Tag Archives: Faith

Celebrating Relief Society’s 175 Years Renews Our Conviction

Relief Society

 

 

 

 

It’s true! Celebrating our Relief Society’s 175 years renews our conviction. We are all daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. As Julie B. Beck said, the Lord is counting on His daughters to

“… do our part as women under the Lord’s plan, we must stand strong and immovable in faith, strong and immovable in family, and strong and immovable in relief. We must excel in these three important areas which set us apart as the Lord’s disciples. Through Relief Society we practice being disciples of Christ. We learn what He would have us learn, we do what He would have us do, and we become what He would have us become. When we gather with this focus, the work of Relief Society is relevant whatever your circumstance—whether you are 18 or 88, single or married, have children or not, or whether you live in Bountiful, Utah, or Bangalore, India.” [1]

We are God’s Female Army. So,

   If

Russell M. Nelson really means that “the kingdom of God is not … complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them. [2]

And if

Sheri Dew really feels that by “unleash[ing] the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight.” [3]

And if

Jeffrey R. Holland really believes that “something is going to be asked of this dispensation that’s never been asked before.” [4]

Then

Relief Society sisters need to step it up. As Sister Dew put it eighteen years ago,

“This is a call to arms, it’s a call to action, a call to arise. A call to arm ourselves with power and with righteousness. A call to rely on the arm of the Lord rather than the arm of flesh. A call to ‘arise and shine forth, that [our] light may be a standard for the nations’ (D&C 115:5). A call to live as women of God so that we and our families may return safely home.” [5]

Sisters, our power comes from priesthood power. Our early sisters understood it, lived it, and set the standard for it. Now, it’s our turn to understand how the priesthood works through us. Consider these suggestions made by President Linda K. Burton:

“Two sections have been especially revelatory to me. I recommend them to you for your careful and prayerful consideration. First, the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which can be found in D&C 84:33–40. I invite you to memorize those eight verses, sisters. By doing so, I promise you that the Holy Ghost will expand your priesthood understanding and inspire and uplift you in wonderful ways. 

Secondly, I would invite you to ponder Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46 [the doctrine of the priesthood]. Look for the principles in these verses that govern the righteous exercise of priesthood power. Look for warnings and promises from the Lord, and apply them to yourself.” [6]

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Guest Post: Standing Boldly for the Family in Southern Alberta, Canada

Just over a year ago, my life took a turn of events that I would never have expected. For the past 14 months, I have been given opportunities to play a more active part in defending the institution of the family. In retrospect, it all began when Elder Russell M. Nelson gave his talk “A Plea to My Sisters” in October 2015 General Conference. His words sunk deep into my soul, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I made a commitment right then and there to do whatever was needed. However, I had no idea the need was urgent, and there was an opportunity right around the corner.

In January of 2016, I simply attended a school meeting at my children’s elementary school regarding changing government guidelines related to gender identity (transgender) and Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and its application in Alberta education. My husband and I had skimmed through the literature before the meeting, yet I had little idea what this was really about or how I would be involved. I convinced my husband to attend with me, as I wondered if his legal background could possibly be of help. When we got there, we found our school board alarmed and left scrambling to explain the new government guidelines to parents. Administration, board, parents and teachers were equally concerned with how these guidelines were being implemented so quickly and forcefully by our Minister of Education with threats of disbandment for those boards who did not comply. The concerns parents voiced generally circulated around the emotional health and safety of children. The most concerning fact for most was that they were bypassing parents completely, and putting children in a position where they could be counseled in isolation regarding sexual matters without parental notification or consent – and they were doing it by force. Through these policies, secrets were encouraged and applauded. My stomach was in knots. My discerning, motherly instincts kicked into high gear and I could see layers of problems with their ideas. I knew it was a direct threat to the parent/child bond, the risk of abuse, not to mention a direct threat to the psychological well-being of all children. In an effort to be what they called “safe and caring”, they were putting all children at risk. Something they called “The Guidelines for Best Practices” felt like an entirely worst practice ever and they were forcing school boards across the province to draft their policies from this document! Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing to Positively Influence the Rising Generation

I wish I could say I have some powerful, testimony-building experience of “standing,” but I don’t. I’m not an incredible wordsmith or talented debater like so many I know on social media who are able to eloquently and gracefully state facts and defend beliefs, but as I stopped to ask myself if and how I “stand,” I read something that President Russell M. Nelson stated in his 2015 General Conference address:

“Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.”

I stand when I defend my home against the adversary with regular Family Home Evening, regular temple attendance, dedicated Sabbath worship, daily prayer and scripture study, both personal and family. It is in these small and simple daily moments that I am trying to make important things happen, courageously defending morality and family, shepherding my little ones along the covenant path, striving to receive personal revelation, seeking to call down the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen my family, and trying to teach fearlessly. This is how I stand. Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing Strong Because of the Temple

Image result for temples lds.orgIt had not even been a month since I had completely uprooted my life and followed the direction of the Spirit to, in my opinion, a hopeless place. It seemed to me that my move could never yield the fruit that I desperately wanted. But I trusted Heavenly Father and luckily had long ago given up the idea that when something is right, it is not hard. I had faith in His ultimate plan for me, but struggled with His timing and, in this case, wisdom. It seemed that the righteous desires I wanted, and that He had told me through the Spirit I could have, were completely at odds with my new set of circumstances. I felt stuck, very stuck and I knew that something extraordinary would be required to change these circumstances. It reminded me of a poem quoted by President Monson:

“Father, where shall I work today?”
and my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern; …
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galiliee.”
(Meade MacGuire, “Father, Where Shall I Work Today?”)

During a conversation with my sister, I “came to myself” and remembered a few things. I remembered that Heavenly Father had directed me to this “tiny spot”, and that I had readily agreed to co-create this spot with Him.  For whatever reason, this was to be where I was to stay for a season.  I realized that He had already provided inspiration for how it needed to be tended, and reserved the right to provide more inspiration and plot twists as needed (not as a way to be mean or string me along, but to continue to facilitate my growth). I was struggling to find the meaning of this experience.  My sister also reminded me of the words of a past priesthood blessing.  The counsel was simple and straightforward, “Go to the temple often and do the work of your ancestors.” Mercifully, Heavenly Father had already planned for this portion of my life and had greater blessings in store than I could have imagined. Continue reading

Guest Post: Not “Just a Mom”

“The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth.

As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.”

– John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1941, p. 117

This quote by Elder Widtsoe is one of my favorites. He perfectly sums up the fact that in these Last Days there can be no fence-sitters. “We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord.” It is obvious that Satan’s influence is strikingly powerful in the world. Assuming we have the desire to take a stand, where do we even begin? It can be overwhelming. About four years ago I had an issue that I wanted to become involved in; however, I felt completely inadequate. I was just a mom with no important title and little college education. How could I possibly make a difference? A dear friend shared with me this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability.” With this reassurance, I decided to dive in.

The issue bothering me was education. I saw some trends that were concerning to me and I was able to join with like-minded people to try and make a difference in our area. Talk about being thrown out of my comfort zone! It was a whirlwind of new experiences, from community presentations to media interviews to legislative efforts. It was the first time in my life I had really taken a public stand on anything, and it turned out to be an incredible growing experience. I did things I never thought I could do, and I felt the direct influence of the Holy Ghost as I was able to write and say what was needed at times when my shy, introverted self would normally come up empty. Continue reading

Guest Post: For This Side of Veil and the Other

Woman pioneer pushing handcartA pioneer is defined as a person who is among one of the firsts. I am a pioneer for my family. I met my first set of sister missionaries in August of 2010 while having dinner with my boyfriend and his family. I had no idea what was happening! When invited for dinner I was told the sister missionaries were going to be having dinner with us, that was it. But after eating, we all sat down in the living room, and my life was changed forever. The sister missionaries asked, “So we heard you had some questions for us?” My mind went completely blank, but did I have questions?

Needless to say, I did have questions, and I did end up taking the lessons.Then in September of 2010, I was baptized (by my boyfriend who introduced me to the church) into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to this day, I am the only member walking on this side of the veil.  In October we attended a Catholic funeral for a family friend who was hit by a drunk driver, weeks after she was married. Little did I know that her death was going to impact major things in my life. The wonderful man who baptized me, proposed in November of 2010, and then a hard choice was brought to the table: do we have a civil marriage for my family or do we wait eleven months to be sealed for all time and eternity? Continue reading

Guest Post: The Savior Stood Beside Me–and My Children

In 2011, I was given a Priesthood blessing that promised I would be able to stay home with my children, my only true desire. I held onto that promise. I was pregnant at the time of the blessing and Jared had started his own flight school in Spanish Fork, Utah. A few months later, Max, our second son was born in June. However, financially, we knew that winter time was coming and there was less opportunity to fly, therefore a decrease in income. An option was decided that I would work. In my heart, I still held to the promise of the priesthood blessing that I would be a stay at home mom, even though on the outside, it was going contrary. I applied for jobs and accepted a job as a certified Nurse’s aide, which I just had become certified as. I had a 3-month-old and a 3-year-old at the time.

On Oct 4th, I received a phone call that Jared had been in an accident and had passed away. Here I was, a 29 year old with 2 small children, ages 3 and 3 months, and with very little money. From the moment that Jared died, Christ was at my side for a while, giving me strength and support to face the things I needed to. But, over time, the shock wore off. I was left here on earth and my husband in heaven. My world was changed in an instant. The grief of his separation was intense. There were many times it was too unbearable that I would cry out to Christ and in and at that instant that I prayed, the deep pain and sorrow was taken from me. I felt nothing, no pain. Then the next day, the pain would slowly come back again and gradually become heavier and heavier until I couldn’t bear it and would plead again and the pain would be taken from me. Christ was literally carrying my pain. This happened for a long time, months. My pain was deep and heavy. I cannot imagine what the Savior suffered. Continue reading

Guest Post: Standing for Righteousness in a Movie Theater

Free stock photo of person, lights, architecture, roomLast spring break my children and I were going to a movie at our local theater.  I bought the tickets while they were watching an animated movie preview on a screen nearby.  When I headed over to get them, the screen switched to a different preview, one with very inappropriate images and themes. My kids stopped watching and I was grateful that we had taught them to look away or shut down anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or was inappropriate.  However, I started thinking about other kids and people who would be subjected to that preview and how I felt that this was not right.  It bothered me throughout the whole movie and I felt angry by the end. We try hard to filter what comes into our home and keep out anything destructive or damaging to our kids’ minds and hearts. Yet, here was this preview, available to anyone early in the morning, when mostly children were in the theatre.

When we got home, I emailed the theatre about the problem and explained that I thought it was inappropriate. They claimed to be a family friendly theatre but this preview proved otherwise. I told them we wouldn’t be attending their theatre anymore unless they could change the previews.  This was hard to do because we live in a pretty small town with little theatre options but I was determined to stick with what I had said.  A few days later, I heard back from the theatre. They apologized for the preview and that it was so readily available for anyone to see it, whether they wanted to or not. They said that they wouldn’t play those types of previews until after 9:00 PM, when there were likely to be less children.  Though I don’t think anyone should be watching these types of previews, I did appreciate that they took me seriously. Further, that they cared enough about other children seeing something damaging. I’m not saying I am a movie preview hero, but it only took a simple email to make a change. I don’t know if anybody else had been bothered by that preview but I hope I could take away the awkwardness for other people. Continue reading

Guest Post: The 2015 Policy and Leaning Not Unto Thine Own Understanding

“Shannon, I have something I need to tell you.” Terror. He was getting married. Not to me. So I thought, “Okay, what is it?” Heart beating, eyes clenched shut, preparing to sound chipper when I offered false words of congratulations. “I struggle with same-gender attraction.” My body instantly relaxed as what only can be described as sweet relief washed over me.

When my friend “came out” to me, my first reaction was all about me. I was so grateful to know why we had never been able to move from friendship to romance. He was the most handsome, clever, confident, kind man I had met. People speak in hyperbole of their knees becoming weak. but my knees literally buckled every time he spoke. After a year of intimate friendship and some wonderful adventures, I had started to believe I wasn’t attractive enough for him and fearfully fretted away the days, knowing that he was going to be snapped up by someone “prettier.” Continue reading

Sister Dalton’s Rallying Call to Virtue for Latter-day Saint Women

Stand for virtue. Exemplify virtue. Change the world.

These words were highlighted in a recent fireside for Relief Society women in which Sister Elaine Dalton, former General President of the Young Women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke. In the fireside, she issued another call for a return to virtue, just as she has done for over 11 years:

“There has never been a time like this,” she said. “I’ve never seen the opposition be greater, but I’ve never seen the opportunities be greater, and as my husband and I sit up here looking out at you, there is so much hope because you really are the change-the-world generation. You’re the ones who will change the world.

“You are the ones who have been spoken of by prophets, seers and revelators all through the scriptures. You’re the ones who have been prophesied about. You are the ones who will lead the world and who will lead the women of the world because you are ‘different in happy ways,’” she said, referencing a quote by former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.

Sister Dalton told of a trip last month to New York City, where she and her husband found themselves driving through the city during the Women’s March.

“We were in a cab, and as I watched those women marching and yelling, and should I say, behaving anything but ladylike and using language that was very unbefitting of daughters of God,” Sister Dalton said. “As I watched all of that take place, my heart just sunk and I thought to myself, ‘What would happen if all those women were marching and calling to the world for a return to virtue?’”

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