December Young Women Lesson: What is Zion?


City of Zion Taken Up

For the teacher

(link to lesson outline

The word “Zion” has many meanings in our vernacular.  The original Zion was the city of Enoch, whose citizens were so righteous and pure that they were taken up to God’s bosom without tasting death (translated.) Since then, it is used throughout the scriptures to describe “the pure in heart” or to refer to the Lord’s people. It can mean the state of a person’s heart, and the unity of a community. Early Mormon pioneers used the term “Zion” to refer to the place where they could finally gather together and worship God in peace — eventually Utah. Oddly, there sprung up a retail shop, Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Inc. (ZCMI), a bank – Zions Bank, and a National Park – Zion National Park, all using Zion in the title. (Whether or not they are the pure in heart, I cannot say.) It is also used in the scriptures to refer to Ancient Jerusalem and “New Jerusalem” (in connection with the second coming of Jesus Christ.)

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Guest Post: Wheat and Tares

By: Adrianne  (Knitting enthusiast. Sometimes writer of thoughts.)

Wheat and Tares

A coal has burned into my heart
Tearing more than me apart.
I do not dwell on right or wrong
Most is grey in my life’s song.
But wounded to my brothers bend
Seeking from my sisters,friends.
Wheat from Tares the coal will sift
And maybe that is the coal’s gift.
The Tares will turn with angry shout
And chase away the ones with doubt.
The wheat will reach with open arms
And hold this coal and with me mourn.
Brothers, Sisters friends we’ll be
Regardless of the coal you see.
Unless the tares o’rcome the field
My heart by sheaves of Wheat be healed.

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Guest Post: I know He sent me Angels

Guest Post by Nick

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation
I wouldn’t usually share such a personal experience, but in sight of recent events, I hope my words can bring peace to somebody somewhere. I am a convert to the LDS church. As a young gay man I had the secret hope that it would be “the cure” of my homosexuality. But it wasn’t. Nearly 10 years ago, the elder who taught me went back home to his country and had never been able to return. Until this week.

Little did I know how perfect the timing would be when he said he wanted to meet and hang out. Although I haven’t been very active lately, I do consider myself a mormon, I love church and moreover, I love the gospel. Back when I was 16 I received a strong testimony of Christ and the nature of God and His plan. It brought me peace. But everything fell apart when I came to terms with my sexuality 3 years ago.

My church leaders knew about my sexual orientation, but it wasn’t a big fuss even when they suspected I was in a relationship. The deal breaker was when I started showing support for women ordination in my social media, and questioning some aspects of church history. I was quietly shunned from activity in my ward and somehow I lost the little privilege I still had. I talked to this missionary through the Internet, I opened up my heart and he listened. He didn’t question. He loved.

So what were the odds of meeting him yesterday, just one day after the heinous policy adjustments?  Friday morning I was seriously contemplating to send a resignation letter to church headquarters, I was in a very tangible suicidal state like I had never been before, in big part due to many other stuff going on at home lately. I felt I was this very little moth being dragged into a big void of eternal uncertainty. No eternal family up, no eternal family down. Where was I?

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Teaching No Greater Call: Writing a Spirit-Filled Sermon

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” 

I go to church hungry every week. No, I’m not talking about fasting, but spirit and soul hungry with longing to “feast upon the words of Christ” and desires to be “nourished by the good word of God.”

Some weeks I leave with my cup running over, others drained out lower than when I came. We need powerful, spirit-filled speakers with Christ-centered sermons to feed the souls of everyone in our worship service. Be that person! Accept the invitation to speak and then deliver a message that will invigorate hearts and minds… those who have ears to hear, let them hear!

What’s in a talk?

A message that is Christ-centered, scripturally based, doctrinally sound, with words from modern-day prophets and leaders, and including personal experience and testimony is sure to have something that can appeal to everyone and bring the spirit of God into the hearts of those listening.

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Why I am a Mormon Feminist…and Why I Won’t Tell You To Be One, Too


I have a conundrum that is apparently quite common among members of this community. On the one hand, I am someone with pretty liberal/unorthodox views in a conservative church. On the other hand, my professional life is populated with mostly non-Mormon progressives and I am conservative by comparison. I am too liberal for my church and too conservative for my job.

My colleagues and work friends ask me quite frequently how I can stay in the LDS church. The truth is that I do not really know. I do not have a rational explanation. I could talk about the sense of community, or the positive values, or my family’s roots in the faith. But the truth is that none of those reasons quite capture why I stay.

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Poetry Sunday: My prayers must meet a brazen Heaven

This poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins beautifully expresses a worry that we all might feel at some point in our lives — that our prayers are ineffective or unable to meet God’s ears, barred by a brazen heaven. In this case brazen = brass, not bold.  The speaker hints at his/her shortcomings: the prayers being inadequate and any attempts to transcend the problem by calling for God’s help will automatically fail because the messages can’t get through to a brass heaven anyway!

Like Enos who “wrestled before God,” the speaker describes prayer as a battle, heaven as brass and him/herself as clay with too much iron to be malleable.  To some, this is uncharted territory. For others, a familiar journey. Let’s be kind to each other, wherever we are.

My Prayers must meet a Brazen Heaven — Gerard Manley Hopkins

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