Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Get Rid of the Plaque in Your Life

Lots of people have told me that brushing my teeth is important. As my dentists would surely testify, throughout my life I have not been very good at brushing my teeth. I do brush my teeth, but I am not nearly as consistent as I should be. I think I may have had the most cavities out of any of the other kids in my family! So, why should we even brush our teeth? Its so that our teeth can be rid of the germs and plaque that naturally build up, and so our teeth can be strong, healthy, and clean. And most important, so we can have beautiful smiles!

One night when I actually did decide to brush my teeth, I noticed how smooth and clean they felt. I joked to myself, "You know, this feels pretty good! I should really brush my teeth more often!" Then I thought about how that is just like repentance.

There are many misconceptions about repentance. Some believe that repentance is only needed for "serious sins." Some believe it a last resort for when your mistakes have caused problems. Some believe its some kind of punishment for your sins. Some even believe that just telling someone about their sins is repenting. But those things aren't what repentance is.

Repentance is one of the first principles of the gospel and is essential to our temporal and eternal happiness. It is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings. It is a change of mind and heart that gives us a fresh view about God, about ourselves, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments. To repent, you must look at the sins you have committed, believe that they are wrong and be sorry for it, confess your sins to anyone you have wronged and try to correct them, and don't commit the same sins again.

Do we only need brush our teeth when our mouth is plagued with gingivitis and our teeth are blackened and rotten? Do we only need brush our teeth when we have teeth falling out, hoping to resuscitate one last chance at a smile? Do we only need to brush our teeth right before we go to the Dentist so maybe our teeth don't seem as bad as they are?

Of course not! We need to brush our teeth every day! If we take care of all the plaque and germs and the other little things that happen every day, then the tooth decay and gingivitis and the big things like that will hardly have a chance to happen! The key to having good teeth is making the effort every day to take care of them.

Just like brushing our teeth, the key to being happy is making the effort every day to repent. If you repent every day, you won't get trapped in a pile of sins that corrode and eat away at you until you are completely unhappy and hopeless. And just like how you can go to the dentist for help in taking care of some greater dental problems, you can go to your bishop for help in letting go of some of the sins you have a harder time getting rid of. Don't wait until its too late to repent. I know that our lives can be clean and spotless just like our teeth can if we repent and brush our teeth every day! I'll end with this scripture:

Alma 13:27
And now my, brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance;

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


While I have served in the Shelby/CutBank/Chester area of the Montana, Billing Mission, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Elder and Sister Reber, a Senior Missionary couple working in Cut Bank. They are both really awesome! Elder Reber likes to play chess, and he is really good, too. He plays chess against computers on their hardest settings for fun. And wins. One time after creaming both Elder Uppencamp and me at chess, he started to teach us a little about what we did wrong, and how to play chess better. Here is some of the advice that he gave:
  • He told us that if you can get your opponent scared of you, you may already have won. When you get scared of your opponent, you start second-guessing yourself, you lose your confidence, and you can't focus well.
  • You have to let go of whatever mistakes you make. If you mess up, don't focus on it. If you keep dwelling on it, and it will distract you from whats going on. Put it behind you and move forward.
  • You have to focus on what your opponent is doing. Concentrate on the game, and stay one step ahead of them.
  • You need to be confident and play smart. You need to make good moves, and believe they will work.
  • If it starts looking like you aren't going to win, keep playing. Hold on until the end. As you do that, you will start learning more about the game, figuring things out, and you will start getting better. You may even be able to turn things around and win!
As he was teaching us this, I realized that we could not only apply his advice to chess, but we could use it in our lives, in our own personal battles with temptation! We need courage and confidence as our morals are matched with the declining standards of the world. Repent, and let go of the mistakes you make, and do better next time. Know Satan's tricks, and stay one step ahead of him. And when things look hopeless and discouraging, don't give up. Endure to the end! If you try to remember these things as you are tempted, Satan won't be able to checkmate you, and you will be able to win!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My First Blog Entry

Well, my blog is finally up and running! I'm sure that many of you have been anxious for the creation of my blog(especially you, Mom), and I apologize for the wait.
I can't think of a better way to begin than by sharing an experience that happened to me while on the plane from Utah to Montana. I had finished my time at the Missionary Training Center and was going to Billings, Montana to begin serving there. I had a window seat in the very back of the plane, just looking out at the many mountains we were passing over. We had been flying for some time. Suddenly, the Captain announced over the speaker that we were beginning our descent into Billings, Montana. Right then, I felt the impressions of the Spirit. I felt comfort and encouragement, like it was telling me that going on a mission was the right thing for me, and that if I trust in the Lord, I will do all that I need to do.
Many missionaries get fancy plaques that show where they are going and a scripture that inspires them. I got one, and my scripture is 3 Nephi 5:13. It says "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." This is the scripture I chose because that is my goal. I want to be a diciple of Christ and declare the gospel to all who are willing, so they may have everlasting life.
I know that I am supposed to be out here serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that if I try my best, I will be able to help many people. And I will try to do that through this blog!