One big misunderstanding by James Curran

My name is Kristen, I live in Utah, and I am starting to write occasionally for Jamesthemormon’s blog. I’m here to talk about the Trash vs. Treasure showdown of 2016, which is just a little touchy.

I feel like the older I get, the more I understand celebrities and their breakdowns. Even on a good day, I find myself seconds away from shaving my head and attacking someone with an umbrella (thank you Britney Spears.) Amanda Bynes, one of my favorite downward spirals to follow, has a wonderful A+ teen romcom called “She’s the Man.” You may have heard of it.

In one scene, Bynes’ character was being sarcastic when she said, “Speaking as a completely objective third party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter…” She definitely had interest and was not completely objective.

I feel like this is what I am trying to do here today. I am attempting to speak as a completely objective third party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter. But like, I’m a little interested and and I’m slightly objective.

Please, hear me out.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” -Tyler Glenn/Jamesthemormon/Old English Proverb

One line has been at the front of such a large misunderstanding, which I know was never the goal of anyone involved. Before diving into my purpose of this post, I’d like to just break it all down with a reader’s digest version of the event (with a little help from James.)

Treasure is a song that was released by Jamesthemormon on May 16, 2016. This was right after Tyler Glenn released his own single, “Trash.” Glenn’s song depicts his own message and to express his feelings.

“The purpose of Treasure was to invite all people to treat each other as equals, with more love, and to proclaim that at least I believe that all people on this earth are equally Treasure in the eyes of God.” -JTM

Just like how “Trash” was a depiction of Tyler Glenn’s feelings, Jamesthemormon has said that Treasure is his personal way to “offer out a hand to anyone hurting, and to say to those people that I empathize with them and that I fall and I hurt too.” Both songs have a message, and both have a purpose.

“The weekend before Treasure was released, I did a Facebook live video inviting anyone who also believed that all people on the earth were Treasure to come to the Provo temple. They could get their picture taken for free holding a sign saying ‘I’m treasure’.”

Unfortunately, the purpose behind the song and video were not fully understood. An article was released on a website with reasons as to why this meetup at the Provo City Center Temple shouldn’t happen. James’ approach to sharing love and his own message was being seen as an attack on Tyler Glenn and his approach at sharing his feelings and thoughts.

“I was pretty shocked when people saw this as an attack or anything negative.
I took a step back and because I saw that my intent was misinterpreted I decided to call off the event and instead release the official video with clearer wording.” -JTM

This post wasn’t written to compare sides, to start a fight, or even to touch on Glenn’s song, “Trash.” This was written to bring light to what James’ intentions and purpose are.

“As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints I made a commitment to “mourn with those that mourn.” That is what I was and am still trying to do.” -JTM

I (Kristen) am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is something that I feel so comfortable saying; there is no doubt in my mind that I have a Heavenly Father that knows and loves me personally. Our gospel is centered on Christ, a beautiful plan of happiness, and eternal families. It’s the best.

Growing up, I’d like to think my mom tried her best. She wasn’t the snuggly, make-afternoon-snacks, and talk about life type of Mom. It was a rougher relationship with a lot of anger and misunderstanding. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually it was rough in our home. Honestly, life is hardly easy. Most of the time we just have to make do, and I think that’s what she was trying to do.

She was a member of the LDS church, but she left the church and our home shortly after I turned 12. For me, going to youth activities and other events was always difficult, as we focused on the fundamentals, including family. It was oh so easy to feel like there was something wrong with my mom, myself, and my family. It almost seemed like there was a beautiful puzzle that all of my friends and their families fit into, but not mine.

My mom and I are as different as they come. There are just so many paths in this world, and we just happened to go in opposite directions.

I am in no way comparing my Mom and my relationship to someone else’s trial. I am, however, saying our Heavenly Father loves us equally. Anyone who might say differently is wrong, point blank. The choices her and I both make may define our lifestyles but they most certainly do not define the love our Father in Heaven for the two of us. While the love is so unique to each and every one of us, it remains the same in its power and its ability to be all encompassing.

Despite our very differences, I would still go up to bat for my mom no matter what. Because I love her.

That is what “Treasure” is all about. It’s not a diss track or about comparing trials. It’s about love.

