What We Leave On The Altar

By Kellie Purcill


Repentance for me is a bloody process. I’m stalking 40 years of age, and my understanding of repentance is a much darker, more violent and powerful star than the “repentance is like a bar of soap” example given in the Primary cosmos.  Just as “milk before meat” is a component of the gospel, so is the real awareness of bringing “a contrite heart and broken spirit” to our personal altars before the Saviour.  The blood and profound change to His feet is as painful and fundamental as our own pivotal experiences are, leaving us marked and leaking on our way.

I’m searching for deeper examples of repentance, forgiveness, charity and patience not only because I’m parenting teens, but because my own heart and dedication wobble in the course of my days.  Soap’s useless when the issue at hand is internal, gory and nasty. Being washed clean as the first person in an entire family to join the church is a wonderful occasion, but the washing doesn’t rinse away generations of abuse, dysfunction and family habits.  Sometimes the repentance process involves not taking the sacrament, leaving deacons anxiously pressing trays to knees, encouraging to take the morsel, accept the love, unaware of the gnawing of bone going on inside, worrying our broken shards towards redemption somewhere further ahead.

Years ago, I cannonballed in love. 

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Spiritual Mentors

By Kathryn Paul

spiritual mentor

Who are the most influential women in your world? I checked out  The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women; Forbes magazine claims their list “isn’t about celebrity or popularity; it’s about influence. Queen Rania of Jordan (No. 76), for instance, is perhaps the most listened-to woman in the Middle East; her Twitter feed has 600,000 followers.”   Powerful moguls and media queens may be changing the course of history; however, they are invisible in my little world.   Who influences you?   Let’s compare our lists.   Here’s a few powerful and influential women from my list:

 ONE: As I embraced the light after crawling out of the murky sewers of Babylon, I felt like a wobbly toddler, just learning to walk.   Desperate prayers were answered by a serene angel who helped steady me as I took a few tentative steps, focusing on the loving, outstretched arms of the Savior.  I knew Sister Brown was an angel because she glowed.  The Spirit would enfold me in an aura of love as I listened carefully to Sister Brown’s Relief Society lessons, analyzing how I needed to change to become just like her.  If she prayed and read the scriptures every day, then I would too.  If Sister Brown treated the Sabbath  like it was a precious and holy gift, then I would too.  If Sister Brown got spiritual power from attending the temple, then I would receive my endowments and go to the temple regularly, even if it required driving to Los Angeles on a freeway dotted with psycho drivers who didn’t value human life.    No sacrifice was too big if I could become like Sister Brown, who never even knew that she was my spiritual mentor. 

 TWO:   Growing up in a home of negative voices, I  have struggled with the lingering dregs of my childhood.  I wanted to be a positive and patient mother–and often I was–but other times I felt like Wanda the Witch Woman.   Discovering M. Catherine Thomas,  whose father was an alcoholic, helped me walk with a kinder cadence. She wrote in  Spiritual Lightening about her own  journey of healing:

 “To choose positive, affirming, tolerant, forgiving, Spirit-filled energy over negative energy is to choose godliness over evil.  I think it’s that simple.   There are finally only two forces at work on us, and they are continually at work; and until we learn to discern and reject most negative energy, we will be victimized by it. (142)


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