All posts by Collin Francom

Well, I was born in Logan Utah to wonderful parents whom I cherish and love. I lived in Sacramento for 6 years and now I am lucky to call Durango ColoRADo my home. Key word RAD. I lived in Durango for 8 years and am currently serving a full time mission in Jacksonville Florida. Nature for me has always been the absolute best way to find joy, and consequently I raced 7 years of competitive XC mountain biking, 3 years of Varsity Track and Field, and 3 years of Varsity Cross Country. I raced XC mountain biking at three national championships and Biking has and always will be a passion. A hobby that I love and would enjoy pursuing is Photography, and I feel that it captures moments of pure joy, love, and time itself. I am a very deep writer and have always found myself pondering life as I stare at the stars. Last of all I love to have fun, and I can honestly say that laughing is essential to survival. Spontaneous adventures. Seeing the best and the worst in each other. And laughing are what create eternal memories. I am proud to be a Mormon and I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.

The Light of Revelation

My adventure as a missionary has definitely brought many amazing and powerful experiences into my life.  As I have fervently prayed for the companionship of the Holy Ghost however, I can honestly say I have come to truly realize the reality of the influence of the adversary in our lives.  Choices are decisions that we face daily, hourly, and even minutely, and sometimes it can be very hard to discern what will help the work of the Lord progress and what will not.  I have found myself struggling to fully discern the difference between personal revelation, that is, revelation from God, and the natural man.

The brain is a tremendous and powerful super computer that processes and interprets what we see and hear, translating our experiences into opinions and ideas that ultimately make us who we are, and why our perspective is the way it is.  As a missionary, being set apart as one who has authority to teach and baptize in Christs name has opened my eyes and ears, as well as softened my heart to the reality that we truly learn through our mistakes, and that Christs atonement has an amazing enabling power that allows me to change.  In a sense my metaphorical aperture has opened wider, allowing more light into my life.  This light, this concept of a radiance that allows us to see, has brought me comfort and has helped me find an answer to my stuggle of knowing and discerning true revelation from the natural man.  A quote by C.S. Lewis has really stood out to me, and given my earnest desire to more fully understand true revelation, I found it very applicable.  He states, “I beleive in Christ like I beleive in the Sun.  Not becuase I can see it, but by it, I can see everything else.”  Let us take a second to note that C.S. Lewis is a convert to Christianity. I can almost feel the emotion in this statement as I can only imagine the enlightenment he received as he came to adopt and live Christs teachings!!  We are talking about a man whos ability to express his imagination on paper is far greater than most people, and yet he states that everything he sees and does comes from a foundation of faith in Christ!  What a testimony this is to me of the influence of Christ in peoples lives.IMG_3254

Now, taking a step back to my metaphorical aperture. The aperture on a camera is relatively simple in purpose, it opens to allow more light in, and constricts to allow less light. If for example, a person yields to the natural man and consequently sins, he or she is constricting their aperture, ultimately allowing darkness to begin to settle in.  They are literally separating themselves from God.  On the other hand, if a person yields to the teachings of Jesus Christ and turns outward, he or she is opening their aperture and more light enters. It is key to recognize that the aperture controls light. Light is the variable being controlled, not darkness. Light is light.  It immediatley takes over darkness, and even the smallest hint of light will chase the darkness.   No matter what. Let us look at the rising sun that is pictured above. What is it that appeals to the eye? The sun of course! As a byproduct the picture is enhanced with a beautiful array of colors due to the radiance of the sun. Well my friends, as a byproduct of allowing the light of Christ into our lives, we see a beautiful array of blessings. Closely knit families, stronger marriages, purpose in life, peace of mind, respect for ourselves and others.  As we allow his light in, guilt turns to peace, sorrow turns to joy, regret turns to hope, and fear turns to faith. I testify of this and as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I know with all of my heart that this Gospel is true, and that it changes lives. Open your aperture! Let light in! For the blessings that come with the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are eternal and they will create a picture that is spectacular.

Reflections

This shot was definitely a spur of the moment, but at that one moment, there was no wind, the suns placement was perfect, the water was still, and my handy dandy point and shoot was patiently waiting in my pocket.  After looking at this shot, I realized that there seems to be something about a reflection that is attractive to the human eye. Although this shot is a very simple shot and was in every sense relatively easy to capture, the presence of the clear reflection in the shot immediately captures the eyes attention.  The question I then asked myself was, where and what does the natural eye focus on first when looking at for example this picture of a reflection.  I found myself “reflecting” back to when I first recognized the presence of the mirrored image before I took the shot.  I realized that my path of vision first started by refocusing on one tree within the reflection, and then immediately the reality and presence of the entire reflection on the pond came into view.  My brain translated the image, defined the line of symmetry, and then put the words “wow thats sweet!!” into my mouth.  Its kinda like when one zooms back out with his or her camera and it suddenly and automatically refocus on the broadened view. Of course with the brain, all of this happens in about 3 seconds, but yet I find it truly fascinating! It only increases my testimony that God is in every sense real, and that He has blessed us with these amazing bodies.

Now as I pondered over the image and concept of a reflection, a beautiful analogy unfolded in my head, and I understood more fully that because Christ often taught using parables, the people had a deeper understanding of the Gospel.  There are two points that I would like to make regarding reflections and the Gospel:

1. Often times we do not recognize whats in front of us and we have to readjust our eyes in order to get the whole “picture”.  The Gospel plays a key role in our lives. It unfolds God’s plan for us. It gives purpose to our lives. It revolves around our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as such, as a member of His church I am striving to follow His example.  Everything we do, every day, every choice, takes us somewhere.  Sadly, satan is very real, and in every sense he influences the world in which we live. As sons and daughters of God, we have to remember IMG_1365what is most important, we have to reajust our eyes every once in a while, always remembering who we are and who we can become.  Dont let the distractions of the world change our perspective and lose sight of whats most important. Eternity is a long time, and this life is short.  How broad is our view, how eternal is our perspective?

2. Our lives are a reflection and there are many influences that can and do distort it.  However the object or subject of the reflection, will always be there.  Just like Christ will always be there to lift us up when we our lives are distorted, by Satan and his followers.  One stone may only cause a slight rift in the reflection, but many stones can quickly ruin the reflection altogether.  Our reflection, our countenances, must be sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Alma 5:19  “I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?”

Is the reflection of Christ engraven upon ourselves? He is the Light, the way, and the perfect example.  As sons and daughters of God, our reflections can become clear as we live the Gospel.

A Firm Foundation

ImageA couple Mondays ago we cruised over to the Edge Rock gym with Sister Draper, a military relations missionary for the church here at naval station Mayport.  We arrived at the gym still bearing the nametags of Him whom we love and serve, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we gladly expressed to the lady at the front desk our role as missionaries for the LDS church.  After getting our shoes and harnesses we hooked into the auto belay device, grabbed some chalk for our hands, and latched onto the wall, eager to be the first to the top.  At this point my photography instincts awakened my creativity and I grabbed my soft bound Book of Mormon, immediately recognizing the new perspective and analogy that I could get in these next shots.

The principle that I realized later that night as I looked through my camera is the fact that in order to reach new heights, physically, mentally, spiritually, one must have a firm foundation.  In order for an elevator to rise, it is firmly held and lifted by cables, of which have a firm foundation within the building where they found.  Hikers, mtn bikers, runners, etc., all gain elevation only if they follow firmly packed paths that lead them safely up the mountain.  Even airplanes are firmly held by the thrust of the engines and the aerodynamics of the design, and without being firmly held inside the plane itself, man would not be able to fly anyway! Whether the means by which we are rising is doing the work for us or not, airplanes being a good example, has no influence on the fact that in order to rise at all, we have to be firmly held to something, or else we will literally fall.  It is such a simple principle, but at the same time profound.  It applies to every aspect of our lives, whether we are physically rising or not.

Being a missionary, I have seen and felt first hand the firm foundations, or “rocks”, as portrayed in the picture, that missionaries must use in order to rise spiritually.  The Book of Mormon in my opinion is the most important, or most firm handhold, in ones progression to exaltation and life with our loving Heavenly Father.  We are even told by Isaiah in the Bible; “For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways than your ways…” (Isaiah 55:9).  The key word in that scripture is higher.  The Heavens are higher. We then can logically assume that spiritually we have to rise in stature and knowledge in order to return to the Heavens.  I love that.  Theres a scripture in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Helaman that I also love…

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the arock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We must build our foundations on Christ….and the Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ.  I can testify that as we read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We will literally rise in understanding His gospel and we can safely return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and I know it is true.

Christmas at mormon.org

Christmas at mormon.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints absolutely loves celebrating the birth of our Savior and as a Mormon, I am proud to say that I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I know He lives.  For Mormons, Christmas time is time spent with Family, spent serving others, spent loving others, and spent thinking about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Our church is centered around families, and families are centered around Jesus Christ.

As we come to recognize Christ in our lives, and that His hand is always outstretched to us, we find comfort in knowing that He loves and cares about us.  Although this life is hard, and although we often feel abandoned, or lonely, or exhausted, or even helpless, the Savior is always there for us. Always. If you have not had the chance to check out Mormon.org, then I extend the invitation to all who want to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I invite all to learn about Jesus Christ, and to feel the happiness that being a member of this amazing church brings.  God Bless!

TIME

“Time, an object, idea, proved theory?

Possibly, the essence of being mortal.

For we as humans, walking and breathing, are programmed to know that everything,

has a beginning, and thus, an end.

Yet we find ourselves, often staring at the stars, and wondering, realizing,

That for us, there is no end to space.

The light we see from these stars,

Years old, when it reaches our eyes, goes in every direction.

Who else we wonder, could be seeing this light? Why do they shine?

Purpose, a product of time, then comes into play.

We realize, everything in this life has a purpose.

Every piece of matter, its own assignment.

Earth, being a very complex and organized object, must have a purpose.

As time continues, we advance and grow, studying the planet in which we thrive.

We progress, and innovate.

Studying objects with their own purpose, and creating new objects with a new purpose.

Birds, airplanes, a relationship so obvious, but why we wonder?

Evolution, a big bang, it doesn’t make sense.

For a world where everything has a purpose, to start by mistake, randomly?

We turn to the scriptures.

The plan of Salvation, a plan of happiness, a plan of purpose.

A higher power started this “evolution”, taught to us repeatedly.

We continue reading, He provided a world, He provided growth, and ultimately purpose.

Yet the question remains, what is our purpose?

Memories, another product of time, reveal to us, how we have grown.

The mistakes, even they, have purpose.

For we have grown.

However they also show happiness, and what’s better than happiness?

We turn to the scriptures again, “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.”

In that moment we realize, our purpose is to be here.

To be part of the plan of salvation.

To pursue pure happiness, which naturally all men seek.

However, this happiness will not be worldly, not found through money, but found through our choices.

Right from wrong, a gift at birth, developed through time, provides a path for He had a plan from the beginning.

And every path, leads somewhere.

One conclusion, we determine, can be made.

Everything happens for a reason.

Two years (or 18 months) of service, for example,

Time providing physical limits, but the results are eternal, a purpose for this life.

For reason itself, can only be found through purpose, and purpose, can only be found through time.”

– Elder Collin Francom

A New Perspective

Life is a blessing. The fact that we can live and breath on this beautiful Earth is a blessing.  Thanks to a loving God each of us has talents, and thanks to this mortal life we can find immense joy from using these talents.  We must use these God given talents, and in fact in the Bible we are taught to “neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy…” (1 Timothy 4:14).  To be honest, I love technology, and I feel blessed with the talent and ability to easily understand and use technology and social media.  It has always been a passion of mine, and 6 weeks ago when I was called to be an online missionary, I was beyond excited to find my niche within this cyber world of flowing information, opinions, etc..

Being a Missionary, this call to work online did not suddenly give me the freedom to surf my Facebook news feed or to get lost in the advertisements and distractions of the media, but instead gave me the privilege of helping others find happiness through Christ by using this miracle of social media as a tool and resource. Because of this technology, I can now share spiritual thoughts, videos, and insights at the click of a button, sharing with the world this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is so amazing that I can fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ through modern tools like Facebook and honestly it helps me recognize even more God’s hand in all things. I love the fact that I do not have to shy away from technology, but instead embrace it with a new perspective. Everything happens for a reason, technology, Facebook, the world of social media, and God intends for us to do amazing things with them, however it is up to us.

This is the inspiration and desire that I have for this blog. Everything is the way it is for a reason; trees grow towards the heavens with their roots firmly held, light chases dark no matter the environment, wind isn’t tangible even though we know its there. These undeniable truths are facts to the human mind, bound by the scientific laws of man, but what about the laws of God and Jesus Christ? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Why do things really happen the way that they do? What is Christ trying to teach us through these analogies that are all around us, and how will changing our perspective help us recognize His message? I love photography and I have also been blessed with a keen eye while using a camera. Perspective is important to me, and in this life it truly correlates with joy as well as gives direction to every photographers hope for a picture. God has an all knowing perspective of love for us, while we have a limited perspective blurred by the effects of mortality. Christ is the lens on our camera and as we look through it, He guides our perspective, focuses our image, and then broadens our view. He is literally the perfect metaphorical lens and when we look through it, we more clearly understand God’s hand in all things.

My question to you, fellow photographer, reader, blogger, etc., is that if Christ looked through your camera and took pictures, what would He see and what would He take pictures of? How does He change our perspective?