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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:50 AM mt

Viewpoint: Blessed Are the Merciful



During the Revolutionary War in September 1777, an army of 12,500 British troops and a detachment of British marksmen made their way to the rebel capital in Philadelphia. In the woods along Brandywine Creek, British Captain Patrick Ferguson, an incredible marksman, had the opportunity to take advantage of the enemy in a big way.Its ironic that although every person on this earth needs a generous dose of mercy, there are many who stand ready to pounce on anyone who shows weakness, error, poor decision-making, or simply makes an innocent mistake.Not just for other peopleIts that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I dont know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick.I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, Dont judge me because I sin differently than you.Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.The counsel President Brown gave was, Tell that man that he should not persist in remembering that which the Lord has said He is willing to forget (MercyThe Divine Gift, Apr. 1995 general conference).The Savior asks His followers to be kind, loving, compassionate, gentle, patient, and to see the good in others. The Savior promises, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).Some people find it easy to forgive others but struggle to forgive themselves. President Thomas S. Monson said that early in his ministry as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he counseled with President Hugh B. Brown about a man who felt he could not serve in a ward position because he could not show mercy to himself. He could forgive others but not himself; mercy was seemingly beyond his grasp, said President Monson. The Savior told His disciples, Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:36). Whenever a person receives divine forgiveness for sin, the answer to prayer, a priesthood blessing of healing, or a blessing of any kind, he or she is the recipient of treatment greater than what is deserved.The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.The destructive spirit of resentmentIn that same address, President Uchtdorf said, This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!Those possessed by arrogance, pride, and conceit struggle with showing mercy. In the April 2012 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said: I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment (The Merciful Obtain Mercy).According to the Gospel Topics section found on LDS.org, the term mercy means the compassionate treatment of a person greater than what is deserved, and it is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:1014).President Monson said, Should you or I have erred or spoken harshly to another, it is good to take steps to straighten out the matter and to move onward with our lives. He then quoted poet George Herbert: He [who] cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for every one has need to be forgiven.During the same battle, Ferguson ended up in a field hospital where he found out one of the horsemen he had in his sights was none other than General George Washington. Had he not shown mercy, the Revolutionary War and history of the United States may have been a lot different (see Ernest Furgurson, The Marksman Who Refused to Shoot George Washington, historynet.com).A two-word sermonAnd the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.Ferguson saw two patriot officers ride up the path on horses. He ordered his men to sneak up for an ambush. But Ferguson decided to show mercy by calling out his position, which caused the two horsemen to scatter.I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.And to those that feel justified in not showing mercy to others because of the righteous lives they are living, the Savior offered the following parable:We all need mercyThe Prophet Joseph Smith said: Be merciful and you shall find mercy. Seek to help save souls, not to destroy them: for verily you know, that there is more joy in heaven, over one sinner that repents, than there is over ninety and nine just persons [who] need no repentance (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 77).

