Dallin Crump

Christianity

It has become a tradition in my family to watch the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street around Thanksgiving. It’s one of the things we do to kick off the Christmas season. We watched it this evening.

My favorite quote from this film is from Kris Kringle himself:

If you can’t accept anything on faith, then you are doomed to a life dominated by doubt.

This reminded me of a quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

At times I have grappled with doubt like everyone else, but I refuse to live a life dominated by it. I choose to have faith in something – in someone: Jesus Christ. I join with millions this Christmas season to celebrate His humble birth.

Merry Christmas!


#100DaysToOffload (No. 60) #faith #Christmas #Christianity #ChurchOfJesusChrist

Listening to one of my music playlists on random, I was reminded of the existence of a beautiful piece of music performed by the supremely talented Norwegian soprano Sissel.

In the summer of 2019 she performed with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. The entire concert is remarkable and worth watching. But one song in particular stood out above the rest for me and many who heard it.

You can't tell from the video, but all 18,000+ people in the audience were on their feet during the lengthy applause after the song. They knew they had just experienced something heavenly.

Sissel's performance of Slow Down by Chuck Girard, arranged by Sam Cardon, is one that I keep coming back to. It soothes and heals, reminds me to stop and take a deep breath. It refocuses me on what is most important. It reminds me that God is near.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 49) #music #faith #Christianity #intentionism

A couple weeks ago I was perusing the #christian tag on Bandcamp and the first result that came up was an album called Future Foreverby Jonathan Ogden. I'd never heard of him or this album, but I gave the track One Day a listen and was hooked.

His style is a mix of chill, hip hop, electronic, pop – and his lyrics all point to Jesus Christ.

This is a great album to have playing while working, writing, or anytime.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 38) #music #Christianity

This image was generated by DALL-E prompt “A painting of a cosmic vending machine in the style of Michelangelo”.

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a good Elders Quorum lesson and discussion about a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson called Our Relationship With God. The entire talk is worth reading and studying, but a favorite passage of mine reads:

Some misunderstand the promises of God to mean that obedience to Him yields specific outcomes on a fixed schedule. They might think, “If I diligently serve a full-time mission, God will bless me with a happy marriage and children” or “If I refrain from doing schoolwork on the Sabbath, God will bless me with good grades” or “If I pay tithing, God will bless me with that job I’ve been wanting.” If life doesn’t fall out precisely this way or according to an expected timetable, they may feel betrayed by God. But things are not so mechanical in the divine economy. We ought not to think of God’s plan as a cosmic vending machine where we (1) select a desired blessing, (2) insert the required sum of good works, and (3) the order is promptly delivered.

God will indeed honor His covenants and promises to each of us. We need not worry about that. The atoning power of Jesus Christ—who descended below all things and then ascended on high and who possesses all power in heaven and in earth—ensures that God can and will fulfill His promises. It is essential that we honor and obey His laws, but not every blessing predicated on obedience to law is shaped, designed, and timed according to our expectations. We do our best but must leave to Him the management of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.

(Emphasis mine)

I can't really add anything to this or to the rest of Elder Christofferson's talk, other than to say: I know this is true. None of us are exempt from trials and sorrow in this life, even when we're trying to live righteously. We must trust in God and in His purposes and timing.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 25) #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist #life

I was recently watching the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and was struck by this observation:

Galadriel: Why the halfling? Gandalf: I don't know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things – everyday deeds of ordinary folk – that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.

Imagine how different the world would be if more of us focused on the small things. Everyday deeds, simple acts of kindness and love. Less “do what makes you happy” and more “do what makes your neighbor happy”. Doing so out of genuine concern for others, not doing it for the Gram (for social media content).

Joseph B. Wirthlin once shared the following story:

[A]n elderly man and woman ... had been married for many decades. Because the wife was slowly losing her sight, she could no longer take care of herself the way she had done for so many years. Without being asked, the husband began to paint her fingernails for her.

“He knew that she could see her fingernails when she held them close to her eyes, at just the right angle, and they made her smile. He liked to see her happy, so he kept painting her nails for more than five years before she passed away.”

That is an example of the pure love of Christ. Sometimes the greatest love is not found in the dramatic scenes that poets and writers immortalize. Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.

How do we keep at bay the gathering darkness we see in our world? Be kind. Serve. Love one another.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 20) #life #Christianity #movies

A few days ago I was listening to the General Conference talk by Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt who spoke about the many names of Jesus Christ.

He said:

Just as Jesus knows each of us by name, one way we can come to better know Jesus is by learning His many names. Like the names of Israel and Peter, many of Jesus’s names are titles that help us understand His mission, purpose, character, and attributes. As we come to know Jesus’s many names, we will come to better understand His divine mission and His selfless character. Knowing His many names also inspires us to become more like Him—to develop Christlike attributes that bring joy and purpose to our lives.

As I listened to this talk, my musical mind traveled back in time 20 years to my full-time missionary service in Brazil. It was there that I was first introduced to a recording of The Garden: An Allegorical Oratorio. With lyrics by Michael McLean and music by Bryce Neubert, it is beautiful and moving. There is no spoken word – the story is told completely through music. It's an allegory about Jesus Christ from the perspective of four objects in the Garden of Gethsemane, each with unique troubles:

  • A seed that can't grow.
  • A ram caught in a thicket.
  • An olive tree that can't produce fruit.
  • A millstone that has no feelings.

Each of them sings a song explaining their dire circumstances. And to make matters worse, there's a snake slithering around and quite happy about the sorry state of the garden.

Then a Gardener comes and brings hope. He tells the garden's beleaguered residents about someone who will come to help them. The song the Gardener sings is called The Man With Many Names. And it was this very song that began playing in my mind as Elder Schmitt spoke.

That evening I listened to the song for the first time in probably a decade or more, and it moved me just as much as it did the first time I heard it. I listened intently to the lyrics as I reflected on all of the beautiful talks and music about Jesus Christ I had heard during General Conference.

There is One who to this garden comes Like a most unusual rain Drink it in and never thirst again Living Water is His name

There is One who comes to find each one Who has lost his way again He will lead the way back to the fold The Good Shepherd is His name

There is One who when your crying's done Gives the gift you've never known He'll give fruit because He is the Vine And life, for He's the Living Stone

He is known by oh so many names And will be forever more Hope comes from the One with many names And He's not forgotten yours

No, He's not forgotten yours

I won't spoil the rest of the story for you (though you may already have an idea of how it ends), but it's well worth a listen if you can find a digital or physical copy (which I have discovered is sadly not easy to do these days).

I'm thankful for this divine blast from the past. Only God could have brought a memory made 20 years ago to the surface at the perfect moment. It reminded me that God is and has always been aware of and concerned about me and what I do with my life. As the song says, He hasn't forgotten my name. It reminded me of the powerful testimony of Jesus Christ I gained during my 2-year missionary service, and which has grown steadily since.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 18) #music #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist

This is a transcript of an excerpt from a Facebook Live Event for Youth and Single Adults in the Africa South Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, held on November 16th, 2021. The full video of the event can be viewed here or here.


Moderator: So, many of our young people really have been profoundly affected by COVID-19, and our first question is one that's been echoed probably across many continents and it's around the COVID-19 vaccine. This is what our young person wrote, they said:

Many high-profile leaders in Africa have spoken out against being vaccinated. This leaves us in a confusing space. What is your advice to those who wonder if they should be vaccinated against COVID-19?

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Whatever identities we may have – national, political, cultural, etc. – there is one that precedes and supersedes them all: child of God. This is our First Identity.

In a March 2020 BYU devotional address, President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

[Y]ou are and have always been a son or daughter of God with spiritual roots in eternity. First and foremost, you are and always will be a spirit child of God. Those aren’t just words from a beautiful Primary song. They are words of truth. They are imbued with eternal significance for all of us.

The foundational fact of heavenly parentage is not just my truth or your truth. It is eternal truth. It is written in big, bold, capital letters. Understanding this truth—really understanding it and embracing it—is life changing. It gives you an extraordinary identity that no one can ever take away from you. But more than that, it should give you an enormous feeling of value and a sense of your infinite worth. Finally, it provides you a divine, noble, and worthy purpose in life.

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Late one evening, out of the blue, I received an instant message from a mission friend. Though we were never missionary companions, we had served in the same area in Brazil for a few months and were roommates. I hadn't heard from him in years. At least a decade. Probably more.

My friend had been reading entries from his personal journal about the time we served together and he reached out to compare memories. We had a delightful conversation.

He reminded me of a particular experience we shared together. But when I looked through my own mission journal to see what details I had recorded about this experience, I was horrified to realize that I had a gap of about a month in my journal entries, and that this experience happened during that gap!

At the time, I probably figured I would never forget it, so I didn't need to write it down. My 19-year-old self was partially correct, because it has been seared into my mind as one of the most impactful, amazing experiences of my entire mission. Now, 20 years later, I'm finally writing it down.

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