Saturday, November 28, 2009


Terry is one of three new members to the church. I had the honor of baptizing him today. He was baptized with the Bishop's daughter, Sidney and the Bishop's nephew, James.

Sister Fisihetau of Utah, Terry, me and Sister Peterson of Oregon. They taught Terry the lessons.

The three siblings Kanta, Arafat and Terry are members. Their parents are still investigating. Today was a good day.

And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

"Each of us knew that the journey to exaltation would be long, strenuous, and sometimes lonely, but we also knew that we would not travel alone. Heavenly Father provides all who fulfill the prerequisites of faith, repentance, and baptism with a companion and guide, the Holy Ghost."
Elder Keith K. Hilbig

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Alma 34:38

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

"This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help. "We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

Thomas S. Monson

Things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving
My father that works hard and has the ability to exercise the Melchizedek Priesthood in our home.
My father who will be playing in the annual ward Turkey Bowl tomorrow and appreciates a good sports game on Thanksgiving.
My mother who has gone through alot in her life to bring our family to a happier place in life.
My mother who will cook us another wonderful spread and feed others as well.
My sister who does and says enough to keep me amused daily.
Ferron for making me look good at my job through his hard work ethic.
My membership in the church and the counsel of wise leaders.
My health.
School teachers.
My "winter" car that gets me everywhere I need to be.
My piano, guitar and especially my uke that give me hours of fun.
My Primary class who give me a great reason to show up every Sunday.
My job that will help to finance my mission.
My medical and dental insurance. I wasn't always fortunate enough to have this luxury.
There are so many things I am grateful for this year. I hope you take a minute to be thankful for all the things you have in your life.

President Monson is right about many things being wrong today but if you take time to focus on the positive things happening in your life, there is much happiness you will find. Be thankful and show gratitude this Holiday Season.

See it. Speak it. Live it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where's the Party?

Meet my Valiant 9 Primary Class.

While the women of Eagan Ward were having their New Moon party, I thought it would be a good idea to entertain my Primary class with a party of our own. We voted on watching Disney's The Pacifier and feasted on pizza, chips, donuts, candy and soda (or pop as they say in the Midwest). Haley couldn't make it and we have a feeling it's because her mother just had a baby.

Audrey: She is sometimes shy, respectful, courteous, competitive, bubbly, thoughtful, considerate of everyone, kind and has a smile that will warm your heart.

Jessica attended with her brother Parker: She is sweet, amusing, gracious, amorous, caring, honest, loving and bright. She and her brother Parker are so loving and playful with one another.

Mina: She is my sister and I am lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with her in it. I can go on forever about her.

This is before the sugar ...

Matt: He is witty, clever, comical, inquisitive, insightful, polite, spirited and has a huge compassionate heart when it comes to others.

Max and Gregory: These two boys are the most active and energetic out of our group.
Max is precocious, an avid reader, observant, intense, passionate and exceedingly talented.
Gregory is astute, anxious, clever, enthusiastic, diligent and exceptionally athletic.
I'm not sure if these two guys are very similar to each other because their mothers are best friends.

I'm grateful to have this chance to serve these kids and help steer them in the way that Heavenly Father would want them to live. Primary class is easy for me because the kids have to be on their best behavior. They have their moments in church, but nothing that a stern warning to see their parents can't fix. Luckily, I have not had those Sundays yet. A pizza and movie party was a bit chaotic, but I see they are just a little more outgoing than they act on Sunday. I'm glad these kids come from goodly parents. It makes my time as a Primary teacher enjoyable. I have learned much from these kids.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For My Pops

Happy Veterans Day!

Thanks for your service!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"There Are NO Victims. Just Volunteers."

My cousin Ferron and I are blessed to have a Bishop that understands and fully supports our need to serve LDS missions. He has assigned us the perfect counselor and mentor to prep us with lessons and every aspect of acquiring all the necessary steps before actually leaving, our former Bishop Lee Burdge. As far as church goes, Bishop Burdge has been the biggest influence I had as a teenager in actually helping me along those years to make a commitment to serve a mission. It seems very fitting that I started my journey in Minnesota with Bishop Burdge and it would be the right thing for him to complete this part of my journey with me.

