76: Be Prepared

Mon Mar 22 22:09:06 EDT 2021
Episode 76

Stories in this episode: The sudden loss of his corporate job throws Dave into a new and sometimes confusing role at home; Jenny's once-thriving life is upended by an unwelcome diagnosis that offers her a powerful connection to some of her Church History idols.

Show Notes

Dave is a life coach who supported his wife, Rio, as she started her company Work + Wonder. They specialize in workbooks made for general conference:

Dave with his family.

Work & Wonder

They also have a workbook specifically designed for kids:

Work and Wonder for kids.

Jenny is a historian and author who found strength to fulfill her life mission even amidst battles with leukemia:

Jenny Reeder

Jenny while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Jenny while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Jenny's newest book about the life of Emma Smith.
Jenny's newest book about the life of Emma Smith.

She also helped compile a book of discourses given by Latter-day Saint Women.
She also helped compile a book of discourses given by Latter-day Saint Women.


KaRyn 0:03

Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," a LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith everyday. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.

When my town experienced a hurricane-level windstorm this past fall, it uprooted century-old trees and it knocked down power lines. And I learned two things very quickly: First, that I take my easy, daily, access to electricity totally for granted. And second, that I am only partially prepared for the loss of that daily access.

We were without power at our house for over five days. And honestly, if it wasn't for our camping gear and a very long extension cord that our neighbor Steve generously draped over the back fence that allowed us to share his generator, I mean, we totally would have survived, but the contents of our freezer wouldn't have and we wouldn't have had access to our cell phones.

Now listen, I know there are many people in other parts of the country and the world who have faced even more perilous natural events than our tiny little windstorm. And I don't want my experience to diminish those struggles. Those are really hard things. But for me, this was a particularly important reminder to think about preparation with just a little more urgency.

The word preparation comes from the Latin root for "Prae," which means before and "Parare" I don't think I'm saying that right, "to make ready." And I love that idea of "to make ready" because isn't that exactly what this earth life is all about? It's getting our hearts and our minds and our bodies ready for whatever comes next.

But President Nelson reminded us in his general conference talk, "Embrace the Future with Faith" that it's not just about making ready for the life after this. If we want to be of good courage and find peace right here, right now, during this most remarkable dispensation, being temporally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared is the key.

We have to make ready before the windstorms and the tumults and the ocean waves come for us. And what that looks like in practice, to make ourselves ready as disciples in our world of disruption, probably doesn't include my most recent plan to hoard Slim Jims and get a longer extension cord. So today, we're gonna explore the many sides of preparation with two very different stories from people who learned how preparation opens the door to opportunity and growth. Our first story comes from Dave.

Dave 2:28

I was working at my day job for a luxury hotel and it was 9:15 on an idle Tuesday and I was called into the general manager's office. And they said that across several of their hotels, they were dissolving my position. Effective immediately, I would be released, and "Here's a severance," and "We're so sorry, and it's not your performance. It's not anything you, it's just we dissolved the position. Let us know if there's anything we could do."

My mind is spinning. Well, what's next? You know, will we stay in the valley? Will we need to sell our house and move? Like, you can imagine the tornado of thoughts and ideas. But as that kind of settled in, I was also quickly reminded, wait a second, like my wife, she's an entrepreneur and her business is really picking up right now. And wait a minute, this coaching program that I'm in has really become my passion project. And I realized that, you know . . . and other people's stories of getting laid off or losing their jobs like that is really stressful, and that they might not have backup options. But in this case, it was so clear that Heavenly Father had prepared us with these other business endeavors to allow us to take that initial hit, and run with it.

And now we had the time and the space to dedicate to these other causes that really fulfilled us and really excited us to share more of who we are and to build other people and in lines of work that are sharing light, and love and strength.

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs and her business was growing and is growing and so she had great momentum as Rio's business was in a great place to then take off even more and she now had time. Now I'm an at-home-dad trying to grow his business. I had this lull. I had random coaching calls here and there so it was this almost awkward time of being being dad while still coaching.

I think the hardest part for me in this new role as a stay-at-home dad at first was, that was a role I never thought I'd be in. Like all growing up I thought I'd be the breadwinner, I'd be the one going to work from you know eight to five and that was what I always thought so then boom, here I am with the kids. Here I am changing diapers and making macaroni and it's like wow!

There was like weird feelings of like guilt or like embarrassment, or, you know, in those social gatherings, people would ask, "Oh, how's the coaching going?" and it was going, it was growing, but most of my day was spent stay-at-home dad. And so it was . . . you're just in between worlds, I feel like. Where in social gatherings you're different, and in business gatherings, you're different, as I'm like, at the park with other moms, and like, I'm the only dad there. So it was, at times, I'd say, just funky feelings.

All the while being encouraging and supportive of my wife who I was very proud of. And the work she's doing and like, "Heck yes!" like, "Go for it, ride this momentum that you have." And so that was just an interesting psyche feeling that, and . . . even last night, right? Like Tuesday's aren't my professional work days, and so I had a full day with the kids. And it was beautiful, and I loved it.

But I found myself at the end of the day, like having feelings of, "Well, Dave, you didn't grow your business," and "You didn't talk to this person and you didn't–" and it was like, wow, just beating myself up about what I didn't do. And like society, I feel like puts that pressure on business and growth.

And I was so quickly then–it was just a beautiful feeling, where my heart was just immediately filled with gratitude. And the specific faces of my kids at lunchtime when their faces are messy, but we're all sitting around the table just having lunch together. And it was like, wow, like what a gift. What a gift. What a special sacred time. And I don't ever want to bemoan my kids for keeping me from my professional development. And that's what it's like, what do you really want here? Like, if you had to give up anything for something, what would it be? And it's like, hands down, I'd give it all up for my kids. There's nothing that's more important than family.

When I think about it and I dial in, I know God has been preparing and helping me to learn things that he needed me to learn. And experiences I needed to have to be here now as a stay-at-home dad several days a week, to trust that a bummer today is still an opportunity to learn and to grow and to become stronger and wiser because of it. And in those moments of when it's awkward, or when it's you know, I'm not relating to all the other dads in the same way.

It's, it's again, a peace of mind because I've received my answer that is unique to me, that this is where I need to be. This is what I'm to be doing. And in moving forward, that that peace of mind can put me in any awkward situation and I know who I am, I know where I stand.

I feel like God is preparing me now, in this experience we're talking about to really dial in and help me learn personal revelation. I think I've . . . it's safe to say I have sought more personal revelation in the past year and a half than I have in my entire life combined, with leading my business, with leading my family, with being a partner with my wife, and in so many ways, and the more I can understand how the Spirit communicates to me, the more I can navigate future challenges and future opportunities, and that seems to be maybe the biggest takeaway for me.

KaRyn 8:39

That was Dave.

Dave and his wife, Rio, are both engaged in work that is all about preparation. In addition to his personal coaching business, they are the founders of Work + Wonder, which is a design company that makes these beautiful guided workbooks that help you get prepared so that you can get more from general conference.

We just knew that they would have something cool to share with us about this principle that they have dedicated so much of their life to. And I think it's really interesting that Dave pointed to their temporal preparation is the thing that saved them at first. But it became really clear throughout his story that without the spiritual preparation of honing his ability to receive revelation, the peace about his current situation would have been far more elusive than it is.

In that same general conference talk that I mentioned in the intro, "Embrace the Future with Faith," President Nelson invites us to learn and apply three principles of preparation from the life of Captain Moroni. He said quote, "First he helped them create areas where they would be safe. "Places of security" he called them. Second, he prepared the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord. And third, he never stopped preparing his people physically or spiritually," end quote.

I can see all three of these preparation principles in Dave's story as he leans into this unique opportunity to actively create emotional and physical security for his children. And as he practices receiving revelation that will anchor him in his faith, and give him continual courage to show up boldly, as himself, wherever he goes.

Our next story comes from Jenny, who was prepared by God for a unique work in a way that no one would have expected. Here's Jenny.

Jenny 10:22

I still remember my first symptoms, I was running out of breath, especially when walking or going up the stairs, and I couldn't talk on my phone and walk at the same time, which was ridiculous, because I had a busy life. And I needed that time to do that.

I chalked it up to just being overwhelmed. I had just been called as Relief Society President and I was writing my dissertation, and I was a TA for a history class on campus. But one day, I was talking to my dissertation advisor, and she recommended that I go get my blood drawn and see what was going on in my blood.

So I went to the student health center, they drew my blood, the next day, I was on my way to campus and I got a call from the nurse at the student health center. And she said, "I need you to go to the emergency room." And I said, "Well, actually, I'm on my way to class, I need to lead a study group for an exam." And she said, "Well, if you're driving into campus, why don't you come to the health center? There's a problem with your blood test."

