Category Archives: Courage

The Bolder You Stand, the Stronger You Become

Mormon Women Stand Kathryn Skaggs

Taking a stand for righteousness is like exercising a muscle. The bolder you stand the stronger, or more confident, you become. If you’re anything like me, I don’t necessarily like to exercise, but I like the way regular exercise makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally. I think standing for the gospel of Jesus Christ is very much the same. When you take a bold stand, it requires not only courage but perhaps most important faith.

One very important principle of faith is how its power increases with persistence.

Three years ago, on March 10, 2014, I founded Mormon Women Stand. At that time, I had just experienced standing alone as an independent blogger, on a topic that ruffled more than a few feathers (or perhaps froze them) – not only among some members but what I wrote garnered global attention; and still does. To say the backlash, both publicly and personally, was tremendous would be putting it lightly. However, I knew that the stand I took was right. I knew that to shrink would be to let the adversary win. I knew that the Lord, more than ever, needed faithful women to speak what needed to be said in order to stand for truth and righteousness, regardless of the consequences.

What I learned most, however, is that if women of covenant are to stand BOLDLY on issues that support the teachings and counsel of modern prophets and apostles, we must stand TOGETHER! Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing Boldly for the Family in Southern Alberta, Canada

Just over a year ago, my life took a turn of events that I would never have expected. For the past 14 months, I have been given opportunities to play a more active part in defending the institution of the family. In retrospect, it all began when Elder Russell M. Nelson gave his talk “A Plea to My Sisters” in October 2015 General Conference. His words sunk deep into my soul, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I made a commitment right then and there to do whatever was needed. However, I had no idea the need was urgent, and there was an opportunity right around the corner.

In January of 2016, I simply attended a school meeting at my children’s elementary school regarding changing government guidelines related to gender identity (transgender) and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and its application in Alberta education. My husband and I had skimmed through the literature before the meeting, yet I had little idea what this was really about or how I would be involved. I convinced my husband to attend with me, as I wondered if his legal background could possibly be of help. When we got there, we found our school board alarmed and left scrambling to explain the new government guidelines to parents. Administration, board, parents and teachers were equally concerned with how these guidelines were being implemented so quickly and forcefully by our Minister of Education with threats of disbandment for those boards who did not comply. The concerns parents voiced generally circulated around the emotional health and safety of children. The most concerning fact for most was that they were bypassing parents completely, and putting children in a position where they could be counseled in isolation regarding sexual matters without parental notification or consent – and they were doing it by force. Through these policies, secrets were encouraged and applauded. My stomach was in knots. My discerning, motherly instincts kicked into high gear and I could see layers of problems with their ideas. I knew it was a direct threat to the parent/child bond, the risk of abuse, not to mention a direct threat to the psychological well-being of all children. In an effort to be what they called “safe and caring”, they were putting all children at risk. Something they called “The Guidelines for Best Practices” felt like an entirely worst practice ever and they were forcing school boards across the province to draft their policies from this document! Continue reading

Let’s Hear it for the Giants!

Mormon Women Stand is celebrating three years of standing strong for marriage, faith and family.  Today, I would like to take a little detour and give a shout out to all of the amazing men in our lives who do plenty of “standing” of their own.

President Nelson explained, “In the work of the Lord, we all learn one great lesson: Each of us stands tall on the shoulders of giants who preceded us.”  When good men work hard to become the giants on which the next generation will stand, they help support strong generations that can stand tall against the rising evil in this world.  It is usually by small as simple means that these giants and their powerful shoulders do this important work.

Over the years, I have seen my husband’s shoulders look gigantic when gently holding our tiny newborns, but they seemed to grow even stronger when holding his father as he took his last breath.  These same shoulders held his daughter tight as he whispered, “I love you, be good!” before she bravely left for a long 18 months.   And they were coated with mud when he worked long into the night rescuing everything from furniture to treasured family photos from neighborhood homes during the flood.  Year after year, my darling husband has kept his “shoulder to the wheel” as he meets his many, daily expectations.  He gladly takes upon himself the command to provide, preside and protect his family.  His family is blessed by his humble service. Continue reading

Answer the Call to Defend the Family!

family with many childrenThere is no question there is an attack on the family. Just scan the headlines of any news outlet and you’ll find startling evidence of the strategic ways the adversary is trying to destroy this most beautiful and basic of human relationships.

How do we counteract all of these attempts to redefine the traditional family out of existence? The Family: A Proclamation to the World tells us: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

We start right where we are: in our own homes, in our schools, in our communities. We teach the truths, live the truths, taught in the Proclamation.  Our examples will speak louder than any words we might say but at times words are necessary to defend truth. If we have our examples to back up our words others are more likely to listen. Continue reading

Guest Post: Being Ready and Willing to Stand When God Asks

Sometimes I wonder if we should ask. I say that tongue in cheek because, for me, He’s like, “Alright, you asked, here I go!”

A couple weeks after the Christmas break, a friend asked me if I had heard about a policy that was being reviewed for our school district with regards to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression. It was an addition to our Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environments Policy. She also asked if I had seen or read a new document that had also come out from the province (i.e. state) that would affect this Policy, upcoming curriculum changes, my children’s rights and ultimately parental rights within the schools. I had heard murmurings but hadn’t read anything.

Continue reading

Guest Post: Not “Just a Mom”

“The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth.

As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.”

– John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1941, p. 117

This quote by Elder Widtsoe is one of my favorites. He perfectly sums up the fact that in these Last Days there can be no fence-sitters. “We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.” It is obvious that Satan’s influence is strikingly powerful in the world. Assuming we have the desire to take a stand, where do we even begin? It can be overwhelming. About four years ago I had an issue that I wanted to become involved in; however, I felt completely inadequate. I was just a mom with no important title and little college education. How could I possibly make a difference? A dear friend shared with me this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” With this reassurance, I decided to dive in.

The issue bothering me was education. I saw some trends that were concerning to me and I was able to join with like-minded people to try and make a difference in our area. Talk about being thrown out of my comfort zone! It was a whirlwind of new experiences, from community presentations to media interviews to legislative efforts. It was the first time in my life I had really taken a public stand on anything, and it turned out to be an incredible growing experience. I did things I never thought I could do, and I felt the direct influence of the Holy Ghost as I was able to write and say what was needed at times when my shy, introverted self would normally come up empty. Continue reading

STANDing Up, But Not STANDing Alone!

“You’re one in million!” Who doesn’t like hearing that phrase spoken from a husband or friend? We all want to be special and recognized.  It’s lovely to feel that in a sea of others, we stand out to that person,  that we have risen above the crowd to them. That’s nice.

But I have some news for you…… if you STAND for:

  •         the divine role of womanhood
  •         traditional marriage between one man and one woman
  •         the traditional family unit as the basic and most fundamental unit of a civil society –    husband and wife lovingly raising their children together
  •         the sacred role, and wonderful responsibility given to women to mother their children
  •         the divine role of men as holders of the priesthood of God, husbands, and fathers

all as defined in The Family: A Proclamation To The World, and

  •        unashamedly sustain the Lord’s Prophets, Seers, and Revelators

you’re not one IN a million, but one OF many millions! In fact, one of approximately 6,000,000, worldwide!  The Relief Society  of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world.  One in six million doesn’t mean you’re not special, you are, but being one in six million means you’re not alone.  You are part of a powerful large voice for good, and right, and truth. Continue reading

Guest Post: For This Side of Veil and the Other

Woman pioneer pushing handcartA pioneer is defined as a person who is among one of the firsts. I am a pioneer for my family. I met my first set of sister missionaries in August of 2010 while having dinner with my boyfriend and his family. I had no idea what was happening! When invited for dinner I was told the sister missionaries were going to be having dinner with us, that was it. But after eating, we all sat down in the living room, and my life was changed forever. The sister missionaries asked, “So we heard you had some questions for us?” My mind went completely blank, but did I have questions?

Needless to say, I did have questions, and I did end up taking the lessons.Then in September of 2010, I was baptized (by my boyfriend who introduced me to the church) into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to this day, I am the only member walking on this side of the veil.  In October we attended a Catholic funeral for a family friend who was hit by a drunk driver, weeks after she was married. Little did I know that her death was going to impact major things in my life. The wonderful man who baptized me, proposed in November of 2010, and then a hard choice was brought to the table: do we have a civil marriage for my family or do we wait eleven months to be sealed for all time and eternity? Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing for the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood

At the height of the Ordain Women movement, less than a month before October 2014 General Conference, I received a text.

“Hi Alisha, Are you open to giving a talk in Sacrament this coming Sunday the 14th?”

“Sure :)”

“Awesome, thx! The topic is based on the talk:  The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood – Elder Dallin H. Oaks.”

Uhhhhhhh, what? I had purple pants wearing friends that I knew would be in attendance, people who I loved. I  did not want to offend anyone with my words or exacerbate any sensitive feelings or push any fence-sitters over the edge. I understood and sympathized with their concerns. But I also felt a responsibility to give this talk, as this was a topic I had studied since childhood, wanting to know and understand my role in the priesthood. Through much study and prayer, I had found great peace and understanding and I knew I needed to share that in this talk.

