Roger Connors: Understanding God’s Patterns

Wed Aug 03 09:00:21 EDT 2022
Episode 188

As a former mission president and former MTC branch president who currently serves in a YSA stake presidency, Roger Connors has heard from a lot of young people who feel like God just isn’t keeping His end of the deal. It is for these people that Connors set out to write his new book, Divine Patterns. It is His belief that as we observe the way that our unchanging God has worked in the lives of men and women throughout history, we can more easily recognize that He is with us every minute of every day. 

We don’t believe in a god of your gaps God, meaning He only steps in at the end, after you’ve done all you can do. But through the grace of God, He is active and involved all the way through the process.
Roger Connors

Episode References:
Divine Patterns

Elder Renlund’s talk mentioned

Saint Augustine quote

Missionary Fireside During Pandemic-

Show Notes:

2:50- “There Is Something Else”
5:41- Hearing the Plan
7:12- The Care and Concern of the Lord
11:20- Patterns
12:50- Patience is a Choice
16:33- The Lord Loves Effort
20:20- The Savior’s Obedience
23:36- What You Want or Something Better
26:06- The Whole Picture
29:13- He Is For Us
39:02- Not a Checklist
44:00- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00

When he was writing his new book, "Divine Patterns," Roger Connors kept thinking of the people in his life that felt God had let them down, that God wasn't keeping His promises. Roger is convinced that God does keep his promises but that we must know how to obtain God's blessings. As he explains, "Understanding how God grants blessings, when and where, is vital." Rogers goal was to help readers keep pushing forward with patience and hope until the day that even the seemingly withheld blessings will all be fulfilled. Roger Connors is a four time New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author with over 35 years of expertise in organizational culture. He has co-authored many books including the AWS principle, change the culture and change the game. He is a graduate faculty professional member of Utah Valley University, and adjunct for their MBA program. A convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Roger and his wife, Gwen, previously presided over the Washington Kennewick mission.

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 honored to have Roger Connors on the line with me today. Roger, welcome.

Roger Connors 1:31

Thank you very much good to be with you.

Morgan Jones Pearson 1:33

Well, I absolutely loved reading your book. And I felt like I learned so many things that it may feel like we're going a little rapid fire today. But I wondered if you could start us off, you have written multiple, bestselling more business type books. So tell us a little bit about your professional career. And what led you now to write a book that is religious in nature and about divine patterns?

Roger Connors 1:59

You bet. So I was I've been a leadership coach and organizational transformational change consultant, and involved in the study and practice of human performance, working mostly in Fortune 500, fortune 1000 companies all around the world for about three and a half decades. And my books, the work had been about enabling people to discover their ability to overcome obstacles and achieve results they're seeking, both individually and in teams. So now I get to address that in the spiritual realm, which is fantastic. My leadership books revolve around developing mental models about how to most effectively deal with circumstances you encounter and be successful. And the scripture filled with those models or patterns that help us to be effective, in accessing God's power to help us solve problems and be happy.

Morgan Jones Pearson 2:49

So I think it's interesting how there are several people, I think, that are members of our church, past and present who have been able to take basically gospel principles, and you kind of filter out the gospel part of it right and have what remains is more secular. And there's an example that I thought was really fascinating. In your book you mentioned, you said, "Throughout my professional career, I've written about the power of personal accountability. The main idea is simple. At the heart of the message lies this one simple truth. You can't let your circumstances define who you are and what you do. That kind of thinking only brings a sense of victimization, that paralyzes your ability to think clearly, creatively and quickly. Instead, you have to take accountability in order to take charge of shaping your circumstances do this and good things, positive things, game changing things will begin to happen. Easy to say, but maybe harder to do." And then you say in this book. "Now, in a more spiritual context, I can add this important truth when you combine all of your efforts with God's grace and power. There isn't any circumstance that you can't face and eventually come off conquerer." And I want to come back to this idea later. But I think this is interesting, because you are able now to bring in the spiritual components that you haven't been able to talk about before has that been kind of liberating?

Roger Connors 4:18

Oh, for sure, without question that anytime I would be teaching those principles and ideas to a leadership team, there's always a temptation to say, "But there is something else." I have the opportunity to talk about something else. So that's great.

Morgan Jones Pearson 4:35

That's so cool. I love that. And you are a convert to the church. Is that right? That's right. How did you come in contact with the church?

Roger Connors 4:43

So I was pretty curious young man, I was thinking about life and where we came from, why we're here where we're going, you know, had all those natural questions. And I remember walking down the hill, there's this hill called Haws Road in Southern California with a friend I played football with, a street football. And I was I was telling him about a book I was reading, it was called Chariots of the Gods. It was a New York Times bestseller about ancient astronauts visiting the earth, you know, and I've been inquiring about all this, like this sounded pretty plausible. And he says, "Well, I know where we came from." And I looked over at him, and I thought "You? There's no way you would know that." And then he started sharing with me the plan of salvation. And it blew my mind, I immediately knew what he was telling me was true. And I was just dumbfounded. This friend had this knowledge. And that's, that's what kicked it all off.

Morgan Jones Pearson 5:37

That is so cool. What a great story. I also, I remember, even as a member of the Church, when I was in probably fifth grade, we had a guy take the missionary lessons at our house, and the missionaries had you know, the flip charts and explained the plan of salvation. And that night I just laid awake in bed, like wide-eyed because the plan of salvation blew my mind so much. So I feel like I can relate a little bit to that feeling. In the book "Divine Patterns," you write this: "God is not fickle when it comes to fulfilling promises. Rather, he has strategic, detailed, intentional, logical in the context of an all knowing mind, planned and generous. Everything he does is perfect." How has knowing this, that we worship a God who is perfect, but also all of those other things I think are really interesting: strategic, detailed, intentional, how does that knowledge bring comfort and peace to your life?

Roger Connors 6:36

I think it just tells us that you can count on him, you can be confident that God has a plan, and that he'll bring it about in our lives. And you have to understand the nature of God to really have that confidence that he's omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, you know, all powerful, all knowing always present. In fact, in the Book of Abraham it tells us that Jesus Christ is more intelligent than anyone or anything. And there are some who interpret that scriptures being that he is more intelligent than all the collective human intelligence combined. I mean, that's who we're relying on. That's who created the plan. I'm like, boy, if you want to get a good plan, that's the person I want to go to, to say, Hey, can you make a plan for me? That's a great way to go. And I recently attended a physics lecture from a Professor Brian Cox, he's pretty popular lecture on the topic, that he said that there were 20 billion potential Earth planets in our galaxy alone. 20 billion. And then he said, there's 2 trillion galaxies in the universe. And then he went on to say that they're now, scientists are speculating that there's an infinite number of what they call bubble universes. I mean, that's a lot of intelligences, right. So for sure, my view on this is that you can count on him, anytime, anywhere. In fact, I remember as a young man coming back home as a convert from my mission. I came back home to my my house in Southern California, I didn't really have a lot of friends. I didn't have a big network. I'd only been a member of the Church a year before I left. And my bishop finally turned to me one day, and he said, You should go to BYU. And I had applied I had gotten accepted for night school. But I had decided not to go. And for some reason, when he said that it triggered me and I thought, okay, he's right, I should do this. And so I offered a prayer to Heavenly Father and I said, "I'm going to need your help, because I know no one up there. School starts in a week, I have no place to stay." I loaded up my little Opal and had to tape plastic in the window because my window is broken. And the gum wrapper held up my rearview mirror. And I had to collect $20 in my pocket, and went up to BYU and I remember pulling in on Center Street and where Center Street hits 900 East. And sitting there was about seven o'clock at night, I finally got into Utah, thinking to myself, Okay, now what? Like, I have no place to stay, I have no idea where I'm going. And I looked over to the corner across from me. And I saw this little apartment complex, and I had the strong impression go there. So I pull into this apartment complex, and I go knock on the manager's door, and she finally answers and I told her what I wanted. I explained what was going on. And she said, you know, school starts in a week? I said I'm aware of that. And she said, I have one bed left in the apartment complex. If you go down and meet the roommates, and they say you can stay there then I'm gonna let you do it. I said okay, so I was walking down to go knock on the door. I'm starting to think roommates wonder what that's going to be like. So I knocked on the door. And when the door opens, standing in the threshold, were three former missionaries from the Georgia Atlanta mission where I served and I served with. And they started laughing and said Elder Connors! And they said, What do you need? I said, I need a place to stay. And so that night the Lord took me from Southern California, 700 miles, to one apartment complex to one door, and one bed. And I'll be forever grateful to know that he is a deliverer and you can count on.

Morgan Jones Pearson 10:12

That's such a good story. That kind of gives me chills a little bit. Thank you for sharing that. Can you give listeners an idea of what you mean when you say divine patterns, and I think you did such a great job in the book of showing just how expansive this idea of observing the patterns of the Lord, but give us a little bit of an idea of when we say divine patterns, what we're talking about?

Roger Connors 10:36

You know, it's not really something super new. It's just kind of understanding that in the Scriptures, the Lord shows us models for us, how we can obtain the blessings of heaven. So for example, one pattern is faith precedes the miracle. You know, that's the pattern we demonstrate faith and that miracles happen in our lives. And every time you study the scriptures, there's a 90% chance that when you do your scripture study, today, you're going to discover a pattern. And I think in Come, Follow Me we've been in Samuel, recently, I was reading about the Lord chastening Eli, the father of the prophet Samuel, through a man of God, and that men of God taught him he said, For them that honor me, I will honor. That's the pattern. When we honor God, He will honor us. And so those patterns emerge everywhere in the scriptures.

Morgan Jones Pearson 11:32

Absolutely. And I think as we talk together today, I think people will get more and more of an idea of just what we're talking about. But I love the way you say "Just like faith and trust, patience is not just a virtue, it's also a choice. Per the dictionary, it is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. In psychology, patience is studied as a decision making problem involving the choice of either a reward in the short term, versus a more valuable reward in the long term." Lately, I have spoken to several youth groups, and I found myself talking about how the church gives us choices. People sometimes say, "Well, you know, the church just tells you what to do." And I'm like, actually, that's not true. The church tells us we have agency and we have the ability to choose and that we actually have tons of choices. So I wondered, how would you say that understanding this definition of patience as a choice can be helpful?

Roger Connors 12:38

You know, patience becomes important. Usually when things go wrong or we're not making progress. That's when patience is required. It's human nature to feel like a victim when bad or difficult things are happening to you, or you're not getting the things that you want to accomplish. And I've written a lot about that in the business world context. You mentioned that earlier, when we started the podcast, that the idea that that I like to think about is that there's this imaginary line that separates this feeling of victimization from feeling accountable or at will. The scriptures talk about acting, or being acted upon. You know, when we act that's above the line, when we're acted upon this below the line, above the line, you're feeling powerful, and below the line, you're feeling powerless. And it's a natural thing for us to feel that way. And so it's a choice to move above that line and to feel accountable for the things that you're doing and powerful enough to go accomplish them. And I think that's where patience comes in, you know, we make a choice to do something about our circumstances. And that's what allows us to feel like we can be patient. And so from my perspective, a lot of the things we deal with are really a matter of choice. One example there was a man who had a wife who needed a kidney. And this was an article on the story that was done several years ago in the news. And she was old enough where she was really low on the list of potential recipients of a donor. And so he wanted to do something about it. Most people just kind of feel stuck, and feel like there's nothing left to do. So what he did is he made a sandwich board like a billboard that would hang in front of him and behind him and put it over his head, and it had everything on it. Wife needs kidney. Could you please call this number and he walked up and down the highway in his local city.

The news article said he got 100 People who called the number and volunteered to offer their kidney. There was one that that was tested that would work and actually was able to donate their kidney and saved his wife's life. It took him a year to do that. So you know, I think, I think when we hit challenging circumstances, a lot of what goes on is we have to make a choice on how we're going to respond to that. And it is a choice to do something more. And I often ask the question, you know, what else can I do to try to accomplish this? And this isn't Jacob, the Scripture is what more can I do in the vineyard? You know, the Lord comes to the vineyard, and the servant of the vineyard says, what more can I do? And he asked that question three times. So I think that's a really great question to ask.

Unknown Speaker 15:25

Absolutely, I along those same lines, I love the story that you tell in the book about a missionary who was able to get in shape to serve a mission after a ton of work. And you said this: "Now there may be those who would ask just how is the Lord responsible for doing any of this? After all, it was Ross who put in the effort, Ross made smart decisions about what he ate. Ross rode his bike every day, it was Ross who did the work to slay the monster, why? Or how does the Lord get credit? Certainly, we see people who have no faith in God do similar incredible acts. They don't rely on God only on themselves. How can anyone really know it's God's doing? The touching thing is if you asked Ross, it was all the Lord, no doubt it was through God that Ross found the strength to do something he had never done before to do the near impossible." This is something I'm maybe being a little bit selfish here, Roger, because this is something that I've had several conversations with different people in my life about recently, of how do we balance seeking the Lord's help submitting to his will while also putting in the effort ourselves? And how do we, you know, recognize well, how much effort do I need to put in? Where does that just having submitted my will, where does that come in? So I wondered, if you could tell me your thoughts on that.

