5 Returned Missionaries Show Love for Country and People Served

5 Returned Missionaries Show Love for Country and People Served

Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called to serve in many different locations throughout the world. Some are called to serve in areas not far from their hometown and are able to teach in their native English, whereas others are called to serve in faraway lands where they must learn not only a new language, but a new culture and lifestyle as well. Such was the case for Tylan Glines, Connor Peck, Davis Blount, Jake Mingus and Sumner Mahaffey, five returned missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served their missions in the Philippines. Although their missions may have been challenging at times, the life lessons that they learned and their new-found knowledge has made a major impact on their lives.

The Idea of Making a Video in Bisava is Born

Hey Joe ShowThe five young men served in the Philippines Cebu Mission where they learned to preach the gospel in Bisava, a dialect of Cebuano. The Filipino people that they interacted with were astonished that they had taken the time and effort to learn their language which was a rarity. This gave Mahaffey and Mingus, who were companions at one time during their mission, the idea about making a short, single video of them speaking Bisava. Later, at a mission conference, they presented the idea to Glines and Blount, who were also companions at the time, and Peck. They all agreed that it was a great idea, but with a year left on their missions, they decided to shelve the idea until a later time.

In 2014, after returning home from their missions, they decided to revisit the idea of creating a video in the Bisava language. The first video that they made was an introductory video where each of them took turns introducing themselves, and talking about their interests and hobbies. The entire video was in Bisava.

According to Blount, although that first video was not earth shattering by any means, it was well received and amassed hundreds of views, which encouraged them to create more comedic videos. Mahaffey commented on what made the video so successful:

It was so successful because they had never had entertainment in their own language. We were trying to put out good, wholesome, clean entertainment to help them, and once we started doing that, we got these messages saying, ‘Thank you so much for making us proud to be Bisaya people,’ and that is what kept us going. We want to make them as happy as they have made us.

The Hey Joe Show Comes to Life

Filipinos are well-known for referring to Americans as “Joe,” and everywhere they went while on their missions they would always be greeted with “Hey Joe!” So, they decided that their channel should be called Hey Joe Show. Peck further commented:

We really, really wanted to go back to see the people and really interact with them, not just through videos but person to person. There’s a big difference. Especially with the kinds of things we wanted to express with the Hey Joe Show, like our love for the country, our love for the people, all those things we really wanted to do in person.

Hey Joe ShowGlines organized Hey Joe Show’s first tour, and in April 2015, the young men returned to the areas where they had previously served their missions and performed five live shows in five different cities. Prior to their first show neither of them really knew what to expect. They had set a goal of at least a couple hundred people showing up for the shows, with realistic expectations of maybe 25 people actually coming to the shows. Much to their amazement, an estimated 5,000 people were in the audience of their first show. Glines remarked, “It was exciting because we love the people so much and to know that we are now even more permanently tied to the country that we love and served with was so exciting.”

In addition to the live shows, the five returned missionaries spoke at firesides and had the opportunity to visit families they had taught and served with on their missions. Glines further commented, “The love is incredible, and I hope we can, by the end of our lives, explain or show the Filipinos how much we love them. The tour kind of did that, but I still don’t think they will ever know how much we love them.”

The Future and Hey Joe Show

Since creating their YouTube channel on 27 April 2014, the Hey Joe Show has garnered almost 60,000 subscribers and over 5 million views, with each video getting anywhere from 7,000-540,000 views, and more than 451,000 likes on Facebook. With the overwhelming success of the show, Tylan, Connor, Davis, Jake, and Sumner plan to continue making videos and hopefully do another tour next summer. Their ultimate goal is to collaborate with charities and schools in the Philippines and perpetually serve the people they love. Beyond the Hey Joe Show, the five Brigham Young University students have hopes for graduate school, marriage, families of their own, and promising careers.


5 BYU Grads Influenced by Mormon Background Become Important Management Thought-Leaders

5 BYU Grads Influenced by Mormon Background Become Important Management Thought-Leaders

Marriott School of ManagementFive Brigham Young University (BYU) graduates were among those named on the prestigious Thinkers50 list of the best business management thought-leaders of 2015. In fact, this year, for the first time, BYU graduates made up 10 percent of those listed. The graduates that were listed include Clayton Christensen, the Harvard business professor who introduced the concept of “disruptive innovation, at No. 2, Dave Ulrich (27), Liz Wiseman (43), Hal Gregersen (46) and Whitney Johnson (49). As a note of interest, Christensen finished first in the biennial rankings in 2011 and 2013.

Dave Ulrich commented, “Like a smaller boxer who succeeds against bigger fighters, “BYU outpunches its weight.” But a person might ask, “How does this happen? Why does BYU make up a substantial portion of the Thinkers50?”

A Sunday, 3 January 2016 Deseret News article suggests:

The answers range from the mundane — how lists are compiled — to the intriguing — what the dean of BYU’s business school calls the Clayton Christensen Effect. Christensen earned an economics degree at BYU and went on to write “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” which “deeply influenced” Apple’s Steve Jobs. His ideas on innovative disruption have had such a broad impact that “disruption” is becoming a household term describing, for example, what is happening right now with cable TV cord-cutting. Gregersen and Johnson have worked directly with Christensen.

Influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS MissionariesDave Ulrich suggests that perhaps a more viable answer to the questions can be found in the influence that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had on the lives of the 5 BYU alumni that are listed. He further commented, “Five LDS people on the list is amazing. I credit the LDS learning system. BYU, I think, through the missions served by so many of its students, gets that benefit. I don’t think the world understands how great missions are for learning. Gospel and theology learning, of course, but also social learning, organizational learning, personal management learning. An 18-month or two-year mission is like five years working at one of the world’s best consulting firms.”

This is not the first time that the idea of a prodigious Mormon impact in business and business management has been considered. In 2010, a Financial Times article titled “The rise of a new generation of Mormons” indicated that the LDS culture has given birth to “a professional elite.” In 2012, Harvard Business Review published an article titled “How Mormons Have Shaped Modern Management.” Christensen and the late Stephen Covey made the first Thinkers50 list in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Ulrich, who was named by HR Magazine as the father of modern human resources in 2012, joined Christensen and Covey on the list in 2007, 2009, and 2011. In 2014, speaking.com ranked Ulrich the No. 1 speaker in management and business. His creation of an index to gauge the leadership strength of an organization earned him a spot on the short list of eight people considered for the 2015 Breakthrough Idea Award.

The Dynamic BYU 5

Clayton ChristensenLiz Wiseman, the developer of the idea of leaders as multipliers (people who double the brainpower inside an organization by attracting talent and making people around them smarter) and diminishers, joined Christensen and Ulrich on the Thinkers50 2013 list. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Management and a Master Degree in Organizational Behavior at BYU, and was Oracle’s global leader of human resource development. In the past five years, she has written three best-sellers including Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.

Hal Gregersen earned a Master Degree in Organizational Behavior at BYU and served as a BYU faculty member. He is the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center. In 2015, the Forbes list of the world’s most innovative companies was based on methodology Gregersen created with Jeff Dyer, a BYU business professor. In 2011, Gregersen, Dyer and Christensen co-authored The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. According to the Thinkers50 list, Gregersen is presently working with Christensen on a study about “the power of questioning and how the most successful leaders are able to identify the right question — rather than the solution — to unlock a vexing challenge.”

Whitney Johnson earned a music degree at BYU and later switched to studies in business. Last year, with more than 54,100 followers, she was listed as one of the 55 most influential women on Twitter by Fortune. Along with Christensen, she is the co-founder and prior president of the Rose Park Advisors’ disruptive innovation investment fund. In the fall of 2015, using Christensen’s theory of disruption and applying it on an individual level, she published Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work.

In the 3 January 2016 Deseret News article, Lee Perry, Dean of BYU’s Marriott School of Management, further noted:

I think the experiences we have in Church help us become more sensitive to leadership and organizational issues. I don’t think it’s just happenstance BYU had one of the earliest and strongest organizational behavior programs. We basically have a laboratory for leadership opportunities in the LDS Church that come with maybe even some additional challenges because it’s a volunteer organization.

They’ve done this by themselves, he said of the five Latter-day Saints in the Thinkers50, but I think their LDS and BYU backgrounds provided a nice little jumpstart.


The Glorious Gift of Christmas

The Glorious Gift of Christmas

This article was originally posted on Mormon Music.org.

Wise Men travel to BethlemOver two millenniums have passed since the Wise Men of old traveled from afar asking an important and profound question. It is a question that has proven timeless throughout the ages as many people have asked the same question – “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).

Following the star that they had seen in the east, they were eventually led to where the Christ child lay. Upon their arrival, they presented the new-born baby with precious gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh.

Have you ever wondered why scriptures do not tell us how many wise men there were who presented the gifts, or why their names and identities are not revealed to us? Perhaps the reason is because they were not the ones upon whom we should place our focus. The One upon whom our focus should be centered is Christ the Lord – He who was born King. He alone is worthy of all praise and adoration, and like the Wise Men of old, we bow in His presence and worship Him.

As we prepare to gather with family and friends to celebrate this joyous Christmas season, perhaps we should place all our hustle and bustle on pause for a moment, and ponder the question that was asked of old, “Where is He?” Among all the commercialism, parties, brightly colored lights, beautiful decorations, and the gifts that we might receive on Christmas morning, “Where is He?”

