As we head into General Conference weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will publicly sustain prophets and apostles. We’ll hear the names of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles read. We’ll then have the sacred opportunity to both publicly raise our hand to show a sign of support and privately sustain them in our hearts. It’s one of my favorite moments of General Conference.
When I was a young Beehive, I spent hour after hour designing my own house plan on graph paper. I would not only sketch out room designs, bay windows, and how close the refrigerator would be to the oven, but my young, imaginative mind would live in that home. I could imagine how many children I had, how many music students I could teach, what room my family would meet in for Family Home Evening and how I was going to get the six bathrooms in my house plan cleaned on a regular basis. I imagined so thoroughly that I even had a variety of contingency plans just in case things changed.
Fast forward many years, and I have a house similar to the one I designed, (albeit a much smaller size), I have taught many music students, my bathrooms are cleaned on a semi-regular basis (just in case you were wondering), I even have five, really great children. Everything in my life has worked out pretty much like I had planned. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about the phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately, about how children shouldn’t be “punished” for the sins or actions of their parents. Let me clarify, as one who should know. Children are not punished for the actions of their parents, but sometimes they do suffer for them.
Some children suffer a lot more than others, but whenever parents make choices that negatively affect their children, believe me, the children suffer. I attended World Congress of Families IX two weeks ago. It was a productive and enriching experience. I learned and re-learned things and made new friends. I came home feeling excited about what I might be able to do to curb the tide that threatens traditional marriage and family values. Let me share with you my personal story of how I know that even though children might suffer for their parents’ choices, but are never punished for them. Continue reading
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”
The summer before my Freshman year of High School, my family moved from Utah to Idaho. Imagine how thrilled I was to find that in Idaho, fourteen is the age a driver license can be issued. I took drivers training as a class that fall in school, passed the written and driving tests, and received my license. I will never forget an interchange between my mother and I one afternoon shortly thereafter. She needed something from the store for dinner, so I volunteered to take the car (my father’s Cadillac) to the store for her. She said she wasn’t comfortable with me taking that car out on my own just yet. In response, I said, “I passed the written and driving tests. The State of Idaho says that I’m just as good a driver as you are.” She then explained to me that just because I was “book smart” and had a bit of time behind the wheel, those things did not equal her many years of actual driving experience. All those years of driving developed her skills and enabled her to become a driver with the ability to make good decisions—sometimes quickly and under pressure. She had driven in many different weather and road conditions and had developed a sixth sense about unseen dangers ahead. She assured me that these would all come to me in time also, but for now my father’s car was off limits to me. My hands never did grip the steering wheel of that big Caddy. Continue reading
One day while serving with my husband in the Russia Moscow mission, many of the senior couples were gathering down deep in one of the beautiful Moscow metro stations for an outing. Sister Nancy Bice, a dear friend and fellow senior missionary, and I were happily visiting with each other when a woman approached us. She said, “кто bы?”, which means “Who are you?” in Russian. We introduced ourselves by saying, “Здравствуйте, mеня зовут Cестра Пакард”, which means, “Hello, my name is Sister Packard”. She said that she spoke English and our conversation continued. She said she had been watching all of us. “There is something different, special, about you,” she said. I asked why she felt that way. She answered, “There is light coming from your eyes. I see light coming from your eyes.” We told her it was because we had the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and it made us happy. I wish I could say that she was interested enough to accept our invitation to visit with the young missionaries, but that was not the case. Yet, we still parted as new friends. This was not the first time (nor the last) that my husband and I, along with many of the other missionaries, heard something along those lines.
I was reminded of this incident when in his recent General Conference address, President Thomas S. Monson related the story of the BYU Jerusalem Center being approved. When one government official when assured there would be no formal proselytizing from the students, he remarked, “But what are we going to do about the light in their eyes?” Continue reading
Many years ago when I was a freshman in college, I attended a CES fireside. It was November or December, and the topic of the fireside was “Joseph Smith.” At the end of the talks the congregation sang, “Praise to the Man.” As we were singing, people began standing up. After more and more people stood, I followed.
At the end of the song, the priesthood holder conducting the meeting came back to the microphone and told us that there has been a new trend in the Church to stand while singing, but that this practice was not appropriate all of the time. He then said something I would never forget. He pointed to the member of the Twelve Apostles who was on the stand and said that if we wanted to know if we were doing the right thing, we needed to look to the Brethren.
I had been thinking about deception early on during my freshman year. I wanted to follow God. I wanted to be one of the five virgin’s whose oil cruses were full, but I did not feel like I knew how to do it. After this was said, I was sorry that I had followed the crowd, but I was very grateful for the counsel given to look to the apostles. Since that time, I have learned some ways that have helped me to remain faithful, keep my spiritual cruse of oil full, and continue to joyfully endure to the end even when something I read, hear, or don’t understand shakes my faith. Continue reading
We want what God wants because what God wants for all of His Children is that we experience joy not only here in mortality but for eternity. Adam taught that “men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Might. Joy does not come through external demands, circumstances, or other individuals. Joy is a personal choice that must be claimed. Learning to trust God and turn our will over to His is the great test of this life – and trust me, it is a test – with joy as its great reward!
Consider some of the recent attacks against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – many emanate from individuals’ desires in opposition to the organizational structure and/or its teachings and doctrines. All are vulnerable to the natural man within, who tends to insist on having things his or her way, thinking we know what is best. President Ezra Taft Benson explained it best: “Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Apr. 1989 General Conference). Continue reading
We live in a world full of discontent and contention. It is so very easy to get caught up in all of that. We are taught to love our neighbor, and that contention is not right, but when everything begins to fall apart around us, and everyone else seems to be bickering, we sometimes fall right into it ourselves.
I was reading an article in the July Ensign by Elder Marcus B. Nash, Of the Seventy, entitled “Pioneers: An Anchor for Today.” Elder Nash talked about the Mormon pioneers and their incredible efforts to cross the plains and build Zion. I was struck by the following paragraph. Continue reading