Category Archives: Faith

Celebrating Relief Society’s 175 Years Renews Our Conviction

Relief Society

 

 

 

 

It’s true! Celebrating our Relief Society’s 175 years renews our conviction. We are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. As Julie B. Beck said, the Lord is counting on His daughters to

“… do our part as women under the Lord’s plan, we must stand strong and immovable in faith, strong and immovable in family, and strong and immovable in relief. We must excel in these three important areas which set us apart as the Lord’s disciples. Through Relief Society we practice being disciples of Christ. We learn what He would have us learn, we do what He would have us do, and we become what He would have us become. When we gather with this focus, the work of Relief Society is relevant whatever your circumstance—whether you are 18 or 88, single or married, have children or not, or whether you live in Bountiful, Utah, or Bangalore, India.” [1]

We are God’s Female Army. So,

   If

Russell M. Nelson really means that “the kingdom of God is not … complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them. [2]

And if

Sheri Dew really feels that by “unleash[ing] the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight.” [3]

And if

Jeffrey R. Holland really believes that “something is going to be asked of this dispensation that’s never been asked before.” [4]

Then

Relief Society sisters need to step it up. As Sister Dew put it eighteen years ago,

“This is a call to arms, it’s a call to action, a call to arise. A call to arm ourselves with power and with righteousness. A call to rely on the arm of the Lord rather than the arm of flesh. A call to ‘arise and shine forth, that [our] light may be a standard for the nations’ (D&C 115:5). A call to live as women of God so that we and our families may return safely home.” [5]

Sisters, our power comes from priesthood power. Our early sisters understood it, lived it, and set the standard for it. Now, it’s our turn to understand how the priesthood works through us. Consider these suggestions made by President Linda K. Burton:

“Two sections have been especially revelatory to me. I recommend them to you for your careful and prayerful consideration. First, the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which can be found in D&C 84:33–40. I invite you to memorize those eight verses, sisters. By doing so, I promise you that the Holy Ghost will expand your priesthood understanding and inspire and uplift you in wonderful ways. 

Secondly, I would invite you to ponder Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46 [the doctrine of the priesthood]. Look for the principles in these verses that govern the righteous exercise of priesthood power. Look for warnings and promises from the Lord, and apply them to yourself.” [6]

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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: Becoming the Woman You Were Meant to Be

Long before we accepted our temporal existence, we knew the journey would not be easy and that we would be tried over and over again to prove our worthiness for Eternal Life. Every one of us knew what we would personally have to work through, and yet, we all accepted. Often times, it’s hard to grasp that concept as we face trials that seem overwhelmingly impossible to conquer while only being able to see the earthly perspective.

Finding hope seems unreachable, and joy is ever so distant. We are bombarded with anger, frustration, fear and sadness to name a few of the many emotions. We tend to feel sorry for ourselves and ask, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”

As we know, trials come in a vast variety of experiences and are all different and personal. Luckily for us, we know that our Heavenly Father loves us and even though we feel we have been faced with the impossible. We know he would never expect us to deal with something we could not overcome. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and most importantly, he trusts us to follow his plan. Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing to Positively Influence the Rising Generation

I wish I could say I have some powerful, testimony-building experience of “standing,” but I don’t. I’m not an incredible wordsmith or talented debater like so many I know on social media who are able to eloquently and gracefully state facts and defend beliefs, but as I stopped to ask myself if and how I “stand,” I read something that President Russell M. Nelson stated in his 2015 General Conference address:

“Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.”

I stand when I defend my home against the adversary with regular Family Home Evening, regular temple attendance, dedicated Sabbath worship, daily prayer and scripture study, both personal and family. It is in these small and simple daily moments that I am trying to make important things happen, courageously defending morality and family, shepherding my little ones along the covenant path, striving to receive personal revelation, seeking to call down the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen my family, and trying to teach fearlessly. This is how I stand. 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

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

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: Strength When Struggling to Stand

Strangely enough, being driven to my knees over the last 2 years has been the catalyst for me being able to stand for good in my community and on social media in tremendous ways.

I have been privileged to be given 5 of Heavenly Father’s precious children as my own, as well as a beautiful step-daughter. After a move to Colorado in the fall of 2014, life was good. I was closer to family after 11 years out of state. We were in a new home. My oldest was in her Senior year of high school, and my youngest was turning 3. I was able to be a stay-at-home mom with my children for many years, and my hands and my heart were full.

Then, in the spring of 2015, my world came crashing down. My middle child, Maddy, then in 3rd grade, started complaining of knee pain. It quickly progressed from soreness to pain, to a limp, and finally, to being completely unable to walk without crutches in less than 2 months. We went from an orthopedic doctor (and x-rays that didn’t show anything) to a pediatrician to another orthopedic doctor to physical therapy. They all thought she had a soft tissue injury. We tried everything. Wrapping it. Ice. Heat. Essential oils. Ibuprofen for the pain. Her knee continued to swell and cause her pain and frustration. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Savior Stood Beside Me–and My Children

In 2011, I was given a Priesthood blessing that promised I would be able to stay home with my children, my only true desire. I held onto that promise. I was pregnant at the time of the blessing and Jared had started his own flight school in Spanish Fork, Utah. A few months later, Max, our second son was born in June. However, financially, we knew that winter time was coming and there was less opportunity to fly, therefore a decrease in income. An option was decided that I would work. In my heart, I still held to the promise of the priesthood blessing that I would be a stay at home mom, even though on the outside, it was going contrary. I applied for jobs and accepted a job as a certified Nurse’s aide, which I just had become certified as. I had a 3-month-old and a 3-year-old at the time.

On Oct 4th, I received a phone call that Jared had been in an accident and had passed away. Here I was, a 29 year old with 2 small children, ages 3 and 3 months, and with very little money. From the moment that Jared died, Christ was at my side for a while, giving me strength and support to face the things I needed to. But, over time, the shock wore off. I was left here on earth and my husband in heaven. My world was changed in an instant. The grief of his separation was intense. There were many times it was too unbearable that I would cry out to Christ and in and at that instant that I prayed, the deep pain and sorrow was taken from me. I felt nothing, no pain. Then the next day, the pain would slowly come back again and gradually become heavier and heavier until I couldn’t bear it and would plead again and the pain would be taken from me. Christ was literally carrying my pain. This happened for a long time, months. My pain was deep and heavy. I cannot imagine what the Savior suffered. Continue reading