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July 21, 2016

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

In 2013 I was reacquainted with my cousin Sindy. We are only a year apart in age and had been close as children, but because of extended family dynamics we didn’t see one another for several years. We both married, had children, lived in San Jose, California and led our own lives… even though we lived only miles apart.

I contacted Sindy when I found out she had stage 4 brain cancer. I was devastated for her, her husband and her 4 children. What do you say to someone you haven’t spoken to in 40 plus years…especially when you know they are going to die?

Well it was much easier than I thought. We just started where we left off years earlier. I could tell Sindy’s perspective on life was very different now. She wasn’t raised in a religious family and really had no need of church and God. But now she was hungering and thirsting for answers. The difficult part was that many of her friends from various religions were trying to “save her soul”. They wanted her to go to their church or have her repeat certain phrases so she could be assured that she would go to heaven. I knew I had to be careful and let the Spirit guide me in sharing the gospel with her.

I sent her a Book of Mormon with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ written inside. I also wrote her a letter assuring her that I knew her soul was just fine and that Heavenly Father was very aware of her and loved her unconditionally. That opened doors to further conversation about the church. I knew the Lord was leading me along this path. I was able to feel His extreme love for her.

One day as she struggled with the effects of chemo, losing her abilities, and hopelessness I asked if she would like a blessing of comfort. I explained what that entailed and she agreed. I asked a former bishop, Steve, in my San Jose ward to visit her and give her a priesthood blessing. Steve is a great man with a solid testimony and is always looking for a good missionary experience. I went to the temple the day before I knew she would be getting the priesthood blessing and our family fasted on Sunday for both Sindy and Steve.

Sindy and Steve formed an instant friendship. It’s as if these two had been friends before. Steve and his companion stayed several hours at Sindy’s home getting to know her, talking about the gospel, and answering Sindy’s many questions. As far as Sindy was concerned Steve “walked on water”. She was so comforted by his presence and his blessing. He explained many truths to her that day, all of which rang true to her.

I thought this would only be a one- time meeting, but Steve stayed in contact with Sindy and reached out to her family (who weren’t interested in the gospel at all). He became a friend to them and was there at Sindy’s side the night before she passed away.

I knew I wanted to do Sindy’s temple work, but couldn’t quite find the words to say to her. Finally Steve gave me the courage to ask. She was delighted, humbled, and felt very unworthy of this blessing. She knew she hadn’t gone to church in her life and felt undeserving. As both Steve and I taught her about “the plan of salvation”, she really began to understand the Savior’s love for her and for all His children. We sent her a paper to sign giving us permission to do her work in the temple. At this point she was so weak she could barely sign her name. But it was good enough. She would remind me quite often that I had agreed to do her temple work. She didn’t want me to forget. It was obvious that it was foremost on her mind.

Sindy passed away February 1, 2015. A year and 3 days later we were at the Mt. Timpanogos temple. My daughter, Kellie, acting as proxy was baptized in behalf of Sindy. What a spiritual feast that was! We went on to do the rest of her ordinance work by proxy and I know that Sindy was there with us.

I learned so many things during this journey. I surprised myself with my reluctance to share the gospel that I love dearly. I’m a convert after all! Where would I be without my friend who had the courage to open her mouth and love me enough to share what she held most sacred and dear? I had forgotten about that special missionary spirit – that special feeling the Lord blesses us with when we share the gospel with others.  I had forgotten that we are the Lord’s hands and voices. If we don’t act and speak, who will? I had forgotten that there are so many who are searching for truth. Would we deny ourselves and others of this great gift?

One of my favorite scriptures is in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”

Sindy and I are forever reunited. We have an eternal relationship that will never end. She is in the spirit world teaching the gospel (very enthusiastically, I’m sure) to our family. I am here trying to gain a relationship with her family so they too can have the blessing of the gospel in their lives.

What’s not to love about this gospel!


May 1, 2016

Trip to Israel

I had the opportunity to go to Israel a couple of summers ago and had a marvelous time!  Not only did we visit the places where the Savior and the Apostles walked and taught, but we learned so much more about the Savior’s life and what it would have been like to have lived during His time here on the earth.  It’s different than just looking at a map of the area.  I’m one to notice my surroundings and to comprehend the distance from one place to another.  Just to travel up to Galilee and cross the Galilean Sea where we read about so many of the Savior’s teachings and callings of His Apostles was thrilling to me and to all of us.  It makes the New Testament come alive!

I loved the time we spent in the Garden of Gethsemane and also at the Garden Tomb!  Both places have been preserved and well taken care of.  There are a few places in Jerusalem that are believed to have been where the Savior was laid to rest, but this is the one that our Prophets seem to feel best about.  There is a very serene and peaceful feeling there.  Whether or not it is the exact spot, doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t change the fact that those events took place there, in and around Jerusalem.

We were quite surprised to see how green and lush the surrounding areas were.  I have always imagined it to be quite dry and barren.  I believe it might have been that way at the time that the Savior lived on the earth. It was, although, quite hot and barren as we traveled down by the Dead Sea and passed through Jericho.

