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August 15, 2015

Haven’t you noticed..? So bring water and drink it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 5:58 pm
A couple weeks ago our young women youth group headed to Moab. Every year we do a week long camp trip to provide the girls with some outdoor experiences. We love to see them get away from their electronic devices, enjoy the outdoors, learn how to cook, cleanup, set-up tents and see Gods creations. It’s always a great experience. We decided to switch things up a bit and do a river rafting trip! I’m so glad we did, it was amazing!

We managed to convince the young women that a hike in 100 degree weather was going to be worthwhile! Miraculously, after it was all done and over with, I think they all agreed. One of the many things we try and accomplish at camp is to learn that we can do hard things. It would be nice if life was easy but there wouldn’t be a lot of spiritual/mental growth. Haven’t you noticed that you learn the most when life is the hardest? This life is about learning, growing, and becoming a better person-which means you better be prepared for some hard times!

We tried to help the girls be prepared for the hike. We provided them with an empty water bottle and water. All they had to do was fill it up. It was a simple task but their action was required. If they took off on that hike without water, in 100 degree temperatures, it was not going to be a positive outcome. 

Just like our own lives, the Savior is the water. He is there for us, ready to quench our thirst at a moments notice. All we have to do is fill up the bottle. We need to be the ones that take the first step of action. The water can’t get in the bottle unless we initiate the first step. We need to go to Him, humble ourselves and He will lift us up.

We took off on our hike with all different levels of excitement. There was the “I’m happy to go” group and the “I do not want to be here” group and everything in between group! In life, we have to be prepared to help others along the way. Sometimes we’re going to be the upbeat/ready to take on the challenge and other times we will be the one needing someone else who’s ready for the challenge. It was good for the young women to see we each play a role in someone else’s journey. Heavenly Father wants us to be there for one another.

It was not your typical “fun” but the hike gave them all a sense of accomplishment. Even though the hike was hot and physically exerting, the end result was a magnificent sight. The journey to get there was not easy but usually the things that are the most worthwhile require the most effort.

August 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 4:47 am

July 17, 2015

The Lord reveals His secrets unto His servants the prophets

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 11:16 pm

I’m sure some of you have heard the name Joseph Smith, and I’m sure some of you haven’t!   I always tell my children, “Knowledge is power”.  So today I am going to give you a little bit of power, you will thank me later!  

As Mormons, we believe in modern day prophets.  This is beautiful and wonderful because we receive direction from God through our living prophet.   Joseph Smith was the first of these modern day prophets.

Joseph Smith was born December 1805 into a religious family.  His parents taught him to read the Bible and pray always.  He was familiar with and loved God.  At the young age of 14, Joseph was ready to affiliate himself with an organized religious group.   He had dedicated himself to trying to find the right religious group to join.  He had studied each group and was unable to determine which of all the groups was the true church.  He decided to follow the advice he had read in James 1:5,  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…..and it shall be given him” .   So he went into a grove of trees in upstate New York and said a heartfelt prayer believing that God would answer it.

And answer it, God did!

God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith!   They spoke to Joseph and told him to join none of the churches.  Joseph’s life was never the same from this time forward.   This was the first step in the restoration or the bringing back of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.  

Now, I could write pages and pages about the story and life of Joseph Smith.   But really, I just want you to know that I love Joseph Smith and I believe every word of his story!

Joseph Smith was persecuted and tormented because of what he saw and knew.  No matter what happened in his life, he never denied that experience.   He was a man of faith and I am beyond grateful for him!

June 18, 2015

Walking a mile (or more) in their shoes…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 5:04 am
There is an old proverb of the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans that says: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”  This was stated a little differently by Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird when he said: “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Well, the 14-18 year old youth in our Stake this past week spent some time walking around in the shoes and in the skin of some of their actual or adopted ancestors – the Mormon Pioneers.  They spent three days in the mountains east of Cedar Hills re-enacting portions of the pioneer’s westward trek from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah during the 1840’s and 1850’s.

The youth spent some time before their “trek” researching their ancestors and finding stories of how these ancestors joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and learned of the difficulties they faced in their life.  On the first day of Trek, the youth participated in building a replica of the Church temple in Nauvoo.  The replica was 24’ x 16’ and was nearly 30 feet tall.  Many of their ancestors had assisted in building the original temple at great sacrifice.  Then, just as happened in the 1800’s, not long after the temple was completed, the mobs came and they were forced to leave their city and their temple.  The youth loaded their belongings in handcarts and, over the course of the three days, pulled those handcarts 16 or 17 miles through the mountains above Heber.  It was not all drudgery though, as the youth ate well, made friends, and of course deepened their appreciation for what their ancestors must have experienced.

