Practical Info

Prayer, our Enemies, and the Poor

Jan 13, 2015
4 min read

Some verses in Alma have been on my mind a lot lately. The general flow and message is inspiring and challenging and there are many other little nuggets throughout. I was thinking about how flocks are mentioned here and how important those must have been to people living the law of Moses and their repentance process.

I indented a few of the verses where I saw a kind of chiastic pattern. It seems to emphasize crying unto God against your enemies and even the ultimate enemy, the devil. It’s difficult for me to think of who my enemies might be, because I can’t think of any. Maybe the principle of praying for enemies allows you to have compassion on them.

Perhaps I can find some politicians to pray for ;-) We talk of the sustaining support that church leaders need, but do we offer that same, desperately needed, sustaining support to public servants? (even though they may be doing evil things) I think of Ammon who came to serve King Lamoni who would kill his own servants on a regular basis. A tyrant became a humble and good man because a true follower of God expressed real charity instead of the rest of the people whoRead Full Post

A Review of “Discovering the Word of Wisdom” by Jane Birch

Jan 16, 2014
30 min read


“…showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—…Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—” (D&C 89:2,4)

The Word of Wisdom is something that will only become more and more relevant to each passing generation. Before I provide my review of Discovering the Word of Wisdom, I would like to give you some background.


Back in 2011, I wrote an article here on oneClimbs titled A Fresh Take on the Word of Wisdom. In an attempt to resolve some personal questions regarding the Word of Wisdom that had haunted me since my mission days, I spent six months studying, pondering and collecting Read Full Post

Stop saying these words

Feb 12, 2013
2 min read

I found this little jewel of a post by Kurt Francom of and it struck a nerve with me because I often find myself uttering this horrible phrase. I honestly try very hard to avoid it but sometimes it seems like the only thing to say. Well good news, there is actually some helpful advice that might just change your life for the better. The context is home teaching but it can also apply to visiting teaching or really any situation that you might find yourself where you are in a position to potentially minister to another human being. Enjoy!

Original post via:

Kurt is the author of LeadingLDS, a website focused on cracking the code on home teaching, visiting teaching and church leadership in general. Kurt served a mission in Sacramento, California. He is married to a massage therapist (which means he never gets a massage) and has a new baby girl that thinks he is Superman. He tweets too!

The home teaching checklist:

Set the appointment … check.
Knock on their door … check.
Ask the “How’s work?” question … check.
Be the children’s punching bag … check.
Pet the family dog … check.
Share brief Ensign lesson … check.

Then comes the dreaded closing question. Near the end of the visit 99.3% of home teachers and visiting teachers ask the same question. (official study … okay, not really)


These words have a long history in the church. A separate unofficial study (that never happened) found that 99.4% of home teachees responded with the words, “No, we’re fine.” The reality is, this question makes the home teacher feel good but doesn’t really bring a need to the surface.

I’m right there with you. I am the president of the Is-There-Anything-We-Can-Do-For-You Club. I have been whipping out that question since my mission … until I changed my ways a few weeks ago when I read an article by Joseph Grenny called Coping with the Loss of a Loved One.

When we’re at a loss for what to say we often end with, “If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” If you really want to do something, stop and think. Stop and think about everything you know about their lives. Where do they live? What little chores do they have to do to make it through the day? If they have experienced a loss, like the article suggests, what extra tasks will now fall on them because of the loss? Empathize as best you can until you find some proactive task you can do to communicate real compassion. It won’t matter if what you do isn’t perfect; it just matters that you take initiative rather than assign them to involve you. They rarely will, so the offer rings hollow.

I now catch myself before blurting out the (in)famous question and really analyze the situation of the individuals I’m home teaching. What do they really need? What can I offer them that would lighten their load? Or I don’t even ask. Imagine if they walked by their front window and realized you are already half-way done with mowing their lawn. A late afternoon phone call letting them know you have already made ravioli and are bring some over for their family. This is where home teaching begins — real ministering.

Never state the words again: Is there anything we can do for you?