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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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Five Promises from President Russell M. Nelson

It’s always a welcome sight to open my mailbox and see the newest General Conference issue of the Ensign. While I enjoy the benefit of having the talks online and in the Gospel Library app, nothing beats sitting down at my kitchen table, marking pen in hand, to read and study the Conference messages. The first morning I sat down I decided to read all of President Russell M. Nelson’s talks to remember what the prophet had counseled us to do. As I read his talks over the course of the week I began to notice he made certain promises. Those promises are powerful!

Promise #1

Speaking to the women of the Church in the Women’s session President Nelson offered four invitations. It was in the second invitation that a promise was given.

“I invite you to read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year. As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it. And, as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you. The Lord will bless you with increased inspiration and revelation.”

I know this promise to be true! I currently have seven of my eleven children home. We homeschool. I also am very busy with my callings as the stake young women president and ward choir director. When I heard President Nelson’s invitation my first thought was, ‘Where will I find the time?’ Then I recalled something I had come across just the week before. It said, “Replace saying “I don’t have the time” with “It’s not my priority” and see how it makes you feel.” Continue reading

What Weapons Can You Bury?

In my personal Book of Mormon study I recently read the account of the sons of Mosiah teaching and converting the Lamanite kings Lamoni and his father, and a good number of their subjects. Chapters 23 and 24 in the book of Alma talk about these Lamanite converts choosing to put aside and bury their weapons of war – weapons that had harmed and killed Nephites who believed in Jesus Christ.  

Alma 23:7 “For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.”

Alma 24:15-19:

15 Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby.


16 And now, my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.

17 And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth.

18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

19 And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.

As I read these verses, I thought, “I don’t own any weapons like that, and I’m not physically  hurting anyone. But is there a ‘weapon’ that I need to bury to help me better follow Jesus Christ?” Immediately the answer came to me: unkind words.

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I Wish You a Mary Christmas!

rp_Mary-and-Christ-article-photo-Dec-15-300x300.jpgHow many times have I read, or heard, or seen portrayed the account of the nativity, including Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child, as recorded in the New Testament? I couldn’t even begin to count the number. And neither probably could you. It’s a tradition at this time of year to tell the story in our home and I’m guessing in yours too. We like to act it out.

Of course, the coveted role is that of Mary. Each of our daughters, and now granddaughters, hope to pull her name out of the bowl. All eyes are on her as she slowly walks into ‘Bethlehem’. Joseph is always so attentive. Everyone wants to help her when the innkeeper turns them away. She so gently and politely shares her newborn with the many shepherds and their flocks, that come to adore him, as directed by the angel, and welcomes so kindly the wiseman that arrive with gifts of great worth. Reverence and honor for that righteous young woman who gave herself to the Lord and her part in His plan, is felt by all there. And rightfully so. Continue reading

Let’s Start Thinking Again: Benefits of a Social Media Fast

My 9-year old and me at the 2018 General Women’s Session.

I thoroughly enjoyed my social & negative media fast encouraged by President Nelson at the women’s session of conference. Honestly, I was a little worried about doing it again as I had already done it with the youth a few months ago. I wasn’t sure I wanted to sacrifice my social media another time. However, I’m happy to report that it was easier to do the second time probably because after the first time I deleted my facebook app, and I figure, aren’t things often easier the second time?

A few things I noticed while I was away:

  • When I got back to Facebook I had only 80 messages! How in the world have I spent so much time generally on Facebook, when there are only eight things beckoning me per day? I can surely save my Facebooking for a limited time each day!
  • I found myself checking local news, CNN, and my Google news feed when I was bored because I wanted a connection to the outside.
  • I thought I’d get more done and my house would be cleaner because I wouldn’t be spending so much time on Facebook. But nope. I can’t explain that one.
  • I did miss my Facebook friends and communities especially when I had questions and needed to crowdsource thoughts on President Oaks’ talks as well as find out how to get new trailer tires. I also missed my food co-op order two weeks in a row.
  • I didn’t miss Instagram. It’s not my preferred social media platform as it really is where I start to feel jealous after seeing all the awesome stuff everyone else is doing. I suppose I prefer Facebook because it’s full of the good, the bad, and the ugly; although, the ugly I could do without.
  • I was able to get a jump start on my Book of Mormon reading!

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My Social Media Fast – I didn’t want it to end!

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?

What You Need to Know about Utah’s Prop 2 and Legalizing Medical Marijuana

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.

Although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes the general use of illicit drugs, a letter sent to members in Utah dated 23 August 2018 stated,

The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy. Continue reading

When Questions Arise ‘Will Ye Also Go Away’?

the 5000It 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.” [1]

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.”[2] Continue reading

Enticements and Choices – Sister Joy D. Jones Speaks at BYU Education Week Devotional 2018

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the devotional speaker for BYU’s Education Week on Tuesday August 21, 2018.

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.

 

My Path for Self Reliance: Take a Class!

This Summer I took the Personal Finance class as part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s self-reliance program. In the My Path For Self-Reliance pamphlet, the purpose of these classes is explained:

“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 [2010], 6.1.1).”

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