Monday, December 19

Gratitude and Happiness

"So to be happy and to avoid misery, we must have a grateful heart. We have seen in our lives the connection between gratitude and happiness. All of us would like to feel gratitude, yet it is not easy to be consistently grateful in all things in the trials of life. Sickness, disappointment, and the loss of people we love come at times in our lives. Our sorrows can make it hard to see our blessings and to appreciate the blessings God has in store for us in the future.

"We must ask in prayer that God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, will help us see our blessings clearly even in the midst of our trials. He can help us by the power of the Spirit to recognize and be grateful for blessings we take for granted. What has helped me the most is to ask God in prayer, “Wouldst Thou please direct me to someone I can help for Thee?” It is in helping God bless others that I have seen my own blessings more closely."

-President Eyring

love this.

Saturday, December 17

The Prophet's voice

President Hinckley is so dear.
I simply adore him, and miss him terribly.

This story is one of my favorites of all time.

Between this beautiful story and hearing President Hinckley's voice again - I sob every time. 

Wednesday, December 14

Alma 29:16

I love this so much.

 16 Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy.

You know how I feel about imagery and word painting. And this verse, this little short verse, has some of the most beautiful imagery I have found yet in the Book of Mormon. Have you ever been so happy that your soul was carried away, even to the separation of it from the body?
I have.
That feeling of elatedness (yes, that is a real word), of pure joy and bliss? It's real. And it comes from living the Gospel. Life can't be blissful all the time, it's true. Trials are a necessary part of this mortal experience. But the moments of bliss are there. Look for those beautiful times when life is simply good; when a miracle or a blessing enters your life, and trust me, those stormy clouds of trials will part (if even just for a second) and you will feel the warmth of God's love for you break through the darkness.

Monday, December 12

Our Relationship with Divinity

I was doing some intense, *hardcore studying today when I came across this quote in one of my Book of Mormon PowerPoints - a quote that I had missed in class.

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away.  If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns” (Spencer W. Kimball, Missionary Gospel Study, 3). 

Our relationship with divinity should never be casual. Let us always strive to lessen the gap between heaven and earth, between our spiritual selves and our mortal selves. How de we accomplish this? By immersing ourselves in the scriptures. We must "drink deeply and often from its pages," as President Eyring says. Then divinity will not seem so far away.
Divine deliverance can be a part of our daily lives if we but tighten the gap between heaven and earth.

*I love that "hardcore studying" in this case refers to reading the scriptures intently and feeling the Spirit in bucket loads. What a joyous University.

Saturday, December 10

Expressions of love

This talk is one of my favorites of all time...Oh how I adore Elder Richard G. Scott.
This gives me hope.
Marriage is hard, I understand, but it can be done, and it can be beautiful, and I can't wait!

[Well...I can...cuz I'm 18...]

Anyway, you know what I mean :)

Friday, December 9

I'm still here.

The semester may be over, but this blog is not going anywhere.
Just because Book of Mormon class is over doesn't mean my passion for it has to be.
Yes, this started out as a project - an assignment in college...
But through this blog I am learning and growing everyday.
I am so grateful for the scriptures and for a wonderful Professor who helped me to fall in love with them on a whole new level.
Blogging about the scriptures is good.
Blogging about good things in general is good.
I think I had best keep it up.

Tuesday, December 6

God is great.

Life is hard, but God is good.
Finals are stressful, but God is still good.
Things don't always work out, but guess what. God will always be good.
God's goodness is so real.
His deliverance and love is available and accessible eight days a week.
All day E'ry day.

Monday, December 5

Alma 26

Alma 26 is in the runnings to be my favorite chapter in all of scripture. It is seriously so beautiful. I hope that if you have a second to spare, you will take the time to read the entire thing (only 37 verses). I also hope that if you don't have a second to spare, you will make time to read it anyway. You will not regret it. Ammon expresses his love for his God. He glories in God's goodness and rejoices in His power. Just to give you a little taste, here are two of my favorite verses:

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

Sunday, December 4

Christmas Devotional

I hope you listened to the Prophet tonight.
I love him.
I sustain him.
I am so grateful for the guidance and love he showers us with every time he speaks.
This evening with the first presidency made me so excited for Christmas!
"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Friday, December 2


Trials can make you bitter or better. It's up to you. 
Thanks to Eric Sackett for this inspirational Facebook status :)

Thursday, December 1

I'm going there someday.

We are so incredibly blessed to have Temples. And especially to have half a dozen of them within an hour of our house! I love the Temple. Tomorrow I am going with my "brother" Vicente (who is living with us, from Chile) and my dearest father to the Salt Lake Temple. I am so excited. Just the deliverance I need to get my mind off of finals and the craziness in my life.
Make time for the Lord and go to the Temple...
The Lord always makes time for you.

Wednesday, November 30

Alma 17:11

Today, I found my mission statement; my own personal motto.
This verse sums up perfectly what I hope to be and how I can learn to be that.

11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be apatient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good bexamples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

Do you have a mission statement?
What do you hope to contribute to this world?
I am intent on consecrating my life to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I want to be a tool by which He can send His love, His word, and His sweet deliverance to His children everywhere.
Looks like the first step is "patience in long-suffering and afflictions".... [sigh]
Bring it on.

Tuesday, November 29

Alma 15:18

This is one of the gems I found in my reading yesterday. Alma is absolutely incredible and in chapter 15 we see a glimpse of his goodness.
18 Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.
He provided deliverance for Amulek. Alma is the perfect example of a caring friend, a source of deliverance. He took Amulek to his home and he took care of him. He strengthened him in the Lord. That's what friends are for. We must lift each other. Uplift everyone that we come in contact with. We are the Lord's tools of deliverance. It is our responsibility to administer unto the rest of God's children, and as we strengthen each other, we, ourselves are strengthened in the Lord. Sometimes we underestimate our power, our potential. We are children of God and with that divine heritage comes the knowledge that He is always on our side. He wants nothing more than our happiness and success and He will strengthen us and qualify us for the work as we extend ourselves in service.

Sunday, November 27

Fear is the opposite of Faith

This is a beautiful message from Elder Russell M. Nelson. 
He teaches us that we need not fear, but rather, have faith. 
We have a purpose here on this earth. 
Have faith in the plan and know that the Lord loves you and will always provide for you.
He will deliver you from bondage when you exercise faith. 

"If you've got faith, you can handle difficulties, knowing with an eternal perspective that all will be well." 

"Perfection will not be achieved in this life. Don't demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement."
-Elder Nelson

Saturday, November 26

a little Christmas spirit

A large portion of my day was spent watching last year's Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas DVD on repeat. I was so moved by every song and felt so inspired as I watched it. 
David Archuleta truly brings the Spirit as he sings this beautiful, simple carol.
His voice is like butter, rich and flawless and I absolutely adore it. But my favorite part of this performance is not the impeccable control or flawless riffs, but rather his sweet, sincere delivery. He is truly a vessel for the Spirit when he performs. 
It would definitely be alright with me if we dated. 

I hope this will bring a little Christmas Spirit into your day. [it's never too early for Christmas music!]

Friday, November 25

Alma 10:23

But by the prayers of righteous are you spared.

23 But it is by the aprayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will bcast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the ctime is soon at hand except ye repent.

When I first read this I thought, "I wonder if my prayers have made a difference. I wonder if anyone has been 'spared' because of my prayer."
And then it hit me,
"How many times have I been 'spared' because of the prayers of others on my behalf?"
This is a seriously humbling, and beautiful thought to consider.
And for that, I thank you.
Thank you for your prayers and your support. I hope you know that I pray for you too. I pray that this blog will help just one person, brighten one person's day, or strengthen one person's testimony. I feel so blessed to associate with such marvelous, righteous, wonderful people and share my simple, but sincere thoughts with you on a daily basis.
We must pray for eachother. Pray for your friends and family. Pray for the success of your competitors. Pray for a change of heart, first for your own and secondly, for the hearts of those around you. Pray for the world! You never know who might be 'spared' because of your prayer. 