So I got to campus, I went straight to the student health center, and the nurse was a little frantic. And I was only frantic because I still had to get to that classroom. And I was late. But she sat me down, and she said, "Let's call your doctor." So we called and the doctor was out of the office for two weeks. And so she said, "I need to send your test results to the ER, which hospital would you like to go to?"

I didn't know which hospital was there, I'd never been to the hospital in Virginia. So I quickly thought of one that I knew the name of. And she said, "Do you have someone that can go with you to the hospital?" And I immediately thought of my stake Relief Society president who I'd been with the night before. And she said she would always be willing to help me in whatever way possible. So she came to my house and picked me up and we spent the next 10 hours in the ER.

Meanwhile, my Bishop came to visit, brought lunch, came back later to give me a blessing. Doctors were in and out, and finally they decided that they were going to admit me and give me some blood because my platelets were really low. So I spent the night in the hospital getting a blood infusion. And the next morning, the hematologist came in and said, "We need to do a bone marrow biopsy." I started to panic. And the bishop said, "Is it okay if I stay in the room while this happens?" And the doctor said, "No, you need to go out of the room."

So, they prepared me for the biopsy. And my Bishop stood outside my door and talked to me through the door. And it was very painful. The bone marrow biopsy was very painful. So my doctor told me, "We'll,"–it was a Saturday, he said–"We'll discharge you in just a little while and have you come into my office on Monday for the results." And I was like, "Okay." So I was just waiting for the discharge, and the doctor came back and said, "I need to speak to you alone."

And he sent everyone out of the room. And he sat down next to my bed and told me that I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And I looked at him and said, "What? Can you write that down? I have no idea what you're talking about." And so he wrote that down and he said, "We need to get you started immediately on chemotherapy." And I was in such a buzz. I didn't even know how to process it.

It just seemed ridiculous to me. I was a marathon runner and I went to body pump class every week, twice a week. And I was busy. I had lots of stuff to do, and this is a ridiculous waste of time. But I knew it was serious just by the way that he talked to me. When my Bishop came back in the room, I asked him if he could call my mom because I couldn't bear the thought of calling my mom to tell her and he said he would take care of that.

My brother in law sent my mom on the first plane to D.C. When she walked into the room, it was 11:30 at night. And she walked into the room and we both just started crying and she just climbed into bed with me and held me and told me how much she loved me.

The next day was Sunday and another doctor came in and sat down to talk to me and she said "Now, I want to know what some of your concerns are. Are you afraid of dying?" And I'm like, "What!? No, I am in the middle of so many good things. And I have a mission in life." I had felt compelled to do Latter-day Saint women's history, and I said, "No, I'm not gonna die, and my mission life isn't done. And plus, I've got to have kids. I mean, my patriarchal blessing says that I'll have children." I don't think I used that word because she wouldn't have known what that was. But she said, "Oh, honey, we need to talk." And she explained the gravity of the situation. And I still, I don't think it's really sunk in.

I had felt so strongly about doing Latter-day Saint women's history. It was a circuitous route for me to figure out what my mission in life was. As a research assistant working for two women historians, I was reading the Nauvoo Relief Society minutes. And it was like their words, were speaking to me, I could hear them whispering, telling me that they existed, that they were important people, that they had done a great work. And I wanted to learn more. And I wanted to tell everyone about these women, about Emma Smith, and Eliza R. Snow, and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, and the extraordinary things that they were doing, and I saw how progressive and incredible these women were, the work that they did, and going to medical school, and in storing grain, and I loved them, and I wanted to learn more about them. And I wanted to share their voices with other people.

I did feel like Heavenly Father was communicating to me that this was my life mission, and that he and others would be with me. That is what sent me to graduate school, and that's what sent me to Fairfax, Virginia, to get a PhD in American history at George Mason University. But suddenly, here I was in a hospital in Arlington, Virginia, realizing that my life was coming to a screeching halt.

I was actually grateful that my Bishop decided to keep me in as Relief Society president. It really kept my mind off of the craziness of chemo and going bald, and I was surrounded by love. And it wasn't just the friends or my mom that were there, it was my ladies. It was Emma and Eliza and Emmeline and Zina, and I knew they were there to bolster me up and to help me.

I made it through two years of chemo. And after my chemo, I was in remission. My body still wasn't quite the same. I knew I was never going to run another marathon, but I was able to press forward and finished my dissertation. So I graduated, I landed my dream job working at the Church history department in Salt Lake City. I moved to Utah, I bought the house, I started my first project. And I went in to establish continuing care with a blood cancer clinic at LDS hospital.

And they took my blood and suddenly wanted to do another bone marrow biopsy. And I knew I was in trouble. So I called my mom and she came up to Salt Lake, and I called a neighbor from my ward who came and gave me a priesthood blessing. He told me that this will just be a small blip in your life, you have a lot of things to do. But sure enough, they could quickly tell that my leukemia had returned and that my blood was 98% leukemic. Again, I had been tired, but I just, I just wrapped it up to having moved and trying to settle in and getting started on a really exciting project at work. But this took me out of work for another year. And this time with this second diagnosis of recurrence. I was mad.

I had lined up everything. Everything was ready, everything was in place. I was mad that God would allow this to happen. That he had preserved me through that first bout of cancer, and that I knew this was going to be a long road. I was mad at my body for not holding up like I wanted it to. And I was mad that I was going to have to tell my new job that I was going to need to take some time off. And I was mad that the project I was working on wasn't going to get done. I was mad.

And I . . . really, it was really hard for me to pray. I wasn't in a good place with God. I couldn't open my heart to Him because I had closed it up because I was scared and I was mad.

So at this point I needed to have a bone marrow transplant. Now, in preparation for a bone marrow transplant, they have to obliterate your bone marrow, so that when they give you these new stem cells, they'll know to create new bone marrow. Before my bone marrow transplant, I had another priesthood blessing from a man who was a friend of mine in my stake presidency.

And he told me that the Lord had a plan for me, and that my life would be preserved. That nothing would prevent me from filling my mission. He promised me that my health would ebb and flow, but that I would live and that I would be a witness to his mighty hand.

So I did it. I went in for the bone marrow transplant. My brother, Ben, was a perfect match, and bless his hearth, he was such a trooper. It was an awful experience. I had to do full body radiation, I had to do some brain radiation, I was scared to death that I was gonna lose some of my ability to think and write and do research. And I really struggled with that. But I did it. And almost immediately after the transplant, I started experiencing some of those side effects.

My esophagus was inflamed, I couldn't drink or eat anything I was on fluids and nutrients . . . and I was so miserable, I was on a pain pump. And I don't remember hardly anything for probably two weeks. And I remember one doctor coming in and saying, "Jenny, we have to bring you to the brink of death, so that we can bring you back to life." It was a long, hard, seven or eight weeks in the hospital, and then a long hard recovery period.

After about a year, I started feeling better. I went back to work, we were doing a collection of women's discourses, a book. And I loved it. Finding these women brought me so much energy and hope and joy. And as my body was recovering, I could feel them pulsating through my blood. The book was coming out, I was so excited. I knew that these women were proud that their words were being made accessible, and that I knew that other women would find such joy and hope and faith in their words. And I was so excited and invigorated and I was ready for my next projects.

When I came to understand at a follow-up at my clinic, that my leukemia had come back. This time it had not entered my bones. My brothers marrow had made my marrow strong enough to stop it from entering the marrow, but my DNA was still wanting to form lymphoblastic leukemia. And so it went to the next blood barrier, which was my bone. And I had leukemic lesions on my spine and sternum and ribs.

I remember I was at the conference, the Western History Association Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. And I got a call from my doctor. And she said, "Jenny, I'm sorry, Your cancer is back, and you're going to have to do another bone marrow transplant." I was done. I was like, "I'm not going through that again. I will not do that again." There's there's such a low chance of success with a second bone marrow transplant. Every time the cancer recurs, you have less and less of a chance of overcoming it and of being cured. I was at my wit's end.

I remember meeting one day with my pulmonologist who told me that his son had died a year previous of a drug overdose. And he said, "Jenny, you're not 80 years old. My son has 0% chance of living, but you, even if you have 10% chance of living, you have to try." And I thought all of a sudden of that priesthood blessing that I'd had before my transplant, where I had been told that I had a mighty work to perform and that my life would not end until that mission had been filled. And I realized that I needed to do everything that I could to keep my body alive. And so I agreed.

Just before the second transplant from my other brother. We discovered that I had pneumonia. And we had to get that cleared up before we could move forward with the transplant. But, it was elusive, we couldn't figure out what was causing the pneumonia. So for three months, I was on oxygen, and I have never felt so close to death in my life. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep.

I remembered the account of Jane Snyder Richards. She was a woman from upstate New York, who had married and come to Nauvoo, and had a baby. A beautiful daughter named, she named her 'Wealthy." I love that name. And her husband, as soon as the Saints were leaving Nauvoo, her husband was called to go on a mission to England, and she was pregnant with a second baby. And he left, and that baby was born and lived about an hour and died. And her daughter Wealthy, the toddler, was getting very sick, and there was no food to give to her. And Jane also was very sick. And soon, Wealthy died. And Jane had no strength. She had no ability to carry on–she was all alone. And she remembered she said, "I only lived because I could not die."

I thought a lot about that. And I thought about how death wouldn't be so bad. It would be great to be released from this physical body. But I knew that I had to live. I knew that I had to fulfill my mission.

I didn't even have the energy to pray or to seek for revelation, I was giving everything I could to surviving. One day two friends came to visit and had lunch. And it was so good to see friends. And I had this little spark of revelation. And it was that little spark that made me realize, "Oh, I have a work to do. We've got to figure this out." And so I realized that I had to do everything that I could to figure out what the pneumonia was so that I could then have the bone marrow transplant so that I could then preserve my body.

So I called my Bishop. And this is a different Bishop in Salt Lake City. And he came over and we decided to have a ward fast. And a lot of my friends joined in and it was a really tender thing. And they prayed that the doctors would discover what was happening, and how we could fix the pneumonia and move on to the transplant. We weren't praying for mighty miracles that I would all of a sudden be healed and be able to run another marathon. We were just praying for information. And it came.

They realized that I had inflammation in my lungs from the targeted radiation to those leukemic lesions on my ribs and spine and sternum. And so they put me on steroids. And almost immediately the pneumonia was gone. And I was able to have that second bone marrow transplant. It just so happened to be on Good Friday, where I received the blood of my brother. And he gave me new life, and I'm so grateful for that.

The process wasn't as bad the second time. I was able to stay at home and able to heal quite quickly and I was able to get back into work as soon as possible. At the same time, I received an assignment to write a book about Emma Smith. And I was really excited. It was a slow process. As I learned to listen to my body and give myself naps, and go on walks and build up the energy and the lung capacity.

As I finished the book, I started to feel Emma with me. And I began to understand what she had felt when time after time, something had come up and prevented her from doing what she wanted to do. I knew that feeling, and I knew that she knew that I knew. She received a revelation in 1830 instructing her to select hymns. That didn't happen for six years. She was also taught to expound scripture and exhort the Church, that she was an elect lady. That didn't happen for 12 years, when the Relief Society began 1842.

I felt suddenly, like I was . . . my life experience was really preparing me to understand this length of time and this need to be patient in the Lord. And to–as Emma was told–to take the time to study and learn. I still don't believe that God planned for me to suffer in such a physical way. But I do believe that he intended for me to have an earthly mortal experience. And that he would never leave me alone, that I would have him and my Heavenly Mother, that I would have Jesus Christ, and I would have my host of women with me, and that with them, I can do it.

I loved learning that Emma was the first woman to receive the temple ordinances. And I've often reflected on that as I've healed. Oh, how I loved learning about the promises to our physical body, and realizing that even though my body is imperfect, and a little bit broken, and a little bit scarred, and I even have tattoos from radiation, that my body one day will rise again. And that this life is a preparation for that, in the same way that it was a preparation for me to better understand Emma.

My relationship with God has certainly improved. I've realized how much I need my Heavenly Parents. I need their love, and I need their light. And I yearn for that. And there are days where I'm tired, and where I struggle with energy, but I know that I can draw upon them. I have a great earthly host and a great heavenly host. And I know that just as I was told my health would ebb and flow, that my life will be preserved. And that all of this experience is for my good.

KaRyn 32:28

That was Jenny Reeder. I've been privileged to know Jenny since our days in Washington D.C. together, but because I skipped town just before she got her diagnosis, I was stuck witnessing that heroic battle with leukemia from faraway.

I love learning from the story that she always felt her Heavenly host and her earthly army surrounding her. And all of those details of just how this experience prepared her for her mission here on Earth. In fact, you might recognize Jenny's name from her work on several historical books about the women in the early church, including her newest book "First," which is that book about the life of Emma Smith that she mentioned.

It's finally finished, and it is so, so, so good. And in part, I think that's because of what Jenny shared with us here. She was made ready to know Emma in a way that qualified her to do that work. To empathize and to love her because of her humanity, not in spite of it. I also really appreciate Jenny's understanding that God didn't want her to suffer, but he did lovingly allow her to have what she called an earthly mortal experience. And I really believe that it was her spiritual preparation before her experience that helped her to find the truth in the middle of it all, that God would not leave her alone, and that all these things will work together for her good.

Now, if you're anything like me, you're wondering how much preparation is enough preparation ahead of the hard things that are coming? How can I know that I've dug enough trenches like Captain Moroni or read enough scriptures to fortify my faith against a layoff or a medical crisis? Or that I've shoved enough cans of dry beans under my bed?

I can be so concrete in my thinking about heavenly things that sometimes, I admit, I get caught up in the worries about enoughness. Well, I had a really cool experience as I was thinking about all of this that I want to share with you.

I'm not a nighttime study-er of the scriptures. But I felt compelled the other night to open my scriptures before bed, even though I literally thought I would pass out of tiredness before I got one verse in, but I followed that prompting, and I just opened to the place where my scriptures naturally fall open. And of course, it was Ether, chapters two through six and the story of the brother of Jared.

I honestly thought there was nothing else for me to see in the scriptures because I have read them so many times and highlighted basically every word in them. But that night, as I was thinking about this theme, I saw something I had never seen before, or at least never noticed before. And I felt like I'd unlocked some secret room in a house that I was so familiar with.

The word "Prepare" is everywhere. In chapter two, verse 25, the Lord tells them that he will prepare them against these things, the mountain, waves, and the winds. That he has to prepare them, because otherwise they can't survive. And then he asks them, "What should I prepare for you so that you can have light?" The brother of Jared shows up with his offering in chapter three, verses four and five, they have prepared the vessels and the stones, and he asked the Lord to prepare them to shine.

Later, in chapter six, it talks about how the Jaredites prepared all manner of food to sustain them on the ocean, and then commended themselves to the Lord their God. And this is what I realized while I was reading this. Preparation is a conversation. It is not a one sided endeavor. The Lord promises that He'll prepare us, because He has to prepare us. We can't meet the winds and the waves by ourself. And then he asks us what we can do so that he can prepare us.

We offer our best ideas, our best efforts, whatever we have to give, even if it's only a long extension cord, or five minutes of sincere prayer and scripture study, at the end of an exhausted day. We prepare the stones, then He prepares the stones. We gather all the honeybees we can find and we put them in the boat, and then he brings the boat back up like a whale in the ocean. You see? It's a conversation. We prepare, and he prepares us. There is no such thing as "enough" in this beautiful back and forth. We just have to keep the conversation going on our end.

We just have to show up for our kids, despite the pressures of society to focus elsewhere, as we teach them that our love is their refuge. And then God gives us revelation that strengthens our heart in our moments of self doubt. We ask our friends to pray and fast with us to find a solution, and then he prepares us to receive that solution.

There was one more use of the word "Prepare" in that section of Ether that I have never noticed before. In chapter three, after the brother of Jared offers the stones to the Lord, he sees the Savior's finger as he lights the stones. And then the brother of Jared is swept up into the presence of the Lord because of his faith. In that sacred place, after all this talk of preparation and preparing, the Lord says this to the brother of Jared in verse 14, "Behold, I am He who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, I am the father and the son, in me shall all mankind have life."

We cannot have any conversation on preparation without acknowledging that from the foundation of the world, before you or I even existed on this earth, Christ was made ready to redeem us. That Atonement covers all of the dot dot dots in the middle of our conversations with God. And while those 16 stones held steady against the darkness, I imagine that it was this understanding of our Savior's sacrifice that was the real true light in that boat with the brother of Jared. When the winds raged and the waves sucked them below the waters. And as we cultivate our own knowledge of his divine mission, as we continue to converse with the Lord, light and hope will be with us as we face our own dark corners, all because of the salvation proffered us in that ultimate act of preparation.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Dave and Jenny. You can find out more about our storytellers and the beautiful work that each of them is doing to help us get prepared. Dave and his wife Rio through their Work + Wonder project to get us ready for conference, and Jenny's new book first all about Emma Smith. These will be in our show notes at LDS Living.com/thisisthegospel. And you can also find us and more information on our Facebook page or our Instagram @thisisthegospel_podcast. We'd love to see you there.

All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers. Thank you to everyone who has bravely shared your story with us on the pitch line. We find a lot of stories that way. And we will be relying on it heavily as we prepare to gather our themes and stories for next season. If you've got a story to share about a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ changed you, we want to hear from you. The best pitches will be short, sweet, and they'll have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You'll have three minutes to pitch your story when you call 515-519-6179.

Do you have a favorite episode of this podcast? Please, please, please tell us about it. You can leave a review on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. We read every single one and really appreciate your help in knowing what's valuable to you as our friends. This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay with story production and editing by Erika Free. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDS Living comm slash podcasts.

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