General Women’s Meeting: Covenants, Temples & Living the Gospel More Fully

Can you stand one more post about General Women’s Meeting? Ok, here we go. I promise I’m not going to re-summarize the meeting; Meg and Rameumptom have already done that. But I wanted to share some thoughts had about the talks and my over all impressions.

First, there was a nice and very welcome international element to the meeting. The opening prayer was given by Sister Dorah Mkhabela from South Africa. Her prayer was heartfelt, sincere and full of love for the women of the Church. The Young Women’s Board, the members of which come from all over the world, were on the stand as well. I cannot wait until the Relief Society and Primary Boards also have international members as well. I was reminded that the Church is worldwide and as such, is working to include and incorporate different people, cultures, and needs into the organization.

I know the inner and outer critics of the Church are quick to jump on the Church because it seemingly does not respond to needs of its members in a timely manner, or that is seen as a North American church, which only caters to the needs of Wasatch Front Utah. But a thought occurred to me, this Lord’s Church – and it is an international Church. We have to get it right. When policies and changes are being made, there is a very careful process that occurs, which checks and double checks that things turn out right, or as right as possible. It has to be this way, we’re God’s children and He does not want us to make mistakes with His children. Perhaps we need to be more patient with the people and the process.

Provo Temple night

The second thing which impressed me was the principle of covenants, which are made individually, point us to the temple, which, in turn, points us to Christ. That is where our power is. To endow means to freely give, and when we go to the temple and participate there, we are endowed with God’s power. The Lord, our Father in Heaven, FREELY gives us His power. Think about that for a minute. I hope we each take some time to reflect on our endowment a bit more, and what it really is. Continue reading

Using Joy to Overcome The Pain Narrative

2 Nephi 2. 25More often than not, these days on the Bloggernacle there is a narrative among LDS people where pain is the central theme. I don’t want to diminish anyone’s trials or hardships. I also do not want to make light of the legitimate struggles we all have on a daily basis. However, when I see the subject of “pain” come up again and again as a narrative for how to live life, I am troubled. Life is hard and there are painful times, but I don’t think Heavenly Father meant for life to be an unrelenting painful experience.
The Book of Mormon teaches us that we exist and live so that we might have joy, from 2 Nephi 2: 23-25 we read,

“23…wherefore [Adam and Eve] would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Joy and pain go hand in hand, and we have to experience pain to understand and know what joy is, but today I want to focus on three ways we can use the Joy to overcome the pain narrative.

Finding Joy Amid Trials

As was just stated, life is meant to be joyful. Elder Richard G. Scott, in his talked called, Finding Joy In Life, said, “Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do.”

In other words, we cannot let our trials consume us to the point that we have nothing left of ourselves and our testimonies. Many times this is not easy, and is what Elder Bruce C. and Sister Marie Hafen termed, “severe mercy” (1). Severe mercy is when the Lord pushes and stretches us so that we can more fully take part in the grace of the atonement. Sister Hafen reminded us, “Reaching deeper into the heart of the Gospel is exactly what we should be doing when the storms are beating us down.” (2) Continue reading