If you are a regular reader of Mormon Women Stand blog posts, or read the comments posted over on our Facebook page, you have received bits and pieces of my personal story. The administrators of Mormon Women Stand are real people. We are all very different in our upbringing, and each of us has traveled a different path to reach the place we are now. We are all struggling, just as everyone else, to keep our lives on track and to hold onto the iron rod. We don’t all live in the same state, nor even the same country. We are as diverse in our opinions as we are in our ethnicity.
Sometimes I think the admins of Mormon Women Stand are perceived as a bit stuffy and old fashioned, which is laughable to me because we are anything but that. If you could only witness the lively online conversations amongst us, you would get a much better feel for our personalities. We are as different as night and day, yet we come together as sisters in Zion to do one thing that we all consider important: Stand for truth and righteousness. We are one in purpose. We may not always see eye to eye on everything, but we come together in purpose.
Maybe it would be worthwhile for our readers to get to know us better, so it is with that in mind that I write this post. This is my personal story.
I’ve been thinking about the questions we all might have from time to time as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve seen a lot of posts swirling around about this topic, but most seemed to fall short in teaching correct principles. Except for this post by the popular blogger Middle Aged Mormon Man. It articulates exactly what I’ve been thinking and feeling, and perhaps what you’ve been thinking about too. He points out six principles that cut through to the heart of the dialogue swirling around Mormons and questions. They are a must read and I’m not going to share them on here because I don’t want to give it all away. In short, he completely nails it.
This fantastic post can be found by clicking on this link:“I am Mormon, and I Have Questions” Please also read the 146+ comments, it’s a great discussion and one worth engaging in, whether here on Mormon Women Stand or on Middle Aged Mormon Man’s post.
What do I hope we gain from reading this piece? First, I hope it goes viral (again). I also hope for better understanding. Better conversations about these issues on Mormon Women Stand. And ultimately, better online, personal and face-to-face discipleship leading us towards Jesus Christ and His church.
Please share this and engage in this conversation. It’s so important to get it right.
From the ‘About‘ section of the FairMormon website: “FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice.” Mormon Women Stand is pleased to share our collective voice with the FairMormon audience. Among the broad conversations about Mormonism and within and among its members, particularly females, ours’ is a voice that represents, we believe, the vast majority of Mormon women and what it looks and sounds like to be a faithful, covenant women of Christ. Continue reading →
In the world we live in today, the eyes of parents have to be wide open. These last days are moving fast and taking our children before we realize it. How are we to stand as protectors of our children from the destroyer?
In Deut. 6:7-9, the Lord teaches us to diligently teach our children. Teach them all day, every day, and then remind them often. The Jews used to remind themselves to worship the Lord by wearing phylacteries as frontlets between their eyes. Every time they passed through their front door they kissed their mezuzot, which reminded them to obey the law of the Lord, which was scrolled up inside. We don’t use these same reminders today. Instead, we have Family Prayer, Family Scripture Reading, Family Home Evening, Family Council, Family Teaching Moments, and plaques that say Return With Honor. Continue reading →
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered the summer commencement address at Brigham Young University. Elder Nelson’s talk centered around and focused on the doctrine of the family, marriage and the opportunities we have, as disciples of Jesus Christ, to defend these doctrines, but also explain and teach their importance to the world.
Elder Nelson began his talk with addressing the topic of partnership and how, when we are committed to the Lord and following His commandments in our marriages, we become partners with each other, and partners with the Lord. He stated, “In marriage a husband and wife form the most significant partnership of all – an eternal family.” He further taught that to be a good partner in a marriage, each person needs to develop their attributes of character. When those attributes are centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have powerful tools to help ourselves, our spouses, our children, and those who are around us. Continue reading →
LDS Charities has released 100,000 dollars in relief funds to help persecuted Christians in Iraq. Mormon Women Stand supports this critical effort to help those who are suffering because they refuse to deny their testimonies of Jesus Christ. We encourage all LDS women to donate to the General Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ humanitarian organization.
We also support global efforts being made to organize fasting and prayer events, knowing that unified prayers, which are a powerful act of faith and trust in God’s power, can bring about miracles. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principal of the LDS gospel, and seldom has the need for this specific faith been greater.
What is Happening in Iraq to Christians?
In Mormon chapter 8 of the Book of Mormon we read about the brutality and savagery of the Lamanites and Nephites. In an unending war, the Lamanite and Nephite soldiers are brutally murdering and raping women and children. They are feeding the prisoners with the flesh of their kin. They are without humanity.
Today the world is witnessing a similar circumstance in Iraq. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (Al Sham meaning the Levant, or Greater Syria)) terrorists, radical Muslims who act outside of the mainstream faith, have been moving through Iraq killing all men, women, and children who are not adherents to the Islamic faith. ISIS warned the people in the cities they have captured that they must convert to Islam or face death. Rejoicing in their savagery, the ISIS terrorist have made music videos and photographed the rapes and murders of innocent women and children. Several graphic images have emerged of Christian men, women, and children brutally murdered because they are not of the Islamic faith. Reports allege that women are being raped, men are being hung and crucified, and children are being beheaded. These children of God are facing three options: convert to Islam and become one with ISIS, stay in their homes and risk death or imprisonment, or run away into the desert in hopes of finding safety.
While we are taught to join in the fight “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,” (Alma 46:12) we are also warned to not accept the brutality of war. In a General Conference address, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. teaches how we ought to feel when faced with the murder and destruction of our brothers and sisters in different nations. He says:
“as the crowning savagery of the war, we Americans wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilian population with the atom bomb in Japan, few if any of the ordinary civilians being any more responsible for the war than were we, and perhaps most of them no more aiding Japan in the war than we were aiding America. Military men are now saying that the atom bomb was a mistake. It was more than that: it was a world tragedy. Thus we have lost all that we gained during the years from Grotius (1625) to 1912. And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery.” (Conference Report, October 1946, pp. 84-89)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always helped those in need. The humanitarian efforts of members of the church reach many throughout the world. The humanitarian page on the church website states:
“For many years, The Church has been actively involved in humanitarian relief and development activities throughout the world. These include emergency relief assistance in times of disaster and humanitarian programs that strengthen the self-reliance of individuals, families, and communities. Humanitarian projects are funded by donations from Church members and others. One-hundred percent of these donations go directly to help the poor and needy. In-kind material assistance is provided through items donated by Church members and others. Church humanitarian efforts relieve suffering for families of all nationalities and religions and offer hope with the potential for a better life for millions of people around the world.”
Members of the church have heeded the call in donating items, food, and money to assist after earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and with refugees from war-torn nations. Let us again offer our compassion, our hearts, our prayers, and our money in helping our brothers and sisters suffering from the worst brutality and savagery the world has known in more than a generation. We invite you to join the Mormon Women Stand Facebook event, Global Prayer for Iraqi Christians, to unite in prayer and fasting with the worldwide community of Christians on behalf of our courageous brothers and sisters, and their children, who refuse to deny Jesus Christ, even at the peril of their lives, August 23-24th.
There is a serious social debate taking up time in the media, in our homes, in our families, and in our communities. The debate is centered around marriage and has the potential to completely change the character of families, societies, and nations. There are two basic arguments of how marriage should be defined and regulated: the conjugal view and the revisionist view. Continue reading →
The Relief Society Declaration says that we are women who delight in service and good works. I am truly blessed that I have had such good role models of service in my life—men and women. My parents were always doing things for others.
My mother was a leader in a youth organization for years, and later served on the organization’s Board. Mom was a great seamstress and made a lot of our clothes. I remember one summer she took the sewing machine up to our family’s cabin in the mountains. She set it on a huge rock underneath a big pine tree, and strung a long cord through the window to plug it in. She made all my school clothes that summer—fighting the curiosity of the Blue Jays and the chipmunks that wanted to dive bomb all the bright red and orange fabric. I hope Mom knew how much I appreciated her and loved her for that act of service.
Dad was always doing something for a neighbor or a friend in need. I remember the summer my grandfather (Pa) retired and didn’t know what to do with his free time. Pa decided that he and Dad should build a rock wall that Dad had dreamed about for a while. Dad was a salesman who worked solely on commission, and he really couldn’t afford to take time off work to build this rock wall. He did it anyway—not because he really needed the wall built, but because Pa needed to do it to keep busy.
I remember Dad setting up flood lights around his lilac bushes one spring to keep them from freezing so that my sister would have lilacs for her wedding. He babied those lilacs for days trying to save them. He and mom cut some of them and put them in buckets in the house to try and save some in case the ones left on the bushes froze. Between the two of them, my sister had lilacs for her wedding.
Many others have been examples of service to me. I’ve watched friends serve their families and members of the community for many years.
No one has made a better impact on me of the importance of service than my husband. He has quietly given service all his life. He never asks for anything in return; never needs a pat on the back. Even now that he is retired, he continues to serve. He regularly mows lawns for family members who are struggling to get everything done while raising their children and serving in their respective church callings. He pruned bushes at the church for a long time. He still does it occasionally, but at 71 years old, I now encourage him to let some of the younger people take care of that.
As I have watched both the men and women in my life serve others, I have grown to love serving others myself. Service isn’t something that is gender specific; it is a Christ-like attribute. We can all give service—and we all have specific talents to give.
It took me a long time to figure out what kind of talents I have. It was silly, really. I spent too much time comparing myself to others to realize that not all of us are musicians or artists. We don’t all have college degrees. We aren’t all teachers. I spent so much time looking at all the wonderful talent surrounding me that I was blinded to my own unique talents. Now that I’ve sorted it all out, I use those talents to serve others.
As I have watched my husband’s quiet service over the years, I have often thought about how it brings out the best in him. It also brings out the best in our family as we have learned to serve beside him. He taught our children how to quietly go about the business of good works. As Elder Cuthbert said, I’ve watched service refine and purify him.
This example of good works from him (as well as many others) makes me want to serve in a similar manner. It isn’t just the service that impresses me; it is the nature and genuineness of the giver of that service. Christ didn’t heal the sick and then say, “What do I get out of it?” He gave with no thought of His own reward.
As sisters in Zion, we should delight in service and good works. There is a lot of work to do around us. No matter what your individual situation is, there is always someone who is in greater need than yourself. We all are in need of something—just not all the same things. It’s just a matter of keeping our eyes open to the need around us and then finding ways to use our individual talents to help.
Prayer is a gift and a privilege. Most people in the world know that they can pray to a heavenly being. It is a truth that has caught hold, because people instinctively understand it to literally be a lifeline to God. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we understand it to be much more than a lifeline. We believe it is the basis for how we conduct ourselves and ultimately align our will with our Father in Heaven, which is the purpose of our journey here on earth.
How much do we really know about prayer, and what it can do for us? There is much teaching that comes from our scriptures on the practice of praying to our Heavenly Father. I invite you to take a scripture journey, reading the following list of scriptures, in order to discover for yourself what prayer can do for you in your life. Continue reading →
The Relief Society Declaration says that we are women who find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. What is nobility? Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary defines nobility as the quality or state of being noble in character, quality, or rank. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nobility.) The word noble is defined as having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.) (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noble.) By those definitions, motherhood certainly is noble.
What is not to be admired about a good mother? In order to be a good mother, a woman must be of good character and quality. Motherhood is not only noble, but an art form. Mothers create not only the mortal body of their children, but more importantly, their character. They mold their children like a lump of clay into responsible adults. That’s art!
The world would have us believe that motherhood is somehow demeaning, or at least not worthy of attention. Women are delaying having children into their mid and late 30’s. Having children seems to be something women do only when their biological clock begins to run out—something they feel they should do just for a new adventure, or because they’re bored with life and want a new challenge. Raising children is no longer what young women aspire to do. I find that very sad.
As a child, I always wanted to be a mother. There were other things I wanted to do, but mother was always at the very top of any list of goals. I held motherhood up on a pedestal (where it rightfully belongs).
Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, and better than you have ever been. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you. We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God, lds.org).
Cherish the role—I love that phrase. Motherhood is something we should cherish. I totally relate to Elder Holland’s statement that mothers will be “made more than [they] are, better than [they] are.”
When I was raising my children, there was a new challenge every day. Each challenge brought opportunity for growth—mine; not theirs. I’m not a person who is known for patience, yet I learned to be much more patient (not that I’m still not striving in that category). Some women are born to be mothers, and some of us have to learn to be mothers. I was the latter. My children taught me how to mother. They made me “better” than I was before I had children.
Is it possible to find joy in womanhood? All around us we are told that women should be unhappy just by virtue of the fact we are women. We are told how men have every advantage over women. So how could we possibly find joy in womanhood? I come from a long line of strong women. We can hold our own. Yes, history has not been kind to women. History has not been kind to a lot of different groups of people. That shouldn’t sour life’s pleasures. If injustice is done, one should pick herself up by her bootstraps, slap a smile on, and find joy in being herself.
One of the greatest of all God’s revelations is Father Lehi’s teaching that “men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.) Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Joy and Mercy, Oct. 1991 General Conference).
I would agree with Elder Oaks that joy comes from being completely in harmony with God and His eternal laws. It is important to follow modern-day prophets so that we know what is in conformity with those laws. If we are always murmuring and complaining about injustices in the world, we tend to listen less and fight more. It is one thing for women to stand up for our equality, and quite another to be ungrateful for our very womanhood. The fight for equality has turned into a bashing of our eternal counterparts. That is not in conformity with God’s laws. Contention is not joyful. Gratitude is joyful. Rebellion against God’s prophets does not make joyful hearts. Submitting to the Father’s will not only brings joy, but spreads joy. It is my prayer that we all find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. I cherish my femininity.