LDS

In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.

Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.

Dr. Brent Top has researched extensively near-death experiences, especially by those outside of the LDS community.

He has identified several common elements to these experiences such as the “life review,” encountering loved ones, and spirit communication.

Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.

While Dr. Top finds his studies interesting, he warns of the danger of trying to establish doctrine through experience. He emphasizes what the LDS doctrine is regarding the afterlife rather than anecdotal experiences. He also introduces a concept he coined as the “Apocraphal Principle” to help us evaluate these stories.

 

In the LDS Church, we have high expectations and high ideals. Leaders do not shy away from teaching a very specific ideal family constellation, sexual purity before marriage, and patterning our life after the Savior’s life in every possible way. There is nothing wrong with teaching ideals and one could argue that that is the primary job of religious institutions. However, in real life, holding up ideals often leaves members never feeling  “good enough” because they have not achieved the ideal righteous Mormon life. Chronic feelings of  “never good enough” because your life doesn’t look like an Ensign magazine cover, your child has left the Church, your spouse isn’t committed to church callings, you’re struggling with the word of wisdom, you’re having difficulty forgiving someone, you’re not a good provider, or you’re not an attentive mother or father, can erode our whole sense of self.

What is shame?

Shame is a universal emotion defined by researcher Brené Brown, PhD as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” Shame inspires us to hide ourselves from others, to judge ourselves and to go deeper into secretive behaviors.

Shame triggers

Religious institutions are not the only place we get messages about ideals. We are bombarded with messages about how we “should” be–what ideal women and men look like and act like, what the ideal house and household looks like, how your children should behave and more. Not living up to our ideal identity or how we want to view ourselves and be viewed by others has been identified as the primary trigger for shame.

One of my ideal identities is the desire to be viewed as a “good mother.” If I am not behaving as a “good mother” – if I’m being preoccupied with work, forgetting their doctor appointment, or losing my patience– my ideal identity is challenged and I am susceptible to feelings of shame. Shame can be triggered not only by how we view ourselves, but also by how we think others view us.

What’s wrong with shame?

You may be thinking, “What’s the problem with feeling shame when you don’t measure up to your ideal? Doesn’t that make you want to change?” No, shame does not inspire self-improvement. It most often initiates and fuels self-destructive behavior. Chronic feelings of shame are present in toxic perfectionism, eating disorders, problematic sexual behaviors, substance abuse, and sexual abuse. Over time, shame can become integrated into our self-image, into our core experience of who we are (not what we have done).

Where shame gets particularly tricky for Mormons is that while we can discount the world’s messages about our ideal selves as shallow, uninspired and sometimes downright evil, faithful members can’t easily discount the ideals put forward by inspired Church leaders. Nor should we. How do we accept the ideals set forth by our Church leaders without spiraling into self-destructive shame because we don’t measure up?

1. Draw clear distinctions between ideal and real

I am not suggesting that we throw away the ideals presented by our doctrine and teachings. What I am suggesting is that we overtly discuss that the image of an ideal family, ideal mother, ideal priesthood holder, ideal child or teen as something to strive for, not to actually achieve anytime soon. I have seen the damaging consequences of believing that the religious ideal is actually attainable in this life contribute to destructive perfectionism, depression, anxiety, low self-worth, and shame. Dr. Brené Brown suggests that “healthy striving” toward a goal is very different than toxic perfectionism.

As an adolescent, I recognized my blessed and privileged life and yet, for a period of time, I still wasn’t happy. I concluded that something must be inherently wrong with me. I started to experience deep feelings of shame–that I was somehow flawed because I went through periods where I wasn’t able to feel joy and gratitude. I have the Gospel. I should be happy. I slid into several years of toxic perfectionism, denying my emotions, and hiding my authentic self.

Read full story by Dr. Julie De Azevedo Hanks on Meridian Magazine.

0 1069
Cover image via BGR and Shutterstock found via ldsmag.com

In the wake of the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Daughter and mother) just a day apart, Huffington Post published a surprisingly open article concerning the LDS beliefs about eternity from author Mary Bell. 

We’re all here on Earth for about 10 minutes. OK, not 10 actual minutes. But relative to eternity, doesn’t it seem like it’s going to feel like we were here for just minutes?

Ideally, we would like these minutes to be… well, ideal. We would like to be consistently overflowing with joy, bursting with happiness, and swimming in purpose―like joyful, happy porpoises with retirement plans. But life, as we’ve noticed, can also be hard. And that, as I continue to learn, is “a good thing” (thank you, Martha Stewart).

Recently, I was in a situation with a lot of people that I loved but hadn’t seen for a while. It was joy to see them again. We were waiting for something to begin, and we were all trying hard to be quiet, but still, we were a little covertly giggly. I remember thinking, “This reminds me of being a little girl with my many siblings gathered around me, waiting for bedtime stories to begin.” We needed to settle down so the book could be read, but we were all so excited! We were all there in our pajamas! We were all snuggled near each other like happy puppies! We had a hard time stifling laughter.

I was remembering this that day when something suddenly surprising whispered to my soul. “Someday you will feel this with all those with you in heaven, for everyone is a literal child of God. You are all brothers and sisters.”

It hit me: love in heaven does not come just from God and Jesus and people of that caliber. It comes from the multiplied love of all of us. Individual relationships (deep, pure, and fun) are possible between each of us.

To read the full article on the Huffington Post, click here. 

Thanks to Meridian Magazine that brought this article to our attention.

Mormon Missionaries Soul Pancake
YouTube screenshot from Soul Pancake channel

A YouTube channel widely known for their Kid President videos, Soul Pancake, set up a piano on a street corner and put some holiday sheet music on it to see who might show up and play something. They got plenty of people to come play and sing. What we didn’t expect was to find two LDS missionaries with name tags on the video playing Christmas songs!

We all love a Mormon featured on the news or in a large publication so it was fun to see Soul Pancake’s video with our two elders playing their little Christmas hearts out.

Here is what they said in their description:

We put a piano on a street corner with holiday sheet music, and waited to see what would happen. The result: some incredible moments of holiday cheer as strangers played music and sang together. This holiday season, we invite everyone to treat your fellow people with kindness, because you never know who you might end up coraling with next to the Holiday Pop-Up Piano 😉
Happy Holidays! Love, SoulPancake

Here is the video:

0 557

Every year we set new years resolutions, some of them are wise and some are foolish, but most only last until mid-January.  Why? Well, I could write about how we don’t actually set goals correctly, and I did last year (Click here for how to set goals and achieve them). But this year I wanted to focus on worthwhile goals, I looked to the Brethren and found 5 New Years Resolutions every Latter-day Saint should consider in 2017.

1st. Read The Book Of Mormon Cover To Cover This Year.

The thing that shocked me the most as a missionary is how many members had never actually read the Book of Mormon cover to cover! Our mission president told us that the average convert only reads 34 pages of the Book of Mormon before baptism! It does not matter of you are a new convert, or if you are like everyone else and working on your ongoing conversion, strengthen it by reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover this year.

  • Tip. To reach this goal, strive to read the Book of Mormon every day, you can also listen to while driving or at the gym!

“Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.”
Elder Kevin W. Pearson

search-the-book-of-mormon

2nd. Make 2017 The Year Of The Temple.

Only within the Temple can we receive the exalting ordinances that will enable to qualify for eternal life. It is imperative to our eternal progression that we strive to receive all the blessings the Temple has to offer.

One way we can make this year the “year of the temple” is by focusing on the importance of making and keeping Temple covenants. Another is to set a goal is to more frequently worship in the Temple!
Read the rest at MyLifeByGogoGoff.com

0 1368
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Trump Inauguration
Image from Mormon Newsroom of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Bush inauguration in 1989.

Having already performed at three inaugural ceremonies and an additional three inaugural parades for presidents, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will add another historic performance to their list at the start of the new year.

The U.S. Presidential Inauguration Committee invited the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President-Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Michael Pence on January 20, 2017, as Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

In response to this invitation, Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, told Mormon Newsroom“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U.S. presidents. Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”

READ FULL STORY AT LDS LIVING.

0 814
Steve Young Didn't Serve a Mission
Photo via ldsliving.com

In April of 1983, when Steve Young was a star quarterback at Brigham Young University, he miraculously survived a deadly car crash that took the life of a close family friend. The experience changed his life forever.

The semester had just ended, and Young was planning to fly home to Connecticut to visit his parents. But then he got a call from Bonne Simmons, his former bishop’s wife, who expressed concern about her daughter Jill driving home alone. She asked if Young would drive home with her daughter instead of fly.

Young agreed.

“The Simmons family was like my second family,” he says. “Jill was like a little sister.”

Another student joined them at the last minute, and the three of them began the road trip with Young taking the first shift.

“I drove through the night, and when we got to Nebraska in the morning, we switched,” Young recalls. With Simmons now driving, Young quickly fell asleep in the front passenger seat.

READ FULL ARTICLE ON LDS LIVING.

Life after paralysis: Hope
Image found on LDS.org

What if? It’s a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another.

“What if I had married that one person?”

“What if I had gotten into college?”

“What if I had gotten that job I really wanted?”

“What if I didn’t get sick?”

What if …

It’s a question we can spend all day thinking circles around, and if we’re not careful, it’s a question that has the ability to paralyze us in the past instead of propelling us in the present. So how do you move past living “What if?” to live “What is” and to find joy in it? It’s by no means easy, and it doesn’t happen right away, but after spending over a decade in a wheelchair, this is what I’ve learned.

Nightmares Can Be Real Life

That was me—the girl who loved doing gymnastics and dancing on the back of a moving horse. The sport is called equestrian vaulting, and I fell in love with it at a young age. I spent 10 years training in equestrian vaulting to become an international competitor. At that time, I was also a ballerina, I did gymnastics, I did cheerleading, and I was also a member of my high school diving team. I saw myself as an athlete and as a horsewoman.

But on June 21, 2005, I was training with my equestrian vaulting team and miscommunicated with my partner on the horse. I went for my aerial dismount and hit my partner with my leg. It changed my rotation in the air, and I landed in a position that broke my back and severed my spinal cord. I became permanently paralyzed from the waist down. My dreams for the future were crushed. My life drastically changed.

READ FULL STORY ON LDS.org.

And Watch her Mormon Channel “Hope Works” Talk below:

 

Children in Ethiopia receive a nutritional porridge called Atmit produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help relieve starvation Image from mormonnewsroom.org

A lot of people aren’t looking for a true church, they’re looking for a good church. They want to be part of an organization that is fundamentally sound and makes its members and the world around it better.

I’m not trying to say the Church is perfect. But we so often get stuck focusing on its minor faults and its truth claims that we often miss what an outstanding organization it simply is. Here are 21 reasons we are lucky to be members.

1) Takes Care of Their Own

The Church does good by those who are members. Through fast offerings, bishop’s storehouses, and job services, along with ward councils and home teachers to make sure no one slips through the cracks, the Church is wildly efficient at caring for its own members.

2) Does Good in the Community

The Church and its wards regularly serve at the community level. Whether it’s participating in local service projects, working at local food banks, or organizing with the new JustServe.org website, Latter-day Saints strive to make where they live a better place.

3) Does Good Around the World

But not only is the Church focused locally, they keep their perspective worldwide. They are regularly praised for their quick response to disasters. The Church’s clean-water initiative has helped over four million people in Africa alone. The Church itself is actually present in more than 137 countries doing good in its communities.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MORMON HUB.

0 1291
Mitt Romney SVU commencement
Southern Virginia University President Paul K. Sybrowsky and Provost Madison U. Sowell presenting Mitt Romney with an honorary doctorate in humane letters citing his numerous family, church, academic, business and public service achievements. Photo via svu.edu

We really tried to stay out of the politics during the election. We don’t want to add any anxiety post election, but we thought it was interesting that the LDS returned missionary and 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has been selected to speak with president elect, Donald Trump, about being given the office of secretary of state.

CNBC reported that this is a very interesting development being that Mitt Romney was very much against a Trump presidency and thought Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, Mitt Romney vehemently spoke against Donald Trump in the 2016 race.

Though Romney did not support Trump in his campaign, he did call to congratulate Trump on his surprise win of the presidency.

Romney and Trump met this morning for 90 minutes. Romney didn’t mention whether or not it was about becoming secretary of state, but Fox News reports that he did say:

“We discussed those areas and exchanged our views on those topics — a very thorough and in-depth discussion in the time we had. And I appreciate the chance to speak with the president-elect and look forward to the coming administration and the things it’s going to be doing.”

Keep watching for more news to come on this development. We appreciate LDS Smile for helping us find these stories.