Monday, March 23, 2009

Where Much is Given

Let's see.... kids are gone, husband's inhaling and exhaling that deep sleep kind of breathing next to me, house is dark and quiet (and will remain quiet until this evening; a luxury I won't get to experience again for another who know's how long with a small baby?), and where am I? Sitting here blogging. What's up with my inability to sleep past 6:30am? CRAZY! This is not how it should be. Little Lachlan is tickling my insides. She's liking that I'm up, and I'm thoroughly enjoying feeling her move.

I've been reading a few friends' blogs today, and although we had a BLAST yesterday, there's this funny side of me that's sad about missing our own ward. I would have loved to have seen Heidi's new haircut in real life. Tonya covered and taught for me, but I would have loved to have heard her lesson; I'd love to hear her every week. Would have loved to have spared the family that usually sits with four kids while they sat with ten--what troopers! What amazing friends!

I really am recognizing how blessed I am to live in such a great ward and to have come from such a great ward. So many exceptional people in this world! How does one life become so blessed with so many wonderful people? Wow!

But then again, yesterday, I sat behind Rory and her amazing family. I saw her little ones in real life--not the photos from her blog. I saw Lynda and the boys that never stop growing, and her husband (the bishop?!). Wow! Now that's really something to see in real life. We were young college students when we first met. There were so many others who I got to hug and be with in real life. Inside I was crying (proud of me for not letting it all spill out on their shoulders?) for the desire of being with them daily like I once was.

I just can't explain how full my heart is. Lately the words, "Where much is given, much is required" keeps popping up into my brain. If I could learn to follow the examples of these great people....if I wasn't so stubborn and rebellious (let's blame my gene pool, shall we? I'm talking way back. My parents are also GREAT people who should be emulated as were my grandparents from what I've heard).

One of the speakers yesterday shared the following newspaper article (I verified it on; it is legit). It's been around for a long time because I know I've read it before:

Subject: An editorial on Mormons - Santa Clarita, CA

I have heard and seen enough! I have lived in the West all my life. I have
worked around them. They have worked for me and I for them. When I was
young, I dated their daughters. When I got married they came to my wedding. Now
that I have daughters of my own, some of their boys have dated my daughters. I
would be privileged if one of them were to be my son-in-law. I'm talking
about the Mormons. They are some of the most honest, hardworking people I have ever

They are spiritual, probably more than most other so-called religious people
I have encountered. They study the Bible and teach from it as much as any
Christian church ever has. They serve their religion without pay in every
conceivable capacity. Not one of their leaders, teachers, counselors,
Bishops or music directors receive one dime for the hours of labor they put in. The
Mormons have a non-paid ministry - a fact that is not generally known. I
have heard many times from the pulpits of others how evil and non-Christian
they are and that they will not go to heaven.

I decided recently to attend one of their services near my home to see for
myself. What a surprise! What I heard and saw was just the opposite from
what the religious ministers of the day were telling me. I found a very simple
service with no fanfare. I found a people with a great sense of humor and a
well-balanced spiritual side. There was no loud music. Just a simple service,
with the members themselves giving the several short sermons. They urge
their youth to be morally clean and live a good life. They teach the gospel of
Christ, as they understand it. The name of their church is "The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints". Does that sound like a non-Christian
church to you?

I asked them many questions about what they teach and why. I got answers
that in most cases were from the New Testament. Their ideas and doctrines
did not seem too far fetched for my understanding. When I read their "Book of
Mormon" I was also very surprised to find just the opposite from what I
had been told I would find.

Then I went to another church's pastor to ask him some of the same questions
about doctrine. To my surprise, when he found out that I was in some way
investigating the Mormons, he became hostile. He referred to them as a
non-Christian cult. I received what sounded to me like evil propaganda
against those people. He stated bluntly that they were not Christian and that they
did not fit into the Christian mold. He also told me that they don't really believe
the Bible. He gave me a pile of anti-Mormon literature. He began to rant
that the Mormons were not telling me the truth about what they stand for. He
didn't want to hear anything good about them.

At first I was surprised and then again, I wasn't. I began to wonder. I have
never known of a cult that supports the Boy Scouts of America. According to
the Boy Scouts, over a third of all the Boy Scout troops in the United
States are Mormon. What cult do you know of that has a welfare system second to
none in this country? They have farms, canneries and cattle ranches to
help take care of the unfortunate ones who might be down and out and in need of a
little help.

The Mormon church has donated millions to welfare causes around the world
without a word of credit. They have donated thousands to help rebuild
Baptist churches that were burned a few years ago. They have donated tons of medical
supplies to countries ravaged by earthquakes. You never see them on TV
begging for money. What cult do you know that instills in its members to obey the
law, pay their taxes, serve in the military if asked and be a good Christian by
living high moral standards?

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of Mormon youth get up before high
school starts in the morning to attend a religious training class? They have
basketball and softball leagues and supervised youth dances every month.
They are recruited by the FBI, the State Department and every police
department in the country, because they are trustworthy. They are taught not to drink nor
take drugs. They are in the Secret Service - those who protect the President.
They serve in high leadership positions from both parties in Congress and in
the US Senate, and have been governors of several states other than Utah.
They serve with distinction and honor. If you have Mormons living near, you
will probably find them to be your best friends and neighbors. They are
Christians who try to live what they preach. They are not perfect and
they are the first to admit this. I have known some of them who could not live
their religion, just like many of us.

The rhetoric which is spread around against them is nothing more than evil
propaganda founded in untruths. Others had successfully demonized them
to the point that the general public has no idea what they actually believe and
teach. If you really want to know the truth, go see for yourself. You
also will be surprised.

When I first moved here some 25 years ago there were five Mormon wards in
Santa Clarita. Now there are 15. They must be doing something right.!

Anonymous - Santa Clarita, California

On it says who wrote this letter, and it was surprising. I thought I'd withhold it here, though.

I feel blessed to be counted among these people. I feel great joy at being able to rub shoulders with them more than just weekly. The young women I work with are these people already at twelve years old. My kids are these people. Wow! What more could I want out of life?


Christy said...

Actually, Sacrament went smoother then it does when it's just the four kids with us :) I'm glad you've been having a such a good weekend!!

Alyson said...

Would love to know what surprised you about the authorship of that letter!

Anonymous said...

We recently traveled back there, too... As I pulled into the parking lot, a sister yelled, "Welcome Home, Jo!" with a wink...and my eyes flooded over. How true it is. You are stronger than I in the the "suck it in" category. Just like Dorothy told Toto..."there's no place like home." I'd love to run for a peanut buster parfait with you anyday, Sis! Maybe we should go on the same Sunday with our new additions...Wouldn't that be fun!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Hi Julie! I haven't been here for a while and I just wanted to say hi! I didn't know you were expecting! I thought it was such a beautiful thing to hear about feeling your baby move inside you early in the morning. It almost makes me want to be pregnant again! Just wanted to let you know that I hope things are going great with you and I'll see you around!

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