Thursday, November 13, 2014


I really struggle with winter. Even thinking about it on the hottest summer day makes me cringe a little bit inside.

The cold always seems to arrive too fast, so I never feel ready for it. Most of my life has been spent in much warmer places, and I dream of living somewhere with only an extended fall and no snow to speak of. The more northern latitude also means shorter days (though longer days in summer, which I enjoy!). I don't think I suffer from the "real" S.A.D., at least not in a crippling way. I have my share of mornings where it's hard to get out of bed because I feel like the darkness is closing in - literally. Who ever wants to get out of a warm, comfortable bed anyway?

My neighbor and good friend recently put up her Christmas tree. I remember thinking it was a little crazy, but her reasoning for doing it stuck with me. She said that winter would be a little less depressing if people kept their Christmas lights on for a long time.

I can't deny it. I love the sight of the Christmas tree from her window. I love Christmas lights. I don't like the commercialism of it all and that stores encourage us to spend so much money on things that don't matter. Lights, I can appreciate. They're pretty and they make me happy. I do think it would be really cool if people put up their lights early. The sight of those lights at night might help me forget how cold it is outside.

How will I make it through winter? By looking forward. Right now, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then a new year. Winter is for snuggling under blankets, hot chocolate, and holidays. As long as I do that, take my vitamin D, and stay away from crazy drivers in snow, I should be just fine.

Still, I can't wait for spring!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


A testimony is a bit of an enigma. I say I know something that I cannot actually prove. My knowledge comes from the Spirit, who testifies of all truth, but I can't prove that the Spirit is real either.

Someone I knew a long time ago had a crisis of faith and wrote about it. One thing that struck me is her belief that there is no absolute truth. That belief is fundamentally flawed, because to say there is no absolute truth - EVER - is an absolute statement. Saying that only relative truth exists sounds like an excuse not to believe in anything or to constantly change one's belief.

She criticized the Church for changing with the times. She claims that "the doctrine" is not absolute. I know she isn't the only one to make such a criticism. I've heard many of the reasons trying to prove that the Church is false.

It's a common misunderstanding that doctrine changes. It doesn't. Doctrine never changes because it is eternal. It is revealed from God and not up to interpretation from man. God has revealed many doctrines to us through time that have stayed absolutely the same.

The best summary of LDS doctrine can be found in the Articles of Faith.

I would add a few things to these articles that are eternal truths important to the LDS faith.

God's work is to help us become like him. The Plan of Salvation is how he helps us achieve that. The Plan of Salvation includes our premortal life, the creation of the earth, the fall of Adam and Eve, the atonement of Jesus Christ, mortal life, post-mortal life, resurrection, final judgment, and degrees of glory.

Families are also essential to God's plan. I know that my family can be together forever.

None of these doctrines has changed. The principles related to them have not changed either. A criticism of something like dietary laws or dress code changing over time makes no sense. The doctrine is not in the dress length or whether or not to eat pork. The doctrine is that God created our bodies and expects us to be good stewards over them. A change in application does not necessarily correlate to a change in doctrine. I can think of no change in application that actually has changed a doctrine.

A criticism of the Ordain Women movement is that women not holding the priesthood is a tradition, not a doctrine. Technically, they are right about that. The doctrine of the priesthood is that it's God's power, delegated to men (people) on earth. It would not change that doctrine if women did hold the priesthood. It would still be God's power. What would change is the application. Prophets and apostles don't always reveal new doctrine because we have all we need, but they do guide us with the application of said doctrines. It's not up to any one person or group to try to bully God into changing his mind about the application. The prophet represents God to the people, not the people to God. Those misguided women were going about it backwards. If God never gives the priesthood to women, I don't care. If he does, he doesn't cease to be God either. He knows what policy changes are best for each time period, and he will reveal them to his prophet completely independent of societal pressures.

Faith and religion are complicated matters, but they become much more clear with the help of the Spirit. No amount of logic alone would ever convince an atheist to believe in God. That isn't how it works.

I know that God is ever mindful of me. He's not a fairy tale or false tradition of my fathers. He is real. It can be so hard sometimes to remember every second of why I do what I do, but I know this life is worth living. I don't know everything, but I know enough.