Through it all, the youth realized what it must have meant to build such a beautiful city and temple and then have to see it destroyed and have to leave it.  And, although the youth only pulled these handcarts a small portion of the 900 miles the real pioneers pulled them, they definitely came away with an appreciation of the conviction and testimony these early pioneers must have had to endure the trials they did so faithfully.

Please see an article written about this experience and view a time-lapse video of the building of the temple at this link

The Nauvoo Temple replica built by the Cedar Hills Utah West Stake stood 27 feet high. The Angel Moroni — which was donated through a miraculous connection —  was 6 feet tall. (Evening Photo by Matt Bennett) (Photo of construction Jeremiah Daniel McLerran)

June 14, 2015

How to Set Up a Digital Mission

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 8:36 pm

On May 14th the Deseret News published an article about this blog and our digital mission to find individuals interested in The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is a humble “how to” from the Cedar Hills West 10th ward.  The steps and techniques we share is not an exhaustive list or a complete manual but they are a start to a system that can be followed to start your online digital mission.

First let’s cover the spiritual aspects and responsibilities of the digital mission.  The biggest secret to success in a digital mission is obedience just like in a regular full-time mission.  This starts with strict obedience to modern revelation given to us on the why, the what, and the how to do online missionary work, and following your bishop’s counsel as he directs the digital mission. Your bishop is the head of missionary efforts within a ward, therefore all ward digital efforts should be coordinated through him; in addition,  all posts and approval of posts should follow an outline prescribed by the bishop, ward mission leader and the ward council.  
Obedience to the promptings of The Spirit, who will lead the work in your ward just like in the full-time mission, is imperative. Remembering back to the day when the idea of starting a blog was introduced we thought “this is crazy”, but we knew that it was The Lord’s will and we went forward not knowing before hand what we would do.  It took faith to believe He really wanted us to start this mammoth undertaking and do it right and stick to it. 

This is hard work and THE WORK in a digital mission comes in many forms; from “knocking digital doors” to preparing a plan for when those doors will be opened.  The more we knock the more elect and prepared individuals we find.  Consistency and regular effort can never be underestimated just like in a full-time mission.  Faith without works is dead and so it is with your digital mission.

Every digital investigator needs certain things to progress and it always requires multiples not just one person to provide that support.  Not unlike a full-time mission will include efforts like we have with companionships, district leaders, zone leaders, and mission presidents.  In the digital missionary world, it will include every resource the ward has.  The resources are in charge of many moving parts including in our case Google Plus following (knocking digital doors), immediate follow up to engagement like a comment, a like, a plus, or a question on a post (an open door), multiple assignments for long term follow up and assisting the investigators (discussions).  Every good investigator needs good friends so finding people in your ward with like minds and interest for each digital contact should be considered. 

Something that does not work is posting on your social media time lines your testimony ad nauseam. Like in the real mission field where we do not set up podiums on the street and shout from those podiums to find the elect.  The same applies to social and online mission work we do not spam our testimonies on our personal facebook and other social platforms.   Our personal profiles should be used to amplify our efforts on the mission blogs and properties which are set aside for the “virtual discussions”.  Again everything starts and ends with the blog.  If you want to help the digital mission then ask yourself how you can write or help with the blog.  The social media part is the easy part that includes “shout outs” or sharing of the work that goes into your ward blog.  A shortcut, but not always the most effective, is amplifying via your social media The Churches blogs videos and posts. People will be more interested to read posts from your blog when they are written by people in your ward sharing real life experiences that are simple yet meaningful to them. Blog posts do not need to be a completely polished and perfect presentation.  

This is not to say that your facebook can’t be used 100% for posting and reposting your testimony. We have not seen that be a successful technique.  However knowing this is empowering to many. The digital mission will provide everyone a platform to use that is not personal to bear testimony.  This allows so many who have the fear to tell the world how they feel and the blessings that have come from living the gospel.

