Valerie Jean: Mormon.

Hi I'm Valerie Jean

About Me

Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home." I can say firsthand that I know what it's like to be a part of a happy family. In this regard, I am the luckiest wife and mother on the planet. Our children are teenagers, and yet they still open up to me about anything and everything. I treasure my husband and children more than I can say. I have numerous other blessings as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have a strong desire to share my testimony of the gospel. I do struggle with weaknesses and various different trials, specifically health issues. But it helps me to remember the good moments outweigh the bad ones. Oh how they do! The gospel of Jesus Christ enables me to have this perspective, regardless of the trials my family and I are going through. I enjoy reading mostly for secular and spiritual learning, journal writing, photography, creative writing, going to the movies isn't movie popcorn the best?!, helping others, social networking on the internet, blogging, spending time with my friends, immediate and extended family and I've been known to play a game of spider solitaire or two. If I'm listening to Michael Buble, one might catch me dancing. I very much enjoy going to the temple. I have taken numerous college classes on different campuses and online. I absolutely love learning. My husband is a private investigator. He is good at what he does and more importantly, he enjoys his job. I do not work outside the home. A great deal of my time and energy is spent towards my family and taking care of our daughter who has special needs. She has over 15 doctors. My sons have some health care issues as well. But I am grateful that my children have doctors and medication to help them. The inconvenience of doctor's appointments is a small price to pay for necessary health care. Somehow, our children rise above their trials and keep on going. They each have accomplished good things and I am proud of them, especially for the good choices they make. I am so grateful to my husband, and for the love and patience he shows to me. He is also one of the funniest people I know. I love him dearly. I am excited for this opportunity to share my beliefs about Jesus Christ. I welcome comments on my blog page.  

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised a Mormon. My parents could not have given me a better gift. I have continued in the faith because it has blessed my life in numerous ways. To name a few, I have a happy marriage and a positive and close bond with our children, I have many opportunities to help and serve others which makes me feel I am making a difference in the lives of others, my family and I have received service and love from many members of the church, I have met and made friends with many of these members, I have been enabled to overcome trials and come out stronger and wiser than before, I have felt the Love of God in my life in various ways, I have learned that living the gospel to the best of my ability and sincerely repenting of my sins has helped me to be at peace, regardless of any tribulation which besets myself or my loved ones or the world around me. I know, without a doubt, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins so that if we COME UNTO HIM, strive to live the commandments of God, and repent as needed, we can be worthy to attain the highest degree of glory for the eternities. And we can be truly happy in this life, through the good times and the difficult times. I wish to share what has blessed my life to all those who are members and who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also love being a Mormon because the church has an organization called LDS Family Services. This organization offers counseling, information about counseling services and a library full of articles dealing with social, emotional, and spiritual challenges, help for birth parents, adoptive couples, and they offer an Addiction Recovery Program. I am a Mormon because the church offers many resources to help each of us on our own unique journey of life. I am a Mormon because I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is, indeed, the word of God.

Personal Stories

Why do Mormons do family history or genealogy work?

As per Members of the Church are actively involved in family history work. You may trace your ancestors and find information about family history resources at the Church’s family history Web site. In the temple, priesthood ordinances for the living and the dead are performed, and sacred covenants are made. The primary purpose of the temple is to “seal” or unite families together for eternity. For this reason, Church members search out information about their ancestors. The Lord has commanded His people to build temples. One such command was directed to Solomon, who proceeded to build a house of the Lord and the most sacred structure on earth. Earlier, the Israelite’s tabernacle in the wilderness served as a temple, and there was a temple in the time of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ restored His Church through Joseph Smith, He again directed that temples be built. In the temple, sacred covenants are made and worthy members are endowed with a gift of power and knowledge from on high. In the more than 130 holy temples worldwide today, members: Learn eternal truths. Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents ( Malachi 4:5). Perform ordinances such as baptism in behalf of those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel, making it possible for those who choose to accept them to return to live one day with Heavenly Father ( 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:29). Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at any temple and attend open houses prior to dedication, thereafter only baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated. Members of the Church are actively involved in family history work. This work is to identify their ancestors and enable them to bind their families together for eternity in holy temples. The Church operates the largest genealogical library in the world—the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Open to the public with no fees for any of the services, the Family History Library offers access to millions of volumes of birth, marriage, death, and other records. The Church also operates branch libraries throughout the world that are open to anyone interested in family history. You may trace your ancestors and find information about family history resources at the Church’s family history Web site. You may also print your own family tree.

