Author Archives: Leslie

The Plugphones Story and the Jackrabbit Factor

One of my readers recently shared a success story that I would like to share with you. She gives the background behind her husband’s experience as the founder of Plugfones (see image below). I’m impressed with how raw, real and down to earth their story is, and I believe many people will relate.

Plugfones-banner_1I’ll copy their story below:

Our story of the past several years is quite long; maybe too long for most people to want to read. So here is the short of it.

Following some nefarious advice we had borrowed huge sums of money and invested it hoping to make a nice return which was supposed to cover the debt payments and our standard of living. It all went down the drain in the market crash of ’08. We lost our home, our rental properties, our vehicles, and a couple businesses and incurred mountains of debt Just before we lost our home to foreclosure I used a bit of credit we had left on a card and I purchased Leslie Householder’s FTMF course. I figured we were going down anyway – why not get a little education out of it. Little did my husband know at the time that I was sharing with him the things I was learning from Leslie’s course. Even as we concluded that we couldn’t keep our home we were employing the Principles I was learning. Our mindset made all the difference to us having PEACE through this journey, even when losing everything we had!

We had no money, no job, and a hernia surgery we had no way to pay for. We had little of our food storage left. I would stay up all Friday night to bake bread and then sell it at the farmers market on Saturday using the wheat we did have in order to supplement what we ate. Shaun adopted a new diet plan: eat every other day.

Through Diving Providence Shaun was led to a job working at a glass factory. We acknowledged each and every blessing no matter how great or small and I learned through the FTMF course how to be grateful for ALL things including our struggles. We were blessed to greatly and in so many ways – a topic that could take its own volume to cover.

It was while Shaun was working at the glass factory – in fact, I think just barely a day or two into the job, that Shaun started looking for earplugs that worked as earphones and could not find any. So he devised a way to create his own. (The solution to every problem is only an idea away!)

I remember how we struggled to come up with the $300 we needed for supplies. It was all we could do to muster up the money and I”m sure we over drafted the checking account.

Within a short time Shaun had created a very basic website and had started selling his creation. www.Plugfones.com was born. We had no idea where it would go – all we knew was that within a few months we were supplementing our income from it.

Shaun would work as much over the time as he could get, often working swing or graveyard, and when he got home he would sit in the corner of the bedroom jimmy rigging these things together. The business continued to grow. Eventually we were able to move the the very cramped duplex we were renting to a home that fit our needs better and was closer to Shaun’s work.

This is where we were living when I received a scholarship to attend Mentor Training. I took all the money I had made from my blog/website (www.TracisTransformationalKitchen.com) and from selling bread on the corner and to neighbors to be able to pay for travel expenses. I took the things I learned at the training to help Shaun update his website and to help our family continue thinking properly.

Eventually Shaun was working so much he was exhausted – truly he couldn’t do any more himself… so our boys started working with him. Pretty soon he had brought his cousin on board to take over Amazon sales.

All this time I was teaching our family about the Principles. We were using them daily. When we got discouraged or overwhelmed I would rely on them to get us through. When I went through 2 difficult miscarriages back to back I was using these truths to get me through. These experiences were tough – and they made us stronger, bound us together, helped us to be more grateful, brought us closer to God.

The business started to pay more than the glass factory and soon Shaun had to quit in order to keep up. Then, when Shaun needed the full time help, we were able to rent a REALLY nice home closer to Shaun’s cousin.

After a year and the birth of our 7th child we moved again; this time renting an even NICER home. Shaun brought on even more help.

We are still working to pay back all of our debts a piece at a time. But ever since we lost our home we have been living on a cash basis – no more debt incurred since then. No house payment, no car payment. We rent our home and pay cash for everything. Shaun’s business brings in more money in one month than we used to make in a year, working several jobs, by at least double! Of course, there are expenses and only a portion of that is ours but just the idea of it is totally wild! SERIOUSLY – this has been one very fun and very amazing journey.

So yes, it took me over 4 years to finish my FTMF course. Because of the things I’ve learned and the person I am becoming because of the principles Leslie teaches I wouldn’t trade my knowledge and experience for anything! The knowledge is like night and day to us! I can testify that ignorance is not bliss!

I know that there were and are great sacrifices made on the part of Leslie and her family to create these materials to help others. It brings me to tears to think about what they have been through in order for me to have received the blessing that made this crazy journey possible.

The mindset tools Leslie teaches are the key to our success. What is success? Learning to be happy today, whether we are brown bagging it or catching rabbits. That means that we could lose it all and still be happy. Knowing HOW to think means we could start over. We don’t have to cower in fear of something “bad” happening. We know that even though we might have gone hungry sometimes it didn’t kill us. We learned that there is always a way and the joy is in the journey. Thank you Leslie and Family!!! God bless you!!! – Linda Knudsen

A note from her husband Shaun:

My business is flourishing and I don’t know how big we will get but I do know this, I have proven myself and the principles I learned from the Jack Rabbit Factor. I have what it takes to succeed and even if things go south someday, I know I can build it again. This knowledge gives me a confidence and freedom unexplainable to anyone who hasn’t felt it. Thank you, Leslie!

To learn about the principles Linda and Shaun talked about, begin with the FREE Jackrabbit Factor ebook, or take your understanding to the next level through the FTMF homestudy program.

I want to hear YOUR story, too! If you have an inspirational story that illustrates how you have used the principles from my books or programs, let me know. I’d love to consider sharing your story in a future blog post!

A Rare Kind of Faith

A special thanks to one of my readers, Von Stocking, for pointing me to this powerful quote by Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles [of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], which helps us better understand the meaning of faith:

BoydKPacker“Faith, to be faith, must center around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it. …

“There are two kinds of faith. One of them functions ordinarily in the life of every soul. It is the kind of faith born by experience; it gives us certainty that a new day will dawn, that spring will come, that growth will take place. It is the kind of faith that relates us with confidence to that which is scheduled to happen. …

There is another kind of faith, rare indeed. This is the kind of faith that causes things to happen. It is the kind of faith that is worthy and prepared and unyielding, and it calls forth things that otherwise would not be. It is the kind of faith that moves people. It is the kind of faith that sometimes moves things. … It comes by gradual growth. It is a marvelous, even a transcendent, power, a power as real and as invisible as electricity. Directed and channeled, it has great effect. …

“In a world filled with skepticism and doubt, the expression ‘seeing is believing’ promotes the attitude, ‘You show me, and I will believe.’ We want all of the proof and all of the evidence first. It seems hard to take things on faith.

“When will we learn that in spiritual things it works the other way about—that believing is seeing? Spiritual belief precedes spiritual knowledge. When we believe in things that are not seen but are nevertheless true, then we have faith.” (“What Is Faith?” in Faith [1983], 42–43, emphasis added).

Thanks again, Von. May we all strive to believe a little more in unseen help, unseen resources, unseen answers, and an unseen Father in Heaven watching over us and guiding us to discover all of the truth and goodness we are capable of receiving!

 

A Little White Powder

POSITIVE THINKING TIP: Choose wisely the images, music, and movies that you allow into your mind, because they will inevitably influence the way you think… and therefore the life you live.

What do Jackson Hole, Enfamil, and a crack house have in common? They all love their white powder.

I found it perplexing one day as my family was traveling in the mountains with our friends on vacation. We were at the RV dump, preparing to hit the road for the 6-hour journey home, when I realized that I was fresh out of baby formula. My girlfriend’s youngest was also a baby, so she had just what I needed.

She ran up to her vehicle, and returned with a little zipper locked plastic bag of formula. She chuckled as she handed it to me, and said, “I promise, it isn’t what it looks like.” My eyes squinted, I looked her in the eyes, and waited for my neurons to fire their little connections in my brain so that I could recall ANYTHING that would help me know what she meant. I waited. Nothing.

Finally, I shook my head and said, “huh?”

She was incredulous. “Well, white powder… in a little bag…” she said as she waited for my neurons to fire as well. Still nothing. Dropping her chin just a little and keeping her eyes fixed on mine she said, “Drugs…”

She really expected to see the lights go on in a profound way, but the reaction was absent. “Oh!” I said, and gave her a chuckle. “I NEVER would have thought of that!” Now, for the record, my friend does not do drugs, but she has been instrumental in helping many children born to parents with drug problems. She has to work extra hard at not letting the issues she is exposed to bring her down.

Many things can shape the way we think: life experiences, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the environment to which we expose ourselves. But they DO shape us. There was a time when a little bag of white powder would have only meant “laundry soap” to me; say, at a time when I didn’t have a baby in the home. I anticipate that there will come a day, (when I have finally learned to love cooking) that a little bag of white powder will mean “confectioner’s sugar.”

It all comes down to “garbage in, garbage out,” the cliché that sums up this principle in, I must say, a rather negative way. A new, more refreshing campaign could be, “virtue in, virtue out.” But that wouldn’t fly very far in today’s media, would it? Well, all of that aside, the principle is true. We need to feed our mind with images and messages that capture the kind of life we expect to live.

I’ve heard it said: “What I watch on TV doesn’t affect me.” Teenagers love to say that. I love watching their faces when I demonstrate in my seminars in 5 minutes how untrue that is. I split the group into two, and show one group several images of fresh fruit. The other group sees images of dark alleys, jail, weapons, etc. Then I show them both a poster with these letters: “R __ P E”and have them make note of the first word that comes to their mind. Almost 100% of the fruit viewers thought “RIPE”, while the other group is usually split between “ROPE” and “RAPE”.

The fact is, the way we view the world and the way we will react in any given situation is, in fact, bent even if just a little bit by the input we have fed our minds.

So, what if our past, or our environment, IS lending to negative or destructive thinking? It must be combated with uplifting input. How much? More than the negative. With enough inspiring food for the mind and spirit, eventually the heavier thoughts shrink away. Although they will always be stored in the mind, the desire and natural tendency to bring them forward into the conscious mind will depart.

After spending considerable time in an environment that was gradually leading my thoughts to baser things, and recognizing what was happening, I began to flood my mind with inspirational media to combat the effects it was having upon me.

Two years of a bad environment required about one full year of nearly 24/7 inspirational and uplifting input (ie. movies, music, reading) before the effects were no longer prominent.

So what if you feel like, “I can’t wait a whole year to see the change!” Don’t worry, you’ll actually feel better very quickly. It just might take a long time before it isn’t a constant battle. It does require a determination, however, to win the battle no matter how long it takes. I wanted to be free of the negative effects so badly that I didn’t care if it took until the day I died to be free of it, I was going to do all I could to overpower the negative effects.

Something interesting to note – I hadn’t yet changed the negative environment, I had only decided to fight the effects of it. But after fighting the effects for a very long time, I became weary of the fight and finally became conscious to the reality that I had to change the environment itself. I was able to make that change, but wouldn’t have learned how if I hadn’t first subjected my mind to all of those months to uplifting input. The inspirational messages taught me how. I had learned things that I didn’t know I didn’t know!

It takes time, and it is not easy. But it is worth it. It’s your choice. Virtue in, virtue out. We all have room for improvement, and it all begins in our minds. You may not be able to entirely remove what is already in there, but you CAN control what you feed your mind from this moment on. It’s why I do what I do… thanks for stopping by ;)

Originally published March 29, 2002.

photo credit: Neeta Lind via photopin cc

Open Letter to the Youth of the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration – THANK YOU

For the past four months, my husband and I have had the privilege to serve as Stake Chair/Producers for the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration, which finally took place on March 1, 2014.

dancing_in_the_rain_by_contraltissimo-d78jxst

Dancing in the Rain by Contraltissimo (click on image to view source and usage permissions)

It’s difficult to explain how amazing this experience was for us, for the 12,000 youth, and for the other thousands of leaders who worked through the challenges, obstacles, colossal expectations, limited time/resources, and the constant flow of updates, changes, and instructions.

(For example, how would we gather 12,000 youth from places as far as an hour away to one location, to spend 12-14 hours rehearsing a production, with no parking allowed? Here’s a shout out to all the extra volunteers who dropped the youth off, AND picked them up again for both the Super Saturday practice and Game Day; and another shout out to the Executive Committee for organizing drop-off times which made such a feat even possible without serious traffic delays.)

And yet, after all of the hours and sacrifices, the torrential rain on “game day” was truly like a capstone to this epic event, and it will never be forgotten. It is a bit ironic that only a week before, we needed to cancel the last practice of the day due to hazardous levels of dust:

Dust-bowl

That’s dust in the air! Super Saturday final practice: canceled. Photo by Leslie Householder.

But with ALL THE RAIN that poured down on ‘game day’, what will be the memory? Will it be a disappointment? Will the celebration be remembered as a failure?

Not by a long shot.

Celebration-rain

Torrential rains during the final performance – the show must go on! Photo by Katie Hughes

There is a principle, which promises that contained in every adversity is a seed of equal or greater benefit, and getting soaked and cold during the final performance is no exception.

To illustrate, let me share a message I received after the celebration was complete.

I’m posting it as an “open letter” to all the youth who participated:

(A final note from me before I post the letter… Dear Youth, as much as it enriched your life to be a part of it, perhaps you can feel something new as you shift your focus on what the rest of the world got out of seeing you perform it in the rain…)

Gilbert Temple Youth Celebration 3/1/14

I don’t live in Arizona. I am older and unable to do much anymore, but need daily to study or find things to uplift me spiritually, to understand more deeply the doctrines the Savior has given us, and to be exposed to the efforts of others in building the kingdom!  For me, other than reading, it needs to be on TV or the Internet.  My grandchildren were part of the Youth Celebration, and when I received the link I was anxious to see what they had helped to accomplish.  I thought I would watch just for a while. I was busy texting family and friends about it, and trying to get the program to load, and when I settled in to watch, the first thing I saw was a magnificent horse and rider with thousands of ‘Nephites’ racing onto a rain soaked field. The Title of Liberty is so timely now, and given to us for a reason, and I was thrilled to see it depicted as it was!

moroni

“In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” Photo by Gerald Ferguson

I ‘saw’ the rain, sometimes falling in torrents. I saw the rain streaming down soaked hair, faces upturned many times, wet and radiant; and the thought occurred to me, ‘this is what a person looks like coming up out of the waters of baptism!’  I knew the clothing was soaked, the shoes soggy, and the youth cold. I knew as well that parents and leaders had umbrellas and coats and were concerned for their children. My thoughts went to the Stripling Warriors and I knew I was witnessing that same courage, strength and willingness. These incredible children are being prepared to become great leaders in the church, their communities, and in this country.

As the program progressed, I couldn’t turn it off as I had intended. Sitting at a computer for long isn’t easy. Such majesty, such magnitude with the numbers present on that field, I was stunned! I knew they were presenting to families and to the Prophet and those with him.  But I also knew that many of them understood their Celebration was presented to the Savior who had blessed the establishment of a temple in Gilbert, AZ.

I think too that people like Lucy Flake and her husband were also watching from the world of spirits. In March 1893, they traveled on a long, perilous trip from their Arizona home to Salt Lake City to participate in the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.  “We went by team,” she explained in her journal, “as we hadn’t the money to go on train.” The journey by wagon was “a cold hard trip, through snow and mud.”  They and thousands of spirits like them would witness your celebration for another temple in Arizona and she would especially appreciate the mud and rain you were enduring. (Stories of Sacrifice and Devotion: The People Who Built and Loved a Temple: LDS Newsroom)

Some may have felt that it was unfortunate, that after all your sacrifice of time, energy, with school, jobs and other responsibilities, that the rain could not have been stayed with all the prayers uttered.

But may I say, because of the way my heart was touched and my spirit uplifted, and my soul moved as I teared up many times, I feel your prayers WERE answered. This presentation would not have been so moving, to me at least, had you not gone forward in spite of the downpour.  Your performance was perfection, not only in the execution, but also because of your energy and attitude. Each segment was as good as the last! I simply don’t have adequate words to express the tenacity, the responsibility you demonstrated and how well you carried it. I can only say, “Thank you!”

Today building a temple does not require what it did in the early days.  But it does require effort and sacrifice in other ways, and you, all of you, demonstrated that.  In watching, I thought some of those early sacrifices. Dedication speaks more to it, though. Dedication to a commitment until it is finished, no matter the discomfort.

“John Rowe Moyle … was a convert to the Church who left his home in England and traveled to the Salt Lake Valley as part of a handcart company. John was an accomplished stonecutter and, because of this skill, was asked to work on the Salt Lake Temple.

“Every Monday John left home at two o’clock in the morning and walked six hours in order to be at his post on time. On Friday he would leave his work at five o’clock in the evening and walk almost until midnight before arriving home. He did this year after year.

“One day, while he was doing his chores at home, a cow kicked him in the leg, causing a compound fracture. With limited medical resources, the only option was to amputate the broken leg. So John’s family and friends strapped him onto a door and, with a bucksaw, cut off his leg a few inches from the knee.

“In spite of the crude surgery, the leg started to heal. Once John could sit up in bed, he began carving a wooden leg with an ingenious joint that served as an ankle to an artificial foot. Walking on this device was extremely painful, but John did not give up, building up his endurance until he could make the 22-mile (35-km) journey to the Salt Lake Temple each week, where he continued his work.

“His hands carved the words ‘Holiness to the Lord’ that stand today as a golden marker to all who visit the Salt Lake Temple.  (Film: Only a Stonecutter, directed by T. C. Christensen and starring Bruce Newbold)

Today we have a more efficient method of etching “Holiness to the Lord” on many of the Latter-day Saint temples that now dot the earth, the hand-carved letters on the Salt Lake Temple are a sobering reminder to Church members everywhere that pioneer families more than a century ago sacrificed nearly all they had in funds, energy, health, time, inconvenience, discomfort, for a legacy of temples. They were not all professional builders, and even those who were, had farms to manage, and had to earn a living in any way they could.

Your hardships in practices, and the performance in bad weather, your presentation of testimony in this way to Jesus Christ will be historical and noted among the spirits.  I would not have felt as I did thru the entire program, had I not witnessed it in the rain. Your performance added something of such worth to the subsequent dedication of the temple. Those reading of it down thru the decades will add it to such accounts of other temples, and what it took to build, dedicate and attend them.

bathtub-celebration

Photo by Jason Barney

Kirkland Temple comes to mind, and many of you know of such accounts.

“A stone quarry was located two miles south of the building site, and a wagon load of stone was immediately quarried. But the Saints were so poor, an early member recalled, that “there was not a scraper and hardly a plow that could be obtained among the Saints”, to dig foundations, so much of the construction was done by hand with limited and inadequate tools. Almost all able-bodied men who were not away on missions worked on the temple. Under Emma Smith’s direction, the women “made stockings, pantaloons and jackets” for the temple workmen. Mobs threatened to destroy the temple, and those who worked on it by day guarded it at night. Night after night for weeks, they didn’t take off clothes, and slept with guns in their arms. John Tanner gave money to pay for the temple site and then sold his twenty-two-hundred-acre farm in New York in order to give three thousand dollars to buy supplies. He continued to give until he had given almost all he owned. One journal entry states that glass and crockery were given to strengthen the stucco finish and to make the surface glisten. It isn’t clear if any was fine china, but even in that impoverished community, donating plates and glasses would have been a sacrifice perhaps an inconvenience, for many. The sun did make the temple glisten like the jewel that it was.” (CHURCH HISTORY IN THE FULNESS OF TIMES STUDENT MANUAL chapter 13)

I hope in some small way I have conveyed what your drenched presentation did for me, and I am sure many others in different states who watched it, felt as I did! It would not have touched me so, if I had not witnessed 12000 going ahead despite the cold and rain on a wet and muddy and probably slippery field and stage.  My son and family are in Hartford, Connecticut and he is part of the building committee for the temple they are erecting there. With seconds to spare I was able to give him the link to watch your presentation. “Wow”, he said, “What a performance!”

Watch the complete full-length performance here:

To learn more about the Gilbert Temple and why it is so important to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, watch the ABC special below:

Life’s Challenges: Friction, or Traction?

Positive Thinking Tip: Every life challenge offers traction for rapid progress toward your goal. Friction is optional.

Imagine life like a network of cogs and gears, like the inner workings of an old fashioned clock. Each person, each situation, is passing into and out of our lives as though they were fixed onto one of the gears rotating and making contact with our own.

The mechanism is so complex that we cannot diagram it, nor predict with certainty which gears and cogs are at play to effect the interactions we experience.

One thing I know is that each time we set an intention to accomplish something, the governing forces alter the timing and pathways of each of the gears in motion. Each gear is on a track that can be moved in and out of the pathways of other gears in motion.

At the center of your gear is the axis upon which you rotate… sometimes smoothly, sometimes not. Things run well in the whole scheme of it all when you rotate freely with every engagement of oncoming, spinning gears.

Sometimes, however, after you set a goal, what shows up is a gear disguised as a challenge that appears to want to engage and then send you into a realm where you’d rather not go. So you tighten up your axis and refuse to spin with the oncoming gear.

This causes tremendous friction, and in reality can be much more painful in the long run than loosening the tension at your axis point, allowing the oncoming “challenge” gear to engage with your own, and see where it takes you. You’ll often find that after it spins you in the opposite direction of your goal, it eventually helps you come around to exactly where you need to be in order to receive the goal gear that was set in motion toward you when you set the goal in the first place.

The destination resulting from engagement with the unexpected “challenge” or “adversity” gear is rarely apparent when you consent to engage with it. But you can trust that it will move you into position to receive the “goal” gear as it spins its way toward you.

Those who refuse to engage won’t be where they need to be, when they need to be there. And then they wonder why their goals never come true.

Related Video: When Success Principles Don’t Work

If you refuse to relax in the face of adversity, not only will you feel the full force and heat of the friction, you’ll eventually lose your ability to engage at all with any gear that comes along to take you there… because refusing to “go with it” strips your gear of the very teeth that allow you to engage in the gears that appear desirable.

Every gear, apparently good or bad, has the potential to move you along to wherever you decide you want to be. Get a visual image of where you want to end up, and the right gears will come along to get you there. Keep your axis well-oiled, and you’ll find the journey to be a joyful evolving.

It’s only “hard” when you refuse to spin.

Let me help you stay well-oiled for 12 weeks straight, and just see where it takes you. It’s an amazing experience, well worth whatever sacrifice it takes for you to engage. The FTMF course is one of the most powerful gears I can offer you… and you can view it as a good gear because of the knowledge you’ll gain, or as a bad gear because it costs some money. Either way, it is specifically designed to take you where you want to be.

Even the economy is a gear in the machine of life, which will either cause you friction, or, if you choose, it can provide TRACTION to bring you to the success you seek. I have experienced both opportunities, and continually come to the same conclusion each time.

Your choice. Get started now and be on track for some powerful New Year’s resolutions. Let this upcoming year be your best year ever! Click here for more information about the FTMF: Family Time & Money Freedom Home Study Course.

Originally published November 25, 2008

Finding Relief from Heavy Burdens

47tips-heavy-burden

A Special Christmas Message

In December of 2012 I was asked to speak at my congregation’s sacrament meeting. This is one thing that is common throughout the church worldwide: that members are given opportunities to teach each other about the gospel, and how they are learning to apply it in their lives. Here’s the message I shared:

When we realized back in 2006 that we had purchased too much real estate at the wrong time, sometimes all we could do to calm the raging storm was to turn off the lights, close our eyes, and let “Peace Like a River” CD soothe our troubled and fearful hearts.

We tried to focus on the Savior, and let Him assure us that in the eternal scheme of things, everything was going to turn out okay if we fixed our faith upon Him.

He showed us that no matter how heavy the burden, he had the power to do for us what He had done for Alma’s people as described in Mosiah chapter 24 [in the Book of Mormon] when he told them:

“I will … ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

The Bible tells us to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to love one another. But until recently, I never really recognized an important connection between these two directives, and how it relates to the lift of our burdens.

At the time, I considered the peace I ultimately discovered to be a tremendous personal victory. We were still in a mess, but He taught us peace in spite of it. That all of that could be happening and that we could find peace anyway was a miracle to me.

As our difficulty stretched on, I felt that I could relate in a small way to the man who had been a part of the fateful Martin Handcart company who said, “‘I… pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary … that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and … said, I can go only that far and there I must give up…’ ” He continued: ” ‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there… The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’”

As hard as it was for us over those last few years, I wouldn’t give up the testimony we gained through it – that God lives and is mindful of us and gives us strength.

