59 episodes

The stories we tell matter. They can build our faith, help us empathize with others, demonstrate the true power of God in our lives, and help lead us to Christ. This Is the Gospel, a new storytelling podcast from LDS Living, collects and shares personal stories that illustrate the challenges and triumphs of living in the latter days.

This is the Gospel Podcast LDS Living

    • Religion & Spirituality

The stories we tell matter. They can build our faith, help us empathize with others, demonstrate the true power of God in our lives, and help lead us to Christ. This Is the Gospel, a new storytelling podcast from LDS Living, collects and shares personal stories that illustrate the challenges and triumphs of living in the latter days.



    Stories in this episode: After her elderly father passes away, LuAnne finds herself in the thick of cleaning out his home as she struggles to know what to let go of and what to keep; Jessie receives her inheritance a little early only to lose it just when it was needed most; After a string of disappointments, Miya is surprised to discover the resilience she longs for in the form of two pieces of paper from a beloved ancestor.

    Show notes:  

    To see pictures and links for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel


    KaRyn  0:03 

    Welcome to This is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.

    So help me out. I cannot be the only one who has a highly developed internal fantasy in the style of Great Expectations, where a previously unknown relative of unimaginable wealth shows up at my door with the life changing news that I am the heir to their vast fortune. And from that moment forward, I pay all my bills without juggling anything, and I add avocado to every salad and every sandwich — devil may care about the additional cost. Is it just me? Okay. All right. That's fine. Nothing to see here, folks. I think it might actually have been this fantasy that got me thinking about today's theme. When you push through all the worldly ideas about wills and rich uncles and millions of dollars, this idea of an inheritance is as deeply ingrained in the gospel of Jesus Christ as just about anything.

    Mentions of heirs and heritage and inheritance are everywhere in the scriptures. And in fact, one of my all-time favorite scriptures, Romans 8:17, has the Apostle Paul reminding us all that we are children of God, and if we're children of God, then we are also heirs to His throne, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. I just love that idea. I come back to it again and again, when I'm worried that all that will ever get handed down to me are some genetically soft teeth — I'm serious, they're made of chalk — and a penchant for drama. Well, today, we've got three storytellers who are surprised by the things that are handed down to them. And the way that that inheritance changes their perspective on the things that matter most.

    Our first story of inheritance comes from LuAnne, who worked her way through a mountain of memories to find that what her parents actually left her belonged to her all along. Here's LuAnne.

    LuAnne  2:03 

    My three brothers and my sister and I are gathered around the kitchen table of our childhood. We've come in from three time zones, and we've gathered for the weekend. We haven't been together as siblings for — probably since our first brother left home for college. So this is unusual.

    The reason that we're gathered here today is that my dad has passed away eight weeks previously, and we're here to make a plan to sell his house and to distribute his belongings. And we lost our mom 12 years prior to this time. With my dad, though, 12 years later, we, we lost him and he'd been struggling with Parkinson's disease for three years. And even though five of us are gathered, it feels really empty. My siblings and I are sitting around the kitchen table. And actually, we kind of just fell into our spots that we had in our childhood of where we ate dinner. And it's daunting because we're going through the things of my dad's lifetime, and my mom's lifetime and we're deciding are we going to donate something? Are we going to hang on to it? If so, who gets it?

    You know, we've seen other families go through this process and have a lot of conflict and leave where they're not friends or close anymore. And that was something that we that we didn't want. And we decided we wanted to try to make a plan that would be impartial and non-emotional. We knew that we were all filled with emotions, w

    • 42 min
    BONUS: Come As You Are

    BONUS: Come As You Are

    Stories in this Father's Day bonus episode: While John admits he's not very handy, his attempts to create the perfect swing set falls short when he allows comparison to take over; Donald isn't sure he's got what it takes for fatherhood to begin with but when infertility makes that even harder, he learns that "what it takes" might be different than he imagined. 


    To see pictures and links for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel


    KaRyn Lay  0:03 

    Welcome to “This is the Gospel” and LDS Living  podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay. For this bonus episode, we have two stories from faithful men who are braving the wilderness of fatherhood. I think we can all agree that parenting, and its accompanying highs and lows is not for the faint of heart. It takes real courage to jump into the woods and even more humility and skill to navigate that path through the forest filled with unknowns, and so many detours. Can you tell that I'm planning a father's day camping trip this weekend? I'll cool it with the outdoor metaphors. But what I will not cool it with, is my admiration for the men in our lives who take that role of fatherhood seriously and with an eye toward the Savior, just like today's storytellers. Our first story comes from John whose attempt at an epic creation for his children is almost foiled by his own weakness. Here's John.

    John  1:02 

    A lot of dads are really good at fixing things. But I've got to be honest, I'm not very handy. I cannot fix things is almost literally impossible. If there's a screw, I can screw something in. If there's multiple levels, or if there's an instruction manual, especially, I'm just not very good at following those instructions. It just doesn't make sense to me. Like a few years ago, one of our toilets stopped working. So I tried a few different things. I used the plunger that didn't work, I grabbed a snake. This is the tool by the way, not the animal. That didn't work. And so I gave up I was like, "Well, I guess we'll never be able to use this toilet again." I came home from work a couple days later, and here's my wife, she's rocking the toilet back and forth. She picked it up, I didn't even know you could pick up a toilet. And she threw it on the ground and "click," out popped this little jewelry box that one of our kids had shoved into it. So the good news was the toilet was fixed. But the bad news was I didn't fix it. But you know, you can only call on your ministering brothers so many times to come fix stuff for you before you start to feel like, "I should be doing this for myself."

    So a couple years ago, I decided it was time for me to build a swing set for my children. So I went to a manly store, Toys R Us, and bought a swing set kit, brought it home and unwrapped it. And it turns out there were about 27 steps to building the swing set. And the first step took me eight hours. It was so painful. I talked with someone recently and they said that their family for fun over the weekend bought and built a swing set. They put the whole kit together in 48 hours. That was not my experience. It took us 12 weeks, tons of help from my brothers in law. But finally the magical day came when the swing set was completed. It was in May, weather was nice, we're eating pizza on the lawn. The only downside was that one of my daughters came up to me and she said, "Dad, I love the swing set. But there's one problem, it just has three monkey bars." And I said "Honey, you will love those three monkey bars cherish each one because I promise you I am never building another swing set." But other than that, it was great.

    So right now I'm a religion professor at BYU, but at the time when I was building the swing set I was a full time seminary teacher, which meant every day I

    • 34 min
    BONUS: At The Feet of Extraordinary Women

    BONUS: At The Feet of Extraordinary Women

    Stories in this Episode: Sarah and KaRyn share lessons learned from their very first storytelling project over 15 years ago when they invited accomplished, faithful women (like Emma Lou Thayne, Ariel Bybee, Liz Lemon Swindle, Olene Walker) into their living rooms; Leslie, Claire, Cari, Tennisa, & Emily give us 2 minute stories of letting the Lord lead from the start of our THIS IS THE GOSPEL video series.


    To see pictures and links for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel


    KaRyn Lay  0:00 

    Hello from my home office, which is really just my desk by a window in my stepkids' room that I have commandeered during the social distancing. They're thrilled, as you can imagine, to wake up at eight every day so that I can get to work. But I actually think that my daily occupation of their rooms speaks to the reality of parenting and family and relationships during these tricky times—flexibility, creativity, figuring out what works for your unique situation—well, that's the order of the day. And we hope that you are finding your groove and whatever way you can. We're certainly trying to do that with the podcast, and while we gear up for season three, over the next few months, we're still going to bring you a few bonus episodes that just can't wait until we get back into a recording studio. And so today, we've got a quarantine edition of the podcast with some stories that celebrate the ways that women rely on the Lord and the many roles, including motherhood, that they inhabit throughout their lives.


    Welcome to This Is The Gospel, an LDS living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay.


    First step, a few stories within a story within a conversation. This Is The Gospel producer, Sarah Blake, and I recently recorded a conversation we had where we tried to remember all the details from the very first, but clearly not the last storytelling project that we embarked on together over 15 years ago.


    I don't exactly remember when we decided, A: to call them the gatherings, and then B:I how did it even happen?


    Sarah  1:43 

    I don't remember either because motherhood has erased so much of my memory, but I think it was 2004 or 2005. We were single in our single sport in Salt Lake.


    KaRyn Lay  1:56 

    Yes, everything starts with us being single.


    Sarah  1:58 

    I know. Side note about that though, the years that we were single that felt like a curse have become one of the greatest blessings and like, to me, it's a constant whenever something hard is going on. I'm like, well, that one big one turned out to be the greatest blessing. So I can trust this one will work out too.


    KaRyn Lay  2:17 



    Sarah  2:18 

    Okay, so we were single in our singles ward, trying to find our way. Right?


    KaRyn Lay  2:23 

    I think at that point, I kind of was like, not that I was giving up. But I, I sort of had the sense that I was going to be single for a while. Like, I was always hopeful. I loved falling in love, but I, I leaned into it, I leaned into a little bit to like, Okay, if I'm going to be a cat lady, who's just sort of doing life on my own, then, like, we better figure out the best way to be single. That's kind of what I think I remember us talking about.


