Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Farewell talk

Sunday April 27th, 2014, Canandaigua NY



I was not prepared to sing that song for the Sacrament (I Stand All Amazed). I was hoping after the last couple days of listening to really spiritually uplifting speeches and crying my eyes out for 3 days, I wouldn’t have to worry about it today, but I think after that song I have control of myself,  but that actually lead really well into some things I want to cover today.

I was challenged a couple of days ago even though I’ve known about this talk for a while, it’s just been not knowing what to say, but I was challenged a couple of days ago to use more stories so I want to tell you a little story.

A story of someone I once knew who, as a young man, let a little seed of anger get planted and steer, well I shouldn’t say steer, more or less forced him away from the church. His family had no idea how to combat this, as much as they tried and as many spiritual experiences that were thrown into his life, his life had taken a turn   for the worst with getting controlled with addictions, and fear and loneliness which was really all self inflicted his life environment was not such that any of these things should of ever happened, but they did.

Through those experiences he let his life nearly be destroyed several times and only through what I would definitely deem as an act from God himself, was he ever able to be brought back. It took a long 10 years but now standing before you today is that kid, I once knew, that has been changed. I say once knew because I don’t know who that kid is anymore because I have literally let the gospel change my life. It happened in an instant and it was not what I was prepared for.

Last year at The Hill Cumorah Pageant it was a very spiritual moment for me that just let me know that this gospel was true. I’ve known it to be true for a long time but with the life I had been living I built walls that were not allowing the gospel to penetrate at all. For a brief moment I allowed my wall to come down and that’s all it took. I just needed to know that I had always believed the gospel was true but I didn’t want to believe. I was scared at the changes that I would need to make, to turn my life around to where The Lord would want it. For those exact reasons though, is why I am so grateful that I get the opportunity to serve a mission.

know that this gospel literally changes lives. I know that I am going out to let people know that this gospel changes lives. I want to be able to go out and share the love that I currently feel in my life with the people of my mission as I have been called to the Kennewick Washington Mission. I report May 21st, I know that this ward in particular and the people who I’m standing in front have dramatically improved my life in ways you wouldn’t even imagine, you have saved my life.

One of the bases for this farewell talk was, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I’m going on a mission.

First I found a scripture, it’s related several times in the scriptures but I found it in Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 and part of 6

Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When I read that, I know that serving him is what I want to do. I know that for me, the long 10 years that I spent away from the church are never going to be made up in my mind. I do know that through the atonement, the things that I have done have been washed away, but I know the only way that I can give back to Jesus Christ who was able to give me that atonement, that was able to wash away what I had done, was to give back and serve him. For me, that is going on a fulltime mission, and that's just the beginning. My mission won’t end after the two year fulltime service ends I will continue to be a missionary throughout my life. As the end of the scripture says love thy neighbor as thyself. So throughout my mission and life I’m going out and loving my neighbor as myself so that I can show them love and maybe if at all possible,  touch them with the amount of love that I’ve been able to experience in my life.

The atonement gives great power. Through the atonement, he’s taken on the infirmities, he’s taken on the pains, he’s taken on the sufferings, in fact in a scripture in Alma 7 :12

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

Now when you take the word infirmities that includes everything, that’s even that one miserable moment I felt in middle school when someone poked fun at me. He knows all of that pain and sorrow of that single moment and He felt that pain at His end so that He may know how to succor his people according to their infirmities, He was able to take upon all of that so He could make the atonement personal for everyone. For my personal trials He knows and He has gone through exactly the same pains and suffering I’ve gone through so that He would know to exactness, how to personalize the atonement to my life. He is not someone who is just a   confidant who has traveled down the same road you have, may have had the same experiences, even a parent cannot relate to exactness what I’ve gone through personally, but He can. That’s what spoke volumes to me when I knew the atonement had worked in my life. That I was struggling, the gospel was true, I knew that but I didn’t know how I was able to move forward and move forward with the knowledge of the things that I had done and what he was going to, I guess, forgive me for. It was really interesting to me to know that as soon as I came to realize it was so personal to me and that the atonement was able to cover everything that happened in my life, I knew right away that He had already forgiven me and I needed to forgive myself and that’s sometimes the hardest part.

But it was really easy after that. I mean, that was a miserable month for me. To know the gospel was true, but okay, now what are you going to do about it? As soon as the atonement took root and I could see that, it was almost instantaneous. Similar to reading the experience of Alma the Younger that as soon as he grabbed hold of the thought of what his father had taught him about Jesus Christ and that he forgives all sins, it talks about how in that very moment he felt relief in that same moment. My testimony has just been getting strong from then.

I know this gospel is the true gospel on the earth today. I did not want to see that for a long time but I know that it’s true. I know the atonement is personal for everybody. I know there’s nothing the atonement can’t cover and with that knowledge I’m going to be able to go out and serve a mission and talk to anyone and everyone and know that there’s no one I can’t talk to that this gospel is not going to be able to help.  

My purpose in going out on a mission is so that I can share the love of Christ with everyone and that’s my goal, that will be my goal throughout my mission in every ward, in every stake, in every branch and for every person that I meet to share that love. If I can show them that their Heavenly Father loves them a little bit more than they thought, I have been successful.

Whether that be for someone who has never heard the gospel before, or whether it be for someone who is fully active and faithful in the church, if I can let them realize the love that their Heavenly Father has for them is infinite and never ending and that there’s nothing they will be able to do that their Heavenly Father is not going to look past and want to forgive them for, as long as they completely devote their life to him, that’s where I will find my own success.

I’m challenging myself now to that, it’s a pretty high bar that I’ve set for myself but I know that my mission will be a success as long as I keep that focus, that my challenge to myself is to show the love of Christ to everybody.  

I’m glad that for one moment I was able to take down my walls and realize this gospel is true. I’m so happy I get to serve a mission, that I get to share that with everybody. There’s probably nothing I have wanted more in my entire life and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Equality where do you stand??

EQUALITY... Here is a word that I want to talk about.  This is a word that is very favored in our society right now.  




1.the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.

"Of being equal"



adjective great as; the same or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.3.evenly proportioned or balanced


"The same"




1.identical with what is about to be or has just been mentioned:2.being one or identical though having different names, aspects, etc.






1.similar or alike in every way2.being the very same; selfsame3.agreeing exactly


Interesting how the two words, equality and identical, are so far apart from one another.  But if you drop down one more rabbit hole with me.






1.having a likeness or resemblance, especially in a general way:


Let me state now before there is confusion. Seeking Equality in society is not the problem. The golden rule in life; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is not based on race, gender, or age.


Now that I have set up all these words let's look at the problem that is happening in this world.  The problem is that Society has fallen down the rabbit holes that I have taken you through just now.  Thinking that equality is to mean identical, is just another lie that as been twisted into this world by Satan to corrupt and destroy.


For those that may be reading this that don't know there is a very small, but very loud, group of people inside the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that have a very liberal view of the word equality. Also for those of you that don't know. In our faith righteous males hold the priesthood. The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. The same priesthood authority that existed in the original Church established by Jesus Christ exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. The Church is directed and led through this authority.


So this group was started by women that believe that in order to achieve equality they need to be able to hold the priesthood. Because fitting under their definition of equality they must be identical. Elder Oaks last night at the 184 annual general conference priesthood session, gave a talk about the topic of the priesthood in this area. Take the time to read or listen to it.  


I want to more direct my focus on the concern that some people have about my faith not holding women equal to man. Because of the distorted view that society has on the subject of equality, it has caused a lot of dispute and debate.  To quote Elder Oaks in his talk last night "Women and men are equal, but with different responsibilities."


The last hole that I dropped you down was to focus on the word similar. We(Men and Women) are similar and equal in that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. We are similar and equal in that we are all, if we live righteously, going to inherit the kingdom of God. We are not similar but equal in that Men have the Priesthood and Women have Motherhood. And to think that those are not equal is evil and distructive.


It is sad to look all around the world and see that Motherhood is not upheld by women and men. That it is under attack and one of the biggest offenders are women. To undermined their beautiful and amazing gift to bring life into this world is the true offender to equality.


Let's not make the mistake that just because society says that it should be so, does not mean that God needs to accept it. In this time in the world, popular vote of society will never be in favor of God.

Both men and women have divine duties and responsiblities they need to uphold in this life. Duties and responsibilities that have been given to them from the beginning by The Lord. These are gifts given by him and for him, and all these gifts need to be held with the absolute humility and gratitude. These gifts are not transferable. Just as men have not been given the right to hold Motherhood, women have not been given the right to hold the Priesthood. For either men or women to seek after each other's gifts would be wrong.


Let's not let the twisted lie that has poisened the thought that to be seen as equal we must be identical.  Our differences are our strengths it completes, and brings the two halves of one whole together. I know that the plan of salvation is completed by the pairing balance and acceptance of those two halves.  


I will not claim to speak for anyone but myself, but I know many who share my feelings and I know my faith shares the opinion that: men and women are and have always been from the beginning EQUAL but not the SAME!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Called To Serve

Dear Elder Cordon,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
You are assigned to labor in the Washington Kennewick Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve 
for a period of 24 months. 

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wedsnesday, May 21, 2014.

     This is what I read last night on the 22 of March.  As I was standing in the large theater room at The Hill Cumorah Visitors Center. The Holy Ghost was there with me, and after a brief testimony "I know this church is true". I started to read, as soon as I read the words Washington Kennewick Mission, the Holy Ghost comfirmed to me that was where I needed to be and to go. I felt such a comfort and feeling of joy that overwhelmed my whole body. 
     I am going on a mission. I have not ever wanted anything more in my whole life and to be able to have the opportunity is so unbelievably satisfying. This gospel is life changing and I get the opportunity to share it with the people of the Washington Kennewick area.  I know that this gospel is life changing because it has changed mine. I stand as a witness of the power of the atonement. I know that by keeping the commandments we are given gifts and knowledge unmatched by anything in this world; but only by strict adherence to the commandments of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

     Doctrine and Covenants, (D&C) a book of scripture containing revelations from the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith and other latter-day Prophets. Has a great chapter that spells out missionary work, D&C 4 a chapter that they have all missionary's memorize and all should read. To get you started here is D&C 4:1-3 "Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth amount the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have a desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" 

     I have been called to the work. This has been a long work in progress, I first turned in my papers back in November of last year. With a few things needing to get done before I left, one of which was losing 30 lbs. I then had the opportunity to, learn and prepare, to accept and be ready, for this call that I was to receive. 

     Six months ago I first knew that a mission was going to be my future. I didn't realize then just how unprepared I was, but Heavenly Father did and he let me know.  He gave me the time I needed and the opportunities I needed to build me into the missionary that He needed.  Six months ago I knew that the gospel was true and I accepted that. I knew what the gospel could do to change a life. Although I needed to grow my testimony in the Book of Mormon, I needed to grow in the Holy Ghost, to be able to recognize His promptings and His influence. I needed to grow in my priesthood and to start using it again and to know of it's power that will be used as a missionary. 

     Through the experiences that I have been able to receive over the last six months which have all helped me grow and develop the attributes that I was lacking and needed to improve, I have been able to see miracles happen through the gospel already in just that short time.  I was able to share my testimony with a less active who is now, after working with the missionaries, working towards a mission. I was involved in the discussions with a young man, now new member, who has allowed the gospel to change his life and battle addictions.  I latter baptized and confirmed him, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. What an amazing experience that was, seeing from start to finish the workings of the gospel.  The spirit that was present at that baptism was so strong. I was able to feel it working through me because of the beautiful power of the proper priesthood which I hold. 