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:50 AM mt

Elder and Sister Renlund Talk Face to Face with African Youth



Sister Renlund encouraged youth to look for good friendsespecially when he or she is the only member in their school.Look for good people who can be good friends, those who will support you in your living the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in return you support your friend in achieving their goals, Sister Renlund said. A good friend will help you do what you need to do even if they are not a member of the Church.Dont be afraid to simply be who you are and accurately share what you do in your life, she said. Youll be sharing the gospel. A choir consisting of LDS youth in the Accra, Ghana, area performs during a Face to Face broadcast on August 5.When asked about how to approach sharing the gospel with a friend, Sister Renlund encouraged youth to accurately report your activities.On October 8, 2015, I was ordained an Apostle. You dont have to be a seer to see into your futures. If you stay on the path that you are on, if you keep doing your level best, God will protect you and help with challenges. [He will] help them become something good and strong in your lives.Recognizing that impressions come as thoughts, impressions, feelings, voices, or dreams, Elder Renlund taught that the Holy Ghost communicates differently to different people and sometimes differently to the same person.Think for just a minute what the power of the priesthood has brought into your life, she said.In his closing remarks, Elder Renlund told the youth of the love Heavenly Father has for each one of them and that the Fathers greatest desire is to have each one of His children make it safely back home to Him.But because of their faith, they were able to turn that hardship into something that changed them in a positive way. LDS young women gather at the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5 for a regional Face to Face broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund. Sister Ruth L. Renlund and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to youth living in Africa during a Face to Face broadcast on August 5.Elder Renlund reminded youth they are never alone, and they have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is the Comforter. A member of the audience smiles during the regional Face to Face broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.God intends us to go far, far into the eternities, he said.Having gone through that hardship we are far better able to do the things that we need to do to mourn with those who mourn and to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, Elder Renlund said. Nothing prepared me better to be a bishop, or home teacher for that matter, than to have gone through that experience, because I knew how it was to hurt. The Renlunds responded to questions about marriage and morality and encouraged listeners to follow the pattern God has establishedmarriage between a husband and wife sealed in a temple of God for eternity. Elder Renlund spoke of an African proverb inscribed on a large wall in a Johannesburg airport. It reads, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. A member of the audience smiles during the regional Face to Face broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.The Renlunds shared personal experiences and shared how the doctrines of the gospel have helped them in their own lives.The broadcast was available in English, Portuguese, Malagasy, and French, and two youth groupsone from Kenya and another from Nigeriaparticipated in the event via video conferencing. A choir made up of youth from Accra, Ghana, provided musical numbers during the broadcast.Afflictions come to everybodydifferent trials come to different people. But it isnt the affliction itself that determines the outcome. Youth listen as Sister Ruth L. Renlund and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak during a Face to Face broadcast held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.Faith comes by doing little things all the time, he said. Faith is either growing or diminishing. Faith grows as we come to church. Faith grows as we read the scriptures. Faith grows as we keep covenants.Sister Renlund added that through difficult times, she was able to gain a greater love for her Savior, Jesus Christ.When asked about how to recognize the promptings of the Spirit, Elder Renlund said it takes effort to learn how the Spirit communicates with each individual personally. Youth listen as Sister Ruth L. Renlund and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak during a Face to Face broadcast held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.In my experience the Holy Ghost speaks in very short, clear directives, he said. Young women smile during the English Face to Face event with Elder and Sister Renlund August 5. Youth hosts who asked questions during the Face to Face regional broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund August 5.When a young woman in Liberia asked how she can receive the power and blessings of the priesthood as a young woman, Sister Renlund spoke of essential blessings that come through the priesthood that are available to everyone, no matter their gender.[Watch the entire broadcast.]When asked how to be more faithful, Elder Renlund encouraged listeners to be righteous, for faith comes by righteousness. Sister Ruth L. Renlund and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greet an emotional young woman who attended the regional Face to Face broadcast held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5. A member of the audience smiles during the regional Face to Face broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.When you face trials and difficulties and adversities, let that become like a refiners fire to help you become something different than what you otherwise would beto be complete, to be holy, to become like Jesus Christ.That hardship shattered our lives. Our hopes for a large family were gone and we felt many, many things, Elder Renlund said.Live your life like a disciple of Jesus Christ.That was the advice given to youth living in Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean as they met face to face with Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, during the first Church broadcast originating from the Africa West Area.Sister Renlund added that revelation takes practice and that a prompting from the Spirit always prompts a person to do good.The Renlunds spent over an hour listening to questions and discussing answers. Questions prompted topics including missionary work, repentance, morality, worthily taking the sacrament, recognizing the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and many other issues facing the youth of the Church today.The real question is How will you deal with it? he said. If you choose to deal with that trial the way Heavenly Father wants you to, it will be something that in the long run will sanctify to you your deepest distress. It will be something that builds you. If you do it the other way, it can be something that can cause you to be bitter and lose your faith. The decision of which way you do it depends on you. It doesnt depend on the trial.When the opportunity comes you will be genuine, you will be authentic, there will be no hypocrisy in what you are saying, he said. When you are genuine Latter-day Saints, that light is there, and you can be genuine in your responses. Pray for the opportunity to share the gospel. Pray to recognize it when it happens and then it isnt going to be a difficult conversation.Elder Renlund said sharing the gospel is as natural as youth living like a disciple of Christ would live.There can be joy during the affliction if we draw closer to our Savior, she said.

Chimi Kwuatsenu, a new member of the Church, was chosen to ask a question during the August 5 Face to Face regional broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund.

Please know God loves you, Elder Renlund told the youth. You have a kind, loving Heavenly Father, and His greatest desire is to have you make it safely back home.In response to a question about joy amid trials, Elder and Sister Renlund spoke of their desire to have a large family and how that hope changed after Sister Renlund was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Sister Ruth L. Renlund and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greet young men who attended the regional Face to Face broadcast held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5.The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest blessings we have, but it takes time and effort to learn how the Spirit communicates to you, he said.The event, held in the Accra Ghana Missionary Training Center on August 5, was the second regional Face to Face event and was broadcast to youth living throughout Africa. The question-and-answer format with two youth moderators allowed young women and young men the opportunity to ask questions and receive responses in a candid way.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:43 AM mt

