56, 25, 4 Marking Time

For me, July is a month of marking and celebrating the passage of time. My birth date is July 5th, 1962. I was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on July 5th, 2014. My Narcotics Anonymous 'clean date' is July 6th, 1993 and I was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints July 6th, 2014.

Since I have been very young, birthdays have been emotionally awkward for me. There has always been this odd mixture of desiring attention and recoiling from it at the same time. There have been periods in my past where I received many cards, presents and hundreds of Happy Birthday Facebook wishes. In my recent life, the acknowledgments of my birthday are few and far between. I do not post my birth date on Facebook and it has become a rare thing for friends to track the birth dates of others outside of Facebook. 
The experience of being relatively anonymous on my birthday is one that, like many of my experiences in the past few ye…

Ministering is Love

(Talk given 5/27/18 18th Ward Salt Lake Ensign Stake)

It is a privilege to be with you on this sabbath day as we have renewed our baptismal covenants. My name is Stephan Adelson and m home Ward is the Canyon Road Ward, I am currently serving an Inner-City Mission in the 13th Ward here in the Ensign stake.

I am relatively new to both the area and the church. In just over a month I will have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints for four years. I came to Salt Lake City in October of 2016. Leaving Boston and moving here was never part of my life plan, but as God wills and we listen, mighty and often surprising miracles can be brought into our lives.

It was actually in this Ward, two years ago, almost to the day, that I learned from the Spirit that Salt Lake City was to be my new home. As irrational and unsettling as a move west sounded and felt, within 24 hours of being here I received dramatic confirmation and I knew, without doubt that I was to come to Zion.…


As of this January I have been in the Inner-City Mission for one year. Anniversaries are a great opportunity to review the past year and plan for the next. Over the past year I have often been surprised, frustrated, inspired and challenged.

Having been a sponsor to many addicts in recovery over the past 25 years I have learned a great deal about what it means to be of help and what it means to cause harm through attempts to be 'helpful'. I have made many mistakes along the way through well meaning actions, intended to help but misguided by a lack of understanding what the true nature of help is. Some of my helpful actions have caused more harm than good to the person I desired to help.

I have come to realize that the actions that caused harm were actions that were based in me attempting to solve someone else's problem. Often the negative results of my efforts to help came when I was taking responsibility that was not mine for another persons actions, trying to solve a pro…

The Act of Love

If there were a theme for my experiences in 2017 the theme would be love.

I remember when I became a Christian and joined The Assembly of God in 1978, I learned about the three types of love mentioned in the bible; according to the Greek language they are: Eros (desire and longing), Philos (the love in friendship) and Agape (divine love or the pure love of Christ). According to the book Colours of Love, J.A. Lee 1973 there are seven types of love that are loosely based on classical readings, especially those of Plato and Aristotle.

The English language is much more limited, we have just one word to express the many 'types' of love we experience. When I look back on my life and think of the many people who have said "I love you' to me, I am often left wondering what they meant, what they felt and why they said 'I love you'. Of course the same is true for me, I have said 'I love you" to more people then I can remember. When I said 'I love you' …

The Best Gift of All

Based on observation alone there is purpose to life, I am certain, and that purpose is individual, meaning that our lives are for us and about us. One small part of the reason why I am convinced of this fact is the way circumstances in our life change. 

In my experience life offers us lessons that we need, when we learn the lesson being offered, our life changes (our circumstance, the great teacher - changes) and we are then free to learn new and hopefully higher lessons - we progress. But when we resist the lesson(s) our circumstance offers the intensity of the lesson will increase and we are more strongly encouraged to accept the lesson being offered and grow - our emotional pain increases, our physical selves worsen, life generally gets harder and either we respond to the worsening condition and begin to learn what we need to learn or we experience more pain - of various sorts, that will continue to increase until we are willing to accept the lesson offered. If we do not accept th…


One of the things that I found irksome about monastic life was the liturgical calendar. There were aspect I enjoyed, like learning about the saints, but there were emotional demands that I found annoying.For example, Lent is a time for reflection, penance, repentance and self denial,

The liturgical calendar is just one example of how there are social expectations that we will feel specific emotions on demand.

One of the many reasons I do not own a Television is that I do not like to be emotionally manipulated by commercials, 'news' or programs. I prefer to have authentic feelings that are generated by real people, in real situations that are part of my everyday life, I have found that reality is much more enjoyable when I do not have the influence of created / pseudo / augmented / virtual reality that often becomes a comparison and contract with the reality of my everyday life.

There is enough social pressure in the reality of daily life without the added writer generated soc…

To Succeed

I am still constantly amazed and saddened at just how many homeless there are here in Salt Lake.

When one opens up and begins to feel the burdens and the depth of needs in so many hopeless people, it feels incredibly overwhelming and desperately heartbreaking. I now find it easy to understand why so many become so disengaged - it just feels like way too much of a burden to deal with.

With 'Operation Rio Grande' underway and the subsequent arrests during phase one (well over 1200 in less than a month) 'the homeless' are becoming less visible as they spread out around the city, but they are still here and still need so much. The needs are truly profound.

I have been blessed in amazing ways since I started my Inner-City Mission and the blessings, in the form of a grand lesson started immediately.

Just after being called to serve, I received a late night phone call from the Bishop of the Ward where I serve (Big secret - I am actually the one being served). Bishop had a yo…