Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why I Use My Twitter Account The Way I Do

The first week in July I spent at the World Jump Rope Championships, an open international tournament hosted in Washington D.C. This year we had ten countries and about 450 competitors participate, most of which hailed from the United States. This tournament is somewhat unique because there are no qualifying rounds and the teams that come represent themselves and not countries as a whole. Thus the tournament is very open and one thing I enjoyed most about watching this tournament was seeing competitors from different teams and different countries actually mix and match and compete with each other in one event, then against each other in another event.

The entire tournament was streamed live online across the globe and we had a giant turnout. I had the opportunity to commentate during the tournament with my friend Jimmy McCleary which was one of the most fun things I have ever done. We just sat on the microphone for three days talking about jump rope, interacting with jumpers and spectators around the world, laughing, joking, and hopefully adding some helpful insight for those watching who are not as familiar with our sport. 


As part of our responsibilities as the commentators, we utilized Twitter, Facebook, and the World Jump Rope blog to connect and communicate with our audience, making the whole event interactive and even more fun, especially for the spectators. Leading up to the tournament, we strove to build awareness about the tournament and particularly about the live stream so that we could reach the greatest amount of people, and we hit Twitter and Facebook hard to gain followers on our personal accounts and on the World Jump Rope account. 

Just before the tournament started, I was taken aside and talked to about my personal Twitter account. Outside of the tournament, I used and continue to use my Twitter account mainly to share religious and inspirational insights and quotes from the prophets and apostles, both ancient and modern, with some additional tweets about life, product reviews, and funny or fun things that happen, etc. And I guess that some people began to follow me on Twitter, then didn’t like that I was tweeting religious things and complained, not to me of course, but to the organization. (To clarify, this is not about the fact that I was taken aside and talked to. On the contrary, I am grateful that I was informed and that whole part was handled in a professional and supportive manner.)

When I was made aware of the situation I was a bit shocked at first and then realized that of course this was going to happen. A-people just like to complain, and B-I’m sharing the gospel, of course there’s going to be opposition. Nonetheless, I was bothered by the whole thing for quite a while and struggled to figure out the best way to handle the situation. I didn’t want to create problems for the organization and those who asked me to be a part of the event, I didn’t want to lose an invitation for next year, but I also didn’t feel that I should just drop my standards and duty to share the gospel at the first sign of a struggle or conflict.

As I debated and prayed about what to do, I went up to my room and turned to the scriptures for guidance because, as Nephi taught, “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3). At that time, I had been reading the first chapters of 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I opened to where I had left off and a line that I had highlighted years ago jumped out at me:

Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth...”

I almost laughed out loud at the directness and simplicity of the answer I received. This was nothing new, but it was the reminder and help that I needed to be at peace and know what to do moving forward.

Jeremy Lindström was asked to be a commentator for the live World Jump Rope stream and to try to draw a crowd to spread the sport of jump rope. People thought Jeremy Lindström would do a good job in that capacity. And I did my best to live up to that expectation, fulfill my commitment, and do my part to add to the overall success of the event and I loved every minute of it. However, I am who I am because of the way I choose to live my life. Everything I do and who I have become is a conglomeration of everything I know and believe. Jump rope, music, schooling, family, every experience I’ve ever had, and most of all faith in Jesus Christ have all contributed to who I am today. Without one of those parts-especially my faith-I am no longer the Jeremy Lindström everyone knows. I am who I am and what you see is what you get. There isn’t a jump rope version of me, a church version of me, a weekend version of me, or any other version of me. There’s just the one version of me you know.

I am who I am because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I am who I am because His great atoning sacrifice allows me to change and always strive for perfection. I am who I am because of how I feel and the success I see when I live the standards He taught when He was on the earth.

The most important thing for me or anyone else to do is to tell the world about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The full verses that I quoted above in part read: 


“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.”

The truth of Jesus Christ and His Atonement transcends any other knowledge or truth on earth. And the duty to share this truth transcends any other earthly duty. “How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth.” I share jump rope because jump rope enhances lives and is just super fun. I share the gospel because it changes lives and is the source of true and lasting happiness.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. So yes, I am vocal about my faith on Twitter and on Facebook at times because those are virtual versions of who I am in real life. And that is no more intrusive than knowing me and associating with me in person because all of my actions are driven and guided by my faith in Christ. At World Jump Rope I decided to proceed and use my Twitter as normal and continue to do so because the greatest thing any of us can do is make known the blessings of the Atonement to all.

