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?”

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The Inaugural LDS Women’s Meeting–Part I

I have looked forward to this historic women’s meeting for many months despite sharing the concerns of some that the audience may be too broad. I arrived at my stake center, wearing my subversive purple dress, vowing to keep an open mind and to stand with my sisters, no matter what.

I will be sharing my thoughts on the first half on the session but I have to say, I loved every minute. I was moved and inspired by each talk, I found the videos and music uplifting and heart-expanding. I am grateful that I live in a time where a meeting like this can be held and that we can be taught powerfully by the women leaders of my own faith. I look forward to the time when my daughter can join me.

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Young Women Lesson: How can repentance help me every day?

Repentance can be a very difficult subject. You want to help the girls learn how to recognize when they’ve done something wrong and to improve upon that, but you don’t want to instill shame. I think as an opening activity, I would ask one of the girls to tell the story of the Council in Heaven. In the story, Satan wants to make every one do the “right” thing, but Christ advocates for agency. This story tells us that making mistakes is something that we know will happen and it’s part of the Plan to make mistakes. Doing the wrong thing means simply that we did something wrong; it does not mean that we are therefore “bad” people. In the class, I might emphasize that again: doing something wrong does not mean we, ourselves, are bad and undeserving of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

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An (Out)Burst

Three Sundays ago in Relief Society we had lesson 1 in the Joseph Fielding Smith manual. It was the lesson on Heavenly Father. I had  ended up on the front row with my knitting and my baby. The first discussion in the class included listing the traits of God on the board. I sat there wondering if I had something to add while everyone else put up all the phrases  I was already thinking about: all the omni-stuff, loving, merciful, etc. And then,

“Male.”

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Birth/Rebirth: Adoption Story

Guest Post by Susan

My oldest daughter asked me to tell about the adoption of her sister. The names in the story have been changed to protect my adopted daughter’s privacy.

A little background of the family dynamics before I get started: my husband has one brother and one sister. His brother (John) is married to (Mary) with no children and his sister (Lucy) is not married and she had at this time 4 children living a son, and three daughters. Her youngest daughter (Anne) is whom this story is about.

I already had two children, a daughter and a son. I found out through the family that my nephew and two nieces were visiting John and Mary after Anne’s birth. It soon became known to John and Mary that the children had been abused. They contacted social services about the abuse. We all knew that Anne was living in this situation.

One night in September I had a dream that it was Christmas time. All I remember about the dream is a Christmas tree, me and a little baby girl. After waking up from this dream I had a distinct feeling, this baby girl was Anne and she was to be my daughter. We did not live close to the family, they lived on the east coast and we lived in the central part of the states. I was perplexed by how we would become her parents, but I knew it was to be. At that time all I could do was to pray for her safety and that there would be a way provided that we would have her at Christmas time. I prayed daily for her.

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Birth/Rebirth: I couldn’t say, “Congratulations.”

CongratulationsI read the Facebook post announcing that my friend had given birth: baby came early…boy…Down syndrome…

I opened the comment box and sat with my fingers poised on the keyboard.  I didn’t know what to type.

I started scrolling through other people’s comments, hoping for clues about the right response.

“Congratulations,” her other friends had said.

Oh. That made sense. My friend had given birth! To a child she would love dearly! I should say, “Congratulations.”

My finger hovered over the letter C but didn’t type. My friend was probably experiencing one of the greatest disappointments of her life and she had so many more challenges ahead. Challenges that she would handle beautifully—I knew that. And yet…

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