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Latter-day Saint father Dave Crosby noticed his young daughter’s singing talents when she was just a toddler. In 2016, he put a video of the then 3-year-old Claire singing “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid and the video garnered 8 million views in just ten weeks.

That YouTube sensation is now 6 years old with a channel that has over 2 million subscribers. Her latest video is ‘Consider the Lilies’, a favorite among Latter-day Saints and her rendition is set to a moving music video that will give listeners a new appreciation for the song’s spiritual meaning.

Watch the video below:

Consider The Lilies - 6-Year-Old Claire Crosby - YouTube
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Having been raised by inactive parents, both of whom came from faithful, stalwart member families, I remember little or no contact with much family in my youngest years.  So, the announcement that our “grandfather” was going to visit us was a surprise.  A grandfather!  A big word that carried much excitement. 

He was coming all the way from Salt Lake City to Dallas on a train.  Even more excitement!  When meeting him at the train station in Texas, this large, handsome man with a shock of white hair was introduced to us.  This was a grandfather!  My sister and I were definitely a bit intimidated.  His actual name, Hugh B. Brown, was of no importance to my sister and I. 

Knowing nothing of church leadership or the offices therein, I do not know what positions he held during my growing up years.  However, when older I became aware that Hugh B. Brown was a Stake president, became an assistant to the Quorum of Twelve, later a member of the Twelve, and in the First Presidency with President David O McKay. 

That memorable night we truly got to know this man with the big title and bigger stature as he let my sister and I put his hair in pin curls and paint his fingernails red – long before this was acceptable in our culture!  He sat in a chair and let two little girls crawl over and around him while learning family relationships are such fun.

The summer of my 8th birthday my grandparents invited us to Utah.  My grandfather – now “Boppy” to my sister and I – baptized me and changed my life.  I don’t remember being interviewed, but then I knew nothing of church policy or that he was Granite stake president and had the needed authority.  My memories include walking into the font with Boppy and the next day hearing my grandmother bear testimony on Sunday after I had been confirmed by my uncle, Charles Manley Brown. The whole experience was imprinted on my 8-year-old mind.  Also, on that visit my grandmother – my Nana – told me Book of Mormon stories.  I have no recollection of which stories, but I knew – KNEW – that she believed them.   

Returning to Texas I went to every church I could find.  Went with friends to the Catholic church, the Christian Science Church and others.  Riding my bicycle, I went to the Baptist Church and absolutely loved their youth group. Learned much at Vacation Bible Schools each summer.   (I suspect my grandparents sent the sister missionaries who held a generic “Primary” in our home for a while.) My mother thought she had a religious fanatic on her hands.

**

Everywhere I asked questions of church pastors, teachers, etc. –  Why did God put us on earth?  What does he want us to do?  What happens when we die?  – and was always told, “these are the mysteries of Heaven and we don’t delve into the mysteries”. 

What, I now ask myself, was the reason for my curiosity? 

One Sunday, when I was about ten, the minister was pounding on the pulpit saying, “Come to the front and accept Jesus. Come and be saved.  Get to know Jesus Christ.”  I thought: I want to know Jesus. So, despite my pounding heart I gathered all my courage and forcibly walked my young, skinny legs to the front.  What disappointment!   All I felt was a hollowness.  I had expected more.  However, I’m glad to remember that little girl’s spirit within still seeking.

Looking back, I have NO doubt that the prayers of my grandparents were guiding and protecting me.  They knew what knowledge was available when I had not a clue.  However, I had heard my Nana pray while in her home and knew it was very individual and caring. She talked to God as if he were right there.

My mother, who years later allowed herself to learn of the great love of her family for her, kept from them the addictive use of alcohol and other detrimental influences in our home. However, the faith and prayers of my grandparents, I am sure, gave us safety and a spiritual security we were unaware of except upon reflection.   

When I was 13, my parents divorced and mother moved us to California to be near her sister.  I went to the LDS church with my cousins, asked my questions, and found answers! The church of my heritage provided not only answers, but specific answers which prompted more questions and greater understanding.   A new world – astonishingly – had opened to me.  Puzzle pieces fell into place.