I was browsing the web looking for random missionary and Mormon stuff and came across some very disturbing sites from ex-members and a whole bunch of angry people who really have a deep hatred for the church and anything LDS affiliated. Crazy hatred for anything of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They used everything from our church's doctrine to cast a bad light on our Prophets to showing garments, temple clothing and temple ceremonies. These sites attacked the law of tithing (which coincidentally we didn't come up with) and said our church is out to make a profit by exploiting the members to give money constantly and some sites insinuated that our need for female members are to keep them pregnant and brainwashed for domestic slaves. The writers of that site has obviously not met my mother or many of the "strong" LDS sisters in the church or they would know that is NOT the case.

Some sites told stories of getting our missionaries to serve young because they could be easily brainwashed and had the stamina and physically were prepared to give the "sales pitch" at any time and were too stupid to care if they were rejected by anyone. I have my own personal theories on why I know in my heart serving an LDS mission is what I choose to do and although some might find it debatable, I do NOT think I have this desire because I'm " too stupid." I know I will get doors slammed on me, people who will completely ignore me and if I baptize anyone, even more reason to believe in faith and small miracles. Rejection hurts me every time but it's a part of life, so I highly doubt being young will make it any less real for me when it happens. Isn't that something you deal with your entire lifetime? These sites and the things I browsed through were disturbing for me to say the least. I am not deterred from what will happen and luckily for me, I don't walk around in JUST underwear in public, so when I do join the "magic underwear" club, no one but my wife will be privileged enough see me wearing them.

During the summer, my parents asked me to explain the "Hie to Kolob" thing. My father didn't know anything about Kolob much less trying to "Hie" to it when he was baptized. My mom is a life time member of the church and didn't know much about this. It wasn't until a "less active" member compared the Mormons to Scientology that my parents asked me, of all people to explain this concept to them. I did and then I asked my mom, why she would raise our family in a church where she found some of the teachings 'sketchy'?

My mom came up with a few interesting answers and she explained:
"In life we have choices. In our choices, there are NO victims. Just volunteers. Because I find some of the things in church sketchy, does not mean I am right or I know everything. Because someone says we believe in crazy concepts like Kolob, it does not mean they are right or know any better." She proceeded to explain to our whole family that the story behind God creating a world in 6 days sounds crazy. She also said the whole story of Jesus and the Atonement sounds crazy IF you choose it to be. My mom told us if she had the choice, she would choose to be Catholic like my grandfather's family because it's easier and the guilt process in repentance is so much more convenient, but once you KNOW the truth, that "choice" was not an option anymore.

There is love, respect and tolerance among the LDS Presidency and members for those who have left us and even those who bitterly campaign against us. Those who show our temple garments and "magic underwear" publicly, those who find humor in stereotyping who the Mormons are, I say there is love for you still in the church. Personally, I don't want to be quick to judgment with those that have a bitter hate for the church and it's members. If I am foolish for choosing this religion, it's my choice. If our gospel principles and policies upset you enough to write such hateful things against the church, only the weak will be swayed.

Logically there are many more reasons to leave the church than stay a member. This is a very hard religion. This is a hard commitment. There is much WORK and much faith you must have to be a member in good standing. The concepts of a living Prophet that talks to God seems crazy. In the Bible thousands of years ago, the concept of having a Prophet was just as crazy. Joseph Smith or the prophet I struggle to understand but admittedly have issues with, Brigham Young - are they men or prophets of God? or both? The church history and Polygamy is hard to take in. ALL doctrines and practices in the church can seem questionable and for someone who is NOT a member or a former member, all these things past or present can be rejected.

Here are more reasons for once active members to leave the church and give some people reason to write hateful things about the church:
The work involved - the time that is consumed home teaching or visiting teaching.
More than likely you will get the opportunity to serve in a position at your ward. Meetings, activities and assignments, oh my.
What about the high moral standards you are expected to follow?
Then there are those who left because they were snubbed, offended, had serious issues with "sustaining" certain members or became prey for gossip.
What about the principle of tithing while you are barely making ends meet in your homes?
What about not being an "elite" member, the temple recommend holder because you missed the mark slightly on the other stuff?
What about those who have never felt the need to be part of an organized religion or reject the belief of being in the one "true" church?

I won't even pretend to have logical or well thought out answers for all these questions and things that happen in church. Here is my reference to the naysayer and non-believer:

Matthew 7: 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you

I am continuously learning and I see that faith is the main reason I choose this church and I acquire knowledge by constant study and prayer. I follow the gospel principles of my own choice because it would seem a bit asinine to show up to church every Sunday and NOT apply any good principles I am taught in my personal life. That would be comparable to going to school and NOT learning anything. If that were the case, I could stay home every Sunday, relax and catch a sports game and complain about how I'm too busy to go to be around those hypocrites at church.

What I am sure of is that Christ lives and that there is a science to life. Like science, there are rules that need to be applied to get the expected results. Like science, NOT everything is logical or has every questioned answered. Like science, if you don't study the material or get to know what living things are before you, even if they can not be seen with the human eye, it can still exist. It isn't any less real because you say it is.

My mom said something I thought lightheartedly summed up her will to make sure her kids and our future generations stay in the church, "It's our choice to be Mormon and if it is a crazy one, hang on for the ride cause were gonna' hie to Kolob." I think I'm going to volunteer myself to live by that motto.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Age Technology Etiquette

At Stake Conference yesterday and sadly enough, very often at church on Sundays, I hear cell phones ringing. I know we have a few doctors in our ward, but I have yet to see them taking calls during Sacrament meeting, Sunday classes and meetings. I was a big offender of "harmless" silent texting while I was still in high school. It is NOT a "harmless" activity while in church and deters from inviting the Spirit to be present.

Talking on a cell phone during class or any Sunday church meeting is not only TACKY it's NOT acceptable.
It's rude.
It's obnoxious.

When you hold a conversation during church while others are listening to speeches and lessons, it's wrong. Why would talking on your cell phone in church EVER be Ok?

You can get applications for almost everything on a Blackberry or I-phone including the scriptures. Unfortunately, using those applications in church gives many attending church the temptation of using other applications that are extremely inappropriate during meetings and classes, like listening to music of any kind, checking scores of your favorite sports teams, playing games, etc. If you're an adult engaging in ridiculous "electronic gadget" misconduct on Sundays, look at the message you're sending to the Primary kids and the Youth. Disrespectful behavior is fostered and enabled in kids during church services if parents don't think enough to show reverent behavior on Sundays.

If you do NOT want another adult to tell your kids to be reverent and respectful when they see your kids playing or talking on their cell phones or listening to music on their i pods, i phones or any of the electronic gadgets, PLEASE do your job as a parent and teach your kids better, so it does NOT impede on our right to expect respect and reverence in the chapel or in meetings and classes on Sunday. Other wise, the way I see it, it's within the right of someone who is disgusted by the inappropriate behavior to "check" that kid.

Have we really become so lazy that carrying a "four in one" and other lesson manuals are too heavy to be carried in actual BOOK form? This is my public plea to ask members to either leave your electronic gadgets in the car or at least have the decency to turn them off when in you're in the chapel on Sundays. Carry a book. You look smart when you carry your books.

Personally I find the most ANNOYING application and temptation of carrying these electronic gadgets to church are those who choose to report their activities and the activities of others through social networking sites such as, but NOT limited to My Space, Facebook and You Tube in church. I have My Space, Facebook and You Tube accounts. I would like to think my parents taught me better than to ever think of recording, taking pictures and/or updating my status while at church. While I know I am someone special to our Heavenly Father and probably my parents, I highly doubt anyone wants to know what I am doing or thinking at all hours of the day. So I want to pose a few questions to these offenders that I surprisingly catch engaging in these activities.

*Are you SO very important that you actually think someone cares what you are doing every hour on the hour?
*Do we need updates about what you are doing or anyone else attending church and church meetings because you have the need to be the "town crier"?
*When you wanted to capture your child saying his part in the church program or your "people" singing that oh so wonderful rendition of one of your favorite hymns, it became ok to violate church policy and turn on your phone or gadget to start filming?
*How did taking another picture of you doing the "pouty lips" or throwing up deuces in the CHAPEL become acceptable?

People, people, people of my LDS faith ... acquire some CLASS and stop this ridiculous behavior in OUR CHAPEL. Class is FREE and should be taught to our children as well. We do NOT defile our chapel and the sanctity of our meetings by filming, taking photos and reporting business while we attend church.

We don't Praise Dance. We don't have a band playing. We don't rap or shout at the top of our lungs in happiness. While each church has their own way of praising our Heavenly Father and do allow filming, picture taking and even networking while in church, we as LDS members are NOT of those faiths. If you can't stand to live without doing these activities at church meetings, there are several churches that allow this behavior. You might be sitting in the wrong meetings on Sunday.

On the face of this Earth, I was taught the MOST important person living to give the world instructions and guidance from on high is the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Thank you for NOT displaying all the electronic gadgets when you speak. I would find it pretty distracting and figure, if you're still talking to God the old fashion way by prayer and reading scriptures by opening books on Sunday, if it's good enough for you dear Sir, it's good enough for me.