My response to incorrect concepts

SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MORMONISM AND CHRISTIANITY

1. Mormon scripture teaches that all the various Christian denominations, particularly the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, are all considered by Jesus Christ to be “wrong.”

2. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that there is more than one god who created this world, that there are many gods who rule over other worlds, and that worthy Mormons may one day become gods themselves. Even though Mormons claim there is only one God for them, they still believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate gods who are only one in their purpose rather than in a personal being that they share eternally.

3. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that God the Father is an exalted man with flesh and bones.

4. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father has at least one wife by which we were all literally born from as spirit children prior to coming to this earth. Some of these prophets and apostles have even taught that Jesus had wives and children.

5. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father had a Father whom He followed as Jesus had followed Him. This follows from the preceding points.

6. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that there are many things that Jesus did not create. For example, He did not create our spirits, nor did He create Lucifer, nor did He even create the planet that He was born on as a spirit. The reason for this is because Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer are literally brothers, and we as humans are all the younger brothers and sisters of them. We were all born of heavenly parents, who did the creating work of their world (not all worlds whatsoever) before we arrived spiritually in heaven.

7. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that we should not pray directly to Jesus. Rather, they can only pray directly to the Father in the name of Jesus.

 

My response to this: The title is incorrect. Mormons are Christians. Check out the title on the church buildings “The church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.

1. We are not taught that all other denominations are wrong, but that they were correct at their beginnings as much as they could be, but that through the years, many of the things that were correct became incorrect by dictations of the congregations or their leaders. I knew someone back in the 80’s by the name of Rex who mapped out the differences between all religions and he had done his research personally and had each of the leaders review his data before he published it.

2. We do not believe that the Holy Ghost is a god. We believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose-which is to teach us (Heavenly Father’s children) how to become like him. They are separate beings-not in one body. If this is so, why was Jesus talking to the Father while on the cross. Was he talking to himself or to another being? When he was baptized, in Matthew chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 it quotes: 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

This shows that there are 3 beings and not just one because if there was only one, who spoke?

3. Is it hard to imagine that we were created in the image of our father? In Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27, it quotes: 26 ¶And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

What is the image? A mirror or something more substantial such as a body of flesh and bone? It is comforting that when I die, I will be able to reach out and touch Heavenly Father and be able to hug him and not some puff of air.

4. Is it so difficult to think that Heavenly Father has a wife? That she is so sacred to him that he protects her and her name so that it does not become a swear word such as we have treated his and his son’s names in this world? If it is common sense that it takes a male and a female to create a baby, would there be an example somewhere that was determined before we were put on this earth? Yes, it is possible that Jesus had a wife and maybe even children. We do not discuss this because it is not important to our personal growth. There are other religions that consider this possibility or there would not have been a book created called “The DaVinci Code” which discusses this and other religions’ beliefs. I have read it and found it fascinating, but if Jesus had children, what would we do about it? Let them live their lives as he would have wanted them to do or worship them because they have his blood? I am sure that he would not have wanted us to do the latter for that would defeat the purpose of them being here.

5. It is possible that Heavenly Father had a father. It would make sense as well. But, why not? Why believe there is only one possibility? We are told that all will unfold and we will understand after the second coming of Jesus. So why dwell on this?

6. Is it so hard to believe that we were all brothers and sisters and that we are children of Heavenly Father and that some of us chose to not follow the plan of salvation as much as others? That as family, this would mean that Jesus and Lucifer are related? Personally, I have sometimes wondered what Lucifer may look like. The answer that fits the most would be that he looks like us. Not with horns and a tail, not with a pointed face, but like someone who may live next door. The difference between these 2 people that are mentioned are the fact that they personally choose to follow different pathways. Which pathway do we want to be on?

7. In our bible dictionary, this is what we are taught about prayer: As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings. Jesus teaches us at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 verses 6-13: 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

If Jesus is telling us to pray to the Father, why should we do anything else? Please note that I used the quotes from the King James Version of the Bible only. This is easily found and easily referenced.

I truly believe that we are here to learn to love ourselves unconditionally and to love others unconditionally as well. That if we do so, we would do our best to not hurt those we love and if we teach others to do this as well, that it would make this a better world. To me, the “Mormon” church teaches how to do this with all of their “rules” and I am glad that I have a goal to reach throughout my life, that I am not alone and that there is a way to do this.

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What is a testimony?

My definition is that it is a true belief in an idea that should be shared to strengthen it. You can have a Testimony in anything and anyone.

But the one focus that all are concerned with is this:
Who is Heavenly Father?
Who is Jesus Christ?
Who is Joseph Smith?
Do I believe in these people and what they have done for me?
What is the Gospel?
If questioned, can I stand up for these beliefs?
Do I have experiences that will enhance these beliefs and do I have the ability to share these experiences?
When you have the ability to answer these questions to the deepest part of your soul, you have developed a Testimony. If you only have a little bit of a belief, it is still a Testimony. This is when you are to share it with others. Listen to others share their beliefs. Each person has the ability to help strengthen each other and support each other in the time that is used to grow.  If you have a testimony and do nothing with it, it will shrink and die. Treat it like a living object, for that is what a testimony is. If you share it and do everything that you can to help it grow by praying, reading scriptures, and all other experiences that you encourage to come into your life, it will grow.
It is good for a child to listen to their parent’s testimonies. It helps them to know what one is and how to nurture it.

I do remember a time when I was in Alaska and my family was the only ones in our branch. We would have a testimony meeting each first Sunday of the month and we were to share our beliefs. Because there were normally only 4 or 5 of us, we would each have the opportunity to share each time. As a teenager, there were times that I did not want to share. But the hard part was; if I was the last one to speak, all of the others would sit there and stare at me until I said something.
Now, speaking is not the only way to share your testimony. Living it is also a really good way to help it grow. During the same time that I was there in Alaska and this was my experience, I found that I had many opportunities to stray away from the church. I had the opportunities to smoke, drink, have sex, and all other temptations that were available to me at the time. Instead, with the strength of my parent’s testimonies, I found that I was happier if I stood my ground. I found that it was easier to stick to what I believed. I learned that I valued myself too high to give in to these temptations, though some of them were hard to resist because then I would fit in instead of being alone.  Throughout the years afterwards, I found that the experiences that I had up there, I carried with me through the hard-times and the better times. They taught me what I really believed.
Now, I find that many of the youth have been experiencing a small part of what I experienced at their age. This is through an experience called the “Trek”. I have sent 2 of my 3 children through this experience and have found that they found out a lot about themselves through this. For those of my readers who do not know what the “Trek” is, it is an experience that is created for a group of teenagers and leaders. They are to dress up in the pioneer clothing and push a handcart for a number of days. They are split up in families and they are given food to eat. They are not allowed anything that is more than 13 pounds each and they have a strict list of items that they are allowed to carry with them. This means no electronics! At the beginning of the experience, they have adults go through all of their items. If there are any items that are not to be taken with them for the next few days, the items are taken away. I found that there is quite a large pile of items that is left behind with each Trek. After all of the walking and the time spent together, these children have the opportunity to reflect on their lives and what they do have.
When I moved to Alaska, I was the last one packed, so I left quite a lot of my things behind and took very little with me-mostly clothing. All of my other things-things that would have been perfect for a girl, were left behind.  When all possessions are left behind, what do you have left? Your scriptures, your journal, and some clothes to keep you warm.

With this type of experience, you can either turn against the church, or support it. There is no fence-sitting. There is no complacency. You have to choose.
I am truly grateful for these experiences because I know who I am. I know what I believe and I do not waste my years trying to decide what I want to do.  I love the church. I love the gospel and what it means to me. I love Heavenly Father. I love our Savior. I am truly grateful for Joseph Smith and what he had to do to bring the gospel back for each of us.

We all need a sense of Humor!!!!

We all need a sense of humor!!!!! We need to be able to laugh. We need to see joy around us.

President David O. McKay counseled, “It is our duty to seek to acquire the art of being cheerful. It will hold in check the demons of despair and stifle the power of discouragement and hopelessness.”

When we discuss humor, it is not the kind that puts anyone down or to hurt others.

There are many who take teasing personally and so to avoid this, just do not tease. Or, at least tease with kindness. Personally, I can take a little teasing, but if it is too much, I find that I begin to find myself hurt and the fun is gone. I have learned to say stop just before that happens.

What we really want to do is to see joy all around us. When I have a bad experience, I find that I begin to listen to bouncy, happy music.  I find that hope is the bedrock of humor. I feel safe when I have hope in my heart. I can see good things when I have it around me.

To have my granddaughter with me reminded me that I can laugh at almost anything. A tickle, the way a word is spoken, a simple gift, running up the stairs, all can be funny. I hope that each of us continue to remember how to laugh and to smile. To be able to share that feeling with those around us would be a wonderful gift!

Shall the youth of Zion faulter?

I am a mother of 3 children. I have done my best to raise them with the gospel. The results are very dramatic!
Let me explain:
I have been an at-home mother during the first part of my children’s lives. I worked at night while they were sleeping and their father was there to take care of them. I worked these jobs so that I could help buffer the family income. A number of years ago, I found that I had to work during the daytime because my children’s father decided to walk another pathway from the one that we were walking together.
The nice thing about this, was that 2 of my 3 children were able to roll with the changes. The one that suffered the most was my youngest child. I will explain later on this.
I was home for most of my first child’s needs. I was able to be with her up until a couple of years into high school. She did not resent me for going to work, but rather, supported the choice. Her heart is strong.
My second child has had it just a little harder. He had times that he had need of his mother at home, and
I was not able to be there for him. We worked through this, but he did understand that I could not be in two places at once. I look into his heart and find that I did not need to worry about him. His spirit is strong.
I held 3 jobs for quite a while and it was difficult! I would be there when they woke up, then I would get home just after they got out of school. Be with them for a few hours, then went to work again. I would come home to a dark home and I would check on my children to see if they were sleeping in their beds.
This was hardest on my youngest son. He needed his mother at home just to be there for him. I had not been able to do this. He showed signs of his need through hiding his feelings. He made friends who were not members of the church and they encouraged him to stray from the pathway. I come home to loud-angry music, him playing on the computer-games that I would never let him play if I was home to control the issue, and having him talk to me in a manner of showing no respect.
I found that I needed to make a choice and I had to give up a job due to an injury, but the benefits are that I was home again. We “Tightened our Belts” even more than we had been so that I could be home for a short time.
I was able to have face-to-face conversations with my children. I was finding that my son is changing his type of music. He was learning that I am putting good influences in his pathway that he either has to reject-which he would never do to my face, or accept what I had to give.
Can he stray? Yes! What could I do about it? I voice my concerns to my Bishop, my home teachers, his teachers, even his home teaching companion. I tried to place good men who would create great influences in his life. Did this worked? Not as well as I hoped when I started communicating my concerns. I find that if I voice my concerns a lot, someone eventually tries to do something. What can be done instead? I am still looking for the good answer, because I know that there are many who are looking for the answer to this question also. So, what can I do? Pray for my child, place good leaders in his way, and hope that he hears what I am trying to say.
President Benson states in a conference talk back in 1971:
Never has the Church had a finer group of young people. They are choice spirits—sent to earth in this most challenging and important period of the world. Charged with the great responsibility of building up the kingdom of God on earth, they have an awesome challenge. This great and momentous responsibility and challenge comes at a most difficult time. Never have the forces of evil been so insidious, widespread, and enticing. Everywhere there seems to be a cheapening, weakening, downgrading of all that is fine, good, and uplifting—all aimed at our youth while many of their parents are lulled away into a false security as they enjoy their comfortable complacency. All is not well in Zion. The inspired Book of Mormon prophets saw this day and, as watchmen on the towers,
issued grave warnings. I quote: “For behold, at that day shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. “And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. …  “Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! “Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! “Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!” (2 Ne. 28:20-22, 24-26.)
Also, he states:
For young people to be in the world but not of the world has never been more difficult than today. But this burden must be shared by the parents.

The family home evening is an important barrier to the works of Satan.

The Mutual program must protect our youth against every evil influence and should fill a vacuum left by rejecting worldly enticements.

And, of course, a great panacea for all problems and personal doubts: prayer—private and family prayer, night and morning.
The critical and complaining adult will be less effective than the interested and understanding. And love and understanding are only effective when they are genuine. And to be genuine they must be motivated by love. We must love our young people, whether they are in righteousness or in error. In this way we can give them a chance to discern and to learn. But we must also give them a fair choice. Today many are not succeeding.    End.

Now my children are good- not perfect-young adults. They look for the good in those around them. They encourage the good and try to help those who are hurting and in pain. Because I see this, I feel that I have succeeded in being a good mom. I do not “sit on my laurels”, but continue to try to be the good mom, example and someone they can come to when they need a confidante.
My recommendation is to look around at each individual youth and see beyond the surface. See if there is a way to help that youth keep to the strength and testimony that they carry in their hearts. Be that
person that they can look up to. Help them before they are on their own and need to make those hard decisions that will affect their lives. We can do this for all youth, not just the ones in our family.

Love them.

Respect

Respect is a feeling of admiration, which generally has to be earned.

It also means refraining from interfering with other’s agency-we allow them to be themselves.

I remember when I was first married to my first husband, he went through my things and threw away a doll that I had cherished when I was a little girl. My mother’s visiting teacher took it when I was a little girl and made clothes for it. I had planned on cleaning it up (Ok, it’s hair was the example of a loved doll) and giving it to my daughter when she grew up enough to appreciate it. To me, he did not respect me enough to let me keep something important to me.

Respect always motivates us to want to be kind and caring toward him or her and gives us the opportunity to wish for the best in them.

The quickest way to lose respect is to do something dishonest or immoral. How can we trust someone who does something wrong that will affect us?

The best way to gain respect from our partner is to set high standards and stick to them!!!! Elder Hugh W. Pinnock has said, “Men and women who do not have a wholesome respect for regulations during the dating process will often continue to break the rules after the work ‘yes’ at the altar is spoken.”

I have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of my children. My middle child became 21 and told me that he was going to do something that was not appropriate in my eyes. He was honest with me and was open to my concerns. I gave him advice-probably not something that most LDS people would say, but I knew that he was going to do something wrong and I wanted him to know that I was still there for him because I love him, not his actions. Because of this, his evening turned out much better than I had envisioned.

To me, both he and his younger brother have promised that no matter what question I ask, they will always tell me the truth. I have learned to ask many questions and to brace myself for the answers when it is something that takes them away from the correct pathway. The part that is important is that I do not judge them, I do not punish them. I let them learn from their mistakes and I stand back because they punish themselves harsher than I ever could. In doing so, I have done my best to be a good example for them so that they know that they can come back when they open their hearts. I have hope for them because they know what I stand for and they will not do anything to jeopardize me. To me, this is the embodiment of respect-from children.

I have many friends around me and many respect me as much as I respect them. I have learned to work hard for that respect as well.

Remember, I am your friend. I have learned to be able to say that I love you for who you are.

We are not perfect, but as long as we are willing to work together, we can get there without being alone.

Christ-like Love

We will be focusing on Christ-like love. I remember one time that we were taught that a marriage took 3 people, you, your spouse and Heavenly Father. With this unbeatable mix, we have the ability to do much more than we would have ever been able to do with just the two of us.

What is Christ-like love? Well, please remember the saying “As I have loved you, love one another.” Think about it. What kind of love did Jesus give to those around him? It was unconditional love. It was a love where he was willing to give all that he had for his brothers and sisters. Not only then, but those who came before him and those who came after.

We are not expected to sacrifice ourselves like he did and it would not be accepted because we are not able to do so. We are not begotten of our Heavenly Father. We are not perfect. Jesus was. But, he did teach us many wonderful things and the one that we can use to change the world is to love unconditionally. We can love those who are not perfect and have difficulties in spite of those difficulties.

My family has taught me this kind of love and I am grateful to them for it. As you know, my family is quite dynamic. The ones who taught me this love were an ex-husband who taught me that I could love someone and walk away from them to protect myself and their soul, my daughter who joined the Army(which can be quite frightening to any parent), my oldest son who decided that he was gay and has been living the lifestyle, and my youngest son who gave me a very difficult time just before I encouraged him to move out on his own. I found that I have the ability to love each of these people in my life without having to love their choices.

Spencer W. Kimball said, “For many years I saw a strong man carry his tiny, emaciated, arthritic wife to meetings and wherever she could go. There could be no sexual expression. Here was a selfless indication of affection. I think that is pure love.” I was in a ward where I saw more physical and emotionally challenged people than in any other ward. One couple that I saw was the organist. She guides her husband in and gently sits him down on the front pew by her. After the sacrament was passed, she would then guide him out for a short time before she brings him back for the rest of the meeting. There is a gentleness that I see in her eyes and a trust that I see in his body. I am glad that I have the opportunity to see this in my life experiences. I have a chance to see many variations of Christ-like love on a daily basis and I am truly blessed for this.

May we all have a chance to encourage it in our hearts as well as see it in others.

The Gospel according to Mary

I was born and raised in the church and found that many words had no meaning to me because I had heard them so often and assumed that I knew what they meant. They were words such as “Remission of Sins”, “The Atonement of Christ” and “The Gospel”. At one point in my life, I decided to really find out what “Remission of Sins” really meant. When I did a lot of studying in the scriptures, I found that it really meant that every little sin was removed. That the soul was pure and if we work hard at it, we can keep it that way.
I found that I really did not understand what “The Gospel” really meant. People threw the word around so easily, that I knew that it was a thing. I knew that it was so important that people have died for it. I knew that the whole basis of our church was founded on it, but I did not know what it really was.
What is it? How complicated is it? Is it something that I could understand in it’s simpliest form?
I began to fast and pray. I began to really open my scriptures.
Now, I do believe that answers can come immediately because they do. They happen to me quite often and I appreciate it. If the answer is not one that I want to hear, I hear it anyway. If I do not receive an answer, that is my answer. The key is that after I pray, I listen. I spend maybe more time listening than
praying. Some people may think that I am sleeping because I relax so much when I do this, but when I am finished, I know what my answer is and I act upon it.  The words “God is Love” began to form in my mind. Then “The Love of Christ” followed after.
I found that I have to put my information to the test, so I challenged the Lord. I told him that if I did everything possible to be Love, to give Love for one day, that I would be following his commandments. I would then expect to receive the blessings that he has promised to me.

WOW!!! Be careful what you ask for!
I found that my focus was on love. That if I felt any other feeling, that it meant that I was not a follower of our Savior. I did not want that to happen, so when other feelings crept in, I would then do my best to remove that feeling as soon as possible.
I then asked for a blessing to make some decisions in my life because the life of a single mother, raising 2 children basically on her own, who had lost her job, was losing her home, a boyfriend that wanted to marry her, but could not decide if he was ready, and had a plethora of other issues plaguing her.
I was told that I was going to be making a lot of hard decisions and that they were going to hurt. But to know that I was not alone and that I would have the courage to do these things.
Within 24 hours, I had found that I had a new place to live that would not cost anything for a short time and that it would give me a chance to get back on my feet.
I had a temporary work service that found a job that would give me more than the unemployment that was going to run out in 4 months. It was still temporary, but it gave me a chance to catch up and clear out some debts that were getting nasty. My sons were beginning to talk with me again-yes, we had encountered the teenage angst that I had hoped to miss. I saw old friends that I found that either have greatly improved their spiritual lives or else need my love to help them grow. I also realized that my boyfriend was not for me because he could not cherish me the way I needed, so I gave him up. This was difficult, but it really defines the word “Unconditional Love”. I loved him unconditionally, and so I hope that his choices in life will give him joy. I was saddened by his choice, but I was not angry at him.
So, now that I have rambled on, let me tell you what the Gospel really is to me. It is a four letter word called Love.
That’s it. Love.
Heavenly Father gave us this place to live and give us a chance to be like him because he Loved us.
Heavenly Father gave us his most precious gift because he Loves us.
Jesus Christ gave his life for us because he Loves us.

We are to love everyone around us no matter who they are because they need it.  I challenge you to try this out. Only for one day. Do everything throughout the day only with the focus of love. If there is any other feeling, address it and change it to love. If you like the results, keep it up each day. Pray for the ability to keep it with you each morning so that it stays fresh in your heart and mind. I promise you that many doors come open to you when this happens.

How do we show love?

Another foster child that we had and I can remember very little of was a boy from Alaska. He was an American Indian who’s family were having difficulties.

One day, he was in trouble and mother had him sitting in the living room while she sat in the rocker rocking quietly. When my father came home from work, he saw what was happening and noticed that her knuckles were white, so he told us to all leave and make some orange juice in the kitchen.

My father then calmed her down and then went to talk with the boy. The boy wanted to understand why he was not beaten. He felt that if he was in trouble, he should be beaten. Did they not love him? My parents then told him that it was because they loved him that they did not beat him.

My mother had the experience of being spanked with willow switches that she had to pull off of the tree herself, when she began to have children, she promised herself that she would use her parents as the example as to what not to do. She did do her best and because of it, we do have love for her.

When this young boy was taken away from us and returned to his family, he ran away to came back to us. He was caught before he reached us. A second time, he ran away again. This time, he was hit by a car trying to get back to us. Our family truly loved this boy and had hoped to be able to give him the love that he had been craving while growing up.

Judge not

Ok, since the world is focusing on judging everyone for every little thing recently, I find this quite a lot frustrating!

I learned a long time ago not to judge anyone. I have a very colorful background and so I have learned to see the judgements of others and let them roll off my back like water falling off of Teflon.

I was married for the 4th time 2 1/2 years ago.

The first one decided to take a different path than the one I was on. He decided that we did not deserve to live and that we were bad parents, so we needed to all die. He even was on the phone calling around for a gun in the presence of our children while I was at church choir practice. After packing all of his things and then telling him to decide to be a part of our family or get out, he left.

The second one was all about eating, sleeping and bedroom experiences. He did not even talk with my children when in the same building with them.

The third used me to get a green card and was gone 2 days after receiving it. He was dating online and when asked why, he said that he was looking for another wife for when our marriage failed. Everything was all about him. He repeated the same kind of life with his next wife and when she contacted me, I guided her to what I understood. She and I are actually good friends now.

My fourth is the best! We work hard to make this marriage work. We do almost everything together. We always consider each other’s feelings and always do what we can to keep each other’s happiness in the forefront. I have been a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints all of my life. He has been a member for the last almost 3 years. Not because I pushed him, but he decided it for himself. I made sure of that! We have goals that we make together. No, we do not have all of the same tastes,  but that is what makes our lives interesting.

In our branch, we are truly diversified. It depends on the mood of the week it is as to if we have more whites or colors in our congregation. The only one that we have one of is a Hawaiian and we only remember because instead of saying “Good Morning”, she says, “Aloha” to us.

Now, here is something to think about: My husband is African American. Black. I am White. We have no issues concerning color. But, it is interesting to see reactions in the world we are currently living in. We live in the Northern part of St Louis. It is very interesting because very few white people live in this particular neighborhood. I go shopping in stores where I am definitely a minority. I have been pulled over 5 times since moving here over a year ago because the police want to know what a white woman is doing with a black man in our neighborhood. The last time I was pulled over, they actually admitted that they did not care about minor infractions, but were looking for bigger ones and then proceeded to ask me if I had ever been arrested. Of course not! But they felt the need to ask…

My daughter is a drill sergeant for the Army. She married a guy that is about 7 years younger than I am. He is older than my husband who is 10 years younger than me. Yes, it is a little bit different than normal, but you know what? This works for all of us. We are all happy in our relationships.

My middle child is gay. He believes in the gospel, but because of opinions of other not-enlightened family members, they chased him away instead of loving him for being him. The church states that it is ok to have the feelings, just do not act upon them. I have the paperwork to prove it but these family members are only thinking of one side of the sin-the act. So, I give my son the unconditional love that he needs and he brings light to those around him.

My youngest son went the way of drugs and the lifestyle that surrounded it for a while. He is pulling himself out of the messes he created and is doing a wonderful job with what he has. I wish that I could help him more, but he just wants someone to hear him, nothing else. I hear him.

Now, with just that much in my background, do you think that I judge? I find I cannot because it hurts those I make those types of decisions about as well as myself.

I learned to love unconditionally. To do my best to open my heart to all around me. Ok, so I may still have a lot to work on, but I find I now have friends from almost all walks of life. I accept them for who they are, not what they may have challenging them.

My life is not perfect. I am not perfect-yet. But is that not what we are all trying to become? If not, what are we doing instead? Is it healthy for us and those around us? What can we do to change? Do we need help to achieve it? Who can we turn to?

That last question is why I am LDS. It fits me. I use the lessons I learn to become a better person. To help others to become better as well-if they want to. It gives me a pathway that in my heart feels right.

Primary, growing up with only brothers and being me

When I was little, we had an activity that met on Wednesdays after school. It was called Primary. This was where we-as girls- wore dresses to school so that we could go to church after. We would get together and play on the lawn if the weather was good and inside if the weather was not so good. We would then meet in the chapel to sing primary songs and to hear a short lesson in the gospel. Then we would separate into our classes-separated by age to learn a longer lesson about the gospel. A lot of the times, we spent some of our time creating crafts.

One day, we were going to primary class and I remember that I was next to the outside door of the car(we had a family with 5 children, so with the bench seat, we were squished in), and somehow the door opened while we were moving. I did not have a seatbelt on because we did not have to have any at that time, and so I grabbed onto the door and was skinning my knee on the pavement before my mother stopped the car and then she helped me back into it and then continued on our journey to the church.

I remember being quite scared when this happened. But fear was not one of those feelings that I had too often when I was young. I accepted all challenges. I did my best to keep up with my brothers, and was always getting into trouble.

I was what you called a Tomboy with long, straight, blonde hair.

My mother told me that I never cried when I was a little girl until I had a sliver in my leg that was really quite large. I hardly ever cried afterwards because it showed weakness in the family and we were not weak!

I had no sisters, so to be busy doing “girly” things was not encouraged. I biked, wrestled with my brothers, played games with them, and had only a few dolls-which were loved, but quickly put away as things. They never took the center of my life.  I never really cared about makeup, the latest in clothes, keeping up with the current fashions.

Because of the way I was brought up, I could never understand the personalities of women who felt fulfilled making the “Perfect Dinner”.

To me, being with people and exchanging ideas made more sense. Doing things to improve life on a large scale was and still is my perspective. What can I do to make life better for myself and everyone around me has always been my focus.

Because of this, sometimes I make people uncomfortable. They wish that I could be more gentle and instead, I am more forthright. Instead of playing mental games to soothe and confuse, I focus on the truth and the best way to make good things happen.

I have friends without number. Those who love me back are the ones who accept me for who I am and know me to be quite open. I am blessed and I am very thankful that even though my growing up may have been a little bit different, it taught me a lot of what is real.