Bill Ballenger has gone from prison to preaching. From a lifestyle of drugs, violence, and crime Bill Ballenger found hope with the message of Christ while in prison. Bill finds purpose in life by helping young people find hope in Christ who have dug themselves into the same hopeless pit he found himself in. With a vision for helping others get off drugs and alcohol, Bill shares his story through his many speaking opportunities. He also finds ways of sharing hope through his music. Several years after Bill was released from prison his music finally developed into a professional career and has led to performances internationally in China, Russia, the United States and on international television. His message is simple, but often difficult to swallow: God is incapable of being incapable.
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Jodie Ballenger spent her young life fighting authority and digging herself into a deep pit without the prospect of escape. Violence ensued as early battles with drugs and sexual abuse propelled her into a downward spiral that eventually led to a SWAT team raiding her home and losing custody of her nine-month-old daughter. Jodie saw the remnants of a wasted life from behind iron bars of two different prisons over the course of two years. She made a promise to herself that it was time to make a change. What do you expect from life? A warm bed and food to eat? A safe space free from harm? For Jodie Ballenger, those expectations were never a given. Raised in abuse and neglect by her mother, who had been a prostitute, and a father who chose his new wife over her, Jodie learned quickly that her body was a vessel for others to use. Suffering mental, physical, and sexual abuse; abandonment; and neglect; she knew at a young age that she would need to learn to survive on her own.
Not every LDS person does, unfortunately. Having said that, I believe strongly that it takes a special individual who can remain active in the church and have a non-traditional marriage. To prevent problems from developing in the marriage over in what faith the possible children should be raised. Finally, the decision of whom you marry is really between you and God. I would never change my decision to marry him. My husband has gone from proselytizing and thinking he knows it all to a real spiritual seeker, albeit with a strong testimony in the church. But I'm glad for all the advice I read on this blog. And if you can make it to the Tree of Life and still be with your partner, guess what. Never ask vague questions and give her definite options instead. I simply do NOT believe he and I will not be together after we die.