The misunderstanding behind “Treasure” and its message was unfortunate to say the least.

“My hope is that anyone seeing the video can see my true intent, and that it can be used as a missionary tool to show what we are members of the church truly believe; we know that every soul is seen equal as a treasure in God’s eyes.” -JTM

At the end of the day, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you believe in, there is one constant underlying truth: Love has been, continues to be, and will forever be the answer.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you." John 13:34

I know that I can speak for James and myself when I say that I hope that all can listen to Treasure and feel the love that not only we have for you, but the love that our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us.

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King Jr.

By Kristen Walker

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. If you’d like to write in please email contact@jamesthemormon.com

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Anything is possible by James Curran

When I was a missionary in Everett, Washington; I was able to serve in a few leadership roles. In one particular area my companion and I invited our zone to make a goal to find at least 1 prepared person a day. A prepared person was defined as someone who...

  1. Allowed the missionaries to share their testimony
  2. Agreed to read and pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon
  3. Scheduled an appointment to meet at a later time

As leaders, a lot of our time was spent doing administrative tasks, and somedays that left us with almost no time to do missionary work. Even still, we did everything we could to lead by example and find at least one person the Lord had prepared for us to teach in our area. 

One day because of conferences and other responsibilities we found ourselves returning home to our apartment at 9:15 pm without finding a "prepared person". Missionaries have a curfew of 9:00 pm unless they are teaching a lesson, at-which then the curfew is extended to 9:30 pm. We pulled up to our house, and as I started walking towards our front door. my companion Elder Tippets stopped me and with a cringed face, he begrudgingly said... "Should we go try and find our prepared person?" I stopped and had to think about that, because as I looked at our phone it turned to 9:16 pm and the idea of finding someone to teach this late logically was impossible. We had no plan, not to mention we lived 7 min outside of our area. 

"Lets pray about it! I responded" (super cliche)

When the prayer was finished, we both just looked at each other and got right into the car. 

I immediately told my companion the smartest move would be to go to apartment complex Covington Farms for two reasons. One it was the closest and two that was where 90% of our investigators were, so at the very least we could stop in on one of them if all else failed. Tippets offered a couple other options, but my logical mind was sold that it would be ludicrous to go anywhere else. We couldn't get on the same page, so we did the cliche Mormon Missionary thing, and prayed about it. 

This experience will always be very interesting to me, because I was so sure, and so sold on one thing, but when I turned to the man upstairs, "Mr. Omnipotent" in prayer nothing could be clearer, we were to do something else; head to a complex called Colby Creek.

When we pulled up it was 9:27pm 3 min until we were supposed to be back home but we continued to follow the prompting to find that prepared person. We knocked on doors.. (people were super mad about that at 9:30 at night) & we talked to every person we could see outside until 9:45pm. Nothing. Nobody even was willing to talk, let alone commit to read the Book of Mormon. Realizing the time, I told Tippets we needed to head back. With a face of defeat he nodded and we started heading back to our car, until he said.. "Lets just check one more place, and then well go; just 2 more minutes". I shrugged my shoulders and followed him to the most southern end of the complex where we found ourself in a dark parking lot. Off in the distance a person was walking towards us. We couldn't tell the age or gender of this individual because a flickering lamp post was making it basically impossible to see much father than 5 feet. Without any other option we walked toward the person, and I kid you not (I literally am not making this up) when this kid walked under the flickering lamp post, the light stopped flickering, and a spotlight shined on this now visibly hispanic 20 something year old. Because people typically were shy to talk to us we accustomed to introducing ourselves first, but before we could get a word out he said "Whats up guys! I'm Jesus!" (pronounced like how you would refer to our savior) We laughed under our breath thinking he was just giving us a hard time, but then he followed up with "Just kidding its Jesus (pronounced the way hispanics say it). Jesus let us bare our testimony to him and committed to read the Book of Mormon. An appointment was scheduled and 2 months later Jesus was baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. 

Last June I got the clearest prompting that the Lord wanted me to rap in order to share the gospel. The concept made zero sense, and felt so weird to me, but I did what I was told, and I released a song and video about what my testimony is founded on, The Restoration.  

I still felt so silly releasing rap videos as Jamesthemormon, especially when countless people told me that it would prevent me from getting any type of real recognition. I've tried 3 different times to change my social media name, but every time I tried I get sick to my stomach like I'm making a huge mistake. 

On April 28th, 2016 a kid from living in Utah who didn't even know what rap was until he was 14, out charted every rapper in the world to rank that day as the #1 Hip hop album in the world. It still blows my mind even typing about it right now speaking about my self in 3rd person.

Why did this happen? - Because anything is possible when you work as hard as you possibly can, and rely on the Lord to guide the rest of the way. 

Today while in church the weight of what is now expected of me moving forward sank in. That along with the incredible amount of overwhelmingly positive requests for my attention have brought me to a point that I didn't think was possible. I considered giving up.

Since I hit number one my email, social media, text, and life have blown up. I pride myself on being able to handle anything, but, I have been so overwhelmed trying get to everything and to do it perfectly, that last week I got probably 8 hours of sleep in 4 days.

Obviously I can't continue on like that, and it is very clear to me that I am not to stop, so in order to move forward Jamesthemormon is now offering internships. We've spoken with UVU and BYU and for those of you who are interested that are also students, you are eligible for school credit. 

I'm looking for people who believe in what I'm trying to do and want to learn the ins and out of building a brand. I want people who are interested in marketing a product or who are passionate about music and film. I'm also searching for people who want to become masters of social media and want to learn how to build and grow a solid network. I will teach you all of those things, but the most important thing I hope to pass on is my work ethic, and a true life long belief that anything is possible. 

If you are interested in applying CLICK HERE

 

1st Utah Hip Hop Artist to hit #1 on iTunes by James Curran

On April 26th, 2016 hip hop artist Jamesthemormon did the unheard of. 

He was the first artist from Utah to break into the top 100 rap albums landing at #30. Over the next day he moved up the charts until April 28th until he was actually was the #1 rap album for the entire day. Not only was that the case but he was the #7 album in the world. He also had his previous album "PMG" in the top 50 at #47. He actually had 2 albums in the top 50 for hip hop and rap! The only reason he isn't still at the top is because Drake dropped his album the next day. 

 

LDS rapper Jamesthemormon dropped "Im not a rapper" on April 17th, but don't get it confused, this album has nothing to do with anything religious. James just believes in representing who he is, and that happens to be Mormon. He released this album with the single / video "Motivation" and between Facebook and YouTube he has over 1 million views in just a a week of posting. 

Watch "Motivation" click here - https://goo.gl/l3Ahr5

Read one of the the news articles -  https://goo.gl/BHaqec

Watch the NBC News Spot - https://goo.gl/tAfa6x

James has officially become Utah's rapper with the entire state and Mormon religion's support. All sorts of Mormon Celebrities are showing their love. Just a couple of the 1,000's who have posted about this phenomenon and the album "I'm Not a Rapper" are Jeremy Guthrie, the starting pitcher for the Royals, and the band Common kings.

I'm NOT ... a Rapper by James Curran

For those of you that don't know me, I'd thought it would be interesting to share that I didn't even know what rap was until I was 14 years old. My mother is a U.S. diplomat, and I grew up in Russia, China, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan.

 

When I was 14 years-old I moved to the Washington D.C. area for a couple years, and turned on BET and heard rap for the first time. It took me all of one Ja Rule song to fall in love, and from then on HIP HOP was my drug of choice. 

Whether it was Jay Z singing "H to the IZZO, V to the IZZA", or me completely empathizing with the pain Eminem felt as he talked about his childhood, I always found myself taking any beat I heard and adored, flipping it in my head, and making it my own with a new set of melodies and lyrics. 

Although the gospel and specifically the atonement of Jesus Christ is what has allowed me recover from the pain of the first 17 years, as Lupe Fiasco says "HIP HOP saved my life". Because I didn't gain a testimony until I was 22, as I was growing up I looked to the comfort that rap music gave me as an escape from the constant turmoil that was my life. It wasn't until recently that I found out why I had such a connection to rap music and why it had always been a therapeutic remedy.

According to intuitionminds.com  "Research indicates that engaging in rhythm producing techniques accelerates physical healing, boosts immunity, and helps people process trauma and chronic stress."

As a 17 year old in my final year of High School living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, my little brothers friend came over one day with his computer because he had just gotten some software to record music. As I peeked into my brother's room to see what they were doing, I got invited to join in. As I listened to the beat they had created, immediately the lyrics and melody to a chorus came to mind, so I sang it for them. Feeling validated by their response, I quickly wrote some rap verses and we recorded it. From that moment on I was writing and recording. 

Freshman year in 2004 the other 3 black people at BYU and I formed a rap group called ACLASS and in 2008 I even started a Hip Hop band called "James Devine". I continued to make music up until my mission. Below is a vid that will not only show you how far I've come video wise, but also to confirm that I haven't aged a day in the last 8 years.

On my mission, I had a lot of experiences where I became frustrated when members of the church were either unwilling or too afraid to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors. I even ran into members who were too scared to let anyone outside of church know they were Mormon. When I returned home from my mission I made a commitment to myself and the Lord that there would never be an opportunity for someone to question what I believed or stood for, so 2 days after I got back from my mission I changed all my social media handles to @jamesthemormon.

This leads me to the reason for the title of this blog post, and also the title of the first secular album I've ever released. "Im not a rapper". Although I love rapping as a hobby, and as I mentioned before, it is extremely therapeutic for me to create, I'm am absolutely NOT pursuing rap as a career. I have very specific motives, and that is to bring souls to Christ. Although I have released music that mentions LDS beliefs and doctrine, do not get it confused ... I am not making music for Mormons. I'm make music to be used as a tool to share the gospel. Even in the album "PMG", which outlines each lesson taught by the missionaries from the Restoration to enduring to the end, not once did I use the word Christ, God, or Joseph Smith. I wanted to bring the Sprit and talk about truth with out preaching it. I wanted members to share those songs with their non member and less active friends hopefully prompting the response "I like that, what's it about?", turning a rap song into a teaching opportunity. 

4 days ago I opened up for the national act "2 chainz". Because of the nature of the show, each act before and after mine had a similar agenda, and vulgarity was a definite common thread. In my opinion, the opportunity to perform in front of the type of crowd that would typically attend a 2 chainz concert, was not by coincidence. For 20 minutes we gave them a taste of clean truth delivered with vibe that they were familiar with,and seemed to enjoy. 

I'm Not a Rapper delves into topics such as my extremely abusive childhood, my issues with communication in relationships, my divorce, how I deal with contention, even what motivates me to keep going. I worked hard not only to make something entertaining, but something real. A true piece of my soul is in each lyric and I'd like to share that with you. My hope is that if you love it you'll share it with others; members and non members alike, and that indirectly, regardless of your personal beliefs or faith, the world can see that a Mormon is not always a smiling white face from Utah in a white shirt an tie, riding a bike. Rather, that we are all different with our own trials and problems. That a "Mormon" is not defined by the rules we keep, but instead by the person we turn to when misfortune comes our way. 

It would greatly be appreciated if you would

  1. Download the album, and enjoy it; but also
  2. Leave a genuine iTunes review.

As the album receives more downloads and reviews, the project moves up in the iTunes ranking. Each review attached to a download puts the CD in front of more people searching for "HIP HOP/ RAP", and who knows they might even be searching for our message without knowing it ;)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD "IM NOT A RAPPER"

Also Final Thoughts

  1. "I'm Not a Rapper" also available on Spotify and any music streaming service.
  2. if you wanted to follow me on social media (Instagram, twitter, snapchat) just search @jamesthemormon
  3. Feel free to email me any thoughts feelings or emotions at james@jamesthemormon.com. 

K. Love you. Bye.

 

Were you successful? by James Curran

I never thought I would serve a full time mission.

I made ALOT of mistakes in my early adulthood, so when any type of desire to really step up and prepare for a mission developed, they were quickly overshadowed with feelings of inadequacy due to my past.

When I was 22 with the help of leaders who wouldn't give up on me and a huge push from heaven, I found myself as out in the mission field doing the Lords work.

The Atonement of God's only begotten became so real to me. I could actually feel it work, and the power that comes from truly using it to overcome past mistakes and challenges. It became the most precious thing to me. So precious that I wanted to actually tell EVERYONE about it. I also felt this tremendous obligation to please the Lord, and bring as many children that I could to the fullness of His gospel.

Looking back I actually feel like I did everything I could to fulfill my expectation as a missionary, but yet and I still faced failure. People that promised to read didn't. People who said we could meet didn't show up. There were even people who looked me in the eyes, and testified by the spirit, that they knew what they were taught was true, that didn't end up getting baptized.

Failure is super hard to deal with. Especially when you've done all you can.

My mission president addressed this in the most perfect way.

He asked us ....

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE

The field is white, ready to harvest, and I'm not a rapper by James Curran

Earlier this week I was invited to be on a podcast with This Week in Mormons

Although both Al and Geoff were hilarious and gracious enough to invite me to tell my story, the podcast's recording came with a few technical difficulties/sound glitches and I felt like I wasn't able to give you the full story nor give full credit where credit was due for everyone that helped make Restoration. 

Around 4 months ago I woke up with the strongest feeling to start making original music, and to have that original music tell the truths of the restored gospel. My initial reaction was .... um no. "Im not a rapper. That's not me." 

You've probably heard me almost annoyingly repeat .... "I'm not a rapper",  and I can understand any and all confusion, because if you are reading this the chances are also pretty high that you have heard me rap something. Here's how I like to explain it.

My father gets up everyday at 5am and rides the train to downtown Chicago for a couple hours each way reading his scriptures, the Wall Street journal and all things stock and finance. When he gets into his office, he proceeds to stare and click at a computer screen trading whatever it is he's buying or selling that day for like 10 -12 hours!? When he's not doing that he's being a husband or fulfilling his church High Council calling throughout the week and all day on Sunday. Occasionally, for fun and relaxation, he likes to go out into his garden on a Saturday and take care of his garden. 

Is my Father a gardener? Like, is that how you would introduce him? Is that what defines him? Is that who he is? I would argue no. He is so much more than that, that if you were to say "Hey this is Jim Curran the gardener", that would be really really weird and wouldn't make any sense. 

As serious as my father takes gardening, is as serious as I take music....

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE

Nothing feels better than faith by James Curran

You know that story about the two toads?

One toad is put into a pot of hot water and immediately jumps out. The other one is placed in room temperature H20; the heat slowly turned up until the toad boils to a horrible doom.

You probably noticed I haven't blogged in forever, and honestly its because I felt like a giant hypocrite. I had slowly been cooking into a disgusting soup of apathy.My testimony was never in question, I mean I would argue the truth of the Book of Mormon and tell you Joseph Smith was a prophet until I was blue in the face, but for some reason picking up my scriptures, kneeling down to pray before I went to bed, or showing up for church was like asking me to move a car with my bare hands. It became such a "task" that I didn't even try.

I knew the whole time what I should be doing, always making excuses like... "I'll do it tomorrow" or "I'll just go next week" knowing full well that my soul was trapped under that car and I was the only one who could move it.

The hard part about drifting into this state of mind is you leave a slippery slope of laziness behind you, and its a hard upward battle back to the top. This means you have to be super motivated to not give up and push though a path of habit you created naturally that wants nothing more than to drag you back to the bottom...

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Married, Divorced, and New Love all in the same year ... here's what I learned by James Curran

I got married a year ago today.

If someone came up to me on my wedding day and told me one year from that day I'd be cuddled up with another woman I'd tell them to go to hell.  

2014 was a heart wrenching roller coaster of emotions of every kind and every extreme. There were times so hard that eating was the most impossible task, and times where I literally thought my heart was being torn apart.

I have also never been happier. I've shared tender moments and have drawn closer to people who love me, and interestingly enough have created new and long lasting friendships with individuals I never would have met if I'd never got divorced. 

This year I've learned more about myself, and about what I want out of life, love, and friendship than I have in all the previous years combined. I'd be lying if I said I'm completely over what happened but I'm a-heck of a lot better than I've ever been since; and things get better every single day. Because I think I would have appreciated a post like this long before I got divorced, I'm going to impart some of the nuggets I've learned with whoever thinks they could benefit. 

Dating - 

Because typically arranged marriages are socially unacceptable and from what I hear awkward, we're left to our own devices to find companionship and move on to that next step. For Mormons ... 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE