Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Challenge

When you have completed this challenge, please email me and tell me what you have learned. I want to hear from each and every one of you. You can email me at:

THE CHALLENGE – As your stake president, I invite you to read: Elder Russell M. Ballard’s talk, “Be Anxiously Engaged,” October 2012, General Conference; Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s talk, “The First Great Commandment,” October 2012, General Conference; Mosiah chapter 28; and Alma chapter 26. I invite you read, study, ponder and pray as directed, using the seven steps below. The question for which we desire understanding is: Why should I share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my family, friends and neighbors

Elder David A. Bednar taught, “The answer to the question is always in the doctrine.” He also told us to ask ourselves this question, “What doctrine or principal if better understood would help us to _____________?" In this case, what doctrine or principal if better understood would help us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our friends, family and neighbors?

President Boyd K. Packer taught, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.” If we want to change our behavior in relationship to sharing the Gospel then we must understand the doctrine.

As we come to understand true doctrine our nature will change. We will become new creatures and we will experience a mighty change of heart. Understanding does not mean book knowledge or worldly knowledge; rather it is the understanding that comes by the power of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to our spirit that the doctrine is true. This kind of understanding does not come by casual study or with mild interest. Understanding that causes a mighty change of heart, is earned by those who have sufficient desire, exercise sufficient faith and labor with all of their heart, might, mind and strength. Only when we engage ourselves to this extent will we achieve understanding capable of changing our behavior. Only then will we experience a change of heart.


The Seven Steps

How to proceed: (Adapted from: The Power of Everyday Missionaries, by Clayton Christensen.)

  1. Start by kneeling in prayer. Pray out loud. Ask God to help you understand what you are reading. Pray that the Holy Ghost will be with you as you read.
  1. Read the material (book, chapter, talk, etc.)
  1. Write down the answers, in draft form, to your question.
  1. Kneel again in prayer. Pray out loud. Explain to God the answers you have written down. Tell him you’re going to read the material one more time. Ask Him to please help you understand even more deeply the answers that He would have you understand.
  1. Read the material again.
  1. Revise your answers, based on your deeper understanding. Write a one page summary of what you learned.
  1. Kneel again and pray a third time. But the purpose of this prayer will be different. This time you need to ask God if the things that you have written, and the things that you have read, are true.
THE PROMISE - As your stake president, I promise that as you seek understanding you will be blessed with "great treasures of knowledge." The spirit of the Holy Ghost will rest upon you and will testify the truth of all things to you. I further promise that you will receive a change of heart capable of changing your behavior to do all things that the Lord commands you to do.

Alma 26:22
"...Unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance..."

When you have completed this challenge, please email me and tell me what you have learned. I want to hear from each and every one of you. You can email me at:

Click here to read: 
The First Great Commandment 

Click here to read: 
Be Anxiously Engaged

The Challenge - pdf

The Next Step - pdf

When you are finished reading, write a one-page summary

Elder David A. Bednar writes, "In 1995 I was called to serve as an Area Authority in the North America Southwest area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because we were entering a new era of Church leadership and administration through the elimination of the office of Regional Representative, all of the new Area Authorities in North America were requested to come to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City for training. We gathered together to receive instruction from President Boyd K. Packer and Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

As is often the case in such meetings, President Packer invited us to ask questions. I have never forgotten one question that was directed specifically to President Packer and the answer he gave.

“President Packer, would you please teach us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ?”
I was edified by the spiritual significance of the question and eager to hear the answer. President Packer then gave the following response.

“Thank you for your excellent question. Read the Book of Mormon as many times as you reasonably can in the next several months. When you are finished reading, write a one-page summary of what you learned about the Atonement. Next question.”

The brevity of his answer to such an important question initially startled me. I admit to being a bit disappointed that we did not receive a detailed doctrinal response. But his answer certainly caused me to think, to ponder, to pray and, most important, to act.

As I read the Book of Mormon repeatedly in the weeks and months that followed that memorable meeting and wrote my one page summary of the doctrine of the Atonement, and as I repeated that process many times in the ensuing years, I reflected often on President Packer’s invitation. I have come to understand that he gave us much more than an answer to a single question. In that training session he did not tell us what he knew; rather, he taught us how he had come to know. If any of us truly desired to know what he knew, we absolutely could –- if we were willing to pay the price and obtain the knowledge for ourselves. President Packer’s answer emphasized the importance of procuring for ourselves the oil of conversion; it cannot be borrowed or conveyed from one person to another.

We in that first group of Area Authorities perhaps mistakenly had hoped that President Packer would transfer to us all he had learned through a lifetime of study about the Savior’s Atonement. But he had helped us learn that knowledge cannot be given or borrowed; it must be obtained. He had, as a teacher, invited us to be agents who act and not objects to be acted upon. And he directed us to the pathway we needed to pursue if we were to obtain “great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.”

Elder David A. Bednar, Act In Doctrine – pg. 121-122


Near the end of January, 2012, Elder David A. Bednar came to St. Johns to reorganize the St. Johns Stake of Zion. It was truly a blessing to have him be with us and teach us. During one of our visits, he invited me to read, study, ponder and pray over a particular section in the Book of Mormon. He next invited me to write a one page summary of what I learned. He also asked me to send him my one page summary when I had completed his challenge. I am so grateful for receiving and completing the challenge Elder Bednar extended to me. I hope that as you acecpt my invitation (challenge) that you too will experience great blessings and feel the power of conversion in your life.


