Tom Hanks’ brief exposure to Mormons

!! About a month ago Tom Hanks was on Fresh Air. Terry Gross mentioned that Mr. Hanks had been around a few different religions when he was younger and he went on to explain each of them. One of them was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (although only the term Mormon was used).

These guys, literally like The Book of Mormon [musical], they came around in white short-sleeved shirts and black ties and they rode bicycles. They convinced my Dad’s second wife that being a Mormon was just the greatest thing in the world.
My Dad said, “You know what, Whinnie?” (that was her name; sweet lady), “If you want your kids to be baptized in the Mormon church you go right ahead, but no way are my kids going to go through it.”

So we just kind of sat around and enjoyed some good Mormon Family Home Evenings that were choreographed by Elder Paul and Brother Bob and a few other people. They knew magic tricks with coins and were really funny. All the time my dad would sit in the living room with his hands around a can of beer.

From 31:23-32:07 of Tom Hanks Says Self-Doubt Is ‘A High-Wire Act That We All Walk’

If I had a chance to talk with Mr. Hanks, I would tell him that indeed, being a Mormon is the greatest thing in the world! 🙂 (j)

186th Annual General Conference – Post-conference notes

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That was pretty good. I watched 9 1/2 of the 11 hours of conference (I still haven’t seen the Women’s General Session). I think my favourite talk was President Nelson’s talk from the Priesthood Session about priesthood power. I teach a lesson during our ward/branch conferences about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood and I talk about the difference between power and authority. This will be a good resource for me to use.

I didn’t feel the Spirit through the entire conference (does anyone?) but I definitely felt it numerous times. It just feels right. You hear the inspired words of the speakers and their personal experiences, and I just don’t understand why there are so many doubters. It saddens me. I respect them and their own experiences, but I wish there was more I could do to help people feel what I feel.

I feel very blessed!


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

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In between sessions we watched Once I Was a Beehive. We’d never seen it before, and we quite enjoyed it. My wife is going to girls camp this year to be the craft leader, so the movie got her quite excited.

We’re ready to start the final session. Here we go…


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Elder C Scott Grow offered the invocation

The choir sang For I Am Called By Thy Name

Elder Robert D Hales

  • the Holy Ghost is a remarkable gift
  • the Light of Christ is given to everyone
  • the Holy Ghost guides us in all that we do
  • he shared several examples of how the Holy Ghost has guided him

Elder Gerrit W Gong

  • there are 3.6 billion who live in the Asia area
  • remembering and forgetting are part of every day life
  • 6 ways to always remember Him
  • have confidence in his covenants
  • trusting when the Lord assures that when we repent we are forgiven
  • remember that he always welcomes us home
  • partake of the sacrament
  • we are invited to always remember Him as He always remembers us

Elder Patrick Kearon

  • he currently serves in Europe and sees the refuges that are arriving
  • the Church is working with 75 organizations in 17 countries to
  • we shouldn’t expect the Church to organize projects for us

The choir and congregation sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • opposition is part of life
  • spoke of the opposition in trying to get the Book of Mormon printed
  • exercise faith and put reliance on the Savior’s teaching that by their fruits ye shall know them

Elder Kent F Richards

  • surely in today’s times we need the temple more than anything else
  • we need to be obedient to the temple ordinances

Elder Paul V Johnson

  • Easter was last week
  • the resurrection is real
  • we need to have faith in the resurrection
  • all other promises in the gospel are just as real
  • we will see our family members who have died

The choir sang The Day Dawn is Breaking (a gorgeous arrangement!)

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • he asked if we had any idea how much they love us
  • it has been a great conference
  • none of us want tomorrow or the day after that, to destroy the feelings we’ve had this weekend
  • we want to hold fast to the spiritual impressions we’ve had
  • if in the days ahead you see limitations, don’t be cast down in spirit. Don’t give up
  • the first great truth of eternity is that God loves us
  • if we do our best to follow God, then tomorrow will be magnificent

The choir sang Sing We Now at Parting

Elder Shayne M Bowen offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

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Normally we go to the sub-sational dinner before the Priesthood Session of conference, but tonight we went out to dinner at a local Chinese food place instead. It was a buffet, so I ate way more than I should have, but it was good!


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir comprised of students from Institute in the Logan area sang In Hymns of Praise

Elder Stanley G Ellis offered the invocation

The choir sang I Stand All Amazed

President Russell M Nelson

  • we all have divine roles as men of God
  • he told a story of two girls that he did heart surgery on who died. It haunted him for close to 60 years
  • the father and brother held a grudge against him
  • he had a dream/vision that the girls needed to be sealed to someone so he approached the less-active father and brother
  • we need to forgive and let go of old hurts
  • we need to listen to counsel
  • we need to be worthy to hold the priesthood
  • too many have have authority but lack priesthood power
  • laziness, dishonesty, immorality block the power
  • only men who have paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bless their family
  • priesthood power can heal fractures in the earth, and can calm the hearts of your family

Brother Stephen W Owen

  • went hunting with his father. His father knew where he was going. Brother Owen thought “If I follow him I’ll be ok”
  • Jesus Christ in the perfect/greatest Leader
  • He is also the greatest Follower

The choir and congregation sang Come, O Thou King of Kings

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • saw an old couple holding hands at the Frankfurt temple and was impressed that they were still affectionate
  • we have a disposable society
  • strong marriages don’t just happen because we are members of the Church
  • if there were a perfect woman, what makes you think she’d be interested in you
  • great marriages are built brick by brick
  • if you are flat right now, you eventually will build something majestic
  • remember why you fell in love
  • every family needs saving as there are no perfect families
  • whatever problem you have, the solution is charity
  • charity never faileth
  • pride has no place among priesthood holders
  • build bridges, don’t destroy them

President Henry B Eyring

  • he quoted Joseph Smith when he said that the Church would fill North and South American and fill the world
  • we all need to strive to achieve a Celestial marriage
  • our priesthood obligation is to put our family and families around us at the fore of our concerns
  • lead your family with the Spirit

President Thomas S Monson

  • Note: it was only a few minutes
  • we hold the priesthood
  • may we always be worthy to call upon its power

The choir sang Redeemer of Israel

Elder Craig A Cardon offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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I thought I would nap between sessions, but I ended up watching the season finale of Star Wars Rebels with my kids. It was pretty awesome!

The first session today was pretty good. This afternoon I guess we’ll get the sustainings and statistics, which are always interesting.

We’ve had great weather this winter and spring, yet today it is snowing now as I sit here. We shouldn’t be having snow at this time of year!


President Henry B Eyring conducted

A choir comprised of students from BYU Idaho sang Sing Praise to Him

Elder Hugo E Martinez offered the invocation

President Dieter F Uchtdorf presented the general authorities and general officers of the Church for a sustaining vote.

Kevin R Jergensen read the audit report. All is ok.

Brook P Hales, the secretary to the First Presidency, read the statistical report for 2015

  • 3,174 stakes
  • 418 missions
  • 558 districts
  • 30.016 wards and branches
  • 15,634,199 total members
  • 114,550 children of record were baptized
  • 257,402 convert baptisms
  • 74,079 full-time missionaries
  • 31,779 church service missionaries
  • 5 temples dedicated in 2015
  • 2 temples rededicated in 2015
  • 149 in operation as of the end of the year

The choir sang Israel, Israel, God Is Calling

Elder Ronald A Rasband

  • sustaining is a privilege
  • as we follow our leaders we follow the Lord
  • (my daughter spilled her smoothie, so we mised much of this talk)

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • children are entitled to be born to mothers and fathers
  • we need to remember that not everyone comes from a picture perfect family
  • knowing someone’s name can make a difference
  • the greatest influence on our youth can be other righteous youth
  • we need to reach out to the youth who seem alone or outside the fence

The choir and congregation sang Now Let Us Rejoice

Elder Mervyn B Arnold

  • the Savior understood the need to rescue Heavenly Father’s children
  • his mother was a good example of reaching out
  • we must be organized, but we not must delay going to the rescue
  • sometimes many weeks pass talking about people who have needs, meanwhile our lost brothers and sisters are needing help

Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

  • he attended the Sao Paolo temple open house and afterwards received a clear answer that the church was true
  • keep searching for your testimony
  • if you lack wisdom, ask of God

Elder David A Bednar

  • quoted from King Benjamin
  •  we will always rejoice and always retain a remission of our sins
  • holy ordinances are essential to the gospel plan
  • the sacrament is critical to help us feel the power of godliness
  • the blessings of retaining a remission of our sins help us understand that baptism is a point of departure. It is not a destination we should yearn to visit over and over again.
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Sacrament are elements in an additive plan of redemptive progress

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • he feels strongly about the importance of councils
  • family councils have always been needed
  • 4 types of family councils
    • general family council (everyone)
    • executive family council (mother and family)
    • limited family council (parents and one child)
    • one-on-one family council (one parent, one child)
  • it used to be that shutting the doors and locking the gates kept you safe. Today it is much harder with the ways that bad influences can enter our home

The choir sang I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Brother Tad R Callister offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

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We’re gathered in our family room. My daughter and I have some maple candies we got at the sugar bush this morning. My one son is drinking some milk and the other son is giving me shifty eyes (I’m not sure why). We’re settled in and ready to go…


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang How Wondrous and Great

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Come, Ye Children of the Lord

Sister Linda K Burton offered the invocation

The choir sang I Feel My Savior’s Love

President Henry B Eyring (President Thomas S Monson did NOT open the conference)

  • technology lets us meet together as if in one great hall
  • we meet in His name
  • the Lord is in our midst
  • we have all had seeds planted in our hearts
  • we can choose to have our hearts softened so we can nourish the seed
  • we need to listen to the Spirit during the conference

Sister Mary R Durham

  • told a story about a man rescuing his children but feeling dragged down by the shoes he still had on
  • what can we do when we feel like we are being dragged down?
  • children learn a language best when in an immersion program
  • we need to do the same thing with the language of the Spirit

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

  • one of God’s most sacred names is Father
  • this is so basic, it can seem ordinary, but in reality it is one of the most extraordinary knowledge we can gain
  • it is foundational to understanding the Plan of Salvation
  • mortal life can be agonizing, but our hardships have eternal significance
  • “you can have what you want, or you can have something better”

The choir and congregation sang Secret Prayer

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • without car keys, a fully functioning car will not work
  • we never have to question where are the keys?
  • keys are necessary for the saving ordinances
  • attend the temple to experience keys in action

Elder Kevin R Duncan

  • there is not a soul alive who not be a victim of someone else’s sinful conduct
  • we can forgive
  • our hearts can be softened
  • most of us want to forgive, but we find it hard to do
  • to forgive is not to condone

Elder Steven E Snow

  • hymns create a feeling of reverence and unite us as members
  • he quoted from Be Thou Humble
  • we must be humble
  • pride can break of marriages and friendships
  • think of the heartache you can avoid by humbling yourself and saying sorry

Choir sang The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare

Elder Dale G Renlund

  • for those who need welfare help, the further the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the giver has a sense of entitlement
  • murmuring is like childish whining
  • the closer we are to Jesus, the more we appreciate his innocent suffering

The choir sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

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Well, here we go again! I know I haven’t been blogging regularly, but I do enjoy doing my write-ups, so I will continue it.

This morning we went to a local sugar bush for breakfast and a bit of a tour. We’re home now, full with sugar, and ready to watch conference.

I have no predictions for what is going to happen this weekend. This is the first conference since some of the turmoil from last fall, so I assume there will be message about tolerance and patience. My wife said that President Monson did not look very good at the General Women’s Session, so we probably won’t hear from him as much as we have in the past.

Ultimately, I’m looking forward to being uplifted. Let’s get going!


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“The #Blessed Life Of Kaskade, EDM’s Voice Of Reason”

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Buzzfeed has a great article about Ryan Raddon, AKA Kaskade. He is a world-famous DJ, and is also a devout Mormon. I’m not into that type of music, so I hadn’t heard of him before, but it was a very interested read.

I’ve since looked up his name and there are lots of Mormon-related articles about him.

“…Venting Is Only Making You Madder”

With all of the turmoil in the world today and how everything seems to be more urgent on social media, it got me thinking about an article I had read this summer. New York magazine had an article called “Gchat Venting Is Only Making You Madder“. It highlighted how we generally like to vent and feel that it is doing some kind of good. It feels good to get things off our chest. However, apparently that is not what the research shows. After summarizing one study, the article states, “Venting ‘just doesn’t work the way people think it does’… Most people think that it’s psychologically healthy to let it all out or blow off steam — but if this were true, then after a venting session, you should feel calmer and less angry.”. It continues with the following, “…expressing their anger seemed to preserve rather than reduce the hostile feelings… There’s even some evidence that letting your anger out in this way could be causing some serious damage to your physical health, as one study published earlier this year linked angry tweets to higher incidence of heart disease.”

Given our understanding that contention is of the devil, it doesn’t really come as much surprise that venting doesn’t help.

Interesting stuff…