Friday, December 4, 2015

Our Thoughts and Prayers are Not Enough.

I saw someone upset yesterday about...wait for it..."prayer-shaming" on Facebook.

We have officially gone over the edge of reason. We are now free-falling as a nation into the utter abyss of "beyond ridiculous."

See, the offense being taken is caused by someone else suggesting that thoughts and prayers are USELESS in times of horror and unspeakable tragedy.

 "How dare you tell me not to say that my prayers are with the victims!" the article cried. "Prayer is all I have!"

"No! Prayer is useless. It's a stupid, archaic practice that yields zero results!" the retort is.

 Well. I think it's inexcusable to create divisiveness over people's lives--lives that were lost, and the loved ones they left behind, damaged.

Stop it. Everyone just stop.

Let's do this instead: Let's pray.

Let's pray with our whole hearts.

Yes, let's pray for the victims' families, who's hearts will never heal.

 Let's pray for our leaders and law enforcement, and military that they can be protected, led, and that they will be strong, honest women and men.

Then, let's pray like we've never prayed before to be LED to ACTION.

 It is not enough to pray.

 Scripturally, we know this is true. Moroni 7:48 demands, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."

 Pray with everything we have in us not just for others, but that we can be the ANSWER to someone else's prayer.

 How can we as followers of Jesus Christ BE the change? We must work at it.

We must give until we can't give anymore.

We must put more energy into healing than hurting.

 Know your neighbors. Meet them, befriend them, truly care about them.

 Assume the BEST in people. Yes, they may hurt you, but don't let that stop you.

Help the person on the street. Buy them a sandwich, give them a dollar.

 VOTE! Vote your conscience.

 Smile at people.

Be kind to cashiers, public service workers, nurses, police, everyone you meet.

Get past your own prejudices. Pray that you can be shown your own ignorance and then make an honest effort to erase it. Let Christ make you a better person.

 Pay tithes and offerings.

 Give to charities doing honest, important work.

 Teach your children to love others with all the energy that they possess.

Show them how through your own service to them, and to others.

Love people with more than your words. Love them in action.

Get out of yourself, your own busyness, and help.

 Practice the "Thumper rule" in real life and on social media. (What's the Thumper rule? "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all.")

Don't engage in petty, online contests of who is the most correct, politically, socially or religiously. Just don't do it.

 I'm fairly convinced that if we truly practice what we preach, we can heal people, even those not of our own faith.

The more that we LIVE what we BELIEVE then the more kindness there will be in the world. No, we can not solve the world's problems exclusively through living the truth we know, but my goodness, what if you could prevent someones pain? Even just a little bit? Wouldn't you do it, if you knew it would help someone?

 I am far from perfect at these things. But I'm trying to live the gospel. Actually LIVE it.

 I think one of the things that bothers non-Christians about us is that we can sometimes come across as "all talk" with no action to back it up. So, while we SAY "Love one another" we appear (despite our best intentions) to not be doing that.

In fact, Isaiah warned of this very thing millenia ago. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with the lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me..." Isaiah 29:13.

 We are all hypocrites by nature. We sin constantly even though we know better, right? But! Let's try a little harder to be a little less hypocritical. We need kindness and love in the world as badly as we need air.

Thomas S. Monson taught, "Actually, love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love."

 Christ as our perfect brother, taught us how to be through his words AND his deeds. So, let's pray with all the energy of our hearts, and then let's GET TO WORK to make the world better.

 No, you may not prevent a deranged madman's crimes, but you might.

 You just actually might.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away..."

One verse per week memorized and pondered for 20 years... Are you in? #ponderize #ldsconf

My verse: 
"...Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Oh Job, how I admire your courage. 

Often I get caught up in asking the Lord to GIVE. Bless me with this, bless me with that, please help me to do this, or bless. GIVE to me oh Lord. GIVE. 

The idea of "Taken away" by the Lord is uncomfortable. It's scary. It's usually quoted to describe the idea that even hard things are God's will. This can be seriously painful, and true. 

As of late though, I've been pondering the idea that having things "taken away" by the Lord is NOT a bad thing. 

What things can you think of that we WANT God to take away? 

Sin, hardship, pain, fear, despair. So many things we pray to be relieved of. 

Do you see it? 

Can you feel it? 

The Lord can take away every pain and infirmity. He can erase your bad choices, your mistakes, and your blantant disobedience. 

Oh yes, the Lord, through His atonement has truly taken it all away by taking it on Himself. 

Yes, sometimes God takes away the things we want, or think we need. Often we get upset, and act like the naughty, beligerent children that we are. 

But at the very core of the Gospel is Jesus Christ giving freely of Himself in every way as He gracefully and perfectly takes away. 

It is the absolute balance that we need. It is a masterpiece of perfection. 

It is the gospel in one short verse. 

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. 

Monday, October 5, 2015


If someone pointed a gun at my face and asked me to live as a liar or die as a follower, what would I do?

What would YOU do?

The news has glossed over the heinousness that was the massacre at UCC in Oregon last week. The fact that the shooter asked his victims if they were Christians or not is a HUGE deal. It is THE BIGGEST DEAL of the thing; not the talking points the media touted. No, not gun control or mental health. Not even the hero who charged the killer, is the BIGGEST DEAL in all of this. *Chris Mintz IS a hero.*

No, the fact that people were martyred is the biggest deal. The fact that these folks looked right in the face of Satan, and told the truth, matters.

It matters because Christ is the biggest deal there is, and for HIM I would give my life.

For HIM these folks stood tall.

For Him I would face down the barrel of gun, knowing it was about to take me away from my family in this life.

For He did it for me already.

And you.

Therefore, as we ponderize on the new lessons and old ones refreshed from conference this past weekend, let us make sure that we are strongly and permanently anchored in Christ. Let's recommit to stand as a witness of God in all times and in all places that we are in, so that no one can doubt we know His name.

Let's pray for our country, for the Lord to protect us all. Let's pray for courage to keep on even when it's hard.

And ultimately, let's make sure that Jesus knows He's our core and center, through how we live and treat others.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I am a Mormon Feminist

I'm a feminist.

And an active, fully-participating LDS human person.

(Insert immediate pearl clutching horror here.)

Really though, come on folks.

Poor misunderstood feminism has gotten a really rotten rep.

It's NOT that bad, I promise.

I'm pretty quiet about it because I have been so afraid of scrutiny, of judgement, and even of it reflecting poorly on my husband.

But, when I write it out like that, those are silly reasons.

Because it's true. It's MY truth.

And there isn't anything wrong with that.

See, here's the thing: I believe that there are things that are fundamentally sexist within the church as it exists today.

Beyond practice or culture (which have their own serious sexism issues)  I feel like there are certain aspects rooted in the church *not the GOSPEL* that make it so that women are naturally subjugated.

We are not equal. We never have been. When it boils down to the dregs, what is true is that no matter where a woman serves in the church, she will NEVER be able to serve in the same capacities (or even COMPARABLE capacities if you want to be nit-picky) as her male counterparts. Never.

I don't know why. I can't understand it.

I do not care for the argument, "We already have SO MUCH TO DO, why would I want more responsibility?"

Nope. Not buying it.

Why WOULDN'T I want the deep honor and privilege that comes from  a more serious commitment and call to the cause?

I have no idea why anyone would poo-poo the idea of MORE service, MORE love, MORE giving, MORE blessing the lives of others. Really? If it was offered to you, free of charge, simply as a covenant-keeping human, you'd be all like, "Thanks, but no thanks, I'm good."

Maybe, I suppose. And if that's your truth, that's cool too. Different strokes, right?

I wouldn't though. If full church participation and equality was offered to me, I'd take hold so tightly, so fast.

I also can not understand the idea that "It has never happened to me, I've never felt it, so what's the big deal?" is an ok thing to think. For real? I've never felt A LOT of the human condition, but that doesn't make others' experiences invalid, or not real. SO WHAT? You are blessed, but that doesn't stop the very vivid pain that exists for many sisters. So many sisters.

Maybe even your own sister.

I do know that the inequality breaks my heart, and causes me to want to weep at times because the hurt is so real and so searing and so very very deep.

So deep in fact that there was a LONG time that I really wondered and worried that perhaps... my deepest fears about myself were true, that God really actually TRULY thinks that women are less than men. Simply because of sex and gender, spiritual identity even, that God trusts me less. That I am less.

That pitch black darkest fear might be true?

The thought makes reason stare, and yet, there is actual evidence that it might be true.

Does the one whom we call "Kind", "Gracious" and "Father" really ACTUALLY like me less than my brothers?


How could my Father create me to be less?


The practices in the church that cause these questions are ones we can not discuss here, but if you've ever felt that pang, that discomfort in those most quiet and sacred moments, like I have, then you can get an idea of what I mean.

It was so much that I wrestled.



So much discontent filled my soul that I thought, "If this is IT, if this is really how it's going to be, then I want no part of it. I'll just be happy not achieving eternal progression, because I don't want any part of a God who thinks I'm second-class."

So many questions.

More questions than ever.

BUT! There is hope. There is knowledge.  I didn't give up on God, though I was sorely tempted.

I have come to know that the Lord God, who is all powerful, who creates all, would never ever create me in HIS image if I was less than.

So, I cling to my Lord and Savior. When I can not deal with things that make me ache and beg for further light and knowledge, I lean hard on Him. I know He lives. I know He died so I can live too.

I do not know the answers. I will not pretend to.

Nor will I leave. For my Jesus is the living water, and I know this is HIS church. HIS gospel brought to fruition.

The ache? It remains. I would surmise that it will remain all the days of my life. I can't see that changing. (Believe me, I tried to pray it away.) The only thing I can think is that God intends me to walk this path--this path that is so full of goodness, of love and of redemption. As I stumble on the things that make me question, I simply dust myself off and keep on.

I am a Mormon feminist. I love the Lord with all my heart. I am not going anywhere. There is room for all in the true Gospel, the Gospel who is the living, breathing Savior of the world, Jesus.