Posts Tagged ‘ Inspirational ’

“Twenty-Mark Note” Experiences

January 15, 2009 | 27 comments

There is a certain category of life-experiences that I refer to as “Twenty-Mark Note” stories. The name for these experiences comes from a talk by the same name, given by President Packer at BYU-Idaho in 2002 (excerpted below).  I suspect that once you read President Packer’s remarks, you’ll immediately recall your own Twenty-Mark experiences: Read more »

The Road to the Temple

January 14, 2009 | 16 comments
The Road to the Temple

 NPR recently did a story about a group of reporters’ visit to the newly constructed Draper Temple. The Draper Temple, by all appearances, is characteristically beautiful. I am as intrigued by the process of building a new temple, as I am by the end product itself. Some of the most marvelous stories from church history involve sacrifices that the Saints – ancient and modern – have made in order to build a House consecrated to the Lord. Unfortunately, the sacrifices and challenges that go into constructing a temple are often not immediately apparent, particularly to those of us living in... Read more »

One Christmas, Everlasting

December 23, 2008 | one comment

Merry Christmas from Christmases past! Read more »

The Carnival of Ward Choirs

December 14, 2008 | 3 comments

On the sweetness of Mormon life. Read more »

Holding the Messiah

December 10, 2008 | 8 comments

On the sweetness of Mormon life. Read more »

Hymn 95

November 23, 2008 | 13 comments

On the sweetness of Mormon life. Read more »

Book Review: David O. McKay Around the World

December 22, 2005 | 4 comments
Book Review:  David O. McKay Around the World

Every writer’s worst nightmare actually came true for Hugh J. Cannon: the only copy of his manuscript was “misplaced” by the publisher. . . Read more »

Jim F: My Conversion

November 21, 2005 | 33 comments

Thanksgiving seems a good time to think about my membership in the Church and my gratitude for the Gospel. In other words, it seems to be a particularly good time for me to reflect on my conversion. Read more »

An Inside Look at Little Mercies

June 8, 2005 | 42 comments

Let me tell you one small mercy of our Lord’s. Read more »

Page Six Jesus

March 30, 2005 | 19 comments

As I was reading the paper yesterday on the train to work, I happened across a short article discussing the use of religious images in today’s popular fashion culture. The article discussed shirts and sweaters from top fashion houses that are now bearing images of Jesus or scriptural verses, and it mentioned that celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton have recently been seen wearing clothing with religious messages. The text was accompanied by a large photo spread, showing celebrities including Kutcher wearing clothes with religious messages (his shirt read “Jesus is my homeboy”). Apparently, Jesus is becoming a... Read more »


March 26, 2005 | 10 comments

Yesterday at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, here at Notre Dame, I attended a service of prayer and lamentation called “Tenebrae”, remembering the darkness of the night when Christ suffered in Gethsemane and was arrested, and anticipating his death. It closed with a final candle carried out, leaving us in complete darkness, and the congregation producing a loud noise, like the rolling of the stone to close the grave. Today I had a conversation with some friends, in which we reflected on the meaning of these events, and the difference in the darkness from a Mormon point of... Read more »

From the Pulpit: Notes on Repentance

January 23, 2005 | 17 comments

In the noble tradition of literary hacks who never miss an opportunity to recycle old material, here are the interesting bits of a sacrament meeting talk I delivered in church today. Repentance is, at its simplest, a turning away from sin and a returning to God. Read more »


October 7, 2004 | 30 comments

The Lord reveals through many prophets, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” He does not reveal that by great things are great things brought to pass. He doesn’t need to. We already know. Read more »

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2004 | one comment

September 11, 2001. Three years have passed—three more nails in the cross—but we remember. Read more »

Remembering the Lord’s Love for the Suicidal

August 17, 2004 | 3 comments

Yesterday’s post on suicide by Gordon Smith stirs several memories of experiences I have had with friends and ward members who struggled with suicidal tendencies. I appreciate the quote he provided from Bruce R. McConkie about the Lord’s mercy for those struggling with suicidal tendencies. I have seen a variety of small and sometimes very large miracles in the Lord’s dealings with those who have suffered greatly and are considering suicide. Read more »


July 9, 2004 | 13 comments

We often say that Christ was sinless, that he was the only sinless human being. Surprisingly, that isn’t a teaching that we find often in the scriptures. The word “sinless” doesn’t occur in the scriptures. Using the sacrificial type, two scriptures describe him as “without spot” (Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19). We infer his sinlessness from other scriptures and, especially, from the teaching of latter-day prophets. But what does it mean to say that he was sinless? Read more »

Sunday Heroes

July 4, 2004 | 3 comments

Seems we get to mention Ken Strother in the same breath as Eli Herring, Faustino Lopez, and Aleisha Cramer. In the playing fields of Heaven the home team scores again. Read more »

Easter Vigil High Mass

April 14, 2004 | 11 comments

I went to New Orleans this weekend to see my brother undergoing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (i.e., an adult convert baptism into the Catholic Church). Read more »

Losing a Child

March 7, 2004 | 28 comments

On March 5, 1987, my son Neill Earl Smith was born. Three months later, he died of pneumonia. He was a victim of a rare neurological disorder known as Werdnig-Hoffman Syndrome. He would be 17 years old now. My wife and I have had five other children, but I still miss him. Read more »

In Praise of Sunday

February 3, 2004 | 5 comments

Testimony meeting was this Sunday. In the right ward, like this one, the best meeting we have to offer. One graduate student talked a little about the recent futility he had felt as he endured through his studies–to what purpose all this effort? Who benefits, who cares? He had genuinely struggled and, he said, through the help of the atonement had overcome. I sat up. Futility, I often feel, is the last struggle a Saint faces in doing any good thing, after all the other victories are won. Stay the course, fight the good fight, endure to the end,... Read more »

Good Examples

February 1, 2004 | 3 comments

Recently, through Times & Seasons, I reconnected with a friend from BYU and Law School. Sean Lindsay is now working as an attorney for Qwest in Denver. We first met at BYU, where both of us worked as tutors in the Reading and Writing Center along with another law school classmate, Shawn Bentley. (Just a side note: the Director of the Reading and Writing Center at that time was a kind professor named William Shakespeare!) By the time that I was deciding where to attend law school, Sean had left BYU and was pursuing a Ph.D in English at... Read more »

Doing the Right Thing

January 24, 2004 | 13 comments

Mormons believe in revelation. Within limits. Admittedly, what I am about to say is a gross overgeneralization, but I hope that it will provoke some interesting discussion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a rich tradition of public and private revelation, but in my experience, most members of the Church do not trust in their own ability to receive revelation. Moreover, those who profess to receive revelation often are viewed with skepticism by other members. Given that our history includes lunatics like the Laffertys, such skepticism is not without foundation. Nevertheless, I think we shortchange ourselves... Read more »

A Knock at Midnight

January 19, 2004 | 6 comments

In honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I offer some excerpts from a sermon he delivered August 9, 1964 at Riverside Church in New York City. It is entitled “A Knock at Midnight.” ___ This morning I would like to have you think with me on the subject of a knock at midnight. Out text is taken from the very familiar parable as recorded by St. Luke: “And he said to them, ‘Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a... Read more »


January 18, 2004 | 9 comments

Three days ago, I returned from a faculty development program in Delhi, India. While I attempted to adjust to Central Standard Time immediately upon arrival, I wasn’t successful. On Saturday afternoon, I fell exhausted on my bed and took a much-needed nap. Unfortunately, I awoke just in time to send the rest of my family to bed, and I have been awake since, reading and pondering. Something I encountered on Times & Seasons inspired me to write this entry. I hope that you will not begrudge me the opportunity to share a testimony in this sea of intellectualism. Read more »


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