However, while it’s true, that when things appear to be falling apart, a return to the Savior (pondering his life’s example, repenting of our mistakes, finding gratitude, and imagining his steady and unconditional friendship) always brings peace, sometimes it can be really hard to set aside personal challenges enough to be able to think about helping someone else.

But what I’ve been learning is that our needs are cared for when we focus on others.

This is probably a more complete and true exercise of faith in Christ. Not just believing that He is real and finding peace in our challenges, but taking it one step further… do we really believe that our needs will be met if we forget ourselves? Do we really trust that the Lord will carry us through our problems if we lose ourselves in the service of others?

I remember back several years when my husband and I were trying to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but our investment problems were screaming so loudly that it seemed nearly impossible to carry on.

We had come to the end of all of our visible resources – our savings were entirely depleted, our credit was completely exhausted, and with only $200 in the bank and no paycheck in sight (with another $15,000 in bills due in the coming 2 weeks), the moment we had tried so hard to avoid was finally upon us.

It was our anniversary, and with no other solution in sight, we decided to at least enjoy a dinner together and try to rekindle our hope in the future, and our faith in Christ. During our conversation, it dawned on us that even though we were at rock bottom, we were still alive, still breathing, and still able to help others.

We asked ourselves, if we were homeless, could we still teach? Could we still help others? Would we? Of course we could, and would. So that’s when our conversation shifted. Instead of focusing on our immediate needs, we projected our minds forward and imagined where we saw ourselves in 10 years. Did we think we’d be back on our feet by then? Would we have figured things out and put our lives back together by then? That seemed easy enough to believe. So then our focus shifted, and we brainstormed on the things we could do right away to serve others better, and made those plans.

By the end of dinner, we felt hope again. We felt the Spirit confirm to us that although we were in a pretty ugly mess of our own, we were on the right track.

So we paid the bill and just as my husband was opening my car door, the waiter came running out to the parking lot after us with a voided receipt yelling, “Since it’s your anniversary, the meal’s on us!”

In that moment, we experienced a little bit of what the Lord had taught his apostles. He had tried to assure them that as long as they would feed his sheep, their true needs would be met. We’ve heard it so many times: “Consider the lilies of the field…” “…trust the Lord with all thine heart” “…fear not…” but how it is possible?

To explain, let me share it the way Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described it:

After Christ was no longer with his apostles, in effect, Peter said: “Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. …But [it] is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So … ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’”

But, … the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing—not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them,

“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,” —and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,”…. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,” enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.

Now it was happening again. [They] eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

After a joyful reunion… Looking at their battered little boats, … and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said … three times, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”

To which Jesus responded …perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?

“What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.

“Ours is not a feeble message. … It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally…”

“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back…

To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.” – Elder Jeffrey Holland

Now, on Christmas we were blessed to spend some time on the phone with our missionary son Jacob, and I asked him: What can we do for you? What can we do to help you?

He replied, emotionally, “I just want you guys to love each other. I want you to do your best to get along with each other. It’s so true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I just want you guys to also stay in touch with me, keep writing letters, keep emailing me, keep me posted with what’s going on in your lives, the good and the bad…”

Our Father in Heaven – during our separation from Him – wants us to love each other, and stay in touch with Him through prayer. He wants us to go to him with the good and the bad, and let Him be a central part of our life.

And when we have burdens too heavy and worries too consuming to think outside of ourselves, I testify that we can put our trust in the Lord, hand him our burdens, …and as we focus on helping someone else, everything will work out just as it should.

I have a special journal dedicated to this – for when I have a concern or a need that seems to be more than I can handle, I’ll write “What I needed” on the left side, and then on the right side I write “How He helped”. After all, He has asked us to acknowledge his hand in all things – and this is one way I’m trying to do it.

Related: Do the Problems Go Away?

I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is with us, He’s mindful of our heartaches, and ready to help. He is merciful. He loves us. He loves you. He knows what you’re going through; it’s not pointless.

May we exercise our faith in Christ not just by believing He is real, but also by trusting him – literally – to handle our burdens that feel too big, while we look instead for opportunities to feed his sheep. This is my prayer this Christmas, for all of us.

The Longer the Impact, the Greater the Gift

Save a lot of money this year by remembering that Expensive gifts usually have short impact value.

longer-impact-baby-jesus-med

Thanksgiving is upon us.

Christmas will be here soon.

This is the time of year when we reflect on the things that have had the most significant impact in our lives.

For example, we celebrate Thanksgiving to commemorate the Pilgrim’s first successful harvest in the New World, even though only 1/2 of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to enjoy it.

It had a long-lasting impact because it signified their survival – they had risked everything to enjoy the gift of freedom and the hope of prosperity, and eventually the effects of their success would be experienced over nearly 400 years by more than a billion others in the future.

It reminds us to turn our hearts in thanks to God for all that we have, even when things are rough. Here in America, we think about our Founding Fathers with reverence and gratitude, but seeds of freedom were planted with that first crop of the Pilgrim’s corn.

Christmas also celebrates freedom.

Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, whose mission satisfied the eternal demands of justice, so that all people could become free from the heavy burdens that always accompany sin. There is no greater gift, because its impact is eternal… and a gift just can’t get any longer-lasting than that.

So as you look ahead and think about what gifts you will give your loved ones this season, think about the kinds of gifts that will have the longest impact.

The longer the impact, the better the gift.

What kinds of gifts can have long-lasting impact?

It might be finally having that healing conversation that’s long overdue. It might be seeking the help you need to give up an addiction that has brought pain and suffering to your family. It might be giving support to a loved one’s dream in a more meaningful way than you’ve given in the past.

But whatever it is, remember that the things that cost the most often have the shortest impact value. You can save a lot of money this year by thinking of “Impact Longevity”.

And if you want to help someone you love have a new dose of hope, joy, or peace of mind, then consider sharing the principles you’ve been learning here. Show them how they can find hope, joy, and peace of mind for the rest of their life, no matter what challenges may come.

If you do, the impact of your gift could save a marriage, restore someone’s faith in God, or strengthen a family, and the impact could literally be felt for generations.

And here’s some good news: I have a little bit of product left over from my last speaking engagement, and I’m going to clear it out at a deep discount on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving – the online counterpart to Black Friday).

So come shop in your PJ’s with some leftover pie or turkey on your lap, and choose a few gifts that could have an impact that lasts a lifetime or even longer.

Click Here to see what’s on the list – Leslie’s Cyber Monday Specials

Yoga pants and good medicine

While we’ve been on the topic of meditation and other tools for increased well-being, I might as well remind you that laughter really can be the best medicine.

That, and Yoga Pants.

Enjoy this. I know you’ll feel better ;)

When Your Purpose is Clear

It’s been on the to-do list for half a decade and I’m finally getting some of it knocked out… making shorter clips of some of my events so that they can be used as quick reminders of the principles.

Here’s one I recently posted on YouTube and Facebook, and I thought it would be good to include it here, so that I can also add some clarification afterward:

The event was more than 2 hours long, so a 2-minute snippet will understandably miss some clarifications. Here are a few that I want to make sure are noted, in case you don’t get a chance to see the whole thing:

  1. Just because you’re on the right track, and just because you have unseen help, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be difficult.
  2. The fact is, living your purpose will stretch you and test your faith. But knowing that you have unseen help can help you hold on and keep moving forward until you ultimately meet with success.
  3. ‘Soul purpose’ means whatever it is that you are focused on right now, specifically something meaningful to your soul. At times it may also be your ‘sole’ purpose.
  4. It will likely evolve throughout your life. Today’s objective may give way to something that is more meaningful to you tomorrow, because as you learn and grow, you become more fully prepared to accomplish the next thing you were put here to do.

(For example, 20 years ago my ‘soul purpose’ was to help struggling math students. It was my passion, my purpose, my love. It taught me to love teaching. 10 years ago it was to help struggling families with their income by teaching them success principles. Today, it is a combination of both, raising my kids and preparing them for college and life. )

Learn more about the books mentioned in the clip:

http://www.jackrabbitfactor.com
http://www.portaltogenius.com

If you want to learn the formula for making money with something you’re passionate about, watch the full-length video here:

My Beliefs

Because of my books, website and blog, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with thousands of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and belief systems. It’s been enlightening to discover how much we all have in common, and I’m grateful for the kindness and respect that I’ve encountered among people from all different cultures.

Because of these connections, sometimes I’ve been asked about my personal beliefs regarding God and the purpose of life, and how the principles I teach fit into that bigger picture.

Here’s a short answer:

my-beliefsI believe we all lived together as a family of spirits before coming to Earth, and that God (our Heavenly Father) presented a plan to us – a way to reach our highest potential. To grow, we would need to experience struggle, and Earth life would be our school.

Upon arrival (birth), we would forget who we had been and where we came from, but we would be guided by His spirit, and if we truly desired to seek truth, we would find it. Our loving Father in Heaven promised us that.

(I think that promise must have been a comforting consolation following the initial panic we may have felt at the thought that we’d forget all we had learned to that point. I can only imagine.)

So with the promise that it would be for our good, probably not completely understanding how hard it would be, we chose to come; and inside of each of us was planted the following questions that would eventually bubble up to our consciousness at some point in our journey:

“Who am I, really?”
“Why am I here?”
“What’s it all for?”
“Where am I going after I die?”

Some of us spend more time wondering about these things than others, but I believe everyone will wonder them eventually. Sometimes He brings us to answers that only raise more questions. But even that is good when we are sincerely seeking truth. (See James 1:5)

When our desire to find true answers is sincere and genuine, the answers will come. After all, He promised.

Here are a few more of my basic beliefs:

  • I am a child of God.
  • If I want to live in happiness with Him again after I die (which I do), I must make good choices.
  • If I make bad choices, I will feel intolerably ashamed in His presence, and would not be able to dwell with Him.
  • Because we ALL make bad choices, and because Heavenly Father knew we would, He also sent His son, Jesus Christ (our spirit brother), to live a perfect life and pay the price for all of those mistakes, IF we would (in exchange) learn his teachings and follow Him.

It is through this process of learning, trying, failing, feeling sorry, resolving to do better, and following Jesus, that we develop the attributes of Christ, and experience true peace of mind and happiness in this life, as well as the promised eternal joy and happiness in the life to come.

I have found tremendous peace of mind, guidance, and comfort in my life, and I’m grateful. I’m a Christian, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the ‘Mormon’ or ‘LDS’ church. If you want to know more about that, here are some additional resources:

Questions and Resources

Why am I a Mormon? (Visit my profile at Mormon.org)

So, where DID we come from?
Who is Jesus Christ?
What is different about the Mormon church?

Official Website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Official Newsroom of the LDS Church

So… About my Books

Deep down, all of those spiritual questions and their answers have always been more important to me than how much money I make, or what kind of a house I live in. This is because I had already found many of my spiritual answers long before the money problems showed up. This is why I was so worried about seeking answers about financial success – I didn’t want to be led astray.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to worry about money, but unfortunately, I had not figured out how – those chronic money issues just could not be ignored.

I just wanted them GONE so that I could get back to the joy that came from seeking to understand more completely the glorious purpose of life, so I could dedicate my life to practicing the principles (of service, sacrifice, and all of the other Christlike attributes) and return to my Father in Heaven with honor.

I had already experienced the joy of choosing to follow Jesus, so I felt frustrated that because of our lack of money, I was now feeling very UN-Christlike. I felt jealous, selfish, depressed, angry, critical… and incredibly down on myself for it all.

So, I thought, let’s just figure out how to solve the money problem, and then maybe I can be a nice person again. (Unless you’ve experienced the desperation I felt, I don’t expect you to understand that.)

Anyway, I’m sure you probably saw this coming better than I did, but the money problem wasn’t just a distraction away from my worship like I thought it was, instead it turned out to be totally purposeful in God’s eyes – another one of those life lessons promised in the pre-earth life – divinely designed for my growth – the kind that makes you start asking new questions so that He can then provide you with the answers that He wanted you to have all along.

(An answer provided before the question is asked will never be as meaningful or memorable as the one you suffered, sacrificed, and sought for).

Gratefully, the money-related answers I discovered awakened me to additional spiritual principles that Father in Heaven wanted me to understand. Not to replace what I believed, but to deepen my understanding of His glorious plan for His children.

Through the process, I learned that yes, you CAN HAVE anything. You CAN ACHIEVE anything. But the principles are best applied in accomplishing things of eternal significance.

Related: Human Empowerment In Perspective

So, I try now to counsel a little more carefully with my Father in Heaven about the things I ask for, because I’ve learned from sad experience that ‘ask and ye shall receive’ is a true principle, but He doesn’t protect us from the natural consequences of foolish ambitions. If we fail to seek His counsel, life will certainly teach us the hard way.

Either way, we’ll learn what we need to learn. Eventually, we’ll be led to all truth. But putting Him first and trusting in His guidance is just a little less painful in the long run.

Respecting other people’s beliefs

Here’s another one of my beliefs: I believe that contention is of the devil, so it’s never a good idea to argue doctrine, be confrontational, or belittle others for their beliefs.

Historically, Mormons have suffered a great deal of persecution, so we are particularly sensitive about allowing all people to worship according to their conscience, no matter how it looks or if it’s different than how we worship.

I share what I believe and invite others to learn more, but I also understand that everyone will seek answers their own way and according to their own timing. I respect that, and believe that God will lead all of us to the life experiences that will carve out a space in our hearts to make room for all of the answers that He wants to share.

We really don’t have to travel through life so blindly. I have literally felt Him delight in my desire to know as much as I can find out.

So, I invite questions about my faith and try to answer them if I can, according to my understanding at this stage in my life. Thankfully, those who have written me with questions or disagreements do so in a truly respectful way, and I appreciate that very much.

For example, here is a woman who was bothered by the ‘religious tone’ in my books about success, but still was respectful in her words:

http://www.positivethinkingtips.org/on-meditation

Here’s an example of someone from a different religion, who was also respectful and sincere. I had posted an article and she left this reply:

…If you don’t want to or feel this is not the appropriate place to ask about your faith, then you can delete this post. But since you mention your church and the Spirit of God in the above post, I wanted to ask a few questions please.

In Hidden Treasures, you quote from The Book of Mormon. I have wanted to know how Mormon belief is different from Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. Do we have the same statement of belief and just practice things differently? I don’t even know enough to ask the appropriate questions. Some “Christian” friends say that Mormon’s are not born again believers and therefore can’t have the Spirit of God within them. I can’t believe that, especially those that are outspoken about their faith. Things they say, they couldn’t know if they weren’t.

…Since my faith touches all aspects of my life and is such a big part of my life, I figured it does for others as well and in that case, LDS doesn’t seem any different than my Baptist faith.

I just want to learn. Thanks for doing what you are doing. Beth

 Here was my reply:

Hi Beth,

I just read your post on my blog and appreciate your question. I’d love to have a dialogue with you about the differences and similarities of the different religions. This is a topic that runs deep, and in many different directions, so just know that I’m happy to keep the conversation going as long as you like – it’s one of my favorite topics ever! :)

Probably one main distinction is that we believe that the Bible is not the end of God’s words and that he continues to reveal many important things pertaining to his kingdom. Other churches believe that he stopped speaking nearly 2000 years ago, and that there have been no other prophets besides the ones mentioned in the Bible. There’s a really good reason why we think there’s more, so I’ll do my best to explain it:

We believe that the Bible was a collection of prophets’ teachings – those prophets who lived in the Old World (around Jerusalem), but at the same time, there were other prophets in other parts of the world who were receiving revelations and ministering to those people, too.

(There was no way back then for the prophets in Jerusalem to teach people on the other side of the world, so God had other prophets positioned around the world who received revelations, taught the people, and who recorded their teachings, too.)

One difference with those prophets is that they taught that the Son of God would come in the flesh and live among men in Jerusalem, and that the people who listened to them would have to believe on his name to be saved – even though they would not get to hear him in person while he lived (because they lived on the other side of the world at the time.)

However, they had signs they could follow to strengthen their faith. For example, when the star marking his birth appeared, the people around the world who were listening to their local prophet knew what it meant, and they rejoiced. Then, when there was 3 days of darkness at his death, the whole world was darkened, but those who were listening to their local prophet on the other side of the world knew what it meant, too.

Of course, there were many who did not believe the words of the prophets and persecuted those who believed. The records tell the stories of the believers and non believers, the wars and contentions, the teachings of the prophets, the record of the new star and the destruction at Christ’s death… and the best part is that it also tells the story of Christ’s appearance and ministry to those people after his resurrection. They did finally get to meet him, but only after his crucifixion and resurrection.

Do you remember in the Bible (John 10:16) where he said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd”? When he finally visited these people, he established his church among them, they recorded his teachings, and one thing they recorded was that he said this: “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

To another group he said, “I am he who said—other sheep have I which are not of this fold—unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not. And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob.”

It was also recorded around 34 A.D. (by people living on the American continent) that Christ said, “And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.” (Which tells me that he is mindful of ALL his people, and that he visits them, and that the Bible is not the only witness ever written that Jesus is the Christ.

Here’s some background to help you understand where the Mormons come from, and who they are:

After Christ came and ministered to the Jews, and after he organized his church and gave his apostles the authority to direct the affairs of his church… his official “organization” survived for only a little while.

Christians were persecuted and hunted, and the few who had been given that authority from Christ were gone. Followers of the Christian movement desperately wanted the religion perpetuated, but after the organization had been broken up, there began to be conflicting views on how Christ’s church should be governed and how the work of saving souls should be carried out.

Eventually, the arguments became so ugly, that the people and leaders of countries ended up in serious conflict about it. So the leaders called a council (headed up by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD), called the Council of Nicaea to come to some kind of agreement and end the conflict. That’s when the Nicene Creed was written – a vague and ambiguous statement of what “truth” should be, vague enough to appease all the conflicting religious and political parties involved. Not so much inspired by God, but a desperate movement by man to make peace.

Around the sixteenth century, there were individuals who recognized that the pure truth had been contaminated and did their best to organize their various religions to match Christ’s church as closely as they knew how, but since there had crept in errors during the translations of the Bible, there were now differing opinions on how to interpret it. I believe this accounts for most, if not all, of the different religions that came out of the period of Reformation.

Catholicism had become the national church for most countries in Europe, and yet it was so different from what many believed had been Christ’s original organizational structure, that people protested against the ritualistic creeds, and sought purer truth, and the result of those efforts were the various Protestant religions.

