Welcome to My Site!

My blog is a mixture of pdf’s and recordings of my music and life experiences and personal thoughts.  It’s about what I love and what I believe is true.

If you’re here to find music, please just type PDF into the search box, and all the music I have had time to notate so far should come up.  If you have any problems, please send me a comment and I will try to fix it ASAP.

Each individual song has it’s own blog page, and although there is also a unified Page with ALL the music PDF’s on it, the unified page lacks the detail that the individual blog pages have on each song.

(If you want to hear me play the piano or some of my songs, just type “performances” on the blog search box, and all my youtube performances should come up.)

I also view this blog as an opportunity to share what is most precious to me- my love of the Lord, and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What exactly is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? It came about an answer to a young boy’s prayer  (offered way back in 1830) about which church he should join.  God answered His prayer with, what to him, was an unexpected answer- that the Church in it’s purity and fullness no longer was upon the earth, but that it would be restored through revelation, and through the calling of Prophets and restoring of priesthood authority and power in our time.  (See a helpful film reenactment here.)

I take time to talk in this blog to share  many religious ideas that I have considered, but if you have further questions the very best place to go is www.mormon.org .  They have live chat missionaries online that will answer any questions,  or you can always message me, and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Simple request:  I believe there is room in this world for many people with just as many points of view.  I don’t demand you believe mine, but I do request that you show respect for any differences.

That said, this blog is mostly about two of my greatest loves- my relationship to God, and Music.   (Being with my family combines the two loves, so they show up here too on occasion.)

Prophets in our time? Really???

Have you ever wondered if we could possibly have prophets today?  My message of joy and truth is this- we can and do have a living prophet today!  This is the most recent address given by our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.  God didn’t just guide and direct His covenant people of the past, but continues to do so today!!

The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth today in our time as it was originally organized in Christ’s- with a prophet to lead and 12 apostles. (See Ephesians 4:11-12 King James Version (KJV) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ)  Click here to see a modern day Apostle.

Maybe you are curious . .  why are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes nicknamed the “Mormons”? Well, in addition to the Bible and modern revelation, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.  Mormon is the name of the prophet that anciently compiled the Book of Mormon- like an ancient Native American Bible.

You may be wondering about the Book of Mormon- what is it all about in 60 seconds or less,.   You can read ACTUAL BOOK OF MORMON ONLINE here: , and why it’s so important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Actually, I recommend you get a paper copy- it’s a bit easier to ponder in a real book.  Just my opinion.  (If you request one at  www.mormon.org, they’ll send it to you free of charge.)

Maybe you are only slightly curious and just want an overview what is inside of it.  (Book of Mormon- wikipedia)

So with all of the talk about the Book of Mormon, how do we feel about the Bible? Is the Bible the “abandoned child”?  Isn’t the Bible enough?

I’ll answer the question with another question . . .when you have another child, do you abandon the first? Is your love any less for your other children?  If you have a good family dynamic, then the love just grows and increases.  So it is with the Bible.  We do love and appreciate the Bible, and in some ways actually understand it better, because of our love of the Book of Mormon.

Let me ask this . . . can there ever be enough of the Love of God? If God sent us a messenger or a message today, would you be open to receiving it?

If you think about it, the word Bible actually  means library or collection.  The Bible is actually a little library of collected testimonies of the Savior, originally written by the Jews and handed down by various means in the Old World.  The Book of Mormon is also a compendium of collected testimonies of the Savior, from another land, the ancient America’s. We see the Bible and Book of Mormon as working hand in hand, STRENGTHENING each other and fortifying the testimony of the Lord.

In fact, so did the ancient prophets!

Mormon 7:9

  • Book of Mormon

For behold, this (the Book of Mormon) is written for the intent that ye may believe that (The Record of the Jews- the Bible); and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them. 

 

We believe God loves ALL the world, and has been sending his servants to teach and bless every corner of it since the beginning of time.  We love and accept both books, as well as continuing revelation, as official testimonies of the reality of Jesus Christ.  We look forward to ADDITIONAL testimonies and records being found and revealed.

It is an ancient law that everything will be established by 2 or 3 witnesses.  Additional witnesses of God strengthen, not weaken, our faith in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:16

  • New Testament

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  has an OPEN CANON concerning revelation.  We don’t believe God has finished His work.  Just because he said something in the past doesn’t mean He doesn’t have anything more to say now!

This is hard for people.  I’m not sure why.  However, it was prophesied that it would be. In the Book of Mormon, an ancient prophet predicted that future generations would rebel against further revelation.  (See 2 Nephi 29:3-8 ) If God is REAL, if He LIVES, and if he is ALWAYS THE SAME in his CHARACTER, then wouldn’t His love for his children would be no less great in our times as in times of old?  (This is an awesome article about how the Bible came about, and how modern revelation ties in to ancient.)

When I was a full time missionary (Reeeeally long time ago -like maybe 28 years),  I liked to help people find wonderful answers to their questions by using this little helpful pamphlet- 23 questions the Book of Mormon can help answer:

Here is an example of another modern day apostle speaking of the blessings of latter-day prophets. 

Some of my Favorite Celestial Music

I promise if you listen to these, you will the presence of God.

Also, see Andrea Bocelli- Lord’s Prayer (Sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir)and Come Thou Fount (BYU CHOIR and Orchestra), and Pavane Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Bring Him Home – Alfie Boe (Bring Him Home)

Also, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

and Nearer My God to Thee. and last but not least, Hallelujah Chorus.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids are so special

What a beautiful feeling there is around children!  My son, Truman is the one in the flag shirt looking straight at the camera.

Truman’s Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ericson, did a fabulous job with him and all of the children in their class. She gave from the heart.

I feel so blessed!

I loved their singing program so much. This is one of my favorites: I Like Being Me  I Like Being Me.  and here is another one. Some Cute Songs.  I love the facial expressions, and the innocent pure joy.  (A few more if you’re up to it.) 

There really is a heavenly light around them.  I am so grateful for their sweet goodness. It lifts my soul.

Matthew 19:14 King James Bible
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

 

The Savior of the World

I believe in Jesus Christ.  I believe He is full of love, mercy, strength, compassion, and power!

BEAUTIFUL – A SAVIOR IS BORN. Just watch it.  Short and powerful testament of the Savior. Okay, here is a powerful and beautiful Christmas Song.  I can’t stop!  I just love it.

I know He lives! I know He loves me! (Click to hear a beautiful song that testifies of this truth.)

This is a powerful statement regarding his life, and his mission.

I want to follow him.  To be his disciple!

Apostle Robert D. Hales recently gave a most beautiful discourse on how to become one.  This is a small quote form that article:

  • “Brothers and sisters, now more than ever, we cannot be a “part-time disciple”! . .. As we earnestly strive to be true disciples of Jesus Christ ….There will be no disparity between the kindness we show our enemies and the kindness we bestow on our friends. We will be as honest when no one is looking as when others are watching. We will be as devoted to God in the public square as we are in our private closet.”

It gave me a lot of pause for thought to consider that the kindness we show should make no difference between our friends or our enemies. It would definitely help our dear world out so much if even a few of us were able to do this more often!

Jesus Christ is the light of the World!  May we follow in his footsteps and bring Light and Love into the World!

Matthew 5:16

  • New Testament

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

War on traditional families . . . WHY?

One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Sound of Music”.  It’s just inherently GOOD! (And it has a LOT of wonderful music in it!) If you can’t help yourself you might want to click here and sing along with one of them . . .

It rings true to our hearts with the basic story line of a group of mother-less children and their father are searching for a missing link . . . a MOTHER.  Maria begins to fill the role, and unexpectedly, goes from nun to mother of  seven children!

What a beautiful truth!  Children need (and long for) both a Mother AND a Father!

While love can exist in a multitude of circumstances, children are nourished in unique ways by both a Mother and Father.  It’s not always possible for children to have both, but in a perfect world, this is the ideal.  Obviously, it’s the way God set it up naturally! Children can’t be created without a mother and a father!

About 25 years ago, the church made a statement about families.  Actually a PROCLAMATION to the WORLD.  I remember thinking  . . . ” but this is so obvious.  Why did we need a statement about it?”  Little did I realize, (as did the prophets and apostles that wrote and published it), that we were going to be going to be in an all-out war with the world on traditional values! (to read an excellent article discussing this proclamation read this. )

God made men and women.  I believe it’s important to honor the differences and celebrate the symbiotic nature of them.  Marriage is a SACRED union, meant to be a covenant between God, man and woman.

Making God most important means we don’t lean to our own understanding .  Our sexuality, our desires, our inclinations-  God expects us to yield to His will in every way. Whether it’s easy or not, whether it’s natural or not.

If we yield to what is easy, what is “natural”, we are in danger of becoming exceedingly selfish and abusing others to gratify our own vain ambitions.  If God is love, then the “natural” or selfish man is the opposite of love.  We become enemies to God when we seek to justify our impure desires by saying they are “natural”.

James 4:4

  • New Testament

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God

Mosiah 3:19

  • Book of Mormon

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child,… 

1 Corinthians 2:14

14 But the anatural man breceiveth not the things of thecSpirit of God: for they are dfoolishness unto him: neithercan he eknow them, because they arefspiritually gdiscerned.

Making God’s will more important than our own can give us the strength and desire to yield up our weak natures and submit our whole selves to a Higher Power.

 

 

 

Be the Good in the World!

When good people join hands, it’s amazing what we can accomplish for good!  If we focus less on our differences and more on our mutual respect and love, then immeasurable wonders can occur.

When I read this article Lift Burdens it reminded me of what I read a few years ago in the book called “On Wings of Faith” by Frederick W. Babbel. He recounted there that the people in Holland were so angry and bitter against the Germans that the sickness of hatred had overcome them. They were also very hungry (on rations) and had little to eat. They were encouraged by LDS church leaders to grow potatoes to reduce their hunger. So they did! in the medians of roads, in dirt along fences, in unused flower gardens- every spot they could find. They anticipated a modest harvest that would greatly relieve the Dutch Saints. Their harvest was 5 to 6 times greater than they had hoped! Their leader kept hearing of how the Germans were starving to death. He decided to ask the Saints for the ultimate sacrifice- to give their hard earned harvest of many tons of potatoes, to the German’s. At first, this was a very bitter pill to swallow, but after giving it heart felt prayer and consideration, they did decide to give not a portion, but ALL of their potatoes to the German Saints. They had such pleasure and joy in this, that they raised potatoes all over again the next year, and, once again, gave ALL of their potatoes to their former enemies. As you can imagine, they no longer harbored the hatred that was cankering their souls. They had learned to love their enemies. Such a wonderful example. These people had their lives destroyed, many times their children and wives were raped, their families torn apart- and they were still able to find a way to bless those less fortunate. The love they showed softened their hearts and helped to heal the terrible wounds caused by the war.

The principles of service date back to 1842 when the Prophet Joseph Smith told early Latter-day Saints to “feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of t

Also read this awesome article:

This Baroness from Great Britain is doing the world an amazing amount of good. Kudos to her and to her country for partnering with so many to help the Middle East, among other places, to heal. She is all about helping refugess and has done a world of good so far in her life!

The braided objectives of “helping people help themselves” is just one example of the “deep similarities” shared by LDS Charities and the AMAR Foundation, said the foundation&#

Origins and Basic Doctrines of the LDS Church

Wonderful video clip of the story of Joseph Smith’s Vision of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ

How did the church get it’s Start?  Who was the first prophet of latter-day times? Joseph Smith- First Prophet of the Latter-days  What did he have to say about his first interactions with God?   Joseph Smith’s Experience in His own Words.

Beliefs in a nutshell:

13 Short Articles (statements) of Faith by Joseph Smith

I believe Joseph Smith told the truth.  I believe he saw what he said he saw.

Many have sought to find reasons to criticize and discredit his revelations. However, the fact remains that he was not alone- others of great integrity and renown were also visited by angels and testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. (See my post  Why I Believe the Book of Mormon to be scripture).

God’s promise to send two or three witnesses.  Scripture reference:

Matthew 18:16

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 

This is the testimony of three witnesses.  Also read Martin Harris, testator to the Truth.  For a simple short video explaining the Three Witnesses, Click here!

I don’t think Joseph Smith was perfect, and I don’t think he knew how to handle every situation that came up perfectly.  But which prophet did?  The Bible is full of examples of prophets that made mistakes!  Peter denied the Savior three times on the night of his crucifixion!  Moses struck the rock out of frustration and was denied access to the promised land for his impatience and “attitude”.  Adam, first patriarch, partook of the forbidden fruit!  ALL men, except Jesus Christ himself, sinned and walked an imperfect walk.  Scrutinizing his life for mistakes will probably turn up a few.

The question is, was he inspired of God and did he make an impact for good in the world?  Emphatically, I believe the answer is YES on both accounts!

(See my Be the Good in the World post).

DIFFERENCES between Traditional Beliefs and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ

So what is so different about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? 

  • First, I would say we believe strongly in revelation for our time and our day!   Revelation from God presumes that God our Heavenly Father is both very real and very current- and very interested in our lives.  This is only a comforting thing if you believe His character is one of kindness and total unselfishness.  We embrace this idea whole heartedly

    John 3:16

    ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God asent not his Son into the world to bcondemn the world; but that the world through him might be csaved.

God’s love for all of His children was so great that he paid the ultimate sacrifice.  What greater love could be shown?  How can we not trust someone who has loved us so deeply?

We don’t believe he stopped caring and being involved in our lives as a human race over time.  We believe God is just as interested and involved and capable of helping us now as he ever was anciently.  We believe not just in ancient scripture, but in current scripture. We are possibly the most liberal of all religions in this way!  We stake a claim to say that God DOES speak to us in our time, and in our day.

Amos 3:7

7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, abut he brevealeth his csecret unto his servants the dprophets.

 

  • SECOND: We are in equal position with all mankind that has ever lived to receive revelation from a loving Heavenly Father to help us through our own times of trial and difficulty.  God loved his children anciently, and He loves us now, enough to send leaders and prophets to guide us.  We need His help to be happy and to overcome the weaknesses of the spirit and the flesh. This is accomplished by embracing a proper relationship with God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ.  How to come to God, an angelic directive to an ancient prophet as recorded in the Book of Mormon
  • THIRD: If God is truly loving, he wouldn’t exclude a huge percentage of his children from the chance to live with Him again in the heavens. If ordinances such as baptism are really essential, they must fairly be made available to all! Through temple work and missionary work (both here on earth and in a post life existance) , all ordinances and sacraments are being made available to ALL of God’s children, regardless of race, place or time of birth. What and where is the Spirit World and what happens there?  (Quoting from another post of mine: The restored gospel of Jesus Christ (as found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is the only church that knows what baptism for the dead (Corinthians 15:29)  (Hope for all mankind.)   ((Wait! Did I read that right? Baptism for the Dead?)) is all about, or that provides hope for all mankind, even those who never had or will never have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life.)

Life didn’t start at birth and it won’t end at death. What happens to us when we die? God is an eternal God, and we are His eternal children. What is the Plan of Salvation??? We are in Act II of a 3 act play!  We lived with our Heaven Father as Spirits before we came to Earth,  we are here enjoying (or not) Earth Life, and we all face an existence to come. Scriptures to ponder about Pre-Mortal Life..

This is a fun play to watch- there are more professional versions you can pay for, but this is a freebie on YOUTUBE.  It’s a delightful play exploring both pre-earth life and the way things sometimes don’t quite turn out as we may have hoped here on earth.

 

In My Father’s House

This beautiful piece was written by my friend, Stephanie Johns.  I had the opportunity to play the piano in both of these recordings.  In the instrumental version, the violin part was played and (on the fly) arranged by Holly Hunt.  She and I simultaneously came up with the instrumental arrangement.  It was such a beautiful spiritual high.

I think you will really enjoy this one.

This is written about the joy of being in our “Father’s House”.   Why build temples?  Click here to read about the difference between a chapel and a temple.

Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, outdoor and nature

 

What I Do and Don’t Believe (Apostasy & Restoration)- and my all time favorite hymn;Come Thou Fount;

Click here to listen to my favorite hymn: Come Thou Fount

WHAT I DON’T BELIEVE:  I do not believe you have to be a member of my church (or any church for that matter) in order to know God or be loved by Him or for miracles to occur in your life. I don’t think  anyone has a corner on the market for people who are beloved by Heavenly Father.  I believe ALL  of humanity is beloved by God, and that God will bless all who are willing to be blessed!

What I do believe:

GOD ORGANIZED A CHURCH WHILE ON THE EARTH:   God DOES have a plan for his children.  He DID implement an organization (headed up by Peter and the apostles) while on the earth in order to bless, teach, and redeem his children spiritually. There ARE ordinances that are required to be able to dwell with Him in His kingdom.  The church provides these ordinances.  The restored gospel of Jesus Christ (as found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is the only church that knows what baptism for the dead (Corinthians 15:29)  (Hope for all mankind.)   ((Wait! Did I read that right? Baptism for the Dead?)) is all about, or that provides hope for all mankind, even those who never had or will never have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life.

APOSTASY AND RESTORATION were BOTH foretold by prophesy:  In Acts 3:20, 21 we read:   . . .and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,  whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 

It stands to reason that if there is a restoration of all things, there would need to be a falling away first, otherwise why would anything need to be restored?  We read here (referring to Christ’s 2nd coming):

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The Dark Ages was a time of great confusion, schisms in Christianity, and generally, a falling away.  Many traditions that were false were mixed in with traditions that were true- but who could discern the difference?  Creeds were formed and created by popular vote, not divine revelation, to try to make sense of the cacophony of diverting opinions. With the Renaissance (re-birth) came bold ideas to try to reform some of the blunders of the times.  A reformation- but so many ideas went so many different directions!  Without a true prophet of God, without a “Moses in the wilderness”, the schisms and competing leaders were unable to unite under true divine appointment.

 

Mormonism 101

If you are looking to find out what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint believes, it makes  a lot of sense to go to the official sites!  This is actually a little outline that my non-denominational friend Lani Urreta wrote.  She had fun exploring my church and thought others might enjoy the journey too:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is actually a lot of fun to explore, so here are a few of my favorites for getting started!

  • What Do Mormons Believe? (mormon.org) – This specific page explains some of the LDS Church beliefs, but the whole site is worth browsing through! Follow whatever catches your interest, but don’t miss out on looking through some of the profiles and stories – a lot of great stuff there. They are from LDS members around the world.
  •  Playlist: Intro to the Church (youtube) – The Mormon Channel is a good youtube channel that keeps putting out things that I think are interesting. (A wide variety of topics.) This Playlist is the “Intro to the Church” that they put together a while ago, but they’ve also recently posted Meet the Mormons, which follows six different church members and the variety of ways their faith impacts their lives. I’ve heard it’s great, though I haven’t actually seen it yet!
  • For even more exploration, you can go to lds.org and get absorbed FOREVER. This is really a warning – there’s a lot there and it’s navigable, but it’s not a baby site. It’s a huge repository of news and information for everyone, inside and outside of The Church. (You can find the Book of Mormon there, though there are probably links to get a copy of it on most of these sites.)
  • The BEST way to find out more is to simply talk to a missionary. You can reach out via chat (on mormon.org) or phone (1-888-537-6600). It’s amazing what ease and clarity a conversation with a missionary can bring – they are often used to being asked a wide variety of questions and are very comfortable discussing faith with others. They have a good sense of how to present the information (which sometimes gets lost when we are clicking around and only looking at the things that catch our eyes!)

Preview YouTube video Meet the Mormons Official Movie – Full HD

(FULL CREDS to Lani Urreta for this fun little outline in Mormonism 101)

Oh Say, What is Truth? And How Will I recognize it?

Oh Say, What is Truth? (Great hymn, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

If there is a God, and if he wants to teach me, why does he make things so hard?  Why is faith so important?  And how will I really know what is true?

These questions make more sense if you have an idea about what the purpose of your existence is on earth.  What’s the point?

If God is testing our ability to do whatever he asks, even if it doesn’t make sense to us, that is Faith in His Character.  Faith is a choice.  If we KNEW everything, then we wouldn’t need to choose.  Faith is like a litmus test for our hearts. If our hearts are soft and believing, we’ll be open to the testifying of the Holy Spirit.  If our hearts are hard, we will turn away the still small voice and hearken to our own will.  This is disbelief, doubt, and worldly thinking.

The Holy Ghost has testified to me of many truths in various ways.

God has answered me with miracles of answered prayers, including being healed from disease and from mental and emotional anguish.  God is real.  If you are patient, and you look for Him- and you are humble- He will find a way to speak to you that you cannot miss!

King James Bible
John 16: 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

I know He lives.  I know He loves me, and receives all those who will come and receive Him.  I know He truly “stands at the door and knocks”.  He want entrance into our lives, and knows and loves each of us in a very personal and kind way. His desire is to love, to heal, to purify, and to teach.

We, as lost sheep, do not know anything of holiness without Him first teaching it to us. We are naturally selfish, and incapable of true joy. But through his Redemptive Plan, we can become holy and pure, even as He prayed we would be.

He asked our Heavenly Father to make us one with him, and be joint heirs with Him. Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  We can’t do that without His redeeming power.  But in His strength, we can do all things!

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me

The Lord wants to sanctify us and give us his image:

  • John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

How does believing in the Book of Mormon make sense?

MAJOR THEME of this post- we have modern prophets!  God isn’t Dead, and He STILL speaks to people everywhere!  Just as in times with Moses- if we want to avoid spiritual death, we will listen!  Beautiful hymn celebrating this truth:  We Thank Thee, Oh God, For a Prophet!

So cool- just found this little known Sting Cover of “Book of Mormon Stories” Sting Sings “Book of Mormon Stories”.

Curious about what exactly is Mormonism? Where did it get it’s name?  Mormon is the name of an ancient prophet who compiled many histories and put together the Book of Mormon in ancient times.  Just as the Bible is a collection of testimonies of the Old World, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, based on testimonies of prophets from Ancient America. Click Mormonism 101  for my little treatise.

Please give credence to the church to publish it’s own doctrine and represent it’s own beliefs.  Official websites:  To have any question answered click here and official website.  Otherwise you may end up with a lot of false rumors and  misunderstandings.

Click here to read about why I believe the Book of Mormon to be True Scripture

I was asked by a very kind Catholic friend “Why do you believe in the Book of Mormon when there is absolutely no evidence?”  So I took the time to write the article referenced.

If you are determined not to see or hear or believe, then there is nothing I can say or do to convince you otherwise.  I believe that to hear truth, there must be an ability to weigh out all the possibilities and choose.  If you begin already certain of the outcome, then what is the point of pretending to be open?

I trust that the Holy Spirit will witness of all truth, and if people are open to hear God’s voice through the Spirit, then they will know of themselves what is true and right.

Moroni 10:3-5

I know that we will all eventually meet God face to face, and He will be able to judge perfectly our hearts, and whether or not we were willing to hear His voice.  He will also ask me how I fulfilled my responsibility to share the light and truth that I was given.

That is what I strive to do, and what I hope others will also be willing to do. I feel it is my responsibility to try to share what I believe is true and what I believe is good and holy to others.

 

The Joy of the Music. Music is Joy!

Sometimes, I think we spend too little time on joy.  I remember watching a WONDERFUL program on PBS called “The Joy of Music” with Diane Bish.  I didn’t even like organ music until I saw her play.  She was so happy playing and played with so much joy, I changed my mind.  I not only liked organ music, I loved organ music! Even my little 3 year old would watch it with me and anticipate it coming on each week! (Click here for a short clip.) I looked forward to watching it on Sundays.  Sometimes it was the only spiritual uplift I had when my kids were sick and I couldn’t go to church. I fairly danced when it came on! I loved it, right along with  Music and the Spoken word  . . .see a theme here? 😉

I believe all great music is connected to God, because God is the author of joy.  Just ask J.S. Bach.  Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S. Bach)  He dedicated all of his music to God.  He intended for joy to be part of the experience.  Music in it’s highest form, is pure joy.  It speaks of “another country, I’ve heard of long ago”.  Heaven.  Thaxted

I believe Christ’s life was one of joy.  If we are to find joy, we must follow His impeccable example.  How to find Joy

 

 

 

 

Music and how it influenced what I know about God. . .

I believe in God.  Not only that He exists, but that He is Good! He is the Father of our Spirits, and the Creator of all around us.  I believe He has all power and all knowledge. And I believe His greatest characteristic is Love.  Love for us, whether we are feeling lovable or not.  Or whether we are actually lovable or not!

How did I come to believe this? And why do I continue to do so?  Many reasons- but perhaps what I am about to share is the beginning of them all.

I was taught about Jesus Christ from the time I was a little girl.  I believed it.  That he was the literal Son of God the Father, born of a virgin named Mary.  That his coming had been prophesied since the beginning of man, and that He had come to redeem the world.  I learned that he healed the sick, raised the dead, taught the ignorant, forgave the sinners, fed the multitudes, and turned water into wine.  I was also taught that he eventually suffered innocently with false accusations, atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane,  was crucified, and finally,  rose victorious from the dead as the first person to be resurrected never to die again.

When did I actually come to know of His divinity in a spiritual way for myself?

The first time I remember feeling something special, something indescribably wonderful about God, was as a 12 year old girl.  Bored at home alone, I began to pop in cassette tapes to see what was on them. Eventually I came upon a recording someone had made of a local performance of the “Hallelujah” Chorus by Handel.  It was probably from a performance of the Logan Community Choir in Logan, UT.

(That’s another story.  I’m the youngest of 6 kids.  You know how once all of the kids are asleep in bed, you don’t do anything to bother them?  My Mom broke this cardinal rule one night.  She was probably perusing the newspaper in her first moments of peace and quiet of the day, and at this point discovered an opportunity she didn’t want us to miss.  I was probably 6 or 7 years old. Out of the blue, interrupting our slumbers, she called upstairs- “EVERYBODY!  HURRY! Get UP! GET DRESSED! Get IN THE CAR!”  I remember feeling tired and groggy, having just gone through the process of getting to and in bed, but I was also curious.  What could POSSIBLY have come over our mother?  What was the great opportunity worth dragging us all out of bed for??? We dutifully climbed out of bed, popped back into our clothes, ran to the car, and with our parents we traveled the 30 plus minutes to Logan, and finally dashed into the Concert Hall- only to hear the final few bars of the Messiah.  But I do remember that it was powerful!  Angels must have been singing that night. I remember the atmosphere was electric.)

As a teenager, I eventually attended another performance of the Messiah (my mom was a believer in good music!).  Although not specific to any song, I remember being absolutely elevated and changed- somehow purified- by the experience. So much so, that when we returned home, I was devastated to hear my clock radio blaring “regular music” upstairs in my bedroom.  I RAN like a crazy person up the stairs to turn it off so it wouldn’t drive away the holy joy by which I was absolutely enveloped.  I didn’t want ANYTHING to ruin the purity of the spirit that was accompanying me. (To hear this inspired song sung by any number of choirs, you can youtube it- but here is one:  Click here to hear the Messiah Chorus)

Anyway, back at home, having the experience with my cassette player- I was listening, and something very odd happened. From head to toe, I was enveloped by a powerful feeling that I couldn’t explain or understand, but that was absolutely Divine.  I turned off the music- it was gone.  I experimented.  I listened again.  It took a while, but there again, in the midst of the music, I felt the special something I couldn’t describe. On went the music, and back came the flood of spine tingling wonder. Off went the music, and away went the feeling. It was definitely something spiritual that moved my physical self.  It came from outside of me, and was something I couldn’t create on my own.  It felt like I was being enveloped by joy.  It felt like a spiritual gift.  And so it was.  The gift of the Holy Ghost!  (Click here to learn about the gift of the holy ghost)  I began to understand that this was the Holy Spirit fulfilling his calling.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:,  John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things . . . 

At a young age, The Holy Ghost absolutely testified to me that God knew me and He loved me.  Not so much in words, but in a divine manifestation of love.  I knew that I was somehow connected to heaven.  I was truly a child of God, important enough in my little reality, that God would reach out and touch me. Me. Nobody special.  I had done nothing to deserve this.  I hadn’t even asked for it.  But God made himself known to me that day in a very special way.

The Holy Spirit witnessed powerfully to me of the reality and Holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know that His reality makes my reality  worthwhile.  The love He pours into me helps me find joy and peace.  He laid down his life to show love, and I can do the same on a much smaller scale.  He taught how to find your life by losing it.  When I am filled with His love, there is enough, and some to spare!  I know when I am filled with His love when sacrifice becomes a joy, not a burden.  God’s love changes our hearts for the better.

I also know that holy music as portrayed in the Messiah can be a vehicle for that testimony.  My mother understood that it was worth getting up six kids to experience this for themselves.  I believe that the joy of this discovery is worth whatever price you must to pay to experience it. This short video clip depicts well what I know to be true about Jesus Christ.  He is truly the Son of God, The Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer of the world.  Click here.

Personal Bio

PERSONAL BIO:

I have a very full and beautiful life.  I was born Sept. 6, 1967 to a happy home in Beaver Dam, UT.  As the youngest of 6 children, I had an INTERESTING childhood!

We were raised next to a barn that had kittens on occasion, horses in the stalls, and sheep in the pens.  They weren’t OUR kittens, horses, barn, or sheep- but that didn’t stop us from exploring and enjoying it on occasion.  Our family dog would sometimes chase the sheep, making him (actually probably a fixed her, but to us kids, we thought it was a boy dog) very unpopular to the neighbors.

This is my family about 1980.  I am in the back row, 2nd from the left.  My parents of course, are in the front row in front of me, and all my brothers and my beautiful sister surround us. My dad (George Russell Johnson) built the fireplace we are in front of, including gathering up the rocks from canyons.  He also built the room we are in and the book cases behind us.  He was a shop teacher and did a lot of carpentry just for fun.

My mother, Marilyn Clark Johnson, was extremely bright as a kid.  She learned to play the piano late (age 12), but progressed quite quickly and became an amazing pianist by the time she was 19 years old.  Her dream was to play the piano around the world.  But she chose to have a bigger dream- marry and have a family!

However, her first dream she held onto vicariously.  None of my 4 brothers or 1 sister were particularly amenable to becoming the pianist she had dreamed of being.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t either- except that I  had more of an interest and aptitude than the rest.

We were raised without television because by the time I came along, my parents had discovered that there was less contention without it.  So I was B O R E D.  A lot! Especially when my family all went to school.  And it was just me and my mom.  And she liked to read and listen to the radio and to vacuum and make jello.  I craved something more.

I learned to read VERY early (by age 4 I could read fluently).  I LOVED the travelling library, the WONDERFUL BOOKMOBILE.  (We did occasionally travel to the Logan Library, but not regularly.  At least not until my dad bought real estate in Logan and worked all summer fixing up the apartments.  Then we practically lived there and at the community swimming pool.)  I would get a huge stack of books, read them all, and then yearn for the next few weeks to fly by so I could get some more!  That was my television.

Also, my mom somewhat slyly asked if I wanted to learn to play the piano!  So I said yes! And then I was a slave to the piano for a long time! I progressed quite quickly, as she practiced with me every single day. Eventually, I began taking from university professors, and that became a huge aspect of my life.

Another huge influence was my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I was always faithful along with my family.  I became the organist in my early teens, and often played for the primary and other organizations.

Eventually, I grew up.  I was able to stack up some wonderful accomplishments!  I also made mistakes.  I had a few friends that were wonderful, and some that weren’t. I sang in the choir under Mr. Carl Ashby.  That was a wonderful influence in my life.  I was in a few plays in high school.  I dated a little.  Eventually I graduated from Bear River High School, and went on to USU.  This was a whirlwind of crazy effort.  I graduated in 3 years.  I had half a brain left!!  Then I attended BYU beginning a Master’s program in piano performance, served an 18 month mission for my church, and returned to complete the program.

I met my husband to be on a blind date.  Super long story.  But love prevailed and we were married 8 months later.

We were eventually blessed with 4 children.  Two girls and two boys (currently aged 23 to 6).  All genuine miracles.  I had a hard time conceiving, bearing, and delivering my kids- but they were worth all the trouble!  (Now I am even a grandmother, and that is super awesome!)

I’ve also been blessed with some incredible friendships that have made my life filled with joy and given me great purpose.  And taught me great sacrifice.

My family and friends have given me the most beautiful life imaginable.

And it will never end!  I believe that God meant relationships to be of eternal consequence, not just a fleeting pass on earth.  When Jesus told Peter that whatever he sealed on earth would be sealed in heaven, this included family relationships.  Click here to read more about Celestial or Eternal marriage.

This is the Holy Temple where I was married to Paul over 25 years ago in Logan, UT.  Our marriage was solemnized by a temple sealer.  His name was President George C. Ficklin.  (Prior to his temple work, he had been a medical doctor.  Coincidentally, he delivered me to my mother as a baby. . . and then 24 years later, he delivered me into my husband’s care.)  

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Below is my family at my 2nd daughter’s wedding. (Both were married last summer. Very exciting!  And Expensive!)  Left to right, my oldest daughter, Christa Liana (Meisman), my husband Paul Gideon Taylor ( This is Paul’s business website), my daughter Aria Kaimi (Lichtenstein), her husband Dan Lichtenstein, me, my son Joshua Paul Taylor, and the little guy in front is our caboose, Truman Coulson Taylor.  (Named after Truman O. Angell, architect of the famous temple in Salt Lake City, who is my direct ancestor.)

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Guardians of the Hearth (SSA)

Sheet Music (PDF)

“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” Revelation 13:13

Like a march, it draws in the forces of womankind to guard against all the sin and oppression and darkness that tries to seize control inside the home.  This song encourages women everywhere to band together and unite their forces by guarding their homes with faith, prayer, and unity.

Circle of Sisters (SSA)

This was written at the request of my stake.  They were doing a program to boost the faith of the sisters, based on the book Daughters in My Kingdom. It is a manual given to us by the General RS Board to encourage us to understand the roots of faith that drove the sisters to create the first Relief Society and look to the faith and sacrifice of those who have gone before.

Sheet Music (PDF)

The specific story that inspired was related by President Boyd K. Packer in this address:

The Circle of Sisters

“Just days ago Sister Packer and I attended Relief Society somewhere in Eastern Europe. There were in attendance twelve sisters. We sang the hymns of Zion from song books—words without music—printed nearly fifty years ago. The spiritual living lesson was reverently given from the pages of a handmade manual.

I told those sisters that they belonged to the largest, and by all measure, the greatest women’s organization on earth. I quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith when he and the Brethren organized the Relief Society.

“I now turn the key in [behalf of all women].”

This society is organized, “according to your natures. … You are now placed in a situation in which you can act according to those sympathies” within you.

“If you live to these privileges, … the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. …

“If this society listen to the counsel of the Almighty, through the heads of the Church, they shall have power to command queens in their midst.” (History of the Church, 4:607, 605.)

The Spirit was in that meeting! And when the meeting closed, the lovely sister who had conducted with gentility and reverence wept openly.

I then told them about you, and they were strengthened. I spoke of the assignment to speak to you here tonight and asked if they had a message for you. Several of them made notes; each expression, every one, was in the spirit of sending something to you—not of asking something from you. One of them said, “A small circle of sisters send their own hearts and thoughts to all the sisters and begs the Lord to help us go forward.”

Those words, “circle of sisters,” inspired me. I could see them standing in your circle. I caught then the vision of a great circle of sisters—the same vision the Apostles and prophets before us have had.”