Christmas tree with lots of presentsWhat is it that we focus on the most as we celebrate and reflect upon the Christmas season? Is it the merriment that the season brings that fills our hearts with joy and delight for a few brief moments of time, or are our hearts and minds focused on the One whose name is Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace? He is the greatest gift ever given to humanity by a loving Heavenly Father. A choice Gift that was wrapped in Divine love and sealed with an Eternal Promise that He who is both the Light and the Life of the world had come to be the Savior of the World.

The Wise Men came to worship the Christ child. Who is it or what is it that we worship? The wise men presented the new-born King with precious gifts from their treasures. What would we give to Him who is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords? Would we give Him those things that matter least to us and seemingly have no real value, or would we open our treasures – our hearts and our minds, and give Him our very best?

The video playlist below is a presentation of Christmas videos which we hope will help those who watch to focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a blessed Christmas season that is filled with love, peace, and joy.


Three-Year-Old Mormon’s Paintings Help Make Her Disney Wish Come True

Three-Year-Old Mormon’s Paintings Help Make Her Disney Wish Come True

Not many three-year-old kids can claim to be an international entrepreneur and have their own bank account and debit card. That is, unless they want something really bad, and are determined to do what it takes to make their wish come true. Such is the case of three-year-old Eva Sorensen who really wants to go to Disneyland. Her mother, Kaitlin Sorensen, has commented, “She’s crazy about Elsa and Anna (from ‘Frozen’) and Princess Sofia (from ‘Sophia the First’). I’d say Disney is practically her life.” Her father, Jay Sorensen, commented further on Eva’s passion for Disney and practically every Disney character, as well as her persistence. He stated, “She’s (telling) me every single day, ‘I want to go to Disneyland, I want to go to Disneyland.'”

"Beyond Infinity" by Evalynn Sorensen

“Beyond Infinity” by Evalynn Sorensen

In a tenacious effort to make a trip to Disneyland a reality someday soon, Eva creates abstract paintings which she sells to earn money towards the adventure. The lowest price for one of her paintings is $30. If a buyer would like one of the paintings shipped, a little more is added to the price to cover material cost and to give Eva a small profit. The paintings are 18” by 24” on watercolor paper with acrylic and fabric paint. Her mother states that Eva enjoys creating the paintings and will continue to do so as long as there are requests. Those interested in viewing and/or buying some of the beautiful artwork that Eva has created can visit her online gallery.

Evalynn, which is her given name, also participates in art contests and small charity projects. Her prowess has afforded her the opportunity to travel around the world to places such as China, South Korea, and Canada. With the month of October 2015 being designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Eva made two pink paintings. Once the paintings sell, she will donate $10 a painting to breast cancer research. So, not only is she earning money to pay her own way to Disneyland, she is learning about charity as well.

Eva also has her own website and Facebook page. Posted on her website is a 7 October 2015 news article from the Iron County Today newspaper titled “Local artist turning heads in Cedar City.” Eva’s mother, Kaitlin, has a degree in art with an emphasis in illustration from Southern Utah University, and commented on her daughter’s unbridled passion to create art:

I could tell she was pretty serious about it, so I wanted to help her out by not just having colored pencils and crayons. So we went out and got her some paint.

I knew that quality materials would make for something better. I didn’t want her to fail; I’m trying to do my part to help her succeed.

3-year-old Evalynn Sorensen Facebook profile picture

Evalynn Sorensen Facebook profile picture.

Eva has only been painting for a few short weeks. She usually sits down at her work station in the kitchen of her family’s home once per day, choosing a few colors to work with, and experimenting with a variety of techniques. She is able to complete each piece in about an hour. Her mother, realizing how serious Eva is about fulfilling her dream, placed her first painting online for sale. The painting sold the very next day. In fact, several of Evalynn’s paintings have sold on Facebook blog shops. Eva has also started receiving commissions from people who have seen her work and want to help her make her dream come true. Kaitlin’s alma mater, Southern Utah University, recently commissioned two of Eva’s paintings which are on display in its Welcome Center.

On Eva’s Facebook page is posted a picture of her fortune cookie from 27 October 2015 with a fortune that reads, “You will take a pleasant journey to a faraway place.” Some may say that the fortune is just coincidence, but with her zeal and determination, Evalynn Sorensen is destined to have her wish of going to Disneyland come true.




