Dear Miss Mormon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My stolen identity

Dear friend,

Somehow I have managed to have my credit card information stolen twice in the past two years. Now call it stupidity on my part, carelessness, or just sheer bad luck, regardless, it happened and it sucked.

But of course I have gotten more out of the experience than just a new card in the mail.

There is an event that comes from Mormon scripture in what we call The Pearl of Great Price. In this book there is an account of Moses being confronted by Satan. The verses of this scripture read: "Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God." (PoGP Moses 1:12-13)

This is my favorite example of how Satan tries to trick us into forgetting who we are. He tried to make Moses actually forget his personal divinity and essentially steal his identity.

 I have looked at the things that tempt me and I have realized all of my temptations-- all of the things that cause me to sin are things that make me forget who I am, and they steal my identity.

Satan is really good these days at stealing your identity. He will tell you you're the person that doesn't have patience, that lacks the faith, and/or the person who can't overcome personal shortcomings. He will constantly remind you that you're the person who deserves:
- short-term happiness
-prolonged grief
-and overwhelming hardship to be carried entirely alone.

He will repeat the mantra that you are no longer the man or woman who deserves mercy but you are the person who has earned the task of walking the hard road alone.

Or he'll tell you the exact opposite. He will try to puff you up, telling you that you are no longer a subject to the law, but above it. You are now the ruler of your own world, solely the maker of your own individual morals and laws; and without consequence. He loves to hand you a brush, carving tool, or simply some finger paint and say "create your own God, and that is the one you will truly answer to".

Even with all the firewalls, passwords, and advanced technology today, we find ourselves constantly violated and stripped of our inherent rights to the title "child of God." 

DON'T BE FOOLED.

You are great, you are incredible, you are worth every morsel of infinite time God has put into you. Don't be fooled and forget who you are or where you came from. You are more than the lies you've been told, you are big enough to be kind, you are strong enough to love, and you are capable of all the great things God has in store for you.

There are plenty of opportunities to be scammed and conned by the greatest con artist of them all, but do not be deceived; you are more than what Satan has you made out to be.

With much love,
Miss Mormon

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

happily ever after's are overrated

Dear friend,
It's been hard to write to you because sometimes life is hard.

Like, stupid hard.

You think you've got it all figured out and then you turn around and it's a hot mess and you're a hot mess and there is nothing good that comes from you being a hot mess.

But after you're done being a hot mess and you put the box of cookies away you start to see the lessons along the way (now replace all the "you's" with "I's" and you get the picture).

A couple of months ago I went for a drive with a friend to talk about life. My friend opened up about frustrations he was currently feeling in regards to where his life was headed and what he wanted it to be. As we talked He finally admitted he felt  he would be happier outside the Mormon faith and he had plans to leave. At one point, clearly feeling discouraged,  he said "I want the happily ever after everyone wants but  I don't get it." This desire for a happily ever after was ultimately his reason for leaving.

I listened and asked questions but  probably didn't say anything too profound. It was one of those times I wish I had been in a speech class with Isaiah because my heart was breaking and I had no words to fix my own; or my friend's.

It hit me the other day what the pivotal piece was my friend had missed: there is no hope in a happily ever after but that's where he had put all his hope. I realized my friend, somewhere down the line had stopped putting his hope in Christ and rather put his hope in this idea of a happily ever after. It's easy to do, people do it all the time. You put your hope in having children, everything goes into this idea...and then you find out you can't. You  work toward a dream career for years; investing time and energy into it... and then never get it. There are these constant BIG disappointments that life is predesigned to give us, how we react to them though reveals where our hope really is.

That's not to say we can't hope for things. Personally, I hope to pass this Chemistry class I'm taking, but will I stop believing in everything I've come to believe if I don't? No! Because my hope is not rested on or in what happens with this class.

There are a plethora of people out there who have invested all their hope into a single, mortal idea; and when that plan or that idea fails their world crumbles, they lose hope, and the God they once believed in ceases to exist.

