Matis Fireside Memorial

Once a month, Fred and Marilyn Matis sponsored a fireside and opened their home for spiritual and social support to Latter-day Saint men, women, spouses, parents and other family members and friends who are touched in some way by the issue of same-gender attraction. Since their son, Stuart, took his life in February 2000 (see KSL-TV interview), Fred and Marilyn have reached out with support and love to men and women dealing with this sensitive issue. These gatherings were typically attended by anywhere from one to two hundred people each month.

NOTE: North Star did not sponsor the gatherings held by Fred and Marilyn Matis. We did, however, provide a calendar of events sponsored by other individuals or groups we have reason to believe to be in general harmony with the mission of North Star and the values and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Because of the support Fred and Marilyn provided North Star, its mission, and its members, we provided this page for their gatherings.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Guest Presenter: James H. Matis

EDUCATION: 1970 Ph.D., Statistics; Texas A&M University; College Station, TX

2003 Founders Award, American Statistical Association, 'for outstanding leadership advancing statistics eduation.'
2001 Fulbright Research Scholarship to India, U. S. Department of State.
1995 Fulbright Research Scholarship to India, U. S. Information Agency esearch Career Development Award
1969 Connor Statistics Award, outstanding Ph.D. candidate, Texas A&M University

Summary of J. Matis Career:
- Prof. Matis is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), and an elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. He received the Founders Award, the highest honor of the ASA, for "outstanding leadership . . . advancing statistics education." He also received Distinguished Achievement Awards in both Teaching and in Research from Texas A&M University.
- Concerning research, Prof. Matis has published over 140 scientific papers. Many of these represent.
- Prof. Matis has a passion for statistical research, education and consulting, and looks forward to serving in an academic capacity at Damascus University in Syria.

James Matis Ecclesiastical Experience
* Missionary to Finland 1960-1963
* Bishop of Student Ward
* Stake Mission President
* Member of Stake Presidency
* Bishop of Resident Ward
* Humanitarian Missionary to Syria 2009-2010, Country Director
* Branch President, Damascus Branch, 2009-2010

Jeanette Matis Ecclesiastical Experience
* Ward Relief Society President
* Stake Relief Society President
* Seminary teacher
* Stake Seminary Supervisor
* Humanitarian Missionary to Syria 2009-2010

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Guest Presenter: Bishop Kendall Lyman

Bishop Lyman currently serves as the bishop in the Matis' ward.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Guest Presenter: Roger Fuller

Brother Fuller served a mission in Finland with Brother Matis. He has since served in the Mount Timpanogos Utah and Stockholm Sweden temples. He is currently preparing to serve as the Finnish Helsinki Finland temple president. He is also the father-in-law of our own North Star VP, ierF nevetS.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guest Presenter: Richard Walsh

Brother Walsh has a great insight into gospel doctrine. He has been an institute teacher at BYU and has also served as a congressman in the Utah State Legislature.


Friday, December 12, 2010

North Star Annual Christmas Musical Fireside

As an annual Holiday tradition, and in lieu of a guest speaker, the December Firside will be a musical program of men and women who attend the fireside sharing their instrumental and vocal talents with us all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guest Presenter: James L. Ferrell

James L. Ferrell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.

He is a graduate of BYU, with degrees in economics and philosophy, and received his law degree from Yale Law School.

Professionally, Brother Ferrell is President of The Arbinger Institute, an international training and consulting firm that specializes in peace building. In this capacity, he has taught and advised leaders of corporations, governments, and organizations of all kinds in many countries around the world. In addition to working with leaders, he and his organization work on the front lines of cultural and social conflicts around the globe.

He has authored several bestselling books, including two books for Arbinger, Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace, and three books for the LDS audience, The Peacegiver, The Holy Secret, and The Hidden Christ.

Brother Ferrell currently serves in a stake presidency in Farmington, Utah. He and his wife, Jackie, have been married for 23 years. They have five children - Jacob (15), Anna (12), Sarah (11), and their twins, Elisabeth and Abigail (8).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guest Presenter: John Bytheway

John Bytheway was born and raised in Salt Lake City, and he served his mission in the Philippines. Following his mission he attended the University of Utah, and later graduated from BYU.

John has taught the Book of Mormon at Brigham Young University, and the BYU Salt Lake Center for the past fourteen years, where he received his Master's Degree in Religious Education. He is the author of several books and CDs many of which are effective non-prescription sleep-aids.

He loves to golf, write, read, and play the banjo and guitar. John is a founding member of the local chapter of the Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, and does a frighteningly accurate impersonation of Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife.

John is currently serving as a bishop in the Salt Lake Winder 10th Ward. John and his wife Kimberly have six children and a completely full SUV.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guest Presenter: Emily Freeman

Emily took her first creative writing class in High School and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy from studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in our every day life. Emily is the author of The Ten Virgins, 21 Days Closer to Christ and The Promise of Enough. She has had the privilege of speaking to groups of women and young women for almost 20 years.

