Sunday, April 28, 2013

GCBC Week 4: "We Are Daughters of our Heavenly Father"

This is a picture of me and my sister, Christy, when we were young (5 and 7?) When I turned twelve and entered the Young Women program at Church I couldn't wait for my sister to join me. I remember helping her memorize the Young Women theme and the excitement I felt that she was going to learn all the things I had been learning - which obviously wasn't much in just two years.

I knew of my divinity as a daughter of God long before I entered the Young Women program, but the fellowship of the other young women in the ward and my leaders helped solidify that knowledge.

I know a lot of young women were sad to see Sister Dalton go - probably similarly to when Sister Beck was released last year. I'm not sure how Sister Dalton got through her talk, knowing she would be released in the next session.

What were your thoughts about Sister Dalton's talk?

We are Daughters of our Heavenly Father - Sister Elaine S. Dalton

If you are new to General Conference Book Club, click here to find out more. The basic idea is to study one General Conference talk each week between April conference and October conference, and to chat about the talk here in the comment section. You can also link up (using the linky tool below) to your own blog post about this talk. The link up will be open until I post the next week's talk, but if you study this talk later and missed the link up, feel free to post your link in the comment section.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Never Would Have Known

I have written before about feminist topics, and it's no secret that while I feel compassion for the women who have suffered because of the ignorance of men (and women) in the Church, I have been completely unimpressed and sometimes annoyed by the Mormon feminist movement.

Today, my feelings changed.

I have never been particularly concerned about what it meant to be a woman. I loved the Young Women's organization but was excited to be a member of the Relief Society where I could mingle with woman of all ages and learn from their wisdom. I knew that I had a lot to learn from such amazing women, women I wanted to be like - but if you had asked me what it meant to be a woman I wouldn't have been able to tell you. I may have said something involving service and motherhood and Relief Society, but I doubt I would have said anything about the priesthood, and I probably wouldn't have said anything about Heavenly Mother (although I was firmly convinced of her existence and love for me - as a lover of the hymns, my favorite lines of "O, My Father" are the ones that mention her - "Truth is reason, truth, eternal, tells me I've a mother there" and "Father, Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high?").

Then the Relief Society published the book Daughters in My Kingdom. At first I didn't read it. In fact, I  only briefly leafed through the pages. I was a busy mother of small children, and reading a book about the Relief Society didn't really interest me at the time.

But then something stirred in me.

Image Credit:
I think it was around the time of the General Relief Society broadcast in September 2011, although my heart was being prepared during perhaps the year before that as I talked to my sister about starting a blog for LDS women, with authors in all walks of life - young women, young wives with children, young wives without children, those who had adopted, those who were infertile, older women, working moms, stay at home moms, retired mom, older women who had never married or had children. I envisioned a Zion for women.

Then I started searching for blogs for LDS Women. I eventually found and fell in love with Heather's blog, Women in the Scriptures, among others, but in my searching I also stumbled across some not-quite-what-I-was-looking for blogs. Like Feminist Mormon Housewives, and Mormon Mommy Wars, to name a few. As I read what other women were writing I realized that there were women who didn't understand what it meant to be a woman in the Church, and I found myself wondering if I really knew what it meant.

That was when something stirred in me.

I wanted to know, really know, what it meant to be a woman, a daughter of God. I knew what it meant to be a mother - I had been preparing for that my entire life. But I wasn't sure I knew what it meant to be a woman.

About the same time I was going through this quest for an understanding of womanhood, the Mormon feminist movement gained momentum. I am pretty sure a large part of that was fueled by questions about Mormonism surrounding the United States presidential primaries, since one of the most likely candidates was a Mormon. But every time I turned around, people were talking to women like Joanna Brooks - disillusioned, non-practicing Mormon women who had been hurt and oppressed by unrighteous men in their lives, and were taking out their frustration and anger on the Church. I became increasingly frustrated and annoyed with their presence in the media and their criticism of Church leaders. Where were the women like me?

Over the past few years I have learned a lot about what it means to be a woman. Most of my new understand has come, ironically, through discussion and articles prompted by the Mormon feminist movement. Today I realized that most of the things that I have learned and the perspectives I have gained I can attribute directly to the Mormon feminist movement - either because something they said prompted my own fierce studying of a topic, or because of the responses of other women who understand what it means to be a woman.

So, in hindsight, I am grateful for all the feminist commotion because of the things I never would have known.

Have you learned things because of something that originally annoyed or frustrated you? Has someone else's questions or concerns about the gospel prompted you to study the gospel more fervently, and resulted in a greater understanding?

Monday, April 22, 2013

GCBC Week 3: "A Sure Foundation"

I have never been in an earthquake - minor or major - and don't wish to ever have that experience. But I have seen my fair share of spiritual and emotional earthquakes, and I can testify that I have endured them much better when my foundation has been strong.

An earthquake can definitely help you realize when you are missing something.

What were your thoughts about Bishop Davies' talk?

A Sure Foundation - Bishop Dean M. Davies

If you are new to General Conference Book Club, click here to find out more. The basic idea is to study one General Conference talk each week between April conference and October conference, and to chat about the talk here in the comment section. You can also link up (using the linky tool below) to your own blog post about this talk. The link up will be open until I post the next week's talk, but if you study this talk later and missed the link up, feel free to post your link in the comment section.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pra Ech Da (Pray Each Day)

My six year old son has a great testimony of prayer. He is not afraid to ask Heavenly Father for the things he wants and needs. The personal nature of my son's prayers never cease to amaze me (and sometimes make me chuckle - like the other day when he said, "Please bless that we will get another Xbox controller tomorrow." That kid). His faith is incredible.

Yesterday during the sacrament I had him write down the ways he will keep his baptismal covenants.

Now I realize that my six year old hasn't actually made covenants, but it is never to early to teach them how to keep the covenants that he will one day have the opportunity to make.

Here is what he wrote:

"I will pra(pray) ech(each) da(day).

"I will doo(do) va(the) Lods(Lord's) kame(commandments)."

I admit I had to ask him about the second sentence. I didn't prompt him what to write, I simply asked the question about keeping promises we make when we take the sacrament. I was touched by his awesome understanding of the gospel - at the tender age of six years old.

Of course, this was after he complained about going to Church, this morning "If I go to Church I am just staying in the car!" I tell you this so you know that even my kids sometimes protest going to Church. I don't believe in forcing our children to believe, but I also don't believe in letting my six year old stay home alone for 4+ hours. So I told him that when he is eight he can decide to stay home. I figure if I am going to let my eight year old decide whether or not to be baptized he can certainly decide whether or not to go to church. Hopefully by then he will have had enough meaningful experiences at church that he will want to go.

Like today he had a meaningful experience - he bore his testimony in sacrament meeting, which he hasn't done for a while. Probably because I haven't either. I almost fixed that today, especially when he asked me to go with him, but I was just not feeling it.

Later in the evening we were visiting with my in-laws and my sister-in-law mentioned that her two year old doesn't like church very much and my six year old asked why and she explained that he doesn't really understand why he has to sit still in sacrament meeting. I quipped that my son didn't really like church today either, and he turned to me, "Except, now I do! I liked church today!" I have a feeling that it had something to do with the way he felt when he bore his testimony.

The kid looked like a sunbeam when he came down from the stand.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

GCBC Week 2: "These Things I Know"

This is the first week of General Conference Book Club! I am excited to get started. I listened to this talk after conference because I wasn't able to watch the Saturday morning session. I really enjoyed hearing all the updated versions of his poem.

Also, Stephanie has created a General Conference Mastery for April 2013 General Conference to fit in with studying a conference talk each week. I think it is a fabulous idea, because I like quotes and I like memorizing things. This week's GC Mastery that she came up with was this quote:
We are free to choose what we will and to pick and choose our acts, but we are not free to choose the consequences.
I was mentioning to my sister the other day that it seems like each Apostle has his favorite thing to talk about. Agency seems to be a topic President Packer likes to preach about.

Did any quotes stick out to you in President Packer's talk? 

These Things I Know - by President Boyd K. Packer

If you are new to General Conference Book Club, click here to find out more. The basic idea is to study one General Conference talk each week between April conference and October conference, and to chat about the talk here in the comment section. You can also link up (using the linky tool below) to your own blog post about this talk. The link up will be open until I post the next week's talk, but if you study this talk later and missed the link up, feel free to post your link in the comment section.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mine Angels Will Encircle Thee

Some days are First Vision days, and some days are Liberty Jail days.

Today was more like a Liberty Jail day. You know, where you wonder where God is hiding, and you just want Him to come and save you.

Thankfully I live in an awesome ward, and several wonderful ladies came to my aid - came to save me.

And the awesome truth is that God will never hide from us.
"So hold on thy way,
For I shall be with thee.
And mine angels shall encircle thee.
Doubt not what thou knowest,
Fear not man,
for he Cannot hurt thee."
If you need a reminder (like I did) this song is a great one:

What are your favorite reminders that God is never hiding?

Monday, April 8, 2013

All Work and No Progress

Have you ever ridden a stationary bike? You can pedal as hard and fast as you can, but you will never get anywhere at all.

Lately I have been feeling like that in a particular relationship. I feel as if I have been putting everything I can into this relationship, but I have nothing to show for it. I feel like I am riding a stationary bike in this relationship, working hard but not getting anywhere.

A particular talk this weekend at General Conference helped me feel better and worse about this relationship. Worse because it pointed out all the things my relationship doesn't have, and that was frustrating. But at the same time, I was comforted and reminded that if I do my part I will receive every blessing Heavenly Father has promised me, even if it isn't in this life. 

What do you do when you feel like you are riding a stationary bike in regards to some aspect of the gospel? How do you keep pedaling when it feels as if you are going nowhere? Don't you get tired? Don't you just want to get off the bike and give up?

General Conference Book Club!

It is a sad day in the blogging world.

Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity, the long time (since 2009!!) host of General Conference Book Club is retiring (from GCBC, not from blogging - as far as I know). I asked her if she would mind if I kept the online tradition alive here at My Soul Delighteth, and she gave me the OK!

She also has a post today about how to start up your own General Conference Book Club. You can start a General Conference Book Club community at home, or online, via email, whatever floats your boat. Stephanie gives you some great tips. And check out Jocelyn's blog for an example of an "in real life" GCBC. If you do one in real life, make sure food is involved. If you feed them, they will come. Just sayin'

Well, if you are excited to get on with Week 1 of General Conference Online Book Club, then here is the place! Give us some comments on your favorite General Conference talk, what stuck out to you, what you felt prompted to do (if it isn't too personal).

Also, we'll be having some great discussion over at Real Intent this week, so make sure to join that discussion if you don't find this satisfying enough.

I will be adding a linky tool to each GCBC post so that you can write an entire blog post about the talk and link up at General Conference Book Club.

If you are new to General Conference Book Club, we read one talk each week and then come here to discuss and write about the talk, or link up your writing from your own blog. You can also find more information on the About GCBC page here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

General Conference 101

Note: This is a repost. I originally published this post in October, 2012, but I will probably keep reposting it each conference so you can get a little Conference 101. I enjoyed Tweeting General Conference the past two times I have done it, and look forward to joinging #TwitterStake again this year. Tweeting conference led to some really neat conversations in Oct 2012 because of the election - people were really interested in what we had to say. I hope to have some great conversations again this year prompted by tweeting conference. If you want to join in, simply post your thoughts from conference with the hashtag #LDSConf. Kathryn Skaggs from A Well Behaved Mormon Woman is usually at Conference tweeting live from the Conference Center's media room. It's a really neat experience. Hope to see you there!

I wrote up this series in the Spring to help people who are unfamiliar with General Conference get a little background, and to give you a few ideas for getting the most out of conference. In preparation for General Conference this October, Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity is doing a little series about the 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet. She asked me if I wanted to join in with some pre-conference posts, and I was excited, but kind of dropped the ball the past few days. I was going to try to make a whole week out of it. You will at least get a few posts. I’m kind of excited about some of the post ideas for this week. And I plan on making a bigger deal out of General Conference in the Spring.

Without further ado, here are links to my General Conference 101 posts, to help you get ready for conference -

-What is General Conference? – a little intro to General Conference, with some brief factoids and links to the available methods of viewing/listening/etc
-Preparing for the Feast – how to prepare for General Conference
-Conference with Kids – how to survive 8 hours of prophetic counsel with children. Yikes.
-note taking and conference – how I take notes at General Conference, and some tips
-What to do when it’s over – well, it’s just that – suggestions for keeping the conference message at the forefront of your spiritual life for the next six months

For your further entertainment, here is the General Conference info graphic the Church published recently and has been sharing all over social media. If you missed it, here it is:

Stay tuned this week for more General Conference fun!

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