In the most recent general women’s session of conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared a parable about three sisters. One was always sad, one was always mad, and one was always glad. Their circumstances were very similar, and yet their personal view affected how they felt about life and themselves. It’s pretty obvious that the sister who is glad is the sister that all of us should aspire to be. President Uchtdorf said that all of us share traits with each sister at different times in our lives. The week leading up to the women’s session I was most definitely like the sad sister, and during his entire talk I felt like President Uchtdorf was speaking directly to me. Continue reading
Having grown up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the basic truths of the Godhead have been common knowledge to me. The Godhead consists of three personages: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are three separate beings. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have a body, the Holy Ghost is a spirit. I have always accepted those truths without question, and because of that I have never personally dived deeper into understanding the role that the Godhead has in Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation. Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ April 2017 conference address “The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation” taught me how important a deeper understanding of the Godhead is for our mortal journey and our eternal salvation.
Elder Oaks’ talk was a deep doctrine talk for me. He taught a lot of things that I did not know, or hadn’t really thought about. It wasn’t like, “How could I have never been taught this before?” It was very spiritual and powerful, and one of my favorite talks from that conference.
In introducing the Godhead, Elder Oaks quoted Joseph Smith:
“Any person that had seen the heavens opened knows that there are three personages in the heavens who hold the keys of power, and one presides over all …
…These personages … are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Witness or Testator.
[It is] the province of the Father to preside as the Chief or President, Jesus as the Mediator, and the Holy Ghost as the Testator or Witness.”
In this teaching by Joseph Smith, I really like that the labels or positions for the individual members of the Godhead are action nouns. God created us, he is the Creator. Jesus’ mission was to redeem mankind, so he is the Redeemer. Jesus Christ’s suffering, Atonement, and resurrection makes him a mediator between us and God. The Holy Ghost witnesses to us the reality of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of His gospel, he testifies of the truth of all things, so he is the Witness or Testator. Continue reading
“Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)
I recently came across an opinion that believed that enduring to the end contradicts happiness. This opinion believed that one can’t be happy while enduring; therefore, one must choose, and happiness (the world’s definition of happiness) is the better choice. Sentiments like this one are quite common today. Happiness has been redefined to meet the world’s standards. And according to the world, happiness redefined trumps following the Lord’s commandments.
I’m sure that most of us have listened to or read phrases such as, “Doing (fill-in-a-choice-contrary-to-the-commandments) makes me happy, and God just wants me to be happy” or “God would rather see me happy than force me to (fill-in-a-commandment-that-they-are-avoiding).” Of course our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. The Plan of Salvation is also called The Plan of Happiness, and throughout the scriptures the message of the gospel is commonly referred to as “glad tidings.” But this idea that the world’s version of happiness is the kind of happiness that God intends for us is a lie perpetuated by Satan. Satan wants us to think that the temptations he is throwing at us will lead to true happiness. But that is not true. What leads us to true happiness can be found in the words of the scriptures and our modern day prophets, not in the philosophies of men.
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: