I was sitting in Relief Society when the teacher asked us a fairly simple question: Why are we special? A few generic answers were given, but one of those generic answers (which we’ve heard a million times) suddenly didn’t sit well with me. The answer given was: Because we have the gospel.
I continued to sit quietly in class, but suddenly my mind was on fire. I had complete clarity with new understanding. We are NOT special because we have the gospel. EVERYONE is special because they exist on this earth. The reason why we are special is because we have a SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY placed upon us to live, share, and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. Love will be our catalyst, and if we learn to watch, we can have wonderful opportunities.
Have you ever had a really important question, or struggled with some piece of information? You are having a hard time finding an answer or coming to terms with that information, and the person(s) you reach out to say something to the effect of “Just have faith?” You know that’s the right answer, and of course you want to have faith; you want that desperately! But the answers to your questions or the need to receive clarity are so important that you struggle, and having faith – as important as it is – seems so far away and so difficult. I have felt those feelings before. If you haven’t had such an experience, let me create a scenario that will hopefully help you understand.
We’ll use a universal question: Is there life after death? As Latter-day Saints we know the answer is, yes. We have mountains of evidence to that yes: the accounts in the Bible and Book of Mormon from those whom Christ visited after He was resurrected, the visions of the Spirit World and the three kingdoms that many prophets have had, and the dreams that thousands of individuals have had of their loved ones and ancestors visiting them are a few examples. But what if there appeared to be zero evidence that life after death existed? What if the only answer to that question was, “Just have faith?” Wouldn’t that be so hard to hear? That is an extremely important question. Our entire earthly lives and the decisions we make are based on the answer to that question. That’s what it feels like with other important questions when the only answer is “Just have faith.”Continue reading →
When I was a young Beehive, I spent hour after hour designing my own house plan on graph paper. I would not only sketch out room designs, bay windows, and how close the refrigerator would be to the oven, but my young, imaginative mind would live in that home. I could imagine how many children I had, how many music students I could teach, what room my family would meet in for Family Home Evening and how I was going to get the six bathrooms in my house plan cleaned on a regular basis. I imagined so thoroughly that I even had a variety of contingency plans just in case things changed.
Fast forward many years, and I have a house similar to the one I designed, (albeit a much smaller size), I have taught many music students, my bathrooms are cleaned on a semi-regular basis (just in case you were wondering), I even have five, really great children. Everything in my life has worked out pretty much like I had planned. Continue reading →
When the topics of sin, repentance, and judgment are discussed, the story of Christ’s encounter with the woman caught in adultery (see John 8:1-11) is a common example. Many times, however, this example is misused to advocate for sin. Those who preach the truth and defend Christ’s doctrine are often accused of being judgmental and are told, “Jesus said, ‘those who are without sin cast the first stone,’ and “Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery.”
While these statements are true to an extent, they have been taken out of context. When talking about casting stones, Jesus wasn’t telling people to stop preaching about sin and repentance. He was telling people to stop judging that woman. The second statement, however, has been misunderstood. Jesus did not forgive her right away because she hadn’t repented yet. Rather, He was stating that He didn’t condemn her, and He was offering her an invitation to repent. These two statements are often used to spread the message that if we want to be like Christ, we will keep our mouths shut and tell everyone they are doing good no matter what they do, but if we preach about sin and repentance we are being like the Pharisees. The story of the woman caught in adultery goes so much deeper than that. It is a beautiful story that teaches many wonderful lessons. Here are six lessons we can learn from this story:Continue reading →
Everyone who knows me knows that I love a great adventure. Adventures are exciting! They usually mean new experiences, new people, or new places. And I like new.
Recently my husband and I had a grand adventure in Europe. We peddled through Salzburg with the ‘Sound of Music’ floating through the air, climbed the steep path to a fairy tale castle, explored mid-evil cities, enjoyed Mozart concerts, and stood in awe of the Austrian Alps. We missed trains, caught the wrong trains, and got off a train at the wrong stop. An estimated two-and-a-half-hour drive became a six hour guessing game of “Where in the world are we????”. We ate the best Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna, tasted delicious Czech dishes in Prague, and tried every pastry we could find in Bavaria. We met wonderful people, some more indifferent, and one very impatient train attendant. We walked for miles and miles a day exploring little villages, picturesque countryside’s, and majestic old cathedrals. We rode Segway’s over cobblestone streets, watched white stallions perform, and shopped. We got up in the morning when we pleased and dropped into bed at night when we wanted. It was the vacation, and adventure, of a lifetime. Continue reading →