I promise this will not be one of those Welcome Back posts….

Long time no see Blogging world!

I have been on a bit of hiatus of late due to increased business at work, and seemingly no time for many other things. But I’m back! I can honestly say I don’t think there will be so many breaks between my posts, and I pray I can deliver spiritual posts that help others find a way through this crazy world. Through my testimony I hope I can help others.

So in the time I’ve been gone, I recently as of Sunday was set apart as the 2nd counselor in my Elders Quorum Presidency in my family ward. For those of my friends and family who are not familiar with the organization of my church, Elders Quorum Presidency headed by a President and his two counselors are leaders over the men in the ward. We serve and make sure the men and their families are doing well, and assist as needed. That’s kind of like the 50 cent gumball machine definition. (I promise a more in depth post on Church organization). But I felt so honored and humbled to be given such a responsibility and opportunity to serve in the ward I was baptized in almost 4 years ago. I have no idea what the next months or year or so holds but I know through faith in Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father all is possible. Like it say’s in the scriptures

But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold , he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen

1Nephi 9:6

I’ve lived by that scripture these last few weeks. It’s brought me great comfort as the world around me has faced turbulence and tragedy. It has given me faith through it all, and has given me hope that no matter what is thrown in my way all will be well, and I will persevere.

I can testify to all that no matter what you face in life, The Lord will show a way. If you trust in him and hold onto his counsel and guidance you will have a light through the storm of life. You can find peace in Jesus Christ the savior and our Heavenly Father.

It feels so good to write again on here, and I look forward to continuing as I continue to grow! Hope you all have a great day!

Gerald

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The Home Teaching Corner “Testimony and Conversion” [February]

Hey Everyone, So I’m trying someting new. It’s a new “monthly” installment, known as “The Home Teaching Corner” Each month, I’ll highlight my though on the First Presidency Message, and share my testimony and feelings on what I read. I write this in hopes that it will strengthen your testimony, and help you come closer to Christ. So ehre goes! BTW I will be writing about January’s in the enxt few days. I didn’t forget 🙂

This month First Presidency message was by PResident Henry B. Eyring, and it was titled “Testimony and Conversion”. When you put them together, most of the time commonly people may think, “If I have a testimony, then obviously I have been Converted to Christ.” Well in all honesty that’s only partially true…

So in my own words, to have a testimony is to believe something. For example… “I believe in Christ and Heavenly Father!” Now that is my testimony and I can scream it from the rooftops. But to be fully converted, means to live by those commandments which have been handed down to us from our Heavenly Father and follow the example of Jesus Christ to the best of our abilities on a daily basis.

I look at Testimony as the true belief in the Gospel of Christ, and I look at Conversion as the action that comes out of that belief. so becuase I have a belief or Testimony in the Gospel I’m going to follow the commandments, and have that change of Heart meaning to be converted.

It’s not enough to just have testimony. If you have one that’s awesome and you should continue to share it and hold to it. But to truly get back to our Heavenly Father, it takes pure conversion and changing of one’s heart to get back to our Heavenly Father.

And that takes everyday work. In the article it states “The Lord taught us that when we are truly converted to His gospel our hearts will be turned from selfish concerns and turned toward service to lift others as they move upward to eternal life…” So when you have that conversion, your testimony becomes a tool to use to share that good love and gospel of our Heavenly Father. You begin to experience and give off the truly love of Christ.

  • Steps to gain this conversion are-
    • Active Scripture Reading
    • Daily Prayer
    • Repentance
    • Service to others

Those are just to name a few and I’m sure we could go on and on on what to do, but I feel in my heart those are the most important. If we strive to do those on a daily basis it’ll turn our Hearts twowards the Lord and help us make those changes in our lives to return to Him in all his eternal glory.

I pray that you will seek after the activities and things that will bring you closer to The Lord, I leave with you my testimony That I know the gospel is true, and that true conversion isn’t a one time thing, but takes everyday action until we can return and experience true Eternal Glory. I love you all, even those I don’t know, and I hope these words will touch you in some way, and I know our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loves us all, and only wants the best for us, and I leave these things in the name of Jesus christ

Amen.

 

Gospel Principles- The Gift of the Holy Ghost

So I felt impressed to share with you my thoughts on the gift of the Holy Ghost. A few months back I gave a talk in sacrament on the subject, and I felt that it was a good talk. So here’s that talk! (This talk is from October of 2014)

Good afternoon. Today I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. I’d like to introduce myself formally to those of you who may not know me.

My name is Gerald Royster. I’m the assistant ward mission leader. I currently work for Verizon as a DSL tech support agent and im currently in school for computer networking. I was born here in Maryland and as of October 30th  I will have been a member of This church for 3 years!!

As I said in the beginning I was asked to give a talk on the holy ghost. And I’d like to do things semi unorthodox before getting into the bulk of my talk by bearing my testimony of the holy ghost and how much of a spiritual compass it had been to me and.truth be told it was what brought me to this pulpit after all my 25 years of life. Amen…

Think of a GPS. A GPS can get you from point A. To point B. GPS are pretty awesome. Your cars GPS is good for. You the best possible route .

Much like the holy ghost…..

Think of life as a road. A series of high ways, overpasses and back roads. Our personal destinations are to live and return to our heavenly father.

The holy ghost is Our constant companion to get us back it’ll help give us detours in moments of struggle and strife. But like a GPS in the middle of nowhere sometimes it can falter and we may find ourselves. Off track. The holy ghost can. Work the same way when we find ourselves in situations we know we shouldn’t be in.

So last night Jared and I were out a an Apple festival earlier that day with my girlfriend and her friend and used the GPS to get back home. And we wanted to take a route the GPS didn’t want us to take. We wanted to take a route that would avoid the tunnel because we didn’t know if we had cash. Sadly they don’t take credit. I mean it is the 21st century.

So anyways we tried going our own way and the GPS kept saying no go this way through the tunnel of 895 after trying our own route the GPS kept rerouting us and eventually we gave in and took the route probably best. Luckily I had a ten tucked in my wallet from earlier.

The holy ghost works the same way. When we start trying to take our own route, that could possibly lead us in a bad direction it tries to get US on track. Now if we hadn’t listened to the actual GPS we would’ve ended up in Baltimore city and who knows where we would’ve ended up.

The scriptures in doctrine and covenants 130 verse 22 say

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

Being a personage of spirit allows to holy ghost to be any where and everywhere. Think of a constant companion that’ll always be with you. It’ll help ya out and like the GPS anology get you from point A to point B. But it’s powers can be weakened when we find ourselves in places we shouldn’t be.

Think of a loud party. A large house party. As your driving your friend is telling you, “maybe we shouldn’t go here. This seems like a bad idea”. You continue on your way. Yet you can hear his voice loud and clear in the comfort and safety of our cars. But you dismiss his council

You get to the party and as you walk up the lawn his voice a little bit more faint yet you can still hear it says “look man THESE people are up to no good. We could just go home and play video games or do some studying for that big test. I just don’t think we should be here”. You’re not inside the party. But the closer you get to the door more louder the music got. You hear conversations in the background. You even here some loud laughter and familiar voices. You push that counsel away again.

You open the door to the party and the music overwhelms your ears. People come to greet you pushing your friend to the side but you can only faintly hear his voice say “please let’s get out…” by that time you’re so engaged in the party your friend is virtually non existent.

Eventually you find yourself engaging in less than righteous activities… Only to wake up with a headache, some half memories and a heart full of regret and sorrow. Because you didn’t listen to that friend.

That friend is the holy ghost…. He’s with us always but his influence can be weakened when we find ourselves in places we shouldn’t be.

Elder Robert D Hales in the April 2013 conference said
“Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved. Standing obedient and strong on the doctrine of our God, we stand in holy places, for His doctrine is sacred and will not change in the social and political winds of our day.”
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Now it is important to remember that these holy places aren’t always geographical. It can mean avoiding certain websites, and certain forms of entertainment. We must always be in constant search of the companionship of the Holy ghost!

We live in a day and age where values of man are being rewritten… But Our heavenly fathers values cannot be rewritten. No they stand eternal.

I wouldn’t be where I am without the companionship of the holy ghost. Before I was a member I sought out this church. A few of you know this story…

I was about 19 or 20. It was 2008 In the news they spoke about our church and they also spoke about a radical sect. I’m a writer and have always had a curious mindset. I was so curious as to number 1 who were the Mormons and number 2 why in the world won’t they stop talking about them… I me an other church’s were in the news at this time. There was the Catholics and a radical sect of the Baptist church in the news but no it was this mormon church that made me so curious.