Church Leaders Pay Tribute to President Monson for His 90th Birthday



One of the many things I love about President Monson is his remarkable ability to tell an engaging story that teaches truth and inspires us to do and be better. His influence has spanned the world yet touched the one through his genuine caring and clear vision. It is a cherished blessing to have been called by him to serve the Lord. Happy 90th birthday, President Monson!Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General PresidentOur prophet dearGenuine caring, clear visionWith all who love him, I wish President Monson greetings on his 90th birthday. His faith and his concern for all of Heavenly Fathers children have brought joy and peace to people across the world. He is the Lords prophet, and he is our great example of a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I am blessed to serve under his inspired leadership. Happy birthday, President Monson. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First PresidencyWishing a very happy birthday to President Monson! His wonderful example and lifetime of Church leadership has provided us with a bright example of the attributes of a true disciple of Christ. That example has led us to seek to emulate these marvelous attributes in our own lives. Thank you for your discipleship and love for the Savior and His people, President Monson. Happy 90th birthday! Elder Ulisses Soares, Presidency of the SeventyOur great exampleLifetime of Church leadershipIn the days before his 90th birthday, President Thomas S. Monson received birthday greetings and wishes from general Church leaders: The First Presidency during the April 2015 general conference.We all wish President Monson a very happy birthday. I remember when I first saw him. I was being taught by the missionaries in London prior to my baptism. They showed me a video of him, and he made a huge impression on me with his faith, power, and conviction. He has continued to do so ever since. He remains a force for extraordinary good in the lives of millions around the world and is an inspiring example of a true minister. Like countless others, my family and I send our love and very best wishes. Elder Patrick Kearon, Presidency of the SeventyFollow the prophetWe cherish youOur presidency wishes President Monson a very happy 90th birthday! His love and concern for the youth of the Church have been evident throughout his many years of service, and we have all been blessed by his prophetic counsel and direction. His Christlike example of service to others is a bright beacon for the youth of the Church to follow. We are certain that the young women of the Church join us in sending their love and warmest wishes to our beloved prophet. Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General PresidentOur dear President Monson, on this your 90th birthday, Harriet and I join millions from around the globe in celebrating the wonderful man and prophet that you are. We have been blessed by your humor and wit, memorable stories, and inspired counsel and messages. Your example of goodness and faith have led us through the decades and will be a guiding star for many years to come. President, you are indeed a true and loyal friend and disciple of God. What a privilege it is to know you and serve with you. We love you, we cherish you, and we wish you the greatest of blessings on this special day and always.President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First PresidencyForce for extraordinary goodLove for the youthIt is with deepest love and gratitude that I wish President Monson a very happy 90th birthday. His inspired life, leadership, and example bless the lives of all who know him. I join the Primary children throughout the world in singing and testifying, Follow the prophet. We love you, President Monson! SisterJoy D. Jones, Primary General PresidentOn the occasion of his 90th birthday, may I express on behalf of each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles our deepest feelings of love and admiration for President Thomas S. Monson. The selfless service he has rendered throughout his life has inspired us all and is a magnificent expression of his deep devotion to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Unitedly, we sustain, love, and pray for President Monson, our prophet dear. President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles President Thomas S. Monsons scriptures in his office on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:43 AM mt

Looking Back on the Prophets Teachings from More Than 50 Years of Church Service



WelfareLove thy neighbor

President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances, in front of the Salt Lake Temple. Photo courtesy of LDS Church Archives.

PrioritiesChildrenWe are all teachers. We should ever remember that we not only teach with words; we teach also by who we are and how we live our lives. As we teach others, may we follow the example of the perfect teacher, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He left His footprints in the sands of the seashore, but left His teaching principles in the hearts and in the lives of all whom He taught. He instructed His disciples of that day, and to us He speaks the same words, Follow thou me. May we go forward in the spirit of obedient response, that it may be said of each of us as it was spoken of the Redeemer, Thou art a teacher come from God (Worldwide Priesthood Leadership Satellite Broadcast, Feb. 10, 2007). Thomas S. Monson at a neighborhood house on December 14, 1988. Photo courtesy of Deseret Morning News Archives.Our most cherished friend is our partner in marriage. This old world would be so much better off today if kindness and deference were daily a reflection of our gratitude for wife, for husband (An Attitude of Gratitude, Apr. 1992 general conference).ServiceWe are all teachersIn conjunction with his 90th birthday on August 21, following are a sampling of quotes from his more than 50 years of service.One might ask, concerning those who assist in the welfare program, What prompts such devotion on the part of every worker? The answer can be stated simply: An individual testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, even a heartfelt desire to love the Lord with all one's heart, mind, and soul, and one's neighbor as oneself (The Way of the Lord, Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, p. 13).May the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. Children are an heritage of the Lord (Psalms 127:3). May our Heavenly Father ever bless these sweet souls, these special friends of the Master (Precious ChildrenA Gift from God, Oct. 1991 general conference).

Elder Thomas S. Monson speaks during the April 1973 general conference.

Marriage U.S. President Ronald Reagan visits the Ogden cannery, accompanied by President Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, Sepember 9, 1982. Photo by O. Wallace Kasteler, Deseret News Archives.I know that God lives, my brothers and sisters. There is no question in my mind. I know that this is His work, and I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work. I have felt these promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual, or perhaps temporal, want. I felt it again in the mission field as I worked with your sons and your daughtersthe missionaries of this great Church who are a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet (I Stand at the Door and Knock, Conference Report, October 1963, p. 14).One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of a house you lived in, how much you had in the bank account, nor what your clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a boy or a girl (In Quest of the Abundant Life, Utah State University Baccalaureate, June 2, 1967).

Elder Thomas S. Monson addresses a Friday session at the MIA Conference, June 29, 1968. Photo by J Heslop, Deseret Morning News Archives.