By the 18th century, there was so much religious persecution going on in Europe, that America became the place where many people hoped to go live their religion in peace – whatever religion they practiced. That’s one of the reasons for the American Revolution – they wanted to be separate from England and to establish a place that guaranteed religious freedom for all.

If it’s true that Christ’s original church and teachings had become corrupted, and if God wanted to restore Christ’s church to what it had been when he ministered personally on the earth, then he had to prepare a place and a people who would be ready to accept it, and where it could survive until his return. (We believe Christ will come a second time, like most Christian religions, and that it’s something we need to prepare for.)

We believe America was divinely prepared for this purpose – to establish a government that would protect religious freedom, and a people who would be receptive to new revelation from God that would allow Christ’s church to be restored, complete with the proper authority and instructions to direct the affairs of his church and perform correctly the saving ordinances.

(Authority is a big deal to the Mormons – receiving the saving ordinance of baptism by someone without proper authority is kind of like paying life insurance premiums to an agent who claims to represent an insurance company, and then submitting a claim and finding out that the company doesn’t recognize the ‘agent’ as one of its own and never gave him authority to collect premiums on their behalf. Not only is the money is gone, but the company is not obligated to pay the claim. Basically it’s each person’s responsibility to make sure their ‘saving’ agent or minister is properly authorized by God. We can all minister – help – each other, but when it comes to baptism, it requires authority.)

Anyway, in the 1830s, a fourteen year old boy (Joseph Smith) was caught up in the second great awakening in upstate New York and was concerned about which church to join, and was confused because they all claimed to be right, but they contradicted each other. So as he was reading the Bible, he came to James 1:5 that said, “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God… and it shall be given him… but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” The spirit of God struck him so forcefully through that verse that he decided he needed to venture.

So he went into the woods near his home and knelt down to pray to God, fully expecting an answer (think of how we’re taught that we don’t get so much what we want, but what we expect…) The time was right, the conditions were prepared, and God the Father and his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that the various churches come close, but that the fullness of Christ’s church was going to be restored to the earth, and that Joseph was to be an instrument in helping it come about. He was told that there was an ancient record of God’s dealings with the inhabitants of the American continent buried in a hill nearby, and that he would translate the record by the power of God, and that it would be another testament of Jesus Christ to help his people understand the doctrines that had become cloudy over the years.

The Bible is called the “stick of Judah” – because it was a record of God’s dealings with the tribe of Judah (Jews) – out of the 12 tribes of Israel mentioned in the old testament. The book Joseph Smith was given (The Book of Mormon) is called the “stick of Joseph” – because it was the record of God’s dealings with the tribe of Joseph who migrated to the American continent about 600 BC.

Ezekiel prophesied of this joining of the two books (as it’s said: out of the mouth of two witnesses shall all truth be established). Essentially, the Book of Mormon is simply a second witness to the world that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. (So maybe you can understand our frustration when other Christians say that Mormons aren’t Christian.)

In Ezekiel’s words, he said, “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.”

With Christ’s teachings in the Bible and his teachings reiterated in the Book of Mormon, it’s a whole lot easier to figure out what his message really is. For example, he taught the sermon on the mount to the people in ancient America, too. So we have it in two places. He also clarified doctrines that he said were too difficult for the people in Jerusalem to understand because of their hard hearts.

Besides receiving and translating the Book of Mormon (called the Book of Mormon because an ancient prophet named Mormon gathered, compiled and abridged a collection of writings from various prophets that had been passed down from 600 BC to 400 AD), besides translating the book, Joseph was also give the authority to baptize by John the Baptist himself who appeared to him as a resurrected being, and he was also given the holy priesthood by Peter, James and John.

Joseph Smith was ultimately persecuted to death for saying he had seen God, but really, a person can decide for themselves whether he was really a prophet, or if he was a lunatic, by reading the Book of Mormon and asking God for themselves if it is a true record or not.

It’s either true is or it isn’t. Joseph either saw God and Jesus Christ, or he didn’t. But if he did, then the church he established is true and is led by a prophet today who literally communicates with God just as the ancient prophets did.

We are more similar to the people of the Bible than we probably know, because if this is true, it’s possible that there is a prophet alive today, and we have to decide for ourselves whether he’s for real and whether we should follow him or not. The people in the Bible had to face the same decision – there were prophets then, and many people believed and many others didn’t. It makes me think of Noah and the ark.

As you can imagine, this claim is pretty bold, which easily ruffles a lot of people from other religions. I understand that, and I don’t let it bother me. The good news is that nobody has to take anyone else’s word for it – the heaven’s have reopened and God answers anyone who wants to know for themselves.

Wow, did you ever expect to get such an earful (eyeful)?

I hope this answers your question… keep in mind that there are a lot of ugly things out there against Mormons, mostly stemming from misunderstandings or misinformation. One of our official church policies is to allow all men to worship how, where or what they may (mostly because that’s the kind of freedom that God wants for his people, and what we want for ourselves). We strive to stay away from contention about religion, because where there is contention, the spirit of the Lord cannot be – and we all need the spirit with us as much as possible, don’t we?

Anyway, I love the work that I do because it allows me to teach principles that are universal to all people, no matter what their religious beliefs are. I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with too much information. If you have any questions about any of it, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a wonderful week,

Your friend, Leslie

Her reply back to me:

Thank you so much Leslie for your reply. Your answers are a springboard to my understanding. Yes, I have heard some of the remarks people have made concerning Mormons. There are those that say Mormons aren’t Christians, however, in my contact with any, there has been more of a Christ-like character than many “Christians.”

There is a passage in Mark where the disciples go to Jesus to tell him of a man driving out demons in His name. Jesus’ response, “No one who does a miracle in My name can in the next moment say anything bad about Me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” God does continue to speak to his people.

Additionally within the Christian churches there are differences in understandings and practices. One group believes they have the truth and the other group believe they have the truth. It seems we sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater if the others don’t believe exactly as we do.

Thank you for your work. Your work is tremendous! I have any easy time of understanding and applying it because I have already experienced it and just didn’t know why. It confirms principles I have witnessed and didn’t even know they were principles. I also love understanding the scientific reasoning behind them.

…Again, thank so much for taking time to answer with my question. I will continue my pursuit and read from The Book of Mormon asking the Spirit of the Lord to aid my understanding.

Have a wonderful week!

Beth