Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Living Christ: Our Daily Religious Creed

living christHave you read “The Living Christ” lately? It is a detailed testimony of who Jesus Christ is, His mission, what He looks like, and all that He has accomplished for our benefit. This is the testimony of The First Presidency and The Quorum of The Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. As baptized and covenanted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we may want to know, understand, and sign our own names to it. Why? Because He is our Exemplar, whom we should look to for every thought, deed, and desire. Besides that, it would be a great accomplishment and testimonial.

Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “We need more of the distinctive, influential voices and faith of women. We need them to learn the doctrine and to understand what we believe so that they can bear their testimonies about the truth of all things” (“Men and Women and Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Sep. 2014). For me, these words can serve as my own testimony that proclaim the doctrine and truth of Jesus Christ.

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5 Ways Parents and Leaders Can Tackle Tough Social Issues with Youth


brick-wall-891312-galleryFor the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work with youth and their leaders in a variety of Church callings in both North America and overseas. Through this, I’ve found that one of the greatest concerns they have is how they can help their youth understand doctrine and eternal truths in relation to current social issues—including the really difficult and often confusing ones. Here are a few things we might want to consider as we are teaching the rising generation how to stand strong against the world:
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Grief and the Atonement

 

parents-son-kneeling-sorrow-grief-156501-galleryUPDATE:  I wrote this as we were anticipating the death of our Senior Editor, Terrie Lynn Bittner. As we mourn her passing, we also celebrate her life. Terrie is home now, with Eternal Parents who love her. My sincere, heartfelt condolences go out to her entire family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Once upon a time I wrote an article about grief in another venue. In order to make the article real and give it credibility, I shared examples of my own personal grief. That article came back to bite me, so it is with great ambivalence and trepidation that I write again on the same topic. I’m doing this because grief is something that we all experience in this mortal existence, and it is not just a one-time occurrence. Grief can be experienced many times in the course of a lifetime. It is an important topic to explore and to understand.

Grief, the sense of suffering that accompanies loss, is a common part of mortality as we lose loved ones or experience other tragedies. Because Jesus Christ has suffered the pains and afflictions of all mankind, we can be comforted and healed as we pray to the Father in His name and rely upon His Atonement (lds.org, Gospel Topics, “Grief”).

There you have it—grief is suffering. It is painful. It can be devastating and excruciating—but it can also be healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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Terrie Lynn Bittner: In Loving Memory

Terrie Lynn BittnerToday, we say goodbye to our sister in Christ, Terrie Lynn Bittner, who lost her battle with brain cancer and has returned home to be with her Heavenly Parents. She was the beloved Chief Editor for Mormon Women Stand since its inception and the technical brains behind the launch of this website enabling us to get up and running. Through her strong testimony of Jesus Christ and incredible writing and editing skills, Terrie’s influence has been a strong guiding force to what we have accomplished as a team in a little over one year. Presently, Mormon Women Stand is fast approaching 35,000 “Likes” on our Facebook page. This is only a facet of her online influence within the LDS community, and one I know she loved very much.

I’ve known Terrie since 2008 when we connected online through writing about Mormonism. She was always encouraging of my desire and passion to share our faith with others. When I determined to gather and launch Mormon Women Stand, she was the very first person I approached for counsel with an invitation to join me.

When finding out her condition was terminal, only recently, she gave up everything except her association with MWS. Her remaining days were spent focusing on her family and leaving a legacy by writing personal thoughts, which will strengthen her posterity for generations to come.

Terrie also leaves behind a legacy of empowering faithful LDS voices (particularly women) to stand for Jesus Christ. Terrie is a true disciple of Jesus Christ; a covenant woman. Terrie will forever be remembered for her stalwart understanding of the doctrine of Christ and her gift of teaching it to many of all ages.

11108988_10153006958062515_1829536135111636834_nOn behalf of our entire team, you will be greatly missed, Terrie. Our thoughts and prayers are with all members of your family. We love you and will eternally be grateful for your loving influence and the Christlike example you brought to every facet of your life. We are all better for having known you. You will forever hold a very special place in our Mormon Women Stand family. 

God bless and keep you until we meet again.

Kathryn Skaggs
MWS Founder

In loving memory, some of our admins here at MWS would like to share some very personal and tender thoughts about Terrie:

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Understanding Grace

christus-hand-lds-454936-galleryWe believe in the grace of God. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in Grace just like most other Christian denominations. Yet, unlike most Christian denominations, we take this scripture found in James 2:17- 20 literally.

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

That scripture tells us that what we do, not just what we believe, has an effect on the outcome of our salvation.

Trying to Understand Grace

I have heard a couple of interpretations of this scripture commonly espoused in Church classes and among Church members. Sometimes I have been told that if I do my best, then Jesus will take care of the rest and nothing more will be required. Other times I have been told that it really does not matter how good I am or what I do, that Jesus has already paid the price. So I get baptized, attend Church, and try not to commit any major sins—beyond that I simply need to believe and not fret about my salvation. Worrying about salvation, I have been taught, is not having faith in the atonement of Christ.

