We are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading
One of the lies that the adversary would have us believe is that we have to be polished musicians in order to make music. It seems a little ridiculous if you think about it. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that only the well-trained or perfectly rehearsed can sing praises to our Heavenly King. But so many of us hesitate to share our most tender feelings that can only be expressed in music and poetry simply because we don’t believe our voice is praiseworthy enough to be shared.
Four years ago, right after President Monson announced the age change for missionary service, a wonderful thing occurred. Youth from all over St. George, Utah started gathering together to sing their songs of worship. They called themselves, “Missionary Choir”. The term “choir” is not exactly a perfect description of this unique group, the weekly gathering that takes place every Thursday night is more akin to singing time in primary; the energy is great, the volume is loud, and there is a smile on everyone’s face as they proclaim, “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning” and “Let Us All Press On”! Continue reading
Many years ago, I heard Sister Marilyn S. Bateman share her testimony of parenthood. I was holding my fourth child in my arms as I watched the BYU devotional broadcast from the comfort of my small home with three children playing nearby. Her words pierced my soul as I realized that my work as a mother is actually Heavenly Father’s work and glory! Sister Bateman shared the following:
For the last 42 years my major interest and focus have been the creation of an eternal family. I believe it is the most important mission a man or woman can pursue. When one realizes that Heavenly Father’s work and glory is to raise and educate children, one can understand why I believe that my work has been in partnership with Him and why it is the most exciting work on earth. If earthly parents are wise and desire a fullness of joy, they will strive to emulate our heavenly parents. Many of the lessons needed in this life and in the next are learned in the family setting.
I don’t know why this idea came as such a shock to me. I have always known that my role as mother was a partnership with the Lord, but it wasn’t until this day that the Spirit witnessed to me just how important my work truly was and how much Heavenly Father cares about my role as a nurturer. Over the past 14 years, I have managed to forget this great insight from time to time. It’s easy to do, especially when life gets busy. I tend to assume that going through the motions of parenting is enough, but in the process I miss out on the intentional parenting that will help me “strive to emulate our heavenly parents.” Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and ask myself, “Is this the best thing I can do to raise and educate my children to the Lord?” Unfortunately, most of the time, my answer is no. Continue reading
Julie Beck is among many of my LDS heroines. I absolutely love this woman and while we have never met, I remember wishing I could have worked for her during her time as the first councilor in the General Young Women Presidency, and subsequently as the General Relief Society President. I wanted to learn and be mentored by such a faithful and strong female leader in the Church. I still find myself drawn to her talks and tapping into reservoirs of her tremendous experience and wisdom.
In 2009, Sister Beck (while serving as the General Relief Society President) spoke in a broadcast address to seminary and institute of religion teachers. It was fantastic. Not long afterwards, the bloggers and news media began buzzing about it and it was easy to see why. It was a powerful and inspired speech that instructed parents, teachers and leaders about why the rising generation fully understand the doctrine of the family, and how we can most effectively do it. Continue reading
For the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work with youth and their leaders in a variety of Church callings in both North America and overseas. Through this, I’ve found that one of the greatest concerns they have is how they can help their youth understand doctrine and eternal truths in relation to current social issues—including the really difficult and often confusing ones. Here are a few things we might want to consider as we are teaching the rising generation how to stand strong against the world: