Chad Lewis: Why does God allow hard things to happen to good people? | E0001 – powered by Happy Scribe
We have a better chance at affecting people the right way if we’re genuine, if.
We’re real. Love that.
Give us an introduction to Chad Lewis. Who is Chad Lewis?
Father of seven kids. My two girls are married, so I have two grandkids. Married a great girl. We met at BYU. She played volleyball. She was a two time All American volleyball player, super good player. I played football at BYU as a walk on and ended up having a career in the NFL for nine years. I was able to go to a Super Bowl. I was able to go to three Pro Bowls, so I had some success in my profession. I made incredible relationships along the way. All that was made possible by being a missionary in Taiwan for two years. Wow. Changed my life in every meaningful way. And right before my mission, my dad had a massive stroke. My dad, who was a healthy physician delivering babies, had a stroke that took away his ability to really work productively. His left side was almost completely gone. He could walk, but he couldn’t use his hand anymore. So for the last 32 years, he’s had to battle with that. Wow. And if he had to battle with it, then my mom had to battle with it, too. It affected every single person in our family. So that was probably one of the biggest things that ever happened in my life, to me, to my family, to my dad, to all of us.
Before that, I grew up in Orem, four brothers. We played a lot of sports. We did a lot of scouting, went on a lot of hikes. Put in the work as a family, as an individual, I learned along the way how to work, how to handle hard stuff, how to attack hard stuff, how to not curl up in a ball and cry when you got to do hard stuff. And each point in my life that was reinforced in a different but the same way.
It was like, life is a series of challenges. It’s never going to be smooth sailing. There’s always going to be issues. There’s always going to be calm challenges, calm problems, and you got to solve them. You got to work with other people to get them done. And the smooth sailing part is eternity.
Right. Planet Earth is not really made for smooth sailing. It’s just made for working together, finding joy in the journey, solving problems, making it as great as possible and going for it.
Wow. That’s a good summary. I think just in the experience that I’ve had with you, I would agree with everything that you said and your perspective and your mindset that you have. I’ve learned a lot from myself, but everybody says the ideal is the smooth sailing, but the reality is that’s not always the case.
It ain’t coming.
Well, take me back to that time when you were telling your dad. Your dad, you’re 18 years old, you’re about to go on your mission, and your dad has a stroke. You would have never thought that it would happen.
I’m assuming. I know. He was healthy. He ate healthy. He ran five or six miles every morning.
So take me back to the day that you found out.
About that. Okay. It was July second, 1990. Four and a half months from my mission. My dad has a… Leading up to this, he had some really strange things happening to his body. He started to have night sweats.
So he’d have to change his garment during the middle of the night because he was sweating so bad. It was like, What the heck is going on?
Finally, his energy was going down. He couldn’t run five miles anymore. Got to the point where he was just walking. It was like, What in the heck is going on? So you’re already not really sure what’s going on? Something was going on for a couple of months. And they finally determined what he had was endocarditis. It was an infection in his heart that was started from an abscess tooth, a root canal years before.
Decay became toxic. Yeah, up above where he would never have even found out, not even through X ray, that he had an infection up above his root canal that was creating an infection in his heart that then sent seeds of infection throughout his whole body. Two places where those seeds incubated and there was a reservoir and they created a problem where one in his brain and one in his lower back. So July second, he develops a really bad headache. And by that night at midnight, he was in full stroke mode. So his left side was completely shut down.
Couldn’t speak. He could only moan. An example would be like, Dad, how are you feeling? And you’d say, Severe pain.
So you were there and you experienced.
Him doing that? I got there right when he was taken to the hospital. So I was out with some friends, came back and went down to the hospital. Now I am by his side with my mom, and we’re trying to see how he’s doing. And the doctors are wanting to get an MRI and see what’s going on in his brain. It looks like a stroke, sounds like a stroke. It was a stroke. And so during the MRI, the MRI picture revealed he had massive hemorrhaging in the right side of his brain. He was having a full on stroke. Blood was leaking and he was in serious harm’s way. They chose to do surgery, emergency surgery on his brain, knowing that don’t know if he’s going to recover. If we go in and operate right here, will he be able to speak again? Will he be able to see again? Will he be able to walk again? All that was put to the side. Dr. Nielsen, the brain surgeon, just with all the experience he had, went after his brain to save his life. He did. It came at a cost. The cost was there was not just one artery that was leaking, there were four little arteries that had to be capped with a metal cap forever, permanent.
On his heart. In his brain. On his brain. in the brain. So they closed off the bleeding, cleaned up the stroke, cleaned up the mess, the blood clot, sewed his brain back up and said, Well, let’s just hope that he recovers. He’ll never walk again. I just cut off the blood flow to a large portion of the right side of his brain. Are you serious? Prepare his home for a wheelchair, and we’ll see if he can speak, if he can see, if he can think and talk. So he came out of the stroke. It was intense. I mean, it was so intense.
Tell me about that. It was.
Intense in what way? We sat there all night not knowing if he was going to live. Then they came out and said, Hey, a couple of good things. Number one, he’s alive, but we don’t know how he’s going to respond to this. So I’m 18 and a half. My mom is 46. My dad’s 47. My brothers are… I have three older brothers, one younger brother, and we’re just in the midst of like, absorbing what just happened. Wow. Okay, his life is now different. He will never walk properly ever again. This is a guy who ran marathons and hiked all over the world.
Was so intense just trying to comprehend what was going on. We were humbled to the point of kneeling in family prayer on a hard floor in the hospital with our home teacher through the night, praying for my dad. When he was alive, that was a huge celebration for us. But then it was the realization that, Wow, his body doesn’t work. He had a strong desire to get up and walk. He manifested that by asking us, his sons, to lift him up in bed. He was still in ICU. He had tubes and wires everywhere. So we lifted him up in bed, and then he wanted to stand up. So we moved his legs outside the bed and then we stood him up. And as he was doing that, he was so happy. But the nurse came running in and just screamed at us. What are you doing? You’re going to kill him.
Just had a brain surgery. By standing him up, you’re going to release the pressure in his brain. You’re going to throw a blood clot. You’re going to kill him.
We laid him back down. She wanted us to leave. We didn’t leave. And as soon as she left the room, he said, Let’s do it again. He was like, he had this desire to get better, to walk, to move. That desire, like his fight or flight, his fight instinct is so incredibly strong. He still demonstrates that today.
Wow. He’s like, I don’t even care. Get me up.
Right now. And not only does he have the fight instinct, but he doesn’t have the ability to complain about it. So in 32 years, losing his health, losing his dexterity, and his fingers to sow people up and deliver babies. His left side doesn’t work. He has not complained about it.
So he ties his tie with one hand and his shoes and drives with one hand. He’s right now in a rehab facility. He just is recovering from double pneumonia over the last month. He came a centimeter away from dying. And to see him respond and fight again today, just like he did 32 years ago, I’m seeing part of my DNA in action. Wow. I’m seeing my mom respond the same way she did 32 years ago with faith, with courage. She rises up and challenges like, I can’t even believe. Wow. Here, currently, this month, I’m watching what happened 32 years ago with this joke as he goes through another massive health trial. I’m seeing, without a microscope, I’m seeing my own living DNA through my parents, how they fight, how they come together, how they use their faith. And it’s incredible. I realized I’ve got the coolest parents in the world, great family. And here’s a Robert frost poem that my mission companion, elder Rob Lamb, sent to me the other day. He said, this is the quote, life is terrible. There is no way out, only through. That’s powerful. And there’s so much of that that’s actual.
We go through stuff in our lives. There’s no way out.
It’s only through.
We go through. And it’s in the through and it’s in the through that we learn, we grow, we hurt. No wonder Christ’s greatest invitation to us is a combination of love and repentance. Love each other and repent. Meaning, turn your hearts to me. Turn towards me. Satan’s over there trying everything he can to destroy us, to ruin our brains, our hearts, our minds, our eyes, our ears through any means necessary. Music, pornography, temptations. Christ is there saying, Turn to me. Turn to me in every thought. Turn to me like I will heal you. I love you. I’ll guide you. And so come back to the Robert frost quote, there is no way out, only through. Well, how do we get through?
How do we do it?
How do you do it? Because sometimes it’s beautiful. It’s like just a party. And sometimes it’s so hard. You are on your knees saying, like the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years. She got to the point where she had two things, complete desperation. She tried everything and complete faith, laying on the ground, reaching for Christ, him of his garment with the faith that if I just touch his garment, I’ll be healed. Okay, that’s it. That’s Christ saying to all of us, come at me with that same faith because we’re going to go through trials. We’re in complete desperation. We’re laying on the ground. We got no more strength and all we can do is go, This is all I got left. So that’s where we are.
That’s powerful, man. I think that story is really interesting. Just with Come Follow Me, I’ve been studying that with the woman with the issue of blood. It’s interesting because the woman, she’s been in the issue of blood for 12 years. In the same story, Mark is telling the story, there’s Jairus. Jairus, right? His daughter, Howard, when she was 12. And I was like, Interesting. Why are they there at 12? Same story. They could have just split them up. But it makes me wonder of like, Well, if it’s 12, 12, what’s he trying to teach? You got a young woman, you got an older woman, woman spent 12 years. This woman could live the rest of her life. This woman’s older, she doesn’t really need to stay around. Not that she should stay around. And it made me realize, Jesus, he bled from every pore. He redeemed everybody from their life, but nobody was there for him.
You know what I mean? Anyway, with you when you said reaching out, for you, it was the last claim. Even in this circumstance that you were reaching out and you felt like you had nothing left.
Well, I will say this, as a family, we came together tight. We had our home teacher, Larry Heaps. We had our bishop Rick. We had friends. We had extended family. And in the middle of that cataclysmic explosion in our lives, didn’t know if he was going to be able to work ever again or walk or think. It was so crazy. This is back when you were 18. Yeah, 32 years ago. So even though we didn’t have anything, we had everything. So I opened my mission call to Taiwan in his hospital room. As he was recovering, he did, two months later, walk out of the hospital, which was a miracle, not just to me, but to the surgeon to perform the surgery. He said, Look, you guys think this is a miracle. I know it’s a miracle because I perform the surgery. I placed those clamp in his brain. I know there’s no blood flow to a large portion of the right side of his brain. How he’s able to think, speak, remember, walk, talk, all a miracle. That’s crazy.
To this day, no blood is flowing to that portion of his brain.
So it wasn’t like some random thing happened and it opened up because if it did open up, he would die, right?
No, our bodies are amazing. Blood can find new pathways. That’s documented record. I don’t know what’s going on with his brain, but the fact that he is able to move and make something out of his life has been a miracle.
Wow. And taking it back to that story of the woman with the issue of blood, I think that’s a really cool connection of how she just believed so much. And your dad, you walk in, he’s like, Stand me up right now.
Stand me up. But that’s what I feel like is the drive that is the actual element that brings the miracle to pass. You know what I mean?
Even though this story is not about me, it’s about my dad and how we were rallying around him and trying. My life, that was a huge part of my life, everything that happened. A month before this, I got my patriarchal blessing. One line of my blessing said, through the power of the priesthood, you will see health restored to some. And so here I am with this incredible, miraculous recovery from a health emergency that the surgeon is saying is a miracle. I got goosebumps. And then I opened my mission call. I go to Taiwan as a missionary to proclaim what I just seen.
So if the people there watching Jairus’ daughter be raised from the dead, or the people there who saw this woman be healed, what was their reaction? I don’t know. The record is not there. I know my reaction to the miracle that I witnessed. It changed my life. I went as a missionary to Taiwan. I studied for two years. I served for two years. I worked my butt off for two years. That experience completely changed who I am and who I am today, 32 years later, that was my experience.
Wow. Well, tell me how you’re on the mission, and then before the mission, you had this traumatic experience, right? The way that you’re describing it, it’s like, what 18 year old wakes up in the morning thinking, My dad could or could not be here. And then he is here, and now his life’s completely changed. You said it changed you. And it probably was gradual. What ways do you… Can you think of any specific ways?
Yeah, I’ll say one way specifically. I read the scriptures with my family growing up. I read the scriptures in Sunday school. I read and studied the scriptures in seminary. I had a little grasp of what it was all about.
Knew the names, I knew some of the stories and the flow, but I didn’t understand the scriptures, and I certainly didn’t understand the atonement. The atonement was a word which I knew what it meant. I had no idea what it meant until I really had time as a missionary to study. We studied every morning for an hour or two, and I started to grasp both by study and by the Spirit and by putting it in action, like going out and serving people each day. I started to understand what the Atonement was. I started to understand Christ. I started to piece together the flow of the Scripture. So the Book of Mormon is 600 years before Christ and 400 afterwards. This 1,000 year of history of prophets and ups and downs and cycles of people. And I had the record of Ether. So another couple of thousand years of the Jaredites. And then I was able to understand the Bible, Old Testament. It’s a story about Abraham and his family through the generations to Moses and Joseph and then to Christ. And then I understood the New Testament. You got the four Gospels and everything else basically written by Paul, just about.
So you have… It all made sense to me. And not only did it make sense, but I believed it. I loved it. I was certainly not perfect, but I was putting it in practice. And the way that was manifest was, I’m a different person because of it.
I’m still not perfect. I deeply love my wife. I love my kids and family, and I love Christ, and I want to represent him. I read the Book of Mormon every day. Why? Because that’s my connection to Christ. I feel, from personal experience, that when I read the Book of Mormon every day, I feel closer to Christ. I feel like I’m part of it. I’m close to Him. I can feel Him. I can touch him. It’s like I’m in his presence. And if I go a length of time without reading, there’s a gap there. I can’t describe it more than to say it’s weird. It’s like there’s a distance. People ask me all the time in the pros or wherever else, what’s the difference between your religion? And we hear about the Mormons, we hear about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter. What’s the difference? One of the biggest differences is the Book of Mormon. This record that was prophesied in the Bible that testifies of Christ through a 1,000 years of experience from real prophets. Their stories are awesome. I want the whole world to have these stories as faith promoting stories that will help them.
By reading the Book of Mormon every day, I feel like there’s a purpose to my life. I feel like I am part of something way bigger than myself. By reading the Book of Mormon every day, I feel like my spiritual antenna is open enough that I can lead my family as a father. My kids are having stuff all the time come up. I need wisdom. I need to be able to give them good direction and good counsel.
Well, tell me about one. What’s the time… Was something that you’ve read recently when you were connected, and maybe it was something simple, but I bet you it wasn’t simple to you. That you were reading, that you felt gave you the connection to help your kids.
I’m just reading right now about Alma, the younger. Alma senior, in my reading yesterday, just passed away. Eighty two years old. That had to be old for those old times. Back then. Back then. And when Mosey passed away, he was 60, I think 61 years old. So these legends of their time, missionaries, kings, they’re raising their kids just like I am. So Alma had his son, Alma the younger, who at one point, just like Mosey’s sons, the sons of Mosey, were the vilest of sinners. Why? And as you go back and you look at Alma, he was a wicked priest of King Noah. He listened to a prophet, Abinadi, who changed his life. King Noah wanted to kill Abinadi. And Alma stood up and was like, No, that’s not cool. That’s a good man. Noah wanted to kill him. So Alma fled. He hid. He taught, took a group of people with him. And in short order, one of the most wicked of the priests became his ruler and joined forces with the Lamanites. So here’s Alma trying to raise his family. Who’s his son? Alma the Younger, watching his dad be punked by some of the most wicked people ever, Amulon.
I don’t know when or where or why Alma the Younger went bad, but it probably didn’t hurt. I’m probably and helped to see his dad being punked by this wicked dude.
They finally flee. They get to Zarehemla. He joins, Elmer the Younger joins forces with the sons of Mosaic.
Don’t know why they became wicked and the violet sinners, but those guys had an experience where they met an angel. Do you believe in angels? I do. I haven’t seen one, but I testify that they did. And it changed their lives in a similar way that my dad’s stroke and my mission experience changed mine. Wow. So God interceded in their lives by sending them an angel and saying, You guys, what is your problem? If you want to be completely destroyed, keep doing what you’re doing. And they felt it. They turned their lives around. And I would say similar thing happened to me as I was growing up. And then boom, this stroke happened. And all of a sudden, I have an experience to be a missionary, put it to the test, read, study, have the most amazing companions ever, the most amazing mission president ever, to give me two years to apply what my parents were trying to teach me my whole life, what my bishops, my seminary teachers. And guess what? Lucky for me, it made sense. It worked. It clicked. So when I came home, I was a different human being. I had different confidence.
I had different faith, different belief. I had the faith that I could walk on to the BYA football team. I was surrounded by friends and family who supported me in that effort. It was hard.
Course. Football was hard. It was never easy. Four years at BYU, nine years in the pros. None of that was ever easy. But what made it possible for me was reading the Book of Mormon every day, gathering that strength, putting it into the fire that I have both from my parents, my DNA, but also spiritually. I was different. That fire needed to be fed on a daily basis, too. Being in the NFL, being in any football locker room is not like being a missionary. So you got to be strong without being a self righteous punk. Your teammates with guys who are way different than you.
But you have to love them and you have to connect. You have to work together. So I would say one of the greatest things that’s ever happened in my life was the ability to read the Book of Mormon every day. People that love the Book of Mormon are like, yeah, right on. People that hate the Book of Mormon or don’t believe in it, or they think that’s the stupidest thing ever. Well, all I can say is my life is a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.
That’s powerful. All these experiences that you’ve had, all the things that you’ve gone through, all of the challenges that you faced, NFL mission without the Book of Mormon, it would have been, I want to say impossible or more challenging. You wouldn’t have been.
I wouldn’t be who I am. I would not have done what I’ve done. I wouldn’t have taken on some of the things that I took on. If I did, my confidence would have been much different. I attribute it. I attribute the confidence I’ve gained. I attribute the faith in Christ that I’ve gained from my study of consistently reading the Book of Mormon. Wow. And so now, one of the things I do is I read the Book of Mormon in English. I read two pages, so almost a chapter. And then I read in Chinese out loud each morning to practice my Chinese. Every day?
Every day. You take it back from Chinese.
Mandarin. Okay. Yeah. So every day to practice this language that I work so hard to learn as a missionary. I don’t want to just go away. And it almost did for about 12 years. I wasn’t studying Chinese until the NFL asked me to go back, represent the NFL as an ambassador for the NFL in China.
That you have never been able to do?
Yeah. So I did that and I realized, man, I got to not just brush up, I got to study Chinese. I’m going to lose this language that I worked so hard to get. So as a fun way to study the Book of Mormon, I read it in English and then I read it out loud in Chinese every morning.
I learned things about the Book of Mormon in Chinese that…
Give me an example. What do you mean? Because you see it in a different language, it gives you a different perspective.
Is that what you’re saying? Yeah. The brother of Jared is older because in Chinese you describe if someone is a brother. The brother is not just a brother. It’s either an older brother or a younger brother. And so little things like that are really cool. When they went through the translation process, they had to ask the prophets and Apostles, Hey, is he an older brother? Little brother? I got to know because this is him writing in Chinese.
So the brother Jared is?
Older. Older. What else? Anything else like that?
Every day there’s stuff.
Like that. Interesting. So you speak Mandarin pretty fluently?
No. If you would ask a Chinese person, they’d be like, What language are you speaking? I can speak Chinese. It’s such a difficult language for me. Some people have the gifted tongues. They’re way more skilled and gifted and smarter, and they can speak it better. I have a friend, Whitney Clayton, who’s like a savant at Chinese. He can read it, write it. It just comes out of him. Well, I’m not like that. I can read it, which is like I recognize what a huge blessing and gift that is. It’s taken a long time, but it’s still hard every day. Chinese is tough.
But you could go to China right now and you could have a conversation and you could make it through.
You could be fine.
So you speak Chinese. And I’ve done a lot of interviews and I covered the Super Bowl in Chinese. The first time, it went live to China. 1.2 billion people, I was doing the color. Now, my color wasn’t great. My color was stilted. It was all Chinese missionary language. So here I am doing the broadcast at Super Bowl 38. It’s Patriots against the Panthers. And I’m saying, Roger, now Tom braided, Chuan Hun, Jong Chui. I’m testifying that Tom braided is throwing true passes. That was my language. How did.
You say it? How would you translate it? I believe I have a testimony.
I testifies throwing true passes. I love that.
I want to test that. testify by the depths of my soul that he’s throwing that true pass. That’s true. I know that his past is true. I know that his interception was not true.
And I’m sure the people listening were.
Like, What? But, hey, no, I just remember on the mission, it was just like, you didn’t know the words. That’s a hamburger. And you’re like, you know the thing with the lettuce and the tomatoes? Because you couldn’t say the word hamburger. You have to describe it. That’s the thing. That’s the thing that you eat. The don’t she. That you eat. Okay, this is really good. This is really good. So you’ve been to China. You’ve had all these amazing experiences.
I’ve had so many amazing experiences in my life. I’m totally humbled and inspired by what God has not only done with me, but for me and to me. My relationship with my wife as it’s grown through the 28 years we’ve been married. My kids are miracles to me. All those relationships are dynamic. They change every day. They change as my kids get older, as I get older. And none of them are just flat and easy and peaceful and bliss. Every part of life is moving up and down all around. Through it. Yeah, we’re going through. That’s right. Another reason why I want the Spirit with me is I work and love my kids and see them grow and develop.
You’re saying, and you didn’t say this directly, but it feels like you’re saying that the Book of Mormon, studying the Book of Mormon, brings the Spirit to you and you’re saying, I need the Spirit, and that’s why you read it. And you didn’t say that directly, but that’s one of.
The thoughts. That’s exactly what I’m saying. And people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ, who love the Bible, they’re getting the same thing out of studying the scriptures, reading Christ’s words, trying to understand him and have faith in him. It’s the same pursuit.
I feel like one of my greatest gifts is the Book of Mormon in combination with the Bible.
Right. Because it gives me… The Book of Mormon describes the gospel in such amazingly clear and simple.
Plain and simple descriptions.
Book of Mormon goes into such depth about the actual atonement that I’m able to understand way more than just reading the Bible, what the atonement is all about. That he takes on our sicknesses, our infirmities, our weaknesses, our anxieties, our depression, that he can help us now in our problems, our addictions, our everything. So the Bible is a pillar, it’s a foundation, and so is the Book of Mormon. And so 50,000 missionaries go out throughout the world every year serving with their own money, serving with their own time, two years or whatever, to try and share their feelings of Christ, their testimony of the Book of Mormon, trying to witness that it’s true. And if people believe and want to follow and join, great. And if they don’t, we love them.
You started describing some verses. Any specific verses in particular in the Book of Mormon that have helped you in any time, good, bad, whatever it is that you’re going through in life?
Start from the first verse of the Book of Mormon where Nephi, a prophet, is trying to describe who he is. Hey, here’s my parents. They’re amazing. Says our goodly. This is how I was taught. And in the first verse, he talks about the many afflictions that he had to go through.
When you slow down and you realize that he’s a prophet, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. What do you mean you had to go through all these afflictions. You’re a prophet. Yeah. Okay, that gives you a good idea that, hey, even prophets have a whole bunch of garbage that they have to go through. Trials, hurdles, challenges, people coming after them, health challenges, all of it. It’s a reminder that we’re on planet Earth. This isn’t the Celestial Kingdom. This isn’t heaven. We can have moments where it feels like heaven. We can have moments where, man, we feel so close to God. It’s like this is heaven. But it’s not. Earth is a challenge. And come back to Rober for us. We’re going through something that at times is so difficult. There’s nowhere to go but on our knees. And I think that’s what Christ wants more than anything. What does he want? He wants a humble and a contriate spirit. He wants us to recognize and appreciate what he’s done for us. When we remember him, we have a chance to have a spirit that’s contriped. And it’s not phony. It’s real. We’re talking about genuine, real discipleship, picking up our crosses, whatever they are, and following him.
And then look at today’s crosses. There’s like.
A million. There’s so many, yes. And he knew that there would be, and I believe that we knew that there would be.
Yeah. I think we did. Before we were born, we’re in heaven. It’s the war in heaven. It’s the counsel in heaven. We’re with heavenly father. We’re with Christ. And we celebrate that we can come down here, get a body. Satan doesn’t have a body. No wonder he’s trying to get us to trash ours. Get a body, have these experiences, learn, grow, prove our faithfulness through the ups and downs, going through life. Can’t get out of it. That’s our hope. Our hope is that when it’s over, that we can be with heavenly father and Jesus Christ. Our hope and our faith is eternal life. Our hope and faith is we can be there with our families. Our hope and faith that all this is real.
I love the Scripture that you said before, because there are times when we might have people in our family that may go this way or that way. But some of the most vile of whatever you could even think of, and even in the time, I don’t think that Alma was thinking of his son as like, he’s the worst kid.
He was praying for him. It was his son. That was the thing. One of the thing I forgot to say was here’s the angel comes to him. He loses his ability to speak. I’m a little younger. He uses the loss of his arms.
He’s like, I don’t know if he’s in a coma or what. He’s in a state where he’s so humbled.
And it says that his dad was praying for him fervently. Okay, let’s go back to the first verse of the Book of Mormon. You got Nephi, who’s going through afflictions, whose brothers end up wanting to kill him multiple times. They end up dividing as becoming two different nations, the Lamanites and the Nephites.
That happen to people today, where in our own families there’s trial and adversity? Yeah, all the time.
In the whole book is him coming back. The whole book today is him still to this day, hundreds of years later, thousands of years later, to redeem those people, to redeem that family. That was.
Yeah. I’m saying what he did with Al Mazroui, the younger. What he’s doing with you is he’s constantly, constantly reaching back, reaching back through time.
I was in the temple the other day. I was sitting there baptized in these youth in our ward. I’m like, He is going through generations to take that because you said we hope to get back into his presence, but he wants to be with us.
That is the character of Christ. His character is that he’s patient beyond comprehension. Earthly people, we get impatient. It’s like, No, I’m not doing that. He’s so different.
He’s like, I.
Know what’s going to happen. He said, My arms are outstretched still for you. Even in your sin racked life, even in your addictions, even in your confusion, even in your.
His whole thing is our mortality and.
Eternal life. I got to share this with you right here. Bring it. This is the scripture that you make me think of right now. It’s what is it? 1 Nephi 28. This one right here? No, 2 Nephi 28. Let me go back. 2 Nephi 28. Check this out. He says, Woe unto the Gentiles, sayeth the Lord of hosts, for notwithstanding, I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day. He even says this, They will deny me. Nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, sayeth the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me, for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long. Even though you got friends or whatever, he’s not giving up on anybody and he still wants to help. But I’m still curious, I wanted to ask you, because you mentioned about you have seven kids and that particular verse that you said. I’m just curious, if we’re being honest, what is it that made that verse seem so important to you now?
First verse in Nephi?
No, going back to Alma. You were like, because you were like, I was reading lately.
Because his dad was praying for him.
Here’s his kid. So you have some kids that you’re like, I’m praying.
For them. I’m praying for all my kids and they’re amazing. They’re way better than I am, way better than I ever was. I watched them. I watched their ability to do well in school and sports and handle the ups and downs and hurdles that they get. I’m like, Oh, my gosh. I married an angel because my kids are a hundred times better than I am. So the fact that Alma was praying for his son is meaningful to me because we have kids. You have kids and I have kids. It’s easy to get selfish and only worry about your own stuff. Moms are less selfish. I know my wife is less selfish than me. But the Lord was telling us so much about Alma that here he was praying his guts out for his son, who was a punk, who was destroying the church, destroying everything Alma was trying to do. Alma was only trying to serve people and teach them the gospel. And Alma, the younger, was trying to destroy that, trying to wreck it actively in every way. And what was his dad doing? His dad was praying for him like, Please see how this all works.
So, man, if I can be a dad like Elma… I know I had a dad like Elma.
He prayed for me when I was growing up. The Lord knows who we are when we’re 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old. He knows what’s going on.
He knows what challenges we have. It’s an obstacle course. There’s no easy path. It’s way easier to follow Christ, but it’s a jungle out there. And so here’s Elma praying for his son. That means so much to me. I love it.
So I want to pray for my kids. I want to think about them. I want to be more like my wife who she’s way more charitable and loving and kind. And that’s what mothers are. Who grandmothers are. They’re the best.
Tell me about your mom.
She’s amazing. The thing that in the last year and a half, she had breast cancer. She got treatment. She was super nervous about it. But she attacked it with this optimism and confidence. Once she was super nervous, she was given blessings. But when she started going through treatment, she saw people around her that were going through the same cancer treatment that were working, families, optimistic. She came out of that experience on fire. Wow. Meaning she had a cess for life and like, Hey, I need to pick up my game. And I’m looking at her.
Wow, what? You’re going through something so hard and you’ve stepped up your life in a way that you’re optimistic. You want to fight for everything good. She wants to fight for our country. She loves our country. She’s a Patriot. She loves our founding fathers. She has this desire to be her best. It’s amazing to me.
Yeah, you can tell you love.
Her, don’t you? Yeah, that’s my mom. She’s tough. She’s a fighter.
Yeah. Are you more like your mom or your dad? Both. Oh, really?
I got so much of both. It’s crazy.
Here’s an example. My mom was on the Alpine school board. She was the president of the Alpine school board.
And there was a president of.
The Utah school boards for four year term. But she was on the school board when there was an attack against prayer at graduation.
Remember talking to her at home about it. She was like, This is so crazy. We walked, not we, my ancestors, walked across the country so that we could be here in Utah so we could pray. Isn’t that crazy? The fact that we want to pray and people attack that is unbelievable. This is 2023 now. The founding of the country. I know. That’s what this country is all about. Isn’t that crazy? Anyway. And the separation of church and state has gotten to such a ridiculous point that you can preach and teach and espouse the wackiest, most obviously vile things. But if you want to bring in Christ, you want to bring in prayer, people just lose their minds. It’s like, okay, that’s where we are. And she is a tough, righteous person. She was like, No, this is what you fight for.
Were threatening law suits and it’s like, No, you fight for this. And if because of state laws or decisions, you’re not able to pray, that’s one thing. But you don’t lay down, you fight.
Yeah. How old were you at that time?
I was a missionary. So I’m reading about these stories as a missionary going…
That’s what’s up.
She’s tough. Loved it. And coming home talking to her about it was really cool.
That’s really good.
So what are some things that you… You said you read the Book of Mormon every day. Are there any other things? Yeah, one of the things.
That’s been helpful for our family is we gather at night and we read a chapter of the Book of Mormon together as a family and we say a family prayer. By doing that, we all have a chance to read a couple of verses. We all have a chance to connect. We have a chance to talk about what’s being taught. So if we’re reading, if anyone has a feeling about that verse, they can say, Man, I really like that verse. Or, Wow, what does that mean? And we just talk about it.
Seven kids. Now you have one in the Philippines. So six now. The youngest is?
Twins that are in eighth grade.
eighth grade, okay. So it’s not anybody running around crazy. It’s pretty peaceful.
They still fight sometimes.
Well, during prayer.
They’re still wrestling.
Well, during scripture study, they’re wrestling?
Sometimes. It’s all right. They just read anyway. I get all the Reddn art talked about that years ago. That’s just part of being a family. It’s part of life. And we don’t get too freaked out.
About it. But they remember more than you think. They really do.
So the way I describe it is when I did that with my family years ago growing up, I was wrestling with my brother Todd. My dad was probably losing his mind, like, You guys, would you pay attention? And we’re over there fighting. Well, what that did, even though I didn’t understand it, it gave my spirit some texture.
It laid some fabric to where once I really started studying as a missionary, there was texture that I could grab onto. I connected in a way that it made sense. And it was like all that time was not wasted. Even though I was rolling around with my brother fighting and laughing and my dad was.
Probably trying to read. There’s an experience where they have the activity days with my kids. One of my kids at the time, he was eight. And so the eight year old, he’s there. No, he’s nine now. But he was saying some stuff that was like, man.
Where did you get that?
I was like, you got home. My wife life, us. I was like, Oh, he was actually listening. Amazing. Some profound stuff, but not just my son. All of them. They said some of the most profound stuff that I’ve ever heard. And it was so simple. But it wasn’t just my son. It was all of their parents, what they were doing. It was getting them.
Cool. Yeah. So every day you take time simply to read and study with your family.
Yeah. And then not only read and study, but we pull out our phones and we calendar. So, hey, what are we doing this week? What are you doing tomorrow? The more we’re on the same page, the better our family runs. So as we all talk about who needs rides and ball games and practices.
And takes away the friction.
Yeah, it’s a great way for our kids to let us know, man, I got a big chemistry test tomorrow. Okay, I know what I can do to pray for you. You got a big old hurdle coming up. And so we just put on our phones, like, what we got calendar wise. And then we kneel down, we pray together. And after we pray, we stand up, we hug each other. Everyone hugs each other. Yeah. I love it.
So it’s simple.
And even if friends are over, we say, Hey, we’re going to read right now. You guys want to read with us? And most of them are like, Yeah, sure. That’s great. We just read and they take turns reading a couple of verses and we say a prayer and we don’t hug them. We at least give them good handshake.
What’s up? What would you say is when you… Because I know everybody wants to talk to you about the NFL. I’m just really curious about your perspective going into the NFL and you have this amazing experience on your mission. You go to BAU, you walk on amazing. Who does that? That’s amazing. Then now you went to the NFL and the Prophet said you’re supposed to keep the sabbath the Holy. What is your perspective of that? Because I believe that you were still able to do that. How did you encounter that? When it comes to the sabbath day, keeping it holy, NFL, going to the Super Bowl, you play every Sunday. What was your experience like with that? How did you…
I could talk for another hour about this. What I will say is it was always difficult to play on Sunday. It was my job, though. It’s what I did. My bishop was Vice Icahema in New Jersey. He was your bishop? He was my bishop. And he was also the sportscaster at the time for NBC 10, Philadelphia. M y bishop would conduct church. A fter church, he would be in my locker room interviewing me after the game. Really? Here I was with my bishop. That is such a cool… He was able to give me support. Michelle and I and Vi and his wife, Kayla, and their family, they were such great friends and mentors at such an important time in my life. Wow. I saw them read the scriptures every day. I saw them celebrate who they were with their faith every day. I saw Vi specifically be able to incorporate his faith into everything he did as a sportscaster without hiding it. He was just really cool about everything. So perfect mentor, incredible friend. I swear we had dinner at their house probably two nights a week for my whole career. I was always with them, always talking to them.
They were totally available. Just amazing, beautiful people.
He’s the bishop at the time. He also played in.
The NFL. Correct. He played for eight years in the NFL, was also a Pro Bowler, and was able to give me great life instruction. I wasn’t there on Sunday to go to church, to sing the songs of the restoration, to take the sacrament. But as my bishop, he gave us permission to take the sacrament on my day off, which was Tuesday. Wow. So we would have a sacrament service in my house on Tuesday. And we did that my whole career.
Wait, that’s so cool. So with his priest of keys, he’s like, look, I just think it’s so interesting how intricate that is. If you take a step back, he played in the NFL for about the same amount of time as you did. Same experience in this customized man there to give you perspective. Because I’m sure you could have just been like, Yeah, man, you know what, man? Do this on a Sunday. And from his perspective and empathy, really, I don’t know, I can’t speak for him. He’s like, You know what? I don’t know if he was thinking maybe I wish somebody did this for me. Maybe they did do it for him. He’s saying you could take the sack of M on a Tuesday, a different day, not even on Sunday. And he authorized.
That for you. That’s right. It was awesome. He wanted my kids. He would always say, Your kids are here taking the sacrament, and then they go with your wife to watch you play the game. I want your kids to see you taking the sacrament as well. I want you to take the sacrament. I want you to have this experience. So we did. We had a little cool service and my teammates, whether it was Ty Dettmer or Justin Nenna or sometimes Rino, Rino Hay usually lived a little further south. But we would gather together and we’d have a sacrament service.
Tuesday? Yeah, it was awesome.
What was that?
Sometimes we did it in a hotel on Sunday as teammates. Andy Reed was our coach. Andy Reed. And so we had a couple of people and we’d get together.
Even this Super Bowl.
The coaches. And I’m not saying that every person would have a similar experience, but it just shows the intricacy of God’s hand in your life. The coach is a member. Your bishop is a member who used to play in the NFL. And it just seemed so customized.
Yeah. Here we were, my son in law, Matt Bushman, married to my daughter, Emily, plays for the Chiefs. It’s on the practice squad. We were at the Super Bowl to support him, love him, celebrate him. And that morning we have a Church service, sacrament service where P order Ellett, who’s one of the younger coaches on the chief staff. He only has a left arm. His right arm, he lost in an accident years ago, farm accident, grew up in Loa. And he was blessing his son, Griffin. And so before the Super Bowl, there’s Andy Reed, Matt Bushman, Zane Anderson, myself, going, having a sacrament meeting, worshiping Christ, and blessing this little baby. The world doesn’t know what was going on with Andy and his family as they’re preparing for sacrament, as they’re preparing for the Super Bowl. That’s our sacred time to be with our Father in heaven and Christ. It’s a sacred time to remember the Atonement, to take the blood in the water that represents Christ’s flesh and blood that he gave for us. Wow. I was super grateful as a player to have Andy as my coach and a BAU Lavelle, very similar people, very similar faith.
They treat people the same. I think I’ve been blessed more than every other football player that’s ever played with the coaches that I played for. And I look at Matt now has my same football coach and my same tie dance coach, Tom Melv in. How cool.
Is that? It’s so intricate.
I’m telling you. Yeah, it’s awesome.
So look, all these people asked Andy Reed, I have to tell you some of these things, what did you put on your hamburger or whatever? What do you wish people asked him? Knowing who he is, what’s something that you wish that people asked him that you know about him, that they would say that he would say?
Who he is comes out in everything he does. He’s funny, he’s self deprecating, he’s extremely smart, he attacks life head on. He doesn’t work angles round people, and he’s not a connoisseur. He’s just straight up who he is, is who he is. So I wouldn’t ask people to ask him anything. I would just say, just watch how he lives. Watch how he treats people, everyone, whether it’s the janitor at the chief’s facility or the criteria worker at the Eagle’s facility when he was head coach, he treats people great. He’s very respectful. He’s appropriate. He’s professional. He’s funny. He’s engaging. He’s real. He’s just got this beautiful way about him. So don’t ask him anything. Just watch how he does it.
That’s so beautiful. What’s one thing you’ve learned from him? Because I want to say you’ve talked about a couple of mentors that you’ve had. He’s tough.
He’s tough. He’s tough and funny and good at the same time. But his toughness is he’s fearless in going after life. Look at his preparation for the Super Bowl. He’s just a tax. He’s progressive, he’s thoughtful. He’s the most creative guy in the game. He’s 63 years old, I think now, and he’s still got his foot on the gas. And he doesn’t speak like a car salesman. He’s not trying to prove to everyone and market himself. He’s just like, listen to how Mahomes talks about him. Listen to how anyone around him talks about him. They love him. How come? That’s the magic. How come? Why? Because he treats him great and he’s smart. He backs it up with a lot of work. One of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.
What’s something that you’ve experienced that you’ve seen? Because you talked about the janitor, you talked about… Is there a time, an experience that you…
Here’s one way he showed loyalty to the coiffed teary workers in Philly and Kansas City. J Dog, Jason Edwards, who’s a good friend of mine, wanted to go and serve the team on Friday. Friday is a shortened day. When we were in Philly, Andy would call it Junk Food Friday. After practice on Friday, there’d be cheeseburgers and wings and lobster bisque and stuff, just sandwiches. It was just fun for us to call it Junk Food Friday. I don’t know what they call it now. But Jay wanted to go serve his dogs to the team. And so he said, Hey, ask Andy if I can serve the dogs. Andy loves the dogs. If he comes into Provo, he’s Jay dogs. He loves it. And Andy’s response to me was, Tell Jay that’s so nice. I’d love to have him come. But I don’t want my workers here in the coffee tier, wherever else, to think that I’m going around them to get something better. I want them to know that I love them, I trust them, I value what they’re doing. And that was one small example of how he builds loyalty in his own organization.
That’s beautiful. It was surprising to me. I’m like, Wow, that’s cool. He thinks through, he’s a very thoughtful guy, thinks through everything. He’s not like Mr. Spontaneous, just doing stuff. He’s a thoughtful, he’s thought through it. He’s a leader. There’s a reason behind what he’s doing. And if you ask him, he’ll give you that reason for everything. Why do you have all your players tuck in their uniforms? And why do you have all of us look the same?
For him, it’s discipline. Football is a game of discipline. The teams that are on the same page are the best teams.
They’re all unified.
Unified, together. Take away.
All the drama. Everybody tucks the shirt in.
Everyone does it.
That’s the fact that you were willing to just do it without… It just brings a unity there.
And if you’re not willing, you’re just not meant to be on his team. And he’ll just let you know, Hey, you’d be better going somewhere else. Wow. That’s him.
So you had some good opportunities, customized, it sounds like, really, to have mentors like him, to be able to be in the NFL and still maintain your spirituality, which is not easy.
Which I can’t even imagine. And at the same time, have some powerful mentors along the way who have taught you some amazing things. What else would you add? Anything else that you would say that you would want? What advice would you give somebody? You’ve already given so many good things of advice. Trying to see. Anything else that you.
Would add? No, I wouldn’t add anything. I bored people to death.
With this interview. No, you didn’t. No, you didn’t. No, I’m saying, from starting at the very beginning, you said the Robert frost first.
What was the first part of it? You don’t… Life is terrible.
There’s no way out.
There’s no way out. It’s only through. Only through. And you’ve given us some really powerful examples of that very thing.
I would say one of the most important things about life is being authentic, being genuine, being real. People can see a phony from a mile away. They want our authenticity. They want us to be genuine. They want us to be true people, real people. Treat them with kindness, even in disagreements. It’s okay, we can disagree. I went through a great training two weeks ago with elder Christofferson. His training was Christ loved people. He loved everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone. Say our kids have some issue or something that’s radically different than we agree on, and they want us to do stuff to support them. He was saying, You can love them and still not agree with the direction they’re going. Christ did that all the time. He would love people. He didn’t agree with the direction or the sin and their committing, and he wanted them to turn or repent to turn towards him. Let’s say the same thing. We have a better chance at affecting people the right way if we’re genuine, if we’re real. And it’s not always easy. Life is tough, ups and downs, but I would say that’s huge.
So let’s be real.
Let’s be real. Damn, I love that. Can’t say it any better. This has been really good, really insightful for me, man. I really appreciate you.
Taking the time. Steven Jones, baby.
Yeah. So one of the things I think that’s so powerful, you played in the NFL, you’ve done all these amazing things, but the things that you talked about the most that you had the most, that you just… And I really felt was when you were just talking about your relationship with Christ. And so yeah, Chad Lewis, Pro Bowler, amazing man, father of seven kids.
Super tall kids.
Oh, tall kids, yeah, but a disciple of Christ. I believe everything that you said was true. But this is Chad Lewis. I believe what he said is true. But don’t take his word for it. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself. Till next time.