Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts of Christ

It is almost Easter--the time of year when Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It is a holiday that is truly worth celebrating, pondering, thinking about and changing our lives because of what it means. This is a touching video/summary of what I and many others reflect on when we think of Christ:

Jesus unlocked the gates of physical and spiritual death so that we might live again. All will be resurrected--wicked and righteous, male and female. This is possible because of the Atonement and resurrection. Jesus Christ is my example, my mentor, the reason I do the things I do.

I am continually amazed by His eternal and infinite gift--which without, all would be lost. Because of Christ, we have hope. We can change. We can "become." I am humbled to realize that He would not only sacrifice all for us, but has also paid 100% of our debt to justice. If we just want to be with Him, we really can. It is up to us. As I explained in my last post about grace, we are all saved by grace, but doing our part makes it possible--we will only be comfortable with our Savior if we have tried to become like Him.

I am so thankful for the healing and enabling power of the Atonement. It is beautiful. I wish more people could understand and use the Atonement in their lives--and not just to receive forgiveness, but also to be healed, to do all things through Christ. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13). He will strengthen us as we rely on Him, trust in Him, have faith on His name.

I personally have increased hope, faith, determination and love because of my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him. I want to be like Him. I want to tell other people about Him so they, too, can be happy and experience lasting joy. I am strengthened and lifted through His power. I can't wait for the day to return to be with Him again. I am continually striving to be ready for when He comes again.

I love this added testimony for Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Please watch and feel of the love the Savior has for you.

© Wendy 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What Mormons Believe About Grace

The first time I was asked about grace vs. works, I was 17 years old and in high school. I was working at a restaurant as a hostess and one of the hosts asked me if I believed I was saved by grace. I didn't really have an answer that I felt was adequate at the time. He may have been wanting to debate. I'm not sure.

Recently, I've been asked that question again.

Because I am Mormon, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I often hear of many misconceptions from my own friends, or in the media, or about anywhere else you can imagine. Pertaining to the subject of grace, the popular belief is that Mormons don't really believe that we are "saved" by grace, or that we don't really believe that Jesus died for our sins, and that we must "earn" our way into Heaven through our works.

This simply is NOT true!!

We FULLY believe that Jesus died for our sins and that the debt for ALL has been paid in full, by our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. In return, Jesus wants us to love him and he wants us to change! The only way to change is to work on becoming a better person. The end result is that yes, we are saved through His Atonement--100% by the Savior alone, not by anything we have done ourselves. But, ultimately, we will have to want it. We will have to want to be in His presence. We will want to be comfortable with Him in Heaven. If we are running around sinning and not trying to repent, trying to change, trying to draw closer to Him through our acts, words and deeds, then I fully doubt we will be comfortable or even want to be there.

Brad Wilcox* said:
"Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice--not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate  perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements."
To further illustrate and explain this point, Bruce C. Hafen has said:
"The great Mediator asks for our repentance not because we must 'repay' him in exchange for his paying our debt to justice, but because repentance initiates a developmental process that  with the Savior's help, leads us along the path to a saintly character." (The Broken Heart)
As Wilcox also states that we are not trying to earn our way into heaven, we are "learning" heaven. "We are preparing for it. We are practicing for it." 

You have been saved by grace, we all have! But have you been changed by grace? If you have and are being changed by grace, chances are that you will want to be in heaven with our Savior. Wilcox also suggests that it won't be the unrepentant people begging Jesus so they can stay, but the opposite--they will not want to be there. Conversely, it will be Christ, asking, pleading for us to stay with Him--to use His Atonement not just to be cleansed of sin, but to change so we will want to stay.

He wants each of us so badly, that he paid the demands of justice, paid the debt in full so we may return if we choose. Our part is simply to do what He asks of us so we will actually desire to return to Him. He loves us. He loves you. He is not just pulling for you, He is walking the journey with you.

So, what do Mormons believe about grace? We believe we are saved by grace, but that Jesus requires that we try to be like Him, keep His commandments and live as true Christians so we will be ready when the time comes and desire to live with Him again. He has saved us through His Atonement, but we also need to be changed by His Atonement.

*Note: You can watch Brad Wilcox's full speech here or read a condensed version here.

© Wendy 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Necessity of a Mother AND a Father.

This past week, I've basically been a single mother while my husband has been out of the country.

I've been solely responsible to get my 6 kids up, awake, fed, dressed, off to school, get homework done (AND IN backpacks!), change diapers, attend the science fair and choir concerts and scout activity, bathe them, get them to bed, read scriptures, listen to their problems and their whining, break up fights, protect and lock up the house and remember every other thing I'm supposed to do as a mom (cooking, cleaning, pay the bills, piano lessons...the usual).

It's given me time and perspective to ponder and wonder how in the world single moms do-it-all every day. It has also made me realize why exactly, the design of the family is to have a mother AND a father in the home, raising children together (hopefully in love and righteousness).

I truly believe that there are certain aspects of life that can only be given to a child by a father, and some can only be attained from a mother. In our church handbook it explains: “The nature of male and female spirits is such that they complete each other. Men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation.” Dallin H. Oaks supports this explaining:
"Men and women spirits “complete each other” because they are different, and they “progress together toward exaltation” by, among other things, honoring those eternal, created differences. Thus, the family proclamation states: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
We rejoice in the distinctive and mutually supportive roles of men and women in God’s plan. Men and women are to be different, yet they are inseparably bound together in a mutually supportive relationship to accomplish God’s plan."
I know there is a lot of debate and cultural changes happening in our world right now. Co-habitation, same-gender unions, multiple children from different fathers, divorce, etc. To me, this is a really sad state of affairs. It is of utmost importance for children to be raised by a loving father and mother, together. In that same talk by Elder Oaks, he quotes Julie B. Beck, saying:
“There are media messages everywhere that are anti-family, and our young people are very connected with media. … Increasingly, our youth are seeing no reason to form a family or get married in spite of all the teaching you give them. They are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.”
Truly, Satan is working extra hard on families--beginning with trying to convince those who have not yet embarked upon starting a family that it is not important--it's just a piece of paper--live together and see if it works--just have kids and don't get married. This not only affects our families, but it is obvious (at least to me), that this is a major reason as to why our society is in such turmoil--economically and socially--worldwide. President Spencer W. Kimball said many years ago: “We know that when things go wrong in the family, things go wrong in every other institution in society.

I love "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Consider this section (some of which has already been mentioned):
"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."
Two very important gender-specific roles. I don't think it can be stated any clearer.

Do you suppose that God, our Father in Heaven, would subject us to "rules" that He wasn't also following? I don't think so. Don't you think that there would need to be a nurturing role in our pre-mortal existence to help guide us lovingly in a way that only a mother can? I do. A song I really love also points to the importance of a father and a mother, even in Heaven. In our hymn book, hymn #292, "O My Father" offers the simple beauty of conversing with our Father about our true origin. I've added bold font to emphasize the discussion of our Mother:

  1. 1. O my Father, thou that dwellest
    In the high and glorious place,
    When shall I regain thy presence
    And again behold thy face?
    In thy holy habitation,
    Did my spirit once reside?
    In my first primeval childhood
    Was I nurtured near thy side?
  2. 2. For a wise and glorious purpose
    Thou hast placed me here on earth
    And withheld the recollection
    Of my former friends and birth;
    Yet ofttimes a secret something
    Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
    And I felt that I had wandered
    From a more exalted sphere.
  3. 3. I had learned to call thee Father,
    Thru thy Spirit from on high,
    But, until the key of knowledge
    Was restored, I knew not why.
    In the heav'ns are parents single?
    No, the thought makes reason stare!
    Truth is reason; truth eternal
    Tells me I've a mother there.
  4. 4. When I leave this frail existence,
    When I lay this mortal by,
    Father, Mother, may I meet you
    In your royal courts on high?
    Then, at length, when I've completed
    All you sent me forth to do,
    With your mutual approbation
    Let me come and dwell with you.
This is such a tender song and I love the words and thoughtfulness that express such glorious truths.

