Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mormon missionary vs zombies

Why Mormons Are Prepared For The Zombie Apocalypse

Featured image courtesy of Kathyrn Lowry Illustration. You can order your own print here!  

Mormons and the Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies have become iconic in our society and for many people, zombies represent the end of modern civilization as we know it. It’s speculated that people are fascinated with zombies because it helps them cope with anxiety about the end of the world. This fascination has established zombies in popular culture through media like The Walking Dead, World War Z, and Zombieland. It’s also triggered a resurgence of interest in how people would survive if a zombie invasion actually occurred.    

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The possibility of a real-life zombie invasion isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Science has demonstrated a number of ways by which humans could turn into zombie-like creatures, such as through neurotoxins, viruses, or even nanobots. In fact, there’s an article that details five scientific reasons how the zombie apocalypse could actually happen.

But even in the worst case scenario of a zombie outbreak really taking place, I’m not too concerned. If I were a gambler placing bets on what organization would be most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse, my money would be on the Mormons.  

 Mormons are prepared for anything, including a zombie apocalypse

First Presidency and Zombies

Sadly, this will probably never happen during General Conference. (Image courtesy of Mormon Memes)

Emergency preparation is highly emphasized in the Mormon Church. The Mormons believe that careful preparation, both spiritual and temporal, helps us overcome fear and confidently react to any possible disaster. These principles of emergency preparation can easily apply to Mormons that need to fend off a zombie onslaught. Through following the teachings of modern-day Prophets, the LDS church and its members are well prepared to face the zombie horde. Let’s examine the following points:  

Mormons decisively respond to disasters

It’s well documented that the Mormon Church is exceptional at mobilizing its resources and quickly responding to disasters. Usually within hours of a catastrophe taking place, church officials are able to rally a volunteer and relief force in the local area. This same level of organization is represented in every single Mormon congregation.

Each Mormon congregation has a personalized emergency plan for natural and manmade disasters. Guidelines for this emergency plan include consideration of alternative means of communication, relationships with civil authorities, and awareness of which church members have equipment or skills that would be critical in a disaster. These emergency plans are periodically updated by local church leaders.  

Because of this level of preparation, the local Bishop (leader of a Mormon congregation), will likely know which church members are well armed and ready to push back against the zombies. As demonstrated in Idaho and Utah, there are plenty of church members who believe in exercising their right to the 2nd Amendment. Any zombie horde that tries to storm the local LDS meetinghouse will probably march into the path of a well-orchestrated firing squad.

Bishop Hendrix

Bishop Hendrix is ready for the zombie apocalypse. Michonne would approve. (Image courtesy of Mormon Memes, credit Ross Luzzader)

Alternatively, if the local church members are anything like Bishop Kent Hendrix, who used his trusty samurai sword to drive off a mugger, there’s going to be a lot of decapitated zombies. As demonstrated by Michonne, the warrior woman from The Walking Dead, a sword can be a lethal weapon against zombies in the right hands. Either way, through bullets or by the blade, the Mormon militia will make short work of any zombie incursion.

It’s clear that the Mormon Church has exceptional foresight in preparing for the worst case scenario. In fact, for all we know, the Mormon Church has an emergency plan specifically designed for a zombie outbreak. In any case, the ability of Mormons to quickly mobilize will give them a critical advantage in reacting to a zombie invasion.

Mormons are self-reliant

The concepts of self-reliance and personal preparation are extremely important to Mormons. On a regular basis, church leaders teach these concepts from the pulpit and during regular church meetings. Mormons are encouraged to build up financial reserves, store medication/first aid supplies, and stockpile other essential items that will be critical if a disaster occurs.

Through personal preparation, church members are able to provide for themselves and help others during an emergency. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, many Mormons won’t need to wait for the government or other relief organizations to provide emergency supplies. This places members of the church in a favorable position to assist in evacuation efforts or help civic authorities push back against the zombie hordes.

Mormons are the masters of food storage

Food storage will prepare us to outlast the zombie horde.

Food storage will prepare us to outlast the zombie horde.

Members of the church are encouraged to build up a year’s supply of food and water. More specifically, Mormons are counseled to gather a three month supply of food they normally eat and a longer-term supply of food with a longer shelf life, such as rice, wheat, and corn. Growing up, I would often question why we needed an entire year’s worth of food since we lived in a first-world country. Now that I’m older and wiser, I believe the only rational explanation must be zombies.  

Although it may take a little time to organize your food storage, if a zombie apocalypse takes place, you’ll be grateful you made the investment. Plus, in the very rare occasion that you run into a vegetarian zombie, you can feed them graaaiiiinnnns. (Bad joke. Or depending on what you feed the zombie, a corny joke. You saw what I did there). 