Roger Connors 16:49

My view on this, and I've tried to have it be informed by what the brethren have taught. But we'll see. Right? So my view on this is that your effort makes all the difference. And your effort makes no difference. Both are true. And that's the nuance that's really hard to grasp. The good news of the gospel is that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we don't have to wait to the end for God to step in, we don't believe in a God of your gaps God meaning He only steps in at the end, after you've done all you can do. But through the grace of God, He is active and involved all the way through the process. It may not feel that way. Sometimes we may not recognize it. But the promise isn't that, you know, we do everything we can. And then He figures the rest out. He's working with us all the way. Elder Renlund talks about the activating effort that starts the process of obtaining the blessings from heaven. We don't earn our blessings. And he was very clear about that. But we do things to begin the process that authorizes God to act, by our by exercising our agency, we give God permission to enter into our lives and to start working with us and helping us. He's not waiting for us to finish all our tasks. He may be helping us complete those tasks, so that he can help it at the end when we finish. But I do believe that, and I think I learned this not as a member of the Church that has carried this with me and this this little phrase, when you're on your knees, pray as though everything depended upon God. And when you're off your knees work as though everything depended upon yourself. You can't go wrong with that formula. Right. But I do think at the end of the day, you know, for example, with Ross, you know, the miracle wasn't that Ross finally was able to get where he needed to be health wise, and was approved to go on a mission. The miracle was that Ross had the motivation every day, to get out there, and to be riding this bike and tackling the monster and staying with it. He was being helped all along the way. And then the miracle happened that he got out from was an amazing missionary. So I think our Father in Heaven is with us throughout this entire process, but does need us to do something to get the ball rolling.

Morgan Jones Pearson 19:12

That's profound. Thank you very much. I wanted to touch on a few things. Like I said a little bit rapid fire, you quote Elder Hales, who said "Spiritually mature obedience is the Savior's obedience. It is motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His Son." How would you say Roger that understanding, observing, and taking part in these divine patterns can help us develop spiritual maturity?

Roger Connors 19:40

Well, there's a lot of ways to obey, we can reluctantly obey. We can obey pharasitically and lose the spirit of what we're doing. I mean, obedience is nuances a little bit. And I think what the way the Lord is defined it, He wants it all, He wants to all of our heart, my mind and strength. He wants that kind of obedience in our lives. And when we're able to get to a place where we can, we can think that way and feel that way. Amazing things can happen. But you know, that spiritual maturity and way of operating doesn't come until we've been tried and tested and we've fallen down and gotten hurt. I know lots of people who feel like God isn't listening anymore, that He's not answering my prayers, that He has favorites, that some people seem to be blessed more than me. And they verbalize that to me. And that's a hard position to be in. Because to feel like God stopped listening, stopped working for us, is a difficult, difficult place. And in fact, when I wrote this book, I had in mind, a lot of those folks who were feeling like the Lord is let them down, that the plan didn't work, the Plan A didn't come through, that the promises didn't actually happen the way that they were told would happened. And my hope is that the book helps a bit to help explain why maybe that's happening in your life, and that you can't trust Him and that He will come through and that He will help you with all the things that you desire, you can have faith and trust in Him. He's not finished with you. He's just starting. That's my hope is that the people will feel that.

Morgan Jones Pearson 21:21

No, I think that's such a cool motivation. And a great reason to put the time and effort into a book and writing a book is not an easy thing. So even when you've done it a bunch of times, like you have, you have a couple of really great one liners in the book. And there are things that you you say, you know, one of them, I shared this with missionaries a lot, or I been known to say this. So I wanted to touch on a few of these first, "Whatever the Lord wants, the Lord gets." What does that mean to you, Roger?

Roger Connors 21:53

So our family scripture growing up was First Nephi, three, seven, we used to ask her children, what does that mean? And they were, we have this this family response. It means if I'm asked to move a mountain, I can move a mountain. And the kids would say that, you know, we probably said that a 1000 times as children were growing up. And that really bottom line is, is the promise that the Lord will move mountains in our lives, if it's needed, He'll do it. And so it's relying on that it's really believing that He will come through and accomplish the things that we accomplished.

Morgan Jones Pearson 22:28

Okay, another one of these that I really loved is and this is the one that you said that you shared with missionaries, you said "You can get what you want, or you can have something better." And I love this because I am a big fan of the quote by Ezra Taft Benson where he says, "Those who turn their lives over to God will find that He can do a lot more with their lives than they can." But tell me why this was so important. And especially when you're sharing it as a mission president with missionaries? Why is that an important message for people at that stage in life to receive?

Roger Connors 23:03

Well, could there be anything more true? I mean, we don't always really know what's best for us. But God does. I really experienced this when I was graduating from MBA school. My plan was to go work with Bain. I don't know if you're familiar with the company being a strategic consulting firm. And it was a top company. And they only came once in a while to BYU and only talked to a couple people. So it was a high aspiration to want to work with. So finally, that time came and I was actually one of the two chosen interview with him. So I was like, Oh, my goodness, this is amazing. And I did seven interviews in San Francisco and did seven interviews of Boston. And the last interview, basically, they said, we don't think you're a fit.

And so I came back to the MBA school really discouraged. I like that was my plan A, B, C, and D. And then I looked on the wall in the mailroom, and they had this little flyer, and it was about a small consulting firm called Senn-Delaney leadership consulting group that was coming to do interviews. And I thought, Okay, well, maybe I'll try that. There are like only seven people in the company. I mean, Bain was this amazing, worldwide thing. And this these guys are this little niche consulting firm with seven people. So I interviewed with them. And they hired me. And it catapulted me and launched me into a career that has been amazing, wonderful, tremendous. I've loved it. There were times I couldn't wait for the weekend. And except for Sunday, when I was doing my Sunday stuff, I could wait for the weekend and I could get back to work. I just loved it. And who would have known? I wouldn't have known but the Lord knew. And you can trust him. He's got the best plans for us. And when things don't work out when a door closes, we can just know, for walking the covenant path, our Father in heaven will open another door that will take us to the place he wants to be.

Morgan Jones Pearson 24:58

I believe in that with all my heart, so I'm so so grateful that you shared that. One more. And this is a little bit more of a quote than a one liner. But this stood out to me, as I read you said, "Sometimes the manifestation of the miracle isn't immediate, but develops over time, not becoming obvious until we put the entire picture together." How have you seen that to be true in your life? Obviously, the example you just gave is one. But are there other examples of how you've seen that?

Roger Connors 25:28

Oh, my goodness, I've come to believe that there's no such thing as coincidences or or I believe that there's two or three classes of coincidences in a row of miracles about to be performed, right? So I remember as a young missionary, we went to his own conference and the mission president, he stood up in zone conference and reminded us that we should be paying fast offerings. And my companion, I looked each other and we thought we should be pink cast offerings. And so we went back to our apartment, we thought, okay, we sat down at our little kitchen table, I could still see it was a little little kitchen table. And we each had $5, $5 for the last week of the month. And this was back in the day when you kind of financed your own your own mission, right? And we thought, okay, well, let's do it. And so we took our $5 bill, we put it in an envelope, wrote fast offering on it, put it in middle table and said, We have no idea how we're going to get through this next week. Literally, within two minutes, the phone rings, it's our ward mission leader. He says, I was just thinking about you guys. And I want to take you out to dinner. And we looked at each other. And we thought, oh my goodness, we knew what to say. Let's go to the Sizzler to the all you can eat shrimp dinner. So we'll eat shrimp and we'll eat as much as we can to last the rest of the week. So he takes us out to dinner. And on the way home. We haven't told him anything about what's going on. On the way home, he says can I stop at the store for a minute, I need to get something from the store. He said you guys wait in the car. So we're sitting in the car waiting. And as he comes back to the car, we look out the window. And there's a clerk with him pushing a dolly with five cases of canned food. And so he comes in, he puts the canned food in the car and we helped him load it in. We said Is this your food storage? He said no, it's your food storage. I bought this for you.

So two hours later, we're sitting back at the same kitchen table where we were sitting with the $5. And we'd had an all you can eat shrimp dinner, and had five cases of canned food sitting in the corner. And we thought to ourselves, oh, how glorious is the Lord in helping us when we obey.

Morgan Jones Pearson 27:38

Such such a cool experience. And also, it's cool because when you're talking about it, I can recall, I and I think that's the neat thing about experiences. And one reason I love interviewing people for the show is I think when somebody is sharing their spiritual experiences, it helps you recall things that have happened in your own life that are along the same lines. And so hopefully that's happening for others as they're listening to your stories. Another story that I loved and this is this is not one from your own life. But it says, "One familiar story tells of a boy who wanted to give a gift to his teacher who was returning home to England from a faraway nation. The boy lacked money to buy a gift. The day before the teacher was to leave the boy brought her a huge seashell. The teacher asked where he had gotten the shell. It was from a bay many miles away, the teacher exclaimed that it was beautiful, that he shouldn't have gone so far to get her such an exquisite gift. The boy simply said the long walk was part of the gift." And then you said "a profound truth, the greater our service, the deeper we will feel." I'm curious for you, Roger for somebody that has had a successful career. And we've had a number of former mission presidents on the show for various reasons but I don't think I've ever asked one of them about this. It's a big sacrifice to walk away from success and not knowing exactly how things are going to be three years later. How did you see the truth of this principle that the greater our service, the deeper we will feel in your service as a mission president?

Roger Connors 29:13

Well, that was that was definitely one of the toughest things that I've ever done. Anybody I know who's done it would echo the same sentiment, you know, no matter how accomplished they were, in their, in their career, whatever that might have been. It's an amazingly rewarding assignment. But an amazingly challenged one to be a mission leader. And I knew something was going to happen when we went to the mission presidents' seminar and they fed us so much. I've learned that when they start fattening the calf, there's going to be a sacrifice.

And that was indeed what we experienced. But it was amazing. I remember we used to gather as mission presidents at the mission presidents' seminar. When we weren't in the workshop, we'd have some time to just chat. We were all standing around one time in the hallway talking about how we handled our stress.

And one of the mission presidents looked at me and he said, "Well, what I do, when I pull into the driveway at night at 1030, I just sit there for a minute, I have a Big Mac in one hand, and a Big Mac on the other hand, and I just sit there and eat my Big Macs.

And that's how he handled his stress, double fisting the Big Macs. But that's not the most effective way, I'm sure to do it. But you know, it's interesting, there's all sorts of missionaries with everyone has a different background, different family support different personal, physical and mental health challenges. No two missions are the same. And missionaries shouldn't compare themselves to one another or their missions, because it's a unique experience. We all come with just such varied backgrounds and personal challenges. For myself, for example, I came home two months early on a medical release as a mission president. So I was in the mission almost three years, and was diagnosed with stage four non Hodgkins lymphoma cancer, and had to leave the mission early. So I had a medical release as a mission president, I just hope every missionary who went out, if they came home early, if they had a COVID mission, which changed things up dramatically, whatever might have happened, your mission is unique to you. And it's that's how the Lord intended it. However long it was, or whatever you experience. That was your unique experience. And it's what the Lord would have had happened for you. And I believe with all my heart that if everyone did their best, and strove to accomplish what the Lord asked, whatever, whatever offering we made, is acceptable to Him, and He's happy with it.

Morgan Jones Pearson 31:40

I love that I think that you are spot on. Beginning of COVID Desert book, release some videos and Laurel Day, the president of Deseret Book did a video where she was talking to these COVID missionaries. And she highlighted the part in the mission call where it says it is anticipated that you will serve this many months. And she said, you know, that means that sometimes things don't go as anticipated. And I thought that that was profound. And I love that you highlighted that and that you can empathize with those whose missions get cut short for whatever reason, because I have friends who had become home on on medical releases, and it's something that sticks with you long term.

Roger Connors 32:26

Yeah, in my Provo assignment, I interview young single adults all the time who were describing their COVID missions, you know, they were called to Buenos Aires, and they had to route to Texas. And then or maybe they went to Buenos Aires for three months and came home for three months. Then they went up to Texas for seven months and then went back to Buenos Aires to finish and you know, that's hard. I mean, when you're the newbie in so many different places, that's challenging. Learning a language in that circumstances is challenging. But the Lord knew all of that. I mean, He wasn't surprised You were surprised. But He wasn't surprised he knew exactly what was going to happen and the way it would happen. He wanted that unique experience for that person. And everyone tells me, I asked them, So how was your mission? Oh it was great. But how was your mission. Oh it was really challenging. But how did it go for you? I loved it. And I constantly hear these missionaries say it was a fantastic experience, even though it was as challenging as it was. Pretty impressive. pretty amazed.

Morgan Jones Pearson 33:32

Right. I I've been so impressed. We had a handful of missionaries come home to my ward in Salt Lake and every one of them when they would speak about their mission, I would think that would be so hard, but they were all so positive about it. And I think that's a skill set that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Roger Connors 33:49

No question. I mean, if you were to call thesemission presidents, "President we got a new program, we're going to take your missionaries, so we're gonna lock them up in their apartments for seven months. What do you think? Terrible idea? Or like, should I get a plane ticket out of here?"

Morgan Jones Pearson 34:04

So hard. Okay, Roger, before we wrap up, I wanted to kind of dig into one of these patterns if it's okay with you. And it is that of the role of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and repentance. So you start out and you kind of break down both a broken heart and then a contrite spirit. When you're talking about a broken heart. You compared it to a romantic relationship. And I thought this was so good. So I wondered if you could share that with listeners.

Roger Connors 34:33

Yeah, you know, I think one way to think about that is who hasn't had a broken heart in a romantic situation. Everybody can relate to that. Right? You feel the pains of loss, love and whatever rejection or whatever it might have been. And for many, for many of us, that was not just an emotional feeling. It was a physical feeling. I mean, it was it was pretty comprehensive. And I think what when, when our Father in Heaven talks about that. That's the sacrifice He's looking for when it comes to sin, you know, intentionally disobeying the laws of God. That when we do that, that we feel that sense of sorrow, that something's missing, something's been taken away. And that causes us to want to come back to Him to be made whole. I'm grateful for the moments I felt the brokenhearted contrite spirit because it's caused me to be better at what I do and, and what I'm trying to accomplish in terms of becoming like the father. If we're walking the covenant path, the promises that will have never-ending happiness, and we will be blessed to have all things that are before us. Heavenly Father, He rejoices in our strengths and tech talents, He delights in our creations and achievements and our service. He celebrates our expressions of love and selflessness. He rebels at our being agents center ourselves, He loves us, and is so excited for us when we're on the path doing the things that he wants. But He's sad and heartbroken when we sit and we disregard the laws of God, which are boundaries that He's helped to set for us so that we can be kind, merciful and the holy. So I think He really wants us to be ready for thrones, kingdoms, principalities, powers, dominions, exultation, all heights and depths, maybe even our own double universe, I don't know. However that's going to turn out. And that's His intention is to help us get there. So, and He's told us, a broken heart and a contrite spirit is the sacrifice we should bring to the sacrament, and lay upon the altar, so that we can become like him. That's a small sacrifice, to pay for all the blessings that are yet before us. So I would just say, I know He is committed to helping us achieve our what He has planned for us, He will help us every step of the way. If we feel like He's left us, that it's not working out, that his promises aren't coming to pass, we just need to hang in there and know that if we keep continue to test that, that He will bring about his purposes and plans for us, but it will be according to His own timing, and His own way and His own approach.

Morgan Jones Pearson 37:16

For sure. And I love I love when you talk about the contrite spirit, and you highlight how the Hebrew rendering of that word in the scriptures is defined as crushed, or dust. And I think sometimes it can be hard to understand why a loving God would allow us to feel brokenhearted or crushed or why He would even ask that of us. But I think it's profound to think about the fact that, that sometimes it's that broken heartedness or feeling crushed that allows us to turn to Him in ways that we might not otherwise. you do offer a warning along with this point that I thought was interesting, in that with these patterns, it can be easy sometimes to view things as a checklist. And I think that's, that's human nature. It's really nice for us to have like, Okay, this is exactly what I need to do. And you write a checklist approach to repenting will likely cause someone to miss the whole point, repentance is an accomplished by just going through a list of steps you need to take, rather, it's a process that requires a sincerity of heart that produces a willingness to do whatever God may require to be pronounced clean. Why would you say that it sometimes might be important to to not view these things as a checklist?

