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.

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