About Me

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I'm Kyle, and I forget when I start my laundry. Also, I am a small human being and apparently a college student. I laugh a lot - usually in my brain, and usually when nobody else laughs. Oh, and I've probably consumed more Skittles than any other human being on planet earth.
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The Builders of the Nation

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I can't think of anything I can say concerning the pioneers - their tremendous journey of faith and dedication; the example they set and the heritage they left behind - that can, in any way, do their journey justice. So instead, I'll just share a few things from the book The Price We Paid by Andrew D. Olsen. You've probably heard the first story many times, but it's a favorite of mine, so here it is again. I have followed in the literal footsteps of these pioneers - walking where they walked, seeing the same land they saw - and I am grateful for them. I only hope that I (and all of us) will have the courage and faith necessary to endure all things which are placed in my path, as they did in pressing forward, day after day, in conditions much worse than I will be faced with. I am grateful for their example, and their shining legacy.

"When Francis Webster was an old man, he was sitting quietly in a Sunday School class in Cedar City as some people were criticizing Church leaders for the handcart tragedy. When he could bear the criticism no longer, he stood and asked the people to stop. Speaking calmly but with emotion, he acknowledged that it was a mistake to send the handcart companies so late, He also acknowledged that he and others in these companies had suffered greatly. Nevertheless, he bore testimony that he had found a pearl of great price in the experience:

'We suffered beyond anything you can imagine, and many died of exposure and starvation....[But we] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives, for we became acquainted with Him in our extremities.'

'I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone to that sand, and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.'

'Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with god was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin handcart company.'"

A Trail of Tears, A Trail of Hope

"In many ways, the trail that the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers walked was a type, or metaphor, of mortality. Along the path to Zion, they were sometimes mocked or ridiculed. Sometimes they had to cross rivers that threatened to sweep them away. Some of those crossings were through icy waters that left them frozen and numb. Along the path there was also sand, sometimes for long distances, making progress slow and grinding. When the elements were at their worst and the Saints were at their weakest, they had to face Rocky Ridge. Toward the end, they had to go through mountains that had several feet of fresh snow. Indeed this was a trail of tears.

But the experiences of the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers show that faith and hope will triumph over the worst days on the trail. Faith and hope kept these Saints stepping forward when their strength was gone. Heaven-sent rescuers helped sustain their hope when despair began to take them off the path. And when they felt alone, when they felt that they could bear no more, a divine hand was stretched out to steady them and guide them home."

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

(Olsen, Andrew D. The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. 2006. Print.)

All I know

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I don't know many things.

I'm never the smartest person in the room - I've never really been one of the best and brightest.

And it's okay.

I struggle, at times, like we all do. I get frustrated, annoyed, and discouraged. I try and fail, and worse - I fail to try. I look back and see regrets; I look forward and see no solutions. I have trials, I have doubts, and I have fears. I'm imperfect, impatient, and insipid.

And it's okay.

It's okay because what I know outweighs and outshines all that I don't know. It's okay because the answers I know are far more important than the questions I have. What I know gives me hope and confidence while providing purpose and perspective. It calms me down and lifts me up. It has made me who I am, and will help me become who I ought to be.

Here is what I know - really, all that I know.

God lives. He is my Father in Heaven, and yours as well. I am His son - you are His child. He has a plan, a perfect plan, for all of us. He loves His children - each of us - even me, and especially you. He loves us perfectly, with a love we can't fully comprehend. Trust me, I have felt His love for His children - for myself and for others - and it is a powerful and motivating thing. He lives, and He is involved in your life. "He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed" (Jeffrey R. Holland).

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. He came to Earth to save, and save He did. He saved all of mankind - He saved us from ourselves, and from evil. In His wisdom, He did not remove the burden of personal responsibility from us, but showed us the way, and opened the gate, back to our Father in Heaven. He suffered all things - pain, sickness, misfortune, betrayal, loneliness, darkness, and death. He did so for us, so that He might know, fully, what we experience and exactly how to help us. He provides strength when we are weak, forgiveness when we are wrong, and shelter from the storm. He lived for us, He died for us, and He lives again today - for us. He loves you, and will always stand beside you.

We lived with God before we came to this earth, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can live with Him again. This should be our goal. We can live in His presence, with our families, in perfect happiness and peace, for eternity. There is nowhere else I'd rather be.

As we follow our Father and rely on our Savior, there is nothing that can stop us. No pain is permanent, no failure is forever, and no mistake is immutable. We will continue to struggle, to stumble and fall, to doubt and be discouraged. But knowing who we are, who our Father is, and where our Savior stands will give us the confidence to continue - the faith to move forward.

I wish I had the ability to convey the power behind these truths - to help you feel what I have felt, and to know what I know - but obviously I am an inadequate spokesman. If you already know these things, please, remember them. If you aren't so sure, see for yourself - you won't regret it.

I don't know many things, but I know our Father in Heaven - I know that He lives, and "I know that He loveth His children" (1 Nephi 11:17).

And at times, that's all I need to know.


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