We visited so many wonderful places, including attending a Shabbat Day Meeting at the Jerusalem Center with Pres. Uchtdorf and his family.  I loved feeling the beautiful spirit that attends all of these places that we read about in the scriptures.  My intent for writing this though, is not to give you a travelogue, but rather to share a marvelous and most unusual experience that happened to me while in Jerusalem.  We just never know when the influence of the Gospel will touch another’s life.  Or maybe I should say, when happenstance puts you in a situation that you can share a moment in time with someone, which can speak a myriad of different things all at once.  Like introducing someone to family members and the kind of people you associate with.  Let me explain…We were down to breakfast a little early one morning and while I was waiting for my omelet to be cooked a man passed by that reminded me of a friend from high school. I just saw his profile as he sat down at the table in front of me with a Jewish man, his back facing me, so I really couldn’t tell if that was actually him.  And then, would you believe, that when he got up to leave, he turned just enough so that I could recognize that it really was Bill!  How absurd that you would run into a friend from high school at breakfast in Israel!!!  I just looked up absurd in the dictionary— (wildly unreasonable or illogical).  That’s exactly how I felt about the unlikely encounter.  It was so bizarre!  I jumped out of my seat and stood right in front of him and he, of course, was speechless!  Well, after the excitement and introductions of why we were both in Israel, (he being there with his wife for the wedding of a friend), and I being there with my son and wife on a tour of the Holy Land with Dorothy Bryson and friends, we took pictures and visited in the short amount of time that we had together.  He told me about our high school reunion that would be held in Denver in August and asked if I would be attending.  Since they didn’t have my email address, I was not aware of it.  I told him I would try and then we said our good-byes … marveling at the experience we had just had.

So that brings me to the reason why I am relating this experience.  I was able to attend our reunion, as I have done in the past and was so happy to be aware of it.  I am still in contact with many of my friends from high school.  Because Bill is on our reunion committee there at South High in Denver, he was conducting a portion of the evening.   He, in his Greek enthusiasm, excitedly told of our meeting in Israel and while doing so, he said that I was there with a “Christian” group touring the sites of the life of Christ.  It thrilled me that he referred to us as a Christian group, because he is aware that I am of the Mormon faith.  It opened the door for me to bear a simple testimony to other friends during the evening.   A friend of mine (he being a Pastor in another faith) asked me if I had always been a Mormon and was I a Mormon when I was in high school?  There were several friends surrounding us at the time and that’s when I was able to explain the reasons why I became a member of the church.  Like being able to express to them that when the missionaries taught me, I immediately related to them, and that what they were teaching me was everything that I had always believed to be true about the Savior and Heavenly Father and our purpose here on the earth.  It was a very wonderful and unique opportunity to discuss briefly a little bit about our faith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I’m convinced it was not by accident that I ran into Bill halfway across the world in Jerusalem.  Whatever comes of it, I have no idea, but I do know that the Lord provided that moment in time for a reason.  I’ll tell you the “Rest of the Story” when it unfolds —  if it does in our lifetime.  I know the Lord provides a way for all who have “ears to hear and eyes to see,” to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in His own special way and in His own time.  We just need to do our part and be prepared when opportunity knocks at our door.  We are all in this work together!  It will be most interesting to see Heavenly Father’s plan unfold in all its Glory!!!

I bear you my witness that I know the fullness of the Gospel is upon the earth at this time (The last Dispensation of Time) and that the work that we are all involved in is true!

Nancy Read

March 14, 2016

Faith and Courage One Must Create

There are times in our lives where the refiner’s fire purifies us to the point that we go beyond ourselves and think and write things that seem above us.  Maybe our true divine nature comes out and the spirit flows through us like running water.

I have had this experience happen to me a few times, where there seems for a time that the veil is lifted a little and where God’s Holy Spirit personally teaches a truth.  I would like to share one experience in particular that happened to me.

I want to tell you about my Mother, Mabel Austin Crandall.  At age 18 she was a convert to the LDS church and loved the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart.   Even though her family could not understand why she left the Methodist religion that they had raised her in, she and my father were married in the Methodist church to make them happy and 1 year later were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona LDS temple for not only time but for all eternity. At that time, she gained a strong testimony of eternal families and of temple work.

She was the type of person that ate very healthy, exercised, worked hard, and was on every committee in the community you could think of.  I think she single-handedly made sure 25 scouts in her ward received their Eagle Scout awards. She worked in the scouting program, PTA, and Boys and Girls Club helping young kids succeed in life.  She was my best friend and great example of everything good. Her grandchildren were her life and she made each one feel so special. She taught me so many important life skills that I use daily!

In 1995 my very healthy mother of age 63 was diagnosed with cancer.  Sometimes Heavenly Father throws us a curve that we are not sure we can handle.  This was one of those challenges for sure!  I watched my beautiful mother gracefully have chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumors.   She would dress up and go to her chemo appointments like she wasn’t even sick and I watched while she was getting her chemo treatment.  However, she acted different than all the other patients sitting in their chairs.  She got up from her chair, while the medicine was dripping into her, and knelt down by each sick patient and took their hands in hers and said…”You are going to beat this.”  She was so brave and wanted everyone to have hope and faith that they were going to get better.
She fought a hard fight pretending like nothing was wrong.  But I could tell that she was getting worn down and very tired.  She still kept going so that we wouldn’t worry about her.  She would say “I’m going to beat this”.   As time went on, the Lord had other plans for her.  As I started dealing with the fact that I was going to lose my Mother and best friend here on earth, my heart fully turned to my Father in Heaven and I found myself writing a poem for my Father and one of my daughters who I could see were sinking into grief and despair.  The words just flowed like water and in a poet’s world, it’s probably not great…but for me, I was just writing what was in my heart that the spirit dictated to me.
Faith and Courage One Must Create
by Annette 1998
Let down thy shoulders, and calm thy troubled heart
The Lord is with thee from the very start
Tho earth’s tribulation, none shall escape;
Faith and courage, one must create.
Born with affirmatives, weakness and wo
Learning to deal with daily, as we go.
And as if sometime, somewhere along the way,
We stumble and fall, bearing a heavy load on our tray;
The strength is within us to carry on and be,
The strong, servant in heaven, who pleaded, PICK ME!!!
I will go down and serve those below,
Whose burden is heavy and hope is no more.
But how can I serve when I myself suffer;
When doubt and despair creep in at my door.
Surely life’s curves have been thrown my way;
I thank thee dear Lord for helping me through this day.
I will fight the thoughts of discouragement and fear
Because I know surely that my Savior is near.
He’s been through this too; all of my feelings of not
And I thank him for these experiences that I have not sought.
Remember, he suffered and died that we may ever be,
pure and clean, with him throughout eternity.
Perfecting my spirit is not too late.
Faith and Courage one must create!
In June 1998 as she was fighting for her life, Provo City Mayor showed up and presented her with “Citizen of the Year” for Provo City Chamber of Commerce.  Everyone loved and appreciated Mom in the community for all her hard work.
She put up a good fight and as the family gathered around her in her final moments, She managed to say with much deliberation…”I cannot face my Mother on the other side not having her temple work done.”  She would not let her spirit go until my girls got in the car and went to the temple to do the baptism.  We were all around her bed when the girls left to go to the temple.  That satisfied her to go ahead and walk through the veil.  I went to the temple that very evening to finish up her mother’s work.  In fact, my whole family found ourselves in the temple that night thanking Father in Heaven for her life and just wanting to carry on her legacy by serving others.
I know my Father in Heaven knows me and helped me through this difficult time.  I also have had a very strong impression that my mother was taken early to help convert her sweet Christian family who have all passed away now.  Yes, we are doing their temple work and Mom is bearing her strong testimony to them that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and I know they are accepting the work because of my dear Mother!!!
If you want to know how you can be linked with your loved ones throughout all eternity, please visit or and the missionaries will teach you about our sacred temples and the work for the dead we do there.
Like my mother, I am so grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon and love my life!!!

January 18, 2016

Straight Out of The Rez – New School, New Friends, New Life

When I was 9 years old, my mom and I moved to Utah to live with Grandma Ellen. She was the mother of my mom’s foster mom when she was in the LDS Indian Student Placement program.

The day before I started 5th grade at my new school I remember asking my mom and Grandma Ellen what clothes would be appropriate to wear on the first day of school. I wasn’t sure if the dress code would be different from the schools I attended on the Reservation (Rez).

Grandma Ellen suggested that I wear something a little dressier than jeans. I didn’t have any clothing that was “dressy” so Grandma Ellen found a pantsuit that she thought would be perfect.

The first day of school arrived. I put on the light blue, polyester pantsuit with yellow flowers on the side. I walked to school since it was just one block down the street.

As I approached the school I saw other children arriving who were ALL WEARING JEANS! The closer I got to the school the more anxious, embarrassed, and mortified I became. I just wanted to run home and hide. Just as I had thoughts to turn around my friend Mindi saw me and ran towards me. (A few days after moving in to my new home, my neighbor Mindi came over to introduce herself. We developed a quick friendship). That morning she said nothing of my attire or how different I looked. She only invited me to join her friends who were playing a game in the school playground. Mindi introduced me to her group of friends and told them how cool I was because I was a real American Indian who had lived on the Indian reservation. Throughout the entire day none of the school children made fun of my clothes, strange accent, or just how different I looked from everyone else.

Shortly after starting school my mom and I started receiving discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ from the LDS (Mormon) missionaries. I enjoyed learning about the plan of happiness. But there were times I wanted to be playing outside with my new friends from school rather than sit in an hour long discussion with adults. One day I decided to ditch my gospel discussion and stay after school to play with my friends. One of them asked me why I wasn’t at my appointment with the missionaries. I told them I didn’t want to go. This group of friends told me that it was very important to attend these appointments with the missionaries. They then walked with me back to my house to listen to the missionaries’ lesson. To this day I don’t remember what gospel lesson I received that day. All I remember is how these friends made me feel LOVED.

After receiving all of the gospel lessons, I felt what I was taught was true doctrine and I decided to get baptized and join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My mother made the same decision too. Our baptismal date was January 2nd. In attendance were my mom, Grandma Ellen and her family, church members, the missionaries, and my friends; the same friends who had extended a hand of friendship on the first day of school.

That afternoon after my baptism, I remember playing outside in the snow with my friend Mindi. At one point she said to me, “Today you made one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life”.  It’s been over 30 years since that day and my memories of those friends, who made such a huge impact in my life, are an eternal  treasure. I am deeply grateful for their kindness, their love, and their friendship. What I thought would be one of the worst days of my life wearing a light blue, polyester pantsuit with yellow flowers on the side turned out to be one of the best days of my life. So many other “best” days have followed, all because some 9 year-olds chose to fellowship instead of shun, to lift instead of belittle, to encourage instead of bully, to love instead of hate. They were simply doing what Jesus would do – love one another. Their gift of friendship played an important supportive role in my accepting the precious gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know that God is our eternal Heavenly Father. I know that God sent his only Begotten Son because He loves us. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. He is my Savior and Redeemer. He loves me. He rescues me. He heals me. He can do the same for you.


