Why I’m Still Mormon…

No, I'm not blissfully just ignorant. Yes, I do experience "cognitive dissonance"--a phrase that so many who have left the church despise. No, it's not just that the Kool-Aid tastes that good (yes, somebody has asked me this exact question before).

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On This Day in Church History (well, 2 days ago…) Golden Plates

On September 22, 1827--202 years ago (+ 2 days at the time of writing this because I'm a procrastinator)--Joseph Smith Jr. took the golden plates from their hiding place to be translated by the power of God.

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“Mormonism: The Good, The Bad, The FLDS” Timesuck with Dan Cummins Podcast Episode Review

So there is this podcast that I absolutely love listening to. It called Timesuck by comedian, Dan Cummins. He discusses conspiracy theories, true crime, the paranormal, etc. from a more logical stand point than most others. I have been a loyal Timesuck fan for several months now. Yesterday, Dan Cummins released an episode all about “Mormonism.” Since I happen to have some expertise in this field, with writing an entire book and all, I took notes and decided to give it my honest review, and add a few historical corrections or further explanations.

Overall, I think Cummins did such an amazing job and I really appreciate all his hard work and research! I always feel like Dan Cummins puts a lot of time and energy into each episode so we get the best information. I am not a “sanitizer” of church history (as Dan referred to some of the Church apologists) so I am not offended at all with his presentations. Although, some listeners who are members of the church may find it difficult to listen too. Cummins states that he believes most Mormons misunderstand some of their own doctrine. I think he could be right to some degree, depending on how much effort that member puts into increasing their knowledge on the subject. I think that is a big reason why so many people eventually leave; because of the “sanitizers,” or the people who choose to hide the history. Then once the truth does come to light, people feel betrayed. That is not what I’m about so Dan’s well-researched and unbiased podcast episode was appreciated.  But of course, there are some things I need to clarify or further explain since it is pretty much my job. (:

  1. Dan misunderstood the idea of the “unpardonable sin” that makes somebody a “son of perdition,” according to church beliefs so here is my explanation: We do not believe in Hell–we believe in three degrees/levels of Heaven. Yes we do believe in “outer darkness” which is the closest thing to what other Christians refer to as Hell but it is almost impossible to end up there. You have to be a son of perdition by committing the “unpardonable sin”—meaning you have seen Christ in the flesh and know He is the Son of God and feel the Holy Spirit testify it, but still deny Him. Immediately, people would assume that Judas Iscariot is a son of perdition but this is a misconception, because we don’t believe that the Holy Ghost was on earth while Christ was, so we don’t ACTUALLY know that even Judas, who is infamous for betraying Christ, is even a son of perdition. So even the worst people in the world: Hitler, terrorists, murderers, etc. probably won’t even end up there. Everyone is going to some form of heaven, according to our beliefs. It’s not that you just didn’t accept the church or don’t believe, not even close. So no worries, Dan, you are not a son of perdition, as you suggested in the episode.  (;
  2. In the episode, Dan said he heard that the rituals performed inside LDS temples were stolen by Joseph Smith from Freemasonry. Here is my explanation: Yes, the temple rituals seem to come from Freemason rituals. However, Freemason rituals were derived from ancient religious rituals before that and used in ancient Judiac temple worship—which we believe were then restored by the prophet Joseph Smith to be used in our temples for redeeming ordinances. So we don’t believe that Joseph Smith stole them from Freemasons. But that the rituals are similar because the Freemason rituals came from ancient religious rituals done in temples long before. You can even look that up, it’s legit! So long story short, we believe that Joseph Smith joined Freemasonry, among other reasons, to further educate himself on those rituals that he was called by God to help restore.
  3. In the episode, Dan Cummins includes several archeological evidences found that do not support the Book of Mormon as a legitimate ancient religious writing comparable to the Holy Bible. He also claimed that there is no archeological evidence to suggest otherwise: As far as evidences for the Book of Mormon in the archeological sense, there HAS been evidence found that supports things like medal engravings for religious documents from around that time across the world, concrete and iron being used by native Americans before when was originally believed, etc. I’ll link some of those sources below so you know I’m not bullcrapping you! There are also several things in the BOM that seemed impossible in 1830 when the BOM was first released but have since been proven true. For example: in the first book in the BOM, a group of people leave Jerusalem and move south towards modern Yemen and make it to a place with an abundance of “water, wood, and fruit.” Back in western society 1830, this was believed to be false, but modern knowledge proves that the coast of modern Yemen has an abundance of “water, wood, and fruit.” There are tons more. I’ll link those sources below too.
  4. He made similar claims about the language of the Book of Mormon: There’s also the fact that the BOM is written in chiasmus, an ancient style of writing that was not discovered in the Holy Bible until 1871, 41 years after the BOM was published. It is difficult to imagine that Joseph smith somehow discovered this before anyone else who was more educated than he was, kept it a secret, and used it in the BOM rather than that the BOM was an actual translated record from ancient times when chiasmus was prominent in religious writings. As far as the language of Reformed Egyptian not being found on other ancient records, that might be true for now. But you cannot say that we have found everything there is to find archeologically and that we know everything yet. Something that convinced me that Joseph Smith DID translate the BOM from golden plates written in Reformed Egyptian has always been the actual manuscript of the BOM itself. It is available to read online at josephsmithpapers.org . There are several times in the manuscript when new names and places were spelled phonetically and then fixed later upon editing, which suggests that the scribes were listening to Joseph smith read the translation aloud from the plates. There are times when a division is marked later in the manuscript when it was clear that the break in text indicated a new book/author and not just a new chapter. There were no major revisions made (besides grammatical or spelling errors) before publication either and yet there are no inconsistencies in the stories, places, people, etc. According to the first hand accounts of his scribes, when returning to the translation, he never asked something along the lines of “where was I?” even if he stopped mid-sentence before the break. He always picked up right where he left off. One of his scribes once replaced one of the seer stones when he knew Joseph wasn’t paying attention with a look-alike rock to see what Joseph would do with it when trying to translate later. He claims