June 2014 ~ Dear Miss Mormon

Monday, June 23, 2014

I am 17, I've grown up my whole life in the church. And yet I don't even know if it's true. This year has by far been the hardest of my life...I feel so lost, I feel like I will never be good enough. Honestly, I feel guilty asking God to help me...I guess my question is where do I start? How can I change and get a testimony and be happy again?

Dear Friend,
Christ's grace is "sufficient to cover us, sufficient to transform us and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes"--Brad Wilcox

My friend, welcome to the transformation process :)

   At a very similar time in my life to the one you just described I sat at a table with a close friend's mom talking late into the night. Close to tears, I expressed to her all my doubts, my fears, and frustrations. When I had finished I half expected her to try to resolve each one of my individual concerns, or scold me for having so many questions; but instead all she asked was: "in the end, if it's
not true, would you change how you're living?" After considering my life for a moment I realized I wouldn't change anything, I felt happier living the way the gospel teaches. Whether or not the things I
was learning were true...I had yet to figure out. But answering this question suddenly relieved me of a pressure I hadn't realized was there. It allowed me to stop worrying about if I was living a dream
and focus on obtaining a testimony of the gospel. Eventually, all my doubts, fears and frustrations were resolved and I learned for myself how true it all really is. So I'll ask you the same:
 "if it's not true, what would you change?"

   Sometimes in life we get down--ok let's be honest, sometimes we just altogether fall down, and on occasion we alone cannot pick ourselves back up. At this point a lot of us feel unworthy of God's help to get back up. False. He wants to help us, He wants to help you. Compare it to when we all learn to take our first steps as babies. When a baby attempts to take their first shaky steps it's almost inevitable that they fall. Parents never get angry or punish their child for falling, they applaud their efforts and encourage them to try again. Our Heavenly Father is the same way; you are never past receiving His love and help.

  Nowadays, Heavenly Father and I have real good heart-to-hearts, but for a long time when I prayed I didn't think He would 1.) care and 2.) actually speak back. I have since learned 1.) that He does care and 2.) how He speaks back. Now don't think that happened in a day for me, it's something I'm still learning, but my reception has improved and I hit less dead zones now...and it's not because I switched to Verizon ;) I had to learn how to listen. I would say start there, learn how Heavenly Father speaks to you. Try talking to Him, be honest, don't hold back, tell Him everything. Ask whatever you need to and then sit back and listen. Keep doing this and do it often, as you keep trying you will begin to hear and recognize how your Heavenly Father speaks to you. To steal some of Brother Wilcox's words for my own one more time, you need to know "I believe in you. I'm pulling for you...[your]parents are pulling for you, leaders are pulling for you, and prophets are pulling for you. And Jesus is pulling with you."

You can do this. I promise no effort is a waste, a testimony of the gospel is worth the fight. I promise that as you diligently seek truth you will find that you never once lost your life to a fairy tale, this is as real as it gets. There is no once upon a time to this story, but there is definitely a happily ever after.

With much love,
Miss Mormon

                                                       "His Grace is Sufficient"....read this!


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Monday, June 16, 2014

Ode to Fathers

Dear Mormon Dad,

I was watching this video and it made me start to reflect on all the lessons you taught me growing up. You always made sure I knew who I was and who God was. You let me know my earthly father--and Heavenly Father would always love me.
   Remember that time I tried to leave the house in an outfit not quite falling under the category of modest? I was so mad at you, you were too old and too outdated to understand that this was now the norm and completely acceptable. But you held firm and I finally caved (in my natural huffy fashion). I understood a little better that day that I was of a higher worth than I had originally estimated.
  While writing this I heard a car go by and I flashed back to our lessons on driving. Bet you didn't know I learned a lot more than just which is the brake and which is the accelerator that day when I crashed your car. Glad we can laugh about it now. I remember being so scared as I slowly looked over at you, not sure what to do. But as always you showed me you loved me... and then began estimating the damage. As I ran into the house mortified, I learned how to be Christlike even when you're feeling the least inclined to be charitable. Today, I still try to follow suit.
  Those teenage years, ugh, those were rough. I grew up singing "I am a Child of God" but somehow during those awkward years I forgot. As I would be getting ready to go out for the night or as you were driving me somewhere you had no problem reminding me. You subtly turning the volume up on that song about waiting up on the porch cleaning your gun didn't get passed me. I got the message and I think anyone I hung out with got it too...loud and clear.
  You gave me an example of what it means to honor your wife, to love your children and serve your neighbor. You taught me to keep the sabbath day holy (you thought no one noticed you get up early to read your scriptures, but I did.) And to be honest in word and deed.
  Last but not least, I know I have a Heavenly Father because you taught me how to talk to Him. I know He's there listening because it feels similar to when I talk to you. I know He loves me because He gave me you. I love ya Pops!

With much love, your daughter,
Miss Mormon
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Monday, June 9, 2014

What is this health code all Mormons live by?

Dear Friend,
I've gotten some funny misconceptions from people in the past so I'm
glad I get to answer this question finally.

For the sweet girl in high school who was concerned about whether or
not I was allowed to dance--this ones for you.
As Mormons, we abstain from coffee, green or black tea, tobacco,
alcohol, and illegal drugs and we emphasize eating vegetables, fruits,
grains, and eating meat in moderation. The health code we live by,
called the word of wisdom, helps us by giving us an instruction manual
for how to care for our bodies and how to get the most use out of
them. If you want your car to last, do you settle on the kind of oil
you use? No! you use top grade. Though living this way helps us
physically, possibly the majority of the blessings that come through
being obedient to this are more seen spiritually.

My brother once explained it like this. When he smelled coffee and
looked at it, it seemed so enticing and yummy. Later, when looking at
the empty coffee cup in the sink he noticed that though the coffee was
gone, there was a nasty brown stain left on the cup. My wise brother
pointed out "when I saw the cup and the stain that was left on it, it
helped me to see that that's what the coffee would do to the inside of
our bodies."
When I was in my first semester at college, I somehow got on the topic
of all the things i planned to change or alter on my body once I had
the money to do so. I went through my rather long list and finally
when I had finished nonchalantly listing everything off, my roommate
turned to me with a clearly concerned expression on her face and said:
I really hope you don't actually do all that. When you do all those
things it's like your saying to Heavenly Father. "Thanks for the gift,
but it wasn't good enough, I can do a better job." Ouch. That has
always stayed with me. Now my purpose in telling this story is not to
go off on a tangent about altering our bodies, my intent is to
highlight a time in my life where I realized for the first time, that
the things I do to my body are my expressions of appreciation to my
Heavenly Father who gave me this gift. That includes what I choose to
put in it.
We have been given bodies to house our spirits. I imagine our spirits
with big signs on them that say: HANDLE WITH CARE, VERY FRAGILE, or
LIGHTNING BOLTS WILL STRIKE IF DAMAGED. Something to that effect.
With something so precious, our Heavenly Father wouldn't settle for
anything less than the best. Our bodies are the best of the best, we'd
be wise to treat them as so :)

With much love,
Miss Mormon

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Do Mormon's worship Joseph Smith?

Dear Friend,
Sorry I missed a week, I've recently moved and change always throws me
off my norm.

So I love analogies, I love comparing new ideas to those that I'm much
More familiar with and sometimes they're the best way to answer a
question. For example, when discussing the civil rights movement in
America it's hard not to mention Martin Luther king jr. We honor him,
we respect him, but we do not worship him.

I love to read, in fact it's right up there with sleeping and laughing
as one of my favorite things to do. I can quickly get lost in Jane
Eyre
, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice and any other classic;
appreciating the authors abilities and talents, but still not
worshiping them.

Mother's Day has just passed us by not too long ago, on this day we
pay special tribute to women and motherhood all over...but we do not
worship them.

With those comparisons stated, let me directly answer your question:
We. Do. Not. Worship. Joseph Smith. We learn about him, we honor him,
we even look to him as a role model, but in doing so we do not worship
him.

Last year I was over visiting a young family. When we first got there
the two youngest girls ran over and immediately I captured their
attention with a book full of pictures of Jesus Christ. I spent almost
an hour flipping and reflipping through that book teaching them about
Christ. Finally their mom told them to go inside and change out of
their swimsuits into normal clothes. The oldest one, being about 5 yrs
old, quickly ran inside. A few minutes later she came back out fully
dressed. She walked over to me with a satisfied smile on her face. I
was confused why until I took better notice of what she was wearing
and then I couldn't help but smile too. That day I was wearing a black
skirt with a gray and black striped shirt, she was now wearing a plaid
skirt with a black and white striped shirt. In an effort to be more
like me, she had tried to dress like me!

Admiration does not always necessitate adoration. Paying respect does
not equate paying homage. Just as we cherish Moses, Isaiah, and
Jeremiah, so we appreciate Joseph Smith, acknowledging their roles as
prophets, but refraining from elevating man to the status of deity.

Now go give your mom a hug and tell her how much you appreciate her,
but whatever you do...don't worship her ;)

With much love,
Miss Mormon

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