Audrey Hepburn

The fact that I've made movies doesn't mean breakfast gets made or that my child does better in his homework. I still have to function as a woman in a household.

I'm functioning as a woman should function and I don't think I'm robbing anybody of anything... but by working as a busy film actress I think I would be robbing my family, you know, my husband and children, of the attention they should get."

--How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life  by Melissa Hellstern

Continuing Faithfulness in Times of Struggle

There is a crucial truth that every member and non-member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must come to realize; one that is not on, but is embodied in, the following list:
  • The Bible does not save you from the darkness of this world.
  • The Book of Mormon does not save you from your sins.
  • No membership in any church ever established--no, not even our Church--can save you from Satan and his minions.
  • The prophets and teachers of this church cannot remove the temptations that so easily beset us all.
  • Eternal life does not come simply because we ask for it, or even demand it.
Where, then, can we turn for salvation? How do we obtain safety for our souls? How can we be cleansed from all our guilt? How can our burdens be lifted, and our hearts healed? How can we conquer the adversary and his minions when they bombard us with temptations to do things that would make us cringe in the presence of God?

How do we obtain eternal life?

Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, willingly atoned for all of our sins. He gave us scripture that we might remember Him, have His Spirit to be with us, and learn His commandments that we might know how to follow Him. The purpose of His Church is to provide His ordinances, and to receive His guidance through His chosen servants on how to return to Him again.

In every aspect of discipleship, Christ is at the center.

At times, it's easy to become complacent--to read our scriptures and make no contact with Christ whatsoever. It's easy to partake of ordinances like the Sacrament and make no connection to Christ. It's possible to be given council from His chosen prophets, apostles, teachers, leaders, and friends without ever seeing the image of Christ in their countenances, to focus on their faults instead of their message.

How can they lead me and save me when they're so imperfect? we might ask at such times.

The answer being: they were never supposed to save you. Perfection was never their purpose.

Jesus Christ is our Savior

He alone atoned for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed into the hands of the Sanhedrin, was scourged, and collapsed beneath the weight of the cross on which he would soon die.

A cross to bear... do we remember that story when we struggle? When we're tempted to look for an easier way in apostasy, or oblivion?
26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. (Luke 23)
Jesus spoke often of bearing his cross and following him. He spoke of it prophetically--and always in regards to discipleship. The question here does not seem to be "If I am picked to bear His cross, will I do it?" That the moment will come is a certainty. When that moment comes, when we are grabbed at random to take up that cross and be a disciple in very deed, even when we barely know Christ and we are suddenly called to pick up that cross... we find that different questions emerge...

Will I stagger before this is over?

Will I fall, and disappoint everyone who has come to know me as a Christian?

What am I doing here?

Why are these people yelling at me and taunting me?

Why did they pick me when I never asked for this?

When will it end?

Where is the comfort He promised me?

Is there no other way?

O God, where art thou?

Is there a way to give up before the journey is over?

My life has taught me something about discipleship. The way to eternal life is beneath a cross. There is no escaping once you've begun, and no lasting peace anywhere else ever again. There is nowhere to hide, no way to return to neutral ground. We may try to put down that cross and walk away from it, but that cross will never leave us.

Why? Because an infinite and eternal sacrifice was made on that cross by Jesus Christ. Time does not remove the permanence of that act, and it stands for us--covered in innocent blood--whether we choose to carry it or not.

If we carry the cross, the blood atones for us and "through his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 5)

If we choose not to carry that cross, we must atone for our own sins--suffer infinitely and eternally for our denial of His sacrifice, "grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment." (2 Nephi 28: 23)

When we are called, we must answer. And we have a choice to make. Do we follow and obtain glory, or deny and suffer?...

I once heard a question asked, and it was phrased "Why did Jesus weep?"

When we know the answer to that question, when we take it into our hearts, and feel it--when we know its weight and carry it in our hearts like the cross it is, apostasy is no longer an option.

Only then can we arrive at the empty tomb and know what it means.

Impressions from General Conference, April 2010

My impression of General Conference? It can be summed up in three scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 45:
37 Ye look and behold the figtrees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

Sadly, many people I have spoken to that listened to this most recent session of Conference have not understood the extremity of what we were just told.

We as a people and a Church were not being scolded by our leaders for no reason. We were being warned and instructed on how to prepare--in all immediacy--for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Although Elder Cook so rightly reminded us that no one--not even the angels in heaven--know when the Savior will return, we can be certain that this event IS NOT far hence. From the warning voices of our leaders, and the signs of the times, we can see that the leaves on the fig tree are beginning to appear. We truly are in the season before His return to the earth, when the Messiah "shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1: 11)

I can say this and there are many, even in the Church, who will not believe me. But I ask them: when the warning call that our Lord's day approaches quickly, when the clarion voice telling His people that they should prepare, when those messages finally come--from whom can we expect them? What will they sound like?

I testify that those warnings will come from His elected servants in the one true church of God, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I will be so bold as to say that these messages have already begun in recent sessions, and have grown in strength to become the great outpouring of revelation we received this past weekend. The contents of that Conference are available to all who will receive them here.

Listen carefully to each talk and I testify that you can hear for yourself the pieces that together form a single, unified, distinct warning--straight from the Lord Himself.

What does this change mean for the members of the Church? Many have attached themselves to the obvious, surface understanding that we must refocus our efforts as parents. These same well-meaning members, many of whom are my dearest friends, have viewed this as an invitation to reconsider the importance of the family; but they have not stopped to ask themselves why that invitation is so important.

The children that are coming to the earth in these days are special and choice spirit children of our Heavenly Father. They have been prepared for a special and sacred mission here upon the earth. For all we know, we could be raising and preparing the generation of Saints that will meet the Savior Jesus Christ at His coming, if not rearing the parents or grandparents of that choicest of all generations. Elder Donald Hallstrom pointed out a crucial timeline from the Book of Mormon that we already see here in our days--the impact of our immediate righteousness and unrighteousness on our posterity for 3 and 4 generations. This approximate timeline was given by no accident, as well as the plea for us to focus on our families as a means of sacred protection. If our families fall apart now, those generations will not be prepared for whatever their sacred responsibilities might be--and the consequences of that failure would be more devastating than we can possibly imagine.

A change I feel I must make for myself--having not yet been married nor had any children--is to become a voice of warning for my God and my Church in the days to come. How can people prepare to face an enemy, to avoid casualties in a battle they do not see coming? This choice may put me in a dangerous position in the years to come; sooner, perhaps, than even I realize at the rate our society continues to decay. Nevertheless, I know I have been prepared to take that stance. Though I may be young, I will not be ashamed of what I know in my heart to be true, and will continue to strive to be "an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4: 12)

I testify that even in these times of urgency, the glory of our Lord and Savior does not fade. We are not powerless here on the earth to the storms that rage, to nations and principalities, to wars and rumors of wars, and that adversary who ever seeks to destroy us. We have an Advocate, a Mediator, a Champion for our souls--even Jesus Christ. I testify that the Restoration that began in 1820 continues on in the lives of Saints everywhere; that truth and Priesthood, power and authority of Almighty God are once again on the earth. I echo the immortal words of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of that Restoration, when he asked, "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" (Doctrine and Covenants 128: 22)

To my last breath, may my soul respond with a resounding "YES!" to that question, now and always, in the name of my Lord and Savior, my Deliverer and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ.

Truth Eternal Tells Me I've a Mother There

Without further ado, let's do a scriptural deep-dive on Heavenly Mother. I've put a lot of thought into the best way to create a lon...