Jesus Christ lives. He is the Messiah, our Redeemer, and the Savior of the world. He appeared with His Father to Joseph Smith in 1820 to restore His Church as it was when He walked the earth. He gave us the Bible and the Book of Mormon and living prophets to teach us about His Atonement, repentance, forgiveness, and to guide us down the path that leads to true happiness and eternal life.


@jumpropejeremy

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Believe, Obey, Endure: Counsel from a living prophet


President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and prophet to the world, gave a wonderful sermon a few months ago entitled, “Believe, Obey, Endure.” Although this sermon was originally addressed to the young women of the Church, I believe that everyone can and should read this talk and apply the teachings of happiness to themselves, for President Monson teaches correct and eternal principles.

In his sermon, President Monson spoke of the current world conditions and told the young people that our time is, “a time of opportunity, a season of growth, a semester of development—marked by the acquisition of knowledge and the quest for truth.” He warned that while we are in our young years, we are also in prime years for Satan to tempt us and do his utmost to entice us from the path which leads us back to our Heavenly Father. “The world around you is not equipped to provide the help you need to make it through this often-treacherous journey,” said President Monson. “So many in our society today seem to have slipped from the moorings of safety and drifted from the harbor of peace.” 

He continued, “Permissiveness, immorality, pornography, drugs, the power of peer pressure—all these and more—cause many to be tossed about on a sea of sin and crushed on the jagged reefs of lost opportunities, forfeited blessings, and shattered dreams.”
 
However, there is a way to safety as we look to the lighthouse of the Lord. President Monson offered, “three essential signals from the Lord’s lighthouse which will help you to return to that Father who eagerly awaits your triumphant homecoming. Those three signals are believe, obey, and endure.

Believe. “Believe that you are a [son or] daughter of Heavenly Father, that He loves you, and that you are here for a glorious purpose—to gain your eternal salvation. Believe that remaining strong and faithful to the truths of the gospel is of utmost importance. I testify that it is!” Believe that miracles can and will happen as you strive to follow the guidance of the Lord and live His commandments.

Obey. “Obey your parents. Obey the laws of God. They are given to us by a loving Heavenly Father. When they are obeyed, our lives will be more fulfilling, less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear. We will receive the Lord’s promised blessings. . . . You have but one life to live. Keep it as free from trouble as you can.” Obedience to God’s commandments is the one sure way to ensure lasting happiness and long-term success.

Endure. “What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.” Enduring may seem overwhelming at times with all of the challenges we face. President Monson counseled, “seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day—and then one more and then one more after that—until we’ve lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness. The Savior promised, ‘Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life’ (3 Nephi 15:9).”

President Monson closed with these words:

“You are precious, precious [sons and] daughters of our Heavenly Father sent to earth at this day and time for a purpose. You have been withheld until this very hour. Wonderful, glorious things are in store for you if you will only believe, obey, and endure.”

I know what President Monson teaches is the doctrine of our Heavenly Father and that if we live the teachings set forth in this sermon we will truly attain happiness both in this world and in the world to come. President Monson is a prophet of God, the prophet called on the earth today to teach us the mind and will of God. He speaks the truth.

Jeremy

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In His Steps

I just read an incredible talk that my good friend sent to me by one of the Lord’s prophets, President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994). This talk is definitely one of the best talks I’ve ever read; President Benson was very straightforward and offered us pertinent, current, and invaluable counsel in our quest for happiness in this world and eternal life in the world to come. There are so many good things in this talk, I will be tweeting lines from it for weeks to come.

In his talk, entitled “In His Steps,” President Benson addressed primarily the young people of the Church and of the world, reminding us that we are in the last days, that the Savior will come soon, and that the battle between good and evil--between God and Satan--will continue to escalate and that we must choose our side and fortify ourselves. Said President Benson:

Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good pick up new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this fight—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last-days, foreordained mission?

We are, of course, not without help in our battle and efforts to overcome Satan. God has given us help and will continue to bless us as we pray to Him and study the words of His servants the prophets, who give us spiritual and temporal guidance and counsel.

After emphasizing our purpose here in this life and the increasing importance to learn the Lord’s will and strive to live His standards, President Benson expounded upon what we know and can learn from the first 30 years of Jesus Christ’s life before His ministry, all of which is summed up in the 2nd chapter of Luke, verse 52:

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Using this verse as an outline, President Benson taught what we can do to follow in the Savior’s steps and increase in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. I will highlight a few things that stuck out to me, and then leave you to read the talk in its entirety and figure out how you can apply these teachings in your own lives.

Increasing in wisdom

President Benson taught:

Wisdom could be considered the proper application of true knowledge. Not all knowledge has the same worth, nor are all truths equally valuable. The truths upon which our eternal salvation rests are the most crucial truths that we must learn. No man is truly educated unless he knows where he came from, why he is here, and where he can expect to go in the next life; unless he can adequately answer the question which Jesus posed: "What think ye of Christ?" The world cannot teach us these things as the Kingdom can. Therefore, the most essential knowledge for you to obtain is the saving knowledge within the gospel and the knowledge of its author—even Jesus Christ.

He talked about where we can find those truths, about the best books, and also about the importance of gaining secular knowledge and vocational skills. His teachings about gaining wisdom can best be summed with this paragraph:

The most vital knowledge you can learn is the saving truths of the gospel—the truths that will make the difference in your eternal welfare. The most vital words that you can read are those of the Presidents of the Church—particularly the living prophet—and those of the apostles and prophets. God encourages learning in many areas, and vocational skills will have increasing importance. There is much reading material that is available that is either time-wasting or corrupting. The best yardstick to use in discerning the worth of true knowledge and learning is to go first and foremost to the words of the Lord's prophets.

Increasing in stature

President Benson taught, “There is no question that health of the body affects the spirit,” highlighting the importance of righteousness (“Sin debilitates; it affects not only the soul but the body”), food (“To a great extent we are physically what we eat”), exercise (“The body needs the toning up that comes from exercise”), and sleep ("Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” Doctrine and Covenants 88:124).

Increasing in favor with God

In order to increase in favor with God, President Benson taught that we must do His will. And in order to do His will, we must learn His will for us.

God's will for you can be determined from three sources: (1) the scriptures—particularly the Book of Mormon, of which the Prophet Joseph said, "a man would get nearer to god by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:461)—(2) inspired words from the Lord's anointed—particularly the presidents of the Church and especially the living one, along with the words of the apostles and prophets (local Church leaders are also entitled to give inspired direction for those over whom they preside)—and (3) the spirit of the Lord.

Of the recognizing the Spirit of the Lord, President Benson reminded us that we must keep our lives free and from sin and those things that would interfere with our ability to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. And in order to keep our lives free from sin, we must utilize the blessing and gift of repentance daily. President Benson also highlighted the importance of regular prayer, scripture study, and service to our families, neighbors, and communities.

Increasing in favor with man

The greatest roles you can take to bless your fellowmen are to be strong missionaries and to be strong patriarchs and matriarchs—to raise a righteous posterity who will be part of the solutions to the world's problems and not part of the problems.

Our countries are only as strong as our homes and ours is the duty to strengthen our homes, communities, and nations.

Conclusion

Someone has said that happy is the man who has found his worship, his wife, and his work, and loves all three.

I will leave you to read what President Benson had to say about finding worship, a spouse, and work and I will say that the last part of his talk is just as wonderful, if not more so, as the rest of it.

The counsel set forth in this talk is more than just feel-good words from a wise old man. Yes, most if not everything President Benson taught will make sense to you on some level. You may think, “well of course we should do this or try that, that’s common sense,” and you may even be tempted to think, “well, that’s all well and good in theory, but in our day that’s not possible or realistic.”  I promise you that these are not just words of wisdom to be sorted through and applied at leisure. President Benson was a prophet of God who lead the Church of Jesus Christ and spoke the mind and will of God. The Lord revealed His secrets to President Benson (see Amos 3:7) and President Benson taught us those things that are absolutely completely essential to our eternal salvation and happiness. Those things that you may be quick to discredit or think are not applicable to you or your situation are probably those things that you need most in your life. Read this talk. Pray about how you can better apply the counsel. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray about its truthfulness. I promise you that you will never regret the time and effort spent on the words of the Lord.

Jeremy