The Center Of Everything Is Christ

Christmas time is an important time of year in the spiritual development of each of us and our families.  What better time of the year is there to get lost in the service of each other and ultimately service to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I look forward to feeling the love of family, friends, and ward members.  I hope I can put others first this time of year and focus on the gift of the happiness and joy of others.  There are so many great examples of service in our ward.  This month we will welcome two missionaries back home.  Elder Austin Ison and Elder Brady Wheeler have successfully served as missionaries for the past two years.  Elder Ison will report to the ward on December 17, Elder Wheeler will report on December 31.  What an exciting time for these two young missionaries and their families.  I’m looking forward to celebrating the completion of this significant act of service with each of them.

This month the theme in Sacrament meeting is Christ.  As we all know the center of everything is Jesus Christ.  My mission president used to say that everything we do, we should do in the name of Jesus Christ.  When we go to work, school, household chores, church, family time, everything can be done in the name of Jesus Christ.  I hope that I can do a little better this month as we celebrate Christmas.

The ward will have a Christmas party on December 20.  We hope that everyone will come and enjoy a brief program from our primary kids, a visit from Santa Claus, good food, and most important the fellowship of ward members.  Enjoy this time of year with your families and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Bishop Applegarth

Bishopric – Gratitude

Another month come and gone.  2017 is quickly drawing to a close.  October was a great month!  General Conference provides such a spiritual boost.  I love that all of the uplifting talks are available for us to re-read and re-watch. We ended October on a high note with our Ward Social and Cub Scout Cake auction.  There was a great turnout with delicious soups and chilis, amazing cakes and baked goods, in the beautifully decorated Cultural Hall.  A big thanks to all who participated.  It’s always so nice to mingle with this wonderful ward.

The topic for November, appropriately enough, is Gratitude.  One thing I missed this last Conference was listening to President Thomas S. Monson.  Looking back at some of his previous talks there are several about gratitude.  I’d like to share a few quotes from one entitled “The Divine Gift of Gratitude”

“My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

“This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.”

-Thomas S. Monson

I’m excited to learn more about this important virtue in the coming month.  As we approach Thanksgiving I hope we’ll take a minute to be truly grateful for the blessings we have.  Then with grateful hearts, we can look around us for those who we might serve.

Brother Walker 2nd Counselor

Bishopric – Prophets

I’m really excited to watch and listen to general conference.  What a great event to be able to listen to the prophets.  It is a busy time of year and easy to miss the opportunity to engage in general conference.  As a young man, I enjoyed going to Priesthood session with my father.  He would always take us out to dinner afterwards.  It became a strong family tradition, one that we really looked forward to.  Now I enjoy going to Priesthood session with my own boys.  It is great to listen to the prophets as a family.  To enjoy the spirit that comes with general conference.  Our Sacrament meeting theme this month is Prophets.  I’m excited to hear our speakers talk about prophets.

We will have another busy month.  On October 25th we will be having our ward fall social.  The cub scouts will bake and decorate cakes to auction at the social.  This is a long-standing tradition in the Mount Pleasant fourth ward, it’s also a great fundraiser and it’s a lot of fun.  There will be trick or treating at the social, so come dressed in your favorite costumes.

This month Ryker Erickson was scheduled to report to the MTC in England.  Unfortunately, he broke his arm in a skateboarding accident, so he will report in a couple of months from now.  Ryker is a great young man and he will do an amazing job as a missionary.  He is following the example of his father and two older brothers, all of whom served foreign missions.  We are excited as a ward to have seven full-time missionaries in the field, when Ryker reports, he will make that eight.

I’m so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m grateful for the loving members of the Mount Pleasant fourth ward.  I’m grateful for prophets.  I’m grateful for the knowledge that I can learn and progress infinitely.  That I can live with my family forever.  I’m grateful for my Savior.

Bishop Applegarth

Bishop – Grace

This month will be a busy month for the Mount Pleasant Fourth Ward.  Jentry Ison will report to the Missionary Training Center on September 27 as she prepares to serve the good people in the Vancouver Washington area.  We are really excited for Jentry and know that she will be an amazing missionary.  She is following the example of many great missionaries that have and are serving from our ward, including her older brother Austin.  Jentry and Austin won’t see each other for 3 1/2 years.  It is great to see young people that are so committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It will also be great to have a sister serving from our ward.  We hope this is a trend that we will begin to see with our young sisters.  We would also love to see some older couples serve missions from our ward.

This month the theme in Sacrament Meeting is Grace.  I look forward to many great talks on Grace.  Jentry and Ryker Erickson will share a meeting as they give their farewell talks on September 17.  Ryker will report to the MTC in October, so I look forward to mentioning his service in October’s newsletter.

The greatest Sacrament Meeting of the year happens on September 24 when we will have our primary program.  We all love hearing from our primary and listening to their songs.  Sister Brotherson and the rest of our primary presidency and teachers do such a good job.  We are grateful for the amazing kids and adults in our ward.

Brothers and Sisters, the church is true, Jesus is the Christ.  Through His grace we can all return and live with our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom.  I believe we will all make it and enjoy the blessings that a loving Heavenly Father have in store for us.  I love serving with each of you and look forward to a great month.

Bishop Applegarth

Bishopric – Faith

It is amazing how fast the summer goes.  August is a great month, the last month of summer.  The month that the kids will return to School.  This month there are many activities going on in the Mount Pleasant 4th Ward.  The activities includes a scout camp for our young men the week of August 7th, hosted at Larry Staker’s cabin.  This will be a great opportunity for our young men to earn merit badges and most importantly have fun and feel the spirit.  August 20th is Stake Conference, and August 23rd we will have a Ward Party.  There is always a lot going on and I’m grateful for all the service that is provided by members of the ward.

This month the theme in sacrament meeting is Faith.  I’m so grateful for the many examples of faith that we have in our ward.  I have learned a lot watching members of our ward test their faith.  It is fun to see people exercise faith as they accept a calling that stretches them out of their comfort zone.  It is a blessing to me to see people pay their tithing, having faith that the lord will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.  I love to observe all the little acts of kindness and love that come because of our ward’s faith in Jesus Christ, faith that moves our members to reach out and love and serve each other.

My testimony continues to grow as I watch those around me exercise their faith and then observe how they are blessed.  I have faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world.  I have faith that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I have faith that President Monson is a prophet, who receives revelation for us today.  I have faith that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all of us can learn from our mistakes and eventually be ready to return to our Heavenly Father and live in the Celestial kingdom.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve with each of you.  I look forward to a great month.

                                Bishop Applegarth

 Bishopric – Freedom

I would like to welcome Bradyn Jorgensen home from serving a full-time mission in the Raleigh North Carolina mission.  Bradyn gave a great report to the Mount Pleasant fourth ward.  What a great missionary Bradyn was.  I’m excited to watch him continue to progress.  I’m absolutely certain that Bradyn’s life will be full of happiness and joy.  I would also like to congratulate Ryker Erickson and Jentry Ison for their mission calls.  They will have an opportunity to experience the same growth that Bradyn has experienced over the past two years.

The theme for July is Freedom.  I love the historical events of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Each of the founding fathers that signed that document were guilty of treason to the British Empire.  The founding fathers were all in, if the revolutionary war had been lost, each person that signed the Declaration of Independence would have been put to death by the most powerful country in the world.  I’m grateful for all the people throughout the history of our country that have pursued and protected the idea of Freedom.

I’m grateful for the scriptural accounts of the pre-existence.  We know that there was a war in heaven that was based on the idea of free agency.  Satan was a proponent of eliminating choice.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knew that we have to have free agency or else we cannot learn, develop, and grow.  We all supported this idea in the pre-existence and we can all recognize how important it is now to be able to choose.

I was teasing one of my kids this week that I love being a parent but I would love it even more if I could make their choices for them.  This obviously would not work.  There are plenty of times where I council with my kids and they make a decision that is different than I would have made.  Sometimes they learn that my advice would have protected them from a bad decision.  Sometimes, I learn that I was giving bad advice.  Either way, everyone involved has an opportunity to learn and to grow because of agency.

The ultimate freedom is the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Through the atonement, we are able to learn from our mistakes.  We are able to make bad decisions, learn, and then make better decisions the next time.  This is how we progress eternally until eventually we become like our Heavenly Father.  I am so grateful for the atonement, I’m grateful for Jesus Christ for making the sacrifice for me and my family.  I’m looking forward to the sacrament meetings in July.  I look forward to continuing to serve with each of you.

                                Bishop Applegarth

Bishop – Study

June is a great time of year for our ward.  The kids are out of school which provides many great opportunities.  Many of our youth and families will participate in the Mormon Miracle Pageant.  Our girls will go to girl’s camp with the Stake.  Our young men will have a camp that they will attend at the end of the month.  Mount Pleasant in June is one of the greatest spots on the planet.  The weather is perfect, the mountain becomes accessible, and the valley is still green.  What a great time to year to celebrate all the wonderful blessings Heavenly Father has blessed us with here in the Sanpete Valley.

This month the theme is Personal Study.  For me and my family, summer is the hardest time to consistently study our scriptures.  Without the routine of school, it is difficult to keep the routine of daily scripture study.  With all the church activities, summer camps, and other activities we as a family will really need to make a conscious effort to schedule our scripture study.  With teenager’s schedules, it can be difficult for family prayer as well.

I know that our family is much happier when we have regular scripture study.  Family prayer brings the spirit into our home.  The effort that it takes to keep the habit of daily scripture study during the summer is well worth the benefits we receive.  I look forward to a great month.  For good weather, good experiences, and the continued spiritual growth that can only come through regular, consistent, personal study.

Bishop Applegarth

Bishopric Message – Restoration

The theme in Sacrament Meeting this month is the Restoration.  I am so grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It has absolutely impacted every aspect of my life.  It has brought me and my family immense happiness, joy, and opportunities.  The marvelous truths that I know because of the restoration include the knowledge that I can live with my family forever, that I can progress eternally, that the atonement is infinite, that God and Jesus Christ aren’t just faceless beings similar to a cloud, instead they are a loving father and older brother – with an eternal body.  They know me and my family and watch out for and bless me daily.  I’m so grateful for this gospel.

I love church history.  I love reading about the pioneers, the early restoration, and the trials that the saints faced and overcame.  April and May are great months for me to reflect on the sacrifice that many people have made so that I can have the gospel in my life.  I marvel that Joseph Smith was able to accomplish all that he did at such a young age.  At 14, Joseph Smith received the first vision, at 17 Joseph Smith received the earliest revelation that is included in the doctrine and covenants.  The gospel provides such strength, that people are able to accomplish amazing things – even at a young age.

This is true for our youth in the Mount Pleasant Fourth Ward.  We have nine seniors in high school that will graduate this month.  Cade Davis, Ryker Erickson, Mariah Hafen, Jentry Ison, Dani Jallath, Christian Johansen, Natalie Jorgensen, Jared Lee, and Abigail Walker.  Each of these young people have accomplished many great things.  I have enjoyed watching this group participate in athletics.  I have loved listening to their musical talents.  I have loved watching them perform in plays or the band.  They are all great students.  Just like Joseph Smith accomplished a lot at an early age, this group of seniors have accomplished a lot.  They have made Mount Pleasant better.  I can’t wait to watch them as they move on to their next endeavor.  I love each one of them and really appreciate the impact each of them have had in my life and the lives of my family.

I also would like to publicly thank Jeff and Angie Parish for their great service.  I love Jeff and Angie and want them to know that they are both amazing examples to me.  Jeff has the ability to reach out to those in need.  He has a great sense of knowing who needs help and how to help them.  Angie is always happy, always ready to help, has been a great Relief Society President, and makes a really good carrot cake.  Both Jeff and Angie put others first and have served the ward well.  I’m excited that they will be close by and look forward to their continued friendship.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  It will continue to assist these nine young people and all of the members of the Mount Pleasant Fourth Ward as we seek to progress and improve our situations, the situations of our families, and the situations of all those around us.  I’m so thankful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Applegarth

Bishop’s thoughts on The Atonement

For me, April is a good time to reflect on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  As winter’s grasp starts to give way to spring and the flowers begin to poke their head out of the soil and the grass starts to green up, it is a great reminder of how the atonement works in our lives.  Just like winter gives way to spring, sadness can give way to happiness, despair can become hope, hate can turn to love, and pain can become joy.  Spring rejuvenates my soul and is an amazing time of year.

Starting on Palm Sunday, I try and follow the last week of the Saviors life day by day.  It is interesting to see what events transpire each day, with the most important events happening on Friday before Easter with the atonement and of course Easter Sunday with the resurrection.  I encourage each member of the Mount Pleasant fourth ward to study the Saviors last week during the Easter season.  It is a great opportunity to get a little closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I want each of you to know that I believe Jesus Christ died for each of us.  He conquered spiritual death in the Garden of Gethsemane when he took each of our sins and beat them.  I cannot even pretend to comprehend how the atonement works, I only know that it works.  Can you imagine a life without sin?  Someday, we will experience this all because of the atonement.  Jesus Christ conquered physical death for us on Easter Sunday when he was resurrected with a perfect immortal body.  Can you imagine what our perfect immortal bodies will be like?  No sickness or disease, no need to find the cure to cancer or worry about your blood pressure.  What greater gift can be given then conquering these two deaths?

I love my Savior and hope that in some small way I can emulate some of his qualities.  I hope I can make Mount Pleasant just a little better.  Thanks for each of you and your support.  Have a Happy Easter season.

Bishop Applegarth

Service

March will be a busy month for the Mount Pleasant 4th Ward.  On March 12th, we will have Ward Conference.  On March 17th-18th the youth are invited to attend Youth Conference, which will be held at Aspen Grove near Sundance.  I’m excited for these events, for an opportunity to strengthen each other.  For the blessings that come when we invite the spirit into our lives.  I’m grateful for all the people that sacrifice their time and talents in service to other members of the ward.  I’m grateful for the love that I feel from everyone in the ward.

The theme for Sacrament Meeting this month is Charity.  One of the greatest blessings of my calling is that I get to see many little acts of charity between ward members.  A couple of weeks ago, a member of the ward gave me a bunch of ground beef to distribute to families that could use it.  What a great night that was, I absolutely loved being the messenger and seeing how this act of charity was able to positively impact so many people.  The spirit of charity instantly invited the Holy Ghost into the lives and homes of the families that were visited.

I love seeing how a compassionate home or visiting teacher impacts positively the lives of ward members.  It is common to see the love of a primary teacher, a scout leader, or a young women’s leader impact positively the youth in our ward.  To me, these small acts is what makes all the difference in the world.  These small acts of charity, where nothing is expected in return, make Mount Pleasant a great place to live.  I’m grateful for the Savior and his influence in the lives of all of the members of the 4th Ward.  I’m grateful for the kindness we show each other.  I’m grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  For knowledge that there is a living prophet on the earth today.  I’m grateful for continual revelation, for the knowledge that families are together forever, for the priesthood power, and this month I’m particularly grateful for the principle of charity.

Bishop Applegarth

The Miracle of Forgiveness

The theme for the month of February is the miracle of forgiveness.  My favorite aspect of the gospel is the idea of forgiveness.  What a great concept.  The belief that no matter what we do or how bad we mess up, we can overcome.  I know that forgiveness is real, I have felt it in my life.  Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome all things.  As we overcome small things and big things we become a little better, a little more like our Savior.  This idea, the idea of eternal progression, is so important.  I love the eternal nature of the atonement, the only limiting factor is us.  The only thing that can keep us from reaching our potential is if we choose not to implement the atonement in either seeking forgiveness or forgiving someone else.  I’m grateful for this gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m grateful for the hope that it brings into the lives of me, my family, and everyone in the Mount Pleasant 4th Ward.  I know that all of us can enjoy the blessings that come from the miracle of forgiveness.  The blessings that bring us hope and happiness.

Bishop Applegarth

Family Tithing

In 1995 Angie decided to go back to church making sure our kids were brought up with good standards. At this time I was still offended and wanted nothing to do with any of it, so I did not participate. We had our struggles on and off just like any other marriage would have about money, what to do for entertainment purposes. Money always seemed to be a factor, there just was never enough for what we wanted to do. So we did like everyone else, play first then pay the bills with what was left, didn’t work out so well. So we decided to switch up who paid the bills. So one of us would pay for a while, and then the other would pay for a while, that way we both knew where the money went, not to mention getting a break from all the stress of paying the bills. No matter how hard we tried or which part of the year, it seemed like there just wasn’t enough money to go around.

In 1998 the brains of our outfit came up with this idea of paying tithing, yeah right, we don’t have enough to pay our bills and you want to give ten percent to the church, that by the way offended me back in the 80’s. Yeah still wasn’t over it. Well Angie started paying our tithing and low and behold what happened. It was a miracle, we were able to survive with what we had. We have not missed the money that we pay in tithing. And the blessings have never stopped. We have a wonderful home, healthy kids, (even Braden as many times as he has been to the hospital and can still function with all the breaks and sprains), best of all we were able to pay the hospital bills, we have our own business and everything else we need. This life lesson has helped me grow in the ward and the church.

-Jeff Parish

Light The World

The Holiday Season is a great time of the year.  I hope this year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it can be transformational.  I hope it makes us all just a little better, a little more Christ like.  The church has released a series of videos on Mormon.org called “We can light the world”.  What a great chance to be reminded of our savior and then have an opportunity to act on the words of our savior.  I would encourage all members of the Mount Pleasant 4th ward to “light the world” this December.

-Bishop Applegarth

Missionary Work

This month’s sacrament meeting theme is missionary work.  There couldn’t be a more appropriate theme for my family and me as we just dropped our son off in the Provo MTC.  What an emotional experience.  It is a little surreal to think that I won’t see Spencer for 2 years (104 weeks, or 730 days or 17,520 hours).  In the past 18 1/2 years I haven’t gone more than one week without seeing Spencer.  I love Spencer and am missing him like crazy.  I know many of you have sent a son or daughter off on a mission and can identify with the feelings that this sacrifice brings.  As I think about missionary work, I really think about a love story.  Not the kind of story that Hollywood would want to tell, but a quiet, persistent love story.  I know that missionary work is all about loving people.  Loving perfect strangers, or sometimes even harder loving our neighbors or family members.  To love enough to challenge each other to be better.  To love enough to overcome our fear that someone will reject us or laugh at us.  To love someone enough that we don’t judge, gossip, or whisper their shortcomings.  Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love and missionary work.  In Matthew 22:37-40 it reads “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Unconditional love is the key, it is the “first and great commandment”.  It is the higher law that Jesus Christ established when he completed the atonement.  It is the basis for all things good.  If unconditional love motivates us, we will all be amazing missionaries.  We will see the good in everyone and work hard to make bad men good and good men better. Just as Spencer, Trent, Tyler, Brady, Austin, Bradyn, and Dax learn and grow and enjoy the blessings of missionary work.  We too can enjoy those same blessings.  I look forward to the day when I see Spencer again, I hope that I can report to him that I have successfully incorporated missionary work into my life.

-Bishop Applegarth

Service

October is a great time of year, with the leaves changing, football, volleyball, tennis, and soccer games to attend, and the mountains to enjoy.  We as a bishopric are grateful for this beautiful Sanpete valley.  We are grateful for the Mount Pleasant 4th ward family.  We are grateful for all the love and support we receive from each of you.  This month is particularly exciting for my family as Spencer leaves to go on his mission to Sierra Leone Freetown mission.  What a great opportunity for Spencer and for our family.  As a family we are feeling nervous and a little worried, but we are excited. We know that Spencer will be blessed as he serves.  We know that our family will receive blessings because of Spencer’s service.  We as a family have a testimony of service.  The theme in sacrament meeting this month is service.  I want each of you to know that I’m happiest when I’m serving others.  I look at all the opportunities my father in heaven gives me to serve, and those are the areas of my life that mean the most to me.  Starting with my family, when I put my wife Kathryn first, I’m happy.  My kids have provided me with opportunities to serve.  They have all required a great deal of sacrifice, but the return on investment is a great deal of happiness.  They fill Kathryn and my life with incredible joy.  I have enjoyed my church callings over the years and know that when I’m magnifying my callings, I’m happy.  As we serve each other, we are blessed with strong relationships and the satisfaction that can only come from service.  I’m grateful for this gospel and for all that it requires.  I love Jesus Christ and his example of the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate service.  As the gospel requires a great deal of service from each of us, in return it becomes the most important thing in our lives.

-Bishop Applegarth

Sabbath Day

What a beautiful time of year this is.  It is a great time to enjoy all the blessings our Father in Heaven has given us.  The Mount Pleasant 4th ward has many blessings to celebrate.  We currently have five missionaries serving throughout the world.  In September, Elder Tyler Jessee will be entering the MTC.  He will be serving in the Korea Seoul South Mission.  We are excited for Elder Jessee and his family.  We have three additional Elders who will be leaving soon (two in October and one in December).

This month, the theme during Sacrament Meeting is “the Sabbath Day.”  A quick search on LDS.org brings up many great talks, scripture references, and videos.  We would encourage you to search LDS.org and share some of these wonderful resources with your family members.

For our families, the Sabbath day is extremely important.  Life is so busy, and there is so much going on.  We find ourselves trying to meet the demands of so many people, including our employers, family members, and friends, in addition to having various church callings.  It is vital to have a day of rest, a day when the most important thing is to feel the spirit.  Just as God took the seventh day to rest after creating the world, it is vital that we do the same thing.  We, as a bishopric, look forward to Sunday when our spirits are renewed through the partaking of the sacrament.  We enjoy the fellowship that the Mount Pleasant 4th ward gives us.  We also enjoy spending moments of rest and relaxation with our families.

Brothers and Sisters, we love you and appreciate all of your support.  If there is anything we can do for you or your families, please reach out and let us know.

-Bishop Applegarth