Episode 123: What does ‘all in’ gospel living mean to Latter-day Saint Living podcast host Morgan Jones Pearson?
Morgan Jones Pearson shares what she has learned as a Deseret Book author, an interviewer and a podcast host from the testimonies of other Church members
Episode 123: What does ‘all in’ gospel living mean to Latter-day Saint Living podcast host Morgan Jones Pearson?
Morgan Jones Pearson shares what she has learned as a Deseret Book author, an interviewer and a podcast host from the testimonies of other Church members
What does it mean to be “all in” the gospel of Jesus Christ? That’s the question Morgan Jones Pearson asks those she interviews each week on her popular Latter-day Saint Living podcast, “All In.”
She joins this episode of the Church News podcast to share why she is an “all in” member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her atypical journey into marriage, and what she has learned as an interviewer, podcast host and Deseret Book author.
Subscribe to the Church News podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, bookshelf PLUS or wherever you get podcasts.
Morgan Pearson: I have realized that if there’s one thing that’s consistent, every single time that I think about what it means to be all in, it comes back to covenants that we make as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And, because I recognize, through all of the interviews that I’ve done, you know, the power that comes from making and keeping covenants with a God who always keeps His promises. And, you know, we’ve become so caught up in so many things in this life that can distract. I think that’s one of Satan’s biggest tools, is distraction. But really, if you can just keep your eye on the prize, in terms of, “Am I progressing along that covenant path?” That is where happiness is found.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What does it mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ? That’s the question Morgan Pierson asks those she interviews each week on her popular Latter-day Saint living podcast, “All In.” She joins this episode of the Church News podcast to share with us why she is an “all in” member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and what she has learned as a Deseret book author, an interviewer and podcast host from the testimonies of other Church members. Morgan, welcome today to the Church News podcast.
Morgan Pearson: Thank you so much, Sarah. It’s so good to talk to you and so good to be with you.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Yeah, I’m so excited to talk to you about important topics of faith and family and finding joy. You know, you’ve spent so many hours in your professional life interviewing other people and sharing their stories. And I want to start today and have you share with us a little of your own story.
Morgan Pearson: Yeah, well, I guess we can start with, I grew up in North Carolina. I know, Sarah, your husband is a Tar Heel fan.
Sarah Jane Weaver: He is.
Morgan Pearson: We have that in common. And so I think growing up in North Carolina shaped a lot of my story, in terms of the way that I feel about the gospel and what the gospel has meant to me in my life. I think, as a little girl there, it felt like I didn’t have a lot of good examples of what the gospel in action necessarily looked like, outside of, like, my parents. And so I think I craved that, but I also always felt this desire to feel connected to my faith. And so it’s interesting, because as a little girl, I remember, every time that we would have an opportunity to like read Church magazines, or Church News, I would devour it, every month, every time that we got it in the mail.
And specifically, I have this distinct memory of you know, “The Friend” magazine has like the “Friends in the News” section. And it has like, little pictures and bios of different kids from around the world. And I would read those. And I would think, you know, “If I had the chance to be friends with this person, who would I be friends with?” Because I just didn’t have friends that were members of the Church. And so I think because it’s interesting to look back on that and to see how much that Church-published content meant to me. Because it was like, that was the thing that helps me feel connected to my faith. So I think, as I grew up and ended up studying communications, specifically Public Relations at BYU in school, I had these opportunities to write and I interned with Church Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and then with BYU in the athletic department. And as I kind of started to develop these skills, I started to feel like, “OK there are opportunities for me to help other people feel connected to their faith in the same way that I felt that desire as a little kid.”
And I never could have imagined that we would have the chance that we’ve had with “All in” to actually, like, speak to people around the world. And not only to, you know, speak where people hear my voice, but to have the chance, thanks to technology that actually talk to people in other countries and have everybody feel like more a part of this international church. And so I think it’s kind of interesting to look back.
When I was in high school I read a quote by Mother Teresa that has been my favorite quote ever since that talks about being a pencil in God’s hand. And I think that in, like a very literal way, God knew the desires of my heart and the fact that I just wanted to help other people feel that same feeling that, you know, people like you were putting in work, so that I could feel connected to my faith. And I just think that that’s super important. So I guess that’s a little bit of my story.
And then most recently, I got married a little bit older in life. I was 32, almost 33, when my husband and I got married last year. So I definitely had the experience of being a single adult in the Church and that was super formative. So I just think, you know, it’s interesting to look back and see the Lord’s hand in my life, just as His hand is evident in so many people’s lives.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Morgan, can you just tell us a little bit about your podcast and what you hope to accomplish each week as you record those interviews?
Morgan Pearson: Absolutely. So the podcast, kind of the impetus for it was this desire to help people feel less alone in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so we talk to all different kinds of people. Sometimes it’s academics about a topic of expertise. Sometimes it’s somebody that’s had a really, you know, faith-promoting experience. We try to have a good mix of people that, you know, people would recognize their name versus people that just have incredible stories. And people should know their name if they don’t already. And so the topics of conversation kind of run the gamut. But the connecting thread, in all of it, is one we try to talk — faith as it relates to whatever it is that we’re discussing. But also at the end of every episode, we ask, “What does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?” And it’s been interesting for me, because I, to be completely honest with you, thought we would get the same answer over and over again. I thought it would be like, “It means to be committed.” And instead, the answers, like never cease to amaze me, because I think, you know, what it means to be all in is different for different people. And it’s different depending on the day of the week. And it’s just been super inspiring for me to hear everyone’s take on that question.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And Morgan, you’ve also written a book based on that same question, and some of those really, really beautiful answers.
Morgan Pearson: Yes, so we came out with a book last year. And to be honest with you, it was just, it was kind of selfish, the idea initially. Because, well, I should say, when it first started out, it was because we learned that some people were taking the last answer of each episode, and like compiling the answers into like notebooks. And we were like, “Well, if other people are doing that themselves, like we should help them out and just make it easier for them.” It seemed like an easy product. But then the more that we got into it, the more work it became, as most things are. But the reason that, for me, I wanted to do it in the end was because I was really terrible at keeping a journal throughout this experience. And at the time, I wasn’t married when I was working on the book, but I kept thinking, “Someday I want to have something to show my kids like, ‘This is what I did during this period of life before I had you.’” And so it’s really neat to think that at least I have that. And we tried to write it, I tried to write the chapter. So, I wrote little intros into each chapter and then we have quotes to support the chapters. And I tried to write them in a really personal way, you know, almost as if I was writing to a friend, because I feel like that’s what “All In” has been.
It’s me, getting to spend time with people every week that otherwise I wouldn’t get to. And it’s funny, because all the time people will say like, “You don’t know me, but we do everything together. But like, we go to the grocery store together. We ride bikes together.” And I’m like, “This is kind of like a shame that all of these people feel like they get to spend time with me, but I don’t get to know them.” And so, anyway, I guess it was kind of a, an effort to help people know that I appreciated the time that they had spent with me and the lessons that we were learning together and like I said, a chance to kind of compile those lessons for, hopefully, my kids. If no one else. Hopefully my kids will be like, “Oh, well, this is cool that our mom did this.”
Sarah Jane Weaver: I love that you said that, because you and I spend a lot of time driving in the car together.
Morgan Pearson: Well, I’m honored.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And Morgan, we first got to know each other during the four and a half years you worked for the Deseret News. This was before “All In,” before you were doing any of the things you’re doing now. But even then, I felt like you had this superpower that allowed you to connect with people about their faith and tell the stories of how their faith impacted their life. So it’s been great.
Morgan Pearson: Well, that is so kind.
Sarah Jane Weaver: It’s been great to see you go on and do that in a way that has been able to impact so many people.
Morgan Pearson: Well, it’s been a treat for me. I love people, as you know, Sarah. I just love talking to people and hearing their stories. So a lot of times, it feels like almost a little bit of a selfish thing. I’m like, “How did I get so lucky here?”
Sarah Jane Weaver: And you know, when you look back, and I do want to talk to you about your single years, and, and now what you’ve learned as you’ve been married, but I want to start more generally. I mean, ‘cause in your bio, you talk about being happiest when you’re wearing sweatpants and, and eating chocolate. But really, what does happiness mean to you and how did you find a place where you could just be happy in the moment?
Morgan Pearson: I think that there was a period of time, Sarah, honestly, it was probably around the time that I left Deseret News and switched over to Deseret Book. I think I, my life just was not turning out the way that I imagined. And I think that’s something that a lot of people can relate to, you know, for a wide variety of reasons. But I think at that point, I would have been 27 years old. And it’s funny, I have this distinct memory of when I got home from my mission, and I was 24 when I got home, and I said to my aunt, you know, “If somebody would just tell me, ‘Morgan, you’ll get married in five years,’ I would just be like, ‘Great,’ and I’d just enjoy my life.” And my aunt kiddingly said, “Morgan, you will get married in five years.” And I was like, “You don’t know that.” And the truth is like, it didn’t happen, you know. It took a lot longer than I expected to find somebody.
And so I think when you get to that point where you feel like your life just isn’t going the way that you thought it would, it becomes this opportunity to kind of look at, “OK, it’s not somebody else’s responsibility, even if I do meet someone and get married, am I going to be able to be happy, independent of another person?” And so for me, it took learning to be totally happy on my own. And I remember I had some different examples of women that came into my life around that period of time that were not married, and were older than me.
One in particular, Annie Hanks Langeland. She was somebody that my sister knew from her mission, and my sister served her mission in Salt Lake. And Annie, one summer I was kind of in between apartments. And she said, “Well, you don’t need a rush into finding an apartment. Just come live with me.” And so for that summer I lived with this lady who was in her early 40s, was single. And I remember her telling me before I moved into her apartment, she said, “You know, I, I am happy in the situation that I’m in.” She said, “If somebody comes into my life, and they add something to my life, then great. But as of right now,” like, “I am happy in my circumstance.” And I remember thinking, like, “That is a load of bull.” Like, “There is no way that that is true.”
And then I moved into her apartment and I saw the way that she lived her life. And I will get emotional if I talk about it. But I just have never in my life seen anybody that was so consecrated and so service-oriented. And I was like, “That’s why she’s so happy, because she literally spends all of her time thinking about other people.” And that’s a hard thing to do when you’re single, because you don’t have a husband or kids. And so, these opportunities to look outside yourself, they take a little bit more effort. And I think I looked at somebody like her and I was just like, “That is what I want to be like.” The crazy part of that story is that he ended up getting married about three, four years later, and we are now cousins by marriage.
So anyway, but I think that that period of time helped me see like happiness, it shouldn’t ever be dependent on another person. So even though, now I’m married, I’m so grateful for that time that I had to like, observe other people and see what brings happiness, because it’s not your marital status. That’s never going to be the thing that brings happiness. It’s living a life of discipleship and seeking for opportunities to get outside of yourself and serve other people.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I remember following you on social media during that time, and one of my favorite posts was a post you wrote about becoming an aunt. You know, your little sister has a baby. And I talk to us about that.
Morgan Pearson: So that was a really interesting thing. My sister is five years younger than me. And she got married, let’s see, it was a long time ago now. So I think she’s been married, like seven years now. And so, she had the first niece in my family, first grandchild. And I remember people saying, you know, “There is nothing like being an aunt.” And I believed them and hoped that that was true. But I also knew that being the oldest child in a family and having no marital prospects, and feeling like having children was something that I wanted so badly. I worried that that would keep me from being able to feel that kind of love for her.
And I’ll never forget the day that she was born I had this dream. And in the dream, there was this baby. And it wasn’t like, the baby was like talking to me or anything. It was just literally, I remember seeing this baby. And I felt so much love for her. And I woke up and I called my mom. And I said, “I think that Kaili’s baby came to me in a dream.” And my mom was like, “Well, Kaili went into labor this morning.” And, like, I don’t know how things work in Heaven, but I really feel super strongly that my niece came to me that morning, because she wanted me to know that she loved me, and wanted me to love her. And, and she and I are still really, really close. And I’m really grateful for that. And for, I mean, there are so many things that are like that, where it was like, Heavenly Father just letting me know, He was aware of me and of the things that I was struggling with and the desires of my heart. Because I wanted to love that baby, you know, but I also won’t pretend like that was a one and done situation.
