Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Followers of Jesus Christ, Women of God, or Get Ready for a Long Post, eh?

My vacation updates will resume tomorrow. For now, I have to get something off of my chest. Not really something that has been bothering me recently-recently, but something that has bothered me for a long time, over time. Forgive me, too, because my thoughts are going to be pretty disjointed; I'll do my best to explain my wandering feelings:

I think the "thing" that bothers me began when I first heard somebody complain that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be true, but the people in the Church were so ignorant and flawed, so it wasn't worth the effort. That was nearly 10 years ago, and I have been bombarded with that type of thinking ever since. Most of the things I hear (or mostly read) have to do with the role of women and their frustration with the Church and the Gospel in general. Many of these women (and men) see the Church as anti-woman or at the very least, chauvinistic.

When my grandmother --our grandmothers --were growing up, listening to President David O. McKay preach about the family or the role of women was not an offensive thing. My grandmother told me last week, during our family vacation, that President McKay once said that if parents allowed their children's feet to touch the floor of the Chapel during Sacrament Meeting, than the child was in charge. She then went on to talk about how parents these days just don't know how to parent.
Of course, she is 85 years old. When I'm 85 years old, I'll be thinking the same thing about my grandchildren!
My grandmother (and other women) were taught, also, to wear dresses to everything. The sexual revolution hadn't occurred yet, and so the idea that one may not wear such clothing didn't even cross their minds.
It was my mother's world --no, my mother's society --that decided women needed more than what they had been given. I'm not one to complain about the sexual revolution. For the most part, it did a lot of good. Women are seen in a better light, we can wear jeans (hallelujah!), education and pay are more equalized, and our children are better for it. But, as with all things, the pendulum also swung hard left. Hard left.

Nate Oman left a post yesterday that really got me thinking about this. It's about why society now is looking back, with almost a nostalgic and hopeful glance, to Jane Austen. It seems that chastity --or the ideal of chastity --is a universal truth (to which I utter a resounding "duh!"). Nate does a much better discussing it, though, so I won't go into details here. Just imagine our over-sexed society, looking for happiness, and surprisingly, we're finding it in the values and morals of Regency England --values and morals that the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to teach today. Makes one stop and pause for a moment, eh?

For years now (going back a few years, to be honest), I have heard over and over and over that LDS women are too hard on themselves and need to give themselves a break. I discussed this at length here. These thoughts have been circulating for a while, ever since the embarrassing --yes, embarrassing--uproar over President Julie Beck's talk at the October 2007 General Conference. I was mortified at the reaction many women had over her words (too many blogs to list, you know). The things she said were hard to hear --but they were needed, wanted. Our society has shunned so much goodness, and I was honestly thrilled to hear a leader --a woman! --proclaim that the basic tenets of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the foreordained role of women has not changed, will not change, and will forever be what it is to be, without apology to the world. [If you can't tell, I was a bit excited about her enthusiasm!]
But it felt like I was only one of a few at times. And I just couldn't --still can't! --understand why women who proclaim to be of God and believe in their Divine Worth are so easily persuaded to cringe and ignore the words of His prophets and leaders.

Then there was this article. I had no words when I finished reading it. None. (Jumbo Shrimp over at Flip Flop Mama gave some good opinions about it.) How does one respond to such obvious lies? And how happy is Satan that these people actually bought into it?

And lastly, of course, there was this post about what people actually follow when receiving Prophetic counsel, advice, and commandments. Many of the responses left me in quiet reflection, wondering at how so many people could have the best gift in the world right in their faces and then ignore it.

Last night, came across the written transcript of Sheri Dew's talk from the 2008 Women's Conference. (Mormon Women: Who We Are provides all of the transcripts! This is where I got my "copy". Go read them!) The things she talked about was an answer to my prayer. Truly, her words cut me to my center --like Pres. Beck, her words are of truth and light, and I cannot ignore them. In the beginning she says this:

It is because of the range of our experiences that we as women can be a tough crowd. We
sometimes pounce if a speaker doesn’t say just what we want to hear. But here is the
reality: We each have our own customized opportunities to deal with disappointment, yet
our disappointments don’t change the doctrine. My heartache about not yet marrying or bearing children in this life does not change the doctrine about marriage or motherhood.
None of our lives are perfect, and neither are we. Nonetheless, in the spirit of not
offending or overwhelming one another, it can be tempting to water down the message.
But I don’t want to run that risk today. I believe in who you are too much to soft-peddle
the truth. So today, I wish to speak the unvarnished truth. My message is a plea and an
expression of complete confidence in us.
(bold added)

I put in bold what I think (and could be wrong) was a reference to the letter many Blogging women sent to President Beck, basically telling her she was wrong in her talk in General Conference. And that's a whole other subject I could write about, but won't. For what it's worth, I appreciate both Pres. Beck and Sister Dew because they do not mince words. They don't apologize for the truth --not quite unlike the prophets Abinadi or Elijah --and I find this refreshing and wonderful! I'm sure the Prophets have always spoken plainly, but perhaps I'm finally old enough (humble enough?) to listen and understand? Another part of Sheri Dew's talk was this:

We are here to influence the world rather than to be influenced by the world. If we could
unleash the
full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would
change overnight. No one has more influence on husbands than wives, on children than
their mothers, or on young men than young women. Show me the women of
any family
or community, and I will show you the character and soul of that family and community.
I repeat, if we would unleash the
full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God would change overnight. (bold added)

It's true, isn't it? What motivates men? Didn't Troy go to war for Helen? How much influence does a woman have upon all of humanity?
More:
This is why Satan has never underestimated us. He knows we are at the heart of the
Father’s plan. So from the beginning, Lucifer has worked with a vengeance to distort the
very definition of womanhood and to confuse everyone about us, including us.
Here are just a few of Lucifer’s lies: That men are smarter, have all the power, and are
more important, so if we want to have influence we should be more like them; that
marriage and family are confining; that motherhood is menial and a waste of any talented
woman’s time; that women are perpetually frazzled and failing; and that a woman’s value
is based on her size, shape and what she accomplishes outside the home.
Too many women have bought these lies. Our culture is disintegrating at the speed of
light, and unfortunately, our gender is doing a lot of the damage. Sleazy, immoral,
cunning women who flaunt their indiscretions jam the airwaves and monopolize
magazine covers. Yet we watch their shows, donate to their causes, and even see them as
models. I recently heard a talk-show host quoted in Relief Society. Come on, surely we
haven’t become so numb that we would endorse an openly immoral celebrity in the
Lord’s organization for women?
(bold added)

So frustrating, really, the truth that is in these words. It's not the truth that is frustrating --it's that women of God are actually believing the lies the world is telling them to believe:

Sisters, we’re smarter than this. We know too much to fall for Lucifer’s lies. If the world
can’t look to us for a true definition of womanhood, where can it look?


Where, indeed?

Sisters, it is high time for us to arise and have the influence God intended us to have. It is
high time for us to lead the women of the world. It is high time for us to model the
distinctiveness and happiness that sets true followers of Jesus Christ apart.
So how do we arise? In an early Relief Society meeting, the Prophet Joseph gave the
women their marching orders, saying they should do the work the Savior had done (see
RSGB Minutes, 26 May, 1842). The Savior “came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister” (Mark 10:45). If He came to minister, then so did we. What would change if
you thought of your life as a ministry? I am not talking about church callings or service
projects. Those come and go. I’m not talking about doing more, although it may mean
doing things differently. I am talking about focus and perhaps further consecration.
Making of your life a ministry means consciously asking yourself in everyday situations,
“Why has the Lord brought me here today?” and then looking for ways to build up people
and the kingdom. It means asking the Lord what He needs you to do rather than
feverishly working down your list of To-Do’s that may or may not have lasting
significance. Ministering might mean talking to your friends of other faiths about your
spiritual journey or starting a blog to share what you believe online, or mentoring a young adult. It is our stewardship, after all, to pass along the legacy of what it means to be a
woman of God to the next generation.
(bold added)

Two more quotes, and then I'll stop:

Holiness means walking away from the philosophies of man. It means looking to
prophets for spiritual counsel not celebrities, who may be appealing but who all come
packing personal motives and an arsenal of half-truths. Some like Sherem have “much
power of speech, according to the power of the devil” (Jacob 7:4). It is deadly to take
counsel from anyone whose primary motive is to build their own kingdom.

And:
We are followers of Jesus Christ. And we have been His followers and have loved Him
for a long, long time. Nothing is more important than working and sacrificing and
enduring for Him. Let us be the generation of women that finally walks away from the world. If we will Awake to who we are, Arise by making of our lives ministries, and
come unto Christ by steadily becoming more holy, we will have a degree of influence the
world and the kingdom of God have never felt before—an influence that has no limit and
no end. We can do this. I know we can.
(bold added)

Dear reader, I don't say any of this so that you will think I am preaching or bragging. I say this so that the world will know what I am feeling inside. I am weak of mind and make many, many mistakes. I often plan goals for righteousness' sake and fail before I even begin. My scripture study is weak, my prayers are rushed, my desire to overcome terrible habits is stronger than the ability to do it. My family can attest to my anger, my selfishness, my harsh judgements and my rudeness. But I'm trying. I really am trying.
I desperately want to be the type of woman that God needs me to be. I want to stand firm and immovable in Faith and Truth. I want my children to see me as an example of Christ, and I want my husband to turn to me for spiritual advice. I want to be the type of woman Sheri Dew and Julie Beck and Abinadi and Alma and Jesus Christ speak about. My desire and my resolve are there --but I need to stop wishing and hoping, and get up and start doing!

Thank you for listening to me ramble a bit about the things that mean the world to me. If you are still reading, please know that I write this to make sense of all the overwhelming amounts of conflicting information. I know where I need to go for Truth, but sometimes, here in this blogging land, it's hard to find. So, thanks for letting me figure it out! You're the best...

41 comments:

Julie said...

I loved how Sister Dew prefaced her talk with the fact that she was not going to water-down the doctrine. Superb. We are smart enough to hear it without offense.
I love your thoughts and will be going over to MW:WWA to read the full transcript.
I love being a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ. I feel like my influence knows no bounds.

Lanette said...

Bravo Cheryl!! As a 50 year old I lived through the women's lib thing. You've inspired me to blog about it. Recently my thoughts have turned to the iron rod and those who made it to the tree, partook of the fruit and then were ashamed when the people from the great and spacious building mocked them. We need to hold our heads high and get our lights out from under the bushel. I am not ashamed!!

Dan and Michelle said...

You really got me thinking with this one. I even read many of those articles you linked and I was horrified that people have such skewed perceptions. I really must live a sheltered life to not hear some of these things. I just might reference this post on my blog today. By the way, Grandma also told Dan and I back in March 2007 not to let out kids feet touch the ground in church...we have followed that counsel ever since and it has made quite the difference. I was glad I was warned early! My favorite quote by Sheri Dew in that talk was,

Making of your life a ministry means consciously asking yourself in everyday situations, “Why has the Lord brought me here today?” and then looking for ways to build up people and the kingdom.

Very good insights...

Cristy said...

SO TRUE!!! Thanks Cheryl. I have the flu and was going to do a skim-through of blogs today, but I read your whole thing with tears in my eyes (and two stops to throw up) and so appreciated the reference to ANOTHER strong testimony of what woman should be today. I am constantly flabbergasted that I go to the same church as so many other woman, and yet somehow it seems we are living completely different religions! Keep on keeping on Cheryl!

Janelle said...

Oh Cheryl, there is opposition to the Prophet brewing in CA over the Marriage Ammendment. Some have already written to the newspapers. I'll post.

This was a good post. We need good women hosting events where conversations like this can be had like scripture studies and book groups and blogs.

Madsens said...

i love, love, love this post - I wish we could scream the words of sister beck and sister dew, alma, abinidi, and the Ultimate Jesus Christ from the tops of buildings so that the world will understand who and what we are.

Cheryl - you are strong, you are amazing, and you are who the Lord wants you to be. You are a good mother and so many already look to you for the advice that you so freely give. Thank you for being an example to the blogging world and not let the "satan's" get you down :)

Jill said...

Thanks for posting this, Cheryl. It's a good reminder for me. You are a shining light, and I appreciate all your hard blogging work, it always makes me want to be better!

Jumbo Shrimp said...

Cheryl, What a great post. I love your insights and the quotes from Sherri Dew about bringing the focus back to the what the Savior has taught us rather than what the world teaches us.

Desi said...

Thank you for this post. Just yesterday on my blog I asked for suggestions for a good Relief Society lesson and any good resources.

You have just given me wonderful resources to look into without even knowing I needed the help. Thank you!

I'm still open to more suggestions for topics and resources so come on over and comment away. Especially good reference books or articles, visuals or songs. :)

Thanks again for this wonderful post.

I am Michele said...

Hey, I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your post. So often I enjoy reading posts on your blog that I am thinking or that I would like to post, but I lack the eloquence to put my thoughts into words as perfectly as you do. I guess that is why you write and I sing. Anyway, maybe I am just oblivious, but I had no idea about the backlash about that talk or that anything had even gone on. I love to hear those women speak, and it never occured to me that anyone else listening to them would feel anything different. Thank you for bringing this subject to light for those of us who didn't know.

Ann said...

I LOVE Sheri Dew and Julie Beck. They are my heroes. (Along with Christ and Abinadi and Elijah). But I love that there are women who feel the same way I do! That we can stand up.....no that we MUST stand up and show the world what it means to be a daughter of God. We do have the most influence in this world. It's time women of the church started using that influence to build His kingdom.

Thank you for the reference to Sheri Dew's talk. It'll now be listed among my favorites along with Julie Beck's and Elder Oaks'.

The Motherboard said...

{{applause!}}
Seriously. I thought I was the only one that was scratching my head at the outcry's of injustice regarding Sister Becks Talk. I found her talk to be fabulous.
Thank you for expressing your thoughts so eloquently! I loved the quotes from Sister Dew-- she is my all time favorite. She doesn't mix words-- and frankly we need more of that!

I found myself thinking of the Iron rod vision as well (someone else mentioned that)... and find the whole large and spacious building analogy interesting. I was taught (by Elder Oaks SIL-- who was my stake president) that that great and spacious building would be full of members of the church as well. Members who may think they are "progressive" or whatever-- but they are pointing the finger and mocking those that choose to follow the path outlined by the prophets, leaders and scriptures. He taught me that The Tree of Life was a vision of OUR day... not some sort of abstract thing, and then challenged us to define where we were on the path. Isn't it interesting that good, smart women are choosing to be in the building, pointing their fingers and mocking? (not literally, but you kwim)

I guess I am a weird woman, because the whole "the church doesn't treat women fairly" has never bothered me. I have had many friends who have struggled with that, the lack of priesthood, the "Telling us what to do"-- but it has never bothered me. I have never questioned my worth to the Savior, or the church because I am a woman. I have never been bothered by the church asking us to do things, or live certain ways... Maybe I am naive or uneducated, but I have Faith in The Lord, and that the Prophet talks to him, and I trust that we will not be lead astray.

I have also heard Oprah, and various other celebrities quoted in Relief Society. I was in a RS lesson once that based their entire lesson around the TV show 24,(yeah. i know. they were comparing Jack Bauer to President Woodruff???) and another one played various snippets of music from Wicked. Sad.

Wow. My comments have taken on an epistle feel... Thank you for this post-- it has me thinking.

Cardalls said...

I am not sure how exactly I came across your blog, but I love reading it! My name is Cheryl as well and I am an LDS woman who happens to be a huge fan of Sisters Beck and Dew! I live in Las Vegas and missed out on all the drama over Sis. Becks talk (wasn't as big a controversy here), but heard about it. IT doesn't surprise me, Satan has skewed so many people's perspectives so much they don't like to hear the truth. All I know is that is hit me to the core and I KNEW it was true the minute I heard it. Thank you for standing for what you believe!

Leslie said...

Wow Cheryl,

What an amazing post. I looked over some of the links you left and felt so saddened as well to think of the lies satan perpetuates and so many believe.

When Sister Beck was called to her position, I raised my hand to sustain her. I know and love Bonnie Parkin (personally) and loved that her "ministry" was about helping all of us women feel of the love of the Lord in our lives. To be honest...that is what her whole life is about. I think some women were shocked when Sister Beck spoke and didn't sound just like Sister Parkin, but said 'we can do better.' She was right and she was really building on the things Sister Parkin taught. When we feel the love of the Lord in our lives...we need to do something. We need to be better, we need to stop making excuses and just do better.

I think if we will all review the talks from Sister Beck (which was received with an appalling lack of respect and charity) and the talk from last conference by Elder Ballard (which was received with great tenderness) we will find that they are in essence saying the same things.

