I recently attended a religion and faith conference at Harvard Divinity School, where I heard Dr. Laurel Thatcher-Ulrich define frontiers as a place where two cultures merge and create tension. Pioneers, she said, are the people who forge a new path out of this cultural blending.
Over the last four years, I have felt like one of the pioneers described by Dr. Ulrich. In 2013, I packed up my stuff and moved from Salt Lake City, UT, to Washington, D.C., to begin a JD/MBA program at Georgetown University. Every single day since that move I have stood on my own personal frontier as my religious and cultural heritage began to merge with my academic training, often creating conflict as the leanings of my professors and classmates clashed with prophetic guidance from Church leaders. Through this merging and clashing process, I have had to forge my own pioneer path by deciding how to combine my faith and trust in the Prophet with the academic and social expansion of my worldview. This is not an easy task. Looking back over my time at Georgetown, I have often reflected on what it means to be a pioneer both socially and in the classroom. Continue reading →
Back 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 →
I used to think that I had to do something amazing to help our loving Father in Heaven. It didn’t matter if this “amazing act” was done in the church or in the world. But it had to be done. I just didn’t know what.
Sisters and friends, let me save you your sanity and tell you a secret: this isn’t true. Important things are good and need to be done. But, those who have a lasting and eternal impact on standing for our Father in Heaven and His plans do so quietly and within their sphere of influence. They are the unsung heroes that the angels watch over.
You don’t have to change the world to change someone’s life. No organization you lead or leadership role you hold will have a greater impact on the world than that of the roles you hold dear in your heart.
Mother. Sister. Daughter. Friend. A daughter of God.
These roles are eternal where others will have an end. These are the roles that truly matter where all others will fail.
Let me share with you three ways how you are already standing strong in your life. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that they aren’t as difficult as you might think. Continue reading →
The world has been talking about love for a long time. Who do we love? How do we express love? What does love look like? What does it not look like? We have been spending so much time telling others to love as we do, that we have forgotten to love those very people we are talking to. We have been spending so much time trying to convince everyone else that our way of love is the right way, that we have forgotten to follow the true example of love: Jesus Christ. We talk about love, but do we actually love? Do we follow Jesus Christ’s example?
Loving each other is a commandment:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
Growing up, one of my favorite Christmas stories was commonly titled, “Teach the Children.” * In the story, the narrator comes across Santa Claus in their house. Santa requests that the narrator teaches their children the true meaning of Christmas. In this story Santa teaches that the popular symbols of Christmas like candy canes, Christmas trees, and stars all center around Jesus Christ, his love, and his sacrifice. I believe that these spiritual meanings for our Christmas symbols are vital for our children to know and pass along. We must teach our children about Jesus Christ and how he is not only the center of Christmas, but the center of our lives.
The Star – Stars are commonly placed on top of Christmas trees. Heavenly Father placed a bright star in the sky when Jesus was born. It was so bright that when the sun set, there was no darkness. In the New Testament (Matthew 2), the star led the wise men to Jesus; and in the Book of Mormon it was a sign to the world that Jesus Christ, our Savior, had been born (Helaman 14:1-2,5 and 3 Nephi 1:21). In the story, the star represents God’s promise being fulfilled that he would send us a Savior. We can also teach our children that because the star was recorded in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, we know that Jesus Christ truly was born. Continue reading →
We are all anxiously awaiting what the Brethren will tell us this weekend, but I have the great fortune of filling my heart and mind already with their words. We should always be most concerned with the latest messages our leaders give us, but we cannot forget the great messages we have heard over the years. They are still of great value and most definitely filled with the spirit of edification, warning, and love. I have taken on the challenge to read and write about General Conferences of the past. As a writer for the General Conference Odyssey, I am overwhelmed with what the Brethren have been telling us–for years.
The General Conference Odyssey is a group of writers who write, each week, on a past session of conference, starting with April 1971. At this point, we have reached the Friday morning session of April 1974. And I repeat, I am overwhelmed with the doctrine, advice, warnings, love, and spirit of those early talks.Continue reading →
Do you like to read? Do you ever listen to audio books? What is it about a particular book that makes you excited to recommend it to others? Do you ever share your list of favorites with friends or family? Have you ever seen someone you don’t know, reading your favorite book, and felt an overwhelming connection to them, simply because they were reading something so dear to you?
On Labor Day, my husband and I spent the day running errands in preparation for our son’s upcoming wedding. On our trip to the grocery store, we picked up some salted mixed nuts that my husband’s sweet mother, Margie, said she was wishing for. We stopped into the care center for an impromptu visit to give them to her, knowing how much she was craving the salty goodness of some roasted cashews.
When we entered her small apartment, Margie was so excited to see us and was thrilled at the yummy treat we presented to her, but she wanted to share something with us that was much more nutritious. She clapped her hands together and exclaimed, “guess what?! I just finished the Book of Mormon, again!” She was beaming with the Spirit that comes to a person when they have a burning love for and testimony of the Book of Mormon and she wanted to pass on her enthusiasm to us. She wanted us to feel the warm glow she was already basking in.Continue reading →
Do you recognize this? It was posed by Bilbo Baggins to Gollum during their famous riddle battle in J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. The answer: Time.
It’s about time…
We have too much of it, then quickly too little. It speeds by and then at other times drags on, and on, and on. We often misjudge the amount of it we have, waste it, or lament we don’t have enough. A few things though are certain concerning time –
Modern medicine advocates lower sodium for better health. But the Great Physician and Master Healer prescribes more salt in the world’s diet.
‘Be in the world, but not of the world’…
…is a common phrase we hear in the LDS Church. It suggests that as we move through our lives, outside the circle of our Church relationships and activities, we not forget our understanding of who we are, why we are here, and what our divine potential is. That we keep our covenants shamelessly, and perhaps be the means of illuminating the truth to those in an ever darkening world. And that while we do so we not allow the values, ideas, and philosophies of men to attach themselves to us in an effort to be kind, accommodating, and politically correct. Continue reading →
The Mormon Women Stand community is made up of LDS women from around the world with varying ages, backgrounds, locations, and professions who believe that women have a powerful opportunity to be a force for good both in the Church and online. This endeavor was established to invite all LDS women to stand together in a positive online community. It is a safe haven and gathering place for women to join in doctrinally sound and uplifting gospel conversations in an atmosphere of loyalty to those whom the Lord has authorized to lead His church.
It has been such an incredibly rewarding few years and I’m amazed at all of the powerful content the bloggers and community members have created. Together with our 40,000 + members (and growing!), we’ve created a gathering place for LDS women to link arms and stand together for prophets, apostles, the Savior, doctrine, family and faith. We knew from the outset that women needed a place to be able to talk about their love for the doctrines of the gospel without fear of persecution. We knew how important it would be to ensure that women of faith never feel alone as they stand for all that we hold sacred—despite it being unpopular with the world. So, when we hit an audience reach of 1.2 million on Facebook for two consecutive weeks last summer, we realized that this space is being filled with women eager to stand with the prophet on doctrinal issues and The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Continue reading →