I remember when she was blessed, I flew across the country, for her baby blessing and that day was really hard on me. But that night, I got a priesthood blessing. And that priesthood blessing answered a lot of questions that I had and kind of put my mind at peace. And so I just, if you let the gospel of Jesus Christ play a role in your life and let God know the desires of your heart, you will never question that He’s aware of you. And for me, I think those little things were testaments of His love.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I want to talk to you about that in more detail. Because I think anyone who works in communications, or has an experience where they are telling the story of The Church of Jesus Christ, has times when things start to work out that probably should not have worked out, or where things we were worried about turned out so much better than we ever could have hoped. And I want to talk to you, you know, you mentioned it, but I really feel like the Lord is in the details of both the work that we both do, and in our lives.
Morgan Pearson: Absolutely, I completely agree. And I think too, Sarah, especially when you care about it, like I think you and I both care about it, it’s like something where, I mean, there have been stories where I want so badly to get it right, that I can’t sleep the night before the story is supposed to come out. And so I think it definitely, you know, the more that you care about it, the more that it matters, but also the more that God knows how much it matters to you.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And this really doesn’t mean that life is perfect or that we don’t have questions. And so I want to talk to you about your approach to doubt. What do you do when you come across things that make you doubt?
Morgan Pearson: I think that’s a really good question. I think by nature, I am a believer, in that, I don’t know if you’ve ever done the StrengthsFinder test, but it like asks you questions and then breaks out your strengths. And I took that a few years ago, and it says, so it breaks them out into quadrants. And one of the quadrants is relationships, and four of my five top strengths were under “relationships.” But my number one strength was belief. And I think that that’s something that I don’t take for granted, because I think that that’s a blessing and a spiritual gift of sorts.
But I will not pretend like there haven’t been things that come up and I’m like, “That doesn’t really sit well with me.” And I think I am somebody that, I don’t necessarily, like, shy away from the thing that is hard for me to understand, or the thing that causes doubt, or instills doubt in my heart. Rather, the person that’s like, “OK, I’ve got to get answers for this.” And so whether it’s, I think polygamy is one that like, doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. And for me, it’s like, OK. And I think part of it too, is I’m lucky, in that I know people that are way smarter than I am.
So for example, if I have this question that comes up, as a result of my job, often an email just to a friend that, like a Church historian, who I know has dug into this stuff way more than I have. And I’ll ask my question. And usually they’re gracious enough to, like, provide resources and help me better understand. I think some people, the approach is, “I just don’t want to deal with it. So I’m going to pretend like this isn’t happening, or this never happened, or that it doesn’t affect me in some way.” And I think my approach is more so, “OK, let’s just take this head on, and try to understand it.” And as a result, try to not only like from a secular standpoint, but also from a spiritual standpoint. So praying about that thing, or studying the scriptures with that question in mind.
And I think one thing that I should probably add, I think I’m very conscious because of my work, of the importance of going directly to God. And by that, I mean, reading scriptures, or saying prayers or studying conference talks, more than listening to other people’s voices. And I include my voice in that, because I think it’s a dangerous space, sometimes, where, because podcasts are very easy and accessible and people can, you know, stick their air pods in, and they can listen. And maybe it’s like a little bit more of an enjoyable approach to the gospel. That it can be like, “Oh, well, I don’t really read my scriptures,” or, “I don’t really pray, but I listen to podcasts.” And for me, I feel like those additional resources that we have as a result of technology, and you know, the work of so many gracious members of the Church who have put time and effort into creating those things. I think those things are great, but they should only supplement the gospel for us. And I think, because of my work, I tried to be really conscious of how much faith and energy am I giving toward those direct sources to God? And how much am I giving to these other voices that can sometimes be more convenient?
Sarah Jane Weaver: And now I want to shift, I really want to talk to you about the last few years of your life as you met your husband and got married and moved to California.
Morgan Pearson: Yeah
Sarah Jane Weaver: So, so much happened. It feels like, in such a short period of time. But tell us a little bit about your marriage.
Morgan Pearson: Well, believe me when I say it did not feel short to me, Sarah, because we dated for a good little while. It was just, it was in the middle of COVID. So I think that made things interesting, because a lot of people didn’t know that I was dating anybody and we definitely weren’t out about. We didn’t really see a lot of people. I think he always says people we didn’t eat in a restaurant together until we had been dating like nine months.
So we met as a result of “All In,” which is interesting. His sister-in-law listened to “All In” and told him that he should listen and ask me out. And, and he was like, “I have no idea who this girl is. You don’t know her. No way am I reaching out.” And he didn’t know this, but in the meantime, that sister-in-law reached out to a mutual friend of mine, who then reached out to me and said, “Would you be open to being set up?” And I said, you know, “Who is the guy?” And he sent me his name and I looked him up and he was cute. And she said, you know, “I don’t know him, but I know he comes from a great family. I know his sister-in-law is really great.” And so I was like, “Yeah, you know, this friend is somebody that I really trust.” So I said I’d be open to it.
Well, then I never heard anything from him, which was because he had no idea that that conversation ever happened. And so fast forward a few months, and I guess he finally decided to get “All In” a chance. He listened to an episode or two and then he sent me a message on Instagram. And because I recognize this picture, I was maybe a little bit more friendly than I would be if it was just some random stranger. And I think I like asked a question in response to his message. And we started chatting back and forth. And we actually went on one date, pre COVID. He was in Utah for Christmas, visiting his family. And we went out, and I really liked him the first date, and so much so that when I got home that night, I texted a friend, and I said, “For the record, this guy is going to go back to New York,” because that’s where he was living at the time, I said, “He’s gonna go back to New York, and I’m probably never going to hear from him again. But just for the record, this is the kind of guy that I like to date,” because there was just something different about him.
And I had gone on way more dates than I care to admit. And I just like, immediately, there was like a difference in his countenance and his confidence and his kindness. And I think that he’s really handsome. But he didn’t act like he thought he was, you know. And so just like I predicted, he went back to New York. He was working really long hours, and we just kind of lost contact. But fast forward to June 2020, COVID brought him back to Utah. And I was in North Carolina, the first few months of COVID, and then ended up coming back to Utah. And so he was like, “Well if we’re in the same place, [then] should we go out?”
And so we went out the second time, and I liked him just as much as I liked him the first time, and we did not stop dating. I guess we did break up for a short period of time. I won’t bore you with that story. But I think dating during COVID, I heard somebody say that it’s like dating in dog years, because you really get to know the person really well, because it’s like, you’re not around other people and might be big social situations. It’s mostly just a lot of talking and spending time one on one or with family. And so we got, we got to know each other really well.
And like I said, we dated for a good little while and ultimately, I ended up getting married last year in March. And I think marriage has been even better than I expected it to be. I often tell people that I think if you married the wrong person, now that I’ve experienced what marriage is like, I understand why it would be incredibly difficult. And so I’m so grateful that I didn’t rush into marrying somebody else, or tried to force myself to like somebody else, which I think is a real temptation, the older you get. I’m so grateful that I held out for my husband, because he is my best friend. I love spending time with him. The way that he thinks I love getting his opinion on things. I love the way that I feel like we function really well as a team. And I just, I can’t imagine my life without him. And so I feel like marriage, when you marry the right person is like heaven. And I understand why if you married the wrong person, it would be the opposite. But I’m really, really, really grateful.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And, you know, I think the one thing that you and I share, we have some friends who tease us and tell us that my husband and I are uncomfortably open. It’s so easy for us to share the details of our lives, because I do that for a living.
Morgan Pearson: Right.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And I often ask people to share the details of their lives. So I feel like it’s important for me to do the same and be open with my own. But how does that feel when, when you post some things or feelings or emotions on social media?
Morgan Pearson: Well, I think one thing early on, before we were ever even really serious, I got in the habit of asking him to read the things that I was posting before I ever posted them so that I made sure he was comfortable with whatever I was sharing. I’d say my husband is definitely more private than I am. He doesn’t like social media in general. He actually hasn’t been on social media since right after we got married. And so just by nature, he’s a more private person. And I think it’s also kind of affected me, in that I think I’ve become more private as a result of that, that I have tried, you know.
I’m one of these people, Sarah, where, I remember a few years ago, I had a blog, and the blog actually was doing fairly well. But I am not somebody that can force myself to say something when I don’t have something to say. And so people were saying, you know, “You need to blog regularly.” And I was like, “I don’t have anything to say.” And I’m the same way on Instagram. If you, if you follow my Instagram post, I think I post like, once a month, because I only like to post when I feel like I have something to say. And it’s been interesting since getting married, because I think as a result of having been single for a long time, I’m very sensitive to the ways that posts about people that are happily married can make somebody that is single feel.
And so I have tried really hard to be sensitive of the fact that a lot of people followed me, because I was in the same life situation that they were in. And I never want to be like, “Oh, here I am.” Like, “Made it out on the other side,” you know. I think I’m very much the person that wants everybody to feel like there’s hope in their lives and there’s a reason and a purpose for everything that we experience. And so, when I have thoughts that I feel like would be helpful, I tried to jot them down. I’ll have my husband read them and make sure he’s comfortable with anything that I share. But I think that’s the way that I’ve tried to handle the situation.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And you know [Morgan], there’s something about you, that if you’re not friends with you, you just feel like you are. That’s the kind of person that I want to be friends with. That’s the kind of person that I feel like I am friends with. And it’s the empathy and the thoughtfulness and that reflectiveness that appears in so many of the things that you have written. You just came through the holidays. Talk about some of the feelings you had as you experienced the holidays, being married, but being thoughtful of past holidays, when things were different for you.
Morgan Pearson: For sure. Well, first of all, Sarah, thank you for saying that. It means a lot to me. I think it’s interesting to think that, I actually told my husband, I think it was Christmas day that I remembered two Christmases before, because we had dated for a while. We had spent a couple of Christmases together. And we actually got engaged on Christmas Eve last year. And so I had a couple of years of holidays with him. But I told him that the Christmas before we met, I remember coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and my parents, like a lot of parents, I think, I still had a sister who was 13 at the time. And so it was like, “OK, everybody line pu on the stairs.” You know, like, “Morgan come down first.” And I was like 28 years old, 29 years old and thinking, “I am the world’s biggest loser. My parents are setting up the video camera. They’re acting like they’re, you know, parents of a young child.” And to their credit, like, loved me so much that they were still willing to do the whole Santa Claus thing for me.
But I think back to that time and just recognize how much, like we never know what God is doing in our lives and the way that He’s orchestrating things. And sometimes, like, there’s this tendency to want to throw in the towel, and just be like, “You know what, things have not worked out the way that I wanted them to.”
One of my favorite talks is by President Eyring, “The Law of Increasing Returns.” And in that talk, he talks about a girl who, you know, tried so hard to keep her covenants and to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. And then one day, there was a guy in her apartment building and invited her over a few time and she just decided she’s done trying. And I can’t say that like I ever got to that point. But I can see how I would arrive at that point and recognizing that we never know what’s right around the corner for us. And so if we are, if we do get to that point where it’s like, “I just want to throw in the towel,” we would never know what we missed out on.
And so for me, it was actually that Christmas, that I got that message on Instagram from Benjamin. And we ended up going out right after New Years. And so looking back and thinking, “Man, like, what if I was just like, ‘I’m done. I’m done trying.’” And instead, you know, I got this great blessing. And I think God has blessings in store for all of us, and maybe it doesn’t look like, you know, a husband. But I think back to 2018. And when I switched from Deseret News to Deseret Book, and they were like, you know, “Do you want to be involved with this podcast that we’re trying to create?” And I was struggling around that time I had dated a guy and we broke up.
And one of my first days at LDS living, I sat at my desk with tears just dripping onto my keyboard, because I just felt so lost in my life. And it wasn’t just dating. It was everything across the board, felt like it was not going right. And, again, had I thrown in the towel, I never would have had this chance to be a part of this podcast that has been such a blessing in my life. And I never would have had, you know, 200 plus conversations with people that have changed my life, you included.
So I think that when I looked back on this year, on holidays past, I just felt grateful that I didn’t give up. Because I think all of us, like there are blessings just around the corner. We just have to hang on and hope on and if we make mistakes, you know, repent and get back on the path. It’s not that we have to be perfect along the way. But I think there’s so much to be said for just trying and moving forward.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And I think that is such a sweet sentiment. I think all of us have these times when we think, “I thought this would be different. I thought this would be easier.” You know, I have a saying and it drives my husband crazy, because I say, “There’s, there’s no easy days.” And he says, “Well, of course there’s easy days. We’re, we’re the luckiest people anywhere, because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ.” But I do think, even that knowledge doesn’t mean that sometimes finding a path, or understanding or coming to know what the Lord wants for you, is a really hard thing. And
Morgan Pearson: It is
Sarah Jane Weaver: You know, I know you’ve interviewed so many people as they have found their path. What have you learned from the testimonies of other people?
Morgan Pearson: I think this is a really important thing for me to reflect on from time to time, because I don’t want to learn all of these things from different people and then forget about them. But I think, years ago, I read a book by Patricia Holland, “A Quiet Heart.” And in it, she talks about how we place these artificial barriers between one another, because we think, dependent on our demographic or marital status that we can’t relate. And so we think, “Oh, well, that person is going through this. They can’t relate to me. I’m going through this.” And the thing that I’ve learned from interviewing all these people, is that we’re all learning the same lessons, we’re just learning them in different ways. And that the Lord is so aware of us and the things that we’re capable of.
I find it ironic that several people have pointed out that we often go through the thing that we’re most scared of. And Elder Bednar’s daughter-in-law was recently on the podcast. And she said that she has loved watching the way that the Lord has helped make her greatest fears her greatest teachers. And I think that that’s true. I think that the things that feel like the thing that would be the scariest to us, or ironically, sometimes the things that we’re capable of taking on.
And so for me, like I never imagined having that experience of being single, but I think it’s something that I could handle and the Lord knew that I could handle it, and that I would be able to learn from it. Likewise, I think the other biggest thing that has been formative in my life has been having siblings that have left the Church. And I can see how that has refined me and made me hopefully a better disciple of Jesus Christ and a better sister.
And so I look at all of these people and it’s like, “Man, this thing that maybe you were scared of, or you thought you weren’t capable of doing, look at you,” you know. “You’re doing it.” And the Lord enables us to do those things. And that’s when we talk about the enabling power of the atonement, that is exactly what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the ability to do things we never thought we’d be able to do. And that is what the gospel of Jesus Christ helps us do. It helps us become our best selves. And so I’ve loved learning from all these different people and seeing the way that God helps them become so much more than maybe they could become on their own.
Sarah Jane Weaver: When we think about becoming, we look to the future and, and all that the Lord has in store for us. I think all of us want to have a family, and happiness, and joy, and develop testimonies that can sustain us through times that are hard. And tell us what’s in store for you in coming months.
Morgan Pearson: We’re at a really interesting point in life, I think, a period of change. After a lot of years I felt like I was stuck in the same circumstance. And I think it’s because I had to kind of learn some things from that. I feel like now it’s like, life is coming really, really fast. And so my husband and I are actually expecting our first baby in May. And it’s a little girl. And we’re very, very excited about that. And trying to figure out, you know, what life looks like long term, especially with a new addition to our family. But that is where we’re at right now.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Congratulations, what a wonderful, joyful time this is. I remember it being also a little scary time. You really want to be good at being a mother. And yet, there’s also a little bit of fear associated with that.
Morgan Pearson: Absolutely, I think it’s an interesting thing to have watched so many people that I was close to, and loved and cared about, go through this, the experience of pregnancy. And now looking back and realizing, “I had no idea what they were going through.” And also just like how emotional it is on top of, you know, nausea, and everything else that comes with pregnancy. But I think for me, it’s been, “I don’t want to do anything wrong to like, mess anything up.” And I feel like I want to be prepared for when the baby comes. And I think I’ve gained a lot greater appreciation for women in general.
And for my mom, you know, I was almost 17 years old when my mom had my youngest sister. And so I remember her being pregnant and she never led on about how hard it was. And she just kept being a great mom to me. And so now I feel like I just like appreciate that a little bit more. But yeah, it is scary. And you feel like your whole life has kind of led up to this moment. And her whole life is going to depend on whether or not I mess up too badly in the first little bit. But I keep hearing lately, that you actually can’t mess up too badly. So I’m just taking that to the bank.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I have to agree with that. I just don’t think that you can mess that one up. And you know, as we close today, I actually want to ask you two questions. First, I want to hear you answer the question that you ask all of your guests about what it means to be “all in” to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then I want to turn in and with what we always end with for the Church News podcast. So what does it mean to be all into the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Pearson: Well, I think that if I had to boil it down, which I think it’s nice for particular guest on our show, because it’s like we’re asking you on a specific day at a specific time what this question means. And I’ve been asked this question now a handful of times, and I’m like, it always changes for me. But I have realized that if there’s one thing that’s consistent, every single time that I think about what it means to be all in, it comes back to covenants and the covenant that we make as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think covenants have come to mean a lot more to me, because I recognize through all of the interviews that I’ve done, you know. I recognize the power that comes from making and keeping covenants with a God who always keeps His promises.
And so being all in is keeping our end of that deal, keeping our promises, because we know that we’re making those promises with a God that always keeps His. And, and there’s power and there’s confidence. And, you know, we’ve become so caught up in so many things in this life that can distract. I think that’s one of Satan’s biggest tools is distraction, and making us feel like other things matter so much. But really, if you can just keep your eye on the prize in terms of, “Am I making and keeping covenants? Am I progressing along that covenant path? Am I keeping my end of the deal?” Like that is where happiness is found. And that’s like, you asked me earlier about happiness and joy. And I talked about, you know, living a life of service. That’s because that’s one of the covenants that we make it baptism, to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that have been in need of comfort. And so, as we strive to progress along that path, that’s what it means to be all in to me.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And the Church News podcast, we have a tradition where we always ask the same question, “What do you know now?” And it feels like it’s very similar question to being all in. But we always end with that question and give our guests the last word. And so as we wrap up today, I just want to tell you how wonderful it’s been to talk to you, how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to learn a little bit from your journey and the interactions and the lessons that you’ve learned. And then ask you, what do you know now that you’ve learned from being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Morgan Pearson: Well, I appreciate the chance, Sarah, to talk with you and it’s always a pleasure to get to talk to you. You’re such a bright light. And I appreciate all the work that you do. Sarah will be embarrassed that I’m saying this, but so many of you will have no idea how hard Sarah works for the content that is being put out there, like I said, to help people feel connected to their faith.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Thank you.
Morgan Pearson: So I hope that you know how much that’s meant to me. I also am grateful for the chance to reflect on this question and what do I know now that I am grateful for. I think that one thing that I have just become increasingly aware of is God’s awareness of us as individuals, and His care for us, His desire to help us come home to Him. I think that, you know, as I’ve gotten to experience family relationships in a lot of different contexts, now, we feel such a desire to have strong family relationships, because they give us a small taste of the way that Heavenly Father feels about us.
And I mentioned, you know, my niece earlier, but I feel the same way about my siblings, and my husband and now like, we have a bunch of nieces and nephews on his side of the family. And I’ve been amazed by how much love I have gained for them. And I think that those family relationships just give us a little taste of how much Heavenly Father loves and cares about us. And I’m excited to become a mom, because I feel like that’s another step closer to getting the feel that love that Heavenly Father has.
But I think that if we look more and are more aware of His hand in our lives, even when it feels like He’s maybe not as aware of us, if we look, we will see Him time and time again. And we’ll also see the way that He loves and cares about those around us. And that strengthens our testimony and helps us draw closer to Him and gain greater confidence in His ability to work in our lives. And when we look and see those things, it helps us keep going. It keeps us from that, like I said, that throwing in the towel.
And I’m so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ for the way that it reminds me of the little things that help me see Him more on a day to day basis and for the way that it helps me guide me along in my personal discipleship, my desire to return to live with Him and hopefully in the process helps me be better in those relationships that are cultivated to help us know and become more like Him.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News editor, Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window.
Please remember to subscribe to this podcast and if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests, to my producer, KellieAnn Halvorsen, and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on TheChurchNews.com.