Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm back, and feeling better than ever.

A lot of terrible things happened to me last year and I needed to have some time to myself but the new year is going better.

It is 2013 and I have started reading and studying the scriptures.  I have set up a blog at to write out my own thoughts on what I have read.  I will try to add more information to this blog but feel free to follow me there as I post and update everyday.

I need strength, and I know that, and following the Lord will help give me that strength that I have long since been lacking.  I need to know that I can lean on the Lord to help lift me up as well as members of my church.  It has been a difficult road to follow but with the new realizations I think I can be a better person.

Look for more friends, and I will promise to update as I can.

Michael Graves
Roseville 5th Ward

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Inactivity is an epic fail.

I have been very inactive here and was looking forward to updating this on a regular basis and I have epically failed in following that plan.

I have had a lot of things happen in just the past month or so and my life is in turmoil.  I have lost both my father and my best friend in just a two-week period.  Also, since I was living with my best friend my housing has quickly changed and I have had to find a place to live very quickly.

Stress has caused me to lose my job and I felt like I was at the end of my rope...that is until I got some news.

My brother, an agnostic for life, has also had a pile of problems himself.  He was with my friend when he passed away and it shook him to his core.  This was also after my father passed and the stress that he has had dealing with all of that.  He reached out to some friends he has and found comfort in members of the church.  Bishop Geoff Miller and my brother became very close friends and my brother finally decided to go to church.  That one sparkle has outshined all the horror I have had in my life and I am elated that he found the church.  He has already started meeting with the missionaries and it has forced me to look at my own church life.

I have been inactive and it has not been a good feeling.  I feel like I am missing something and that I am fleeting from God.  At this time I need him more than ever and I realize this.  I have finally picked up my own quad and started re-reading the Bible and Book of Mormon.  I am hoping this focus helps me to follow a path which I know I need to follow.

Well, I hope to keep up more with this blog so feel free to look around and follow me.  Hopefully I will have more to say as I study the scriptures and find my way back into church.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Testimony of the Holy Ghost

On the 17th of June, this last Friday, I got to speak at one of my close friends' baptisms.  He had asked me to talk on either baptism or the Holy Ghost.  My decision came to me very easily and I found I did not even have to write anything down because the story I was going to share had changed my life.  I decided to record the speech and transcribe it here for those who are interested to read it.  So here is my talk, exactly how I spoke it.

"Brandon approached me and wanted me to talk at his baptism about either baptism itself or the Holy Ghost and I thought about it and decided to speak on the Holy Ghost because I have a story I wanted to share and I felt that it was pertinent.

It was a camping trip that I had taken with a series of friends that I have had.  It was the first camping trip I had with these friends and it was up in Modesto.  I had never been to Modesto.  It was a weekend long camping trip and I had to work that Friday.  So I ended getting home, packing up, and getting out to Modesto but it was late, it was about midnight and I hadn’t eaten all day.
So I got my car unpacked, got my stuff set up, and got back in my car to find a 24 hour place to go grab some food.  I remember it was inside a park, it was inside like a regular national park, and I was pulling out and I heard this voice say, “Maybe you should put your seatbelt on.”  I didn’t think anything of it I just reached up, grabbed my seatbelt, slapped it on, and started driving down the road.
Speed limit was 45 and that’s what I was doing and I get to this intersection, I can see this intersection ahead of me, and I hear that same voice say “Maybe you should slow down a little bit.”  Again, didn’t think anything of it I slowed down and I hit about 40 miles an hour when I got to that intersection.
As I was going through that intersection I went to go look to see if any cars were coming and I looked to the left and all I saw were headlights.  I had no time to react.  The car hit me, rolled over the hood of my car, and ended up on its side and slid.  It was a drunk driver who had hit me doing about 92 miles an hour.
I was driving a Geo Metro which is a fiberglass shell of a car and he was driving a GMC Jimmy and looking back on that I know the Holy Ghost was keeping me safe.  That was the Holy Ghost that was telling me what I needed to do.  But he also gave me the choice of doing it. 
Had I not done what that voice had told me to do, I wouldn’t be standing here today.  I actually never would have met Brandon.  So, I’m very grateful to be here and I do believe the Holy Ghost will talk to you; you just have to be able to listen.  Sometimes it’ll be subtle, sometimes it’ll be like me, but he will be there for you.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Now I say this because I thought it was amusing when I received my patriarchal blessing today in the mail.  Because I wasn't a follower for some time, my blessing had been lost in move after move that I had been through.  As I read it a passage from that blessing stood out to me and I could not help but laugh because of how true the statement was.
"The spirit will reveal to you and you will then have testimony of the validity of the Holy Ghost and it's ability to work within you according to your faithfulness."
This statement could not be any truer.  My faith in the Holy Ghost saved my life that day and I know what I heard was not just my conscience or a passing thought I had.  The truth is, the Holy Ghost saved me that day to continue my work on this planet.
As I said to Brandon, and as I say to all of you, the Holy Ghost will talk to you, you just have to listen for him.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Ok so this will be a real quick post today but it has a strong message to go along with it.

The past few days I have been starting to pray again.  I do not get on my knees to pray, I just lay bcd in bed and pray right before I'm about to go to bed.  Like I said, I've just started it again but have had some success with it and thought I'd share.

I suffer from severe bouts of insomnia.  I do not take prescription medications because most of this become habit forming and that will do me no good.  So I take an over the counter medication from a local drug store.  It's non habit forming and is only one pill which is better than the other I was taking which was two pills a day.

I give you that information to give you this information.  The drug sometimes doesn't work.  My mind races at night and I think about everything and nothing at all.  I finally looked to prayer as a possible answer and really hoped it would work.  My prayer has basically been the same, what I ask for is help to go to sleep and to wake up somewhat early.

My prayers have been partially answered and I have been able to relax my mind enough, which I've never been able to do easily, and get to sleep early.  The waking is still difficult but what I wan to do is to not use the medication I use and just pray for the help.

Hopefully this will help me as I know the prayer has helped me get to sleep a lot easier.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Path to Enlightenment

My path to the church came quite unexpectedly to everyone around me, including myself.  As I grew up, I never found myself quite a religious person.  My mother and father were not religious at the time and I lived my life as well as I could.  Eventually though I sought out church to explain things in the world.  I eventually started attending a Nazarene church with a friend of mine while I was a freshman in High School.  I could not find what I wanted at the Nazarene church.  While it may be a church others find comfort in, for me, I felt nothing.  So as quickly as I started attending church, I had stopped. 
I had a few close friends growing up in High School but was not someone from what you would call the “popular” crowd.  One of my friends was a Mormon, born and raised in the church.  I did not know much of the Mormon religion and really did not want to start looking into it.  I felt that religion did not really play a part in my life.  As we got closer to graduating, he got closer to leaving for his mission.
He would call me on a somewhat regular basis and we would talk.  I knew he was not supposed to be calling me, but it was good to hear from him and talk about the week and what we each went through.  He told me a lot about his mission and what he was doing.  It was interesting to hear, but again, did not interest me too terribly much.  Each time we ended our phone calls we would always have the same exchange.
“I’m going to talk to you about the church when I get back,” he would say.
“No you aren’t,” I would respond.
With that our conversations would come to an end until the next week.
One day, after talking to him, I decided that I would pick up a Book of Mormon and I would talk to him about his religion, but to debunk it.  I would find things, in his own religious text that contradict what he would tell me.  I was going to do something that no one else had done and that was going to take apart the Church of Latter-day Saints using their own text.
I cracked it open and started reading.  The most remarkable thing happened; I could not put it down.  It was a compelling work that made me want to read more.  I found myself studying it and within just a few days I had read it front to back.  I was amazed at what I read and how it made me feel.  It was like my eyes had been opened to something that I had wanted to know for a long time.
That next time that he called, when it came time to end our conversation, he started our usual exchange.
“I’m going to talk to you about the church when I get back.”
“No you aren’t,” I replied.
This time though, there was a pause.  Maybe it was how I said it, maybe it was something he understood but carefully he asked a new question, “Why not?”
“Because I’m just waiting on you to get back so I can get baptized.”
That is how I became a Mormon.