Ann Romney – Living with MS

Ann Romney – Living with MS

Ann Romney, the wife of former Massachusetts Governor and two-time Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has written a new memoir published by Thomas Dunne titled “In This Together: My Story.” In the book she talks about her life and how she has coped with the debilitating disease of Multiple Sclerosis which with she was diagnosed in 1998. At the time of her diagnosis, there were no effective therapies or treatments available. Speaking with Newsmax Health editor, Nick Tate, on “Newsmax Prime,” she commented:

It was an unwelcome teacher but it certainly humbled me and it humbled me to the point where it kind of destroyed my feelings of who I really was as a person.

From that point, you have to then grow and to figure out what’s important in life and who you are. It’s uncomfortable, it’s unpleasant, it’s painful but when you come out the other end, you’re, in a very strange way, grateful that you had that personal growth because of the pain you went through. 

Ann fully realizes that the pain she has suffered has not been as great as the pain that many others deal with, nevertheless, the experience has helped open her heart to those who do suffer. She further remarked, “I have been low and depressed and in a very dark and scary place but through certain things I was able to pull myself through that and it’s a message of hope.”

A Never Ending Love Story

Ann and Mitt RomneyAnn would not be able to keep pressing forward like she does if it were not for the loving support of her husband, Mitt, who refers to her as his sweetheart.

Ann Lois Davies was born on 16 April 1949 and was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Willard Mitt Romney, or Mitt as he is known, was born on 12 March 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. They first met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout. She was riding a horse and he threw stones at her. Their first date, on 21 March 1965, was at the movies to see “The Sound of Music.” They dated through high school, and in June 1965, 18-year-old Mitt asked 16-year-old Ann if she would marry him, and her immediate response was, “Yes.”

Meet the Romney familyThe two were finally married on 21 March 1969. Mitt was 22 years of age, and Ann was 19. The first part of the wedding took place at Ann’s parents’ home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in a civil ceremony which was officiated by Elder Edwin Jones of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Approximately 250 guests were in attendance, including President Ford, and President Nixon sent congratulations to the couple via a telegram. The next morning they flew to Salt lake City, Utah, where they were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.They spent their honeymoon in Hawaii.

Ann is also blessed to have the love and support of five sons. Taggart Romney (Tagg), born in 1970, works in marketing and is married to Jennifer. Matthew Romney (Matt), born in 1971, works in real estate and is married to Laurie. Joshua Romney (Josh), born in 1975, is a real estate developer and is married to Jen. Benjamin Romney (Ben), born in 1978, is a medical student and is married to Andelynne. And Craig Romney, born in 1981, is an advertising music producer and is married to Mary.

A Public Voice and a Special Cause

Ann Romney Center for Neurologic DiseasesFor the past year, Ann, now the grandmother of 23, has been actively engaged in raising funds and making appearances on behalf of a Brigham and Women’s Hospital facility in Boston that now bears her name: Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. The facility was designed as “a one-stop shop where patients can get diagnoses, advice, treatment, and participate in studies and clinical trials.” It is nonpartisan. Marc Mezvinsky, the husband of Chelsea Clinton, and Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III sit on the advisory board along with Mitt, Ann, and television personalities Meredith Vieira and Montel Williams.

Speaking about the research that is being conducted and the strides that have been made, Ann has said:

It studies not just Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s and brain tumors. This center is up and it’s running. It’s got 250 scientists and researchers already working on cures and treatments for these neurologic diseases. Right now in our labs, we have a vaccine for Alzheimer’s that is in obviously experimental stages, but doctors are believing within our lifetime we will see the ability to tackle some of these really tough diseases. For the very first time, there is a drug for ALS that’s in the lab that’s going to be coming out within the next year.

She has further commented about the memoir she has written:

The book takes you through the years I struggled to get more energy. I am strong now and I’m well now and that is the reason I’m doing this. You don’t have to think that you’re going to be permanently that way. You can fight though these things.

Everyone is carrying a burden, and we can’t always see it. MS was a cruel teacher, and it’s not like I’m grateful I had it, you’re never grateful for that, but I have to say that it taught me a lot. You have to recognize that life has challenges and none of us can escape those challenges.

Success as a Grandma

How to be a freaking awesome grandmaLife isn’t strictly all business. In the midst of her ever busy schedule, Ann recently took time out to record a 90 second video (see below) for the Independent Journal Review in which she shares the qualities that all amazing grandmas have. The video is titled “How to be a Freakin’ Awesome Grandma with Ann Romney.” She shows off her awesome grandma skills with the knitting of a “Kanye 2020” sweatshirt, demonstrating her slaying light saber skills, keeping her kitchen stocked with mounds of treats, and wearing a gold chain with a sideways baseball cap. Her number one rule is “Always know your squad” as she names all 23 of her grandchildren.

Through both trials and triumphs in her life Ann has learned a valuable life lesson, “You can never ask God to tell you what the end is. You can ask, “Is this a good thing to do?” But not, “How is this going to turn out?” That answer you will never get.”


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