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They Stayed Up His Hands

One of the most inspired principles in the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the idea of presidencies. One man or woman is called to lead. It is up to them to make the difficult decision and move the work forward. It is their right to receive revelation over their stewardship. However, each president is part of a presidency. A president is given two counselors for support, insight, and help. I have two of the best.

The idea is not new in the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter, James and John were a presidency of leadership.

Even Moses had the help of two capable men. 

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Sixteen items of gratitude – Mission edition

Since there was so much time in the home office this year, I took the opportunity to scan my mission journal, separate it into days, add it to my current digital journal, and type out the pages so they would be searchable. With 820 pages of written journal, it was a big undertaking and it was wonderful. I would get so lost in the days and details that it would take me a bit to transition back to the current time.

Serving a mission was incredibly rewarding and I loved it.

These days, new missionaries come to sit with me in my church office. The first thing I tell them is that “I don’t want to hear the word ‘sacrifice’ as we talk about their efforts to prepare for and serve a mission. It’s a wonderful adventure and a fun time.”

I would never be able to list out all of the wonderful people and experiences from the mission field.

So here are just 16 items of thanks from my time as a missionary:

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Twenty-one random reasons for gratitude

Here are 21 things that I am thankful for in my life:

I am thankful for little birds that sit on our back patio and give us all something to smile about. 

I am thankful for adults who know how to help kids feel safe and appreciated. It’s a skill I admire. 

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What is wrong with them?

Why have they lost their way so much? They want to take all the money from the most important things and give it to their own projects. The changes they make are going to hurt the economy and make us less safe. 

I can’t even call them leaders. They make poor choices, their history is corrupt and they seem unintelligent. 

What really needs to happen is a little more cooperation from their side. They need to change. They are holding onto a decision just so they don’t have to admit being wrong. They want power. I’m sure they’re going to vote for only their side even though some of those people are bad people. 

I don’t know why my friend supports them. I can’t even talk to people who support that way of thinking. How could they hate everything about this country and it’s history?


It seems that nearly everyone can agree with the above statement as long as there are no names or parties attached. I’ve left those parts out and only included the contention. Seen under this light, it’s amazing what has been allowed into our life.

The biting comments. The destroyed relationships. The justification of judgment.

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A Scorecard for Life

I enjoy early morning rounds of golf. The world is still quiet. The course is still calm. The rising sun makes for some beautiful photos. I snap a photo each morning to include in my journal for the day. Sometimes it will be my only good shot of the day.

Some time ago, I scored 84 in a round of golf for the first time in a couple decades. It was exciting. Kind of. I had thought back to the round and remembered some gimme putts that were probably not sure things. I also had a couple mulligan shots.

When those shots are sitting in the back of your mind, the scorecard is a lot harder to celebrate.

On that day I made a commitment. If I am going score a golf round, I would always keep a completely accurate score. I don’t require it of playing partners. It’s not for the sake of competition. I just wanted to have an accurate measuring stick from that point on. That way, accomplishments really are something to be celebrated. I know that they are true.

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Hope and Unity in a Divided World

Many of my friends and family will be returning to worship in church buildings soon. The first step back will be a shortened sacrament meeting with limited attendance. There will also be cautions in place around gathering, the passing of the sacrament, etc. Some actions will feel a little different at first but I am confident the Spirit will be familiar and we will be able to adapt. 

Our family has been preparing our hearts to take this first step back. It is exciting. We have really enjoyed sacrament in the home but I know it hasn’t been easy for everyone.

For nearly a month, I have been studying a general conference talk from 2008 by President Henry B Eyring. In “Our Hearts Knit as One” he speaks to the importance of unity, acceptance and love. 

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Will you stand forever?

Nearly five years ago I sat with Lawrence E Corbridge and others in a church office. He was serving as a General Authority at the time and he was in Las Vegas to organize a new stake. I sat with him on Friday night then again on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. The next day he set me apart as a stake president. The full process of that weekend is a story for another time.

In all the conversation with Elder Corbridge, I was inspired and also curious. He taught and inspired me. I felt like there was more I should have learned. What was I missing?

I came away with pages full of notes and appreciation for him. I have felt that way ever since that weekend.

In early January 2019, he gave a talk at BYU called “Stand Forever.” It is now one of my favorite talks of all time.

Stand Forever by Lawrence E Corbridge

I’ve listened to these words many times in the last 18 months.

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Sharing the First Vision in comfortable ways

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a high council meeting of the Shadow Mountain Stake. I always look forward to these meetings where I can sit with this council. They’ve become such good friends and a critical support for me. 

Each time we meet, I invite the members of the council to add any agenda items that they would like to cover while together. This particular meeting, one of the council members wanted to say a few words about how he was answering the invitation of President Nelson to learn more about the restoration in preparation for General Conference. 

“Select your own questions. Design your own plan. Act on any of these invitations to prepare yourself for sharing the important messages of the ongoing Restoration.”

He told us about his own hobby of collecting coins. He had a picture of a penny minted in 1820, the same year as the First Vision, in which Joseph Smith saw and conversed with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

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The Power of Repetitious Teaching

Note: A portion of a talk I gave at the Shadow Mountain Stake Conference held May 2019 in Las Vegas, NV.

I recently conducted a social experiment on my children. Wait, let me phrase that another way.

I recently taught my children something new.

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to see how long it would take for my kids to pick up on a phrase and put it into their vocabulary. I had to find a phrase that they would have never heard anywhere so I could know it was the first time they were being introduced to it.

I decided on a phrase that was used in a marketing campaign from the forties by some appliance stores. More recently, I’ve heard it a number of times from a sports radio host from New York City. It was the perfect phrase.

For months I would work it into our regular conversations. I’d say it during dinner. I’d say it while playing sports outside with the kids. I’d say the phrase during Family Home Evening. I’d say it in conversation and in text messages.

I was careful never to bring special attention to the phrase. I wouldn’t say it louder or anything. I’d just use it as part of our conversations. I wanted it to be a natural pickup in their vocabulary.

(Why do I feel like I’m being judged right now?)

Anyway, after seven months of speaking my phrase, it finally happened.

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Moving from Gmail to Fastmail…kind of

I wrote that tweet nearly a year ago, but the desire to make a move from gmail had been around for a long time before this request. I created a gmail account in 2004 as it was fast, free and offered plenty of space. It has always worked mostly well but I was looking for other options.

The problem is that moving an email address is not simple. Updating all your family, friends and acquaintances is not fun for me and also kind of annoying for them. Maybe a little presumptuous even? (Just in case I’m in your address book…)

I finally made a move a few months ago to Fastmail, kind of.

The move has worked out really well. I want to share the changes because I think a lot of others may be in a similar position. However, I’ve been putting off this post because every time I thought to write it, the length grew in my head to be too much to write. To avoid this becoming accurate, I’ll tell you up front:

This isn’t a technical tutorial for making the switch. Fastmail has really nice documentation on how to switch your DNS and setting up your clients.

This also won’t be an in-depth opinion on privacy, big data and control of our information. People who have strong feelings, already have opinions. And those who don’t know, usually don’t care.

With that laid out, let’s move on.