Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I am breathing, so I must be living. Physics. Chemistry? Both. Always both.


You may recall that moment about 2.5 years ago when I created this blog?  And then it died?

Welcome to the resurrection (a.k.a. never to die again!!)!! Get excited. Although I do not 100% guarantee that last statement.

So let's get right down to it.

I am fascinated with my ancestors and church history these days.  A few weeks back, I read an autobiography written by my ancestor, Elizabeth Haven Barlow.  She lived in the 1800s and shared many experiences she had with the early church. I was totally enthralled with her account of Joseph Smith's death.  Had I seriously never read an account of someone who was there??  It was quite captivating, to say the least.  Testimony = more solid.

On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I attend an institute class called, "Women in the Scriptures." The majority of the class is obviously focused on women in the Old Testament (today we discussed Sarah, Abraham's wife).  However, my teacher spent the first few weeks discussing Lucy Mack Smith and Emma Hale Smith.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Mind blown.  Gratitude skyrocketing.  Humility punch to the face.  Those women were amazing and inspiring. Testimony = more solid.

But perhaps most importantly, my grandmother and her sister recently published a book called Seventeen Sisters Tell Their Story.  It's a legit book.  On Amazon and everything. (Click here for evidence).

Anyway, in case you don't know, my grandmother was raised in a polygamist home.  She was the 16th of her father's 34 children, and the 3rd of her mother's.  If you need a refresher, polygamy was discontinued in the church in 1890.  My grandma was born in 1940.  You see? She was raised outside the LDS church.

The book is a compilation of the stories of the seventeen remaining daughters in that family (remaining, as in, still living).  It is incredible.  Each of them is so unique.  Several of them describe the same event, but from their own perspective.  They all incorporate their perception of how they were reared; particularly on their relationship with their father (my own great grandfather, and their shared parent), and their view on the things he valued, taught, and did.

Testimony = more solid.

I have many questions from the reading. For example, many of these women did choose to live polygamy as adults, and continue to do so to this day.  Each of them describe the spiritual journey that led them to this decision, testifying of God, His power and knowledge, and care to answer prayers.  Powerful stories.  But how could this be?  Why did they feel so strongly that the Spirit had guided them into this polygamist marriage? They can't be members of the church and receive the blessings of the temple in this kind of a marriage!!

I know there are many strong opinions on this topic, and that is not really what I want to bring out.  I don't care if you think polygamy is horrendous, or if you are embarrassed that we ever did it as a church, or if you think it is the greatest thing ever.

Here is what I got from the book:

1.  Heavenly Father seriously loves us soooo much.  I was reminded over and over again about the power of prayer.  And the power of the Priesthood. Isn't it amazing that God has given us these gifts?  My mind is blown basically on the daily about this awesomeness.  Along with that, I do believe that He sees a picture that is much bigger than the picture that you and I see.  I don't understand conflicting promptings slash doctrine.  I don't even understand all the straight forward stuff.  But I do understand that every time I have listened to Him, I have been okay.  In fact, I have been happy.

I think that is something significant. Worth noting.

2.  We are hugely impacted by our families. This is not a new thought process for me.  I'm in my last semester of this Family Studies degree for crying out loud.  Four years of studying families secularly, 1.5 years of bringing them to the gospel, and 23 years of living in one...I've thought a lot about them.  I love families.

In fact, one of the biggest things I learned on my mission was about the family.

Our family is what brings us into this mortality!  Our family is what teaches us about living.  Our family is the cause of most of our childhood memories, our traumas, our joys, our desires, our hopes, our hurts, our values, our understandings of the world.  It starts with the family.

With the completion of this book, I gained a new gratitude for the family I was given. Especially for my grandma.  I remember a couple years ago (back in my Utah State days, wooooooot) I had an epiphany one day. I was like, "What the crap.  I was THIS close to being a polygamist.  My grandma! She has shaped my whole life!! What if she didn't join the church?  WHERE would I be??"

My grandma has been a great example to me.  I remember one time she babysat us for a few days while my mother was away (perhaps on her honeymoon? I don't remember).  Anyway, I felt sad one night because I missed my mom.  I remember going in to my grandma, and instead of shooing me back to my bed, she sat me down and opened up the Book of Mormon.  She said, "Sometimes I just like to read the chapter headings to get the quick version of the stories." And that is what we did.  I felt better.

I have heard her speak countless times of the miracles she has seen at God's hand in her life.

I visited her when she served a mission with her husband in Australia. (They also served one in Texas!)

She's the one that always said to me, "You're not lucky; you're blessed."

One time, she was the veil worker that helped me through at the Salt Lake Temple.

Her life was definitely not perfect, and she made her fair share of mistakes.  But, after reading this book, I have even more appreciation for her. She did not have it easy -- none of them did.  But because of the things she has done and the person she has become, I am a better person today.

Testimony = more solid.

The church is true.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. I'm glad you have resurrected your blogging days.