Testimonies of our Living Prophets-Thomas S. Monson

It is quickly approaching General Conference time again....my favorite holiday of the year. 
 It will also be the second time this year I will be sending a daughter off to South America to serve a mission just  2 days after conference. 
This was April 2014 Conference with Lindsey (on the right) heading off to Chile.
  Aubrey (on the left) will be leaving for Peru October 7th. (they are twins)
The Church is True!!

In case you are wondering, sending daughters off on missions doesn't get easier, in fact it is hard to say good bye each time. It is comparable to having a part ripped away from you. A favorite part of  you, say, your arm, or your leg, or one of your favorite organs for example.  Deep inside I want to say "BRACE ME UP"!!
We do it because of our knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know it is true.
 The saving ordinances  of baptism, confirmation, ordination,  the sacrament, and all the temple ordinances including eternal marriage and families are performed by the power and authority of Jesus Christ  through the priesthood. (the power to act in God's name)
It is true.              IT IS TRUE!                            It is true.
We are led today by prophets....seers....and true revelators.
They are true prophets in every sense of the word.  They have been called of God. They are holy and pure and speak by the power and authority of God. They testify of our Savior.

  They prophesy, they  reveal God's will and word to us, and they can see around corners and know what is coming.  They are keenly aware of everything that is happening in the world.

They are some of the smartest men to have ever walked the earth.

They are prophets!
As Conference is approaching, I want to remember and remind myself what our prophets said to us in our last conference in April. 
Our Stake President has taught us that if we are not studying the words of the prophets between conference sessions, then we are not following the prophets.
So let's study what was spoken to us and try to prepare our selves to receive more.

This post today will focus on the words of our prophet President Thomas S. Monson.

*all italicized quotes are from the leader highlighted
*all image sources are lds.org/media library

President Thomas S. Monson

 Be Strong and of a Good Courage (Priesthood Session)
Principle: True courage is living  what we believe.
"Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?"

His usage of the word "trend" reminds me of how important it is that we don't follow every trend that crosses society's path.  This is not church doctrine, this is just my doctrine for my life, but I feel there is some danger or at least some caution should be implemented in following trends. Even if they seem harmless.  Society likes to take trends to the extreme, and if we are not careful we are in that stream and can easily be taken away. The spirituality of our family suffers. We have to be careful. Trends can take us quickly away from the values and principles the Lord has given us.  I guess what I am saying  is... "I agree!! President Monson!"  If we do get swept away momentarily do we have the courage to stop and to defend what we believe? 

“If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!”
The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. Every day of our lives courage is needed—not just for the momentous events but more often as we make decisions or respond to circumstances around us."

"Said Scottish poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”  
When we have true courage it is usually from within and very few know the courage we muster up each day. 
"... inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status. He who stands steadfastly for that which is right must risk becoming at times disapproved and unpopular."
"We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. 
May each one leave here tonight with the determination and the courage to say, with Job of old, “While my breath is in me, … I will not remove mine integrity from me.” That this may be so is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen. 

(Sunday morning session)
Principle:  As we come to understand the love God has for us and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our capacity to love others increases.
"We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all"
"Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. Said President Spencer W. Kimball: “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.” 

Testimony and Admonition of a Prophet
  • "Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?”The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect."
  • " I would hope that we would strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions."
  • Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the love of God for us. Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind. That such may be so is my earnest prayer "

Until We Meet Again ( Sunday Afternoon Session)
"I bear testimony that this work is true, that our Savior lives, and that He guides and directs His Church here upon the earth. I leave with you my witness and my testimony that God our Eternal Father lives and loves us. He is indeed our Father, and He is personal and real. May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us. "




Marriage vs. Divorce

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God"

I am learning ever learning, and what I am learning right now is HOW important the marriage covenant is.  My husband and I just recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and I feel that is a great accomplishment in life!  Even with all those years behind us, we still don't know it all and we are always learning how to love each other more and how to strengthen our marriage.
If you want to know how important marriage is to the Lord and how He looks upon this covenant, take  a few minutes and read Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk from April 2007
Whaaaat?  Read about divorce to understand more about the importance of marriage?   Yep!! 
 It will open your eyes as you really study and ponder the message. Here are a few highlights from his talk:
  • A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection..
  • Divorce touches almost every family.  Some see themselves as the victims of divorce, others as beneficiaries, others see themselves as failures because of divorce, others use divorce as the  great escape.
The bottom line is that divorce has become commonplace for many marriages. It is the perfect out when you want to get out!  It is acceptable and understood and empathized with.  When a couple has a problem, instead of working at it, even getting counseling, they decide to just divorce and start over with someone new. They soon realize that every person has different problems, there is no such thing as 'the grass is greener', and all marriages take work!
"The concept that society has a strong interest in preserving marriages for the common good as well as the good of the couple and their children has been replaced for many by the idea that marriage is only a private relationship between consenting adults, terminable at the will of either."
"Nations that had no divorce law have adopted one, and most nations permitting divorces have made them easier to obtain. Unfortunately, under current no-fault divorce laws, it can be easier to sever a marriage relationship with an unwanted spouse than an employment relationship with an unwanted employee. Some even refer to a first marriage as a “starter marriage,” like a small home one uses for a while before moving on."
Am I the only one struggling with the "starter marriage" concept?    I feel is Hollywood-driven, wordly, and as wrong as wrong can be.  The marriage covenant is binding, and for LDS, eternal in nature. 
You date,  you make your choice, you pray about your choice, you make sure it is right, and THEN-when you get married and make those covenants, you and your spouse do all you can to make it work. 
 Looking lightly upon marriage takes away all the sacredness of the covenant.  Elder Oaks explained:
"The kind of marriage required for exaltationeternal in duration and godlike in qualitydoes not contemplate divorce.
WOW! Did you understand that?  Read that again! 
"The kind of marriage required for exaltationeternal in duration and godlike in qualitydoes not contemplate divorce.
Does not contemplate divorce.

In the temples of the Lord, couples are married for all eternity. But some marriages do not progress toward that ideal.
Because “of the hardness of [our] hearts,” (pride and selfishness take over)
And read this next part slowly, letting is soak in:
...the Lord does not currently enforce the consequences of the celestial standard. He permits divorced persons to marry again without the stain of immorality specified in the higher law.
So we don't have ALL the knowledge and ALL the revelation on the law of marriage and divorce, but the fact that the Lord is not "currently" enforcing all the consequences, is enlightening to me.  If He feels this strongly about divorce and it's consequences of which we don't have the full enforcement, I think we should ALL work harder at having strong marriages because there is so much we don't even get!

If we have made the choice to marry, made covenants that are eternal or at the very least for this life, we need to do all we can to keep our covenants. 

My mom has a saying:" We spend all of our lives trying to overcome our childhood"  There is a lot of truth to that.

We all have a past and a childhood where we became the people we are.  We all respond differently to life's many situations.   Marriage is all about developing Christ-like attributes of faith, hope, virtue, knowledge, humility, diligence, obedience, and  love. 

Elder Oaks cautions:
"I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation."
  • The remedy is repentence
  • Selfishness is the root
  • Reformation is the first step (don't be afraid to seek personal/couple counseling if needed) 

 Believe it or not, reading and studying this talk on divorce has really opened my eyes.  Seeing how the Lord looks upon divorce has enlightened me and strengthened my understanding of how He must look upon  marriage.
My resolve to love my husband more and to strive to honor my marriage covenants has been strengthened.
[There are so many men and women who have done ALL they can and try as they might, their marriages end in divorce. I have several very dear friends, that with all of their best efforts and countless prayers, and with much heartache, their spouse decided to leave the family.  My heart goes out to those people!

 The Lord will make up the difference and will bless you and take care of you! 

Other marriages where abuse or other serious sins are involved are an exception as well, and Elder Oaks addresses that more thoroughly in this talk. I encourage you to read that. ]

We Are Mothers

A little venting is in order today.....I know, that is very emotionally immature of me, but I have to get some things out. Don't worry, nothing too personal, just mothers stuff.

I am seriously hurt when I see people I know and love purposely turn their backs on trying their hardest to be good mothers. I guess it is the time and age we live in.

" Men's (and mother's and wife's) hearts will fail them." 
The "really?" or "I cannot believe you did that?" consume my thoughts for a moment.  My heart bleeds for them and their children, and just the whole MOTHERHOOD cause which I believe so strongly in.

Have you heard the quote..."As the family goes, so goes the whole nation and whole world." --Pope John Paul II

How about this one..."As the MOTHER goes, so goes the family" 

Try as we might, we cannot separate ourselves from our divine, sacred role of mothers.  We are mothers.   Always.  Everyday.  No Matter What.  We set the tone for our families and lead our families according to our examples.  The family follows our lead, both the spoken and unspoken.

I will be the first to tell you I am not the best mother.  OK, well maybe by daughters would tell you that. They see my personal imperfections the most.  But regardless of our individual weaknesses, we must not give up the cause of MOTHERHOOD. 

This is NOT the time to  sow our wild un-sown oats from our teenage-hood.  We are not teenagers living in motherly bodies.  It was time to give all that up a lo-o--ong time ago.  We Are Mothers.  And need to act like it. 

We need to stop this mentality that is from the adversary meant and devised only to weaken mothers and eventually destroy the family, that it is OUR turn for everything.  That is such a needy and selfish way of thinking. It upsets the balance of the family.  As we are going out having "our turn", who is doing our role in the home?  Well, the children and husband are. They are at home waiting for their wife and mother to be done doing "their thing".   This "having our turn"  doesn't even strengthen us, like it promises to do.  It just emotionally detaches us from our sacred role as mothers and wives. 

It is not our turn, it is the Savior's turn. Not ours. Everything we do and are, needs to be what He would do and what He is.  We take His place in the home.  We are the healers and the nurtures. Just as everything HE did was about the Father, everything we do needs to be about the Savior.

We need to be the example of leading ourselves and our children to Christ.
Here is a great Mormon Message about Men's (and women's) heart failing them,
and that what we need is

Being an LDS Woman

My dear friends

My feelings of being a mother, wife, and daughter of God run very deep and it is hard to put my feelings on paper of what it means to me to be a literal daughter of God.  He is our Father.  He loves us more than we can understand. Our purpose and plan for being women is deeper and more complex and TRUE than we can possibly understand.

I love how this woman expresses herself and explains it all.  It all goes back to the Garden of Eden and EVE.  Our purpose in being mothers and women is packed with power.  This is a MUST READ talk written by Morman Scholar Valerie Cassler. 

Day of Grace

lds.org media library
Mormon was the great Nephite  prophet, military general, and record keeper of
The Book of Mormon. (311-385 A.D.)

Mormon was  instructed to prepare himself to take charge of the records and record keeping.  At the time Mormon was 10 years old. Ammaron, the one who was keeping the records and preserving the records at that time, noticed that Mormon was" a sober, and quick to observe" child.  He told him that when he reached the age of 24, he was to go to the specific hill that he had hid all the records, and go there and engrave the things he observes with the people.  After recording the history of his own lifetime, Mormon abridged the large plates of Nephi on the plates of Mormon. He later turned this sacred record over to his son Moroni. These plates were part of the record from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (See also: Introduction to the Book of Mormon) )

Mormon lived during a very violent, corrupt, and evil stricken time of Book of Mormon history. Horrible scenes  were their everyday life, and can only be placed at the end of a civilization . (Mormon 1)
But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. 
 And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief. 
 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. 
And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them;
 At what we would consider now a days, a very young age, Mormon was called to lead the Nephite army. He was 15.  The people looked to Mormon as a savior.  To save them.  They looked to him as if he were their last and only hope of survival. Yet, it was without  hope because they would not listen to Mormon, and would not repent of their sins and come unto Christ so that HE could save them. 

Mormon went to great lengths and personal sorrow, to teach them to repent and come unto Christ. At times, he was hopeful that their sorrows would turn them to Christ. But it was not to be.

 Their Day of Grace had passed.
"And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives" Mormon 2:14
"And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away" Mormon 2:15 
Their day of grace had passed. Their day of grace had passed both temporally and spiritually.    I found that to be a powerful statement.

Did you know that there was a grace period with the Lord?

We have grace periods in our temporal everyday lives when it comes to the law. 

This definition of grace period can be thought of in a spiritual way with the Lord in mind.

Definition: A grace period is a time past the deadline for an obligation during which a late penalty that would have been imposed is waived. Grace periods, which can range from a number of minutes to a number of days or longer, depending on the context, can apply in various situations, including arrival at a job, paying a bill, for meeting a government or legal requirement, or in many other situations.

So with that definition, I learn that the Lord's Day of Grace is FILLED with mercy.  He has forgiven, He has given and shown mercy when mercy wasn't expected or deserved. He has gone on- and -on with waiting, showing mercy, forgiving, when the time was WAY past for change and repentance. Yet He still forgave and gave mercy.  It sounds to me as if HE the Lord, determines the time period of our day of grace and when it is passed.  Each specific and extremely personal to each one of His children.

The Bible Dictionary explanation of GRACE:
The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible.
The Day of Grace passed for the Nephite people because they did not put forth any works of righteousness. Grace applies AFTER we have "expended our own best efforts"  "total effort on the part of the recipient"  "after all we can do"

If we give up, don't care, quit trying, and live a life of wickedness-grace cannot be applied towards us. At least that is how I understand it.

It is a gift given to us as we do our part.

lds.org media library

I can't help but thing of the Atonement  and the"enabling power," or the ability to overcome anything that I am facing.  I was recently referred to a talk by Elder Bateman given in October 2005 General Conference.  He said, "For many years I thought of the Savior’s experience in the garden and on the cross as places where a large mass of sin was heaped upon Him. Through the words of Alma, Abinadi, Isaiah, and other prophets, however, my view has changed. Instead of an impersonal mass of sin, there was a long line of people, as Jesus felt “our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15), “[bore] our griefs, … carried our sorrows … [and] was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:4–5).

The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us."  I promise that is true.  He knows me, He knows you, and He will "run unto us" when we run to Him.  
References and more reading on this topic: