WBMW

Africa and Mormon Musical Bandwagon!

I've decided to jump back on The Book of Mormon Musical bandwagon and use the silver-platter platform to help promote the amazing humanitarian work that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is doing in AFRICA

I think it was Gordon B. Hinckley that said -- there is no such thing as bad publicity for the Church, or something like that.  Anyway, if you weren't a believer of such a philosophy before -- you will be now!






Literally on the heels of the pre-opening to The Mormon Musical, the LDS Church is taking full advantage of the publicity that such a production will undoubtedly elicit.   Coincidence?  I think not!

Last week the LDS Newsroom published this wonderful report about what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is doing in Africa:

Mormons in Africa: A Bright Land of Hope

“Africa has been held in reserve by the Lord,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in an October 2010 visit to Burundi. “Africa will someday be seen as a bright land full of gospel hope and happiness.”
Africa is one of the fastest growing areas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with some 320,000 members, the majority of whom have joined the Church over the past 30 years. They have found that hope and happiness spoken of by Elder Holland by embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ.

You might also enjoy reading this beautiful LDS Newsroom report about Elizabeth Njeri Kang’ethe, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who happens to be a journalist.

Mormons in Africa: A Kenyan Journalist is a Latter-day Saint

The Church’s worldwide humanitarian efforts have helped in many parts of Africa, from trying to stop hunger in children to building community clean water systems. African governments have readily acknowledged the Church’s work through Mormon Helping Hands. Often people of other faiths join in volunteering as well to complete these community service projects. Elizabeth recounts the positive experience with the Mormon Helping Hands day of service in her community.
 I love Mormon Helping Hands!  I have the blessing of being actively involved in the organization of this project in my own Stake.  It's great to find that these large scale community service projects are active throughout Africa...

LDS Church Growth in Africa -- Mormon Helping Hands
Since the first branch was organized in Africa in 1853, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spread over the continent. Now with more than 260,000 members, 46 stakes, and three temples, the Church reaches from the southern tip of South Africa north to Morocco and east to Madagascar. On Saturday October 27th 2007, members of the church across Africa joined together for a continent-wide single day service.

Wearing the familiar Mormon Helping Hands vests, members served in ways ranging from cleaning streets to painting schools. Their efforts were appreciated by community leaders. The benefits of the many projects were felt by those in the communities across Africa, but the greatest rewards were for those who served.

This is clear evidence how the Lord can take a seemingly negative event, that most would consider bad publicity for the Church, and turn it to something positive; an opportunity to teach.   I've been pretty impressed how the LDS Church has been taking more and more of these kinds of "situations" over the last few years -- and turning them around, with the help of Social Media. 

Interesting also, is being able to see this same pattern in our personal lives.  Things that can initially seem devastating -- when looked back upon, we find much reason to be thankful for the experience.  Not that we would necessarily chose it again, but what we have learned then becomes priceless!

Won't you join me by helping to share some of these great links with others...


tDMg
Kathryn

Prepare to Be Offended -- The Book of Mormon Musical
Links to Everything Mormon in Africa!

Secrets Revealed - Inside Mormon Missionary Training Center



Next to a Mormon Temple, the Missionary Training Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and what goes on inside, are just as much a mystery -- even to most faithful members of the LDS Church.

Unless you've served a full-time mission for the Church, it's most likely you've never been inside an MTC! And if you have, as parents previously were briefly able to, you only got a quick glimpse when dropping off a son or daughter -- and chances are even those few never really got to see what actually goes on inside.

Frankly, I can't imagine the drama of saying goodbye to my son in such a manner that past missionary moms and dads have experienced. When I first heard about the new policy of "drive-by-drop-off" for new missionaries, I felt cheated.   But, after my of own experience of saying goodbye to my son, just last week, I'm grateful to have dodged that bullet!  I will admit though, that I am curious as to what goes on inside the MTC to get an LDS Missionary prepared to serve!

Over the years things have evolved, as to what goes on inside the MTC and how missionaries are trained to go out and share the gospel message, worldwide.  This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Provo MTC You can imagine how exciting it was when I found out that Carol Mikita, of KSL 5 News, in Utah, was given an unprecedented behind the scenes look at this remarkable facility.

The idea of how to train young men and women and senior couples to do missionary work has changed in the 21st Century -- everything from learning languages to staying fit. But it begins with leaving family and friends -- always an emotional experience.


Video Courtesy of KSL.com


In my search to find out more about the LDS Missionary Training Centers, I found this great video.  It's a bit long, but well worth watching...

"This is a video developed by Avinci Media (avincimedia.com) which includes photos taken by Elder Browne during his stay at the Provo Missionary Training Center where he learned to speak Malay in preparation for his 2-year mission to Singapore. Included are fun and friendly photos of our family when we dropped him off, Christmas and New Year's celebrations and more fun shots of missionaries balancing out the rigors of 12-hour days studying a foreign language and their lessons for the interested people in Singapore and Malaysia."


When I was at the MTC, one of my teachers said the MTC stands for “My Time for Christ” because this is one great opportunity to study and get to know the Savior without a lot of worldly distractions. The MTC actually stands for the Missionary Training Center, a school where missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in some cases begin learning another language before they serve in their area of assignment. (Derek Hansen)

As excited as I am for the upcoming LDS General Conference, I'm just about as excited to see the one hour special on the MTC that will be presented between sessions, on KBYU-TV.  As the time draws closer I'll post more detailed information for those interested in watching it, too.


 

tDMg
Kathryn



How Living Prophets Make A Difference in Our Lives

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, does knowing that we have living prophets upon the earth - make a difference in our daily lives? As many of you are well aware, believing in modern-day prophets makes us quite peculiar to those outside of our faith.

For most Christians, the days of prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, and even Jesus Christ - are considered ancient history. As members of the LDS Church, we are uniquely different in our testimonies and understanding of living prophets upon the earth, today.

For those who have gained a personal testimony of The Book of Mormon they've also come to know by the power of the Spirit that God has called living prophets to guide and direct the affairs of the Kingdom of God, in these latter-days. We believe that through Joseph Smith Jr., the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness. We have testimonies of priesthood keys, and the authority that God has given to man, to act in His Name - His Holy Priesthood.

As children of the latter-day house of Israel, we are among the covenant people of the Lord, who follow the counsel and teachings of modern prophets. We sustain these men whom the Lord has called - as prophets, seers and revelators. The Lord has said, in regard to His words as they have come to us through His chosen servants...

D&C 1:37-38
Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

We honor these living prophets of the Lord, as those who speak the mind and will of the Lord, as He Himself would speak them to us; if He were in our presence. There is no difference.

We learn from numerous scriptural accounts, throughout history, that those who choose to follow God's prophets are blessed. The alternative, leads to misery and unhappiness. One of the great blessings of having scripture in our possession, is learning from past history the dealings of God among His covenant children. God is the same "yesterday, today, and forever". We can be confident that God will keep His promises to His children. As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, and follow His living prophets, we come to know the blessings of obedience in our own lives.

As we study the scriptures each day, we can look for the patterns of those who either ignored the laws of God, or those who were faithful in keeping their covenants and followed the prophets. We should also pay close attention to the results of those who were unwilling to make covenants with God. Throughout most of scripture, we have been given stark contrasts in these regards, so that we may see clearly, and know how to come closer to God. Those who oppose the teachings of the prophets of God, separate themselves from Him.

I love the primary song "Keep the Commandments". It is so simple. We learn that IF we keep the commandments of God, that there is "safety and peace". As we take note of the world that we are living in today, things can feel quite unsettling. However, as we choose to do those things that we have been commanded and counseled to do, by our living prophets, we are then blessed with confidence that our lives are in the Hands of the Lord, and on course. As a result, our faith increases in our ability to keep our covenants, and know that we are walking in the ways of truth and righteousness. Peace becomes our personal condition. 

John 27:14
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Jesus Christ beckons unto each one of us personally, to "Come Unto Me". When we accept the fact that there is a Prophet of the Lord, who leads, guides and directs His people today, then we become accountable through our baptismal covenant - to look to that Living oracle of God, to know His will for us, now.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, who know that prophets walk the earth today, we can testify with power...


1. We can testify that a "truth" is so, by and through the Power of the Holy Ghost.

2. We can testify that... "A Prophet of God, taught me this..."

3. We can testify that Prophets of God teach that - which makes a "difference" - and, which is always simple, true, and right - for our DAY.

The fact that we know that there are prophets upon the earth today, blesses us with eternal truth, that change our lives... and has the power to also change the lives of those whom we are willing to share this testimony with.

As members of His Church, who follow His living prophets... may we truly come to understand this eternal truth, and how the power of this knowledge changes our lives, and makes us different.

tDMg
Kathryn









Unselfish Service to Others


About my rant the other day on being a new missionary mom... I did FINALLY hear from my son later that afternoon. Sigh of relief. I thought it was only fair that I provide an update after embarrassing myself! 

Any parent who's raised teenagers can attest to the fact that being unselfish is a difficult concept for them to develop.  I'm not saying that they're bad kids because of this, I'm just saying.  Selfishness seems to be a right of passage for many teens.  It's pretty much a way of life for most.  Fortunately, as part of the plan, most of them do grow out of it.  That's why one particular comment in my sons email home, touched my heart deeply...

Near the close of his letter, after he shared some of the experiences he'd had over the past week, he said:

"I really miss my life but I feel good with what I'm doing. It's nice to be selfless."





Needless to say, but for this stressed out mom -- the wait for his letter was more than worth it, just to hear those simple words.

