This month, our Relief Society Visiting Teaching message has been on the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. Taking Sis. Burton’s challenge, I read and studied it and was really happy to learn some wonderful things.
Simply put, the oath and covenant of the priesthood (found in D&C 84:33-44) is a two-way promise; that when ALL faithful members willingly receive the priesthood (and all its responsibilities) Heavenly Father will, in turn, give us ALL that He hath. Read on to discover how this involves women.
We 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 →
“…we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”
– – A Plea to my Sisters, Elder Russell M. Nelson, CR October 2015 – –
A question has been burning in my mind.
Are we teaching the doctrine of Christ?
When we go to church on Sunday are we hearing and teaching the doctrine of Christ? In our homes, are our children hearing the doctrine of Christ taught to them?
With all of the news of women in the world searching for something, I have turned my thoughts to Relief Society, and just church in general. Through the years, I have spoken with and read about several women who “avoid Relief Society.” I myself have had experiences of leaving Relief Society feeling worse than when I came or coming home from church exhausted rather than rejuvenated (Primary!!). Part of this could be my own personal preparation (or lack thereof), but ultimately I feel uplifted and strengthened when a lesson is founded upon the teachings of our Savior rather than focusing on how we should be living. With such a focus, Relief Society can quickly become a place where we compare and compete, sharing stories to “one up” each other. Our church meetings can be devoid of that motivation which inspires us to become better and to feel unified. Continue reading →
Every year it seems, my mobile phone becomes antiquated and “old.” It might still work for me, but there is always a newer and better version that the phone carrier wants to talk me into. It might have a bigger screen, better camera, or maybe more memory. The old phone works, but the new phone is better, faster, easier to use. The mobile company never tries to deceive me into keeping my old phone, hiding the new and improved one away for only itself. It actually invites me to try the latest phone, telling me how much more I can do with it and what a wonderful tool it is.
When I think of the first smartphone I had, a BlackBerry that I loved, it was only 7 years ago. That phone, now 7 years later, is a relic. My smartphone is now a computer. I never use my laptop anymore because my phone can do everything. I design artwork on my phone. I do banking and email. I write for my blog. I do family history work. I buy books and clothes online. I make hotel and airline reservations. I check the weather and road conditions. I get Twitter feed from the International Space Station. Why would I want the old phone that only did email and text?
Boundaries are both natural phenomena and man-made, set by men and by nature. A river draws a boundary and so does a cliff. A steep canyon creates a boundary, and so does the sea. One might be careful to think about crossing both. We place fences around our properties to keep children and pets in and other children and pets out. We place cattle guards on busy road crossings to protect cows and people. Homes have thresholds and locks on doors. Elevator doors close to protect people from falling to their deaths during the trip up a high-rise. Even people have boundaries and carefully guard their personal space. Continue reading →
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”
Julie Beck is among many of my LDS heroines. I absolutely love this woman and while we have never met, I remember wishing I could have worked for her during her time as the first councilor in the General Young Women Presidency, and subsequently as the General Relief Society President. I wanted to learn and be mentored by such a faithful and strong female leader in the Church. I still find myself drawn to her talks and tapping into reservoirs of her tremendous experience and wisdom.
In 2009, Sister Beck (while serving as the General Relief Society President) spoke in a broadcast address to seminary and institute of religion teachers. It was fantastic. Not long afterwards, the bloggers and news media began buzzing about it and it was easy to see why. It was a powerful and inspired speech that instructed parents, teachers and leaders about why the rising generation fully understand the doctrine of the family, and how we can most effectively do it. Continue reading →
For the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work with youth and their leaders in a variety of Church callings in both North America and overseas. Through this, I’ve found that one of the greatest concerns they have is how they can help their youth understand doctrine and eternal truths in relation to current social issues—including the really difficult and often confusing ones. Here are a few things we might want to consider as we are teaching the rising generation how to stand strong against the world: Continue reading →
These days, we can get overloaded with information about the gospel from many different sources, especially online. The catch is knowing who and what information we can trust when we want to build our testimonies on a firm foundation. Do we fall into the trap of accepting everything a blogger, reporter, podcaster or author says about the Church, just because it’s out there? Do we get caught up in believing self-appointed teachers who may or may not have pure motives? How can we become better, more critical and cautious consumers of information, especially when it comes to what we read or hear about the gospel?
These are questions that we probably should be asking ourselves on a regular basis. LDS blogger J. Max Wilson, was featured in an excellent two-part RiseUp podcast on FairMormon. The title of the first podcast is “Building a Testimony on a Sure Foundation.” With permission from the author and the good people over at FairMormon, I’ve compiled some of the main points in an effort to help us know how to become better at discerning between good and not-so-good gospel-related information online. I also recommend listening to the the podcast in its entirety.
Here are a few of the main points from Part 1 that really stood out to me: Continue reading →
This is Part 1 of two-part post on sustaining Church leaders. Click here to read Part 2.
During the past year or so, I’ve noticed a number of members of the Church who, for some reason or another, have publicly vented frustrations about the Church’s doctrine, its leaders, or other goings-on. While I am never happy when someone is frustrated, I think there are better ways to deal with this kind of frustration as Latter-day Saints besides jumping online to share them with the world.
In a previous post, I brought up specific examples of Church leaders who had every worldly reason to be offended at doctrine being taught because of their personal situations, but instead of offense or softening the doctrine, have stood for it boldly. This two-part post will explore what it means to “cling to our covenants” in the social realm when we are tempted to break them. We’ll address covenant-appropriate ways to deal with our “beef” and why dealing with frustrations within the Church should be inherently different than how we deal with them in other settings.
Before I jump into my commentary, let me share with you a powerful parable written by a friend of mine that illustrates some great points about our covenant relationship with the Lord’s Church. Though it is written about marriage, it’s not primarily about our marriage covenants. Like most parables, the main message the author hopes to get across is not explicitly mentioned in the story. I’ll explain the meaning below, but here’s a hint:
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered the summer commencement address at Brigham Young University. Elder Nelson’s talk centered around and focused on the doctrine of the family, marriage and the opportunities we have, as disciples of Jesus Christ, to defend these doctrines, but also explain and teach their importance to the world.
Elder Nelson began his talk with addressing the topic of partnership and how, when we are committed to the Lord and following His commandments in our marriages, we become partners with each other, and partners with the Lord. He stated, “In marriage a husband and wife form the most significant partnership of all – an eternal family.” He further taught that to be a good partner in a marriage, each person needs to develop their attributes of character. When those attributes are centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have powerful tools to help ourselves, our spouses, our children, and those who are around us. Continue reading →