“We don’t believe we’ve got a monopoly on truth,” were the words that eased my dad’s welcome into a room full of Methodists. My father is the regional public affairs rep in his area, which means this wasn’t the first formal gathering where he has spoken to about us Mormons to those who are not. This particular group was a group of single adult Methodists aged 30-50ish. The goal of their study group was to learn about various religions, ways that other people understood God.
My dad’s utterance, was not the first time I’ve heard that phrase used. I just wish we confessed it more freely. And I am wishful for a Sunday School class that studies the world’s religions. Sigh. I just haven’t seen it offered in the 3 hour block just yet. I just wish it were. I have come to understand my own faith so much more fully as I have studied and observed other religions. Continue reading No Monopoly on Truth
Popham Beach State Park, Maine
In a recent Worldwide Leadership Training Conference, attendees heard someone’s thoughts on “that thing that is of most worth to a woman in this life.” If someone asked you what that “thing of most worth” is, how would you answer?
Some years ago I went through a very tough time. Metaphorically speaking I felt like my ribs had been extracted. My pulses and rhythms still functioned, but my supports and protection were gone. My mother had just died. My kids were asserting themselves in creative and dumbfounding ways, following their natural call to become “agents unto themselves.” My husband was reorganizing his heart and soul, doing important internal work, but I had no idea where I’d end up when his “remodeling” was over. My soul felt like it was, to quote Yeats, “turning and turning in a widening gyre.” Continue reading That Thing That is of Most Worth
Like most of you, I’m guessing, I haven’t always understood or relished the law of the fast. On Fast Sundays as a young girl I hated that hollow, gnawing feeling in my stomach and I passed the time in Sunday school fantasizing about my favorite treats—custard tarts, vanilla slices, lamingtons—always resolving to buy two of each at school the next day. After church, while waiting in the car for my parents to finish talking and drive us home, I’d lie on the backseat, moaning, my fingers pressed against my protruding ribs, absolutely certain that once we got home I’d be too weak to walk into the house and I would be left to starve to death in the car. One Fast Sunday I found my brother, Todd, outside in the backyard, standing underneath our mulberry tree, his lips stained with berry juice. Mulberries aren’t particularly tasty, but they are a food source for starving children, as Todd—who was normally a fruit hater—discovered, and soon we were all asking to go outside and play on Fast Sundays. Continue reading “Is Not This the Fast that I Have Chosen?”
Last Sunday our ward had the rare privilege of hearing Alex Boye sing a solo in sacrament meeting. I must confess at the time I didn’t know who he was, but when he started to sing a gospel rendition of “How Great Thou Art” I, like many other ward members, sat up straight in my seat and listened, enthralled (although I think a couple of the older ward members nearly had a heart attack). I’ve never heard these words sung so beautifully, so stirringly: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!” Perhaps it was the unconventional delivery of the song (jazzy piano accompaniment and all) as well as the sheer beauty of Brother Boye’s voice that made me listen to the words more carefully, made me feel them deep in my soul. It was one of the most worshipful and thrilling musical numbers I have ever heard in a sacrament meeting. I thought of that musical number yesterday as I read these words in Psalms: “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands. Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious” (Psalm 66: 1-2).
And it’s in that spirit, and in the spirit of gratitude, that I want to sing praises of my own, so to speak, to my God today. My prayers are too often full of petitions and pleas while being scarce on thankfulness and praise. What better time to give thanks than Thanksgiving week? Continue reading How Great Thou Art
Like many of you, I attended the Saturday night Relief Society broadcast at my stake center and came away feeling spiritually rejuvenated and replenished. I listened with interest to Sister Beck’s talk about the history, purpose, and vision of Relief Society (can’t wait to read the new book!), Sister Allred’s thoughts on charity (note to self: pray for this attribute more), and Sister Thompson’s discourse on cleaving to covenants (I love that word “cleave,” by the way—and yes, I want to be a remembered as a woman who cleaved to her covenants). I felt the bond of sisterhood as I stood and sang the rest hymn with the other sisters in my stake and the sisters in the Conference Center; we were a lyrical chorus of all-female voices, raised in song and worship together. I felt grateful and glad to be there.
And then Sis Beck announced that President Uchtdorf would be speaking and I felt like I’d just won a golden ticket. =) Yes, the rest of the meeting had been great but oh, how I love President Uchtdorf. Now, I love listening to Pres. Monson and I feel his prophetic mantle every time he speaks, and I think there are few people on this planet as articulate and gracious and well-spoken as Pres. Eyring. But Pres. Uchtdorf, well, he’s my secret favorite General Authority (and I suspect many women in the Church feel the same) and I always LOVE his talks. His messages are unfailingly astute and timely, and he delivers them in such a personable, kind, and loving way, with that dash of wit and those unforgettable analogies, that it’s impossible not to feel a zing of joy every time he delivers a sermon. And, as one of my Segullah friends so aptly put it on Sunday night, “Wow, does that man understand women, or what!?” Continue reading Forget Not