Thursday, December 16, 2010

Search Engine Optimization and Mormon Church.

You may be surprised to hear what Google is saying about how the LDS Church is using SEO!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Garden

Last night I was able to sing in a chorus for the presentation, The Garden by Michael McLean. No, I did not sing with a chorus directed by Michael himself, but with a group in the Kaysville area. Many of you are very aware of his Christmas program, The Forgotten Carols, but, The Garden is a very underated program that Michael McLean has written!

Below is an excerpt from my favorite song, "The Man with Many Names":

"He will lead the way back to the fold, The Good Shepherd is his name. There is one who when your crying's done, gives the gift you've never known. He'll give fruit because he is the vine and life because he's the living stone. He is known by oh so many names and will be forever more! Hope comes from the One with many names, and he's not forgotten yours! No... he's not forgotten yours!"

Below is an excerpt from Michael McLean's website about the story of The Garden:

"We've always felt that the single most important work any creative person could do is to create something that would help others come closer to the Savior and have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the atonement," says Michael. "But oftentimes the very nature of the subject is a bit intimidating for a composer, songwriter, musician or artist." The creative group agreed that the best way to accomplish the goal was to seek the Lord's help, and to follow his example of using allegories.

The basic premise of The Garden is: What could we learn about life, about ourselves, about the nature of repentance, faith, hope and love if the Garden of Gethsemane were to tell the story? How would it change us if we were near the Savior in the Garden? This unique musical allegory is like nothing heard before from these talented musical artists. Here, they truly reveal themselves as artists — blending the right melodies, symbols, lyrics and orchestral elements on their palette and spreading them across an outstanding musical canvas.

The Garden has been compared to Les Miserables in its style and format, and many have already been moved by the recording. A group of college students said The Garden made the Atonement more real than it had ever been for many of them. A grandmother said that she listened to it three times over two days and each time it affected more her more profoundly.

In the album's liner notes, the creators ask listeners to imagine what it was like in the premortal existence awaiting our experience on earth: We have all been taught, perfectly, the purpose for our leaving the presence of our Heavenly Father and coming to earth. We understand the plan. But because everything we hope to become hinges on the events that will take place on the earth we are about to inhabit, we find that we can't talk enough, dream enough, think enough, or sing enough with each other about the adventure that awaits us. The musical presentation is not intended to answer all our questions about what life on earth will really be like or how our individual lives will unfold; rather, it is a humble and artistic attempt by a group of musicians to focus our spiritual hearts and minds in a creatively different way on what will be the central event in all human history: the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Garden will do for Easter what The Forgotten Carols has done for Christmas — provide celebrants with a comforting, personal experience with the Savior's love through music and song.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 First Presidency Message

If you haven't had a chance to watch or hear the First Presidency Christmas Message, here is a link to watch or listen to it!

First Presidency Christmas Message

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas traditions : the origins of Christmas and facts

Read about the following Christmas Symbols:

Luke Chapter 2
Santa Claus
Christmas Trees
Christmas Stockings
Holly, Ivy and Greenery
The Candy Cane
Christmas Cards
Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas traditions : the origins of Xmas and facts

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Perspective on Same-Sex attraction from an active male member of the church.

I thought it would be appropriate to share this article on President Packer's talk from an active male member of the church who struggles with same sex attraction.

Blog Posting


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mission Reunion

It's that time again for the annual Chicago North Mission Reunion!

Friday October 1st
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Bradford Residence
612 S. Temple Hilll Circle (1450 E.)

Casual Attire and light refreshments.

If you have any questions, please call the Bradfords!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recognizeable Chicagoland Places.

Had a recent visit to Wisonsin and Chicagoland.

Thought I'd post a few recognizeable places and landmarks

that we all came to love and continue to love!

Anyone Recognize this pizza Box??

You better believe it!

Anyone Salivating yet?

It had been 12 years since I've had this amazing pizz!

Around the corner from the Sears Tower.

We all have fondness of this particular one after flying out!

Can't have a District Meeting without these!

Great Donuts!!

This will always be Sears Tower in my eyes!

My first time visit here!

Nice tourist trap!!

First visit to the Taste!

Perfect timing for us!

Warning, mobs of people, but great food!

Had to show my wife MJ's property!

This is in Highland Park for those

of you who didn't know

Was not familiar with this place out there!

Fantastic Jumbo Dog I tell you!

This visit brought back a flood of memories after 12 years away! Even got to visit a few friends I hadn't seen in a long time. Missed the area, but still don't miss the humidity there. If you haven't been back since way back when, go back and see things! Church growth out there is moving slowly but surely! The Church is True!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

General Conference Quotes.

