Another wonderful General Women’s Meeting has just concluded and we have been left with inspired council from leaders from our women’s auxiliary organizations and a member of the First Presidency. From beginning to end, the meeting was full of truth, light and goodness. Everyone is still buzzing about it and for good reason. Continue reading
I was raised on the windswept prairies of Alberta; a place where the blue sky and golden wheat fields touch the Rocky Mountains and continue on through jaw-dropping scenery. My home province is the gateway to both the extraordinary Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park—an area of the world that has been aptly named “God’s Country”. As one writer observed:
Tumbling mountains stretch toward the sky, then slope gracefully toward the earth and toward sparkling lakes and streams at their bases. The ruby reds, sapphire blues, golds and emeralds of wildflowers are so vibrant and piercing that the sprawling valleys may at first appear dotted with jewels.
As wildfires ravaged our beautiful national parks this summer, my thoughts turned daily to the fires near the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s one of the main attractions: a spectacular 52-mile road which begins at the bottom of lush valleys and winds its way up steep cliffs to the Logan Pass, crossing the Continental Divide and continuing onto the wildflower-dotted mountaintops. The steep and narrow road climbs gradually, with stop-offs along the way to soak up the gorgeous scenery. Here, visitors are constantly rewarded with world-renowned scenery until they finally reach the top and see Heaven’s Peak rising above the St. Mary Valley. Continue reading
Earlier this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed its name on amicus friend-of-the court brief in a large transgender case, citing The Family: A Proclamation to the World as a core doctrinal statement, as well as noting the unchangeable and eternal gender of men and women. Now, this week the Church joined with other religious organizations, 86 senators and representatives, legal groups and creative professionals to show support for the Colorado baker who, due to religious convictions, chose not use his professional skills to support a same-sex wedding. This case arose when Masterpiece Cakeshops’ owner, Jack Phillips, was sued after respectfully declining to decorate a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony for two men.
In a news release, ADF Legal stated that:
The Colorado Supreme Court declined to take the case after the state’s Court of Appeals affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to design custom wedding cakes that celebrate same-sex marriages if the shop designs wedding cakes for opposite-sex marriages. It also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially telling them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. He must also report to the government for two years, describing all cakes that he declines to create and the reasons why. As a result of the ruling, Phillips has lost an estimated 40 percent of his business. (Link)
A full solar eclipse, massive wildfires in the West and Pacific Northwest, growing threats over North Korea, Hurricane Harvey, the largest solar flares in 12 years, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, Hurricane Katia, a “strongest in a century” 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico, 260 cluster earthquakes in Idaho, the genocide and crisis in Burma, rapid moral decline, religious freedom under strenuous attack, mobs of extreme groups marching in the streets, apostasy within our membership, false teachers and false teachings. The list goes on and on. Many of these signs and wonders have been happening all within a matter of days and weeks, while others have been on the steady incline and are nearing the tipping point.
We may rightly wonder if the God of Heaven and Earth is speaking to us through “the testimony of earthquakes … and the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds” (D&C 88).
It is surreal to know we are truly in the last days. In Nephite times preceding the coming of the Savior, 3 Nephi says that “the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet” while others had “great doubtings and disputations” “notwithstanding so many signs had been given.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to look earnestly for the signs of His coming as prophesied—both the “great and terrible.”
Beth Green, a young mother from Spring, Texas, recently shared her story of evacuating during Hurricane Harvey with her husband and young children in tow. Here, she shares her faith, struggles and uncertainty in a very candid manner–all via text with Deseret News reporter Tad Walch.
The neighborly kindness shown to her family was reminiscent of a talk by President Henry B. Eyring titled “Opportunities to do Good“. He taught:
Because the Lord hears their cries and feels your deep compassion for them, He has from the beginning of time provided ways for His disciples to help. He has invited His children to consecrate their time, their means, and themselves to join with Him in serving others. … Wherever you live, you have seen that miracle of sympathy turned to unselfish action. … We feel compassion, and we know how to act in the Lord’s way to help.
Beth likewise described how entire neighborhoods come together to help in times of disaster and flooding:
Everyone in the neighborhood comes together to help. Sheridan says the only times you meet your neighbors are Halloween and natural disasters. We don’t know most of the people on our street except our uphill neighbors, who are amazing. But everyone came down the street to check on us and tell us we could come to their house if the water got deep.
Our downhill neighbor showed up on our porch yesterday afternoon with her cats when her house started to get water in. When we moved up to the uphill neighbors’, she came with us. The uphill neighbors fed us dinner and gave us beds. I couldn’t sleep because of the storm and my baby and neither could the downhill neighbor who had just lost her house. She took the baby from me and rocked him from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. so I could sleep a little.
I’ve only had like maybe three brief conversations with this woman before in my life.
It suddenly occurred to me it was the Sabbath. No church and it hadn’t been a day of peace and rest but rather work and stress. But we had been checked on and helped by family and friends near and far and total strangers. It felt like a holy day. I got behind my TV cabinet to unplug all the cords and found a picture my daughter had drawn that must have fallen back their months ago. It was a rainbow. I don’t know what the next week or months hold for our little family, but I feel like that rainbow was telling me we are going to get through this. We are feeling lots of love right now and still hope.
Continue reading Beth’s story here:
Every June, the LGBT community and its supporters engage in a month-long celebration of “Gay Pride Month”, filling social media with rainbow profile pictures, flying rainbow flags, and gay pride festivals and parades. Support for same-sex marriage and this form of serious sexual sin is visible even with some of those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court overturned the sovereignty of over two-thirds of the States on the issue of marriage. These majority states had made it clear—by voter initiated referendums—that natural marriage (the union of one man and one woman) is what defines marriage. In short, unelected justices overturned voice of the people, making same-sex marriage legal. Like those in the Book of Mormon, we observed “that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws … which the Lord commanded … and they saw that their laws had become corrupted” (Helaman 4:22) and “this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions” (Alma 2:3).
Some members of the Church have also been “drawn away after the persuasions” of the world and support same-sex marriage. However, they may not fully recognize that their support for it inadvertently supports serious sexual sin. These relationships are (and always will be) incompatible with the doctrine and standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To this point, we may be asking ourselves, “Then why is this particular sin supported by more members of the Church and their families than any sin? Is there any other sin that is supported as this one? What is it about this one that many seem to be so comfortable with supporting and affirming, but not others?” The answer to these questions is sobering: gay marriage has become a protected class of sin.
We are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading
In a powerful and inspiring event at the United Nations, Jean Bingham, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined in a panel titled “Finding a New Home: The Role of Faith-based Organizations in Refugee Assistance and Resettlement.” This subject could not have been more important for this newly called General Relief Society Presidency, considering the plight of the world’s 23 million refugees and also noting that her first counselor, Sharon Eubank, is the Director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the church. Continue reading
As we head into General Conference weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will publicly sustain prophets and apostles. We’ll hear the names of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles read. We’ll then have the sacred opportunity to both publicly raise our hand to show a sign of support and privately sustain them in our hearts. It’s one of my favorite moments of General Conference.
These words were highlighted in a recent fireside for Relief Society women in which Sister Elaine Dalton, former General President of the Young Women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke. In the fireside, she issued another call for a return to virtue, just as she has done for over 11 years:
“There has never been a time like this,” she said. “I’ve never seen the opposition be greater, but I’ve never seen the opportunities be greater, and as my husband and I sit up here looking out at you, there is so much hope because you really are the change-the-world generation. You’re the ones who will change the world.
“You are the ones who have been spoken of by prophets, seers and revelators all through the scriptures. You’re the ones who have been prophesied about. You are the ones who will lead the world and who will lead the women of the world because you are ‘different in happy ways,’” she said, referencing a quote by former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.
Sister Dalton told of a trip last month to New York City, where she and her husband found themselves driving through the city during the Women’s March.
“We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,” Sister Dalton said. “As I watched all of that take place, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, ‘What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?’”