Sunday, May 29, 2016

Why The Mormon Church Does Not Support Gay Marriage

I recently had a friend ask me why the Mormon Church just couldn't be nice and support gay marriage. After a great deal of thought, I wrote my response to this friend and posted it on my other blog, One Mormon Voice.

To read it you can go to:

One Mormon Voice


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A few thoughts on Women, Relief Society and Priesthood Authority

(I didn't intend to highlight the two quotes below and I don't know how to unhighlight them since it doesn't show up that way on my draft. I do think they are important though.:-)

I have often heard the different roles of men and women in the Church defined as “Women have the babies and men hold the priesthood”.   While motherhood is a noble calling, this definition seemed to me to be both narrow and exclusive. What about women who never marry, or marry and never have children? And is the role of women and the priesthood as separate as this definition suggests? If not, what then is the relationship between women and priesthood covenants and authority?

As I have studied the scriptures, talks by General Authorities and the book, “Daughters in My Kingdom, The History and Work of Relief Society” I have come to understand much better the role of women, the purpose of Relief Society,  and the relationship between women and the priesthood. Consequently, my vision of my role and my sense of worth as a woman in the latter-days has been significantly expanded.  Here are a few of the principles I have learned.

The Covenant of Eternal Marriage
A definition of “priesthood” is, “the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children” (Preach My Gospel, p. 83). Priesthood is the power by which all the work of salvation is both authorized and accomplished. When we participate in the work of salvation it is with priesthood authority.

When I went to the temple to be sealed to my eternal companion, I entered into the covenant of Eternal Marriage. This is a priesthood covenant. That covenant gave both my husband and me the authority and the responsibility to create an eternal family unit. We were given authority to live together as husband and wife, and the authority to become parents through the bringing of God’s spirit children into this world.

Through the keeping of that same covenant of Eternal Marriage we both also receive the power to teach our children in righteousness and to help them progress along the covenant path in order to receive all the covenants and ordinances of the Gospel necessary for their salvation and exaltation.  Although our roles as parents may differ, we both receive our parental authority and power from the same priesthood covenant.

The teaching of our children and helping them along the covenant path to exaltation is the pattern of Godhood. It is what our Heavenly Parents do. As we participate in this work we are learning Godhood, which in its most simple form is parenthood. Entering into the priesthood covenant of Eternal Marriage gives us both the authority and the responsibility to participate with God in His great work, and the keeping of our priesthood covenants gives us the power to fulfill our responsibilities.

But is that all that is expected of women in this life? No, not at all.  

The relationship between the Relief Society and the Priesthood.
 Priesthood quorums are organized with a president and two counselors and receive their authority from authorized priesthood leaders who hold priesthood keys. Although their responsibilities are numerous and varied, their main purpose is to “build unity and brotherhood, and instruct members in doctrines, principles and duties.”  (Handbook 2, Administering the Church, 7.1.2, pg 40) This includes assisting fathers in their responsibilities as fathers and helping all males, ages 12 and older, and all families progress on the covenant path to exaltation.

The Relief Society is also an official organization of the Church and is organized under the same pattern as priesthood quorums with a president and two counselors. And although unique from the priesthood, President Joseph F. Smith taught it is “divinely made, divinely authorized, divinely instituted, [and] divinely ordained of God to minister for the salvation of the souls of women and men.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, pg. 66)

Although only men are ordained to the priesthood, only men hold priesthood keys, and other than in the temple, only men officiate in priesthood ordinances, all women 18 years of age and older, both single and married, are members of the Relief Society and by virtue of their covenants and membership in this organization, are given priesthood authority and power to participate in the work of salvation.

In his April 2014 conference talk, Elder Dallin H. Oaks emphasized this point when he stated,  “Since the scriptures state that ‘all other authorities [and] offices in the church are appendages to this [Melchizedek] priesthood’ (D&C 107:5) all that is done under the direction of those priesthood keys is done with priesthood authority.”  (Emphasis added)

He went on to say, “Thus, it is truly said that the Relief Society is not just a class for women, but something they belong to—a divinely established appendage to the priesthood. “ (Emphasis added)

Therefore, the purpose of  Relief Society is exactly the same as God’s purpose, our purpose as parents, the purpose of priesthood quorums and the purpose of the Church in general, “To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

As Relief Society Sisters, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in three main ways.

First is to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Through the weekly teaching of doctrine, monthly visits as visiting teachers and mid-week activities, we are strengthened in our knowledge and understanding of the gospel. This leads to an increased desire to apply gospel principles and make and keep sacred covenants. Exaltation is becoming like our Heavenly Parents and living as they do. Relief Society helps prepare and qualify us for this crowning blessing.

Second is to help strengthen families and homes. As we come to understand better the doctrine of the gospel, and apply its principles in our own lives, we are better able to draw upon the power of our priesthood covenants to strengthen and bless our families. This may be as a wife and mother, or as a sister and daughter, grandmother, granddaughter or aunt.

In addition to our own personal families, women in the Relief Society have also been given the authority to preside over and direct the affairs of the women in the church, as well as to preside and direct the Primary and Young Women organizations. This is a large and weighty responsibility. As Relief Society sisters we have been trusted with the duty to teach and prepare all children to receive the priesthood covenant of baptism at age 8, to prepare young boys to be ordained to the priesthood at age 12 and to prepare young women to receive priesthood covenants in the temple as adults.

Sister Julie Beck taught,  Being part of a Relief Society or quorum is a designation for a way of life. We are to serve in the association of a Melchizedek Priesthood quorum or a Relief Society for a lifetime. From the quorum or Relief Society, we are called to serve in other Church assignments and organizations . . . No matter where we serve, we always retain our “citizenship” in and our responsibility to the quorum or Relief Society. (Sister Julie Beck, BYU Speeches,  “Why We Are Organized into Quorums and Relief Societies”) (Emphasis added)

Therefore it is an error for women to say they do not belong to Relief Society because they are serving in Primary or Young Women. It is because they belong to Relief Society they have been given the opportunity, responsibility and the priesthood authority to direct the work in the primary and young women organizations. When they serve in these callings they are fulfilling their responsibilities as Relief Society sisters. Men may also serve in primary, but they do not serve in the presidency of the primary. This work falls under the direction and authority of Relief Society sisters who operate under priesthood keys. 

The third purpose of the Relief Society is to seek out and provide relief for those who are in need.  As sisters in Relief Society we not only have the responsibility to help others along the covenant path, but we have the opportunity to better keep our own covenants through service to others.  When we are baptized we enter into a covenant to “mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9).

President Henry B. Eyring taught that through our covenant calling as Visiting Teachers we are to “know the hearts of individuals and their families” and help the bishop meet the needs and nurture individuals and families in the ward (Daughters in My Kingdom p. 110). This alone is a great task but our influence is not in any way limited to those sisters we visit teach, our own families or our callings in the ward. We are covenant bound to seek out and help all people who are in need, to the best of our ability and circumstance, no matter what ward, country or continent they may live.

In Summary
When Joseph Smith “turned the key” in behalf of women, he opened the door for women to officially organize and better assist God in His work of salvation. All adult women have the opportunity to receive priesthood covenants and are given priesthood authority and power to participate in this great work. And, as we participate in and learn God’s work, we become like Him and qualify for Exaltation.

After understanding better these principles, I also understand better the comment made by Eliza R. Snow to the Relief Society sisters in her day.  “If any of the daughters and mothers in Israel are feeling in the least [limited] in their present spheres, they will now find ample scope for every power and capability for doing good with which they are most liberally endowed (Daughters in My Kingdom p. 44).

Our responsibilities are great and our potential is limitless!

And that thought brings great . . . joy to my journey!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day, The Tree of Life and the Family Tree . . .

 With this Sunday being Mother’s day, I have been thinking about motherhood. I feel we only need to look where Satan is focusing his efforts to know what is most important to our Heavenly Father and therefore what will bring us the greatest happiness. Satan is fighting a full out war, like never seen before, against the family. He wants us all to believe that motherhood and fatherhood are archaic, demeaning and degrading terms. And instead of providing an opportunity to marry and have eternal increase, which is what our Heavenly Father offers us, Satan is deceiving the world into trading the opportunity to marry and raise a family, into a damning relationship that can never bear fruit, and therefore never progress and never have joy.

I read an article in Meridian Magazine this morning that has caused me to ponder even more deeply the importance of being a mother. Remember in 1 Nephi 11, Nephi is shown by the angel the meaning of his father’s vision of the Tree of Life.  When he was shown the tree, he didn’t understand its meaning.  It wasn’t until he was shown Mary holding the Son of God on her lap (vs 20) that he understood the tree was a symbol of the love of God. Charity, or the pure love of God, was not just that God had sent His son to earth to live and die for us, so that we can return to God’s presence—as was represented by the Christ child--but the pure love of God was also represented by Mary, His mother!

Once Nephi understands the relationship between Mary holding the Christ child and the Tree of Life, he proclaims this love to be the “most desirable above all things”. And the angel then adds, “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” (vs 22-23)

This made me think about other times the symbol of a tree is used in the scriptures. The most obvious, of course is in Malachi 4 where we are told that at the time of the Second Coming, those who are wicked will be burned and left without root or branch. The symbol of a tree to represent the family is common and in this verse we understand that those who are not righteous will not be bound in the next life to either their ancestors (roots) or their branches (posterity).  It is interesting that the Old Testament begins with Adam and Eve making a choice to bear children and ends with the warning that children will not be ours to have if we don’t live worthy lives.  The Savior repeats this same warning to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 25:1-6 and goes on to explain that to help save the world from this calamity He will send Elijah the prophet in the latter-days to restore the sealing power so those who do live worthy, may be eternally sealed to their families.  Fourteen hundred years later, Moroni opened this dispensation by quoting this same scripture, (JSH 1:37-38).  The message of the gospel in its most simple form then, is that we can have eternal families.

I have come to believe that the “Tree of Life” –which represents the love of God and the “most joyous to the soul”, and the Family Tree are the same.  The family tree, with its roots and branches, simply illustrates the entire purpose of God’s love for us, which is to help us have what He has—an eternal family.  This is why the crowning ordinance of the gospel is marriage and why we are told in the temple that we will have “joy and rejoicing” in our posterity.

And Nephi understood all of this, when he saw a mother holding a baby.

And so on this Mother's Day I express my deepest gratitude and love to my eight sons and daughters and my ten little grandbabies for bringing such great joy into my life and helping me understand better God's love for me.

Happy Mother's Day

Monday, September 30, 2013

My Response to the Ordain Women Movement--An Open Letter to My Daughters

Author's note . . . when I wrote this a couple years ago, it was according to my best understanding at the time. And although I continue to stand behind most of what is written, I have come to understand since then that women DO have priesthood authority and it is this priesthood authority that allows women as well as men to participate in the work of salvation. I will write more about this at a future date, but for anyone interested now, please check out the talk given at General Conference by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, April 2014, The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.

Dear Daughters,

In regard to all the chatter about the ordain women movement, there are a few things I hope you will keep in mind.

First—Remember our purpose here on earth. We are here to learn to become like our Heavenly Father so that we can return to live with Him and qualify for all the blessings that He has to give. Our goal truly is to become like God. We do this by following the example of His Son and diligently striving to develop His attributes.

Motherhood and the Relief Society program are both part of a woman’s spiritual tutorial in Godhood. As we selflessly give of ourselves as mothers and learn to love and serve others through the Relief Society program, we are developing godlike attributes—charity, patience, selfless service, sacrifice, kindness, humility, knowledge, just to name a few.

Fatherhood and the Priesthood are the spiritual tutorials for men to help them develop godlike attributes. As they serve as fathers and in their priesthood responsibilities, they too are developing charity, patience, selfless service, humility, knowledge etc. Both the Relief Society program and the Priesthood are separate but equal opportunities for every person to specifically learn to become like our Heavenly Father in ways that best benefit each gender. One is not better, neither is one less. They both have the exact same purpose, and both, if applied in our lives, will help us obtain the exact same blessing—Eternal Life.

Second— The oath and covenant of the priesthood found in D&C 84, not only pertains to priesthood authority, but also to priesthood ordinances. Although women are not ordained to priesthood offices, and therefore do not have priesthood authority, through their righteousness they may receive every blessing available to men—in the exact same way men do—through making and keeping priesthood ordinances and covenants.

Therefore, when the scripture says “whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods . . . “  (D&C 84:34) it not only refers to men who obtain priesthood authority through ordination, but ALL people of BOTH genders who obtain priesthood ordinances.

The ordinance of the Aaronic Priesthood is baptism. This is available freely to men and women equally. The ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood are the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the ordinances available in the temple. All of which are available equally to women as they are to men. The only qualifier is personal righteousness.

The blessings of receiving these priesthood ordinances are exactly the same for men as they are for women—both are promised Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father, or in other words, God’s life—with all power, knowledge and authority that He has.
A man is not promised more or less than a woman, and a woman is not promised more or less than a man. And in fact, Godhood, the crowning blessing on the covenant path, is ONLY available to a man and a woman TOGETHER who have been sealed in the temple, and have honored their covenants through magnifying their callings—as mother and father, and as a woman and a man. No man can obtain it alone, nor can any woman.

Third—A word of caution. Again, remember our purpose here on earth is to learn to become like our Heavenly Father by following Christ’s example. In the pre-mortal world, when Heavenly Father announced His plan for our progression, the Savior willingly submitted to His Father’s will and agreed to be our Savior, with the glory going to the Father. However—by willingly submitting to God’s will, the Savior obtained all the blessings of Heavenly Father, which included glory, power and authority.

Satan on the other hand, was not willing to submit and sought to overthrow God’s will in order to obtain personal power and glory. Yet, in the end he found himself outside the plan of salvation without any power (that we don’t give him over us) and without any glory. When we strive to impose our will on God for our personal glory and gain, we will in the end, like Satan, lose everything.

In conclusion--The ONLY way for any of us to have power, authority and glory, the ONLY way to have happiness in this life and in the next and the ONLY way to have Eternal Life—the greatest of all the gifts of God—is through developing Christlike attributes through the making and keeping of sacred priesthood covenants. And one of the very best ways to keep those covenants, and therefore develop those attributes is through our gender specific God given tutorials—priesthood authority, the Relief Society and parenthood.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

She's Off To The MTC!!

Our daughter Kathryn (center) went into the MTC today. She will be serving in the Guatemala City North Mission. After three weeks in the MTC in Provo, she will travel to Guatemala where she will complete her MTC training. 
Here she is by the MTC with her drop off party--My dad, Michelle, Kristen (both daughters) and Kristen's husband Peter. In front, under the blanket are Kristen's twin boys. 
We so much appreciate you all giving her a nice send off!!
We are so excited for her. After serving a mission myself, I know this will be an experience that will bless her life forever. 

And mostly I can't wait to start getting her letters!! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guadalajara Mission Blog

I have not had time to keep up this blog, but I did update our mission blog (finally!). You can go to it at

I have some pictures of our house, the mission and what we have been doing the past three weeks.

Before coming I made it a goal to look for the miracle in our lives every day. I haven't seen a miracle every day, but I have seen several. For one thing I totally LOVE Mexico. This is a miracle because I lived in Mexico City for 6 months right after we were married and it was not a positive experience. It took me 25 years before I had the courage to go back to that city.  So, I was nervous about moving here.

BUT . . . I have loved it all. I don't even really mind the traffic.

Second . . . I have a bad back that has caused me a lot of grief over the years. I am still having problems with it, but nowhere near as much as I did before the mission. I think that is pretty miraculous.

And third . . . you would have to know the story behind this to truly see the miracle, but I have never wanted to speak Spanish in front of my husband due to a bad experience I had with him when I was in the MTC and he was my language tester. Consequently I forgot most of what I learned.

However, from the day I arrived I have been willing to try. I speak all the time, I just don't always make sense. I think the language has been the biggest challenge for me, but I am plugging along with it--and that is pretty miraculous too! I just feel bad for the sick missionaries who have to try and communicate their illnesses to me while I am learning their language.

I have also been very blessed to have my daughters here with us. After being gone all day long it has been nice to come home to dinner waiting for us on the table. They have been such troopers, going to different wards every Sunday, all of which only speak Spanish, helping cook food for the missionaries, memorizing their testimonies in Spanish for zone conferences  . . . It will be very lonely when they leave.

But in the meantime, all of this is bringing great . . . joy to my journey!