This is probably the first encounter I had with Latter-day Saints except for the poor missionaries who had my door repeatedly slammed in their faces. Yep! That was the old Dennis.
Life just keeps getting more exciting by the minute. Just found out the Missionaries I randomly met at the airport on June 21, 2017 (almost 2 months before my baptism) Will be attending the celebration launch, 🚀 at this time did I ever think I would be baptized? NOT, and look at where we’ve gone. Yippee, Can’t wait to see Sister Franks & Morris.
I believe the Oscar goes to all church missionaries
Miracles do Happen
Now look; I’m a Ward Mission Leader, YES miracles can and do happen.
This is the story of my search for God’s love in my life, and how I found it with and through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite a reputation that says otherwise, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do in fact love and accept all people just as Christ would, regardless of their sexual orientation.
As a lot of the missionaries I work with on the East Coast will still be serving their mission we have added a Facebook live event just for you!
I saw this on the front page of the Church website this morning and I remembered our conversation and how this is your opportunity as you are called to speak to others – to bear witness of God’s love, His goodness and mercy to you in your life experiences.
This is the scripture that came to my mind so powerfully that I felt was for you:
Mosiah 18-8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life-
I have tried to hold myself to this standard. All too often for me, I have fallen short to fully express and acknowledge God’s greatness and goodness–His love–in my testimonies. It is a skill I am still. working on to improve.
May I share with you some tools I am using to become more accomplished in this goal.
As I study the Book of Mormon, I examine how the great prophets testify of Jesus Christ. They are great examples who bear great witness of God’s love. We can learn much from them in this endeavor.
Consider Lehi and his dream [I Nephi 8] wherein he goes from a place of darkness to the tree of life. There he partakes of the fruit of the tree which we understand represents the love of God. After experiencing this love he states in verse 12 – “And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy;” This is Lehi’s witness of God’s love. He then turns to his family and invites them to come and experience this great joy which he described as desirable above all other fruit.
I like to think this represents all missionary work. First we each must come to the tree and experience God’s love (baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost). Then we turn and invite others to come to the tree (Come unto Christ) and receive this continuing gift of His love in always having his spirit to be with us.
I have made a detailed study of the Book of Mormon prophets of how they each in their own way have testified of this fruit and how it has brought them great joy.
Another tool I have used is to do a personal evaluation after I have shared my testimony – asking questions such as Did I acknowledge His hand in all the goodness I have experienced? Did I convey the joy that I experienced as I partook of the fruit? Did I invite others to partake as Lehi did?
After this personal evaluation revealing my weaknesses (which have been too many- to my dismay), I then reviewed what I desired to have said. That was followed by a prayer that the Lord would make my weak things become strong. There have been occasions when my prayer has been answered. I have been able to give a witness that exceeded my highest expectations, and yes my joy was great in that blessing.
Dennis, I know the Lord loves you greatly and has called you to serve in the building of His Kingdom. Thank you for asking me to share.
Some members, through no fault of their own, experience concerns, doubts or a faith crisis as part of their journey with Mormonism. This may not be a step backward’s; rather, it may be an opportunity for them to develop both a closer relationship with Christ as well as a more thoughtful framework for their relationship with the Restored Church.
The site below is an excellent resource for local leaders
Day of Blessings That Never Stops
First thing this morning, my father was scheduled for a knee replacement. I was feeling nervous. All I could do was pray and give it to God.
Today is P–Day for Missionaries, which means they are given nine hours a week that they’re allowed to fill their private time i.e. grocery shopping, laundry, emailing their parents and so on. The Manchester Sister’s had asked me if I would do a home teaching at 12 PM with someone looking into our church. WOW, talk about dedication. After that was over, I had to go to the hospital to sit with my mom and wait for my father’s surgery to be completed.
Excruciating, as it took longer than expected. Again all I could do was just pray and give it to God.
After texting the Hartford Elders “Spanish speaking missionaries,” to assist in offering my father a blessing after his surgery, they arrived at the hospital around 7 PM. I asked one elder if he would seal the oil, and the other to provide the blessing as I felt compelled they needed to do this and I would just partake in the laying of the hands.
WOW!!! The Holy Ghost never lets you down, as the presence was felt throughout the entire room. I could not believe right in front of my very own eyes for the first time my father was allowing “The Mormons,” to perform a blessing. Dad was so polite afterward, he thanked everyone for the blessing.
I didn’t realize the elders were without a car and I had asked politely if I could give them a ride to their next appointment for 8 PM. This goes against my rules, (avoid the appearance of evil) unless I have another senior elder present. Well, I just blurted out; You know I’ll do anything for you guys.
Everything happens for a reason. When I was dropping them off at their appointment, I realized they were going to have to walk home afterward. 4 miles in the frigid cold. I asked if they wanted me to stay for the lesson and they said sure we really could use you.
They shared that the three people we were teaching were baptized into the church three years ago and had stopped attending church quite some time ago. They were all teenagers, their mother was not a member, but their grandmother was.
They offered a prayer in my car prior to walking into the house. During that prayer, I started to feel the promptings to bring up missionary work. When meeting with the elders, I offered an opening prayer, again I was prompted to talk about some of the blessings the elders have received serving as full-time missionaries. I asked the three of them; “have you ever considered going on a mission?” That was it! I had hit the nail on the head. At first, they were a little hesitant and then the
entire conversation turned to how amazing it would be for them to serve as full-time missionaries when two of them graduate school in June.
Driving the Elders back to their apartment just before curfew, they couldn’t believe how powerful the message was felt by all. This goes to show when you have faith and rely on the Holy Ghost, anything is possible, anything can happen.
Meet The Earls a Love Story
By Audery Earl
It All Started in January 2014
I was a missionary and was called to serve in the California Anaheim Mission. I had been on my mission for 6 months and I had just got transferred to a new area. In this new area, we didn’t have a car and our mode of transportation was a bike. As you can probably imagine, grocery shopping and biking back to your apartment with all those bags do not work. Thankfully my companion knew a girl our age, Linda and she took the sister missionaries almost every Monday to get groceries (thank goodness).
We went to the local Walmart and my companion is looking for some food down an aisle. I am following her as I talk with Linda and I get to know her. Linda is also asking me some questions and she finds out where I’m from and then she starts to tell me about this boy. He served his mission in Anaheim as well but a few years ago AND he’s also from the same town that I am from. She tells me right then and there that I am going to marry that boy. My instant reaction: No way. I don’t even know him. And who is this girl?
She asks me to email him. My thought process is thinking, “Why would I write a guy I’ve never met?” and other things along that line. She gives me his email and I didn’t do a single thing with it. That night she called him, told him that he is going to marry this sister missionary that she just met and that he needs to email me. He also refused. He didn’t want to freak me out.
This goes on for about a month. Linda is showing me pictures of him on Facebook. “Do you think he’s cute?” “He is going to graduate this year.” “He speaks Vietnamese.” “He has a good job.” I was getting the 411 on this boy.
After much pestering from Linda and my companion, I decided to email him. Every week Linda would ask if I emailed him yet and it was always a no. I could finally tell her, yes and then I would not hear much more about it. My email to him was really awkward, “Hi! It’s Sister Clifton- Linda’s friend. I told her I would email you so I am!” (how else are you going to explain to this random email to a guy that you’ve never met?) He responds a few minutes later, “Yes, hi! Linda is so funny! How are you?”
And that was the start. We emailed and got to know each other. Our emails became longer and we emailed for about 5 months but then I stopped. This emailing thing was taking too much time. I didn’t even know him. I would much rather email my family, go grocery shopping, go hiking, or some other activity. Our free time was so rare that emailing him was not at the top of my priority list.
Fast forward to a year later since Linda first told me about Andrew and my mission is almost over. I was saying goodbye to Linda and she told me that I should email Andrew again and invite him to my homecoming. I laughed and told her no.
I came home and I decided that if I were going to ever meet Andrew, my homecoming talk was probably the least awkward way to do it. The day before I emailed him a quick invite and then I completely forgot about it. During my homecoming, I saw so many people. Ones that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years and somewhere missionaries from my mission. Sacrament meeting was over and I was talking with some of my friends in the back. I see this guy come towards me and I instantly knew it was Andrew. Linda had shown me his picture so much, his face was ingrained in my memory.
“Hi, I’m Andrew.”
“I know.” (I was so awkward!)
We made small talk for about a minute and the next thing I know I’m inviting him over to my house for the open house, something that I vowed to myself not to do. That failed.
He hung around my missionary friends and they all had no clue who he was. One of my previous companions was saying that he liked me. How awkward was that? We took pictures of all the Anaheim missionaries who were there. People told him to join in and I thought, “Get out.” He was in the picture. He asked for my number and I had my mom give it to him because I had no clue what my new number was. We then got a picture of just the two of us to send to Linda. Linda freaked out and the amount of heart, marriage, and love emoji’s (some involving children) that were sent back was insane.
