LDS Church files brief on transgender case with U.S. Supreme Court

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with other major religions in filing a brief on the transgender case Glouchester County School Board vs. G.G. and Dierdre Grimm (full text may be found here). The major religions joining the Church in filing this brief include:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
National Association of Evangelicals
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Christian Legal Society

Summary of the Argument

  • Interpreting “sex” to mean gender identity would generate conflicts with religious persons and institutions across a range of fronts. Major religious traditions—including those represented by amici—share the belief that a person’s identity as male or female is created by God and immutable. That belief is contradicted by the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
  • Our core beliefs and practical experience hold that gender is a given, consisting of attributes intrinsically connected with one’s birth sex—not an individual choice. We and other major religions agree that human beings are the creation of God; that He created them male and female; that to be male or female is an immutable characteristic; and that this characteristic carries certain attributes and responsibilities.
  • One thing is perfectly clear: sacred writings and official statements from several major religions—including those of amici—demonstrate remarkable unanimity on the origin and purpose of gender as immutable and divinely ordained.

     

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Living Water and Paper Cups

Have you ever boiled an egg in a paper cup by placing it in a campfire? If you have, you have probably marveled at how the water keeps the cup from becoming ashes. This phenomenon has been the source of study in the home of Michelle Boulter, a mom from St. George, Utah, and her boys this week. Michelle is always on the lookout for a fun science experiment and it didn’t take much convincing to encourage a household of boys to try to set things on fire. Flames were lit under latex balloons, paper cups and plastic sandwich bags all filled with water. All of these normally flammable items stayed perfectly intact when filled with water, but without water, they burned and melted in seconds.

The Boulter boys went on to study the science behind why the water was so protective, but it was their inspired mom who explained the spiritual connection of Living Water: “But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” (D&C 63:23). Continue reading

His Heart is My Heart: A Love Story

Though I’ve been sealed to him for over 38 years, I came to understand, in a heartbeat, that his heart is my heart – literally – the moment the doctor informed us that Bob was in cardiac arrest and would need to be transferred immediately to another hospital. He was in pain. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. It felt like we were in the Twilight Zone. This can’t be happening. He’s too young (61) and in excellent physical condition. He’s that guy who’s never taken a break from physical activity since his high school basketball days. Among his greatest joys in life is still being able to take on some of the local high school basketball team players at the gym and occasionally beating them at 21. Which is exactly what he had just done, when he arrived home a little after 11 pm that fateful night.

I followed the ambulance the entire way to Temecula Valley Hospital where the cardiac team was waiting to take him immediately into the Cath Lab. The moment I understood the gravity of what was happening, prior to him being transferred, I left the ER so that I could get cell phone reception. In shock, I called my oldest daughter Jennette who lives nearby to tell her what was happening, but mostly to asked her to send her husband to administer a priesthood blessing. I barely made it through that conversation. My faith was in the knowledge of God’s Plan and I knew that Bob’s life was in His Hands – above all others. Continue reading

Do You Talk About Love, or Do You Love?

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)

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“IF – THEN”… The Economy of Heaven’s Love

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We had always told our children that when they were in college we would pay for the expenses of their tuition and books if their grades reflected what we all knew was their best efforts. For each child, there was a differing expectation, but the formula was the same across the board – your grades at ‘this’ level = our continued financial support.

One of our children thoroughly enjoyed their first semester at BYU-I to the point of being invited not to return after the holidays for the next semester.  (Apparently, the school had their own formula too!) This child came to us fretting over their situation.  After they had a few serious phone conversations with the powers-that-be in Rexburg they were told they could return, but on an academic probation. The child came to us so happy and relieved for the opportunity extended for a second chance at the school.

Love = No Tuition

After congratulating them and encouraging their serious commitment to further studies we asked the question, “So, how are you going to be paying for this next semester’s expenses?”  We reminded them of our financial arrangement and their celebratory mood quickly ended.  If they were going to return to BYU-I, they were going to be paying for it.  It would have to come out of their savings and we left the decision of returning to school prior to their mission, or not, to them. Continue reading

The War of Words

There is a unique war raging all around us. It’s unlike any war we can remember and it is so cleverly disguised that most do not even recognize that it’s happening. This isn’t a war that is designed by men; with big artillery, armor, trenches, and an army that is fed by C-Rations. Instead, it’s a war designed by women; with words as it’s weapons and under the leadership of anyone with a microphone or a blog who is willing to feed us the emotion we are so hungry for.

If this war took you by surprise, you are not alone. Most families who are busy raising and providing for their children and serving those around them did not see it coming either. As we have tried to wrap our heads around what is causing so much anger and frustration, we have been quite startled to see that the attacks were starting to come our way, very personal attacks against our womanhood, our family and our religion. It feels like we have been dragged into a war we did not want and we are not quite sure how to fight it. Continue reading

I Marched Last Weekend, Too.

 

I did a lot of marching this past weekend, and I’ve heard many other women did, too.

 

 

It all began Saturday morning and my MARCH went like this:

  •  I MARCHED downstairs early that morning and went straight over to my husband bent down and interrupted his DIY Network viewing with a great big toe-curling kiss.  I rubbed my hands on his head as we smiled at each other.  I’m thankful that our love is still growing and that he wants to hurry home each night after work to be with me.
  • I MARCHED out the front door, with my husband beside me, for a lovely fast-paced three-mile walk. We talked about all sorts of things and enjoyed some good exercise.  I’m thankful for my body and try to do what I can to keep it healthy and strong.
  • Next, I MARCHED outside to do some yard work.  The rain we had during the week had stopped and the wind had dried things pretty well.  We trimmed our roses together and talked some more.  I love making our home a beautiful place inside and out.  I think it shows the Lord, and my husband, that I’m grateful for the things they have both provided for me.
  • After that, I MARCHED into the kitchen to make us a delicious fajita lunch.  I love cooking.  I especially love cooking for my husband and family.  I find joy by serving them that way.  I’m lucky he’s not a fussy eater
  • I cleaned up and  I MARCHED off to the movies with my boyfriend – who also happens to be my husband – where we sat hand in hand watching the show. We are very protective of our relationship. Date nights, or afternoons, have been a must for us.
  • Home again I MARCHED into the game room where we played several rounds of our family’s favorite card game Nertz with our youngest daughter. Her beautiful family of five are temporarily living with us before they move.  They’ve been with us for a couple of months now.  It’s wild, and crazy, and loud, but I’m happy we have the extra time with them and the ability to help. I’m even more glad they felt comfortable enough to ask us.

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Increasing the Power of Personal Prayer

Several years ago during a visiting teaching appointment, my companion said something that really changed how I pray. She said (paraphrasing),  “I was taught that when we pray, we don’t have to fill the entire prayer up with talking. We should pause in between phrases so that we can feel the Holy Ghost and be guided on what to say next. We get more out of prayer, and we truly say what we need to say.”

I felt strongly impressed to follow that advice. As I started to pray that way, I noticed my attitude about prayer changed, my relationship with Heavenly Father strengthened, and my ability to receive personal revelation increased.

I’ve always known that prayer is important, and I believe in the power of prayer, but I really struggled to make my prayers personal. Once during a youth activity, we learned different examples of people in the scriptures praying all day to Heavenly Father (see Luke 6:12, Enos 1:4, Mosiah 21:14).  I remember our leader telling us that we should be able to pray like that some day. She said that our relationship with Heavenly Father and our ability to pray should get to that point. I remember thinking, “I’ll never be able to pray like that. I’m a failure at prayer.” For most of my life, I generally prayed using memorized and repeated phrases. I believed in prayer, I knew it was important, but I didn’t feel that I was “good” at praying.  Continue reading

Visiting Teachers: Representatives of the Lord

women-gather-661366-galleryA couple of years ago, the priesthood session of LDS general conference started being broadcast on BYUtv.  Now, during each priesthood session I turn on the TV so my husband can watch it, and I get to listen as well. In order for my husband to fully pay attention, I tend to our home and kids by myself. (He hasn’t asked me to do this, I choose to because I want him to enjoy the session the way I enjoy the women’s session.) During the most recent Priesthood Session, Elder Jeffrey R Holland gave his talk, “Emissaries to the Church”. As he began talking, I immediately felt a strong impression to really listen and pay attention. Elder Holland spoke about home teaching, and much of what he said can be applied to visiting teaching as well.

Visiting teaching is a topic near and dear to my heart because I love it! I truly do. I love visiting with my sisters, I love my companion, and I love being visited by my visiting teachers. I wasn’t always that way, though. When I first turned 18, I rarely went and my companion always set up the appointments and gave the message.  When I moved into a single’s ward, I never went visiting teaching. I always felt a little guilty because my home teachers came monthly without fail. When I got married and returned to a family ward setting, I tried to do better. My success, however, depended on my companions and their investment into visiting teaching. Continue reading

Jesus Worshipped Through Song and So Can You!

One of the lies that the adversary would have us believe is that we have to be polished musicians in order to make music. It seems a little ridiculous if you think about it. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that only the well-trained or perfectly rehearsed can sing praises to our Heavenly King. But so many of us hesitate to share our most tender feelings that can only be expressed in music and poetry simply because we don’t believe our voice is praiseworthy enough to be shared.

Four years ago, right after President Monson announced the age change for missionary service, a wonderful thing occurred. Youth from all over St. George, Utah started gathering together to sing their songs of worship. They called themselves, “Missionary Choir”. The term “choir” is not exactly a perfect description of this unique group, the weekly gathering that takes place every Thursday night is more akin to singing time in primary; the energy is great, the volume is loud, and there is a smile on everyone’s face as they proclaim, “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning” and “Let Us All Press On”! Continue reading