Roger Connors 38:43

You know, I remember as a missionary, we were taught the steps to repentance, and they were five or six steps, depending on how you talked about it. And you teach these steps. And the Brethren have really shifted that thinking, to get away from steps. It's a process and you know, really don't think about it that way. Elder Christofferson recently taught in general conference, you'll be remembered this, God is not a cosmic vending machine. Remember that phrase? Where we select as desired blessing, insert the required sum for the works and then is the orders properly delivered? He says something like that. And I think it's really important understand that, you know, sometimes when we when we think we've done what we need to and the blessing doesn't come, we're disappointed. It should have worked that way. Why didn't it work that way? You know, I did this and this, but this didn't happen. So God therefore has let me down. Right? That's the risk of thinking of it as a checklist or steps that things automatically happen. But I think we have to realize that our Father in Heaven has a plan for us. And He has some timing associated with it and the things will happen at the right time in the right way according to His well. And if we discover that and believe it, and really want that to happen. I remember I had some property in California and was trying to get them sold, and I had some challenges doing it, I had to keep holding on to them. And then it started raining and they were all leaking. And it was just, it became a miserable situation. And I'm like Heavenly Father, when are you going to lift this for me, help me do this. And finally, each one of these had their own purpose. And my son met his wife while living there, and another one, my daughter actually adopted child, and it came from that location, she had to go and live there for a period of time because of California law. And, you know, once these purposes were fulfilled, the properties were able to be sold. And I remember going from praying for these things to happen to praying that heavenly Father, whatever you want to have happen here, I'm fine with it. If I need to hold these for a long period of time, and that's your that's your will, then I will do it. And it caused me to change the way I prayed from my will to thy will. And I really meant it. Like when I said, Thy will be done, I meant it with all my heart, whatever you want. I look back. And I'm grateful that I went through a very excruciating kind of a situation because it taught me to really trust in Him. And want his will.

Morgan Jones Pearson 41:19

I think it's through having experiences that we start to recognize that we can trust Him. I love the Scripture in Malachi where it says, "Prove me now herewith" where it's like, try me see if this works. If it doesn't work, that's fine. So I think you touched on that and recognizing that it's through experience that then we say Thy will be done, and we genuinely mean it. But I also I love there's one thing that I realized I didn't put in my questions that I really love from your book, you talked about how your family had been praying for something years earlier, and that problem was resolved. And you and your son were talking about it. And your son said, Dad, I still pray about that. And you're like, what? Like why are you so praying about it that got resolved. And he was like, I still tell Heavenly Father how grateful I am for His help through that. And I think that that principle of gratitude when we do start to see it come together, and when those prayers do start to be answered is just so important. Anything you would say about that, Roger?

Roger Connors 42:23

Well, that what he was praying about was that situation those properties, okay, well, I was praying about it. And it was a profound thing. And I, I remember just learning it was it was just like, I should have, I should have been doing that, you know, you're the one that's thanking him a year later. And so I don't know, it's been a decade since all that situation occurred. But my wife and I will still often every sometime during the week and our prayers, we will thank Him for delivering us from that situation, and others. It was a great lesson to learn from him.

Morgan Jones Pearson 42:57

That's awesome. Roger, this has been such a great conversation. I feel like I have things that I've learned and will take away and apply. But my last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Roger Connors 43:12

You know, I use two pictures and some of my leadership training when I'm working with leadership teams. And one picture shows the line going down the side of a road where tree branches have fallen. And the person painting the lines on the side of the road, in a light painting truck, drove around the branch, but it continued painting. So you see the straight line and then there's this curve around the branches. It's hilarious when you look at it. And then I show a picture of a workman with his body, half buried and water headfirst. And everyone speculates he had fallen in. But the real story is that there was a leak in a pipe that was underneath the ground. And the only way he could stop it was to dive into this this pool of water headfirst. And without seeing anything, feel the pipes and actually turn the water off and get it stopped, which he did. It was successful. Total hero, right? And for me, being all in means that just going through the motions and checking the boxes, like maybe the driver painting the lines did. It means to dive in headfirst and be a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just when it's convenient, and particularly not when it's convenient. If we honor God, He will honor us, especially in our moments of greatest need. I know He'll be there. He will be in it and He will be with us and He will rescue and deliver us. But it will be according to His own way and timing and His own will. When we are all in He has fallen with us. And that divine love will carry us through anything.

Morgan Jones Pearson 44:44

So well said. Thank you so much. Roger. It's been a delight to talk with you. Thank you so much the Great.

Big thanks to Roger Connors for joining us on today's episode. You can pre-order Roger's book "Divine Patterns," on Deseretbook.com now. Thanks to Derek Campbell for his help with this episode and thank you so much as always for listening we'll be with you again next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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