Northern Lights Blog

The Voices of Hope Project • Celebrating a Year of Blessing Lives

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This Thursday, March 27th, 2014, will mark the one-year anniversary of our launch of the Voices of Hope website, In honor of that, we’d like to share the following video celebrating some milestones and highlighting some of the feedback:

Over the course of the last year, we’ve received a steady stream of comments and messages from folks who have been touched by the various stories in this project, and the ripple effect of that will continue outward—and this is just the beginning. As shared in this video, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has stated,

“Satan cannot directly take a life. That is one of many things he cannot do. But apparently his effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful. Brethren [and sisters], if that is the case, I am looking tonight for men [and women] young and old who care enough about this battle between good and evil to sign on and speak up. We are at war…

“From every man [and woman], young and old… I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, a voice not only against evil and him who is the personification of it, but a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God. Brethren [and sisters] of all ages, unbind your tongues and watch your words work wonders in the lives of those ‘who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it’ [D&C 123:12].” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign, November 2011)

We’re grateful for the many men and women who’ve shared their stories through video and essay, and for the many more who have signed up to participate and who we’ll be including over the next weeks, months and years, who have been willing to “unbind [their] tongues” and offer “a stronger and more devoted voice… a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God.”

If you’ve benefitted from this project and believe in its vision and purpose, we need your help. Please consider making a generous recurring monthly donation here.

Thank you for your support for the Voices of Hope Project!


Ty Mansfield
President, North Star International
Co-director, Voices of Hope Project

Kevin Randall
Co-director/Executive Producer, Voices of Hope Project


Categorized under: Hope, Voices of Hope Project

Personal thoughts on the Journey Into Manhood Weekend

North Star officially does not endorse People Can Change’s Journey Into Manhood weekend, but it is certainly an activity that many of our community participate in. It’s one of the most frequent and commonly commented upon posts to our Men’s group. It seems like very few weeks someone will post some variation of the question, “Should I go to the Journey into Manhood weekend?” Several people have asked their permission to forward my answer to this question to others, and it has occurred to me that it might be useful to post my answer in a more public place.

My answer hinges on rephrasing the original question. Since I usually don’t know the person at all who asks this question, how can I give him my informed opinion of whether he should go? Since I don’t know him at all, I can’t give him an answer to that. A question that I can try to answer is this one: ”How can I decide if the weekend is right for me?”

Before I answer it, let me add again the disclaimer that North Star does not, as I said above,  officially endorse the weekend, and therefore these opinions are my own personal opinions, and do not represent the official position of North Star. North Star’s official position, put pithily, is that it does not have a position, but that we want our community to be a place where people can talk about experiences that are helpful and supportive of their goals to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is in that spirit that I offer my personal thoughts on the matter.


Categorized under: Uncategorized

An Invitation: North Star and Circling the Wagons • Friday & Saturday, February 21-22, 2014

ctw_logoThis coming weekend, Friday evening and Saturday, is the annual Circling the Wagons Conference. In order to make sure North Star stays supportive of living gospel principles, we typically only allow advertisement of events or resources that are explicitly and exclusively supportive of the values and behavioral standards of the Church.

In reference to this year’s Circling the Wagons Conference, which is intended to be open and inclusive of all perspectives in order to hear and empathize with a diverse array of perspectives, I would like to make an exception to that policy. The organizer of the conference, a friend and colleague of mine, Anne Peffer, has made an especial and sincere effort to organize a conference that is true to its theme: “Coming Together: Listening to Gain Understanding and Find Common Ground.”


Categorized under: Community, Culture, Events, Organizations

single = alone?

Recently I read this from someone who has chosen to part ways with the church in pursuit of same-sex relationships:

“My heart feels strongly that God loves me regardless of who I’m attracted to. I don’t believe he expects or even wants me to be alone. Wasn’t it God who said it was not good that man be alone?”

And while I have thoughts on his entire blog post,  what I wanted to write about today was that thought above.  What I get from what he’s saying – and I think this applies to most who use that scripture (Genesis 2:18) – is that “alone” means “single”.  God doesn’t want people to be single.

I wonder, though, if that’s what God meant.  The scripture can certainly easily be interpreted that way, especially since in the last half of the verse God proceeds to make Eve.  But I wonder if perhaps “alone” actually means “alone” i.e. by himself, without anyone else, solitarily.  It is not good that man should be alone.  And so, God provided the easiest, and perhaps most effective means whereby man – and mankind – would not have to be alone.  All mankind – regardless of marital status – would henceforth not be left alone in this life.

I wonder if God simply didn’t want us to go through life without each other.

Is marriage awesome?  Absolutely.  Does God want us to marry?  Yup.  Is that going to happen for everyone?  Nope.  Does God still love us?  You bet.  And that’s why he gave us a family, and friends, and each other.  So even if we’re on our own, we’re not alone.  (Thank you Michael McLean).  The scripture doesn’t say, “…it is not good that the man should be single.”  It says “alone”.

I am single.  But I am not alone.

Categorized under: Uncategorized

Mormon Newsroom: “Church Instructs Leaders on Same-Sex Marriage”

Today the Mormon Newsroom released the following statement regarding same-sex marriage:

Following recent court actions bearing on same-sex marriage, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today sent the following instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States. Leaders were asked to share this information with their members in appropriate settings.

On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, striking down century-old state laws and a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. The United States Supreme Court has put that ruling on hold pending consideration of the issue by an appellate court. During the interval between the district court ruling and the Supreme Court stay, numerous same-sex marriages were performed in Utah. Legal proceedings and legislative action in some other states and countries have given civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships.

Read the full statement on the Mormon Newsroom.

Categorized under: LDS Newsroom, Marriage, same-sex

A Personal Response to the Tribune Article on the Evergreen/North Star Combination

square_ns-eg-e1388598554577No newspaper article can ever fully represent the views and feelings of the organizations discussed in them, so it should come as no surprise that I have a mixed reaction to the article in the Salt Lake Tribune this morning about us at North Star combining with Evergreen.

You can read North Star and Evergreen’s official discussion of this issue in our press release here. I want to make clear that the thoughts offered here are mine and mine alone, and do not represent the official views of either North Star or Evergreen organizations, which can be found at the press release. But since I am quoted in the article, I thought I would add some personal reactions and thoughts of my own. One of the wonderful things about the Internet age is that we can now all buy (virtual) ink by the barrel.


Categorized under: Uncategorized

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Disclaimer: North Star is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and site content should not be interpreted as official statements of Church doctrine, belief, or practice. While North Star wholly supports the doctrines and values of the Church of Jesus Christ, all views expressed or errors made are the sole responsibility of site contributors.