“And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them…”(Doctrine and Covenants, 45:26).
Our hearts are failing us
It’s happening, wouldn’t you agree? We see it everywhere; the wars, the rumors, the commotion. I used to think that “hearts failing” meant only discouragement in the Last Days. But now when I think of our “hearts failing” us, I’m seeing it another way. What I’m seeing now is that with a cultural emphasis of making decisions solely based on our emotions, we may be in danger of making bad choices. Perhaps there’s more to be considered than just the way we feel about things.Continue reading →
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a sacred duty to God to stand as witnesses for marriage and the family as ordained of God. However, some are speaking about same-sex marriage and relationships as though these are the right choice (and even a good choice) for our loved ones. When they do this, they encourage people to abandon the straight and narrow path and their covenants for the artful guise of something temporary that will not last. For some, it may be much easier to carve out a way to appear tolerant and compassionate in the eyes of the world and, by so doing, deflect the persecution and condemnation of associates and friends. However, adopting the compassion label in order to make something spiritually destructive appear benign, spares only ourselves at the expense of those in spiritual peril.
This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the Sunday afternoon session of April 1976 conference.
Families are the most important unit and they are under attack by the person who is the loneliest creature ever to be born. He hates the idea of families because he will never have one of his own. Having no family will be his hell without end.
As much as all families have some kind of problem or another, because families are all far from perfect, deep down we still recognize the joy that comes from this celestially bound grouping of people who have learned to love one another. The good news is that not only do we live in variously shaped nuclei, every single one of us is actually strung together by related DNA from one end of the world to the other. The entire world is one big family and we are all a part of it.
Take, for example, William Grant Bangerter’s talk, “Relationships.” Speaking of relationships, first, he is the father of Julie B. Beck. Second, he introduces his talk with this laugh:
Though I’ve been sealed to him for over 38 years, I came to understand, in a heartbeat, that his heart is my heart – literally – the moment the doctor informed us that Bob was in cardiac arrest and would need to be transferred immediately to another hospital. He was in pain. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. It felt like we were in the Twilight Zone. This can’t be happening. He’s too young (61) and in excellent physical condition. He’s that guy who’s never taken a break from physical activity since his high school basketball days. Among his greatest joys in life is still being able to take on some of the local high school basketball team players at the gym and occasionally beating them at 21. Which is exactly what he had just done, when he arrived home a little after 11 pm that fateful night.
I followed the ambulance the entire way to Temecula Valley Hospital where the cardiac team was waiting to take him immediately into the Cath Lab. The moment I understood the gravity of what was happening, prior to him being transferred, I left the ER so that I could get cell phone reception. In shock, I called my oldest daughter Jennette who lives nearby to tell her what was happening, but mostly to asked her to send her husband to administer a priesthood blessing. I barely made it through that conversation. My faith was in the knowledge of God’s Plan and I knew that Bob’s life was in His Hands – above all others. Continue reading →
The world has been talking about love for a long time. Who do we love? How do we express love? What does love look like? What does it not look like? We have been spending so much time telling others to love as we do, that we have forgotten to love those very people we are talking to. We have been spending so much time trying to convince everyone else that our way of love is the right way, that we have forgotten to follow the true example of love: Jesus Christ. We talk about love, but do we actually love? Do we follow Jesus Christ’s example?
Loving each other is a commandment:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
We had always told our children that when they were in college we would pay for the expenses of their tuition and books if their grades reflected what we all knew was their best efforts. For each child, there was a differing expectation, but the formula was the same across the board – your grades at ‘this’ level = our continued financial support.
One of our children thoroughly enjoyed their first semester at BYU-I to the point of being invited not to return after the holidays for the next semester. (Apparently, the school had their own formula too!) This child came to us fretting over their situation. After they had a few serious phone conversations with the powers-that-be in Rexburg they were told they could return, but on an academic probation. The child came to us so happy and relieved for the opportunity extended for a second chance at the school.
Love = No Tuition
After congratulating them and encouraging their serious commitment to further studies we asked the question, “So, how are you going to be paying for this next semester’s expenses?” We reminded them of our financial arrangement and their celebratory mood quickly ended. If they were going to return to BYU-I, they were going to be paying for it. It would have to come out of their savings and we left the decision of returning to school prior to their mission, or not, to them. Continue reading →
Whenever same-sex attraction and/or same-sex marriage is discussed, the focus tends to be on those who are already seeking/living in a same-gender relationship (a.k.a. gay and lesbian). But there is a forgotten group that experience homosexuality and who feel like they don’t fit into either side: that is members of the Church who experience same-sex attraction (SSA)and fight their temptations every day. They work so hard to obey their parents, church leaders, and God. They are on a roller coaster of emotions as they strive to live the commandments and discover their place in the Church and within God’s plan. Some days they are doing great; they have hit a milestone in their journey and are feeling on top of the world. Other days, they might feel low, hated, or feel like they can never improve, never be loved or accepted. And in all of those moments, we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), as children of God (literal brothers and sisters), need to offer our unconditional love, support and friendship no matter what.
I cannot speak from personal experience about what it means to have SSA as a member of the Church, but I do observe as a very close bystander. I speak from my experience watching a very dear family member come out and try to find his place both in the world and at Church. I have always loved him. I have tried so hard to perfectly understand him, at all times, but there are so many times where I feel like I have failed him miserably. He is a beautiful son of God. I know that God loves him. As I have watched and been a part of his journey, I have learned a few things: Continue reading →
I am not a math whiz. And I’m pretty sure that many in that field in academia would say the following is impossible, but I have found over and over again that dividing is multiplying. Well, love, that is, when divided multiplies. The more people you give yourself to – your love, concern, time, and caring – the more of those parts of you there seem to be to share with others again.
Sister Neill F. Marriott’s words rang clear and true to me when she spoke at the General Women’s Session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as she related the story of ‘Aunt Carol’…
“Love is making space in your life for someone else…”
I have seen this new spiritual math manifest it’s dependable results in my life in numerous ways. Continue reading →
Life is complicated and it’s becoming more so. With more choices being considered socially acceptable we are facing situations where many of us find ourselves at odds with not only society at large but with loved ones near and dear to our heart. Thankfully, there’s no counsel or commandment, that I’m aware of, that admonishes us to love conditionally. Rather, I believe, the great test of discipleship is learning how to apply the principles of the gospel when we are most challenged by our differences, even when those differences may be contrary to the teachings of the Master and His inspired prophets (or we believe that they are).
The first and second commandments, the greatest among them, demand that we love God first, and one another as ourselves. I think one of the most profound achievements of mortality is learning to love ourselves as God loves us. When we finally do, it is miraculous how we are then able to look beyond our weaknesses as negative and instead lay them humbly upon the altar of the All Mighty (as offerings of the heart) and plead for divine grace to turn those weaknesses into strengths. We begin to understand that our weaknesses are not a curse at all but a way for God to draw us to Him so that He can transform us. Continue reading →
I am crazy in love with my wonderful husband, Chad. It is more common than not for me to introduce him to others as ‘my boyfriend’. I make no apologies for it, or for advocating that every marriage can, and should, be as wonderful as ours is. The health and vitality of our relationship is not due to who we each are individually, because we are each flawed people (trust me on this). Instead, it has everything to do with the conscious choices we have both made to:
Use the counsel of the Lord on marriage, given through His prophets, as our guide.
Watch and follow the example of those couples we have observed around us who obviously find joy and satisfaction in their marriages.
And to make ‘us’ our highest priority.
Camilla & Spencer W. Kimball
President Spencer W. Kimball was the prophet of my youth and during the emergence of my personal testimony. I love him, and trust his counsel still. He and his sweet wife, Camilla, have (yes, I say that in present tense) a beautiful marriage. I enjoyed watching them together. So when he spoke on marriage, I listened. In an address titled “Oneness In Marriage”, this beloved prophet made this hope-filled promise: Continue reading →