Guest Post: Heeding the Invitation of the Savior to ‘Come Unto Me’

by Laura

(In her post from earlier today, Laura gave us the back story and aftermath of her Sacrament Meeting talk in which she spoke of her personal beliefs that women should be ordained and included in the governing structure of the Mormon Church. Below is the actual talk she gave.)

COME UNTO ME is the invitation of the Savior to us. It is found in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon and reiterated in our modern scriptures in Section 88 verse 63 of Doctrine and Covenants. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

How do we draw near unto the Savior? He has shown us by His words and his example what He values and how we are to be numbered among His people. Alma, in Mosiah 18:91 sets out our responsibilities if we are to be called the people of God: “Ye are willing to bear on another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those who mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” And in Matthew 25:40 we are counseled, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” King Benjamin told his people and us in Mosiah 2:1: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.” Jesus spent His life among those who were marginalized, who were unacceptable to and within the mainstream culture of His day.

I have been informed by an incident that happened to me many years ago while I was in college. I regularly stopped by a 7-11 near my home for a snack or a drink. I often saw a homeless man at this 7-11.

Read More

April 2014 Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Savior and Redeemer

The visiting teaching messages of the past many months have all focused on one or two aspects of Jesus Christ’s role. This month, the focus is on his role as Redeemer and Savior.

When discussing stories or attributes of Christ, I try to ask myself, “How does this affect my relationship with God? And how does this affect my relationships with others?”

Read More

This Is Life Eternal. Right Here. Right Now.

jesus_christ_image_204For this is life eternal, that they know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hath sent.                                                                    ~ John 17:3

It’s hard to remember just exactly when I realized God speaks every language. And not just current languages, but all the lost languages and all the emerging dialects. More importantly, God speaks the language of each proverbial heart. God speaks Melody and Karen and Jill and Sarah and every other named and personal understanding of humankind.

I do remember a few year ago when I had a conversation with one of my neighbors who, like me, is an active Latter-day Saint. He and I were discussing a certain gospel principle. We shared how the spirit had taught us truth. The images used by the spirit to teach my friend involved this friend climbing back up on a horse after falling off. My revelatory images involved a harp, whose strings continued to vibrate even after the sound was no longer audible. God had spoken to each of us, had taught us the same truth, led us to the same conclusion, but through two entirely different spiritual dialects.

Read More

Visiting Teaching Message January 2014: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Exemplar

I am not sure why this message at first struck a negative chord with me, but it did. Probably something to do with the idea of New Year’s resolutions—that as an Exemplar- I needed to resolve to be exactly like Christ. For me, this is a sure way in which I am doomed to fail. My thought that Christ is perfect, so He set a perfect example for me, so I need to be perfect, Right? But I am not perfect. Not even close. And I get depressed, distressed, and even angry thinking about how I perceive this message to be something that is obligating me to constantly try to be perfect….

To be true, the actual words, and certainly the spirit of the message do not reflect this flawed and failing ideology. Yet,  I did not feel encouraged by the words included in the message. They state that we are supposed to be somehow inspired to “follow in Christ’s footsteps” and “become the kind of people the Lord wants us to be…” (which made me think, “isn’t He, of all beings, supposed to love me for who I am? Does He really not ‘want’ me as I am?” Does Christ… actually not want me?)

So I was in a stupor, trying to feel inspired somehow about the message. Lo and behold, with the holidays, I have been catching up on some of my favourite podcasts, including BYU Free Speeches on iTunes, which is a collection of BYU devotionals. Specifically, I listened to BYU President, Cecil O. Samuelson, give a speech titled “Failure and Success.” 

Read More

Nursing Madonna as God’s Love

Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that gave you birth. Deuteronomy 32:18

Mary nursing in a Nativity scene
I am sharing these pictures and scriptures, inspired by the Pope’s recent comments on breastfeeding, which led to a revisitation of this Huffington Post article:

“Ask anybody in the street what’s the primary Christian symbol and they would say the crucifixion,” said Margaret Miles, author of “A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast, 1350-1750,” a book that traces the disappearance of the image of the breast-feeding Mary after the Renaissance.

“It was the takeover of the crucifixion as the major symbol of God’s love for humanity” that supplanted the breast-feeding icon, she said. And that was a decisive shift from the earliest days of Christianity when “the virgin’s nursing breast, the lactating virgin, was the primary symbol of God’s love for humanity.”

We know God loves us because God nurses us, has birthed us. I love the use of Mary as God’s love and it reminds me of all that Heavenly Mother has done for us.

Our Lady nursing the Infant Jesus

His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow. Job 21:24

Louvre-Breastfeeding Jesus

Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Numbers 11:12

The Virgin Mother feeding the Infant Jesus

That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. Isaiah 66:11

Read More

One Week Ago – I Said a Prayer

One week  ago, I stood in a park in downtown Salt Lake City with 200 Ordain Women supporters – and said a prayer for the group.

Our Father in Heaven - We gather today as thy daughters – and thy sons -
We are deeply grateful for the blessings thou continually gives to us – love, mercy, goodness, care and grace.  We know that thou are ever with us.  We are grateful for the atonement of our Savior, Christ – and give thanks for this grace.  It is always in our lives to lift us and carry us forward.  We praise thee.
We are grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  For many of us it is the church of our childhood.  It is the church that taught us to pray, that built our faith, and allows us to know thee.  It is this same faith that has brought us on the path here today.
We ask that we be guided as we move forward.  Give us the courage of Eve and the strength of Mary.  May we be inspired today by the many women who have gone before us – Emma, Eliza, Emmeline, Martha, Zina, Lucy.  We carry their spirit with us today.
We are thankful for the leaders of this church and ask thy blessing to sustain them.  We have loved the messages of faith and hope heard in General Conference today and look forward to hearing more.  Bless our leaders as they pray with us and for us.  Guide them, particularly at this time, to know what thou would have for thy daughters – the women of the church.  Guide us as well.  Inspire us – and the other members of the church – as we go forward.  Let us know thy will – and give us the faith to do it.
In the Name of Jesus Christ – Amen
Read More