     My purpose as a missionary is "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Chirst and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel handbook) I am ready to be a missionary, I love this gospel so much. I know exactly what it can do in the lives of everyone. We are all children of our Heavenly Father who has nothing but love for us and a longing for us to return to Him. We have been given the blessings and truths of this gospel in our day and it is our responsibility, and obligation, to share it.  

Matthew 28:19-20. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Cherished Gift

      I love the gift of agency that was giving to us through the plan of salvation.  The gift that we have to choose shows me just how far the love of our Heavenly Father can reach. To let us make our choices, wether it be right or wrong, is one of the basic principles of the Plan. It allows for the most growth, the most faith, and the most humbling of ourselves. 
      From the beginning our agency has been at the top of the list of protected gifts from God.  Part of Satan's plan was to take away our agency.  To control us as puppets to make sure we all returned to the Father.  Even though the end result is what we want anyway, the means to get there would not allow any growth.  Which would be a contradiction to the reason way we needed bodies in the first place.  We needed to grow past what we already had. 
     In the beginning Adam and Eve where commanded not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but was also told that they could choose for theirselves. It was the first act of agency against the commandments of God. That was what was needed to start the world and to start the Plan because without choice there could not be any real salvation. 
     The atonement is centered around agency. We have to choose to ask for forgiveness. In Luke 11:9 the statement is made to: "Ask, and it shall be given you.... knock, and it shall be opened unto you." We have to make to decision to let Him in and choose to get the answers we seek.  It is all based on our choices that we make wether it be good or evil we are the ones that are making them not anyone else.  
      He loves all of his children and wants them to return to him so he gave us the other gifts that are included in the Plan of Salvation.  He has given us a commandments, the atonement, the scriptures, a prophet, all that is included the the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet it is still our responsibility to choose, listen, obey and use all that has been given to us. 
     Now it is a gift that was given to us, that Satan was trying to take away before we came. So beware because he is still trying to take that away. There are choices that he wants us to make that would hinder our ability to keep choosing for ourselves. Things like addictions take away our agency. Choosing to not use the atonement can take away choices of our eternal life.  Our agency is a gift that we fought for and we need to continue to fight for and make the choice to live a righteous life. It may not be the easiest but on an eternal scale it is the best way

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Grieving Soul

    Now that I had accepted the gospel back in my life I had to confront that my life that I was currently living and the life I had lived was not in acceptrance with the gospel and the standards that I should be upholding.  I came to really know the power of the atonement and just how it can change lives, even mine.  The part that came first was the guilt from having to deal with the things that I had done.  So I started the repentance process talked to the bishop, prayed, and read my scriptures but what I couldn't get a grasp on was forgiving myself.  I didn't know how I was going to accept and forget the things that I had done.
      What I know now is that not forgetting is the best part.  It is the worst part if you don't let the power of the atonement work if your life though.  If the process ended with you forgetting all your sins then you would never be able to learn from them and the same temptations from Satan would work again, and we would keep falling into similar traps. We need to learn from our mistakes, and know are weaknesses and strengths, in order to grow after (through the atonement) God has forgiven and forgotten (not going to hold those sins against you in judgement).
      For me the best part about remembering my sins is that I remember how I felt burdened by them and guilty for what I had done.  I felt that I couldn't be loved by God for the things I had done. I would go to sleep at night in tears just begging to forget cause how could I think I was a good person if I knew what I did.  I didn't realize just how selfish I was being at the time, and no wonder I wasn't reaching the last step of the atonement. I had done everything I needed to do: I recognized the sins, sought the bishop to confess my sins, sought after the forgiveness of God, I changed my thoughts and actions, but even though I had done all that I missed the most important part. In D&C 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.  
    I was holding onto that suffering, and letting it keep me from knowing the true power of the atonement which is to take that suffering away. It happened to me very suddenly, that when I realized I was being so selfish as to hold back the gift that God and Jesus Christ wanted to give to me. That Jesus Christ, our Savior, already suffered for me it shook me to my core. In that same moment I realized that I was causing my portion of his suffering to be in vain because I didn't want to let it go. I was overcome with my burden of what I was doing that again in just a moment I let him take it away. I gave up my hold to them and let him take away the suffering and pain and just as quick as I had done that a peace fell over me that filled me with such joy I had never felt before.  I not only can remember my sins and learn from them I can remember this moment. That I know God as forgiven me and as long as I keep the atonement working in my life, the greatest gift given to us, I shall have eternal life. D&C 29:1-4.... 3. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore you receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Beginning...