What is hope and what do you hope for?

We must have hope! When we are in the midst of trial and tribulation, we must have faith and hope! There is a purpose for all things. We must have hope there are better days ahead. What is my wish? What is my hope? I hope to remain with my husband and children and our posterity for all of eternity. I hope that we will remain close to the Lord and live our lives in harmony with the gospel. I hope to be able to share my testimony of the Life and Atonement of Jesus Christ to all those who do not believe in Him. I hope to have opportunities to give others hope; to do or say something to bring them peace and happiness, even if it means I should be criticized for doing so. I hope to live life to my fullest potential, and to help my husband and children to do the same. I hope my words help others, in some way, for the better. Something else I hope for is the opportunity to go back to school and continue learning. I thirst and hunger for spiritual and secular knowledge. I want to learn all I can about history, science, mathematics, the arts, technology, psychology, sociology, the study of land, river, lake and ocean animals, and perhaps my favorite subject is the study of astronomy. I enjoy looking up at the vast immensity of space, to see the stars and planets that surround our globe. I love learning about our universe, and anticipate our learning more and more as we send ships and satellites out to the farthest reaches of our galaxy. I hope to learn more about God's creations, below the earth, on the earth, and above the earth.

Why do Mormons go on missions?

Male members, as early as age 19, of the church spend two years serving a full-time mission wherever they are called to and female members, if they so choose, as early as age 21, spend 1 1/2 years serving a full-time mission wherever they are called. They do this because we believe we have a message that can change the world for the better. Indeed, millions of lives have been changed for the better because of choosing to become a member of the Lord's true church. But being baptized into the church is just the first step. There are countless blessings to be had. For this life, and for the eternities. The world, in general, lives far beneath their privileges. People, in general, live far beneath their potential...not just career-speaking, but living life to it's fullest. The gospel helps us to do more than we thought we could do. It stretches us, tests us, blesses us and we learn and grow in numerous ways.

Think about your everyday activities. What are things you act upon each day where you cannot see the end results? How does faith move you to action?

Daily I strive to: pray to the Lord with sincerity, repent of my sins and try my best to not repeat my mistakes, read, ponder and study the scriptures, read conference talks and other articles found on and the church magazines (such as the Ensign). I have faith that following the commandments of God will bring me closer to Him. Time and time again I have seen the fruits of my labors of righteousness, and I've experienced the consequences of neglect and/or bad choices I've made. I've learned that we shouldn't expect everything to go smoothly for us, even when we are living our lives the best we can. This is because other individuals have their agency to choose, and sometimes we suffer because of the poor choices of others. There is a quote by Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley that I love; "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas, and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." (end quote). And what is marvelous is that with the perspective of the gospel, those beautiful vistas of life can be enhanced tenfold! And we can find peace and happiness despite the storms of turmoil that may surround us.

How has the Holy Ghost helped you?

The Holy Ghost has comforted me in times of distress. The Holy Ghost has guided me to better paths that I might not have otherwise taken. The gift of the Holy Ghost has enabled me to do more, be more and has helped me to more fully reach my potential. Above all, the Holy Ghost has witnessed to me the reality of a loving Father in Heaven and in His Son, Jesus Christ. This has helped me not just to believe, but to know. Just as sure as I am typing these words right now, I KNOW we are spirit sons and daughters of God, that there is a Great Plan of Happiness, and that if we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and strive to always do His will, we will be blessed in ways we cannot even imagine.

