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More than Money: Lessons from Victoria’s Secret

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It was hilarious, really. I had never really viewed my professional skill set as being sexy; after all, anything more than a cursory description of my “distinguished career” in the high-speed world of email marketing was sure to put even the most polite date to sleep.

Yet there I was, unsexy professional skill set and all, being contacted by the head of Talent Acquisition for L Brands, the publicly-traded Fortune 500 firm that owned retail icons like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Bodyworks. They were tapping me to fill a marketing manager position at their corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

I was both flattered and legitimately amused by the irony that my decidedly unsexy area of expertise (email) had attracted the attention of Victoria’s Secret, a brand powered, in large measure, by sex appeal (or so I’m told, I don’t shop there much). Read more

Why I didn’t become a Lawyer

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All my life, people have told me I “should be a lawyer”.

My father was a lawyer, my grandfather was a lawyer, my uncles are lawyers. I write well, communicate well, obsess over details, have a mind for logic, enjoy being right, and can be (perhaps alarmingly) cynical… so it seemed to be a pretty natural fit. The fact that being a lawyer seemed to have some level of prestige, to my naive mind, didn’t hurt either.

Greg’s gonna be a lawyer like his old man.

– Some dude, talking to me when I was like, eight years old. Stop telling me how to live my life, dude, I’m just a kid!

My father is fond of saying that he has never regretted his decision to attend law school. To be clear, he (thankfully) never pressured me to go into law myself, however. Which is good, because looking back, I’ve made a lot of poor decisions in my life, but I will never regret my decision to steer clear of that particular institution.

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A Savior for My Darkest Days

Important Disclaimer

My remarks here are directed at those who may struggle with finding the will to live. This post assumes that you are already receiving professional treatment, medication, are doing your best to live the gospel, yet still continue to struggle at times. If you are currently wrestling with thoughts of suicide, please see the LDS church’s resources here and go through the list of 9 steps in the article here (these have helped me in the past).

These are my personal opinions and do not reflect the position of the LDS Church or its leaders in any way.

My family has a “history of mental illness”. Specifically, if you look at my family tree you’ll see people who were committed or died in insane asylums, others who literally drank themselves to death. Current members of my immediate and extended family have diagnoses ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder and everything in between. A few of us have been to mental hospitals.

Each of us has a different quirk; we’re like the X-men, but more dysfunctional.

My Family
Ladies and gentlemen: my family

I mention this, because for many years, I was told not to “give up hope” in regards to my life getting better and recovering from mental illness. What these well-meaning people failed to understand is that, for many years, hope of recovery or improvement is not what motivated me to remain alive.

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Where I Stand 3: Lessons from the Quorum

I am not a “model Mormon”.

Model Mormons, I’m told, are called to leadership positions in the Church where they never make mistakes, always humbly submitting their will to Heavenly Father and saving everyone. They certainly would never offend anyone.

When I was called as Elder’s Quorum President back in 2011, I thought “how hard could it be, really?” After all, it’s not a very prominent leadership calling. Like any calling, I did my best to take it seriously though, and even so… I made some mistakes.

I offended a lot of people. Some of them went so far as to try and get me released. Others stopped coming to Church because of something I had foolishly said in a moment of pride, hurt, or anger.

I often wondered if I was the right man for the job at the time. But looking back, I know that I was–so long as I was obedient, meek, and humble.

I could talk at length on what I learned over those two years; but I will constrain myself to answering the following question based on my (admittedly limited) experience in leading a quorum through priesthood keys:

How can God reliably lead His Church through imperfect people and how do we know a leader isn’t making a mistake?

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Where I Stand 2: Repentance is Easy. Forgiveness is Harder.

I am not a ‘model Mormon’.

After all, a ‘model Mormon’, I’m told (I’ve yet to actually observe one in the real world) serves an honorable full-time mission where they learn the value of faith, hard work, obedience, testimony, and humility before returning with honor.

So… what about me?

Well… twenty-four months, two mission fields, and five mission presidents later, in 2007, I returned with honor… and anger. A whole lot of anger.

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Where I Stand, Part 1: When I Trolled Mormons

I am not a ‘model’ Mormon. At all.

Although it is true that I grew up in the church, I stopped attending a little while after I moved away from home at age 18. Why? I met with the bishop of my YSA ward to get to work on my mission papers, I admitted I had struggled with the law of chastity. He wanted to work with me on it and he dared to imply that perhaps I wasn’t ready to go on a mission quite yet.

Hoo boy.

Predictably, I got super offended that this old dude would dare judge me and dare deny me what I thought I was entitled to by virtue of my being a unique and precious son of God. My feelings got hurt. How dare he deny me the sacrament? I felt excluded and hurt. How dare he hold me accountable to the Lord’s law. What would other people think when they saw me not taking the sacrament? What will other people think when they saw that I wasn’t perfect?

In case you can’t tell, when I was 18, I didn’t understand the whole “how the Gospel works” thing.

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Journal of a Nephite General

I recently read Alma 56, where the two thousand stripling warriors are first introduced. I was struck by the faith and perseverance of Antipus. If you don’t recognize the name, that’s okay; his story is powerful, but it’s easy to miss because so much of it is told between the lines.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re at the end of your rope and God isn’t answering your prayers, this post is for you.

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