Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Critical Journey from Faith to Conviction

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 6.08.26 PMI love writing, and I really love being a Mormon blogger. I am passionate about my faith and have always found Mormonism to be incredibly fascinating. I love Mormon doctrine, and I love to teach it. Throughout my life I’ve often expressed that to do so is among my favorite things. Some might describe me as having a strong conviction — I would agree.

 

When I first became active in the Church at age 17, I read Bruce R. McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” from cover to cover — like a novel. (I’m kind of a dork like that.) I was like this huge sponge — soaking up every ounce of gospel truth I could get my hands on, and I loved every minute of it. That was the beginning of my love to study the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the years have gone by, my time and passion to deeply study the gospel have been intermittent.

Early in my journey of faith, I was blessed with a powerful witness to the truthfulness of The Book of Mormonbecause I asked. However, it wasn’t until after my fifth child was born that I began a serious study of its content, which included more than just a daily investment of my time. That child is now almost 23. I did this upon the challenge of my then stake president. I had been called to serve as the education counselor (Do they even call it that anymore?) in our stake Relief Society presidency and felt the weight of my call to teach and train with power. book of mormon conviction promise

I can’t stress enough the importance of developing our testimony of the gospel upon the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. Not just upon the content of the book, but upon its truthfulness. My experience has taught me that there is a significant difference. In fact, I believe that difference has the power to enable us to withstand the very real and inevitable buffetings of the adversary. I have always found it significant to acknowledge the point in my relationship with The Book of Mormon that I came to know it is true. It was not after years of deep study of its pages. Rather it was during my initial contact and deep desire to know, for myself, of its truth. The results of which, no question, changed the course of my life. I knew it would, and that’s why I had to know for sure — is it true? Continue reading

Sifting Through the Noise of the World to “Hear Him”

In the town of Manchester, New York during the time when Joseph Smith was a young boy, there was “an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.”[i] This excitement, he says, wasn’t just located in upstate New York, but it was actually happening among all the people in the country. People were joining with this group and that group, and this “created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!”

In his account, Joseph Smith talks about the great zeal that was manifested between these groups and the good feelings which were first shown to attract converts were “more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.”

When thinking about all of these conflicting voices, opinions, and strife that was swirling around him, young Joseph said that even “his mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant.” The people wishing to gain followers “used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error … [and] were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.” Continue reading

General Women’s Meeting Highlights: Linda K. Burton

sister-burton-gwm-sept-2014Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, shared her thoughts during the 2014 General Women’s Meeting about how we can prepare to enter the temple and keep temple covenants.

She picked her young daughter up from her first day of school and asked, as any mother would, “How was your first day at school?” “Fine,” her daughter replied. The next morning, as Sister Burton went to wake her daughter up to get her ready for school, her daughter looked at her, folded her arms, and said, “I already went to school!” In this way, Sister Burton’s daughter wasn’t prepared for the expectation that she would have to go to school five days a week for the next several years of her life.

In temples, we can receive inspiration and power. Performing baptisms on behalf of our deceased ancestors and preparing names to take through the temple is one way to prepare ourselves for the temple. Captain Moroni prepared his Nephite warriors to face the Lamanite army as told in Alma 49: “Behold, to [the Lamanites’] uttermost astonishment, [the Nephites] were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known.”

How can we better prepare ourselves for temple blessings today? She explained that the parable of the Ten Virgins in the New Testament sheds light on preparedness, and she specifically likened the story to being prepared for temple blessings. Sister Burton pointed out a concept that I had struggled with when I was a teenager: Sometimes we feel sad for the five unwise virgins. Can’t we just be kind and share our oil with them? Her answer was simple: Just think about it. It was the Savior who called them “wise” and “foolish” virgins.  The oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.

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General Women’s Meeting Summary: Neill F. Marriott

sister-marriott-gwm-sept-2014During the General Women’s Meeting, Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the General Young Women Presidency, explained how to

1. Consistently add gospel light and truth to our lives, and

2. how to share that truth with others.

She boldly stated the following: “We have a work to do. We know the truth of the restored gospel. Are we ready to defend that truth? We need to live it; we need to share it. We must stand firm in our faith and lift our voices to proclaim true doctrine.”

I’ve been a part of many gospel conversations recently when people have declared that by defending a particular doctrine (in this case, it was the doctrine of  man-woman marriage), I was actually going against what Church leaders have taught. They argued that I was being judgmental by claiming that marriage should be only between a man and a woman. If no man can serve two masters, then let us be clear about which master we have chosen to serve. Let others not mistake our silence for acceptance. Of course, there is a loving way to do this, but let us make sure that at the very least, that we do it.

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General Women’s Meeting Summary:  Jean A. Stevens

sister-stevens-gwm-sept-2014-2During the General Women’s Meeting, it seemed that all the talks really emphasized that not only does Heavenly Father know us, but He loves us very much as well.

Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, spoke on how Heavenly Father knows us individually and specifically. I really felt the importance of what she was saying when she shared with us the moment when eight children were being baptized recently. As she gazed at each one, she saw them the way Heavenly Father sees them, with a pure love. She felt how much He loved each one of these precious children and knew them by name. She then proceeded to name each child for us. For me, this was pretty special. It’s always nice to know we are cared about, but wherever she was visiting, and whenever that was, she made a point to recall those names herself, whether by writing them in a journal (in order to remember), or searing them into her memory, it doesn’t matter. The point is the act of knowing and remembering the individual. Just think how Heavenly Father knows and remembers each one of us—millions upon millions—who have ever lived on the earth. We can feel that love when we really know and understand He exists and is watching over us.

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General Women’s Meeting Highlights: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

president-uchtdorf-gwm-sept-2014-2No plane analogy from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Instead he told us about all the women who have shaped his life, especially his beautiful wife. He reminded us that we will always and forever be a daughter of God. This is a joyful thought, and he told us to always live the gospel joyfully. Are we really happy to be daughters of a heavenly and eternal being? Is that thought so far away from us that we struggle to comprehend it? BTW, did you note his gentle reference about the General Women’s Meeting being part of General Conference? Not missed here. (More on that later…)

The theme tonight seemed to be about being spiritually prepared. It takes work on our part to study the scriptures, call upon the Lord, recognize His spirit, and act upon His word with faith and dedication. He likened the joy of obedience we should have to a plate of hated vegetables that must be eaten. Do we really need to eat those vegetables? We know those vegetables are supposed to be good for us, but do we care? They are not fun to eat, so maybe we should whine and complain as long as possible. Maybe if we do that long enough we won’t actually have to eat them, right?

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God, Prophets and Us — Oh Yes!

april-2013-general-conference-1124543-galleryTwice yearly members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) gather globally to hear the words of living prophets in hopes of receiving specific guidance on personal matters and concerns that might be spiritually disruptive to their lives.  At these times, I always find myself thinking about what is going on in the world and what prophets will say that are pertinent to world issues. After all, that’s what modern-day prophets do, right? I don’t necessarily expect our prophets to comment on political issues (because the Church is neutral in such matters), but more of how they might clarify doctrines, policies, and principles that focus on moral issues–issues that some might consider arbitrary. Much of what prophets teach runs in glaring opposition to mainstream society. For many, their words are uncomfortable, and for a few they are unbearable. No doubt this is the way it has always been, but I’m pretty sure that in these last days, with so many voices brought out through modern technology, it’s particularly challenging.

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Are Men More Righteous Than Women?

rebekah-at-the-well-39477-galleryAre men more righteous than women? We sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about. Is there a competition? Is someone keeping score? Will it matter in the end? People raise so many questions, but they forget that we were sent on this earth to be tested, tried, and trusted.

This world is also where Satan has been unleashed to do his worst. He is the one who demeans, exploits, and denigrates, especially women. But the purpose of The Plan of our Father in heaven is for everyone to overcome and choose the Savior. If any woman thinks less of herself, then please accept the following examples.

As we all know, behind every great man is a great woman. So it was with Rebekah. She is beloved for her spunk and righteousness. She was the one who received the revelation from God.

“…she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb…and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:22-23)

The story of Abigail is not very well known. Young David was hiding in caves from Saul, who was trying to kill him. He saw a rich man tending his sheep, who might be willing to help them with food, so he sent his men out to ask. The man, Nabal, said no. When David received this news, he organized his men to go and kill and destroy all that Nabal had. Meanwhile, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard what happened from a servant. She rushed all around to gather a long list of foodstuff and deliveredabigail-210x300 it personally to David. As she got off the donkey, she fell at David’s feet and said,

“Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be.” (1 Samuel 25:24)

Abigail is possibly the best example, in all of scripture, of Jesus taking upon himself our sins, with at least six identifiable actions. Search the chapter and see if you can find them.   Continue reading

Meeting God: Becoming Real

Velveteen Rabbit 3 “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt,” asked the Rabbit? “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”  (Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit”, illustrated by Turi MacCombie.)

Velveteen Rabbit 4

I am a member of the Mormon Women Stand Admin team. I live far away, geographically from the others, yet we are close to each other when it comes to our hearts, and a desire to Stand for the gospel truths, as well as for the teaching of the Prophets. In these matters we stand united. While our intended destination is the same, we have had varied life journeys, but we are all becoming real. This is mine . . . With a combination of counseling, medication, and acceptance, I righted the capsized vessel that was my life. Continue reading

General Conference Challenge: Prepare to Get Your Question Answered

We’re coming into one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is it autumn, but it’s also one of the best seasons in the LDS community. It’s General Conference season. We’ll hear inspiring messages from a member of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations. But this year, instead of just watching the General Conference, I’d like to take it a step further.
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