Living without hope is unbearable, we were made to be hopeful creatures, I'm not an expert but if I had to guess I would say living without hope is near impossible. Try living without air--it's like that. Being hopeful is an eternal, and God-like quality; we were built to hope, and with that we get to choose what we put our hope in. We can put our hope in getting married, having children, getting into our favorite college, living in our dream home or a million other things--but when the cards are dealt not in our favor, where will we turn?

This life wasn't suppose to be the happily ever after, this chapter doesn't end in 'the end'.  This is the climax, this is the intense part, the part that has you holding you breath, clenching your blanket in your fists and lifting your feet up off the ground. But through all of it,  through every hard thing and unexpected turn of events, if we keep our hope in the center of God's plan, Jesus Christ, we'll feel the reassurance that some things weren't created to be eternal, but we were. Life doesn't have to suck, life can be sweet if we keep our hope and our faith firmly grounded in Christ.

So I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think, at least for now, that happily ever after is overrated ;)

With much love,
Miss Mormon
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jesus Christ: Prophet or Son of God?

Is it true mormons believe Jesus to be a prophet and not the Son of God?

Dear friend,

Its been wayyyy too long since I've answered any of your questions...ew.
#I'msorry

Even though the writing stopped (temporarily) the lessons just kept coming. I've noticed throughout my life that whether or not we listen, God will still try to teach us. Here's a hint: its easier if you're listening. -_-

This was a tricky question for me, not because I don't believe Christ is the Son of God, but I feel a strange lack of words whenever I try to convey in full how I feel about my Savior.

Maybe its easiest to first state my understanding of a prophet and their responsibilities. A prophet is someone called of God to testify of Christ first and foremost. A prophet is a messenger. The scriptures give the analogy of a watchman on the tower who can cry out a warning of any approaching danger. Though, technically Jesus came and did these things, His calling was greater than prophet; it was to be the Savior of the world.

A prophet is a man, Jesus Christ was more than mortal and therefore did what no one else in this mortal world could do.

So, even though my understanding isn't perfect as to how it all works together; his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead, I know all works together for my good.

Mormon's don't believe Christ is just a prophet.

Mormon's believe Christ is the end-all-be-all to our salvation.

Joseph Smith, as forgiving as he was, can't forgive me of my sins. Brigham Young, as intimidating and fierce as he looks in his pictures, can't be my judge or advocate on judgement day. Thomas S. Monson, as sweet and empathetic as he may be, can't enable me to carry on through any trial I go through and make me the stronger for it.

I love prophets, and I sustain the current, living prophet we have today; but I will always look to Christ as my savior. 

I may not be able to meet the prophet, or sit down and have a heart-to-heart with him whenever I need one; but I can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that in my life is the difference.

With much love,
Miss Mormon



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Friday, December 18, 2015

My Uncertainty Principle

Dear friend,
Oh my gosh I have missed you!

But guess what?

FINALS ARE OVER!!

For two weeks I am free, so what was the first thing I did when I walked out from my last test?? (besides the laundry that was the size of a small mountain in my room)

of course I came and started to write to you :)

So last time I wrote to you I talked about a concept I had learned in physics that related to my understanding of trials.

Well I have one more physics lesson for you, which is fitting as I just finished my last semester of physics (I think there is a very tired angel somewhere amazed that I made it through even with all the heavenly help he or she gave.)

This physics lesson goes back to a guy named Heisenberg and quantum mechanics.

The basis of quantum mechanics (as far as I understand it) is the study of light. For a long time people believed light to be a wave. Eventually experiments where done that contradicted that; indicating that light consisted of particles. So which was it? a wave or a bunch of particles? This sparked a massive debate in the scientific community.

The concept that really got my attention while struggling to understand all of this was Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle and this picture:


 When looking at the picture above you will see little specks slowly appear as more time elapses from picture A to picture D. At first it looks completely random, no pattern, no way to predict each particles path or destination. But as time goes on, an image begins to form and it becomes apparent that the particles are actually congregating in such a way as to create a wave-like pattern. Each random, individual act leads to what was predicted all along; that these particles are part of a wave function. Heisenberg and all those other scientists concluded that "because of its wave character a particle's trajectory and destination cannot be precisely predicted for each particle individually. However, each particle goes to a definite place." 

