The people stopped sharing what they had with each other.
They began to see themselves in classes above or below each other.
They began to diminish in their faith in Jesus Christ.
They began to hate.
They began to commit all kinds of sin.
Anyone can look at personal examples of spiritual decline and fit them into one of the above categories. President Eyring said that the underlying cause of spiritual decline is “Satan trying to lead good people down a path to sin and thus to lose the influence of the Holy Ghost.” No matter which category spiritual decline starts in, it all ends the same with losing the influence of the Holy Ghost. How can we prevent that from happening? How can we bring back spiritual mindedness if decline does happen?Continue reading →
When I was preparing for my most recent reading of The Book of Mormon, I found a 90-day schedule that had me reading 2-4 chapters a day. At first I was a little crestfallen. I could not imagine myself having time to read more than one chapter a day. How was I going to finish? The Spirit chastised me and reminded me that I read multiple chapters a day in my other books, I could do the same with The Book of Mormon. So I put my other reading aside, and focused on The Book of Mormon. Continue reading →
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!
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?
The role that women play in anything that involves the priesthood can sometimes feel confusing. God allows priesthood authority to be used through His worthy sons; however, it benefits and blesses everyone. As women, do we stand by and wait for the blessings of the priesthood to come to us? Do we get to take part in this important work? We absolutely get to take part!
When talking about the restored priesthood keys, Elder Quentin L. Cook called them “divinely appointed responsibilities.” He said that the key of the gathering of Israel is missionary work, the key of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham is a preparation for the Kingdom of God, and the key of the sealing power is family history work and temple ordinances for the living and the dead. Elder Cook said,
“As individuals, we should do well to evaluate our effort in pursuing missionary work, temple and family history work, and preparations to meet God.”
Towards the end of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He introduced the Holy Ghost:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He does not have a body, but is a spirit, which is how he is able to dwell within us and communicate with us. In April 2018 general conference, President Henry B. Eyring taught that the Holy Ghost does not force himself into our lives, rather, it is up to us to receive and welcome him into our hearts and minds. He said,
“We have the priceless promise of the Holy Ghost as a companion, and we also have true directions on how to claim that gift. These words are said by the Lord’s authorized servant with his hands on our head: ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’ At that moment you and I have the assurance He will be sent. But our obligation is to choose to open our hearts to receive the ministration of the Spirit over a lifetime.”
What examples come to mind when you hear the word miracle? I think of the ancient miracles found in the scriptures: the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Christ, Christ healing people and raising some from the dead, and Christ’s resurrection, to name a few. What about modern-day miracles? I think of beating cancer, surviving what should have been a fatal accident, or other incredible healing or protection stories.
But what if those kinds of stories don’t apply to you? What if someone you know and love doesn’t survive a terminal illness or survive a devastating accident? Can miracles still be found in your life? According to Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy, the answer is yes. Elder Hallstrom suggested that perhaps we need to look at a deeper understanding of what a miracle is in order to see more miracles around us. He said:
“My limited knowledge cannot explain why sometimes there is divine intervention and other times there is not. But perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.
Often we describe a miracle as being healed without a full explanation by medical science or as avoiding catastrophic danger by heeding a clear prompting. However, defining a miracle as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand” gives an expanded perspective into matters more eternal in nature.”
“A beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand.” That sounds a lot like a blessing. Can some of our blessings also be considered miracles? I believe so.Continue reading →
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 →
Recognizing my own worth has never been easy for me, and I guarantee I’m not alone in the struggle. Why is this such a difficult battle for women? We learn in our homes and at Church from a very young age that we are children of God. We are taught the Plan of Salvation. Our Young Women study Divine Nature and Individual Worth. And, yet, strong self-esteem eludes many women and girls. Why? Continue reading →
Week after week, I sit at my computer reading and thinking about these General Conference addresses spoken long ago. I have loved reading through their messages, paying particular attention to the prophet’s words. After forty or so years, it’s easy to see prophecies fulfilled. In fact, that has become a personal joyful journey for me. So far, the prophets have always been right.
But I don’t need that kind of proof to know if what the prophet says is true. Whether it was forty years ago, or today, the spirit bears testimony to me instantly, and I am ready to respond. I feel motivated to implement and apply the principles that will lead toward assured happiness.
“All Church members, from kindergarten to high priests groups and all Relief Society sisters should be so plainly, accurately, and inspirationally taught that they will be motivated to implement applicable welfare principles and procedures in their personal lives and in their family and Church responsibilities.”