The Next Step
As the Holy Ghost bears witness to your spirit of the truthfulness of His doctrine, you will be filled with a desire to do his work. As you act on those promptings you will be further strengthened and your conversion and joy will grow deeper. “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” When we truly understand a doctrine we must next exercise our agency and act. We must do the will of the Father and accomplish His work. Now, with your new and strengthened understanding of the WHY of sharing the Gospel, please carefully and prayerfully consider what you can and should do, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now is the time to act in all diligence.
Choose one or more of the following ideas to put into action.
You do not need to wait until you have completed the challenge to begin doing missionary work.

Sharing the Gospel Person to Person

1.  We can’t predict who will or who won’t be interested in the gospel. We need to invite all as the Spirit directs.
2.  We need to talk “Mormon language” with our non-member friends so that they have an opportunity to ask us what we are talking about.
3.  Deep friendship is NOT required to invite someone to learn about the Gospel. We CAN and SHOULD ask our friends and others we come in contact with to hear about this great message.
4.   People need to be needed. Inviting others to help serve opens doors. Serving others also opens doors.  Look for opportunities to invite and serve.
5.   Remember, when we invite we are successful. Success comes by extending an invitation. When we invite someone to do something we are giving them the opportunity to exercise their agency and this allows the Spirit to bear witness to their spirit.
6.  The daily prayer of faith is easier when we set a date. Set a date and do your part. The Lord will bless you as you exercise your faith and follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Sharing the Gospel On-Line

1.  Text spiritual messages to your friends and family.
2.  Use a blog. Start your own blog or share messages from one of the Stake’s blogs. You can also share your comments, testimony and beliefs at the bottom of each post. We need people willing to do this.
3.  Using social media, such as Facebook, email or Twitter, share messages from the Stake’s blogs or share Mormon Messages or other church messages. As we link and share; tens, hundreds and even thousands of people can read Gospel messages that started from just one share on Facebook. Remember the “ripple effect” is real.
4.   Respond to articles and discussions about the Church but avoid contention.

We can expect the Lord to bless us with miracles (and forgive our sins)

when we do all we can to share the Gospel. (D&C 31:5)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ask in Faith... as we engage in the work of Salvation

This morning as I was running on my treadmill, I listened to a talk by Elder David A. Bednar. The talk was given in the April 2008, General Conference. The title of the talk did not prepare me for the message that I received in regards to the work of salvation. I was told to "Act in Faith." Elder Bednar described what we need to be doing as a stake and then invited us to do it. I felt the Spirit as I heard him speak concerning the work of salvation, particularly to the less active and those not of our faith. I invite you to read his message below and then find his talk and listen to it in it's entirety. How blessed we are to be living in a day of living prophets and apostles. 

Elder Bednar
"Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence. Let me provide an illustration of what I mean and extend to you an invitation. We properly pray for the safety and success of the full-time missionaries throughout the world. And a common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!
If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith—if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express—then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way. Such a prayer of faith might include some of the following elements:
    Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.
    Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.
    Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.
    Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.
    Seeking for the gift of discernment— for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.
    Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should.
Gratitude would be expressed, and other blessings might be requested in such a prayer, which would be closed in the name of the Savior. And then the consecrated work of that prayer would continue and increase.
This same pattern of holy communication and consecrated work can be applied in our prayers for the poor and the needy, for the sick and the afflicted, for family members and friends who are struggling, and for those who are not attending Church meetings.
I testify that prayer becomes meaningful as we ask in faith and act. I invite all of us to pray in faith about our divinely given mandate to proclaim the gospel. As we do so, I promise doors will open and we will be blessed to recognize and act upon the opportunities that will be provided."

Thursday, February 27, 2014


  1. Simply by asking others if they are interested in the gospel, you can join in hastening the work of salvation.

    Ten Suggestions for Sharing the Gospel - from the March 2014 Ensign.

    There are many ways to invite people to learn about the gospel. 
    1. Here are 10 suggestions to get you started.
    1.  Strike up a conversation. As you are getting acquainted, it’s natural to let people know you’re a member of the Church. Simple statements like, “I’m a Latter-day Saint, but many people know us as Mormons,” can open the door.
  2. 2. 
    Talk while traveling. Visit with fellow travelers on the bus or plane or with families you meet at vacation spots. One man made it a point to ask taxi drivers about their family and then discuss family home evening.
  3. 3. 
    Refer friends to This website is a great place for those unfamiliar with the Church to get to know it better.
  4. 4. 
    Invite your friends to chat with the full-time missionaries online or in person. On, people can have conversations with missionaries. And of course you can always introduce people to the elders or sisters in your area.
  5. 5. 
    Use social media. The Church provides an array of opportunities to like or share content online, including memes, quotes, and videos. Hashtags (a word or group of words tagged with #) also enable people to follow web conversations about the Church.
  6. 6. 
    Share videos. Become familiar with videos on and Watch them with friends or share links. Also mention Mormon Messages, which offer inspiring answers to life’s questions.
  7. 7. 
    Share cards and posters. Pass-along cards and posters allow you to share inspiring ideas (see cards on page 29 of the October 2013 Friend, for example).
  8. 8. 
    Ask the missionaries. Invite your friends to read “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.3
  9. 9. 
    Attend a temple open house. Let people know about the marvelous opportunity to attend the open house prior to a temple dedication. Offer to go with them.
  10. 10. 
    Reach out to those who are returning. Home teachers and visiting teachers have a great opportunity to be missionaries to less-active members, who in turn know others who may be receptive to the gospel.
You can read the entire March 2014 Ensign at: MARCH ENSIGN