Later that week I get a call from him but I was busy so I missed it. I needed to call him back. My heart was so nervous when I called him. How would I even talk to him? He answered and he asked me out for a date a few days later. The date comes and he was late! ha. We went to a BYU basketball game and since he hadn’t eaten dinner we went to Cinnamon afterward. He drove me home and we talked in his car outside my house for hours. We finally decided to call it a night.
Our second date was Vietnamese food and Nickle City. On the way to Nickle City, I thought he was taking me home and realized that I did not want the date to end because I wanted more time with him. Thankfully that was not the case and we played games and bought mustaches with our winning tickets.
Dates continued and thus began the start of mine and Andrew’s “romantic” relationship. We got along so well and had so many things in common. The next few months came with road trips, dating, embarrassing moments (I’m full of them), long distance, and falling more in love with each other. We realized that what we wanted the most was to be together, as Andrew and Audrey Earl, for time and all eternity.
On January 16, 2016, Andrew made me one of the happiest girls on earth when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Who would have ever thought that I would marry that temporary pen-pal of mine? (besides Linda)
This love is ours and we cherish it deeply.
Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
I’m A Gay Mormon Convert – WHAT? That’s what they say!
Yep, who knew? On Aug 19th, 2017 I chose to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an openly gay convert. Am I nuts?
Why What, How could you do that to the LGBT community?
This is the story of my search for God’s love in my life, and how I found it with and through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Despite a reputation that says otherwise, members of The #ChurchOfJesusChrist of #Latter-daySaints or #LDS, they do in fact love and accept all people just as Christ would, regardless of their sexual orientation.
I am an openly gay man who feels nothing but love from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was told my entire life that God rejected me and I was going to Hell merely for my sexual orientation. I needed to change my entire persona and become straight. This left such a bad taste in my mouth about organized religion in general, that I refused to attend any church, for many, many years.
It was Latter-day Saints who taught me that Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children, regardless of their sexual orientation. We are all children of God, and we should leave judgment to the Savior. It is not our place. We are asked only to love. #TurnUpTheLove
My goals in writing this blog are to convey that we need more love in this world, more acceptance of all, and we need more happiness. I challenge you to choose love, no matter what race, nationality, whether you’re heterosexual, or someone like myself, who is 100% gay and a member of the LGBT+ Community and also a full temple recommend holder in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m serving as a Ward Mission Leader helping sisters and elder missionaries all over the world sharing the gospel of Christ as he does love each and every one of us despite our imperfections, as no one’s perfect.
I’m not nuts or crazy for joining the church. After all, isn’t everyone a little nuts? Choose love, choose kindness, and most importantly, we all need to #TurnUpTheLove.
Life has been NUTS in a significant way. When I first wrote my book, I had no clue how enormous an undertaking this would become. A few days after submitting the manuscript to my publisher, “I thought I would have a little vacation for a while,” NOT! I Received an email from my astonishing acquisitions editor; Congratulations! I will need the following things from you as soon as possible. Title Ideas – list of your suggestions. Cover Design Profile – your insight and opinion to our designers by completing this; (mortgage application,) LOL 🤣
Next Priority: (1-2 weeks)
Author Bios – submit one professional bio and one book jacket bio by completing this; “refinancing application attached.” WOW😮.
*Marketing Plan – Email our marketing team, should encompass public, media, TV, print, magazines,📰 along with comparison titles, movies, and television shows.🎥🎙 Then *MORE documentation will be forthcoming upon completion. “Yikes!!!”😟 Final Priority: (in the next 3-4 weeks)
Cover Blurb Sample – provide ideas and feedback that will help our marketing writer create the final blurb. (Now instead of a mortgage, I felt as if I was purchasing a 60 story building in New York City.)
Endorsements – identifying influencers in your genre for endorsements that lend social proof, influence, and recommendation to your reader community.
Author Photo – email a color photo in JPG format with quality resolution. (See available help in our Authors Manual) “Now this was the size of a dictionary…” 📕
OMgoodness – I think all of this was harder than actually writing the book LOL.✒️ All worth it as this is a huge deal and I’m honored my manuscript was acquired with a remarkable Publishing and Media house. 🤩 I couldn’t complete this without my talented literary agent Gina Panettieri, her staff, my phenomenal Book editor Trina Caudle along with
ALL of my friends and family.🥰 Thank you for your patience and understanding as for why my life is NUTS #IsHeNuts???