My heart absolutely aches for dear friends of mine who find themselves without the support of a spouse--either from death, divorce or addiction of any kind. This often results in one person having to carry the weight of two alone, or leaning on the support of other family members (if available). Sometimes we try to live as we should and things still happen that are beyond our control. But, I also know that the atonement will make up for these unfair disadvantages and we will be blessed for our diligence in seeking righteousness.

I know we are all in unique and individual circumstances, but we can all similarly strive to improve ourselves and our lives. Step up to your gender-specific role and do what is best for your family. The "world" tells us that things of God or religion are not important and that those who believe are foolish. I think perhaps the opposite is true. It may not be easy and we may be persecuted for standing our ground and not agreeing with what is popular. But, I wouldn't trade being on the Lord's side for the world--literally.

Truth is truth even if no one believes it. Lies are lies even if everyone believes them. 

© Wendy 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Why Are Your Favorite Bloggers Mormon?

My reader friends...

My family
As may be really obvious, I am a Mormon, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since this is such an important part of my life and is something that is essential and central to my happiness, I would like to invite you to embark on a little journey with me. This is special and something I love dearly, so I really want to share it with you.

Family Fun
Chances are you've heard things about the LDS (Mormon) Church. Some of it may be good, some of it may not be. Some things you may not understand yet. Perhaps you are curious and want to know more.

The LDS Church and people are often in the media--most recently during the USA presidential election. Perhaps you've heard of famous LDS people from The Osmonds and Gladys Knight, to Steve Young and Mitt Romney. We're everywhere (lol)! Regardless of what you may or may not have heard,  I am welcoming the opportunity to share it with anyone who wants to know more.

The woman who started this from "Or so she says..." has taken effort to compile the tender thoughts and feelings of many of your favorite "Mormon Mommy Bloggers" and make them available to those who truly want to know--being respectful and open-minded to things that are precious to us. We do not want to be ridiculed for our beliefs, yet we want to and are willing to share with those who are interested in knowing more.

I want to know more! What do I do? 

If you are genuinely interested in finding out more about why so many popular bloggers are LDS, send me an email to with your name and address.

Here's what I will send you: 
(I'm mostly quoting "Or so she says..." here because she said it perfectly.)

I will personally send you (for free) a packet filled with the personal thoughts of the following "Mormon Mommy Bloggers":

Myself, of course. :)
Leigh Anne ~ Your Homebased Mom
Megan ~ Brassy Apple
Reachel ~ Cardigan Empire
Caroline ~ Armelle Blog
Carrian ~ Sweet Basil
Melissa ~ 320 Sycamore
Shandra ~ Deals to Meals
Kristyn ~ Lil' Luna
Kelli ~ Lolly Jane
Stephanie ~ Somewhat Simple
Becky ~ UCreate
Arianne ~ Still Parenting
Shawni ~ 71 Toes
Lindsey ~ The R House
Melanie ~ Sugardoodle
Shelley ~ How Does She? 

Along with the blogger packet, you will find our favorite scriptures, the ones that have personally touched our lives, along with a free Book of Mormon. Why the Book of Mormon too? Well, it would be impossible to really understand us without it. It is a major part of our religion, our lives...and part of WHY we are Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is the ancient records of prophets who lived in the Americas before, during and after Christ’s time on earth. Honestly, I think it's the coolest book ever. So, there you have it. Between the blogger's thoughts and the Book of Mormon, I think you'll get a fairly good idea about where we're coming from.

Packages will be sent out during the first week of every month. Oh, and if you're worried that I'll use your info to send Mormons out to stalk you, I won't. Nope, you get the packet, Book of Mormon, that's it. No strings attached. If I remember, I will probably just send a follow-up email making sure you got your package.

And while you're waiting for your packet, check out It's a super reputable and easy-to-understand site, all about Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) I especially love the 'I'm a Mormon' videos that follow the lives of different Mormons...they're short and these people have the neatest stories!) Of course, I am always happy to answer you questions too, but I do not claim to have all of the answers!


© Wendy 2013