Celebrity Sightings…Part II

I now realize the phrase, “I’m humbled to meet you.”

On Wednesday for our weekly site meeting, we had Joseph Smith’s great-great granddaughter, Kim Smith, and 3rd great grandson, Brian Davis, come to the Hill Cumorah. They told us of their conversion stories, how they came to realize the importance of their grandfather, and what they had heard of him throughout their lives. They sang a couple of songs they wrote, one called “Willow,” based on a tree Emma used to pray near, and another one, “Serenity Blue,” describing the prophet Joseph’s eyes, and what was seen through them.  I’m pretty sure no one’s eyes were dry the whole hour.

The next day, we had shift number two at the Joseph Smith Farm…since I have come back to the sites. We all couldn’t wait to talk about what we learned the night before! As we were talking, a car pulled up, and lo and behold…it was Kim and Brian! Guess who’s turn it was to take a tour. MINE. However, I quickly realized that I wasn’t the one who would be giving the tour.  Ha. Anyway, we greeted them at the door–more excitedly than we did last week with the lead singer of The Killers might I add–and I re-introduced myself to them. She remembered I was from Centerville, and immediately asked about me, how my mission was going, and what I had planned after. Hello, I didn’t want to talk about me, I wanted to talk about them! So I quickly answered the questions and jumped into shooting my questions in the opposite direction. As they were talking, I noticed the pictures of Joseph and Emma so perfectly framed right next to their faces in the background, and couldn’t help but see Joseph’s blue eyes and wavy blonde hair in Brian. We are talking exact DNA people. So, “their” tour started by going into the humble log home, and her telling me what she knew from what was passed down from her fathers. Kim and Brian were two of 80 direct descendants of Joseph Smith that are actually baptized into the church, and 200 in-direct…with marriages and everything. Horror stories have been told more times than she’s wanted to hear, and she knew there had to be something positive about her grandfather. As we were standing in the same space where Joseph formulated the million-dollar question, little old me got to be the one who got to hear them the behind-the-scenes of the consequences of abuse in his posterity.

We eventually made our way to the Frame Home, expecting to spend just a couple of minutes there for them to take a few pictures. We walked in and Kim said, “How much time do you have, Sister Hawkes?” “You tell me,” I said. “Sit down, let’s talk.” I asked her question after question of the character of Joseph, the moment she became truly converted, and how they’ve been missionaries to her family. From growing up, she heard horrific stories all about the “Utah Mormons” and the “Brighamites,” and was basically forbidden to go to Utah. Kim knew they weren’t true by the power of the Holy Ghost, that had come into her life at an early age. She was always taught from her mother, “the Holy Ghost trumps everything.” So, she decided to always follow Him, and never listen to what anyone else says. Since then, she’s always poured out her heart to the Savior, and she’s never said no to a prompting–because she knows exactly where it comes from. After half an hour of an uninterrupted quizzing session, we took a slow walk back to the parking lot on Stafford Road. I walked right in between the two as they continued to tell me stories…including how the missionary discussions they took at Meryl Osmond’s home went. (I couldn’t help but think how intimidated those poor sister missionaries were.) On the third discussion she knew she needed to be baptized. About the members of the church, she said, “there was something in those people that I couldn’t deny, and that was the Holy Ghost.” Kim was baptized June 7, 1998, and her son, Brian was baptized a year later. Right at the end of our visit, she said they would love to come do a fireside in Centerville when I return home. I gave her my e-mail address, and planned to set it up! (Mom, I think I’m going to turn that over to you for now.) We’ll make sure you all know when that’s going to happen!

Basically, that’s been the highlight of my week so far…if not my whole mission! Luckily I’ve had many highlights, and many experiences that turn me closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Every experience that I have as a servant of the Lord gets me closer to Him. It doesn’t matter how “famous” these people are. If I meet them on the streets of Rochester, and I put a smile on their face–that’s really all I care about. All of those combined make up the “highlights” of my mission. More often that not, it’s entertaining to see how that smile actually got there in the first place, but regardless, it’s a blessing. Anyway, we found three more investigators this week, and we’re teaching two tonight and another one on Thursday. They look promising, and I’m really excited!

It’s been another beautiful, rainy week in Upstate New York, and I’m so happy to still be wearing this nametag.


Hermana Hawkes


Your very own name.

I’m on a C.S. Lewis kick. This guy’s a genius. Here’s my favorite one…of the day:

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” -C.S. Lewis

For those of you who have received your endowment, read that one more time.

How comforting it is to know there’s a Plan, and especially to know there’s a reason why we’re even here. Heavenly Father will never send any one of His children down to earth without the innate knowledge of something Bigger. However, it’s up to us to discover it for ourselves, whether we realize that or not. That’s why I’m in New York for eighteen months. I’m guiding people to discover there’s something more, something to hope for, even if that something hasn’t found them yet. With each hour I study, my desire to unlock more keys of mystery increases, and then I can be more guided and more inspired to help others who haven’t quite found their own reason yet.

But we as Christians have a huge job while in the midst of all this. It’s not only to find out what our name is, but what our name means.

Ready, set…GO.

The Ultimate Ski Instructor

My mom and dad put me on skis when I was just a one-year old. My dad was super into the whole “start ’em when they’re young” thing…don’t ask…I have no idea why. Obviously they wouldn’t try it again until I was a bit older, which turned out to be of the earilest memories I’ve had. I was five years old, and my mom had a shoot with ESPN at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah. I needed a babysitter for the weekend–which turned out to be getting stuck in private lessons from Heather, a young ski instructor. Now, think of it from my little girl perspective: my mom and dad totally ditched me with this woman I’ve never met, I had these long boards attached to my feet (which kept slipping from underneath me,) and not to mention I was absolutely freezing. Heather was so incredibly patient with me, trying to make me have actually have fun and learn something while I was miserable.

For the whole weekend, I had her to myself. Heather stayed right next to me, picked me up when I fell down, and gave me compliments left and right. She praised me on my effort, and not actually how I was skiing (because it was horrific.) She didn’t do it for her, she did it for me. She didn’t ski for me either; please–she had her own skis on.

Seventeen years later, knowing what I know now…that day changed my life. I was so small–and so young–in comparison to Heather. She knew way more than I knew about the sport, but loved me enough to spend one-on-one time with me. She taught me that those boards on my feet were not supposed to make me fall, but in reality, to help me strengthen my own legs and help me go even faster than regular running shoes–that I thought would be just fine to put on for the rest of my life.

For the next few years, I actually started to like to ski. We went skiing as a family almost every weekend, which were just good little joy-rides down the canyon. Over time, I tried to take more jumps and paths, and learned that the more time I spent crashing and falling, were the times that I learned how to get back up and ski even better and harder. Up until my senior year, I thought that’s pretty much how far you could enjoy skiing, just little side jumps and little trails through trees. Wow–how wrong I was. That last year of high school, my friends and I decided to grab a bunch of us and call ourselves the “ski club.” (We didn’t really have one, but the T-shirts made it official.) Weekly, we went up to The Canyons and went straight to the lift that literally had “EXPERTS ONLY” written at the bottom: 99’90. At first, my thought process was this, “Are you kidding me? I can’t do this. I like those blue squares. Can we go back to that?” But was I going to say that to my friends? Absolutely not. I just went with it. I learned how to suck it up, and started to really love it. After that year, I couldn’t just go on the paved runs anymore; it had to be pure, deep powder, or I didn’t learn a thing. I never get that rush of adrenaline if I didn’t push myself, which was the whole reason I went skiing in the first place.

I wish I could tell Heather now how much this sport has influenced my life. Not only have I become physically stronger from doing it, but from the relationships I’ve gained on the way. It takes a lot from learning how to actually get up on the mountain and put those skis on, to going all the way to learn how much my Heavenly Father throws us in situations. It doesn’t only guide me, it changes my perspective on just plain hard times. There is never a day when God leaves you in the dust. It might feel like it–only because we’re too young and inexperienced to understand what He’s doing. Just trust Him. He’s the ultimate ski instructor.

Study Series: The Determining Factor of Happiness

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence.” – Joseph Smith

Why would God put us on earth to be miserable if our whole purpose was to “come off conquerers?” (D&C 10:5)  There’s got to be some joy in here somewhere. I am one of the biggest advocates you’ll ever find for gaiting and maintaining a good attitude. From my findings throughout my 21–22 tomorrow–years of life, sometimes it’s really hard to just suck it up and be happy. It takes a long process to overcome any depression, sadness, or confusion. But as long as you’re sincerely putting the Lord first, you’ll be happy. The Lord proves it. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22.) He doesn’t tell us when, He only promises us it will happen.

We’ll start from the very beginning. I’ve never had clinical depression, but from what I hear it is horrific. For this post only, I’m sharing what prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself have said about happiness in general. I hope and pray that whatever works for those with depression realize the most happiness you’ll be able to find in this life. There are many things in our lives that we’ll never be able to overcome ourselves. That is why Christ gave us the gift of the Atonement. Let me repeat: He doesn’t tell us when, He only promises it will happen…eventually.

Now that that is out of the way, and you actually want to keep reading to what I want to say, here goes. Happiness is conditional. Conditional on your work, your effort, and the relationships you made along the way. Happiness does not–let me repeat–does not depend on the outcome. Believe me, I have failed plenty of times in my life. In fact, I’m on my mission because I’ve failed at many different things. So…does that mean my mission is a failure? No. My failures determine my successes. It’s the same with every human being. So what is happiness? As James E. Talmage puts it in Jesus the Christ, “True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good.” So basically, if it’s manufactured, it’s probably not happiness. Happiness is everlasting, and pleasure is only temporary. We’re going for everlasting here, you know…the whole enduring to the end thing? That’s the goal.

So, how do you actually get happiness? You’re probably still reading  because you know that there is more out there, but don’t know how to get it. Satan wants you to think there isn’t any out there, and if there is, you don’t deserve it. Ew, he is so annoying. I think I found a couple of things from Lorenzo Snow that will punch the lights out of him (hehe):  “When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone…and everything seems illuminated.” Wah-lah. Then President Snow goes on to say, “We have got to obtain knowledge before we obtain happiness.” The step-by-step process of getting knowledge requires a whole other blog post. That’s also something I don’t have the knowledge for yet. (Ironic?) All I can say right now–just read your scriptures. But, it’s just a little bit every day. Don’t try to do it all in one day, or it’s going to go down the drain. As my mission president says, “Every day, in every way, we get a little bit better.”

Obviously, I really like to be happy. However, I won’t realize my full happiness until beyond the grave. That’s when I get my body back with me, and everything will be…just perfect. Overall, the determining factor of happiness is your attitude. How you see, how you think, and how you act. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t be happy. I’m 2,000 miles away from everything I’ve ever known, I get made fun of on a daily basis, I just found out yesterday that I won’t see my own little sister for two more years–and I’m pretty sure I’m the happiest person on the planet…and it’s not just because of chance. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” (Phillipians 3:7) In otherwords, the scoreboard should always be at Sister Hawkes: 0; Christ: 1. It’s because I’m not Monica anymore, I’m a servant of the Lord.

Study Series: Christlike Attributes

Most everyone who has studied Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel knows the basic attributes of Christ that envelop everything: faith, hope, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, dilligence and obedience. But what about other words that describe Him as a person? Here are a few I have studied recently.

  • Enthusiastic. en=in; theos=god. Literally, being enthusicastic means to have God in us. From the Dictionary, It’s a “supernatural inspiriation or posession.” For a man that is half God, half man, Christ is the essence of enthusiasm. It’s not literally having your eyes wide open at everything tearing whatever is blocking you in your path, it’s having your spiritual eyes wide open so that nothing can come between you and God. What about when Christ fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes? (John 6:5-14)
  • Optimistic. Think of how tired and thirsty Christ was on the journey to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria (and was very aware that traditionally Jews and Samaritans never cooperate.) Christ was so exhausted, that He stopped to take a seat at Jacob’s well in Samaria. A Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water, and Christ simply asked her to bring up something to drink. Now, think of a time when your mouth has been the dryest. Do you even want to speak? Let alone–think? He took this time to teach the woman about how she never had to come back to the well for water, because of the knowledge that He could give her of her Father. Regardless of how He felt,  Christ knew it would all be okay because it was God’s work. How optimistic is that? Christ literally was looking at the glass (or in this case, a well) half full. (John 4: 3-14)
  • Motivating. Who else could give us the strength to do hard things, or do things we don’t even want to do? I can guarantee that Christ wasn’t jumping and screaming at the chance to do some things He had to do. One particular time I can think of in the scriptures, is when He had to cleanse His Father’s temple. That would take some guts, but more importantly, a supernatural motivation from Heaven. (John 2:15-16)
  • Articulate. There was nothing that Christ said or did that didn’t have anything to do with the building up of God’s kingdom. One of my favorites is when He blessed the Nephite children in the Americas. He blessed each man, woman and child…one by one. Let’s say Christ spent just one minute, 60 seconds, with each person in attendance. Nephi records a total of 2,500 people that He personally spoke to. If my math is correct, that is a little of 41 hours straight of meet-and-greets. And I’m sure He made everyone feel like a million bucks. (3 Nephi 17)
  • Charismatic. I’m going to use the dictionary again so everyone understands what this word really means. “A special quality of leadership that captures the popular imagination and inspires unswerving allegiance and devotion.” This one man has so much leadership capability that even the fishermen left their own jobs…these men earned their lives on fish. From the words, “Follow Me,” we learn that nothing matters more than giving our will up to God.  Christ simply told them to leave their nets–something that would “tie” them up in the world–and come to Him. Let go of everything we think we need, and give it all to the Savior. If we can set that example to our friends and family and give everything up, we will dominate this attribute. (Matt 4: 18-22)
  • Tranquil. Christ did not rush to appointments, He did not worry about a watch–all He worried about was bringing His brothers and sisters to our Heavenly Father. He did not worry in times of thunder or storm…well, let’s take a look at his day trip out to sea. As He was sleeping while a storm was thrashing the boat, His disciples woke Him up and said, “Master, carest not thou that we perish? How can’st thou lie asleep?” All Christ had to say was, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:37-41)
  • Confident. In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Savior was completely diminished. The only thing that He truly relied on was the angels surrounding Him, but most importantly, His Father. He suffered every possible thing that you can imagine–every possible thing that any human being would ever go through. Yet through it all, He had confidence in our Father that this would be for good. “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.” (2 Nephi 26:24) (Matt 26:39)
  • Fearless. There is nothing absolutely more fearful than having no control over your own death, and in this case, dying for the whole entire world. I don’t even know if I could put into words what I learned about this: So I’ll let you study it on your own. (Matt 27)

In order to learn about Christ, we need to be like Christ. It’s a lot to try to develop all of these attributes in one day, so try taking one a week, one every two weeks, and see how you do. This is something I desperately need to work on–so I’m joining you in your effort.

Again, I haven’t shared everything I learned, because that would defeat the purpose of having the Spirit teach you what you need to know. Think of some more attributes of Christ that people don’t usually talk about. Let’s be realistic–He has every positive emotion you can find embedded into His person.

Study Series: The Power of 3

Being a missionary definitely has it’s perks. The literal setting apart makes my brain think in a way that I would have not experienced otherwise. During study time, my brain goes into another world and learns WAY more than I ever could have learned before the nametag. Read at your own discresion, but remember–these are the findings of Sister Hawkes, and not of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This week was an emphasis on the number three. Why is the number “three” so symbolic? Each symbol testifies that Christ is the Son of God. I’m briefly putting bullet points, but it is up to you to expound by the spirit as your teacher what these things actually represent. In the King James Version of the Bible, Paul states to the people of Corinth, “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”  (2 Corinthians 13:1) There are many more, but here are the ones that I’ve found recently:

  • The Godhead. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. They are three seperate beings, but all one purpose. They cannot operate without each other, and we cannot operate without them. (2 Nephi 31:21)
  • The Atonement. There were three distinct parts: Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His actual death on the cross, and of course being risen… three days later. (John 2:18-22)
  • Testaments. The Old Testament, The New Testament, and The Book of Mormon: Another testament of Jesus Christ. Finally, in 1830, the Lord knew we were ready for another testament that proved Christ really did come to Earth, and that He really did atone for the sins of the world. (Book of Mormon–Introduction)
  • The Savior’s Ministry. The ministry of Christ lasted three years long. Then, he died at age 33.
  • Days of Darkness. “And the God of our fathers…yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.” (1 Nephi 19:10) Three different prophets told of the signs Christ before He even got here. The one I’m emphasizing here is the number of days. Once that third day came and gone, that was the proof they had been promised.
  • The Three Witnesses.  Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer. These three men were shown the plates by angel Moroni, and were commanded by the Lord to testify of the things they had both seen and heard. “I was relieved from a burden which was almost too heavy for me to bear…I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.” -Joseph Smith
  • The Wisemen. (The older version of the three witnesses.) Three men saw the huge star on the night Christ was born. They brought him gifts, but most importantly, testified of what they had seen and heard. (Luke 2:17)
  • Missionary work. Wait a minute, we go two by two! You’re right. However, we cannot operate without the companionship of the Holy Ghost. That completes our work…in fact, he always should be the senior companion. There is also the relationship between the missionary, the investigator, and most importantly, God. Without any one of those three, we don’t have any work to do. (D&C 121:46)
  • Kingdoms of Heaven. As described in the Plan of Salvation, there has always been, and always will be, one of three kingdoms you will end up in. Ultimately, it’s up to you which one you want to be in. The Celestial, the Terrestial, and the Telestial. (D&C 76:50-98)
  • The Three Nephites. Like you, I wish there was more doctrine on this. All we know is that three of the Nephites were allowed by Christ to stay on earth until He comes again as Our King. Their wish was granted, and they were promised a “fulness of joy.” (3 Nephi 28: 4-10)
  • The Apostle Simon Peter. Christ told Peter he would deny Him three times, and immediately went to Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:34,69-75)

Again, these all testify that Christ truly is the Son of God. I’d be interested to learn of other findings that you have in your own personal study. Think about the things you read and hear from now on and see if they correspond with what I feel is “the power of three.”