Wednesday, November 23

Thanksgiving Eve

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to you all!
I thought I would dedicate today's post to this glorious holiday we will be celebrating tomorrow. defines Thanksgiving as such:
Thanksgiving: the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God. 
I like that.
So I would like to take the time to give thanks. To publicly express my gratitude for the simple joys that populate our lives.

{please note these are in no particular order}

I am grateful for friends, new and old.
I am grateful for this beautiful, blustery weather.
I am grateful for grandparents.
I am grateful to be attending BYU.
I am grateful for my crazy cousins.
I am grateful for my opportunities to travel.
I am grateful for music.
I am grateful for getting letters in the mail.
I am grateful for the word "moxie."
I am grateful for honey nut cheerios.
I am grateful for Michael Buble's Christmas album.
I am grateful for inspirational jam sessions with my homies.
I am grateful for the Book of Mormon.
I am grateful for Atticus, my adorable and trusty vehicle.
I am grateful for my studly brother Colin, and my perfect sisters Jenessa and London.
I am grateful for my super hip parents.
I am grateful that girls can wear pants.
I am grateful for my health.
I am grateful for "my" missionaries, especially my sister Jenessa.
I am grateful for my beautiful, caring, awesome roommates.
I am grateful for the people of Romania-for their kindness towards my best friend and sister.
I am grateful for my talents.
I am grateful for my membership in this Gospel.
And above all, I am grateful for my Savior, my brother, and my friend, Jesus Christ.
I am grateful for so many more things...

Thanks for reading my blog - And thanks for just being so good.
I am in awe of the righteous, beautiful things you are all doing with your lives.
Keep up the good work and have a delightful holiday!

Tuesday, November 22

Alma 9:9-11

We receive deliverance every day. In unexpected forms and sometimes at unexpected times, but we are continually and repeatedly being delivered. Sometimes, I think we take that for granted. We forget just how good God is to us. We receive hundreds of blessings and witness dozens of miracles on a daily basis, yet we are so quick to doubt and be discouraged.
I would propose that we need to take time and remember.
Remember how many times we have seen the Lord's hand in our lives.
Remember how blessed we truly are.
Remember that God has delivered us in the past, without fail, and trust that He will do so again.

Do ye not remember that our father, Lehi, was brought out of Jerusalem by the ahand of God? Do ye not remember that they were all led by him through the wilderness?
 10 And have ye forgotten so soon how many times he adelivered our fathers out of the hands of their enemies, and preserved them from being destroyed, even by the hands of their own brethren?
 11 Yea, and if it had not been for his matchless power, and his mercy, and his along-suffering towards us, we should unavoidably have been cut off from the face of the earth long before this period of time, and perhaps been consigned to a state of bendless misery and woe.

He is the reason to rejoice in this world.
Don't forget Him.

Monday, November 21

Alma 7:27

Today my Professor shared with us one of her favorite power phrases from all scripture.

25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.

"Go no more out."
May we find ourselves residents in the Kingdom of the Lord with no more desire to do wrong.
May we stay on the Lord's side always and go no more out.

I think I might just stitch that on a pillow...

Sunday, November 20

Love Her Mother.

One of my favorite talks from conference.

Today, I am grateful for an incredible Father who loves my dearest mother endlessly.
They adore each other and are not afraid to show it
(even when politely asked by their children to "get a room")
But truly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love my family.

"Be Loyal to the Royal Within You."

Saturday, November 19

Alma 7:11-13

Today has been one of those days.
One of those epic marathon days where breathing is a luxury that cannot be afforded.
Discouragement and inadequacy is lacing every thought in my stressed little mind.
I think today would be an unbearable day if I didn't know what I know.
I know that Jesus Christ died for me. He performed the atonement so that I may be cleansed and healed. He knows me. He knows every ounce of stress I am facing. He knows the stress of not having enough time. He knows about the 10 page paper due monday, He knows how I'm freaking out over my MDT audition. He knows that right now I feel like I am not enough.
He knows that I am more than enough.
He knows that I can do it - because He already has.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

He knows.
He knows how to succor us each individually.
So...let Him.
It sure makes days like this easier.
You are more than enough.
Don't ever forget it. 

Friday, November 18

"Drink deeply and often from its pages."
-President Eyring

Have you read the Book of Mormon? 
Read it. 

