As we head into General Conference weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will publicly sustain prophets and apostles. We’ll hear the names of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles read. We’ll then have the sacred opportunity to both publicly raise our hand to show a sign of support and privately sustain them in our hearts. It’s one of my favorite moments of General Conference.
We are all anxiously awaiting what the Brethren will tell us this weekend, but I have the great fortune of filling my heart and mind already with their words. We should always be most concerned with the latest messages our leaders give us, but we cannot forget the great messages we have heard over the years. They are still of great value and most definitely filled with the spirit of edification, warning, and love. I have taken on the challenge to read and write about General Conferences of the past. As a writer for the General Conference Odyssey, I am overwhelmed with what the Brethren have been telling us–for years.
The General Conference Odyssey is a group of writers who write, each week, on a past session of conference, starting with April 1971. At this point, we have reached the Friday morning session of April 1974. And I repeat, I am overwhelmed with the doctrine, advice, warnings, love, and spirit of those early talks. Continue reading
Sherem. Though it’s an uncommon name, we all know at least one, and probably several. We might work with a Sherem or two; maybe there are team moms or room mothers with a Sherem, and maybe some of you have a few living on your street. There are Sherems in your yoga class, your biology class, and in every social class. The television, movies, and social media are populated by Sherems. Your ward has got a few and when multiplied by the number of units in your stake, well the number of Sherems in those boundaries would surprise you. But most disheartening to realize is that we have Sherems, though called by other names, perched in the branches of our own family trees.
Not long ago my husband and I were reading in the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. Here the prophet Jacob, Nephi’s brother, records an experience he had with a Sherem in his life–literally. He wrote…. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about the phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately, about how children shouldn’t be “punished” for the sins or actions of their parents. Let me clarify, as one who should know. Children are not punished for the actions of their parents, but sometimes they do suffer for them.
Some children suffer a lot more than others, but whenever parents make choices that negatively affect their children, believe me, the children suffer. I attended World Congress of Families IX two weeks ago. It was a productive and enriching experience. I learned and re-learned things and made new friends. I came home feeling excited about what I might be able to do to curb the tide that threatens traditional marriage and family values. Let me share with you my personal story of how I know that even though children might suffer for their parents’ choices, but are never punished for them. 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.”
The summer before my Freshman year of High School, my family moved from Utah to Idaho. Imagine how thrilled I was to find that in Idaho, fourteen is the age a driver license can be issued. I took drivers training as a class that fall in school, passed the written and driving tests, and received my license. I will never forget an interchange between my mother and I one afternoon shortly thereafter. She needed something from the store for dinner, so I volunteered to take the car (my father’s Cadillac) to the store for her. She said she wasn’t comfortable with me taking that car out on my own just yet. In response, I said, “I passed the written and driving tests. The State of Idaho says that I’m just as good a driver as you are.” She then explained to me that just because I was “book smart” and had a bit of time behind the wheel, those things did not equal her many years of actual driving experience. All those years of driving developed her skills and enabled her to become a driver with the ability to make good decisions—sometimes quickly and under pressure. She had driven in many different weather and road conditions and had developed a sixth sense about unseen dangers ahead. She assured me that these would all come to me in time also, but for now my father’s car was off limits to me. My hands never did grip the steering wheel of that big Caddy. Continue reading
In the Book of Revelation, chapter 13, there is much to learn and ponder. The chapter begins by talking about a beast that rises out of the sea. This beast has seven heads and ten horns. The dragon, who is Satan, then gives power unto the beast. Interestingly enough, one of the heads of the beast has a wound that has been healed. All the world wonders at the beast and worships Satan and the Beast. In verses six and seven, still speaking about the beast with the wounded head, it says:
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Another beast then comes that has great power. In verse 14, it says of the second beast,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
The beast with the wounded head is able to get the whole world to worship him. The end of the chapter describes what happens once the world worships the beast:
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
In short, unless the people of the world receive a mark in their hands or foreheads, they may not buy or sell. The mark in their hands or foreheads can be interpreted as people’s thoughts and deeds. Knowing that we are in the last days, how then does this relate to us?
Today, the United States of America and much of the whole world seems to be at a tipping point that relates very well to these scriptures. There’s a powerful political lobby that has infiltrated every part of our society and spread quickly across the world. It began on the coasts, in Manhattan, N.Y., in an incidence known as Stonewall and has spread its influence throughout the world. Today, if a person or business is not willing to go along with the demands of a powerfully orchestrated group, they may be refused employment, fired, sued, and stripped of their livelihood. As time goes on, it has become pretty clear that this will get much worse. Continue reading
My husband and I attended our first rally last night. Really, it was our first rally—ever. We had no idea what we were doing there, or what we would see, but as Mormon parents we chose to make a stand. It was exciting to be on the front lines.
As we took our seats, we were handed signs to hold up. There were a few empty seats around us, and the balconies were clear, but overall, the rotunda at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building was pretty full. As the meeting began, we opened with prayer from a local minister, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (which I haven’t had the privilege to say in a long time), and our National Anthem was sung. On our feet, with hands over our hearts, we all felt like patriots and fighters.
This rally was in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As each speaker voiced their strong opinions, they declared that religion should not be political. Commandments are based on God’s will, not the will of the people. For that matter, why is the minority voice so intolerant of the majority voice? We were reminded of the importance to stand up for our rights as citizens, and as a Godly people. We were encouraged to teach our children so the next generation, who would surely be fighting this same fight, would know and understand the difference between right and wrong, truth and error, freedom of religion and uncensored choice. Continue reading
Following the prophet is not something I take lightly. Recently, I read a few blog posts on the internet that bothered me a bit. The writer of these posts proclaimed to have a testimony of The Book of Mormon, a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. However, he says he does not have a testimony of current living prophets. In addition, his posts try to convince his readers that living prophets don’t exist.
In an attempt to understand this man, I reached out a few days ago to the readers of our Mormon Women Stand Facebook page. I posed the following questions to our readers:
1) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet, or to follow the prophet yourself?
2) Is it easier to teach children to follow the prophet when you are following the prophet yourself?
3) Is it easier to follow ancient prophets, or modern-day prophets?
4) Is it easier to follow one prophet over another?
5) If you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, which includes the principle of ongoing revelation, is it possible to not have a testimony of living prophets?
Our Mormon Women Stand readers never disappoint, and quite a few people engaged in the conversation. The comments gave me a lot to consider, and I learned a few things. Continue reading
Recently my neighbor asked me to share my testimony of Joseph Smith in one sentence for a video he was making. I really didn’t want to because I really don’t like being filmed, but considering Mormon Women Stand also encouraged me to share my testimony of the prophet right around the same time, it was a good opportunity to ponder and record my thoughts. After waiting about a week to see the finished video, I was pleased with how well it turned out! I think you’ll enjoy it, too. After watching this, the words of Praise to the Man stuck in my mind, and I felt such gratitude toward Joseph Smith for all that he did for us. I love knowing that others share the same feelings and respect toward Joseph Smith that I have. Continue reading