Beautiful Mornings

Original Talk Given:  December 15th, 2013mary-joseph-with-baby-jesus-39533-wallpaper

“…And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Imagine in your mind this great event. A “multitude of heavenly host”. How many individuals was that? I imagine a group the size of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, all in white, singing with all their energy because of the excitement of what had occurred. Jesus Christ had been born. The significance of the birth overshadowed only by the life and sacrifice he made for each of us. I don’t see my imaginary Mo-Tab singing just because a baby was born, but they were singing because of the chain of events that was about to unfold. The most important, long awaited event for the salvation of man was finally going to occur.

During the Great Council in Heaven it was decided we would all be blessed with the chance to come to earth, to learn, to grow, and to choose. It was also decided that our elder brother Jesus would choose to come to earth, suffer for our sins, and die for us all that we might live again. Do all this so that we might be together as a family forever again someday. THIS is why my Mo Tab was singing! This baby’s birth led to the events that would save us all from sin. This is one of the happiest times in the history of the world.

One of the challenges with the commercialization of Christmas is the overwhelming concept of “Enough”. We live in a world where the culture all around us is telling us the tree isn’t tall enough, there aren’t enough lights, it doesn’t sparkle enough, there aren’t enough presents under the tree, and we didn’t spend enough on those presents. The only way Christmas is going to be good is if the house looks perfect, my family is dressed perfect, the meal is perfect, and everyone is happy with the gifts they received. Any slight deviation from the “plan” and Christmas will be ruined!

Because of these unrealistic expectations, many feel extreme amounts of angst about the Holidays. There are feelings of inadequacy, unhappiness, depression, or even anger about what is supposed to be the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” How do we as followers of Jesus Christ rise above all this and make sure this year is the year we feel the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts and in our homes?

I was specifically asked to speak on a talk given by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy from the April 2013 General Conference. It is titled Beautiful Mornings. In the talk, he repeatedly shared stories in the scriptures about intense challenges like that of the Savior’s suffering in Golgotha where He suffered for our sins as well as the difficult moment of his crucifixion. He also mentioned Brigham Young’s time when the Saints suffered great persecution, even death and destruction. All of these situations could have been times of horrible despair. Times where faith could give way to uncertainty or even disbelief. In each situation it could have led to an END of some kind.

Imagine if you will the line of history being a great sporting event. As each of these sad, dark times occur you can almost see the adversary and all his followers jumping to their feet, the cheers the waving of their flag in approval. The excitement of an eminent win!

But then can you see as they all look across the field to see the opposing fans. Our Father In Heaven, angels, our ancestors, and our other brothers and sisters. As each of these tragedies occur, you can see each of them wipe the tears from their eyes out of compassion and empathy for the suffering that occurred. But behind the tears you see a strong resolution, the confidence, the strength, the KNOWLEDGE, knowing that His plan will be fulfilled, we can’t lose and those who had to pass through sorrow and tribulation will rise above and grow greater than the challenge that beset them. This crowd begins to chant, a cheer of inspiration pulling us participants towards the next obstacle that leads us to an ultimate victory.

A few of these “Cheers” from the scriptures:

(John 16:33) “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

(D&C 68:6) “Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you”

In some of the most difficult times of history we are commanded to be of good cheer. Is that commandment only for extreme times of trouble. No. No matter what trail has been placed before us. We are commanded to be of good cheer… Why, because we have knowledge of, faith in, and a testimony of He who rose about it all, our Savior Jesus Christ. And that is what he has asked us to do.


So how do we tie this back into the Holiday Season? How do we move past a Christmas that is never “Enough”, or that is lacking Christ, to a Christmas that is full of true Joy, Happiness, or Cheer?

I turned to President Monson’s Christmas Devotional talk from this December 2013. He instructed us that in order to make the Savior the focus of the season, we must GIVE to the Savior. We should be considering gifts that reflect the love and selflessness like that of the example our Savior set while he was here upon the earth.

1.) Seek out a bright particular star

Our prophet suggested we seek out a star. This translates in my mind to seeking out a direction. This may involve stopping where you are, dropping to your knees, and praying to our Father in Heaven.   Plead with our Heavenly Father to help you know what to do this holiday season, and how he wants you to celebrate His son’s birth. Don’t be surprised if the way you receive an answer is to have the Holy Ghost place names and faces in your mind. These are the individuals you are called to serve. So what should you do for them?

2.)   Journey to Bethlehem

The prophet asked us to Journey to Bethlehem. That doesn’t sound easy. If we were really going to do that it would take considerable time and effort. I think what President Monson was saying is it may require a little work. It may require some time (you already “don’t have”:). Which means it may require you to re-prioritize some activities you had planned this holiday season. Use the Good, Better, Best measuring stick. With the Lord’s hand, you will know what needs to be done, and what can be let go.

3rd: Give as the Savior Gave

Keep it simple. None of the Savior’s gifts had bows, pretty ribbon, or gold leafing on them. But each of them were laced with wonderful eternal consequences. Here are a few of the examples President Monson gave us to consider:pictures-of-jesus-smiling-1138511-wallpaper

Show more interest in people than in things.

Help those less fortunate

Forgive our Enemies

Remember old friends

Obey God – simply give a gift of obedience. Perhaps just a change of your own personal behavior is the BEST gift you can give.

Give of yourself, give of your time, give gifts of understanding, compassion, service, friendship, kindness, gentleness.

Finally: A Special Gift

As Christ walked the earth… he had one goal: To be about His Father’s business. Christ spent each and every day preaching His Gospel. He taught everyday about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. His words, His deeds, His every thought was for us. This was His Father’s business. This is what he would do again if he were on the earth. As Disciples of Christ, this is what he has asked each of us to do… especially at this time of year; to let all of his children know the way to return to their Heavenly Father.

The birth of our Savior was and is one of the greatest events in the history of this world. Let’s not get caught up into anything that doesn’t help us to have and feel that Joy this holiday season. Don’t let the adversary have the next three weeks of your life. This is your time to feel the Spirit of Christ in your life, grow your testimony, do our Heavenly Father’s will, and perhaps bring someone else closer to their Savior. Don’t miss out on it.

I want to share my testimony about Jesus Christ. I have often felt uncomfortable about sharing it, because I couldn’t put into words the way I felt. In the October 2013 General Conference President Uchdorf started out his talk with a story of a man asking all that is required of Latter Day Saints. At the end of this huge list showing requirements of time, talents, money, and sacrifices, the individual inquiring about our church he then asked: “Why would anyone want to join such a church?” I remember I was in the kitchen doing some dishes from breakfast as I listened to conference. I thought to myself how I would answer that question. A lump formed in my throat as I almost felt a bit of embarrassment for even asking that in my head. The answer: Because it is True, and I KNOW my Savior lives. Because He lives, I have no choice but to do all that he has asked of me. I pray that each of us will act as He would have us do as we celebrate His birthday. And that as we keep Him at the center of the holiday season we will feel the happiness and joy He has commanded us to.

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

Enable Salvation of the Dead: Building Confidence in Gospel Service

Original Talk Given: November 24, 2015payson-temple-lds-947052-wallpaper

This talk is similar to one I gave previous this year, but there are a few added insights and personal details worth sharing.

Enable Salvation of the Dead: by qualifying myself and my family for the blessings of the temple and seeking out ancestors who are awaiting my assistance in this great work.

In the last five years. This work has begun to hit my radar. I think some of that motivation for me was the ease of use with many of the resources that have been created. I could not come up with any more barriers (excuses) not to do the work.

As I prepared for this talk, I had a bit of an excitement. In recent years I have done quite a bit to be involved in the salvation of the dead. This is an area of the Gospel that I actually feel like I’m kind of good at.

You see I am not an amazing speaker, or a great scriptorian. I grew up as second generation LDS, so I know all the primary songs, I understand the culture, I even served in leadership growing up, but because I made the decision to not serve a mission at age 19 like most young men, I was significantly behind in matters of scripture knowledge, using my priesthood, and feeling comfortable with the language of the gospel. I often times feel a lack of confidence in my abilities to perform certain church functions. For example, of my four children, I had to baptize three of them twice because I missed a word in the prayer, or didn’t dunk them the whole way. Each time I knew what to do, and knew what to say, but my nerves were so frazzled that it was difficult for me to perform the ordinance perfectly.

Family history and temple service has been a little different for me. This area of the gospel gives me a chance to “practice” the ordinances, the language of the gospel, and become more familiar with feeling the spirit on a regular basis. I’m able to do this in private and practice. By regular temple attendance and work on Family History, I’ve been able to build my confidence in gospel matters, which has now rolled over in other areas of service.

This has benefited me a few different ways. I’m able to be calm at the temple, and not nervous that I’m not doing or saying something right. I just enjoy my time and attempt to feel what the lord has for me.

When I’m asked to perform blessings, setting aparts, or perform priesthood ordinances, it’s not new to me. It’s something I feel more comfortable with.

Finally it’s something measurable for me. I can set goals and track my progress with indexing and family history. I can see the stack of blue and pink cards grow and shrink as the work is completed. I also enjoy the technology side of the coin… I love playing with the technology but if I don’t have something constructive to do with it, it feels like a waste.

So it’s in this spirit of humility and knowing my own shortcomings that I share a few stories surrounding Enabling Salvation of the Dead.


Attending the temple hasn’t always been an easy thing for me. I always envied those that went the temple and had these amazing revelatory experiences and felt so good when they went to the temple. When I first began attending, I didn’t feel that way at all. I was nervous, uncomfortable, and I felt like I was the only one that didn’t know where to go or what to do. There was one point where I actually couldn’t find my way back to the changing room. I just felt stupid. I left the temple on many occasions frustrated and not wanting to return.

A little over 9 years ago, I had made some really bad employment decisions that basically made our family homeless. I had started down the path of correction and got a new job, but my pregnant wife and kids had to go live with my in-laws for two months while I started a new job and tried to find a new home. I ended up living with a good friend of mine in his basement. I felt horrible for intruding on him and his family and I wanted to be there as little as possible so as to not intrude. I decided to attend the temple every week. I went after work on Wednesdays. I think the most I had been to the temple previously had been quarterly, or less. But I thought while I was away from my family, I might as well do everything I could do to work on me. By the end of this two months, I felt much more comfortable in the temple. I felt as though I belonged, and I know the Lord blessed that temple attendance. The home we were directed to is the home we live in now. My life has been richly blessed because of that decision to be in the temple… despite my past reservations and feelings of inadequacy.

Temple Dedications, Open Houses

I’m sure most of us feel the same way when President Monson announces a new temple to be built. We hear the city and country and most of the time we think, ah that’s amazing… So and so will love having that temple so close, or wow, there are a lot of diligent Saints there. Occasionally, you’ll hear a location and the spirit testifies to you it’s time for that place to have a temple. Often times an area you are very familiar with or have lived is announced and you’re overwhelmed with joy and immediately start planning your trip to be at the open house. Of course others, you hear the location, and think… I don’t even know where that is, but yay! Another temple?

Regardless, we are a temple loving people. It is one of the most exciting things for us to hear the Lord has another house to pour out blessing to his saints in that corner of the globe.

Whenever possible my wife and I make it a point to get to temple open houses with our family. I’m sure many of us want that. It is not coincidence that each of us wants to see our whole family in the temple together. Obviously, making covenants and performing ordinances someday, but for today, to walk through the temple and see our children inside the temple with us is an incredible feeling. I believe it is a brief prelude of the future. Our family together in the presence of the Lord. Could we desire anything more? I look forward to a repeat of this as the Provo City Center Temple provide the same opportunities.

One memory I have of the Draper temple open house wasn’t as reverent as I would hope. As I turned to admire and look at some room, I think it was an endowment room. My son, somehow got past the ropes keeping us away from one of the couches. He climbed up on the couch and for some reason actually bit the wooden banister on the staircase behind. I was horrified! But now I think back to a memory that is so locked into my mind. My son, in the temple! There is no picture that could leave a deeper impression in my mind. I’m sure many of us feel like their kids are not reverent enough to go to an open house, or do Family Home Evening walking around the temple grounds. But I know the Lord wants our children familiar with the temple. For many of them, it just takes some getting used to. Don’t keep yourself or your family away from the temple, for any reason.

Los AngelesTouch the Temple

Somewhere around this same time my wife and I heard this from President Monson: I’m pretty sure it was in a conference talk but it really had an impact on me.

President Monson related this story: The late Elder Matthew Cowley, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once recounted the Saturday afternoon experience of a grandfather as hand in hand he took his small granddaughter on a birthday visit—not to the zoo or to the movies but to the temple grounds. With permission of the groundskeeper, the two walked to the large doors of the temple. He suggested that she place her hand on the sturdy wall and then on the massive door. Tenderly he then said to her, “Remember that this day you touched the temple. One day you will go inside.” His gift to the little one was not candy or ice cream but an experience far more significant and everlasting—an appreciation of the house of the Lord. She had touched the temple, and the temple had touched her.

Elder Monson, ‘As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.”

Having very young kids my wife and I thought this might be a good thing to do with our kids for family home evening, and then it branched out to something we looked forward to as we went on vacation. Please don’t think by some imagination it is this quite reverent stroll through the temple grounds. With three little boys, there is always someone trying to swing from a tree, wade through a fountain, pick a flower, or steal rocks and put them in their pocket.

Each time we have the kids pose at the door of the temple and put their hand on it, and we take a picture. To date, we have done this at 18 different temples. The visit usually ends with someone getting yelled at in a hushed, whisper. But I have confidence in knowing that my children know the temple, and they know it’s important to our family. I hope this is a good start to a life-long love of the temple. I do have faith in President Monson’s promise that the “temple will touch them”. In this day and time, they will NEED the temple to touch them.


100 Names in 100 Days

Each year, our ward participates is something to do with 100 names and the temple. One year it was to do 100 ordinances in 100 days of family names in our ward. Another was to have a member of our ward in the temple EVERY day the temple was open for 100 days. And then this year we did a special indexing effort of encouraging every to do 100 names indexing for the 100 days.

The year we decided to do 100 ordinances I really felt the impression to begin my temple work. I wanted to have some names that were included in this batch we were working on. At the time I was in young men’s and we needed to come up with names anyway to take for our next temple trip. We were going to be doing baptisms for the dead in the Monticello Temple as part of our youth conference. I had no idea where to begin. Fortunately, the ward hosted a family history class during Sunday School. A husband and wife in our ward, patiently helped us navigate through the After talking with my dad and an aunt I got started. My number one goal was to find where my Brown line came from. My father had traced it back five generations in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, but I didn’t know where it went from there. I traced the line back to New York… for now. But in the process, uncovered dozens and dozens of names. I was so touched as the names I knew were done in that small temple. It was an incredible experience to do that for the first time.

How amazing it was to have the tools at my finger tips, in my home, that I could do at any time. I encourage you all to just get in and try it. It will take a couple of hours to get your bearings and understand the landscape, but after that each time you return you’re moving forward.

It has been such a wonderful feeling to connect to these ancestors I never knew.   I have felt a special spirit as I do this work late at night. It’s kind of detective work in a way. I love to uncover forgotten names, or run across a mistake or something missed. I know I’m not alone in the work.

One thing that moves me each time I’m looking over a family record, or a census is the lack of the back story to go along with the ancestors I’m looking at. I’m moved when I see a child’s name on one census and then not there on the next census ten years later. Then in another record I find a death certificate and learn the child passed away at a young age. I have a few ancestors that were in second marriages with kids that are hers, mine, and ours. My heart is softened as I sit considering what those experiences must have been like; the suffering or the sadness that must have been felt. The sacrifices and trials my ancestors had to endure are humbling to me. To know that much of what they went through has gotten me to where I am today, and possibly shaped my character in some way.

