Category Archives: Guest Stand

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 Stand: Thinking About Serving A Senior Mission?

lds senior missionBack in the 60s and 70s girls that went on missions were considered misfits. Surely something was wrong with them, or they would have been married by the time they were twenty-one. Young women were encouraged to put marriage first, knowing that it was their highest priority. The few of us who did go on missions were cautious about telling people that we were returned missionaries because it might be a black mark on our resume.

But lots and lots of women who married young wanted to serve missions, and they and their husbands committed to serving together later in life. Then, about twenty years ago, the General Authorities began encouraging couples to consider senior missions. In 2010, President Monson pleaded, “We need many, many more senior couples,” and in 2011, Elder Holland exclaimed, “We need thousands of more couples serving in the missions of the Church.”

So all of those wonderful, faithful sisters who had put marriage first began to prepare for their long- awaited missions. But they didn’t know exactly what to expect. It was my own senior missions that led me to consider how I might be able to support senior missionary couples. Continue reading

Guest Stand: Teaching the Doctrine of Christ

doctrine“…we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”
– – A Plea to my Sisters, Elder Russell M. Nelson, CR October 2015 – –

A question has been burning in my mind.

Are we teaching the doctrine of Christ?

When we go to church on Sunday are we hearing and teaching the doctrine of Christ?  In our homes, are our children hearing the doctrine of Christ taught to them?

With all of the news of women in the world searching for something, I have turned my thoughts to Relief Society, and just church in general.  Through the years, I have spoken with and read about several women who “avoid Relief Society.”  I myself have had experiences of leaving Relief Society feeling worse than when I came or coming home from church exhausted rather than rejuvenated (Primary!!).  Part of this could be my own personal preparation (or lack thereof), but ultimately I feel uplifted and strengthened when a lesson is founded upon the teachings of our Savior rather than focusing on how we should be living.  With such a focus, Relief Society can quickly become a place where we compare and compete, sharing stories to “one up” each other. Our church meetings can be devoid of that motivation which inspires us to become better and to feel unified. Continue reading

Guest Stand: The Compassion Deception

compassion

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

― Alexander Pope

Often members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) are confronted by the label of intolerance. LDS faithful are often condemned for a perceived lack of compassion toward lifestyles contrary to the LDS belief system. This confrontation is the “compassion deception”.

To be compassionate is to feel for someone, to suffer with them, show sympathy, pity and mercy for another. Cultivating this sense of compassion and kindness for all beings is noble and great.  We love the sinner and hate the sin. But showing over-tolerance on social issues can make us devoid of moral convictions. Continue reading

Guest Stand: Strong Women Needed Now

rp_Strong-Women-300x300.png“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” William Ross Wallace

This world is full of jobs and careers.  Jobs and careers that we get to choose.  Recently I came across a video on YouTube that illustrated what the World’s Toughest Job is, and it is not what you would expect. This video proceeds to interview different people for a job and gives qualifications like no salary, 24 hours a day, and no breaks, not even to sleep. The World’s toughest job is then revealed to be:  MOM.

24 hours a day, 365 days a year my mom wakes up, rolls over and begins her day. A day filled with taking care of others and being selfless. Not only is she a mother, but she is a caregiver as well.  She cares for my dad.  A 54-year-old man with Multiple Sclerosis who is bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

How could she do that? How could she choose every day to dress him, tie his shoes, and even cut up his food at times? Doesn’t she know that makes her a weak woman? Doesn’t she know that caring for children on top of caring for a man is incredibly humiliating and degrading to her sex? Why by her own free will would she subject herself to something that is so taxing and demanding? Continue reading

Guest Stand: The Difference Between Questions and Doubts

Questions and doubtsThe two words “questions” and “doubts” are often interchanged when discussing concerns, confusion, or misunderstandings with Church doctrine, history, and policy. However, there is a difference between having questions and having doubts. It is important to understand this difference so that we know how to handle questions or doubts when we come across them in our personal lives. An article in the March 2015 issue of the Ensign by Adam Kotter, “When Doubts and Questions Arise” discusses this exact issue.

Brother Kotter defined questions and doubts as the following:

“A sincere questioner continues to be obedient while searching for answers. By contrast, I have seen that when people doubt their beliefs they often suspend their commitment to commandments and covenants while waiting for answers.”

Essentially, the difference between questions and doubts is how we respond to them. When we stay active in our callings, Church attendance, scripture study, and prayer, our questions are simply that: questions. When we stop doing those things, our questions can very quickly become doubts. That doesn’t mean that we should never ask questions, we just need to go about the right way in searching for answers. Brother Kotter regularly uses the terms “sincere questioner” and “sincere questions.” Meaning that when we ask a question, we are searching for God’s true answer, and when we find that answer we should be willing to accept it. He warns us of “talking yourself into the answers you want to believe rather than receiving true answers from God.” Continue reading

Guest Stand: Resist Doubt and Hang with Believers

doubtWhen the Savior was resurrected all of His apostles saw Him except Thomas. Thomas was an apostle who witnessed many of the Lord’s mighty miracles and doctrine rich lessons. Thomas was a faithful follower of Christ. He truly believed in Christ. However, when it came time to believe in something that went against anything Thomas physically, socially, and spiritually knew—the actual resurrection of Christ—he doubted. Christ had taught of His resurrection, but as John 20: 9 says “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” This was a doctrine that was very hard to comprehend. He had seen many mighty miracles, including the raising of the dead, but this concept was deeper and far beyond his scope of understanding. So, when the 10 apostles, who had witnessed the resurrected Lord came to Thomas and testified of its truthfulness– Thomas doubted. Thomas knew these men had been called by the Savior. He had witnessed their divine appointment; after all, he was one of them. But he still doubted. Eight days later the Savior, the ultimate source, appeared to His apostles once again—this time Thomas was present. Continue reading

Guest Stand: With Joyful Ring

ringAs I watched the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, the messages and music, testifying of our Savior Jesus Christ touched my heart. I absolutely love Christmastime.

 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

Guest Stand: Faith Comes From Faithfulness

faithfulness, faith“The most powerful force in human nature is the spiritual power of faith.” Howard W. Hunter

I’ve had occasion recently to wonder about the foundations of my faith. It may sound strange to say it, but I have powerfully strong faith. I was blessed with a believing heart, meaning that when friends taught me the gospel 32 years ago, I had an easy time understanding and accepting the truth. Their examples of faith gave me the strength to begin building my own testimony. Over the years, my faith has grown into a rock solid foundation that strengthens me in every aspect of my life.

I love the LDS faith so much, especially when I think about all the Church is and all that it means in my life. While my testimony is centered in Christ’s atonement, I truly love every aspect of the gospel. From the pioneers to the prophets, I cherish my church and it’s teachings. I love the prophets from Moses to Monson. I love the scriptures and the Sabbath. I love General Conference and the General Authorities, fasting, the Family Proclamation, and FHE. From tithing to temple worship, I’ve fully invested myself in all aspects of Church membership, and I’ve reaped dividends far beyond what I ever anticipated in the early stages of my membership. I’ve sometimes said that if I had known then what I know now, I would have literally run to the waters of baptism! Continue reading