I’m not a hero, I’m just a grateful survivor. -Col Coates

This Monday a church member from Littleton was honored in a Veteran’s Day celebration. Originally meant to be a joint service project cleaning up and performing maintenance at Fort Logan Cemetery and then culminating in a ceremony at noon; the service project portion of the event was postponed due to weather.

The ceremony was held to honor Brother Bob Coates who served in three different wars. Coates was born in 1924 in Arizona and enlisted in the US Army Corps in 1942 when he was 18 years old. During WWII he flew 36 combat missions as co-pilot in the 381st Bombing Group, dropping bombs on military targets in Germany. Despite being shot down over German-occupied France, he (more…)


For the second year the Aurora Stake held it’s Community Veterans Day Concert at the Leadership Development Center on Buckley Air Force Base. The base has been part of the Aurora community since 1938 and makes for a great place to host a Veterans Day Concert.

There are almost 400,000 US military veterans in Colorado according to the US Census Bureau and many of them served in the Air Force and were stationed at Buckley.

In attendance were Base Commanding Officers, Community Leaders, Representatives from Aurora Fire, and friends from the Sikh faith. Gurpreet of Gurdwara Singh Sabha Colorado gave the invocation and Elder Thomas Priday of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave the benediction.

Colorado Mormon Chorale and Orchestra, conducted by Kent Jones provided all the music.


Earlier in 2018, a group of talented missionaries put together a musical presentation called “Meet the Elders.” The presentation aimed to inspire and educate members of the church and their friends and neighbors about the life and goals of a missionary.

During the course of several weeks, the “Meet the Elders” program was presented 6 different times across the Denver Metro from Parker to Boulder. Now the studio recordings of the songs featured in the program have been released.

This music was performed by:

Elder Brenden Blackham
Elder Connor Brown
Elder Alex Hasse
Elder Jacob Fenske

It is being published here with their permission.

Use the links below to download the MP3 files for each individual song to your computer or mobile device.

(more…)


On the evening of October 28, 2018, several members of the Church’s Denver Public Affairs Council attended a special Community Solidarity Vigil, hosted by Jewish Colorado at Temple Emanuel in Denver.  At the vigil, representatives of the Church were able to visit with Rabbi Joseph Black, who conducted the evening event, and convey the love, condeolences and support of Elder Thomas T. Priday (Area Seventy) and local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in response to this weekend’s senseless tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The vigil, which attracted thousands of members of the community and allowed for standing room only throughout the Synagogue, was an inspiring demonstration of love and interfaith unity within the greater Denver area.  Program participants included representatives of the Anti Defamation League, Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, as well as members of the Denver and Aurora police departments and a number of prominent interfaith leaders from the community–representing Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs, among others.  Speakers focused on the need for the elimination of hate and bias in our society as well as a feeling of safety and security in our places of worship.

Following the event, Sister Karen LaCouture, Interfaith specialist for the Church of Jesus Christ’s Denver area, stated “I was most grateful and impressed that so many people from all walks of life were drawn together to the vigil at Temple Emanuel in support of our Jewish brothers and sisters, as well as those of all faiths who may be the target of hate, violence or misunderstanding.”  Her words echoed those of Church President Russell M. Nelson who, just this week while meeting with media in Uruguay, remarked that Church members and those of other faiths “need to work together to stem the tide of violence.” He added, “The teachings of the Lord are clear. There is to be no contention, no disputation. We should love one another. So violence has no place in society.”


There With Care is a national charitable organization that helps and supports families going through significant medical crises. Recently a representative from the Boulder chapter visited Sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during a planned service project to share some of the specific needs the organization has.

That evening these wonderful sisters gathered donations and decorated grocery bags used by families being served by There With Care.

Julie Hess of There With Care shared these thoughts after the activity

I wanted to take the time, again, to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share the mission of There With Care at your church this week.  I so enjoyed getting to know this wonderful group of women and I am so impressed with their eagerness to help and to give back to their community. I loved looking through the decorated grocery bags and seeing everyone’s artistic style!  As I mentioned, the families have let us know repeatedly that this extra bit of CARE demonstrated by decorating the bags really helps to boost their spirits. We are also so incredibly grateful for the large amount of grocery and baby items you were able to donate.  WOW!  I think that was one of our largest “wish list” donation yet! Please share with the women a big THANK YOU from There With Care!

Donations gathered for There With Care


Thursday, September 13 was an inspiring night. Thanks to the joint efforts from the Front Range and Columbine stakes and the Colorado Catholic Conference, 400+ attendees gathered for a Religious Freedom Forum in Columbine. With a full line-up of speakers, Colorado Mormon Chorale’s powerful patriotic numbers, and a timely message – the combined result was one to remember. Attendees learned the importance of standing for religious freedom, and increasing the ability to do so. Presenters tied together both examples of early leaders who created a framework to protect our freedoms, and the efforts that continue to maintain said freedoms. Elder Thomas Priday, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened the evening, sharing gratitude for the opportunity for multiple faiths “to come together in unity.”

Rebecca Jenson, Public Affairs Director, North America Central Area, stands at attention during “The Star Spangled Banner”

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are reminded regularly of our civic duties. Elder Bednar said recently, “There is a paradox in religious freedom — if I want my religious freedom to be protected, then I must protect the religious freedom of those who believe in a basically different way from my own. This is our task. And it will be our ongoing challenge. Religious freedom is more than a right; it is a duty.” (more…)


There might be a reason why it seems members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t spend much time on the question: Are Mormons Christian? Perhaps it’s because it feels like an obvious conclusion. A straightforward definition of Christianity is believing Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer. And we do. With that, the discussion seems over. However, even as a child, I remember being challenged on this topic by classmates, and as an adult, it still comes up. It made no sense to me how a church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be seen as anything but Christian. Yet in the meantime, I’ve learned that there are some Christians who have a more specific definition of Christianity, and that is where we might diverge. Here are the important basics:

  1. Latter-day Saints do not accept the creeds, confessions, and formulations of post–New Testament Christianity.
  2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not descend through the historical line of traditional Christianity. That is, Latter-day Saints are not Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant.
  3. Latter-day Saints do not believe scripture consists of the Holy Bible alone but have an expanded canon of scripture that includes the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

In unequivocal terms, we as members of the church assert belief in God, our eternal Father, his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Some creeds call for a belief in the Holy Trinity, where it is understood that all three are without form and are one. We do not believe in a trinity. From there, other distinctions include (more…)


 

Two young scouts make their way to their next activity

He’s not a bad kid. He’s actually a pretty good kid. But over the last several months, as my son Landon approached his twelfth birthday, I’ve wondered exactly how hairy the highly anticipated teen years would be. What I didn’t realize was the change that could take place in a short 5 day time period during the summer. You could almost call it a priesthood “enhancement.” From July 23-28, 19 stakes from the greater Denver area participated in an Aaronic Priesthood Encampment at Peaceful Valley Ranch, and my son was one of the lucky ones who went.

To begin with the end, you might want to know that at the end of the week, he celebrated his first night back in his own bed by waking early to attend a 7 am stake priesthood meeting.  He came home singing. There was no sulking or dragging about after a week of sleep deprivation. As I heard the phrase “Rise up O men of God!”(and every subsequent lyric) reverberate throughout our home, my heart rejoiced along with his. Here are the blessings I have seen:

 

“Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things.”

It’s a big time commitment to leave before dawn on Monday and stay through Saturday morning. So many other things can pull at your schedule. yet the opportunity to spend all day, every day surrounded by faithful priesthood holders who have set aside their agendas to be at encampment is priceless.

 

“Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of Kings.”

Rain pours over Peaceful Valley Camp

 Over the past 2 years of preparation for the camp, church leaders selected a theme and plan that was inspired. “Qualified for the work,” from Doctrine and Covenants 4, became the theme, and from sunup to sundown, this was at the forefront of activity.

All the boys can report that the weather did not hold off for this week of camp. There were times when it was rough. But for all who stuck it out, their offering of “mind and strength” paid off in “heart and soul.”

 

Boys and their leader pause for a “groupie”

“Rise Up, O men of God, in one united throng.”  What happens when 19 stakes of young men, their leaders and their fathers gather under the direction of priesthood leadership? One benefit is strength. Our boys know they are not alone. For 51 weeks of the year, every time they walk down the halls of school, skip parties they know don’t hold their standards, or leave sports tournaments before Sunday’s championship games, they’re reminded that they are different. But for 5 days, surrounded by each other, they could unite in faith and brotherhood. Encampment rang in the day and closed out the night singing these very words. Every day. Twice a day.

 

“Bring in the day of brotherhood and end the night of wrong.”

Hundreds gather under a beautiful Colorado sky for a fireside

Their days and nights were bookends of brotherhood. Every morning started with a devotional. And every evening featured  inspired fireside speakers. Luckily my son is my talker. He tells me all sorts of things. I heard a bit about shooting, hiking, and adventure activities. But the events I heard about in greatest detail were the nightly firesides. Guest speakers and musicians ran came from a variety of backgrounds. A couple included former NBA player Jimmer Fredette,  and Bill Tolbert, whose personal experience with the Challenger is a story worth hearing. Another speaker shared his story about surviving a bear attack. He taught those listening about the benefits of listening to the Holy Ghost, and the tender mercies and miracles found even in terribly hard things.

 

A scout gets a photo op with leaders, including Charles Dahlquist and Elder Thomas Priday

“Rise up, o men of God! Tread where his feet have trod. As brothers of the Son of Man, rise up o men of God!”  Leaders at Camp included President Stephen W. Owen,  Young Men General President, Elder Thomas T. Priday, Area Seventy, and Charles Dahlquist, national commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America, and former Young Men General President. What a privilege to have them among the ranks.

One day my son and his quorum friends happened to eat lunch with these leaders, and the ensuing conversation added more fuel to the young boys’ fires. As these new deacons talked with, answered and asked questions of their own, they were reminded once again of the awesome responsibilities that come with being a priesthood holder. Their 15 minutes with fellow brethren who have long before started on the path of discipleship wasn’t spent discussing the weather (though they could have. The rain – oh the rain!). Instead, they discussed who in their quorum needs fellowshipping, what they are doing to help, and other topics on a similar vein. As Landon recounted the story, I offered a silent prayer of gratitude for the example of righteous men, even at a simple lunch.

 

Qualified for the Work

My son came home ready to pitch in. He came home ready to lead out. He sits on his bed every night, writes in his journal and reads his scriptures. As I see these new habits come into place, the same we’ve been modeling and talking about for years, I see how his time at Camp is helping qualify him for the work. Certainly, all who attended heard the message, and I know at least one young man was inspired to “Rise up!”

Additional photos from the week can be seen here: 

Photo credit: Royd Despain