President Spencer W. Kimball greets Elder Thomas S. Monson as Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (center) and Elder Boyd K. Packer stand near, April 8, 1978. Photo by Don Grayston, Deseret Morning News Archives.As we look heavenward, we inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward. To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy. We do not live alonein our city, our nation or our world. There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbors wretchedness. Love thy neighbor is more than a divine truth. It is a pattern for perfection. This truth inspires the familiar charge, Go forth to serve. Try as some of us may, we cannot escape the influence our lives have upon the lives of others. Ours is the opportunity to build, to lift, to inspire and indeed to lead. ... The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that a true Latter-day Saint is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church or in any other, or in no church at all, wherever he finds them (Times and Seasons, Mar. 15, 1842, 732). (The Joy of Service, New Era, Oct. 2009, p. 4).Temple blessingsSince being called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36, President Thomas S. Monson has offered words of comfort, direction, wisdom, and testimony while ministering to members throughout the world.Is the voice of the Lord heard today? How does it come to man? Can your search for truth be guided by His voice? Can mine? Today, as always when the true Church of Christ is on the earth, there stands at its head a prophet. And just as the voice of the Lord came to Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah, it has likewise come to latter-day prophets (In Search of Truth, Conference Report, October 1964, p. 18). President Thomas S. Monson greets the king and queen of Sweden at the Bern Switzerland Temple. Photo by Gerry Avant, Church News.Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort (The Holy TempleA Beacon to the World, Apr. 2011 general conference).Time passes. Circumstances change. Conditions vary. Unaltered is the divine command to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Each of us has the charge to be not a doubter, but a doer; not a leaner, but a lifter (With Hand and Heart, Ensign, December 1971). President Thomas S. Monson greets a widow in Goerlitz, Germany, 1995. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf is at the back left.
Photo by Gerry Avant, Church News. President Thomas S. Monson visits June 26 with Pat Davies, called as the first patriarch of the Toronto Ontario Stake, which President Monson organized in 1962. Photo by Gerry Avant, Church News. President Thomas S. Monson greets members of the Washington D.C. chapter of the BYU Management Society after speaking at its annual meeting, March 11, 1989. Photo courtesy of Deseret Morning News Archives.ProphetsA divine work

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:42 AM mt

President Thomas S. Monson to Celebrate 90th Birthday August 21



Of the venerable leaderwho has given more than half a century of service as a General Authority and who will celebrate his 90th birthday on Monday, August 21President Eyring says, His faith and his concern for all of Heavenly Fathers children have brought joy and peace to people across the world.On October 4, President Monsonwho was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1963will have served as a General Authority for 54 years. President Thomas S. Monsons scriptures in his office on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

It is the same message President Monson shared last April in general conference, when he asked Church members to examine their lives and follow the Saviors example by being kind, loving, and charitable.Days before his birthday, President Monson reiterates a birthday wish of almost a decade ago. When asked to describe his ideal birthday gift in 2008, President Monson said: Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely and do something for them. Thats all I would ask.As we do so, he continued, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home (Kindness, Charity, and Love).

His counselors in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, spend a few minutes with the Church leaderas they do on a regular basisand wish him a happy birthday.

In his first conference address, President Monson shared a powerful testimony, which, in the 54 years since, he has shared across the globe. I know that God lives, my brothers and sisters, he said. There is no question in my mind. I know that this is His work, and I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work. I have felt these promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual, or perhaps temporal, want. I felt it again in the mission field as I worked with your sons and your daughtersthe missionaries of this great Church who are a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet.Surrounding the trio are reminders of the nine decades of President Monsons life.On this day, the love and watchcare for President Monson from his counselors in the First Presidency is obvious.A birthday wishI pledge my life, all that I may have. I will strive to the utmost of my ability to be what you would want me to be. I am grateful for the words of Jesus Christ, our Savior, when He said: I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him (Revelation 3:20).I earnestly pray, my brothers and sisters, that my life might merit this promise from our Savior.A photograph of President and the late Sister Monson leaving general conference hangs on the wall; Sister Monson is waving. A painting portrays the story of the Old Testament prophet Daniel standing in the lions den. A centerpiece of beautiful trout is featured on the living room table. And above the fireplace hangs a painting by LaVoy Eaton, given to President Monson at a BYU Management Society dinner where he was honored with the 2004 Distinguished Utahn Award. In a letter President Monson later sent to the artist, he said, In this painting, which will be featured prominently in our home, you have captured a favorite spot of mine on the Provo River.Days shy of his 90th birthday, President Thomas S. Monson sits in the living room of his downtown Salt Lake City condominium and receives visitors.President Uchtdorf says the Church has been blessed by President Monsons humor and wit, memorable stories, and inspired counsel and messages. President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances, wave to the crowd after the 181st Annual General Conference on Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News.And he concluded the talk with a sincere promise:Because of the limits of age, President Monson no longer attends meetings at the Church offices.A Church statement issued May 23 regarding his health said President Monson is grateful that the work of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continues without interruption and that he appreciates the prayers and support of Church members. (See related story.)

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Friday August 18, 2017 @ 01:52:41 AM mt

Family Members Share Memories of President Monson in Honor of His 90th Birthday



Im grateful that my grandpa managed to make time to attend some of my soccer and tennis matches over the years. When I was very young he even came to one of my swimming lessons. He would also take time to come down to Provo when my sister and I were performing in ward Primary programs. Also, when his health was poor, he still attended my mission farewell. I know that wasnt easy for him to do, but I will never forget that he was there for me.However, after my father was assigned supervision of the Church in western Europe, he began traveling with a much larger suitcase. This was during the Iron Curtain era when Germany was divided by the infamous Berlin Wall. For each trip to Europe, my mother packed a large suitcase with far more of my fathers clothing than he could possibly require. The bag was heavy. Upon returning, it was always much lighterbecause it was nearly empty.From Mark S. Dibb, grandson:Dad dearly loved and respected the Saints residing in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). He witnessed their hardships and poverty while living under communist rule. Because Sunday clothes were extremely difficult for them to come by, Dad always took with him extra suits, dress shirts, and shoes. These he left in the GDR for use by the priesthood brethren.Some 45 years ago I developed an interest in birds of prey. I read everything I could about them. At that time, Dad coincidentally met a BYU faculty member, Dr. Clayton White, whose career was devoted to researching raptorsparticularly peregrine falcons. Dad informed Dr. White of my interest, and Dr. White said he would like to meet me.My father spent many years supervising the Church missions and stakes in that part of the world. He felt keenly that the Lord desired His Saints in the GDR to be able to receive the blessings of the temple. Only a few of the estimated 5,000 Church members in the GDR had received temple ordinances by traveling outside Germany, principally to the Swiss Temple after its dedication in 1955. Beginning in 1957, the GDR government forbade most travel outside the country. Through the efforts of my father and those assisting him, particularly Brother Henry J. Burkhardt of the GDR, a few local Church leaders were finally permitted to travel to general conference in Salt Lake City, one or two at a time.Paul Monson, grandson:This experience initiated a friendship with Dr. White that continues to this day. Today I am a BYU faculty member in the Department of Geography where I pursue my interest in raptors, including peregrine falcons.Many are surprised to hear that despite his busy schedule, my grandpa was immensely involved with our childhood. He is the quintessential grandpa. I grew up helping him edge his lawn while he drove his riding lawnmower, he took me and my siblings on all the rides at Disneyland, and weve watched many basketball and football games together. But at the same time, I know he is a prophet of God. At any moment, when needed, Tom Monson becomes President Monson. Because of our close relationship, I have had the great blessing to palpablyseethis metaphorical transformation taking place.

Thomas S. Monson with his wife, Frances, and their children, Tom, Ann, and Clark.

Before leaving, he gave me a priesthood blessing. Afterwards, I put into action what he had told me. Because of this half-hour experience, I was given strength and hope. I was forever changed because I knew that what he shared with me was true and came from the Lord. I felt encircled in the love of the Savior because President Monson took the time to serve me and bless me in my time of great need.Finally, President Monson always chooses to look on the bright side and to be of good cheer. A good day is a bright sunny day, hopefully including yellow flowers. You know my father is happy by the happy tune he may be whistling. If there are trials to be faced, he is optimistic and positive that the Lord will bless those in need with an answer to their prayer or with the power to endure or overcome whatever trial may be theirs. Ive always loved my fathers smile. When he smiles and shares a story or two, a humorous anecdote, you know that you can do anything.My father-in-law, President Monson, and I both share a love of musicals. I remember when the Broadway touring company ofCatsfirst came to Salt Lake City, he took all of ushis kids and spousesto the show at the Capitol Theater. It was a magical experience for me.In honor of President Thomas S. Monsons 90th birthday, family members share personal experiences and recount important teachings from the prophet.I am grateful for the example of my parents. I include my mother because my mother was my fathers constant and enabling support. Throughout my fathers long life, he has chosen to do his duty, serve others, and be of good cheer. Ive been blessed by being able to observe my father modeling these secrets throughout my life.I should add that Dad loved raising pigeonsa favored food of hawks and falcons! Despite my love for the mortal enemies of his pigeons, Dad always supported my interest in raptors, and he regularly spent what little personal time he had to help me enjoy my interests.After I presented my book report in school, I took the mannequin up to show my grandpa. He loved it so much that I gave it to him. He called it his little man and put it in his office. After a while, he took it back home and now it sits in a prominent place above his television. To this day, it is still there. Every once in a while, my grandpa will turn to me when we are sitting in his family room and say, Do you see my little man up there? and then chuckle in delight. Even though it is just a silly doll I made for an elementary school project, it means the world to me that hes kept it all these years and that it still provides him with genuine enjoyment.President Monson has always been generous and thoughtful. He reminds me of what Eliza Doolittle says of Colonel Pickering in the musicalMy Fair Lady: I know that I shall always be a lady to Colonel Pickering because he always treats me like a lady, and always will. President Monson has always treated me (and others) with respect and kindness.Ann M. Dibb, daughter:When the time came to reassign supervision over the missions around the world, the First Presidency allowed my father to retain his European assignment, in order to pursue the Churchs ongoing efforts to obtain permission to construct an LDS temple in the GDR. Through the Lords intervention in response to the countless prayers of the faithful, these efforts finally bore fruit in 1985, with the dedication of the Freiberg Temple in Saxony, German Democratic Republic.On one of the very few Saturdays a year that Dad wasnt away from home on Church business, he took the time to drive me to Provo from Salt Lake City to meet Dr. White. After an hour-long conversation, Dr. White showed us a live pair of peregrine falcons in an aviary atop the BYU science building.Patty Monson, daughter-in-law:Alan Dibb, grandson:I remember riding in the car as my mother would drop my father off at the airport or she would pick him up. Dad would always return home brimming full of stories. Theyd be stories of faith where he would know who needed a special blessing, who needed to be thanked or visited, who the Lord wanted to serve in a specific calling. All of these stories and examples blessed our family and strengthened my testimony. Im grateful my father has always chosen to fulfill his priesthood duty.

President Thomas S. Monson visits with his great-grandchildren.

Turning 90 is a momentous occasion. Several of my fathers relatives achieved this distinction, and I believe my father would settle for nothing less. President Monson is one who clings to and loves life. Some may ask what has helped him to live such a long, productive life, or what secrets would he share.With my mother by his side, my father served as mission president of the Toronto Canada Mission from the time I was 7 through 10 years of age. After our family returned home to Salt Lake City, my father was away from home every weekend, visiting stake conferences in connection with his assignments as a member of various Church committees. Less than two years after returning from Canada, he was called to the office of Apostle by President David O. McKay. Then my father was away from home even more. He preferred to travel light, typically taking just one small suitcase for most trips, or a somewhat larger one for the three- and four-week journeys to tour multiple missions in the areas where he had been assigned stewardship, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.Clark Monson, son:I am grateful for President Monsons example of Christlike love. I wish such attributes were hereditary. There have been many times I have watched my grandpa and wondered, How does that love come so naturally? How can I do that? It is usually about that same time that I recognize what he is doing is not because of a personality trait, but because of his prophetic calling. The man I know as Grandpa is who he is because of what the Lord has made of him. I know that he has been called of God and that I can have that same divine help in my callings and in my family.Tom Monson, son:A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a fishing trip with my grandpa. Our days were spent fishing, and the evenings were spent listening to my grandpas stories and losing to him in checkers (he is surprising good at checkers). He was, by definition, in grandpa mode. On one of our last nights of our trip, our fishing guide and host requested a blessing for his wife, who was in the midst of cancer treatments. My grandpa was, of course, happy to oblige. Being a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, I was invited to participate in the blessing. As we placed our hands on this sweet sisters head and my grandpa began to pronounce the blessing, Tom Monson became President Monson. The words he spoke were not his own. The Spirit enveloped the room in a way I had never felt before. I quite literally opened my eyes during the blessing to look over and make sure it was still my grandpa standing by my side. It was a wonderful testimony to me of the validity of my grandpas calling as the prophet of God.Sally Monson, granddaughter:Once a woman shared with me her Thomas S. Monson experience. She had had several crippling disappointments and she was despondent. My father was on a fishing trip and met the husband of this woman. Upon hearing of his wifes need, my father suggested that they go and visit her.When I was in elementary school, I was given the assignment to read a biography and then make some kind of doll or puppet of the person the biography was about. For my book report, I chose to read my grandpas autobiography (my grandpa wrote an autobiography for the family called On the Lords Errand). I stitched clothes for a wooden artists mannequin to create a miniature of my grandpa.I am also thankful for the prayers of the membership of the Church. The power of their prayers have blessed my father throughout his 90 years. Thank you, and as my father would probably conclude, God bless us, every one (fromA Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens).I believe a few would be his desire to do his duty, to serve others, and to be cheerful, or look on the bright side of life.In regard to service, President Monson has lived by several scriptures. One scripture would be King Benjamins admonition that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2:17). Another, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:40).Several years later, this woman cheerfully shared with me, Your father told me that I should: First, take life an inch at a time. Second, trust in the Lord (see Proverbs 3:56). He sees the whole picture. Third, be patient.Ive been able to see President Monson in action many times. As grandkids, we have been able to spend quite a bit of time with him. He loved taking us places to have fun or just spend time together. In reflecting on all those wonderful memories, the thing that sticks out the most is his caring for each individual, each child of God. Ive witnessed him cheerfully greet everyone he meets, from the attendees of a small fireside in Alaska to the people that approach him at the rodeo or while were out to breakfast. He cares about everyone. I can say that because I have felt that same care my entire life. The most recent example was a couple weeks ago when I was in Salt Lake City for a visit. I stopped by his home to say hi. I was intending it to be a short visit, but ended up staying and having dinner with him. I had a wonderful time and he asked about my kids, my job, and the heat in Phoenix where I live. He cared about how I was doing.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Thursday August 17, 2017 @ 08:17:27 PM mt