Be sure and share this latest Mormon Messages video:  Unselfish Service
You can read a few excerpts from Elder Skaggs' email HERE.

tDMg
Kathryn

Obama's Power Grab on Marriage

President Obama's administration came out today and said that he has declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  "DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages".  Considering Obama's current unpopularity in general, even amongst many who voted for him, one can only speculate as to his true reasons for making such a bold move.  Here's what Attorney General, Eric Holder, had to say at a press conference:

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.

I like what Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Traditional Values Coalition, had to say in response:

"The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises.  Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act.  After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains.  Obama's actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.  

"President Obama believes he has "concluded" that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder -- effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

"We are a nation of laws, not whims. 

"Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage.  This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law."

Protecting DOMA is important to ensuring that individual states must decide the issue of marriage.  In my opinion, the issue of marriage should be decided by the voice of the people in a given state.   Living in California, and experiencing similar "power grabs" on a state scale, cause me to want to speak out!  President Obama has no right to squelch the voices of every American citizen by using his executive powers in lieu of our individual right to vote on such matters.

I believe that because of the long history of traditional marriage in this country and around the world, DOMA was important to establish on a federal level. 

It's easy to get caught up in the issue of marriage, and lose what the real focus here actually should be, and that is yours and my right to vote and be heard on issues that affect our lives on a state level.  I can say this even though I am passionate about preserving traditional marriage.  But regardless of what side of marriage one is on, we all need to resist allowing "Big Brother" to stick up for us -- and in so doing, lose the freedoms that make this country great!


tDMg
Kathryn

ACTION ALERT:

Email your congressman today!  Tell them that you expect them to fully support Congressional action to intervene in the DOMA litigation to protect marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Obama Borrows a California Play on Gay Marriage

A Mormon's Voice on Prop 8 Being Upheld

Validity of Prop 8 - The Argument

New Missionary Mom Rant!


I've waited a long time to become an official Missionary Mom (MM) but now that I am, I'm not quite sure if I'm actually going to like this whole thing. I know I shouldn't admit this, but I can't help it. It's only been a week and I've realized how unprepared I am for this hallowed adventure.

I don't like feeling in the dark. For example, yesterday I waited literally all day, hugging my computer, waiting for that FIRST blessed email to arrive from Elder Skaggs! Every hour that went by I found my spirits slowly diving, as there was nothing. Then I got angry! I couldn't help thinking how irresponsible of Alton to not write me when he should KNOW how desperate I am to hear how he is doing! I just couldn't figure out WHY he hadn't communicated with his mother, of ALL people!



 The woman who gave him LIFE!

It gets worse. I finally broke down and texted the girl he left behind, thinking surely he would write to her! I just had to know. She texted me back. Nothing. We were both sad:( That's when I knew something was up...

I'm now convinced that God has a tender spot in his heart for missionary moms. A few days ago I joined an email list for MMs. One last time I went to check my email and lo and behold there was a group message from these wonderful seasoned missionary moms. One sister mentioned something about not receiving mail from her Elder. I IMMEDIATELY perked up and shot back a reply that I had not gotten MY anticipated email either! It didn't take long before about half a dozen moms came to my rescue!

Apparently, I should have figured this out myself, but... yesterday was President's Day! A legal holiday! Most missionaries go to the public (government)library to use the computers to write HOME!!!

I feel like lovable, furry, old Grover -- in the book "There's a Monster at the End of this Book" (my absolute favorite children's book) when he says, "oh, i'm sooooo enbarassed."

And then, I had to laugh out LOUD with the relief I felt at that moment of discovery!

Now, I have new hope. Those wonderful missionary moms on my email list prepared me for what could possibly happen TODAY... Of course I'm once again waiting patiently for that email, but I'm calm. Kinda.

I'm also hopeful that as I learn the ropes of being a good missionary mom, I'll be able to better feel that missionary spirit of Mormon lore;)

tDMg
Kathryn

Mormon Missionaries and What They Teach?

President's Day Round Up

In honor of President's Day I thought I would share a few links to some great articles and blog posts that I have come across today, so far...





This Tweet from @LDSguy on Twitter!

Geo Washington & other eminent individuals appeared 2 Pres. Woodruff in the St George temple & had their temple work done http://j.mp/hNts3V

Vision of Former Eminent Men in The St George Temple
Compiled By Glen W. Chapman- January 2002
“And there in the St. George temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record . They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles .... In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord... .All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was President of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a High Priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained High Priests at the time.” (TEACHINGS OF EZRA TAFT BENSON p. 603-4.)
Be sure and download the PDF so you can read the entire account HERE.

A few fun facts and pictures in honor of " Washington's Birthday" from @KevinEarl on Twitter!

"Today we celebrate the birthday of one of America’s greatest statesmen, commanders and servants. Although some states have added their own holiday of different names to be celebrated at the same time, the federal holiday is and has been since 1880 a day set aside to celebrate George Washington’s birthday.  His actual birthday is on 22 February but because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act it now is held on the third Monday of each February. I highly respect the man and think he was the best man to be our first president." 

Head on over to Adventure Patches to see those pics and hear what else Kevin has to say about his favorite U.S. President, George Washington.

Ron Andersen over on Mormon Times published a wonderful article on the significance of Abraham Lincoln's life to members of the LDS Church.

Abraham Lincoln's life is meaningful to Mormons 



"President Heber J. Grant made the following declaration in February 1940: "Every Latter-day Saint believes that Abraham Lincoln was raised up and inspired of God, and that he reached the Presidency of the United States under the favor of our Heavenly Father. We honor Abraham Lincoln because we believe absolutely that God honored him and raised him to be the instrument in His hands of saving the Constitution and the Union."" 

Here's some fun humor from Tristi Pinkston, an LDS author: 

Happy President's Day!




From FHE Lessons --  a great resource if you haven't discovered it yet!



And now...   just to spice things up a bit I will add this controversial blog post written by Connor Boyack, back in April of 2009...


"Despite any noteworthy actions worthy of emulation, Abraham Lincoln stands in my mind as the worst president of "The United States", for the simple reason that his actions are still adversely felt today (well, by anybody who understands our history and pays attention to current politics). Other Presidents’ actions have faded into the history books, whereas those committed by Lincoln in the name of the Union’s preservation exist in our day as the solidified foundation of federal tyranny and centralized governmental omnipotence."
Be sure to read the comments section.  That's always where things really get interesting!

And on that note...  Happy President's Day!
tDMg
Kathryn

LDS Church Official Statement on Child Abuse

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued an official statement on the serious issue of Child Abuse.   It is a lengthy and personal statement from the perspective of Mormonism, which touches on many facets of this most grievous of sins.  It's hard to read, but even harder to imagine the magnitude of this problem that too many children are affected by.  It breaks my heart to think of such things happening to even one child.

  
From the introduction:
"The abuse of a child awakens in us an intensity and breadth of emotion that is beyond adequate expression. Perhaps this crime moves us so personally because we remember what it was like to hold our own children for the first time — the overwhelming feeling of love and the deepest parental instinct to nourish, teach and protect. It is shocking, almost inconceivable, that someone would hurt a child. It is the ultimate form of betrayal.
Society is uniting, rising up and rooting out child abuse. Over and over again, we see entire communities mobilize to search for children feared kidnapped and abused. It is national news when a single child is in danger.

But child abuse was not always the subject of national media reports. This evil lurked in the shadows, mostly unseen, almost always unmentionable. Yet even before the issue first came to the forefront in the United States, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, publicly denounced child abuse as a terrible evil. In the early 1980s, he captured our thoughts and feelings when he said in a worldwide conference broadcast: "I am glad that there is a growing public awareness of this insidious evil. The exploitation of children . . . for the satisfaction of sadistic desires is sin of the darkest hue.
What other position could the Church possibly take? The issue goes to the heart of Church doctrine. Little children are innocent and precious in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ experienced some of His most tender moments with children and reserved His strongest language for those who abuse them. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). Moreover, the family is at the core of the Church. Children attend Church services with their parents. Church practice includes a weekly family night, in which other interests are set aside so that strong family relationships can be built. In the family, parents draw strength from each other to cherish and protect their children by providing an environment where children can grow and develop in an atmosphere of love and support. The Church provides a gathering place for families intent on raising their children with spiritual values. Both the Church and family have the highest interest in the welfare of children.
In this document, the issue of child abuse is set forth from the perspective of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What is being done to discourage it? What is the Church doing for victims? Have there been court cases and settlements, and if so, why? How does the Church treat those who abuse children? How do the experiences of this church differ from those of other religious and secular organizations, and what are the similarities? In these few pages such questions are explored." LDS Newsroom

You can read the entire statement here, and please considering sharing this...

Official Statement on Child Abuse - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


tDMg
Kathryn

The Vineyard Online Mormon Service Project

I'm really excited to tell you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a wonderful new website called Helping in the Vineyard.  You can work as a volunteer on a variety of easy service projects that can be done right from the convenience of your own computer!

Larry Richman over at LDSTech.com has written a few blog post about the Vineyard to help get the word out about this new online opportunity for service.  

"The site provides opportunities for members of the Church to serve by working on projects that interest them. By simply creating a personal profile, anyone can access a number of tasks such as updating Church publications, media tagging, document translation, and video editing.  The great part about it is that it only takes about 5 minutes to complete one task. All you need is an Internet connection, computer, or web-capable phone to get started."

I have one word of caution though...  Serving in the Vineyard can be addicting!  Trust me, I'm not the only one who thinks so.   Pretty much everyone that I've chatted with, who's also been hanging around over there, has had the same experience.  Most of the tasks are relatively simple, but do require good concentration.  The website provide stats for the number of completed tasks you've accomplished, and your accuracy rate!  For some reason this makes me want to do more!