There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips.Other favorites include camping, gardening, and finding a quiet moment to settle into a good book. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Guest Presenter: Randall Dodge

Randy began his journey of actively addressing his feelings of same-gender attraction in 1995. During his journey, he has become involved in People Can Change, a non-profit organization of men who have overcome unwanted same-sex attraction who now support others seeking similar change. He is also a member of an international organization called the Mankind Project, an organization, with the stated purpose to "support men in leading meaningful lives of integrity, accountability, responsibility, and emotional intelligence."

Randy comes from a very interesting and varied background. He is the second son of five boys and was raised in West Point, Utah, on a small farm. After five years on the small farm, he and his family moved to Clearfield, Utah, where he remained until after his mission to the Washington-Seattle Mission. Randy worked his way through college where he was a counselor at the Utah School for the Deaf. Randy is proficient in American Sign Language.

Randy graduated from Weber State University in Communications and English. After graduation, he landed a position with Bonneville Communications. After eight years there, he returned to school to become a professional Butler. Randy has worked for some very high-end families and has seen how the other half live. Randy is currently employed as a Butler for a family in Salt Lake City managing their home, personal schedules, and assisting the Nanny with their two children.

Randy is a father of two daughters and most recently became a grandfather for the first time. Randy is presently working on his Masters of Education and will finish his degree in April. Randy currently resides in Bountiful, Utah. He enjoys cooking, gardening, re-finishing wood furniture, walking/running, and a good hot fudge sundae. His family and friends are the two gifts he treasures most in his life.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guest Presenter: Steven R. Mecham

President Steven R. Mecham was raised in Salt Lake, Perry, and Ogden, Utah. He comes from a strong LDS family background with parents who served as President and Matron of the Ogden Temple, and President and Mission mother of the Minnesota Mission. Following his first mission to Finland, President Steven Mecham was married in the Salt Lake Temple to Donna Johnson Mecham December 15, 1961. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

Recently he and his wife have also served a mission among the Hispanic people in Southern Utah. In addition to his Church service, he continues to enjoy fishing, golf, oil painting, writing music with piano and guitar, and being a grandpa and devoted husband to Donna. He will always consider his marriage to Donna as his happiest and most satisfying decision in life.

With a doctorate in educational administration, Brother Mecham has served as teacher, director, principal, and superintendent of schools in Montreal, Connecticut, New York, Mexico City, Utah, and California. He has been a bishop, stake president, and mission president in Finland where he was instrumental in helping to direct the opening of missionary work in the former Soviet Union. In a blessing he received as the Finnish mission president, he was told he would be instrumental in opening the work in the Eastern block.

His story is unbelievable. Come, enjoy and be with us.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guest Presenter: Jason S. Carroll

Jason S. Carroll is a professor in the School of Family Life at BYU. He received his PhD from the highly regarded Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota and completed a MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from BYU.

Brother Carroll is the lead instructor in his department at BYU. His courses service over 1,500 students a year. As an educator, Dr. Carroll consistently receives high evaluations form students for his engaging, thought-provoking, and substantive classes. A highly sought-after public speaker, Dr. Carroll's work has been featured in USA Today, Psychology Today magazine, and other popular media and news outlets.

Brother Carroll has been married for 18 yrs and he and his wife, Stefani, are the blessed parents of 5 children.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Guest Presenter: Jordan Jantz

Our April fireside speaker will be Jordan Jantz. Jordan is a convert to the Church who had previously lived an openly homosexual lifestyle. After having been approached by missionaries, and after some time studying the gospel and investigating the Church, Jordan was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both Jordan and the missionaries who taught him will be speaking.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Guest Presenter: Nadine T. Matis

Sister Nadine T. Matis received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at Brigham Young University and currently works in private practice. In 2002, Sister Matis returned from serving a mission with her husband where they served in the Pacific Islands Area Presidency. Under the direction of the Area Presidency, she worked with six mission presidents to assist with the psychological and emotional problems of missionaries. Prior to their mission, Sister Matis worked for 10 years at the Counseling Center of Weber State University and as an adjunct professor of psychology.

Sister Matis' additional Church service includes serving as an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Temple, ward and stake Relief Society President, ward and stake Primary President, Stake Social Service Coordinator, and as a teacher in all Church auxiliaries.

Sister Matis is married to John A. Matis, with whom she has four children and eight grandchildren.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guest Presenter: Lili De Hoyos Anderson

Lili De Hoyos Anderson is a first generation American. Her mother is French and her father is Mexican. She was born in a little border town in Texas, but her family soon moved to the Midwest, where she grew up in Michigan and Indiana. When she started high school, both her parents began teaching at BYU, so the family moved to Provo and she graduated from Provo High School.

Sister Anderson attended BYU and graduated in Sociology. Social science runs in the family. Both her parents are retired professors of Sociology and her husband, Chris Anderson, is also a social worker with LDS Family Services. After almost 20 years of being a full-time homemaker, Sister Anderson completed her own Masters in Social Work degree. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a full-time private practice in individual, marriage and family counseling. (For information about counseling services, contact her through this website.) Later, Sister Anderson completed her PhD in Marriage and Family at BYU and for several years taught part-time there for the School of Family Life.

The Andersons have eight children. They are affectionately referred to as the "Alphabet Kids" because their names are Adam, Bethany, Caitlin, Dominic, Eden, Faith, Graydon, and Harper. The Andersons now have sixteen grandchildren (and counting).

Sister Anderson is an avid reader. She also enjoys sewing, music, quilting, making stained glass windows, and photography - none of which she currently has time for. She has published in the Ensign and in various books and journals. She taught part-time for the BYU School of Family Life for several years after completing her doctorate. She wrote her first book at the request of the BYU students taking her class on the Family Proclamation. The book, Family Foundations, is about healthy individual adjustment and marriage and family principles. This August, Sister Anderson's second book, Choosing Glory, will be released. This second book takes one chapter in Family Foundations on the Three Realms Perspective and develops the idea, applying the perspective to individual life choices, dating, spouse selection, marriage, parenting, and personal progression.

The Anderson family has lived in Oklahoma, Chicago and for 15 years in Las Vegas, where they mostly raised their family. In Las Vegas, Sister Anderson taught both early morning seminary and two Adult Religion classes for several years. Her greatest love, after the gospel and her family, is teaching.

Sister Anderson presents often at professional conferences and church groups. If you are interested in having Brother and/or Sister Anderson present at your event, please contact us through this website.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Guest Presenter: Elder Hartman Rector, Jr.

Hartman Rector, Jr., is a convert to the Church who was called to serve as a member of the First Council of the Seventy from 1968 to 1976 and as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1976 to 1994.

Elder Rector joined the Church in 1952 while serving in the U.S. Navy. After serving as a naval aviator for twenty-six years, he retired with the rank of captain. Born and reared in Missouri, Elder Rector attended school at the University of Georgia and the University of Southern California. He also served as president of the California San Diego and Alabama-Florida Missions. In 1994, Elder Rector was made an emeritus general authority of the LDS Church and released from full-time ecclesiastical duties.

Elder Rector and his wife, Constance, currently reside in Lehi, Utah.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Annual Christmas Musical Program and Desserts with Fred and Marilyn Matis

As an annual Holiday tradition, and in lieu of a guest speaker, the December Firside will be a musical program of men and women who attend the fireside sharing their instrumental and vocal talents with us all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Guest Presenter: Elder Gene R. Cook

Elder Gene R. Cook, emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was born in Lehi, Utah and raised mostly in Arizona. He served an LDS Church mission in the Paraguay-Uruguay Mission of the church and later married his wife, Janelle Schlink. At the age of 34, Elder Cook became a member of the First Council of the Seventy. He served there for only one year, when he was transferred to the newly constituted First Quorum of the Seventy. He was given general authority emeritus status on October 6, 2007.

Elder Cook is a prolific writer and has written such books as Teaching by the Spirit, Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study, Receiving Answers to Our Prayers, and Raising Up a Family to the Lord.

He and his wife are the parents of eight children and reside in Lehi, Utah.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guest Presenter: Douglas Brenchley

Brother Douglas Brenchley will be our October speaker. Brother Brenchley was born and raised in Preston, Idaho, and then went on to get a degree in Choral Music from Utah State University. He then taught choral music in a high school in California for 10 years before entering the Church Education System (CES) in 1978. Since that time, Brother Brenchley taught institute in Cerritos, California, where he also directed the Grand Land Singers, and Orem, Utah, where he directed the Latter-Day Celebration Choir. He has also directed the Choir at the Missionary Training Center for the past 22 years.

Brother Brenchley's church service includes counselor to three bishops, bishop, and counselor in two stake presidencies. He is currently serving as stake president in the BYU 14th Stake (single young adult stake). Brother Brenchley and his wife, Nanette, have six children and nine grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guest Presenter: Arthur F. Coombs Jr.

Arthur F. Coombs will be our September speaker. Brother Coombs has served in the Church as a Bishop, Stake President, Mission President in the Dominican Republic, and as the inaugural president of the Dominican Republic Temple. He is currently working in operations with the Perpetual Education Fund, overseeing areas in the Caribbean, Central America, Chile and South America West.

Brother Coombs will be talking about his work with the Perpetual Education Fund and some of the successes and miracles associated with this inspired program of the Church.

Brother Coombs and his wife, Mignon, are the parents of six children and currently make their home in Cedar Hills, Utah.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Guest Presenter: Jacob Hess

During his mission to Brazil, Jacob witnessed the painful impact of clinical depression on several of his companions. After graduating as psychology department valedictorian in 2001 from BYU, he was admitted to the Clinical-Community Psychology doctoral program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While there, he co-facilitated the first college-level "liberal-conservative dialogue" in the nation and conducted dissertation research on medical treatment for depression, with a focus on diverging scientific views of its long-term outcomes. After finishing his Ph.D., he began a full-time research position in January 2009 at Utah Youth Village, a non-profit for abused children. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, still holding out hope in the Jazz winning a championship, getting married one day, and other sweet miracles.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Guest Presenter: Steven A. Smith

Steven A. Smith, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and is the assistant director at the BYU Counseling and Career Center (CCC). Steve received his BS in special education and MEd in counseling and guidance from BYU and his Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Upon completion of his doctorate, Steve worked at the University of Utah Counseling Center for three and a half years before transferring to BYU. Steve held a joint appointment with the CCC and the Counseling Psychology doctoral program, where he served as training director from 2002 to 2004. Steve has been at the Counseling and Career Center for 17 years.

Steve and his wife Klyss are the parents of three children and welcomed their first grandchild in November.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guest Presenter: Robert Haight

Robert Haight is presently serving as a sealer at the new Draper Temple. Prior to this, he had been a sealer at the Jordan River Temple.

Brother Haight was raised in Palo Alto, California, the second child of Elder David B. and Ruby Haight. Educated at the University of Utah and BYU, he graduated with a degree in Business Management. Brother Haight worked for many years in the family business in Palo Alto, and finally moved to Salt Lake City in the Financial and Public Finance industry. He has spent 35 years in Salt Lake with Merrill lynch, Smith Barney, and A G Edwards. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

His Church callings have taken him from most Ward callings such as Cub Scout leader to the Bishop of the Willow Creek 8th Ward. He has served in many stake callings. During his business career he has served on many boards and directorships. He has served on the Snow College Foundation, Deseret International Foundation, Salt Lake C0uncil of Boy Scouts of American Foundation and the Sandy Rotary Club (which he helped establish).

He presently serves as a member on the Marriott School of Business National Advisory board, and is a past member of the BYU National Alumni Board and past national President of the BYU management Society. Brother Haight served with his wife Dorothy as Mission President of the Canada Vancouver Mission, which was a life changing experience. His first mission was to Sydney Australia.

Brother and Sister Haight feel that their life has been a realy exciting trip. We never know what is coming around the corner. From their life together in the fast lane, raising three children and experiencing 12 grandchildren, leave as Mission President with one month's notice, knowing Fred and Marilyn Matis for over 50 years, father was an Apostle, and a nephew who became governor, and who knows what is next.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Guest Presenter: Camille Fronk Olson

Camille Fronk Olson is an associate professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU. She completed a PhD in Sociology-Middle East, a master's degree in Near Eastern Studies, and a bachelor's degree in Education. Her research and writing have focused on women in scripture, biblical studies, the New Testament, and Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sister Olson grew up in Tremonton, Utah and served a full-time mission to Toulouse, France. Prior to coming to BYU, she taught seminary and institute for the Church in the Salt Lake area and was employed as Dean of Students at the LDS Business College. She is a former member of the Young Women General Board and is currently serving with her husband, Paul Olson, as stake institute instructors.

Sister Olson is a popular speaker and author of Mary, Martha and Me: Seeking the One Thing That Is Needful.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Guest Presenter: Providence

Providence is the creation of Shadow Mountain Music. The group consists of Camille Aagard, Kerilyn Johnson, Katharine Matis Adams, and Kelly Shepardson. The group's tight harmonies and contemporary sound created a buzz along the Wasatch Front, months before their first release hit stores in January 2004.

Their debut single "You'll Get Through This," from the bestselling Women of Destiny, Volume 2, encompasses the message they hope to share with women around the country. "No matter what happens in this life, there is great peace and hope in knowing we have a Father in heaven who loves us and who will not abandon us," says Katharine, a California native. The group shares a message of grace and faith and the blessings that can come when women enjoy the unique sisterhood they share. "I am fascinated by the things I learn about life and the gospel from the women in my life," says Camille, who currently lives in Alpine, Utah, with her husband and three children. "It's so critical that we nurture and care for each other. We need each other."

Providence's debut album can be purchased at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Guest Presenter: L. Edward Brown

L. Edward Brown currently serves as president of the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple.

Born in Preston, Idaho in a Latter-day Saint family, President Brown was raised in Logan, Utah and served a full-time mission in South Korea during the late 1950s. Since that time, Brother Brown has worked as an instructor and supervisor in the Church Educational System, served a term as the mayor of Pocatello, Idaho, served three terms as a members of the Idaho House of Representatives, and served as president of the church's Korean Mission from 1971 to 1974.

President Brown became a general authority and member of the church's Second Quorum of Seventy in 1996. During his time as a general authority, Brown served in the presidency of the Asia North Area of the church, which includes Korea and Japan. Since his release, Brown has served in the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple presidency as both counselor and president.

President Brown and his wife, Carol, reside in Lehi, Utah and are the parents of eight children.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Guest Presenter: Ty Mansfield

A life-long member of the Church, Ty served in the Manchester New Hampshire mission and graduated from BYU in Asian Studies and Business Management. Upon graduation, he worked in Washington, DC, for two years for a Department of Defense contractor, and currently lives in Texas where he's doing graduate work in family therapy and serving in his stake as an Institute instructor.