Emeritus General Authority Carlos H. Amado Now Answers to Bishop



But it doesnt matter if hes [working] with a deacon or an apostle; he performs every calling as if it were the highest honor in the Church, he said. If anyone knows how to touch a persons heart, its Bishop Carlos Amado.Bishop Amado has consecrated his life to the Lord and His Church, he said.The General Authority Seventy-turned-bishop may not be following a traditional path of Church leadership. General Authorities are usually former bishopsnot future bishops.I am every bit as happy serving as a bishop as I was serving as a General Authority, he said. I was not sad when I was released from the Seventy. It was a wonderful experience, but my joy in this calling is just the same. Bishop Carlos H. Amado, an emeritus General Authority, in his office in South Jordan, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.Instead he went to work.Along the way, he left a lasting footprint of leadership in Latin America, presiding over four different areas of the Church.Not long after his release as a General Authority Seventy, he was called as bishop of Utahs Daybreak 5th (Spanish) Ward. (His wife, Mayavel Amado, is a Sunday School teacher.)Bishop Carlos H. Amado is living proof that emeritus is not always synonymous with retired.Bishop Amado accepted the unexpected assignment with trademark humor: It seems like everything today is being recycledso I guess that is what the Church is doing with me.Understandably, folks in his ward sometimes believe their venerable bishop has an answer for every question and concern. But I usually respond to their questions with two of my own: What do you think; and how can we can find an answer together?But in the Church there is no vacation time, no retirement, he told the Church News. I have always believed that it does not matter where you serve, but how you serve.He admits hes an old school bishop. He doesnt always get along with his computer and prefers to write things down by hand. But he adds he learns new things each day.What I enjoyed most while working with the Brethren was seeing the love and respect they have for one another and seeing their commitment to carry out whatever the Lord asks them to do, he said. They are faithful men who will never ask for anything that they have not already done themselves.So, are leaders in his stake a bit intimidated giving direction to an emeritus Seventy?The stake president added he often observes the bishop quietly shepherding in the Daybreak 5th Ward. Whether hes walking alongside a youth at a recent pioneer trek, or visiting the home of a less-active man, Bishop Amados first concern, he said, is always for the one. Elder Carlos H. Amado speaks at the 184th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.When I was serving as a General Authority I would typically give more general instructions to stake presidents and mission presidents. But when you are a bishop, the instructions must be more specific. When a member has an individual problem, its your job to help solve it.Latter-day Saints likely recognize his name.Bishop Amados tenure in the Seventy made him an eyewitness to the work being performed by the General Authorities he has come to call his friends.He also has a promise for anyone considering retirement from Church service: Blessings await those who laborin any capacity.Then, in 2014, he was released from the Seventy and became an emeritus General Authority. He had just turned 70retirement age. He had earned the right to play golf, find new fishing holes, and catch up on missed time with his growing family.This isnt the first time Bishop Amado has presided over a ward. He served as a bishop in Guatemala before being called as a General Authority Seventy. But this time around its completely different, he said. Many of the challenges are the same, but the ways you might resolve those problems are different.For more than two decades, Bishop Amado answered to Elder Amado. He became a General Authority Seventy in 1989 and spent some 25 years organizing stakes, counseling mission presidents, participating in temple dedications, and working shoulder-to-shoulder with prophets and apostles.Julio Alvarado became acquainted with Bishop Amado decades ago. He has watched his friend and fellow Guatemalan fulfill a vast range of Church assignments.SOUTH JORDAN, UtahI dont believe so, he answered, shaking his head. Sometimes they ask questions about certain thingsbut I dont give my opinion on things I should not. Im very obedient to my stake president. I do whatever he asks of me because I understand the line of authority in the Church.Bishop Amados local priesthood leader, South Jordan Utah Daybreak Stake President Michael MacKay, admits having an emeritus General Authority presiding over one of his wards is a unique resource. Bishop Carlos H. Amado, center, enjoys a moment between Sabbath Day classes with young men from Daybreak 5th (Spanish) Ward in South Jordan, Utah. Photo by Jason Swensen.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Wednesday August 16, 2017 @ 07:55:42 PM mt

Viewpoint: The Kingdom of God Continues to March Forth



Prophesied growthNo unholy handToday there are nearly 15.9 million members gathering in more than 30,000 congregations across the globe. The Church has built 156 temples, and Church materials are published in 188 different languages. Some 70,000 missionaries, trained in 15 missionary training centers, serve in 422 missions. Since 1985, 189 countries have received humanitarian aid from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Persecutions have raged. Calumny and lies and misrepresentation have attempted to defame. But in every decade from the time of the Restoration forward, the truth of God has gone forth boldly, nobly, and independent. The little Church that started in 1830 with just a handful of members has now grown and we are well on our way to penetrating every continent, visiting every clime, sweeping every country, and sounding in every ear.President Hinckley said when we look at the progress of the Church in our day, it is truly astounding (We Have a Work to Do,Ensign,Feb. 1988). This is Gods work, and Gods work will not be frustrated.Do you realize that the restored Church was 98 years old before it had 100 stakes? questioned President Thomas S. Monson in his June 2014 First Presidency Message. But less than 30 years later, the Church had organized its second 100 stakes. And only eight years after that the Church had more than 300 stakes. Today we are more than 3,000 stakes strong. Why is this growth taking place at an accelerated rate? Is it because we are better known? Is it because we have lovely chapels?Did the more than 50 people gathered in the log home in Fayette, New York, know of this grand future? Did the five men who would, with the Prophet Joseph Smith, become the first official members of the Churchall of whom had been baptized and had seen the gold platesunderstand what they were setting in motion? Do we understand the profound impact of the work and Church across the world today?Accelerating the accelerationThe organization of the Church of Jesus Christ in 1830 was one of the great miracles of the latter days. That small meeting in Fayette, New York, went almost unnoticed. But the events of that day have changed the world.The God of heaven has brought to pass this latter-day miracle, and what we have seen is but a foretaste of greater things yet to come, he said.QuotingDoctrine and Covenants 3:13, ElderM. Russell Ballardof the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during hisOctober 2008 general conference addressthat the truth of God shall go forth.God has spoken through His prophet and announced to the world that the Standard of Truth has been erected and that no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, said Elder Ballard. That is undeniably and indisputably true. We have seen it for ourselves, in decade after decade, from the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith to the time of President Thomas S. Monson.The Lord revealed the name of the Church to the Prophet Joseph. For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4).Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mothers lap. You dont comprehend it. It is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South Americait will fill the world (Lesson 9: The Only True and Living Church).The gospel marching forthwith the help of faithful missionaries across the globe from past and future generationsis a fulfillment of prophecy. Missionaries who will serve with the new mission presidents and every other member of the restored Church of Jesus Christ are witnessing a miracle.Years later, President Wilford Woodruff told of a meeting in which the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied of the Churchs growth, according to the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual. The meeting was in a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland, and who had gathered together to go off in Zions camp. After several of the men had shared testimonies of the work, the Prophet said:These things are important, but the reason the Church is growing today is that the Lord indicated it would. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He said, Behold, I will hasten my work in its time (D&C 88:73).And this week, 127 mission presidents and their wivesfrom 24 different countriesgathered in the Provo Missionary Training Center for the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents. (See related story.) They have been called by Jesus Christ to take His gospel and His love to His Fathers children, said President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency during the seminar. (See related story.)On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith and more than 50 other people met at the log home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York, with plans to organize the Lords restored Church. Because New York law required that a church have at least six members to formally organize, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer Jr., Samuel H. Smith, and David Whitmer became the first official members.A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass, said President Gordon B. Hinckley during his October 2007 general conference address. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision (Daniel 2:3145; D&C 65:2). A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Wednesday August 16, 2017 @ 07:55:34 PM mt