Thursday, November 17

Alma 4:15

Sometimes, life is hard.
We all know that.
And sometimes, it's okay to be sorrowful.
Alma knew that.
The Lord will NEVER fail us.
So have faith.
Keep trusting in the Lord's unfailing deliverance.

15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.

Tuesday, November 15

Mosiah 26:16-18

I am a daughter of God and I am so grateful for that relationship that I am developing with my Heavenly Father. I know who I am and what I stand for, and I have confidence in my divinity. Nothing brings me more joy than this truth....And also this passage I found in Mosiah:

16 And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them.
 17 And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people.
 18 Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.

I want to be numbered among His.
Don't you want to be the Lord's?
I cannot think of anything more delightful than to be called after the name of Christ - to be numbered as one of his people.
Are you willing to bear His name? Are you ready to represent the Lord?
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I want to be known as such.
Which is why...[drum roll please]
I am working on my very own "I'm a Mormon" ad.
It's a little bit thrilling, and I'm a little bit stoked about it.
So...let it be written:

My name is Marissa Smith. I am a student, a daughter, an aspiring actress and I'm a Mormon.

Monday, November 14

Mosiah 25:16

Dearest darlingest friends and followers,
Thank you for still reading.
Thank you for understanding.
Thanks for being patient with me and my peritonsillar abscess the size of a ping-pong ball.
Life is finally looking up, and I am so incredibly grateful to see that precious light at the end of such a dismal tunnel.
Nothing will make you more grateful for your health than six days on the couch, two shots, and a pharmacy's worth of anti-biotics and steroids in your body.
I had begun to lose faith and fear the worst, but that's when the Lord stepped in and reminded me where deliverance comes from.
I am so thrilled to be back at school, and ready for a great week.
[After last week, I can handle anything, right?]

So here I am. Back in the blogging world. Ready to share with you my latest findings and treasures from Mosiah.

16 And he did exhort the people of Limhi and his brethren, all those that had been delivered out of bondage, that they should remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them.

This week I was delivered from a pretty rough trial. Missing three full days of classes is next to impossible, but I had no choice. Long story short, six days later, I am delivered, and SO grateful for it.
I recognize the Lord's hand in this situation. If nothing else, this experience has reminded me where deliverance comes from. It is the Lord that delivers us. Always.
But, sometimes that deliverance comes from the Lord when others allow the Lord to work within them.

Like a concerned friend who brings over his favorite series to make your hours on the couch more bearable. Or the caring cast members who bring you beautiful flowers and a coloring book with crayons to bring a smile to your sad, swollen face. Or the Professors whose hearts are softened and willing to work with you through this desperate situation. Or the beautiful, attentive family that God blessed you with, bringing you meals and pills when you can't get them for yourself.
For you, I am grateful.

*I just have to say, I love my family. You were champions this week. It is because of you guys that I am on my way back to health and happiness again. Thanks for all you did for me.
Love you never-ending.

Keep you head high, and remember above all, it is better to look up. Because up is where deliverance comes from. 

Friday, November 11


I don't remember ever being this sick.
I hate not being able to blog - I hate not being able to do anything.
Lying flat on the couch for 50+ hours is getting quite dull.
I could use some deliverance right now.

Tuesday, November 8

Mosiah 21:4

In class, my Professor asked us if we had woken up this morning with the sole purpose to live the day with exact obedience and to do the will of the Lord. I was hesitant to raise my hand out of the fear of appearing self-righteous, but I honestly, sincerely had that thought when I woke up.
I thought,
"Marissa! I want to serve the Lord today. I want to be an uplifting source to everyone I meet today."
I had been reading ahead in chapter 21 of Mosiah and read this verse

Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled.

And you know what I thought to myself?
I want my every move to be justified in this manner; "that this was done that the word of God might be fulfilled." So, this is the verse that inspired me to start off my day centered on Christ and His will.
If we were to live our lives with this verse at our core, the world would be a much more cheery place, don't you think?
If our sole purpose was centered on being disciples of Christ and witnesses that He lives, the world would be better for it.
This is my prayer, that, just as Sister Brinkerhoff asked, we might awake each morning, ready and thrilled to do nothing save it be to glorify God. To praise Him in all we do and live each day with a renewed conviction to be better. To offer deliverance to a friend in need through aligning our will with God's.

Monday, November 7

Life is good.

Life can be complicated.
Life can be hard.
Life can be brutal.

Through the Savior,

Life can be beautiful.
Life can be simplified.
Life can be fun.

Life is good.

Friday, November 4

Mosiah 11

The word deliver appears 4 times in this chapter.
The word bondage : 3 times.
The word Lord : 19 times.

In short, this is a chapter worth spending some time in.
We are taught in depth about deliverance and bondage - and most importantly, we learn more about our Savior.

Thursday, November 3

Mosiah 9:17-18

There is no problem too small, no heartache too juvenile, no question too simple.
God will hear our cries and answer our prayers. Always.
May we cry mightily unto the Lord for deliverance.

17 Yea, in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers. 18 And God did hear our cries and did answer our prayers.

Wednesday, November 2

Mosiah 7:33

I'm jumping ahead a little bit, because I am just so excited!
Today, I'm gonna dive right into Mosiah and share with you a bit of what we learned in Book of Mormon class this morning. We discussed my theme exactly! It was such a beautiful lesson, and it was all centered around the themes of bondage and deliverance. Sister Brinkerhoff defined bondage as "anything that lessens our agency." This definition really opened my eyes to the different levels and various instances of bondage we experience in our own lives.
Then, I found it.
I found the answer - the ultimate verse on deliverance.
Chapter 7 verse 33:

 33 But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

Are you as excited as I am?! When I read this I wanted to jump up and cheer!
In fact, I think I will...WOOHOOOOO!
This right here is the cheat sheet, the sparknotes, the key to deliverance.
Right here it is spelled out for us. We are literally being spoon-fed the Savior's sweet deliverance.

We must...
1. Turn to the Lord
2. Trust Him
3. Serve Him

1. With full purpose of heart
2. With all diligence of mind

It's just that easy.
And then my favorite part of the verse:
"according to His own will and pleasure
deliver you out of bondage."
The Lord is just waiting to deliver us. It is His pleasure to release us from spiritual captivity, to restore our full agency and erase all things that would inhibit that agency. 
I hope this is as thrilling to you as it is to me. 
I love my Savior. I am feeling His promised deliverance in my life daily. I hope you are too. 
Don't rob Him of the pleasure He gets from delivering His children. We need Him so desperately. 

Tuesday, November 1

Be thou an Example of the Believers

President Monson's devotional was absolutely wonderful. Go to the BYUtv website to hear his full address.

His talk was so tender, and such a great reminder of the 2009 Mutual theme found in Timothy 4:12. "Be thou an Example of the Believers." It reminds me of my experience with "A Brand New Year." This was a pivotal experience in my life, an opportunity to share the Gospel through song, learn more about my Savior, strengthen my testimony, and forge life long friendships. I am forever grateful for this beautiful experience. It was one of the highlights of my young life, an event that put me on the road that I am on today.
It is my prayer that we will be examples of the believers at all never know who is watching your example. You never know the influence you can have on another person.

As much as I hate to post videos of myself, I felt this was called for.
Sister Dalton and President Dalquist bear strong testimony of the power that comes when we are living our lives as examples of the believers.
[This beautiful song was written by the incredible Ross Boothe, I only wish I did it justice!]  

Sunday, October 30

waiting for deliverance

Deliverance always comes to the faithful. Even if it is not on our time table.
Job is a great example of this principle. He endured trial after trial, tragedy after tragedy, but never doubted or denied the Lord and His goodness.
Let's review the story of Job....

Hee hee hee.
Okay, that wasn't exactly how things went down, but you get the picture.
Despite all of the devastation in Job's life, he remained faithful to the Lord and deliverance did come. It will always come. So pray for patience. Pray for endurance to withstand tribulation until the Lord's sweet deliverance enfolds us.

Saturday, October 29

Words of Mormon 1:8

Do you pray for the wicked?
Do you pray for your neighbors and friends and acquaintances?
Do you sincerely pray for deliverance to find them?
Mormon did.

And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.