Monthly Archives: September 2016

Infertility, Motherhood and Sister Oscarson’s Talk

Sister Oscarson’s talk in the General Women’s meeting, “Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion” sparked a lot of dialogue within the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The entire talk was full of powerful council, warnings and doctrine; yet the quote that seemed to garner the most amount of attention was this one:

Sister Oscarson is correct and I agree with her that motherhood is of utmost importance, despite the fact that I experience infertility. Yet, sadly, there are some who murmur whenever leaders proclaim the importance of the doctrine of motherhood and eternal marriage because they feel it causes too much pain, injustice and “otherness” for those who are single, divorced, widowed, or experience infertility or same-sex attraction. I deeply empathize and mourn with those that mourn as they suffer through the grief of infertility, but I am unable to murmur with those that murmur against our Church leaders for boldly proclaiming Christ’s doctrine of motherhood and the family. Here is why:

I truly understand what it is like to not have the “ideal” in the Church because I have never been able to have children. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been painful to be childless in these contexts (it has.) However, I’ve discovered a better, more empowering way forward (more on that later.) Perhaps it may seem a bit ironic to some that I have a deep and unshakable testimony of the doctrine of motherhood and the doctrine of the family. This is because I have found out for myself, through intense study and prayer to come to the point of knowing that Christ’s Atonement heals and takes away the pain in our hearts. His power to replace heartache with hope, peace and joy is nothing but miraculous. Continue reading

What does it mean to be an “intentional parent”?

Woman in White Shirt Kissing Baby With Black and White Stripe Knit CapMany years ago, I heard Sister Marilyn S. Bateman share her testimony of parenthood.  I was holding my fourth child in my arms as I watched the BYU devotional broadcast from the comfort of my small home with three children playing nearby.   Her words pierced my soul as I realized that my work as a mother is actually Heavenly Father’s work and glory!   Sister Bateman shared the following:

For the last 42 years my major interest and focus have been the creation of an eternal family. I believe it is the most important mission a man or woman can pursue. When one realizes that Heavenly Fathers work and glory is to raise and educate children, one can understand why I believe that my work has been in partnership with Him and why it is the most exciting work on earth. If earthly parents are wise and desire a fullness of joy, they will strive to emulate our heavenly parents. Many of the lessons needed in this life and in the next are learned in the family setting.[1]

I don’t know why this idea came as such a shock to me. I have always known that my role as mother was a partnership with the Lord, but it wasn’t until this day that the Spirit witnessed to me just how important my work truly was and how much Heavenly Father cares about my role as a nurturer.  Over the past 14 years, I have managed to forget this great insight from time to time.  It’s easy to do, especially when life gets busy.  I tend to assume that going through the motions of parenting is enough, but in the process I miss out on the intentional parenting that will help me “strive to emulate our heavenly parents.”  Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and ask myself, “Is this the best thing I can do to raise and educate my children to the Lord?”  Unfortunately, most of the time, my answer is no. Continue reading

Filling Our Hearts and Minds With Their Words

general-conference-april-2011-826795-mobileWe are all anxiously awaiting what the Brethren will tell us this weekend, but I have the great fortune of filling my heart and mind already with their words. We should always be most concerned with the latest messages our leaders give us, but we cannot forget the great messages we have heard over the years. They are still of great value and most definitely filled with the spirit of edification, warning, and love. I have taken on the challenge to read and write about General Conferences of the past. As a writer for the General Conference Odyssey, I am overwhelmed with what the Brethren have been telling us–for years.

 

The General Conference Odyssey is a group of writers who write, each week, on a past session of conference, starting with April 1971. At this point, we have reached the Friday morning session of April 1974. And I repeat, I am overwhelmed with the doctrine, advice, warnings, love, and spirit of those early talks. Continue reading

The Doctrine of the Not Canonized Family Proclamation

Family Proclamation Because “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is not canonized, some LDS members feel they are free to either reject its teachings or interpret it at will. For example, the family proclamation teaches that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Some who disregard the proclamation as doctrine support and even advocate for same-sex marriage. Some go so far as to believe the doctrine of marriage will change. They feel that although the teachings in the proclamation pertain to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), the world at large should not be held to the same standard.

However, the proclamation teaches eternal, unchanging doctrines canonized in the standard works of the Church and affirmed by the consistent teachings of modern prophets and apostles.

What is Doctrine?

In the first place, the proclamation is strongly supported by the established criteria for “what is doctrine” as explained by the Church. Since the proclamation is firmly rooted in established doctrine, it is not necessary that it be canonized for members to uphold its teachings with confidence. LDS leaders, for over 20 years, have used the family proclamation as the gold standard by which they teach and establish the official position of the Church on the doctrines of marriage, family relationships, and gender identity. Prophets of God speak on His behalf; therefore, members sustain them as they uphold the doctrines declared in the proclamation. As members sustain and defend the proclamation, families are strengthened. The family proclamation meets all authoritative criteria for what constitutes LDS doctrine. Continue reading

Flooding My Mind and My Heart

Did you know that the Lord's command to Joseph Smith to take plural wives is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 132?Do you like to read?  Do you ever listen to audio books?  What is it about a particular book that makes you excited to recommend it to others?  Do you ever share your list of favorites with friends or family?  Have you ever seen someone you don’t know, reading your favorite book, and felt an overwhelming connection to them, simply because they were reading something so dear to you?

On Labor Day, my husband and I spent the day running errands in preparation for our son’s upcoming wedding.  On our trip to the grocery store, we picked up some salted mixed nuts that my husband’s sweet mother, Margie, said she was wishing for.  We stopped into the care center for an impromptu visit to give them to her, knowing how much she was craving the salty goodness of some roasted cashews.

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When we entered her small apartment, Margie was so excited to see us and was thrilled at the yummy treat we presented to her, but she wanted to share something with us that was much more nutritious.  She clapped her hands together and exclaimed, “guess what?!  I just finished the Book of Mormon, again!”  She was beaming with the Spirit that comes to a person when they have a burning love for and testimony of the Book of Mormon and she wanted to pass on her enthusiasm to us.  She wanted us to feel the warm glow she was already basking in. Continue reading