Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Despised and Rejected

Like Hugh B. Brown, I'm going to be brief in this post.

The world may not be any worse than it was when this Conference was held. I don't know. But I do know that people don't like religion much these days. It's well enough if you believe in a tame religion, something that means little more than trying to be a good person and never, ever foisting those beliefs onto someone else. But if you truly feel that your religion is something worth admitting, sharing, and even suggesting to another person, you are the vilest of people.

I've seen that opinion of the religious shared in multiple venues by multiple people. I daresay it would be a majority of Americans who feel that way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When You Have No Friend to Phone

How do I describe something as personal and emotional as prayer?

When we are children, or investigators, we are taught the steps of prayer:

  1. Address Heavenly Father.
  2. Thank Him for everything you are grateful.
  3. Ask Him for the things you need.
  4. Close in the name of Jesus Christ.

There is little in this sweet, simple, hesitant formula for prayer that resembles what it has become for me. In the wake of marrying and subsequently escaping an abusive spouse, pregnant and feeling so desperately vulnerable, my prayers have truly become constant. I prayed to get up, I prayed to make breakfast, I prayed to keep my breakfast down, I prayed to give my daughter a stable and loving home, I prayed for her strength, for mine, for help, for someone anyone to be there for me, for me to understand what I was going through, what I did wrong, how to fix it, how to heal, how to cope.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Not Belief: I Know It

I do not remember the first time I knew that God was real. It seems to me that knowing Him is something I've come to over a life of fighting to reach out to Him, an infinite series of small miracles and preponderance of evidence. I know He has spoken to me, typically, through thoughts and feelings, sometimes through the actions of others, sometimes in still and mighty words.

Debate over the authenticity of the Book of Mormon has been rampant since before it was even removed from the stone-covered box in the side of a hill. I've read and heard it all, how it "cannot be true" because of ABC, and how it "cannot be explained as a lie" because of XYZ.

Despite many people saying "no one can know," I assert that their declarations are useless, for under their definition, no one knows anything. I know that it is true because after extensive testing, after seeking knowledge and pitting that knowledge against the hard rock of experience, I have heard the "song of redeeming love," and tasted God's power.

Elder James A. Cullimore spoke about "The Importance of a Personal Testimony" in each of our lives. One quote caught my attention more than any other.

"The Twelve Apostles are special witnesses of the Savior. I don’t know how many of them have actually seen a personage. They don’t talk about it. But they don’t have to, to receive their special witness that can come by the Holy Ghost."

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

No Success Can Compensate

"...Whatever you do for the Lord, you do the very best that you know how." —H. Burke Peterson

A very good friend and I discussed recently what it meant that no other success can compensate for failure in the home. Like me, she is a survivor, divorced, and a single mother, experiencing the intensely personal frustration that is the lot of single LDS parents.

She said that she suddenly realized this meant that no matter who you are in the Church: a bishop, stake president, or even one of the Apostles, it means nothing if you abuse or neglect the souls in your family. It doesn't matter what people in the Church think of you, it makes no difference what privileges in the priesthood you are awarded. If you do not repent and make amends for how you have treated spouse or children, your successes are ash to the Lord.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Living by Power—A Woman of God

My last post got twice as many readers as a typical post of mine. It is not hard to imagine why. In that post, I say things that everyone else is saying, about how it is hard to be a woman in the Church. That refrain is echoed across the blogs, though often with a different tone. People read it because it said what they wanted to hear. That isn't true of this post. It is easy to identify problems. And problems get to people’s emotions, especially when they’re struggling with the same problem. But solutions are hard. They are uncomfortable. They often seem to cause problems. No one wants that.

But, while I know that far fewer people will read and like this post, I want to follow up my last with what lies beyond the pain of being a woman in the Church. There is another side of that valley of sorrow. On the other side lies a chance to build a great, tall mountain of discipleship that completely swamps all the things that make membership hard in the Church. It doesn't make them go away, of course. I still mourn sometimes. But it takes that pain and frustration and makes something great of it.

This session of Conference, the last of 1971, was a symphony. The talks all addressed slightly different things, but together they wove a great tapestry of discipleship. I couldn't pick just one without robbing some of the harmony. Obviously, going and reading them yourself is the best thing, but I'm going to play you only a small sample.

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