Mormon 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
During the women’s session of the April 2018 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson, the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, invited the women of the Church to do four things. The first was to take a 10-day social media fast. He said,
“I invite you to participate in a 10-day fast from social media and any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind. Pray to know which influences to remove during your fast. The affect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted – even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.”
When President Nelson issued that challenge, I knew that the Lord had been preparing me for it. A week prior, I had felt inspired to uninstall the Facebook app from my phone and only view it on the computer.
President Oak’s talk also went well with this challenge. He issued a challenge of his own as he encouraged us to become less dependent on our cell phones. He shared that over half of the nation’s youth admit they spend too much time on their cell phones; more than 40% feel anxious when they are away from their cell phones. As we move forward and apply conference to our lives, it would serve our youth – and ourselves – well to help lower these numbers.
Without hesitation, when the women’s session was over; I turned off my twitter notifications (a couple of days later I uninstalled twitter from my phone). I did not even go on either Facebook or Twitter to say goodbye or announced my 10-day departure. I chose to “go dark” immediately.
I loved being off of social media for 10 days. I didn’t miss it. During the same session, I had received some personal revelation on how to better help my son with his reading homework. Without the constant temptation to check Facebook, I was able to spend the needed time implementing that revelation into my day. I also had time to figure out a reading schedule and begin President Nelson’s second invitation: to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. My free time that I would normally use to pull out my phone and scroll for a bit has now turned into Book of Mormon study, as well as other important things.
During my fast, we traveled out of state for a family function. I had a better time visiting my family because I wasn’t constantly posting about our travels with pictures and updates. I simply lived in the moment and enjoyed my family.
I will confess that I got on Facebook once, and Pinterest once. I needed to share something important in my family’s group page (I figured the male members of my family would see it and pass it on), with the request to contact me via text message, phone call, or email. Since I didn’t scroll through my news feed, I don’t feel bad for doing that. I also quickly searched Pinterest to find a Book of Mormon reading schedule that would work for me. I only get on Pinterest when I’m looking for something specific anyway. I don’t just sit and scroll, so I also don’t feel bad for those few minutes either.
When the 10 days were up, I really didn’t want to get back on Facebook; but I did want to touch base with my awesome fellow writers here at LDSWS. You know that first bite of dinner after a food fast? It’s so yummy, and you really enjoy that meal. That’s not how I felt when I got back on Facebook. The very first post on my news feed was negative. I quickly checked the things I wanted to: family page, ward page, and our wonderful LDSWS community. I did not miss the negativity. I have decided not to reinstall Facebook or Twitter on my phone. I will still only get on the computer, which fortunately gives me less time. I’ll hang out here at LDSWS, and keep up with important people in my life, but I’m going to stay away from scrolling the news feed as much as possible.
This fast was good for me. I’m glad I followed my personal inspiration the week before, and I’m glad I accepted President Nelson’s invitation. What about you? Did you accept the invitation? What was your experience like?
Just after our oldest daughter turned four, she had a really big seizure, then weeks after, another smaller one, and again later, an even smaller one, so we put her on medication because the uncertainty of having a seizure, and how severe it might be, was horrifying. A year later, our nephew also began having seizures. You can imagine the conversations between us mothers! My sister-in-law brought up the option of medical marijuana as an apparently successful treatment option. I believe it was the first time I’d heard of marijuana being used medicinally. After thinking about it, I decided, sure, if it could really help someone who couldn’t be helped otherwise, why not give it a try? Luckily for us, though, regular medicine helped our daughter for the two years she was on it, and she never had another seizure.
So, when I heard medical marijuana was coming up on the Utah ballot as Proposition 2 this year, I thought, great! I’ll vote for it so it can help people who want to try it. I asked my more liberal husband what he was planning to do, and he surprisingly said, “no.” His big worry was that it’s establishing an alternate path outside of the FDA which doesn’t include scientific review and clinical studies for regulating drugs. As you are probably aware, my husband isn’t the only one concerned about this bill.
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 →
She opened up her address by stating that we have choices to make between good and evil everyday. She said, “We always have the privilege to choose, but we can loose the ability to choose.” She explained that God will never take our agency away, but when we give into temptation, we give up our agency to the adversary.
Sister Jones used the word enticements to describe the opportunities we have every day to choose good or evil. She explained that we are enticed to either progress or regress, and it’s how we respond to each enticement that determines whether it is a positive or a negative experience. She said,
“As we make a daily effort to overcome our enticements and put off the natural man we begin to experience greater control in our lives. The little things don’t bother us as much because we see them for what they really are — opportunities to use our agency to turn to our Heavenly Father and to become as He is.”
Sister Jones gave several real life examples of how to do this, I will summarize four of them.
The first was her own experience in receiving a speeding ticket. At the end of the encounter the officer told her to have a good day, but she did not want to have a good day. She had just been issued a speeding ticket and was very embarrassed. Sister Jones explained that we hand our emotions over to other people when we let their actions affect us. When she realized this, she regained control of her emotions, and did have a good day.
The second example was of a father in the supermarket who appeared to be telling his son to “be patient, just be patient and when we get to the car you can have a treat.” It turned out, the father was speaking to himself, not his son! As a mother of young children, I can relate. In the trenches of parenthood, keeping our cool with our children, can be difficult, but it works when we do. When we don’t, how grateful I am that God’s littlest children so easily forgive their imperfect earthly parents.
The third example was a scenario of a teenage child coming home hours after curfew. Sister Jones had us imagine how angry and scared we would feel as we wait impatiently for our disobedient child to return home – essentially driving the Spirit away. She suggested that during that time of waiting to pray for the Spirit to be with us, so when our child walks through that door, we can have a positive discussion.
The fourth example I will summarize, is the story of Nephi when his brother’s tied him up while they were crossing the ocean to the promised land. Nephi continued to pray to the Lord, and did not lose hope.
“Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.” (1 Nephi 18:16)
Sister Jones taught that any enticement to do wrong is a spiritual enticement to do right. She recommended that we begin to pray the minute we recognize that a negative enticement is happening.
Sister Jones finished with a powerful testimony,
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a theory. It is not a group of unproven assumptions. It is not conjecture nor speculation. It is not unlivable. It is based on the doctrines and principles of the Son of God. When we follow His teachings we are happy. When we do not, we reap sadness.” — “Simply put, the gospel of Jesus Christ works.”
I would like to add my testimony to Sister Jones’. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought tremendous joy to my life. I do face daily enticements; some I overcome, others I give into. How grateful I am for the gospel of repentance when I do give in to the negative enticements. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will always be there to guide us with the Holy Spirit. May we learn from Sister Jones to pay attention to the enticements we face and do our best to choose the positive response.
“The aim of the self-reliance initiative is to help individuals help themselves become self-reliant. Self-reliance is more than having a good job, food storage, or money in the bank. Self-reliance is “the ability, commitment, and effort to provide for the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others,” and work is enthroned as a ruling principle in their lives (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 6.1.1).”
There is a movement being pushed in classrooms throughout the country called Comprehensive Sexuality Education or CSE. It is not your traditional sex education about anatomy and physiology. Instead, it uses graphic content to teach students the process of having sex, including how to negotiate sexual encounters and how to acquire and use contraceptives. It normalizes homosexual sex, alternative lifestyles, and gender theory. It teaches students about abortion and where to find reproductive health services in the community. Students often role play various same- or opposite-sex scenarios to learn how to encourage their partner to use protection. Many CSE programs teach children and youth that they are sexual beings and have a right to sexuality education. Any or all of these components – and many more – can be included in a Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum. A link to examples is included at the end of the article.
Many of these teachings are completely counter to what we believe about the divine origin of gender and the sacred nature of sexual intimacy. This topic is frequently addressed by Church leaders, and there is no question as to the standards we are commanded to uphold and to teach our children. Continue reading →
Recently, a new HBO documentary titled “Believer” was released which follows the making of the LoveLoud Festival, and sadly, points blame at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its doctrine on marriage and chastity for the depression, anxiety and suicides of LGBT-identified people. While the documentary itself was well received by fans, many faithful members of the Church are not aware of what it actually discusses and teaches. The aim of this post is to provide more information and important context.
The documentary includes at least three recurring themes: 1) blame the Church for LGBT-identified people’s suicides; 2) change the Church from within because the Church needs to change, and will change, if enough social pressure is placed from within its own members; and 3) for the production company to promote the band and its concerts. Continue reading →
In 2013 when I was blogging independently at A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman (now Latter-day Saint Woman), I wrote a post explaining my initial thoughts in response to the possibility of allowing openly gay youth to participate in the Boy Scouts of America program. This consideration by BSA was being made because they were receiving a great deal of pressure from the LGBT community and also some commercial supporters were threatening to withdraw much needed financial assistance. Needless to say the liberal media, per their usual protocol, was firing the storm as advocates for gay rights and doctrinal change in the orthodox churches. BSA had some serious decisions to make considering their relationship with many of these conservative organizations, of which the Mormons were among the strongest.
Meanwhile, the Church was waiting on the sidelines to see what they would ultimately do if that actually happened and of course, members were on edge. In light of these circumstances, you can imagine the heated speculation taking place online; the catalyst which motivated my personal (totally independent) response as a Mormon blogger to take a stand and declare that if the BSA made the decision to allow openly gay boys to participate in the program that I believed, simply put, that as disciples of Jesus Christ this would be the right thing to do and that I believed the Church would ultimately support. Let me just say, that in the years of blogging leading up to that issue I had never experienced such a strong division of feelings within our Mormon community. I was floored that so many good and faithful members could not see this ever happening. Many felt that if this actually came about that the Church would immediately pull out of BSA and if not, they would! That’s how passionate this issue became at the time. Continue reading →
In the July issue of The Ensign Elder Lance B. Wickman wrote a phenomenal article about religious freedom titled, Religious Freedom in a Secular Age. This post is a summary and application to his message.
Elder Wickman proposed the concept that not all religious freedom is created equal, and that defenders of religious freedom should prioritize our different freedoms. He wrote,
“Defenders of religious freedom have to decide what is closer to the essential core of religious freedom and what is more peripheral. To do otherwise risks weakening our defense of what is essential. If everything that could even loosely be considered “religious” is treated as equally important, we lose the notion of what is truly essential and what is truly worth fighting for.”
So, what are the most important religious freedoms? Elder Wickman divided religious freedoms into four categories:Continue reading →