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What’s in a Name? Mormon Women Stand is now Latter-day Saint Women Stand

Latter-day Saint Women StandMormon Women Stand has chosen to change our official name to “Latter-day Saint Women Stand,” in keeping with the recommendations of President Russell M. Nelson’s August 16, 2018, Mormon Newsroom directive:

“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints updated its preferred ways of being referenced in the media and other channels. This particular “Style Guide,” announcement is significant because most members of the Church will need to learn how to rephrase common nicknames we commonly use for the Church and its members. A few of the more common phrases the Church has preferred we avoid are: “the LDS Church,” the Mormon Church,” “Mormonism,” and “Mormons.” As a preferred replacement for these words, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” or “Latter-day Saints.” See the official site for more details: https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/name-of-the-church

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A Call to Defend Religious Freedom

Tucson TempleThere is one area which Latter-day Saints must pay greater attention – protecting religious freedom. Did you know that  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a website dedicated to teaching how we can stand for religious freedom? Did you know that members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak frequently on this critical topic? Why is this such a vitally important issue?

Let’s go straight to the Savior’s own words to find out more. He said that He established the Constitution and raised up wise men – the Founding Fathers – for that very purpose (see D&C 101:80). That alone shows us that we should revere the Constitution and the Founding Fathers because they were given to us by the Savior himself! Joseph Smith set an example for us all to follow when he said, “I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth” (Documentary History of the Church, 6:56). Continue reading

Opinion: #SexStrike – A Hollywood hashtag I can only ‘kind’ of agree with…

There aren’t many movements coming out of ‘La-La Land’ that I can get on board with, but I think I just may have found one, though not with the same motivation or end result that some have in mind.

Recently, in response to a pro-life bill passed in a southern state, Hollywood erupted in protest threatening to pull their industry from that state unless a woman’s ultimate right to decide what happens to her body was fully restored (code words for they want unfettered abortion).  As part of this uproar, a new hashtag was born: #SexStrike. Many who make their living in front of the camera are encouraging females to show their power by refraining from having sexual relations until they are given full autonomy over their bodies and their reproductive rights.

At first glance, I thought… well, I won’t tell you what I thought… but on taking a second look, I decided that this movement, a call to abstain from sex, might be something I could fully get behind, with a couple of twists. Continue reading

‘Devilish Infirmities’ Plaguing Our Day

Certain Women and Their Infirmities

During the ministry of Jesus Christ, “certain women were mentioned alongside the twelve apostles. But it was their special calling as the first to see the empty tomb and witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ that makes us wonder what made these women so special in the eyes of our Savior.  The scriptures explain…

“And it came to pass..that he (Jesus) went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, (Luke 8:1. Emphasis added) 

What do these “evil spirits and infirmities” have to do with how these women were prepared for their unique missions? And more importantly, why did the writers of the gospels feel the need to point out their personal trials?

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Faith in Jesus Christ is the Key Defense Against Spiritual Decline

In April 2019 general conference, President Henry B. Eyring talked about the differences between a family being spiritually minded and having spiritual decline. Being spiritually minded simply requires faith in Jesus Christ and through that faith, we can feel the Holy Ghost guide us. Spiritual decline, on the other hand, comes in many different forms and branches us off onto all sorts of different paths. President Eyring used the example of the spiritual decline in the Book of Mormon 200 years after Christ visited those ancient people (see 4th Nephi):

  • Pride crept in.
  • The people stopped sharing what they had with each other.
  • They began to see themselves in classes above or below each other.
  • They began to diminish in their faith in Jesus Christ.
  • They began to hate.
  • They began to commit all kinds of sin.

Anyone can look at personal examples of spiritual decline and fit them into one of the above categories. President Eyring said that the underlying cause of spiritual decline is “Satan trying to lead good people down a path to sin and thus to lose the influence of the Holy Ghost.” No matter which category spiritual decline starts in, it all ends the same with losing the influence of the Holy Ghost. How can we prevent that from happening? How can we bring back spiritual mindedness if decline does happen? Continue reading

April 2019 General Conference: Many Called, But Who’s Listening?

