Monthly Archives: October 2014

When Doctrine Taught in Primary Becomes Controversial

doctrine primary hymn sacrament meetingI recently attended a daughter’s ward to see some of my grandchildren participate in the yearly Primary Children’s Sacrament meeting. This year’s theme is: Families Are Forever. I know I share the feelings of many when I say that I think this is the best Sacrament meeting of the year. There’s a very important reason for that (not just that the children are so darn cute!) This year, in light of what’s going on in the world in regard to the family and marriage, what those sweet children presented struck me as being truly sacred. But what I’ve found out since is disturbing—and I’ll get to that in a minute. My favorite part of the program was when a beautiful family stood to sing the primary song: The Family is of God. It nearly took my breath away! I’d never heard the song before and the words coupled with such a beautiful presentation touched me deeply.  They began by singing the first verse as a family:

doctrine family of GodOur Father has a family. It’s me! It’s you, all others too: we are His children. He sent each one of us to earth, through birth, To live and learn here in fam’lies.

Following each verse, the entire family sang the chorus together, which emphasizes that the family is of God and why:

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be— This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

On the second verse, the father sang a solo using these words to teach us about God’s eternal plan:

doctrine fatherhoodA father’s place is to preside, provide, To love and teach the gospel to his children. A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share Their love for Father in Heaven.

    [Chorus]

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be— This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

LDS Church meetinghouseAt that very moment, it struck me like lightening just how sacred a privilege it is for us to come to church with our families. Continue reading

Cling to Your Covenants or to Your Beef: Part 2 (of 2)

This is the second part of a two-part article that discusses how our loyalty to the Church and its inspired leaders is similar to our loyalty to a spouse. Click here to read Part 1.

Just as the Savior was loyal to us, we have promised to be loyal to Him and his chosen leaders.

Just as the Savior was loyal to us, we have promised to be loyal to Him and his chosen leaders.

Hitting the public “share” button on a criticism may at times be appropriate at a concert, in a corporate setting, or in some personal settings, but there should be an inherent difference between our relationship to the Savior’s Church and his leaders and, say, the business we work for. And that difference is the covenant we’ve made to the Savior and his earthly Church. In fact, it is much like a marriage relationship. We have promised to be loyal to our (imperfect) spouse, to the (perfect) Lord, and his chosen (imperfect) spokesmen. Unlike an employer and employee, it is not our job to find fault with the Lord’s anointed, regardless of how noble or altruistic we feel our reasons are. Elder Dallin H. Oaks elaborated:

I have given the following counsel to Church members—those who have committed themselves by upraised hands to sustain their church leaders: Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who ‘speak evil of dignities.’ (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true. 1

What If I Think I See Something That is Wrong?

Notice what George Q. Cannon said of whose responsibility it is to condemn the Lord’s servants if they need it, and what the consequences are when we attempt to do it: Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Dallin H. Oaks, “Criticism,” Ensign, February 1987.

Holding Fast to Religious Liberty

Faithfully Forefront in the minds of many people, especially those who are of religious faith, is preserving religious liberty. The erosion of this freedom is alarming, to say the least. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures to each individual not only the right to choose or not to choose to adhere to a specific faith or religious belief, but it also provides for the free exercise or practice of that belief.  Both specifications are often misunderstood, and are being challenged in court cases across the country.

Freedom of religion in the First Amendment is not stated as “freedom from religion,” although there are increasing numbers who call for God and religious belief to have no bearing on the formation of any laws. “Religion is fine, as long as it is kept private and in your own home,” is a statement frequently made on the Internet and in numerous social media outlets.  If you left it up to some who consider themselves “wise” in regards to religion they deem “evil,” they would rather be like the monkeys that don’t want to hear it, speak it, or see it. There seems to be zero tolerance for those that want to exercise the right to voice opposition to what they see as wrong according to their religious belief.

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First Presidency Letter Encourages Members to Vote

First Presidency issues letter voteThe Mormon Newsroom has just released an official letter from The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) encouraging members to participate in the upcoming elections by getting out to vote.

        SALT LAKE CITY — The following letter was issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 9, 2014, to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:

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Teaching Women About the Priesthood

Relief Society gatheringAll year our Stake President, under the direction of L. Tom Perry, has worked with our Area Seventy, Craig B. Terry, to teach about the priesthood to the men in each of the wards in our stake. They’ve taken the two hours after our Sacrament Meeting to talk about better training for the Aaronic Priesthood; allowing our boys to perform more of their responsibility.

These meetings with the men and boys have gone so well, it was suggested they have a similar meeting with all the women in each ward. This too has proven quite successful as women have gathered to learn about the priesthood and its value in all our lives. Plus, it is always a welcome bonus for Primary workers, Young Women workers, and Young Women to gather as an entire Relief Society unit.

I was happy with how the discussion went. First of all, the Stake President stated that priesthood and motherhood go together. I know feminists have argued against this idea before. They hate to think of women being “relegated” to motherhood, but the reality is that God depends on women to give birth to his children. His plan cannot work without us doing this most glorious work. And I truly believe it is mothers who have the most influence in the home to raise these heavenly children. So, as the discussion opened— Continue reading

LDS Church Has Not Conceded Marriage

rp_elder-oaks-sat-pm-oct-20141-300x3001.jpgIn our last Conference, Dallin H. Oaks talked about kindness and living with people who do not believe as we believe. The very next day the United States Supreme Court dismissed all marriage cases allowing the rulings of the lower courts to stand. Without further ado, gay marriage was legalized in Utah and 4 other states with many more to follow. Immediately following the Supreme Court’s dismissal, social media accounts flooded with lots of celebration. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints either stated out right or inferred that the LDS Church had conceded its stance on marriage. I heard some declare that, as members of the Church, we were done. We should no longer argue or stand up for marriage because Elder Oaks had spoken, and we need to obey. The events occurred as follows: On Sunday, during General Conference, Dallin H. Oaks gave this instruction:

“When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or nonbelief, and differences in sexual orientation.”(Dallin H. Oaks, Loving Others and Living with Differences, Oct 2014)

On Monday, after gay marriage suddenly and unexpectedly became legal in Utah, the newsroom of the Church put out a message saying: Continue reading

Reconciling War: A Mormon Perspective: Part 1

anti-nephi-lehies-bury-weapons-39657-galleryThis is part 1 of a 3-part article regarding war from the LDS perspective.

Six months ago on Memorial Day as the Mormon Women Stand Facebook page began posting tributes to veterans, we received several comments from people who felt that our tributes to veterans somehow promoted war and violence.  I wanted to respond, but did not have the time to do the research.  Instead, I scheduled myself on the Mormon Women Stand blog schedule to write a Veteran’s Day post.  After careful research, I now feel ready to respond to those comments.

Violence and war are evil, and there is nothing Christ-like about it.  Unfortunately, both are here to stay until Christ again reigns on the earth.  So what do we do?  How do we conduct ourselves?  How do we reconcile our beliefs amid warring nations?

LDS Church Position on War

The topics page for war on the website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addresses concerns for those who serve in the military: Continue reading

Cling to Your Covenants or to Your Beef: Part 1 (of 2)

This is Part 1 of two-part post on sustaining Church leaders. Click here to read Part 2.

TenVirgins_MWS-01During the past year or so, I’ve noticed a number of members of the Church who, for some reason or another, have publicly vented frustrations about the Church’s doctrine, its leaders, or other goings-on. While I am never happy when someone is frustrated, I think there are better ways to deal with this kind of frustration as Latter-day Saints besides jumping online to share them with the world.

In a previous post, I brought up specific examples of Church leaders who had every worldly reason to be offended at doctrine being taught because of their personal situations, but instead of offense or softening the doctrine, have stood for it boldly. This two-part post will explore what it means to “cling to our covenants” in the social realm when we are tempted to break them. We’ll address covenant-appropriate ways to deal with our “beef” and why dealing with frustrations within the Church should be inherently different than how we deal with them in other settings.

Before I jump into my commentary, let me share with you a powerful parable written by a friend of mine that illustrates some great points about our covenant relationship with the Lord’s Church. Though it is written about marriage, it’s not primarily about our marriage covenants. Like most parables, the main message the author hopes to get across is not explicitly mentioned in the story. I’ll explain the meaning below, but here’s a hint:

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Suicide: Three Words Whispered

CloudsI sank deeper into my child’s bed. I recall thinking as I lay there in the semi-darkened room that I really was sinking out of life. With one child at school and a toddler napping, I had time to review my life; time to think and consider.

Things didn’t look good. My marriage was rapidly falling apart; my every effort thwarted. I was disconnected from my family, my parents. I felt friendless. I was sure I was a burden to those around me. I had major health issues, physical challenges that were not going to improve. The view of tomorrow and all the coming tomorrows didn’t look good. My depression laid over me like a dark wet blanket. I’d taken to swallowing sleeping pills in the morning to numb the pain as I stumbled through my days. Joyless days where there was no light. I felt no hope. Just powerless despair. I decided that suicide was the only way, indeed the best way.

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The Secret Life of a Bishop’s Wife

our-handsOn the surface, it appeared to be a typical Sunday in a typical LDS chapel in Phoenix.  There were a couple of items, however, that would make it stand out in my mind forever.  It was Leap Day 2004 — the day after my 25th birthday – and it was the day my husband was sustained and set apart as a bishop.  It was the day I became a bishop’s wife.

When Jeff was called it was made clear that I had also received a call to serve alongside him and sustain him.  At the time I had no idea what that would entail or how heavy Jeff’s burdens would  sometimes be.  Even now, as my husband serves in the capacity of stake president, I can remember the weighty feeling of his responsibilities as bishop, and I often tell people that being a stake president is much, much easier; Jeff agrees.

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