      I came from a place that was dark and corrupted.  I had let it get that way.  I let every thought and every action become corrupted, and the only thing that mattered was for me to have my wants for the moment be satisfied. I moved across the country to save myself.  Three years ago I wouldn't have been able to honestly tell that I would live to see 25.  And here I am 25 writing this blog to tell the story of my life saving conversion.
      I was born into the church, but when I was 12 I let seeds of anger and doubt take root and grow inside. Within a few short years I was a changed person, and not for the better.  I let that continue to bring my life to places I never thought I would go. I let very strong emotions like: fear, doubt, anger, scared, lonely, embarrassment literally control my choices in my life; and the only person that keeps you feeling that way is 1 yourself and 2 Satan. The Lord wants nothing more than to take those feelings away from you. 
      I have had many amazing spiritual opportunities, that looking back on it now I can realize they were just unbelievable.  But I would not hear or see or feel them at the time, and my favorite lie to tell myself whenever I would have a feeling that the church was making an impact I would simply tell myself "ya but I don't know that it's true" and that was always enough for me to just turn away and forget it ever happened. The only thing that would make that turn faster is if someone was there that pointed out that the was spirit present.  I was scared of what that would mean for my life, because embracing  the gospel would have meant a complete change of my life. Everything in my life would not have fit in the gospel. Friends, hobbies, girlfriend, thoughts, feelings, and as a teenager who already feels that simple things like having a bad hair day means the next six months of life are ruined. I was not ready for the gospel and I didn't want to keep having questions. So going to places like BYU ED Week, to listen to speakers like John Bytheway and Scott Anderson, and mutual activities and church on Sundays was now out of the question. SO I RAN, AND RAN FAST.


The Awakening!

      I was 22 years old when I fled across the country trying to save my life. I knew it was going to be a life saving move, but never would I have guessed it would end me here. Even at the first of this year  I wouldn't have even guessed this was going to happen to me.  Now, with no notice, this has been the most important, exciting, hardest, sorrowing, humbling, spiritual year of my entire life. This year at the Hill Cumorah Pageant my life was changed forever.

      Through introducing new influences into my life starting at the beginning of this year, it provided my life a small friendly dose of the gospel and the Holy Ghost back into my life. Slowly I realized feelings that had been missing from my life and that had been missing for a long time. So when the Pageant started in July I decided to really commit to the experience that was there to take part in. That meant spending both Saturdays to tour the The Church Sites: The Sacred Grove with the Joseph Smith Farm, The Book of Mormon Publication site, and the Hill Cumorah Visiter Center.  On the second Saturday my life was changed forever; after the visit of the B.O.M.P which I brought a set of elders with me. We were talking about how the tour went, and what we felt about it. When there was a break in the conversation and a very familiar question came into my head "ya, but I don't know if it is true." A very clear and defining answer came into my head, as clear as if one of the elders had spoke it that said "Yes Steven you know that this is true" and then followed up with "So stop asking that question." Accompanied with these words was the overwhelming sustaining spirit that I could not deny what I just heard was true.  That spirit stayed with me throughout the rest of the day and kept confirming the truth of what I was hearing and feeling throughout the tours and the performance of Pageant.