Contest Winner: “Stay This Night with Me”

We face many battles throughout our lives, but we can be strengthened through the power of music. Martin Lowrie Hofford, a first lieutenant in the Union military, served in the American Civil War until he was seriously wounded in 1863. Through the gloomy lens of mortality, Hofford witnessed death, sorrow, fear, and division sweep… Continue reading

Contest Winner: “Are You Really There?”

The world confuses us about our relationship with God. But a simple children’s song reminds us to send our questions heavenward. “So, do you believe in God or not?” My friend Jane was the kind of person to dig deep into a person’s soul, and tonight my brother was the specimen… Continue reading

Contest Winner: Master, My Tempest Is Raging

In the midst of my battle with pornography, a sacred hymn let me know that I was loved. You wouldn’t have recognized me that Sunday in Los Angeles. I was 19. I had tangled, unkempt hair that came down past my shoulders and a bushy beard that hid most of… Continue reading

Contest Winner: “Be Still, My Soul”

As life’s trials rock us, we can feel peace and love through songs of the heart. I came to know this truth more clearly than ever before as I grieved my mother’s death. The choice to serve a mission can be a hard decision for many young adults. I left… Continue reading

My Increased Respect for Those with Same-Sex Attraction

back of man's head on a city street

Given our drastically different life experiences, unless we exercise charity, it is all too easy to write off others’ soul-trying experiences as instances in which they simply made choices. I have three really good friends who have come out as gay, and I highly admire each of them, the first for his ability… Continue reading

Its Truth Made Known to Me


I sometimes forget how real the faith of the early Latter-day Saints was. But as I visited Joseph and Emma Smith’s small home at the Priesthood Restoration Site, I was reminded of their sacrifices—and my testimony was strengthened. My parents wanted to go see the Priesthood Restoration Site near the… Continue reading

Prayer of an Atheist: Out Loud and in His Name

back view of girl overlooking road and river

As an atheist, I knew nothing about prayer. But when I learned about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, I learned how to get answers from God. I asked God every night for eight years if he was real, and I never got an answer. Growing up as an atheist,… Continue reading

Prayer: Approaching the Throne of God

I wanted to know how God spoke to me. But instead, I learned how to speak to him. When we talk about Joseph Smith’s First Vision, we often marvel at how young Joseph was when God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. On one hand, I do think it’s incredible… Continue reading

The First Mormon Government: The Council of Fifty

desk with quill and paper

Before Joseph Smith ran for US president, he established an organization in Nauvoo to govern the temporal concerns of the Saints. He called the group “the Council of Fifty.”  I remember the first time I learned about Joseph Smith’s seer stones, polygamous relationships, and other uncomfortable tidbits of Mormon history. I… Continue reading