Hbo had TV shows about this extreme sect where they virtually villanized our church. I was so confused why they villanized the Latter Day Saint Church.

So I sought out answers. I began researching. I swore I studied out the lds church better than the mid terms due around that time.

Well after months I discovered something. I discovered a book .I went on mormon.org where it offered a Book of Mormon. I hit the accept offer button, entered my address and number and that was it. Little did I know that I had created a digital missionary referral. I also ordered some dvds that never came…. But most importantly that book was the book of mormon.

One day my door bell rang. I opened the door up to 2 elders driving a red Ford focus. They told me they were with the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. They gave me the book and we said a prayer and then they left.

The whole time I thought the Book of Mormon was going to show up via UPS or FedEx. I was wrong.

They kept calling. I was an insecure 20 year old kid. I was nervous and scared what people would think If I were taught by these elders. At the time in was preparing for college football and a million other excuses that I could think of.

I went off to college after dodging those elders. Believe it or not I enjoyed that hbo show. At the time it was as close to the church as I could get. I was smart enough to know the differences between the two sects And wanted to follow the true lds sect. .

Like I spoke about the party that’s how college was for me. It wasn’t always a party but it was cloudy and loud spiritually. I became an insomniac abd in those late hours alone I was on the net taking a personal inline course teaching myself about the church.

I came home that summer and things spiralled out of control until I asked a friend who was a menber if I could truly learn.

She invited me to the visitors center and then through conference where I heard our prophets voice. 1 month later on october 30th 2011 I was baptised.

A week later I received the full gift of the holy ghost by the laying on of hands and baptism by fire.

Brothers and sisters the Lord wants us to return to him. And he sent us the holy ghost to get back to him. He sent the holy ghost to a 21 year old boy at an overpriced school in a four bedroom apartment that now stands before you as a man today. The voice was faint but it was just enough to get through. It was enough to get me here

It guided the prophet Joseph smith towards the restoration and guides each and every one of us today and everyday. Its our jobs to live in a lifestyle that can harness that constant companionship . .

3 years later and I still know this church to be true. I know that the gospel is alive and we are led by men directed of God and the holy ghost. I know the holy ghost to be our companion forever and I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ… Amen

My Spiritual Journey

So last year for an English assignment, we were given the opportunity to write a five page paper on a life changing event. Well I tried and I tried and I tried and could only think of my story to the baptismal font. In the paper I described from a young age to October of 2011 when I was baptised and the moments and events that led me to where I am now. So here it is, my conversion story, The Story of Me.

“My Conversion”

When people think of life-changing events, they think of first cars, graduations, marriage, and first children. At twenty-five years old, I’ve only accomplished so much, but what I have accomplished has brought forth blessings without measure. That is the story I am here to tell today: the story of my conversion and baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Most people I know were baptized as children or babies, depending on which church they belonged to. I took a more elongated route that introduced me to the baptismal font at twenty two. But before we jump ahead let’s start at the beginning.

Growing up, my family was Baptist. I didn’t really understand what that meant, outside of faith in God and Jesus Christ. I barely went to church, but knew the scriptures through my grandmother and my parents. I had a moderate understanding of the faith of my parents, but as a child I lived for Saturday morning cartoons. Power Ranger, Pokemon, Rugrats, fox kids were the pinnacle of my childhood weekends.

I can remember while sitting in front of the television, and seeing commercials, for “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Usually it was a commercial featuring a little kid doing something nice or sweet. It would catch my very short attention span for just a few seconds to make me wonder, “What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” The show would return, and like a flash of light, the thought would disappear. As a little boy, I didn’t think I’d get the answer to the question that had appeared in my mind for those brief seconds. Nor did I ever get my mind off of anything other than becoming a Power Ranger, the latter of which never happened. I can remember growing up, the word “Mormon”, I remember it leaving my mouth or being in the mouths of others, but there was no real meaning behind it. I had never met a Mormon or at least I didn’t know if I had. To be honest, I didn’t know anything more than the commercials.

Growing up, I did a good job staying out of trouble. Outside of a few school  fights, I was a good kid, although very hyper and lacking an attention span needed to complete most tasks without being reminded. I competed in varsity football, earned decent grades, and balanced singing in my school’s choir, while working a part time job in high school. I never touched drugs or alcohol. I never got in trouble with the law. Like I said, I was a pretty good kid throughout high school and middle school.

College came in 2007 and I began branching out on my own. I was again inquisitive. I was again searching for the answers to the questions of the universe: “why were we here, where did we come from, Republican, or Democrat, War or Peace”. Influences were all around, pulling me in every direction. Influences in politics, creation or origins of man, and in social norms were abundant in the college environment. The good boy from my earlier years was starting to slip into a sea of influence that would suck me in for years to come.

During 2008 and 2009, Mormonism was again on my television screen. However this time it was portraying a more radical side, the polar opposite from the commercials from my childhood. Depicted were the polygamist sects that everyone kind of knew about, but rarely discussed about except to discriminate against the mainstream Latter-day Saint population. Shows depicting Mormon polygamy like Big Love & Sister Wives, as well as the endless coverage of Federal strike force invasions of Polygamist compounds were all over. You couldn’t turn on the news without hearing something new about it. Of course I was aware there were two sides, unlike everyone else around me who seemed to mesh together the various sects, but I still didn’t know what the Mormon church really was. I wanted to know who the real Mormons were.

One day, my friend Ron and I were driving down towards DC to help with a monster truck rally. En route we drove past a building. Although I didn’t know at the time would change my life forever. While on 495, half awake and a little hungry, I peeked my head out the window of his red Chevy pickup truck and saw one of the most beautiful works of architecture I had ever laid eyes on. I saw the Washington DC Latter-day Saint Temple. It just rose over the hill as if it were floating. The white marble brightly shone in the sunlight and the golden spires rose into the heavens. I turned to Ron and asked, “Dude, what is that?” He then replied, “It’s the Mormon temple. Haven’t you seen it before?” My memory jogged back to trips on this highway when I had seen this temple before, except my childhood memories of those early family trips referred to it as a castle belonging to some type of royalty stationed here in America. That moment was just so amazing. I truly felt something staring out the window.

Weeks passed, and the image never left my head. At the time, I was working at Shoppers, grocery store. I worked along side of a non-Mormon war veteran who had seen the world named Bob. We would talk about family history and religion and one day he told me about the Mormon temple, that very same building that I had seen only a few weeks earlier. Bob and I traded thoughts and I’m sure my curiosity was no longer hidden. He told me about the family history center near the temple and how this religion possessed the largest family history database in the world. I found this so amazing, and just so powerful, because at the time I had never heard of anything like that. My mother being adopted had always made me interested in family history.

I had a friend at the time named Desiree. I remember talking about the church one night with her and she told me she was a member. I was dumbfounded; I couldn’t believe that I had found a member, someone who I trusted who was actually a member of this church that had taken over my mind. I began to ask questions pertaining to polygamy and the history of the church. MY curiosity again continued to grow.

I soon realized that I needed answers. As someone who enjoys writing and had grew up wanting to be a military journalist, my natural instinct was to sit in a library behind computers and books until I answered my questions. That’s what I began doing between class. It became an obsession. I saw on the church’s website, Mormon.org, that I could order their scriptures and DVDs. I ordered a book called the Book of Mormon along with some DVDs. I felt in my heart I was coming closer to finally having answers. I felt as though I was coming to an end in my journey. I had no idea that my journey had only just began.

A few days after placing the order, I sat on my living room couch drowning out the school day with useless television (ironically enough it was Big Love), when a knock on the door came. I got up and opened the door to two young boys about my age in shirts and ties. I looked at them not knowing who they were. I then noticed their name tags bore the name of the church that I had so many questions about. One of the boys said, “Hi we’re with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we have something for you!” He opened his back-pack and handed me a Book of Mormon. I remember holding the book in my hands. I had no idea what it was to be honest. I knew answers resided in this blue book. I could feel answers were in the minds and hearts of these boys. We spoke that afternoon for about fifteen minutes before we said a prayer and I bid them farewell.

I went back to my couch and glanced through the book. I really had no idea what it was about, except that it meant a lot to this curious church I was investigating. I began reading, which to be honest in the beginning quickly bored me. I preferred what I’d read online. Again my attention span came back to attack me.

Days went by, and the missionaries continued to call. I’d talk to them on the phone, but I’d always find ways around meeting them in person. I told my buddies about my new investigation. They voiced their concerns, and being the peer pressured kid I was, I took their opinions over what I felt in my heart. I was worried about what others would think of me looking into this church. I was so scared that I’d lose friends, and family because of this. I knew wars were being fought overseas in His name, but I was far from ready for a potential war with my family and friends, so I stopped pursuing as openly and directly. I had let fear defeat me.

The following year, I went away to college, leaving behind the community college library which had become the temple of my investigation. In that year, I began to party like everyone else. I began disobeying my parents and descending into a spiral of recklessness and destruction. I was in this darkness since I had stopped openly researching this church that had brought so much peace and curiosity. I was now away from my family, and forced to make new friends. Breakups, drama, and nights barely remembered followed. I was on another sports team which only drove and increased the recklessness. I had stopped caring and instead of yielding to my spiritual side and the curiosity that was inside of me, I was now a servant of the more temporal and destructive things in life. In the summer before leaving for Stevenson University, my family and I had the biggest blow up I could remember. It left relationships tarnished and fragile, and I went to college barely mending those relationships. I had lost any type of faith that had remained from my childhood. I had no direction outside of wanting to become a Baltimore City Police officer. I barely went to class, and when I did I barely paid attention. I showed up to practice and sporting events and parties, which were all I cared about at the time.

I was an insomniac. I had no sleep pattern whatsoever. I was writing a novel at the time, and couldn’t have cared less about sleep. Most homework and writing was done between the hours of midnight and 6AM, as well as research of this church continued. I again became privately obsessed with trying to discover these answers to the questions that had been on my mind before I entered Stevenson. A part of me knew between the wild nights that I was not in the right and that there was more to life. So I continued researching up until the day I left for summer vacation. This time, I researched so privately not even my closest friends knew what I was doing. I never returned to Stevenson after that year.

After returning home, the fighting with my parents continued.. Looking back, I knew I was the one in the wrong and they only wanted what was best for me, but I didn’t care. I wanted to do what I wanted when I wanted. I wanted to be a man. I moved out of their house that summer and in with my grandparents. I was 22, working a horrible window sales job. I had no real direction.. I had no idea how to become a cop or the route to take. That summer changed me. I went through many trials that summer with friends and family, which led me to the September when I finally admitted enough was enough.

I called my old friend Desiree and told her I wanted to know about her church. What began as simple curiosity became an urgent desire and need to personally know this church.

To help me learn she invited me to the temple on 495. I remember feeling as we walked the around the grounds and went into the visitor’s center that I had been there before. In the visitor’s center I was surrounded by answers and surrounded by this church that I had been curious about since I was a little boy I was so happy to be there.

A few weeks later she invited to her house to watch a huge conference being broadcast all over the world. I remember listening to the words of the leaders of the church. Each word sank deep into heart. I had given up fear and let in desire. I was ready to make a change in my life. That night I got home and downloaded every Latter Day Saint app there was onto my phone, and continued researching until I met with the missionaries from my congregation here in Odenton. Their lessons were so beautiful and relieving. It was an escape. Eventually after going to church and meeting life long friends, and learning more. I was eventually baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on October 30th 2011. I finally knew why that church in my childhood commercials was so special

Two years later my life has dramatically changed, I have direction, faith and overall the peace I had been longing for my whole life.. My curiosity still exists, but I now know where the answers lie. Despite the challenges I wouldn’t change a step of the journey for anything. It’s made me who I am today! It wasn’t easy, but I know now that the Lord had better plans for me. It has been an amazing ride, that’s far from over. Over the last four years, I know Heavenly Father directed me through the paths of life to reach the stage I am at right now. I have a true and honest faith in Christ and the Lord, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I know this church to be true, and I know the trials I faced were necessary for my development as a man.

I’d like to close this bearing my testimony, of the glory and guidance of our Heavenly Father. I don’t think the steps I took were accidental. I know our Savior lives, and I know that Our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. I know I made the right decision and continue to live that decision everyday! I love my life and all that I’ve been able to accomplish, and strive to serve Him daily! I say these things in Jesus Christ’s name

Amen

If you’d like to know more about my faith or have any questions, check out these websites, or feel free to comment and ask anything!!!

Lds.org

Mormon.org