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 →
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.” 
We are God’s Female Army. So,
Russell M. Nelson really means that “the kingdom of God is not … complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them. 
Sheri Dew really feels that by “unleash[ing] the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight.” 
Jeffrey R. Holland really believes that “something is going to be asked of this dispensation that’s never been asked before.” 
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.” 
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.” 
A couple of years ago, the priesthood session of LDS general conference started being broadcast on BYUtv. Now, during each priesthood session I turn on the TV so my husband can watch it, and I get to listen as well. In order for my husband to fully pay attention, I tend to our home and kids by myself. (He hasn’t asked me to do this, I choose to because I want him to enjoy the session the way I enjoy the women’s session.) During the most recent Priesthood Session, Elder Jeffrey R Holland gave his talk, “Emissaries to the Church”. As he began talking, I immediately felt a strong impression to really listen and pay attention. Elder Holland spoke about home teaching, and much of what he said can be applied to visiting teaching as well.
Visiting teaching is a topic near and dear to my heart because I love it! I truly do. I love visiting with my sisters, I love my companion, and I love being visited by my visiting teachers. I wasn’t always that way, though. When I first turned 18, I rarely went and my companion always set up the appointments and gave the message. When I moved into a single’s ward, I never went visiting teaching. I always felt a little guilty because my home teachers came monthly without fail. When I got married and returned to a family ward setting, I tried to do better. My success, however, depended on my companions and their investment into visiting teaching.Continue reading →
Tis the season. Not for decking the halls and trimming the tree (though that is right around the corner) but for our daughters and sons. They’re leaving the structure and security of our homes and venturing off to the halls of ivy covered buildings to begin not only their college career, but also their lives as autonomous adults.
We raised six children: three girls and three boys. We have pushed six baby birdies out of the nest. It got easier and we got better at it with each one spreading their wings. Below is a list of ten things we talked with our daughters about before they left our home. Continue reading →
Motherhood is one of the most important aspects of the Plan of Salvation. Without it, none of us would be here in our mortal bodies. When discussing mothers and motherhood, I find it fitting to think about and study ancient women who serve as wonderful examples of what kind of mothers and women we should be. Although there are many wonderful women in the scriptures, I have chosen to highlight five: Eve, the Mother of Moses, Namoi, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Sariah from the Book of Mormon.
Eve was the very first mortal mother on this earth. She was given the ability to bear children when she partook of the forbidden fruit and was cast out of the Garden of Eden with Adam. She was given the name Eve “because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20) In fact, Eve means “life” in Hebrew.
We know from the book of Moses that Adam and Eve had many more children than Cain, Abel and Seth. “And Adam knew his wife and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.” (Moses 5:2) The Book of Moses also goes into a deeper description of the type of woman Eve was. Moses 5:1 says that Eve labored with Adam. In verse 11 Eve says, “Were it not for our transgression we never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” Then in verse 12 Eve taught her children. Continue reading →
Mormon Women Stand’s collaborative effort will consistently follow the counsel from Elder M. Russell Ballard that “every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior… The Apostle Paul has admonished us to not be ‘ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.’ (Romans 1:16) Let us all stand firmly and speak with faith in sharing our message with the world” (Ensign, July 2008). With this in mind, anything contentious, contrary to or criticizing the teachings, doctrines, or leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be welcome. Mormon Women Stand Mission Statement
In the world of today, women are on the battlefield. Many don’t know it and many choose not to acknowledge it. Still, others are quick to note the places in which they find themselves and accept it, even relish it, and charge forward on the battlefront with the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ held high–unashamed of their testimonies, and proud of who they are as women in the Church. Continue reading →
You’ve all heard this important quote from Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We live in a world where evil is rearing its ugly head and the question we are all asking ourselves is how are we going to make a difference this coming year?
History shows us that those who choose consistent, enduring-to-the-end behavior come out stronger, happier, and more powerful than those who show behavior that is more erratic and discontinuous. This choice is demonstrated clearly by the following story about the first expedition to the South Pole.
Roald Amundsen led a team of men using sled dogs. From the very beginning of their 1,400 mile journey he decided that no matter what the weather was like they would set a goal to make 20 miles each and every day. Because of bad weather they sometimes made less than their goal, but they always strove for the goal of 20 miles every day—no matter what.
Robert Falcon Scott led another team of men using packhorses. Because of the horses, they were able to carry more provisions. From the beginning he psyched his men to go hard and push themselves on the good days. When the weather was too harsh, they would rest and prepare to set out hard as soon as they were able.
Can we really believe that contention and fear cannot exist where the Holy Ghost resides? The Book of Mormon shows us two times where this occurred. Mosiah 4: 2-3, after King Benjamin’s speech, and 4 Nephi 1: 2-5, after Christ visited the Americas.
The Book of Mormon also shows us what it was like for those believers who felt the comforting power of the Holy Ghost in the midst of great wickedness. Alma 56 tells us how, during terrible war, mothers held their children close and taught them that the Spirit would deliver them from harm. And 3 Nephi 7 explains in great detail the incredible power of the Spirit given to those who were faithful in spite of the threat of persecution.
Do we, as women in the Church, feel that we are united in faith, powered by the Holy Ghost through our testimonies and actions? Do we really believe the Spirit will always be with us because we believe? Do we live our lives as though we were guided every second of every day by the Holy Spirit, who is promised to us each time we partake of the Sacrament? Continue reading →
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women’s general president shared historic news affecting the women of the Church’s visibility, value and voice within the highest councils of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mormon)
I still vividly remember President Thomas S. Monson announcing the lowered missionary age for young women. Today I witnessed another significant moment – I received an invitation to participate as a member of the Missionary Executive Council. I am honored. This is one of three key councils of the Church, each led by members of the Twelve. Sister Linda Burton will now serve on the Priesthood and Family Executive Council and Sister Rosemary Wixom will be on the Temple and Family History Executive Council.
What a great time to be a woman in the Church where our voices are needed and valued more than ever. I am grateful for the opportunity to add my perspective and experience to this council as we work together to spread the message of the restored Gospel.
Of this breaking and historic news, Tad Welch from the Deseret News reports: