About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

America the Beautiful

landscapeKatharine Lee Bates was born August 12 1859, in Falmouth, Mass. Katie had a normal and happy childhood and was an avid writer. In 1876 the family moved to Grantville, Mass, the home of the newly formed Wellesley College for women. Katie was part of the second class which was admitted to the school. She thrived at Wellesley, and after graduating in 1880 began to teach high school English. In 1885 she was invited to join the faculty at Wellesley and taught there for the next 40 years. Katie was a favorite of students and was known for her ability to make literature “come alive.”

In the summer of 1893, Katie took a “Grand Tour of America” and headed out west to Colorado to teach summer school at the newly formed University of Colorado. Continue reading

My Testimony of Joseph Smith

This Friday, June 27th, marks the 170th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. As this anniversary has approached my thoughts understandably have turned to those events on that tragic summer day so many years ago. In Doctrine & Covenants 135: 4 we read, “When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD.” More than anything, this has settled into my heart this week. Joseph knew what his fate was when he left Nauvoo. He knew. And yet, he went, he didn’t fight it, he went. And because he went, he sealed his testimony with his blood. He gave everything for the Lord and the cause of the Restored Gospel.

Martyrdom collage

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Growing up in the Church I think I look the life and Marytrdom of Joseph Smith for granted. I never really thought about my own testimony of Joseph Smith I just always thought I knew he was a prophet, because everyone around me said he was. Thankfully, that changed. Twenty years ago, on the 150th anniversary of the Martyrdom, there was a fireside broadcast in commemoration of the event from Carthage Jail in Illinois. President Howard W. Hunter and his councilors were going to be there as well. I was a young single adult at the time, attending a student ward. We had the last block of meetings in our building that day, and everyone had planned on staying for this broadcast. I really didn’t think much about it; in fact I didn’t even know that June 27th was the exact day Joseph Smith had been killed. But my friends were going to be there, so I stayed. Continue reading

What next? How to move forward from the excommunication.

Moroni 10. 32So, here we are, post Kate Kelly excommunication.

What next?

There are many people who are hurting, questioning, wondering what to do. I had a friend express concern about where to take her questions now? She did not know what constitutes safe or legitimate questioning, and she fears for her family and friends who are aligned with Kate Kelly’s group. Those are reasonable concerns, however, I don’t think anyone needs to fear, because Sister Kelly was not excommunicated for asking a question, despite the media narrative, and her own protestations to that effect. And when you think about it, our Church was founded on the fact that Joseph Smith had a question and went to the Lord in prayer and asked his question. Asking questions is a good thing. Honestly, I don’t think I have studied the Gospel this much and so intensively in many years, because of all of the questions out there. It’s been good for all of us, I think. We just need to make sure that we don’t get so wrapped up in our questions that we lose sight of our end goal of returning to our Heavenly Father.

So, my message to everyone, especially those who are hurting today, is this: Continue reading

Stilling the storms of life: The time I was put on church probation

Isaiah 1.18 bigIt’s been a long, and noisy week here in the Bloggernacle, hasn’t it?

I have to admit I am tired of all of the back and forth, the sides, the contention, the news stories, the blog posts … so very tried. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I stepped into Church on Sunday. I sat down on the chair with my kids and our stuff and waited for Sacrament Meeting to start. The organist started playing some of my favorite hymns and I just sat and listened and quietly sang along,

“Jesus lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high. Hide me O my Savior hide, till the storm of life is past. Safe into thy haven guide, oh receive my soul at last.”

“Precious Savior dear Redeemer, Thy sweet message now impart. May thy spirit pure and fervid, enter every timid heart. Carry there the swift conviction, turning back the sinful tide. Precious Savior dear Redeemer, may each soul in thee abide.”

“Jesus Savior pilot me, over life’s tempestuous sea. Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach’rous shoal. Chart and compass came from thee: Jesus Savior, pilot me.”

“Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness, no shelter or help is nigh. The wind and the waves shall obey thy will, peace be still. Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea, or demons or men or whatever may be. No waters can swallow the ship where lies the master of ocean and earth and skies. They all shall sweetly obey thy will, peace be still, peace be still. They all shall sweetly obey thy will, peace, peace, be still.”

I needed to hear those particular hymns and have those words going thru my mind as I began my Sunday worship. Those songs and those words melted a lot of my fatigue away. The words of the Sacrament prayers were especially powerful to me as well, and I felt very refreshed as these prayers were spoken. I also thought a little deeper about what it meant to take upon me the name of Christ, and the promise to always have His spirit to be with me. It was a comfort and a blessing to think of the atoning blood of Christ washing away my scarlet sins – making them white as snow.

My thoughts turned very briefly to many years before, as I sat in my bishop’s office confessing my sins and asking for help. That was a hard day, one of the hardest in my life. The decision to go to him for help was one that I knew I needed to make, but was afraid to make; I was embarrassed – for all of the reasons you might expect. But I made the choice to go and to ask for help.

In that meeting I was put on probation.

Bishop was not angry, or judgmental. In fact, he was quite the opposite, and full of love and concern for me and my spiritual well being. As part of my probation he asked that I refrain from taking the sacrament, and that I not comment in meetings or say prayers in the course of the church service. He encouraged me to come to Church and to stay for the full 3 hours and to sit in the chapel during Sacrament Meeting. He gave me some homework to do as well – passages of scripture to read and think about. He asked me to keep a journal of my experiences, but that he would not ask me to share that with him. He asked me to pray for specific things: forgiveness, and to be able to feel the Atonement and the love of Christ as I worked thru my problems. We met together a few more times during my probation and each meeting was a blessing. I could feel the grace of the Lord and the Atonement working in me and on me, to change me into something better. As Bishop prayed for me and as I prayed for myself in those meetings, I could feel the tremendous love that my Heavenly Father had for me, just for me, pouring down on me, healing me, cleaning me, and making me whole again.

If life had a rewind button, I wouldn’t make the choices again that landed me in that bishop’s office and on probation. However, that probation taught me so much about what is important. Not being able to fully participate at church was a humbling experience. It taught me to appreciate the full fellowship of my membership in the Church. It taught me, as the words of the hymns suggest, to fly to the bosom of my Savior for help. It taught me to abide in the Lord. It provided me a course correction back to Jesus Christ, and it showed me that truly He is the one who stills the storms of life. The beauty of The Plan of Salvation is that we do have a Savior provided for us. He has already done the hard work, and asks that we come to Him with our weaknesses, our trials and our sins to be healed, to be forgiven and to have the storms of our lives stilled. He can do these things. He wants to do these things for us, but we have to be willing to humble ourselves and to take Him up on His offer.

Women and the Restoration of the Priesthood

Today is the 185th anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. The introduction to Doctrine & Covenants 13 states:

“The ordination was done by the hands of an angel who announced himself as John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament. The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient Apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The promise was given to Joseph and Oliver that in due time this higher priesthood would be conferred upon them.”

AP restoration 1 finished

John the Baptist pronounced the following blessing:

”Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”

With the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and a short time later, the Melchizedek Priesthood, the world was changed forever. Man again had the authority to perform ordinances essential for salvation for all mankind, and the door was open for the further restoration of priesthood keys.

A few years ago, my husband and I had the chance to visit the Church Historical sites in the eastern United States. We pulled off the highway and stopped at the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site. It was not a big place, nor was there a visitor center or name-tagged missionaries there to greet us. There were just some signs explaining what had happened there, and the foundation stones of the Smith cabin. Nearby was the cemetery where Emma Smith’s parents and Emma and Joseph’s first baby are buried. Despite the simple setting, the spirit at this site was very powerful. My husband and I hopped a fence and crossed a rail road track and managed to make our way down to the banks of the Susquehanna River. It was beautiful, reverent and the perfect setting for such an important event. The Holy Ghost testified to both of us of the power and importance of the priesthood and of vital importance of its restoration.

These days there is much chatter and discussion about the priesthood in the Church. The leaders of our church have taught us many times over the years about what the priesthood is, about who may exercise its keys and how all members of the church are entitled to access its power.

In his most recent General Conference address, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 spoke about The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood. In this talk he made some key points that clear up the confusion and contention that cloud discussions on the priesthood. Continue reading