When I was about 10 years old, one of my friend’s older brothers had just returned from his mission.  I thought missionaries knew everything about the gospel and figured returned missionaries must have all the answers. So, I asked him why girls can’t have the priesthood. He became visibly upset and told me never to ask it again. Fortunately, I was not so easily dissuaded from my quest and the Spirit prompted me to keep searching for answers.

The only thing I knew about the Priesthood at my young age was that it was God’s power on earth, given to righteous priesthood holders to use in the service of others. I had received blessings from it that had helped me in my life and so I believed it came from God and that He would help me find answers eventually.

One day, while reading in Doctrine & Covenants 29:36, I gained some great insight. The verse is talking about the devil rebelling against the Lord. He says to the Lord, “Give me thine honor…,” which the Lord then says, “which is my power.”  The source of Heavenly Father’s matchless power is His honor. You cannot give someone honor even if you wanted to.  You have to become honorable on your own.  He has loaned a small portion of that power to righteous priesthood holders here.

I imagine it kind of like Heavenly Father has obtained perfect credit and he gives credit cards to his worthy sons to allow them to build up their own credit.  They can only use it to help others and if they use it unrighteously, it will be taken away.  In this analogy, they are becoming honorable.  They will one day have obtained their own honor and hence, their own power.

Motherhood, Priesthood, and Exaltation

Motherhood does not just pertain to this life.  It is an eternal principle.  So even those who are unable to be mothers in this life will still be mothers if they live worthy of those blessings.  Adam and Heavenly Father both described Eve as the “mother of all living” before she ever had any children.

Elder Matthew Cowley said, “Men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls… and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “The greatest power God has given to His sons cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of His daughters, because only to His daughters has God given the power “to be a creator of bodies … so that God’s design and the Great Plan might meet fruition” (President J. Rueben Clark). He continues: “This is the place of our wives and of our mothers in the Eternal Plan. They are not bearers of the Priesthood; they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the Priesthood; nor are they laden with its responsibilities; they are builders and organizers under its power, and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the Priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.” [emphasis added]

This was the message I shared in that sacrament talk given at the height of the Ordain Women movement.  Women carry souls across the veil into mortality, offering those souls the opportunity to obtain the necessary saving ordinances required to return to our Father in Heaven and become like Him. Righteous men who have been ordained to the priesthood perform these ordinances for other mortal souls and seek their own saving ordinances from other righteous priesthood holders. Obtaining the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom requires being endowed and sealed. Men have to have the priesthood in order to obtain these ordinances. Women do not. If women were to be ordained to the priesthood, that would bring about unfairness and inequality.

Our Father’s plan is perfect, as is His love for us. He will help you find the peace and understanding you seek if you ask Him in faith. Sincere questions are never wrong, as I once was told as a child. Ask the Author of our faith for the answers. He is waiting to answer the questions of your heart and guide you closer to Him. I know this to be true through my own experiences.

Author Alisha Merrick met the man of her dreams at BYU-Hawaii. He waited for her to serve a mission in England London South and planned their wedding. They were sealed in the San Diego temple on Dec. 7, 2001. They have 4 beautiful girls, ranging in age from 3 months – 12 years. Alisha is half of the video producing duo Laughing Moms, whose videos have garnered millions of views since their inception. She loves to laugh, loves her family, and above all else, loves the Lord. Her personal blog can be found at LaughingMoms.com.

Guest Post: Standing at the United Nations

For the last two years, I have gone to the United Nations with a group of mothers dedicated to promoting motherhood and defending the traditional family. By attending panels and events at the UN, I have become more educated on the various different agendas in politics relating to the family and some of the threats that the traditional family will face down the road.

Both times I came home from the United Nations, I held meetings at my house and shared the information I learned with other concerned moms so that they might know how to get more involved in standing for the traditional family. I prayed to know how I might do Heavenly Father’s work with the information and experiences I had been given.

After the second trip to the UN, my niece in High School had a few incidents in the girls’ bathroom with a male student who was transgender which involved using the bathroom stall next to her. This person insisted on using the girls’ bathroom despite having male genitalia, which was against the district’s policy, even though accommodations had been made with access to a private bathroom in the nurse’s office.  My niece knew this student well and was kind to him, the students and administration felt compassion for his condition. However, in those moments in the stall, my young niece followed her conscience that it was not right to have a male in the stall next to her and privately called her mom to tell her how unsafe she felt to have any male in there with her, regardless of whether they felt they were transgender or not. My sister knew I had studied the topic so she and I discussed the proper course of action to take to protect the rights of both students. Continue reading