat in that office listening to them. 

I have learned that we believe it is a strength to conceal weakness. 

I have learned that it is easy to want others to overlook our flaws as we expect perfection in them. 

I have learned that it is hardest to show compassion and grant forgiveness to those closest to us. 

I have learned that while curiosity is a strength it can also be a curse.
I have learned that we are creatures of habit.
I have learned that faith is a muscle.
I have learned that it is far easier to deny deity than to deny desire.
I have learned the mystery surrounding death forces a consideration of spiritual matters.

I have learned that observance of the Sabbath recalibrates perspective and improves judgment.

I have learned that most of us bare scars from the failure, disappointment, and fear in our lives. And, we prefer to wear long sleeves.

I have learned that to deal with life’s pain most of us choose one of the following: alcohol, drugs, pornography, or spirituality.

I have learned alcohol and drugs are the easiest path. As long as you’re willing to never stop drinking, smoking, or swallowing.

I have learned pornography is highly addictive and has nothing to do with sexual appetites and everything to do with escape. And that the habit is never overcome in isolation.

I have learned that we feel like a failure when we make mistakes even when we profess a belief that the purpose of this existence is to make and learn from them.

I have learned that forgiveness is the greatest gift we can offer someone. And ourselves.

I have learned that many know about Jesus Christ but more of us could make an effort to know Him.

I have learned that the strongest among us are those with the cleanest mirrors.

I have learned that the sins of parents profoundly affect children. And are often repeated by them.

I have learned that affection from parents profoundly affects children.

I have learned that most communication between parents and children is what psychologists call “superficial.” Strong relationships are built on the “validating” variety.

I have learned that children desperately desire parents who listen.

I have learned that churches are not museums or catwalks for perfected saints but rather labs for sinners.

I have learned that “tolerate” and “love” are two very different verbs despite what popular culture professes.

I have learned that there’s more sadness in this world than I had realized.
I have learned there is more goodness in this world than I had realized.
I have learned that to be happy is a choice.

I have learned those preoccupied with serving others have less time to count their problems.

I have learned that a habit of one brief moment of spirituality a day can alter one’s entire direction.

I have learned that we want God to grant us space to make decisions but step in to stop others, nature, mortality, or illness from hurting us or those we love.

I have learned those who have made more mistakes have a great gift. Empathy. Now to the matter of searching out someone who hungers for it.

Indeed, I have learned I have much to learn.

The names of those I meet with will never be known. Confidentiality demands I never disclose their stories.

But, late last night as I sat in my car on the driveway I decided I should compile a list of what the people I meet with are teaching me, and I wanted to share it.

Editor's note: 
While there is no formal training that automatically qualifies anyone to become a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the position (calling) does have an extensive list of requirements. 

Nobody becomes a bishop without first having served in many other positions of responsibility (doubling as further training for new positions), or without having first shown an ability and willingness to abide by a code of living, including a set standard of ethics and morality. 

  • For more details on this or other questions of the church, you may chat online with missionaries through this link:
  • To have missionaries come for a visit to answer more detailed questions on any of the above issues, follow this link:

While people asked to serve in church leadership positions must adhere to a code of living that might seem strict to some, it could be seen as liberating to others. Addressing issues such as faith, ethics and healthy living, this code of living really relieves the individual of many of the heavier burdens in life. This does not mean that a bishop or anyone else in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not experience many of the same struggles, that so many others are faced with in today's world. Bishops often have good experience in how to deal with trials and difficulty of their own, using the wisdom of the many directions given in the scriptures and through living prophets.

While the above mentioned bishop claims to be no scriptural scholar, he would still have a good working knowledge of the scriptures knowns as the Standard Works, including both the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, The Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The Pearl of Great Price and the many directions available from living prophets addressing current issues. 

  • To get your own copy of the Holy Bible, follow this link:
  • To get your on copy of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, follow this link:

While callings in the church are not patterned like a typical career ladder, if does involve steps that allow plenty of opportunity for growth and learning. Many members of the church has seen, that experience learned in church callings often applies equally well in careers and employment opportunities. But, by the time someone is called to be a bishop, a lot of learning has already happened on many different levels and the person called to be a bishop is not only qualified but also ready to serve in such a position, although they often (in a more humble view of themselves), may not feel that they are quite ready for such a responsibility, yet.

Only after considerable amounts of thought and prayer is someone asked to serve as a bishop. While someone asked to serve as a bishop almost always is highly qualified, it is never an easy decision to make, it is never taken lightly, and only through considerable thought and prayer can someone serve and continue to serve as a bishop.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Elder Jepsen - It's a Good Thing!

Thank you for all your prayers. Know that my prayers are with you, always! I love you guys. 

This week we have been blessed with so much to do. The work is going well and it's been very humbling. We currently have a lot of people preparing for baptism and seeing people change, as they acquire the teachings of God and apply them in their lives, is like seeing miracle after miracle all around me. I love being a missionary, it's a privilege and very gratifying experience, it makes me want to be a better person, that I may be more for others. 

I love the gospel, for everything that it teaches me and so many others. Living by the altruistic principles taught throughout the scriptures and by the leaders in the church really helps avoid many of the pitfalls and difficulties in life. I have only lived a few years yet and my limited life experience doesn't give me as much to draw on but I see the principles that I aim to live by, changing people's lives and easing their trials. Feasting on the gospel is feasting on life itself. It's a good thing! 

Thank you, Mom and Dad! Thank you for raising me with the necessary principles to allow me the privilege, that I could prepare for and be a part of this great work. It's a truly magnificent experience. 

Love you, 
Elder Jepsen 

God is real, believe it!

Some might say "If there is a God why doesn't He take away all pain, injustice and suffering?" 

In my experience God has helped me through my pain, eased my suffering and encouraged me when I couldn't look up, or even stand! Without God in my life I would have given up long ago. I'd no longer be able to enjoy the company of good people around me, the light, smiles and laughter coming to me from good friends and family, that God has blessed me to know. 

That's why I know that God lives, He helps me swim, though the water might be be cold and keeps me up when I would let go, flounder and sink. God is real, believe it, I do! 

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