Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: A Memory of Light

A Memory of Light
Author: Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Length: 1168 pages
(My) Rating: PG13

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A Memory of Light is the 14th and final book in the Wheel of Time Series. I'm reviewing it out of order, because I wanted to write down my impressions while they were still fresh. 

Overall, I was happy with the conclusion of this series. Some characters died that I wish hadn't, but if no one died, it wouldn't have been a very convincing final battle. Those that died, did so epically, and, as Grig says (I'm paraphrasing), "Sometimes you do something so awesome, that you just can't top it, and you have to die."

That happened with several of the characters. I am sad to see them go, but they died in a fitting way. 

On the other hand, some characters that I thought were going to die, lived. That was rather a pleasant surprise. 

Sanderson and Jordan's writing mingled seamlessly in my opinion. I had heard that Jordan had written much of the final battle by himself, and so I was trying to figure out which parts he wrote, and which ones Sanderson interposed. I was unable to do so. The final three books built up well and supported the final scenes. Many things were explained, and unlike some series where I'm left saying, "..but what about this?" I can't think of a single thing that wasn't wrapped up. There might be some, but if they were, I can't remember them. 

On a personal level, I disliked how little Rand did again. Yes, he fought the biggest bad of them all, but I wanted to have him involved in the conclusions of characters that have been hounding him since the beginning. For example, I wanted one final showdown between him and Padan Fain. Fain's ending was fairly satisfying, but distinctly lacking in Rand al'Thor. It ended up being, as Rand himself says, never about him at all. In some ways, it was much more about the other characters that Jordan created. 

Events in this book moves swiftly and I had a difficult time putting it down, while at the same time, I struggled to finish. That was due mostly to my own reluctance to end a series that I had been reading for such a long time, and not due to the quality of writing itself. 

The ending was happy, and that was a good ending for me. There were some parts I really liked, especially among the conversations between Rand and the Dark One. There were many interesting ideas that were tossed around, and that have made me think in the week or so since I've finished this book. 

Overall, I really did like it, and I'm grateful that Jordan's wife made sure that the series was finished. It was a pretty proper ending. Though I might have done things differently, that doesn't mean that they were done well and appropriately. Many events that seemed to be unexplained finally found meaning and nearly all of Min's prophecies were fulfilled.

I appreciated that almost everyone got a chance to shine. Mat's character is a little weird, but that could just be him transitioning into becoming a married man. I distinctly disliked the Seanchan and their views about Aes Sedai, but I appreciated that Jordan didn't suddenly have them change their minds about centuries of beliefs and traditions. I thought that was well done.

It was a great book and a great series.

Highly recommended.


On my scale, this book is probably PG13. The majority of this book is a battle. There is nearly nothing in the way of sexuality, though there is one scene that is strongly implied between Mat and Tuon (at least, I think that was in this book). As always, I appreciate the way that Jordan handles those scenes. Though there are plenty of descriptions of action and war, Jordan does not dwell on the blood or violence. He tends to describe without being too graphic.

The world that Robert Jordan has created also has its own swear words, which are inoffensive in general. There are a few British swear words that have made their way into the book, but those are few and far between. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Changing and Growing

Lately, I've been putting our family videos onto dvds. It has been a fun trip down memory lane for the past three years.

It's hard to believe that Kevin was such a chunky little guy, and that he's changed so much in only three years.
This was Kevin on the day he was born. It wasn't the best birth ever, but I was sure grateful for the results. It is kind of weird to think that without modern medicine, neither Kevin nor I would be here today.

He was 8 lbs 11 oz at birth. It is kind of funny actually, because I see people with their tiny babies, and I think, "Kevin was never that small!"...or at least not on this side of the tummy wall. I ask them how much their babies weigh and they tell me things like, "Oh, she's grown so much! She's nearly eight pounds now!"

He had dark hair and many fat rolls. His eyes were blue, and he was generally a very happy baby.

This is Kevin now:
He still has blue eyes, but his hair turned blond a few months after he was born, and it's been fairly light ever since. He's talking and running and jumping. Sometimes he thinks he can fly too. Moving so much has really slimmed him down. Every day I think he can't get any cuter and he proves me wrong.

He loves to play with other kids, and he loves to have adults to play with too.

He's really been talking lately. It's been fun to have Argent (my sister-in-law) staying with us. Every time she walks upstairs, Kevin yells, "Look, Argent! Look!"

If I don't respond right away, he repeats it until I express excitement as well. Then, he'll run up and give her a big hug. He sure loves his aunt.

She's been sick, but she's starting to feel better, and Kevin is excited to do things with her.

Kevin loves Arkhon. He and his puppy are best friends. They run around and play and Arkhon tolerates nearly every game that Kevin comes up with. Sometimes we have to play referee, but they do pretty well for the most part. Arkhon would never dream of hurting Kevin, though Kevin occasionally hurts his dog on accident. Luckily, Arkhon has gotten bigger.

A lot bigger.
The size of our puppy

The size of our 9 month old dog.
 He is really doing well. He gets a bit excited when company first gets here, but he calms down quickly.
Long-suffering, thy name is Arkhon.

Dakota is still hanging in there. She was diagnosed with breast cancer over a year ago, but she's still going. She's pretty sore most of the time, and occasionally her breathing sounds atrocious, but she's a champ. Even though Arkhon is taller at the shoulder now, she still tells the puppy who's boss.

Kevin loves her too, but she doesn't play any more, which makes Arkhon more fun. Argent likes Dakota better. She likes how calm she is. Arkhon has too much energy for her most days.

Our snake is doing well, and is a lot bigger. I'll have to put some updated picture of him up soon. Our second fish, Renji, is also still alive. Hopefully he'll keep going for a while. I think he's already out-lived Gin.

Grig and I have grown and changed a lot in the last three years too. We've grown closer, and have become less selfish. We're still works in progress, but I have learned a lot from becoming a mother. Who could have imagined that we would be where we are now, with our own home? Sometimes it seems too good to be true and I have to thank my Heavenly Father for our many blessings.

I look forward to more lessons from my crazy family

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mormon Monday: A Pair of Slippers

Yesterday was kind of a crazy day. I thought I woke up plenty early for church at 1:00 p.m. I didn't even have to prepare singing time, because it was ward conference.

That means that the stake primary presidency was going to be teaching. I was just going to be learning.

So, time passed while I fed Kevin and worked on family history videos.

Suddenly it was 12:30, and it was time to go. Grig had an early meeting, and so he'd already left.

I was all ready, except I hadn't put my shoes on yet. I was still wearing my slippers. However, Kevin wasn't dressed, so I made a mental note to slip on my shoes and then I got him ready.

By the time I finished packing everything and loading up the car, we were nearly late. We rushed into the car and ran into the church. As it was, we were a couple minutes late. We found Grig, and quickly sat down.

We've been singing with the choir lately, but we'd missed practice today for a few reasons, and so we were surprised to find out that we were singing during the meeting. However, we were willing and we'd been to nearly all the practices, so we got up with the choir, walked to the front, and sang.

Then, we walked back to our seats in the back and sat back down.

The meeting continued.

During the closing song, I suddenly thought, "My feet sure feel warm and comfortable." I looked down, and saw, to my horror, that I was still wearing my slippers!
Link to Source
The picture above looks pretty similar to my slippers. 

I was horrified and really embarrassed. I pointed out my feet to Grig, and he said, "Yeah, I noticed. I just figured you did it on purpose. I was glad you had comfortable shoes for once."

Granted, my Sunday shoes aren't the most comfortable things on the planet, but I never would have chosen to wear my slippers to church. 

I don't think I would have been nearly as embarrassed if I hadn't walked to the front wearing my overly large fuzzy slippers in front of everyone. I told him I had to run home and change. I didn't want to be leading the primary music in front of the stake primary presidency while wearing fuzzy black slippers. 

I was laughing by then, though I was still pretty embarrassed. 

Luckily, we only live five minutes away from the church, so I drove home quickly and changed my shoes. When I got back with the right shoes on and I told the other people in the primary about it, one of them told me that she had noticed, but she'd just thought, "Good for you." It reminded her of times that she had done the same. 

Of course, then they were very kind and shared their embarrassing clothing stories with me, and I felt better afterward. 

I was thinking about it though, and it probably isn't that big of a deal which shoes I wear to church. The most important thing is that I'm there. 

I was embarrassed a bit, because as much as I'd like to deny it, I do care what others think, but I would have been willing to just stay in those slippers if it hadn't been important to me to dress my very best for my Heavenly Father. 

When I go to church, I go to strengthen my testimony and take part in sacred ordinances. 

I try to wear my very best clothing because I feel that it shows my Heavenly Father how much I respect and care for his sacred ordinances. It can also be distracting for other people who are trying to feel the Spirit and draw closer to our Heavenly Father when someone is tromping around in big fuzzy slippers. 

I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to tell them what to wear to church. That is a personal decision, and regardless of what you wear, you are always welcome at our congregations. I'm just sharing my thoughts about why, I personally, try to wear nice clothing to church.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


This year, we are planting our first garden.

It's been a lot of work. The house that we've purchased has been a bit neglected for the last few years. It's seen a few changes of ownership and some renters. It isn't in the worst of shape (trust me, we saw a LOT worse while we were house-hunting), but it definitely needs some love.

I keep forgetting to take "before" pictures, but I'm remembering to take "after" pictures most of the time.

Grig loves fresh asparagus, so we're trying to plant some. It took us some time to figure out where we wanted it. We finally decided to plant it right in front of the shed. Here's what that spot looked like when we first bought the house:

After a few hours work and some dismantling of a broken picnic table, here is the after:
Before planting the asparagus 

After planting the asparagus
We think it looks a ton better. Hopefully our asparagus blooms. We're learning a lot about gardening. My family has always had a garden, and I've always helped (most of the time, anyway), but I've never been in charge of the garden before. My dad has quite the green thumb. It seems like he can make anything grow.

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable. It is one of the few that will grow back every year for up to 20 years. However, it doesn't always take root and you can't eat it for the first couple of years while it establishes itself. We're going to put up a fence around it to keep the dog and kid out, but we didn't finish planting the asparagus until late Monday night.

Monday, we also planted our onions. The garden is ready for us to plant more, but we wanted to get the vegetables planted that would go bad if we waited too long.

Here's what our garden looked like when we moved in:

You can't really tell, but it was really overgrown and covered with grass. Here's what it looks like after Monday nights planting:
The dark, wet side is where the onions are planted. Hopefully we're going to plant the rest of our first crop tomorrow.

We're pretty excited and hoping that all of this effort yields some fruit (or rather, vegetables).

We had a minor miracle while we were trying to get all this figured out. We couldn't get our hose faucet that's attached to the house to turn on. Everything seemed to be hooked up properly, but for some reason, it wasn't working.

We didn't want to plant our crops until we had a working hose for watering, so even though we bought the seeds and sets on the 10th, we didn't plant them that weekend.

It turned out to be a good thing, because the next week, it snowed over a foot! Welcome to April in Utah.

It snowed for two days straight, and then it all melted. We were worried about our apple blossoms, but they seem to be doing just fine.

The next day after the snow melted, I figured out where I needed to turn on the water in order to make the hose work. I really felt like the timing was incredible. We planted last night, and the onion and asparagus seemed to still be alive.

Gardening is more fun that it was when I was a kid. It's exciting to find out if you can make things grow.

Historically, I have more of a black thumb. I've killed more plants than I've grown. Hopefully, as I learn more, I can inherit a little of my father's green thumb.

That's what I'm hoping for anyway.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mormon Monday: My Testimony of Thomas S. Monson

During my scripture study this morning, I was thinking about the truths that I know, and I felt impressed to share the story of how I came to know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet today.

In January of 2008, President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away. He had been the prophet for much of my youth, and he was a great hero to me. Even now, when I listen to talks that he gave, he makes me smile. I had never doubted that he was a prophet, and so his death came as a bit of a shock to me. It was difficult for me to accept President Monson as a prophet right away.

Logically, my mind told me that if I believed President Hinckley was a prophet, I should believe that President Monson was a prophet as well, but I didn't know for sure.

So, I decided to pray and ask my Heavenly Father. If there were indeed prophets on the earth today, only He could tell me for sure.

My answer didn't come right away. In fact, it seemed to take forever. At times, I became a bit discouraged. I wanted to know immediately, and it seemed that no matter how much I prayed or read my scriptures, I was in the dark.

However, I knew that the Lord would tell me one way or the other, so I kept praying.

Finally, in February 2008 (a mere month later, but it seemed like so much longer), I had the opportunity to attend a temple dedication for the Rexburg temple. It was President Monson's first dedication after he became the prophet, and I went to the dedication with this prayer in my heart.

I wanted to know the truth. I had read and fasted and prayed, and I was prepared.

My answer didn't come as I had expected. I thought that while President Monson was giving a talk, it would hit me, and I would know that he was a prophet.

It didn't happen that way. Instead, as I watched President Monson interact with children to place the last bit of cement in the temple before the dedication, my answer came. As I watched the love which he had for the children that he spoke to, I was hit with the overwhelming sense that this man was a prophet. The feeling was intense and undeniable. I KNEW that President Monson was the Lord's prophet on earth today.

Since then, I have frequently felt the spirit as this man has spoken and taught me, and I have come to love him as much as I loved President Hinckley.

One of the great things about our church, is that we can always ask questions and receive answers. There is no cap on personal revelation. If there is something that a prophet, apostle, bishop, or stake president has said that is bothering me, or that I have questions about, I am not expected to blindly follow.

Instead, we are encouraged to ask questions of the only source of all truth.

I have asked my Heavenly Father many questions. Some answers didn't come right away, and some answers told me that I didn't need to know that right now, but I know the Lord is listening and will always give me an answer, even if it's not an answer I want.

I testify that President Monson is a prophet. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church restored in all its truth to the earth today. I know these things because I have prayed and asked my Heavenly Father, and He has told me they were true.

I know it is possible for everyone to know these things for themselves. Moroni 10:4-5 says:
 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
I know that when we ask with a sincere heart and real intent, that we will receive the answers that we are searching for.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finishing and Bullying

I'm going to talk about a book series for a few minutes. Bear with me, it does have a point.

I started reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series sometime between 1996 and 1997. I can say that for certainty, because I remember having to wait for the 8th book to be published, and that came out in 1998.

That means I began reading the series when I was nine or ten years old.

I am now 28.

Wheel of Time has been one of my favorite book series for decades. I've read the first seven books numerous times, and 8 and 9 a couple of times. However, when I read Crossroads of Twilight in 2003 (when I was a sophomore in high school), I was a bit irked.

Up until book ten, I thought the plot had moved quickly and I love the characters. I was a bit annoyed with how much time was spent on other characters besides Rand (who was supposed to be the main character), but I still enjoyed the books.

All that changed when I read book ten. The plot was slow. In fact, it was so slow that it was practically nonexistent. All the other books before that point had a fairly rapidly moving plot and a conclusion. Not only did book ten have no conclusion, barely any progress was made at all.

I remember telling someone after I read it that it was like everyone took two steps forward and that was it. Rand, the main character, wasn't even mentioned until nearly the end of the book. I was frustrated at that point, and for a long time I lost interest in reading the series.

Robert Jordan produced another book in 2005, but I didn't read it. Then, a couple of years later, he passed away.

I was sure that his death would be a very disappointing end to what had started out as a great series, but his wife hired a different author, and based upon Robert Jordan's extensive notes, three more books were created and the series was completed in 2013.

A year or so ago, I felt a kindling of interest resurface, and I borrowed book number 12 from the library. This was the first book that Brandon Sanderson had helped to author. To my joy and surprise, it was like encountering an old friend. The pace was fast, and I was captivated. However, I quickly realized that I didn't completely know what was going on.

So, at the end of last year I decided to re-read the series. Grig decided to read it as well. When I finished the first book, he picked it up. In the last six months I have read thirteen of his books. I read the first seven in a couple of months, and then it took me a few more to read books 8-10. They were  a bit slow, and not among my favorite of his books.

Two weeks ago, I finished book number ten again.

It wasn't quite as bad as I remembered it being. There were some interesting things that happened, but it was still a relief to be done with it, because then I was entering the realm that I'd really been looking forward to...reading books I hadn't read before.

I haven't blogged much in the last couple of weeks. I'm afraid that's because I've been reading quite a bit. Mostly it's been at night when Grig and Kevin are asleep, but because of it, I've been staying up later and not getting up as early, which has made it difficult to find time to write.

The more I've read the more excited I've become.

I finished book number thirteen a few moments ago. I only have one book left in the series, and it makes me a little sad. Finally, this old friend of mine will have a conclusion. It will be nice to get to the finishing line with these familiar characters that I've known for nearly two decades. It will also be an accomplishment in my life.

Recently, a tragedy occurred to someone I love that has set me to thinking a lot lately.

In part, this tragedy occurred because of bullying. It's made me think about my own high school and junior high years.

This is a great video about bullying and how we need to stop it.

High school was not always a happy time for me. It wasn't as bad as junior high, where I frequently cried after school from loneliness. I would go home, turn on Karen Carpenter's song "Only Yesterday," and drop on my bed to have a good cry. The first verse always really resonated with me. It says:

After long enough of being alone
Everyone must face their share of loneliness
In my own time nobody knew
The pain I was goin' through
And waitin' was all my heart could do

Hope was all I had until you came
Maybe you can't see how much you mean to me
You were the dawn breaking the night
The promise of morning light
Filling the world surrounding me
At the time, I didn't have anyone who had filled that void, but I did feel that "nobody knew the pain I was going through."

I never considered myself bullied when I was in those grades. However, when I think back on it, I realize that I did experience bullying. I had kids be downright rude to me, and often those I thought were my friends hurt me deeply.

However, as I've thought about it, I've wondered why I didn't struggle more. Though I was frequently in pain (and occasionally thought about running away), I never really wanted to leave my life. I think there are three reasons for that.

In writing these three things out, I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to make myself look good or show that I was perfected as handling criticism and loneliness, because I wasn't.

These are just the ways that I personally coped with trials.
#1: Family
I knew my family loved me (even if we didn't always get along perfectly). I knew I could go to my parents about anything and they would make time to talk to me.  
I have been so blessed with loving and supportive parents. 

#2: Church
The gospel had been a guiding light in my life since I was small. In times when I've really struggled, I turned to prayer, and I found someway to endure. 
Without the church, I would be a very different person today. Even if you don't believe the same things I do, I can tell you truthfully that the teachings that I follow have helped me become a good person. 

#3: Books (Escapism)
In junior high, I read a ton. People probably thought I was crazy. I tried to devour everything in my school's library. I consistently received over 1500 Accelerated Reader points every year (which might mean nothing to you, but at the time it was a source of pride for me), and I even competed with the school's librarian to see who could read more.  
What the other kids didn't understand is that the books were my friends. In them, I was popular, I was the hero, and I was always surrounded by people. The harder life got, the more I had to bury myself into a book to escape it. 
The Wheel of Time was one of the series that I read during this part of my life, which is one of the reasons that it has a special place in my heart. 
I've since learned that this actually isn't a very healthy way to deal with stress.
When I was separated from my book-world, it made me pretty unhappy. In fact, if I was reading a tense moment, I was pretty heavily invested emotionally, and if I was called away before it was resolved, that tenseness would remain with me and I would channel it. I'm sure my siblings always appreciated that.  
These three things got me through a pretty tough time. I don't read as much as I used to (except maybe this last week when I've read three 800-900 page books), and I've found other ways to cope with stress. Books have become a hobby as opposed to my life, but I'm grateful for how they helped me deal with loneliness when it felt like no one in the world loved me.

