“There are many good Church members who have been divorced. I speak first to them. We know that many of you are innocent victims—members whose former spouses persistently betrayed sacred covenants or abandoned or refused to perform marriage responsibilities for an extended period. Members who have experienced such abuse have firsthand knowledge of circumstances worse than divorce.

When a marriage is dead and beyond hope of resuscitation, it is needful to have a means to end it. I saw examples of this in the Philippines. Two days after their temple marriage, a husband deserted his young wife and has not been heard from for over 10 years. A married woman fled and obtained a divorce in another country, but her husband, who remained behind, is still married in the eyes of the Philippine law. Since there is no provision for divorce in that country, these innocent victims of desertion have no way to end their married status and go forward with their lives.”

“Now I speak to married members, especially to any who may be considering divorce.

I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation. Divorce is not an all-purpose solution, and it often creates long-term heartache. A broad-based international study of the levels of happiness before and after “major life events” found that, on average, persons are far more successful in recovering their level of happiness after the death of a spouse than after a divorce. Spouses who hope that divorce will resolve conflicts often find that it aggravates them, since the complexities that follow divorce—especially where there are children—generate new conflicts.”

This past week we discussed divorce and the many different aspects that accompany that. I decided to do some research on the topic because it is not something that I am super familiar with. My parents have been married for many years and a good majority of my friends parents have been married for many years. For this reason I am pulling material from a talk by Dallin H. Oaks entitled “Divorce” to help me out a little bit.

As I was researching this material I came to a couple of different conclusions. The first one has to do with the first quote that I have posted at the top. It talks about there being situations in which divorce is necessary. I would agree with that because I do believe that there are certain situations in which it is very necessary, whether it be because a spouse is unfaithful or because they’re abusive. I do think there are many situations that fall under this and I do believe that there are times when divorce is necessary. If you are in a situation in which your spouse has been cheating or is being abusive then like Elder Oaks said, there is a reason to an end of a terrible situation.

However with that being said I also think there are many situations in which divorce may just seem like the easy solution to a fixable problem. I have seen this problem in society today where the two people just think that their relationship is damaged beyond repair and the easy way out is to walk away from it. It is very sad to think we live in a society today where this is a common thing and it is generally accepted by everybody. I think Elder Oaks said it best when he said that the solution to this problem is humility and repentance. Many of these problems are caused by selfishness that one or the other or both are unwilling to overcome. If we could only realize the damage that this causes emotionally for all involved, I think we would be more willing to work through it.

I am grateful to have been born to a family where my parents set such a great example of love and working through problems. Their example will shape how my relationship with my future wife is and I can never thank them enough for that. Lets all work together through our problems when we are able to and allow our families to grow stronger and closer through problems, not apart.


The Most Rewarding Job

“The home … is the workshop where human characters are built and the manner in which they are formed depends upon the relationship existing between parents and the children. The home cannot be what it should be unless these relationships are of the proper character. Whether they are so or not depends, it is true, upon both parents and children, but much more upon parents. They must do their best.”

– Joseph Fielding Smith

“Fathers and mothers, your foremost responsibility is your family. By working together you can have the kind of home the Lord expects you to have. By showing love and consideration for one another and for your children, you can build a reservoir of spiritual strength that will never run dry.”

– Spencer W. Kimball

Today I wanted to talk about something that is very near and dear to my heart. Last week we discussed parenting and the important role they play in their children’s lives and I was overcome with emotion as I thought about my parents and what a great job they’ve done at being parents. I have 3 siblings and I by no means imagine that we were easy to raise. I think each one of my siblings and I have made it difficult on our parents at some point and in some way or another we have done something that has stressed them out. However I am humbled to think about the patience they have shown with us as we have gone through our teenage years and grown into adults. I know it wasn’t easy but I am grateful to think that I have had their example so that I can raise my own children in a similar manner someday.

I have two quotes at the top that I think are important for all of us to remember. I was reading through some old talks by some of the General Authorities and I realized that there is a similar thing when it comes to great parents. All great parents have an unwavering love for their children. As I pondered just how powerful that unwavering love was I realized just how difficult that can be sometimes. Like I mentioned above I don’t think raising my siblings and I was exactly easy. I think most parents will come to a general consensus that being a parent is extremely hard. However as I have gotten older I have realized the sacrifice my parents gave so my siblings and I could be raised in a great and loving home. I have very fond memories of my time at home and when I left home for the first time, it was difficult because of the great relationship that I had developed with my family.

I think we live in a society today that really undervalues the family in general. It seems like every where I look there is something that is trying to tear down and destroy this unit that has been provided by our Heavenly Father for our happiness. It makes me sad to think that not all families are as close as mine because I don’t know what I would do without those relationships in my life. When parents raise their children with love and with good core values it allows the children to grow up and want to have that with their future families as well. I think it turns into a cycle and that cycle can either be a great one or it can be a nasty one. If we allow our families to be raised in such a manner that our children grow up and do the same for their kids someday then I think we can say we are in a successful family cycle.

It takes a lot of effort but I know that if we do this and follow the example of great parents around the world that our kids will raise their kids in a similar manner. That itself is the world that I want to live in.



I figured this would be fitting considering the fact Fathers Day was a few short weeks ago. This week in class was rewarding because it reminded me of a lot of things that I have already known for a really long time. One of those things was the fact that the role of Fathers is being diminished today. It seems like society is progressively gaining a worse and worse view of the importance of Fathers. This is inherently obvious on TV and Movies being released today. I can think of multiple TV shows and movies that show a Father that is incapable and unable to accomplish what he needs to accomplish in the role of being a Father. They are put down and looked upon poorly by the society around us today. The second thing I learned from class today was how wrong this is and how important Fathers really are. They play a critical role in the family and they are here to provide and protect their families. It seems like the view that society has is inherently wrong and incorrect when it comes to how they should review the role of a Father.

I have been blessed throughout my life with a Father that destroys any typical stereotype that is rampant in society today. He is hard working and caring and has guided me in more ways than I will ever be able to describe. He has taught me how to be a better man and overall has guided me through some of the more difficult trials of my life. It is funny because going through High School I wasn’t always willing to listen to what he had to say. My parents would give me advice and I would generally brush it off because I figured I knew what I was doing. However as I began my mission I realized what great advice my parents would have. Especially my Father because he had served a mission himself and had experienced a lot of the same things that I was experiencing at the time. My father has been a great example to me on how I should raise my own kids someday. I know that if I follow the example that he set for me that I will be able to be a great father like he has been.

The next thing I wanted to discuss was my Grandfathers because of what a great job they did raising my parents. I know this post is directed towards Fathers but I think it is important to note my Mother as well. She has had just as big a part in my life as my Father has had and I know a lot of that can be explained due to the fact that she had a wonderful Father in her life. He is just as large a part of my life has my own Father has been and I can thank both of my Grandfathers when it comes to my parents because of what a wonderful job they did raising my parents.

I honestly cannot imagine my life without all of their influences. I would be a completely different person and I wouldn’t be half the man I am today. Their example is a shining example of how important Fathers are in our society today. I have personally seen what an influence they make on me and I know the influence all Fathers have on their children around the world today. Let us make sure that we are doing everything we can to live up to the great example of so many Fathers around the world today. If we do then we will be sure to have happier and more loving families.

The Importance of Family Council

Ever since I was a child I have created many memories of something called Family Council. These have always been councils we had as our family debated major changes that could potentially be coming to our lives in the next couple of months. One particular Family Council that comes to mind happened when I was 15, when my Father came home from work to tell us that he had received a job offer that would be taking us from our home in Syracuse, UT to the unknown land of Frisco, TX.

I was unsure as how I should react to this because I wanted nothing to do with Texas. I had spent the last 5 years of my life in Utah and was very comfortable with how everything was going. I remember it was a Monday night that my Father asked us to sit down so that we could discuss this potential move. He had done this with every move that we had had previous but this was the first one that I was old enough to feel like really effected me in a big way. The last move we had done had been when we moved from Washington to Utah and I was only 10 years old and hadn’t put down roots like I had in Utah.

We all sat down and my Father raised the question to my siblings and I on how we felt about potentially moving to Texas. I was adamant in my response that I did not have any desire to move anywhere and I especially didn’t want to move to Texas because we had never been there before and we had no friends or family that we would be close to. My Father listened to each one of our opinions and took them into account but ultimately decided that the best move for our family would be for us to go to Texas.

This started a pattern that I noticed over the years. I don’t have any recollection of us doing anything major without talking about it as a family first. We haven’t always done what I wanted to do but I have appreciated the fact that my parents have always involved my siblings and I in those types of decisions. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I realized that this isn’t the case in many families around the world.

It seems to be more typical for families to be dominated by either the parents or the children. That either the parents are always in charge or the parents are push overs and the children run the family. There is a balance that is necessary for families to have harmony and it involves the parents and the children being equally involved on the decision making process while realizing that the parents still have the final say. Yes it is important for the kids to have a say but the parents in the end have the final say.

It seems to me that families would be much better off if they had something like this in place. It doesn’t always have to be to make major decisions but it can be used to solve issues in the family that may arise. They overall point of these councils is to discuss matters of importance in the family. It really comes down to having clear and effective communication that can allow families to grow together and overcome issues that come to the forefront.

If we do these things then all families will be placed in a position to grow together and overcome anything that comes up. All it takes is a little bit of effort and some clear concise communication.

Overcoming Stress

I had an interesting experience this week that I wanted to share with everybody. This week in class the topic of discussion was “The Family Under Stress” and how we can best combat the things that we are dealing with every day. We talked about little things that can cause stress but we also talked about much bigger events in our lives that can cause more stress. The discussion was engaging and I left class feeling like I would be able to apply these things into my life.

Later that day I was getting ready to register for classes for Fall Semester and I had a question for my Dad that I needed him to answer. I sent him a text and called him a couple times and didn’t hear anything back. I was getting slightly frustrated so I messaged my sister asking her if she knew where Dad was. She messaged me back and let me know that he was with my brother and other sister and asked me if I knew. I was dumbfounded and replied with a simple “Do I know what?” She then proceeded to tell me that my brother and sister had been hit by a lady going close to 60 MPH through a red light as they were going through the intersection. I was scared for 2 seconds before she let me know that they were OK and that nobody had been injured. I then proceeded to call my Mom and she told me the entire story.

The thing that I was most surprised about was how calm everybody was. There wasn’t anybody freaking out about the fact that if my brother and sister had been hit broadside then they’d probably be dead. I then realized that this was something that my parents had shown in their character for all of my life. Granted there were times when stress would get the best of them (As happens with everybody) but for the most part they’ve always shown a calm and collected manner when dealing with major events in our lives that could be perceived as negative.

When we talk about stress in our lives and things that damage a family, I think stress and our reaction to that plays a large roll in how the family grows closer together or farther apart. If you have a parent that consistently reacts to stress in a negative way (yelling, arguing, negative comments to those around them) then that is going to have two effects on the family. The first thing is that the kids will grow up dealing with stress in a similar way and the second thing is that it will tear the family apart as all are put on edge and don’t enjoy spending time around each other.

On the other hand when you have parents that are calm and they look for the good in the situation then I think that allows the family to grow closer together. That is something that I have learned from my family as we have gone through difficult situations and I think it is part of the reason why we are so close today. I feel like my family has had a lot of situations in our lives when we have been faced with a difficult situation, but every time we have gotten through it and we have generally gotten through it while growing closer together.

If only we could realize how our reaction to stressful situations would effect each and every one of the people involved. I think we would have happier families as we grew together, instead of growing apart.

Together Through The Years

The other day I was reading an article online that discussed the importance of parents continuing to have time together after having children come into their lives. I guess every night after 9 PM the parents would send their kids upstairs for at least an hour so that they could continue to have time together and develop their personal relationship. I thought this was interesting because you would imagine that parents spend a lot of time together throughout the day but how often do they get to spend quality time together just talking about their day? I would say that it isn’t often they get to sit down and talk about how they’re doing and the things going on in their lives.

The reason I thought it was interesting was because when people are dating, they often times spend so much time getting to know each other and spend time together and falling in love. However it is a very normal thing that once children come into their lives or some other type of time consuming activity occurs (job, church callings, etc) that they quit spending time together developing their relationship.

Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about this week. Why people need to continue to build their relationship through the years and not just during that time dating before they get married. I was reminded of a movie that I had the opportunity to watch during my sophomore year of High School. We had been discussing mental illnesses and this movie in particular showed the effects that depression and suicide can have on a family. Towards the end of the movie it shows the parents discussing their relationship after their daughter had passed away and they both decided that they were going to get divorced because once their daughter was gone they just felt like they didn’t have anything in common anymore. That for so many years their main reason for being together had been because their daughter was in their lives and that once she was gone they felt like they didn’t know each other and no longer had a reason to go through life together.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to seem like I am discouraging parents from having kids. I know that having kids within the means of marriage are a huge blessing and they can strengthen families. I just know that if couples don’t continue to build their relationship once they’re married then the marriage is going to struggle and in extreme cases it can end in divorce.

There are always going to be things that come up and distract or pull marriages apart. That is just part of the world that we live in today. That is why it is so important for us to continue to develop those sacred relationships as we grow old and go through the struggles of life together. It reminds me of this quote by Russel M. Nelson.

“Meanwhile, mortal misunderstandings can make mischief in marriage. In fact, each marriage starts with two built-in handicaps. It involves two imperfect people. Happiness can come to them only through their earnest effort. Just as harmony comes from an orchestra only when its members make a concentrated effort, so harmony in marriage also requires a concerted effort. That effort will succeed in each partner will minimize personal demands and maximize actions of loving selflessness.”

I know that as people continue to develop their relationships throughout the challenges of life that they will be able to have successful marriages and happy families. It just takes a little bit more effort than you may have been expecting. The Lord expects our marriages to work out but He also knows how much work those successful and happy marriages take. Lets make sure we are doing everything we can to either continue building our marriages or preparing ourselves for the marriages that await us.


Preparing for the M-Word… Marriage

Marriage marriage marriage… Seems to be on everybody’s minds these days! Just the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I noticed what a unique time in my life this was. Gone are the days of Facebook when I would scroll through and see friends from High School just hanging out and enjoying summer. These days my news feed is dominated by posts of happy couples who have recently gotten engaged or married. A few of them have even announced pregnancies.

Overall it is a very happy time for my friends and myself included! It has been great seeing childhood friends meet the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with and attending their weddings. Last summer was great because two of my best friends got married to their best friends and have spent the past year adjusting to life as married couples. It has been good to watch them and learn but more importantly I was able to watch them and see what they did to prepare for their respective marriages.

It brought my thought process to what I need to be doing in order to prepare for marriage. I had a couple questions run through my head as I was pondering this. What makes some people more prepared for marriage than others? What were those people doing to be more prepared? What can I do to be preparing myself for whenever I get married? This is what I decided upon.

In the many different weddings I had the opportunity of attending last year I noticed a similar thing in every sealing that I was attending. The sealer would look at the happy couple and he would say “I want you both to kneel down tonight and pray together. The happiest marriages are the ones that start with God and include Him in every aspect of their lives.” As I heard this from each sealer, I realized that all of my friends getting married had prepared themselves spiritually and had done so diligently. They had often times started long before they were engaged in reading the scriptures together and praying together.

This brought me back to another experience that I had had during my time in the MTC. I was sitting in one of my classes and our instructor looked at us and told us that in order for converts to truly be converted that they needed to be well taught but more importantly they needed to develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father. She then continued to tell us that it is similar to a triangle and that God should be the top point of that triangle. I think that applies in marriages as well. When you start to date somebody seriously and it begins to lead towards marriage then Heavenly Father needs to be that main point between the two of you. Just as it was between myself and the people I taught the gospel.

In conclusion I think this is how people can best prepare themselves for marriage. There just seems to be a trend that when couples grow close together while involving God then He is going to look down upon them and bless them in every aspect of their marriage. It starts today though, I think every person needs to prepare themselves spiritually. Then when you meet that person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you integrate them into your relationship with God and in doing so your relationship with that person will be even stronger because you already have a strong relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Different… but Equally Important

“I close with a parable.

Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

In due time, there came a woman into the vault. She, too, held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself.

With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even the smallest blessing.

Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach their children about keys and covenants.

There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. “Why,” the selfish ones reasoned, “cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?”

Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key. Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.”

This here is a parable given by Boyd K. Packer a former General Authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The reason why I started my blog post with this today was because it perfectly illustrates what we have been talking about in class this week. The topic of discussion was gender roles and how they play a part in future families. I was raised in a house with traditional parents, meaning I had a Father and a Mother who I care about deeply. This was the norm for most families until a few years ago when it seemed like gay marriage was becoming more and more popular. Other marriages that did not follow the traditional standard seemed to become more prevalent in media and on TV. It seems like the importance of traditional marriage has become diminished and looked down on.

Having been raised in a home with a Mother and a Father, I can personally share my experiences and the blessings that come from that but I felt like this parable that I shared in the beginning more accurately portrayed my feelings. This parable shows the importance of both roles in a home. We cannot have one without the other. I can’t even begin to imagine how different my life would have been had I only had a mother or only a father. Each parent played an important and critical part in my upbringing. Each parent taught me different but equally valuable lessons as I got older. My father taught me the importance of hard work and I learned through his example how to treat women through his actions in how he lovingly cares for my mother. My mother taught me the value of loving and caring for others and the importance of respect. I could go on and on talking about different lessons that I learned from them.

We cannot allow ourselves to lose the value and importance of traditional marriage. Even when the world is saying that it is no longer important to conform to what was once the norm of yesterday.



Traditions Traditions

Ever since I was a small child I remember that part of what I looked forward to the most on Christmas was the omelets my Father would make once we had finished opening presents. This has been a tradition for as long as I can remember and I have many memories of going to bed the night before and being just as excited to open presents as I was to have the omelets we would be eating afterwards. As I have gotten older and moved away from my family I have long since cherished the memories that were made as I was growing and have come to appreciate those memories and traditions more.

My childhood is scattered with memories like this. Another one that comes to mind is how my family and I would generally spend New Years Day. I grew up in a home that loved watching College Football on Saturdays and when the Holiday season comes around there’s a lot of good food and a lot of football on around the house. New Years Day is normally a day that includes a lot of the best bowl games so we always watch those games while taking down all the decorations from Christmas.

It seems like most families have similar traditions and I have talked with many of my friends that share similar memories of cherished activities that the family participates in and just things in general that the family grew up doing together. As I was thinking about this I realized that there are many things that have shaped my family to be how they are today. Things like omelets and football are nice and I enjoy them very much but there are much deeper traditions that my family has held since I was young. Things like family prayer in the morning before my Dad would leave for work and scripture study at night before we would go to bed are a few of the things that stand out to me as I think back to my years at home. Living in Dallas I had the opportunity to attend early morning seminary and I remember that I had an hour or two before school started that I wanted to come home and go back to sleep. Without fail, just as I had fallen asleep my Dad would call up to me to come downstairs so we could say family prayer. I would stomp down the stairs wrapped in the blankets from my bed and fall on the couch with a bad attitude that I had to be woken up to say prayer with my family. It wasn’t until many years later in my life that I realized what a blessing that had been because it had shaped my own habits while I was on my mission and while I was in school. I now look back on that memory with fondness because of the habits I was being taught as my Father would wake me up daily so I could say prayers with my family.

Traditions like this have always been a blessing to my family and I know that they have been blessings to many others. I believe that we would be wise to implement these in our own lives, whether it’s for our current families or our future families. They make a difference and I have seen the blessings that have come with them even though I haven’t lived at home for close to four years now. When we take the time to implement good traditions that our families become fond of it can really change the way we look back on our families and they can shape how we treat our future families. You never know what traditions you will end up looking back on with fondness, they might just make all the difference.

Rules and Regulations

When I was a young child my family and I lived in Seattle Washington. I remember that we would often take trips to see my Grandma and Grandpa that lived close to us. These trips were always enjoyable as we were able to grow close to them and get raised around them. One particular trip I remember, my cousin and his family were visiting my Grandma and Grandpa and I was extremely excited to see him because we were around the same age and it was always fun being around each other. I still remember the excitement I felt as we pulled up to my Grandparents house and he ran out to see my family and I. We all went inside and talked for awhile before my cousin and I got bored and we decided that we were going to go downstairs to play with the toys that my Grandparents had in their basement. This lasted for about an hour before we got bored again and decided that we wanted to go outside. I still remember sliding the glass door open in the basement and running outside to see what adventures awaited us in the neighborhood. We walked up the hill and down the hill again before stopping at a house across the street from my Grandparents. Living in Washington means that there were always pine cones on the ground and we both got the bright idea that we should start throwing these pine cones at a window on the shed next to the house across the street. We threw hundreds of pine cones before we decided that rocks would be a better alternative. I don’t remember which one of us threw the first rock but the window was shattered to pieces in no time at all and the next thing I remember were our parents running outside to their horror to see that their kids had been dumb enough to shatter a window with rocks for no reason at all.

I don’t remember much else from that day besides the fact that I was sent to a room for the rest of the day to think about what I had done and why that was never an OK thing to do even though it had been a lot of fun. What followed next though is something that has stayed with me to this very day. It was about a week later that I went back to my Grandparents house with my family and my Dad told me to stay in the car because we were going on a special trip. We took a trip to the local Home Depot and my Father informed me that we were going to fix the window that had been destroyed and I was going to give a personal apology for what I had done. I felt horror strike into my body as the gears in my head turned and I realized that I was going to have to take responsibility for what I had done. Facing the people that owned that shattered window was something that I had absolutely no desire to do. I would have much rather sat in my room for the rest of the week than have to go and face those people but face those people I did and the lesson my parents taught me with that has stuck with me for my time since.

My parents taught me that we always take responsibility for our mistakes. After that day I think I was a much better child because the fear of having to take responsibility for anything stupid I did was always hanging over my head. It wasn’t until I became much older that I realized what a valuable lesson that was and how much it has shaped me today. Parents tend to have different methods of disciplining their children and it is really in the eye of the beholder if those methods are effective or not. My parents taught me to take responsibility and that in turn was enough discipline for me because I never wanted to experience facing somebody in that sort of a situation again. What worked for me though may not necessarily work for my children someday and I wouldn’t be foolish enough to expect that there is some sort of fool proof way that just forces kids to be good. I really feel like it depends on the child and that every child has their own unique method of discipline that is effective for them and it is really up to the parents to figure out what that method is. Just like in my case, my parents decided that having me fess up to the people whose window I shattered was a good idea and taught me that valuable lesson of responsibility.