It was a large gathering. John calls it “a great multitude.” They had come to listen to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, hoping to see another miracle. They were not disappointed. Christ had the 5,000 sit on the grassy ground. He took five barley loaves and two small fishes offered by a lad, blessed and broke them, and the disciples distributed the baskets of food to the crowd. When all were filled, the remnants were gathered up, 12 baskets full. John records that those who witnessed the miracle then said, “this is of truth that prophet that should come into the world.” 
The next day the multitude followed after Him. When they confronted Him about why He had left, He answered that they were more concerned with the food that He had provided than His message. Then came the beautiful sermon on the symbolism of the manna from heaven to the Children of Israel.
“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead…I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”
The crowd was mostly frustrated with this teaching. It was to be spiritually discerned, but they could not receive it. When they realized that their physical need, their bodily appetite, was not to be satisfied again, they lost interest. John sadly records,
“from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” Continue reading →
I love light. But let’s talk about darkness. I don’t ever remember being afraid of the dark as a child. I mean, no more than usual. Were you? Admittedly, it’s uncomfortable to be in the dark. Even in our own homes, a familiar place. When it’s dark, we feel uneasy. We bump into objects that we know are there but we now can’t see. They become obstacles to us. We have a difficult time recognizing our surroundings and we wonder if there are things hiding there that might GET US!
In the dark our imaginations shift into high gear. Reality becomes distorted to us, and we can begin to see in our minds things that aren’t really there. We can be easily fooled in the dark. We might be presented one thing but told it is something entirely different. Who can forget sticking a hand into that bowl of peeled grapes and being told they were eyeballs, or the wet pasta that was brains at the elementary school spook alley as a child? That about scarred me for life! 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 →
Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.
I remember the first time I felt like I was in over my head. I had just graduated high school and the bishop of our congregation, or “ward,” had invited me in to his office during Church. As we chatted about my plans for college and other things, he asked if I would accept a “calling,” or in other words, a church assignment. I was expecting him to ask if I would be the ward chorister or something. But instead, he asked me if I would accept the assignment to be the teacher of a group of teenage girls, or “Young Women,” in our congregation.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a girl graduates from High School or turns 18, she stops attending the teenage girls’ classes, and attends the women’s class, the “Relief Society,” in the ward. I had been really looking forward to attending the women’s classes.
Here Am I, Don’t Send Me!
I was surprised, to say the least. Though I had already graduated, I was still seventeen, which meant that there could technically be a Young Woman in the group of girls who was older than I—the teacher—was. I felt very young and unprepared. I had never taught before. And to make things potentially even more strange, because I had just left the Young Women program, that meant that I was now expected to “teach” the peers and friends I had been in the program with for years! I felt very uncomfortable giving any kind of counsel in such a formal setting to girls that I loved to chat and hang out with. Would they think I was coming off as “holier than thou?” Would it change my friendships? Continue reading →
Terrie Lynn Bittner is the Senior Editor of the Mormon Women Stand blog. She is a technical guru who made this website possible. Terrie is an intelligent, published author with many accomplishments under her belt. She loves children, and many of us couldn’t wait every Sunday for her weekly Facebook post about her Primary class. More importantly, she is our good friend, mentor, and confident. Terrie has a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read her conversion story here. She is steadfast and immovable.
Very suddenly, Terrie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and is preparing to go home to her Heavenly Father. The time that she has left here in mortality, she is not wasting. On the contrary, she is showing the rest of us how to live with faith and courage. She is teaching us how to love life, love our Heavenly Father, and endure to the end.
The first article Terrie has written since brain surgery was just published on LDSBlogs, and we would like to share it here. We share it as a testimony of not only her strength, but the strength of all of us as women. We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, and together we can do anything–even write articles after brain surgery. Terrie, we are cheering you on. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly. We love you!
The MWS Team
Click here for Terrie’s first article post-surgery.
Following the prophet is not something I take lightly. Recently, I read a few blog posts on the internet that bothered me a bit. The writer of these posts proclaimed to have a testimony of The Book of Mormon, a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. However, he says he does not have a testimony of current living prophets. In addition, his posts try to convince his readers that living prophets don’t exist.
In an attempt to understand this man, I reached out a few days ago to the readers of our Mormon Women Stand Facebook page. I posed the following questions to our readers:
1) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet, or to follow the prophet yourself?
2) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet when you are following the prophet yourself?
3) Is it easier to follow ancient prophets, or modern-day prophets?
4) Is it easier to follow one prophet over another?
5) If you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, which includes the principle of ongoing revelation, is it possible to not have a testimony of living prophets?
Our Mormon Women Stand readers never disappoint, and quite a few people engaged in the conversation. The comments gave me a lot to consider, and I learned a few things. Continue reading →
Recently, the six-and-seven-year-olds in my Primary class were role-playing a situation in which they had to advise a friend who was struggling with a gospel principle. One child said firmly, “Well, you’re just going to have to call in the Holy Ghost on this project.” I thought to myself what a wise bit of advice that was. I wish someone had told me that when I was struggling to gain a full testimony. Read about why I became a Mormon without a testimony. Continue reading →
When I was baptized just after my seventeenth birthday, I did not have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. I wanted one, but I didn’t have one. Just before I started my lessons with the missionaries, a friend taught me how to pray to learn what is true. The missionaries taught me even more about it. Since I had been seeking God’s only true church since I was a child, I set out to pray. I had never prayed for information before. I’d been raised to recite a little prayer at bedtime, but I never asked for advice or to know what is true. I didn’t know how God’s answers would come to me, and the missionaries had given me some possibilities, but told me I’d learn to recognize them with practice. When no answer came to my requests to know if the Church was true, I was afraid. Finally, I realized I was asking a question that was too hard—not too hard for God, but too hard for me. Maybe I wasn’t ready yet. I asked a new question: Should I join this Church? Continue reading →
Some concerns have surfaced about the history of the Church and of Joseph Smith. Is there a way to still be a faithful believer?
With the Church’s recent publication of the essays about Polygamy in the Topics section of its website, there has recently been a flurry of criticism both directed at Joseph Smith, and at the Church. I had noticed some common themes in people’s statements that I thought would be good to address. Before I address those five common concerns, let me start with a fictional conversation that will hopefully help you notice a pattern that the Lord has established.
Was Nephi Hiding the Truth From Us?
Imagine you had the following conversation with a friend. (In order for the story to make sense, just know that the “small plates” of Nephi contained a more spiritual history of Nephi’s people. The “large plates” contained a history detailing the wars and other “non-spiritual” events of his people.)Continue reading →
I wish I could remember how little I was, but I can’t. I just know that I was very young, before my parents’ divorce and because of the house in which we were living. I don’t recall what prompted such deep thinking either; I wish I could. Though, if I had to guess, it’s probably because of my grandmother. She taught me deep doctrine as a little girl. My family wasn’t active in the Church, but we were Mormon nonetheless.
I remember one conversation we had where she taught me that God has a Heavenly Father, too. That blew my little mind! I loved truth and embraced it at a young age. I trusted my grandmother and knew that the doctrine she taught me was true because of how I felt when I heard it. I didn’t know how to recognize the Spirit at the time, but it was definitely Him. It was dark, and I was alone in my room, in bed.
I remember lying there, wanting to desperately understand God and His creations – the expanse of eternity to be exact. Yes, I know this is odd thinking for a small child. But that is exactly what I was trying to comprehend. I recall trying to picture in my mind the concept of worlds without end and eternal families; how it all worked. All of the sudden, my little mind seemed to smash into an invisible black ceiling in the universe and refused to allow me to see or understand any further. What I had already comprehended, for one so small, to me was mind boggling. Which is why, I’m sure, I hit the wall, so to speak.
I felt such a frustration of not being allowed to understand more. I wanted to see more. I almost felt I had been imprisoned, though I wouldn’t have known to express it like that at the time. But when I think about it now (still so vivid) that’s exactly what it felt like. I had questions; things I still wanted to figure out. Continue reading →