My name is Jonathan Carver and I actually grew up in this congregation. And in fact, this is where I met my wife my eternal companion - who I love deeply and am grateful for her patience and kindness. She is an excellent wife and mother and although we have had our struggles I thank Heavenly Father every day that we are together and will be for time and all eternity. And yes singles ward did its job thanks to 3 reasons: 1. giving a talk in that ward 2 weeks after my mission and during it my wife Amy asks one of her friends who is that? I’m going to marry that guy!
The second reason is thanks to some of our friends ditching us so instead of hanging out as a group my wife and I were able to have a first date without knowing that’s what it would end up being and the 3rd reason is actually my in-laws - especially my father in law. Now he may not know this but let me explain. You see he and my dad grew up with each other - going to the same high school and the same stake maybe even the same ward but even after that they eventually both worked as electricians at McDonnell Douglas back in the day and would go on fishing trips, etc and they even hung out as newlyweds with my mom and mother in law. Now look at Wayne - he’s a big strong guy a fireman in Long Beach and from what my wife told me is that every time she would go on a date he would be bringing out his guns and cleaning them and ask my wife’s dates for their name, address, SSN and blood the type, etc - total tough guy dad of the year type of stuff… well when I went to pick Amy up for our 2nd or 3rd date I guess her mom asked her “now who is this guy you are seeing again? “Oh it’s Jonathan Carver” and her mom says “wait! Does he have parents named Jill and Murray in Fountain Valley?” and Amy says “I don’t know I just met the guy” so her mom says “well I’m answering the door when he gets here” and when I showed up the door swung open and she exclaimed “you look just like your dad!” And she invited me in and meeting my father in law instead of the big tough guy cleaning his guns he says “come in and sit down and let me tell you stories about your dad” and from there I guess I was a shoe into the family. And my wife still to this day is like “I can’t believe you got off so easy” but I want to thank you, Janet and Wayne, for welcoming me into your home and into your family.
Now, growing up I had a great upbringing not just from my own (as Nephi describes it) goodly parents and my parents had their struggles but they truly were good parents and my mom is one of the most amazing people Heavenly Father has ever put on this earth. When I think of The Lord’s example of being selfless, kind, and understanding I’ve had no greater example of those attributes than my own mother - mom I thank you for all that you have done for me and I love you.
Another contributing factor to my great upbringing was this ward. Families that made such an impact on me through their Christlike love and kindness are many but I wish to publicly thank some of them who made the biggest impact for me:
One of them who is not here anymore is the Percy’s, Dennis and Judy - because of them, I remember two amazing things - their swimming pool which was probably where I became such a great swimmer and Dennis was actually a railroad inspector and one summer for a full week from 12am til 6 am while Disneyland was closed I got the privilege of helping him and Judy walk the whole length of the railroad track for the Main Street train but also the kids Casey Jr. Train while we competing for a full inspection of the track to ensure it was in full operating status. Another family that had an impact on me was the Garriott family. The summer before my senior year in high school I did some work for Roger and Diane in their backyard and when I first got there I’d course I notice this 1965 Mustang midnight blue in the driveway with spider webs around the tires meaning it clearly hadn’t been moved awhile but still in great condition. Well after completing the yard work he asked me about my senior year and if I had a car to use and I said no it had broken down - transmission went out - and he explained to me that the mustang was a great experience for his kids in high school and if I wanted to I could purchase it from him but with no money, I couldn’t afford it nor did I know how to fix it up since it wasn’t running. And Roger graciously created a 2 sentence contract where he would loan me $2500 to buy the car after he got it running first and once I sold the car before or after my mission I pay him the $2500 back and if I sell it for more I keep the extra. I came home from my mission and sold it for $3200 and was able to pay him back the $2500.
Other families that had an impact on me range from the Schultz with all their scouting prowess - not just Mark and Linda but also Jeff and Dani as well as the Isfields - The Kerrs with making those stickers at Glenn’s shop to help pay for scouting activities and of course yes Joel has always been somewhat of a clown but in a good way
There have been so many that have helped my family and me growing up but the last family that made a big impact on me and continues to do so for my 2 daughters are the Lassigs Theo and Sue. I know it wasn’t easy living across the street from us as kids because every day through elementary and middle school my brother and I and some of our friends would play baseball in the driveway and of course when we hit home runs where would the ball go? Either into their bushes or front yard or worst-case scenario one of their or their kid's cars would be parked on the street in front of their house and we would say “you hit the car it’s a home run” so of course we would try and hit the car BUT thankfully we never used a real baseball. We would use a whiffle ball or tennis ball but I’m sure those still left a few marks. But I recognize how kind and loving you were to me growing up and it continues still today with that same kindness being shown to my own daughters - truly great friends and an example of how to be a good neighbor.
I feel like this is a farewell speech considering my wife and I have put an offer and it got accepted for a house in St. George - our closing date is April 4th. It’s super exciting - especially since we are going to be changing lifestyles. And yes, yes I know, I know I’ve already been told multiple times since I’m a big surfer that there are actually no waves in Utah.
Even my wife’s cousin asked us a couple of weeks ago - now why st George? and I said because it’s the closest I could get to the beach while living in Utah.
We feel it is a necessary change in order to provide ourselves, especially our children, with the type of freedom and happiness my wife and I had growing up. Now clearly things can change and we could be back here in a couple of years but the changing of a lifestyle is pretty exhilarating and I was actually hoping with President Nelson speaking to all of CA he would be saying something like “Its time to move to a little bit inland to a place called Jackson County Missouri” that would have made it a lot easier to make a decision on where we should end up that’s for sure but in a reality where ever you live it all comes down to the type of lifestyle you want and the great thing is we have all been promised by the Lord that “if ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper”. I know that to be true. He didn’t say we wouldn’t go through struggles or challenges but he did say we would proper. And that comes down to obedience to His commandments and FAITH:
I want to first talk about faith. An incredible reference on Faith I recommend everyone read is “Lectures on Faith”. A series of lessons in Kirtland Ohio to the School of Prophets (the early leaders of the church). Extremely detailed analysis of what faith is. We of course know from the scriptures that faith is the “believing without seeing” and (read Hebrews 11:6)
Principle of Power - everything we do is based on faith. That is why it is the first principle of the gospel.
We also learn that from Adam to Abraham the knowledge of who God was and is being passed down through that lineage.
Read page 24 verse 55 of Lectures on Faith - think about it for a second.
Now that we have learned what faith is and that it’s a principle of power, let me read you the scripture for today given to me: Omni 1:26
"Now with this Faith, we must come unto Christ and offer our whole souls unto Him because of His power to heal, and by His power, He descended below all things and overcame all things."
Read Section of Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage: page 568 “The Lord’s agony in Gethsemane”
The Lord created all things He was at the right hand of Heavenly Father from the beginning and this is what He said about Gethsemane:
I encourage you to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19. I bear testimony of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.