Why/How do you share the gospel with your friends?

My non-member friends know that I am a Mormon. A few of them have (briefly) tried to persuade me to not believe in this religion, but at the same time they are supportive of my right to choose. Over the years I have shared my testimony of the gospel with many of them, usually through letters. I have not converted any of them, but our friendships are unconditional. I love them regardless of their religious or political beliefs. We love and respect one another and have found common ground in many other areas. I learn from them and hopefully they learn from me. I wish the entire world would find common ground and focus on what we do agree on, instead of what we do not agree on. If we find that we don't agree on certain things, at least we can strive to disagree agreeably. :)

Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?

There are approximately 344 different missions of the church throughout the world and over 50,000 missionaries. I did not serve a mission because I chose to get married instead. My husband served a mission and it was one of the best experiences of his life. He has said it was difficult, but rewarding in many ways. One way we try to support the missionaries is to have them over for dinner from time to time. I have not been as good about this as I'd like to be. Our sons are planning on serving a mission when they turn 19 years old. Our daughter, if she is not married by then, plans on serving a mission when she turns 21 years old. Much effort is put into the missionary program. As members of the church we have a great desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do this, first and foremost, out of love for our fellowman. But also it is because we are commanded to. One day, when my husband and I are retired, we would like to serve a mission. We would be happy to go where ever we are called. It will be an honor and a privilege to serve the Lord in this way.

Can you think of a specific challenge in your family that Gospel Principles helped overcome?

I grew up with a father who had an unhealthy addiction. There were a number of traumatic experiences because of this. Later in life my father also learned he has bi-polar disorder. This explained a lot. Over the years, through the help of many different resources, he has been able to overcome his addiction. He takes medication for his bi-polar disorder. He has become a changed person; a wonderful, loving, caring individual. My mother, bless her heart, was long-suffering with him over the years. They are still together. She sacrificed much. She never gave up on him. She stayed by his side through the best of times, and through the worst of times. She is truly an angel. I have been able to forgive my dad for all the heartache he caused me. I have a loving relationship with both of my parents today, despite the painful memories of the past. And somehow, that pain has been replaced by gratitude, for the miracle of my father's changed heart and for all my parents have overcome. How is all of this possible?? Because of what I have learned from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of the scriptures, and words of past and modern prophets. Because of talk-therapy on and off over the years with competent therapists, and because of modern science with its various medicinal resources. Most of all, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He not only took upon Himself our sins if we repent, he also took upon Himself our pain. With the Lord, all things are possible. All emotional wounds can heal in significant ways. People can change for the better. Miracles can happen.

Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.

Despite his various trials and extreme opposition, Joseph Smith did what he was called to do. He truly was a prophet of God, sent here on earth to help restore the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was an instrument of God in restoring His church again on the earth. Many unkind and untrue things have been said about Joseph Smith, but I know, as many others do, that he was a true prophet of the Lord. I honor him and I honor all the prophets before and since him. I would urge you to read more about this man of God...not from those who unfairly discolor and demean his character, but by reading his own words, and the words and testimony of those who knew and loved him personally.

What blessings have come through your faith in Jesus Christ?

Too many blessings to list here. Regarding one of my trials, I have experienced different health problems for several years. I continue to see doctors, take my medication, eat healthier and pray for help. As long as I am doing all that I can to find a solution, the Lord will take care of the rest. Ultimately, I am in His Hands. If I am to become healthier again, it will be the Lord's Will. If I am to continue with health problems, despite all the doctors, medications and health foods, and exercise, then again, it is the Lord's Will. But I have faith in Jesus Christ that all of these experiences will be for my good. The soul is being stretched, and it is not always easy, especially concerning the affect my health problems have had on my husband and children. But again, I have faith in Jesus Christ. He knows my pain, He has compassion for me and I can actually feel His love for me. Dearest family members and friends have been praying for me, and I can feel, really feel, their prayers on my behalf. I am able to cope with this ongoing trial because I have faith there is a purpose for all of this. And somehow, someway, I feel at peace inside. I feel content. I feel immense gratitude for my many blessings. How is it possible for someone to have chronic health problems and yet feel such happiness and peace? It is because His spirit blesses me with peace, hope, calm, strength, and the ability to feel grateful even during times of trial. I am happy! How can I NOT be happy? I have so much to live for! So many people to help, in any way I can. So many lessons to continue teaching our children. So many ways to continue loving and supporting my husband. So many happy memories yet to be made. Scriptures and church articles to read, hymns to sing, prayers to say, people to help and love, temple work to be preformed, inspiring music to hear, laughter to share with my loved ones, and much more! There are many blessings around us, sometimes we just need to sit and think about those blessings and write a list. We will be amazed at all the Lord has provided for us over our lifetime. Look for the good, learn from the bad and keep on going! Faith in Jesus Christ, the perfect Example for all of us, enables us to learn and overcome all pain and suffering, and to be truly happy in this life, and in the life to come.

In what ways have your prayers been answered?

The Lord always hears my prayers. He answers in one of three ways; Yes, No and Not Now. Many times I have prayed for strength during trials. My answers have come in different ways; in the form of caring friends and family members, a feeling of hope and peace, and the ability to cope with and even learn from any tribulation I have experienced. Every experience we have in life, good or bad, ministers to our education. For example, because of certain pain I experienced as a child, I have been enabled to have compassion and empathy for others in similar circumstances. One time, as an adult and during a particularly difficult time, I was praying for help. I was desperate and asked for something I had never asked before or since. I plead for the Lord to send an angel to comfort me. When I said "Amen" my doorbell rang. I wiped my eyes and went to open the door. There she was, my neighbor and friend, dressed in bright white from head to toe. She said she had a strong feeling to come see me at that moment. She was my angel. My prayer was answered. Due to my daughters health issues, she has been in the emergency room and hospital many times. She has endured many surgeries. We have prayed to get through those worrisome times, and we received comfort in many ways. Each operation has had some significant measure of success and we are extremely grateful she is still with us. Each of our sons have endured different trials and have learned from and have overcome from them. I have prayed for a loving relationship with my husband and children and this is, indeed, what I have. My relationships with my immediate family are strong. I have prayed for opportunities to share the gospel, and as I type these words, my prayers will be answered when this new website is up online. I have prayed to be able to forgive people who have hurt me in my past, and through time and effort, I have been able to do so. And what a tremendous load lifted from my soul! Oh how I wish I could reach every person who is not a member of the church, and they could know what I know and feel what I feel. I do not wish to force my beliefs on anyone, rather, I wish to encourage and inspire people to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To give it a chance. I have so very thankful for the power of prayer.

How can we develop greater harmony in our homes?

This proclamation is a wonderful tutorial on how we can develop greater harmony in our homes. It was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Note:The Relief Society is the organization of female church members ages 18 and older. The Relief Society was founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois. In the days of its founding, it had two main purposes: to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ. The organization continues today, staying true to those original guiding principles as women in the Relief Society meet together on Sunday and in other settings as needed. It is one of the largest female organizations in the world.) The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped god as their eternal father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed. We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. *****************************************************************************************************

Could you talk about your baptism?

I was baptized and confirmed a member of the church by my father, when I was eight years old. To this day, I still remember how I felt. These powerful feelings were unexpected, but truly amazing. When I was being baptized, I remember feeling such inner peace and calm. At the tender age of eight, I had already experienced some challenging trials, and this feeling of peace was a great blessing in my life. The Sunday after I was baptized, my father, along with other men who held the priesthood, lay their hands on my head. While my father was giving me the blessing, the spirit was so strong, it was as if I was floating in the air. I wish I could put into words exactly what I felt during those few minutes. I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit that witnesses of the truthfulness of the gospel. Up to this point in my life, these were the most wonderful events I experienced.

What have you done successfully to shield your family from unwanted influences?

First and foremost by doing all I can to engender a trusting and loving relationship with my husband and our children. People respond better when they know they are genuinely cared for. We have Family Home Evening most Monday nights. This is an opportunity for us to sit down together, and teach our children (and teach/remind ourselves) of different aspects of the gospel. We learn practical lessons, spiritual lessons, and more. We learn how to get along better as a family. We play board games, watch movies, pray, go to church, participate in various church activities, talk, cry and laugh together. We choose not to see rated R movies, and are even careful about which PG-13 movies we go see. We do not allow profanity in our home. We expect from our children; kindness, respect, work, duty, patience and love. We try to teach by word and by example. We do not believe in harsh punishments. We believe in positive reinforcement. We do not allow our children to listen to rap music, or any music with vulgar language and negative or untrue messages. We do not allow our children to play blatantly violent video and computer games. We allow our children to express themselves in healthy ways. As I have stated before, my husband and I are not perfect parents. We have room for improvement. But knowing this does not stop us from trying our best. We take it one day at a time.

How has attending Church services helped you?

Many times I have received an answer to a prayer from a talk given at church during worship services, or during one of the other church meetings. Also, attending church on Sundays gives me an opportunity to renew my baptismal covenants with the Lord when we partake of the sacrament. The bread represents the body of Jesus and the water represents His blood. The Sacrament was instituted by Jesus Christ himself when He was with His disciples, not too long before He suffered and died on the cross. It is a blessing, also, to hear other members' sharing their testimonies one Sunday a month, This meeting is called Fast and Testimony Meeting. I love to interact with the members. I learn much from them, and hopefully they learn something from me. Our Bishop (similar to a Pastor) has been wonderful and has helped our family in many ways. He devotes a great amount of time serving the people in our congregation.

How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?

The Plan of Happiness, or Plan of Salvation as it is sometimes referred to, is the BIG PICTURE. This Great Plan explains where we came from, why we are here, and where we may go. It helps to put our lives into perspective. You can read under the topic of Plan of Salvation at these words: In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fulness of joy. The scriptures refer to this plan as "the plan of salvation" (Alma 24:14; Moses 6:62), "the great plan of happiness" (Alma 42:8), "the plan of redemption" (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:30), and "the plan of mercy" (Alma 42:15). The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. Moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is also essential in Heavenly Father's plan. Because of this plan, we can be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fulness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God. Our family relationships can last throughout the eternities.

Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?

I have a strong testimony of prayer. This is one of the most vital things we can do in our lives, to pray to our Father in Heaven and do so often. He hears EVERY sincere prayer. I've learned that we can receive 3 different answers to our prayers. Those answers are Yes, No or Not Now. The Lord sees the end from the beginning so if we don't always get what we ask for, there is a reason. He knows us better than we know ourselves. There are many lonely people in this world, searching for answers. I wish they knew, like I know, they are never truly alone. The Lord is always with them. Prayer is not just one-way communication to the Lord. He communicates back to us in these ways and more; through others, by blessings we receive, answers to prayers, and even miracles. There is a quote by Kahlil Gibran that goes as follows; "You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance." (end quote) The Lord loves a heart full of gratitude and acknowledgment of His hands in all things.

What are you doing to help strengthen your family and make it successful?

I try to make sure we spend quality and quantity time with one another. We strive to have Family Home Evening each Monday night, go to church as a family each Sunday, support one another is our school and church goals and activities, have patience for one another because we all have weaknesses, pray together as a family, read scriptures together, sing hymns together, laugh together and even cry together. We like to go to the movies as family, watch movies here at home, bake cookies and other delicious baked goods, and eat the fruit of our labor. :) We each have different chores. Recently I read something at a friend's house...The family who works together, stays together. My husband and I love date night, which is Friday night. We don't necessarily spend lots of money (or any money), we just go for a drive, and/or watch a movie, and/or go browse at a bookstore and/or eat out, and just set aside time devoted to one another. Children feel secure when things are positive and happy between their mother and father. This is a gift we have been able to give our children for many years. We may not have a perfect family, but our children have often seen my husband embrace each other and say "I love you" and speak kindly to one another. This is one of many things we are striving to do to help strengthen our family. Due to my health problems, I sometimes become frustrated because I'm not able to do all that I wish to. But there are some things I can do, and this is what I try to focus on.

What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?

When we strive to have patience with one another's weaknesses. When we try to forgive each other, because we all have imperfections. The more we live in harmony with the gospel, the happier we are. When we read the scriptures and pray together as a family, it brings the spirit into our home. When we have meaningful Family Home Evening each Monday night, go to church each Sunday and participate in other church activities, all of these events are calculated to help us. When my husband and I go to the temple, our entire family is blessed.

Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.

I have learned for myself that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to be an instrument of the Lord in restoring His church again on the earth. Years ago my husband, sister and I visited Carthage Jail where the prophet was martyred. I expected it to be a sad and depressing experience. I was surprised to feel the spirit when I was there. As we listened to a recording of a reenactment of those final minutes of Joseph Smith's life, I had an overwhelming feeling that he had forgiven those who killed him and his brother. That Joseph Smith had truly followed the Savior's words, "Love One Another". It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Also, reading, studying and striving to live the words of the Book of Mormon has helped my family and I in many ways, just as the Bible has. I wish I could convey what it is my heart and mind, to all the world, the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the truthfulness of the restored gospel here on earth.

Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?

I'd like to think that all of the Savior's teachings have influenced me. He is the great exemplar. We should all look to Him, and strive to follow Him in all ways. You can read on under the topic of Jesus Christ these words; Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh. He was the Creator, He is our Savior, and He will be our Judge. Under the direction of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ created the earth. Through His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and by giving His life on the cross—that is, by performing the Atonement—Jesus Christ saves us from our sins as we follow Him. Through His Resurrection, Jesus Christ saves us from physical death. Because He overcame death, we will all be given the gift of resurrection *** I know that Jesus Christ is the Light and the Life of the World. He taught, by example, the virtues of patience, duty, sacrifice, compassion, long-suffering, unconditional love and much more. We should all strive to be more like Him.

How can your talents and gifts bless others?

I hope that my words, my testimony, will bless and inspire others. I hope people will feel encouraged to continue investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope to do all I can in the building up of the Lord's Kingdom here on earth, by sharing my testimony, and hopefully by the example I set. If I could sing, I would sing praises to the Lord which might bless others. If I could play the piano (my favorite musical instrument), I would play hymns and pieces of worshipful tunes dedicated to God. I have been blessed with a gift working with young children. I have the opportunity to use this gift each Sunday when I teach small children simple lessons of the gospel. How lucky am I?? The children are precious to me. They are so innocent, teachable, humble, and each of them are so very adorable!

How I live my faith

Daily I strive to live my faith. I try to show kindness and respect to all those around me. I am also a visiting teacher to 4 wonderful ladies. My visiting teaching companion is an amazing woman as well. My husband is the Activities Chairperson and the Boy Scout Chairperson of our ward (congregation). With the help of many others, he knows how to throw a fabulous family-oriented party! I am also part of the (or one of the) largest women's organizations in the world called the Relief Society. It is fantastic to have such an amazing support network of so many women. We are enriched by our different personalities and likes/dislikes, and we are brought together on what we have in common. Other ways I live my faith is that I strive to say my personal morning and evening prayers, read the scriptures, fulfill my callings (church responsibilities), and I try to make sure we have family home evening each Monday evening. Also, I strive to be patient with others, whether I know them personally or not. How can I expect mercy from the Lord, when I am not merciful to others? I love all of God's children, regardless of their religious, political or secular beliefs.