Relief Society Lesson 15: Eternal Marriage

a mother's love

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

Introduction:

I would begin this lesson by mentioning that the topic is eternal marriage, and that this can be a difficult (or maybe just uninteresting)  topic for some people who are not currently sealed to a beloved partner. So as we discuss, let’s be sensitive to the fact that many of the people in this room don’t have this right now.

Starter question: In your own experience, or from what you have observed in others, what are the key characteristics of a successful marriage? As they are thinking, tell them a couple of your own insights or stories relating to this question. Personally, I might mention the idea of respecting my spouse’s desires and dreams and doing what I can to support them, as he does for me. That phrase from Marjorie Hinckley comes to mind, as she talked about what kind of husband President Hinckley was: “From the very beginning he gave me space and let me fly.” I think this applies to dreams and desires, and I also think it applies to conscience. My husband and I are not exactly on the same page on certain things ideologically, and after several years I think we are getting better at learning to honor the journey of the other person and allow each other space to follow our consciences. Giving each other this kind of space and respect has been key to the success of our marriage.

Other things people might say: love, kindness, consideration, helpfulness, respect, words of affirmation, quality time together, service, etc. As people mention kindness and consideration, mention that the manual points out how kind JFS was as a husband and how helpful he was. Read a few sentences describing that from the intro section.  Encourage a good discussion on this question – people should enjoy sharing their insights. 

Read More

In Light

IMG_6199

By Ash Mae.

The day the missionaries came to our house in 1988 a rainbow fell across the sky in our neighborhood on the hill.  I stood on the ledge of the bathtub and curled my fingers on the windowsill to pull my scrawny body up to see.  I could hear their voices, fresh as orange juice, through the open window.  The way I see it now, the rainbow is brighter than any rainbow I’ve seen since.  The sky more orange and small. The fresh puddles on asphalt reflect two shimmering missionaries, pressed shirts and black pants, my mom, my dad, my little white haired brother between them, and somewhere in the background, me, watching it all.  Documenting the magic, cataloguing it for some future time.  Surely they all came in to eat dinner then, and I reached up on tiptoes and pulled down my best dress, because I always did when the missionaries came, and we must have all celebrated my mom. After so long, she’d decided to be baptized.

Read More

Earth Mother, Part II

Mother Earth - Caitlin Connolly

Mother Earth–Caitlin Connolly      For A Mother Here art and poetry contest

by Alicia

Read Part I here.

I believe that the substance of our bodies comes from the earth.

Maybe we are looking for Mother in too far a distant place, maybe she is here with us. Maybe she opted to come with us through our mortal journey. Maybe her role of loving and protecting and providing for us are evidence of her faithfulness to orderliness and her obedience to righteous principles. I love that scripture that talks about our peace being like the river and our constancy like the waves of the sea (1 Nephi 20: 17-19); that in so emulating Her, we see the face of God. Can God have a female face that looks like rich deep brown furrows of dirt?

Read More

Heavenly Mother Art and Poetry Contest Winners!

a mother's loveThe A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest has announced its winners! Check out the website to read the winning poems and see the winning art pieces.  If you go to the online gallery, you can find descriptions of the art pieces by clicking on “artwork descriptions” at the bottom of the page.

I’ll mention a couple of pieces I particularly love. The first place visual arts piece winner, “A Mother’s Love” by Lynde Mott is stunning.  The artist says this about the piece. “The figure appears half opaque/half translucent, even half flesh/ half strong stone statue. This represents my continuing journey in trying to come to know and experience the reality of our Mother in heaven. She is solid and real–yet elusive at times as well.”

Rachel Hunt Steeblik’s “I Dreamed I Wrote Five Poems” captures a new mother’s reflections on Heavenly Mother.  This is one of my favorite sections of the poem.

I.
I searched for my Mother, the way a baby roots
for her mother’s breast, head nuzzling from side to side,
mouth open, ready to suckle. But I was still thirsty.
Then my belly grew, and my breasts grew, and
a ravenous little thing came out. I offer her my milk
without money and without price. My husband
offered it to her once, while I sat beside them on a train.
She pursed her lips against the false nipple,
and stared at me with sad eyes. I wondered then,
if Heavenly Mother walked into another room
so we would take the bottle. I wondered then,
if we are weaned.

As someone who deeply yearns for more discussion and depictions of Heavenly Mother, I am thrilled with the material this contest has generated. We desperately need images and writings that bring Heavenly Mother into the forefront of Mormons’ consciousness, that communicate permission to think about her, pray about her, and bring her into our religious speech. This contest has generated scores of poetry and images that I believe help women to see themselves as gods. What a great gift for Mother’s Day.

Please check out the results of the contest and feel free to share which pieces particularly resonated with you. 

 

Read More

Orson F. Whitney: Apostle, Writer, Advocate for Heavenly Mother (Pt 3)

by Martin Pulido

whitney3b

A Hymn. In honor of Orson F. Whitney, I have extracted (and reworked to some extent) lyrics from his poem “What is Life?” and created a four verse hymn. The words are set to the melody of the traditional Irish folk song, “The Mourlough Shore.” The four-part harmony written for the song is my own. This hymn is part of a mini-hymnal that will include 20 hymns mentioning, addressing, and portraying Heavenly Mother. A print copy of the mini-hymnal will be sent to all those who donate at least $20 to the contest, so if you haven’t done so yet, please do so now. PDFs of these hymns will also be posted online up until May 11, 2014.

The Lyrics for the hymn are as follows:

1. There are, who deem life’s ling’ring durance
Designed for freedom and delight,
Its clanking fetters claim as music,
Its darkness workship as ’twere light.
Nor mindful still of loftier purpose,
Vain pleasure’s winged flight pursue,
Their dream: “Today; there comes no morrow,”
That tinkling lie with sound so true.

2. Was such the charm whose soft alluring
Drew spirits bright from heav’nly bliss?
Did morning stars hymn loud hosannas
O’er false and fatal theme like this?
Speak thou, my soul, that once did mingle
Where souls were never doomed to die;
where Father, Mother, friends, did love thee
And bid thee seize the prize of life.

3. Be this their bourn that seek no brighter,
Whom naught save worldly pleasures please;
Graves are the goal of earthly glory,
But man was meant for none of these.
Call earth thy home, clasp thou its shadows,
Till here thy little day be done.
My home is where the starry kingdoms
Roll round the Kingdom of the Sun.

4. I came not forth in quest of freedom
To shrink from peril or from pain;
To learn from death life’s deepest lessons,
I sank to rise, God’s wisdom gain.
Souls to whom life unfolds its meaning,
Ne’er hope full happiness on earth,
But patient bide that brighter morrow,
which brings again celestial birth.

hymn2

I have provided both a music and sheet music files for you to download in common formats. [Download PDF] [Download MIDI]

Read More