Jenny Guthrie: Coming To Know Jesus

Wed Feb 15 05:00:08 EST 2023
Episode 212

Jenny Guthrie was a freshman in college when she first “found Jesus,” and her life has never been the same since. From supporting her husband in his career in Major League Baseball to being a mission leader of the Texas Houston South Mission, her relationship with Christ has been a game changer in her life. Now, she’s passionate about helping young people come to know this same Jesus that she found as a young woman. She recognizes that whether new converts or lifelong members, we all have to “seek this Jesus”—but it is her testimony that when we seek Him, we find Him every single time.

As humans, we are inadequate to do God’s work but if we’ll rely and trust in Jesus…He takes crusty bread and feeds multitudes, all through His power.
Jenny Guthrie

Show Notes

1:11- Meeting Jesus and the Powerful Transformation He Brings
8:39- Meeting Jeremy
12:40- MLB Life
17:51- Supporting a Spouse Through Setbacks
20:28- Retirement
25:00- Called To Serve
34:51- A Mission Baby
40:50- 3 Tips For Preparing a Child to Serve a Mission
49:01- Missteps Are Okay
51:23- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Links and References

Jeremy Guthrie’s Players Tribune retirement piece

Articles about the Guthries serving as mission leaders—
Former Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie finds rare post-career gig: president of a Mormon mission (The Athletic)

‘Living proof that the Lord likes to work with the simple and weak': Former MLB pitcher talks call to serve as LDS mission president (Deseret News)

Former MLB pitcher and recently returned mission president Jeremy Guthrie shares sweet message about the emotions of serving (LDS Living)


Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00

When he retired from Major League Baseball in 2017, Jeremy Guthrie wrote of his wife, "You are the MVP of our family. You provided the stability at home that helped me accomplish so much on the field. It is not possible to express my full gratitude for your love and support. Thank you for everything, Jenny." At the time, the couple had no idea what would come next. Jenny Guthrie is originally from Oregon, where her family now lives. She and her husband Jeremy served as mission leaders of the Texas Houston South Mission from 2018 to 2021. Jenny is a seminary teacher and a mother of four children whom she calls her greatest treasure in life.

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 Pearson, and I am so excited to have Jenny Guthrie on the line with me today, Jenny, welcome.

Jenny Guthrie 1:04

Oh, thank you, Morgan. It's such an honor to be on this podcast with you. I've been a listener for years. So super honored.

Morgan Jones Pearson 1:11

I have followed you on Instagram for years. And I just have admired you Jenny from a distance and the goodness that you share and the light that you share. And so I am so excited to talk today. My first question for you. And this is based off of you know, just following along with you and your family's journey over the past few years, I'm curious, did you always grow up with a love for the gospel?

Jenny Guthrie 1:42

Morgan, a great question to start off with. And funny, I get that question a lot. I think just because I, I've really developed a deep love for Jesus and feel very connected to him and my divine nature and identity. That being said, I would say like Jesus, I grew in wisdom and stature and maybe even favor with God. But I would also say unlike Jesus, there were a lot of missteps and growing pains in discovering who I am and my commitment to follow Jesus. To kind of give a little, little bit more detail. I would say as a young adolescent teenager, I wasn't super rebellious. But I also wasn't very intentional in my pursuit of a relationship with God. I kind of went through the motions. I have incredible parents who [were] very committed, led a very righteous home but my own personal walk was not very intentional. And I certainly did not want to draw any attention to being a member of the Church in any of my circles. It wasn't until I went to BYU as a freshman where my intention to develop a relationship with God really increased. I hit a crossroads. And I went to BYU I got in by the skin of my teeth I was, was a decent high school student but didn't get a great ACT score. And really, I'd had to go summer to go fall at BYU. So really, I really was one of those kids that I actually feel like it was influenced by the heavens, they got me in because it was a place I needed to be. But I got into BYU and that summer term, I was so miserable. My friends from high school were all at home having a great time and I was not sure that I wanted to be at BYU, and I was discouraged, and I was depressed and I was unsure of where my beliefs stood. And it was the first time where I really wanted to know. And so I had had, like I said incredible parents who lived righteous habits, and were intentional in involving God in their lives and in their decisions. And so I knew where to turn. And so I told God, 'I know it's gonna take effort on my part, but I need to know if this is true. I need to know if this is where I should be.' And so in prayer, I said, 'Okay, I'm going to read the Book of Mormon, and I want to know if it's true, and I will also pray with an intention to connect to Deity.' And over that summer term, I really had an Alma the Younger experience, I met Jesus in an intimate way that began this conversion, this continuing change of a heart that maybe once was hard, but I literally could sense the softening happening and it was pretty miraculous very quickly for me and gave me just an undeniable witness of the reality of our Savior and the positive profound impact He can have if we allow Him in if we give Him space. So much so it's funny Morgan, I came home from BYU and my sister who was just two years younger or 18 months, two years in school younger than I was, was like, 'You are weird.' Like I came home like a returned missionary. She was just like, "Who is the sister? This is not the sister that left.' And all weird in a good way. I was like nice to her and I wasn't as as mean or selfish. And it was a very dramatic change. And I've never looked back and I am so grateful. I can't say—I told my parents I wanted to go to hair school, they said, 'Why don't you go to BYU? You got in. Keep your options open.' I was not intentional in my academic pursuit, either when I was there. It was a very expensive social life for my freshman year at BYU, I was put on academic warning and kind of a funny little caveat to this, I don't even know my GPA from my freshman year, because I've never looked, I'm terrified. And I did end up going to hair school after that. So I'm a BYU dropout, went to hair school anyway. But needless to say, I would pay millions, there's no price tag that I would put on that experience, because it changed my life forever, really. And I'm extremely, extremely grateful for for that experience.

Morgan Jones Pearson 6:27

Jenny, as a follow up to that, I am curious in the years since...So I'm just imagining like a young person listening to this and thinking, 'Well, what is the benefit of having a relationship with Jesus Christ? How does that change everything?' And why is it worth so much to us? So in the years since then, how would you say that knowing Jesus, like you came to know Him and have come to know Him over time? How does that have the ability to change everything?

Jenny Guthrie 7:05

I would say it has dramatically impacted the deep sense of joy that I feel, and a positive outlook through challenging circumstances, it gives me great hope in the missteps, or the inadequacies that I do face that I can lay on him, and that I can keep trying, and I just, I believe so much. And I'm so grateful that I can not carry those burdens that literally, I have someone to place that on as I just struggle and continue to try. It has dramatically impacted I feel like the way that I see myself, which also impacts the way that I see others. I love interacting with people. And I feel like as I grown in relationship with Jesus, how I see others directly correlates to that. And what I see in others is amazing. And I love how that has changed that perspective. It allows me to be more kind, which makes me more happy. Every way, Morgan, it just brings such a sense of peace that is really difficult to find in a world that seems very chaotic and confusing.

Morgan Jones Pearson 8:30

I completely agree. And I love how you brought in that idea that it affects the way that we interact with others around us and the way that we see other people. I want to kind of transition for a second and talk about somebody else that you met who changed your life forever. And that is your husband, Jeremy. Tell me about how the two of you met.

Jenny Guthrie 8:55

Yeah, this is just so amazing. I have an incredible husband and I'm so fortunate and blessed by the way that he's impacted my life for good. Interestingly, I met Jeremy at BYU actually, as a freshman, the first week of the fall semester, maybe the week before the fall semester even started. What's really interesting about our story is that summer term, I feel like I intimately met Jesus. And then shortly thereafter, I met my husband. My husband was also kind of on a journey himself. Many of you may know some of you may not my husband was a major league baseball player and out of high school he was drafted and was really offered an astronomical amount of money to forego a mission and begin a baseball career out of high school, which he turned down because he felt the call to serve a mission. And I feel like in that journey for himself, he also discovered to a greater degree his divine identity as a child of God, and so here we both were on these individual paths making these decisions and changes in our own life and committing to God in a way that ultimately brought us together as freshmen. And neither of us were looking for a relationship. We both had the intention to date a lot of people our freshman year at BYU and just enjoy the experience. But we met early and developed a friendship. But a month and a half later, we were spending all of our time together and realized, you know, neither of us wanted to be with anybody else. And so we dated our whole first year at BYU. And then Jeremy went on his mission, he served in the Spain Bilbao Mission. And so we wrote for two years. And then when he returned from his mission, he transferred from BYU to Stanford, which is so funny, he went from BYU to Stanford, I went from BYU to hair school. And our trajectories, maybe were a little different. But we were connected at the heart so it didn't matter. But we continued another year of long distance. And really, as we look back, we were being prepared to carry on this long distance relationship for a lot of years that yeah, as he had about 14-15 years in a baseball career, and much of that time was spent apart from each other. And it was uniquely preparing us for what was going to come and we had no idea at the time. But Jeremy is someone who is extremely committed and obedient to the commandments of the Lord and loves the words of prophets, and really gave me just a steady stable hand and the competence and assurance he had as I continued to develop and grow in my own conversion.

Morgan Jones Pearson 11:52

Well, I love that. And this is probably weird, but I got like chills when you're talking about how you're both being prepared for each other. And I think, you know, sometimes I think it's easy for an 18 or 19 year old to just be like, 'Well it doesn't super matter what I do right now,' but the Lord can be working in our lives and and we don't even have any idea what's right around the corner. Jenny, I am curious, because I am a sports fan. And I know, I know that the life of a professional athlete is probably not as glamorous as it actually seems. But there was a period of time where you guys were going to the ESPYs and movie premieres and just like doing cool things. So what was it like being a major league baseball players wife, I want to know like the good and the bad of it?

Jenny Guthrie 12:56

It really was incredible. Morgan, I think both Jeremy and I just loved the experience that we had and that was afforded to us through his baseball career. It was amazing. We not only was the baseball career amazing, but it gave us the opportunity to travel the world, we went to Italy and Panama and Taiwan and Japan and countries all over the world because of his baseball career. And with that we gave firesides and devotionals in many of these countries to the youth to young single adults. And that was incredible. Another really meaningful thing that came because of a baseball career, which maybe not seem so glamorous to the world. But to us it meant everything was being part of so many different congregations. Jeremy started his career with the Indians. And we spent four years there. And that was super awesome, because we were around a lot of church history sites and had the opportunity to visit them often. Then he went to the Orioles and spent five years there with the Orioles. And that congregation that we had the chance to be a part of for such a long period of time changed me Morgan, we lived in inner city. And so we attended the Inner Harbor Ward. And growing up, I grew up in the West, and you could develop this perspective and perception of who belongs at church. And when I was in Baltimore, the Lord just really tutored me and taught me so much and expanded that perspective and vision in a way that was really extremely beautiful. That Inner Harbor Ward, there's Johns Hopkins medical students there that really provided a lot of leadership when we were there. But the converts to the church that really made up the rest of the congregation really made that ward heaven. They brought palpable faith and their life's experience was very, very different than mine. But they were taught by the missionaries and they felt the Spirit confirm in their hearts of its truthfulness. And they lived it the best they could, but still had many life's challenges that I haven't had to face. But their faith and their trust in God was so inspiring that you walked into that chapel and it felt like you were taking steps up in the plane of spirituality that you were entering. I mean, it was incredible. And this ward announced the addiction recovery program like it was the Wednesday night activity, there was no shame in attending, and they were there to encourage and support each other. And I just learned so much. I actually had a baby in Baltimore, that was another thing with his baseball career that might not be so glamorous. All my kids have been born in different states, and one was born in spring training. It was my Sixth Doctor, it was actually my first child and I met the doctor two weeks before I delivered with them in Florida, Winter Haven, Florida, of all places. I had one in Baltimore. But when I had this child, the Relief Society President approached me saying, 'Jenny, these sisters in the Relief Society, they want to serve you, they want to bring you dinner,' and, and I knew of their challenges, I knew that many of them probably it was a stretch to provide a meal for somebody else. And I declined many times. I'm like, 'I can order takeout, we're fine, we're fine.' And she came back and she said, they are insisting, you have got let these sisters serve you. And I will just never forget just the love and devotion to God that these women demonstrated to me as they brought meals over and ate with me and chatted with me and just really selfless, caring, faithful women that demonstrated Christ like qualities in a really impactful way. But this baseball experience was just really was really incredible and an all-consuming. I think it hit all senses, a lot of growth was experienced, and a lot of really awesome things. I mean, we were fortunate to be part of World Series teams, which was exhilarating to the nth degree, catching flights at midnight, traveling from Kansas City to Anaheim and arriving at 5am with your kids in tow, and it was just, the games were just so exciting. And it was an experience that Jeremy and I, I think, will always be extremely grateful for and look back with just fond fond memories.

Morgan Jones Pearson 17:51

Jenny, one thing that that I noticed as I kind of tried to prepare for this interview and I knew that Jeremy pitched in the World Series for the Royals, and I was familiar kind of with his triumphs in baseball, but I learned that he experienced some pretty significant struggles and setbacks and a lot of criticism throughout his career. As a wife, how do you handle that and provide support because I think that's something that a lot of spouses can relate to is watching your spouse experience disappointment, whether it's Major League Baseball, or you know, a plethora of other disappointments that life can bring?

Jenny Guthrie 18:39

Yeah, absolutely. It does apply to everybody because I think you do you see a spouse struggle, you see a child struggle and you want to help the best you can. I think one of the things that really helped me support Jeremy and helped Jeremy weather the storms as well was, I don't think Jeremy ever identified like his main identity as a baseball player. I never saw him as a baseball player either. Like he was a child of God and with a variety of talents. And one of them was being a gifted athlete, and most of the criticism that he received was all targeted on one role. And it was much less significant than many of the other roles that I saw him fulfilling and with the struggles and the criticism and the ups and downs it it really just eliminates some of those extremes when you find your core self in other things, and I think just that provided stability. I tried and was certainly not perfect, but to be encouraging when things were challenging to be always be there. I think sometimes to be quite honest, you don't know what to say, and a lot of times I didn't have the words, but I was always present. And I was always there and and he knew that and that wasn't going anywhere. My love and devotion for him were not contingent on his success as a baseball player or anything else. We were committed and made covenants and we were going to be true to that, regardless of how the world saw him or anything else.

Morgan Jones Pearson 20:28

When Jeremy retired, he talked about how the two of you had had conversations kind of repeatedly about whether or not it was time to be done with baseball. Tell me about the decision to finally, you know, hang up his mitt, so to speak.

Jenny Guthrie 20:47

Oh, yeah. It was an all-encompassing experience, his baseball career. So when Jeremy's contract ended with the Kansas City Royals, Jeremy had actually that last year with Royals he hadn't pitched great. And so going into the offseason, there was a lot of uncertainty. And that offseason proved to be a little bit challenging as far as his career went. And honestly, in my heart, I kind of felt like this could be the end. And we had begun conversations then. If I rewind back, you know, 14 years from that time, Jeremy was in the minor leagues. And he was really struggling and his teammate suggested, maybe he should hang up his cleats. And I got the question like, when will Jeremy know this is going to be the end? And how I I always feel that that question is I'm like 'God will tell us. And it certainly isn't now, I do not feel that. He's going to be fine. He's going to work through this. But I really believe God will let us know when it's the end.' And so towards the end of his time in Kansas City, I felt like that was kind of being communicated to my heart. But Jeremy needed more time to process and I can respect that. I try to give my kids as they make decisions and you know, go different directions, just the rope to process and make decisions too, because I think we all learn differently and learn by our own experience and decision-making. And so I came to that conclusion kind of towards the end of Kansas City, but he wasn't as convinced and so he played in the minor leagues that next year and struggled and ended up actually graduating from Stanford that year, which was amazing. And he went and walked, we took all of our kids, and then he still wasn't done and went to training again, that following fall, and this was in 2017, April of 2017. He got an invite to Spring to camp with the Washington Nationals with a very unlikely chance to make the team but he pitched perfect in Spring Training, and made the team out of spring, which someday hopefully he can tell that story. It was a miracle. And he had a start. And so it was on his birthday, April 8, 2017. Our whole family flew out to Philly. Jeremy's parents flew out to Philly. And he was a starter and he didn't make it out of the first inning. And he was old as far as the standards of Major League Baseball. He's not old, it's all relative I guess.

Morgan Jones Pearson 23:39

He's young in every other aspect that we'll talk about later. But yes.

Jenny Guthrie 23:43

Yes but he was old. And he didn't have a lot of leeway to resurrect goose this bad appearance. And so his career pretty much ended abruptly. And we cried that night in the hotel in Philly. And I encouraged him if he wasn't ready to be done that he could continue on and make it back. But I think at that point, he had the clarity he needed to be done. And it was heartbreaking. But what's really interesting, Morgan, and I don't think many people know this part about the story. Jeremy went into that season with the Washington Nationals really committing to God, that he wanted to be a better missionary as a baseball player, that was on his heart, and that if God afforded him the opportunity to continue his career, that was going to be a big focus. What's really interesting is God was changing his heart and it wasn't going to be through the baseball avenues that he was going to be a missionary, it was going to be as a mission president upon returning home but he was working. He was working behind the scenes and I feel like that is just the nature of God influencing us and impacting us in our journeys in ways that we don't know are happening in the middle of it.

Morgan Jones Pearson 25:00

Absolutely. Well, it's wild to me that shortly thereafter, I mentioned that he's young by every other standard, and both of you were young, and you were called to serve as mission leaders very soon after Jeremy retired. I wondered, could you have ever seen that call coming, Jenny? And tell me about the experience of what receiving that call was like for you and your family?

Jenny Guthrie 25:27

Well, yes, we could not have seen that coming, Morgan. As faithful and committed to God as my husband was he had hardly attended church for 15 years. And I thought that that would be a prerequisite to receiving a calling like a mission president but apparently it's not in case you were wondering.

Morgan Jones Pearson 25:50

No one is off limits.

Jenny Guthrie 25:51

Exactly. Watch out, watch out, or I don't know if watch out is the right [phrase]. But he returned in April, like I said, of 2017, came home was very humbled, was turning to God a lot in the devastation of the abrupt ending of his career as it happened. And then in September, on a sunny day in Portland, Oregon, he got a call from Elder Bednar's secretary asking him if he and I, if there was a time in the next 48 hours that we could have a video call with Elder Bednar. And this was out of the blue. Like I said, we'd done firesides all over the world and we had had dinner with a few of the different apostles just because you're a public figure and we just had opportunities that were really awesome. So it wasn't maybe as out of the blue as you would think. But it certainly wasn't anything that we were expecting. We were a little bit shocked. And so Jeremy set up a call for, you know, Wednesday, and actually, the call came on Monday, set up the call for Wednesday, and we had 48 hours to, in our minds, speculate the nature of this call. I'm a speculator. My husband is not. So actually he probably didn't speculate. I had all sorts of things running through my mind what this call could be. But I, you know, in my mind, I was like, well, maybe Face to Faces were gaining a lot of steam and they had had like influential members of the Church, not just apostles at that time, do these Face to Faces, and we had done so many firesides and devotionals all over the world I thought maybe that was a possibility. My uncle was currently serving as a mission president in Norway. And I had actually asked him, I said, 'Do they ever call families like we put our kids in school in Norway and just come serve with you guys?' And he said, 'You know, let me ask my area authority.' So I was like 'Oh, maybe, maybe it's that. Maybe we get to go be missionaries as a family.' And then kind of that deep down, I just wondered what if this call is to be mission leaders? I tried to dismiss that, again, with the fact that my husband had hardly been to church in 15 years, he'd never been to a ward council, never been in the presidency of an auxilary but the thought didn't leave and I was out on a walk on Tuesday, actually, the day before we were going to talk with Elder Bednar contemplating the nature of this call and considering what if this was a call to be mission leaders? And Morgan, my grandparents served as mission president and companion in Hartford, Connecticut when I was in middle school, and I went and visited them and I saw how my grandma served. And my aunt and uncle, like I said, were currently serving in Norway, and I knew how my aunt served and touched and blessed her missionaries. And I didn't feel like I could serve how they could serve. My skill set was very different. And I didn't think I could do what they did. And so as I evaluated what I could offer on this walk the day before, Elder Bednar called. I had a pretty profound experience. And I felt the Spirit like really whisper in my heart, 'Jenny. You don't need to be your grandma. And you don't need to be your aunt. You don't need to feed, you know, thousands of missionaries like your aunt does. But what I do want you to do is just feed my sheep, I need you to be a representative for Jesus, I need you to share the witness that you have developed over your life's experience. Just feed my sheep.' And I felt like I could do that. I could stand as a witness of Jesus at this point in my life in front of anybody. I was confident I'd developed that confidence over years of conversion and and I felt by that whispering from God and so the call did come. And that was the nature of the call, Elder Bednar came right out and said we're exploring the possibility of you being mission leaders. And he then proceeded to ask every question you could imagine under the sun, he dotted every I and crossed every T. It was very thorough. It was very detail-oriented. And it was an incredible, amazing experience. And then our call...at the end of the call, he's like, if if we feel like this is the right time for you, you will receive a call from the First Presidency. And they will extend your call to you if we feel like it's not, you know, the right timing for your family or the Lord need you to serve in a different capacity at this time, I will call you back personally. And a couple of weeks later, I got a call from Salt Lake. Usually I don't get calls from Salt Lake and I answered the call and it was President Uchtdorf's secretary and she said, 'We've been trying to get a hold of your husband and we can't, like he's not answering his calls. And I'm like 'Well, he's in Africa, who was actually in Nigeria at the time and he didn't have cell phone reception. But at that point, I knew what was happening. And when my husband returned President Uchtdorf, then President Uchtdorf called and extended us our call to serve as mission leaders. And I feel impressed to share one of the very last invitations that he gave us in that conversation was he told us and again, this was October of 2017, we wouldn't start serving until July of 2018. And I've shared this with many missionaries. But he said, 'Brother and Sister Guthrie, I want you to start praying for your missionaries now. And many of them are not in the mission field. Some of them don't know if they want to go on missions, and many are, in fact, unworthy to go at this point. But I believe in the power of prayer, and as you exercise your faith, somehow the divine takes those expressions of faith, and they impact individuals. And so pray for your missionaries.' And I had many missionaries, as we would share that in training, felt like we were connected. We were praying for them. They have the courage to seek out Jesus and repent and feel just the joy that comes from that change and were united in the mission field. And that was incredible.

Morgan Jones Pearson 32:20

That's powerful. That's such a such a great story. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. Jenny, how would you say in retrospect, you're not too far removed from having come home? How would you say that serving as a mission leader stretched you and tried you?

Jenny Guthrie 32:39

Oh, Morgan in every way possible? I'm like, where do I begin? I think one of the greatest things that both Jeremy and I became very intimately aware of is that you are not meant to serve alone, you do need God's power. And you need to trust Him. That as humans we are inadequate to do God's work. But if we'll rely and trust in Jesus that He takes crusty bread and feeds multitudes, all through His power. I think that is one of the greatest things that either of us learned. I also really gained an even deeper appreciation for the young people of this Church, I believe when prophets and apostles share that the young generation of this Church is the most valiant this Church has ever seen that that's true. And we all know, you know, I believe I'm not an expert on war. But I believe in the frontlines of the battlefield, they need to replenish those frontlines, because all sorts of different circumstances, but as our frontlines are replaced with new generations, the Lord is sending His best that he's strategic when it comes to war against evil. And these young people have incredible capacity to represent Jesus, to believe in Him, to share with their young faith their experience and their knowledge and their trust and faith and belief in Jesus with people and they witness miracles and I just loved what I saw in them, and feel like this world and this Church is in really, really great hands as we prepare the earth for the second coming of Jesus.

Morgan Jones Pearson 34:51

Well, I want to I want to come back to that love that you have for the young people of the church. But before we get there, Jenny, I think that a mission president's wife, a mission leader, the the mom of the mission is one of the most underrated callings in the Church. And on top of that, you did what I feel like very few mission president's wives have probably ever done and had a baby on your mission. So I know that you said you'd felt for a while that there was one more child that your family was supposed to have. You said you didn't plan on it happening on your mission. Specifically, you thought there was a girl that was supposed to come and now you have your baby Lucy. Tell me what it was like to have another child in the mission field?

Jenny Guthrie 35:44

Yeah, that is a great question. And we might take five hours of to give you the whole story. I will give you a condensed version as best as I can. I can be very wordy. Morgan, so I apologize.

Morgan Jones Pearson 35:56

No no, I love it. I love it.

Jenny Guthrie 35:59

What's really awesome is if I go back to that interview with Elder Bednar, that exploratory interview about, you know, the prospects of becoming mission leaders. At the end of our conversation with him, he said, 'Is there anything that you feel like I should know, that might impact or influence this call?' And I said, 'Yeah, I'd like to share something Elder Bednar.' And I said, 'I don't believe I'm done having children. And I don't know how that would impact serving in this capacity.' And he responded, he said, 'Oh, Sister Guthrie, Bonnie Oscarson had many children while she served as a mission leader, you would be just fine.' And I'm like, 'Well, I wouldn't quite put my name in the same line as Bonnie Oscarson. But okay, if you say it's okay, then it's okay.' Fast forward, you know, a few years and we are on the mission. And I had had some pretty significant spiritual experiences where I knew there was another girl, there was just no doubt in my mind. And what's really interesting is in one of these experiences where really it was communicated pretty clearly that there was another girl, the Lord, in only the way that He can communicate, shared with me that this was going to be a challenging road. And I appreciated that. I think that there's a lot of value when we recognize that righteous roads can be really challenging, I think of Lehi following the inspiration of the Lord to take his family and leave Jerusalem and all that that family went through. It just helps us to recognize that the road can be bumpy, but the peace that comes from following the Lord cannot be replaced. And so it was a challenge. I had a miscarriage before we went on the mission and actually before I was pregnant with Lucy I had a miscarriage on the mission and that was extremely challenging. And then I got pregnant again a few months after having that miscarriage and my pregnancies are not great. I kind of go actually like into depression to be quite honest. I have pregnancy depression, I have postpartum depression, I don't feel like myself. And it was really, really challenging. The first trimester with Lucy on the mission, I was extremely sick throwing up from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, I think my countenance was more green than anything. And I felt miserable. And I was really not in a in a great space. I felt terrible physically, emotionally, spiritually. And I remember every morning, I'd open up my blinds and I'd see the green bushes against the blue sky in our background. And I felt God in that image. And he's somehow connected through the hardness that I began to develop in my heart in a really challenging time. And I did the best I could, but became very aware of my inadequacies. The first year and a half serving I felt like I had an abundance to give, never like I was capable to do the Lord's work, but I served as I thought that I would and then everything came crashing down. And COVID happened, which I hated Covid. I felt like it took away all my strength. My husband, on the other hand, like just was an amazing mission president during COVID but I crashed and I gave a widow's mite. And I was unable to serve in the capacity that I wanted. And when I came home from the mission that weighed really heavy on my heart for probably about a year and a half. But from that widow's mite offering, from that experience, I feel like that Jesus that I came to know while serving as a mission leader was the very Jesus that I needed, that again, like, God doesn't measure us by the world standards. But He does really consider and cherish and treasure the intentions of our heart, the desires of our heart.

Morgan Jones Pearson 40:50

Jenny, years ago, I heard a mission president's wife speak in a stake conference, and she shared things that she would advise parents, she said, 'You know, having served around young people for the last couple of years, these are the things that I would say parents can do to prepare their kids to serve as missionaries.' And I wondered if you would have any thoughts like maybe three tips that you would give parents to prepare their children for their missions?

Jenny Guthrie 41:22

Absolutely. My first advice to parents would be to listen to your kids. They grow up. They're growing up in challenging situations, in cultures that are difficult to navigate. And think it's so important that we listen, but not necessarily just with our ears, but with our hearts, because kids need to be heard, and they need to be understood. And they need to have safe places to express where they're at. And then they need patient parents to help gently lead them to Jesus in ways that God will help you know how to do that. The second piece of advice I feel is incredibly important is to let your kids trials lead them to Jesus. I think sometimes as parents, we feel like we need to solve the problems of our kids, or we want to lessen the blow or and certainly, I feel like it is so important to be there to help your kids carry the challenges that they face. But I think sometimes we can do them a disservice when we suggest or advise in all the ways to fix the problems, that the challenges can actually be essential to the path that will lead them to Jesus. And so again, kindly in the way that Heaven will help you know how to do this, but help their challenges lead them to Jesus by adults solve them for them. The third, I think, really important thing for kids to understand a lot of young, a lot of youth, feel like it's really difficult to be a member of the Church. The expectations are really high. They feel like failures, and they're very aware of their inadequacies. Nobody needs to point them out. They're keenly...they know.

Morgan Jones Pearson 43:34

They're already their own worst critic.

Jenny Guthrie 43:36

Absolutely as are all of us, right? I think they, young people, need to understand better who this Jesus who the Savior is and what he can do for them. Last year in seminary, I didn't know the Old Testament very well. Morgan, I think the last time I probably read the Old Testament in chronological order was when I was in seminary, and so it was an incredible experience. I didn't know what was going to happen next. It was like every single class, we were all on the interview.

Morgan Jones Pearson 44:12

You and me both, I had no idea what was coming next.

Jenny Guthrie 44:16

Oh, it was incredible. But I learned so much. And actually this is going to actually answer the question eventually. But I have a big wall hanging in my house that says "Choose you this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And I knew that was Joshua chapter 24, verse 15. But I love that scripture, but I really didn't understand the background until seminary and I share this because I think it's so important in helping kids understand who this Jesus is that they are going to go serve. And in chapter 24, if we read the verses that precede verse 15. It talks about who this God is. And let me just pull up a few of the verses it says, I sent Moses also, and Aaron and I plagued Egypt, and I brought your fathers out of Egypt. And when they cried unto the Lord, I put darkness between you and the Egyptians. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites. And they fought with you, and I gave them into your hands, that you might possess their land. And it just talks about all of these ways that the Lord blesses them. It says, I sent the Hornet before you, which drove them out. I mean, in all of these really incredible ways God was protecting His people. And he says, and I gave you land, and you didn't even have to labor for it. And you didn't have to build cities, they were given to you like all of these really incredible things that the Lord had done for His people, right. And then we get to this verse. And then it says, so choose you this day, whom you will serve. But for me and my house, I'm serving that God that can do miracles, that will bring protection, that can help you overcome any obstacle, I mean, really, it's just limitless possibilities of what this God can do for you. And I think young people need to be taught about that Lord, because then the decision becomes, like, so obvious and easy. Like, that's the Lord that I want to serve. I want to be part of that gospel, I want to be part of that gathering of Israel that is going to just provide miracles and light and hope and protection and peace and overcoming obstacles that seem insurmountable. And that's the God that I want to be with. And I feel like young people need to be taught that. They're very much taught about expectation. But I think they become very aware how challenging it is to meet that, but in the missteps, as they pursue this life, that is what God wants for us, that God can help them get there that they can experience the miracles themselves. And then can stand as powerful witnesses to those that they stand in front of in the mission field, but they need to experience that Jesus. And the last one, maybe I'll add a fourth. They need to read the Book of Mormon with intention to know if it's true, and pray to a God that can help them in all the challenges, all of the things that they face, that they need to learn to rely on him for the help that they stand in need of, but if they'll do those things, they will enter the mission field ready for all the things that they'll encounter. Because they there are many, there are many when you get to the mission.

Morgan Jones Pearson 48:04

I want to come back to something you said in that third point talking about, there's a lot of talk about expectations. And I had the thought when you were talking maybe instead of focusing so much on the expectations of us or of those young people, we should focus more on what they can expect from God. Because I think as we come to know God and His nature, we know what to expect from Him. And that is what brings peace and confidence and the ability to do moreso than focusing on what's expected of us. Jenny, you mentioned that you're a seminary teacher, which I'm jealous of those kids for getting to have you as their seminary teacher. And my poor seminary kids, if they listen to this episode will be like, how did we get stuck with her.

Jenny Guthrie 48:56

I don't buy that.

Morgan Jones Pearson 48:58

No, it's true. But I wondered, you've said that one of the biggest things you've tried to stress to your youth and your seminary classes is that missteps are okay. Why do you think that it's so important for youth and young people to know that?

Jenny Guthrie 49:16

Yeah, I feel like not only are they okay, but they're unavoidable. Mortality was not set up by God or it wasn't designed in a way where we wouldn't misstep. Because if we, if we never misstep, then there wouldn't be a need for Jesus and He's central to this plan. Certainly, it takes effort. So I don't want to be dismissive and say, it doesn't matter. It does. But I think it can become paralyzing to young people who are growing up in cultures that oppose God in every way. We live in Portland, Oregon, Morgan, and the landscape of belief here very much opposes what I know to be true in a lot of ways. And kids make mistakes. It is hard. One of the things that I learned from the Old Testament study is that culture, no matter how righteous you are, it seeps in and it's almost unavoidable. And so the mistakes will happen. And I'm okay with that. Because when I consider my own life, the very missteps drew me back to Jesus. A profound experience myself when I was their age, when I was in high school, when I received my patriarchal blessing, Morgan, it was really eye opening for me, because I was an okay kid. But what God told me in my blessing was a perspective that I had never considered about myself. He saw things in me that I never could have imagined. And it blew my mind. And I think these young people need people to help them capture the vision for them that God has for them. And when they get that, then everything else changes.

Morgan Jones Pearson 51:23

Jenny, it has been such a delight to talk with you and I have just loved it. My last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Jenny Guthrie 51:34

Morgan, one of the best questions, I feel like ever. I'm sure all of your guests say that. But I think it's such a profound question, because everybody can answer it so differently. And I just love that. I feel like that that means that it's it's an inspired question. I've thought about this, a long time for years, and how I would have answered this a couple years ago, when I listen to your podcasts all the time as a mission leader is different than how I would answer it now. And I was really thoughtful and prayerful about the right way to answer this, hopefully, in a way that will touch somebody's heart. But as I actually was in my kitchen this morning, thinking about how am I going to answer this question. It like just hit me, God just put it on my heart. And I feel like all that we experience, all things, all solutions, all answers, all of it. All of it is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In its most simplest form, teaching, again seminary, which has been such a great blessing. We read in the book of Moses, that this gospel of Jesus Christ was taught from the foundations of the earth to Adam, it has not changed. And when we were preparing to be mission leaders, we would have these training sessions with people from the missionary department before we headed out. And the question was posed, what do you understand the gospel of Jesus Christ to be? And at that point in my life, you know, I'm like, Christ teachings? I don't know. And of course, that is true. But the way a missionary is taught it and understands it is so simple, and I really believe it and embrace it. And it was also taught to Adam and recorded in the Book of Moses that the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I'm going to read straight from Moses 6, the Lord says, 'If thou will turn into me, and hearken unto my voice and believe.' So I believe that that represents faith, right? And then he goes on to say, 'And repent of all my transgressions, and be baptized even in the water, in the name of my Only Begotten Son who is full of grace and truth, which is Christ Jesus, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation can come unto the children's men, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost asking all things in his name,' that to me, was stated by the Lord to Adam, the first human on this planet, and it has never changed. That all, everything, all things, all of the answers are in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is in faith, that is in building trust, and belief and hope in Jesus Christ, that is in repentance, turning back to God again and again and again. That is in baptism. It is in covenant living, which to me, really encompasses a Christ like approach to living it is an outward approach. It is blessing and helping your neighbor, your fellow man in all things. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost to live a life that is led by God through the Holy Ghost, which our prophet tells us is absolutely necessary to navigate the world in which we live, but all things, all answers, all abilities to overcome the challenges that are unique and individual to all of us. All of it can be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those first four principles that we are taught Article of Faith number four.

Morgan Jones Pearson 55:16

I love that I love the idea that it is all in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ginny, thank you so much. It's been such a treat to talk to you and I appreciate your time.

Jenny Guthrie 55:28

Thanks, Morgan.

Morgan Jones Pearson 55:31

We are so grateful to Jenny Guthrie for joining us on today's episode. Big thanks to Derek Campbell of Mixed at Six Studios for his help with this episode and thank you so much for listening. We'll look forward to being with you again next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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