Weak and Simple


The gospel is spread by the weak and simple of the earth but we are not to remain such. We are to improve and grow, becoming powerful and strong. We are to become educated, knowledgable, and faithful. What is undeniably frustrating to the Lord and to church leaders are individuals who do not live up to their potential. How pathetic are the simple minded who revel in their simple-mindedness and never seek to improve themselves! How pathetic are those who are highly intelligent and knowledgable who do not improve themselves or who waste what they have been given on things of no or little worth. The parable of the talents is of great relevance to us today. There are also those who have immense abilities, talents, and potential who are slothful or even antipathetic towards the work of the Lord. What a tragic waste! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is for the perfecting of the saints, not for perfect saints. But what of those who will not be perfected? Many refuse great blessings because of short-sightedness, selfishness, or sin. Perfection doesn’t come in a day, perfection doesn’t come in a lifetime, but to the faithful through the grace of Christ, perfection will come. Working on improving some weakness each day goes a very long way.

Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews


We read in Hebrews 1, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:1-4).

In these verses we learn that Christ was appointed heir of all things; He was “made so much better than the angels” and received a greater inheritance and more excellent name (i.e., God). If Christ was appointed heir, that means that at some point He was not heir. He grew into His inheritance.

From these verses we also learn that Jesus created the worlds (our earth plus other planets {we could also probably include moons and stars in there as worlds}) acting under the direction of the Father (“God…[spake] unto by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds.”). Heavenly Father created the worlds, but by His Son.

We also learn that God the Father and Jesus Christ look the same (“the express image of his person”) but are not the same individual. They are, however, completely unified in purpose and power.

In Hebrews 2 we learn some more about Christ: “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:6-10).

Christ was made “a little lower than the angels.” Wait, didn’t we just read previously that Christ was made “better than the angels”? We did. Christ was “a little lower than the angels” because He could die. He was mortal and died. Through His death, all death was conquered. Through His sacrifice, we have a way to return to Heavenly Father in glory. Through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, he received a crown of glory and honor and dominion. Through His atonement, Christ, “the captain of [our] salvation” was made perfect. What this means is that He was not perfect before this event (suffering, death, and resurrection). He was sinless and blameless but not perfected like unto His Father. However, He is perfect now.

What this all implies is that we can follow a similar path. We do not have to atone for our sins if we accept Christ’s atonement through faith and repentance and the ordinances of the restored gospel. We can become joint-heirs with Christ (see Romans 8:17). This means that just as Christ is perfect, we too can be made perfect through His atonement. We can become like Him.

From these two chapters we learn 1) that Christ is a distinct individual from the Father; 2) He created the worlds under the direction of God; 3) His perfection and Godhood were bestowed upon Him by His Father (i.e., perfection is a process) and were not who He was in the beginning; 4) we can receive of God’s glory like Christ did.

Blaming and Judging



The other day I came across a website that quoted something I wrote in my post: For Anti-Mormons It’s All About Joseph Smith. My post was about how most anti-Mormon attacks on the Church boil down to ad hominem attacks on Joseph Smith, at least of the ones that I’ve read or seen over the years (there are also attacks that try to make Mormonism look ridiculous by taking doctrines or practices out of context and presenting them in flippant ways). Keep this in mind throughout the following post – my original post, from which a quote was taken, was about anti-Mormon tactics. I’m responding indirectly to a couple points people were trying to make but my response goes far beyond a response to what was said on that site. I only included the source for completeness sake – this post is not meant to be a specific response to what was said on that site, even if I do address it. [Sorry if that’s confusing.]

Start of post

A selection of my post (taken out of context) was used as an example of Mormon “blame projection”, which is, according to this individual, that the “‘blame’ for ‘failure’ [people leaving the church] has to be projected onto the individual that just isn’t ‘cutting it’, or just didn’t ‘cut it.'” (Source; note: the site has a lot of “ex-Mormons” and others not friendly to the Church; that’s not necessarily a problem, it just means that what’s posted will generally be biased against the Church, just like my posts are biased towards the Church).

What this person was meaning by “blame projection” is that practicing Mormons are not willing to blame the Church or its doctrines so Mormons blame those who leave the church (not just stop going to church but actually leave it by having their names removed from church records) as having “failed” the Church or its doctrines and not the other way around. There must have been something wrong with the person if they can’t handle the rules of the LDS Church. It also means that we want people to take responsibility for their actions.

Now, is this true? If so, is it even a problem? First, let me provide background and context before I return to those questions.

What did I write? “This is because the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to His living prophets is Truth; it is sound and without contradiction. This does not mean that our understanding is perfect, nor have we been revealed everything yet (not even remotely) but the gospel is true. Any supposed imperfections are caused by our lack of understanding. (Source: For Anti-Mormons It’s All About Joseph Smith).”

That is what someone quoted from my post. From that quote, someone turned my commentary on our limited understanding of the gospel into how Mormons blame others [those who leave the church] for their “failures” [this person’s word, not mine] instead of blaming the Church. What happened is this individual interpreted what I wrote as “The gospel is perfect, I don’t understand the gospel, so I must not be perfect; that means I’m a bad person.” That’s a gross distortion of my words and an example of distorted thinking – the kind that I address with people in therapy (i.e., that’s not a healthy chain of thoughts). While I know that chain of thoughts occurs in the minds of some church members (and maybe most at some point in time, if only fleetingly), my quote was not meant to apply to the perfectionism that some individuals might feel (although, taken out of context, I can see how someone might derive that from what I wrote). That quote was addressing the anti-Mormon tactic of resorting to character attacks on Joseph Smith when people show the flaws in their attacks on LDS doctrines or teachings or scripture. Any “flaws” left can be chalked up to shortcomings of Joseph Smith (mistakes he made, not character flaws) or to our imperfect understanding of the fullness of the gospel and of all of God’s plans. We know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that He restored Christ’s Church so that means that we shouldn’t get too worked up about things we don’t understand. The gospel is true, we’re not perfect, so don’t sweat the small stuff; we need to just do the best we know how to do. If there was an implied message in that quote, it was that – we need to hold to our foundation of faith in Christ and our testimonies of the restoration and not worry too much about the tinkling of cymbals and the sounding of brass.

Anyway, back to the topic. The writer did a similar thing (use a quote to establish Mormon “blame projection”) with something Elder Russell M. Nelson said, so I guess I’m in good company. The distortion of my words becomes clear in the broader context of my post. Let me comment on a different comment on that website first before I tie everything together.

In that same thread on that website, someone used the quote from my article as an example of “the ‘attitude of superiority’ that is ingrained in the mormon [sic] membership from day one.”

This misperception of my motives is a good example of the necessity of not taking quotes out of context. Here are two paragraphs from my post (from which the quote was taken). Take particular note of the second paragraph:

“I am not stating that all negative questions and concerns about the church stem from some conscious or subconscious antipathy towards Joseph Smith but almost all anti-Mormon materials essentially boil down to impugning Joseph Smith’s character, at least in the attacks to which I’ve been exposed. This is because the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to His living prophets is Truth; it is sound and without contradiction. This does not mean that our understanding is perfect, nor have we been revealed everything yet (not even remotely) but the gospel is true. Any supposed imperfections are caused by our lack of understanding. I am also not implying that Joseph Smith was perfect, he would be the first to recognize his faults, but none of the anti-Mormon attacks on his character are warranted. I know some disagree with that statement but it’s easy to defame the character of people who are dead.

People can have honest disagreements. Those of us who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can have enriching discussions with all people, should they and we do so with an attitude of honesty and respect. We in the LDS Church do not have a monopoly on truth or inspiration. We do not have a monopoly on goodness or virtue. What we do have is membership in Christ’s church, which is a blessing and a responsibility. We are responsible to never be arrogant or exclusive. We have a responsibility to share what we have with others. Membership in Christ’s true church is never an excuse to look down on others, it is a calling to raise others up. We must never let the symptoms of antipathy dwell within us. We can never find happiness in tearing down others. Antipathy is part of a disease that will spread and consume us with its cancerous cells.”

One commenter looks at a portion of what I wrote and labels me as having an “attitude of superiority”. Now, what constitutes superiority can be a matter of opinion. It’s likely this individual was begging the question about Mormon superiority. That means that the conclusion (that Mormons might think they are superior to everyone else) is implicit in the premise. In other words, the person needs to show evidence that Mormons believe they are superior but instead of producing evidence, makes the assumption that Mormons do believe they are superior. It’s like saying, “I’m going to show why cats are better than dogs. First, cats are better than dogs. Second, cats are smarter. Etc.” There are a lot of assumptions in there that might or might not be true and simply stating them does not make them true.

Another problem is what constitutes superiority. Superiority is a feeling; it is motivation. Making assumptions about motivations and feelings is risky at best. I’ve received years of professional training in uncovering motivations for behavior and I’ve found that it is always unwise to make assumptions about motivations (I do it and sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong). If we want to know motives, we should ask directly. If we think that the answer we receive is either untrue or lacking insight, then we can make hypotheses about motives and then try to refute them by a series of tests. When we are trying to establish motives for a group of people, we have to sample randomly from a significant portion of that group. What this individual did was pass judgment (particularly final judgment – more on that later) on Mormons without weighing the evidence. My point is that assuming Mormon superiority is a shaky proposition that needs to be tested. How can it be tested? By investigating what Church leaders say and do and what church members do. However, even then, leeway must be given for human imperfections. I bring that up not to give Mormons an “out”, I bring it up because it is doctrine – we are not perfect and Mormons do not claim perfection from anyone within the Church, even the Prophet. That’s another post though.

Maybe the assumption that Mormons believe they are superior was an easy assumption to make without the full context of what I wrote (he or she likely did not read my full post). Contrary to what this individual stated about “Mormon superiority”, I wrote exactly the opposite – that the gospel of Christ requires that Mormons never have an attitude of superiority. I know some Mormons do have that attitude and sometimes what Mormons say can come across as superior but superiority – in the prideful, condescending sense – is not part of LDS doctrine.

So not only was what I wrote incompatible with the conclusion that Mormons believe they are superior, it had nothing to do with providing rationale for blaming others. Personal responsibility is a major part of the gospel so there is plenty of room for blame. “We believe that we will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression” is not just a statement about our beliefs about the Fall, it is a statement about who we believe should be blamed for sin – namely, ourselves. Just as I cannot take responsibility for what my neighbor does, I cannot eschew responsibility for what I do. The Lord can do that for us – take others’ blame and absolve us of responsibility, but we cannot save ourselves. Thus, when people leave the church (again, by leave I don’t just mean stop coming to church and/or stop following the tenets of the LDS Church, I mean have their name officially removed from church records), we do have a tendency to blame them and not the Church. This is because we blame ourselves for our own actions as well.

This is not to say that there are instances when the actions of other church members, even church leaders, do not result in other people leaving the church; that happens. I know people who left the church because of what other church members did to them; in at least one of the cases I know, I think leaving the Church was almost justified. I say almost because my faith in Christ and in Christ’s church transcends church members and leadership. In other words, I do not equate the Church with the actions of any individual church member (although the Prophet comes pretty close). But I do not blame this particular individual for leaving the Church under the circumstances he did. Even so, with time, he eventually came back to church. That’s one of the miracles of the gospel – the miracle of forgiveness. This man was able to forgive the church member (not in person, just in general) who had seriously wronged him (this wasn’t a case of a flippant remark, this was a case of adultery between another church member and this man’s wife). Cases like this (people leaving the Church because of other people’s serious sins) happen more often than they should (which is not at all) but thankfully are quite rare overall.

When Mormons blame others, or seem to blame others, for leaving the church, this blame is not what has been referred to as a final judgment. Only the Savior can pass final judgment on people. We do not know everyone’s circumstances. That is why we are encouraged by church leaders to not pass these final judgments on others (e.g., Elder Oaks’ CES address on judging). We do sometimes have to make judgments about others. As Elder Oaks said in that address,

“In contrast to forbidding mortals to make final judgments, the scriptures require mortals to make what I will call ‘intermediate judgments.’ These judgments are essential to the exercise of personal moral agency. Our scriptural accounts of the Savior’s mortal life provide the pattern. He declared, ‘I have many things to say and to judge of you’ (John 8:26) and ‘For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see’ (John 9:39)…. The Savior also commanded individuals to be judges, both of circumstances and of other people. Through the prophet Moses the Lord commanded Israel, ‘Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour’ (Leviticus 19:15)…. We must, of course, make judgments every day in the exercise of our moral agency, but we must be careful that our judgments of people are intermediate and not final. Thus, our Savior’s teachings contain many commandments we cannot keep without making intermediate judgments of people: ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine’ (Matthew 7:6); ‘Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7:15­16); and ‘Go ye out from among the wicked’ (D&C 38:42). We all make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing how we will spend our time and our money, and, of course, in choosing an eternal companion. Some of these intermediate judgments are surely among those the Savior referred to when he taught that ‘the weightier matters of the law’ include judgment (Matthew 23:23)….

First of all, a righteous judgment must, by definition, be intermediate. It will refrain from declaring that a person has been assured of exaltation or from dismissing a person as being irrevocably bound for hellfire. It will refrain from declaring that a person has forfeited all opportunity for exaltation or even all opportunity for a useful role in the work of the Lord. The gospel is a gospel of hope, and none of us is authorized to deny the power of the Atonement to bring about a cleansing of individual sins, forgiveness, and a reformation of life on appropriate conditions. Second, a righteous judgment will be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest.”

In this way do we sometimes “project blame” onto others but only in an “intermediate judging” capacity. Yes, there are Mormons who do not follow this counsel but I’ve yet to meet any who openly try to pass lasting judgment on others. As I said, none of us is perfect. When we seem to “blame” others, is that a problem? No, if our “blame” is intermediate and if we understand the context of people’s choices. Blaming, or judging, others is a problem when we try to make it final; only the Savior can do that.

Now the original context of the someone quoting me was about Mormon youths who supposedly (I say supposedly because I have not personally reviewed the research in question) feel pressured to be perfect and when they fall short, have existential anxiety. There is the doctrine of perfection taught but thankfully, in recent years, we’ve had much clearer teachings that we cannot expect perfection in this lifetime (that’s not a change in doctrine, it’s a case of emphasizing a point enough so that it finally gets through our far-too-often-thick-skulls). I know there is still anxiety about perfection but striving for excellence almost always results in anxiety (if you want to see anxiety, look around at a university – I don’t mean the students, I mean the faculty). High standards can result in anxiety. Anxiety is not bad though. Too much is bad, just as too little is. We get optimum performance with the right level of anxiety. If it’s too low, we don’t try hard enough, if it’s too high, we give up. That level is different for every person though. This is why the gospel is an individual gospel and why Christ will judge us; He knows us. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows the desires of our hearts. If we are facing Christ and striving to have His Spirit with us, we are doing all we can do. His grace is sufficient for our needs.


The purpose of this post was to point out the necessity of quoting in context (the context of my original quote negated the point someone was trying to make with and had nothing to do with the other use someone made for it). Secondly, there are many people – non-Mormon and Mormon – who do judge others too harshly or with too little information. This might include ascribing motives to others without providing sufficient evidence to support those motives. One poster on that site stated that Mormons like to blame others for their “failures” but that the Mormon standard is perfection, so no wonder there are so many confused and suicidal Mormon teens (I’m not making that up, that’s the point someone was trying to make when quoting me {and others, including Elder Nelson}). If you want the truth about suicides in Utah (which some critics try to equate with Mormon suicides), read this post. But that’s getting off-topic.

There are some complex issues in LDS theology and LDS history. There are honest people who have honest questions. None of us is perfect; we all need the Savior’s Atonement.

I know I didn’t address the issue of where the idea of “Mormon superiority” came from as well as I could have done. That might be interesting to explore some more at some point but this post is long enough for now.

A Famine of Hearing the Words of the Lord


The prophet Amos prophesied of a day of future famine, “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). This prophecy was partially fulfilled after the death of Jesus and His apostles. His authority was lost from the earth and His words were changed – not all of them, but enough to leave people without a fullness. With the restoration of the gospel and priesthood authority, the words of the Lord once again went forth in purity. However, many in the world still suffer this spiritual famine. They willingly or unknowingly seal off their hearts and homes from the words of the Lord. The words of the Lord are ever-present but many will not hear them. Their homes become deserts without the waters of life that flow from the Lord and His anointed.

This can happen even within the membership of the church. And so I ask: is there a desert in your home? Are the words of the prophets in your homes? Is the spirit of revelation found there? Do you live the life you profess to live? Do you live the commands of the Lord and His living prophets? Is in your home a watered garden feeding and nurturing a tree of life or do you starve in a famine of hearing the words of the Lord? If you are experiencing a famine, what can you do to counter it?

There is one sure source of spiritual moisture – the Holy Ghost. Through the gentle yet piercing promptings and proddings of the Holy Ghost you can have your thirst sated. How often are you asking for this influence and nourishment in your life? Are you supplicating God in the name of Christ daily? Do you plead for forgiveness of your sins so that you might be better able to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost? If you used to pray frequently, do you do so now? “And now behold, I ask of you…have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?… And now behold, I say unto you…if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:14,26). A one-time change of heart is not enough. King David was a man after the Lord’s heart but he made mistakes and sinned. The Lord requires life-long endurance.

Have you kept your home an oasis of life in the midst of a desert, or have you allowed the desert to encroach into your home? Do you allow the east wind to blow through your home, drying it out and filling it with scorching heat and suffocating sand? What influences do you allow in your home? Do you eschew evil, or is it embraced? Is your home built by the iron rod and upon a rocky foundation, or have you established a residence in the great and spacious building, which has no foundation? Do you live full-time in a holy house or do you keep a summer cottage in Babylon? Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated, “Even if we decide to leave Babylon, some of us endeavor to keep a second residence there, or we commute on weekends” (The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, p.25).

Do you call upon God and plead with Him to abide in your home? Lowrie Hofford wrote this moving plea for comfort from Jesus:

“Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide,
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.

O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.” (Source).

Have you asked the Lord that He enter and remain within your home? Have you made your heart and home a welcome place for Him? Have you walked with the Lord on your own road to Emmaus? Have you felt your heart burn within you? If you have, do you still feel it burn? Are you experiencing a personal and spiritual famine or do you drink deeply from the well of eternal life?

None of us are perfect and none of us will be in this life. However, we can, like Elder Maxwell said, strive to live close to Him who is perfect (see Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, p.275). We have a perfect source of comfort and nourishment in the Lord. If and when we stumble and slip and fall – we all do – all we need do is get back up. If we ask, the Lord will be by our sides to help pick us up. By remaining close to Him we will find an endless well and be sheltered from personal and spiritual famine.

The Curse of a Broken Law


“Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.” (Moroni 8:24).

As I read this scripture recently it really stood out to me. “For repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.” When we sin we go against our Father; we choose to disobey Him and follow ourselves, someone else, the world, or the devil. In sinning we are placed under condemnation. Condemnation is related to damnation but is often used euphemistically and temporarily. For example, we use the word condemned to refer to people who have been found guilty of committing a crime whereas we use the word damned more often in religious contexts. Condemnation thus usually refers to a temporary state of existence whereas damnation is long-term or even permanent (damnation could be short-term but most people tend to view it as chronic and not acute).

By sinning we are condemned; we broke a law and are made to wear cursed shackles. By sinning we turn away from the Lord and become a law unto ourselves. We reject our Father’s plan; however, we can correct these errors through repentance. We can turn again unto the Lord. It is only in repentance that we break free of the curse and remove the shackles. Through repentance we no longer are condemned because we show our willingness to keep the commandments, which includes repenting of our sins. Through repentance we invite the Spirit back into our lives; by the Spirit we are justified – we are brought back into alignment with God (see Moses 6:60). Then through the blood of Christ – His Atonement – we are able to become pure and holy, losing even the desire to sin. We can pray for this purity; like Nephi of old we can plead that we might “shake at the appearance of sin” and have “the gates of hell be shut continually before [us].” (2 Nephi 4:31-32). What qualifies us for these blessings? Having a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see 2 Nephi 4:32).

Through repentance we can sing with Nephi, “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul” (2 Nephi 4:28). We have great reason to rejoice in the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ and in repentance of our sins.

We came to earth to see if we would be faithful to the truths we accepted in the pre-earth life even though we do not remember that life. Heavenly Father knew we would sin and fall short. He prepared a way through His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. It was agreed that the Savior would provide the way to return to our Father in Heaven provided we repent in this life. “And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God” (Alma 42:4). We are all on probation to see if we are faithful to all we are commanded to do. “Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state” (Alma 42:13)

For what do we need to prepare? We need to prepare to live with Heavenly Father again. Even more than that though, we need to prepare to live the type of life God lives. In order to do so we need to be spotless and pure. We need to be sanctified and holy. I’ll rephrase what I wrote earlier because it is important. Repentance puts us in a position to be purified by the Holy Ghost and sanctified through the blood and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Moses 6:60). That’s the wonder of the Atonement – it allows us to become pure and holy like Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father are pure and holy. We can be perfect as They are perfect (see 3 Nephi 12:48).

Perfection seems such a lofty and unreachable goal for us, imperfect people. Perfection is just that though – a lofty goal. It is a process of becoming as our Lord Jesus Christ is. It is important to understand that although Jesus, when living as a mortal on earth, was sinless and divine, He was not perfect – not yet. He only became perfect after His death, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven. While we should strive for perfection we need to realize that we will not and cannot be perfect in this life. Perfection is a holy goal to be achieved in the next life through the grace of Christ. As we repent, we can move out from under the curse of a broken law into the blessing of freedom and fullness that comes in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Divine Role of Motherhood – Part 3


There is the example of Rebekah, who was blessed to become the “mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60) as a result of her righteousness. This teaches us that for those who are faithful to the covenant, motherhood does not end with death. We also have the great example of Hannah who had much anguish over being childless. She covenanted with the Lord that if He would bless her with a son, she would dedicate her son unto Him. Her son Samuel grew up to be one of the great prophets in Israel and a sign of his mother’s faith. Mary, the mother of the Savior, was a woman of great virtue and faith. She was highly favored and blessed because of her role as the mother of the Prince of Peace (see Luke 1:28). Mary remained near the Savior throughout His life and was even at the foot of the cross, watching her Son finish His mortal ministry. She was there for Him, from the cradle to the cross. King Benjamin gives in simplicity one of the greatest tributes in the scriptures: “and his mother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:8). What more need he say? She was to be the mother of the Son of God. The scriptures are largely patriarchal and priesthood-focused so the references to great mothers of faith and covenant are sparse. Thus, stories of mothers in the scriptures are very significant. We can learn much about the qualities of faithful motherhood from these illustrious women. It is thought provoking to wonder about what would have happened had Eve, Hannah, or Mary not been good mothers? A wise man once stated: “What a mother sings to the cradle goes all the way to the coffin” (Henry Ward Beecher, Columbia Book of Quotations, 1996, no. 6395). Or, rephrased according to LDS belief: “What a mother sings to the cradle goes all the way [through eternity].”

Being a mother is such an important part of who women are and has so many consequences that it can seem overwhelming at times, even impossible, to be the best mother possible. Perfection is quite a lofty goal; but it is more than just a goal or an end—perfection is also a process. When a woman becomes a mother and has a child or two or three or ten, she has not reached some static state where she automatically knows everything about being a mother. Being a mother also does not end when the children leave home at age 18 or 21 or whenever; it is a role that keeps rolling, growing, and expanding. This is what it means, in part, to be an eternal family. The eternally expanding role as mother is a portion of the blessing of eternal lives (see D&C; 132:24). Therefore, just as perfection does not come in a day neither does the full realization of motherhood; the process is as important as the goal (or else Satan’s plan of salvation would have been just as good as the Father’s).