Let’s Spread Love

There seems to be enough hate to go around in the world.  Let’s spread a little love.

A couple of days ago, there was an online poll started to find out “the top 20 most profound books that have touched people’s lives.”  Obviously, for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that book is unquestionably the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Word spread quickly, and we all voted for the Book of Mormon, and it was fun to see it rise from No. 25 on the chart to No. 1 in a very short period of time.

Then something interesting happened.  Deseret News did a little story about the Book of Mormon reaching the number one spot on the list of life-changing books. Immediately, people who hate the Mormon people began voting for the most vile books they could find in order to bury the Book of Mormon in the stats.  It wasn’t long until it dropped to the number four position.  As of this evening, the owners of the site have taken it down.  They must have realized that this had turned into a hate campaign.

I suppose we could all get upset by this, but no one that I’ve seen on the internet seems to be riled up about it.  We are quite used to “feeling the love” from people who have an ax to grind with the Church.  We understand that we are a “peculiar” people.  We understand that there are people out there who don’t like us for whatever reason.  While we are saddened by their conduct, it doesn’t surprise us because it happens so often.

It occurs to me that there is a lot of hate in this world, and I don’t want to be part of that whole scenario.  I don’t want to belittle others, or get in their face, or bully them, or argue with them, or try to torment them.  I want to spread love.  So my challenge to you today is to go out and say something nice to someone today–or give service to someone.  Spread a little love.  Smile and make someone happy.  Be kind to a stranger.  Let’s purge the hate and spread the love!

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Commentary Regarding “Ordain Women”

If you are a regular reader, you know I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).  This post is commentary on recent developments within the Church, based on my own experience.

I made a mistake earlier in my life, and I’m still paying for it.  While the repentance process is complete, and I know I have been forgiven, I still have trouble forgiving myself, and to some degree, I’m still paying the consequences.

You see, I was a hard-headed, stubborn young woman.  I got a burr in my saddle about a couple of things, and I wouldn’t let go.  I spent 20 years of my life kicking against the pricks about things that don’t even matter anymore.  I’ve spent the last 22 years trying to play “catch up” on things of a spiritual nature.  I lost so much time wanting to be right that I lost sight of the ultimate goal of all things celestial.

This experience gives me unique perspective.  When I first began to blog and became involved in social media, I followed a lot of young Mormon Mommy Bloggers.  I came to know these women and admired them on many levels.  As time went on, however, I watched as one by one they found something to pick at — some little grievance which became a burr in their own saddle, and they wouldn’t let go.  One by one, they left the Church — most of them becoming very bitter.  All this happened because they, like me, couldn’t see the forest through the trees.  They let go of the iron rod and lost sight of the tree of life.  I was sad — very, very sad.

Now there is this group of women who call themselves “Ordain Women.”  These are intelligent women who know the gospel, but have latched onto something and won’t let go. They are so fixated on the idea of women holding the priesthood that they no longer can feel the blessings of womanhood itself.  They have been blinded by the feminist movement to such a degree that they can’t see the eternal nature of women.

Ordain Women’s efforts to have priesthood bestowed upon women resulted in the group appearing at the Priesthood Session of LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City last October demanding admittance.  Two interesting and important things to note:  (1) Women have their own conference to attend; and (2) The Priesthood Session is available on-line and in print for anyone male or female who is interested.  The Church asked them not to pursue the issue, but they are again planning to show up at the Priesthood Session of General Conference in April.  The Church sent a letter to Ordain Women explaining its position and asking that the group not protest on Temple Square.  If these women truly sustain the General Authorities of the Church as prophets, seers, and revelators, they would not pursue this any further.

I come from a long line of strong, bold women who have pushed boundaries and done things unexpected of women that were often challenged by men.  I get it.  I was sexually harassed in the workplace before the term sexually harassed even existed, and the only option was to quit my job.  In my youth I was told that “writing is not a dignified enough profession for a lady.” It was a different time back then.  Believe me — I get it.

There is a difference, however, in proving you can do something as well as a man, and foregoing the blessings of being a woman.  Women have an important role to play in the Church on earth, but more importantly, in the life to come.  We should be reveling in the eternal promises which are ours as women.  We should be on Cloud 9 as we ponder sacred covenants made.  If only these sisters could let go of the worldly vision of womanhood and see themselves as their Heavenly Father sees them.  It makes me very sad.

Sisters, please wake up.  Wake up sooner, rather than later.  Don’t spend 20 years seeking the limelight and the approval of media and others while ignoring the blessings of your Heavenly Father.  Be one with us.  “Stand” with us.  Let’s unite as sisters in Zion and claim our celestial glory.

When It’s Uncomfortable, Be Honest

When asked to teach children, it can sometimes be uncomfortable.  I grew up in a generation of trust.  We trusted the adults.  There were times when I discovered that adults were teaching me principles which they were not following themselves, and it shocked and hurt me.  I felt duped.  I was extremely disappointed in the hypocrisy.  I no longer trusted the individual who duped me.

As a struggling, confused teenager, there came a time when I felt so badly betrayed that I not only removed myself from the dishonest adults, but from the organization they represented. Unfortunately, the untrustworthy hypocritical adults represented my church.  When I was 17 years old, I wasn’t able to sort out the difference between correct principles and imperfect adults.

After many years, I came back to church, realizing that I had wasted a good portion of my life that I will never be able to retrieve.  If only I had been able to understand that people are people, but correct principles never fail.  If I’d been understanding instead of bitter, things would have been much different.

On my return to church, I was immediately asked to teach a class of ten-year-old children.  I was terrified.  At that point in my life, I was struggling with my own dragons.  I knew firsthand the danger those youth faced by having me as their teacher.  If they put me on a pedestal, they were doomed.  They would eventually discover my inadequacies, and I’d fall off the pedestal with a bang.

I had always been a private person, and I didn’t like what I was about to do, but I had to tell these children the truth.  The curriculum was clear, and I had to teach each lesson in the manual.  Some lessons I had no problem teaching.  Other lessons were very difficult for me.  I taught the children to learn from my own mistakes.  It was the only way I could possibly teach certain lessons.

As the year progressed, I often laid my life with all its imperfections in front of the children and said, “Here is what I did, and this is how I am paying for it.”  I taught them the right principles, but made very sure that they could never place me on that pedestal.

It was only a year or so before I was called to lead the children’s organization in my church. Again, I was terrified.  This meant that I would be teaching lessons to all the children in the congregation–but there would also be other adults present.  If I were to continue to make my life an open book to the children, the adults would also be privy to that same information. Privacy would be a thing of the past.  I accepted the call to lead, and my privacy was gone.

Many times since then I’ve been asked to teach, lead, and speak in church.  Although I’ve received training on a number of occasions which included a variety of teaching techniques, the only way I know how to teach is to use my own life as an example–and often that means an example of what not to do.

I may not be the best teacher.  Those I teach may not go away with a warm fuzzy feeling at times.  Sometimes, they may even come away feeling that I’m a crazy whacked person.  I’m okay with that.  It’s okay because I know that they will not discover later a fault in my character that I haven’t already exposed.

Teaching is very uncomfortable for me, but I’ve spent a number of years teaching in some capacity.  It seems no matter what I am called to do, there is an element of teaching involved. I just keep remembering that when it is uncomfortable, be honest.

Five Favorite Possessions

DSCI0552 DSCI0553

In a class recently at church, we were asked to write down a list of our five favorite possessions.  It was explained that family could not be on the list because our family is not our “possession.”  Looking around the room, I realized I was the first person to complete the list — long before anyone else.  That decision had been made many years ago, so all I had to do was write them down.

My five favorite possessions:

1) My temple recommend (a slip of paper signed by two lay clergy members of my church, which says I am worthy to enter the LDS temples).

2) My Dad’s little Bible that he carried through World War II and throughout his life.

3) My mother’s wedding ring (which was cut off her finger because it was old and thin enough to cut into her skin).

4) My paternal grandmother’s watch (which hasn’t worked since long before it was given to me).

5) Family photographs.

Many years ago I thought about what I would take with me if I had 15 minutes to evacuate my home in case of fire, flood, or earth quake, and those are the things I listed (after my 72-hour emergency kit).  So when asked last week in Sunday School to write my favorite possessions, it was easy for me.  I didn’t even have to think about it.

For several days I thought about this list.  There is absolutely nothing of monetary value on that list.  I have some things in my home that are worth something, though I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet, I did not list anything of monetary value.  Yes, there are diamonds in my mother’s wedding ring, but since the band is cut, it can’t be worn as is, and I’ve been told by a reputable jeweler that if I were to take the diamonds out of this particular setting, the diamonds would most likely break.  My grandmother’s watch is old, but it would cost a small fortune to repair, making any value it has a wash.  My Dad’s Bible is so fragile that I keep it in a zip lock bag to protect it from further damage.  My temple recommend and my family photographs (like everything else on the list) mean nothing to anyone but me.

This exercise was designed to make the class question whether we could give up our valuable possessions for the greater good of others if we were asked to do so.  I’m sure for many others in the room, valuable possessions were listed, and they probably had to think about that for a moment.  Obviously, if the valuable things I possess didn’t even make the list of “favorites,” that decision is a no-brainer and one that was made long ago.

Things are just that; things.  So often we place so much value in “things” that we forget about what is really important.  The last couple of days, I stopped to think about the “things” in my home that do have a little monetary value, and wondered what will happen to them when I die.  I certainly hope that my children and their spouses won’t argue over who gets these “things,” because obviously, they don’t have that much meaning to me.  I have my “toys” and enjoy them.  They bless my life with joyful moments, but I would give them up in a second if I thought selling them would benefit someone I love who is hurting.  What matters most in your life?

On a Spiritual High

All too soon, LDS (Mormon) General Conference is over for six months.  I am on a spiritual high.  The messages received from living apostles and prophets of God are always special. Sometimes I think they were given just for me, and that the speakers were speaking directly to me.

During conference I always have a chance online to interact with members of my faith, as well as many others who are not of my faith.  I was particularly touched when I saw this on Twitter:  “I’m not Mormon, but the #ldsconf tweets all over Twitter have some very good life lessons every Christian should take to heart!”  Needless to say, in addition to thanking this person, I have followed him on Twitter.  It is heartwarming to see others not of my faith begin to realize that Mormons are just like other Christians.  We don’t have tails.  We’re not a cult. No, we are very much like everyone else.  We’ve learned a few things about persecution over the last 183 years.  We’ve also learned a lot about turning the other cheek.

We don’t apologize for our beliefs, and we respect the rights of others to worship as they please. As a matter of fact our 11th Article of Faith states:  “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”  Since the very beginning, the goal has been to be of service to our fellow human beings, respectful of their beliefs (or lack of them), and to be at peace with our Heavenly Father.

There were so many great speakers (as always) at this General Conference, and I encourage everyone — Mormon as well as those of other faiths, to go to this website and watch.  You can watch entire sessions, or just an individual speaker.  You will be amazed at the peace you feel in your heart.  I will be studying these talks for the next six months until the October General Conference.

I have a testimony of living apostles and prophets.  I have a testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ.

Everything Always Comes Out in The Wash

Everything always comes out in the wash.  My mother used to tell me that when things weren’t going well in my life.  As a kid, the family ironing was my job, so I knew that literally wasn’t true – but I knew what she meant.  If you just hang around a little while and roll with the punches, what seems like a monumental problem today becomes trivial later.

2012 was not a good year for me in a lot of ways, but in some ways it was wonderful.  I’ve grown so much this year – the last six months in particular.  After the most horrendous summer of my life, autumn started out to be more of the same – until I’d had enough in early November and decided that rolling with the punches wasn’t good enough, and I needed a break.  I needed to take charge of my life.

As soon as I took hold of the reins of the life that was spiraling out of control, the laundry came clean.  I look back now and think, “Why on earth did I let it go on that long?!”  I’m glad I did, however, because I learned a few things.  I remember as a kid watching logs burn in the fireplace.  A good piece of hard wood will withstand a whole lot of heat before disintegrating.  It will char on the outside for a long time before the fire begins to break it down and destroy the inside.  I used to take the fire poker and move logs around before they would begin to break down.  Instinctively, in early November, that’s what I did to myself – I removed myself from the flames before I broke into pieces.

As I began to cool, I realized that the Holy Ghost had not been present in my life for several months.  He cannot abide where there is contention.  By allowing the flames to continue to whip through my life, I had removed myself from Him.  The embers have given way to ash, the Spirit has returned, and my life is at peace.  I’ve felt more peace in the last two months than I have in a long time.  It was awesome that this peace should come in time for the Christmas season.  It was a true gift from my Heavenly Father.  I was allowed the sweet pleasure of time to contemplate the birth, life, ministry, and atonement of Jesus Christ.  That is a gift I will treasure forever.  The gift allowed my heart to soften, heal, and to forgive.

So where do I go from here?  I see 2013 as opportunity for more growth – and more writing.  Yes, writing!  My life was in such turmoil that I didn’t have a creative bone left in my body, and I didn’t have anything of value to write.  The break allowed me to get a handle on the muddled thoughts in my mind.  2013 may just be the year of clarity.

Everything does come out in the wash.  Sometimes a little bleach is needed, but everything does come clean.

Look Up

Trees By Casey Grimley

Trees By Casey Grimley                                                               Picture Used With Permission

I was a kid who followed my Dad around like a puppy wanting to play.  This was particularly true when he was going to do anything outdoors, from yard work to deer hunting.  Dad was different outside.  All the cares and worries of the world evaporated, and he was like a kid himself.

On one particular hunting trip, I believe I was about 12 or 13 years old, Dad and I were walking through some amazingly beautiful country.  I don’t know that I really appreciated what I was seeing, and my wise father apparently guessed as much.

We came to a grove of trees, and Dad stopped.  He said, “Lie down on your back under that tree.”  I didn’t know why he asked me to do that, but I was an obedient child, and I did as I was told.  He laid down beside me and said, “Look up.”  We looked up in complete silence for several minutes.  Then Dad said, “Don’t ever forget how you feel right now.”  I never will.  Looking up through the leaves on those gorgeous trees, I knew (and Dad knew that I knew) that the kind of beauty we were experiencing didn’t happen by accident.

What I felt at that moment was the whispering of the Holy Ghost testifying to me that there is a God.  I’m not a scientist; nor am I a theologian.  I don’t need to be either.  When I need to know what is truth, all I need do is find a grove of trees, an ocean beach, a pristine snow-covered mountain, a waterfall, a rainbow, or the roar of a mountain stream to find it.  The whispering of the Spirit tells my heart that no “big bang” could create such majesty — and that’s good enough for me.

Thanks, Dad.  Thanks for sharing God’s gifts.  Thanks for showing me how to receive inspiration.  Thanks for being you.  I’m looking forward to a sweet reunion in heaven.

Many thanks to Casey Grimley for letting me use his picture.

Find Tudie Rose on Brand Yourself at:  http://tudierose.brandyourself.com/

A New Way of Learning

The first weekend of April and the first weekend of October is special to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).  On those weekends General Conference is held in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The conference can be seen via satellite at many of our chapels throughout the world.  It can also be seen via cable television, and satellite TV, and via the internet.  The conference talks are also published in the “Ensign,” which is our church magazine.  We all look forward to each conference with anticipation and excitement.  It is a way to “fill our spiritual cup.”

A couple of weeks ago, I was challenged by friends to view the talks from last April’s conference as a way of preparing for the upcoming October conference.  I took the challenge. It was suggested that we view one talk a day until conference.  I think there were a total of 37 talks included in the Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Priesthood session, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, and Young Women’s conference sessions.  I knew that I would not be disciplined enough to do it that way, so I spent several evenings last week viewing five or six talks at a time.  I learned something from the experience.

I usually take notes during conference and then read the conference talks when they are published the next month to further instill important points in my mind and soak in anything that I may have missed.  In the coming months, I will occasionally re-read a conference talk or two.

I love a good challenge, and when I was challenged to watch the conference talks from April in preparation for the October conference, I jumped at the opportunity, but I didn’t really understand how beneficial it would be until I had completed the challenge.  Six months ago when I originally watched conference (and even five months ago as I read the talks), I was in a different place mentally and spiritually than I am currently.  As I watched the conference talks the last few days, it was like I was hearing some things for the first time.  After completing the challenge, I went back and read my notes from last April.  I was amazed at what I had written.  This time the “important points” in my mind seemed different from what I wrote in those notes six months ago.  I wish I had taken notes the last few days as I watched those talks again.

I’m excited for General Conference this coming weekend.  I definitely think that it helped me to spiritually prepare for conference by watching the talks from six months ago.  I plan to do that again next March to prepare for April’s conference — and next time, I will take notes and compare with the notes that I will take this weekend.

Women’s Conference was this weekend, and I was on a spiritual high after watching it.  If you missed it, it can be viewed here.  If you’d like to watch conference this weekend, this link provides the information on how to watch it.  This site gives some wonderful suggestions about how to prepare yourself and your family for General Conference.

I invite all who read this post to share in the experience of hearing testimony and words of wisdom from modern-day prophets and apostles.

 

My Source of Strength

Life is not easy for any of us.  I believe we are here on earth to be tried and tested.  It’s not supposed to be easy — and knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.  🙂

So how do we get through this journey we call life?  Each of us must find our own way.  My personal source of strength is my knowledge and testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know He is always there for me, if I only seek Him out.  He will give me peace.  The world is a noisy place, however, and sometimes it is not easy to block out the confusion and turmoil of the world.  I love to go to the mountains or the ocean where I can easily feel close to the Savior and to my Heavenly Father.  When that is not possible, I have another option.  I go to the temple — the House of the Lord.  I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).

The temple is a quiet, reverent, beautiful place where I can go and block out the world.  We speak only in whispers in the temple.  I can sit in a beautiful quiet room called the celestial room and pray uninterrupted.  Then I can sit quietly and listen until I receive answers to prayer, or “personal revelation.”  While I pray every day at home and even in my car, those prayers are often hurried or interrupted by life’s challenges.  I don’t always have the opportunity to sit back and “listen” for the answers.  The temple allows me that opportunity.

Sacramento Temple

Sacramento Temple

Special Temple Day

Special Temple Day

Going to the temple also gives me a chance to reflect on the covenants or promises that I made with my Heavenly Father in the temple previously.  It reminds me of my commitment to be the best person I can be, to strive to be an honest person, and to live according to God’s commandments.

I’m so grateful to have the temples.  The temple is a very sacred place.  It is so special to me that I’d like to share it with you today.  The short video below has beautiful pictures of temples — inside and outside.  The video explains why we build temples, and what we do inside.  There is nothing secret about what we do in the temple.  We often don’t talk much about it because it is so sacred and special to us, but there is nothing that is mysterious or secret.  If you’ve ever been curious about our temples, this short video is your chance to see the inside of temples up close and personal.  I invite you to take a look.  If you have any questions, leave a comment, and I’d be most happy to answer your questions.

Taking the Mystery Out of Mormon Temple Worship

Mormon In America

Rock Center with Brian Williams tonight featured Mormons in America.  A good portion of the program was well done and informative.  There are a few things that I would like to correct for those who may have seen it.

Before I give criticism, however, I would like to say that the program did portray an accurate picture of the Church welfare system, and they gave a pretty accurate description of typical Mormon life.

Now for the criticism:

First, if you want to know about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ask us.  It amazes me that most of the interview time was given to past members of the Church who have an ax to grind.  While I understand that the media needs to give both sides of the story, at times it seemed that we were being “set up.”  I’m sure, if they had asked, they could have interviewed a member of the First Presidency of the Church, or one of the apostles. Dan Rather interviewed President Hinckley years ago — I miss Dan Rather.

Second, I was highly offended that pictures of our garments or “secret Mormon underwear” as the world seems to view them, were shown on national television.  The garment is very sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it shouldn’t be displayed for the world to mock.  I can’t believe that the show felt it necessary to display the picture.  As President Hinckley explained to Dan Rather once upon a time, the garment is an “outward expression of an inward commitment.”  It’s as simple as that.  No mystery.  No magic.  They are just a sacred reminder  of who we are and the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father.  MANY religions have some sort of sacred clothing.  Get over it!

Third, I’m was shaking with emotion when the program said that in the Church the “two genders are not equal,” and that women can’t hold “leadership positions.”  Hogwash!  I’m furious!  Women hold extremely important leadership roles in the Church.  They are just different from the roles that the men hold.

I spent 3 1/2 years as Relief Society President (head of the women’s organization) in my ward (congregation).  It was my responsibility to “seek out” the poor and the needy, inform the Bishop, and counsel with the Bishop on how to take care of their needs.  I had the responsibility to meet with the needy in their homes and assess the situation.  I had the authority, if needed, to go through cupboards with a homemaker to see how we could best use Church resources to help feed families.  I helped homemakers plan meals to teach them how to best use the food we provided through the Bishop’s Storehouse.  It was also my responsibility to go to the Bishop and say, “I think Brother John and Sister Mary Doe need some help, but I think they are too proud to ask for it.  Maybe you should call them in for a talk.”  The Relief Society President is the Bishop’s right arm.  In addition, the Relief Society is responsible for the spiritual well-being of the families in the ward.  We teach classes every Sunday and participate in ward counsel meetings with other men AND WOMEN who hold leadership positions in the ward.  DON’T TELL ME WOMEN DON’T HOLD LEADERSHIP POSITIONS!  I’m still trying to recover from 3 1/2 years of total chaos in my life.

In addition, women run the Primary (Sunday School) for children 18 months to 12 years old, and they run the Young Women’s program for girls 12 to 18 years old.  I was a Primary President for several years, as well.  Two of my daughters are currently Primary Presidents in their wards today.  They will tell you just how much responsibility they have in their “leadership positions.”  As a matter of fact, I just saw their rants on Facebook about how women were portrayed on the show.  We are not wimpy  little girls who are “seen and not heard.”  We thrive in the Church.

Oh, and by the way, women can be missionaries too.  All of my children have served missions, male and female.  My stepson, Matt, went to England.  Molly served in Boston, Massachusetts.  Hannah served in Russia.  Ezra served in Uruguay.  My youngest daughter, Kaylonnie, is currently a missionary in Brazil.  The picture below is Kaylonnie reading her “mission call” to family and friends gathered in our home, as well as a family member on the phone.

Kaylonnie Opening her "Mission Call"

Kaylonnie Opening her “Mission Call”

Okay, rant over.  While I do have criticism about the show, I also believe that even bad publicity can be a missionary tool.  I’m glad that people are asking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I just wish they would ask the right people.  If I wanted to know how to be a doctor, I wouldn’t ask a lawyer.  If I wanted to learn about the Catholic Church, I wouldn’t ask someone who had an ax to grind with the Catholic Church.  Go to the source.  If you want to know more, ask me, another Mormon, or go to the Church website.

http://tudierose.brandyourself.com/