Church Announces Date of Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple Groundbreaking



The First Presidency has announced the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple groundbreaking will be on Saturday, October 28, 2017.After the temple is completed, open house dates will be announced so the public can tour the temple before it is dedicated. A date for the dedication will also be announced.Attendance at the site will be by invitation. It is anticipated that the services will be transmitted via the internet to Church meetinghouses within the proposed temple district.The groundbreaking ceremony will be under the direction of Elder Walter F. Gonzlez of the Seventy and President of the Caribbean Area.There are currently 182 temples throughout the world either in operation, under construction, or announced. Three are currently being renovated, with another eight scheduled for renovation.President Thomas S. Monson announced the temple during general conference on April 5, 2015.

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Wednesday August 16, 2017 @ 07:55:33 PM mt

Mormon Goal Scorer Keeps Finding the Back of the Net



CARY, NORTH CAROLINAI just love going to work every day.She trained hard, competed in practice, and waited for her opportunity. She made her first start on June 3 against FC Kansas City and, in Hatch-like fashion, put a ball in the back of the net.What the humble striker (an oxymoron, soccer fans?) wont say is that her mad goal-scoring skills are also proven remedies for nerves. Hatch has worked her way into her teams playing rotation and become one of the best stories of the NWSL season. Her four scores place her on the leagues top-10 goal list that includes international stars such as Brazils Marta, Canadas Christine Sinclair, and American Megan Rapinoe.Almost everything in her life was about to change.So I told myself that if Im only going to play five minutes, Im going to live for those five minutes. That was my challenge, she said.Humble talentThey know Im a member of the Church, and they respect my values and lifestyle, which has been so cool. Ashley Hatch gets a celebratory hug after scoring in the first half against Oklahoma Thursday, November 17, 2016, during the NCAA tournament in South Carolina. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo.More memories were made days later. On June 12, she pulled on a red-white-and-blue jersey and recorded her first international goal, scoring for the U.S. Under-23 Womens National Team in a win against host Sweden.Filled with determinationShe misses her friends and old teammates at BYU, and she doesnt get to see her parents, Barry and Anne Marie, and her siblings as often as she would like. But she has settled into her local YSA ward and enjoys seeing her new LDS friends at Courage games.Practice and payoffFor four years Hatch had called Brigham Young University home. Both the school classrooms and the Cougar locker room were filled with fellow Mormons who shared her religious beliefs and goals.My first pro goal was one I will never forget, she said.Plus, Provo was fairly close to her Gilbert, Arizona, home. So her family made frequent treks to Utah County to watch Ashley and her younger sister, Brianna, play for the Church-owned school.Its been quite the roller coaster ridebut its been so much fun, said Hatch. Its been great playing on an amazing team with amazing coaches and teammates. BYUs Ashley Hatch (33) kicks the ball past UNLV Chidera Akubuilo (19) as BYU and UNLV play in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Provo on Friday, November 11, 2016. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.But she faced the upcoming changes like she faces ornery goalkeepers: cool and composed.She hopes that strike will be the first of many for Team USA. She made her debut with the senior national side last October in front of family and plenty of Cougar fans at Salt Lake Citys Rio Tinto Stadium.Hatch said her new Courage teammates have been supportive of their Mormon goal-scorer.The lifelong member is a natural goal scorer. She started all four years at BYU, where she claimed 47 goals, recorded 21 assists, and earned All America honors. But at the beginning of her rookie pro season she was entering games at the tail end of matches. Scoring opportunities were few.Hatch isnt entirely removed from BYU. Shes taking online courses and will soon wrap up her undergraduate degree.Now she would be moving to the Atlantic Coast to play for the North Carolina Courage. Her family and best friends would be thousands of miles away. And shed no longer be a student athlete at a predominately Mormon school. She was now a professional. Soccer was her job and shed be competing alongside some of the worlds best players.For now, shes enjoying her moment and scoring goals. She doesnt spend much energy wondering about her long-term soccer career.I felt so much peace going into the draft because I knew that wherever I went, the Church would be there for me, she told the Church News.Friends old and newThe life-changing experiences of the past few months, she added, have really helped develop my testimony.Latter-day Saint athlete Ashley Hatch had every reason to feel nervous last January when she was the second player picked in the 2017 National Womens Soccer League College Draft.

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