First step, make a list of all the resources available in the ward or branch.  In each ward every member should fall into one or more of these missionary categories:
  • Bloggers including wordpress, blogger, and other CMS’s
  • Social Media Influencers including people who know Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, Tumblr, Google+, and the list goes on.
  • Technical experts including people who know hosting and DNS. 
  • Writers including English majors, at home moms who love to write, and anyone willing to edit or help with collecting and soliciting new posts regularly.  
  • Individuals with testimonies
  • Video editors including those that have smart phones and are willing to use them to record and document activities
  • Doctrine experts
  • Journal writers who are willing to share their entries
  • Individuals giving talks on Sunday willing to share what they wrote addressed as a blog post
  • Scouting scribes
  • Youth willing to share the day in day out successes and challenges of life as a youth
  • Leaders willing to write epistles to the ward 
Second step, buy a domain or secure your digital missions name/URL on blogger, or wordpress and if you are super committed, a registrar.  The Blog is the heart of digital missionary work. Seldom should you lose focus on that.  When you write, you write for the blog.  When you talk about strategies and content, it should be to place that content on your blog and make it extraordinary.  

Third step, register with social media sites, such as Facebook, Facebook groups, Tumblr, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Instagram etc. These social media sites, in addition to the primary blog site, will be the assets of the digital ward mission and primarily used as supplementary tools to direct traffic to your blog site. These social media profiles should tweet and post whenever the blog is updated and like, follow, subscribe, plus and pin anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.

Last step, get all your social media handles secured, with the same names if possible Don’t be afraid to pick names that are not covered by all the digital properties.  It’s only important you have them, not that the names are the same necessarily.

HINT You are always able to hide behind the handles of the digital mission social profile, but those handles are sacred and should be treated as such.
HINT Buy off on commitment by the entire ward is imperative and success will be directly correlated with the efforts of the ward, and the obedience to the ward mission plan.  Using full-time mission experiences and allegories are very helpful.  The closer you make this to a real mission, the more success the ward will have.  The great part about this is that most of us have had 18-36+ months experience to draw on.  The Digital Mission is very much a parallel to the full-time mission.
HINT Every person should be looked at from the lens of what can she/he do to help the Digital Mission?  Everyone adds something unique and special.  When everyone is committed and willing to help the work takes huge steps forward.
HINT Digital knocking doors is finding individuals in the world that already have like interests to Latter Day Saints and/or have been introduced to The Mormons already.  The best tool for searching and finding are using URL’s like  There are many other tools we have not tested that you may find success with for example: 
HINT The best converts are those already introduced to The Gospel previously or have a positive impression of the Church, so follow on your social media profiles people who use mormon keywords. The worst case scenario of doing this is expanding your digital mission network with LDS members who can provide you comments on the blogs and social posts.

Brother Wilhite, the ward mission leader, says:

 “At completion of the development of the Cedar Hills 10th Ward blog and the other social media platforms, we began to post articles and comments about the gospel and other personal thoughts and experiences.  In the spring of 2014 we one day received and inquiry from a person named Rachel from the country of Scotland. Our first thought was is she for real?  She asked about the Church and wanted to know if we could provide a pen pal her own age to answer questions of what the Church was all about.  We were concerned that she would be negative with one of our own young women if we provided one for her.  

We took the time to completely vet her and that was accomplished by two of our sister ward missionaries. They made several contacts with her through facebook and e-mail and concluded that she was sincere.  In prayer I was prompted to call one young woman to write to her and become a friend to her and answer her questions about the gospel and how it applies to a young teenager.  They developed a strong relationship which continues today through Skype and Twitter and Facebook.  Contact was made with the missionaries in Scotland and as she enrolled in LDS Institute classes they began to teach her the lessons.  She was baptized in February 2015.  Her friends and associates in the college there have fellowshipped her and she is now a solid member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She is currently the 2nd counselor in the Young Women’s Presidency of her ward.”

Sister Mitzi Robins says:

Making sure she was who she said she was and how we knew she was genuine?

Legitimacy was a big concern for us as we contemplated contacts we might receive from a religious blog.  We wanted the members participating to be safe and have positive experiences. Our blog is not open to public comment, which helped us feel that people who had to go a step further and email us might be more serious and avoid trolling.  When we got the email from Rachel we were still learning how to run things and since our blog was rather new we were slightly unprepared in this area. She had also asked for a pen-pal her age so that made us even more cautious about securing her legitimacy before turning her over to a young woman.  I sent her the first few emails and was really touched by her responses.  I became friends with her on Facebook and found nothing alarming on her page.  However, Lana and I felt a personal contact by missionaries would be the best, not only for us to make sure she was real but to help Rachel.  We emailed a friend of Lana’s who happened to be serving in Scotland. We felt this was really the most appropriate course of action for any and all contacts we received.  With Rachel’s permission we gave her email to the missionaries and they also began correspondence. Beth’s parents were also highly involved in the beginning to make sure it was real and she was safe.

My unique experience in communicating with her online?

I was the first one to contact her through email. I was so impressed with her maturity and I could hear her sweet Scottish accent. She asked very insightful questions and it was such a testimony building experience for me to ponder on how I needed to answer. I let her ask all the questions and it was so interesting to see what was important to her. As we discussed different things I was so thankful the missionaries were there in person to support her. There were many times I just wanted to reach through the computer and give her a big hug. I was so impressed with her strength, courage and diligence. She did everything she could to build her testimony-she seized every opportunity and spent a great deal of time studying and praying. I learned what it really means to hunger and thirst after righteousness after watching Rachel’s example. That was quite a lesson for me because I thought I knew so much having been a member since I was 8!

What was it like to do missionary work like this?

Digital missionary work is wonderful in that it reaches people all over the world with little physical effort. It also provides an opportunity for all members to participate. I have to admit it was nice to have the questions posed and then have time to deeply consider responses. In full time missions with face to face contacts that is completely opposite and I think a bit intimidating for many members.  I personally really wished for the opportunity to talk face to face because I feel I learn more about the person when I can observe their nonverbal communication. This kind of missionary work I believe is essential because of the number of people it can reach and the potential for involvement by every member. But I feel balance is important and kept reminding myself that there are still real people all around me and I can’t be so involved with the computer that I neglect my neighbors.

What did you learn or take away from the whole experience? How did the experience strengthen your testimony of missionary work?

Not having served a full time mission, I was thrilled with the opportunity to serve as a digital missionary. It was a new thing so there was a lot of innovating involved as we set things up. We did struggle to get the members of our ward excited about sharing on the blog. It is something that takes time and evolves slowly as each person thinks about what they can contribute and how often. I learned that the Lord works in mysterious ways and I just need to keep on doing what He has asked and things can and will happen. None of us expected to have a successful contact so soon after setting up the blog. But that has greatly encouraged us to continue. I really believe that every member is an important missionary and has so much to offer others who are searching for the truth. We all have unique experiences, talents, insight and access to the guidance of the Spirit that help forward the work of the Lord. I learned that my offerings are significant and helpful and I didn’t feel that as strongly before this experience.  Everyone has something valuable and important to share! And the only way to get better and feel more comfortable with it is to do it! I know the Lord helps us when we ask for it and then try.

Sister Stewart says:

I feel so blessed since I have had the opportunity to work as a digital missionary.  Prior to this experience I never thought Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Google +, or a ward blog as being an effective missionary tool.  I felt as we met as a committee we each had special interests that together were we able to combine to create an effective and successful missionary committee.  I remember as we discussed how we each felt we could contribute we understood that each person called had a special talent that would help launch our missionary project.   Some of our members were computer experts, some were eloquent speakers and some were excellent writers.

As we began our quest with direct guidance from our Bishop and weekly committee meetings to make sure we were each on task as to the goals we had set the previous week our ward mission began to come together.  We involved others in the ward that was artistically talented to help put together our blog.

I think our effectiveness really took off when we presented our goals to the ward.  For a few months we presented and discussed to each organization to get them excited and want to participate in our quest.  We prepared presentations for Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Sunday School and even the Young Men and Young Women wanted to participate.  We did a presentation explaining each site we had created.   Ryan was mainly responsible for the ward blog and discussed the overall numbers we were reaching with each new posting on our ward blog.   Mitzi and I each shared information about our Facebook pages, Cedar Hills 10th Ward and Youth Standing Strong and also our Pinterest account.

I loved how our ward grasped and became excited about the opportunity to write for our ward blog. Without everyone participating our goals could have never been met.  We have had several ward members’ author testimony bearing articles for our blog.

Through Google + and the blog we were able to reach a young 17 year old girl in Scotland. Rachel wrote seeking pen pals to share her interest when she was investigating the LDS Church. We began exchanging emails and through many miracles and divine intervention Rachel decided to be baptized. I feel that we had a small part in her decision to being baptized.  Our lives have each been blessed by knowing her and an eternal friendship has been built.  I have gained a stronger testimony of missionary work by being blessed with the opportunity to serve as a digital missionary.  I know that digital missionary work is the way of the future.  We have to each be committed to being a good example by what we write, how we act and by what we choose to say.  You never know when you can make a difference in one person’s life.

Cedar Hills 10th Ward Mission

May 1, 2015

Three Aspects of a Testimony

Filed under: testimony,witness of the Spirit — Ryan Best @ 4:33 pm
Our kind, loving Heavenly Father has provided ways for us to come to know Him, His “Plan of Happiness and Salvation” for us, and the truth of His gospel and doctrines.  God’s plan is given to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Savior’s Atonement for us makes every blessing of God available to us.  A knowledge of these things is often referred to as a “testimony.”

A modern-day apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ taught that a testimony consists of reason, experience, and the witness of the Spirit.  He said:

“Today I desire to hold up that light by testifying of Jesus Christ and what he has done according to what I know, have seen, felt, and heard in my life. This testimony involves my reason and my experience—the two limited but helping witnesses! Happily, there has been given to me the third witness of the Spirit—the unimpeachable and convincing witness!” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King” Ensign, May 1976)

In my life, I have also experienced the growth and development of my testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Church and gospel to the earth in these same 3 ways:  by reason, experience, and the witness of the Spirit.  I am grateful for each of these and how they have worked together to help me learn and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  My testimony did not come all at once.  Rather, it has been a gradual process over my lifetime.  My testimony has been greatly strengthened through my study of “The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared the process he went through to receive a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon:

“When I first read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover, I read the promise that if I ‘would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if [the things I had read were] true; and if [I would] ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he [would] manifest the truth of it unto [me], by the power of the Holy Ghost’ (Moroni 10:4). I tried to follow those instructions as I understood them.

“If I expected a glorious manifestation to come at once as an overpowering experience, it did not happen. Nevertheless, it felt good, and I began to believe. … I learned that anyone, anywhere, could read in the Book of Mormon and receive inspiration….

 “My experience has been that a testimony does not burst upon us suddenly. Rather, it grows. … Do not be disappointed if you have read and reread and yet have not received a powerful witness. You may be somewhat like the disciples spoken of in the Book of Mormon who were filled with the power of God in great glory ‘and they knew it not’ (3 Nephi 9:20).  “Do the best you can” (Ensign, May 2005, 6–8).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered more insight into how to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by pondering a question while reading:

“There is another and simpler test that all who seek to know the truth might well take. It calls for us simply to read, ponder, and pray—all in the spirit of faith and with an open mind. To keep ourselves alert to the issues at hand—as we do read, ponder, and pray—we should ask ourselves a thousand times, ‘Could any man have written this book?’

 “And it is absolutely guaranteed that sometime between the first and thousandth time this question is asked, every sincere and genuine truth seeker will come to know by the power of the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true, that it is the mind and will and voice of the Lord to the whole world in our day” (Ensign, Nov. 1983, 73–74).

God does not hide the truth from anyone.  He makes it available through His authorized servants—prophets, apostles, and missionaries—and invites us to learn for ourselves.  He sends His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to teach and testify of truth to us as we study, ponder, and pray about these things.

That’s how I gained my testimony and how I am striving to help it grow today.  I read the scriptures (God’s words through ancient prophets) and read the talks from General Conference (God’s words through modern-day prophets and apostles).  God has always communicated with mankind through His prophets and He does so today as well.

By reason, experience, and witnesses of the Spirit, I know that Jesus Christ lives today.  He performed the Atonement for all mankind, died, and was resurrected.  He restored His true Church back on the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1830. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s true church on the earth today and contains His priesthood authority, true doctrines, covenants, and the correct ordinances that will bring us happiness and salvation in His Kingdom here and hereafter.  The Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ (alongside the Bible) and is true.  The Savior leads His Church and people through true prophets and apostles today, just as He did anciently. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet today.  I share my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

by Mike Graf

April 8, 2015

Heavenly Father’s “Plan” for our eternal happiness

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 6:10 pm
I was so pleased to get the call from Jenny last night that you are looking for some testimony about the Atonement, and its meaning in my life.  I will never forget how honored I felt when you came to visit me at my home, after Jenny’s mission was completed.  It was indeed like the Osmonds rolling up in two vans, and all these people pouring out!  That is STILL the most people I have every fit in my house at one time!  A very memorable day!

Just coincidentally (NOT!) this has now become my FAVORITE season of the year.

On 09/25/12 (my best friend Lamb Johnson’s birthday), I was stricken down in the parking lot of the Giant supermarket, here in Leesburg, VA.  They picked me up and rushed me to the hospital via ambulance, where it was discovered that I had a thoracic (ascending) aortic aneurysm on  the back side of my heart, and I had COPD  (Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder).  In other words, my heart and my lungs were shot.  Of course, I was also up to 350 pounds, drinking every day, and smoking 3 packs of cigarettes per day.

Well, I spent some time in the hospital, then they sent me home with an oxygen compressor and 42 miles of green plastic air tubing – where I remained on oxygen 24/7 for 14 months.  During this time I also quit smoking (of COURSE!), quit drinking (not as much fun without smoking), and lost 200 pounds!

Now enter (stage left) the missionary sisters from the LDS Church!  I met Sister Raquelle Kraemer and Sister Cassidee Steadman on Sat 03/01/14 at my aforementioned friend Lambie’s house.  I had been going to visit Lamb on Saturday mornings at 10:00 A.M. for years and years, ever since she became house-bound.  And then the Sisters started showing up in MY time slot.  At first, I would leave, in order to give them some privacy.  Then I started hanging around for the message they delivered.  And by Wed 03/12/14 (2 weeks later), the Sisters were coming to my house regularly every Wed at 2:00.  And then on Wed 03/26/14 (2 weeks after THAT), Sister Jenny Lee Olson (now Harmon) entered the picture – and changed my life FOREVER!  And they read me the story of Joseph Smith in the grove of trees and showed me the painting of this in the Restoration booklet – and I CRIED.  And they read me Mosiah 18, and asked me if I believed in this Restoration (which I did enthusiastically) – and I CRIED.  “What have you against being Baptized?”  “And they clapped their hands for joy, and said ‘this be the desire of our hearts!”  This is my favorite scripture of all time.

Then the Cummings Family in our Leesburg Ward invited me to the annual Easter pageant at the Visitors’ Center of the Washington DC Temple.  And it was a “done deal” – I wanted to be baptized.  The musical was so moving, the message of the Atonement was so powerful, and all the love in that theater was so strong that I was READY.  This was the most moving and meaningful Easter season I had had in 59 years!  On the way out, Sister Olson said to me, “Sue what day do you want to be baptized?”  And I was “waffling” due to fear of telling my father -a life-long and very active Presbyterian (in which church I grew up).  Sister Olson told me to pray to Heavenly Father about what to do.  The next morning, my Dad called ME from Florida, and I told him I wanted to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  My Dad’s response stunned me:  He said “Oh Sue, I am so happy you have finally found your church.  I have been so worried about you.  Now you go out and be the BEST MORMON you can possibly be!”  So that’s what I’m doing.  AND I HAD BEEN AFRAID TO TELL HIM.  Our Heavenly Father truly does answer prayers!!!  (FYI:  My Dad also said he “never met a Mormon he didn’t like!”  Apparently he was buddies with Steven Covey at Harvard.)

And I started waking up every morning with hymns ringing in my head, such as #120 “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Ahhhh-le-lu-yah!” I do not know how this song got in my head!  An Atonement song if there ever was one!  And I will never ever forget that the Sisters and I were singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” in the changing room after I came out of the water at my Baptism on Sat 03/15/14.  Me and the Sisters – singing at the top of our lungs!  A day that shall go down in infamy.

Flash forward to current day, Tue 03/24/15:
I just went back Sun 03/22/15 to my second Easter Pageant with the Cummings family (I think they have 13 children – 2 in the performance. They’re like the Von Trapp Family Singers from “Sound of Music”).  And the Atonement message was even stronger, the second time around.  EVERYONE in the audience was crying.

I have eternal gratitude to Heavenly Father’s “Plan” for our eternal happiness.  I know that he has been working on me for a long, long time.  And then all the pieces came together – the health crises, my recovery and return to healthy living as the Word of Wisdom prescribes, and meeting the Sisters at Lambie’s house.  Coincidence?  I think not.

And in the past year I have gone to Youth Trek and helped cook and serve food to the kids participating, served at Bishop’s Warehouse – which was ALSO a workout but very fulfilling. I have joined the church choir, I have completed my Temple Preparation classes, I have been called as a Family History Consultant, I have also been called as the Relief Society pianist, and most recently I have been called as a Sunday School Teacher for the 16-year-olds, as well.  I have become active in Relief Society service, Visiting Teaching, and Home Teaching.  And the more I do, the more I WANT to do.  This is the happiest I have ever been in my entire life – and I owe it ALL to Jesus Christ and his Atonement for all our sins.  I have finally forgiven myself for all my wrongs, and work hard every day to be a better person, and more Christ-like.

