Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mormons Believe That Living Prophets Speak Today [Infographic]

Every year, twice a year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and broadcasts throughout the world in a bi-annual General Conference. At the Conference, called leaders of the Church, which Mormons believe to be prophets just as in the times of Moses, Abraham, or even Peter, James, and John, stand up and speak to address the world over satellite, internet, and many other means available. Mormons everywhere are excited for these events. They're the time when they get to hear men, called of God, speak about issues that are most pertinent to the world, in that given time and moment. Tomorrow at 10am Mountain time and Sunday, April 1 at 10am Mountain time, you can join tens of thousands of other Mormons around the world as we watch these men, called of God just as in times of old, address the world. Part of being a Mormon and believing as we do, as I've discussed here before, is hearing the words of these men in person, and coming to our own terms and understanding that the words they speak are true, and that these men are truly God's representatives here on earth.

I invite you to join us and experience this with me - anyone is welcome. Come see why I believe what I believe. Come see what real Mormons believe. More than anything, regardless of your belief, come learn from inspired men and women and people that will get you thinking in ways you haven't before. Starting tomorrow you can watch live on the internet on Also, feel free to follow the Tweets, and posts on Google+ from thousands of other members of the Church around the world talking about conference by following the hashtag, #ldsconf.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Winning Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car Secrets

  1. Design does nothing. This is the part your Cub can do, and it doesn't matter how it looks or what shape it is. It can just be a block for all it matters.
  2. Sand and polish the axles - start with course sand paper, and make your way to fine sand paper. This is also something your Cub can do.
  3. Buy an axle press from the Scout Store - this will remove any unstraight axles. It also has an end to arch the end of the nail so the flat of the nail isn't rubbing against the whole wheel. This reduces friction. I have 4 boys so this will be re-used by every one of them.
  4. Make sure your axles are straight. Any unstraightness will cause the car to veer right or left and cause more friction against the track.
  5. If your Pack's rules don't forbid it (ours didn't), raise one of the front wheels higher than the other wheels. This reduces more friction, because fewer wheels are touching the track.
  6. Weight! Weight! Weight! This is probably the most important factor. Go to the Scout Store and weigh your car (or use a package or food scale). It should be as close to the maximum weight as possible (usually 5 oz). Add more weight if needed. I bought some weights from the Scout Store, and added Pennies to increase the weight to the maximum. Fishing weights also work well for cheap.
  7. Put your weight in back. It shouldn't be too far, but right before and on top of the rear axle, and as much weight as possible back there will have the greatest effect. My son's car would some times be slower going down the track, but because his weight was in the rear, that potential energy converted to kinetic energy, and he would always speed ahead of the other cars on the straight-way. Be careful though - if the weight is too far in the back, the car will do a wheelie at the bottom, and lose speed (and some times jump the track!).
Lastly, look up others' stories! There are plenty of people on the internet sharing stories. Google, and Youtube are your friends!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mormons are Volunteers! [Infographic]

Mormon Newsroom just released this infographic on Mormons and volunteerism, based on a study sponsored by University of Pennsylvania, that shows how often Mormons volunteer in and out of their Church. This is one of the main reasons I'm a Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Church of volunteers! Read more on the Mormon Volunteerism study here.:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

People Are Wonderful

This article was written by Devin Thorpe, author of "Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom: A Financial Planning Guide for Latter-day Saint Families". Devin has owned and operated an investment-banking firm, which included an investment advisory business, a mortgage brokerage and having served in a variety of corporate finance positions. He has unique experience in this area. You can buy his book here. You can also follow his blog at

I’m a Mormon and in all my years, I’ve never faced a personal attack on my religion.

The nearest thing to a personal attack on my religion was in graduate school, a visiting student (who later enrolled) asked me where I was from and upon hearing I was from Utah, she said, “how did you like that?” She was clearly referring to my experience living among “all the Mormons” but I confess, I forced her to say it, by asking her in reply, “What do you mean?”

She was, as you’d expect, a little embarrassed when she completed her query and I responded that I was a Mormon. We both smiled and that ended the conversation.

So that was it. The closest thing I’ve ever experienced to a personal attack on my religion.
Of course, I’ve had some theological discussions with people who don’t agree with LDS doctrine, but I’ve never been the recipient of a personal attack.

Furthermore, I’ve never observed any anti-Mormon discrimination in housing, education, employment or service in any business establishment. Might I have been the victim of some prejudice of which I was unaware? Perhaps. But I’m not that oblivious. Are there some who might have treated me different but for not knowing that I was LDS? Likely, but that only seems to confirm my theory that once people know one another it is unnatural if not impossible to treat them according to the artifice of a stereotype.

Personally, I conclude that the reason this is the case is because people are all so generally good. We are all good to the people we know. We respect each other and even judge one another less by stereotypes and labels than by our individual character—once we are acquainted.

Stereotypes are only used—and then wrongly—by people judging groups of people they don’t know.
The implication of this observation is clear: if you don’t like “Mormons” or any other group of people for that matter, the remedy is simple. Get to know one.

Want to guest post on Stay N Faithful? All writers interested in posting on the topics of religious freedom, Mormonism towards non-Mormon audiences, and patriotism in an unpopular world are welcome to submit a request! Contact Jesse at

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mormons and Mormonism 101 [Infographic]

Ever wondered about Mormons? This is a great infographic put out by LDS Newsroom about Mormons and Mormonism. See anything you didn't know? Click the link to learn even more:

Friday, March 2, 2012

This is HIS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has certainly seen its share of criticism. Whether it be criticism of the Church's stance on blacks and the Priesthood, or maybe even Baptisms for the dead, or perhaps it's the Church's stance on Gays getting married (click through those links to get a good overview of what those are). The "Mormon Moment" is bringing to the forefront issues that, while perhaps minuscule compared to other mainstream religious histories, due to a Mormon President running for Public office in the United States are now a mainstream issue.

There's one criticism I keep seeing though, which is that the Church has made "mistakes" in the past. That its leaders have swayed from what's "right", and some even suggesting that "The Church can't be true" because of those imperfections of its members and leaders. I'd like to make a bold statement saying, based on my own experience, any statement to that regard simply isn't true. It can't be as long as I call myself "Mormon".

I mentioned before that saying "I'm a Mormon" is a very bold statement. It truly is. It's saying that regardless of imperfect people guiding and leading the Church, this Church is still lead by God (you'll want to read that link). It holds His Priesthood, and He will not let it fall astray. Being a Mormon means, regardless of the imperfections of man, those men still receive revelation from God (I imagine some times whether they want it or not), some times revelation even they don't understand, and this Church is lead by HIM. Most of these men never asked for this calling - I'm sure they'd happily give it away if they didn't have such a firm conviction in God and this principle. To me, the Church of God CANNOT be true without imperfect men receiving revelation from Him to take His Gospel to the world. God will not allow His Church to fail - it's that simple. That's a very bold statement.

Mormons believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We believe that mankind was brought to this earth because they were imperfect and needed to learn the things that would make it possible to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Christ came to this earth as the only perfect man, willing to give us the example, and take on our sins so that our sins would not hamper us down from moving forward to that end goal.

To a Mormon, God's Church cannot exist without imperfect people. It simply can't. At the same time it cannot exist without the Lord at the helm, leading the way with those called individuals as his mouthpiece. To Mormons, it could be any one of us called to that position, so we support these individuals with every bit we can, knowing and understanding the challenges they must be going through in order to fulfill such a solemn calling. (The story of Moses comes to mind, as does Joseph of Egypt and even Muhammed and other faiths' religious leaders and prophets throughout time that were average people, called of God in very humbling circumstances to be the mouthpiece of their God)

To suggest that anything ever happened to the Church, as a whole, was not lead by the Lord Himself, would completely discredit any truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is why the Church answers "we don't know" to questions such as blacks and the Priesthood - we simply don't know why the Lord wanted it that way. History shows that many leadership didn't want it that way, but the Lord still said, very directly, "No". And the truth is, we say that not because we're justifying the lack of revelation, but because revelation itself is guiding that response. When the Church says "we don't know", so does the Lord.

To suggest that "the Church made a mistake" on something as big as withholding the Priesthood from blacks simply can't be true if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to be true. The truth is, as Mormons, we believe this Church is true. We've each learned that through personal revelation (and we seek it if we don't yet have it), and because of that we cannot deny the fact that this Church was, still does, and will continually be lead by God Himself in the future. We don't always know why. We sometimes don't always understand and in many typical scenarios we'd even disagree (such as blacks and the Priesthood). However, this is HIS Church in every definition to Mormons and because we believe it's true, we follow the Lord's counsel.

Now it comes down to understanding yourself if God exists, if this is His Church, and if he speaks through prophets. None of this will ever make sense until you are able to come upon this yourself. It's a moot conversation until you do, and shouting from the housetops will never fix that.

Disclosure: as an employee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these are my opinions and words, and not intended to be the voice of the Church. It's how I define my very personal testimony as a Mormon, and who I am. To learn from the voice of the Church and its called leaders, I encourage you to click through to the links throughout the article.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Family Finance - a Mormon Perspective

Hard times have lead to many of us thinking of our finances. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons), like anyone, are not immune. In fact, there are some very unique things Mormons have to think of which those of other faiths don't when it comes to finances. This article was written by Devin Thorpe, author of "Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom: A Financial Planning Guide for Latter-day Saint Families". Devin has owned and operated an investment-banking firm, which included an investment advisory business, a mortgage brokerage and having served in a variety of corporate finance positions. He has unique experience in this area. You can buy his book here.

There are many people both within and without of the Mormon community that might ask “how is financial planning for Mormon families different from that of other families?”
There are five key differences:
  1. Larger families: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on average have larger families than other people in America. This not only means that there are more mouths to feed, but more college tuition to plan for and at least a desire if not a need for larger homes.
  2. Tithing: Mormons are not alone in the world in making contributions to their church, but devout members of the faith donate more than 10% of their income to the Church—more than three times the average charitable contribution deduction taken by those who itemize their deductions in the U.S.
  3. Missions-Young: Male members of the LDS faith are expected to serve two-year missions—at their own expense—at age 19. While optimally, this expense would be born by the 19-year-old who serves, most often the expense falls to the family. Young women are also invited to serve missions at age 21 if they choose, again, at their own expense.
  4. Missions-Senior: The LDS Church asks senior couples to serve another mission when they enter retirement. This requires not only good financial planning but other sacrifices as well; the time when seniors are entering retirement is exactly the time when their children are typically having children—something that no grandmother ever wants to miss.
  5. “Consecration”: Latter-day Saints believe in the principle of consecration, of devoting all of their resources to building up “the Kingdom of God.” In the 1800s, the Church experimented with literally taking title to member’s assets. While that practice was not continued, members continue to avow their belief in the principle, leading some to place much of their assets in trust for the benefit of the Church. Others find that simply living a life that includes a large family and lots of missionary service leaves substantially all of the assets spent anyway.
When approaching financial planning, Mormons are wise to seek counsel from financial advisors who are familiar with LDS financial planning—not necessarily Mormons, of course. Everyone who seeks financial advice is wise to remember that it is your money—not your adviser’s money—and that you make the financial decisions after obtaining good counsel.

Want to guest post on Stay N Faithful? All writers interested in posting on the topics of religious freedom, Mormonism towards non-Mormon audiences, and patriotism in an unpopular world are welcome to submit a request! Contact Jesse at