President Monson - "Everyone needs good friends. Your circle of friends will greatly influence your thinking and behavior, just as you will theirs. When you share common values with your friends, you can strengthen and encourage each other. Treat everyone with kindness and dignity. Many nonmembers have come into the Church through friends who have involved them in Church activities."...
"The oft-repeated adage is ever true: “Honesty [is] the best policy.”3 A Latter-day Saint young man lives as he teaches and as he believes. He is honest with others. He is honest with himself. He is honest with God. He is honest by habit and as a matter of course. When a difficult decision must be made, he never asks himself, “What will others think?” but rather, “What will I think of myself?”...
"To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life. The dim light of belief must yield to the noonday sun of revelation, by which we know that we lived before our birth into mortality. In our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence.5 We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be tempted, would sin, and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior, who would suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that Atonement, He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam."

President Eyring - "When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give to myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” The Lord is our perfect example of diligence in priesthood service. He is our captain. He called us. He goes before us. He chose us to follow Him and to bring others with us."...

"I close now with this counsel to the Lord’s priesthood servants. Ponder deeply and diligently in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets. Persist in prayer for the Holy Ghost to reveal to you the nature of God the Father and His Beloved Son. Plead that the Spirit will show you what the Lord wants you to do. Plan to do it. Promise Him to obey. Act with determination until you have done what He asked. And then pray to give thanks for the opportunity to serve and to know what you might do next."

President Uchtdorf - "There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"...

"Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role. "

President Packer - "Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost."...

"Every law and principle and power, every belief, every ordinance and ordination, every covenant, every sermon and every sacrament, every counsel and correction, the sealings, the calls, the releases, the service—all these have as their ultimate purpose the perfection of the individual and the family, for the Lord has said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

Elder Ballard - "And so, my dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective. Look to your mother. Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness. Listen to her. She may not be a whiz at texting; she may not even have a Facebook page. But when it comes to matters of the heart and the things of the Lord, she has a wealth of knowledge. As you approach the time for marriage and young motherhood, she will be your greatest source of wisdom. No other person on earth loves you in the same way or is willing to sacrifice as much to encourage you and help you find happiness—in this life and forever."..."Love your mother, my young sisters. Respect her. Listen to her. Trust her. She has your best interests at heart. She cares about your eternal safety and happiness. So be kind to her. Be patient with her imperfections, for she has them. We all do."

Elder Perry - "Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home."...

"The example of my mother as a teacher in the home invites another thought, more generally about teaching. The leaders of the Church spend a great deal of time thinking about how to improve teaching in the Church. Why do we invest this time and effort? It is because we believe in the immense power of teaching to increase the faith of individuals and strengthen families. It is my belief that one of the most effective things we can do to improve teaching in the Church is to improve teaching in our homes. Our teaching in the home prepares us to teach more effectively at church, and our teaching at church helps us to teach more effectively at home. Throughout the Church there are dining room tables covered with reference materials and notebooks filled with ideas for lessons to be taught. There is no such thing as overpreparing to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, for gospel insights, whether or not they are used during class time, can always be taught in the home."

Elder Bednar - "I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2–16). The spiritual discernment and inspiration you will receive from the combination of these three holy habits will enable you to stand as watchmen on the tower for your families."

Elder Holland - "Like thieves in the night, unwelcome thoughts can and do seek entrance to our minds. But we don’t have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept! (You shouldn’t be serving tea anyway.) Throw the rascals out! Replace lewd thoughts with hopeful images and joyful memories; picture the faces of those who love you and would be shattered if you let them down. More than one man has been saved from sin or stupidity by remembering the face of his mother, his wife, or his child waiting somewhere for him at home. Whatever thoughts you have, make sure they are welcome in your heart by invitation only. As an ancient poet once said, let will be your reason."

Elder Oaks - "There are five parts to the use of priesthood authority to bless the sick: (1) the anointing, (2) the sealing of the anointing, (3) faith, (4) the words of the blessing, and (5) the will of the Lord."...

"As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. I felt that trust in a talk my cousin gave at the funeral of a teenage girl who had died of a serious illness. He spoke these words, which first astonished me and then edified me: “I know it was the will of the Lord that she die. She had good medical care. She was given priesthood blessings. Her name was on the prayer roll in the temple. She was the subject of hundreds of prayers for her restoration to health. And I know that there is enough faith in this family that she would have been healed unless it was the will of the Lord to take her home at this time.” I felt that same trust in the words of the father of another choice girl whose life was taken by cancer in her teen years. He declared, “Our family’s faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes.” Those teachings ring true to me. We do all that we can for the healing of a loved one, and then we trust in the Lord for the outcome."

Elder Scott - "Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. He is a glorious, resurrected being. He has the capacity to communicate love that is so powerful, so overwhelming as to surpass the capacity of the human tongue to express adequately. He gave His life to break the bonds of death. His Atonement made fully active the plan of happiness of His Father in Heaven."...

"Jesus administers the balance between justice and mercy conditioned upon our obedience to His gospel. He is the light for all mankind. He is the fountain of all truth. He fulfills all of His promises. All who obey His commandments will earn the most glorious blessings imaginable."...

"Without the Atonement, Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness could not have been placed fully into effect. The Atonement gives all the opportunity to overcome the consequences of mistakes made in life. When we obey a law, we receive a blessing. When we break a law, there is nothing left over from prior obedience to satisfy the demands of justice for that broken law. The Savior’s Atonement permits us to repent of any disobedience and thereby avoid the penalties that justice would have imposed."

Elder Cook - "The final two days of the Savior’s mortal ministry prior to His Crucifixion are profoundly important and in some ways beyond comprehension. So much of what is essential to our eternal destiny occurred on Thursday and then Friday, the day Christ was crucified. The Last Supper, a Passover supper, the “established memorial of Israel’s deliverance from bondage,” was commenced Thursday evening.1 Ordinances and doctrines of great importance were initiated at the Last Supper. I will mention just three. First, the Savior introduced the ordinance of the sacrament. He took bread, broke it, prayed over it, and passed it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”2 In this manner He instituted the sacrament. Second, His overwhelming emphasis was on doctrines teaching love as a preeminent principle. He taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”3 Third, through Christ’s intercession or direction, “the Holy Ghost was promised to the apostles” as another Comforter.4"

Elder Nelson - "Because of the Atonement, these consummate blessings can be realized by each of God’s children who obey His eternal laws. Through the ages, many of His children have had access to the blessings of the gospel, but many more have not. Before the foundation of the world, our Heavenly Father instituted the ordinance of baptism for those who die without a knowledge of the gospel.4 He loves those children too."...
"He also provided a way for them to be part of an eternal family. Every human being who comes to this earth is the product of generations of parents. We have a natural yearning to connect with our ancestors. This desire dwells in our hearts, regardless of age."...
"The preparation of that record is our individual and collective responsibility. As we work together, we can make it worthy of all acceptation by the Lord. That record enables ordinances to be performed for and accepted by our deceased ancestors, as they may choose. Those ordinances can bring liberty to captives on the other side of the veil."

Elder Hales - "It is our imperative duty to help youth understand and believe the gospel in a deeply personal way. We can teach them to walk in the light, but that light cannot be borrowed. They must earn it for themselves. They must obtain their own light of testimony directly from the source of spiritual light—God Himself—through prayer and study and pondering. They must understand who they are and who Heavenly Father wants them to become. How do we help them?"...

"When we have a family home evening, a family council, or a meaningful gospel conversation with our children, we have the opportunity to look into their eyes and tell them that we love them and that Heavenly Father loves them. In these sacred settings, we can also help them understand, deep in their hearts, who they are and how fortunate they are to have come to this earth and to our home and to participate in the covenants we have taken in the temple to be a family forever. In every interaction we share, we demonstrate the principles and blessings of the gospel."

Elder Andersen - "To the youth and children: Live up to your important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. Seek to know more about Jesus; open the scriptures. One idea would be to read again the book ."...

"To fathers and mothers, to grandfathers and grandmothers, and to those without children of their own who lovingly nurture children and youth, my counsel is to speak more frequently about Jesus Christ. In His holy name is great spiritual power. “There [is] no other name given nor any other way . . . whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ.”"...

"To mothers who are raising their children without a father in the home, I promise you that as you speak of Jesus Christ, you will feel the power of heaven blessing you."

Here is a Link to the April 2010 Conference report.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago Missions Combined.

This past week in the LDS Church News it was announced that the Chicago South Mission will be condolidated and combined to make the Illinois Chicago Mission . This will occur this summer! This is being done so missonaries can be assigned to other areas in the world where more additional help is needed. This is bittersweet to me since I was only 6 months out when the mission was split in 1997! Hopefully this change to the Chicagoland area will be for the better!!