Thursday, July 21, 2016


It seems as if every day I hear about another devastating situation occurring in our world. Countless riots, shootings, innocent people being killed, cops being killed, terrorism...the list goes on. In fact, just this month 3 teens were shot and killed in my very own city - one of which unfortunately happened to be one of my darling students. With all of this going on, there is definitely reason to worry and feel concerned about our world. 

However, even with all this turmoil, I have found peace.  I am not afraid.

I am not afraid because of what I know. I have found peace in a world that seems to be in a constant state of frightening unrest. 

This peace has come from a place that by many has been scrutinized, misunderstood, and belittled. I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is through this membership that I have learned all the skills to get myself happily and safely through this life. 

I was raised in the gospel. When I turned 8 I was baptized and became an "official" member. I have spent every Sunday going to church - all three hours. This might seem to be all it takes to be "active". Going to church every week. Right? While important, this is not all that it takes. Each and every single day I have to ACTIVELY choose to live what I believe. The more I do this, the less I have to fear. 

Through striving to actively live the gospel I have learned so much that has offered me strength during these difficult times. Below are just three examples that have brought me peace and helped me to not fear.


I am grateful to be a part of a religion that has taught me who I am, why I am here, and where I am going. Just as I know that I have a purpose, so do you. Everyone on Earth is here for a very specific reason. We will each experience our own set of trials and triumphs that were personally created and planned for our own individual progress and growth. 

God has a plan for each of us. If we trust in his plan and do all that we can to live our lives the best we are capable, everything will work out in the end. Knowing this helps me get through all the trials that I might encounter in my own life. Whether it's the day-to-day struggles, or something as big as the death of a loved one, I can find peace. I KNOW that God has a perfect plan. All I have to do is trust in Him.


Each Sunday, while I was 12-18 years old, with other young women in my neighborhood, I recited a theme. A theme that now as I reflect back, offered me peace and comfort that I may have overlooked at the time. I proudly stated out loud, "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him..."

In a world where there are so many conflicting beliefs and points of view, I am becoming more and more grateful that I have a knowledge that EVERY SINGLE LIFE MATTERS + ALL I HAVE TO DO IS LOVE. Black, white, purple, green, orange, brown, gay, straight, male, female - it doesn't matter. In God's eyes we are ALL important, we ALL deserve love. 

The theme I recited each Sunday at church did not say - "Only members of this church are children of God." "WE" is all encompassing. God loves ALL of us. We ALL matter. It doesn't matter who we are, where we are from, what we look like, how many followers we have, or even what we might have done, our WORTH never changes. Our worthiness can be affected by our choices, but our WORTH is never changing. 

Through the gospel I have learned not only that I have INFINITE worth, but that all those who ever have, or ever will live, have the same amount of worth. God loves all of His children. While I might have differing opinions or disagree with the lifestyle that some are living, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. All God expects is for me to love. Many of the issues the world is facing today could completely disappear if everyone could realize that all we really have to do is love. If God, who is perfect, can love even the vilest of sinners, who am I to decide who, where, and when I give love.  EVERY life matters


I am a part of a religion that has taught me to not only strive to be perfectly obedient, but perfectly tolerant as well; to be loving, accepting, and kind to those who may not believe or live the same way that I do. A common misconception is that the LDS Church is judgmental, bigoted, "closed-minded", and is simply trying to "shove our religion down your throat". That could not be farther from the truth. 

Never in my 26 years of going to church, seminary, or institute, was I ever taught to be judgmental, bigoted, or "closed-minded". In fact, most lessons are the exact opposite. We are taught about being kind, loving, and accepting of others. "Love One Another" is one of the most popular songs in LDS culture where children as young as 3 years old are taught the lyrics. 

Just today I was in an institute class where we were instructed on the importance of  striving to UNDERSTAND and being KIND to those who believe differently than we do. We were shown a video that was made by the LDS Church to help teach members how to treat and interact with those who might see things differently than we do.  In my opinion, that sure does not sound like a church who is hateful, unaccepting or judgmental. (Video HERE).

The principle of agency is one of the very most important aspects of the gospel. We believe that we are here on Earth to learn, grow, and prove ourselves in order to make it back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. "Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we are 'free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the power of the devil.' (2 Nephi 2:27)" -LDS.ORG

One of our Thirteen Articles of Faith - which are our most basic guiding principles, is: "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Why would a religion that teaches the importance of agency, and "allowing all men the same privilege" of worshiping or believing what they wish, want to FORCE anyone to believe what we believe? We don't. That just doesn't make sense. Some might argue that we shouldn't be sending missionaries out to share the gospel then.... Again, a common misconception.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you have theeeee most delicious [insert dessert of your choice] in the world! It is absolutely life changing. It has improved your life and you love it more than anything. Now you have a few options. You could 1. keep it to yourself and never share it with anyone. It would continue "blessing" your life, but no one else could ever receive those "blessings". 2. You could offer it to someone and have them reject you. Maybe they don't like [dessert of your choice], or maybe they have their own [dessert of their choice]. It is okay if they say "no thank you", you still offered. 3. You offer [dessert of your choice] to someone and they gladly accept. They are so excited! They have been praying to find something like this. It blesses their life forever, and you were able to share it with them. 

For members of the church, the knowledge of the gospel and the blessings that it brings to our lives is just like the "dessert" in this example. We love it so much. It has improved our lives. We can't help but want to share it with others. This is not to be confused with "trying to shove it down your throat". If any of us become a little "overzealous" in sharing what we believe, please forgive us... we can't help but be excited about sharing something so wonderful. 

Understanding that everyone deserves to believe what they believe "how, where, and what they may", has given me the confidence to realize I am included in "EVERYONE". My opinion does matter. My beliefs are just as important as anyone else's beliefs.  The more I share what I believe, the more that I am strengthened IN my beliefs. Sharing how the gospel has blessed my life brings me peace. A comfort that in a world with so much fear... I am not afraid. 

What helps you to not fear? 

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