Thursday, March 27, 2014

Calling the Fishermen.

I love this painting, I always have. I love the colors, and the way the water ripples, and the way Christ looks. I just like all of it. But there was one thing I hadn't really taken note of. Well, I guess that's not fair. I've noticed it, but never thought about it in this way before.

This last Sunday, there was a really interesting speaker in my ward. You see, we all take turns speaking during our worship meeting, which is a meeting we call Sacrament. It's the most sacred meeting of all our church meetings, and is the time when we partake of the Sacrament. Bread and water are blessed and partaking of it allows us to renew our covenants made with our Heavenly Father at baptism. If taken properly, we become clean again. We carefully and thoughtfully consider the sacrament prayers and the covenants we are renewing, such as: eating in remembrance of the body of Christ, and promise that we will always remember his sacrifice upon the cross,  drinking in remembrance of the blood shed for us, which atoned for the sins of Adam and allows us to be freed from our own sins, on condition of true repentance, covenanting to take upon us the name of Christ, and avoid anything that would bring shame to His name, and covenanting to keep His commandments.

After we take the sacrament, we hear from church members who have been assigned to speak on certain topics. It's a time to learn and reflect upon the Lord.

So, as I was listening to this certain speaker (his name was Brother Lillywhite, if you're wondering), he mentioned something so interesting, I'm surprised I'd never caught on.

Brother Lillywhite mentioned this picture, and the way Christ's feet are positioned. In it, He is calling to Peter, asking him to come to Him so that He may make them "fishers of men". In the painting, Jesus' feet are parallel to the shoreline, and His left heel is raised, as if He is still walking.  He is calling to them, and moving forward with His work. He wanted them to come, and come when He needed them. His feet are not perpendicular to the shoreline, as they would be were He begging them to come. He asked simply, and allowed them to make their choice.

This is still how it works today. When our Heavenly Father calls us, or prompts us to do something, we have our choice. But the work doesn't stop. We have to act when we are prompted, for if we are prompted, it is important and needs attention now. We need to move our feet to keep up with His, so that we may serve each other in the best way possible. When He calls us, He is calling us specifically because we are the best person for that job, in that particular moment. And while His plan will not fail, it is made that much better by our willingness to stand and go where He wants us to go.

I'm glad to say I've gotten better at this, standing up and going when He needs me to. I'm not perfect at it yet, but I have seen situations that were time sensitive, and the outcome wouldn't have been as good had I waited and not followed the prompting. I have a strong testimony of angels on earth, and strongly believe we can be those angels for other people if we will listen to promptings and go when we are called.

Have you had any situations where you acted when you were prompted to?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Power of the Priesthood

As conference approaches we are reminded of how sneaky the adversary is and how determined he is to destroy all things that are important to Our Heavenly father, our Savior, His church, and us, His children. President Monson once said, "Today, we are encamped against the greatest array of sin, vice, and evil ever assembled before our eyes. … The battle plan whereby we fight to save the souls of men is not our own. It [came through] the inspiration and revelation of the Lord.”  (Thomas S. Monson, “Correlation Brings Blessings,” Relief Society Magazine, Apr. 1967, 247.)
To live in this world and not of this world is a very difficult task at times, but we must remember it may be difficult in this moment in time, but it will not always be difficult. It is not just possible but it is very certain that we will win this battle against the adversary. We are a part of The Church of Jesus Christ, His church that is now as it was when He walked the earth preaching. It was not easy to live the gospel then, it was not easy in the early days for the early saints, and it certainly can be difficult in today’s world. It has been many years since that day when the priesthood was restored to us here on Earth. Our numbers have grown to astonishing numbers since then, but compared to the billions of people here on Earth it is still a small fraction. We must keep in mind who we are, remember what we know, and we must step out against the adversary and preach the gospel to all those who are around us. We will be able to accomplish all things great with the power of the priesthood.
Many people have begun to question why we, as women, are not given the keys to hold the priesthood. Many of which are mis-lead, I am here to remind you that woman are just as much a part of the priesthood as the men. We all hold a very important role within the Church. It is important that we all understand this because as woman we are wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of the brethren that the priesthood keys are bestowed upon. We have influence on our husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers. If we are not working as a whole we cannot progress and the complete greatness the priesthood can posess will not be reached.  Without the worthy priesthood holders standing in his own place standing strong, along with all members of the church women alike  the Lord said,” the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19)
With Our Heavenly Father there is a plan, He loves each one of us and would not leave any of us out of the plan. After all He wants each of us to return and live with Him once again. His plan is that even those homes without the priesthood are being watched over by the quorums of the church. The true power of the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants. It increases by exercising and using the priesthood. Just imagine by allowing the priesthood into our homes, families, and lives how strong we will become spiritually to keep out the adversary and his followers. As we look around in today’s society it is so very clear that he and his followers are persistent on attacking the home and the family. President Boyd K. Packer reminded us in the April General Conference of 2010, because the power of the priesthood has been given to us to guide us and protect us we will not be fearful of the future. We will move forward knowing that the Lord will watch over us, our families, and homes.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gospel Principles Monday: There Is a God.

Welcome to Gospel Principles Monday! Have a question about Mormons? Ask!

Have you guys heard of SoulPancake yet? Chances are you have, even if you don't recognize it by name. Awesome people like Kid President and Zach Anner (of Have a Little Faith fame) are associated with Soul Pancake. Could Kid President BE any cuter? I love him.


The reason I bring this up is because I recently watched an epsiode of my favorite web series, Have a Little Faith. In this series, host Zach Anner connects with people of different faiths to find out what they are all about. To see what they believe and open our horizons a little. The episode I watched was a reunion of all the people Zach interviewed during Season 1. Per the video caption: "What happens when you put two Mormons, two Baha'is, one Jewish person, a Quaker, a Muslim and one Baptist man in a room all together?" The answer? A great discussion. 

One of the questions brought up was whether people can live a happy and fulfilling life without God, because some people wonder whether He exists at all. I think the answer is yes, because our Father in Heaven loves us whether we believe in Him or not. There is joy found in all things, and even if you don't believe in Him, you still get to see the incredible things He's created for us. This beautiful earth, mountains, sunshine, love. This question reminded me that this would be a great gospel principle monday question.

Q: What do mormons believe about God?

A: As Latter Day Saints, we believe God to be our Heavenly Father. He is the "Supreme and Absolute Being in whom we believe and whom we worship". 

We believe that our Father in Heaven created the earth, through His son, Jesus Christ. We believe that His work is all around us, that we can see His hand in everything.

I have a personal testimony of this through my experiences in the medical field. Our body is so incredible. The way all of our systems work together, the way it can heal itself, the way we can take care of it so it will do what we want. It is so fascinating to me to think about how our complex our bodies are, there is no other explanation. It is so obvious to me that we were created by a loving God who knows everything and created us so we can grow and learn during our time on earth.

There are so many scriptures that testify of His existence, in addition to our own sacred and personal experiences. As Latter Day Saints, we believe that God dwells in heaven, that he created the earth through His son, Jesus Christ, and that He made man in His own image to be a ruler over His other creations (See Genesis 1-26-27).

So now that we know there is, in fact, a God who loves us, how do we come to know Him better??

The greatest commandment is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" ((Matthew 22:37).

There are some things we can do to better know God in our lives. We need to:

  • Believe that He exists
  • Study the Scriptures
  • PRAY
  • Obey His commandments

There is so much more I could say about the nature of our Heavenly Father. He does love us unconditionally. He cares about us, whether we believe in Him or not. He wants us to return to Him, and He blesses our lives continually, whether we are aware of those blessings or not.

If you don't yet know whether God exists, please know that He does. Pray to Him, even if it feels silly initially. He will testify to your heart of His existence. If you're still not sure, pray and ask to have your eyes opened to His blessings, that you may see His hand in your life as you go day to day. He will bless you, He will comfort you, and He will love you forever.

If I know nothing else in this world, I do know that our Heavenly Father exists. I see His hand in my life everyday. I feel His love every single day of my life, no matter how terrible a day it might have been. He knows us personally, I know for sure that He knows my name and my circumstances. He lives, and wants you to know of His love. I have seen so many miracles, big and small, that testify to me of His love.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In Which I Make a Huge Blunder

Have you guys seen this?

It cracks me up, for real. Probably because I can identify so well with it. Seriously, there are things I did/said years ago that still embarrass the heck out of me. Even though it's been years, and I know that person likely does not remember it and would think I was the biggest weirdo if I brought it up again and said sorry like I want to.
"Hi, Sally. Remember that time I did that one thing that was inconsequential to you a couple years ago but I felt like the biggest idiot so it has stayed with me for two years of my adult life? Um, yeah, just wanted to say sorry. Again. Over something you don't care about. K bye." UGH, let it go, girl.
Anyway, I had one of those experiences last night, one that I will regret for a long time. I made some poor judgment calls and really hurt someone's feelings during an argument. It was one of those times when you are arguing over something ridiculous but it turns into so much more because you've been bottling things up to be polite. Yeah, not good. Like want to slap yourself why-did-you-even-bring-that-up not good.
Naturally, I cried to Kerri. Being the awesome woman she is, and knowing how I beat myself up over things, I found this in my inbox this morning:

I mean, really, can we all take a moment and appreciate what a sweet pea she is? This didn't fix it, but it let my little heart breathe a little easier. And shortly thereafter, I listened to this  devotional by Sister Linda Burton for young single adults a few weeks ago (for those of you not familiar, young single adults are classified as single adults ranging in age from 18 to 31). Sister Burton is such a beauty. I love her so much. She always has such great insight and lovely ways of making a girl feel better.
Sister Burton discussed ways of tuning our hearts to the voice of the Spirit, something I sorely needed in my life at this time. As Latter Day Saints, we believe in the Holy Ghost ,  the third member of the godhead and a personage of Spirit who comforts us, warns us, guides us, and sanctifies us. I was definitely not tuned into the Spirit when I made my poor decisions last night, and hearing Sister Burton's words reminded me that, although I made some not so great choices, I can always turn my heart to the Spirit, to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and try again.
It's never too late to try again, even if you've made some mistakes. I have a temper and I'm learning to work through that, even when I wake up with my sassy pants on. Turn your heart to Jesus Christ and let go of the not so great things, let Him work in you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gospel Principle Monday: Why do Mormons think Family is so Important?

Welcome to Gospel Principle Monday!! Today's topic is Family, and why they are so important to us as a central unit to our faith and society. It's a question I've been asked a lot, because I grew up with only one brother and that's like, a sin around here. Ok, not really. But it is something that people find pretty funny, because out of state they think we are all living in polygamist families with 90 kids (we're not).

Why Do Mormons Think Family is so Important??

 So it's no secret that Kerri and I live in Utah, the land of families with a million kids. Most of my friends come from families of at least 5 kids, most of them with more. That's just how we roll, Utah likes big families. A lot.

Icebreakers at school/church/camp/whatever (you know, the kind everyone hates? Or am I alone in that?) were always interesting for me. It usually involved some type of question about how many siblings you have. And my answer always resulted in wide eyes and a collective gasp of "really?" As in, "you really only have TWO kids in your family??" Yes, really. Only two kids. We were the perfect pair, boy and a girl, a sassy pants and a fairly straight arrow. We had our own language, only each other to turn to, and some sweet moves to pull out if there was a potential for kidnapping. That last part is a true story. Our plan, should there be an attempted kidnapping on one of us, was to go back to back and seesaw kick so they couldn't take us away. I'm not really sure where the fear of kidnapping came from (we had a super happy and not scary childhood), but we were prepared, you guys. No thug was gonna pull one over on us, that's for sure! (And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "wait, isn't this blog by 'Two Sisters??'" The answer is yes! Kerri is my sister from another mister. Deal with it. Heh.)

My Brother and I, circa 2010. I don't wanna brag, but we have a knack for taking hot pictures.


Anyway, I digress. What were we talking about? Oh, yeah, families. And why they're neat. And so important to our faith as Latter Day Saints.

Families are central to our Heavenly Father's plan for His children. Families give us an opportunity to learn to serve each other, to grow, to learn patience and kindness with shortcomings, to forgive quickly and without condition, and humor. Lots of humor. Growing up, I taught my parents patience because I was a hooligan at times. I am positive I am responsible for more than a few of my parent's gray hairs. I also learned to forgive quickly after my younger brother said some not so cool things to me in the heat of sibling arguments. Families teach us to live in harmony and order with each other and others around us.

We also believe that families can be together for eternity, and as such, are sealed together as a unit. This means that even death cannot tear your family apart. Isn't that a great promise?? It gives such peace to my heart to know that even when my parents pass away, I will see them again. They aren't gone forever.

We also believe the family is the fundamental unit of a functioning society. In fact, we even have a proclamation dedicated to the family unit, called The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It's that important, you guys. Stable, functioning families with a mother and a father in the home are vital to a society that works in harmony.

I know it's not popular right now, but when I say mother AND father, I mean it. We all have different roles. Everyone plays their part. Fathers provide for the family with love and righteousness, and mothers nurture. Everyone chips in to make the family function as it should. Fathers and mothers should operate as equal partners within the family. No one is better than anyone else, and this goes for men and women as well. When families are strong, society is strong.

Kerri and her mama, back when permed lady bowlcuts were cool.

Before anyone has a panic attack, I realize that it is 2014. Things happen, and families aren't always traditional anymore. There are single parents, widows/widowers, and various other situations where families aren't whole. Sometimes mothers and fathers are left with kiddos and not a spouse, for various reasons. Sometimes people make poor choices. Sometimes spouses/parents pass away. That doesn't mean your family means any less, or that you don't have a place in God's kingdom.

Kerri and I get it, the family situations. Our families aren't always peaches and cream. Kerri is the only member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in her family. In fact, they harbor some pretty hard feelings toward the LDS church because of  some things that happened to their family a long time ago. I live in a family where all of us are active members, but my dad passed away a couple of years ago, and so he isn't able to be here with the family every day. Everyone is different, and every familial situation is different. We can't control other people's choices, but we can control our own. We can work everyday to make our families as harmonious as possible.

There's so much more I can say about families. I cannot stress enough how important they are, and the happiness you'll feel if you put the effort into making your family just a little better in the coming days. Learn to forgive. Reach out to that person you don't call all the time. Make your marriage stronger by turning to the Lord and each other in hard times, instead of away.

If you'd like to learn a little bit more about how mormons feel about families, click here!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Introducing Gospel Principles Monday!! Have questions? Ask!

Over here at Being Martha, Becoming Mary, we understand that people have questions about our faith. While awareness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is increasing in the world today (thanks to the examples of everyday members in our communities as well as prominent members of our faith), there are still lots of questions, misconceptions, and downright lies out there about us, what we believe, and who we worship.

One of our goals here is to open the conversation a little bit. To provide a place where questions can be asked and honest answers are given. Honestly, I didn't think our faith and practices were odd or different until I moved to Tenneessee for a bit. I met many really neat people there, and was asked a lot of weird questions. Mostly about polygamy and how I feel about it (I don't believe it appropriate).

So, in response to questions people may have, we're going to start doing Gospel Principles Mondays! We'll focus on a different topic each week, include our feelings about it, and direct to further resources if interested. Ok? Ok.

Our topic for the inaugural Gospel Principles Monday seemed an obvious one, and one that seems hotly contested.

Q:Are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) Christians?

A. Yes!

As Latter Day Saints, we worship our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Christ is the center of our faith. This is His gospel, and we strive daily to be like Him. We focus our efforts on living Christ-like lives and serve as He did.

We recognize Jesus Christ as our savior, the only way through which eternal life can come. We are eternally grateful for His sacrifice and atonement. All of our teachings are based on His teachings. He is the center of our belief and we are nothing without Him.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, prior president of our faith (and one of my personal favorites!) said it best:

"We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We, of course, accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior...the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God. He is our Savior and our Redeemer through whose atoning sacrifice has come the opportunity of eternal life. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ. He is the center of our faith and the head of our Church. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement.”

I couldn't have expressed it better. I know that, personally, Jesus Christ is my friend as well as my Savior and the person on whose teachings I try to base my life. I have a personal relationship with Him and our Heavenly Father through prayer and personal revelation and know that He loves us infinitely. We consider our faith to be His gospel, and include His name in the name of our faith to make sure the world knows we have our eyes single to the glory of God.

Please visit for more info on this topic and more!

Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed the first installation of Gospel Principles Monday, and I hope we answered the question for someone dying to know. If you have suggestions, questions, comments or concerns, please let us know in the comments section or email us at!!

Have an awesome week.


          (Photo credit unknown, if you know, please reach out so we can give credit where it's due!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Taking a New Direction

We are taking a new direction here at Being Martha, Becoming Mary! Who's excited for changes?

After a year absence, we've decided to go a new direction. When we originally started this blog, it was just going to be church things that spoke to our hearts, things that moved us. But over the last year, we have realized (well, remembered) that it is not just thoughts that occur to us that are here for us to learn.

It is the daily experiences, the challenges (which we all have plenty of, I'm sure!) which teach us the best lessons. I don't know why this just occurred to me. I've known it for a long time, but we wanted a place to share our testimonies and stuff that occurs to us. I mentioned in my last post that 2012 was a refiner's fire. I lost my dad, moved home to help my mom, lost friends, gained a couple friends, and got stuck in some places that weren't very pleasant. 2013 proved to be more of the same, an incredible growth experience that has helped me stretch in ways I never thought possible.

But blogs that focus only on thoughts aren't as uplifting, and, let's face it, those kind of blogs are bohhhh-ring (said in the voice of Michelle from Full House, anyone remember that?) I like to read stories and experiences and relate to them through blogs. In most cases, I don't know the blog owner or family. But I can relate to some of the experiences, or I can learn from them.

So we're taking a new direction here. And if this little blog reaches even one heart, we have a chance.

In the meantime, here is a pic of Kerri and I from our recent trip to Moab, UT. Kerri is not into hiking (like, at all) but she humored me and went on more than a few. It was 40 degrees the day we went on this hike in Arches National Park.  Can you see how happy she is in the background? What a champ.