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Hearing and Seeing in Front and Behind

By Teresa Bruce

The child in front of me faced backward in the pew, fidgeting like any preschooler might in the second half of Sacrament meeting. When the closing hymn’s introductory notes played, I watched the already unhappy little face droop in dismay, which I thought cute. But then the congregation sang, and dismay turned to distress. Tiny …

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When Your Kids “Stray”

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I joined the LDS Church as a teenager and was utterly jubilant to find a church home that deepened my Christian faith walk in ways I’d only longed for till then. I come from a long line of deeply religious Southern folk; I was born with Jesus in my blood. But as I grew and tried to make sense of Protestant doctrine, I just couldn’t reconcile the Bigness of God I felt inside me with my (admittedly juvenile) perception of the weak, nonsensical faith structure of my pewmates. So when I encountered the rich depths of Mormon doctrine, it was welcome nourishment to my starving soul. As an instinctive truth-seeker, I felt I had found that pearl of great price I sought. That was decades ago, and I have never had cause to regret my choice, even when the quirks and mistakes of my chosen church upset me. I still experience the doctrines of the Restoration with gut-confirming surety. And the further along the path I get, the richer and wider the vista, the more real and clear the promises.

I have always been grateful that I joined the Church early enough in life to allow me to go to BYU, marry in the temple and raise my children in the Church. I cannot tell you how deeply pleased I was to be able to teach my children not only to look to Jesus (many do that) but to be able to give them many more pieces of the Divine Puzzle, to explain the Plan in much richer detail and confidence. It never once occurred to me that they might not recognize the gospel and the Church (which I always understood as separate things, both “true”) as a pearl worth giving all you had to obtain. I never imagined that someone might not want it. My innate desire for truth, my love for Jesus and my gratitude for the Church were not hard-won; they were so obvious to me that I could not imagine a different perspective.

Well, guess what? It is not obvious nor innate for everyone. Not even your own children.

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Semiannual Alignment

By Teresa Bruce

General Conference resumes this weekend. I would have said starts, but this 187th worldwide conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with last weekend’s Women’s Session. I think it’s significant that the Church officially marks the beginning of conference with messages to and from women. In the Garden, it was Eve …

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Welcome While Under Construction

By Teresa Bruce

I’ve been banned from entering my church building since June — I, and everyone else. Decades ago, my husband and I bought our house within a couple of miles of the stake center, anticipating countless drives to and from. Sunday services. Choir practices. Ward and stake councils and planning. Twelve planned years of weekday early-morning …

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How To Be a Latter-Day Saint

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

There seems to be some uncharacteristic upheaval in the church lately, similar perhaps to some of those periods of strife in the Nephite church. It makes me wonder, as I and many others feel batted about by conflicts between conscience and conformity, compassion and consensus, what we’ll be facing in the near future as a …

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Stay in the Church

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

Twenty years ago, in an effort to evade an impending nervous breakdown, I left my four children in the care of their dad, and went to Florida for a month to simply be still and know God. It was perhaps the bravest and best thing I’ve ever done.

I referred to it here: https://segullah.org/daily-special/solitude/#more-18197 in a blogpost I wrote last year. But I didn’t (yet) tell you what God said to me that month.

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Avoiding Deception

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I have long been concerned with avoiding deception. I am a Mormon convert because I am a seeker of Truth. I am not interested in dogma or the masks of God, except as they are useful to leading me deeper into eternal truth. I need to experience God, to know Them, not just learn about Them as conceptualized by any earthly organization. Don’t misunderstand: I am a faithful believer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe the Church is the authorized vehicle to establish Zion on the earth. But, of course, the church is not the gospel.

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I Have a Dream

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I have a dream that one day we will reach a critical mass of Zion-prepared people and the Lord Jesus will return in glory to live and reign here with us. I have a dream that my children and my grandchildren and their children will inherit a healthy earth, that they will be freed from …

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TRUTH, TRUST AND TRADITION

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I was having lunch with my friend, Sue, recently and we got to talking about our relationship with the LDS Church throughout our lives. We’re both Mormons in our 50’s, so our experience is long enough to make some general observations and comparisons. We’re both committed, practicing church members, but our underlying motivations differ. Or maybe …

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Kate and John

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

My heart won’t stop hurting. I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin have been summoned to church court for their activities related to the Ordain Women movement and the Mormon LGBT movement. I’m not upset because I’m an ardent supporter of either movement. I’m upset because I firmly believe that every Saint deserves to have a voice in our community. I’m upset because I am so grateful to people like Kate and John who are willing to say “dangerous” things out loud, when so many of us want to, but are too afraid to. I’m upset because of the atmosphere of fear that enters into our faith community when this sort of thing happens. What can I safely say? What causes dear to my heart will be “approved” by my respected church leaders? Do I trust my own spirit to hear and interpret the voice of the Holy Spirit, or do I leave that solely to my leaders, who I am sure listen to the same Spirit? What do I do when those spiritual interpretations collide? This sort of conundrum causes all sorts of self doubt. Some walk. Sometimes I wonder if the best of us walk, and if my choice to stay is foolish or faithful. I’ll say it right here at the start, though: despite all its man-made quirks and flaws, I love the Church and am convinced it holds the power of full salvation. So I stay. But right now, it just hurts.

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