Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Mormon Myth's and truths #10

I think this is the longest I have gone without posting on my blog--now I have some catching up to do.  I missed 2 Monday Mormon posts--and have received a few emails asking about why?  Oh, where to even start...... let's just say I have been on a mini vacation after this last mini stroke.  I will talk more about that later this week.

My question for this Monday Mormon  Myth's and Truths was this:

Do Mormon Leaders Practice Celibacy?

ANSWER:  Let's hope not, I would have to say NO NO NO

While we as Latter Day Saints believe in controlling our appetites and passions,  living a celibate lifestyle would go against our belief that God's plan for His children, and the purpose of life centers on marriage and family.  So to be frank with you, not only do Mormons get married, but all of our leaders, bishops, apostles and prophets can, do and are encouraged to marry and have children.  The scriptures read "For Marriage is ordained of God unto man.....that the earth might answer the end of its creation"

Next question, I've received several email about

What is the Mormon view on Homosexuality?

ANSWER: We believe that people with same sex attraction are children of God, they are loved by Him and are of infinite worth, just like all of God's children.  However, Mormons believe homosexuality is contrary to the physical and spiritual purpose of human sexuality, which we also believe are closely tied to the creation of children by a man and a woman withing a marriage.
The expectation of sexual abstinence outside of marriage is the same for all Mormons, regardless of whether they face homosexual or same-gender attraction.  Although the LDS Church has no official
position on the causes of same gender attraction, LDS theology teaches that each person has the power to control their own behavior.
In our opinion there is a difference between same-gender attraction, and same-gender action.  As long as a member with same-gender feelings lives the moral standards of the LDS religion, they are welcome to--and do, worship, serve, attend, and participate fully in the Church.
I want to clarify what the difference between same gender-attraction and same-gender action is.
There is an official LDS church pamphlet on homosexuality, God Loveth His Children, Church leaders have said this "Attractions alone do not make you unworthy.  If you avoid immoral thoughts and actions, you have not transgressed even if you feel such an attraction.  The first presidency stated:
"There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior"
In the official handbook church leaders have said "If members feel same gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, they may hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances."
 Jesus loved all people, even when He did not support or agree with their behavior, like the woman taken in adultery (John 8: 3-11) The LDS people should be striving to do their best, and the same as the Savior did.  Regarding issues of homosexuality and same-gender marriage, we are encouraged to reach out with understanding and respect to individuals who struggle with same gender-attraction.

This next part is coming from ME Monya, not from any handbook or official "MORMON" rules.
When I was 29 I was faced with some demons, the memories of my childhood.  I had never discussed it with anyone, including my husband.  These demons were effecting my marriage and my relationships with people, my level of trust was on the down slide when it came to men and intimacy.
One night in a rage of fear I verbally attacked my husband and accused him of things that were simply not true.  Eventually, I was able to go to my bishop and tell him about my childhood and some of the things that had transpired during the course of my life up until that time.  He encouraged me to face the issue and talk to my husband about it.
 Over the next year, this wise bishop encouraged me to face these demons and question the perpetrator.  I did, after much prayer, fasting and discussion I finally did it, I was under the impression that all would be solved, that once I faced the man who had done these things to me, that he would look at me and say "I'm so sorry, I've been waiting for this to come up, I need to repent"  Eric, being the wise man that he is said "Monya, please do not think that all is well or going to go as smoothly as you think, be prepared for the rejection"  I was shocked when I was told "I don't remember doing those things to you"  to make this very long story shorter, I ended up being devastated by his re-action, no feeling, no memory, nothing, just "so what do you want me to do now?"  Needless to say I was able to find a therapist who happened to be a Mormon bishop, at the time I felt it was necessary for me to be able to talk freely about my beliefs and needed someone to actually HEAR what I was saying.  I was asked by this therapist to join a group therapy with all women who had been abused, it was a small group of us I think only 6 or 7.  One of the women in the group was younger than me, had served a mission and was attending the Temple on a regular basis, she also held a position in her ward young women's organization.  She was abused by a cousin growing up, she had never discussed it with anyone (text book behavior) after weeks and months of getting to know her, I adored her, I could not believe she was not married.  In our sessions we were allowed to openly ask questions to each other and try to understand and help each other with our struggles.  I asked her about why she was not married, her response was that she had been engaged a couple of times but could not bring herself to marriage, because she was a lesbian.  I remember thinking "WHAT? this does not make any sense, how can a beautiful, intelligent, worthy member of the church be a lesbian?" So I asked the therapist, his response changed my thoughts and feelings for same gender attraction and I will never forget it.
 He asked her why she thought she was a lesbian, and her response was because she could not bring herself to even think of marrying a man after the abuse she had been through, having sexual relations with a man would never be possible. Then the therapist said "can you see yourself having sexual relations with a woman?" she said "no way, I just can't ever see myself being close to a man and I feel more comfortable around women, if I could live with a woman and have someone to talk to for the rest of my life I would be happy to never have sex"  He said "you are a worthy woman, you have done nothing wrong, the Lord is the only one who knows your pain, he is the only judge of what you can and cannot handle, but if you ever acted upon those sexual feelings with another woman that would be considered same gender action, until then you are worthy of every blessing the Lord has to offer"
I have several friends who have children that struggle with same gender attraction, some have acted upon it and some struggle with it but remain steadfast and immovable when it comes to their faith and HOPE in God.  I did not keep in touch with this beautiful young woman, so I am not quite sure how her journey is going, but I do know, none of us have the right to judge any person who is struggling with same gender attraction, it is a real and emotional struggle for families who are living with it.  I am grateful that WE THE PEOPLE are not the final judge, only the Lord knows our struggles and only the Lord will be our judge.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No room in the INN

The truth about life....... One day life seems smooth and good, we pray  for daily health and strength, we can beg and plead for our families to be comforted and blessed with eternal happiness and safety.  Do we really have control?  Yes, over some things in our lives we do, we control our thoughts and feelings, we control how we react to situations, how we treat others and ourselves, hopefully we are able to control the amount of time we dedicate to helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves, whether it be with a smile, a hug, a simple note of encouragement or a meal to help them get through to the next day.  These are just a few examples of  things we DO have control over, however I was taught recently by Bishop Bob Choules, not every trial in our life is in our control.  3 components to this are

1. trials we have caused by our own actions--bad decisions or choices-- for example
2. trials created by another person which effect our life--so many things fit into this category,  just a few--a husband or wife who choose to step outside the boundaries of marriage,  child abuse, the murder or loss of a family member because of someone else's choice, loss of a job--etc
3. trials that come from just living in this world we live in by no choice of yours or others, example would be a life threatening disease, economy, natural disasters etc.

I have been thinking about all of these components that can and will create trials in our lives, I myself, have experienced all three.  Boy have I made some wrong choices in my life, I wouldn't necessarily call them BAD choices but there have been things in my life I wish I had not done or things I wish I had not said, some of these have caused me to kneel and ask for forgiveness and to also go to others to say "I'm sorry I hurt you" in looking back at some of these choices I see how they effected not only myself but others who I love--however, I think the trials Bishop was talking about are probably much harsher or serious.  I have seen these trials in other people's lives within my own family--oh how grateful I am for the knowledge I have of the Atonement and how it can bless our lives and help us become whole again, fully loved and accepted by our Heavenly Father, lessons learned from these mistakes can and should make us better people, closer to HIM who loves us so much,

Trials in our lives that are chosen by another person and effect us are a little bit more tricky to forgive and move forward from.  However, no matter what the devastation this trial has brought into your life I truly believe we have been given the power from our Heavenly Father to truly forgive.  I don't necessarily believe we have an obligation to invite that person back into our lives, for example if one of my daughters were to get raped, I could eventually come to a forgiving heart but I would not invite this person to my home for dinner--does this mean I have not forgiven them fully--I think not--it means I can forgive the act of violence but I will not put my family through more devastation and I am not willing to have a sit down dinner with this person--the Lord will take care of the rest.  If someone has stolen from me, I could forgive them and yes, I could have them for dinner. ha ha

The third, well this 3rd component is near and close to my heart.  I don't consider a health issue or death from cancer or heart attack a devastation--a trial YES, but not a devastation.  There are so many things in our lives that happen just because,  nothing anyone else caused or by any cause of your own. Sometimes in health issues its all about genetics--When my diagnosis with breast cancer came, I was in shock because I thought I was very healthy, I always thought Eric would be the one in our marriage I would have to help.  Oh yes, lessons have been learned and still continue to amaze me.  I have done everything the doctors have asked me to do (well almost) I eat right, no sugar, no white flour,  (except for special occasions) no processed food, no running, exercising to my ability (this has been extremely hard on me since I love it so much and it has always been such a huge part of my life) I can sit and ask why? Why are these things continuously happening to me, and believe me there are days when I do--Eric and I just had this conversation the other night.

  I recently had a mini stroke, with doctors,  oncologist and neurologist debating what treatment would be best for me, I finally decided that I would take the blood thinner to help with the strokes.  I had the side of my face go completely paralyzed, major migraine, slurred speech, and short term memory loss.  For me the blood thinner is a much easier solution and less likely to kill me, it is not safe for me to be driving when I have these symptoms, if my cancer decides to come back I will go off of the blood thinners and a surgery could be put off for a few days to get the thinners out of my system.   So the truth about life is WE are somewhat in charge of our own choices, but ultimately the LORD is in charge--my friend Marian Priday text me an asked me how I was feeling and what the doctors had to say, I told her "obviously the Lord does not have any room in the INN for me right now"  Maybe when i finally learn what it is that I am supposed to learn a room will become available. For today,  listen to my body, and do what I think is best for me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Enduring Love

I am touched by this video.  I pray all people of any faith, are looking for this type of Eternal Love in their marriage--for those who are not married yet--marriage is hard work--never give up--

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Mormon Myth's and Truths #9



We love and admire and respect Joseph Smith as the great prophet of the Lord in the latter days, but we do not believe our salvation comes through Joseph Smith, we do not pray to Joseph Smith and we do not perform any ordinances in his name.  This is such a common mis-understanding with non-LDS members, and quite frankly why many people do not agree with our religion, and the simple fact is it is simply not the truth.
We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and we firmly believe what the Book of Mormon teaches: "There shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent"
However, because of Joseph Smith's prophetic role in reestablishing Christ's church, we very humbly claim that "he has done more save Jesus Christ himself only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it"
There is a popular LDS Hymn that I love called "Praise to the Man" it gives me chills when I sing this part of the song--especially when Brother Phelps plays it--

"Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere"

So do we honor and respect Joseph Smith  YES         Do we Worship him  NO

I now want to take this opportunity to relay my feelings for the Prophet Joseph Smith, this is coming from my heart.  It is so hard for many people to believe a young boy, the age of  14 he actually saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that they told him to join none of the churches.  He was born in a family without wealth, education or any family prominence.  He did what no other person had done since Muhammad, he brought a new world religion.
When Joseph Smith was only 17 years old an angel told him "that my name should be had for good and evil among all kindred, tongues" Even if you do not believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, a religious genius, a talented man, or a fraud and charlatan, the fact remains that that prophecy-spoken about an obscure uneducated, poor, farm boy with the homeliest of names, has most decidedly come true in our day--no one can deny this is true.
His mother taught him to read the bible and ask questions, he did and the scripture in James 1:5 kept coming back to his mind "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God"  So he went to the woods behind his home and prayed for wisdom, this is where he saw a pillar of light over his head, he said it was above the brightness of the sun, and fell upon him, when the light finally rested he saw two people, their brightness and glory defy all description, they were standing above him in the air, one of them spoke to him by name and said pointing to the other "this is my beloved Son, Hear Him"
Joseph then asked 2 questions:
1. the answer he received from his 1st question was "Son your sins have been forgiven you"
2. then Joseph asked which of the churches or sects was right, which one he should join.  He then was answered that he should join none of them, that they were all wrong.  We believe as LDS people that this was the beginning of of a new era, that Jesus was preparing Joseph to re-establish HIS church through Joseph Smith.
One of the things I will always remember as a young teen, also trying to figure out what church was true was this statement from Joseph Smith "I had actually seen a light, an in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, it was true,.....I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it"
This always stood out in my mind, and to this day I will never deny what I know to be true, I know it is true and I know that God knows it is true--miracles happen today as they did in olden days, Temples are built today as they were built in ancient days.  
In the end of his life Joseph Smith said "I don't blame any one for not believing my history.  If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself"
Joseph Smith eventually gave his life, at the young age of thirty eight, for the cause he believed in. I wonder how many of us are willing to do that?
A few of my favorite teachings from Joseph Smith are:
"A man filled with the love of god, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race"

"Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it, and this path is virtue,  faithfulnes, holiness, and keeping all the commandment of God"

"if you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, Is not God good? Then you be good; if He is faithful, then you be faithful"

"I made this my rule; when the Lord commands, just do it"

My testimony to you is this,  I know without one shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith saw what he saw, and that our Heavenly Father pre-ordained him before he came to earth to be the one to reestablish the gospel on the earth.  When I die, if given an opportunity to choose who I would like to talk or see 1st, besides my family, it will be Joseph Smith.  He was tortured, tarred with hot black tar then feathered, beat and yet he never denied what he saw.  I know through his example of goodness, I too will never be able to deny what I know to be true, I have felt the hands of the Lord lift me through times when I thought I could die, in times when I  wanted to die, I prayed and asked for answers and they came, through the spirit of Christ they came.