that Joseph looked at the stones for a long time in silence and finally said he couldn’t see anything and the stones were “dark as Egypt.” If he was making it up, wouldn’t he have just kept “translating?” The only explanations for that are that Joseph somehow knew the Stone was replaced (which the scribe swears there was no way he could have known) or He was really using special seer stones from God that could not be simply replaced to do the same action. Joseph Smith did all this in only three months, spontaneously. And there is no evidence to suggest that he had help from books or anything else since the scribes all said he had none with him. All I’m trying to say is this: if you are going to present the linguistic and archeological evidence against the BOM, you should present the evidence for it as well. (: 
  5. Dan Cummins asked why Joseph Smith never asked anybody of credibility and education about his translations to prove he was not making it all up: Martin Harris DID take parts of the manuscript to educated men who were not believers who DID proclaim that what was translated was real Egyptian and the best translation of Egyptian they had ever seen. They even gave him a certificate of authenticity saying so before ripping it up when he realized Harris was working with Smith. Link below to that source. 
  6. Cummins suggests in the episode that Joseph Smith was a literal gold digger from birth who grew up believing in things like seer stones that could be discovered like buried treasure, which could have influenced his tales/embellishments about the First Vision and onward: He was hired, along with several other young men, by a man named Joseph Stowell to look for treasure for him AFTER the First Vision. At first Smith refused but Stowell insisted. Nothing valuable ever really came from that, besides Joseph meeting Emma. However, this is where the rumors began of Smith being a money digger.
  7. Cummins was skeptical that Joseph Smith could run a decent distance from the hidden place to Joseph’s home through the woods, while carrying heavy plates, while also fighting off a few attackers, and not be injured: When running with the gold plates in the forest and being attacked several times, Joseph Smith WAS injured. He dislocated his thumb which his father had to put back in place upon arrival at his home and he had several bruises on his body. Yes, it’s possible, as some “Pro-Mormon” people sources believe according to Cummins, that God gave him extra strength to accomplish this crazy task. However, I believe it was simply an adrenaline rush that helped him run through the forest with heavy plates and fight off his attackers. We have heard about crazy stories of adrenaline—like mom’s lifting full-blown cars off their babies after an accident—so if Joseph Smith was passionate enough about this and believed in what he was teaching and it’s importance, then it’s not unlikely that he was running on a high amount of adrenaline. 
  8. Dan Cummins claimed that nobody had ever seen or touched the plates besides Joseph Smith, which raised some red flags for him: Several people have seen and held the gold plates and never denied seeing them and holding them, even after later leaving the church because they disliked Joseph Smith and some of the things he was doing. They claim they held the plates in their hands. Emma Smith, Joseph’s wife, never saw the plates uncovered but she did get curious once and touch them over the cloth that covered them. She says she could hear the plate pages clanging together when she picked them up and dropped them and she knew they were real. Emma was highly educated, far more educated than Joseph Smith. In my opinion, it would be difficult to fool her. Of course that is my opinion, but again, I’m just giving further context that was missed. 
  9. Cummins was confused as to why the revelations given to Joseph Smith sounded so much like the King James Bible version of speaking: We believe that God speaks in the more formal English way of speaking, like from the King James Bible: “thou, thy, thee,” etc. And a lot of members of the church even phrase their prayers in this language out of respect. So no, we don’t believe God has updated his lingo to match ours, not when speaking formally or giving revelations for the whole church. 
  10. Cummins disliked the fact that Joseph Smith brought a pistol with him to Carthage Jail in case of an attack, as that is not what “Jesus would do:” According to first-hand accounts, Joseph at first refused to bring a gun to Carthage Jail but he decided to do so last minute to help protect those who were with him including his brother. You can argue that he was just using that as an excuse to protect himself. But, once his brother Hyrum was killed, it is believed that Joseph jumped out the window so the mob would chase him and the rest of the group would be saved. He was successful, John Taylor and Willard Richards were spared. It is easy to assume that was his motivation for bringing a gun to the jail as well. So maybe it’s not what Jesus would have done but if all of the above is true, then it was for a good cause. And nobody ever said that Joseph Smith was a perfect man like Christ was, but an imperfect man called by God to do His work. 

Again, I think Dan Cummins did a fantastic job overall but there are just a few historical errors or further explanations that I wanted to add. I have been a huge fan of Dan Cummins work and comedy since I was in high school (I listened to him on Pandora before seminary everyday, believe it or not!). I am a loyal fan of his podcast so I feel honored to have the opportunity to write this review.  

Links to sources: 

Evidence for the BOM (using a source you even quoted in the podcast):  https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/five-compelling-archeological-evidences-for-the-book-of-mormon

Book of Mormon original manuscript: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-mormon-manuscript-excerpt-circa-june-1829-1-nephi-22b-318a/2 (some of it was destroyed after years of wear and tear but what’s left is on display here) 

Reformed Egyptian Characters legitimacy: 

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/speaker-gives-new-insights-on-martin-harris-1828-visit-to-charles-anthon?lang=eng

Further research on Joseph Smith:

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org

1,001 Facts about the Prophet Joseph Smith

And at last I see the light…

POSSIBLY TMI BUT HOPEFULLY UPLIFTING STORY AHEAD:
This was taken the night we found out we were expecting 🤰! We made this shirt and ran over to all three sets of parents to make the announcement immediately. We are so thrilled for obvious reasons (BABY…duh!👶) but there is a lot more to those smiles than meets the eye. When we first got married, we wanted to wait to start a family and therefore weren’t trying. However, two months later—on our honeymoon 🏖 to be exact—something happened. I started experiencing interesting symptoms and I was about 10 DAYS LATE! 😬 On our first day in Florida I took the very first pregnancy test I had ever taken. I didn’t read the instructions because I thought “is there a wrong way to pee on a stick?” Turns out, yes there is. The test came up “invalid,” which I assumed (BECAUSE I DIDN’T READ THE DIRECTIONS) meant I wasn’t pregnant 🍼. We continued our trip despite these continued symptoms. Eventually, I started what I thought was my cycle, but it was very different and a little concerning. To avoid spoiling the honeymoon, I waited until we got home to see the doctor. Since I had waited so long to be tested by the doctor, they couldn’t officially confirm for sure but they believed that an early miscarriage was a likely explanation for my symptoms. We were shocked 😳 and confused 🤷‍♀️. After praying about it, we felt it was time to start trying. This was January 2016. We were excited to start this new chapter and hopefully soon receive great news. It really seemed promising. I started getting nauseous all the time, exhausted constantly, couldn’t keep anything down…textbook pregnancy symptoms. But I wasn’t pregnant. I was sick. 🤢 VERY SICK. It was a time of major darkness, sadness, confusion. Not only did we wonder if I would ever be healthy enough to take care of a baby or even get pregnant, sometimes we even wondered if I would live to see the next few months. We looked into adoption and foster care, but nothing felt right yet and being sick would still be an issue even with those options. We decided to put our trust in God and His timing. If it was meant to be, it would be…in God’s time. After 2.5 years of awful pain and anguish, doctors, hospitals, tests, procedures, restless nights, and a chemical pregnancy (basically another miscarriage, google it if you want)…my illnesses finally started getting a little better. And better, and better. Then summer of 2018 rolled around. I went to the doctor and he said it was time for Dalyn and I to be tested for fertility issues. We reluctantly agreed. We wanted answers but figured the answers wouldn’t be great. We were starting to think that maybe we were meant to be one of those couples who never has kids. We had to wait until my next cycle started for my fertility test so we were just waiting patiently for that. Instead, I was experiencing what I thought was a flare up. I was nauseous, exhausted, emotional…textbook flare symptoms. I was talking to my mother-in-law about it and I found her demeanor to be very odd this time.❓She kept asking strangely specific questions that night like, “are you able to sit in the hot tub 🛁 with us tonight?,” “why do you think you’re so tired 💤 recently?,” “next time you go to Disneyland, will you be able to ride all the rides?”🎢 I could tell it was her sneaky, more polite way of asking me if I was pregnant. Recently I asked her about it and she said she could “just tell.” I was supposed to start my cycle that day so while it was possible, I was sure it was not the case. On the drive home from that family get-together though, I told Dalyn, “I swear your mom thinks I’m pregnant..” then I jokingly said, “maybe she’s right, should I take a test?” 🤣 He laughed but insisted that we don’t get our hopes up and wait for my cycle to start. Then I said, “nahh, I’m gonna take a test.” So when we got home, I peed on another stick—the correct way this time (I had taken a lot more tests by this point so I was a pro but I still read the directions EVERY TIME). We kept talking while waiting for the allotted time to pass and completely expected the usual negative result. I randomly glanced down and saw two very prominent pink lines. That couldn’t be right. Long story short, I took about four more tests from several different brands. All read “positive.” ➕ No more tests, doctors, procedures needed…not for this at least. Fast forward 🔜 to today: I am almost 34 weeks along which means we will be meeting our sweet boy 👦 in about 6-7ish weeks. He is healthy and strong. 💪 My pregnancy is considered ‘extremely low-risk’ and my chronic illness 🤒 symptoms are almost completely gone (“almost” is the key word here, but I’ll take it!). I like to think about this in relation to when Joseph Smith was praying in the Sacred Grove. 🌳 Just before God showed up, there was intense darkness and he was seized upon by the adversary in a way that was literally incapacitating. He wrote that he was about to give up his soul to “eternal despair,” similar to how we thought we might not ever have a normal life or have kids…that’s when God shows up with the light. We all know how it feels to spend what feels like eternity in dark times. BUT! The light ALWAYS. COMES. It really does. Whether it takes a few moments, days, or even years…God always brings the light. That doesn’t mean darkness won’t come back or that it won’t be extremely difficult. However, the light always comes in the end. Just keep trusting. Keep going. Trust in God. Literal “POSITIVE”-ity ➕ is coming, even if (like us) you got exactly what you hoped and dreamed for…or if you got positive blessings that were not in your original plan (for us, that probably would have been adoption/foster care/etc.). Heavenly Father is there and has a perfect plan. I promise! Don’t believe me? Ask Him yourself. 💕

“You’d be so much prettier…”

WORST DATE I EVER WENT ON STORYTIME: He looked at me across the dinner table with a straight face and said, “you’d be so much prettier with blue eyes.” 👀 My whole life I wished I had light eyes. I always thought I would stand out ✨ more with light eyes. It was weird to be called out on an insecurity I already had. Oddly, I wasn’t offended though, just in shock.😱 And I knew there wouldn’t be a second date, obviously…even though *throwing some shade here* he did ask for one (I know. I ALSO thought “what the heck dude?!”)🙄 The other day, I got curious and started playing around with photoshop. I even edited my eye color on pictures of me with both hair colors I’ve done in my life. Is it weird for me to believe his opinion was actually WRONG? (No, I’m not asking for YOUR opinion…please don’t give it to me).

As we go into this new year, with hopes of a new sense of self, can we please try not to impress OTHER people with our bodies, workout routines, financial status, relationships, followers, or anything of the sort…and focus instead on keeping ourselves happy/healthy? Now I can look at these pictures and say to myself, “Wow! I love the way Heavenly Father made me, and that makes me happy.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit ashamed that it took me this long to feel that way, though. Learn from me on this one! Whether it’s your appearance, body type, health (or even the lack thereof), relationship status, sexuality, etc. Heavenly Father made you, and He never makes mistakes. No, I’m not saying that I think I’m some hot chick that has no insecurities. However, I think if I had let that comment from 4-ish years ago get me down, I may have tried to change myself in ways that wouldn’t actually make ME happy.

I’m sad to say that I had to edit my eye color in photoshop before I realized it but…I’m happy with brown eyes! Also, I would later learn after meeting my husband, that he apparently always ‘preferred’ brown eyes anyways. That’s an opinion that matters to me, but even then, how I feel about myself is the most important. One of my favorite sayings goes as follows, “The people who mind, don’t matter. The people who matter, don’t mind.” Surround yourself with love this next year. & love yourself, too. 💕

“One of the Worst Ways to Die”…Why would God let this happen?

    Recently while reading the Book of Mormon—Alma chapter 14 specifically—something new hit me that I had never realized before. It’s always really cool when that happens, so I’m going to share it! In this chapter, missionaries Alma and Amulek are thrown into prison for nothing more than preaching the word of God. Even worse, anyone who believed in their words—women and children mostly—were burned alive while Alma and Amulek were forced to watch. Alma 14:10-11 says, “And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames. But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.” That’s a bit intense…Okay, IT’S VERY INTENSE.
Quick story (and this might be just as intense…fair warning): I’ve briefly mentioned before that when I was in preschool, my mentally handicapped, very sweet & pure, beautiful neighbor…was murdered in her own home by somebody she barely knew, but had trusted. I will not go into details, and I never will in a public setting/online. It is not my story to tell. However, I will say this: the doctor who did her autopsy and examinations said that, even after everything he has seen professionally, my neighbor was killed in what he (AN EXPERT) believed must have been “one of the worst ways to die.” As a young girl, I trembled at the sound of those words. Still, that phrase sends shivers down my spine. We know horrible things can happen to good people. But to know somebody who was so pure and innocent, and know they suffered like only few others would understand and it led to her death…that’s something you hold onto for the rest of your life. I learned what real evil was at only 3 years old. Maleficent, Ursula, Captain Hook, and any other fictitious villains in my world at that time were nothing compared to what I learned real evil was capable of. As a child, I would ask my mom about this a lot. I would ask her, “she (our neighbor) wasn’t even capable of making a lot of her own decisions, she wasn’t capable of living alone (she lived with her parents, even well into adulthood), she never did anything wrong EVER, she was almost a perfect person, she loved us and we loved her so much. Why would Heavenly Father let something like that happen to her? And why would He let it be THAT BAD…as in ‘one of the worst ways to die?’” I’m not sure if my mother’s answer was just to comfort me or if this is what she really believed. Her response was always something along the lines of, “Heavenly Father loves her more than we can ever imagine. I’m sure He really hates what happened to her. I don’t think He let her suffer too much before taking her home to be with Him.” While that could very well be true, after reading Alma 14, I realized that Heavenly Father probably did let her suffer through EVERYTHING she was put through. Weirdly, it makes sense to me now that I understand better. Hear me out. Her killer is behind bars for the rest of his life without parole, thank heaven. Heavenly Father knows all and He is very just. But order to be completely just, He needs the heavyweight evidence—the full suffering ‘testimonies’ of the victims. Once that criminal is judged, Heavenly Father will be able to judge him perfectly because God refused to cut any corners even when my amazing neighbor was suffering horribly. Today, she is in paradise with God, her biological father, and many others she loved and cared about. She is not suffering anymore and never will have to again. She is also no longer handicapped either and is so happy. I know it. It warms my heart.
It’s easy for us to think to ourselves, “why me? I’ve done everything God has asked me to do and I’m still going through this horrible trial” [‘fire,’ if you will]. It can be even worse when that trial is brought upon us by the choices and actions of other people. “Why would God let them do this to me, and let me suffer so much, when I’ve done nothing wrong?” I often find myself wondering if Heavenly Father doesn’t love me as much if He let’s me suffer significantly, or I think He must be picking favorites and I am just NOT one of them.
It’s just not true. Heavenly Father’s love is unconditional, eternal, and indescribable for every. single. one of us. His love is unconditional, eternal, and tremendous for YOU. He doesn’t pick favorites. There is nothing in this world we can’t accomplish, no matter how hard it is…or even despite the outcome. Death is not the end. His plan is perfect. Even our worst trials are part of an eternal plan of justice, mercy, love, and most importantly: everlasting happiness. As we go through the trials of life, let’s not forget His plan. Remember that “all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good…fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” 💕

