Elder Holland: How to Distinguish Between the Sin and the Sinner

Image result for elder hollandWe are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading

Hope Comes From Having a Desire For Personal Improvement

This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the Sunday afternoon session of October 1975.

In closing the 1975 General Conference, Pres. Spencer W. Kimball stated some personal goals that he would go home to pursue:

“While sitting here, I have made up my mind that when I go home from this conference this night there are many, many areas in my life that I can perfect. I have made a mental list of them, and I expect to go to work as soon as we get through with conference.”

We too have recently concluded another wonderful conference where so many thoughts and ideas have run through our heads. Maybe you think, as I do, that hope comes from having a desire for personal improvement? First of all, I am humbled to hear a prophet say he has his own work to improve, and second, I am eager to learn so that I also might overcome my weaknesses in order to be a stronger servant of the Lord’s. That is where my hope is, that I can work toward being useful to the Lord as I work through my weaknesses.

In fact, that’s why I enjoy this General Conference Odyssey so much. What our prophets said 40, 150, 2000, 3500 years ago is always going to be self-improving and worth pondering. The Plan, set by our Heavenly Father, was set in motion to make us better people in order to fulfill the purposes of our creation. We work toward obedience and Jesus Christ carries us home; it’s that simple.

Some of the highlights of the 2017 conference reminded me that I need to practice certain behavior better. Sis. Bonnie H. Cordon quoted Amy Wright, who discovered a strange paradox. Continue reading

Peace Through a Heart Full of Hope

Hannibal, Missouri

Two years ago this Easter, I lost a very special friend to an unkind and excruciating death because of cancer.  In the few short months between her diagnosis and her death, our friendship grew even deeper in its spiritual and eternal scope.  We shared deeply our testimonies and our feelings about our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father and the glorious Plan of Happiness.  We laughed and we cried.  When the final weeks turned into days, our visits took more time, but our conversations were no longer.  With my friend too fragile to speak, we would just hold hands and sit together. Continue reading

General Relief Society President Speaks at the United Nations

In a powerful and inspiring event at the United Nations, Jean Bingham, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined in a panel titled “Finding a New Home: The Role of Faith-based Organizations in Refugee Assistance and Resettlement.” This subject could not have been more important for this newly called General Relief Society Presidency, considering the plight of the world’s 23 million refugees and also noting that her first counselor, Sharon Eubank, is the Director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the church. Continue reading

An Unusual Reminder of Hope.

 

When I was a teenager there was a 7-Eleven convenience store seemingly on every corner. You couldn’t drive a couple of miles without passing one of their establishments beckoning you in for a Slurpee. They were everywhere. Back then I had no idea that each and every time I saw their green, orange and red sign there was a message there for me, a spiritual reminder hidden in plain sight.

 

Who Knew?!

Do you remember 7-Eleven’s slogan? If you’re my age you certainly do. It is often cited in the advertising industry as one of the most memorable slogans ever……

“Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!”

Who knew that there in the store’s name, signage, and slogan was a message of spiritual encouragement, an invitation to remember the marvelous atonement performed by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m sure the company has no idea what their advertising is helping me, and soon you, to remember.

Alma knew.

Nestled midway through the Book of Mormon, is the record of a once-rebellious young man – who after full repentance and a total conversion to the gospel of the foretold Savior of the World, Jesus Christ – was transformed into the mighty government and prophet leader Alma.

In chapter seven of Alma is recorded his teachings to the people of Gideon concerning the Saviors birth, His mission – culminating in the fulfillment of the atonement by His bearing the sins of the world and loosing the bands of death – and the promise that those who repent, are baptized, and keep the commandments of God will inherit eternal life. After his own life experience, Alma speaks with power, and I’m sure great gratitude of the miracle of the Savior’s gift of the Atonement.  Listen to his words:

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Standing By Our Personal Declarations

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey group. Each week we take a session of conference and share our thoughts and impressions about one or all of the talks given. It’s called Odyssey, because we started with 1971, and hope to continue until the present day (roughly 15 years in the future, by the time we catch up). Every Tuesday morning watch for a new General Conference Odyssey post here at Mormon Women Stand. This post covers the Sunday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

 

 

Back in 1975, L. Tom Perry gave a talk entitled For the Time Will Come When They Will Not Endure Sound Doctrine. And here we are, 42 years later. The time has certainly arrived. As a fairly new apostle, he was not only prophesying our day, he was showing us how to stand by our personal declarations.