January 10, 2016

Creating a Simplified Life

Filed under: Jesus Christ,managing life,motherhood,simplify,stress,work — admin @ 7:52 pm
This blog post is a little overwhelming. I am a private person these days and the only reason I am ever online is to help with a research paper or search up a great recipe for something. But since I was asked, and I really feel so strongly about what I am writing I am willing to share.
Hi. My name is Tami Meacham. I am a mother of four awesome kids (1 daughter and 3 sons ages 6-16) and I am married to the love of my life and local high school PE Teacher/Varsity Basketball Coach. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints my whole life and I have a strong belief & testimony about so many things. Tithing, the power of prayer, President Monson our latter day prophet & church leaders, families, Joseph Smith, the Scriptures, Temples, the Atonement and the list goes on and on. Today I wanted to tell you about one of the things that took me years to figure out but I finally did, and I am ever so grateful.
Several years ago I was having a deep life conversation with a friend of mine in the middle of my dance studio. At the time I had three of my children and I had been running a dance studio out of my house for 10 years. At this point in time the studio was large (for a home run place) and I had over 300 dance students. My friend was going on and on about how amazing it was that I was able to run a place like this, all while having a coach as a spouse (any wife of a coach knows exactly what I mean by that 😉 ), raising my babies with all the busy activities they were a part of, all the motherly duties that were expected of me and keeping on track with my church callings. I remember looking her in the eye and telling her…but there is more. I knew there was more I needed to do with every fiber of my being. After telling me that I was nuts, I then got a lecture from her about enjoying the journey, and stop and smell the roses, and just to be happy with what I had accomplished and where I was at in my life. I knew it was not enough. So here is what I did.
To save any reader of this post the lengthy stories of the next several years of my life I will just do my best to condense some of the main things that took place. 

I had another baby.
We bought a second home, we moved into it. Then 6 months later we moved out all while we had TWO renters in our “dance studio” home, and yes I was still running the dance studio there…what was I thinking?!
We put renters in our second home.
I sold my dance studio.
I became a Certified Crossfit trainer, created and opened a successful Crossfit gym.
… and then I did it again (with my hubby this time) and created Crossfit Gym #2.
We moved Gym #1 into a commercial facility (it was in our home barn at the time).
We sold gym #2.
We hired a contractor and subdivided our home into a home and a lot.
 We had our entire home remodeled.
 We sold our lot.
 We sold our home.
 We had our small rental home renovated (remember that we had previously lived in for 6 months and then moved out?!) We then moved back into it…BIG CHANGE FOR ALL OF US!
We merged Gym #1 into another existing gym and I quit attending & training. My hubby is still there 3 days each week.
I turned 40.
That was a big one for me. Turning 40 has made me reflect on everything I have been through in my life at this point. I realized I had tried pretty much everything I could think of to you know, be somebody, contribute, be productive, fill in the blank when I say “Hi, My name is Tami I am a _________.” I was exhausted but now I had LAZOR BEAM focus! You see, what I came to realize through all my years of trying to be somebody, building business, creating, selling, and change is that I was missing out and had become so distracted from what I knew was my life’s calling. Don’t get me wrong, all the things I have been distracted with in my life have been good things, really. My testimony remained solid. But now I know that for me, there are “better” things. I will explain.
For the first time in my life I was able to make a conscious effort on how and where I spend my time. What an amazing gift! I realized, through all the productive chaos that was my life, that the main reason my Heavenly Father sent me here to this earth is to do one thing only, be a mother. That’s it. Just that. I have no other title to my name (although I will never ever get rid of the “former ballerina” title I am certain). I cannot think of another thing in this world that is more sacred, and fulfilling. Our Heavenly Father is putting His faith & trust in me with four of His children. He knows that they will teach me everything I need to know about becoming more like Him, if I will just stop, listen, learn and change. There is no greater calling in this world for me. This is my “but there’s more” that I had told my friend about years ago.
Here are a few of the “distractions” that I have eliminated from my life that I was talking about earlier. Remember I am now the master of my time and I will NEVER take that for granted again. I now spend the majority of my day inside my home. Oh how grateful I am to be able to do that! I cook..and cook some more, clean, fold laundry, do dishes, pay bills, and organize everything in sight. I wake my kids up; we have scripture study and family prayer each day. I make a hot breakfast and pack lunches for school. When kids come home I help with homework and sit in my car for hours on end running from one game or practice to another. I love every second of it. There was a time in my life where I had to hire “drivers” to take my kids to their activities. I had a hired cleaning lady because seriously when was I going to fit that in. I had hired tutors and readers for my kids, because again I was too busy. I have missed games, projects, test scores, school parties, etc. for so long…but not anymore! NOT ANYMORE! I now do it all. 
The funny thing is I am still extremely busy, but for me what I am doing now is way better! I am completely off all social media. I have been now for some time. That is really the biggest gift I have given myself. It’s not a bad thing, but for me having nothing to do with any of it is better. I am now very selective when I get invited to lunch, showers, parties or gatherings of any kind, because for me unless the topic of conversation is worthwhile or uplifting, I am simply not interested. I am way too cheap and practical to be a shopper so unless there is a specific need I do not venture out. I love listening to old conference talks, crossfitting in my garage, running, biking, and I stay informed with the news. I rarely watch TV during the day but I like a good show now and then before bed. I or my hubby tucks our kids into their beds each night. And I do it all again day after day. I will never take for granted the time I have to spend as a mother, and when the time comes my new calling will be grandmother, hopefully!
I have always known this is what my Heavenly Fathers plan was for me…it took me a while to pin it down but I have now. I have been a “mother” to so many throughout my life.  All the dance girls that came through my studio I loved each and every one of them. All the Young Women, Sunday School & Primary children I have associated with in my life, I love each of them! My CrossFit kids (and adults). Each one of my nieces and nephews, my children’s friends, the neighbor kids or all my hubby’s basketball boys through the years, I have loved them all and feel so grateful to have been influenced & taught by each of them.
I truly believe that you don’t have to have birthed children to be a mother. I have three sisters in my family that have never had children of their own (although one has now adopted two angels, and another has a step child) and they are FABULOUS people and mothers to my children and so many others. What a beautiful way to live your life. I cannot think of anything better. Rearing Gods children day after day to be valiant, strong, loyal, trustworthy, righteous, kind, loving, forgiving, generous, service oriented, and so much more all while they teach you how to soften your edges and become more like Him. I’m in! Laser Focused! SO grateful! Happy! I KNEW there was “more” I just needed to simplify to find it!
Tami Meacham