This principle finally helped me to understand a little better how agency and God's plan coexist.

In this analogy we are the particles. We pick our trajectory, we pick our path, we essentially decide our destiny. But if thats how this all goes, then how does God still have perfect control of the universe? 

Because of the uncertainty principle.

 Our agency allows us to go where we want in life and each little decision is just another speck on the blank screen of our lives. But as we make these decisions and look behind us we see a pattern. 

We see God's hand in our lives! 

We feel like we are on our own sometimes, like God isn't giving us direction or helping us know what to do--and maybe He isn't. Because everything will work out. Our uncertainty doesn't matter, the road in front of us doesn't need to be clear; each decision we decide upon will take us somewhere and eventually all those decisions will make up a picture of our lives that God created. I hope we choose the right trajectory, I hope we choose the right course, but I know there was only one perfect person to ever walk this earth and sometimes we choose wrong. I feel gratitude because of agency and I feel hope for myself and others because of an uncertainty principle that promises everything will fall into God's perfect plan.

With much love,
Miss Mormon





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Sunday, October 18, 2015

The One Time Physics Made Sense

Dear friend,

Why do bad things happen to good people? I've heard this time and time again (I've even answered this question before), and depending on my mood at the time I either want to roll my eyes or chime in with an amen! Nobody likes hard things that seem to gravitate toward our weaknesses and make life harder than it seemingly needs to be. But in the words of Linda Reeves: "What will it matter…what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?"
Don’t good people deserve to have eternal life? Don't good people deserve to be proven worthy of living once again in their Father's presence? I think so. Sometimes life happens, you know, when you wake up sick, and you have midterms, and you forgot to do laundry so you have no clean clothes except a grungy sweater, and you feel invisible (which might be good considering your outfit), and you're constantly trying to balance your stressful job with your stressful class load-- I think we've all been there. And we have the piles of unclean laundry to prove it.

TAKE COMFORT

With our runny noses and grungy sweaters we're going to pass this test with flying colors.

In physics I’ve learned an equation for life, this is what it looks like:


Now, I might not understand a lot about physics…so I guess it’s a good thing what I realized from this formula has almost nothing to do with physics. Sometimes we can feel this big, Sometimes it feels like we have no power or effect on anything. But physics says otherwise.

 Don’t let me lose you with this.

Time and power are inversely related to one another as you can see from the equation above. Rarely if ever do I feel like there is enough time or enough me to handle everything I need to get done. Just as I feel I have nothing more to give or I've gotten so small under the amount of life (represented in this equation by work...go figure) piled on top of me; I'm amazed to see the strength/power produced will actually increase.  

There are times when we feel small and it feels like nothing is going to get better-- after all, how can anything change when we’re stuck under a mountain of life? Something has to move mountains when you can’t. I’m convinced there is a variable missing from the equation up above. When you’re small and incapable of moving mountains, or elephants, or even a paper-weight on your own; Christ picks you and every heavy thing on top of you up and carries you. So don’t lose hope, as you get smaller the power your produce is greater because you have Christ on your side and you are more powerful than you think!

with much love,
Miss Mormon

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Beach, Your Mountains

Dear friend,

  A couple weeks ago my sister, Taylor and I went to the beach


ahhh the beach.


I LOVE the beach. When I tell people that their faces usually say "Typical California girl" and then mine says back "Oh you so don't get it."
Sure, I love the sun, I love the soft sand, I love the sound and smell of the ocean, I love everything about the beach.

but its more than that.

In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture that talks about a place, which to the outsider, would look no more impressive than any other; but to a small group of people it was beautiful.