Mormons are incredibly resourceful

In a post-apocalyptic world, supplies will be limited and survivors will need to become self-sufficient with little resources. Mormons will rise to this challenge because they have a rich history of flourishing despite having scarce resources to work with. The early Mormon pioneers that migrated to Utah settled in a desert that had little to offer. Yet through ingenuity and resourcefulness, the pioneers found a way to make the desert “blossom as a rose.”

Even though it’s been nearly two hundred years since the Mormon pioneers, a culture of resourcefulness still permeates Mormon culture. Church members are taught to be thrifty and look for innovative ways to make do with less. The lessons learned from the early pioneers can be easily applied by Mormons trying to survive in a world overrun by zombies.

Find a way to cook a gourmet meal with only the ingredients from food storage?

Create zombie slaying weapons with only random and seemingly ordinary household items?

Find a way to entertain the group without TV, video games, and other traditional entertainment?  

Challenge accepted.

Mormons are spiritually and emotionally resilient

If you manage to survive the first few waves of zombies, you also need to be ready for the psychological challenges of living in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. It will be essential for you to keep your spirits up as you get through the dark days ahead. If you ever get trapped somewhere surrounded by zombies and need to hunker down, you’ll benefit from having a Mormon at your side.   

Mormons are generally stable and well-adjusted people. They are taught to be self-reliant, yet have a strong sense of community loyalty that will serve your group of survivors well. Plus, Mormons know how to get through tough times. In the early days of the church, Mormons were hunted and driven from place to place. Despite this, Mormons not only survived, but eventually thrived despite having the odds heavily stacked against them. One of the secrets to their success was having an incredible attitude of faith and perseverance.  

The quintessential Mormon will be able to slay zombies while singing traditional church hymns about hard work such as, “Put Your Shoulder To the Wheel” and “Let Us All Press On.” Mormons will overcome the challenges of living in a post zombie-apocalyptic world because they know that true happiness, peace, and purpose in life is based on internal, not external factors. Having a Mormon’s cheerful, tough-as-nails optimism and perspective on life will help you survive the zombie onslaught without losing your sanity. 

Worthy Mormon men can use the priesthood – the authority to act in God’s name 

The priesthood is the power and authority to act in God’s name. In biblical times, the priesthood was used to govern the church and perform miracles such as healing the sick. This power was temporarily lost after the original Apostles were martyred, but it was restored and is used in the LDS Church today.

Because the priesthood is the power of God, it can only be used by worthy LDS males. This is why the church heavily emphasizes the importance of personal worthiness. During a disaster where medical supplies and personnel are limited, the righteous use of priesthood power could mean the difference between life and death. In the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, worthy Mormon men will be able to work miracles through the power of their priesthood.  

Mormons are taught to further their education and develop practical vocational skills

The Mormon Church places a strong emphasis on the importance of education and vocational training. Consequently, because most Mormons have useful skills, this makes them valuable members of any group of survivors. After all, nearly anyone can learn how to bludgeon a zombie or shoot a rifle – in contrast, people with specific training and skill sets will be more difficult to find.  

Also important, when the zombies are eventually eradicated, the world needs well-trained and educated people to help put society back together. The survivors with an education and practical vocational skills will be valued and rewarded appropriately. Obtaining an education and gaining vocational skills is an investment that ultimately pays off – even in a world overrun by zombies.

So what now?

If you’re Mormon and you’ve prepared yourself, congratulations. You will likely be the first person your friends turn to when the inevitable zombie onslaught begins.

If you’re Mormon and you haven’t heeded the inspired counsel of the living Prophet, now would be a good time to prepare yourself. Remember what it says in Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 – “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

If you’re not Mormon, it’s a good idea to make friends with one. As demonstrated in this article, Mormons are among the most prepared people to survive the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

President Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson

It’s important to note that Mormons are well prepared because of the teachings of modern Prophets. Just like Prophets in the Bible warned people of impending calamities, we have the blessing of a modern Prophet today to guide us and help us prepare for the future. The living Prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson and I have a personal testimony that following his teachings will protect us from zombies and the many other dangers that surround us and our families.   

If you want to learn more about the role of a Prophet, click here.

If you want to learn more about how members of the Mormon Church prepare for zombies and other potential disasters, click here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to shamble back to working on my food storage.

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*A special thanks to Kathryn Lowry Illustration for the featured image! Be sure to follow her Facebook Page and check out the online art portfolio of her equally talented husband, Bryce Christian Lowry. If you liked her Mormons vs. Zombies picture, click here to place your order!   

