There is a unique war raging all around us. It’s unlike any war we can remember and it is so cleverly disguised that most do not even recognize that it’s happening. This isn’t a war that is designed by men; with big artillery, armor, trenches, and an army that is fed by C-Rations. Instead, it’s a war designed by women; with words as it’s weapons and under the leadership of anyone with a microphone or a blog who is willing to feed us the emotion we are so hungry for.
If this war took you by surprise, you are not alone. Most families who are busy raising and providing for their children and serving those around them did not see it coming either. As we have tried to wrap our heads around what is causing so much anger and frustration, we have been quite startled to see that the attacks were starting to come our way, very personal attacks against our womanhood, our family and our religion. It feels like we have been dragged into a war we did not want and we are not quite sure how to fight it. Continue reading →
A couple of years ago, the priesthood session of LDS general conference started being broadcast on BYUtv. Now, during each priesthood session I turn on the TV so my husband can watch it, and I get to listen as well. In order for my husband to fully pay attention, I tend to our home and kids by myself. (He hasn’t asked me to do this, I choose to because I want him to enjoy the session the way I enjoy the women’s session.) During the most recent Priesthood Session, Elder Jeffrey R Holland gave his talk, “Emissaries to the Church”. As he began talking, I immediately felt a strong impression to really listen and pay attention. Elder Holland spoke about home teaching, and much of what he said can be applied to visiting teaching as well.
Visiting teaching is a topic near and dear to my heart because I love it! I truly do. I love visiting with my sisters, I love my companion, and I love being visited by my visiting teachers. I wasn’t always that way, though. When I first turned 18, I rarely went and my companion always set up the appointments and gave the message. When I moved into a single’s ward, I never went visiting teaching. I always felt a little guilty because my home teachers came monthly without fail. When I got married and returned to a family ward setting, I tried to do better. My success, however, depended on my companions and their investment into visiting teaching.Continue reading →
When our final speaker delivered his apostolic message, I spotted something that I had never seen before.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf often uses his hands while speaking, but I noticed that each time he lowered his hands from the pulpit, he used his index finger and thumb to hold his wedding ring (which, by the way, is on his right hand as opposed to the left, because he is European!).
Perhaps it’s nothing more than a subconscious habit, but as I watched President Uchtdorf move to touch his wedding ring time and again, I couldn’t help but feel warmed and consider the potential implications.Continue reading →
Back in September I began feeling alarmed at the refugees coming out of Syria. Like many people, I felt distress over the young boy that was found washed up on the shores of Greece and the other photos of the refugees appearing on the news and on the internet. I thought about my personal difficulties and those of my family. My husband has been unemployed or underemployed for nearly three years now.
I thought about some of the difficult things. The times when my husband only ate one meal a day because we hadn’t received the promised pay from contract work. I thought about how my picky eater kids suddenly would eat whatever was put in front of them because they were very hungry. I thought about how the kids wore shoes that were too small or worn out or the wrong type. And I knew that compared to these refugees, we have not suffered at all.
I thought of some of the people who have helped us. I thought about the brand new washing machine that showed up at our door just as ours was breaking or about the Santa Claus that showed up on our doorstep on Christmas Eve after I told my little children that Santa did not come to kids whose dad does not have a job. And I knew that these refugees needed angels and they needed them now!
A few days later, I listened to some conservative news radio and heard people saying how we cannot bring the refugees here because there are terrorists trying to get into our country through the refugee program. I heard that again and again over a couple of months. And I felt confused. Shouldn’t we help the destitute no matter who they are? Continue reading →
I’d like to tell you a story about someone. We all know this person—or at least someone like him. As I tell you about him, picture the face of the man or woman in your life that is just like the man I’m going to tell you about.
I’ll give this man a name. Let’s call him Jake. Jake is smart, but doesn’t have a lot of formal education. His education came from the school of hard knocks. He’s a little rough around the edges. He’s not comfortable in formal situations. When he’s nervous, he has a tendency to talk a little too much and with a tad too much volume. Everyone likes Jake, but only those very close to him take him seriously.
Jake would have made a wonderful bishop because he has so much compassion for others. His organizational skills are difficult to beat. He works hard at everything he does, never complains, and doesn’t need a pat on the back or an award for proficiency. This man loves service. Jake would rather be serving someone than doing anything else. I believe he would give up eating if he could spend more time with a shut-in, or mow someone else’s lawn. Continue reading →
I have listened to many lessons on tithing and fast offerings over the years. Many lessons focus on what these collected monies are used for, but President Henry B. Eyring’s recent conference address (Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen, Apr. 2015 General Conference) focused on the blessings received by those willing to fast. The answer he gave was that where paying our fast offering helps those in need, it will most importantly give everyone the opportunity for more light and power.
The law of the fast can be found in Isaiah 58. First, it states what a fast isn’t. “Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways … they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” Either this was translated incorrectly, or there is a note of sarcasm in this verse, because the footnotes explain, “They do all the rituals, but lack something yet” (Isaiah 58:2a).
President Eyring told the story of Sister Abie Turay, who survived the civil war that ravaged her Continue reading →
Have you ever felt left out at church, like you don’t fit into your ward, or that even as an adult, you are still not one of the “cool kids”? Have you felt like your ward does not need you and that maybe people in your ward feel like they would be better off without you there? If you have, you are not alone.
I have had the opportunity to live in many wards in various geographical locations in Canada and the United States. In every ward, there have been at least some people who feel left out and not a part of the ward culture, and in some wards, there have been many people who have felt that way. Sometimes, I have felt that way myself.
Feeling unwanted, unneeded, or even an outcast in our wards causes heartache. Sometimes, we may be causing our own isolation. For me, there have been times when I felt rejected by members of my ward and essentially isolated myself by sitting alone in the corner, not talking to anyone and not attending the activities. But most of the time, I think sisters feel isolated because the general population of the ward is not willing to open up and let other people into their inner circles. Some wards and some Relief Societies do have cliques.
Central to the message of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s October 2014 General Conferenceaddress was the charge and counsel to the Church of our modern day to look after the needs of the poor and needy. It was later inferred that the same injunction as was given to the early leaders of the restored Church in Joseph Smith’s day, and then passed down from them to the early saints, applies to us today as well. That injunction was, “[L]ook to the poor and needy and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.” (D&C 38:35)
Elder Holland stated, “They shall not suffer is language God uses when he means business.” Anytime I hear an apostle say that “the Lord means business” about anything, my ears tend to perk up a bit more. Clearly this declaration is more than just a simple suggestion, and is not to be taken lightly.
Elder Holland quoted scripture from the book of Luke where Jesus proclaimed what God the Father had sent Him to do, and what His “first and foremost Messianic duty” and ministry would be: “He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and to set at liberty they that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18)