    Sarah  2:52 

    Yeah, but you never did get the cat. So that was that was a hopeful gesture to not...


    KaRyn Lay  2:57 

    That was. I babysat someone else's cat and lost it on the first night that I had it. But where it wasn't actually lost, it was actually just asleep in one of the drawers of my apartment, but I freaked out and called everybody and made them help me look for this kitten that I thought I had lost. So after that I realized being a cat lady was probably not in my future. Until now. Now I have a cat.

    • 38 min
    The Heavens Are Open

    The Heavens Are Open

    Stories in this episode: In the early days of his firefighting career, Steve enters a burning home to save a life and is forced to choose between protocol and following the Spirit; Heidi anguishes over her efforts to help create a documentary about Joseph Smith’s life until she receives a special witness from God; Alone in the rainforests of Madagascar, Elizabeth finds herself in dire need of heavenly power to call down a miracle.


    To see pictures and links for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel



    KaRyn  0:01 

    I have mixed feelings about what I'm about to tell you. I know that we need stories more now than ever, but the time has come for us to take a break here at This Is the Gospel so we can gather and prepare new episodes. We'll be back as soon as we can with season three, filled with totally new themes and new stories on those themes. And in the meantime, we'll still be over on Instagram @thisisthegospel_podcast and on Facebook at This is the Gospel, sharing all of our upcoming themes and pitch line requests, and maybe even a bonus episode or two.

    And so, while we won't have weekly episodes, we're not going to stop thinking of ways to help us all tell the stories that matter and lift up our week. Now on with the show.

    Welcome to This is the Gospel. An LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay.

    I'm feeling pretty inadequate today. I'm sitting in my home office, the day after my very first earthquake, which also happens to be for me the seventh day of an unprecedented self-quarantine due to a global pandemic. And as I've attempted to write something to introduce today's theme, the only thought that keeps coming to me is, "I'm not sure I'm strong enough for these latter days, Heavenly Father. I'm just not sure I can do it." Well, maybe you've wondered the same thing about yourself, or maybe you've been through stranger moments than these and have a sure knowledge of your capacity to make good during hard times.

    Well, either way, I think it's still difficult to watch as things shut down all around us, left and right. Doors, literally closing, the doors of restaurants, libraries, businesses, and our homes as we step inside to protect our families, our neighbors, and our communities. And that's probably why today's episode took so long to come together.

    When we first launched Season Two in September, "The Heavens are Open" was one of the first episode themes we had slated to produce and air. And week after week, it got pushed back. First, we didn't quite have the right stories, and then we didn't quite have the time to make it what we wanted it to be, and so it kept moving further and further away from the beginning of the season and landed here instead, the very tail end of Season Two, in the middle of a time when I think maybe there's nothing that I need to know more than the fact that God really is present, that He's still here, and He's pouring His power and His glory and His goodness down on us in the midst of these latter days.

    He's coming to us in a still small voice, and He's coming to us in the thunder of a general conference broadcast, where despite the fact that we can't attend, we will hear Him in the prophetic council. He's here in the midst of us right now. He is here with us in the trenches of our humanity. The heavens are open if we choose to hear Him, as President Nelson has invited us to do.

    So today, finally, we have three stories from people who engaged with heaven here on Earth, in their own unique way. Our first storyteller is, a This is the Gospel favorite, my neighbor Steve, who shares a story from early in his days as a firefighter when a choice to follow the spirit over protocol just may have saved his life. Here's Steve.

    Steve  3:31 

    So we respon

    • 40 min
    Kindness Begins with Me

    Kindness Begins with Me

    As we all adjust our routines in an effort to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus there is still so much good we can see and do in the world. KaRyn shares a story of a time when her already terrible driving record hit an all-time low (pun intended) and the undeserved kindness of a stranger changed everything.


    To view shownotes for this episode, go to LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel


    KaRyn Lay  0:00  
    Hey friends, maybe you're like us. You're trying to socially distance right now so you can help keep the novel coronavirus at bay in your community. And if that's what's happening for you, Well done, well done. But we wanted to make sure you know that if you get lonely or you get bored, or you're just looking for something uplifting, we're still here. We're here with you virtually. And you can come find us on Instagram and Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast. You'll find a community of story lovers there just like you. And we're always thinking about fun ways that we can stay connected during the week and especially during this interesting time. We want to help you use stories to keep your home-centered church-supported efforts engaged so come find us on Instagram and Facebook where we can uplift each other.

    Welcome to THIS IS THE GOSPEL, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay.

    Well, this has been a wild week in our little corner of the U.S. You're probably feeling it too, with temple closures, the suspension of church services for the next few weeks and other adjustments to our lives and routines in all of our efforts to practice social distancing. I know. I know. My friends in Asia and parts of Europe have been at this much longer than we have. And believe me, I've been watching and learning from you. All the events of the last few weeks have me thinking pretty acutely about the ways that we take care of one another in our moments of deep vulnerability. I mean, I'm not sick right now and, and I still stand six feet away from everyone and wash my hands like a maniac while I'm singing my ABCs because I know that I could inadvertently be the cause of someone else's suffering. And if I unknowingly pass something off to an elderly neighbor or a friend with a compromised immune system, it will make me feel terrible. And I'm also really aware of the privilege that I have that allows me to work from home and to have more time Toilet paper than I currently need. I promise, I promise I am not hoarding it. But I did go to Costco a week before things got nuts. So, I'm well stocked. Come on over if you need a roll, I'm serious. 

    After I got over the shock of going to the grocery store and finding nothing on my list, I started to wonder just how the best parts of us as a community, a global community are going to shine during these uncertain times. And I felt a deep twinge of hope run through me. I've been following the Instagram account tiny kindnesses for weeks now and every day I read the stories, small, little stories about the way that we show up for one another in those critical moments when isolation or desperation could make us feel separated. We know how to do this. We have been preparing for this moment spiritually, much longer than most of us have physically. Well, at least me and that's the conclusion I have to draw from the swarming on grocery stores over the last two days. So today in celebration of all that is good in us. I'm sharing a tiny story of my own when I experienced a kindness from an absolute stranger in an unexpected way. 

    Now, I don't want you to think terribly less of me, but I've never been a particularly awesome driver. I mean, I'm fine. It's fine. In fact, it's been almost 10 years with no incidents. But when I'm overly stressed about something or someone, I really sho

    • 15 min
    Weak Things Made Strong

    Weak Things Made Strong

    Stories in this episode: Bullied most of her life, Julie discovers that the autism that made her different is actually the exact thing that makes her gifted at family history work; A comic book heroine helps Sarah find her own superpowers when it comes to connecting with others; Kurt struggles with the weight of his calling as a bishop until the memory of a red superhero cape reminds him of his true desire to help others. 


    To see pictures of our storytellers and get a look at Sarah's DATING GIRL comic, go to ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel

    Follow us on instagram @thisisthegospel_podcast and facebook to find upcoming themes and to learn more about our team.


    KaRyn  0:03 

    Welcome to This is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.


    I can't exactly remember when I first heard the phrase "double-edged sword." It was probably in Mrs. McAfee's eighth grade English class, or maybe Ms. Turse's ninth grade English class. Well, whichever well named English teacher at Rockland Junior High taught it to me, I have never forgotten it. Because a double-edged sword basically describes life.


    If your junior high teacher never taught you that phrase, let me explain. A double-edged sword is anything that has the potential to have both positive and negative consequences in our lives. It's that thing that is both a strength and a weakness all at the same time. Need a concrete example? Okay, let's talk about perfectionism. It's the standard answer to the question, "What's your greatest weakness?" in a job interview because it's a strength disguised as a weakness. Or is it a weakness disguised as a strength? Trick question. It's both. And I know this because a desire to get things right is my constant companion, and it spurs me forward in so many cool ways in my life. But it's also the thing that when left unchecked leads to anxiety and deep paralysis. See? A positive and a negative, all in one, a double-edged sword.


    I suspect that if we dig deep, it won't take long for each of us to recognize this pattern of strength and weakness coexisting in ourselves. It's what makes us both human and heroic. And today, we'll hear stories from three people who discovered exactly what kind of superpowers were waiting at the other end of their weakness. Our first storyteller is Julie who learned that her greatest challenge in life could be transformed when she focused her efforts in service.


    Here's Julie:


    Julie  1:54 

    When my daughter was four years old she was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and when I was reading through the symptoms of it, I realized that most of the symptoms applied to me as well.


    I was very socially awkward as a kid, and I was often bullied for it. I didn't understand social cues or body language very well, and I would come off as rude because I would interrupt people and I would kind of be silly in a way that they just didn't understand. So it was hard to make friends.


    I was really fascinated with names and dates and I didn't understand why. I come from a very big family and I would make lists of everybody's full names and their birth dates and how old they would turn that year, and I didn't understand why I was driven to do this and I didn't want anybody else to see it because they wouldn't understand it either.


    It wasn't until many years later that I realized that it was because of family history research that I had that unique quality in my mind. In fact, when I was 16, I had my patriarchal blessing and I was told that I would recognize the choice quality of the mind that my Heavenly Father had given me. And I always thought that maybe I would just realize I was smart, but I think it was more to do with my autism, that my mind worked in a uniq

    • 37 min

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