Monday, December 23, 2013


Jenny is engaged! We're so HAPPY for both of you!

Elder Enzo & Santa in Dallas!
NJ YSA alumnus Jeff & Malorie sealed in SG Temple!

Mike is engaged! Wishing you 2 happiness forever!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trivia Quiz: Angels in the Standard Works


1. How many angels did Daniel say he saw at the judgment seat?
a.    Just two: Michael and Gabriel
b.    12 legions
c.    10,000 angels
d.    100,000,000 angels

2. John the Revelator saw seven angels who would do what?
a.   Bring last plagues of wrath of God to the earth
b.   Act as “destroying angels” in the second coming
c.    Fill the four corners of the earth with light and truth
d.   Trumpet the arrival of Jehovah to the earth

3. How many times has the word angel been said in general conference since 1851?
a.   1187
b.   5362
c.    7304
d.   11980

4. Which of the following is not an angel named in the Bible:
a.      Michael
b.      Gabriel
c.      Abaddon
d.      Raphael
e.      Lucifer

5. Which book of scripture contains most occurrences of the word angel?
a.       The Old Testament
b.      The New Testament
c.       The Book of Mormon
d.      Doctrine & Covenants
e.      The Pearl of Great Price

6. How many LDS temples do not have an angel Moroni statue?
a.      Three
b.      Five
c.      Eight
d.      All temples have angel Moroni statues

7.  What percentage of Americans believes in angels?
a.      12%
b.      33%
c.      52%
d.      77%



1.       D: 100,000,000 angels. Both Daniel (Daniel 7:10) and John the Revelator (Revelation 5:11) state they saw ten thousand times ten thousand angels, a reference to a countless number.

2.       A: Bring last plagues of wrath of God to the earth. The seven angels mentioned in Revelation 15 are likely a symbolic representation of the end of days more than seven physical beings.

3.       C: 7304 times. In the most recent conference (October 2013), the term angel was mentioned by 8 different speakers a total of 10 times.

4.       D: Raphael. Only four angels are named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, Abaddon, and Lucifer.

5.       B: The New Testament. With 175 mentions, the New Testament mentions the word angel the most. The Book of Mormon is second with 135 mentions, the Old Testament is third with 108 mentions, Doctrine & Covenants is fourth with 71 mentions, and the Pearl of Great Price is last with 17 mentions.

6.       C: Eight. Only eight of the Church’s 141 temples do not have an angel Moroni statue. They are the Laie Hawaii, Mesa Arizona, Cardston Alberta, Logan Utah, St. George Utah, Manti Utah, Hamilton New Zealand, and Oakland California temples.

7.       D: 77%. This number is up from 54% who believed in angels in 1978. In fact, 55% of Americans today even believe they have been protected by a guardian angel. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy Reminder of our New Jersey Mission

Yesterday a BLONDE Kinzie re-introduced herself to us at our favorite restaurant, CafĂ© Rio! What a happy surprise! Isn't she beautiful?! She's in college pursing her graphic design degree! We'll always be grateful for Kinzie's willingness to play piano at our YSA activities--even when asked at last moment! She's a treasure!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Missionary Work - Sharing The Plan of Happiness

“We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just ‘one’ between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior.” –M Russell Ballard, “Put Your Trust in the Lord”

Missionary Work: How It’s Done at a Provo Taco Shop

12 Nov 2013

            Today was one of those days where you want to curl up in a ball and die.
            Where you want to rip off all your clothes,  start screaming, all while kicking large objects around the room with my hind legs like an crazed hyena.
            It’s not one particular thing that’s driving me to this madness, but instead a combination of insanities that are causing me to have high blood pressure.
            Also I'm pretty sure I became 50% more bald today, and for about 10 minutes I think I either blacked out or went deaf and blind at the same time. Still not sure.
            On top of the "zoo" of chaos going on at work, I am getting married in 5 weeks and having 2 receptions. I'm taking the GMAT in 3 weeks. And yeah . . . let’s just say I'm going through some intense family drama.
            I've had better days.
            Halfway through my day, I couldn't handle the lunacy anymore, and I decided to take a walk and get a breath of fresh air.

            Midway through my walk down University Avenue . . . I got hungry. I looked to my right and I saw Diego’s a delicious taco joint in Provo, UT.

            As I walked in the first smile I had all day came across my face as I saw the Book of Mormon available for reading sitting on top of Provo's Classifieds aka "Thrifty Nickel".

            As I sat waiting for my order, sinking back in to my stressed state of mind, remembering what awaited me back at work, the most touching conversation began. It went something like this.

Diego - "That’s a beautiful ring, are you engaged?"
Girl ordering - "Yes were getting married in January"
Diego - "Oh wow are you getting married in the temple?"
Girl ordering - "Oh . . . No"
Diego - "Really? Why not?"
Girl ordering - "Oh . . . that's just not our thing right now."
Diego - "I see . . . well I can tell you getting married in the temple has greatly blessed my life. What’s keeping you from getting married in the temple?"
Girl ordering - "It’s just a big lifestyle change"
Diego -"Well do you love him?"
Girl ordering - "Yes. More than anything"
Diego - "Well if you can make some small changes you'll not only be blessed now, but you'll also be able to keep your marriage going forever. Isn't that what you want?"
Girl ordering - "Well ... yes."

            I just sat there in awe of what was happening. I asked myself how long it had been since I had a real missionary experience while Diego here was creating one out of thin air. It was apparent to me that Diego wasn't just in the business of turning a profit, but in the business of doing the Lord's work. What a ROCK STAR! But shouldn't we all be like that? Shouldn't our lives be have an even balance of temporal and spiritual? Isn’t  ". . . the greatest and most important duty  . . to preach the Gospel.”

            I walked into Diego’s with a bad attitude expecting to leave with a bag of tacos. Instead I left with a bag of spiritual inspiration and a new appreciation for the purpose of life.

            What’s in your bag?



Monday, August 19, 2013

Insightful View of Lord's Church

The Mormonizing of America
by Stephen Mansfield

There are nearly seven million Mormons in America. This is the number the Mormons themselves use. It's not huge. Seven million is barely 2 percent of the country's population. It is the number of people who subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. London boasts seven million people. So does San Francisco. It's a million more people than live in the state of Washington; a million less than in the state of Virginia. It's so few, it's the same number as were watching the January 24, 2012, Republican debate.
In fact, worldwide, there are only about fourteen million Mormons. That's fourteen million among a global population just reaching seven billion. Fourteen million is the population of Cairo or Mali or Guatemala. It's approximately the number of people who tune in for the latest hit show on network television every week. Fourteen million Americans ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant in 2011. That's how few fourteen million is.
Yet in the first decade or so of the new millennium, some members of the American media discovered the Mormons and began covering them as though the Latter-day Saints had just landed from Mars. It was as though Utah was about to invade the rest of the country. It was all because of politics and pop culture, of course. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman were in pursuit of the White House. Glenn Beck was among the nation's most controversial news commentators. Stephenie Meyer had written the astonishingly popular Twilight series about vampires. Matt Stone and Trey Parker had created the edgy South Park cartoon series--which included a much- discussed episode about Mormons--and then went on to create the blatantly blasphemous and Saint-bashing Broadway play The Book of Mormon. It has become one of the most successful productions in American theater history.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Mormons sat in the US Congress, among them Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader. Mormons led JetBlue, American Express, Marriott, Novell, Deloitte and Touche, Diebold, and Eastman Kodak. Management guru Stephen Covey made millions telling them how to lead even better. There were Mormons commanding battalions of US troops and Mormons running major US universities. There were so many famous Mormons, in fact, that huge websites were launched just to keep up with it all. Notables ranged from movie stars like Katherine Heigl to professional athletes to country music stars like Gary Allan to reality television contestants and even to serial killers like Glenn Helzer, whose attorney argued that the Saints made him the monster he was. The media graciously reminded the public that Mormon criminals were nothing new, though: Butch Cassidy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame was also a Mormon, they reported.
Most media coverage treated this "Mormon Moment" as though it was just that: the surprising and unrelated appearance of dozens of Mormons on the national stage--for a moment. More than a few commentators predicted it would all pass quickly. This new Mormon visibility would lead to new scrutiny, they said, and once the nation got reacquainted with tales of "holy underwear" and multiple wives and Jewish Indians and demonized African Americans and a book printed on gold plates buried in upstate New York, it would all go quiet again and stay that way for a generation. In the meantime, reruns of HBO's Big Love and The Learning Channel's Sister Wives would make sure Mormon themes didn't die out completely.
What most commentators did not understand was that their "Mormon Moment" was more than a moment, more than an accident, and more than a matter of pop culture and fame alone. The reality was--and is--that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reached critical mass. It is not simply that a startling number of Mormons have found their way onto America's flat-screen TVs and so brought visibility to their religion. It is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints has reached sufficient numbers--and has so permeated every level of American society on the strength of its religious value--that prominent politicians, authors, athletes, actors, newscasters, and even murderers are the natural result, in some cases even the intended result. Visible, influential Mormons aren't outliers or exceptions. They are fruit of the organic growth of their religion.
In 1950, there were just over a million Mormons in the world. Most of these were located in the Intermountain West of the United States, a region of almost lunar landscape between the Rocky Mountains to the East and the Cascades and Sierra Nevada Mountains to the West. The religion was still thought of as odd by most Americans. There had been famous Mormons like the occasional US Senator or war hero, but these were few and far between. There had even been a 1940 Hollywood movie entitled Brigham Young that told the story of the Saints' mid-1800s trek from Illinois to the region of the Great Salt Lake. Its producers worked hard to strain out nearly every possible religious theme, a nod to the increasingly secular American public. Though it starred heavyweights like Vincent Price and Tyrone Power, the movie failed miserably, even in Utah. Especially in Utah.
Then, in 1951, a man named David O. McKay became the "First President" of the Latter-day Saints and inaugurated a new era. He was the Colonel Harlan Sanders of Mormonism. He often wore white suits, had an infectious laugh, and under- stood the need to appeal to the world outside the Church. It was refreshing. Most LDS presidents had either been polygamist oddballs or stodgy old men in the eyes of the American public. McKay was more savvy, more media aware. He became so popular that film legend Cecil B. DeMille asked him to consult on the now classic movie The Ten Commandments.
Empowered by his personal popularity and by his sense that an opportune moment had come, McKay began refashioning the Church's image. He also began sharpening its focus. His famous challenge to his followers was, "Every Member a Missionary!" And the faithful got busy. It only helped that Ezra Taft Benson, a future Church president, was serving as the nation's secretary of agriculture under President Eisehower. This brought respectability. It also helped that George Romney was the revered CEO of American Motors Corporation and that he would go on to be the governor of Michigan, a candidate for president of the United States, and finally a member of Richard Nixon's cabinet. This hinted at increasing power. The 1950s were good for Mormons.
Then came the 1960s. Like most religions, the LDS took a beating from the counterculture movement, but by the 1970s they were again on the rise. There was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a symbol of Americana when Americana was under siege. There was Mormon Donny Osmond's smile and Mormon Marie Osmond's everything and the three-year run of network television's Donny and Marie in the late 1970s that made words like family, clean, talented, patriotic, and even cute outshine some of the less-endearing labels laid upon the Saints through the years. New labels joined new symbols. A massive, otherworldly, 160,000-square-foot Temple just north of Washington, DC, was dedicated in the 1970s, a symbol of LDS power and permanence for the nation to behold. Always there was the "Every Member a Missionary!" vision beating in each Saintly heart.
By 1984, the dynamics of LDS growth were so fine-tuned that influential sociologist Rodney Stark made the mind- blowing prediction that the Latter-day Saints would have no fewer than 64 million members and perhaps as many as 267 million by 2080.3 It must have seemed possible in those days. In the following ten years, LDS membership exploded from 4.4 million to 11 million. This may be why in 1998 the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The Mormons--a misguided cult in the view of most traditional Christians, most Baptists in particular--had to be stopped.
They weren't. Four years after the Baptists besieged Temple Square, the Winter Olympic Games came to Salt Lake City. This was in 2002 and it is hard to exaggerate what this meant to the Latter-day Saints. A gifted Mormon leader, Mitt Romney, rescued the games after a disastrous bidding scandal. A sparkling Mormon city hosted the games. Happy, handsome all-American Mormons attended each event, waving constantly to the cameras and appearing to be--in the word repeatedly used by the press at the time--"normal."
The LDS Church capitalized on it all. It sent volunteers, missionaries, and publicists scurrying to every venue. It hosted grand events for the world press. It made sure that every visitor received a brochure offering an LDS guided tour of the city. Visitors from around the world read these words: "No other place in America has a story to tell like that of Salt Lake City--a sanctuary founded by religious refugees from within the United States' own borders. And none can tell that story better than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Largely unchallenged, the Mormon narrative prevailed.
What followed was the decade of the new millennium we have already surveyed. Mormons seemed to be everywhere, seemed to be exceptional in nearly every arena, seemed to have moved beyond acceptance by American culture to domination of American culture. At least this was what some feared at the time.
But Mormons did not dominate the country. Far from it. Remember that they were not even 2 percent of the nation's population as of 2012. True, they were visible and successful, well educated and well spoken, patriotic and ever willing to serve. Yet what they had achieved was not domination. It was not a conspiracy either, as some alleged. It was not anything approaching a takeover or even the hope for a takeover
Few observers seemed to be able to explain how this new level of LDS prominence in American society came about. They reached for the usual answers trotted out to account for such occurrences: birth rates, Ronald Reagan's deification of traditional values, the economic boom of the late twentieth century, a more liberal and broadminded society, even the dumbing down of America through television and failing schools. Each of these explanations was found wanting.

The Mormon Machine

The truth lay within Mormonism itself. What the Saints had achieved in the United States was what Mormonism, unfettered and well led, will nearly always produce. This was the real story behind the much-touted "Mormon Moment." The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had risen to unexpected heights in American society because the Mormon religion creates what can benevolently be called a Mormon Machine-- a system of individual empowerment, family investment, local church (ward and stake level) leadership, priesthood government, prophetic enduement, Temple sacraments, and sacrificial financial endowment of the holy Mormon cause.
Plant Mormonism in any country on earth and pretty much the same results will occur. If successful, it will produce deeply moral individuals who serve a religious vision centered upon achievement in this life. They will aggressively pursue the most advanced education possible, understand their lives in terms of overcoming obstacles, and eagerly serve the surrounding society. The family will be of supernatural importance to them, as will planning and investing for future generations. They will be devoted to community, store and save as a hedge against future hardship, and they will esteem work as a religious calling. They will submit to civil government and hope to take positions within it. They will have advantages in this. Their beliefs and their lives in all-encompassing community will condition them to thrive in administrative systems and hierarchies--a critical key to success in the modern world. Ever oriented to a corporate life and destiny, they will prize belonging and unity over individuality and conflict every time.
These hallmark values and behaviors--the habits that distinguish Mormons in the minds of millions of Americans-- grow naturally from Mormon doctrine. They are also the values and behaviors of successful people. Observers who think of the religion as a cult--in the Jim Jones sense that a single, dynamic leader controls a larger body of devotees through fear, lies, and manipulation--usually fail to see this. Mormon doctrine is inviting, the community it produces enveloping and elevating, the lifestyle it encourages empowering in nearly every sense. Success, visibility, prosperity, and influence follow. This is the engine of the Mormon ascent. It is what has attracted so many millions, and it is the mechanism of the Latter-day Saints' impact upon American society and the world.
Mormons make achievement through organizational management a religious virtue. It leads to prosperity, visibility, and power. It should come as no surprise, then, that an American can turn on the evening news after a day of work and find one report about two Mormon presidential candidates, another story about a Mormon finalist on American Idol, an examination of the controversial views of a leading Mormon news commentator, a sports story about what a Mormon lineman does with his "Temple garments" in the NFL, and a celebration of how Mormons respond to crises like Katrina and the BP oil spill, all by a "Where Are They Now?" segment about Gladys Knight, minus the Pips, who has become--of course--a Mormon.
Mormons rise in this life because it is what their religion calls for. Achieving. Progressing. Learning. Forward, upward motion. This is the lifeblood of earthly Mormonism. Management, leadership, and organizing are the essential skills of the faith. It is no wonder that Mormons have grown so rapidly and reached such stellar heights in American culture. And there is much more to come.
THE MORMONIZING OF AMERICA by Stephen Mansfield, © 2012. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Missionary Tool

“Catholic Roots Mormon Harvest” by Eric Shuster

Editorial Review from

            Unique among books released by Mormon publishing houses, Eric Shuster's "Catholic Roots Mormon Harvest," will appeal to Catholics as much as it will interest members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book's very design is to highlight the similarities and differences between Mormonism and Catholicism, and consequently much of the book will be review from a reader familiar with either. The decades he spent as a non-Mormon give Shuster a distinctive vernacular, though, that gives even the most well-known doctrines a fresh makeover. Throughout the 261 pages, Shuster makes clear his love for both faiths. As he writes on page 83, "...I wasn't giving up anything in becoming a Latter-day Saint and was in fact gaining so much more in reaping the harvest." --Molly Farmer, Mormon Times

About the Author

            Eric Shuster is the fifth of 6 children born to George and Patricia Shuster. He is graduate of Saint Lawrence Catholic College Preparatory School and earned Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University and Masters of Science degree from University of Phoenix. He is a veteran of the information technology industry and the President and CEO of IntelliClear Inc., a Colorado-based market research firm. Eric is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for Christian Studies, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, teaching, and practice of Christianity. Eric was born into the Catholic faith and was an active member for 27 years. During this time, he served in a variety of lay leadership roles relating to music, youth ministry, and young adult ministry. Eric’s wife, Marilyn, is third of 8 children born to Bruce and Bettie Williams. She is graduate of Nathan Hale High School and earned Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Saint Thomas (magna cum laude). Like Eric, she was born into Catholic faith and was active member for 34 years. During this time, she served in a variety of lay leadership roles, including certified Catholic youth minister, and Franciscan nun. In 1989 Marilyn and Eric converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have been active Latter-day Saints ever since. They have served in many ward and stake leadership roles. The Shuster’s have 3 children and make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.