I’ve been stewing about this blog post for weeks, because I mean it to be provocative. I want to write about one of our most important Mormon doctrines, but it’s a topic that seems to be shrouded in a cultural taboo, like Heavenly Mother or polygamy. They used to sermonize about having your calling and election made sure a lot more than they do now. “They” being our church leaders. It was a naturally accepted piece of doctrine back in the days of Joseph Smith and the early saints. I imagine that every alert saint was keenly aware of whether or not they had personally been sealed up into eternal life by the Holy Spirit of Promise. I don’t know that we later latter-day saints give it much thought or attention anymore. But maybe we should.
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!?”
Today’s post comes from Judy Kay Frome. She is the third of eight children and was raised on a small dairy farm in Wyoming. She has five children and four grandchildren and currently lives in Las Vegas, NV, where she teaches fourth grade. Her writing has been published in the New Era and the Ensign and at http://earthsignmamawrites.blogspot.com/
Most people who know me probably wouldn’t use the word “patient” in a description of my characteristics. I have numerous scars on my hands and fingers that are the result of impatient actions—vigorously washing dishes and breaking them; quickly grabbing for some sharp implement and hurting myself; cramming something into place that actually needed gentle coaxing and causing a cut or a slash on my hands. It’s a gene-pool thing according to my husband: he worked with my grandfather and great-uncles. They were usually set on “high,” “fast,” and “zoom”. I know, we aren’t lackadaisical. I used to think my gung-ho style was an asset. (And sometimes it is—don’t get me wrong.) But, in a spiritual, philosophical, metaphysical way, it is a handicap. Let me explain.
I was asked to teach the lesson in Relief Society this Sunday based on President Thomas S. Monson’s talk in the most recent General Conference entitled, “The Divine Gift of Gratitude.” I read and re-read this wonderful talk, highlighting appropriate quotes about gratitude: “Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it …
As much as I would love to take credit for the piece here, I cannot. I opened my email this morning and found the following thoughtful colloquy on the effects of watching television by my brother, Zachary Hutchins. He’s a writer and educator, helping his wife to raise three small boys while living in the wild west.
Prophets and apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long warned that watching television can have a detrimental impact on our lives. In 1989, Elder M. Russell Ballard warned about the deleterious effects of watching inappropriate material on television, while also acknowledging that “Philo T. Farnsworth, back in 1927, must surely have been inspired of the Lord to develop this remarkable medium of communication” (Seriously–go check out the link; it’s the most extensive General Conference talk ever given on the subject, and the picture is priceless). So saying that “TV is bad for you” is less than revelatory.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have just released a new study that is a little more nuanced.
In the summer of 1999 my husband discovered that his business partner had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars of company money and, worse, had double collateralized on a significant business loan and line of credit in my husband’s name. As the whole sordid mess came to light and the bank demanded immediate repayment of the loan, we suddenly found ourselves on the brink of losing everything—my husband’s business, his good reputation, our income, our home. And as wave after wave of bad news hit us, I cried into my pillow night after night and worried incessantly about our future.
But by day I went into hyper drive. I cleaned every room in our house; organized every single drawer; washed cupboards, windows, walls, and floors. I archived all of our family photos and started scrapbooks for each of my children. I threw myself into a couple of major PTA projects and served in not one but two busy church callings. And yes, I eventually landed myself in a clinical depression.
Like many of you who were able to attend or watch the general Relief Society meeting last Saturday night, I loved listening to President Monson speak on charity at the close of the meeting. His remarks were loving, wise, and inspired. “Do [our] differences tempt us to judge one another?” asked President Monson. “Can we love one another if we judge each other? And I answer…No; we cannot.” He went on to say that charity is “the opposite of criticism and judging.”
Interestingly, I’d just prepared a lesson to teach the Beehives the next day, in which I was directed by the Supplemental Materials booklet to refer to the section entitled “Judging Others” in True to the Faith, which says, “Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your lifetime. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. You need to make judgments of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends…and choosing an eternal companion” (p.90). The booklet goes on to caution us to use “great care” when making judgments and advises, “All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards.…Approach any judgment with care and compassion. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts” (90-91). The Supplemental Materials booklet then asked teachers to pose this question: “The world asks me to be tolerant of everyone’s actions and beliefs. In what circumstances does the Lord ask me to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people?” (p. 8).
Those of you who have teens and subscribe to the New Era know that this month’s issue is devoted entirely to teenage dating. When I handed the magazine to my eighteen-year-old son, he rolled his eyes and said, “Teenage dating—now that’s an oxymoron.” First, I was impressed that he used the word “oxymoron.” Then, I was concerned. My husband and I have had several discussions about dating with my son over the past several months and my son seems to think that LDS teenagers are discouraged from dating and that he won’t do any real dating until after his mission. According to my son, the only relevant article in the New Era was the one entitled, “Is Dating Dead?” My son said, “Answer: yes,” and then handed me the magazine back.
Troubling, for sure. Is it true that LDS teenagers (and teenagers in general) don’t really date? As I write this, many high school juniors and/or seniors are preparing to go to the prom sometime in the next month. My son went to the prom last year, and he’s been to many high school dances over the last couple of years. That’s dating, right? Well, sort of. I see several problems with the high school dance date, which, btw, is very different from the high school dance dates I had back in the day.
..who wrote the following: I am thankful for the combined RS/priesthood meeting we had Sunday that was about using the internet…which prompted my husband to check my kids’ search histories.
I say I’m thankful, but I am also devastated. And now we have found out my teenage son has a porn addiction.
I can’t really tell anyone. And I need support. This is so hard.
About a month ago one of our ward missionaries sent me an email explaining that they are getting ready to launch a missionary blog and asking if I would write down my conversion story for them to post.
I agreed, and though I haven’t started writing it yet, I’ve been thinking a lot about it since then (pre-writing is an important step in the writing process after all). When did I become converted? Can I record it in a way that others will find interesting to read—a way that accurately reflects my love for and feelings about the gospel? Why did they ask me to do this again?