Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gathered into Garners

I just had an amazing aha moment!

“Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted” (Alma 26:5).

I always thought the garners were just a continuation of the metaphor, the place where sheaves are naturally placed, because you don’t want to waste what has been gathered. Elder Bednar tells us “the garners are holy temples.”[1] This brings such amazing meaning to the next verse!

“Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them” (Alma 26:6).

I pulled out my scriptures to read the next verse:

“But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.” (Alma 26:7) [2]

Although this was referring to new converts, it applies to us all. When we gather in the temples, we make and keep sacred covenants, which protect us from the storms at the last day. We are in those storms. Living our covenants will not only protect us from the storms, but will put us in “the hands of the Lord of the harvest . . . and he will raise [us] up at the last day.”

In my Book of Mormon class, the manual gave the definition of “listeth” - meaning leaning or tilting to one side or another. It said to think of ourselves as the employee of whomever we follow. Thinking of leaning towards one side, one wouldn’t necessarily think they were employed by that being; however, they are also leaning away from the other.

Making and keeping covenants, leaning towards the Lord, will help to prevent ourselves from being “driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry [us].”

[1] Honorably Hold a Name and a Standing, David A. Bednar, Ensign May 2009
[2] The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Justification by the Holy Spirit

In a podcast we watched in my class "The Eternal Family," this is what it says about justification:

If a couple is not automatically sealed when they participate in the ordinance of marriage according to Elder Hales then what are the requirements beyond simply performing the ordinance? Elder McConkie explains that all gospel ordinances are made binding through the process of Justification.

“All covenants, contracts, bonds obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, [D&C 132] in which men must abide to be saved and exalted must be entered into and performed in righteousness so that the Holy Spirit can justify the candidate for salvation in what has been done. [Justification] is the Lord’s way of assuring that no unauthorized acts or ordinances are binding in the hereafter.” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 408)

To me, this makes me think of when you have to "justify your actions" to someone. "Why do you have to bring the frog home, son? Well mom, he wanted to come home. He will be sad if he doesn't get to stay with me."

In heaven, that won't work. If we haven't been baptized, or received temple ordinances, or a temple sealing, we can't approach the pearly gates and say "I couldn't do it. My family members would be sad if I left them. They wanted me to stay with them" and be a "candidate for salvation." 

This is an interesting concept for me in that "the Holy Spirit can justify the candidate for salvation." It sounds to me like the Holy Ghost (Spirit) will talk to the Lord and say, in effect, "They did all you asked them to do. They made covenants, with those who had proper authority, and lived up to those covenants. They are worthy of salvation." 

He will "justify" our actions to the Lord.

Isn't that cool!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Test of Life

In watching  the podcast for this week, I loved and insight from Elder Maxwell:

“Perhaps it helps to emphasize - more than we sometimes do - that our first estate [pre-mortal life] featured learning of a cognitive type…. The second estate [earth life], however, is one that emphasizes experiential learning through applying, proving, and testing. We learn cognitively here, too, just as a good university examination also teaches even as it tests us.  
In any event, the books of the first estate are now closed to us, and the present test is, therefore very real, we have moved, as it were, from first-estate theory to second-estate theory laboratory. It is here that our Christ-like characteristics are further shaped and our spiritual skills are thus strengthened.” 
--Elder Neal A. Maxwell

This ties into the dream of Jacob’s ladder in which he learned that he would have to climb the rungs of the ladder himself.

What an interesting way of looking at our lives. We got the instructional part in Heaven. Now we are on Earth taking the test. We have to do the hard work and prove ourselves, rung by rung, to return back to our Father in Heaven.


All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, pages 19-20

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Value of Women

While studying the second paragraph of The Family: A Proclamation to the World,

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

I looked up a few scriptures which I felt applied to its teachings.

 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”
Proverbs 31:10

This speaks to the value the Savior puts upon women. They don’t have to become like men. Rubies are the most rare and highly valued gemstones. According to the International Gem Society, “Fine quality rubies are some of the most expensive gems, with record prices over $100,000 per carat.”

And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.” 
Moses 2:27

God created male and female after his own image. We are divinely created. Our gender is divinely appointed. We are literal offspring of God.

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!”
John 19:26

I love this explanation of the way Jesus uses woman:

The title woman may sound harsh and disrespectful to a modern reader; however, its use here by the Savior was likely meant to convey the opposite meaning.5 One scholar explains, “‘Woman,’ or, rather, ‘Lady,’ is in Greek a title of respect, used even in addressing queens.”

Imagine Christ saying to his mother “My lady, behold thy son.”

Isn’t that beautiful! This is an example of how much Christ loved and cared for his mother. While he was in agony on the cross, the thing he worried about most was that his mother was cared for.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Male Role Models

I just love the story that Elder Christofferson tells from his youth. His mother suffered injury to her arm from cancer treatments and it was difficult for her to do any ironing without extreme pain. Her husband surprised her by buying an ironing machine with pedals and a roller. She didn’t understand how they could afford such a luxury.

Elder Christofferson said: Finally Dad told her that he had gone without lunches for nearly a year to save enough money. ‘Now when you iron,’ he said, ‘you won’t have to stop and go into the bedroom and cry until the pain in your arm stops.’  She didn’t know he knew about that.” He goes on to say “I was not aware of my father’s sacrifice and act of love for my mother at the time, but now that I know, I say to myself, ‘There is a man.’” [1]

He also said: “In large measure, true manhood is defined in our relationship to women.(ibid)

What a blessing it is to have men like these to emulate and look up to, instead of what passes for role models and authority figures in society today.

[1] Let Us Be Men, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Ensign November 2006

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Together in Marriage

Watching a podcast about eternal identity, something that really stood out to me was the concept of “not being alone” as to marriage; Satan had to find Adam and Eve alone to more easily tempt them.

Hugh Nibley said: [Satan's] first step (or wedge) had been to get one of them to make an important decision without consulting the other.  He approached Adam in the absence of Eve with a proposition to make him wise, and being turned down he sought out the woman to find her alone and thus undermine her resistance more easily.  It is important that he was able to find them both alone…” [1]

This doesn’t mean that husband and wife have to be constantly at one another’s side. I think that would drive us all crazy! It is, however, very important that husband and wife are “together” both spiritually and emotionally.

Elder Oaks said: Satan's most strenuous opposition is directed at whatever is most important to the Father's plan. Satan seeks to discredit the Savior and divine authority, to nullify the effects of the Atonement, to counterfeit revelation, to lead people away from the truth, to contradict individual accountability, to confuse gender, to undermine marriage, and to discourage childbearing (especially by parents who will raise children in righteousness).[2]

If one of Satan’s “most strenuous oppositions” is targeted “to undermine marriage”, this shows me how extremely important it is to be one with my husband.

[1] Professor Hugh Nibley, Old Testament & Related Studies, 1988
[2] Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1993

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Purpose of Prophets: Case Study

Case Study: (in summation) Courtney walked out of Relief Society class after discussion from The Family: A Proclamation to the World and comments that children are best served when raised in a home with a mother and a father. It turns out that Courtney had a best friend growing up who was raised by two lesbians. She later texted Mariah "I believe, in God's eyes, love and kindness is what it's all about, not someone's sexuality. The church has a way to go, but I know that same-sex parenting is not wrong." The names were changed, but this was a real situation at BYU-Idaho.

We were asked how Mariah could reach out to Courtney.


This is a very difficult situation.

My daughter has left the church. She identifies as pansexual, meaning that she isn’t limited by gender as to whom she may be attracted. Many of her friends are gay. Some of them also come from Mormon families.

One of the things that my daughter struggled with is that she can’t believe in a God who would make people feel this way and then not allow them to be married. She believes that if a person is gay, their spirit is gay – so my belief that all will be made right in the heavens doesn’t hold any weight to her.

She loves these people and can’t imagine that they are horrible, sinful, evil people, just because they want to have a loving relationship with someone of the same sex.

What I have come to learn is that you cannot change someone’s opinion about this. All we can do is love them.

As Elder Oaks states in As He Thinketh in His Heart, “I suggest that it may be preferable for our young people to refrain from arguing with their associates about such assertions or proposals.

As to Mariah’s dilemma, she should approach Courtney with love and caring. Perhaps focusing on some of the following:

  • We are all God’s children. God loves us all, no matter who we are or what we do. We know that families are central to the plan of happiness and that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
  • We don’t understand why some people have same gender attraction. Nephi said: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Ne. 11:17).
  • While it may be true that her friend was brought up well in a same-sex parent home, that isn’t the standard that God wants us to strive for and isn’t the manner in which the heavens are ordered.
  • Mostly Mariah should try to love and understand the feelings that Courtney is struggling with and remind her of her true identity and worth as a daughter of God.