Considering that the Vineyard is new, and so few members are currently aware of it,  already over 30,000 tasks have been completed!  If only in a small way, it's thrilling to be part of a service project that will bless the lives of LDS members worldwide.

The Vineyard is also putting out a specific call to volunteers who can help with translating...

"We have become a truly worldwide church, and members of the Church are eager to “hear the fulness of the gospel in [their] own tongue, and in [their] own language.” (D&C 90:11). As the Church expands throughout the world, the need to translate Church materials also expands. " Read more: LDSTech

Whether you have only five minutes or an hour to give, Serving in the Vineyard is a great way to help build the kingdom, online! 

tDMg
Kathryn

What are you waiting for?  Go check it out!
Helping in the Vineyard

Mormon Belief: Purpose of Life

Here is the newest video produced by Mormons Made Simple: The Purpose of Life



Please consider sharing this video!

tDMg
Kathryn


Heavenly Father's Plan - Our Eternal Life

What Mormons Teach About Life Before Birth And The Purpose of Life

The Purpose of Life




Justin Bieber's Pro-Life Views


This story about Justin Bieber, over on LifeSiteNews.com, struck a chord with me today.  This young heartthrob of a superstar made a pro-life statement about abortion that really has the liberal media up in arms!  Apparently Justin was asked during a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine his thoughts about abortion.  Among other things, he had this to say...



“I really don’t believe in abortion. It’s like killing a baby?”

Whoa!  You can imagine how the people over at Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion folk reacted to such a graphic statement coming from a kid who has a lot of influence over young people, and especially young women!  After more probing by Rolling Stone Magazine, Justin was asked what his feelings about abortion were in the case of rape?  Justin went on to explain...

“Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason.  I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

All I can say is "Wow"!  I'm now a semi Bieber Fan and have decided to join the new Facebook Page I Love Justin Bieber's Pro-Life Views that has been set up for those who support Justin Bieber for taking such a bold Pro-Life stand.  I don't know much about his music, other than knowing the chorus to his hit song "Baby", which happens to be playing in my head right now, but I'm thinking I kind of like this kid.

I really hope Justin will continue to stand up to all the critics out there who are saying he's too young to have an opinion about abortion -- and then to make such a bold statement about the issue.   Standing up for that which is "right" is not an easy thing to do, at any age, in today's world where the voices of liberal tolerance are so loud. 

Way To Go Bieber!

tDMg
Kathryn





Pregnant? It's About Love
LDS Views on Abortion
Bristol Palin Made A Mistake - The Baby Is Not!

Fifty Percent of Marriages End in Divorce. Really?


I love Myth Buster Monday over on United Families International.  This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, they debunked the loosely dropped statistic that "fifty percent of marriages end in divorce".  Turns out that's not an entirely accurate statement.  Here's what UFI had to say…

"“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce” is such a widely touted statistic that it has become a part of our national mindset.  This mindset has lead to great pessimism and even fear for those who might be considering marriage and offers an excuse for divorce to those who have a marriage that is struggling – after all “everyone is getting divorced.”  But is the statistic accurate?"

You see, it totally depends upon which marriages you're talking about.  So to those in particular, who love to use this statistic to debate the merits of traditional marriage, I say it's about time we get the facts straight! 

The facts are, that fifty percent of ALL marriages do end in divorce -- BUT, more than 70 percent of all first marriages succeed! 

When I look around to my married friends that I've known for years,  the majority of them are still married.  I've always wondered about that statistic?  I thought this might be because, like myself,  most of my married friends are members of the LDS Church -- and we all know that divorce is not as rampant in the Church, right?  Anyway, this statistic never seemed accurate; at least not from my limited view.

Which leads us to the question of WHERE did the 50 percent number come from? Here's how…

"Those who marry, divorce, re-marry, divorce, and re-marry and divorce are dragging the overall average down to 50 percent.

Although a first-marriage divorce rate that hovers around 28 percent is far from ideal, that number tells a different story about marriage than the continual drum beat about divorce being such an inevitable part of marriage.  The vast majority of marriages can and DO succeed!" UFI

Apparently those who struggle with one marriage tend to struggle with other attempts, which then affects the success of the entire picture of marriage.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?  So, the next time you find yourself debating the merits of marriage and the importance of preserving traditional marriage, you've now got the corrected facts!


A few more studies that should make you smile about the future of marriage:
  • Married people report the highest levels of well-being.
  • Married people tend to be happier than people who are not married.
  • Two-thirds of unhappily  married spouses who decide to stick with their marriage report that their marriage improved within five years.

Happy Valentine's Day!
tDMg,
Kathryn

You can read more here:
Myth Buster Monday: “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.”
Myth Buster Monday:  Same-Sex Relationships and Marriage Equal to Heterosexual Marriages and Relationships

Families Can Be Together Forever

Mormon Messages has released their newest YouTube video: Families Can Be Together Forever. This is one of the most beautiful of all eternal truths taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"God organizes us into families so that we can grow up in happiness and safety, and so that we can learn to love others selflessly—the key to true joy. Within the family is the best place to learn to love others the way Heavenly Father loves each one of us" Mormon.org


President Henry B. Eyring, an Apostle of the Lord, teaches us what true love is...

"Just as Jesus used a child in His mortal ministry as an example for the people of the pure love they must and could have to be like Him, He has offered us the family as an example of an ideal setting in which we can learn how to love as He loves.  That is because the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows we experience are in the family relationships. The joys come from putting the welfare of others above our own.  That is what love is.  In many of our homes, there are words "Our family can be together forever". Whether the family will be together depends on the choices each family member makes."



 Please consider sharing this video...

 tDMg
Kathryn

Celebrating National Marriage Week!

Happy National Marriage Week! Who knew? I actually found out about it through an email, and I'm sure glad I did. It's quite appropriate that it culminates on Valentine's Day.  The day of LOVE!  Celebrating marriage between one man and one woman on a national level is very exciting.   It's an opportunity to reconfirm the importance of this time honored institution, that is at the very heart of strong families and communities, everywhere!

Here is what I was able to find out...
National Marriage Week is the brainchild of Richard Kane who started it in the UK in 1996. It has now spread to The Czech Republic, Hungry, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Australia. See -http://www.marriage-weekinternational.com. Marriage Week was adopted in the U.S. in 2002 by co-founders Brent Barlow and. Diane Sollee of Smart Marriages. In 2009, a group led by Chuck Stetson and Sheila Weber of the Let's Strengthen Marriage Campaign, working with dozens of organizations in the U.S. and many leaders in the marriage movement, have developed the National Marriage Week USA site to bring together the many activities that organizations all around the country, including churches and houses of worship, are already doing to strengthen marriage during National Marriage Week USA— February 7th to 14th each year. We recognize in particular that social science is clear that children are best served when they grow up with both a mother and father. It is critical to strengthen the bonds of marriage to best support children so that they can thrive and flourish.
Let’s Strengthen Marriage is a national campaign initiated in February 2010 to encourage many diverse groups to launch individual and simultaneous efforts, as well as some collaborative, in order to raise the issue of marriage to the national agenda. We seek to build cooperation with houses of worship, businesses, education, the media, government and with parents.

I would love to see National Marriage Week, under this definition, be given a holiday!  At least one day.  A day for children to gather around a mother and father, where the importance and blessings of what traditional marriage can do to bless the family are discussed.  Where children are raised to value the benefits of this most sacred of all unions. 

Here is how one local community has taken the importance of marriage and made it a priority...  (I apologize for the commercial in the beginning of the video)


As we look toward the future of marriage here in the United States, it is becoming imperative that we take the time to teach our children the sacred nature of marriage between a man and woman, from God's perspective. The world is getting louder and louder and mainstream media would have our children believe that same-gender relationships are the norm.

I'm grateful to understand that regardless of where society goes with trying to redefine marriage for the masses,  people of faith can continue to confidently teach our children what is right, without fear of our beliefs ever becoming outdated.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, weekly set aside Mondays to spend time with family and specifically teach our children gospel principles.   We call it Family Home Evening, also known as FHE.   Regardless of whether we're ever given a holiday to pause and honor marriage, every family can take special time to teach its importance in our homes.

Be sure to visit the website, National Marriage Week USA where you can learn more about this important campaign.

tDMg
Kathryn

See also: Marriage Was NEVER Meant To Be Easy!

New LDS Internet MTC

Today I joined the iMTC, a.k.a. Internet Mission Training Center.  I am now an official digital missionary!  This project is organized by a group of dedicated LDS Church members with a desire to help spread the gospel online, by helping to train more members how to better use Social Media, blog, etc...  You know, the stuff I've been doing for over three years! I'm excited to lend a helping hand to serve. 

From the iMTC About page:
The Internet MTC is an independent project of Gospel Ideals International, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing the gospel of Jesus Christ via the Internet and technology. Neither the Internet MTC nor Gospel Ideals is an official project of or owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here, we form a community of LDS bloggers and social networkers and teach them how to use their Internet presences to effectively promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to reach out to people across the globe and direct interested parties to Mormon.org. We make using the Internet simple so you are an instant expert!
When I began writing over three years ago, on Hubpages as LdsNana-AskMormon, it was prior to Elder Ballard's landmark talk about using the Internet to share the gospel.  I feel kind of like a pioneer in this area, if I do say so myself!  It's been a great experience and I've learned so much about how to talk about the LDS Church to non-members. 

Even with more LDS members online, than ever before, there is still quite a bit of discomfort and lack of knowledge about how to share the gospel on the Internet.  It seems like almost everyone is on Facebook these days, and yet the simple use of the 'share' feature is sadly underused.    Just think of the possibilites IF more members would just begin by using this one simple Social Media tool!  It boggles the mind!

And of course this is where the Internet MTC will really be of benefit to all Mormons with a desire to share the gospel online.  An invitation to receive small assignments with simple instructions will be periodically assigned to this group of digital missionaries, with the ability to easily follow-through and feel success in the work!

So, if you're ready...  come on over and submit your missionary info and get on board!

tDMg
'Sister Skaggs'

 LDS Church News: Members Play an Important Role in Sharing the Gospel Online

Many LDS faithful becoming ‘digital missionaries' 




Same-Sex Relationships and Marriage Equal to Heterosexual Marriages and Relationships. Really?


Of course not! But that is what advocates for same-sex marriage would have you believe. The fact that they seem to be getting away with such tales is due to a lack of credible data being distributed, to dispute such irresponsible claims. More evidence that those who are most likely to be affected by same-gender relationships and marriages, meaning children, are the last that are being seriously considered.

It seems like every time a study is published either for or against same-sex marriage, we readily have someone who claims equal authority to dispute it. Most always a lack of sufficient data, or the way the study has been conducted is cited as to why these studies ultimately lack credibility in the mainstream.

One of the great cautions that proponents to preserve traditional marriage are concerned about is that we don't really know how this will affect society in general and/or future generations. Our instincts and personal beliefs tell us that this is not good. We just can't prove it, yet. Not a good position of influence.

As a California resident, I'm quite familiar with Prop 8 and the ongoing struggle to preserve marriage. I've advocated for quite some time that children have a literal birthright to being raised by both a mother and a father. I'm not so naive to realize that this is not always possible. However, I do believe that society is obligated to do everything we can to ensure the best possible circumstance for every child.

United Families International is devoted to a cause they refer to as "Myth Buster Monday" -- and this week they literally knocked it out of the park! UFI list four areas of concern about same-sex marriages and relationships as compared to heterosexual marriages and relationships, and then go on to share critical findings from both inside and outside of the United States.

Relationship longevity
Fidelity
Violence in Relationships
Health

Some of these findings come from countries such as Amsterdam, Norway and Sweden. These are countries where same-sex marriage has been legal for quite some time now, and we are able to clearly see the devastating results of legalizing same-sex marriage. Together with ongoing studies conducted here in the United States, a new story begins to emerge as to why it is imperative that we continue to speak out in defending traditional marriage!


You can read the entire post from United Families International here:

Myth Buster Monday: Same-sex relationships and marriage are the same as heterosexual marriages and relationships. « The United Families International Blog

The ongoing debate between same-sex marriage versus traditional marriage will most likely reach the federal level, ultimately affecting the entire nation. Those of us with a desire to preserve traditional marriage are going to need to step up our game in order to discuss our reasons for doing so, with greater influence. I believe that knowing the real facts, and using them, will strengthen our voice significantly. I'm personally committed to a deeper study of this issue and I invite you to join me.

tDMg

Kathryn

Family Research Council: Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples

UFI Guide to FAMILY Values: Sexual Orientation PDF

“Divorce-Risk Patterns in Same-Sex Marriages in Norway and Sweden”2004.

Prepare to Be Offended -- The Book of Mormon Musical   


As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think I have a pretty darn good sense of humor when it comes to being poked at for my "peculiar" beliefs. That being said, I think there are times when people actually mean to cross the line and offend. I think the producers of The Book of Mormon Musical are specifically of this type.

Over the last few months I've been hearing quite a bit of buzz about The Book of Mormon Musical. Perhaps it's because I happen to be "friends" on Facebook with an interesting member of the LDS Church who tends to like to promote the more controversial side of Mormonism. A few weeks ago he was trying to find, in particular, members who were willing to share their feelings about the play. He was also trying to find some pre-launch reviews. I believe he's even planning on flying to New York so he can actually see the play for himself. This with a group of other curious Mormons. Let me just say, that these are members who are basically on the fringe and enjoy being what I consider critical of the Church, but not so much as to get themselves booted out.

The play is expected to debut on Broadway, March 24, 2011. As far as reviews go, there's not much. What we do have is more than enough to let conservative LDS members, as well as all good people of faith, know that they don't want to be spending $150.00 for tickets to a show that they would no doubt get up and walk out on!


"Vogue Magazine called the show "the filthiest, most offensive, and—surprise—sweetest thing you’ll see on Broadway this year, and quite possibly the funniest musical ever. "The New York Post reported that audience members were "sore from laughing so hard" during rehearsals. It praised the score, calling it "tuneful and very funny," and added that "the show has heart. It makes fun of organized religion, but the two Mormons are real people, not caricatures." Wikipedia


After reading the few current reviews for The Book of Mormon Musical, I personally have no desire to see or support those who would purposefully offend to make profit at the expense of my "peculiar" beliefs.

Now, about being "offended"... I'm perfectly aware that to be so, is a choice. So, this Well Behaved Mormon Woman is making a conscience choice to be offended by this play. I invite you to join me whether you are Mormon or not. Some are calling this our "Fiddler on the Roof" moment. Seriously?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made an official statement regarding The Book of Mormon Musical:

"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”


I find the statement interesting. The Church has only one concern about this play and that is how The Book of Mormon (the actual volume of scripture) is portrayed and how it could potentially alienate people from reading it. That's huge. Certainly much more important than me being offended, or making our missionaries look stupid, or slandering Joseph Smith, etc... With that understanding I can clearly see why the Church has taken the time to make this brief "official" statement.

Church Statement Regarding The Book of Mormon Musical


To learn more about the Book of Mormon, please watch this brief introduction:




tDMg
Kathryn

The Book of Mormon Musical: Practical Religion for Modern Times?
Africa and Mormon Musical Bandwagon
The Book of Mormon - The Most Correct Book Of Any On Earth

Call for Unity Among Faithful to Protect Religious Freedom


Orange, Calif. -- This past week Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed the Chapman University law school. His topic, religious freedom -- with a call for religious groups to "unite in protecting this supremely important founding principle" in our U.S. Constitution.

Elder Oaks masterfully connected many of the profoundly relevant issues in society today, to a valid concern for our potential loss of religious freedom. Ultimately, he encouraged people of all faiths to recognize what is happening, unite and take action to preserve this most fundamental of all rights, and the very foundation of our Constitution.

I've spent a considerable amount of time, online, over the past few years writing and speaking out on the importance of preserving traditional marriage. The fact that I'm a Mormon doing this, is particularly bothersome to many who don't believe in God, or don't believe that any opinion based and/or coupled in faith has a legitimate place in the public square. Some, go so far as to not even consider my vote as equal to theirs, simply because it is based in religious beliefs. Fortunately, I've never bought into these arguments that attempt to squelch my voice. Unfortunately, many good people of faith have allowed themselves to be silenced. They have become convinced (or bullied) into thinking that they have to have some secular-intelligent debate to justify their position.

The left is doing a good job of convincing the right, that not only are our faith based opinions not equal to their opinions, but that our opinions because they are faith based are not even valid. Elder Oaks explains...

"What has caused the current public and legal climate of mounting threats to religious freedom? I believe the cause is not legal but cultural and religious. I believe the diminished value being attached to religious freedom stems from the ascendency of moral relativism.

More and more of our citizens support the idea that all authority and all rules of behavior are man-made and can be accepted or rejected as one chooses. Each person is free to decide for himself or herself what is right and wrong. Our children face the challenge of living in an increasingly godless and amoral society."


What I so appreciate about this speech, is that Elder Oaks re-establishes the preeminence of the principle of religious freedom in the United States Constitution -- and elevates it back to its status as the foundation upon which this country was founded. He went on to say…

"Moral relativism leads to a loss of respect for religion and even to anger against religion and the guilt that is seen to flow from it. As it diminishes religion, it encourages the proliferation of rights that claim ascendency over the free exercise of religion.

The founders who established this nation believed in God and in the existence of moral absolutes—right and wrong—established by this Ultimate Law-giver. The Constitution they established assumed and relied on morality in the actions of its citizens. Where did that morality come from and how was it to be retained? Belief in God and the consequent reality of right and wrong was taught by religious leaders in churches and synagogues, and the founders gave us the First Amendment to preserve that foundation for the Constitution.

The preservation of religious freedom in our nation depends on the value we attach to the teachings of right and wrong in our churches, synagogues and mosques. It is faith in God—however defined—that translates these religious teachings into the moral behavior that benefits the nation. As fewer and fewer citizens believe in God and in the existence of the moral absolutes taught by religious leaders, the importance of religious freedom to the totality of our citizens is diminished. We stand to lose that freedom if many believe that religious leaders, who preach right and wrong, make no unique contribution to society and therefore should have no special legal protection."



Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks Regarding Speech on Religious Freedom



I've barely touched the tip of the iceberg as to what Elder Oaks said in his address. I hope you will take the time to read the entire speech and even go one step further by sharing it with others of faith, and encouraging them to do the same. Each one of us has a voice that needs to take courage and be heard. We truly have the power, as we become more unified, to not only preserve that which we hold most dear, but be a great influence in society.

tDMg
Kathryn

Transcript of Elder Dallin H. Oaks' Speech Given at Chapman University School of Law

Elder Dallin H. Oaks Selected Biographical Information


Selected Beliefs and Statements on Religious Freedom of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Let There Be Light!