Show Kindness and Love

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In towns and cities across the United States, people are attacked, their businesses damaged and destroyed because they have admitted to homosexuality. Some people think it is necessary to show their disapproval for another person’s behavior in an open, violent manner. This is not right!

In all things Christ tells us to show love for others. He didn’t accept sin: he overturned the money changing tables in the temples. Still, he loved the sinner. He did not throw stones at the woman found in adultery, rather, offering the woman an opportunity to repent.

We aren’t required to support or participate in sin. We are required to accept the person and show kindness and love. Other actions are specifically not supported by the Savior or the Bible.

We have friends who participate in alternate life styles. Some of my friends find nothing wrong with an evening glass of wine, or an aperitif; others enjoy a cigarette or cigar; some friends participate in homosexual activities; while another may believe extramarital affairs are fine; and others may choose to drink coffee. I, personally, choose to avoid each of those activities. Not all are “sins,” but I choose not to engage in them. My friends have the right to participate if they choose. And, I maintain my friendship regardless of their choices.

I believe in the right of choice. All men and women have the right to choose actions, behaviors, and beliefs. Each can freely choose. However, with each choice comes unchangeable consequences, both positive and negative. The choice may be freely made, but the consequences cannot be changed. Hence, if I smoke, I can expect problems with my lungs.

At one time, laws entered administering consequences for behaviors contrary to those approved of by society. No longer. Standards have been lowered, behaviors once shunned are accepted.

I am certain Eve faced children who made choices she would rather they didn’t. She would want to force them to choose as Jehovah would want, but she knew that would draw her far from God’s plan. She allowed them to choose and face the consequences.

It wasn’t easy for her, it isn’t easy for us now. Even though she allowed them to make choices she would not have preferred, she continued to love her children and show them kindness. She didn’t join them in their bad choices, but that didn’t stop her from being kind and loving them.
Anger, violence, and hatred are not ways to show our disagreement with another’s choices. We, like Eve, need to find ways to stand for our standards and beliefs while still showing kindness and love. Certainly, ransacking a place of business or assaulting people who don’t fit our standards does not reveal the love and kindness required by those committed to obedience to God’s law.

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Why Would Anyone Sacrifice?

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A favorite hymn in our church includes the line, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven.”[1] It seems a strange thing to think that sacrifice brings blessings.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sacrifice as:

: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

: an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as offering to please a god

: a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice[2]

How will any of these kinds of sacrifice bring blessings of Heaven? Few religions demand a living sacrifice to be offered to please a god in today’s world. More frequently members of society will be found giving up something. Why would anyone give up something precious?

From the beginning of our world, sacrifice has been a part of life, even when it has not included the death of a person or animal. Eve, and then Adam, ate of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, and were rejected from the Garden of Eden. They gave up a paradise for thorns, thistles, and problems. Because they did, they also gained the blessing of children and family,

Women today continue to sacrifice independence, sleep, relaxation, and often health to give birth to and raise children. Life is never the same after a child becomes part of the family, even before birth. Sacrifice of life and health for children brings blessings unknown by those who have none.

Men sacrifice time to participate in more enjoyable activities when they leave home and family for employment. Fathers often miss the sweet times in a child’s life as they grow. Taking on responsibility of wife and family often removes the opportunity to play or relax as they did when single.

If you look, you can find stories of people of all ages who have determined to help a person or an organization. They give time to help, work to raise money, and write letters and make phone calls to change laws. People sacrifice their time, their money, their good name, their influence, and their things to help a person or a cause.

No animals are sacrificed or burned to please God, but hearts, minds, and attitudes are freely given.

What do you sacrifice? Why would you do that?

[1] LDS Hymns, 27

[2] Mirriam-Webster Dictionary; on-line edition

Will Your Children Be Responsible Adults?

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A basic law of physics states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you push on a something, it will move, or push back. A ball will roll; a wall will push back and hold you up.

The same law applies to interpersonal actions. If you do something, there will always be a response, maybe not something you expected, but there will be a reaction. No action occurs in a vacuum.

When dealing with people, our actions can sometimes be misread, with others feeling everything from humor to anger. It would be easy to suggest that we have no responsibility for the  reactions of others to our actions, but this is not so.

If you smile, you will often receive a smile back, but not always. Sometimes the person you smile at will frown at you or growl. Usually, though, you can expect a smile.

If you hit someone, you can expect two or three things to happen. The person who was hit may cry or curse or be startled. He may fall or wobble. Most likely, he will hit you back.

From the beginning of time, Adam and Eve were given the right to make choices, to act as they chose. They were also held responsible. They chose to eat the forbidden fruit and were not allowed to continue to live in Eden. Their lives were changed for themselves and all their posterity.

It has continued to be the same since then. People make choices and must be responsible for the consequences of those actions. Focus on seeking wealth at the expense of family will distance them until the love and closeness is gone. A choice to be honest in your actions and pay your bills allows one to have good credit and trust from others.

Children must be taught responsibility for their behaviors. Children who do not receive this instruction become difficult to live with. They believe the world owes them a living. Nothing is their responsibility, the fault belongs to others.

Children have a right to learn to be decent adults. Though difficult, parents are expected to ensure their children have opportunities to learn responsibility. If they are not taught, society will suffer from more adults who blame others and expect special attention. For some it is too late. Some may learn. Please teach your children.

How Long Do You Want to Live?

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Life extends easily into the eighth decade and it is not unusual to hear of one living past 100. Over our history, life expectancy has varied dramatically. In the recent history of the last two or three hundred year, men and women were lucky to live to be 50 or 60.

Women especially struggled to survive through the births of their many children, facing unsanitary conditions and the resulting infections and fevers. Men didn’t fare much better, facing hunting accidents and war injuries with less than sophisticated medical knowledge and technology.

Even in the last century, accidents were fatal. Stories of men or women burning to death from accidents resulting from kerosene lamps are not unusual, nor are stories of death and injury caused by other accidents.

The question is: how long do you really want to live?

In the far past, it was common for people to live much more than 100 years. Abraham lived 365 years; Methuselah was the longest lived man on record, living 969 years. Adam and Eve lived well into their ninth century. That is much longer than I want to live!

Our lives are easier than theirs; we have all the benefits of electricity and electronics. Easy travel and rapid communication join with near effortless work in the home, food production, and other occupations, especially in comparison to lives just a century ago.

Our lives are more difficult in some ways. Consider the intensity of the challenges of hate, immorality, and evil that inundate us. It is difficult to get through a day without facing scantily clad people caught up in fierce expressions of lust, unless you stay in bed with the television off. Violence, hatred, pornography, abuse, immorality, and many more symptoms of a failing society abound, throughout the world.

Ancient days were not much better. None of the modern conveniences were available. All the work we depend on electricity to do was done manually, often by servants or slaves. Cleanliness would have been difficult. Medical knowledge was adequate, but certainly unable for its practitioners to cure or prevent infections and diseases.

Worse, battles between men were hand-to-hand, face your enemy, and slash him to bits before being destroyed. Women whose husbands and sons went to war could only hope and pray theirs would be the lucky ones to return without injury, if they returned at all.

Women who lived in those early could expect to be attacked and raped without protection of husbands, fathers, or their hired guards. Most men in nearly all ages believed in their right to have sexual relations with about any woman, while holding their wives and daughters to a stricter standard of sexual purity.

Violence and evil of every kind surrounded these people—much like it does today.

Eve struggled in her time in learning to survive a new, uninhabited world. Everything was new requiring thought and effort to overcome the problems, often failing and needing to try many different solutions before finding one that worked. She, too, faced the grief too many of her children who listened and succumbed to the voice of evil.

No, living for multiple centuries is not enticing. Seventy or eighty years is more than enough for any of us!

Families, Traditions, and Choices

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Parents have always wanted the best for their children. We want them to be beautiful, healthy, and prosperous. We’d like them to be more successful than us. Children want to be more prosperous than their parents. They desire greater success than their parents found. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t.

Throughout history parents have also been saddened when children have left the values held dear. Children become enthralled by foreign ideas, becoming lost to family ways of life and culture. A glance at the past century will illustrate the point.

Cities enticed young people away from the farms and mores of families from the country. A desire for easy living seduced them from the solid values parents believed in from their childhood. Later, things like cars, alcohol, and women beguiled children from standards parents felt were important.

Of course, parents do not begrudge a child’s success. Long ago, children were tied to the land, or required to continue the occupation of their fathers, regardless of the desires or talents of the young. These parents were cheered by any growth and improvement beyond their own. Great stories rarely come from a son continuing in his father’s livelihood. It is when the son or daughter break away and try new things that wonderful tales are shared.

Sometimes, the breaking away from childhood ethics and teachings cause parents great sorrow. The beliefs of a parent are deeply held, not given up because the world changes around them. Through time, a child leaving the religion of their parents has been a time of grief.

Eve felt heartache when her children chose to leave the faith she and Adam learned from their God in the Garden of Eden. Many children chose the darkness of the destroyer rather than the light of the gospel. Since then, this has been a source of sorrow for believing parents of all sects.

When I wrote Eve Remembers, I imagined the following conversation between Eve and her beloved Adam:

  “How did we lose them? We taught them.” I stood and began to pace.

“We taught them,” Adam said, his voice soothing. “Remember, they must have agency to choose, or we will be giving in to Lucifer’s plan. He wants us to force them to obey. We cannot. We must trust that they will return to the light.”

“I know.” I stopped pacing and stood in front of him, looking into his brilliant blue eyes. “I thought the sorrow of children would be in giving birth. Now I find that it comes as they make choices we would rather they would not. It is so much harder now, just watching, not able do anything.”

Today, parents continue to struggle with the sorrow of a child’s rejection of long held beliefs and traditions. Some manage to stay close, glad the child has found joy in the new found religion. Others become estranged, refusing to speak to each other.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find common ground, building trust and love amongst loved ones?

Child Birth is “Worth It”

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I shared a post on Facebook today, a picture with words describing a mother’s love for her child. The post shares the love we as mothers feel for our children long before they are born. It also suggests we may make mistakes, but we try our best, and will always love our children forever.

It’s true. We love our children long before we see them, often before we are aware of their movements. Even my unexpected child was loved long before he was big enough to let me know all was well inside. My affection and love for all of my children grew long before their births.

God told Mother Eve “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. . .”[1] Delivering children is difficult and painful for most women. We struggle through hours of pain as the child moves through the birth canal, finally pushing his head and shoulders out, both are much wider than the opening. Childbirth hurts–no argument from me.

Some women attempt to circumvent the pain with drugs that dampen or hide it. Others endure Caesarian Section deliveries, thinking unconsciousness will eliminate the pain. NOT. It does not work that way. I was surprised by the agony of the after pains brought on after mine. Our bodies must undergo the experience of birth.

Happily, the pain recedes, in our joy of having a little child to love and care for. Ask a new mother if she remembers the pain even a few days after the birth of her beloved child.

In a section of my book, Eve Remembers, Eve shares with her oldest daughter this idea.

“Mama, what is it really like to give birth? I was there when both Abigail and Abri were born. I heard your pains. But, what is child birth really like?”

“You heard me moan, even cry out in pain, for it is given to women, sorrow and pain in childbirth. I will not tell you child birth is easy, you have seen me. It is not, but, the joy after is greater than the pain. Because of the intense pain during the birth of a child, the joy of welcoming a new little life into this world is as exquisite as the pain. It makes pain worthwhile, different from other injuries. As I followed your growth, watched you become lovely young men and women, the pain becomes a nearly forgotten memory, I remember the pain for only a short time after the birth, then the joy of your lives takes over, wiping away the pain.”

“The pain is terrible, and still you can forget? I helped you with Abigail. Her birth was easier than Abri’s. Even then, you worked so hard to move her out of your body. How can you forget such pain?”

“The pain still lingers in my memory, but is swallowed up in the joy of holding her, nursing her, seeing her smile, watching you and your brothers and sisters meet and love her. All that erases the memory of the pain. If I had not forgotten, I would not have had you, or any of your other brothers or sisters after Absalom.” I smiled at her. “Great joy overcomes the pain and sorrow of birth.”

“I think I understand. Even when I know it will hurt to put my hand into the nettles to gather leaves for tea, like the one father gave you after you had Abigail, the pain is worth it to gather them. The value of the leaves is greater than the pain.”[2]

Moms, do you agree? Tell me about your deliveries. Were they forgotten? Did the joy of your little one overcome all the pain? Please share.

If you’d like to know when Eve Remembers will be coming out, feel free to share your name and address with me.

 

[1] KJB, Genesis 3:16

[2] Eve Remembers, Angelique Conger, p. 266

A War on Families

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A war on families attacks from all directions, among all peoples, and in all countries of the world.

This may seem to be a strong statement, but if you consider the attacks from all sides, you will see this is not overly strong. Families are divided from their support structures, losing basic definition, and children are being lost to the murder of abortion.

From the beginning, families consisted of father, mother, and children. Eve and Adam were the first parents who obeyed the command to multiply and replenish the earth. Life was not easy for these first parents, they continued as parents to the end of their long lives.

A mother and a father is required, can’t exist without them. Even though this is truth, and cannot be denied or changed, people are trying to change the composition and structure of families.

Families always have been a father, mother, and children. There are times when this changed, when dad is lost to a battle, or mom is lost in childbirth or other illness. In the centuries before the middle of the 20th, families most often included grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Industrialization encouraged families in search of employment to separate from the strength and support of extended family. Children became dependent on a parent or neighbors in times of challenge or trouble. No longer were families able to depend on the love and help of nearby extended families when children needed extra attention.

The division of the nuclear family from extended support of grandparents and others leaves many without help in times of economic difficulty. If the challenge is as simple as needing a ride to work or someone to watch the children while parents work, young parents who left the extended family behind find little help, unless kind neighbors step in to help.

Divorce is not a new state in our world, the Savior mentions it in the New Testament, but this sad state of affairs is more common than strong, stable marriages. Couples who are faithful to their spouse and maintain a loyalty to family more than a few years seem to be rare. Even in religious congregations with tenets stressing strong families and stable marriages, divorce is rampant.

Divorce divides families in ugly ways. Children are torn, living for a time with mom, and then must leave to live with dad. At best, parents live close, and are thoughtful of their children, raising them with similar attitudes, in one school, visiting the other parent frequently. In a worst case scenario, parents live long distances away, fighting battles through the children, tearing all kindness and love for the other parent from the hearts of the children. Many variations on these themes litter the relationships of previous families, but in every one a child is deprived of the full love and attention of a parent, often deprived of social and economic stability.

In the past half century, families degenerated to the point that couples “try things out”, bounce from one partner to another, sleeping around, having a one night stand, or forming “relationships” rather than marriage. Children become the “results of a relationship” rather than beloved children brought into a family, wanted by both parents. Often, mothers with multiple children, borne from multiple fathers, find none take responsibility to stay to teach and love their offspring. The once unheard prospect of single mothers and fathers is apparent, sharing children—or not.

Today, men and women living “divergent” lifestyles, claiming to love another of the same sex as husband and wife, are attempting to force a change in the very nature and definition of family, demanding place in the structure. Living together as “couples” is one thing, but the insistence of the appellation of family enforces the contention of families under attack. How can same sex couples possible increase, multiply and replenish the earth, as commanded in Genesis? It is impossible! Children require a father and a mother, not two fathers, not two mothers. Yes, they use means of artificial impregnation, and they can adopt. But to produce children, a mother and a father are required. Other means are biologically impossible in any other situation. Plain and simple.

The vilest attack on families comes in the guise of “liberation” and “choice”. Women are honored by the press when they commit murder of an unborn child. Liberation and choice ended when the woman made the choice of unprotected sex. Abortion is a kind euphemism for an ugly act. Once a child is conceived, the time choice is passed a human exists, and destruction of the child at any stage is murder. Women sometimes lose the opportunity of choice for other children after abortion. Not something to cheer about, unless the hidden agenda is no family, no children.

The attack on families comes from all directions. Families lose cohesion and support brought from living near extended loved ones. Divorce and shacking up force children into single parent homes, with all the attendant challenges. Men and women of the same sex are determined to marry and maintain “families”, though physically impossible for the couple to conceive children. Murder of the unborn called abortion spreads across all peoples in an attempt to “get rid of an unwanted problem”. No people, no nation is exempt. This is worldwide.

Certainly, these are not the only projectiles hurled in an attempt to destroy the family. These are the worst, and the most visible. We cannot solve all these problems. We cannot force others to change. We can stand firm for the family, avoiding the sorrows of broken homes and single parents with all the efforts of our being. We can refuse to abort children, give them to adoption if unable to personally care for them. We can stand with our spouse, determined to continue together, regardless of the struggles. We can stay in touch with children who moved to distant places, and parents, brothers, and sisters from whom we departed. We can reunite in love with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandchildren whenever possible.

Fight back. Save the family. Stand together as families supporting families.