Hundreds of thousands have been touched by the mission experiences of John Groberg, but have they heard it straight from the source? Listen to John and his wife, Jean, open up about their real-life love story and lessons they learned in Tonga that inspired the beloved The Other Side of Heaven movies.

“I said, ’So you’re the lucky girl who gets to play the part of my wife' . . . and her first comment, she just looked for a while and said, ‘You really love her, don’t you?’ I said, ‘I sure do.’ And I think she felt that and tried to convey that.” 

Find ways you can minister to "the one" this holiday season at LightTheWorld.org

Find The Other Side of Heaven and The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith DVDs on deseretbook.com. Or find The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith movie on Amazon, Google Play, or iTunes

Click here to get tickets for the All In live event with Calee Reed on Friday, Dec. 6. 

EPISODE REFERENCES:

Elder Groberg's BYU Speech "The Other Side of Heaven" 

Article: "General Conference Special: Return to 'The Other Side of Heaven'"

Website: The Princess Diaries 

Video: Anne Hathaway winning an Oscar:

Video: Christopher Gorham interview with LDS Living

Video: "Temple Blessings From Tonga to Philadelphia: The Sikahema Story"

Website: Polynesian Cultural Center

SHOW NOTES:


2:14- Heeding a Prophet’s Voice
4:00- Memories in Living Color
5:45- Jean’s Life While John was Gone
7:40- Anne Hathaway and Christopher Gorham
11:44- Feki
14:33- Tonga Comes to Life for Jean
17:25- A Tongan Way of Life
29:19- The Fire of Polynesian Faith
33:35- A Light That Draws People to Jesus Christ
37:20- What Does It Mean To You To Be “All In”?

TRANSCRIPT:

Morgan Jones  

Of his mission, Elder John H. Groberg said, "Let me state clearly that I do not feel my mission was any more special or purposeful than any other person's mission. Everyone's mission and marriage is special to them because it is theirs. And if they put their whole heart and soul into it, God will make it eternally meaningful." However, John Groberg's mission has become meaningful to many people around the world, specifically the Tongan people he came to love, his future wife, and not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people who have watched "The Other Side of Heaven" one and two. Elder John H. Groberg is an emeritus General Authority Seventy. He and his wife, Jean Groberg, are the parents of 11 children. Just 10 years after returning home from his young mission to Tonga, the Groberg's, along with their five young daughters, returned to Tonga as mission president and wife. 

This is "All In," an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, "What does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" I'm Morgan Jones, and I'm honored to have John and Jean Groberg here with me today. 

Elder and Sister Groberg, Welcome. We are so excited to have you. First of all, let's talk about these movies. These movies, "The Other Side of Heaven" one and two are based on your lives, which is pretty surreal. Is it weird to have your life in a movie?


Jean Groberg  

It is, definitely.


Morgan Jones  

I can only imagine. But did you ever anticipate that so many people would respond to the movie in the way that they did or that it would have the success that it's had? 


John Groberg  

Oh, never never even thought of it. Never even thought we would have a movie in the first place. So no, the answer is it wasn't anything we planned or hoped for. We're just grateful that it's worked out the way it has.


Morgan Jones  

Absolutely. Well, we are so grateful that you shared these stories. And Elder Groberg, you wrote these stories out of obligation, not obligation, out of obedience to President Thomas S. Monson. What kind of gratitude do you feel toward him and retrospect that he encouraged you to write these things down?


John Groberg  

Well, I feel deep gratitude for him because as he said, "John, if you don't write them down, that'll be a chapter of church history that will just be lost because we don't do things like that anymore. And you've just got to do it." And I had never written a book before. I had no idea about how to go about it, but with his encouragement, I did. And I know that there was an extra spirit to have help me do it because it was responding to a request from one of the members of the 12. And you're always blessed if you obey them.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah. And President Monson, you had gotten to know him very well, because he was assigned to the South Pacific. Is that right? 


John Groberg  

That's right. When we were called as a mission president in 1966. He had been assigned to the South Pacific in 1965, just the year before. So he was our first contact and we spent a lot of time with him, not just hours, but days and even weeks. We became very well acquainted. He was so supportive and helpful in a lot of challenges that we had at the time, but it was a marvelous experience. And then, of course, being a General Authority, I worked with him on many occasions too.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah, so neat. So neat to have had that opportunity to get to know a prophet on that level. I want to start, if it's okay, with kind of the first movie, your time as a young missionary. And Jean, at this point, you were waiting for a missionary, which is something that resonates with a lot of women in our culture, I think. But when you think back on your time as a young missionary, Elder Groberg, what are the most vivid memories of that time in your life?


John Groberg  

Well, I think the fact that it actually happened is I look back sometimes I say, "Wow." 


Morgan Jones  

Did that really happen to me? 


John Groberg  

Yeah. And yet at the time, it wasn't all that scary. I mean, it was scary but that was just the way it was. I didn't really think it was that different because I didn't really have anything else to compare it with. I grew up in a farming community in Idaho and we were just taught that you do what you commit to do and you don't ever say "that's too much" or "I'm not going to do it." You know if they assigned you two row of sugar beets to hole, you did them even though you were tired after the first half of the first row, you just did it. That was during the Depression and the Second World War. And I think that was sort of my attitude. I mean, we had a lot of horrendous experiences as you look back, but at the time, even though they were scary, well, that's just what you do. You're here, you agreed to come and you just do it. And so I don't know if that answers your question or not but that was kind of my feeling.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah. Jean, we see little bits of your life in that first movie. What didn't we see about what was going on in your life while your husband was on his mission, your boyfriend at the time, and what were you learning while he was away?


Jean Groberg  

Well, you mentioned earlier that I was waiting, I was writing to a missionary. We had not made any commitments at all, just that we were good friends. And both felt really good about him going on a mission and our only agreement was that we would write to one another and wait and see what the Lord had in mind for our lives. So, I continued my studies at BYU, my junior and senior year and had a wonderful time dating others and had wonderful roommates who were a great influence on my life. And I graduated with a degree in elementary education and took my first job in Anaheim, California as a first and second-grade school teacher. And I was busy there with lots of friends and the letters that came from the Pacific were wonderful and exciting and I grew to gain a much-increased appreciation of the kind of person that Elder Groberg was becoming. And through the time I decided that I really did want to at least be around when he got home to see what would happen.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah, that's so so neat. So how long after—when you got home Elder Groberg, how long was it until the two of you got married?


John Groberg  

About yeah, a couple of months. I got home the last of June or the first of July and we got married in September.


Morgan Jones  

It was a good decision.


Jean Groberg  

A good decision. 


Morgan Jones  

So one thing that I love looking back on that first movie, which was 18 years ago—which is so crazy, I've never felt older—is looking back and seeing Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway. Not many people, Jean, can say that an Oscar winner portrayed them in a film. So that's pretty cool. But looking back on that, and they were two people that were, you know, up and coming actors, and they were not members of our faith, and they, to me, did such a good job of portraying, especially Christopher Gorham, that experience of being a missionary. How do you think he was able to kind of capture that missionary spirit even as somebody that's not a member of our faith?


John Groberg  

Well, he's, of course, a good actor for one, but he's a good man too. He's kind of contrary to what a lot of Hollywood people do, that is he's married and stayed married to the same woman. They have three children, they're Catholic, they're very good people very devoted. His oldest child is autistic, very, quite autistic and sometimes that drives couples apart, but in their case, it's pulled them closer together. And he did go out with the missionaries for a full day.


Jean Groberg  

Yes, he had that actual experience of walking and going with the missionaries,


John Groberg  

Teaching lessons and so forth. But I think he's—we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of good people that aren't members of the church. And they have good, high, moral standards. And I think he just, I don't know. One thing, he fell in love with Feki, he read the book and read the script and that when you asked about my first mission, one of the things that really helped me a lot was Feki himself. I just felt like there was someone I could rely on and help and I got the idea that Chris got that feeling. Chris Gorham, that "Yeah, here's a here's a really good, good man." And so that's about all I can say.


Jean Groberg  

Well, they called us before starting to do the shooting and ask questions and both Annie called me and Chris talked to John. And, you know, they were both sincere in wanting to get the feel and the spirit of the people they were portraying. 


Morgan Jones  

That's so neat. And you were able to meet them on the set. Have you kept in touch? I think you have kept in touch with Christopher Gorham. 


Jean Groberg  

Well, yes, he went on our family Christmas letter list and he has said that he enjoys getting those letters. So I was happy to hear that.


John Groberg  

We have, you know, of course, Annie has sort of taken off on a different tack, but when I first met Annie, you know, this was the first full movie she did. She did this actually before she did "The Princess Diaries." But they waited until after the "Princess Diaries" came out. But when I first met Annie, I don't know what she expected. But as I talked to her, I said, "So you're the lucky girl that gets to play the part of my wife?"  And she kinda was taken back, you know, rather than saying, "Oh, we're lucky to have you," I said, "You're the lucky girl that gets to play my wife." And her first comment, she just looked for a while and then says, "You really love her, don't you?" And I said, "I sure do." And I think she felt that and kind of tried to convey that.


Morgan Jones  

Well, they both did an incredible job. You mentioned Feki, for those listening, Elder Groberg, who are not as familiar with your story, who is Feki?


John Groberg  

Feki was my first companion when I arrived in Tonga, it took me three months to get there. That's one of the reasons it was a three-year mission, is because they didn't start counting the time until you actually arrived in the mission field. Now, they count it when you're going the MTC, but we didn't have an MTC in those days. But the mission president assigned me to go to the farthest Island away from church headquarters there in Tonga, in Niuatoputapu, which is closer to Samoa, than it is to Tonga, but it's part of Tonga. And he assigned me to go with Feki Po'uha as my first companion. Feki was not a full-time missionary, he was a building missionary. He didn't even hold the Melchezedic Priesthood, he was a priest. In those days, they didn't ordain people to the Melchizedek priesthood until they were married. 


Jean Groberg  

In Tonga. 


John Groberg  

In Tonga. But he turned out to be just a perfect companion. He didn't know the discussions because he hadn't been a missionary, but he knew the gospel, and he had a strong testimony. But the main thing is President Coombs, who was my mission president said, "You protect Elder Groberg, don't let anything happen to him." And boy, he took that to heart and I felt it. There were a lot of challenges, but Feki was—so he was my first companion. I hear of people that get tired of being in an area for several months and the same companion. Well, I was on Niuatoputapu for 13 months with Feki, the same companion for 13 months. So I don't have much sympathy for people who complain. It was wonderful. He was wonderful and very, very strong in the church and in his testimony, and in his ability to protect me and to help me.


Jean Groberg  

Yeah, and I grew to love him just through the letters, through comments that John would write in the letters about the things that Feki would do and say.


John Groberg  

Unfortunately, he married and they had a couple of children and then he got cancer and died in his 40s. So I didn't really have a long association with him afterwards. 


Morgan Jones  

Yeah. Were you able to meet him, Jean, when you all went back to Tonga?


Jean Groberg  

Yes. He was at that time, he married a girl from Niue Island, which was part of our mission, but not part of Tonga. And we went there and had the opportunity to meet Feki and Fully, his wife, and Little Joe, their little boy at the time.


Morgan Jones  

That was one thing I wanted to kind of ask about. You heard in letters all about Tonga. It was this place that I'm sure you couldn't even totally wrap your head around. And then Elder Groberg comes back, this second movie focuses on your time as a mission president in Tonga. Jean, for you, when you first got there and were able to meet the people and see the place that you had only heard about in letters, what was that like for you?


Jean Groberg  

Well, I was pretty excited as well as a little scared. Course, worried about being able to communicate, not knowing the language very well. But I was thrilled because I had gained a great love for the Polynesians and specifically the Tongan people through the years of writing Dear John letters. I had an opportunity to meet just a few of them when I was at BYU, a few Polynesians, and actually I joined what was then called the Chiara club and participated in Polynesian type activities my last two years at BYU. So it was wonderful to be there and see for myself. I was thrilled for the opportunity and came to my own love and appreciation for the goodness of the people, their helpfulness and their great faith. 


Morgan Jones  

So neat. Elder Groberg, what did it mean for you to be able to go back to Tonga, this time with your family, and be able to share that experience with people that you love? 


John Groberg  

It was wonderful. I just enjoyed every moment of it, even though again, we had huge challenges, health-wise and just physical. To get to the islands, there were no airplanes and cars were very few and far between. But the sailing and the—we did have motorboats this time rather than sailboats when I was there the first time as the young missionary. But still, the seas are rough and there were lots of big challenges. But again, the faith and the courage of the people and the support of President Monson, Elder Monson, at the time— and Elder Hunter took over the last year or so of our time there. But I just felt good, solid support from the people and from the leaders of the church and from the members and we had good missionaries. Yeah, there were a lot of challenges, but you can handle challenges if you feel like you have good support.


Morgan Jones  

Absolutely. I want to talk a little bit about some of those challenges. One challenge that you faced while you were there, your baby got sick. And you, Jean, had to come back to the United States with the baby, leaving your other children. How many other children? 


John Groberg  

Five daughters. 


Morgan Jones  

Five other children with Elder Groberg, President Groberg then, in Tonga. What was that like? I imagine a full range of emotions.


Jean Groberg  

Well, that's true, it was a full range of emotions. Gratitude being one of them because we were grateful that we were now going to be able to get the help that was needed to find out what was wrong with the baby, why he was so sick and that takes priority. You got to do what has to be done. And gratefully, I didn't have to face the trip all alone. John's mother, my mother-in-law had come down to be there when the baby was born. She's a great woman, wanted to always be there when her grandchildren were born to be helpful. And so she came all the way to Tonga. And as the baby got sick, she delayed her trip back and then he'd get well and she'd almost be ready to go, and then he'd get sick again. And so she was there and made the trip home with me. That isn't shown in the movie, but that was a great blessing to have her by my side. Knowing that good tone and people would be helping with the girls there, and knowing I had the support of my parents and John's parents at home. It all works out as he said, you just kind of take what's in front of you and move forward. Do what has to be done at the time.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah. Elder Groberg, Did you feel quite a bit of responsibility having five girls?


John Groberg  

I'll have to tell you a funny story after Jean had been gone for a couple of months. Of course, I was anxious to have her go because that was the opportunity for our son to live. It turned out that he had a congenital kidney problem that they would have never been able to detect in Tonga. But with sophisticated equipment here, they were able to operate and get him stable. But they had to keep him here because he was not in a good position. They couldn't operate until he was about two years old to make the final corrections, which have allowed him to live. So when Jean had been here a couple of months and finally all the tests were in said "No, he can't come back, but he can stay here." And I called Jean once from, I think it was from Fiji, and I said, you know, we have about 10,000 members here and I can handle them because we have 10 districts—or 11 districts at the time—we had no stakes at the time. And we've got good district presidents, and we have pretty close to 400 missionaries at the time, counting couples, local couples. I can handle them because we've got good zone leaders and lots of help there. They're good people. I just can't handle these five little girls, I need your help.


Morgan Jones  

They've got you surrounded.


John Groberg  

And so the timing worked out really good by then. It was obvious he was going to be able to live at least until the next big operation, which they couldn't do for a couple of years. So we had just one year left. So Jean came back and we didn't see him again until—I didn't see him for about a year and a half. Jean saw him about a little over a year later.


Morgan Jones  

Wow. That's amazing. It's amazing to me the sacrifices that people make to share the gospel, and certainly, yours is no exception. As you both were able to spend time, as missionaries, with the people of Tonga, and then in your sense, I attended a temple sealing for my old roommate about two years ago. And—yeah, it would have been two years ago this time of year—and Elder Groberg, you performed the sealing and her husband now is from Tonga. And it was such a neat thing to watch the love and admiration that the Tongan people have for both of you. And I think that that's such a testament to the love that they felt from you. What do the people of Tonga mean to you? And what do you love most about them?


Jean Groberg  

Well, they're very dear to my heart. Most of the ones that we personally interacted with while we were there, many of them passed on now and we're meeting their, not only their children but their grandchildren and going to many of their weddings and things like that. So they're like family to us. We really love them, love their faith, their goodness, their unselfishness. They're just ready to help at any moment that they feel a need. And anyone, they're not just with us there, they're helpful to everyone.


John Groberg  

I think that just their humility and their faithfulness, their willingness to help, and they're kinda, they're just being who they are, you know, there are no pretenses. That's one thing that I really love about the Polynesian people, generally, and about the Tongans specifically. Of course, there are individual exceptions, but as a group, they really don't put on any airs that that's who I am and this is what I'm doing. Every once in a while they have what they call ***** which means they just jump out of themselves almost with excitement and so forth. And sometimes that's for good, sometimes it's for not so good. But they're just very genuine and very honest and very helpful and loving and kind and, and again, just this is who I am.


Morgan Jones  

Do you think, Elder Groberg, looking back, that there's a reason that you fit in so well in Tonga?


John Groberg  

That's hard to answer. But I think one of the reasons is that they have a great deal of desire to help other people. And I was raised with that same feeling, that you're here on Earth to help other people. You're not here to get things for yourself, you're here to really help other people. That was just the way I was raised, not only in the church but by my parents. And I think I related to that because they felt the same way, that they were here mostly to help other people. And they were very unselfish and very helpful. And so I think there was a kind of a relationship there that started right from the beginning.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah. I asked that because I remember at the beginning of my mission, I served a Spanish speaking mission, and at the beginning of my mission, my companion, made a comment, my trainer, she made a comment and she just said kind of almost in passing, she said, you'll realize why you're you were called to be a Spanish-speaking missionary. And at the time, I was struggling with the language and I struggled my whole mission with the language. So that was not just in the beginning, but I kind of spent the rest of my mission looking for those reasons that I was called Spanish-speaking and I could see things about myself that made it so that I connected with the Hispanic people. And it was just something that I was grateful that she pointed out, that I then looked for because it made a huge difference for me. 


Jean Groberg  

That's lovely. 


Morgan Jones  

Another thing that I love that in the movie is portrayed, kind of the way that the entire Tongan community, regardless of their faith, kind of rallied around your family during this time. And I think that that's such a beautiful example. I think sometimes we do ourselves such a disservice when we place up walls based on faith or whatever, these divisions that keep us from serving. And I think that that example in the film of the Tongan and people's love and rallying around your family is so beautiful. What can we learn about that experience? What can we learn from that experience about serving people and loving people?


Jean Groberg  

Well, that's what Christ asked us to do, to love one another as his example of loving us. And I think the Polynesian people, it's just part of their DNA almost. It's just their culture, putting that into practice it's a great heritage and we all need to try that and put it into practice.


Morgan Jones  

Absolutely.


John Groberg  

And I think that it's more than just our family. It's kind of their way of life that is, if there's a Wesleyan church being built, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholics and others help. If we're building a church, they'll help. If someone's sick here, they'll help. There is, I mean there is tension between religion as there is in most places, but that is superseded by their desire to be helpful. And so I think there is a great, great lesson for us all to learn. And I think President Nelson and the church leaders today are saying that same thing, "Hey, if people need help, it doesn't matter what religion they are, we're going to help them." 


Morgan Jones  

Right. 


John Groberg  

And I think that's really part of the Tongan culture, part of the Polynesian culture, that we're here to help. And I think it goes back to what I said earlier that I was just raised that way, that that's why we're here on Earth, it's to help. And I really loved the way President Monson was so willing to just help whenever we had challenges and like they had hurricanes or different things, where he was right on "what can we do to help as the church?" And our chapels are so often used when there's hurricanes or earthquakes or things of that nature. A lot of the other structures are blown away, but the church is there and they said, "Don't even hesitate just invite them to come in." And so I think that's my feeling anyway. That's one lesson we can all learn, not only from the Tongan people but from our own leaders and from the Savior himself as Jesus said.


Morgan Jones  

Yeah, I think that it's so interesting to look at the church today and how many Polynesian members there are. We had the chance early last year, or early this year, to travel to Philadelphia and we were able to meet with Vai Sikahema. And he told us all about his experience of his family going to the temple and the sacrifices that they made. And when you hear him tell his story, it's like impossible not to feel emotional, because you just feel the fire of their faith quite literally. What do the Polynesian people mean to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?


Jean Groberg  

I think they're a great example, as has been expressed, that we need to use their open, loving ways to help one another and to reach out. And you can go almost any place in the world now and find a Tongan. We had a grandson, one of our grandson served in the French Leon mission, and in his first area there was a Tongan family living there. He was there as a rugby coach and they'd gone inactive in the church. And when they met our grandson and found out his connection, Kali Poki, that they were able to work with them and got the family active. But almost any airport in the world you can go and run into them. So their influences all over the world now.


Morgan Jones  

Elder Groberg and Jean as well, if you could say one thing, I imagine that we probably have because you talked about their faith, they're remarkable, the Polynesian people, they're enthusiasm for the gospel is so inspiring to me. I'm sure that we have a lot of people that are Polynesian that listen to this podcast, if you could say one thing to them, specifically maybe Saints in the Pacific Islands now, what would you want them to know?


Jean Groberg  

Well, I would say honor your heritage. Don't forget who you are and who you represent. As people of great faith, the world is totally there now, they all have cell phones and access to everything good or evil that's out there in the internet world and so forth. And just be true to who they are and to the Lord and to build upon the heritage, living in this modern world, and yet don't lose the goodness of what you are a part of as a member of your culture. And use what we have in today's world to spread the gospel and to be faithful and true.


Morgan Jones  

That's beautiful, thank you. 


John Groberg  

I think I would just echo that, just be faithful and faithful to your covenants, you know with the temple in Tonga and in all the islands now, or most of them. That's so important. And one thing that we haven't mentioned that is kind of a characteristic of Polynesian people is their singing and their dancing and their artistic expressions that way. Sometimes it gets a little bit exuberant and so forth, but i think that's part of the heritage. Every once in a while and I read through the Book of Mormon, it talks about things that all of a sudden "Oh yeah, that was like a Tongan Lau Lau." One day we were all worked up about something or another, and I think just maintain that, maintain that enthusiasm for life, but mostly are enthusiasm for being faithful and for singing praises to the Lord and keeping your covenants. And if you'll do that, you'll not only succeed in life, but you'll be the light that the Lord intended you to be to help others.


Morgan Jones  

I had the chance this year to go for the first time ever to the Polynesian Cultural Center. And this is a non-sponsored plug for the PCC. It's amazing. I had no idea what that was like, but what an experience. And you mentioned, Elder Groberg, the chance to draw people, to the gospel, to Jesus Christ through the light that is so evident. I think that was the thing that amazed me there, is it's like Disneyland, you know, you're like being cow herded through this place. And there's so many people there and they're drawn to it because of that light. There are no rides, but it's all about their culture, the Polynesian culture. I imagine that speaking of drawing people to the gospel, I imagine that there were a lot of people that have seen these movies, specifically the first one, that have been drawn to the gospel because of your story. Have you heard any stories from people about that?


John Groberg  

Thousands of them. It's just constant. And as you mentioned, it's been 18 years and there's still people being influenced. But yes, many, many. I couldn't get into specifics, but I would say one of the things that has really made me feel good and made me recognize that doing what President Monson wanted us to do, has its own reward. Whenever you're obedient to the prophets, the Lord uses that to make good things happen. And the number of people that have served missions that have told me, "I really wasn't planning on going until I saw that movie." Or, I remember one young man in Northern California he said, "I was not active in the church," he'd been baptized, but in fact, he drifted way away from the church. And he said, he was not living the commandments and was maybe on some things he shouldn't have been on. But he said, "I just ended up, just went to a movie and didn't even know what it was." And it ended up being "The Other Side of Heaven." He said, "I just sat there on the back row, just by myself in the dark." And he said, "All of a sudden I was watching a movie, but I was watching something else. I just saw myself and I just kind of came out and went right straight to my Bishop and said, 'what do I have to do to straighten my life out and get ready to go on a mission?'" And of course a lot of people joined the church. We had a letter from a lady in Texas, really not this long ago, that said that she had just gone—it's been a few years because I think she said there was a blockbuster video store. She just went to get a video and someone said, "I want a family video. Try this one" And so she did. And her and her family just loved it. And just a few days later, just through the neighborhood, she saw a couple of young men on bikes and said, "Hey, you look familiar." Anyway, it ended up that she joined the church. But there are literally thousands and thousands of stories like that.


Morgan Jones  

Remarkable. Well, you both are just such a joy and it has been such a treat to have you. Before we wrap up, my last question for you both is, what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Jean Groberg  

Well, I am grateful to have been born to faithful, hard-working, loyal, good parents who taught me from the beginning that this was the way of life that would be happy and right and good. And I really know no other way except through watching friends and some other family members that have tried other paths. And I'm just so grateful for that beginning and grateful for the testimony that's grown through the years, strengthening that desire to build my life on the foundation of the Savior. We have at home a little, what we call grandma and grandpa's rock garden. We had a time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they've come along, where we sing the song "The wise man built his house upon the rock." And talk about it as the rock of the Savior Jesus Christ, that our lives will be happy if we'll build on that foundation and then they each put their name on the little rock and put it in our little basket. 


Morgan Jones  

That's so cute. I love that. 


Jean Groberg  

But that that that is the only way to happiness. And I'm just grateful to have that, to have been born in the covenant and to have a wonderful Priesthood holder as a companion throughout eternity and special, lovely children and grandchildren and pray that they will always build their lives upon the rock of our Savior Jesus Christ. 


Morgan Jones  

Thank you Jean.


John Groberg  

Well, I think I echo what James said. I think if I were to say one word, it would be obedience, you know, just be obedient. Obedience brings forth the blessings of heaven, it just simply does. And you know, to be all in means no strings attached, you're with all your might, mind and strength and just do it. Just keep your covenants and don't quit. One of the things that I've kind of noticed about a lot of the younger generation now, it seems like quitting is an option, you know, "I'm just not going to do that." Because we live in a world with many options and "I don't like that I'm going to do this." Well, there really aren't a lot of options about the gospel, you either live it or you don't. And you don't quit. I think, trust in God, trust in His servants, follow the leaders, just believe and just do it. I don't know quite how to express it any better than that. I just know from personal experience, that, yes, there are lots of challenges. But as Alma told his son, Helaman, the Lord will be with you through your troubles, through your trials through your afflictions, he'll be there. And so we're all going to have troubles, trials and afflictions, the question is, do we want to have someone to help us through them or not or do we want to just do it on our own? I can testify that it's a lot better to have the Savior on your side and he will get you through. I've been nearly drowned, I've been nearly starved, I've been just all kinds of things, but the Lord's brought me through them and he will, He will everyone. And so that's my testimony is that He is there and he is able to help us. Not only able but wanting to help us and will help us. Ao just dig in and go, and don't have quitting—I don't like that—don't have that as an option because that's that will lead you to unhappiness. And happiness is having faith in the Savior and following him.


Morgan Jones  

Thank you both so much. Elder Groberg, thank you. Jean, thank you so much. And it has been such a pleasure to have you. 


We are so grateful to John and Jean Groberg for being with us on today's episode. You can watch their story in the two major motion pictures "The Other Side of Heaven" one and two, which are both available on DVD at Deseret Book now.