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

Sunday Blues and Sabbath Delights

I dreaded Sundays. I wanted to enjoy them, but I didn’t until I learned to focus on my relationship with God. In his talk “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” President Russell M. Nelson uses the word delight sixteen times. To me, delight meant eating ice cream or watching a romantic comedy; it did not… Continue reading

Unplugging: How Literature Brings Us Closer to God

Taking time away from computer, phone, and television screens gives us the stillness we need to find refinement and come to know our Heavenly Parents.  Many missionaries have a hard time giving up Facebook, phones, and computer time for eighteen months to two years. For my friend, the difficult sacrifice was books.… Continue reading

Family History: More Than Work for the Dead

A zebra sticking his nose into an old, blue car.

Family history isn’t just for the salvation of our ancestors. As we learn about our ancestors, their example strengthens us. I always felt like family history was for old people, so when Elder David A. Bednar gave his talk “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn” in October 2011, I immediately… Continue reading

Finding Joy in the Process

Fact: life can be tough. However, as we look toward Christ, we can find the joy we need to endure even the most difficult trials. We never think that we will be the ones who will have to suffer through a particular challenge or trial—until it is staring us in… Continue reading

Do I Have To?

We often selfishly ask ourselves if the commandments to love and serve others really apply to us. The Savior lovingly reminds us that they do. Two very different people each asked an unassuming and easily justifiable question. One asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Another asked, “And who is my… Continue reading

Cultivating a Spirit of Thanksgiving

porcupine among food

During a two-month internship in Brazil, I had difficulty developing feelings of gratitude for the very things that made my experience so amazing. As I stood under the pathetic, lukewarm trickle of the shower, struggling to rid my hair of the last of the fruity shampoo suds, I was struck… Continue reading

Contest Winner: A Girl, Her Journal, and the Memories that Saved Her

Gratitude has the power to heal desperation, shame, sadness, and more. As I wrote down the ways I’d seen God’s hand in my life every day, my burdens lifted. I have a little black journal I write in every night. It has a tight red elastic band that has left an indent… Continue reading

Contest Winner: “But If Not”

We must have faith that things will work out—but if they don’t work out according to our desires, we need to trust in God and in his timing. During the April 2004 general conference, I listened to a talk by Elder Dennis E. Simmons that literally made me stop in my… Continue reading

Seeing Stones As Bread

Hard times are now a reminder to me that God loves me. Through these difficulties, he is giving me opportunities to develop and express my faith.  Life is hard. But I have learned that life is hard because God loves me. On my mission in Malaysia, my companion and I… Continue reading