Sunday, March 22, 2009


Tomorrow I am teaching a sunday school lesson in Church. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church, Church is split up into 3 meetings. The first hour is Sacrament meeting where we hear different members of the congregation speak on inspired topics and testify of the Savior, and of the truthfulness of the Gospel. The Sacrament of Bread and Water is administered. The second hour is sunday school where we have different options: Gospel Essentials, Gospel Doctrine, Marriage and Family Relations, Temple Preparation, etc. The third hour has men and women separated... the men's class is called "Priesthood" and the women's class is called "Relief Society". So specifically, the class I have the privilege of teaching once a month is Relief Society.

I lost my diary 2 weeks ago and one thing I have learned, is that if I don't write it down, I don't remember it. I experience so many miracles and blessings every day, I cannot bear to let the memory of them die. I owe it to my Heavenly Father and my future children, and myself-- when I struggle, to remember the good times, the hard times, the lessons and the miracles. Since I can't pull out my diary as I am accustomed to, I am going back to my blog.

The last 3 months have been incredibly confusing and difficult. They have also provided precious opportunities for growth and reflection. 2 weeks ago I broke down and knew that no one but my God, my Father in Heaven could soothe the pain, and answer in response to my worries, "I know how you feel." To receive empathy from a friend, they must have experienced the same thing... and I am grateful to have a Brother- my Savior, who has already gone before me and cleared the path. Who made every single one of my tears and fears His business by taking them upon Himself...

I am also infinitely grateful to the people who stood as His representative in my life before I knew who He was. Before I came to know of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for myself, I knew good people. I had people who loved me-- who cared for me so much that they gave me unconditional love. Having grown up in a family less than nurturing, with parents whose love was conditional, tasting unconditional love from strangers was a powerful influence in my life.

The people who could have loved me just because I was their flesh and blood often were so consumed by their own woes that the needs of their children were easily overlooked. However, people who didn't know where I came from and where I was headed, or what I had done, cared.

I had the man who loved me so much that he taught me the Gospel. He taught me about our Father in Heaven, a parent whose love will never be withdrawn, who is always watching out for me, and who will never abandon me. Not a good who punishes mistakes, but One who rewards every good intention and cheers at every mile marker. This man answered every question, taught and sang me hymns to lift my spirits, and prayed for me. When I was struggling to make the decision to join the Church and follow my heart because my mother disowned me, he stood in the rain and bore his testimony to me, crying-- because he knew how much better my life would be if I would take a leap of faith... I couldn't see that far ahead-- I didn't know God like he did. But he didn't give up on me.

I had the missionaries, who sat with me for hours and hours and engaged in all my debates. I asked hard questions-- I got defensive, I was suspicious, I was stubborn, and I changed my mind on them probably 10 times. After months of learning with them, I finally made the decision to get baptised. The following week I would call them, telling them I didn't want to get baptised, that I never wanted to talk to them again, to never call me back... and then an hour later I would call them back bawling because I was so internally conflicted and I actually did want to get baptised and asked them to never give up on me.

They didn't.

I had the friends, my quasi adopted family. They demonstrated how my new life would look by living theirs with standards-- and lots of fun. We had real conversations about alcohol, smoking, sex, swearing... and nothing about my past, or about the habits I struggled to let go of ever made them shocked... I never felt an ounce of judgment. I only felt love and admiration...

Life is hard. It is incredibly unsettling because you really never know what will come next. You could lose everything tomorrow. What would you do if you knew that you would be taken back home tomorrow. Would you tell your parents you love them? Would you apologize to your friend? Would you pray to God? Please do it today.

Time is truly the most precious thing we have, and the more wisely we spend it, the less regrets we will have. I testify that using our time to love and uplift others is the most important thing we can do. I stand tall because people lifted me onto their shoulders. You never know what a kind word might mean to someone. Please be generous with your praise and with forgivenesa

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another perspective on Prop 8 Part 2

In the spirit of recognizing that each person has their own beliefs, whether they belong to a Church/organization or not is proven with this blog entry. Not all opponents of prop 8 hate mormons, and not all mormons agree with prop 8.

Yay Diversity!