October 12, 2015

Singing with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Filed under: General Conference,Jesus Christ,Mormon Tabernacle Choir — admin @ 4:43 am
As a relatively new member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I have had the wonderful opportunity to sing in the past four General Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints. During one of those Conference addresses we were reminded of the importance of lifting up our voices in praise to God.

Having had watched General Conferences throughout my life, I was always drawn to the music that was sung by the choir. Now as a choir member, I have to say that the thing that thrills me as much as anything else, is lifting my voice and joining it with the voices of my brothers and sisters in the audience and throughout the world as we sing the intermediate hymns.

We are a choir of 300 voices, who sit behind the Apostles and the other General Authorities. From our vantage point we are looking into the faces of the approximately 20,000 faithful church members in any given session. And of course, the meeting is being broadcast throughout the world. After opening the session with a hymn and prayer, and after listening to some talks by our leaders, we have the opportunity to sing together. The member of the First Presidency states, “And now at the signal from the conductor, the choir and congregation will join in singing, . . .”

Then the organist begins to play an exciting introduction to the hymn on the organ and we are ready to unite our voices. I feel the music emanate through my whole body as each verse of the song is added. As the music fills the room, I can feel the vibrations from my head to toe as they are produced through the gigantic organ pipes that surround me. The Tabernacle choir organists bring the music to life.

As the membership sang together this week at General Conference, I was again filled with the Spirit. The words and music that we sang filled my soul and were so meaningful. During the first session we sang, “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” I marveled that in that room alone, 20,000 fellow saints were bearing testimony that we indeed have a living latter-day prophet who leads and guides us. We were all reminded of the joy of the gospel and of the importance of accepting and not rejecting its precepts.

During our second session we stood and sang, “How Firm a Foundation.” Collectively as a choir and congregation we were reaffirming our love for the Savior, Jesus Christ. We testified that Christ will succor us in our trials and afflictions. We testified that we can lean on Him for repose. Finally in the last session it was announced that we would all sing the hymn, “Rejoice, the Lord is King.” We continued to praise and adore the Lord, Jesus Christ. “Lift up your heart. Lift up your voice. Rejoice again I say rejoice.”

To rejoice is to be glad, to take delight and to be joyful. As I sing the songs of Zion it brings me great joy. One of the aspects of singing with the Tabernacle Choir is that I am a musical missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Another oft sung hymn is “I Believe in Christ.” I am grateful for the opportunity to “raise my voice in praise and joy, in grand amens my tongue employ,” because I do believe in Jesus Christ. I know He lives and that He is our Savior and Redeemer.

Susan Curtis

October 2, 2015

20 Years with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I was blessed for 20 years to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  This time of year, as we approach the October General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  brings back wonderful memories and feelings.  I loved singing for 3 sessions of every General Conference. I loved the overwhelming Spirit of God that permeated the Tabernacle and later, the Conference Center.  Each building was filled to overflowing with faithful Saints who had come to hear the word of God taught by modern day Prophets of God.  And that is what we heard.  We were taught at the feet of Prophets and heard their sacred witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   They know the Savior!   I was amazed how often our music fit in perfectly with the talks for a particular session.  I could see the Lord’s hand in the proceedings of each Conference.  I felt very humbled to partake of those blessings.

Each member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is set apart as a musical missionary.  We get to bear our testimonies through song as we sing the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word.  The Choir also travels the globe giving concerts that bring the Spirit of the Lord to thousands and thousands of people.  We sing so people can feel the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost brings peace and happiness and bears witness of the Lord’s love for His children.

The greatest missionary tour that the Choir ever took was a three week tour to Eastern Europe and Russia in 1991.   We traveled to 8 countries:  Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia.   Four of these countries had been behind the Iron Curtain until shortly before our visit.  But then Velvet Revolutions occurred and the Berlin Wall fell.  We were there to sing to people who had lived for 40 years under oppression and hardship and finally had a new-found freedom.  We could tell as we watched these people that they were hungry and we brought them food—not meat or fruit, but the bread of life—the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The audience response was incredible. We were given standing ovations at every concert and in many of those country’s audiences never give stand ovations.   Many people had tears in their eyes and enthusiastically applauded us and waved until every choir member had filed off stage at the end of our performances.  They didn’t want to leave the concert halls and the special Spirit or feelings they felt there.  We knew that for most of these people, it was the first time they had felt the Holy Ghost.  They didn’t know what they were feeling and they didn’t have a name for it, but they felt it just the same.

My husband accompanied me on this tour and he would always take the opportunity to speak to people when he attended our concerts.  He spoke German, thanks to serving a 2 year mission for our Church in Germany as a young man.  He befriended a couple in Dresden, Germany and gave them a tape of Choir music. They corresponded with us for a while.  This is from their first letter we received after we returned home.  “Your concert was for us a big experience.  The whole auditorium and the choir was like a family and we went home with a good feeling and were very happy.  With great enthusiasm we told our friends about this event.  Thank you for this marvelous evening.  Often we listen to the choir—music from the cassette, this nice gift from you.  Enclosed you will find the criticism from our newspaper.  It is full of praise, not only about the high quality of the performance, but also about the special human atmosphere.”  They were describing the Holy Ghost.

We spent a week in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the strongest impression I had as we traveled through those cities, was that the people never smiled.  I guess there wasn’t a lot to smile about in their lives.  I felt that they were spiritually dead.  I kept thinking to myself, “They need the light of the gospel.”  When we had a chance to talk to the people one on one, I could see that I was wrong.  They had wonderful strong spirits and were beautiful people, but they had been kept in a spiritual prison by their government.  The Choir gave firesides for church members along with our concerts, because many of them couldn’t afford tickets to our concerts.  Steve’s ticket to our St. Petersburg concert cost the equivalent of 18 cents in our money, but the local members still couldn’t afford that much.

We met a beautiful young woman, in her late 20s, after the fireside in St. Petersburg.  She was standing alone and so we approached her and luckily she spoke English.  She had heard about the fireside the night before at our concert and had decided to come and see what the Church was all about.  She said, “What is it about you people?  I feel so warm and good when I am around you.”  I gave her a hug and told her it was because we love her.  She replied, “ You are so entirely different from what I was taught about Americans in school.  What makes you so different?”  At this point I spotted a pair of sister missionaries standing close by.  I pulled them over and said,  “You have to meet her.  She’s golden.”  I was reminded of the Savior saying, “My sheep know my voice.”

Five hundred people traveled on this tour and every one of us had different experiences and opportunities to touch people’s lives.  In Alma 5:7 we read, “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.  Behold they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word…”  I am so grateful that I  had the opportunity to participate in these miraculous experiences and see Light come into people’s lives.


August 12, 2015

“Father of Lights”, the Constitution, a Land of Liberty

We recently celebrated the fourth of July, which is a holiday commemorating a pivotal point in our nation’s history, leading up to it becoming a land of liberty. During such holidays, we typically feel a heightened sense of patriotism. We may demonstrate this patriotism by flying the flag or going to patriotic events. We may even spend some time remembering the countless numbers of individuals who sacrificed everything to preserve this land and give us the freedoms we enjoy. We may even consider ways in which we can go beyond our typical civic responsibilities and contribute to the maintaining of this land as a land of liberty.

As worthwhile as such activities may be, I would suggest that there is something we can do, which has more power and is more effective in maintaining this land as a land of liberty. It is also the best thing that we can do for ourselves and is also the greatest contribution we can make to our fellow citizens. To introduce what I wish to speak about, I want to tell you of an experience I had, while serving as a missionary in Germany.

My companion and I were tracting out a rather large high-rise apartment building, going door to door without any success, which was typical back then. On one of the upper floors, we knocked on a door and a man opened it. In our best German, my companion and I told him who we were and why we were there. Sensing something in our accents, a smile crossed his face and then his whole face lit up with excitement. He said “you’re Americans aren’t you.” We told him that we were. Then he enthusiastically invited us into his home.

At this point, I was thinking that he might perhaps be someone we could teach the Gospel to, but that is not why he invited us in. He extended his hospitality to us, providing us with a very wonderful meal, then listened politely to what we had to say. When we had finished, he told us that what he really wanted to do was to tell us why he had invited us in and extended his hospitality to us. He was eager to tell us his story. This, then, is Karl’s story.

Karl had been a soldier in the German army during WWII and early in the war; he and several others were captured. They were sent to POW camps in America. Karl was first sent to Louisiana, where he admitted that he had some fear as to how he would be treated, seeing that he was an enemy of America. His fears were soon erased, as he recognized that he was well fed and well treated. “In some ways” he said, “I was fed better and treated better as a prisoner of America than as a soldier in my own army.”

He was then transferred to Texas, where he spent the majority of his time, and then later, he was transferred to Utah, where he remained until the end of the war.

During his time in Texas, he told us that the guards came around and invited any of the prisoners who were willing, that they could leave the prison camp each day and work on local farms and ranches. In exchange for their labor, they would be paid. Karl told us that he was paid $29.00 each month for his labor. “Think of it,” he said, “America, the only country in the world that pays its prisoners to be prisoners.”

Karl then told us that he had the opportunity to work on one family farm for many months, and that he had become quite close to the family and they became rather fond of Karl, to the extent that Karl got special permission on a couple of occasions from the prison camp to take the daughter of that farm family to see a movie. “Think of it, “ he said, “I was a prisoner and I got to go on a date.”

Karl told us that every morning when the sergeant came around with his clipboard to take roll, that the Sgt. would often say, “How are you today Karl?” then Karl said he would stand up straight and tall and respond “I am very proud to be a prisoner of America today.”

Karl was then transferred to Utah, where he told us that a representative of our church came around to invite any who were interested, to take a tour of Temple Square, or as Karl put it, “to see the building with no nails,” referring to the Tabernacle. He told us that several thousand prisoners signed up, but when the actual day came to take the tour, only about 10 percent showed up. Karl was very embarrassed for his countrymen, thinking it quite rude not to show up, after having been treated so well.

The war finally ended and Karl and the other prisoners were informed that they would be repatriated to the countries of their origin. Hearing this, Karl begged the guards to allow him to stay in America, but this was not to be.

After several months of coordination, Karl was sent home to Germany. When he got to the front door of his family home, his mother opened the door. At first, she did not recognize Karl. You see, he had gained 20 pounds, was the picture of health and well being, and had a pocket full of money, which he had saved from his farm labors.

When she realized it was her son, she fell to her knees with tears of gratitude, seeing her son returned to her in such a good condition, having feared the worst. You see, what Karl didn’t know was that his brother had arrived home a couple of days earlier. Karl’s brother had been captured late in the war by the Soviet Army and had been so harshly treated that he was literally skin and bones and very ill. In fact, Karl told us that his brother had passed away shortly after returning home, due to his harsh treatment.

When Karl saw the condition of his brother compared to his own condition, he vowed right then and there that if he ever met Americans that he would treat them with kindness and respect, in some small way to re-pay them for how he had been treated.

I shall never forget, as we left Karl’s apartment that evening and began to walk down the hallway, there stood Karl in the hallway, singing out loud, in his broken English, his own unique version of “God Bless America.” Words cannot express the feelings in my heart and the pride I felt to be an American at that time.

In the early 1830’s, a famous French statesman and philosopher, Alex de Tocqueville, came to America to discover for himself, the source of America’s greatness. For many months, he traveled throughout the land, talking to the people in their homes, in their churches, in their businesses and in the taverns. After his exhaustive research, he concluded “America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Alex de Tocqueville stumbled upon part of the source of America’s greatness, the goodness of her people, but he did not know the whole story, he didn’t know that the Lord’s hand was in it.

In 2 Nephi 1, the Lord tells us that the people brought to this land were brought here by the hand of the Lord. First the Jaredites, then Lehi and his group, then the Mulekites and later Columbus, the Pilgrims and many other Gentiles, all brought here by the hand of the Lord. Referring to those brought to this land by the hand of the Lord, we read in 2 Ne 1:7 “And if it so be that they shall serve Him (Christ) according to the commandments He hath given, it shall be a land of liberty.” You will note that this is a conditional promise and is the crux of what I wish to talk about today. This land will remain a land of liberty so long as we are found serving the god of this land, which is Jesus Christ. We know that the Lord’s hand was in it.

In D&C section 101 the Lord tells us of his direct involvement in establishing this land and its constitution. In D&C 101:77 we read, “…the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles.” The constitution is just that, based on just and Holy principles.

We read further in D&C 101: 80 “And for this purpose have I established the constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

The founders knew that the Lord’s hand was in it, as many of them spoke of it and wrote of it. During the constitutional convention in Philadelphia, for example, when both the temperature and the tempers of the delegates were rising, they were at an impasse and could not agree. The convention was on the verge of collapse and failure. Seeing the critical situation, Benjamin Franklin stood to be recognized by George Washington, who was the president of the convention.

Franklin gently rebuked his fellow delegates and reminded them that many of them in that room that day had been in that very room, years earlier, during the recent conflict with Great Britain. He reminded them that they had sought the “Father of Lights” for divine assistance and that their prayers were answered, in that very room.  He then went on to ask, “How is it that during this convention, we have not sought the “Father of Lights” to illuminate our understanding?” Then he concluded by saying, “If a sparrow cannot fall without his notice, is it probable that a great nation can rise without His providence?”

Humbled by the words of Franklin, the delegates adjourned the convention and returned to their various places of residence in the city and reflected, pondered and prayed. Being sufficiently humble, the Lord’s spirit could move upon them and when they re-convened, they were able to create the constitution, a divinely inspired document.

They gave to us, a constitutional republic, similar to what King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon gave his people when they changed the affairs of the government from a monarchy to a system of judges, elected by the people to judge them according to their law.

Since the time of the founders and since the time of Alex de Tocqueville, America has become less good. Over the last several decades we see the more part of the people beginning to choose wickedness. We see them, as prophesied; call good evil and evil good. We see them driving every reference of God out of the public square and as indicated in the Book of Mormon, we see the guilty go free because of their money, their influence and their connections, while the meek and humble are trampled upon.

When the more part of the people begin to choose wickedness then the Lord removes His blessings from the land and sends forth drought, disease, pestilence, the sword and natural disasters, all in an effort to humble his people and to awaken them to a sense of their awful state, that they perhaps might be persuaded to turn back to God and be blessed.

In Mosiah 29:27 we are told, “And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time He will visit you with great destruction even as He has hitherto visited this land.”

I believe that there is even a connection between how we live upon the earth and how the earth itself responds because In D&C 123:7 we read, “The whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity.” This indicates to me that there is a direct correlation between how the people live upon the Earth and how the Earth responds, either positively or negatively.

We know, for example, that when the people live, as they should, the Lord tempers the elements and the earth for their good. We read such things as, the fruit of the vine does not cast its fruit upon the ground prematurely; the rains come when they should and the harvest is bountiful. We also read that their flocks and herds do increase and that they are blessed and prospered. When the people do not what He says, as indicated in D&C 82, they have no promise.

I know that there are many people in the world that are concerned with what is called global warming and climate change, and the perceived negative effects, which will stem from it. I would suggest, however, that all of the computer models, all of the scientific theories and all of the well meaning people have not nearly as much power to alter the climate for our good as does the power of righteous living upon the Earth.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my talk, I believe there is something we can do, which has more power and is more effective in maintaining this land as a land of liberty, it is the best thing we can do for ourselves and is also the best contribution we can make for our fellow citizens. It is, in my mind, the most powerful form of patriotism we can exercise to preserve this land as a land of liberty. This formula is found throughout the scriptures, but I have selected two.

In Moroni 10:32 we read “Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness…” In Alma 7:23 we read “And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times…”

In short, if we are striving to become true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, if we are found keeping His commandments and His counsels, and in conjunction with our stake theme, being found following the prophets and living upright and moral lives, we will be blessed.

I know there is great power in righteous living in preserving the land because of what we learn from Gen. 18 when Abraham is conversing with the Lord about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham asks the Lord that peradventure there be 50 righteous in the cities; will not the Lord spare the cities for the righteous sake? The Lord assures Abraham that if 50 are found, the cities would be spared for the sake of the righteous.

Emboldened by this, Abraham goes on to ask peradventure there be five fewer than 50, for a measly five fewer would the Lord destroy the cities? Again, he is assured that the cities would be spared. Abraham gets the Lord down to ten, saying peradventure there be ten righteous found in the cities would the Lord not spare them? The Lord responds by saying that if there are ten righteous found in the cities that the cities would be spared for the sake of the righteous.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the conditions in the cities would improve much, but that they would be spared for the sake of the righteous. We know in the account that there was not ten righteous found and so, after Lot and part of his family were allowed to escape, the Lord utterly destroyed the cities.

I believe there is something to this heavenly math that peradventure there be a sufficient number, whatever the number is, both in and out of the church, striving to live as they should, keeping the commandments, that the land will be spared for the sake of the righteous. This may be the most powerful catalyst, which will prevent the land from being destroyed and in my mind, is the most powerful form of patriotism. I also believe that the negative effects due to the tribulations, which will surely come because of wickedness, may even be mitigated for the sake of the righteous.

I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that God our Heavenly Father lives and like any good parent, when His children get out of line, He will correct and discipline them in the hope that they will turn again to Him and be blessed. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He had both the capacity and willingness to perform for us the atonement. His atonement not only paid the price of our sins, but also, because of its infinite nature, has the power and capacity to fix everything that is broken, repair everything that is damaged and will make everything right in the next life, if we will but apply to it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The pattern played out time and time again in its pages is being played out before our very eyes in our day. After all, the book was written for our day. Among the many things the book is, it is also acts as a warning voice, that in the words of one of its prophets, “we might be wiser than they.”

It is my invitation and prayer that we might be wiser than they and that peradventure there be enough of us, both in and out of the church, striving to live as we should, that this land might be spared and remain a land of liberty for the sake of the righteous.

Ron Forstner

April 5, 2015

Easter: Receiving Forgiveness As We Forgive

About a week ago I had a lapse of self control and I did something irresponsible. The result was that I physically hurt a friend and let down 2 others. I was deeply disturbed by what I had done, and by how easily the frustration came that precipitated the incident. I was sad that the hobby we were engaged in seemed like it would never be enjoyable again. I felt guilt that I had ruined a trip for others.

But as my feelings subside, I start to appreciate what miracles we saw and I see now. Millimeters variance could have made the injury devastating and permanent. It does not look like it will be. We obtained specialist medical help after working hours, against all reasonable expectation. Prayer and priesthood administration even reduced the severity of the injury from the time it was sustained to when we got first treatment.

What has most pressed on my feelings is how the people involved responded. Forgiveness was extended, and brotherly concern for both the injured and myself. As we think about Easter and what Jesus Christ did for us, I invite you to think about this: His atonement is not only abundant in tender mercies, but can be expressed through people who are willing to follow a Christlike pattern.

Mark R.

April 2, 2015

My Perfect Example

Filed under: Atonement,Easter,Jesus Christ,Savior — admin @ 3:07 am

I know that because He lives and is here with me, I have been able to survive and stay happy in my trial filled adult life. I love my Savior and I am so thankful for His beautiful gift of the atonement. Not only for my sins but for my hurts, my sorrows, my sicknesses, and my agonies. He is my perfect example. I’m just trying to be like Jesus. It’s all good BECAUSE HE LIVES!

Melanie Clark

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