He loves hiking, running, eating, skiing, writing, strawberry cheesecake, beef ravioli, and Gladys Knight. He also loves to travel and has lived or studied internationally in Japan, China, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt. He is a co-author, with Fred and Marilyn Matis, of In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-Gender Attraction, published by Deseret Book, which includes a personal memoir of his spiritual journey as a member of the Church dealing with same-gender attraction.

Ty will be talking about the concept of premortality and theological possibilities, with insights both from teachings of Church leaders and from Near-death Studies, that may shed some light on some of the complexities and difficulties of mortality and inspire hope and confidence in the divine purposes of life's circumstances.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Dinner - Annual Holiday Community Musical Fireside

The December get-together will be the annual Christmas musical presentation with refreshments. It will be held at a chapel near the Matis home.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Guest Presenter: Mike and Darcy Kennedy

Virginia and Allan Kennedy settled in Cedar City, Utah, a month after their marriage in October 1953 to be near Allen's step father and mother who had transferred there with the Forest Service. Even though they lived there for three and a half years, they had no religious affiliation. Mike was born there, and in June of 1957, they moved to Tonopah, Nevada, where Mike was raised and was not aware of his heritage.

Through LDS missionaries, Mike joined the Church at age 18 and is the first direct descendent of the Prophet Joseph Smith to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and the offices of Seventy and High Priest.

Mike is the President of the Joseph Smith Jr. Family Organization and of the Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society and has been since their creation in 1985 and 2007. He is an Executive Producer of The Times and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that came out November 12, 2007, and of the movie Emma Smith, My Story that came out April 22, 2008. He and his wife Darcy have been married for over 34 years and have 7 children and 9 grandchildren.

Darcy was born and raised in Nevada. The missionaries found her at age 16, and she was the only member of her family to join the Church. She has been secretary and personal assistant to the Joseph Smith Jr. Family Organization since 1985 and now is for the Historical Society as well. Keeping track of the Joseph Smith Jr family and communicating with them is a full time job.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guest Presenter: Hilary Weeks

From her website: "Music was important in the home where Hilary Weeks grew up. Born in Colorado, and raised in Alaska, she began playing the piano at age eight and wrote her first song at age 14. Her first published song 'He Hears Me' was recorded on the 1993 EFY album, and from there Hilary quickly became a favorite in the inspirational music industry. She has released six solo albums, has been featured on numerous compilation albums, and has been the recipient of numerous awards from the Faith Centered Music Association. Her most recent album, The Collection, is a compilation of her most beloved songs from the past 15 years.

"Hilary met her husband Tim when he was serving as a missionary in Alaska and they are the parents of four beautiful daughters. A self-described 'homebody,' Hilary says her favorite times are those spent with her family. She loves scrapbooking, exercising, and cooking. She loves trying new recipes and hopes to become a great cook someday. Hilary, Tim, and their girls live in Lehi, Utah."

Hilary's music can be purchased at Deseret Book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Guest Presenter: Kris Belcher

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the challenges and trials of mortal life? Have you ever wished that difficulties would some how just go away? Kris Belcher has.

Having dealt with a myriad of physical problems from an early age, five years ago Sister Belcher's vision began to fade and she was diagnosed with cancer. With a tumor in her optic nerve, her world continued to grow darker and darker as she slowly lost her eyesight. After five major surgeries within a five-month, her team of surgeons had been able to remove her cancer and save her eyesight, but they were not able to save her vision. Kris would have to live the remainder of her life completely blind.

Slowly, with the help of a loving family, friends and her Heavenly Father, Kris made her way through the horrible recovery and difficult adjustment to her new way of living. And even though she says that it was a horrible and devastating time in her life, it was also spotted with times of holiness and spiritual strengthening where she became acquainted with Deity. She thinks of those moments as her "holy places."

Sister Belcher has learned that everyday life offers many opportunities for me to "stand in holy places." Trials and difficulties can, if we let them, become holy places; places where we can commune with the Father through the Spirit; places where we can feel the power of the Atonement in our lives. Our personal hard times can become our personal holy places. Such holy places will, through the power of Christ, provide purifying and refining for our souls. Our struggles can be consecrated to our good and growth, and empower us to become more like Christ.

Sister Belcher will share with us some of her personal spiritual journey through this difficult period of her life. She also has a forthcoming book, Hard Times and Holy Places, soon to be published by Deseret Book.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dinner - Annual Fall Bar-B-Q

The August get-together will be a bar-b-que at the Matis home. Food will be provided by Fred and Marilyn Matis, but you are welcome to bring a favorite side dish or dessert.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Guest Presenter: P. Clint Rogers

P. Clint Rogers, holds a doctorate in Instructional Psychology and Technology and has taught (in the Marriott School of Management at BYU and at the University of Joensuu, Finland), conducts research, and does consulting work primarily regarding web analytics, instructional technology, and cross-cultural online collaboration and innovation. To see his most recent interests or send him a message, visit his blog.

He has been invited to come and speak about some of life's greatest lessons that he learned from his friend and mentor, Colonel Eugene Haynes Butler, USAF, who passed away earlier this year. Colonel Butler was an entertaining and compassionate man - and I think you will enjoy this presentation. If he were still alive, Colonel Butler might say something like, "Holy Mary! You're not so tough that you can't come with us to the Matis fireside!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Guest Presenter: Brian Miller

Brian Miller is an attorney practicing law in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Business Management/Finance in 1991 and again from BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1994 where he was a member of the Law Review and served as the Chairman of the law school's Trial Advocacy Board of Directors. Brother Miller has extensive litigation and trial experience primarily in the defense of health care providers. Mr. Miller consults daily with physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers regarding all aspects of health care law. As reported in Utah Business Magazine, Mr. Miller was selected by his peers for inclusion in the "2007 Utah Legal Elite" in the category of Civil Trial as well as the "2008 Utah Legal Elite" in the category of Civil Trial.

Brother Miller is married and has four children. Among other Church callings, he has served as an Elders Quorum President, Young Men's President, and as a Counselor in a Bishopric. He will be discuss a unique perspective on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and how through it Christ's Atonement can become a daily reality in our lives.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Guest Presenter: Pam Infanger

Pam has a degree in generating energy and happiness, working on graduating magna cum laude from life's teachings. She taught high school for 13 years in Minnesota, was appointed by the Governor (even the infamous Jesse VenTurra) to head up his task force teaching Service Learning in the state of Minnesota, and has been a professional trainer/speaker. She came to Utah as the Executive Director of an Assisted Living Center in SLC, exchanging her love of high school seniors for senior citizens! She now tutors at the Rippy Literacy Center in Lehi.

Pam loves the youth, serving as a Young Women's President 3 times, as a missionary with her husband for the Laotian people in Minneapolis, as Stake Education Counselor in the Relief Society, and now serving with her husband as the YSA couple in the Saratoga Springs 1st Ward. One of her greatest joys is moderating the North Star Friends and Family online discussion group, and organizing a Moms' Luncheon. She is excited to be included in the Matis Family Firesides and gets regenerated each month by the spiritual feast she enjoys there. She hopes to add to that spirit by sharing some miraculous experiences in her own life story.

Pam's presentation is entitled Miracles of the Extraordinary Nature. As a newborn, Pam was adopted. Forty years later, her birth family found her. This story is one of miracles and shows the hand of the Lord in our lives-even when we least expect it. Learning to recognize and even expect miracles in our own lives, is a gift given to us. Pam will address how to tap into that power within us. Being the mother of a gay son, Pam has experienced many Miracles of the Extraordinary Nature through this joyous-and, occasionally, not-so-joyous-experience. Learning to find the joy can be well worth the ride!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Guest Presenter: Dallyn Vail Bayles

Originally from Green River, Utah, Dallyn is a professional actor, singer and recording artist. He performed the role of Enjolras in the Broadway touring company of Les Misérables. He has also performed leading roles in theatre productions in Los Angeles, Seattle, Utah, and at Brigham Young University. Most recently, Dallyn performed with the Academy and Grammy Award winning and Tony nominated songwriter, Stephen Schwartz, in a New York industry presentation of his musical, Children of Eden.

Of all his performing credits, Dallyn values his participation in productions produced by the LDS Church the most. He can be seen portraying Hyrum Smith in the LDS Church film, Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration, as well as in the upcoming film, Emma Smith: My Story, produced by the Joseph and Emma Smith Historical Society. Dallyn and his wife, Rachel, portrayed Joseph and Emma Smith in the first three seasons of the new LDS Church historical pageant, Nauvoo, in Nauvoo, Illinois. Dallyn originated and has reprised the role of Joseph (the carpenter) in the sacred musical drama, Savior of the World, at the Conference Center Theatre in Salt Lake City. He also performed as Alma Richards in Light of the World, an original musical production presented by the LDS Church during the 2002 Winter Olympics at the Conference Center.

Other credits include: guest soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Music and the Spoken Word, leading roles in three movies for the "Liken the Scriptures" musical film series, the BYU Young Ambassadors, and several album and cast recordings and concerts. Dallyn recently released his debut solo inspirational album, Prayer. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Music Dance Theatre, and is a member of Actors' Equity Association. Dallyn and Rachel are the proud parents of three children: Audrey, Warner and Joseph; and currently reside in the New York City area. For more information about Dallyn please visit

Monday, March 3, 2008

Guest Presenter: Richard C. Ferre

Brother Richard C. Ferre, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, is a staff psychiatrist at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, and is on the faculty of the University of Utah, Department of Psychiatry. He presently is board certified in Adult and Child Psychiatry. He enjoys teaching psychotherapy to the psychiatric residents and has interests in health care delivery reform and increasing access to care to the disabled and mentally ill. He attended Stanford University for his undergraduate degree and completed his medical degree at the University of Utah. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

For the last ten years Brother Ferre has delivered psychiatric services to early-released missionaries through the LDS Family Services clinic located in downtown Salt Lake City. "The opportunity to work holistically with both the psychological, biological and spiritual aspects of healing," he says, "has been extremely rewarding." He is married with three sons and six grandchildren. The delight of remaining young by serving children has been a lifetime focus. He follows the moon in its cycles, the seasons both in the mountains and deserts, celebrates the creativity of God in his garden, and hopes to never lose his sense of humor.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Guest Presenter: James R. Birrell

James R. Birrell is a professor of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University where he teaches classes in human diversity, develops teacher certification programs for career-change teachers in urban settings, runs the BYU inner city student teaching program/partnership in Washington, D.C., establishes teacher preparation partnerships in various urban settings, and conducts research on preparing teachers for diverse learners.

Brother Birrell was born in Sandy, Utah, and lives presently in Alpine, Utah, with his wife, Kristine Densley. They have three children: Amanda (Kurt) Stevens, Katy (Scott) Adams, and Archer Birrell.

The topic of discussion will be a fun look at individual perspective, how our views are formed, and what they let us see and keep us from seeing. This will be both an enjoyable and spiritual look at our individual realities and how to rethink some of our thinking that could be holding us back from a more joyful and thoughtful list.

Some of Brother Birrell's published articles include "The Rise of Relativism and the Decline of Freedom and Virtue in America Relativism" and "Relativism and the New Meaning of Tolerance in America's Culture Wars".

Monday, January 7, 2008

Guest Presenter: Brad Wilcox

A popular author and speaker, Brad Wilcox is a frequent speaker at Especially for Youth programs and BYU Education Week. He is an associate professor of education at Brigham Young University and recently served as president of the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2003 to 2006. He and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children.

Brad has published several tapes and books, including Pornography: Satan's Counterfeit; Filling Your Testimony Tank; Growing Up: Gospel Answers about Maturation and Sex.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Dinner - Annual Holiday Dinner

Monday, November 5, 2007

Guest Presenter: Mindy Gledhill

From her website: "Since childhood, Mindy Gledhill has seen the world through curious, determined eyes. The eclectic entourage of musical influences surrounding her only fed her free spirit. Raised on the north coast of California, Mindy recalls her grade school music hours with Mr. Lindsay, and the marimba, drums, and flute she played in the school band. She was surrounded by the music of Native American pow-wows and blue grass bands, the Jewish fiddle of her fourth-grade teacher, and her mom singing the classics from the 20s and 30s--even lullabies from her older sister at bedtime. These are the memories Mindy claims to be the essence of the music she creates...

"In September 2002, acclaimed producer and composer Kenneth Cope heard Mindy at a songwriter's workshop. Impressed by the depth of her songwriting and the emotion in her voice, Kenneth offered to produce Mindy's first album and immediately began to mentor her. Mindy has toured with both Kenneth and Jenny Phillips and is now signed as a label artist with Lumen Records, a division of Excel Entertainment Group."

Mindy's music can be purchased at Deseret Book. Her new album, Feather in the Wind, will be released fall 2007.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Guest Presenter: Sandra L. Cherry and Sage Volkman

Sandra Cherry, M.S., and Sage Volkman will be our October presenters. Much of Sister Cherry's personal and professional time has been devoted to the study of Near Death Experiences (NDEs), which is how she met Sage, and which is what they will be speaking about. Sandra is a contributor to the book They Saw Beyond Death, by Arvin S. Gibson.

Born and raised in northern California, Sandra converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1970 and has been married to her husband, Bert Cherry, for 42 years. They have "two kind-hearted sons, two awesome daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters, and two wonderful dogs." Sandra first received her bachelor's degree in Humanities at age 49 and then went on to do graduate work in psychology at Brigham Young University, where she has been teaching since 1997. She teaches Personality Theory and Psychology of Gender at the BYU Salt Lake Center. Sandra is also a member of the International Association of Near-Death Studies, where has served as Vice President over research since 1996 and is a member of the Board of Directors.

Sage Volkman's story has been featured twice in Ensign and New Era stories (see "Sages Song" and "Sage's Story"). At the age of 5, two weeks after her parents and older brother had joined the Church, Sage was on a fishing trip with her dad and brother, Avery. At one point, while her father and brother were a short distance away fishing, Avery heard a dog bark and saw that their camper was on fire. Brother Volkman rushed back to rescue the sleeping Sage but was unable to do so before she had already received 3rd and 4th degree burns over 70% of her body. Sage spent the next 6 weeks in a coma, where she had a Near Death Experience, and in the years since awakening has had 78 surgeries. A living miracle, Sage writes, "I am happy and people wonder how I can be with all that I have gone through. I tell them you have two ways to see the world, as a good place with wonderful people to love and be loved by or you can see everything as a problem and feel anger always in your heart. I choose to be happy."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Guest Presenters: Tamu Smith and Keith Hamilton

Tamu Smith and Keith Hamilton are black converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who starred in "I Am Jane," Margaret Blair Young's critically acclaimed play about Jane Manning James, a black Latter-day Saint pioneer. (For those who attended, Sister Young was the June presenter.) An actress and author, Tamu is also one of the women featured in Tahlee Booher's documentary "Sisters in Zion." Keith was the first black student to graduate from the BYU Law School.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dinner - Annual Fall Bar-B-Q

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Guest Presenter: Providence

Providence is the creation of Shadow Mountain Music. The group consists of Camille Aagard, Kerilyn Johnson, Katharine Matis Adams, and Kelly Shepardson. The group's tight harmonies and contemporary sound created a buzz along the Wasatch Front, months before their first release hit stores in January 2004.

Their debut single "You'll Get Through This," from the bestselling Women of Destiny, Volume 2, encompasses the message they hope to share with women around the country. "No matter what happens in this life, there is great peace and hope in knowing we have a Father in heaven who loves us and who will not abandon us," says Katharine, a California native. The group shares a message of grace and faith and the blessings that can come when women enjoy the unique sisterhood they share. "I am fascinated by the things I learn about life and the gospel from the women in my life," says Camille, who currently lives in Alpine, Utah, with her husband and three children. "It's so critical that we nurture and care for each other. We need each other."

Providence's debut album can be purchased at Deseret Book.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Guest Presenter: Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. An accomplished author, she has won numerous awards from the Utah Arts Council, including Best Short Story Collection for Elegies and Love Songs (which also captured Best Short Story Collection of the Year from the Association of Mormon Letters); Best Novel of the Year in 1992 for Salvador, and Best Novel of the Year in 1995 for Merry's Daughters.

She has also written three plays, two of which have been produced at BYU, including Dear Stone and I Am Jane. Margaret also teaches at the Spanish Institute at BYU. Margaret co-authored with Darius Gray the three-volume series, Standing on the Promises, published by Deseret Book.

Margaret and her husband, Bruce, a professor of English at BYU, are the parents of four children and live in Provo, Utah.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Guest Presenter: Robert L. Millet

Robert L. Millet is Professor of Ancient Scripture and former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. Before joining the BYU faculty in 1983, he worked with LDS Social Services and the Church Educational System. He earned a master's degree from BYU in psychology and a Ph.D. from Florida State University in biblical studies and nineteenth- and twentieth-century religious thought.

Brother Millet has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a bishop, stake president, temple worker, and member of the Church Materials Evaluation Committee. A prolific speaker and writer, his most recent books include Men of Valor, Grace Works, Lost and Found, More Holiness Give Me, Alive in Christ, Life After Death, When a Child Wanders, and Within Reach.

He and his wife, Shauna Sizemore Millet, are the parents of six children.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dinner - Annual International Potluck Dinner

Monday, March 5, 2007

Guest Presenter: Nathan D. Wood

Brother Wood graduated with both Masters and Doctoral degrees from Brigham Young University in Marriage and Family and currently teaches classes in marriage, family, and human development at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah.

Brother Wood will speak about cultivating intimacy in our relationships with others.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Guest Presenter: Hilary Weeks

From her website: "Music was important in the home where Hilary Weeks grew up. Born in Colorado, and raised in Alaska, she began playing the piano at age eight and wrote her first song at age 14. Her first published song 'He Hears Me' was recorded on the 1993 EFY album, and from there Hilary quickly became a favorite in the inspirational music industry. She has released six solo albums, has been featured on numerous compilation albums, and has been the recipient of numerous awards from the Faith Centered Music Association. Her most recent album, The Collection, is a compilation of her most beloved songs from the past 15 years.

"Hilary met her husband Tim when he was serving as a missionary in Alaska and they are the parents of four beautiful daughters. A self-described 'homebody,' Hilary says her favorite times are those spent with her family. She loves scrapbooking, exercising, and cooking. She loves trying new recipes and hopes to become a great cook someday. Hilary, Tim, and their girls live in Lehi, Utah."

Hilary's music can be purchased at Deseret Book.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Guest Presenter: Wendy Ulrich

Sister Wendy Ulrich was raised in California and served a mission in the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission from 1973-75. She is married to Dave Ulrich and they have three children. She served with her husband as head of the Canada Montreal Mission from 2002-2005 and now reside in Alpine, Utah.

While living in Michigan as her husband worked as a Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan, Sister Ulrich received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the same university and held a private practice there for nearly 20 years. She served as president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists (AMCAP) and has authored numerous professional articles in both psychology and business. Wendy has taught at the University of Michigan and Brigham Young University and speaks frequently to both lay and professional audiences on the topics of personal growth, healing, spirituality, and change. She also co-facilitates a series of seminar-retreats called Sixteen Stones.

A sample of previous presentations she's given are a 2001 Cyber Secrets Conference address at BYU on pornography, "The Illusion of Intimacy: The Effect of Pornography on Individuals in Relationships", as well as a 2005 conference address for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), "'Believest Thou?': Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience".