Friday, April 29, 2016

Marriage

Yes, I went and heard a General Authority (actually 2) speak this past Tuesday night.

The leading General Authority, who presided the meeting, gave a great talk, but there was something he said that bugged me.

What did he say?

I know I probably don't have this entirely correct.

"For those who have been married, your marriage is over, whether it be by divorce or death."

Divorce I get, but death?  To some degree, he is correct, but to some degree, he is very wrong.

The majority of marriages on this earth are deemed "till death do you part".

In the Temple, however, marriages are for time and eternity.

When death occurs, yes, the time part of the marriage is over.  The widow is declared by the Church to be single, as they are no longer part of a mortally living couple.

The problem is, many people take this to mean that the eternal part of the marriage is also over.  They are wrong.

The most amazing experiences for me, spiritually, have occurred since my husband's death.  This is because a sealed marriage has it's power through the Holy Priesthood.  This priesthood doesn't die.  It's not yet another earthly possession to discard after someone dies.  Because of this, the connection between the spouses still exists.  I have experienced this firsthand. My husband, who is very busy on the other side of the veil, does still connect with me, particularly during the quite times of my days and nights, as well as in my dreams.

He is still very much my husband, my eternal companion, and the father who is watching over our children who are with him on the other side of the veil.

So, for my widow buddies who are being told their marriages are over, tell the brother or sister in the gospel who say this that they are suffering from near-sightedness.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Singles Activities

I felt really bad this morning for my Ward's leadership in hosting a Singles Waffle Brunch for the single sisters in the Ward, from what I heard counted 70, and there were only about 5-6 of us who showed up.

Then, during the delicious meal, the comment was made as to why the numbers were so small.  My response was to simply acknowledge that they were missing out on some really good waffles.  

What I wanted to say, though, I chose not to say for fear of sounding snarky, and I certainly didn't want to offend people I love so much.

These, however, were a few thoughts.

First, okay, there are 70 single sisters in the Ward, a portion are widowed like myself.  How many of them have to work on Saturdays and couldn't come?

Reason #2:  With the Bishop there, some of the sisters would refuse to come as they would not be permitted to gossip about others in the Ward.  Sad, yes, but true.

Reason #3:  This is probably the big reason.  There was no real compelling reason to be there.

What I mean by this was, what would the people showing up benefit from coming?

Take out the visiting, the message from the Bishop, the good food, there was no other reason to draw people in.

There were no classes on:  

1.  Surviving the grieving process and ways people can cope, taught by counsellors from LDS Family Services.

2.  A primer on financial basics geared for single sisters, taught by our resident CPA.

3.  Basics of job hunting and getting that resume ready, taught by someone from the LDS Employment Services.

4.  Gardening and Food Storage basics.

5.  Basics of using power tools for home maintenance.

I'm sure the list could go on, but this will give you an idea of what I mean.  There used to be (I don't know if there still are) Singles Conferences every six months, and none of these topics were ever covered, yet for many women, particularly ones who just recently suffered a loss of spouse or divorce, this is exactly what they need.  It's a way for people to grasp what they do have control over, in situations where they feel they have none.

I could be wrong, and there could have been other reasons, I don't know, but this was what was going through my mind.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blog Post To Read - The Unexptected Miracle

If you haven't read this yet, it's really good.  Be sure to have the tissues ready, though.

http://aftertheyaregone.com/2016/01/28/unexpected-miracle/.com/2016/01/28/unexpected-miracle/

For those of us who are widowed, what book or books have helped you with your grieving?

For me, after coming home from the hospital without my husband, I found I couldn't sleep.  There seemed to be an aura or light beaming from a book on the bookshelf in our bedroom, it was the book, "Not My Will But Thine" from Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

That book helped me realize that I was not being punished and having my husband taken from me, but that the Lord had a plan for my husband, and that plan began that early morning.

The other item I read that helped me considerably was my husband's Patriarchal Blessing.  Through repeated reading and prayer to understand why my husband was taken, I was able to have a better understanding of the plan for my husband as well as his mission on the other side of the veil.

What books have helped you with your grieving?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Take

I posted this yesterday on my Gospel Doctrine blog, I wanted to repost it here as well.

It's been hard not to notice all of the media reports, not only of the status of members of The Church who are living homosexual lifestyles, but also the status of children being raised by couples living a homosexual lifestyle in the home.

I'll start by saying this:  These are just my opinions and not of anyone else, and not of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those of you who know me know I had a very long and hard struggle with how the Church defines widows as singles.  After all, why would a religion whose basic tenants include eternal marriage suddenly ditch the recognition of a sealed marriage after one of the spouses dies?

It took a lot of years and a lot of heart to heart talks with the Lord to find out it doesn't define me, it doesn't define my eternal marriage. This change is made to protect the widowed who find someone else to marry from being considered guilty of adultery from the Church.  Sometimes the harsh rules are there to protect us.

My take is that this is the same.  For years the Church has already had rules regarding excommunication of people living alternative lifestyles.  Those who have been members of the Church for a while should know this.  The change, for me at least, was with the status of children who are being raised in a home where homosexuality is practiced.


Again, to me, these rules of making the child wait until they are 18 to determine how that child wishes to live their life is also a protection.

It's not about punishment, it's about covenants.  Not only to make them, but the ability to keep covenants that have been made.  It's about getting serious about taking the Lord's name upon us, not just in outward appearance, but in inward belief.

It was hard for me to wait three years and eight months to be baptised, as my parents were opposed to the Church.  I have some experience in knowing you are an outsider.  There are times, even though I've been baptised for over 35 years and married in the Temple, when I still feel like an outsider, mostly because my responsibilites are not the norm for most women in my faith.

The Church, the gospel in my life, the blessings, the peace, the loved ones whom I hope will be awaiting me on the other side of the veil, all of it has been worth the wait, worth the struggles, worth the tears, even worth the betrayal I have experienced from time to time in this Church.

To be able to fully live my religious beliefs without the disdain and temptations of family members who do not understand the covenants I have made with the Lord, it has been worth the wait.

Again, just my opinion.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sacrifice

This message has been a long time coming.

I'll start off by saying I love the brethren dearly.

I loved Elder Holland's talk on the sacrifices of a mother.

What I would like to point out is that while there are widowed mothers out there making huge sacrifices to raise their kids on their own, there are also childless widows who have made a sacrifice no one ever mentions:

Motherhood.

Widows have been called upon by the Lord to sacrifice their marriages, putting them on hold for the remainder of their mortal lives, while their eternal companions do the Lord's work on the other side.

Some of these widows, like myself, have also been called upon by the Lord to set aside our righteous desires of having children and raising them.

At Church about a month ago, the ugliness of some of the sisters in Relief Society came out when the sacrifices of Motherhood was the basis of the lesson.

They started off by giving a quote from Sister Sherry Dew on how all women are "mothers in Zion".

When I mentioned the sacrifices childless women make, many of whom become the family caregivers for elderly family members, I was shot down by the sisters in the room, telling me I have no idea what sacrifice is, as I don't have children.

So much for "all women" being "mothers in Zion".

Apparently, they have forgotten that Jesus Christ didn't give birth to a child, does that mean He doesn't know what sacrifice is?

The sad part is that there are people out there who are seriously misguided in this.  Everyone has their Gethsemane.

For some, it's the challenges and sacrifices associated with raising children, and having them know they are loved and accepted, just the way they are.

For others, it appears, is a lack of tact.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ezekiel And The Temple

This coming June 12th will make 17 years of marriage for Decker and I, and this coming August 14th will make 15 years since Decker was called to his mission on the other side of the veil.

The fact that so much time has passed since both events is both easy and hard to believe: I remember our time together as if it were yesterday, yet it seems like Decker has been gone forever.  I guess that's one of the paradigms of this fallen world, and a paradigm of time as we know it.

I have been wanting to post about Ezekiel and The Temple for a while now, it was a Sunday School lesson for the Old Testament I was given the blessing of teaching.  The reason I say blessing you will understand shortly.

While Decker was alive, we tried to have children, but I couldn't conceive.  Nothing was working.  We spent a lot of time in the Temple, and while there at one point I received a vision.  I was dressed in white and holding a newborn boy in my arms who looked just like Decker, hair and all.  The message was loud and clear that I would be given this child, however I was a little confused as to why I was also wearing white.

Then Decker passed away.

Someone dear to me, after Decker's death, insisted that Decker could never father a child as a resurrected being.  This was another blow.

I got on my knees and had a heart to heart with Heavenly Father and the Savior.  I asked, very pointedly, how I could be given such a vision (and what I felt to be a promise) of something to come when the Lord had every intention of taking my husband early without fulfilling the promise?

The answer, thankfully, came with patience and love:  Why are you placing limits on what God can do?  Not every power of God has been revealed to man just yet.

I found a confirmation to that lesson in the scriptures, with Ezekiel and The Temple.

The place is Babylon, at the end of the saga that constitutes the Old Testament, aka the Old Covenant.  Ezekiel is among the Jews who were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon to be made slaves and placed under house arrest.  They lost their land of inheritance, their Temple was defiled and then destroyed, the Ark of The Covenant went missing.  The Jews were sold into slavery and the Tribes of Israel were "lost" and scattered.

In all of this, the Jehovah calls Ezekiel as a prophet and gives Ezekiel a series of visions, including this one, which is of the Millennial Temple.

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Ezekiel 44:6-9, 23

The burning question for me was:  why?  Why show Ezekiel a temple he would never live to see?

And just like my anguished question of the Lord, the answer came:  Not every power of God has been revealed to man just yet.  Ezekiel was to record his vision for a later generation who would not only see temples during their lifetime, but would need to understand the healing that is to come for the faithful.

Now, about the symbolism of the water used on the temple grounds of our modern-day temples.  It's not just a symbol of a paradisal glory, another meaning comes from Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 47:1,6-12

Particularly, verse 9:

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

This is a river flowing from an alter within the temple, coming out from under the temple, flowing through a desert and into the Dead Sea.


There is a lot of symbolism going on here so let's break this down:


1.  The river is flowing from an altar within the temple.  Why?  Because the altar represents the Throne of Jehovah.  Jehovah is the source of the water.


2.  As it flows through the desert, what happens along the pathway?  Vegetation comes to life, and spontaneously produces fruit.  The desert, a symbol of famine, is healed by the water of Jehovah.


3.  The water reaches and heals the Dead Sea.  What happens when it heals?  It's not just a multitude of fish that appear.


10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.


The interesting part is the description of the fish.  They shall exceed in the kinds of the fish of the great sea.  Not only will the fish who would have been native to the Dead Sea will live there, but more, much more.


This isn't just about healing.


When we make covenants with the Lord in our latter-day temples, there are promises and blessings the Lord has in store for us that we cannot even imagine, numbering much like the fish in the restored Dead Sea.  


The healed desert?  That is us, being healed so we will become the kind of disciples the Lord knows we can be.  We will be healed to reach our full potential to flow to the sea and partake of the multitude of blessings that await us.  


Do you have any kind of unfulfilled expectation in your life?  A blessing that has been withheld for a time?  This is where it comes to fruition.  We can become the spouses to our eternal companions the Lord knows we can be.  We can be the kind of parents to the children awaiting us the Lord knows we can be.


How does this happen?  It is the healing power of the Lord, through the blessings flowing from the temple, that make this happen.


Do you think this applies today?  Yes, to a limited degree.  There is water flowing from the temple, a spiritual water that can heal you from the pain, suffering, depression this world brings.  It awaits us at the temple.



Source:  https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/temples/mesa-arizona?lang=eng



Welcome To The Widowed Connection

Welcome to the Widowed Connection, where widowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can read and share in this blog.