These interpretations, while they seem nice and frankly easy, do not fit in with the scriptures nor with everyone’s personal experiences. Then what is the truth? Continue reading

Can We Learn To Counsel in Our Councils?

ward-council-452390-galleryCouncils within the Church are counseling together better than ever. We are all interested in advancing the work of building the kingdom of God. Instead of sitting back and complaining, we are trying open communication and new ideas. And we are succeeding.

Every few months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers guest speakers at their Leadership Enrichment Series for Church employees. Recently, the General Presidents of Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary spoke on counseling together. This was an enlightening subject, especially as we are all seeking the best way to communicate and strengthen ourselves against the onslaught of the world that tries to tear us down and separate us. Here is a general list of what was taught on how to conduct good council meetings: Continue reading

Happy Imperfect Mother’s Day

This fantastic letter came via an author who wrote it as an anonymous Mother’s Day post for all to enjoy. We love the way she expressed everything we might have thought, but haven’t been able to verbalize.

p.s. This might make you cry happy tears.

mother-holding-baby-1202642-galleryHey, Mom.
 
Do you remember the first time we saw each other?
 
I licked the air with my baby tongue, tasting the world.
 
You watched my face, tender tears in your eyes. You believed I was absolutely perfect. A gift from Heaven.
 
How would you find the energy and strength to meet my constant infant needs and demands? How could you give your perfect child a perfect life? How would you teach me everything I needed to know? You were scared.
 
As I gazed into your eyes, I witnessed an immensity of raw emotion. I saw your fear, as well as love, concern, desperation, wonder, vulnerability, and apprehension.
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Were Women Ordained to Motherhood Before Birth?

Divine MotherhoodMother, mothering, and motherhood: each is a facet of the beautiful and divine nature of every daughter of God. To separate one facet of our eternal role as women is to minimize our divine destiny made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: eternal motherhood. The Family Proclamation teaches the eternal and absolute doctrinal truth that gender is eternal. Our spirits were created either male or female before our mortal birth. Femaleness is not a social construct but is both biologically and physiologically created and stored in the DNA of every female soul by loving Heavenly Parents.

“That women were born into this earth female was determined long before mortal birth, as were the divine differences of males and females. I love the clarity of the teachings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in the Proclamation on the Family. They state: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” From that statement we are taught that every girl was feminine and female in spirit long before her mortal birth.” (Margaret D. Nadauld, “What You Are Meant to Be,” New Era, Oct. 2002.)

Divine WomanhoodThe simple, yet glorious truth is that because we are female, we are inherently mothers. The state of motherhood is gender specific and is what compels the acts of mothering in different ways and stages of our lives. For reasons unknown, not every woman here in mortality has the opportunity to give birth. The full glory of our divine nature as females will be when every facet of being a daughter of God is made manifest—having become as our Heavenly Mother: exalted. Continue reading

Terrie Lynn Bittner: Faith in Terminal Brain Cancer

Terrie Lynn BittnerTerrie Lynn Bittner is the Senior Editor of the Mormon Women Stand blog. She is a technical guru who made this website possible. Terrie is an intelligent, published author with many accomplishments under her belt. She loves children, and many of us couldn’t wait every Sunday for her weekly Facebook post about her Primary class. More importantly, she is our good friend, mentor, and confident. Terrie has a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read her conversion story here. She is steadfast and immovable.

Very suddenly, Terrie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and is preparing to go home to her Heavenly Father. The time that she has left here in mortality, she is not wasting. On the contrary, she is showing the rest of us how to live with faith and courage. She is teaching us how to love life, love our Heavenly Father, and endure to the end.

The first article Terrie has written since brain surgery was just published on LDSBlogs, and we would like to share it here. We share it as a testimony of not only her strength, but the strength of all of us as women. We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, and together we can do anything–even write articles after brain surgery. Terrie, we are cheering you on. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly. We love you!

The MWS Team

Click here for Terrie’s first article post-surgery.

A Mother’s Conversation with God

Robertson-109bA part of being a mother in Zion is learning to have conversations with Heavenly Father. Mothers need divine guidance in creating a family of God. My husband and I try to include God in both the creating and parenting of our children. I know that when I make Heavenly Father a part of my daily decisions in the bearing and rearing of my children, He grants me peace and confidence that I do not have otherwise. Over the years, I’ve had a few conversations with Heavenly Father. Recently, I talked much with God about His plan for sending children to my family.

Nearly five years ago before the birth of my eighth child, I wanted with all my heart to be done having kids. We started having children immediately after we married, I was on my tenth pregnancy, and I was tired of being pregnant and nursing. I wanted to finally get on to the next phase of my life. I felt stuck in this phase of pregnancy–nurse baby–repeat. I thought that I could not raise my kids properly until I was finished with that cycle. I prayed and I prayed but never got the spiritual confirmation that I was done having children. Eventually, I quit asking. A couple months later in the temple, I felt impressed that we would have one more boy. I was okay with that and felt like I could be pregnant one more time for one more boy. Continue reading