Not having the many lovely family experiences my cousins enjoyed with our grandparents while growing up, did NOT hinder me from feeling their love and their faith.  Each encounter with them was memorable.  Their goodness was comforting, their sense of humor inclusive, their loving awareness of me was so joyful.   The choices they made throughout their lives became a gift to me that healed the examples during my youth.  

Today Facetime and other tech helps are available to maintain contact, but never underestimate the power of your prayers and your examples. Children have an innate desire to connect with family and with a Heavenly Father. Trust in God’s power and keep those prayers going for your loved ones.  Gratitude to my grandparents and aunts and uncles on both sides for their faith and prayers in my behalf is beyond my ability to express.  Those prayers, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit opened the blessings of eternity to me.  The same can be true for your loved ones.

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Meridian Magazine by President Hugh B. Brown - 6d ago

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President Brown’s granddaughter, Marilyn Victor, has an article about him and the power of his prayers, featured today in Meridian Magazine, so we include this famous story from him to remember his important legacy. It is excerpted from a devotional he gave at BYU entitled, “God is the Gardener”.

Sixty-odd years ago I was on a farm in Canada. I had purchased the farm from another who had been somewhat careless in keeping it up. I went out one morning and found a currant bush that was at least six feet high. I knew that it was going all to wood. There was no sign of blossom or of fruit. I had had some experience in pruning trees before we left Salt Lake to go to Canada, as my father had a fruit farm. So I got my pruning shears and went to work on that currant bush, and I clipped it and cut it and cut it down until there was nothing left but a little clump of stumps.

And as I looked at them, I yielded to an impulse, which I often have, to talk with inanimate things and have them talk to me. It’s a ridiculous habit. It’s one I can’t overcome. As I looked at this little clump of stumps, there seemed to be a tear on each one, and I said, “What’s the matter, currant bush? What are you crying about?”

And I thought I heard that currant bush speak. It seemed to say, “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as large as the fruit tree and the shade tree, and now you have cut me down. And all in the garden will look upon me with contempt and pity. How could you do it? I thought you were the gardener here.”

I thought I heard that from the currant bush. I thought it so much that I answered it.

I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. If I let you go the way you want to go, you will never amount to anything. But someday, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to think back and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”

Ten years passed, and I found myself in Europe. I had made some progress in the First World War in the Canadian army. In fact, I was a field officer, and there was only one man between me and the rank of general, which I had cherished in my heart for years. Then he became a casualty. And the day after, I received a telegram from London from General Turner, who was in charge of all Canadian officers. The telegram said, “Be in my office tomorrow morning at ten o’clock.”

I puffed up. I called my special servant. (We called them “batmen” over there.) I said, “Polish my boots and my buttons. Make me look like a general, because I am going up tomorrow to be appointed.”

He did the best he could with what he had to work on, and I went to London. I walked into the office of the general. I saluted him smartly, and he replied to my salute as higher officers usually do to juniors—sort of a “Get out of the way, worm.” Then he said, “Sit down, Brown.”

I was deflated. I sat down. And he said, “Brown, you are entitled to this promotion, but I cannot make it. You have qualified and passed the regulations, you have had the experience, and you are entitled to it in every way, but I cannot make this appointment.”

Just then he went into the other room to answer a phone call, and I did what most every officer and man in the army would do under those circumstances: I looked over on his desk to see what my personal history sheet showed. And I saw written on the bottom of that history sheet in large capital letters: “THIS MAN IS A MORMON.”

Now at that time we were hated heartily in Britain, and I knew why he couldn’t make the appointment. Finally he came back and said, “That’s all, Brown.”

I saluted him, less heartily than before, and went out. On my way back to Shorncliffe, 120 kilometers away, I thought every turn of the wheels that clacked across the rails was saying, “You’re a failure. You must go home and be called a coward by those who do not understand.”

And bitterness rose in my heart until I arrived, finally, in my tent, and I rather vigorously threw my cap on the cot, together with my Sam Browne belt. I clenched my fist, and I shook it at heaven, and I said, “How could you do this to me, God? I’ve done everything that I knew how to do to uphold the standards of the Church. I was making such wonderful growth, and now you’ve cut me down. How could you do it?”

And then I heard a voice. It sounded like my own voice, and the voice said, “I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to be. If I let you go the way you want to go, you will never amount to anything. And someday, when you are ripened in life, you are going to shout back across the time and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’” Those words—which I recognize now as my words to the currant bush and that had become God’s word to me—drove me to my knees, where I prayed for forgiveness for my arrogance and my ambition.

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Meridian Magazine by Lynne Perry Christofferson - 6d ago

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The following is part two in a two-part series on the truth about beauty. To read part one, CLICK HERE.

Truth #6: The Lord can help us overcome our negative feelings about our bodies.

What if we truly despise our face or our body, or we’re afraid to age and nothing short of drastic measures could ever change our appearance?  Perhaps we even have serious physical deformities that contribute to our poor self-image and there’s nothing we can do to change them.  Must we simply endure these negative feelings until the resurrection?  Of course, we’re deeply grateful that Jesus Christ has blessed us with the hope of a perfect body someday—but most of the time “someday” feels impossibly far away.  What then? 

Let me share with you something lovely I came across some months ago.  I was deeply touched as I read the following account from Sister Merrilee Boyack.  Her message is powerful and potentially healing for anyone who deals with deep seated issues about their appearance—and isn’t that most of us?

“I have spent my entire lifetime feeling unattractive…So you can imagine how I felt when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that I had to have a mastectomy.  You’ve GOT to be kidding me.  Wasn’t I ugly enough?  The thought of losing my hair, which I felt was my one saving grace, hit me.  I shall never forget the day when…I realized that by the end of the month I would be bald. Bald. Ugly.  Could I survive all this emotionally?  On that day I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked for a gift.  I asked for the gift of healing of my feelings about my appearance…I knew this was not something I could survive very well emotionally on my own.  And I was tired of feeling ugly for 50 years of my life.  I wanted healing.  And I knew the only way to get it was to get it from God.  So I asked. 

Now a strange thing began to happen.  Day after day, I felt prettier.  I know that is very strange and hard to explain.  I began to notice things about myself that I liked and were attractive. And then came the day … when my hair was going… [My son] came home on his lunch hour.  I buzzed his hair, and then he buzzed mine.  As he was buzzing it, he commented, “It’s not every day you get to buzz off your mother’s hair!” 

And then came the time to face the mirror.  And an amazing thing happened.  I looked in that mirror and saw beauty.  My eyes that I had always hated were shining.  My skin was glowing.  I had a good head!  And a big smile.  I realized that I was truly beautiful.

I told my husband that I have felt more beautiful in the last two months than I have ever felt in my life.  He laughed and said it must have been the hair!  But I know something deeper has happened.  God has healed my feelings about my appearance.  I have finally been able to see myself as He sees me—a marvelous work of art.  And the voices that I have carried in my head for decades have been completely silenced.  It was a gift from Him—pure and simple.

I have learned a deep lesson.  God creates beauty.  It is that simple.  And when He created me, He created a lovely, pretty, down-right-CUTE daughter.  I have also realized that every single one of us is beautiful.  Yeah, yeah, we have inner beauty.  But I have discovered that every single one of us in all our shapes and sizes and ages and conditions, are truly beautiful on the outside.  That was something I had not understood until now.”(4)

One particular line from Sister Boyack has echoed through my mind since reading her story: “God has healed my feelings about my appearance.”  If issues about our physical appearance are undermining our confidence and making it difficult for us to believe that we are of worth, then it’s high time we address this sensitive subject with the One who created us.  Imagine how liberating it would be to leave our negative feelings behind, freeing our spirits to actively pursue the kind of life God intends for His daughters.  Imagine, in the place of self-consciousness and self-loathing, a life of service and sanctification.

Truth #7: Physical beauty is not a requirement for spiritual perfection. (Hallelujah!)

If we need scriptural evidence that God isn’t fretting over our physical appearance, try this on for size: referring to the Savior, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah53:2)  That ought to give us something to chew on.  Apparently, even Jesus Himself didn’t possess an extraordinary share of good looks, and yet we sing about our “Beautiful Savior.”

Meaning what?  Meaning, the Savior was able to achieve perfection without being considered particularly attractive, so the type of perfection we’re asked to strive for has nothing to do with physical beauty.  We’re asked to keep our bodies clean and healthy and modestly covered, but nowhere in the scriptures are we given a description of the ideal hair color, skin tone, or body size—because there is none.  The phrase “perfect size six” is not found in the standard works. (Unless it’s buried in Leviticus—I suppose I could have missed it in there.)

What do the scriptures say about our bodies?  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)  Squinting into the mirror first thing in the morning, we can sort of understand the fearful part.  But honestly, do we believe that we are fearfully and wonderfully made?  Can we trust that the God who created man and woman in His own image knew what He was doing?  Heavenly Father has a plan of salvation for each of us, and the particular body that we were given to house our spirit is an integral part of that plan.  Through our bodies we will be tempted and frustrated and humbled—and as we learn to respect these sacred temples and allow our spirits to control them, our bodies will enable us to experience a higher level of joy than our spirits alone can achieve.  As stated by Elder David A. Bednar, “Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal estate.” (5)

Truth #8: You are beautiful.

Yes, I’m talking to you.  Don’t roll your eyes or sigh.  It’s time we “get over ourselves,” even with all of our perceived imperfections, and stop the negative self-talk.  If you still need help in this area of your life, please refer back to Truth #6.  I pray the day will come—for all of us—when we can be at peace with our appearance.  Then we will finally be free to shift our focus more fully to Christ.

Notes:

4. Merrilee Brown Boyack, Time Out For Women Blog, February 2009.

5. David A. Bednar, “Things As They Really Are,” CES Fireside, May 2009.

This article is an excerpt from the book “Sisters, Arise!” by Lynne Perry Christofferson, published by Covenant Communications, Inc. 2016.

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Meridian Magazine by Joni Hilton - 6d ago

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When I was growing up, laundry was serious business.  Stains were attacked with a vengeance, clothing was washed mercilessly in scalding water, and my father’s shirts and handkerchiefs were starched until they nearly stood up by themselves. Even the pillowcases were pressed until they were smooth as paper.

Just because something is repetitive doesn’t mean it has to lose meaning.Just because something is repetitive doesn’t mean it has to lose meaning.My mother knew all the tricks. Freshly washed clothes were stored in a pillowcase (this was before plastic trash bags, mind you) so they would be uniformly damp, ready for a blistering hot iron to melt out every last wrinkle. Others were sprinkled, then steamed, and before I was ten, I was expertly weaving the iron in between the buttons of shirts and placing proper creases in the sleeves. 

Today laundry is easier. Many fabrics require no ironing and washing machines offer a myriad of temperatures and spin cycles. However, dirt and grime have not accepted modernization and seem to accumulate without regard to technical advances. Yep, every week laundry must be done. And it gets tedious.

So I’m going to offer Meridian Magazine readers my Top 5 Tips for making it easier to tackle this unending chore, and thus improve your family life:

  1. Involve your children. Years ago a friend said to me, “If you can read, you can do laundry.” The brilliance of that struck me immediately, and I taught my children, from a very young age, to do their own laundry—including the folding and putting away of clean clothes.  Let’s face it, today’s kids are so electronically savvy that a kindergartner could tutor her grandparents in cell phone and computer use. If kids can do that, they can easily navigate the buttons on a washer and dryer.
  2. Train everyone to stop putting perfectly clean clothes in the hamper. This is a lazy trick some try, rather than hanging things up. But it costs money to run the machines, and money to replace clothes that have undergone wear and tear in the washing process.
  3. If you have a large family, parents can assign a day and a time to each person. Keep in mind the best times when your local utility company offers discounts for running appliances. This also prevents quarrels between two kids who both need a vital piece of clothing NOW, and they both insist they should be first.
  4. Teach the best way to get clothes really clean. Talk about pre-treating stains, separating dark and light colors, using cold water vs. hot water, and resisting the urge to pack the machine so full that clothes have no room to swish around.  Show kids that if you turn clothes inside out, the “right side” won’t sustain as much abuse, and will look new longer. Have them safety pin their socks together so one won’t get lost. Help them with bleach if it’s needed, making sure it mixes with the water before you add clothing.
  5. And here’s the best way to get over the mundane repetition: Think about the Sacrament. Every single week we get the amazing chance to wash ourselves clean–as clean as we were on our baptism day. Incredible!  Just as with laundry, we prepare. We go through a routine that has several steps: There’s a song, there are prayers, there is passing of the emblems of Christ’s body and blood, and there is the partaking. There is also the opportunity to close our eyes, to pray, to repent, to pledge our devotion again, to draw closer to God than we may have felt all week. If done right, we can feel sparkling clean and ready for the new week ahead.

Doing laundry can be “doing laundry.”  Or it can be a reminder that we are cleansing the outer vessel, just as we cleanse the inner vessel when we partake of the Sacrament. Like other household duties, we can remember that we do all this to keep family life in order and running smoothly. This isn’t just a menial job; this is something that sustains our loved ones. We can consecrate this task to God, and do it to the best of our ability. We can make it mean something.        

As a little girl, I felt confidence as I learned to master ironing. I knew my mother (obviously, today that message can come from both moms and dads) cared about the details of this assignment, so I cared, too. It was something important, something that meant I was part of running a home. Of course she could have ironed much better and faster, but at the time I felt I was doing something vital.

We also set the example for our children as we model for them the seriousness of taking the Sacrament. By showing them how much we look forward to it, how truly we concentrate on it, and how much it means to us, they learn to value that weekly ordinance for themselves as well. Instead of seeing it as rote or routine, children straighten up in their seats. They concentrate. They know this is one of their family’s values. Yes, it can become repetitive. Or, if done correctly, it can become so much more.

Hilton’s LDS novel, Golden, is available in paperback and on Kindle.  All her books and YouTubeMom videos can be found on her website.  She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.

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The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

The new initiative to replace the Boy Scouts and Personal Progress programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is called “Children and Youth” and will be rolled out in September in a special worldwide satellite broadcast.

The church is exiting its century-old relationship with Scouting and retiring some of its other core activities for teenagers, like Personal Progress in its Young Women program.

President M. Russell Ballard, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will lay out the new initiative to replace those programs in a broadcast on Sept. 29, according to a letter sent Monday to general authorities and officers of the church and local leaders around the world. Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will host a Face to Face broadcast about “Children and Youth” on Nov. 17.

“The principles taught in this effort for children and youth represent a higher, holier way to encourage the rising generation to follow Jesus Christ and apply his gospel in all areas of their lives,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles say in a statement in a guidebook to the program. “This major effort will include gospel learning, the privilege of service, personal development, and exciting activities.”

The Young Women program will move forward without Personal Progress and Faith in God for Girls. Boys will no longer have Scouting, Duty to God or Faith in God for Boys.

Amy Rogers Douglass, a mother in Rancho Cucamonga, California, earned her Young Womanhood Recognition through the Personal Progress program as a girl. Now her 15-year-old daughter is doing Personal Progress.

“I have helped my daughter work her way through up to this point, and it has been a strength for her,” Douglass said. “It has been a blessing in bringing the spirit and helping her grow as she works on it each Sabbath day.”

Douglass said she recognized the need for an update.

“Because my daughter is growing up in a situation different than mine was, I know that the new programs will be even more beneficial to her personally,” she said.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

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President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will address the 110th annual national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) July 21, 2019, in Detroit, Michigan.

Over the past 18 months, the First Presidency has made its partnership with the NAACP a high priority. The groups have met several times to pursue a joint education and employment initiative that has been deployed in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and Charlotte. They have customized the Church’s self-reliance services materials and programs to be most effective for the initiative. The two organizations also came together on Temple Square last May to call all people, organizations and governments to work together to achieve greater civility and racial harmony. Last July, Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy spoke at the NAACP’s 109th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

“I’m honored to have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand in unity with the NAACP to advance equality and justice for all,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We must recognize and accept the importance of creating amity with those that are raising the consciousness of this nation — the Church is committed to doing just that.”

In addition to its joint pursuits with the NAACP, the Church seeks to strengthen African American individuals and families through genealogy. The Church helps African Americans trace their roots as far back as possible. The Church donated $2 million in February to the International African American Museum (IAAM), which is set to open in 2021 on the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina. In December 2016, the Church gave an indexed database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The database contains genealogical information of freed African Americans after the Civil War.

Since becoming president of the Church in 2018, the prophet has made clear in word and deed his desire to be a bridge builder with all peoples, faiths, cultures and communities.

“Only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of men and the true sisterhood of women,” President Nelson said during a major celebration of diversity and oneness in the Church in 2018. “That understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”

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Meridian Magazine by Margaret Anderson - 1w ago

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Every team form pushed under my nose for a signature nowadays includes an Anti-Hazing Policy: No imposition of strenuous, often humiliating tasks, risking emotional and physical harm, in an erroneous effort to create team unity. Zero Tolerance. No exceptions. And I completely agree. I’m 100% on board. There’s absolutely no place for hazing in a civilized society!

I wish someone would tell that to my newborns.

Including the pregnancy, my newborns haze me the better part of two years. Something about esprit de corps…I’m not sure anymore. Its’ been a while since I’ve slept.

Pregnancy is only the first phase in rushing. The word “rush” feels ironic because nine months never lasted so long. They make you buy all new, ill-fitting clothes, humiliate you with 24/7 compression socks, and compromise your bladder just because they can.

Their soirees are top notch. They literally shower you with gifts so cute, so darling, soooo sooooft, you’ll be drinking the Kool-Aid in no time. (You can only hope the Kool-Aid is spiked with MyraLax.)

As for phase two, well…I needn’t go into the details of labor and delivery except to return to the original definition of hazing: strenuous, often humiliating tasks, risking emotional and physical harm. Check, check and check.

Even after all the blinding pain of heavy labor, all the indignities you’ll suffer, full-fledged membership isn’t handed out so easily. Your newborn has a few more tricks up his folded over cuff to ensure you’re really “all in.” More hazing is on the horizon cute mama! No exceptions.

I watched the miniseries “Hornblower” during my first pregnancy. During Horatio Hornblower’s initiation as a midshipmen in the Royal British Navy, he was roused from sleep every 30 minutes during the night to teach him a lesson. How cruel! My baby was taking notes. Three months of no REM sleep is amateur hour. Don’t take it personally. She just needs to know if you’ll be able to handle staying up all night when her cough sounds like a barking seal, or if you can wait up for her on prom night, and still look refreshed in the morning.

Newborns wait until you are somewhere public with no easy, viable exits before they wail and scream and watch your milk let down in excess. Ha-ha, very funny. Don’t worry, they are just checking for resourcefulness. Is your diaper bag planned for every contingency? They need to know you’ll always have both a plan B and C for the early days of toilet training so neither of you ever misses a pool party, or a connecting flight.

During that first year of life, he’ll roll over unexpectedly to check your reflexes. She’ll descend stairs for the first time solo, just to see how you’ll react in a crisis. Any and all food will get pushed off the highchair tray simply to verify you’re the kind of woman who follows through on her word. All this so your baby is certainbeyond any doubt you can keep your cool when he forgets his science project, crashes the car, or be patient enough when she’s not ready to talk yet and simply needs a hug.

This is not mean-spirited hazing for the sake of a laugh at your expense. If that baby doesn’t have you completely bought in to keeping her alive and happy, then how will she feel safe vomiting in your bed in another five years?

Around the first birthday, if all goes well, you’re in. The secret snuggle, the whole bit. You’ll have shown you’re a team player, worthy of trust. There will be no question you are willing to die for this cause. The hazing will indeed subside. (Unless, of course, that adorable cherub can sell you on another go.)

But, believe it or not, you’re still only rank and file in the sisterhood. To earn the coveted status in the upper echelons of the organization, that baby will need to have a baby of her own. Seems fair. After all, we are civilized.

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The following was written by Jarrett Stepman and is excerpted from the Daily Signal. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Since there’s often confusion as to what socialism really is, I decided to attend the Socialism 2019 conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend.

The conference, which had the tag line “No Borders, No Bosses, No Binaries,” contained a cross-section of the most pertinent hard-left thought in America. Among the sponsors were the Democratic Socialists of America and Jacobin, a quarterly socialist magazine.

The walls of the various conference rooms were adorned with posters of Karl Marx and various depictions of socialist thinkers and causes. 

Most of the conference attendees appeared to be white, but identity politics were a major theme throughout—especially in regard to gender.

Here are brief summaries of the author’s six takeaways from the conference. To read about each one in greater detail on the Daily Signal, CLICK HERE.

1. Serious About Socialism

A common line from those on the modern left is that they embrace “democratic socialism,” rather than the brutal, totalitarian socialism of the former Soviet Union or modern North Korea and Venezuela. Sweden is usually cited as their guide for what it means in practice, though the reality is that these best-case situations show the limits of socialism, not its success.

2. Gender and Identity Politics Are Ascendant

Transgenderism, gender nonconformity, and abolishing traditional family structures were huge issues at Socialism 2019.

One panel, “Social Reproduction Theory and Gender Liberation,” addressed how the traditional family structure reinforced capitalism and contended that the answer was to simply abolish families.

3. Open Borders Is Becoming a Litmus Test

It’s perhaps not surprising that socialists embrace open borders. After all, that’s becoming a much more mainstream position on the left in general.

The AFL-CIO used to support immigration restrictions until it flipped in 2000 and called for illegal immigrants to be granted citizenship.

To read about each of these points in greater detail on the Daily Signal, CLICK HERE.

4. ‘Clickbait’ Communism Is Being Used to Propagandize Young Americans

The magazine Teen Vogue has come under fire recently for flattering profiles of Karl Marx and promoting prostitution as a career choice, among other controversial pieces.

It would be easy to write these articles off as mere “clickbait,” but it’s clear that the far-left nature of its editorials—and its attempt to reach young people with these views—is genuine.

5. The Green Movement Is Red

It’s perhaps no surprise that an openly socialist member of Congress is pushing for the Green New Deal—which would essentially turn the U.S. into a command-and-control economy reminiscent of the Soviet Union.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti recently said, according to The Washington Post: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.”

6. Socialism Can’t Be Ignored as a Rising Ethos on the Left

According to a recent Gallup survey, 4 in 10 Americans have a positive view of socialism. Support among Democrats is even higher than among the general population, with a majority of Democrats saying they prefer socialism to capitalism.

But many who say they want socialism rather than capitalism struggle to define what those terms mean and change their views once asked about specific policies.

To read about each of these points in greater detail on the Daily Signal, CLICK HERE.

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View the article on Book of Mormon Central.

As recorded in Acts 10–15, the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ shepherded early saints through tumultuous times. These chapters highlight how the early apostles faced such challenges as social upheaval, martyrdom and persecution, organizing missionary work, and “much disputing” among the leadership of the church that arose over unanswered doctrinal and procedural questions.

The threads tying these chapters together are questions such as: Who receives revelation for the church? What does that revelation look like? Whence does it arise? How might both external and internal forces catalyze revelation?

How Peter and early church leaders received revelation

Peter’s Vision of a Sheet with Animals. Illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop Treasures of the Bible, 1894.

Looking carefully at two accounts from this block of Scripture helps answer these questions. The first is the account found in Acts 10. This narrative begins by describing a man named Cornelius. A “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house” (Acts 10:2), Cornelius was a Roman military commander; in other words, a Gentile. Based on the description given in the text (vv. 2, 22), Cornelius may indeed have been a God-fearer–––a sympathizer to the Jewish faith who remained uncircumcised and therefore not fully converted–––but he was a Gentile all the same.1

Cornelius was instructed in a vision to “send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter” in order be instructed on how to fully convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:5). As Cornelius’ servants made their way to Joppa, the text describes how Peter “became very hungry . . . [and] fell into a trance” or vision (v. 10). In this vision, Peter

saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. (vv. 11­–16)

While Peter was left wondering what this vision meant, Cornelius’ servants arrived and inquired for the apostle (Acts 10:17–18). After Peter consulted with Cornelius’ servants, the Spirit made known to Peter the meaning of the vision and prompted him to visit Cornelius (vv. 19–33). This Peter did, hearing Cornelius’ account of his vision. Once he had a more complete understanding of the situation, Peter came to perceive “of a truth . . . that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (vv. 34–35).

The result of all this? “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 10:44–45). This heralded the epoch when the gospel would be taken to allnations, kindred, tongues, and peoples.

The second account in Acts 15 describes an occasion not long after the conversion of Cornelius when “much disputing” arose amongst “the apostles and elders” of the church (Acts 15:6–7). The problem? Now that there were Gentile converts in the church, “there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them [i.e. the new Gentile converts], and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (v. 5). The named leaders in attendance at this council in Jerusalem included Paul and Barnabas, Peter, and James the brother of Jesus. After some discussion, and after searching the scriptures (vv. 15–17 = Amos 9:11–12), the council determined that Gentile converts need not be circumcised, but should persist in following certain Jewish laws pertaining to food and sexual impropriety (vv. 19–20, 28–29).

Notice how the revelatory process played out in a similar manner in both accounts. In both stories, a change in circumstances prompted the leader(s) of the church to seek revelation by study and faith. In both stories, the leader(s) of the church took time to carefully investigate the matter at hand without jumping to conclusions. And in both stories, the leader(s) received confirmation by the Spirit that they had properly discerned the will of the Lord before implementing their course of action.

It should be noted that the KJV translation is somewhat misleading with its depiction of “much disputing” (Acts 15:7) arising among the apostles. The word doesn’t necessarily mean that they were contentious yelling and arguing. Rather, it means the apostles were diligently seeking, discussing, debating, and exploring options. The Greek word here is zētēseōs, and can mean broadly investigation, discussion, or inquiry. It derives from zēteō which means to seek, look for, search out, examine, strive for, etc. While we might imagine the apostles and elders of the council voicing opposing strong opinions during this zētēseōs, we need not necessarily assume they were contentious or spiteful towards each other in this process.

How Latter-day Church leaders receive revelation

Image of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Image via Church Newsroom.

The clear parallels between what is depicted here in Acts 10 and 15 and incidents from the modern history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are abundant. In the late summer of 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith was forced to confront Hiram Page, one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who was presuming to receive revelation on behalf of the Church by means of a seer stone.2 As a revelation the Prophet received in September 1830 made clear, only the president of the Church may act, as Peter did many centuries earlier, as the chief apostle overseeing the affairs of the Church as a whole (Doctrine and Covenants 28).

The history of the revelation on priesthood given to President Spencer W. Kimball in 1978 likewise echoes what is depicted in Acts 10 and 15. “Starting in the 1850s, the Church followed a policy that restricted black members’ access to full participation in the Church by declaring them ineligible to be ordained to the priesthood or receive temple ordinances.”3 As the restored gospel spread to Africa and other parts of the world, and as wider societal attitudes on issues of race shifted over time, Church leaders felt it was needful to revisit the Church’s policy of restricting priesthood ordination and temple blessings from men and women of African descent.

“By early 1978,” President Kimball was not only “regularly praying in the temple for revelation about extending priesthood ordination and temple blessings to black members of the Church,” he was also speaking “at length with his counselors in the First Presidency and with members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the subject,” was inviting “them to make it a matter of study and prayer” individually, and was carefully listening to the voices of black members of the Church who were impacted by this policy.4

This process resulted with a June 1, 1978 revelation that overturned the previous policy of the Church and lifted the racial restriction on priesthood ordination and temple blessings. This revelation is canonized today in the Church as Official Declaration 2.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ today can read Acts 10–15 with full confidence that the Lord continues to guide His servants through revelation in the management of His Church and the teaching of His gospel.
 

1.Allan J. McNicol, “Cornelius,” in The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, ed. Paul J. Achtemeier (New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996), 206.

2.See Jeffrey G. Cannon, “‘All Things Must Be Done in Order’,” in Revelations in Context, online at https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/?lang=eng.

3.James Goldberg, “Witnessing the Faithfulness,” in Revelations in Context, online at https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/?lang=eng.

4.Goldberg, “Witnessing the Faithfulness.”

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