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

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

April 2014 (184th) General Conference — Saturday morning session summary

It’s General Conference time again, and we’re going to be posting summaries and our thoughs here on The Millennial Star blog. Thanks for stopping by!

I’ll preface my summary by saying that I tried to get as much down as I could, but is as usually the case with young children in the room, everyone needed everything, all at the same time.

President Uchtdorf conducted the session.

Prelude hymn: How Firm A Foundation

Opening hymn: Press Forward Saints

Elder Carl B. Cook offered the opening prayer.

The Mormon Tabernacle choir sang, Lead Kindly Light … all of the music was beautiful. I love the choir!

President Monson spoke first. He told us we were gathered as a great family of saints. He then spoke about his experience dedicating the Gilbert, Arizona temple in March. Here is where I will put in a little personal note. The Gilbert Temple is just down the street from where I grew up. Many family members and the children of my friends were able to participate in the cultural celebration, Live True to the Faith. Hearing their experiences, along with Pres. Monson’s experiences was very sweet for me. It truly was a blessing, even with all of the rain, and cold to watch the program and know that it did in fact make lasting memories for the people and the home I love so dearly.

Pres. Monson continued …

In May the Ft. Lauderdale temple will be dedicated, and will be the 143rd temple of the church. When all of the temples which are currently under construction and those that have been announced have been built, there will be 170 temples world wide. It was mentioned later on in another talk that right now, 85% of the members of the church live within 200 miles of a temple. Temples truly dot the earth!

We will continue to build temples and to look for places where there is a need for temples. We are a temple building and a temple attending people. May we be filled with the spirit, uplifted and inspired as we listen and learn.

Elder Holland

I’m calling his talk “Defending the Faith”. We will be called to defend our faith and will be attacked personally. We have to have courage and courtesy on our part as we endure these attacks. He shared a story of some sister missionaries who were attacked by a man weidling mashed potatoes. I appreacited this story, as a returned missionary myself. In one of my areas, we had a neighbor who would wait every day to throw her garbage on us. I actually am thankful to her. She taught me how to love my enemeies as a missionary! Continue reading

Mormon Women Stand

MWS

You might have seen or heard of a new group on social media called Mormon Women Stand. Without hesitation I said yes when asked to be involved in the content of Mormon Women Stand. I have wanted to be involved with something like this for a long time, and I think it is a much needed voice in the cacophony of dissent that has had a lot of air time on the internet and news lately. From the feedback we’ve received in our first week of operation, there are many women out there that have wanted a group like this as well. Personally, I am so excited to share my faith and the things I believe in this way, and I am excited and grateful that Mormon Women Stand is a place where those who support the Church can gather online.

So what is Mormon Women Stand about, exactly?

Mormon Women Stand is a collaborative online effort to join like-minded female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who share a desire to make a public stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ and in support of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. As we ‘Stand’ together, we believe it a reflection of the divine nature and power that LDS women are endowed with to influence others for good. We unequivocally sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—commissioned by God and sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators and stand in support of how the Lord has delegated priesthood authority to organize and administer the gospel among all of His children.

Who are we?

The organizers of Mormon Women Stand consist of over a dozen LDS women from around the world, with varying ages, backgrounds, locations and professions who believe that women have a powerful opportunity to be a force for good both in the Church and online. Mormon Women Stand was established to invite all LDS women to stand together in a positive online community. It will be a safe haven and gathering place for women to join in doctrinally sound and uplifting gospel conversations in an atmosphere of loyalty to those who the Lord has authorized to lead His church. Mormon Women Stand will focus on positive relationships and conversations that bring women closer to Jesus Christ.

As this whirlwind of a week has passed since the group went live on Facebook, we have seen so much activity of faithful sisters and brothers joining us in standing for the Church, and our stated goals. In fact last night, we reached 3000 likes on our Facebook page. It has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am so thankful for that positive vibe. Not that we haven’t been without our detractors. We have had many good and honest questions about what we are trying to accomplish, as well as our fair share of mean remarks and comments. With any good endeavor, we should expect some push back. We’re not going to fight or debate or argue with people either, because that is not what Jesus Christ would do. We are here to STAND!

One thing I DO want to address and STRESS about Mormon Women Stand is that we are NOT against things or groups or people, but rather we are FOR the Restored Gospel and supporting each other in our faithful efforts to be Christians and Latter-day Saints. We want our supporters and even those that do not support us to know this; we are FOR standing as a witness of Jesus Christ at all times and in all places.

So, we are inviting women to STAND with us. We are still getting things going, so the content of some of our platforms is not up and running fully, but bear with us as we work out the kinks.

We can be found at:
Mormon Women Stand on Facebook

Mormon Women Stand on Twitter

Mormon Women Stand on Pinterest

Mormon Women Stand on Instagram

Mormon Women Stand: the Website

We look forward to seeing you there!

PS, guys you’re totally welcome to come and STAND too!

More than a plate of cookies

Over the years, I’ve gone in and out of phase with my like of visiting teaching. In the last two years, I’ve tried to be a better member of the Relief Society, by actually being a visiting teacher. There were some years here in the recent past where I was not a visiting teacher for various reasons. But when I felt the spirit nudge me to call the Relief Society President of our ward, and tell her I could do it again, I did. It was a really overwhelming thing for me, even though I felt I could do go and serve. Following that direction from the Holy Spirit has taught me that indeed the Lord does provide a way for us to do the things he asks us to do, just like he did with Nephi, and Moses, and Noah and so many others.

Back when I was still a single gal, fresh out of college, and freshly back in Mesa, AZ, after living in Provo and BYU for 3 years, where my visiting teacher was my roommate, and the sisters we taught lived five steps next door, I was in a big singles’ ward with a lot of people I didn’t know, and who frankly, scared me to death most of the time. I was also working for The Devil at a personal injury law firm, and making exactly .25 cents more per hour than I had made working at the MTC Mailroom, which was a job I actually liked. That job, in the bowels of the shark, and pit of hell, taught me a lot, but this post is not about that job, another day I’ll write about that job and the lessons I learned there.

This post is about that big singles ward and visiting teaching, and I why I don’t like dropping cookies off instead of having a visiting teaching visit, and especially why I don’t like just leaving a plate of cookies in the month of December with the sisters I’ve been asked to visit.

I had been assigned two visiting teachers in that big scary singles’ ward. They were very nice girls, and I cannot stress that enough. They were VERY nice, so this is not meant as slam on them. However, they were a bit clueless about visiting teaching. Every month they would drop a plate of cookies and a note. That’s all. They never came in to visit. They never talked to me more than a few minutes at church, and since Mesa is so big, I never saw them outside of church.

I was busy and overwhelmed with my job in the bowels of the shark and pit of hell. The Devil kept me busy, very, very, busy. That December, I crossed The Devil the wrong way one day. I had done something, unknowingly wrong. He called me into his office and dressed me down in front of another Devil for this sin of omission. I walked out of that office in tears, and shaking, to my own little corner, and closed the door. I knew I had to quit my job, that day, but I didn’t know how. And I was scared to go and face The Devil again.

He took care of it for me though. A few hours later, he called me into his office, and fired me. It was 11 days before Christmas and I was fired. I gathered my things, and he gave me a small severance check and I left this hell, not knowing what to do, but feeling strangely at peace with it all.

I got home from work 2 hours early, so obviously my family knew something was wrong. I told them what had happened, and we all had a good cry, of joy mostly, that I was free of this job. But I still didn’t have a job, and it was 11 days before Christmas. I had no money, I had no prospects and I was scared of the future.

And then I saw it …. a plate of cookies with a note, from my visiting teachers. The note read, “It’s been super awesome getting to know you this year! Have a Merry Christmas!!!”

I get it, it’s the thought that counts. But they had never even set foot in my house. They had never even had a proper conversation with me. They had not gotten to know me that year. All they had ever done was bring cookies. I was tired of cookies. I needed a friend. I needed to talk. I just wanted someone to share my burdens that day.

I threw those dumb cookies in the trash and ripped up the note, and cried some more. This time, though, I cried tears of hurt. I felt like all I was worth was a plate of cookies to them, and that hurt deeply.

The following Sunday, they saw me in the hall at church and approached me. “Did you get our cookies?” I took a deep breath and contemplated my answer. I was about to be honest.

“Yes, yes I did. But, can I ask you a favor? Please do not come to me ever again, if all you are going to do is drop me a plate of cookies. The day you left those cookies, I was fired from my job. I needed a visit that day. I don’t want anymore cookies. I just want a friend. You have never actually come in to my home and paid me a visit, you don’t know me at all. All you have ever done is leave cookies. I’m tired of cookies. And you have hurt my feelings.” And walked away, out the door and got in my car and went home.

I share this story, not to shame them, although, at the time, that was my intention when I left them standing in the church hall. I share this story as a reminder to myself that I have to sacrifice my time and myself to be a good visiting teacher, because I don’t want anyone to feel like I think they are only worth a plate of cookies.

I struggle with interpersonal relationships sometimes. Am I too overbearing? Do I keep my tongue in check? Am I slow to anger? Am I patient? Am I being annoying and too opinionated? These questions are always on the train of thought that runs thru my mind every day. I also don’t feel like I am one of those ladies they tell stories about in General Conference, who radiates goodness, kindness, and rainbows. And I have never had a promoting from the Holy Spirit saying, “Betty needs dinner and a babysitter today.” I am not crafty, nor do I make cute hand outs or doo-dads to give to my sisters. It’s hard to go with little kids as well. It seems like my children are especially adept at tearing up peoples’ houses. And we all can agree that, this is bad visiting teaching form. I never remember to prepare a spiritual message either, and the ones in the Ensign rarely inspire me.

But I go.

And yes, there are months that I miss. And there have been times when I have dropped a dreaded plate of cookies. However, I try not to do that. And I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty if they’ve done that, or are doing that, this month. This is not about guilt.

The point I want to make is this, it’s December, and it’s the holiday season. The sisters we serve might be struggling for various reasons. I know I struggle with enjoying the holidays and even wanting to participate in things during December. It’s a very hard time of year for me, even when I haven’t been fired from my job! I want to challenge everyone, and myself, and even the guys reading this, to pray and ponder on the people we’ve been asked to visit and home teach. Is there more we can do for them? Is there comfort we can give them, or a burden we can help bear up? Are there weak knees we can strengthen, and weary hands we can hold this holiday season? Have we shared our testimonies with them? Do they know we love them, and that the Lord loves them most? Do they know they are important?

This is my reminder to myself, everyone is worth more than a plate of cookies — although cookies and treats are nice anytime of year — I can always do more. Think, ponder, pray, and then serve the people we’ve been given stewardship over, especially in December. The Lord can and will provide a way for us to do this, because He loves all of His children, and we are all important and precious to Him.

There is no happiness in causing contention

I’ll start out by saying, I am not a feminist. But I am a daughter of God, who loves me very much. I believe that, I know that, and I am not disappointed in this. I’m not going to try and convince anyone that what I’m going to write about today is right either.

Yesterday I made a comment on a Facebook thread. The topic of the tread had to do with the planned protest by Mormon feminists and the Ordain Women group to demand entrance to the Conference Center for the Priesthood Session of the Conference. For some background, these women wrote and asked Church headquarters for tickets to the session, and were politely turned down. Their plans now include marching to the Conference Center to make a scene. This is exactly what they want, a scene to be blown up in the media and online.

In response to my comment, another friend contacted me privately and asked me why I opposed what these women are doing, and gave me several examples of how people had asked the Lord for a change and it was granted, so why not this? I was direct in my answer to him, and will be here as well. I am opposed to what these women are planning because it will cause contention, and because their protest is disrespectful of the leaders of the Church and the council system of the Church. The Book of Mormon is very clear in 3 Nephi 11:29, that “Contention is not of me, but is of the Devil, who stireth up the hearts of men to contend one with another.”
Continue reading