Category Archives: Family

Passing the Torch To My Daughters

My darling daughters, I can’t tell you what joy it brings me to sit with you during the General Women’s Session. I can see your eyes light up as the speakers talk with clarity and truth. I feel your excitement when something resonates especially deep within your soul. I know you realize that the prophets truly are speaking about women. And you are ready to respond.

I was barely 5 years old when Sister Camilla Kimball, President Spencer W. Kimball’s wife, gave her husband’s charge to the women of the Church. It was a powerful message “that has not been said before, or at least in quite this way.”

In our current conference, Sister Sharon L. Eubank asked those of us who were alive when President Kimball’s message was read to share his message with the younger generation. So let me share some of the things I have learned as I pass this “torch of light” on to you.

In September of 1979, Sister Kimball read….

Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.

“Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. Remember, it is as wrong to do things just to be seen of women as it is to do things to be seen of men. Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.”

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A Light in the Darkness

Add to Faith, Virtue, Walter Rane

The symbol of  light is a common theme throughout the cultures of the world. Light represents hope, home, intelligence, knowledge, warmth, family and peace. Judeo-Christian teachings further explain that light symbolizes the Savior of the World. While many religions use candles to teach this symbolism, the candle lighting on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is perhaps, the most meaningful to women and family.

“The job of lighting the candles is given to the woman of the home because it is the woman who most influences the spirituality there. By encouraging the study of Torah (the law of God), the meticulous performance of mitzvot, and through her nurturing presence, a woman can transform her home into a place of holiness, peace, and tranquility. It is thus fitting that she be the one to bring the extra measure of light and holiness with the Shabbat candles.”

The attached article explains this eternal role of women, “As women, Daughters of Zion, we are bearers of light. We have more influence than we realize. As we keep the light in our hearts burning, we can, and do, shape and mold the world with our lights.”

Continue Reading about this inspiring symbolism here:

A Light In the Darkness

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Fun Family Road Trip or Self-Induced Torture?

“Stop talking! Just be quiet for a minute!” I yelled from the front seat of the car. “The next one to talk gets to walk the rest of the way.” This empty threat came from pure desperation. I just couldn’t handle another moment of bickering, whining and fault-finding from my children. Our family trip was suppose to bring us together, not tear us apart. Yet there we were, living in our own version of self-induced torture because my children couldn’t stop arguing!

Weeks before, as our family prepared for our trip, my husband and I painted our children a picture of all the wonderful things they would see, learn and experience. We took special care to pack treats, games, books and movies to keep them entertained and peaceful while traveling. We wanted them to have a unique experience that bonded our family and created treasured memories for the years ahead. But in spite of the many plans and preparations, we found ourselves battling over issues such as… “Her knees keep touching mine!” “She won’t stop humming.” And… my favorite… “I can’t stand listening to her breathe.” They had obviously forgotten the bigger picture.

Why do my kids do this? Why are they so quick to find fault with each other at one moment and then be best friends at another? Why can’t they perceive the bigger picture that I can see? Why is it so hard to use their family journey to strengthen and serve each other?

Will they ever grow out of it?

The answer is, yes! They will grow out of it as they mature enough to put those little things like knees touching, humming and breathing in perspective.

Perspective. Isn’t that what love and understanding are all about? When we see our world as our Savior sees it, we can take hold of a deeper truth that allows us to better assess, or judge what we are experiencing in ourselves and others. The old idiom, “the devil is in the details” is quite true. When we focus on the small details instead of perceiving the big picture, we become like siblings on a road trip… finding faults and taking offense… just for the fun of it.

How do we learn to perceive the Savior’s perspective in order to judge ourselves and others in a righteous manner? Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught:

Remember the Lord’s promise: “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy.” I love that assurance. Joy that fills our souls brings with it an eternal perspective in contrast to day-to-day living. That joy comes as peace amidst hardship or heartache. It provides comfort and courage, unfolds the truths of the gospel, and expands our love for the Lord and all God’s children. Although the need for such blessings is so great, in many ways the world has forgotten and forsaken them.

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Families: Relationships Beyond This World

This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the Sunday afternoon session of April 1976 conference.

Families are the most important unit and they are under attack by the person who is the loneliest creature ever to be born. He hates the idea of families because he will never have one of his own. Having no family will be his hell without end.

Two of our great apostles have stated:

“The entire theology of our restored gospel centers on families and on the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” (L. Tom Perry, “Why Marriage and Family Matters–Everywhere In the World,” Apr. 2015).

“Families are not just meant to make things run more smoothly here on earth and to be cast off when we get to heaven. Rather, they are the order of heaven. They are an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “In Praise of Those Who Save,” Apr. 2016).

As much as all families have some kind of problem or another, because families are all far from perfect, deep down we still recognize the joy that comes from this celestially bound grouping of people who have learned to love one another. The good news is that not only do we live in variously shaped nuclei, every single one of us is actually strung together by related DNA from one end of the world to the other. The entire world is one big family and we are all a part of it.

Take, for example, William Grant Bangerter’s talk, “Relationships.” Speaking of relationships, first, he is the father of Julie B. Beck. Second, he introduces his talk with this laugh:

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Gramp Camp

One of the great blessings we received while serving in the Russia, Moscow mission was the wonderful association we had with other Senior Missionary Couples. When we got together our conversations were most times centered on our families at home, and especially our grandchildren. We were several years younger than the other couples serving with us, had fewer grands to brag about, and less experience grand-parenting to share, so we listened and learned. Many had special traditions they did with their ‘grands’, as groups or individually, they felt helped create a special bond between them. By the end of our mission we had formulated a plan of our own and GRAMP CAMP was born. It has been one of the best things we’ve ever done for our children, and theirs.

All hands on deck…

Sister Joy D. Jones
General Primary President

Sister Joy D. Jones, General Primary President, spoke about the type of group effort and support needed to raise “A Sin-Resistant Generation” ….

“Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a task and a blessing for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders. We each bear responsibility to help.”[1]

We agree with this, and work to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren. For those who live close by we attend some of their events, go on grandparents dates (usually to a movie), and get together at each other’s homes for eating, swimming, and playing games. Those who are distant get facetime chats, small packages in the mail, and occasional personal visits. I’m sure your grand-parenting looks very similar.

Our desire was to create time to do more in-depth relationship building and gospel teaching. Time where we could really build up their parents and support what was being taught them in their homes. For us, GRAMP CAMP fills that bill.  It’s a time for teaching, listening, talking, playing, and so much more – and it’s just us and them.

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Guest Stand: The Longing for a Father

FatherhoodMissing Him for 548 Days

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve always known this to be true in my life. Being away from my family for 18 months to serve a full-time mission for the Church reminded me of how much I love my family. I learned to love them even more while being away for such a long period of time. One of my most memorable moments was when I was coming down the escalator in the Salt Lake City airport searching for my family among many strangers. Once I saw their beaming faces I ran toward them. The first person I hugged was my dad. I was so overcome with emotion that I began to cry. I had not been in his arms for 548 days.

My dad is the one who always gave me the advice that I needed to hear in my life. He called me “baby girl,” and he still does because I am the youngest girl in my family. He is kind and loving towards others. He has been the perfect example and mentor that I needed throughout my childhood and adult life. Throughout my mission, I received an email from him every week without fail and he always told me what I needed to hear. All of these experiences have made me reflect on what life would be like without this great man in my life. 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: 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