Sabbath Learning – Forgiveness

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

Today I am in Denver, and in Elders Quorum we reviewed Elder Uchtdorf’s talk entitled “The Merciful Obtain Mercy” which talks about forgiveness of others and ourselves. What a beautiful talk.

Some of the golden nuggets of thought that really stuck out to me are after the break.



Sabbath Learning – No Poor Among Them

And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. Moses 7:18.

This is a fairly straight forward scripture except for the phrase, “there was no poor among them.” This could have multiple meanings. This morning Pres. Adamson shared the thought that what the Lord may be implying is that none of his children in Zion were poor in ordinances. All of his children had received all of the saving ordinances. What a great definition of Zion.


A Story and Testimony from Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner about my Grandfather Isaac Morley and the Book of Mormon.

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner bore a powerful testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith to a group of young men at Brigham Young University on April 14, 1905. Mary was born on April 9, 1818 in Lima, Livingston, New York to Keziah Keturah Van Benthuysen and John D. Rollins. According to her autobiography:

Mary Elizabeth Lightner
When I was ten years old, we moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and lived in a house belonging to Algernon Sidney Gilbert, mother’s sister’s husband. We remained there two years, when we heard of the plates of the Book of Mormon, being found by Joseph Smith. Soon the news was confirmed by the appearance of Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson, with the glorious news of the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. They bore a powerful testimony, by the Holy Spirit, of the truth of the great work they were engaged in; and which they were commissioned by the Father to present to all the world.

Isaac Morley

Isaac Morley

Quite a number of the residents of Kirtland accepted baptism. Mother and myself also, in the month of October, 1830. A branch of the Church was organized, and Father Morley was ordained an elder to preside over it. He owned a large farm, about a mile from Kirtland, and some three or four families went there to live, and meetings were held there. A good spirit and one of union prevailed among the brethren for some time. After Oliver Cowdery and his brethren left there for Missouri on their mission to the Lamanites, a wrong spirit crept into our midst, and a few were led away by it. About this time, John Whitmer came and brought a Book of Mormon. There was a meeting that evening, and we learned that Brother Morley had the Book in his possession the only one in that part of the country. I went to his house just before the meeting was to commence, and asked to see the book; Brother Morley put it in my hand, as I looked at it, I felt such a desire to read it, that I could not refrain from asking him to let me take it home and read it, while he attended meeting. He said it would be too late for me to take it back after meeting, and another thing, he had hardly had time to read a chapter in it himself, and but few of the brethren had even seen it, but I pled so earnestly for it, he finally said, “Child, if you will bring this book home before breakfast tomorrow morning, you may take it.” He admonished me to be very careful, and see that no harm came to it.

If any person in this world was ever perfectly happy in the possession of any coveted treasure I was when I had permission to read that wonderful book. Uncle and Aunt were Methodists, so when I got into the house, I exclaimed, “Oh, Uncle, I have got the ‘Golden Bible’.” Well, there was consternation in the house for a few moments, and I was severely reprimanded for being so presumptuous as to ask such a favor, when Brother Morley had not read it himself. However, we all took turns reading it until very late in the night as soon as it was light enough to see, I was up and learned the first verse in the book. When I reached Brother Morley’s they had been up for only a little while. When I handed him the book, he remarked, “I guess you did not read much in it.” I showed him how far we had read. He was surprised and said, “I don’t believe you can tell me one word of it.” I then repeated the first verse, also the outlines of the history of Nephi. He gazed at me in surprise, and said, “child, take this book home and finish it, I can wait.”

Before or about the time I finished the last chapter, the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland, and moved into a part of Newel K. Whitney’s house (Uncle Algernon’s partner in the Mercantile Business), while waiting for his goods to be put in order. Brother Whitney brought the Prophet Joseph to our house and introduced him to the older ones of the family (I was not in at the time.) In looking around he saw the Book of Mormon on the shelf, and asked how that book came to be there. He said, “I sent that book to Brother Morley.” Uncle told him how his niece had obtained it. He asked, “Where is your niece?” I was sent for; when he saw me he looked at me so earnestly, I felt almost afraid. After a moment or two he came and put his hands on my head and gave me a great blessing, the first I ever received, and made me a present of the book, and said he would give Brother Morley another. He came in time to rebuke the evil spirits, and set the church in order. We all felt that he was a man of God, for he spoke with power, and as one having authority in very deed.

Read more: Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Testimony | Believe All Things


Happy Meals with the Homeless

Whenever I travel to big cities I am inevitably approached by a vagabond asking for a handout. For years now I have made it a habit to not only engage with them but to learn their stories. It started when I was doing my internship in New York City. I had left my family, friends, and the ones I love in Utah and had embarked on a new adventure.

My philosophy was to give to organizations that were focused on raising people from poverty and homelessness and to not give to individuals directly for several reasons. On one encounter in particular I had a small amount of change when I was asked by a homeless man for money. I pulled from my pocket a dollar and eighty six cents which I placed in his palm. He thanked me extensively while purposefully stumbling off.  Our paths diverged only momentarily because I turned around and decided to follow him to see where he would go and what he would do. I followed him into a deli/convenience store nearby. His excitement was more lucid than he was as he entered. He must have known this store though, because, he went straight for the candy isle and pulled something off the shelf. He rushed with a determination that only a starving man has. Patience abruptly interrupted his rush as he was blocked by a row of patrons waiting at the crowded checkout. Finally, it was his turn in front of the register. He put the large sized Kit-Kat on the counter and splayed the dollar and coins next to it. The clerk counted the money and shook his head to let him know that it wasn’t enough for this treat. He was confounded and overwhelmed that his prize was only a few inches away yet totally out of reach. It was apparent by the confusion and number of times that he counted the money that he was innumerate. I slid past the other patrons to the front of the line, grabbed a nearby apple (that was also outrageously priced) and placed it on the counter with my debit card. The clerk took only a second before realizing that I was going to buy this man a snack and a piece of fruit. The man took a little longer than the clerk did to connect the dots but finally realized that it was me who handed him my pocket change on the street and was also standing in front of him now. I paid. The man thanked me again profusely but for only a moment because the hunger overtook him and he ripped open the chocolate treat and started munching as he walked back out into the New York night. I didn’t get to speak another two words to him but wish I had. I wish I knew why he was on the street. I wish I knew how and where he grew up. I wish I knew what set of experiences brought him to that place.

From that day on I have been intrigued and fascinated by the stories and lives of the homeless. I still don’t give them money, but I do sit down for a meal with them and listen.

This is Maya and Ricki. Maya’s Birthday is only 2 days away from my Malia. Ricki Lost his job working at Mayflower and has struggled to find consistent work since then.Ricki does day labor whenever he can just to keep his head above water. They are homeless and living in a hotel of sorts. Maya loves Chuck E. Cheese and Happy Meals. She is full of life and can’t wait for her birthday party.

Happy Meals with the Homeless - Ricki and Maya in Chicago

Written by curtism in: Christ,My Experiences | Tags:

Mormons are Just Sheep.

“Mormons just follow anything blindly. They believe anything and will just go along with anything the Mormon religion says.”

I read this the other day as a comment on a blog about “How to know if you have the spirit in your life.”

To this I say a resounding, “YES”. Mormons are sheep because we are led by the Good Shepard. Mormons follow the Shepard that will lead us back to our Father’s presence. I am proud to say that I am part of the flock that is shepherded by the Son of God, who himself is called the Lamb of God.

Being a sheep doesn’t mean just following blindly. Every member of the LDS is challenged to ask God if the teachings are true. Every one of us has to know for ourselves and to ask the maker Himself.

In the last chapter in the Book of Mormon it states,

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.

I know the Book of Mormon is true and I didn’t have to take anyone’s word for it.

Neither did Daisy Chou

Written by curtism in: Christ,My Experiences |

As High as I Thought I Would Go

The other day I went Rock Climbing with some friends. One of my friends at the end of the day said something to me that has been ringing in my ears ever since. He said, “I went as high as I thought I would go.”

I applaud him for coming. Unlike others that I have taken, he faces a tremendous fear of heights. He came along reluctantly but wanted to face his fears and stretch out of his comfort zone. He did this bravely.

In spite of my admiration of him facing his fears head-on, his words keep tumbling around in my brain without respite and occasionally fall down and bounce off my heart.

This is the story –

We started the beautiful day just as the sun was rising.  We arrived in Big Cottonwood Canyon at about 7:30 a.m. and crossed the river to a group of climbs called “The Slips.” After tying in I belayed one of my friends Zac up a casual 5.7.  He climbed it with ease and set up a toprope. I cleaned the climb (unhooking all of the quickdraws off of the rock} and collected them on a strap around my chest. Once finished, Zac belayed me back down.

Since the climb was secure and we were now toproped, I felt comfortable explaining the “3 Rules of Rock Climbing” so that we could begin the fun with our friends that were new to climbing.  The rules were explained and our Australian friend tied-in.  Without much effort at all our Australian friend scurried up the rock like a squirrel, adroitly adept to climbing.

Then it was his turn.  He got a great start and seemed to climb fairly effortlessly.  I didn’t feel that he was sketchy at all until he hit the crux of the climb, which was about 12-15 feet up.  He felt around for some holds and tried to get his feet in the “right crack” but nothing seemed to be working.  At this point Elvis seemed to possess his leg(s). He called out, “Resting.” I responded “Rest-On” and locked the rope down in my belay device.

He rested for a minute letting Elvis leave his body (otherwise known as the sewing machine leg). After his brief rest he got back on the rock and tried again.  Again, the crux seemed to get the best of him. After this second try, he declared that he wasn’t going to make it any higher and needed to come down. Before letting him descend, I tried to encourage him and let him know that he could do it, but I could tell my effort was in vain based on how serious he was with his next request to be lowered.

We all took another climb and his boldness to face his challenge was renewed.  We had set up another toprope next to our original climb on a 5.6, which is one degree of difficulty lower.  In my mind I thought that this second, easier climb, wouldn’t be a problem for him because the holds were larger and there wasn’t a real crux.

Again I belayed and again at the 15 foot mark he slowed until he was frozen on the rock (except for the Elvis leg). I offered a brief yet futile assurance that he could make it to the top. After assuring me that he was at his limit, I lowered him back down. I was actually impressed with his desire to overcome his fears and his effort toward that goal, but my paradigm changed radically after he made the comment:

“I made it as high as I thought I would go.”

“As high as I thought I would go.“ In essence, he told me that he had a predetermined concept of how high he would go and made it to that exact point, 15 feet up.

I can’t help but question what would have happened if he had believed that he could reach 20 feet, or even just 16 feet. What would have happened if he thought he would climb the full 90 feet? He is physically very strong and in great shape. There is no physical reason why he couldn’t make it.  Did the “thought” become his glass ceiling? Was the notion the limit? Did the preconception determine his destiny?

How many times in my life do I go as high as I think I will?  How much higher will I go if I just believe that I can attain one more step or even reach the top? How many times could I have gone higher if I just thought that the top was where I belonged?

Do we all do this to ourselves? Do we limit ourselves with our minds and let untapped potential and greatness slip by. Do we miss the amazing view from the top of the climb because we just don’t believe we can make it there? How happy is Satan when we he sees us buying-in to the thought that we can only make it 15 feet up and no higher?

Do our beliefs become our goals? Are our goals based on fear or faith? Do we believe that we have the potential to reach great heights? Do we know that with the Lord we can overcome whatever crux is before us and go higher than we ever have before? Do we see ourselves as God sees us? Can we overcome life’s challenges and reach the ultimate elevated destination – Heaven, and live with Him again?

Elder Richard G. Scott said this in an article in the Nov. 2003 Ensign:

“With all my capacity I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities. I exhort you to prayerfully make worthy choices that will lead you to realize your full potential.”

I know that I have let my fears determine my altitude. I am working on seeing myself as God sees me and believing in Him the way He believes in me. I will visualize myself making it to the top, and I know that I don’t have to climb alone.

Written by curtism in: Christ,My Experiences | Tags: , , , ,

Have You Ever Seen Christ?

My son Isaac bore his first solo testimony today in sacrament meeting shortly after his sister Brooke did the same. It was short & very sweet. He testified,

“I’d like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true. I know my dad loves me. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

He jumped off the riser behind the podium and hurried back down to our pew. I lifted him onto my lap while wrapping him in my arms. He pressed his head into my chest and hugged me tightly. “Dad, I was nervous” he smiled up at me. I told him, “That is what makes you brave, doing something even though you are nervous about it.” Another smile showed his acknowledgment & appreciation.

After several minutes of being warmly embraced in my arms, he looked up and reverently asked, “Dad have you ever seen Jesus.” This wasn’t the first time that I was asked this question. The first time I was asked I was standing on a hand paved brick sidewalk just past a large bridge in Kushiro, Japan.

Isaac’s intentions were pure and earnest. The Japanese man that asked many years ago had a different purpose. I was a missionary and had stopped him on the street to talk about the gospel and Jesus Christ. Most Japanese are unfamiliar With Christ or his teachings. This man however, had learned enough to know of Christ but held an aethiests beliefs. As I bore testimony that the Savior did live and still lives the man interrupted me with, “How do you KNOW he lives?” followed quickly by, “When was the last time you saw Christ?”

The question caught me slightly off guard and regardless how hard I tried I could not remember the pre-existence. As I was thinking of a reply the spirit spoke softly to my heart. I had seen Christ recently. That morning in fact. I saw Christ in my mission companion when he shined my shoes for me. I had seen Christ in the face of an investigator as he submitted his will to the Father and accepted a challenge to follow the gospel. I see Christ every time I look into my mother’s eyes and see her love for me.

I shared the feelings which the Holy Ghost had lighted upon my heart with this man. It was clear by looking into his face that his combative heart had become softened. He had no response but instead turned and walked away.

This memory flashed through my heart and mind when my sweet child looked into my eyes and asked the same question I had been asked 16 years before. I gazed back into his eyes and replied, “I see Christ in your face and your sisters when you bear your testimony.  I see Christ in Momma when she gives you hugs and we can see Christ in everyone if we take the time to look.”




Written by curtism in: Christ,My Experiences,Testimony |

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