 "And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever." -Mosiah 18:30

When I was a missionary we talked a lot about sacred places, and while in Florida, I had a lot of them. A bishop's home in Goldenrod, a picnic table in the Venetian Gardens of Leesburg, a trailer park on Aurora Rd in Melbourne--all sacred and special to me. In the bible you see that the mountains are often times sacred, places where men like moses went to commune or get closer to God.

The beach is my mountain.

I sit there and just watch the waves come in and out, and I am reminded that no matter what comes and goes, God is constant. I feel the breeze and I know that even though I can't see Him, I can feel His love. I look at the ocean stretching out all the way to the horizon and beyond and I know that life is eternal, even when I can't see very far in front of me, there is so much more out there.

I don't just love the beach for the inevitable tan or failed attempts at surfing, Its my sacred place. I believe in attending church on Sunday to learn and be reminded of my covenants; but I also believe God gave us a beautiful earth full of various sacred places to remind us of His presence. Whether its a grove, a cathedral, or an abandoned bus stop, God can and will reach you.

Where did you come to know God? Where did you become reacquainted with Him? Where has God provided you with sacred experiences? I know my sacred place..whats your's?

With much love,
Miss Mormon


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Monday, August 10, 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

Dear friend,

I had a conversation with my perfectionist friend the other day that made me start to evaluate perfection. Unlike my friend, I am not a perfectionist, so... did that mean I was never going to be perfect? Did I need to be killing myself in order to be closer to perfect?

My thoughts led me to a correlation between perfection and symmetry.

I think my train of thought comes from research I learned about years ago. Apparently the more "symmetrical" your facial features are the more "perfect" you look. "Our visual system may be ‘hard wired’ in such a way that it is easier to process symmetric stimuli than it is to process asymmetric stimuli. Because of this greater ease of processing symmetric stimuli, symmetric stimuli of any kind might be preferred to relatively asymmetric stimuli." (http://faceresearch.org/students/symmetry)

definition of perfect: as good as it is possible to be

definition of symmetry: correct or pleasing proportion of the parts of a thing 


But what if I told you I wasn't very good at being perfect symmetrical? Thats probably not all that surprising.

My life is no where near symmetrical, sometimes I read my scriptures at 8 am, 9pm, 3am, or every other day. 

Sometimes my prayers are the most heartfelt conversations I've ever had with anyone and sometimes they are a briefly relayed messages.

Sometimes my hair looks good and other times it goes up in a messy ponytail with broken fly-aways coming out the sides of my head.

Sometimes I'm poised, confident, with all the right answers and sometimes I'm just a plain hot mess with a box of cookies.

There is nothing perfect symmetrical about my life. 

But I love asymmetry. I have always liked the incongruities about it. I love asymmetrical dresses, hairstyles and artwork. I like that its not perfect, I like when things have character. A ding here, a scratch there, color fading, paint peeling--I like it. I have come to learn there is bEau+y in iMperfe©ti0n

I actually use to try to always be perfect, and everyday I was frustrated and overwhelmed by the distance I had fallen short of that. It seemed the harder I tried, the further away I became. Eventually it was too much and I had to stop and reevaluate. In the process of trying to be perfect I had stopped loving myself. There was nothing good about me because there was nothing perfect. I didn't feel like I had earned anything, there was no such thing as a silver or bronze medal in my life. As far as I could see, it was either the gold or nothing. 

So this is for you pinterest-perfect moms and you straight-A die-hards. This is for all of you who are never good enough, strong enough, smart enough, spiritual enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

As a perfectionist I was never enough for the Atonement 

But as an imperfectionist I am enough every day.

When I embraced my imperfections it didn't stop me from trying to improve,  it allowed me to love myself and see how my Savior loved me.

 I'm an asymmetrical being, I'm a recovering perfectionist and I know that I am closer to perfection today than I was yesterday and I love myself and where I'm at. I am perfectly imperfect. 

God made you and me, those flaws we're so painfully aware of He knows. He allowed for those in His design and when He placed His final stamp of approval I like to imagine He said: perfectly imperfect, just the way I planned.
With much love,
Miss Mormon






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