Another perspective on Prop 8

Here are some articles that I have found interesting and enlightening... I have been surprised by the number of people that have found the reactions and backlash on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members justified and acceptable. I am fully in support of political activism and demonstrating for what you believe in... I guess I just believe in what I choose to believe in and do not find it necessary to condemn those that do not agree with me. Some extreme prop 8 opponents would not agree with me. I would also like to note that as with any extreme behavior... they are the exception, not the condition, of the rule.

Mormons in the crosshairs

So Much for Tolerance

My fundamental concern moving forward is finding a way to heal, to rebuild bridges that have been burned, to have candid conversations, and to love. I know this sounds almost asinine with everything that's happened, but I have talked about prop 8 at length with many of my friends and the conclusion we have reached is that the key is to love people for who they are... not for what they believe in, not for what they have done or can do for you, not for their talents... just for being human and being in our lives. My best friend and I disagree on almost every thing that you can hold an opinion on.... from huge issues such as pro-life pro-choice, to which books we like, what movies we think are stupid, everything... and yet we have a wonderful and rich friendship. We didn't even notice that our friendship was anything extraordinary until her mom pointed out this past weekend that we disagree on everything... and then we realized that we just love each other. And that is enough.

Last thing... check out No On Prop 8's Fact Vs Fiction

Fiction: If Prop 8 isn’t passed, people can be sued over personal beliefs.

Fact: California’s laws already prohibit discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This has nothing to do with marriage.
--> If this has nothing to do with marriage, then why aren't people more upset about the bold and public religious discrimination? Which no on prop 8 supporters already know, according to this website, is against the law?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Verbal Vomit

These past few months have brought wave after wave of trials and lessons and blessings and miracles... and I feel an intense need to start blogging again. For some reason there is a difference in writing in my journal daily and trying to refine my thoughts a little more and sending them out into a virtual void. (check out the "v" alliterations today: verbal vomit, virtual void... that's very vonderful? hahha)

I have been participating in the online discussion of Prop 8 ever since it passed, and this is one article that I found that had quite an educated, civil discussion. There is nothing that bothers me more than misinformation and half-truths and I have found blatant lies being used by both sides of the campaign. Read the article and the follow up comments if you're interested.

THis is what I posted... this was one of my neutral comments.

I_politik, I agree wholeheartedly. This is an incredible disaster. I have read every single comment posted to this article, and it has been incredibly enlightening. I have worn myself to the bone having difficult conversations about this with my friends, gay & straight, religious & not religious, yes on 8 & no on 8 & apathetic... and the conclusion I have come to is that as a society, we do not have the tools to engage in dialogues appropriately.

We are raised to appreciate and celebrity individuality and diversity-- in theory. Yet when our sphere of reality, opinions and familiarities bumps with someone else's who is vastly different, there is internal conflict. The universal motto of love to "do unto other as we would have them do unto us" is impossibly difficult.

The reason I say this is because I am convinced that if we could see and talk to each person posting to this article, we would be able to see that in the end, they do not want anyone harmed. The attackers and accusers of the mormons don't want mormons actually attacked and harmed. And those accusing the no-on-8'ers saying they're just as bad if not worse don't want them harmed either.

My friends and I have been succesful in talking about this when we speak honestly and humbly... when we say, "it hurts my feelings that you would not support the rights of gays to get married" or "i feel it hurts my feelings that you think i hate you for wanting to define marriage as between a man and a woman".

On top of all the challenges this issue is forcing us to face, we also have an opportunity to discover how competent we are at really appreciating diversity-- even when it hurts us in our core. How devoutly do we want to strive to love others? Only those that agree with us, or even the very people that hurt us?

I just noticed the caption underneath the picture reads, "Religious conservatives are trying to dictate people's personal choices". If the picture showed opponents of No on 8, would the caption read, "Liberals are trying to dictate people's personal choices"?

I think not...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I just wanted to post something on here that I feel really strongly about, especially with the increasing economic problems that our country is facing and the horrible things going on around the world from Myanmar to China. It's not going to be very long, but it is important for all people (regardless of what faith you pertain to) to be aware and listen to the guidance that the leaders of the church have given us.

I'm talking about emergency preparedness.

Recently I helped Sean and Mike prepare a presentation about the avian flu at a church emergency preparedness fair. While there, i walked around the whole church building and didn't realize until there how unprepared I was for a disaster. In fact any disaster. I have enough food storage for about a week and water but after that I'm doomed! We are advised to have at least a three month suply. This frightens me. Alot of young single people are in debt, we don't have enough food storage, we're not prepared if an earthquake hit. Do you know where your extra contact lens' are, is your passport easily accessible, do you have an extra credit card handy, do you have an extra cell phone charger in a back pack with your toothbrush, batteries and flashlight? I didn't think so. I certainly don't..... YET!

So to kick start your emergency preparedness, here is a guide for all of you. Click on all four links as they will all be of help to you. And it doesn't matter if you're single or have 5 kids or just an older couple. This will benefit you. I promise!

Family Home Storage/ Emergency Preparedness


Monday, May 5, 2008

What is there to lose?

A conversation I had with a friend of mine inspired this post, and I want to give him the credit (thank, Justin!)

Essentially, the question regarding my faith, or any organized religion, is "why?" Why believe? Why do the things you do? Why follow what looks like someone else's rules? Why "limit" yourself? And when you strip away all my personal convictions, feelings, and experiences, there is something basic: "why not?"

Everything that I choose to do, inspired by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is good. Everything that I have changed or let go as a result of following the commandments, have caused me to improve myself.

So I don't drink alcohol, smoke, drink coffee/tea, or do drugs... that's not a bad thing.
So I don't have sex before marriage... that's not a bad thing.
So I don't watch R-rated movies... that's not a bad thing.
So I don't swear... that's not a bad thing.
So I commit my life to service... that's not a bad thing.
So I spend 3 hours every Sunday at church... that's not a bad thing.

At the end of the day, the things I do are not bad things. They do not harm myself, and they do not harm others. (I would like to suggest that they help others... but I'll leave that to someone else) I hope it is safe to say that these things are positive. They have improved my health, they have helped prevent a lot of heartache, they have saved me money, they have motivated me to help, and 3 hours a week is not much of a sacrifice.

I have only experienced positive things in my life as a result of my conversion and the choices I have made. I have been happier, experience greater self-esteem, enjoyed greater success at school/work, greater harmony at home, and have made more friends. I am grateful for the life I have been given, and the choices I am able to make.


“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:8–10.)

Tithing is such an important commandment that when the Lord appeared on the American continent after His Resurrection, He repeated those same exact words. And the Lord said in our day, “Those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually.” (D&C 119:4)

The Lord said, “Prove me now [or test me now] … , if I will not open you the windows of heaven.” (3 Nephi 24:10)

"Consider, for example, ten apples. Now, all ten of these apples actually belong to the Lord, but He asks us to return to Him only one-tenth, or one apple.
Are you offering only a small bite of that apple and keeping 90 percent? Are you willing to offer the Lord such a small portion?
Are you ashamed, or do you try to patch up and hide the bitten portion of the apple and then offer that to the Lord?"
-Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi

I want to share my testimony, not an explanation, of the law of tithing. Tithing is not payment to the Church. It is neither required nor requested as a member. Tithing is a divine law, an expectation from God since the beginning of time. God gives us everything we have- we do not inherently deserve anything we have. We have them because God blessed us with it. However, I want to make it clear that blessings do not indicate the degree of God's love or awareness of you. All the trials and blessings we receive in this life are all for our benefit, and for our good, so that we can learn the lessons we need to learn so we can be the people that God would have us be. Some people need to learn to take down their pride, and are therefore given less. Some need to learn generosity and are given more. It's not that cut and dry, but there is always a reason, or a lesson.

What I really want to talk about is the blessings that one receives when one is obedient.
The blessing of the law of tithing is promised with the words "opening the windows of heaven". I have experienced that in my life very recently. Ever since I was young I have wanted to be financially independent, and have enough money to help my family out when bad things happened. And now, I am graduating in 2 weeks and I found an amazing job that pays double what I thought I was going to make my first year out of college AND I have an incredibly amazing apartment (just signed the lease yesterday) that is a very low price, in the best part of Pasadena. All my prayers for temporal blessings have been answered in this. I am independent. And it's amazing.

I know the law of tithing is divine. If we are generous with our money, and if we recognize that everything we receive is from God, we will be blessed.