Saturday, August 22, 2015

Most important message

"I am a child of God, and He has sent me here."

Most nights when I put the boys to bed (they sleep separately) and especially with Jacob, I sing this song that's become extremely popular in our household. You might think this would be boring, but I take the message pretty seriously.

"Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear."

The one message I want to leave my kids with at the end of each day couldn't be more important than the one within this children's song. I want my children to know that they are children of God, that He loves them and He sent them to our loving home.

Not only does this song teach them, but it teaches me. I want to remember that I am the lucky one they call "mom." I am the lucky one to hold and cuddle and wrestle with every day. And despite our bad days, this is my job, my work, my joy. Not every moment is joyous, but the beautiful moments sure fill me with joy.

"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday."

What a beautiful reminder to me that I am the one they lean on to guide them. My ultimate job is to lead them back to Him someday. I choke up towards the end of the song as that blessed reminder reverberates in my mind. It fills me with the strength I need as I struggle daily. What a huge job: teaching them ALL that they must do to get back to God again. Wow - it's almost staggering when you really think about it.

Luckily, it's little by little. I didn't learn everything all at once and neither will they. But I can set them on the right course where they can find the answers themselves. I know I wouldn't want it any other way.

The rest of the verses:

I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows too late.

I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will,
I'll live with him once more.

I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

House of Order

Recently, the FairMormon Conference was held in Provo, providing the public with several presentations on various subjects on the Mormon faith. Michael Otterson's presentation seems to have gone semi-viral as I've seen it posted multiple times on Facebook. I personally enjoyed that one and the points he brought up.

I've just now read the presentation by Cassandra Hedelius about Mormon Gnosticism, which is, in her opinion, based on the assumption that deeper spiritual knowledge holds the key to salvation, but also leads the way to apostasy. She touches on various points and when you have the time to read it, go here for the complete transcript

However, the thing that made me really think was one specific claim of Mormon Gnosticism is the command to share revelations an individual may receive. I finished a book not more than a week ago that dealt with this very thing. This man claimed he received these visions of events leading up to the Second Coming and Millennium and was told he could finally share them and thus a book was published. I doubt his claim to have received those visions, but I seriously doubt whether he was given permission to share these deeply personal and spiritual experiences. Sure, they were fascinating to read about, but guess what? These were for him. 

Hedelius states:

"Many self-proclaimed visionaries would respond, and I know this because this is part of their public teaching, that they were commanded by the Lord to share their vision(s). Some of them even make a great show of humility and reluctance, saying they wanted to keep it quiet and had no desire for publicity, but the Lord or another messenger told them they must tell the world. But that is not possible; this claim violates scripture and revelation. It’s another example of false teaching being very persuasive because it incorporates much that sounds true. The Adversary is good at being subtle. 
Gnostic visionaries love to quote Joel 2:28, which foretells that men and women will prophesy and have dreams and visions. But the Lord gave us an important caution in the Book of Mormon: 
“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9)

I hadn't fallen victim to his claims nor did I decide that his vision of things is the be-all and end-all but as she says, the Adversary is subtle. It would be easy to think more of what he says than to look at modern-day prophets and the scriptures.

A few years ago, I was reading another book that threw into question the doctrines outlined in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It was about the author's assumptions regarding homosexuals and their place in the Plan of Salvation. Her claims, thoughts and opinions tore at me and I was lead to agree with her. As I discussed these thoughts with my husband, he (gently) reminded to me to study and read that inspired document again. Once I did that, all my issues were resolved, and with his encouragement, I didn't finish the book.

I loved that Hedelius asserts (more than once) when sharing examples from early church history (think Hyrum Page and his stone):
It’s important to notice what the Lord does not say. He does not say “you all have the gift of the Holy Ghost, so when someone comes among you proclaiming revelation and authority, you should be able to just discern if it’s legitimate or not without revealed standards to guide you.” We are not told to face a free-for-all anarchy of truth claims out there, any of which might be of equal weight to revelations received through prophets.

The Lord is mindful of us, His flock, and wants us to know so we won't be led astray. It is through His divinely called prophets that we will know His will. And if one becomes fallen, there is still order in His church and another will be called in his stead. No one will just come out from nowhere and claim he is the voice of the church. The Lord's church is a house of order. This was a great presentation and reminder for me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wordless books for children

This post was written a few months ago, but it's still as true now as it was then.

Ok I think it's common knowledge that I love to read. My favorite genre would definitely be YA, but children's books have been edging closer and closer with each trip to the library.

Our latest obsession? Wordless books. It's not just the pretty pictures, but it's amazing how powerful a story can be told with just images. Let me share a few with you that we have come to love:


Bill Thomson is a story-telling, beautiful picture making genius. Chalk is filled with magic as children's chalk drawings come to life and the adventure (and mishap) it puts them in. The clever twist is that the children come up with a solution to get out of their predicament. I love that empowerment.

We were first introduced to this book a month or two ago, but we recently checked it out again with another book Thomson produced called Fossil. This one is just as fun with fossils coming to life and the faces (in both books) are just so endearing. It helps that he just knows how to make boys' faces so mischievous - something I know all too well.

Other wordless picture books well worth look into:

Flotsam by David Wiesner
Un*brella by David Franson (a BYU-Idaho faculty member)
Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (a classic! Who can forget the beautiful music that goes with it?)

There are many others, but those are the ones we love. I also found this interesting article over at Smart Speech Therapy about the value of wordless books. It has some prompts for reading with children and regardless of whether your child needs/is in speech therapy, this is a great resource. Here is a great Pinterest board of other wordless books. Happy reading!

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Book suggestion for those stuck in a rut

I think after quite a long hiatus to this blog, it's appropriate to start with a book suggestion.

This summer has been busy, but I still made time for my favorite past-time. I devoured book after book. The most recent one was just so amazing I had to share.

I'm not a professional book reviewer but I do love to share books with others. This one YA fiction is called "The Clockwork Scarab," by Colleen Gleason. I read it for my Eagle Mountain book club and it probably took me only two days to finish it. Others who have less responsibilities could finish this in less for sure.

Here you have Sherlock Holmes' niece, Mina Holmes (daughter of Mycroft), teaming up with Bram Stoker's little sister (think Dracula), Evaline. The Princess of Wales commissions the two to solve the mysterious murder and disappearances of a few young ladies high in society. Add in the steampunk elements, some romance and characters who are still learning and growing and you have yourself a fun read that has you begging for more at the end.

Some reviews didn't like how the author "neutered" Mina and Evaline (Mina is showed up by her love interest who's a policeman and Evaline has her moments and nearly faints at the sight of blood). I think it added some reality to these characters. The author clearly wanted girls reading this to relate to Mina's social awkwardness or Evaline's fear at crucial moments. Also, these two heroines did not get along nearly the majority of the book. Mina continually looked down at Evaline and Evaline didn't think Mina could hold her own physically, but I think that's real life. They eventually come to terms, have a grudging respect for each other and at the end, realize that a friendship is budding out of all that.

All in all, this was fun to read and I can't wait to see what Gleason has in store in the next book (as soon as I get my hands on it).