Required Experience for God’s Work

If you have been following me for a while, or read my blog, you know that my favorite scripture is in D&C121-122. When God tells the Prophet Joseph Smith, “ My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” I have to admit that the first time this scripture really resonated with me about 4.5 years ago, I assumed “small moment” really meant “SMALL MOMENT” but apparently Heavenly Father and I have different definitions of the phrase. Here I am, years later, and this “small moment” just seems to continue. Yes, there are always happy times, but overall life is hard! I just expected “small moment” to be much…I don’t know…SMALLER.

Anyway, I was thinking about it the other day and thought about this part in the next chapter: “…know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.“

When you apply for a new job, you’re more likely to be hired if you have A LOT of experience in that field. In fact, sometimes if you have little to no experience, the employers won’t even glance at your application. Heavenly Father has big plans for you, which include BIG assignments and ‘jobs’ that He needs you (AND ONLY YOU) to accomplish.

My mom has an interesting passage written in her Patriarchal Blessing that has really proven to be true in her life, it says something along the lines of “you will experience trials so you can help those who eventually have to go through similar things.” Her trials are unique, especially for a member of the church.

She has been married in the temple, then divorced, that sealing was cancelled, and now she is remarried in the temple to her new husband of 8 years. She has a son who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community. She was also a witness in a murder trial that took about seven years to finally end, she is the sole reason this evil killer was found and put behind bars for the rest of his life. All of these situations are rare and difficult occurrences, especially for those in the church.

However, my mom has had the opportunity to help dozens of people because of her ‘work experience.’ She has helped a few women out of hard, abusive relationships (no my dad is not at all abusive, my parents were just a disaster couple lol but her experience helped other women in disastrous marriages of all sorts realize they could do perfectly fine without their husbands, that’s all I’m saying!). She has helped bring to light a better understanding of what it is like to be a LGBT Mormon, or to have a friend/relative going through it. She has saved several lives with her self-defense classes that she has taught for over 20 years.

Even though she likely didn’t ‘apply’ for these jobs and trials, Heavenly Father gave her the job training required to qualify for what He needed her to do. Heavenly Father is training you for His plan, designed specially for you and you only. If it feels much longer than a “small moment,” then your job must be more important than you could ever imagine. “Hold on thy way…for God shall be with you forever and ever.” 💜

Good vs Bad

Picture of what was one of the happiest days of my life. Dalyn and I were talking a while back about what were the “worst days of our lives” (deaths of certain family members, hospital days, when my parents got divorced—which I realize now is actually a great thing but it was hard at the time, etc.). We of course started talking about what were some of the “best days of our lives” (wedding day, finding out we’re pregnant finally, the night before Dalyn left on his mission that he spent with family, the days we had the most spiritual and faith-building experiences ever, etc.). We quickly realized that it was soooooo easy to list off our happy days, which had more than quadrupled our bad days in number for sure. They just kept on coming! Even though the bad days can be traumatizing and devastating, the good ALWAYS outweighed the bad. The crazy part too, is that a lot of what happened in our “worst days” always had some good come from them, or even turned out to be complete blessings in disguise! For example, when I was 13, I didn’t want my parents to get divorced. I didn’t want two houses, two Christmases, two wards, two completely different worlds of people and family and even friends. Yes, I had to deal with all that, and still do in some cases. However, I have no idea where I’d be if my parents had stayed together and my assumption is that I’d be far worse off. Ludicrous, right? Seriously though! Without that trial, I wouldn’t have had to stand on my own two feet in several instances growing up. I wouldn’t have had to discover and build my testimony of Jesus Christ until later in life when it could have been too late. I would not have the relationship I have today with my biological brother—nor would I have ANY of my other siblings AT ALL. To me, the thought of that is worse than any bad day I’ve ever had. I would not have grown up with specific knowledge and standards for what I wanted out of my life and future marriage. I wouldn’t be with Dalyn had I not learned so much from this. The blessings always outnumber, outweigh, outlast, and straight up OUTDO the bad days and trials. CHALLENGE:list your worst/best days & think honestly. & if I’m wrong—call me out.

Anticipating General Conference

EVERYBODY is excited to watch conference this weekend, mostly because the rumor mill for possible changes coming to the church. Many people claiming THIS conference will be life-changing. I reaallllyyyy don’t wanna be that person but…aren’t all General Conferences supposed to be “life-changing?” I know. I know. I’m sorry for being that way but like…it’s true, right? I’m not necessarily saying there won’t be any big changes, because I don’t know, I’m not in charge…but what if literally none of these rumors are confirmed this weekend? Will people still be glad they watched? Are we still preparing to receive personal revelation from each session? Just because the rumors are strong and there were several changes last conference, doesn’t mean there will be this time. Of course I could be wrong. I’m not in contact with the Prophet—who is the only person with the authority to receive revelation regarding the entire church and kingdom. BUT! even if I was, with the sacredness of his calling…I doubt I would get any hints toward any possible new revelation before anybody else and I don’t believe there are exceptions to this. These rumors have likely been completely fabricated so far by those who can only speculate, created not maliciously at all I’m sure, but probably not with ‘reliable’ sources. I’m not saying they can’t be correct, like I said I have no clue, I’m not in charge. I do think that most members realize this and I’m just preaching to the choir here, but I think there might be some going into it this year with the wrong expectations. I don’t think we should ever set ourselves up for disappointment when listening for guidance from Heavenly Father. I guess what I am trying to say is this: regardless of what happens this weekend, it is important to remember that this is Heavenly Father’s church, He is in charge, He knows what is best and His plan is better than we could ever imagine for ourselves and the church. AND listen to what is said, whether it’s what you hoped for or not. 🧡

The Truth about Martin Harris

This is Martin Harris. Most Latter Day Saints remember him as the man sorta responsible for the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon. Because of that, he doesn’t always have the best reputation. The truth is, though, he was loved so dearly by Joseph Smith and his family, regardless of his mistake. Martin Harris defended the church and Joseph Smith several times, even sometimes under oath in a court of law, against his own wife. Joseph Smith spoke so many times about his love for Martin and God’s love for Martin as well. I know so many people who believe they are no longer worth living or even worthy of God’s love because of something they’ve done, the way they think and question things, struggling with their testimony in the past/present, being LGBTQ+, or literally ANY OTHER REASON. That’s just not true. Seriously, it’s not. You are so loved, especially by your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. NO MATTER WHAT. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will ever make you or any other person immune to God’s love. Please know that. If you take nothing else from any of my posts/books/blogs/etc. Please know this at least: God’s love is infinite, eternal, and unconditional. SERIOUSLY! 💕 I promise. 🤝 I’ve felt it, and you can too. Just trust Him. 🙏 You can learn more about Martin Harris’ story in my book “1,001 Facts about the Prophet Joseph Smith” in my bio if you want.