And the icing on the cake?  I have met a fine LDS man (working at “Zion’s Market, no less!), and fallen in love,  This is the man I have been waiting for my entire life – for 60 years!!!  There ARE no better men than LDS men.  And as my Dad said – Mormons are the BEST people in the world.

I believe in the Book of Mormon.  I believe in the restored Gospel made possible through Joseph Smith.  I believe Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, and our Lord and Savior, and so grateful for the Atonement.  And I believe in His living prophets who walk the earth today.  (Which totally blew my mind when Olson first told me!)  I believe all of this with every fiber of my being.  This is the way Heavenly Father wants us to live.

March 31, 2015

He Lives – Celebrate Easter Because Jesus Christ Lives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 4:31 pm

March 12, 2015

Converted Women & Temple Blessings

Filed under: Temple Blessings — Ryan Best @ 6:12 am

As I considered the wonderful women of the Church, particularly in my family and our ward family, I am deeply grateful for their faith and courage as a beacon of love, life, and light.  Although we often note that the highest blessings of the temple are made available through the power of the priesthood, some may forget to recognize the essential role of these beautiful women in bringing forth these blessings.

At the August 2013 Campus Education Week at BYU, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve taught “The power of a converted woman’s voice is immeasurable…  A woman’s sphere of influence is a unique sphere, one that cannot be duplicated by men… In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan… a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman.  In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife… The endowment is literally a gift of power. All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike…” (BYU Campus Education Week, Aug. 2013).

In speaking to the women of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley said “you are an absolutely essential part of the plan.  Without you the plan could not function.  Without you the entire program would be frustrated… the crowning act [of creation was] the creation of woman.  Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright.” (CR, Oct. 1996)

Although priesthood authority may be conferred upon the men, the full measure of priesthood power and temple blessings does not exist without the faithful women of the Church.  Your influence in the home, in the Church, and in your community is far reaching and extends throughout the eternities.  May you seek refuge in the House of the Lord, draw often from the power that is found therein, and remember your divinely appointed role that allows the blessings of the temple to be extended to all men, women, and children on both sides of the veil.  To the women, young women, and girls in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may you remember that you are magnificent and of infinite worth!  To the men, young men, and boys in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may we remember to always honor and respect these beautiful daughters of our Eternal Father.

By: Brother P.N. Felipe Chou

March 9, 2015

Families can be forever…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Best @ 11:59 pm
About 6 years ago, I was waiting for my children to finish up their ski lessons.  I sat on a park bench right next to the ski run and watched my three children pass me every so often with their ski instructor.  After a short time of lonely bench sitting, a mother doing the same thing as myself joined me.  I was excited to have someone to chat with and before too long we were laughing about raising our children and the “joys of motherhood”.    After a short amount of time we had connected and become,  in my mind, “kindred spirits”.
Now, I thought I was prepared for what happened next.  Before I knew it, she was asking me, “What do Mormons believe?”   I thought I had prepared myself for this question.   But this is where my story goes terribly bad….I started rattling off a bunch of doctrine/beliefs that we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe.   I was talking about things that I’m sure meant nothing to her!   After about ten minutes, she “suddenly” had to be somewhere else.
As she stood up and walked off, my heart sank.  I watched my “kindred spirit” walk away.  I had done a lot of talking but didn’t tell my newfound friend why being a “Mormon” really is so wonderful.  So today, this post goes out to my “kindred spirit” and what I wish I had said.   There are a lot of things I could have said but I promise to keep this post short and sweet.

As a “Mormon” I get to be with my family forever!  This means I have the opportunity to learn and grow with them and be connected with them even after this life.  As a family we work together for a common goal to go back and live with a Heavenly Father who loves us.
As a “Mormon” we believe in service!  I have had many wonderful opportunities to help others and have help in return.  There is a joy that comes with serving other people that cannot be found anywhere else.
As a “Mormon” we believe in Jesus Christ!  We can learn about His life as we read the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.  His life is the perfect example of how we should live.   When we keep God’s commandments then our lives have true joy and happiness, even during the hardest times.
I am a “Mormon” and I love it!

By: Heidi Prosser

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