We never know what's going on inside somebody else's head. Having felt loneliness in my youth, I really empathize with others and hate it when I see someone sitting alone.

I try really hard not to judge others, and to try and see things from their perspective. This has occasionally placed me in the role of peacemaker, and it pleases me when I can help people settle conflict.

Life can be difficult, but it's important to keep going. We never know that pain that we will cause others if we leave them behind prematurely. Life does get better. I know that sometimes it doesn't seem like it ever will, but it eventually does get better.

Finishing what we start is important. It might have taken me two decades, but tonight (after Grig brings home the final book from the library for me) I will begin that last book in this very long series. I know that I'm going to feel great when I can finally say that I've finished it.

Won't it feel great when we get to the end of our lives and we can look back and see how we endured and finished?
Sometimes that isn't possible for everyone, but we should do what we can to make everyone's journey a little easier. It's always more fun to be traveling with real people than fictional ones, and nothing makes me happier than to discuss books I love with my husband.

Please treat those around you with kindness. I know I have ways that I can do better at that as well. We live in an age where people can be cruel anonymously and think that they aren't affecting anyone, or that there are no consequences for their actions.

This is such a lie.

There is no such thing as anonymity and actions without consequences. We are deluding ourselves if we think that what we say and do doesn't matter. It's not just the bad either. Good actions can have enormous, positive consequences as well.

We don't know what other people are going through, and how they're coping, but we can always do things to ease their burdens. Life's hard enough as it is.

Let's all try to finish together.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grig's Back in School!

Grig started school this week! That's been kind of exciting, but it also means that my poor husband has even less time to himself.

Grig had been thinking about applying at some other places a few months ago, but when he prayed about it, he had been told to stay with his current employer for now. However, he felt really directed that he should focus on schooling.

After a very long story and many prayers, we found out that he was supposed to go to the community college here in town and get his welding certificate. That was not the answer we had been expecting, but so far it's working out really well.

It's been well within our price range, and so far, Grig has really been enjoying it. He's getting to learn the basics of welding from an actual teacher, and not just from the guys at work. Hopefully, this means that once he has a couple of  years of welding experience at his work and his welding certificate, he will be able to get a better paying job that has more stability and fewer unpaid days off.

We know the Lord has a plan for us, and it is so much better than any plans we might have had for ourselves.

I never would have imagined that we'd be living in our own home with a large yard. It is so great to have people over and have room for everyone. There's more to clean and take care of, but it is SO worth it.

I never would have thought that I'd be so happily married with a wonderful son who is nearly two and a half.

I thought that by the time I was 28 I'd have five or six kids and be married nearly a decade, but I wasn't ready to get married by 18. I needed to experience some things in life before I met my wonderful husband. I'm not disappointed at all. I've met so many wonderful people over the course of my life, and I wouldn't change any part of it.

Life isn't going the way I planned, but it is so much better.

Grig's at class right now, and he's a trooper, because essentially he's doing thirteen hours of welding a couple of days a week. That's a lot of welding. He should be pretty good at it by the time he's finished with this beginning welding class. He has a great eye for detail, and he's careful. He's also becoming faster as he works on it.

I think his employers like him quite a bit. I sure do.

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Baby Animal Days

Last weekend, we attended Baby Animal Days at the American Heritage Museum.

Kevin had a fantastic time, though some of the large animals scared him a tiny bit.

It's fun to see how much he's grown since last year. He's still too young to ride on the pony rides, but next year he'll be old enough.

Here are some pictures we took, as well as a new video.
Here's a baby bison.
Family picture before the candy cannon.
Waiting in line for the baby bears took forever, but Kevin was a good sport!

The baby bears were pretty cute. We enjoyed watching them once we made it through the line.
This little exhausted cub was especially cute.
Kevin loved the rabbit. He keeps kissing its forehead.
Sometimes he had to snuggle into Grig's coat to keep warm.
Kevin sure loved to play in the petting zoo.
Despite his face, the train was probably his favorite part.

Kevin loved all of the baby ducks and other animals.
The foal was super cute!

It was pretty tempting to get Kevin a chick. Once he held one, he never wanted to let go. Here he is giving it a kiss.

This final horse is worth a few more words. He had a funny little mustache and we fed him some grass. Right after he finished eating it, he let out a really loud neigh which sprayed grass all over my face. It was pretty funny, but unfortunately we were out of room on the memory stick so we didn't catch that moment on video. He was a nice horse though; huge and gentle.

We had an excellent time. It was a bit cold, but Kevin had his superman jacket and cape, so he was okay.

Here's the video I made for it:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mormon Monday: General Conference April 2015

Well, another spring has passed, and with it, another General Conference. In previous posts (Click here or here) I've explained what General Conference is if you're not familiar with it, but with this post, and wanted to talk about my favorite talk.

I always love to hear Elder Jeffery R. Holland speak. I think it is the passion with which he gives his talks that really helps me to feel the spirit. Here's the talk if you want to hear the whole of it:

He begins by talking about two brothers who are climbing a cliff without safety gear and encounter an obstacle that they can't get past, and a point where they can't return.

The older brother hoists the younger brother to safety, but then he faces his own death as he sees no way out for himself. He sends his younger brother off while he gives one last desperate attempt to save himself.

As he jumps, he lands and feels nothing under his clenching fingers but "loose sand on flat stone." He feels himself slipping to his death. Then, his younger brother who never left, grips his arms and pulls him to safety.

He moves from this story to talking about how yesterday was Easter Sunday, and it was the most sacred day of the year because it is where brotherly hands (Christ's) reached to save us all.

Elder Holland then proclaims that we can't fully comprehend Christ's sacrifice for us, unless we understand that there was a need for His sacrifice because Adam and Eve lived and fell. If there was no fall of mankind, we wouldn't need a Savior to lift us back up from the brink.

However, because Adam and Eve did live, we do need a Savior, and he CAN save us.

At one point, he talks about the purpose of life. He asks, "Are we all just hanging in a cold canyon somewhere, in an indifferent universe?...Each of us seeking for something to help, something to grip? With nothing, but the feeling of sand sliding under our fingers...with nothing to hold on to, and much less anything to hold onto us? Is our only purpose in life an empty existential exercise simply to leap as high as we can, hang on for our prescribed three score years and ten, and then fail and fall, and keep falling forever?"

"The answer to those questions is an unequivocal and eternal NO."

Elder Holland speaks with such passion that regardless of whether or not you believe what he's saying, you can tell that HE believes what he is saying. I really appreciate that about him. There is no pretense, he is simply saying what he believes with all of his heart. Elder Holland knows that Christ is our Savior and he isn't afraid to share it.

I also know that Adam and Eve lived. As much as it contradicts common scientific evidence, it doesn't matter to me because I have felt the truth of it from the source of all truth. "The resurrection must come by reason of the fall." As I know that Adam and Eve lived and their is a need for salvation, I also know that Christ lived and he was resurrected! Christ lives now.

He is a huge part of my life, and daily I strive to know Him more and more. I have a lot of work to do (as conference reminds me), and I know that Christ wants me to improve.

I know that wherever we are in life, whatever we've done, Christ is standing with open arms to receive us. He loves us more than we can comprehend. I have felt a tiny bit of the love that He feels for us, and it was almost more than my mortal frame could bear. If you've ever felt so full of love that you nearly felt as though you were going to burst, I think you have some small inkling of the love that our Savior and Heavenly Father feel for us. I have felt that way, and often toward people that I barely knew.

I often felt that way on my mission, and I knew it was the a gift from the Lord to me. He let me have a glimpse of how he feels for His children, and I am so grateful for that.

I know Christ lives. He loves me and He loves each one of you.

I'd like to extend the invitation to listen to the rest of general conference. It's all available on youtube, and on the church website I know that as you listen with real intent and with prayer to find answers, they will be given to you.

They were given to me.