Monthly Archives: May 2014

Strange Mormon Customs: Living Prophets

Shall we begin with an uncomfortable topic?

The Bible was written so long ago by so many different authors and translated so many times that  it is hard to know what is applicable to us in this time period and what is, well . . . not.

There are a lot of topics that seemed pretty important at that time. There were a lot of “rights” and “wrongs.” Here is a short list: circumcision, baptism, priesthood authority, animal sacrifice, polygamy, sodomy, adultery, forgiveness, homosexuality, and that women should have long hair and remain silent at church.


Which teachings of the Bible should we apply? Which should we ignore?  If some verses of the Bible don’t fit in with modern society what do we do? Just skip them?  And if our reasoning for believing this and not that is because we think that some of it is doctrine and some of it was just the social custom of the day, how do we decipher which is which? And once we’ve interpreted it to our own satisfaction, what if others of our same church come to the opposite opinion? Perhaps the easiest thing to do is just throw our hands up in the air and try to not think about death.

Prophets Then, Prophets Now

In the Mormon church we believe in all the prophets of the Bible. We revere them and honor them and we tell their stories to our children over and over. However, we believe that the most important prophet of all is the one that is alive now.

The structure of leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is patterned after the way Christ built His church while He was on the earth: with prophets and apostles. That is why we sometimes call our church the “restored” church.

President Thomas S. Monson (First prophet on Facebook!)

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The Purpose of Living Prophets

Like the past prophets, living prophets help us apply God’s laws and doctrines to society’s constantly evolving morality. He does not change church doctrine to reflect the current social standards, but instead guides us on how to use the doctrine to sail through the changing tides . . . and sometimes against the tide. He provides the confidence and stability we need when we are in doubt or are confused. To do this he also needs to have authority from God (which is a topic for another day).

However, there is . . .

The Downside of Being Prophet

Part of the burden of a prophet is that people think you are crazy.

It happened over and over in the scriptures, so it is no surprise that it happens now. Just pick a prophet: Noah, Moses, Elisha in the Old Testament. Peter and Paul in the New Testament. Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, and Samuel the Lamanite in the Book of Mormon. Sometimes the most vicious unbelievers were members of their own families.

Those who find a prophet’s words hard to stomach are quick label him as old-fashioned, senile, stubborn, or fallen. That is because prophets have a hard task: they tell people to repent and change their ways. That is not exactly the fastest way to win friends. Here is how one ancient prophet put it:

“…If a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil. But…if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.”  Helaman 13:26-27

If Ye Believe These Things . . . 

Believing the prophet is one thing, following him is another.  There have been times in the history of the Mormon church when it would have been more tolerable to light yourself on fire than do what the prophet asked. Take polygamy, for example. Contrary to what you may have heard, the early Mormons were not jumping up and down to start practicing polygamy. It went against everything they were previously taught. It went against all the social norms. Even Joseph Smith and the other apostles recoiled at this revelation from God. But Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were not just prophets, they were seers. As in see-ers. A seer is someone who sees more than we can see. Someone who has a clearer understanding than we have. Polygamy changed the church in a way nothing else could.  I can bet money that most of the people in the modern LDS church are decedents of polygamous ancestors (I am) and if they are not decedents, then they were baptized by someone who was a decedent. We don’t know all the reasons why the church had to briefly live the law of polygamy, but in many ways, polygamy is what made our church what it is today.

Does The Prophet Speak To God Face-to-face?

I don’t know. I’ve never heard a modern prophet say so in those words. I don’t think he would tell us if he did, since that would just make people think he was even crazier, and they would want proof, as people always do.

But we believe God spoke to the prophets of old, and I believe He spoke to Joseph Smith, and since our world is a lot more confusing than it was back then,  I don’t see any reason why He shouldn’t speak to a prophet now.

Prophets or Wolves

What is the difference between a prophet whom some think is crazy and a man who really is crazy? They are out there, you know. Those people who say they are prophets. How is one to know the difference?

1. First,  judge them “by their fruits.” When members of the church follow the direction of the prophet the church flourishes.  It stands to reason that if the Savior created a church on this earth to be “His” church it would be a church that is growing, not shrinking. It would be a church that is alive, not dead. But the real fruits of our church are the lives of the members and the blessings that come into our lives as we live the gospel. It is pretty incredible, actually.

2. Personal revelation.  If the prophet speaks and it causes conflict inside of us, we are not expected to blindly follow. But we are expected to search the scriptures and pray about it. We are encouraged to ask God for ourselves if what the prophet says is true. If it is of God, the Holy Spirit will let us know. Sometimes the words of the prophets and our own opinions clash so much that we just have to trust. Sometimes we have to be like the widow who served the prophet Elijah. She and her son were starving and Elijah asked her to make him a cake with the very last of her flour and oil. That didn’t make any sense. But she was obedient and trusted him. After he left her house her casks of oil and flour were never empty again.

Back to the Bible

Back to our original dilemma:  What should we believe about the Bible and what do we ignore? And if we are picking and choosing what we are willing to believe, is the book useful to us at all?

Since God is the author of order, not confusion, there is a prophet on the earth today who does have the authority to highlight what is most important for us to know and do right now.  He makes it clear what in the scriptures is still very relevant and what is not.

This is a big claim, I know. Especially since what the prophet says is not always in vogue. But when has a prophet ever been in vogue?


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Filed under Strange Mormon Customs

My Mother: A Study in Great Fashion

  I am fortunate to have a wonderful mother.

I am also fortunate to have a lot of photos of her wonderful clothes.

This is Patsy, newly married. My dad called her his “raven-haired beauty.”


Bridal Veil Falls

Funny how fashions come back . . . I actually think I saw this very outfit in the Lands End catalog last week.


One of my favorite photos of my parents:



My parents loved to travel and this photo was taken in Mexico. scan0102

My mom could make any skirt look good.


My mom told me some old lady called her after church and told her that “a mother of four children shouldn’t wear skirts that short.” This bothered my mom for days until my dad told her that was the way he liked it. 

She also had a thing for red nightgowns.



For me? Oh, thank you! More clothes!

I’ve been looking for this sweater in thrift shops for years:scan0046 (3)

Berries taste better when you look good. scan0293

My mother was a perfect hostess….


…and the perfect centerpiece to any picnic.


This little green number was in our costume cupboard for years. We were all a little afraid to put it on.


Vanessa, my mom told me she lent this to you. She says she wants it back.

How I love my mom who made whatever she put on look stunning.


My mother bore seven children, travelled the word many times, planted hundreds of trees and served four missions. And she did it all with grace, courage and excellent style.

Love you, Mom!



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For Middle Grade Books, Ask The Experts


I eat books for breakfast.

My name is Sophie. I just sabatoged my mom’s computer and apparently I just spelled the word “sabatoged” wrong. Oh, well. I know this is off topic, but I hate spellcheck.

I heard that she was writing this blogpost and so, who do you think the experts are? Adults? They don’t know what middle schoolers like. (Even though I’M not in middle school yet. I almost am!)

Book number 1:

11 Birthdays

This book is a book more for girls but it is very good. It is about a girl named Amanda Ellerby who has the same birthday as Leo Fitzpatrick. Their great-grandparents were enemies until something magical happens to them. The curse is on the children too. On their tenth birthday, Leo says some mean words about Amanda. Then a year later, on their eleventh birthday, they still hadn’t made up, so they are caught in time. Their eleventh birthday will repeat itself until they can make up.

I liked this book because it as a mystery and Amanda was so much like a real girl. It is a VERY funny book.

Book number 2: (Well, really, series)

The Heroes of Olympus

This series is about two camps for the children of the gods. One is for Greek demigods, the other for Roman. The last time they met, it was the American Civil war. They are working together to fulfill a prophecy. However, an evil spirit controls Leo, one of the demigods, and makes him accidentally blow up a bunch of the Roman camp, (plus the yelling and screaming chaperone Coach Hedge didn’t help, but anyway) so the Romans get mad and the three demigods there, Hazel, Frank, and Percy (who is actually Greek, but was abducted by the goddess Hera-long story) barely manage to get back on Leo’s flying warship. Then they are chased by Romans to the Ancient Lands, where Annabeth (another demigod) has to search for the lost statue the Athena Parthenos. She finds it but THEN her and Percy fall into Tartarus.

I liked this book because it is full of adventure. Also, I like all of the characters and how the action never stops.

Oops-my mom just came in. Busted!


Okay-I’m back again! So, where were we? Ah, yes, book #3:

A Little Princess

So, this book is about a little girl named Sara (and no, it is not spelled Sarah, it is SARA!) who has a very rich daddy. She is sent to boarding school where she is given everything she wants while her daddy is away fighting. However, her dad dies on her eleventh birthday, and so she has no more money and she has to work as a maid. She still has friends though because she is very kind and generous. But she is worked way too hard still, by the evil boarding school headmistress. What will happen to Sara? Read it to find out!

I liked this book because it was all about kindness and how she survived rough times. It was also about how if you give, give, give, you’ll end up with everything and if you take, take, take you’ll end up with nothing.



This is me with my new nook. I saved up my money for a year to buy it!

Mwahahahaha! This is Syrena! And now it is my turn to sabotage the blog that Sophie sabotaged. (Oh, and I spelled “sabotage” right. Ha!)

Book #1:

The 6th Grade Nickname Game

This book is about two boys: Wiley and Dave. They give nicknames to kids-and teachers-at school, such as a kid named Peter who always gets into others business is called Snoopy and the principal  who they call  “Deer-in-Headlights” because of his stare (behind his back, of course!). Anyway, they get a new teacher, Mr. Hugh, who is also a high school football coach. He introduces a new girl, Cassandra, who has red hair and some really fabulous skirts. The Nicknamers start thinking of a nickname right away.

Meanwhile, the class takes a test and get terrible scores. On top of Mr Hugh yelling at everyone to give it “one hundred and ten percent”(while disturbing the other classrooms and stomping so hard he knocks some plaster off the ceiling of the class below him and kills a class pet) the other teachers prepare to fire him. Snoopy snoops around and finds out, and Cassandra gives the whole class a pep talk to convince them to begin a read-a-thon to save their scores on the big end of year test, all while Wiley and Dave are competing to get Cassandra to ask them to a big dance where the girls ask out the boys.

Who will Cassandra ask? Will Mr. Hugh lose his job? And will a friendship tear apart because of a girl? Read “The Nicknamers” to find out!

Book #2:


This book is about a girl named Jessica who was badly-and I mean BADLY-burned. She goes to a Catholic school where they sometimes hold hands while they pray. Of course, nobody wants to hold her hand because it was burned and now looks melted. But one boy-who happens to be her neighbor-is brave enough to do it. Eventually he becomes her friend and even nominates her for class president (even though nobody hears him).

Book #3 (series):

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

So above Sophie told you about the Heroes of Olympus series, and that is a good series, but if you want to understand it better, you should read this series first. It’s about the adventures Percy and Annabeth had before Percy was taken to the Roman camp (long story-literally. See “The Son of Neptune” for the long story and details). Mainly it’s about Percy’s fight to destroy Kronos, and if you look carefully in book 5, The Last Olympian, you may be able to find Gleeson Hedge’s name. You know, the seven demigods’ “responsible” chaperone. If Sophie failed to mention  that… she’s got work to do.

Well, Mom, ha! I made it so you can’t edit this, and so all of this stays how it is. However, we promise to try to stay off this blog in the future. I am NOT vouching for Naomi, though!

Adios, readers!


Filed under Parenting

The University of Dyreng

I once heard someone say that you can tell which universities are the best by the amount of construction they have on their campus.  Let’s hope that is the same for homes, too.


Barbie’s “Dreamhouse”


300 piece puzzles: Syrena’s latest hobby


Library day


Naomi and Dan’s Flower Nursery


Danny, in his element.


Papers filled with jibberish that Scott leaves around the house to make us all think that he is smart.


My current project: putting the finishing touches on the Ugliest Pioneer Dress Ever


Filed under Parenting