*Thank you to Mormon Memes for allowing me to use their memes for this blog post! 

2013 Institute Choir Concert: Wonderful World of Music

2013 Wonderful World of Music Program

2013 Wonderful World of Music Program

Each year, the Boise Institute Choir (Unison), organizes an annual musical production to remind people of the variety of uplifting music that is available. Through choosing uplifting songs and hymns, the choir is able to use music to teach doctrine and principles of the gospel. At the end of the evening, audience members walk away inspired to keep a special playlist of music that inspires them and reminds them of the standards of the Church.

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Unison kicked things off by having Danny Christophiades perform “Disney Potpourri,” a melody of Disney songs on his trumpet. When it comes to Disney trivia, Danny is the most knowledgeable person I’ve met – in fact, he actually participated in a national competition hosted by Disney and was competitively ranked. After Danny’s performance, Garrison Holdaway, our Institute Council President, said a few opening remarks before we had an opening prayer and transitioned to the Unison Choir.

Unison performed Choir Jam, a lively mash up of various songs choreographed by Tom Lungren. After Choir Jam, we had the opportunity to hear from individual members of the choir in solo performances throughout the evening. Here’s a summary of just a few of the acts that were particularly noteworthy.

Jillian Durrant and Jessica Miller

Jillian Durrant and Jessica Miller perform “Forget About the Boy”

 

Jillian Durrant and Jessica Miller performed “Forget about the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was an energetic performance and they both captured the spirit of a classic musical.   

Sarah and Bridgette Worthington perform "For Good"

Sarah and Bridgette Worthington perform “For Good”

 

 

 

Bridgette and Sarah Worthington, with backup from the women in the Choir, performed a cover of “For Good” from the musical Wicked. Bridgette and Sarah are sisters, so I thought it was particularly meaningful they’d perform a song about making a positive impact on each other’s lives.

Justin White, Gage Olson, Sarah Hart, and Robin Jensen perform "Just a Kiss"

Justin White, Gage Olson, Sarah Hart, and Robin Jensen perform “Just a Kiss”

 

Robin Jensen, Sarah Hart, Justin White and Gage Olson performed a cover of “Just a Kiss” by Lady Antebellum. Robin rapped midway through the song, which added a unique flair to a popular song. Check out their song on YouTube!    

 

To help showcase the talent represented by other Institute faculty and students outside the Choir, there were also several non-musical acts performed at the end of the concert:

Brother Mel Thompson performs a "One-wheel-man"

Brother Mel Thompson performs a “One-wheel-man”

In his act, “One-wheel-man,” Brother Mel Thompson, one of the Institute faculty members, juggled and jumped rope while riding a unicycle. Brother Thompson is one of the most talented Institute faculty members and I suspect he must have been a circus performer in a previous life. 

Garrison Holdaway and Josh Van Loo performs #Institute

Garrison Holdaway and Josh Van Loo performs #Institute

 

In tribute to Jimmy Fallon’s recent skit, #Hashtag, Garrison Holdaway and Josh Van Loo performed a humorous sketch entitled, #Institute.  Of course, because this was an LDS sketch, the focus was about relationships and the blessings of Institute. #Awesome!

Robin Jensen bears her testimony of the power of inspiring music,

Robin Jensen bears her testimony of the power of inspiring music,

 

 

After these acts concluded, Robin Jensen, the President of the Unison Choir, said a few closing remarks. With the light shining down on her, she looked angelic as she bore a powerful testimony on the importance of choosing uplifting and inspiring music. After her remarks, the Choir closed the evening by singing, “I Stand All Amazed” and “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth.”

Conclusion

As members of the church, it’s critical for us to make good choices with the music we surround ourselves with. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Music has power to provide spiritual nourishment. It has healing power…It provides power for us to express prayerful thoughts and bear testimony of sacred truths.” That’s why the annual Unison Choir looks for opportunity to uplift and inspire others through the power of music.

As usual, the Unison Choir did an outstanding job with this year’s Wonderful World of Music. The Unison Choir is always looking for new members to join their ranks and share their testimonies through the power of music. If you’re interested in joining Unison, contact Brother Spjute at 208-344-8549.

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CC Image courtesy of Librarian by JeremyHall on Flickr

Highlights of October 2013 General Conference weekend

Featured image CC courtesy of JeremyHall on Flickr

What is General Conference? 

One of the blessings of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being able to learn from a living Prophet and modern-day Apostles. Our church leaders address us at General Conference, a semiannual gathering in which members of the church gather worldwide for a series of two-hour sessions. Because General Conference is an opportunity to hear inspired messages from the Lord’s servants, many church members view General Conference with the same anticipation that people have for the Super Bowl.    

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To prepare for conference, members of the LDS church are encouraged to search our hearts for a question or issue we need answered. By having a specific question in mind as we learn from our church leaders, the doors of personal revelation open to us as we receive answers by the power of the Holy Ghost. Because I wanted guidance as I brainstormed future blog topics, the question I took with me for this session of General Conference was simple: How does the restored gospel of Jesus Christ address common issues or concerns that face LDS single adults? With this question in mind, I was excited about the opportunity to partake of this spiritual feast.

Jason, Daniel & Kirsten, Tiffany, and Erich

Jason, Daniel & Kirsten, Tiffany, and Erich

I woke up early and served a delicious continental breakfast, so we could feast physically as well as spiritually, as we gathered in our home to watch the first Saturday morning session of conference. Aside from my roommates Daniel and Erich, I watched conference with my blog teammates Kirsten and Marc. My friend Jason also was able to join us and we also had a special guest, Tiffany, who was visiting from Rexburg, Idaho.  Tiffany is a longtime friend of Kirsten’s and because she’s a Canadian Asian, Tiffany’s affectionate nickname is the “Canasian.”

Saturday Morning Conference Session 

During the first session of conference, I particularly enjoyed President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Come, Join with Us.” In this talk, President Uchtdorf addressed common challenges that cause members to distance themselves from the church, such as doubt, perceived inadequacies, or feeling that they don’t quite fit in. Ultimately, President Uchtdorf addressed each of these issues and explained how the church needs the unique talents and perspectives that each member brings to the church.  

President Uchtdorf said, “The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet…If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.”

President Uchtdorf’s talk was meaning to me because as single adults, it can be easy to feel that we don’t fit in a family-oriented church or that our doubts or human frailties somehow disqualify us from the fellowship of other church members. However, as long as we desire to keep the commandments, regardless of our circumstances, there is a place for us in the Church. This is the Lord’s church and He wants us to partake of all the blessings that come through church activity.     

Erich & Daniel vs. Tiffany and Kirsten

Erich & Daniel vs. Tiffany and Kirsten

After the morning session of conference ended, we played a few games of foosball. Because Erich is a pro foosball player (he plays competitively every day at work), to make things even, Erich and Daniel played with one of their hands behind their back. Kirsten and Tiffany did well and surprised Daniel and Eric with a few trick plays, although in the end, my roommates were still triumphant. We then went outside and tossed around a football in our neighborhood until it was time to head back inside for the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.

Saturday Afternoon Conference Session 

During the second session of General Conference, I was touched by Elder Holland’s talk, “Like a Broken Vessel,” which addressed the challenges of mental illness and emotional disorders. Elder Holland testified that “broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed” and bore a powerful testimony of how gospel principles give us strength to overcome our challenges.

Elder Holland said,“So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend… We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions!” 

I felt Elder Holland’s talk was particularly relevant in addressing some of the challenges that face LDS single adults. Because LDS single adults often don’t have as strong of a support system as married members, it can make it even more difficult to overcome mental or emotional challenges. However, despite our circumstances, there is always hope. Whatever challenges we have don’t define us. Rather, through the strength of the Lord, they can refine us. The Lord loves us and even if we feel like a “broken vessel,” we are all in His hands and need to trust in His ability to make us whole.

Group Photoshoot and Dinner With the Missionaries 

Group picture between conference sessions: Jason, Erich, Daniel, Kirsten, Tiffany, Malcolm, Marc

Group picture between conference sessions: Jason, Erich, Daniel, Kirsten, Tiffany, Malcolm, Marc

After the afternoon session of conference, we adjourned to the backyard and Marc was kind enough to take some professional group pictures. Through our friend Jason, we also had the privilege of hosting the Sister Missionaries for dinner. Sister Del Nero and Sister Allen joined us for a meal and we were somehow able to fit nine people around our modest sized table.

Sister Del Nero and Sister Allen join us for dinner

Sister Del Nero and Sister Allen join us for dinner

Sister Allen shared a spiritual thought from President Uchtdorf’s “Forget Me Not” talk and encouraged us to find happiness now, rather than putting our happiness on hold while we wait for a future event – such as marriage, for example – to find happiness. It was an excellent message for a group of LDS singles and it was a blessing to have the missionaries in our home.

Priesthood Session of Conference

After dinner, the men got ready to leave for the Priesthood session of General Conference, which is a session in which our church leaders specifically address the men of the church. Because the women of the church had their special session of conference last week, Kirsten and Tiffany decided to hang out at our home while the men went to the local church meetinghouse where the Priesthood session was being broadcasted.

At the church, we met up with Donovan, one of our longtime friends. During the priesthood session, I connected with Bishop Gerald Causse’s talk, “Ye Are No More Strangers.” Bishop Causse’s talk explained how in the church, no one is a stranger or an outcast. All members of the church belong to a worldwide family and should treat each other accordingly. Our congregations do not belong to us – they belong to Jesus Christ. In light of this, we have a sacred responsibility to reach out to others, especially those who particularly need fellowship.  

Bishop Causse said, “Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts.”

This talk really hit home for me because there are many LDS single adults who distance themselves from the church because they don’t feel that they belong. In fact, it’s estimated that at least 50 percent of LDS single adults are less active. This makes it critical for active members to effectively reach out to single adults who may feel like strangers in a family-oriented church. Because this is the Lord’s church, every member should feel loved, included, and valued.  I believe there would be a greater number of active LDS single adults if we learned how to more effectively reach out to all of our brothers and sisters, regardless of their backgrounds or personal circumstances.

End of Conference Party 

Sarah, Jason, and Bridgette

Sarah, Jason, and Bridgette

After priesthood session, we drove home and hosted an end of conference party. Our friends Bridgette, Sarah, Ronnie, and Paul joined us and we had a great time playing foosball, pool, video games, and card games. It was a great opportunity to unwind, relax, and enjoy time with friends. After the party, I made plans to meet up with Marc to watch the Sunday sessions of General Conference, since my two roommates and other friends had plans to watch those sessions with their families.   

Conclusion 

I am grateful for the chance I had to learn from our inspired church leaders and have my personal question answered. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, I know that our church leaders are called by God and that we are led by a modern Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. If we follow their counsel, even through our challenges and trials, our lives will be greatly blessed.

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Malcolm Ravenclaw

Letter of introduction to the followers of LDS Single Friends

Blogger’s note: I recently became the administrator for the Facebook Page “LDS Single Friends.” Here’s the letter of introduction I wrote to this Page’s followers.

Aloha Brothers and Sisters, 

Daniel Bushman, the founder of LDS Single Friends, recently made me the administrator of this Facebook Page. I have a great deal of love for my fellow LDS singles and I’m honored by the trust Daniel’s placed in me. I’d like to share with you more about my background and what I hope to accomplish through managing LDS Single Friends.

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I love the Restored Gospel with all my heart. But even though the gospel is true, it isn’t easy being single in a family-oriented religion. That’s why I recently launched this blog, Single-Minded Determination, which is intended to provide inspiration, hope, and encouragement to single adults who are trying to live their lives in harmony with gospel teachings.

As I looked for ways to connect with other LDS singles online, I came across LDS Single Friends. I reached out to Daniel and explained what I hoped to accomplish. He made me the admin because I wanted to continue his mission to empower LDS single adults and help them progress socially and spiritually. To accomplish this, here are the top three areas LDS Single Friends will focus on:     

1)      Provide LDS singles with more ways to mingle and meet each other. Please continue to post events for LDS singles on the Facebook Page and they will be broadcasted out to our followers.

2)      Share relevant and uplifting content specifically focused on meeting the needs of LDS single adults. This Facebook Page will share content that address common single adult issues such as dating, overcoming emotional challenges, and strengthening our relationship with Heavenly Father.

3)      Advocate a gospel-centered lifestyle by sharing examples of single adults engaged in worthy causes. Through highlighting other valiant single adults, it will remind us that we’re not alone and will help inspire us to live the gospel courageously.  

Through focusing on these areas, we will build a stronger support system for LDS single adults worldwide. However, to be successful, I need your help in two ways:

1. Invite your friends to follow LDS Single Friends! There is strength in numbers and through building a vibrant community of LDS single adults, we can better support each other in living the gospel.

2. Please remember me in your prayers and ask the Lord to inspire me as I manage the Facebook Page. I want to provide value to our online community and I need divine guidance as I fulfill my stewardship.  

I recognize that the audience for this Facebook Page consists of single adults from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. However, despite our differences, the gospel unites us as brothers and sisters. Although it’s sometimes easy to feel alone or isolated as a single adult, being a member of the Lord’s church makes us part of a worldwide family.

To help create this sense of community, my dream is to use LDS Single Friends to create a dynamic and thriving network for LDS single adults across the entire world. Please support my efforts to make this dream a reality!

Your brother in the faith,

Malcolm Ravenclaw

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about me and the circumstances that compelled me to start reaching out to fellow LDS single adults, please read the “About Me” section on my blog.