We do get mad if someone in authority says something that we don't want to hear or that seems inconvenient or whatever. A couple of years ago I was serving as the Laurel advisor in the YW organization in my ward. The YW president came back from a meeting with the temple president (Elder Groberg) and said that one of the things he had asked is that the sisters would please wear nylons/pantyhose to church. The other women didn't say anything to the YW president about it, but I heard plenty and they collectively decided that they weren't going to worry about something so silly. I decided I wasn't going to let something so silly keep me from doing my best to do what a leader asks me to do. I don't know why he asked about that. I do know that my mom (who used to work in the temple) told me about lots of problems with young girls coming to the temple in flip flops, or bare feet, wearing wedding dresses that wouldn't cover their garments and being shocked that they couldn't wear those dresses in the temple. Maybe E. Groberg felt that there was a pattern that needed to be established...I don't know, but I thought it was better to follow the counsel and just not worry about it rather than be offended and passing it off as silly. Since that time...I think I have missed wearing pantyhose twice and that was because of some very extenuating circumstances. I'm not going to let wearing pantyhose come between me and my salvation.

That's a long story, but I'm just trying to say...it's better to follow the counsel of our leaders (and if it's really a big deal, people, pray about it, fast about it and ask the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding) than to let little things make us feel that our leaders are out of touch, old, give unimportant counsel, or any other thing that could lead us into believing satan's lies. He is a liar...the General Authorities of the Church are not!!!

Thank you again, Cheryl, for tacking the big issues and for doing such a great job of standing for Truth.

(Sorry for the long comment...I'm not trying to be preachy either...I guess I just got going on this one.)

Jolene said...

Nicely put Cheryl. When the Sis. Beck controversy came up - I was amazed and ashamed and I stopped reading some blogs. During Sister Dew's talk at Women's Conference my girlfriend and I just kept looking at each other and wishing that all of those women could have been there to hear it. It was such a motivating and moving talk and I have referenced it so many times on my blog and in other settings. I have been relying on the notes I took until now, thank you for finding the talk transcripts!

Amanda D said...

I also loved the talk by Sister Beck. It was just what I needed to hear. I probably need to hear it again. It's one of those that needs to be repeated, I think! I was shocked by a lot of the outrage that came out. It is hard to hear the truth sometimes, and it is hard to go against what the world thinks is right.

Great post. Very well done, Cheryl. I'm going to have to look up that talk. I really need to take advantage of these types of things. Thanks!

Angie said...

Amen to that.

Lindsay said...

Whew! What a post! It is time for us to stand up and walk away from the world. As mothers, it's our duty to teach our children righteousness, and the best way to do that is by example. Nice job.

We missed you on the fourth! It just wasn't the same 'ol parade without you guys.
-Lindsay

RoAnn said...

Way to go, Cheryl! I am with you all the way. This is a fabulous post, which has elicited some wonderful comments. You (and all your supporters who commented) have made my day.

I thought it very telling that many who commented had not really been very aware of a lot of the criticism of Sister Beck and other church leaders. That confirms my observation that often opinions expressed on some of the popular LDS blogs are not really representative of the opinions of most LDS women.

We just need more women like you to keep blogging the positive!

m&m said...

I love you, Cheryl.

And I feel like cheering, because of your post and the comments that have followed. I love reading and feeling the power of women who feel and have conviction about our divine worth and essential purpose in God's plan.

Can I add one thought to this? With all of this Sister Beck stuff, I had a couple of experiences that helped me try to have compassion for those who got so upset at Sister Beck (and, by extension, who get upset about women's issues relative to the Church). There are those who will always perpetuate the lies about who we are, but there are also those who honestly struggle. And sometimes it may be our love and compassion in combination with our conviction that might help them open their hearts to truth.

I in no way want to take away from the great power that I feel here in this post...nor do I want to get preachy, either. It is just so easy for me to close my heart to those who really don't understand the truth about divine womanhood, but I try to remember that we all have our struggles, and sometimes it's compassion that helps us see more clearly.

FWIW.

I will say again that I love the conviction and energy I am feeling here. It's not common to find this kind of consistency and clarity from so many people on one blog. And I believe we have to stand up and be counted and let the world know the truth about being an LDS woman. The struggles don't change the truth, and I love Sister Dew and Sister Beck and how they so clearly and boldly preach the truth!

I hope that nothing I have said will take away from this post at all, nor come across as me disagreeing with what has been said. :)

SilverRain said...

Ditto, everyone. Thanks for the powerful post, Cheryl, and for M&M's reminder to remember charity. We must not see our sisters as enemies or that, too, plays into Satan's hands.

I truly appreciate seeing that there are others out there with faith and willingness to lead a life of service.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Here I am, late as always. :) I want to thank you for this post. I think I've said before how much I agree with you that sometimes we get lazy while "giving ourselves a break". Don't get me wrong, I believe in resting when weary and not running faster than you're able...but I also believe that a line has been crossed when we stop striving and start believing that our half-attempts are "good enough".

I also appreciate when leaders don't beat around the bush. It breaks my heart when people just don't get it, or when they choose to be offended. We have so much given to us so freely, and yet we often fritter it away.

Personally, I've stopped reading those community blogs in which I find mean-spirited dissenters. I just don't have enough time to deal with their bitterness and ignorance. Just another reason that I love the little community that you have going here...real people striving to live righteous lives, and encouraging me to do the same. :)

The Wiz said...

Well, since you brought it up....I still have issues with Sister Beck's talk. The word "best" continues to bother me. ("We should be the best homemakers in the world.") I feel it breeds pride, and pride is the ultimate downfall. (Best in world? Better than my neighbor? Who determines that, and why should I care? By definition,in order to be the best, we have to be better than somebody else, and competition like that.....PRIDE!)

I still haven't found peace with it, I know a lot of people want me to write if off and say she used a poor choice of words, but I am not used to changing the words of church leaders to fit my wants. It should be the other way around.

It still hurts, because it's the first time I've heard a church leader say something I haven't wanted to aspire to.

I'm not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, though. LOVE Sheri Dew and her talk.

And if someone can explain the best thing to me, I would really really love it.

Cardalls said...

I think that the best thing is the best that we can be. President Hinckley also told us to do our very best. I don't think that we have to aspire to be better than anyone else, but I know I am not always my best with my children and as a homemaker. I know I can do better, I don't want to be better than Sister Sewer or Scrapbooker or Bread Maker because that's not me, but I do want to be the best me I can be! Hope that helps!!

Cheryl said...

Wiz-
I like to think of it this way:
"Why in the world do the Mormons think they have the ULTIMATE truth? How arrogant of them! They are so full of pride because they think they KNOW it all and HAVE it all and where did they get the nerve to tell the world that they are wrong!?"

I don't think Sister Beck's words were any different than what we've been taught from the Restoration onward. We have the truth. We know the Plan of Salvation. It is our job to share it with the world.

We have the knowledge of how to be the best parents/homemakers/friends/teachers/servants/etc. in the world. Because we have been given that knowledge. So, the question is, what do we do with that knowledge? How do we act? React? Speak?

I agree with you that Sister Beck wasn't using a poor choice of words. I'm positive she meant it all (even though one of my comments over at Tales kind of said otherwise). And I can see why it would bother people (that word) because our society is so blasted worried about offending everyone. But we have the knowledge and we have the truth. So, we SHOULD be the best at these things. That doesn't mean we should be arrogant or prideful or make our neighbors or friends feel stupid or less than they are --that's not what she was saying, either.

We just need to be the best. Who else can Heavenly Father count on? Who else has the Gospel? How else can the world learn about the Gospel? Sheri Dew basically explained what Sister Beck said (re-read Sis. Dew's talk) but in a different way.

P.S. Thanks for writing Wiz. I've missed you around here. ;)

Cheryl said...

P.S. Cardalls- Welcome! I'm glad to have you here, too. :)

Janelle said...

Wiz, I had a similar issue with the word "helpmeet." Not my favorite word. I prayed for understanding and one day while fluffing pillows of all things I was struck by the word while pondering. I felt like I was needed to help my husband meet his divine potential and in doing so I would be helping God meet His goal of bringing eternal life to all men and women including myself. I'm ok with helping people meet eternal goals and this exercise has taken the sting out of that word for me.

My bet is that none of us would be able to help you with the word "best" better than the Lord could. I'll have to tell you it took me a lot of pondering and willingness to think without predetermined assumptions before I got an answer.
"Best" of luck. - Janelle

Jeanette said...

Cheryl, Thanks for such a wonderful post. Some of those links you posted made me so sad.
I was so excited when Sister Beck was called as the General Relief Society President. I felt the spirit so strongly and knew she was just what we needed right now. I have absolutely loved and felt lifted by everything she has said to us women of the Relief Society.
I have more I could say but after reading that article about the women in th UK I want to go hug, kiss, play with and love my children. They are, after all, the reason this world was created. "Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it." 1 Nephi 17:36 (One of my favorite scriptures)

Anonymous said...

Cheryl,
Thanks for writing this post. Keep on blogging. There are many who appreciate your kind of blogging. We should all be working to build the kingdom of God.

Amber said...

Yes! I'm late reading this but better late than never. Yes! I agree! This was very uplifting and I am printing Sherri Dews talk as I type this. Thanks! It's just what I needed. I'll admit- I almost didn't read it for the length.... I'm lame that way- but I'm so glad that I did. Well done. :)

I am Michele said...

I saw this quote and it made me think of you and this topic. I thought it really hit the nail on the head and I thought I would share it with you.

"Looking for the path to safety in the counsel of prophets makes sense to those with strong faith. When a prophet speaks, those with little faith may think that they hear only a wise man giving good advice. Then if his counsel seems comfortable and reasonable, squaring with what they want to do, they take it. If it does not, they either consider it faulty advice or they see their circumstances as justifying their being an exception to the counsel. Those without faith may think that they hear only men seeking to exert influence for some selfish motive."

Author: Henry B. Eyring

m&m said...

Hey, if anyone is reading, there are audio links to Women's Conference talks on Mormon Women. I would recommend them all -- I heard them all in person and loved them! Sister Beck was bold, as usual. The Osguthorpe's talk was amazing. Pres. Monson was clear and loving, as always. etc. etc. etc.

And as much as I love to read Sister Dew, I love hearing her even more. I had missed that particular talk, so I appreciated finally seeing that it was available.

Anyway....

Cheryl said...

Michele-
Thank you for the quote!

m&m-
Thank you for the head's up. I need to watch these talks!

ECS said...

Hi,Cheryl -

I guess this is a good time to come out of the lurking closet and say hi. I'm one of those people who didn't enjoy Sister Beck's talk, but I did want to say to you that I very much appreciated reading this post of yours. You helped me understand how other people would see Sister Beck's talk as positive. I may not necessarily agree with you or with Sister Beck, but I think it's important to share our thoughts with each other.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I've been reading here for awhile and to thank you for this post.

You have such a cute family!

Cheryl said...

ecs-
Thank you! They are pretty cute, if I say so myself. :)

And thanks for your comment. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to come out of lurking, not to mention to express your opinion. And you flatter me! I didn't realize you were reading. Feel free to comment again, okay?

ECS said...

Thanks, Cheryl! I don't know how I encountered your blog, but I think it was linked to something from FMH. I found the post or a comment or something you'd said here that you didn't like reading FMH because it was so negative. At first I was upset, but after a bit of reflection (and someone else pointing it out to me as well), I realized that you had a point - at least about the things I was writing about (I'm obviously not speaking for anyone else at FMH). Anyway, I'm trying to work on that. So thanks.

Yes, your family is adorable, and I also read all your posts about how you lost the weight after four kids. Great advice. It took me forever to get back into shape after having only one, so I'm very impressed. Hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!

Cheryl said...

ECS-
Yeah, I haven't always had the best things to say about FMH. But I know it's a positive tool for some women who are trying to work through their feelings and ideas, so I have to admit it's not ALL bad. :) It's just not a place where I need to be at this point, so it's better when I leave it alone, you know?

About the weight loss: Thank you! And fwiw, I don't think it matters if it's weight after one child or ten children or no children --it's always hard to lose weight. For some of us, it's even harder and will be a lifetime struggle. I'm glad you were able to get back in shape, though! It's hard stuff, this weight loss...

I hope you have a great rest of the summer, too. :)

hayngrl101 said...

Just have to tell you that I loved your post and I think we're cut from the same cloth in our way of thinking in regards to our Church Leadership.

My two cents on the word "best"... since Sis Beck never specified WHO we're being compared to, then really, who is the standard for comparison? It is me. I need to be best, which means better than I was before...

Heather O. said...

Righteous women who want the same things you do had problems with Sister Beck's talk. Make sure you don't marginalize women who are struggling. They are often struggling for reasons you don't understand, and I believe one thing that was glaringly missing from your post was the idea that "charity never faileth". It's hard to hear that people in pain were "embarrassing" to you. Not exactly a recipe for open discourse....

Cheryl said...

Heather-
I'm not exactly sure how to respond to your comment, so...I don't think I will. I just wanted you to know that I wasn't ignoring you; your comment definitely gave me things to think about.

Julie P said...

Reading the Dew W's conf talk right now. Wow. Makes me want to do a "book club" just about that talk.