Madison to the Temple

Another thought I want to share with you about my maturing down this path involves my daughter Madison. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but the moment Madison turned 12 we made it a priority to get to the temple for the first time together. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Madison loves the temple. It has been so inspiring to hear her talk about the temple and see the importance it already has in her life. I know my testimony of the temple wasn’t anywhere near that level when I was Madison’s age. One Sunday afternoon Madison took some time to set up her It took us a few hours, but she found six names we were able to take to the temple. I had to guide her for a little bit to get started, but it wasn’t long before she was correcting me and directing where I made mistakes or was being inefficient. The spirit was very strong as I stood in the font with my daughter to perform baptisms for these relatives. It will be an experience I will always remember.

President Monson has offered a few of the benefits of this work:

Closeness to the Lord

Clearer perspective

Sense of purpose and peace

Will be able to bear every trial

Overcome each temptation

President Packer’s benefits of this work:

Receive Spiritual Perspective

The dust of distraction the haze seem to lift, we can see things that were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.

Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection

Elder Bednar (October 2011 General Conference)

…Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.

Doing the work of Salvation of the Dead is challenging and rewarding. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity I have had to dig in just a little so far. I’m very humbled by the mini successes I have had and the spirit I have felt as I perform the work. This gospel is a very hands on and there is a lot expected of us as saints. Many times we are expected to just know what to do or what to say at the right time. For some of us, this can be difficult. I testify that  I’m thankful for that growth and strength it has brought to my life. I hope we each make the time to make the Temple more of a priority in our lives and be able to take of the blessings that come because of it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ


Original Talk Given July 28th, 2013

At the beginning of the year our State Presidency introduced the Stake Priorities, known as the Divinely Appointed Responsibilities. An outline of these can also be found in Handbook 2: Administering in the Church, Section 2.2

When I heard this originally, I thought, great idea. “It’s good that the Stake has some goals. I hope they do really well at that.” I didn’t really recognize they were asking US as a stake to help them achieve these goals. As high council, we have been asked to reintroduce the priorities, and encourage each member of the stake to set some goals for the remainder of the year in relation to each of these priorities.

Let me review with you what those are again:

Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ by loving, serving, and ministering to others in their personal lives.

Gather Israel Through Missionary Work by prayerful personal preparation and “seeking after the one.”

Care For the Poor and Needy through faithful payment of tithes, and other offerings of time, talents, and temporal means.

Enable Salvation of the Dead by qualifying myself and my family for the blessings of the temple and seeking out ancestors who are awaiting my assistance in this great work.

Today we’re going to focus on: Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ (by loving, serving, and ministering to others in their personal lives).

I shared with my daughter my topic for this week and she told me she knew what two of those words were, loving and serving, but wasn’t sure about Ministering. So I thought I would focus specifically on Ministering.

This topic is much more simple that the word makes it sound. The definition reads: to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities.

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 18:5 it reads: “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”

At baptism, we covenanted with the Lord that we would perform this work for others: This is Alma speaking:

Mosiah 18:8-10

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

At first glance, ministering feels or sounds like it’s to be done, aligned with a particular calling, or only certain individuals are supposed to perform such work. But in reality it’s a calling we all share. The ways we minister vary, but all of us have the ability to perform the work.

As I prepared four areas of focus stood out to me:

Be Prepared

Recognize needs

Build Relationships/Gain Trust


*** Warning, each of these will help us to be a better ‘Minister’, but only Acting is truly necessary. Each focus just allows us to be more effective and possibly efficient in our service.

1. Be Prepared

How do you feel about your neighbor? Do you love your neighbor, as we are commanded to. I think most of us have a positive feeling about the people we’re surrounded by but I wonder if we have that love for others that keeps our minds and hearts open to their needs. I like to think I have love in my heart for others, but often times my pride gets in the way, and it blinds me from doing or feeling the way I should towards another. Yes, the spirit will direct our efforts, but doesn’t it help the Lord if we know someone well enough to see the need and not have to wait for an impression to do something.

Listen and be in tune with the Spirit

Ministering is doing what the Savior would do if he were here upon the earth. How could we hope to do His will if we don’t know what that will is? The only way we can know is to stay in tune with the spirit. This requires the typical “primary answers.” Go to church, read your scriptures, pray regularly, fast, be obedient to commandments, pay your tithes and offerings, and attend the temple regularly.

I think there is a tougher challenge to being in tune with the Spirit. Listening. This is one of those areas where Satan has the ability to stop our efforts. He does this through all the interruptions we face daily. Movies, Music, Facebook, Pinterest, hobbies, sports, our jobs or other worldly pursuits are the things that can keep us “out-of-touch”. These distractions keep us from knowing who really needs our help, or from what we could do to assist them.

For me, work can definitely be a challenge that interrupts:

A few years ago, I was preparing for a special training with my agents and I kept feeling like what I did for a living was a complete waste of time. I felt good about what I did, I knew I was helping people, but I felt as though I was wasting my time and not doing the Lord’s work. The training I was preparing at this time was about Associate Engagement. It was to help others to be more comfortable in how they felt with the company, what they did, and how they did it. By increasing Associate Engagement, productivity and consumer engagement would then increase. For some reason I was feeling hypocritical because “I” was lacking that engagement. YES, I know that what I did helped people, but that was in a worldly sense. I wanted to feel like I was doing more.

I felt inspired as it came to my mind that in most everything we do, we have the ability to touch lives. In most work places, we interact with people. Every interaction is an opportunity to lift someone else’s burden, to offer assistance, or to influence someone in a positive way. This way of thinking has changed the way I look at a meeting with an associate or an appointment in a perspective client’s home. I can be a disciple, look for ways to minister, and still perform my mundane worldly duties of the job.

Can you think of instances where you normally wouldn’t consider it a good time to “minister”?

We have the chance to make a difference in every area of our lives. Have you ever thought how you could minister in the most of annoying situations? At the DMV? When a telemarketer calls you at dinner-time? or even when you have a difference of opinion with a coworker?

How in tune we are with the spirit could determine how well we act in those situations.

Let’s turn to the scriputures and follow an example of the Savior:

In Luke 8:43-48 the Savior has been alerted by a father Jairus that his daughter is close to death if not already passed away so Jesus was on his way to see her:

43 ¶And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

Could Jesus have just kept going at this moment when he had an important task he was asked to do? Yea, maybe, but instead even after the woman has been healed, HE gives her a statement of confidence and love to reassure her she was right, and good, and it was ok what she did. In a brief 30 second passing, could we say or do something that might help someone to feel the love of the Savior, or our Heavenly Father?

I have conversations everyday with many different people. Some of those conversation, discussing the delicate things of life; sickness, death, family changes, financial duress, and unemployment. I get the opportunity EVERYDAY to minister to others, but only if I’m in tune and choose to Minister instead of just do WORK. This is definitely an area of my life where I know I can do better. I’m far from where I need to be.

2. Recognize needs

I remember a lesson a while ago where the teacher lead a discussion about what attributes you and I possess as Sons and Daughters of Heavenly Parents. Our earthly parents passed down things like eye color, hair color, attached ear lobes/unattached ear lobes, etc. Sympathy, compassion, and empathy are a few of the characteristics I believe were passed down to each of us as traits from Divine Parents. The light of Christ in all of us may be another way to say it. It’s evident when we hear about a family with a sick child, a father who loses his job unexpectedly, or when a close friend loses a loved one. I think each of us feel something. Some of us are moved emotionally, others are driven to their knees in prayer, still others go into to-do-list mode, considering all the things that need to be done to help that individual. Regardless of our reaction, we all recognize when there is any degree of human suffering or need.

These characteristics are meant to cause us to feel uncomfortable, or to feel sadness for the individual in need. It’s these feelings that are meant to drive us to action. When someone stands in need, our divine make-up has us wired to move our bodies into action!

During the April 2011 General Conference President Erying spoke about this. “When the Lord hears the cries of those who suffer or stand in need, and He hears the prayers and pleading of those who want to help, He sends his guidance through the power of the Holy Ghost to those who can lift in the way necessary.”

Don’t discount the feelings you have when you hear of someone in need. Learn to understand, open your mind and your heart, and turn to the Lord when you feel one of those heavenly emotions: sympathy, compassion, and empathy.

3. Build Relationships/Gain Trust (this doesn’t have to be there in some situation, but if you are striving for it, it means much more when the message comes out of love rather than duty)

This is something I spend a ton of time talking about at work. I’m in sales. I train other agents regularly about the sales process. There are many important parts of a sales presentation but to me the most important is to build the relationship. To build common ground, to have perspective clients recognize you as “human” a real person with similar challenges and issues, and have them trust you is so important. I teach my folks to ask questions and then sit and listen.

I think it’s best to be involved in building relationships all the time. Then when someone needs help, it’s easier to draw from what you know about them to better fill the need.

It’s understandable that in many situations you don’t know the individual at all before the Spirit called you to their assistance. That’s ok too, but it’s crucial that when you have the chance, even if it’s a brief period, that we do our best to understand them, listen to the things they have to say, and listen to how they say things.

I like this advice from Elder Holland found in Preach My Gospel. In this case he is speaking of someone investigating the LDS Church, but I believe it applies:

“More important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more. If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit and by our friends.”

I remember when I was very new to sales, sitting in a home with a lady that was very negative towards us being there. I couldn’t tell if she just wanted to yell at somebody, or was in a foul mood. Either way, I was getting it “both barrels.” I was training a new agent and he was making faces like we needed to get out of there.

At one point the lady had to go get something down the hall while we sat in the front room. I remembered we had not taken the time to get to know her (because we were getting chewed out from the moment we walked in the door). I quickly scanned her living room for anything that might bring us some common ground. Two things caught my eye and I was impressed that there was something special about them. She had a coffee table book about Dance, and then a beautiful glass figurine of a ballerina. My four-year-old daughter had just begun dance classes.

When the lady returned I asked her about the figurine. It was incredible, she melted with emotion on the spot. She told us how she had been a professionally trained dancer, then taught dance to hundreds of girls over the course of 20 plus years. Upon retiring, her students had a special event to honor her contributions and gave her the figurine as a token of appreciation. I shared my daughter’s recent dancing attempts, and the walls fell! Needless to say, the rest of our visit together (even the business part) was pleasant and enjoyable. By showing genuine interest I was able to change the climate of the situation and offer sincere help, and it was then well received.

Here is a little reminder I use to help me get to know someone better. I remember the acronym:


H ome – how long they have lived there, where they are from, who lives there with them, notice and comment on beautiful/unique things in their home.

E mployment – what they do for a living ? How long they have worked there? Where did they prepare for work? College, Tech School, etc.

L oved Ones – Children, grandchildren, spouse, brothers and sisters

P urpose – What’s important to them? What they like to do? Where do they spend down time? What brings them joy?

4. Act

This is the only required step of ministering and does not require the other three to be completed first. When you are prompted, Go and do. Don’t prepare, don’t wait for the right time. Step outside your comfort zone, and just DO.

Christ was a perfect example of ministering Christ knows how to minister perfectly… if we are his hands, should we not be able to do the same? The blessing of discernment will be yours. You WILL be guided in what to say and do.

There are so many different ways to minister. Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching, Quorum and Group Leader visits to name a few. It’s the meals to the sick, it’s the phone call to say hi. It could be a text message or an email. It could even be an invitation to do something, a commitment, a request of change in someone’s life. It could be an invitation to share Family Home Evening with you, or to come over and visit with the missionaries.

There was a comment I heard from the CEO of our company Mike McAllister. He made a comment that when we act this way to serve others, “We move into peoples’ lives.” I love that phrase for some reason… We Move Into People’s Lives. Doesn’t that feel like something our Father-in-Heaven wants of us. For his son’s and daughters to be actively involved in each other’s lives?

I think it’s difficult to explain exactly what ministering looks like, but I think these are some of the intentions: support, comfort, kindness, attention, encouragement, inclusion, acceptance, and a chance to feel the love from others and of our Heavenly Father. I pray that each of us will prayerfully consider what kind of ministers we are, and what we need to change in order to be the ministers our Heavenly Father needs us to be. I promise, that as we do so, we will have the ability to bless the lives of the people around us and help them to recognize the source of all goodness, even Jesus Christ, and want to come unto him. I leave this message with you in his name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.