Many Called, Are We Ready to Listen? 

“How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens?” (D&C 121:30)

Change has been rolling over the Lord’s Church since President Nelson became the prophet. Each new announcement has called upon the Saints to roll the work forward at an unprecedented pace. These changes brought new life to the way we worship, learn, and organize and keep us from becoming stagnant. Some expected April Conference to keep the waters rolling. But instead of rolling out more changes, we were humbled to hear the loving voice of the Lord calling us to change ourselves and Come Unto Him! His fervent pleading with his children reminds us that it is through Jesus Christ that we can change and become like our Heavenly Parents. To do this, he has asked us to strengthen home and family, repent, and come unto Christ…. but are we listening?

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The Challenge of Living Life in the Air

Up In The Air

Do you ever feel that life always keeps you “up in the air”? Everywhere I turn, I see friends who are dealing with one upheaval after another. Just as they get their feet on the ground, they are tossed into another trial. Physical, mental, financial, and spiritual trials do not always heal completely before another problem is thrown into the mix. 

It’s Exhausting! It’s Unsettling! It’s Confusing!

My friend, June*,  is a caring and devoted mother who just lost her husband to a prolonged illness. Not only is she fighting her way through the mourning process, she is trying to work out the financial mess of years of health-care costs. Her young-adult children are suffering too. Some had turned to substance abuse to deal with the stress of their father’s condition. Others are rebelling against their mother and her faith, making her mourning even more severe. The pressure of these trials caused Jane’s auto-immune disorder to flare up. She hasn’t been able to go to work for a few weeks, and she is at risk of losing her home.

June did not do anything to bring these trials upon herself. She tirelessly gives of herself to help ease the burdens of those around her. But when June looks in the mirror, she sees a mess that she has no idea how to fix. Prayers, blessings and temple visits bring her peace, but they do not stop the unraveling of her family situation. This is hardly what June had envisioned for her life.

June isn’t the only one experiencing trials upon trials. It seems that most, if not all of us, are in a season of testing. Gratefully, there is a pattern for this in the scriptures.

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Calming the Storms of Doubt

Sacred GroveOftentimes I struggle to find enough self-esteem to fill a thimble. It is by far my biggest challenge. I look at various aspects of my life – everything from appearance to filling my roles as wife, mother, teacher, church member and citizen – and one phrase just seems to sum it all up: Not Good Enough. Perhaps you know the feeling. I am well aware that doubt and uncertainty are tools of the adversary, but having that knowledge doesn’t mean they are easy to overcome.

Doubt is such a powerful tool that Satan tried to use it to thwart one of the greatest events in history. We read in Joseph Smith-History about the dark moments immediately preceding the First Vision: “Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction” (JS-H 1:15). In another account of this event, we learn even more about the negative influence on the future prophet. “The adversary made several strenuous attempts to cool the passion of [my] soul. He clouded [my] mind with doubts and brought to [my] mind all sorts of improper images to prevent [me] from attaining the object of [my] endeavors…” (emphasis added)

Joseph Smith did not succumb to those doubts and neither can we. Remember why doubt comes. This account is a great illustration of a simple truth: Satan attacks what is good. Though the heavens may not be opening to usher in the restoration in our lives, the principle is the same. When we are striving to do good, live righteously, and fulfill our eternal purpose, Satan will try to derail our efforts. He knows that he can’t generally do it in the more obvious ways, so he has to subtly pick away at an individual in every way he knows how. I don’t struggle with temptations to steal, murder, commit adultery or anything like that, but I do struggle significantly with being distracted by doubts and allowing those doubts to reduce my effectiveness.

Joseph SmithIn order to stay on track and push the doubts out of my life, I rely on my feisty German side to take over and focus on another lesson learned from the First Vision. Joseph Smith said, “It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me?” (JS-H 1:20, emphasis added)

A disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom.

I have always been drawn to that phrase and consider it a personal aspiration. I also want to be a disturber and an annoyer of the adversary’s kingdom. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that Satan doesn’t win a single battle within my sphere of influence. I want to actively work for the Savior and build his kingdom in any way I can. We have to choose a side; there is no place in the Kingdom of God for fence-sitters. One of my favorite quotes is from Elder John A. Widtsoe: “The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth. As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord” (April 1941 General Conference).

Being on the side of the Lord comes with opposition. We need to recognize when the adversary is trying to render us ineffective and then press forward in righteous endeavors regardless of that opposition. The Prophet Joseph set a great example for all of us. From the time he knelt in that grove of trees until the time of his death, he faced tremendous resistance and hostility but stayed on an undeviating course of righteous accomplishment. We can and must do the same because we are each helping to continue the work he started.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28 states, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.” When doubt and uncertainty start to get you down, remember whose side you are on and why those feelings creep in. Don’t let the adversary win. Be a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom by following the counsel given in this scripture. Find your good cause and bring to pass much righteousness in your sphere of influence. Doing so will allow us to feel God’s love and the assurance that we are always good enough for him as we serve him and keep his commandments.

You Are Never Lost

During my recent reading of The Book of Mormon, a verse in 3rd Nephi touched me. Jesus tells the people of ancient America, “But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.” (3 Nephi 17:4) (Emphasis added.)

In the past, this verse has been evidence to me that Christ visited more than the American people after his resurrection, and it still does bear that witness. However, the phrase “they are not lost unto the Father” took on broader meaning for me – broad in the sense that it applies to all of Heavenly Father’s children regardless of being in a literal tribe of Israel or not.

Heavenly Father always knows where you are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You are never lost to Him. Continue reading

Guest Stand: Becoming a ‘Mom-onary’ to Your Children!

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When I was a little girl, my Aunt was called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was the first sister missionary to serve in my family. It had such an impact on me, and I knew I wanted to serve just like she did. The Lord had a different plan for me; I met my husband. We’re now raising four incredible children. Yet, I have never lost that desire to serve and teach the gospel. I confess, until recently, I had never made a connection between missionary work and motherhood.

 

 

Called to be a “Mom-onary”

A few months ago, the thought came to me that I needed to focus my family more on the plain Preach My Gospeland precious truths of the gospel. I felt a sense of urgency to reinforce our foundation in the simple doctrine of Jesus Christ. I desired my children to be truly converted. As I prayed and asked the Lord how he wanted me to approach this, the missionary manual “Preach My Gospel” came to my mind. If this is the source that the Lord’s missionaries use to teach new investigators the gospel, then I should use it to teach my family. I felt called to the Motherhood Mission and my children have become my investigators.

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My Husband is Still My Boyfriend.

I am crazy in love with my wonderful husband, Chad.  It is more common than not for me to introduce him to others as ‘my boyfriend’. I make no apologies for it. The health and vitality of our relationship is not due to who we each are individually, because we are each flawed people (trust me on this). Instead, it has everything to do with the conscious choices we have both made to:

  • Use the counsel of the Lord on marriage, given through His prophets, as our guide.
  • Watch and follow the example of those couples we have observed around us who obviously find joy and satisfaction in their marriages.
  • And to make ‘us’ our highest priority.

Prophetic Counsel

Camilla & Spencer Kimball

President Spencer W. Kimball was the prophet of my youth and during the emergence of my personal testimony. I love him and trust his counsel still. He and his sweet wife, Camilla, have (yes, I say that in present tense) a beautiful marriage. I enjoyed watching them together. So, when he spoke on marriage, I listened.

In an address titled “Oneness In Marriage”, this beloved prophet made this hope-filled promise:

“There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out, reduced, or limited.” [1] Continue reading