Gender is a hot topic in the media these days. As women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do we know that our divine feminine nature comes from God? Do we understand that it was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity? How might it change how we feel about ourselves when we fully understand that femininity is part of the God-given divinity and identity within?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Rosemary Wixom’s talk titled Discovering the Divinity Within and the words we might use to describe our divine femaleness. The words “divine female identity” and “divine gender identity” keep coming into mind. With all that has been going on in the media this year on the topic of gender confusion and gender identity, I thought it was interesting that Sister Wixom didn’t need to spell out these specific social issues. Instead, she spent her time teaching correct doctrine and pure truth about our divinely appointed identity. We can then choose to use these truths to govern our thoughts, opinions, behavior and views about the world around us.
Sometimes as women, we can get so wrapped up in the details of day-to-day activities that we need to be reminded of the big picture. And sometimes seeing the big picture means really trying to focus on what specific tasks the Lord needs us to accomplish.
Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, spoke during this most recent General Women’s Session about how we can be focused on serving and loving the Lord, even amid our trials. Her talk, entitled, “Here to Serve a Righteous Cause” was a good reminder to me that I need to continually make choices between the good, better, and best in my life. And there are certainly ways to serve the Lord, even if large trials loom in our way.
She explained that all sisters are needed to help bring to pass others’ immortality and eternal life, since “great is the worth of souls in the sight of God.” 1
Mormon has said that “we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness.” 2Continue reading →
Sister Wixom spoke about divine nature. She began by mentioning the wonder and beauty of a baby’s birth, reminding us that, “We come into the world trailing clouds of glory.” She said that, “Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence from before our birth.” She told us that the Spirit will bear witness to our spirit that we are children of God. Once we understand our divine nature we must ask certain questions such as, “What will I do?” Sister Wixom answered, “Divine nature breathes in us the desire to serve others.”
Linda S. Reeves Second Counselor General Relief Society Presidency “Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants”
Sister Reeves spoke about virtue. She said that our bodies and sacred gifts come from Heavenly Father—they are sacred temples. She said, “Satan has raised a Korihor-like banner in our day with increasing success. What are some of his tools? Seductive romance novels, TV soap operas, married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media, and pornography. We must be so careful, dear sisters! We cannot play with Satan’s fiery darts and not get burned. I know nothing that will qualify us for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as much as virtue.” She said that if what we read or watch or participate in doesn’t meet the standards in For the Strength of the Youth then we should tear it up, turn it off, or throw it out. She listed six things that will help us to stay clean and virtuous:
Sabbath Day Power
She reminded us that “this life is the time to prepare to meet God,”(Alma 34:32) and not the time to receive all of the blessings. Yet, she said, that the reward is so great, so eternal, so everlasting that in that day of reward we will feel to say, “Is this all that was required?” Continue reading →
Are we tired yet of fornication before marriage and infidelity after marriage? The media would have us believe it’s natural, or that men and women are not made to be monogamous. We’ve heard all the reasons out there, but I like the way that Dr. Scott Haltzman, a therapist and expert on marriage, challenges this notion:
“Infidelity is not a victimless act. The decision to have an affair involves a secret choice made by one person to rob another person of what is rightfully his or hers: fidelity. It is an act that includes lying, family neglect and often the theft of time and money.
Does that sound harsh? It ought to. Sociology experts and evolutionary psychologists can argue all day long as to whether monogamy is natural or whether it is reasonable for anyone to keep unrealistic vows made in earnest. While the data on the prevalence of infidelity is daunting (about 40 percent of couples will be affected by an affair), the majority of married people have never had affairs. It’s amazing all the “unnatural” things humans can do when they put their minds to it!
So if you’re surprised at the moral outrage against infidelity, you shouldn’t be. Plain and simple, it’s wrong.”
I was a young mother once. Now I’m just an old mother observing the struggling young mother sitting in front of me during Sacrament Meeting. I know your pain! (And may I add, I think this picture on the left is a fake picture. No mother in her right mind would not be watching for the sacrament when three children are first in line.)
How many times did I ask if it was even worth attending church with my children? I’m going to share with the world, right here and now, two of my most embarrassing moments:
Story #1: At this time I had five children, under the age of about 8. For Regional Conference, we were to meet in the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle. My stake was asked to participate in the choir and my husband fully supported me going, because this would be the only time I would ever have the opportunity to sit in those golden choir seats. Sadly, I watched helplessly at the horror that would unfold before the entire congregation.
Often when we think of calamities foretold in the Latter-days, we think of earth quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, war, and financial collapses. These are all calamities and all foretold of in the scriptures. Yet there has been one calamity in the Latter-days that overshadows all others. It has caused the most pain and heartache for the most people. That calamity is the break-down of the family.
17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
The Lord, knowing the calamity that should come in the latter-days, gave the people the prophets beginning with Joseph Smith and commandments. He gave the people prophets that they might not take counsel from man or the arm of flesh—that faith may increase and that the everlasting covenant may be established.
When looking at the consequences following the break-down of the family, we can assume that the Lord was, in part, referring to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. We can also assume that the Lord meant all other covenants established through the restoration of the Priesthood to bless the children of men. Continue reading →
Julie Beck is among many of my LDS heroines. I absolutely love this woman and while we have never met, I remember wishing I could have worked for her during her time as the first councilor in the General Young Women Presidency, and subsequently as the General Relief Society President. I wanted to learn and be mentored by such a faithful and strong female leader in the Church. I still find myself drawn to her talks and tapping into reservoirs of her tremendous experience and wisdom.
In 2009, Sister Beck (while serving as the General Relief Society President) spoke in a broadcast address to seminary and institute of religion teachers. It was fantastic. Not long afterwards, the bloggers and news media began buzzing about it and it was easy to see why. It was a powerful and inspired speech that instructed parents, teachers and leaders about why the rising generation fully understand the doctrine of the family, and how we can most effectively do it. Continue reading →
Teaching our children truth is one of the most important edicts given to Latter-day Saint parents. As we teach our children gospel principles, we give then the armor and tools they need to fight off the temptations and false philosophies of our time. The Family Proclamation declares:
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. (The Family: A Proclamation to the world)
True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior…The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel. (Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Oct 1986)
Some parents find it challenging to get their children to listen and learn the gospel. Yet it can be done. These are some ideas to get you started on making your home a gospel centered home: Continue reading →
While enjoying a trip to Europe recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many young families walking around. Most cities have a central square with shops and cathedrals where they do their every day activities. This is where we find husbands and wives holding one or two children around them. Men are holding their wives’ hands, a little one is swinging between the two of them; women are dressed in dresses that bring out their best features. The picture of traditional family love is much more common than perhaps the media would lead us to believe.
“Traditional family” however, is a double-edged sword. While faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promote and believe in traditional family, we also have to fight the centuries of traditions that prevent a family from coming unto the Savior of the world, to worship Him, to be like Him, and to forsake all that a family has blindly traditionalized for so many years.
We all love family traditions, but the most important tradition should be the one of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, covenant keeping, and temple ordinances that bind a family for eternity. Sister Cheryl Lant, former Primary General President, said:
“What kinds of traditions do we have? Some of them may have come from our fathers, and now we are passing them along to our own children. Are they what we want them to be? Are they based on actions of righteousness and faith? Are they mostly material in nature, or are they eternal? Are we consciously creating righteous traditions, or is life just happening to us? Are our traditions being created in response to the loud voices of the world, or are they influenced by the still, small voice of the Spirit? Are the traditions that we are creating in our families going to make it easier for our children to follow the living prophets, or will they make it difficult for them?” (“Righteous Traditions,” General Conference, Apr 2008).