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Gay and Mormon: Is it Safe Yet?

As much as we are discouraged in referring to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who experience same-gender-attraction, as gay Mormons, it is, nonetheless, often the way that they identify themselves. It is this very description, among other things, that has caused discomfort among many faithful members of the Church, after viewing the BYU video "It Gets Better", created to support the on campus LGBT community, to ultimately reject it.

I am one of those. I took the opportunity to discuss my concerns with a very close friend, who has faithfully dealt with same-sex attraction, as a Mormon, who understands the importance of creating a safe space, within the Church, for our brothers and sisters who carry this burden -- to not only feel love and welcomed, but that will also allow them to come to peace with their life's burden. This is a process that often makes everyone involved uncomfortable -- nonetheless, desperately needed.



Before we go any further, let me get this out of the way, right now. I am not anti-gay, nor am I a bigot. I fully support the position of the LDS Church on the issue of homosexuality, feeling that when we as members embrace such an understanding our actions then emulate that of the Savior's.

The Church teaches that all of us are sons and daughters of God and should be honored and respected as such. We reach out to assist people with all of the challenges of life. Those who struggle with same-gender attraction are certainly not excluded from the circle of love and fellowship the Church hopes to provide. 
The defining factor for each of us is that we are children of God, born on this earth for a purpose and with a divine destiny. Our challenge and opportunity is to overcome the temptations and difficulties that lead us away from God. 
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married" (“Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 54). LDS Newsroom

I'm not aware of any member of the Church who would not acknowledge how critical it is for those who deal with homosexual feelings, to know that they can find support within the Church, from other members who desire to more fully understand their challenges -- and are also willing to help them bear that burden. And yet, in a desire to be supportive of gospel standards, which were not acknowledged in the BYU video, leaving on a broader scale the intent of the video ambiguous, many faithful members of the Church are left not knowing what the true message of the video campaign is intended to ultimately accomplish.

For some it is simple -- stop the suicide of young Mormons who struggle with feelings of homosexuality. On this, we all can agree. However, for others, the desire that if enough negative, outside pressure is placed on LDS Church leadership, about homosexuality and same-sex marriage policies, change will inevitably have to happen -- ignoring doctrine.

It is my opinion that the latter agenda runs active throughout this particular BYU video campaign, both on and off campus. However I also believe that an even greater "agenda", if you will, can emerge -- and is hoped for by many BYU students, willing to speak out about their experiences with same-sex attraction. And that agenda is the Lord's agenda -- which is for there to be a safe space within the faithful Mormon culture, where members who face the challenge of same-gender attraction can be supported, feel love and find help in creating a fulfilling and joyful life within the gospel of Jesus Christ -- as it should be.

Referring to those who have same-gender attraction, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “We love them as sons and daughters of God. … If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church” (“What Are People Asking about Us?” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71). 
We believe the standard of morality is clearly defined and applies to all of God’s children. The Church teaches chastity before marriage and complete fidelity within a marriage. Marriage is also defined by God as the union of a man and woman, and we are not at liberty to change that definition.

Although I can't support the overall "It Gets Better" campaign, I do think it's important to give props to the fact that, although not brought out in the video, every BYU student who was involved with the project is currently committed to living the BYU standards of moral conduct. To emphasize just how huge this is, my friend expressed the opinion that, "these standards are more stringent than what the general membership of the Church are required to abide." And stated that, "It is like the gospel on steroids". 

I was also reminded just how difficult it had to have been for this group of 20 brave, young BYU students to allow themselves to be recorded, sharing their very personal feelings about what it's like to deal with homosexuality.  Uncomfortable feelings such as fear of rejection, stereotypical judgments of unclean or unrighteous, and the overall experience of being stripped naked by such exposure, was most likely felt by many of these students in deciding to go public. From that perspective, I honor those who chose to do so, in hopes of a sincere desire to assist in creating a faithful space within the Church, not only for themselves, but for others with SSA, in the wings, too terrified to come out -- until it feels safe.

In my initial quandary about the mixed messaging of this video, and my sincere desire to show love and support, I decided to reach out to Adam White -- a key voice in the "It Gets Better" video, and within USGA. Understanding Same-Gender Attraction is the on campus support group behind the BYU video campaign, (not the producers) -- neither endorsed by BYU. I did this after watching Adam's own video, before calculated clips were extracted to create the specific message of the "It Gets Better" video -- which I found very helpful in my quest to better understand. The same was done with each of the students' personal video that was recorded for this project. What we see in the "It Gets Better" video is a very small part of what was actually shared by these students -- worth watching if you have the time.

Adam was kind enough to respond to my inquiries and has also agreed to allow me to post our, unedited, (except for spelling) correspondence. I felt that this was the best way for you to understand both of our desire to communicate on this issue. Just remember that neither one of us wrote, with the intention of being published. I think you will find this very enlightening, and at the least, worthy of my reason to address this topic:

Hi Adam,

I write a popular, conservative blog, with an LDS audience. After long contemplation I am considering writing a supportive post for the "It Gets Better" video you participated in.

As you know, many members are concerned that the standards of the Church were not brought out in the main video, and yet after watching your personal video, it seems quite clear that your personal desire is to remain faithful to gospel standards where chastity is involved. Also that USGA is a support group hoping to support such a desire. Is that true?

I hope you don't mind my being personal about these things but I feel that it is important to help the general membership better understand what it means to be gay and Mormon.

Just so you know, I do understand.

I guess what I'm trying to get at, is instead of reading what other people are speculating about as to how committed this group of BYU students are to keeping the commandments -- or the "true" intent of USGA -- I'd really like to hear from you personally.

There are many, both inside and outside of the Church, who would like nothing more than to see the Church change its policies on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I'd also love to hear your thoughts about how you feel.

Have you accepted that God will not change? How do you deal with an agenda that hopes for something different? Any personal thoughts you might share would be very welcome.

Also, if you wouldn't mind addressing the direct reference of "gay Mormon" in relation to what Elder Holland has counseled and taught about true identity. As you know, within the Church, it is discouraged to refer to individuals as "gay".

We are encouraged to use phrases like -- those who struggle with SGA or SSA. We can't say that you are homosexual, or gay, but that you have homosexual tendencies, etc... And yet throughout the entire main video that people are seeing in mass the BYU students are blatant about being "gay".

My friend's interpretation of "gay Mormon" means faithful to the gospel. I like that.

My hope is to try and blast through the concerns about the various "agendas" of a more liberal approach to SGA in the Church, to the huge step this is for members with SGA to create a safe space for living the gospel, openly acknowledging SGA. Do you think this is possible?

I have a very tender space in my heart for all of you and would like to, in some way, speak honestly about it and also represent USGA properly -- and its members. Any help you could offer would be very appreciated.

Thank you, Adam. 

Love,
Kathryn

###

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you for your well articulated message. I've been following the conversation surrounding our video, and I'm so glad somebody finally reached out to the group to understand our intentions instead of just assuming and speculating that we have an angle or an agenda.

The "true" intent of USGA is to create a home and community for gay Mormons on BYU campus, as well as to spread understanding and empathy in the BYU community concerning the topic of homosexuality. Now, some describe their experience as "struggling with SGA/SSA," and some use LGBT terms to describe their experience. Regardless of how an individual describes their experience with homosexuality, USGA is a place for them to find the support they need.

As to your questions, "Have you accepted that God will not change? How do you deal with an agenda that hopes for something different?" The answers will vary depending on who you ask at USGA. All keep the Honor Code. All are trying their best to reconcile their faith and their sexuality. USGA is place where they can do that safely and learn from the experiences of others.

Many at USGA feel it is a false representation of their experience if they used phrases like "struggling with SGA/SSA" because many don't "struggle" with the feelings. They accept their feelings as a part of them, and do not struggle with that. Many feel comfortable using the word "gay" because it better fits the way they experience their sexuality. Now, there are those who do "struggle with SGA/SSA" at USGA too. USGA welcomes all, no matter how they choose to describe their experience.

I think we are creating spaces where we can talk about homosexuality in positive, constructive ways. I think USGA is creating a community of understanding and empathy; that is what we are about.

I hope these thoughts help. Please feel free to ask any other questions that come to mind. Again, thank you for your efforts in representing our group accurately.

Thank you,
Adam
###


Thanks for your honesty, Adam. Your answers are very helpful in clarifying the purpose of USGA.

I'm curious... when the group meets what are the topics discussed to support members? Would you say that members are encouraged, on a regular basis, to believe or have faith that by keeping the commandments that they can be happy and have fulfilling lives within the Church? How is that approached in the group?

I imagine that for many this is difficult to reconcile a life of celibacy, and feeling that the "blessings" of the gospel are being withheld from them. Would you mind sharing how USGA helps to support members in this area? And how do members, in general, reconcile these things?

I hope you don't mind all my questions. I'm sincerely trying to understand.

How would you say that members, like myself, should and could best support members of the Church with SSA feel a part of the fold? How best can we reach out to support you and help you bear this burden?

I know it can't be easy and I know that "gay" Mormons often feel judged unclean simply because they deal with SGA. I know for myself, and I'm sure many members feel the same, but we love you and feel sad that you often suffer from feelings of isolation and depression. Surely God desires that we embrace one another and start acting like children of God -- as we are all His children.

IMO, there should be no safer place that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for those with SGA.

###

We discuss various facets of the LGBT community. We have had panels on bisexuality, asexuality, transgender individuals, and plan on having more panels like those ones. Various people come to speak to the group. Bill Bradshaw has spoken at our meetings, as well as Carol Lynn Pearson. Also, we have a spirituality night every month; I personally have led discussions on revelation and on faith at USGA. It is a very encouraging and empowering atmosphere, and these different types of meetings have helped members maintain fulfilling lives as Latter-day Saints.

USGA helps members reconcile Church policy and feeling closed off from certain blessings by providing a place where members can hold open conversations with each other about their hopes, fears, reservations, and faith. I'm not sure if there is a general consensus among members as to how reconciliation is achieved. There are wide spectrum of viewpoints at USGA.

I think the most important thing members can do is treat gay members as equals and as brothers and sisters. Often, gay Mormons are pitied under the guise of empathy. While Latter-day Saints don't have to see eye to eye on the issues surrounding homosexuality, hearing perspectives out and respecting the testimonies of gay Latter-day saints spreads understanding and Christlike love. This is the atmosphere that makes gay Mormons feel loved and wanted in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


###

Thank you Adam. Do you have any reservations if I decided to just post our question and answer dialogue? I know it's really causal, but I think, as is, it might be really interesting for others to read.

###

I think that'd be great! Thank you Kathryn

The reason why I finally decided to come out and address this particular "It Gets Better" video, knowing that some of you, whom I deeply respect, may have initially gushed over it after watching it --- is to hopefully shed greater light on the wider agenda within the fringe of the Church -- the reason why I ultimately decided to not support the campaign.

However I do support those student, with SGA, who desire to live lives faithful to the gospel. Now that's the video I want to see. I'm not okay being made to feel that if I support the leadership of the Church that I am then anti-gay. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am confident that I stand with a multitude of other faithful members of the Church, with a compassionate desire to reach out to embrace our brothers and sisters, who carry the burden of same-gender attraction, and who desire to live the commandments of God -- to help them feel greater love and acceptance within the Church. But I am not willing to promote a campaign that manipulates their message in such a way as to attempt to undermine the commandments of God.

My gay friend explained it to me like this...  it's why kids join gangs. When they can't find a safe place to be heard, feel loved, and have their needs met, they navigate to those who stand ready, with open arms, to tell them that everything will be just fine, they are loved unconditionally, and that they will accept them no matter what choices they make in life. For the lost and vulnerable this is very persuasive. I think my friend hit the nail on the head!

So, to my dear younger brothers and sisters, who are same-gender attracted -- I love you. We love you. There are many members who stand ready to embrace you and try to understand what you experience, in order to help you bear your burden. Just give us a chance.

And yes... it is safe.


tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs

WBMW latest: Now More than EVER We Need Living Prophets

Important note: In keeping with a desire to provide a positive place for those with SGA, to feel the support of the faithful LDS community, I will strongly moderate comments on this post. You are invited and encouraged to share your words of support -- which these kids really need to hear. This will not be a place to debate any of the more controversial topics mentioned in this post. We will save that for another day.

For a better understanding of the policies and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, relating to the topic of homosexuality -- please visit the LDS Newsroom.

Photo Credit: Spencer Ruiz 

Ann Romney: My Career Choice Was to Be a Mother

Ann Romney, wife of Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was publicly attacked for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, and by another woman. But this wasn't just any woman -- it was none other than Hilary Rosen, a political strategist. Rosen is the quintessential epitome of the "working" mom in society, and her critical comment about Ann Romney, that she "never worked a day in her life" has set off a social media, graduating to national media firestorm -- ultimately catching the attention of this stay-at-home mom -- who happens, also, to be a Mormon. Mind you, Rosen's comment was not intended to be a compliment -- nor a benign observation.

Video: Rosen on Ann Romney "...never worked a day in her life".


We all see the politics behind such tactics, as we know that womens' issues, in general, are going to play an even greater roll, going forward, in this year's presidential campaign. With Santorum now out of the way, Romney is basically assured the Republican nomination and will face, head on, Obama in the general election. Clearly the gloves are now, officially, off. But I say to Ms. Rosen, shame on you --  that as a woman, your willingness to participate in undermining womanhood and the individual right that each of us have to determine, for ourselves, what is right and best, for us, and our families is just that, shameful. Frankly, the war on women should not have as its greatest adversary, other women. I particularly appreciate Ann Romney's response to Hilary Rosen, in this Fox News report:

Video Clips from Ann Romney's response to Hilary Rosen on Fox News
My career choice was to be a mother


As Mormon women, whom Ann Romney is one, we have personal beliefs, based on the doctrine of the family, that have caused many of us, myself included, to make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I am of the same generation as Ann Romney, when such a choice was generally accepted as positive, and shared by the majority of women, both inside and outside of the Mormon faith -- even honored. Today not only does the world advocate that equality for women means the "right" to work outside of the home, to pursue one's career of choice, but is also becoming that which, among the majority of women, garners the greatest respect and supposed hope for personal fulfillment. Granted, this is a mindset that has had its time coming, as evidenced by the occasional challenges, to such a choice, that many of us have encountered along the way.

Due to this widespread interpretation of equality, an increasing number of Mormon women are making the choice to pursue careers that take them outside of the home to work. Let me emphasize though, that I do not believe that all Mormon women who work outside of the home are victims of this mindset. Many must do so for economic reasons, while others are imploring very creative ways to juggle home and family responsibilities, with supportive husbands by their sides, that allow and enable them to contribute to society in very meaningful ways -- while not sacrificing family as the priority. Modern technology is of great assistance in allowing many to generate both income and education, while never leaving the home -- or having to do so minimally.

Julie B. Beck, teaching the doctrine of the family, said this:

"In addition to understanding the theology of the family, we all need to understand the threats to the family. If we don’t, we can’t prepare for the battle. Evidence is all around us that the family is becoming less important. Marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, and divorce rates are rising. Out-of-wedlock births are growing. Abortion is rising and becoming increasingly legal. We see lower birth rates. We see unequal relationships between men and women, and we see cultures that still practice abuse within family relationships. Many times a career gains importance over the family."

Mormon Prophets and inspired LDS leaders have always taught the importance of womanhood and the influence of mothers. With today's economic challenges they continue to teach the importance of family, first, with a sensitivity to the challenges that many encounter. Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave this inspired counsel, and warning, while addressing the women of the Church --  over 20 years ago:

"Now to others who work when it is not necessary and who, while doing so, leave children to the care of those who often are only poor substitutes, I offer a word of caution. Do not follow a practice which will bring you later regret. If the purpose of your daily employment is simply to get money for a boat or a fancy automobile or some other desirable but unnecessary thing, and in the process you lose the companionship of your children and the opportunity to rear them, you may find that you have lost the substance while grasping at the shadow."
He went on to say..
"I wish with all my heart we would spend less of our time talking about rights and more talking about responsibilities. God has given the women of this church a work to do in building his kingdom..."

In a more recent General Conference Elder M. Russell Ballard made this statement in his address: Daughters of God

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

Utilizing the power and law of witnesses Elder Richard G. Scott boldly added his voice to President Benson's, in a General Conference address: The Power of Correct Principles:

"President Benson has taught that a mother with children should be in the home. He also said, “We realize … that some of our choice sisters are widowed and divorced and that others find themselves in unusual circumstances where, out of necessity, they are required to work for a period of time. But these instances are the exception, not the rule.” (Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, pamphlet, 1987, pp. 5–6.) You in these unusual circumstances qualify for additional inspiration and strength from the Lord. Those who leave the home for lesser reasons will not."

Julie B. Beck, former General Relief Society president, responding to this all too familiar question, at the 2011 BYU Women's Conference:

"One of the questions that I get frequently is, "Is is okay if I work outside of my home or I don't work outside of my home?" You have to know that as an international, global, Relief Society president, that question isn't always appropriate in all the world's countries. There are many, many places where if our women don't work, they don't eat. So of course they have to work. The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, "Am I aligned with the Lord's vision of me and what He needs me to become, and the roles and responsibilities he gave me in heaven that are not negotiable? Am I aligned with that, or am I trying to escape my duties?" Those are the kinds of things we need to understand. Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters, and because He loves us and the reward at the end is so glorious, we do not get a pass from the responsibilities we were given. We cannot give them way. They are our sacred duties and we fulfill them under covenant."

The most recent address given to the women of the Church, by President Thomas S. Monson, was at the 2010 General Relief Society Meeting, in which he had this to say on the subject:

"My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another? 

Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The Savior has admonished, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer—with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot."

As Mormon women, we have been clearly instructed as to our first priority -- the family. Let us trust one another, enough not to judge the different choices that we make, in regard to working outside the home -- or not. Ours is a relationship of covenant, that by the Spirit will guide these types of decisions, if sought. The adversary has, as his mission, to destroy our unity. As women of Christ we must resist such attacks and see them for what they really are. The prophet Joseph Smith was a great example of understanding the principle of individual agency, and exemplified this when he said, "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves".

The Savior taught the principle in this manner:
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (D&C 58:26-28)
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tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs


Ann Romney is a woman that I would feel honored to have in the White House, serving as our First Lady! It might even be okay if she brings along her husband, Mitt Romney. I'm a believer in the old saying that "behind every good man is a better woman" and I'm pretty sure in the case of Mitt, truer words could not be spoken.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World
"WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

Julie B. Beck: Mothers Who Know
"The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). 1 However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children."

"No, we don't look down on the many women who work. Yes, LDS Church leaders have taught that the role of a mother is sacred and vitally important, and have encouraged mothers to stay home, when possible. Let me first point out, however, that the Church encourages both women and men to become educated and to be prepared to make meaningful contributions in the world."

LDS Newsroom Topic: Women in the Church

"Motherhood and the nurturing of children are held in special respect in the Church, and many Mormon women who make this their first priority also achieve prominence in later life in business, education, medicine and other endeavors."

Eternal Marriage LDS Institute Manual: Mothers' Employment Outside the Home - Selected Teachings

Former CNN Producer and Mormon stay-at-home mom, Jocelyn Christensen, shares her very personal decision to walk away from CNN: Doing My Dream Job

"Women in our church are given many opportunities to serve and lead. We are encouraged to get an education and to follow our dreams. As I have pursued my goals in life, I have benefited from the wisdom of inspired church leaders. I felt particularly empowered by an address delivered last fall to the women of the church, called Mothers Who Know. In the talk, Julie B. Beck, the president of our women's organization offered many pearls of wisdom. Her main message was that there is "eternal influence and power in motherhood.""

We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ: The Hard Work of Motherhood


Over on "...and Spiritually Speaking" Sarah had this to say in response: Just a Stay-at-Home Mom?

"Because of the importance of the role of motherhood our Heavenly Father will guide our decisions, if there is any way possible to stay home with your children, do it, make the financial sacrifices so you can do this. I promise there is nothing more rewarding as this, and nothing as important. If this is not a possibility, know that Heavenly Father will make up the difference. So let's seek His will in this important matter, and let's be kind to each other."

Modern Molly Mormon: Every Mother is a Working Mother

"As women, we should be supporting one another. We should be creating a community and doing our part to make this world a better place. And yet, here we are, tearing one another down, denigrating the role and worth of motherhood and simultaneously denigrating the role and worth of mothers with an additional job. This is not how it is supposed to work."

Happy Easter Message from Living Prophets

Mormons sustain Thomas S. Monson and his two counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as prophets, seers and revelators, and refer to this body as the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the highest governing body in the Church. At this Easter season, they have issued the following Easter Message, to the world, via the LDS Newsroom:


"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) joins with the rest of the Christian world this week in celebrating Easter and remembering the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Church’s First Presidency issued this Easter message:


This is the season of the year when the Christian world remembers the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Out of love for His Father and for us, the Savior allowed Himself to suffer beyond the capacity of mortal man. He said, "Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit — and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink — Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19).

Our Savior broke the bands of death. Through His Resurrection there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so.

As special witnesses, we declare that God does live. Jesus Christ is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer, our Mediator with the Father. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again.

The First Presidency,

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The Church also produced “He Is Risen,” a new video about the Resurrection of the Savior.


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tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs

Please consider sharing your feelings about Jesus Christ and His Glorious Resurrection, via this "official" Easter Campaign at Mormon.org.


Excellent Family Resource: Easter Bible Videos Celebrate Resurrection of Jesus Christ

As a gift to the world, from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon) another beautiful collection of New Testament Bible videos have been released -- just in time for Easter. Beginning with the Savior’s triumphant entry into the holy city of Jerusalem, to the cross on Calvary, each video documents the poignant scriptural account, leading up to, and finally, the glorious Resurrection -- of which all Christians rejoice!

Video: Because He is Risen, I too, Will Rise!

There's a peace I've come to know...  because Jesus Christ is Risen, I too, will Rise! This just released video on Alex Boye's YouTube channel, "I Will Rise" caught my attention when a friend posted it on Facebook. So I watched, and although I wasn't planning on posting this weekend, I couldn't stop myself from sharing this magnificent song of praise, in commemoration of the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Not only is the music inspiring, but the lyrics are just as compelling, if not more so. It's a song that I'm happy to say I can't get out of my mind, and have already memorized the words. I love "I Will Rise" and in fact, I may just have a new favorite hymn.


Alex Boye shared his personal experience of how this collaboration came about:

"On the morning of Friday 2nd of March, i was invited to perform for a group of students at the Institute of Religion at Utah Valley University in Orem Utah. It will be a day that will not easy be forgotten. Before i got up to give my presentation, a choir filed neatly into position behind me and began to sing. From the first note, all my senses was grabbed hold upon by a heavenly sound that left me breathless. I had to do a 360 turn to see who it was singing. I didn't take my eyes off them until they had finished. By the end, i was overcome with tears. It's lucky i don't wear mascara

During the musical presentation, i felt a strong witness of the spirit, telling me i needed to take this choir to the studio and record the song they sang with them."
Read more.

Video: Alex Boye and Chris Tomlin "I Will Rise"

Songwriters: CHRIS TOMLIN, JESSE REEVES, MATT MAHER, LOUIE GIGLIO



"I Will Rise"

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise


Just a reminder to take a few minutes, this Easter weekend, to share your personal testimony of Jesus Christ and what His Atonement and Resurrection mean to you. http://easter.imamormon.org/

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, and I love Him. He is my personal Savior and Redeemer. His glorious Resurrection ensures that all of mankind will also live again -- and that by keeping His commandments we can claim Eternal Life. Living the gospel has brought tremendous blessings to me personally, and to my entire family. It is my testimony that Jesus Christ lives -- and that through Him families can be together forever!

I will rise when He calls MY name...

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Kathryn Skaggs

Easter Bible Videos Celebrate Resurrection of Jesus Christ

As a gift to the world, from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon) another beautiful collection of New Testament Bible videos have been released -- just in time for Easter. Beginning with the Savior’s triumphant entry into the holy city of Jerusalem, to the cross on Calvary, each video documents the poignant scriptural account, leading up to, and finally, the glorious Resurrection -- of which all Christians rejoice!


"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are enthusiastically joining an Internet initiative to express their belief in Jesus Christ and what He means to them. Easter is the time Christians celebrate the Resurrection of the Son of God. Latter-day Saints believe Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, died on the cross for all people on the earth and then rose from the tomb three days later, providing everyone with the opportunity to be resurrected."



"Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world are invited to participate in the launch of a major Internet campaign to testify of Jesus Christ and share their beliefs about the Savior during the Easter weekend."

Easter Action Items for Sharing Testimony of Jesus Christ

The past week has been a whirlwind to say the least. Traveling up to Utah, to cover April 2012 General Conference, via social media, was a thrill. In the space of one week I was interviewed three times, once for Deseret News, and two were on-camera interviews, by local TV stations. To say I was nervous about this type of exposure, would be putting it mildly. I was also able to tour the Goshen movie-set, where the Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos are filmed -- such a choice experience.

Using social media to share the gospel is as hot as ever right now. Opportunities are available every day and with Easter upon us, taking the time to help others know that we love Jesus Christ and that He is our Savior and Redeemer, it is the perfect time. I have a few very important ways to help you do just that, because I know you love doing this as much as I do. : )

Now that I'm back home, I've spent most of today editing the many pictures I took at Goshen, and publishing an article over on Hubpages -- to help promote the release of the recent Easter Bible videos, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). I published the article over there because of the potential for the videos to be seem by a much larger number of those not of our Mormon faith. But I need your help. So, I have an action item for you:

ACTION ITEM:

Please click on this link and VOTE UP my article: Easter Bible Videos Celebrate Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In that way the article is more likely to be seen and read by many more people, and thus the wonderful videos that the Church has so lovingly produced will be watched by those not of our faith. That is our goal.

Also, feel free to share the article with others via Twitter, Facebook and even Pinterest. (Check out my cool 'amateur' photography skills from Goshen:)

Next, the Missionary Department of the Church, via Mormon.org has launched an exciting, official, Easter Campaign, beginning today.  Here's how you can help to share with others, your testimony of Jesus Christ, online.

ACTION ITEM: 

The campaign will take place on YouTube and Facebook. The focus is to help those not of our faith understand that we believe in and follow Jesus Christ. The campaign features members of the Church sharing their beliefs about the Savior.

Short advertisements will be shown on YouTube on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 6-8). We anticipate the ads will be viewed a minimum of 15 million times. The advertising will link to a specially designed mormon.org page that has been created where visitors can share why Jesus Christ is important to them, learn more about our beliefs in the Savior, download the Bible videos app, or order a free Bible (U.S. and Canada only).

Visitors to the mormon.org Facebook page will also be encouraged to share their feelings about Jesus Christ. It is hoped that thousands of Church members and nonmembers will express their testimonies of Jesus Christ during the Easter weekend.

Church members are invited to be involved with the campaign in several ways:

1. Tell family and friends about the campaign and encourage them to tell their family and friends. Encourage family and friends to participate on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday by visiting mormon.org/easteror facebook.com/mormon.

2. Encourage family and friends to look for the YouTube ads and visit mormon.org/easter.

3. On Friday, Saturday, or Sunday Church members are encouraged to visit mormon.org/easter and share their feelings about Jesus Christ.

Note that the mormon.org/easter page will not be "live" until early Friday morning.

We believe this will be a unique opportunity for Church members to engage in conversations with those not of our faith about the importance of Jesus Christ in the lives of God's children.

(Please note that I have cut and pasted, above, the entire email that I received from the Missionary Department)

I'm so thrilled to see the miracle of sharing our faith, using social media, really taking off right now. So many of you are now more willing, than ever, to publicly share your Mormon beliefs. I know that this is not easy. As I mentioned previously, when I was asked to give those interviews to Deseret News and then to be on TV, I was nervous. Actually I was shocked that I was being contacted to do the interviews. I was concerned that the right words might not come out of my mouth. In fact I was so concerned that I asked my husband to give me a blessing before we left for the KSL interview.

This work of sharing the gospel, online, should be a matter of prayer. It requires the Spirit in our lives to say and do the right things. But I testify to you that this is the Lord's work and He will be with you every step of the way. I know this is true, because He is there for me. 

As you go out to share your testimony with others, over this Easter weekend, please remember that you never need to feel that you must defend or debate if someone doesn't like or agree with something that you've said. Don't do it. By the Spirit share what you feel inspired to share and leave it at that. If you feel compelled to engage in a conversation, only do so if you can simply answer questions and state, kindly, your beliefs.

Now, go out and have a blast, sharing your joy about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- that He Lives, and that because of Him our families can be together, forever!

Video: Watch and Share - Jesus Christ is Risen!




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Kathryn Skaggs

Here are the links to my two TV interviews and the Deseret News article, if you'd like to take a look. Pretty fun stuff!

KSL TV Channel 5: 'Twitterstake' becomes a way to connect during conference (make sure and click on 6:30 pm video on the righthand side bar to see the right video)

"For many, there is much more to General Conference than listening. Some join what's known as "Twitterstake," a Latter-day Saint online community. Last October, this community registered 50,000 tweets about General Conference, making it one of the top 10 twitter trends in the United States."


"The social media movement is so strong , the LDS Church invited well-known and popular blogger Kathryn Skaggs to blog and tweet live from the conference center.

"It will be fun to see how many tweets using the hash-tag "#LDSCONF" launched conference into the top ten trending topics," Skaggs said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the church to let their voices and prophet's voices be heard throughout the world.""

Deseret News: LDS members prepare for conference social media explosion
"Last October, church officials invited Skaggs, aka @LDSNana, to tweet messages from the media room at the Conference Center. Things intensified when the lights dimmed and reporters around her began typing furiously, but then Skaggs was overcome with a feeling that she was part of something bigger than she could comprehend."

Sunday Afternoon April 2012 General Conference Highlights

I know we all share similar feelings at the close of every General Conference, but I think actually being here in Utah, so close to everything, made the Sunday afternoon, concluding session all the more bittersweet. Such feelings of gratitude filled my heart, as the closing prayer was being offered, while at the very same time I was saddened that this conference experience was now ended.

So many personal messages. So much light. So much to ponder...



I always come away from General Conference feeling that I have been lovingly chastised, wisely counseled, my testimony of living prophets and the truthfulness of the gospel strengthened. What more could one ask for? I do think it's interesting that, for me, the chastisements seem to stand out the most, and tend to linger longer. Which then emphasizes the great need for personal repentance, in order for progression to occur. Truly, the Lord chastiseth those whom He loveth. And I certainly felt His love through the many messages of this conference.


L. Tom Perry - The Power of Deliverance

"This year we are studying the Book of Mormon." 

"Many of the stories of the Book of Mormon are stories of deliverance."

"Prophecies foretelling the life and mission of Jesus Christ promise us the deliverance that He will provide. His Atonement and Resurrection provide all of us an escape from physical death, and, if we repent, an escape from spiritual death, bringing with it the blessings of eternal life."

""What a blessing it is to have the account of the mission of our Lord and Savior declared in the Book of Mormon to add a second witness to the doctrine declared in the Bible."

"Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon in and of themselves is sufficient. Both are necessary for us to teach and learn about the full and complete doctrine of Christ. The need for the other does not diminish either one of them. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are necessary for our salvation."


"We can be delivered from the ways of evil and wickedness by turning to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. The Savior is the great deliverer for He delivers us from death and sin."

"I declare that Jesus is the Christ, and we can draw close to Him by reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  The first testaments of Jesus Christ are the Old and New Testaments -- or the Bible.


M. Russel Ballard - That the Lost May Be Found

"We have available to us a tool even more remarkable than the best GPS. Everyone loses their way at some point. It is through the promptings of the Holy Ghost that we can be brought safely back onto the right path; and it is the atoning sacrifice of the Savior that can return us home."

"Being lost can apply to whole societies as well as to individuals. Today we live in a time when much of this world has lost its way, particularly with regard to the values and priorities within our homes."

"There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home…  "

"It is our homes and families that need reforming in this increasingly materialistic and secular world."

"Opposite of what many had thought, prosperity and education seem to be connected to a higher likelihood of having traditional families and values."

"When people make the family and religious commitments to gospel principles, they begin to do better spiritually and often temporally as well."


"The most important cause of our lifetime is our families. If we devote ourselves to this cause we will improve every other aspect of our lives and will become, as a people and as a Church, an example and a beacon for all the peoples of the earth."

"This is not easy in a world where hearts are turning in many directions and where the whole planet seems to be constantly moving and changing at a pace never before imagined."

"The spiritual divide gets even wider as evil becomes ever more deceptive and subtle and pulls people toward it like a dark magnet -- even as the gospel of truth and light attracts the honest in heart and the honorable of the earth who seek what is moral and good."

"The Church is a mooring in this tempestuous sea, an anchor in the churning waters of change and division, and a beacon to those who value and seek righteousness. The Lord uses this Church as a tool in pulling His children throughout the world toward the protection of His Gospel"

"Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside of your home."

"Organize your personal lives to provide time for prayer and scripture and family activity."

"Marriage first and then family. Too much of the world has forgotten this natural order of things and thinks they can change or even reverse it. Remove any of your fear with faith. Trust the power of God to guide you."

"Husbands and wives, you should be equal partners in your marriage."

"As you seek to live the gospel and doctrines of Christ, the Holy Ghost will guide you and your family. You will have a spiritual GPS to tell you always where you are and where you are going."

"I bear witness that the resurrected Redeemer of mankind loves all of us, and He has promised if we will follow Him, He will lead us safely back into the presence of our Heavenly Father."

Neil L. Andersen - What Think Christ of Me?

"Even with His love for all mankind, Jesus reprovingly referred to some around Him as hypocrites, fools, and workers of iniquity. He approvingly called others children of the kingdom and the light of the world."

"He lamented that some were faithless and of the world but others He esteemed as chosen, disciples, friends."

"And so we each ask, "What think Christ of me?"

"In this turbulent environment, we rejoice in being disciples of Jesus Christ. We see the Lord's hand all around us. Our destination is beautifully set before us."

"Being a disciple in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout the eternities."

"The messages we have heard during this conference are guideposts from the Lord on our journey of discipleship."

"Our journey of discipleship is not a dash around the track, or even a lengthy marathon. It is a life-long migration toward a more celestial world."

"We may not be at our very best every day but if we are trying, Jesus' bidding is full of encouragement and hope, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

"Discipleship is believing Him in seasons of peace, and believing Him in seasons of difficulty, when our pain and fear calmed only by the conviction that He loves us and keeps His promises."

"Miracles are not always immediate. At times we thoughtfully wonder why the miracle we have so earnestly prayed for does not happen here and now. As we trust the Savior, promised miracles will occur. Whether in this life or the next, all will be made right."

"I testify that as you love Him, trust Him, believe Him, and follow Him, you will feel His love and approval."

"As you ask, "What thinks Christ of me?" you will know that you are His disciple, you are His friend. By His grace He will do for you what you cannot do for yourself."

Thomas S. Monson - As We Close this Conference

"My heart is full as we come to the close of this glorious conference. We have been so richly blest as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have spoke to us."

"We have had unprecedented coverage of this conference, reaching across continents and oceans to people everywhere."

"How blessed we are, to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and in our hearts. It provides answers to life's greatest questions. It provides meaning and purpose and hope to our lives."

"We live in troubled times. I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of the challenges we face. He loves each of us and desires to bless us and to help us. May we call upon Him i prayer."

"May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families."

"My beloved brothers and sisters, I desire with all of my heart to do God's will and to serve Him and to serve you."

"I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you…  May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better the you were when conference began two days ago."

"I ask the Lord's blessings to be upon you and indeed, upon all of us, and I do so in His holy name -- even Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior."


LDS Newsroom: Time-Lapse Video April 2012 General Conference


Watch, listen, download April 2012 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - HERE.

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Kathryn Skaggs

Saturday Morning April 2012 General Conference Highlights
What a day in downtown Salt Lake City, to kick off the April 2012 General Conference. So many highlights! I'm kind of like a kid when it comes to being here in Utah. I love it! And I love the spring with all the blossoms on the trees, and the daffodils popping up everywhere. Life is everywhere!

Saturday Afternoon April 2012 General Conference Highlights
The Saturday afternoon session of the April 2012 General Conference brought with it plenty of Church business with, among other positions, the release and call of the Presiding Bishopric and the General Relief Society Presidency.


Sunday Morning April 2012 General Conference Highlights
The Sunday morning session of the April 2012 General Conference, here in Salt Lake City, brought with it a complete turnaround in the weather. Just the day before it was warm and sunny with evidence of Spring throughout the city.

When Conference Materials Will Be Available

Sunday Morning April 2012 General Conference Highlights

The Sunday morning session of the April 2012 General Conference, here in Salt Lake City, brought with it a complete turnaround in the weather. Just the day before it was warm and sunny with evidence of Spring throughout the city. Although walking back to our hotel, at around 9 pm that evening, felt more like Summer. It was beautiful. So many people were out and about, enjoying the special spirit that always accompanies the Latter-day Saints, wherever they gather in large numbers.

So waking up to the north winds, with its accompanying rain throughout the day, was a big change.  Talking to few locals confirmed nothing new to this pattern. The previous day's sunshine, setting off brilliantly the flowers throughout Temple Square, and the beautiful blossoms on the trees, were clear signs that God is in the details.  On the other hand, a rainy day, to some, is seen as dreary. But not to me, at least not on this particular day.

I couldn't help but think of what it means to hear our prophets, who speak the words of Christ -- literally the fountain of living waters. As people were hurrying along, with their umbrellas and warm jackets, rushing to get inside, I thought of revelation as rain, and how exciting it was that we were about to have a huge storm!

And we did.

The Church created wonderful social media tools to encourage members to invite others to listen to the words of living prophets and to, specifically, join us for the Sunday morning session of General Conference. Thank you, to so many, who helped extend that invitation, as encouraged. Knowing that many, not of our faith, would be watching caused me to reflect on just how important, eternally, it is to have prophets. And as I, in my own small way, helped to broadcast their messages via social media, my heart was filled with gratitude for the technology that allows this modern day miracle, to gather the elect, to occur.

As President Monson addressed the conference, I felt the power and eternal significance of his prophetic message -- to the entire world. He taught the Plan of Salvation, to a hungry and thirsty world -- ignorant to their condition. My personal prayers were that the pure in heart, the seekers, would hear and receive his message. My faith tells me that many did, and will, as the digital proceedings continue to make waves around the globe.

Here is just some of what 'rained' from the Conference Center, Sunday morning:


Dieter F. Uchtdorf - The Merciful Obtain Mercy

"Strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself."

"The spirit of envy and hatred has led to some of the most tragic stories in history."

"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge."

"When we feel hurt, angry or envious it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment."

"We must repent and we must be willing to forgive others."

"Though we cannot look into another's heart we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one."

"When the Lord requires that we forgive all men that includes forgiving ourselves."

"This topic of judging could actually be taught in a two-word sermon… Stop it!"


"Don't judge me because I sin differently than you."

" We must recognize that all are imperfect -- that we are beggars before God."

"Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others the measure of grace we so desperately desire for ourselves?"

"When our hearts are filled with the love of God, something good and pure happens to us."

"As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventual fade."

"The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath frm our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us…"

"Let us, as disciples of Jesus Christ return good for evil.  Let us not seek revenge or allow our wrath to over come us."

"Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common. They are forgiven. And they forgive."

"Lay your burden at the Savior's feet. Let go of judgement. Allow Christ's Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another."

Russell M. Nelson - Thanks Be To God

"How much better would it be if all could be more aware of God's providence and love."

"Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for Him."

"Think of our physical sustenance. It is truly heaven-sent."

"The earth was created to support our brief sojourn in mortality. We were born with a capacity to grow, love, marry and form families."

"The family is the most important social unit in time and eternity."

"Central to God's eternal plan is the mission of His son Jesus Christ."

"Because of the Atonement eternal life became a possibility for all who would qualify."

"Heavenly Father loves His Children.  He has blessed each with physical and spiritual gifts."

"The many amazing attributes of your body attest to your own divine nature."

"Be we reminded that a perfect body is not required to achieve one's divine destiny."

"Great spiritual strength is often developed by people with physical challenges, precisely because they are so challenged."

"Mercifuly for us, our Creator provided for aging and other processes that would ultimately result in our physical death. Death, like birth, is a part of life."

"To return to God through the gateway we call death is a joy for those who love Him and are prepared to meet Him."

"Important as is the body, it serves as a tabernacle for one's eternal spirit."

"In this life and in the next, spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth."

"The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are all spiritual."

"Just as the body requires daily food for survival, the spirit needs nourishment as well."

"The spirit is nurtured by eternal truth."

Because of the scriptures… "we know that God is our Eternal Father and that His Son Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. For these spiritual gifts, thanks be to God!"

"Ours is the responsibility to teach His children and awaken in them an awareness of God."

"God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but we are not."

"Each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement, so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live

Sister Julie B. Beck - The Vision of Prophets regarding Relief Society

"Just as the Lord's prophets have continually taught elders and high priest their purposes and duties, they have shared their vision for the sisters of the Relief Society."

"Faith, family and relief --these three simple words have come to express the vision of prophets for the sisters of the Church."

"Providing relief to others is how we follow the example of the Savior who taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves."

"Relief Society is not a program. It is an official part of the Lord's Church that is "divinely ordained of God" to teach, strengthen, and inspire sisters in their purpose regarding faith, family and relief.

"Relief Society is meant to be a way of life for Latter-day women, following the pattern of female disciples who served with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles in His ancient Church."

"Relief Society is meant to help sisters avoid problems, if possible, and establish righteous patterns in their lives."

"As sisters become more aligned with the purpose of Relief Society, the vision of the prophets will be fulfilled."

Learn About Relief Society for LDS women: Daughters in My Kingdom 


D. Todd Christofferson - The Doctrine of Christ

"We have seen of late a growing public interest in the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is something we welcome because after all our fundamental commission is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, His doctrines, in all the world." 

"Since the beginning, it has been the purpose of the Lord and the labor of His prophets to proclaim God's plan of redemption."

"This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all the comes from God, this doctrine is pure; it is clear; it is easy to understand, even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it."

President Thomas S. Monson - The Race of Life

"My beloved brothers and sisters, this morning I wish to speak to you of eternal truths -- those truths which will enrich our lives and see us safely home." 

"In this fast-paced life do we ever pause for moments of meditation -- even thoughts of timeless truths?"

"When compared to eternal verities, most of the questions and concerns of daily living are really rather trivial."

"Moments of clarity come to all of us at one time or another, although not always through dramatic circumstances. We see clearly what it is that really matters in our lives and how we should be living."

"In our times of deepest reflection or greatest need, the soul of man reaches heavenward, seeking divine response to life's greatest questions: Where did I come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life?"

"Answers to these questions are not discovered with in the covers of academia's textbooks or by checking the internet. These questions transcend mortality. They embrace eternity."

"Where did we come from? This query is inevitably thought, if not spoken, by every human being."

"Parents ponder their responsibility to teach, to inspire and to provide guidance, education, and example. And while parents ponder, children -- and particularly youth -- ask the penetration question: Why are we here? Usually it is spoken silently to the soul and phrased: "Why am I here?""

"One primary purpose of our existence upon the earth is to obtain a body of flesh and bones. We have also been given the gift of agency. In a thousands ways we are privileged to choose for ourselves."

"By obedience to God's commandments we can qualify for that "house" spoken of by Jesus…"  

"God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as they are perfect." 

"Our Heavenly Father did not launch us on our eternal voyage without providing the means whereby we could receive from Him guidance to ensure our safe return.  I speak of prayer. I speak, too, of the whisperings from that still, small voice; and I do not overlook the holy scriptures which contain the word of the Lord and the words of the prophets -- provided to us to help us successfully cross the finish line."

"Death comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet."

"What of an existence beyond death? Is death the end of it all? 

"Death is not what some people imagine. It is like going into another room. In that room we shall find... the dear women and men and the sweet children we have loved and lost." (quoting Robert Blatchford)


"After the Savior was crucified and his body had lain in the tomb for three days, the spirit entered again. The stone was rolled away, and the resurrected Redeemer walked forth clothed with an immortal body of flesh and bones."


"Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these, and indeed to all: "Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me."


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Kathryn Skaggs

Saturday Morning April 2012 General Conference Highlights
What a day in downtown Salt Lake City, to kick off the April 2012 General Conference. So many highlights! I'm kind of like a kid when it comes to being here in Utah. I love it! And I love the spring with all the blossoms on the trees, and the daffodils popping up everywhere. Life is everywhere! When I drove into town on Thursday, the first thing I did was make my husband pull the car over, so I could use Instagram to take a picture of the beautiful pink blossoms. But what most excites me about being here is covering General Conference -- via social media.
Saturday Afternoon April 2012 General Conference Highlights
The Saturday afternoon session of the April 2012 General Conference brought with it plenty of Church business with, among other positions, the release and call of the Presiding Bishopric and the General Relief Society Presidency. On the lighter side, the Internet was frantically trying to confirm rumors that David Archuletta was part of the MTC choir, singing during the session -- which he was -- made evident by snapshots taken by attendees, flying across cyberspace!

Saturday Afternoon April 2012 General Conference Highlights

The Saturday afternoon session of the April 2012 General Conference brought with it plenty of Church business with, among other positions, the release and call of the Presiding Bishopric and the General Relief Society Presidency. On the lighter side, the Internet was frantically trying to confirm rumors that David Archuletta was part of the MTC choir, singing during the session -- which he was -- made evident by snapshots taken by attendees, flying across cyberspace!





And then of course there was the long pause that Henry B. Eyring took, which had something to do with the timing of the teleprompter, from what I am told. Conference always has its unexpected surprises that we all love to chat about and in some odd way, bind us together. I love that about our Mormon culture.

Moving along to the reason we gather every six months for our worldwide General Conference, is the love that we have for Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that living prophets are on the earth, today, and that they are inspired of God, to convey His will to His children. We testify of this reality as we feel the Spirit bear witness of the truthfulness of their messages. I felt that witness time and time again throughout today's proceedings. I thrilled in the blessing and opportunity to broadcast these 'general conference gems', and in particular, to those who are not familiar with the words of our prophets.

As promised in my previous post, here is a collection of the inspired words or quotes, spoken by living prophets, broadcast throughout the world -- during the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.

Jeffrey R. Holland - The Labourers in the Vineyard


"There are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets the unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition."

"We are not diminished when someone else is added upon."

"The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those."

"Envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving."

"Coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image."

"Be kind and be grateful that God is kind."

"The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through and let the distress of earlier hours, real or imagined, fall away in the abundance of the final reward."

"This is a story about God's goodness. His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines."

"There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized." 

"I testify of the renewing power of God's love and the miracle of His grace."

"His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not for the hour of the day in which you got there."

Robert D. Hales - Coming to Ourselves and Becoming Spiritually Self-Reliant

"Throughout our lives whether in times of darkness, challenge, sorrow or sin, we may feel the Holy Ghost reminding us that we are truly sons and daughters of a caring Heavenly Father who loves us and hunger for the sacred blessings that only He can provide."

"At these times we should strive to come to ourselves and come back into the light of our Savior's love."

"These blessings rightfully belong to all of Heavenly Father's children.

"As our spiritual desires increase we become spiritually self-reliant."

"We become converted and spiritually self-reliant as we prayerfully live our covenants…"

"I testify that the sacrament gives us the opportunity to come to ourselves and experience "a mighty change of heart" -- to remember who we are and what we most desire."

"Our desires to return to Heavenly Father's increase as we become worthy to obtain a temple recommend."  

"Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us strength to keep our temple covenants."

"As our desire to learn and live the gospel increase, we naturally seek to serve one another."

"As we act on desire and come to ourselves, we will be "encircled about eternally in the arms of His love."

Quentin L. Cook - In Tune to the Music of Faith

"Many who write about the Church have made a sincere effort to understand our people and our doctrine. They have been civil and have tried to be objective for which we are grateful."

Lehi's "vision starkly describes the challenges to faith that exist in our day and the great divide between those who live, worship and feel accountable to God and those who do not."

"There are those who are in tune to the music of faith. You know who you are. You love the Lord and His gospel and continuously try to live and share His message especially with your families. You are in harmony with the promptings of the Spirit, awaken to the power of God's word, have religious observances in your homes, and diligently try to live Christ-like lives as His disciples."

"We acknowledge that there are members who are less interested and less faithful to some of the Savior's teachings."

"Our desire is for these members to awaken fully to faith and increase their activity and commitment."

"Pres. Monson has specifically asked us to have the courage to refrain from judging others. He has also asked every faithful member to 'rescue' those who have tasted the gospel fruit and then have fallen away as well as those who have not yet found the strait and narrow path."

"The family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in the and in eternity."

"Religious observance in the home bless our families. Example is particularly important."

"What we 'are' speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say."

"The message, ministry and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior is our essential family curriculum. No scripture characterizes our faith better than 2 Nephi 25:26 ..."

"Faithful members must hold fast to the iron rod to keep them on the strait and narrow path leading to the tree of life. It is essential for members to read, ponder, and study the scriptures."

"The Book of Mormon is of seminal importance. There will, of course, always be those who underestimate the significance of or even disparage this sacred book."

"The essential doctrine of agency requires that a testimony of the restored gospel must be based on faith rather than external scientific proof. Obsessive focus on things not yet fully revealed…  will not be efficacious or yield spiritual progress." 

"I hope we are reading the Book of Mormon with our children regularly." 

"We know that family scripture study and Family Home Evenings are not always perfect. Regardless of the challenges you face, do not become discouraged."  

"Our doctrine is clear; we are to be positive and of good cheer. We emphasize our faith, not our fear. Regardless of the challenges you face, do not become discouraged."

Elder Richard G. Scott - How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life

"The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey. When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation."

"One of the great lessons that each of us needs to learn is to ask. Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and ask? Because that is how revelation is received."

"There are some principals and practices that enhance revelation…."

"Yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost."

"Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit."

"Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation."

"Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep and good eating habits increase our ability to receive and understand revelation."

"Revelation can also be given in a dream when in an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness."

"When it is for the Lord's purposes he can bring anything to our remembrance."

"Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation."  

"One must ever be mentally and physically clean and have purity of intent so that the Lord can inspire."

"For spirituality to grow stronger and more available it must be planted in a righteousness environment."  

"Humility is fertile soil where spirituality grows and produces the fruit of inspiration to know what to do."

"When we are acting as instruments in behalf of others, we are more easily inspired than when we think only of ourselves."

"Our Father in Heaven did not put us on this earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously."

"Our obedience assures that when required we can qualify for divine power to accomplish an inspired objective."

"The more closely you follow divine guidance, the greater will be your happiness here and for eternity, moreover the more abundant your progress and capacity to serve."


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Kathryn Skaggs

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