 

A Nation Under God

Elder Perry explained how, along with several national religious leaders, he was invited to assist in planning the United States of America’s Bicentennial celebration. Gathering with his committee, all being religious leaders, he was alarmed when many of them were hesitant to declare this nation under God, as to not offend the atheists. They claimed, “After all, the atheist has a right to his belief, also.” In his talk, he shared with us his feelings:

 

“Of course, I completely agree that all men must have their right of free agency but I argued vigorously against locking up our own firm convictions just because they could not be accepted by everyone. The more we argued, the more the opposition united against us. We were not able to get ours or any other declaration out of committee.”

 

He returned home resolved to stand by two personal declarations: Continue reading

Peace in Forgiving Those Who Don’t Apologize

One of the titles that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, carries is the Prince of Peace. It is through him that we find peace, and one of the ways that happens is when we forgive others. Instead of writing about forgiveness in general, I want to talk about a specific type of forgiveness; and that is forgiving those who have not and may never apologize.

One of the most basic teachings of forgiveness is that when someone hurts us, they apologize/repent, and we forgive them. And when we hurt someone, we hope that they will forgive us when we apologize and repent. But what about when someone hurts us, and they don’t apologize, do we still forgive them? The answer is yes.

“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:10)

There are several reasons why someone might not apologize to us: they might not know they hurt us, they might have moved on before we did, or they simply might not care. Whatever the situation, we forgive no matter what. In President James E. Faust’s iconic talk The Healing Power of Forgiveness, he said,

“Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurt does not bring happiness.”  

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At The Pulpit: With Their Testimonies Intact

I had an opportunity to visit with Kate Holbrook and Jenny Reeder, the two editors of At the Pulpit. It was also my privilege to attend a formal reception in the Relief Society building where Virginia Pearce, Gladys Sitati, Elaine Jack, and Jutta Busche (whose talks are included in the book) spoke to us. There are 54 faithful voices in this new publication.

 

After reading the talks from this book, and listening to these women, a thought came to me that feels true:

 

Every one of us struggles with pain, disappointment, and suffering. But the purpose of life is how we get through it all. When we read how others succeeded–WITH THEIR TESTIMONIES INTACT–we march on, yearning to celebrate with them at the end of the path. Who knows that there isn’t a band of women beyond the veil offering help from heaven, inspiring these historians to find their stories, and offering us the strength they gained so that we too can be strengthened?

 

One of the questions I asked Jenny Reeder was what are some of the overall important messages of the book. She suggests four: Continue reading

Guest Stand: The Longing for a Father

FatherhoodMissing Him for 548 Days

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve always known this to be true in my life. Being away from my family for 18 months to serve a full-time mission for the Church reminded me of how much I love my family. I learned to love them even more while being away for such a long period of time. One of my most memorable moments was when I was coming down the escalator in the Salt Lake City airport searching for my family among many strangers. Once I saw their beaming faces I ran toward them. The first person I hugged was my dad. I was so overcome with emotion that I began to cry. I had not been in his arms for 548 days.

My dad is the one who always gave me the advice that I needed to hear in my life. He called me “baby girl,” and he still does because I am the youngest girl in my family. He is kind and loving towards others. He has been the perfect example and mentor that I needed throughout my childhood and adult life. Throughout my mission, I received an email from him every week without fail and he always told me what I needed to hear. All of these experiences have made me reflect on what life would be like without this great man in my life. Continue reading

Sustaining prophets and apostles publicly and privately (and why both matter)

Image result for sustaining lds.orgAs we head into General Conference weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will publicly sustain prophets and apostles. We’ll hear the names of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles read. We’ll then have the sacred opportunity to both publicly raise our hand to show a sign of support and privately sustain them in our hearts. It’s one of my favorite moments of General Conference.

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