Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shutterfly Photo Book

Finally after 7 1/2 years, I finally made a photo book of our wedding pictures. There was a Living Social Deal that 1)made it affordable and 2) gave me a deadline. So here it is...

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own custom photo books at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guess I need to come up with something...

CALL FOR ESSAYS ON THE TOPIC OF MORMON MOTHERHOOD. Holly Welker will be  guest editing an issue of the magazine devoted to Mormon motherhood. She writes:

I'd like to include essays on topics that, if not entirely ignored in Mormondom, don't get as much attention as more conventional aspects of motherhood, including but not limited to

post-partum depression
helping children recover from abuse
how being an abuse survivor affects your approach to motherhood
co-parenting with a non-Mormon spouse
single motherhood
mothering a special needs child
teaching children about gender

and of course mother in heaven.

If I've left out a really important aspect, please tell me.

Essays on those topics should be somewhere in the range of 1,000 to 3,000 words. Deadline will be November 15. Drop me a line right away if you're interested, though, so I can get an idea of how many more offerings I need to solicit.

I'm also very interested in prose poems/lyric essays of 250-750 words on the topic of the image of a mother (madonna) and child. One thing I found interesting when I learned Chinese on my mission is that the word for "good"--the image that denotes wholeness and value--is a picture of a mother and child. It's not a character that denotes a "family"--father, mother, child (though the character for family is actually a pig under your roof--I guess so you can feed everyone). Western art is full of images of a holy mother with a holy son, but what about ordinary women and their daughters? How would you paint a verbal self-portrait of yourself as a mother that participates in the artistic tradition of mother and child? What makes it "good"?

Contact Holly Welker for more information.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A visit to the Center for Spiritual Living

I went to my nearest Center for Spiritual Living for church last week. I had meant to go to sacrament meeting at my ward but my alarm clock (my 2 year old) didn't wake me up until 9:30 and church starts at 9... That's the story of our lives. 

I loved attending the service. The sermon was on envisioning God as whatever is good, beautiful, lovely, etc and then from that vision of God, manifesting that beauty and goodness in your own life. The sermon then moved onto what keeps us from connecting with that beauty in life and the Spirit--focusing too much on the negatives of the moment, or the causes of those negativity, when we should instead be looking towards God to inspire us to properly deal with those situations. The pastor/minister/reverend, heck I don't know, led the congregation in thinking of what in our lives hold us back from experiencing that joy. Is it hurtful things people have told us that we have come to believe? Is it situations that discourage and depress us? She then invited everyone to declare their independence from whatever barriers were holding them back from experiencing joy in their lives. 

I totally identified with what she was saying. I was in tears for a lot of the service and it was such a relief from my LDS ward. At this point, I've committed myself to attend CSL or the UU church once a month and my LDS ward the other Sundays. 

I must comment on the music since its so strikingly different than the organ music of the LDS hymns. I love the hymns but I'm often ready for a new genre of music to present those melodies. At the Center for Spiritual Living, there was a soulful black singer who started it off and ended the sermon with the song "You Are So Beautiful to Me." There was an amazing electric violinist who performed a Turkish piece. It sounded very Arab, but with bass drums. It was truly amazing. I wished I knew more bellydance so I could have danced in the aisles....The benediction was the congregation singing a praise hymn of dancing and singing. I really can't wait to go back. 

My Mormon understanding gave me some additional insights. In the space in "I declare my independence from...." I filled in "the blood and sins of this generation." If I'm honest with myself that is really what is currently upsetting me most. I mourn for this world and all the mixed up confusion and wrongness that is perpetuated in it. It was really empowering to say to myself that I can free myself from acting in accordance with all that I see wrong in the world and that I can hand it over to God to inspire me in the ways I can do this. 

My Mormon (and Unitarian) sensibilities were slightly off put by the conceptual reference to God in the service. It seems that they are one step ahead of the Unitarians in that they are happy to express a belief in God and that from God emanates spirit. Yet it seems that the God they conceptualize is very much the God of the Nicene creed "formless, without shape, gender, being, etc." I knew that many people in the congregation would be uncomfortable with even the term God (the woman sitting next to me filled in Spirit for God...when I was a teenager, I did something similar by interchanging love for God.). I'm sure that some of the people in the room were having to free themselves of a vision of God as a stern, demanding, exacting male figure that inspired fear, rather than light and goodness. There was no reference to God as a gendered being, probably due to the inequality of a belief in a male God. 

Throughout it all, I wished that the congregation could have shared my vision of God. Male and female, embodied and distinct from one another but perfectly loving and united in purpose. People like us, but whom have progressed to complete knowledge and understanding of all things. To be honest, I think even some would challenge this belief as well. Because wouldn't a homosexual, in their envisioning of God, prefer a homosexual couple to a heterosexual couple? Maybe I'm wrong on that.

All that said, I wouldn't leave the LDS church completely for the Center for Spiritual Living. I love how my Mormon belief deepens and enlivens the service that I attended today. I wish that the LDS church was more like CSL in the realness of the people, heartfelt sharing and music. The material was drawn from all over, not limited to the repetition of what has been correlated. The fellowship structure among Mormons is better too. We were strangers there and no one spoke to us (except the greeter) but it was not personal. In that church, I may make friends but I wouldn't have Home teachers or Visiting teachers. If only the two could come together seamlessly, that would be an amazing church....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The new Mormon Women healers

I am getting to know some LDS women in my area who sell essential oils through one of those pyramid schemes. I signed up too as a product consultant so I could benefit from the classes, wholesale discounts, and the possibility that I might be able to passively make some money through online marketing. So if you want to buy some essential oils from me, you can shop from my blog: Descent into Motherhood and click on the DoTerra logo on the right sidebar or use this link. I'll be posting at Descent about the cool things I learn.
The ladies I've met are so kind and loving. We have connected on that plane where we are all women trying to be  healers to our family and we are working together and supporting one another as we learn, trading tips, information etc.

I've been really concerned with my daughter's health due to a probable staph infection that is causing legions and sores on her skin. I'm waiting for the lab culture to come back from the doctor and in the meantime I have been treating at home with herbs and essential oils. I talked to the ladies by phone who were both willing to come to my house with their oils to administer to my daughter.

Its really cool to be learning about these essential oils because I feel like I am truly anointing my children with oils that do have the power to heal and bless them. To have LDS women willing to come over to do the same with oils that I don't possess really reminded me of the glory days when that was common practice. Even though it is a pyramid scheme, this is the beauty that is coming out of it. I feel blessed and hope that their vision of a "Healer in Every Home" can be realized.

The essential oils have been working really well too, so much that my husband has been impressed and encouraged me to continue using them. In a blessing that he gave our daughter tonight, he said something to the effect of "your mother is doing wonderfully taking care of you." That was just the bit of encouragement that I really appreciated hearing.
It has been through the use of essential oils and finally learning how to use them that I've been able to understand the ancient practice of anointing. I didn't know that oils for healing where used by anointing the feet though I was familiar with the passages in the New Testament where this was done (Mark 6:13, John 12:3). I just didn't know that it was connected to herbalism and healing. Call me ignorant but I'm so glad to have learned that anointing is not just a religious practice but also ties in with health and healing. Natural healers have continued these practices and LDS women in the early church were not only familar with the practice but incorporated it into their religious practices as well. 
I am wistful for those days and sad that there is no longer a stake or ward calling for a woman to be a midwife and visiting teachers do not offer special pregnancy blessings or these types of house calls for the healing of the sick and afflicted. I don't feel much hope that this will change through means of church policy which is in part why I am so gratified to see this sort of thing happening outside church channels but still within the LDS community. One effort that I can working on is to form a directory of LDS doulas, midwives and childbirth educators so that LDS women can find LDS birth workers in their area if they are so drawn to it. I have hopes that Mormon blessingways will become common, that prayer and priesthood will become a normal part of LDS births while at the same time protecting the sacred space of birth for mother and baby and ensuring healthier births that can help LDS women maximize their fertility since so many aim for large families. That will be hosted as a project at LDS WAVE and is coming soon. 
Maybe the day is coming where LDS women will reconnect with their Mormon legacy of women as healers and it will be through companies like DoTerra and the services of LDS women as birth workers. I hope so. I hope I can be apart of it. Already, I'm well on my way through being a product consultant and midwifery student. 

The ideal church meeting

On a discussion group the question was posed: Describe your ideal church meeting. My response was long enough to be its own post, so I'm copying and pasting here.

I'm a big fan of the laity but I want to see training in giving sermons and have those sermons go beyond the standard works and the Ensign. Give up to 1 month for lay members to prepare a sermon where they can research and find sources from across history and around the world. And then keep sacrament meeting to 45 minutes-ish since just the administration of the sacrament takes 20.

However, the administration of the sacrament can/should move to the jurisdiction of the family. Those who want to/need the church for the administration of it, can attend that portion of the meeting, but its ridiculousness to be that the church actively precludes people from taking the sacrament if they can't make church due to not-deigned-to-be-good enough reasons.

After sacrament, the children should be able to leave the chapel and go to their classes. The Unitarians in my home congregation do a cool thing where they sing the children to their classes.

Music in sacrament yes, forget the staid and move in with the joyful, exuberant arrangements. Dance and sing, move and clap. Musical instruments of all sorts performed by ward members.

Joint priesthood and Relief Society, ordain women, make this meeting after sacrament and keep it to 45 minutes. Sometimes have this meeting about action, or use it to brainstorm advocacy efforts and how their ward can put the gospel into action in their community. Knit during meetings, cut out file folder games, etc.

Sunday school last (and maybe not on Sundays), have it for those who want/need to attend. Maybe even give over the Sunday school to the Institutes, encourage each member to be attending one class at all times, call seminary enough for the YM/YW and build it into their programs to earn their achievements.

If not a potluck something like a "coffee hour" where drinks and maybe sometimes snacks are served. Church at this point is only 1 1/2-2 hrs so you shouldn't be having horribly hungry people. Obviously find a different name "fellowship hall" or "social hour." Give people a chance to visit, discuss and really get to know the goings-on of members of their ward. This is where the throughout the week fellowship is going to be strengthened.

I also think that if church on Sundays wasn't such a major investment, members would be more willing to do social/volunteer/nature stuff outside of church. I love the ideas of sometimes conducting worship services outside in nature. That would be a good use for the church owned recreational areas a few times a year.

My thoughts are pretty influenced by the Unitarian Universalist ways of doing things. For a few years now,  I have been missing a good, well-prepared, profound sermon. Not having the children in the meeting for the sermon is actually more conducive to worship and for mature reflection. After a coming of age, perhaps 12, the youth can be made apart of those sermons as well.  I miss those coffee hours where people visit and talk before leaving to go home.

So those are my ideas, anything here you know you wouldn't like? What is your ideal church meeting?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh no he didn't: Taking GA's literally

I really think that Orson F. Whitney is saying it is in God's plan for some people to not join the church is this life in the following quote:
"Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,” said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. … Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted … the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. … We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense.” (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.)

I'm not arguing with this quote. In fact, I love it. It shows the depths of understanding that certain people through history have had regarding the gospel. This is evidence to me that the Mormon cultural hang-ups on conversion and ordinances need not be tied to life. The same blessings are available to those who die not having become a Mormon. Not just those who didn't ever hear of the gospel, but also to those who for some "wise purpose" do not feel convicted to be baptized into the church. What an Open Mormon concept. The whole exclusivity claims and some of the overt pressure, and judgement shown to many people is just unnecessary. This is another win for the universalist view of Mormonism, the one that says that Mormon theology provides for ordinance requirements of all people and the limited amount of time on earth is but a small factor that goes into how one is judged as either good or bad, righteous or unrighteous. Likely there will be more people in the celestial kingdom that perhaps your everyday Mormon believes.

Upon reading this quote, it occurred to me that this is just the type of quote that would have your conservative TBMs saying, "Oh well, you can't take everything said by a GA in Conference as scripture." (Even though this is the group that throws the same argument back in the faces of the unorthodox, questioning Mormons). That is precisely the arguments open Mormons when they encounter who are then denounced for their lack of obedience to the prophets. All I'm saying, there is plenty of content in the span of General Conference to make TBMs and OMs uncomfortable or that will lend support to their views.

The arguments are silly. Christ says love. The prophet of the restoration says "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Article of Faith 11). The prophet of today says be tolerant. Let's do that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I wish I heard: May 15th

Sunday school: The lesson was on faith from the Gospel Principles Manual. 

Non-member asked: why faith ingests? Why not God? 
My thought: that's a good question, a really good question, 
What I wish I heard: quoting Jesus, love God
What I said: he turns our attention to God. In all his teachings he said: follow me and the way to follow my example is to love God.  
What i'm glad I heard: Another woman in the class referenced the 1st article of faith "we believe in God" with emphasis on we believe in God first before Christ. 

What I heard: how to increase faith in God, study scriptures, go to church, act
What was missing: prayer was missing and that was a glaring omission 
What I said: that prayer needs to be included because its an essential part to having faith in God is to develop a personal relationship through prayer. I later thought how prayer needs to be coupled with seeking revealed truth from sources already given. One without the other is not effective but both need to work together. Answers to prayers aren't given if its already written now and accessible to a person but that person refuses to seek it out and rather prayers for it through inspiration. 

What I heard in Relief Society
Hymn: 273 truth reflects upon our senses, Eliza r snow 
What I wish I heard: the last two verses sung, insight into the imperfect view we have of others, judge not 

What I am so glad i heard in a lesson on honesty: an attack on white lies, not defense of them 

 What I heard: a story of a white lie told. Woman told how her son lied to someone when he said he loved plays, but it was not true. Then the person who was told the lie spoke up and said that she was the one lied to. Hilarious! 

What I'm glad I heard: taking more than what we need takes from other is a form of theft and dishonestly, specifically mentioning over-consumption
What I wish I heard: More about the injustice present in the world when so many have more than enough and even more do not have enough. Would have loved to hear The Life You Can Save mentioned.  

What I heard: gospel principles definition of cheating- workforce issues, injustice against employees 
What I said: we have a role in standing up against that injustice and there are many opportunities to add our voice in opposition, consumer advocacy groups, workers rights. The internet provides some really effective, quick and easy ways of contacting legislators through organizations like, MomsRising, etc. What I wish I heard: recognition that women aren't likely to be in the role of the dishonest and oppressive employers because 1) Mormon women are discouraged from being in the work force and generally when they are in the work force are in low-paying, jobs required little skill and training and are not likely to be in leadership/corporate roles.     

What I heard: people focusing fear of damnation for slight actions  

What I wish I heard: people stating a balance of faith in repentance, desire to do the right thing, recognize the damage done to ourselves rather than focus on external punishments. Do some Mormons really believe that hell is an external punishment rather than the manifestations of our own conscience holding us accountable?  

What I heard: hymn Oh Say What is Truth, last verse, loved it.  

What I wish I heard: a talk on the transcendence of truth, maybe a blog post? Anyone know of a good article on this topic? 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I Wish I Heard: Mother's Day Edition. Don't Say I didn't warn you.

What I heard: mothers day program 

What I wish I heard: the remainder of church is cancelled for families to go home and enjoy the holiday OR last week, church is canceled on Mother's Day.  OR In honor of mothers day, priesthood are invited to administer the sacrament to their families.  

 What I heard: CS Lewis quotes: all careers are in support of the greatest career of all- homemaking

What I wish I heard: this jives with the concept of Radical Homemaking, that indeed our families and are lives are the greatest careers and the purpose for us living. Men need to also return to the home, embrace the principles of Equally Shared Parenting (hey, its in the Proclamation...). Society needs to reorder its priorities so that families can be together, that both men and woman can learn to be skilled nurturers and that both women and men can use their intellects, skills and knowledge to contribute to the larger world.  

What I heard: a truly awful talk on Sheri Dews Aren't we all mothers talk. Be happy you weren't in my ward today. My head almost exploded. 
1. Denigrating men- comment that the talk is only talking to women because of course men can't also be mothers.  
2. Comparison priesthood to motherhood "how is that fair that men get to move mountains and women suffer childbirth?"
3. Putting octopus mother on a pedestal for dying in order to care for her young, not sleeping, eating or moving for a month as she uses her last breath to care for her young. Really!? Is that what we want to suggest to our human mothers that all her efforts that go into caring for her children should bring her to the point of her death?  


What I heard: a how to talk on teaching children based on Elder Uuchtdoorfs talk on parenting (I think priesthood session?) from last conference , it was nice.

What I wish I heard: mention of Heavenly Mother somewhere, somehow. recognition of the difficulty and challenge of motherhood and the importance of fathers, family and community members to support and assist mothers. encouragement for mothers to care for themselves by letting go and sharing of some of the mothering responsibility so that they can pursue the skills and abilities they have gained through their lives and education. Of course, too much to ask, but we're working on it. 

What I heard: a woman saying the closing prayer in sacrament. So there you go, it does happen.  

What I witnessed: the honoring mother's ceremony at the end of sacrament. The Young Women passed around little bags of chocolates with a decorated card quoting President Hinckley. It was a good quote about recognizing the challenge of mothering and promising the blessings of the Spirit to guide mothers in their efforts. However, I did not receive one for whatever reason. I was busy with a toddler on my lap and she ran out of her supply when she got to me and then didn't get back to me to give me one and I wasn't about to ask to make sure that I had one. Its a good thing that my mother was there, she got hers and we shared it. 

After sacrament, I left church early to attend Ina May Gaskin event in Seattle at Town Hall. Now there is a way to honor mothers! To read more about it, hop over to my birth blog: Descent into Motherhood.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What will they say about me when I die?

I am lifting the following exercise from a recent post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. A new self-help book aiming to assist people of my generation to find their purpose in life provided the exercise. What follows are my answers:

Thought Experiment: You’ve died. You are at your own funeral. What do you want your friends and family to say about you? What did you do with your life? Write down five things you hope people say about the legacy that you’ve left. Write down five things you hope people say about your personality.

1. She was a seeker of truth and was open-minded, and respectful in the finding of it. She embraced the belief in the gospel that all good things come from God and that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. She would embrace truth, quite literally, wherever it could be found--in Islam, Unitarian Universalism, Paganism, Gnosticism, Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry. She was a student of life and found great joy in it.

2. She wanted to make a difference in the world and she worked diligently to address some of the injustices and inequalities that people, especially women throughout the world face. Her involvement in non-profit organizations and humanitarian works helped the lives of many. One of the things she was fond of saying was that she didn't want to make a difference in the life of a child, but she wanted to make a difference in the life of many. She worked at the systems level to address the root causes of poverty, abuse and barriers to living a full and happy life.

3. She prioritized her family while at the same time set the example to them to be anxiously engaged in a good cause (or in her case, many). Her children were involved with her and shared her with the people of the world. They had the opportunity to see and do many things that provided service to others because of the example and encouragement of their mother. She was actively involved with them at all levels of their lives and somehow found a balance in the limited hours of each day to show them they were loved and benefited from her presence and involvement in their lives.

4. She was a believer in the radical Jesus: the Jesus who was friends with the sinners and who was compassionate to their experiences, the socialist who believed in complete redistribution of wealth, the empowerment and equality of women and the Christ-like love that each person needs to achieve their potential.

5. She knew hardship, difficulty, pain and injustice and she was able to find strength from her experiences and turn them around to be compassionate towards others, to support and comfort them.

Core Values: Discover what drives you. What principles guide your actions and ideal self? Try to strip away all cultural conditioning and/or religious rhetoric and assess five core values by which you live your life and inform who you want to be. Write these down. Evaluate if there any disconnect between what you wrote down in step one and step two.

Maybe I already did this up above. Just pulling from there, we find that I value: openness to truth/goodness, compassion, advocacy, social justice and idealism.

Find Your Purpose: Why does what you are doing matter? What motivates and inspires you to keep following these values? Chose a purpose. It can be big or small, but has to be intentional. It is the reason for your goals and can change over time. If you are struggling to find your purpose try this experiment. Write down your five most valuable gifts and talents. Next, write below those what each of these can be used for. Finally, evaluate what types of careers or activities you would enjoy that would utilize some of these talents.

I'm already doing many of the things I hope to be remembered for so my purpose is described above. Involvement in Solace for Mothers, LDS WAVE, The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services already address some of those values that I hold so deeply. I would someday like to turn those desires and abilities into paid employment and I hope that it will be doing something that addresses the root causes of injustice in the world. I would love to work in humanitarian aid (whether it is at the local, national or global scene) but at the systems level. One of my skills is to look at big picture and see ways to build coalitions and to bring people together, to create ways that people from very different viewpoints can interface with each other in cooperative ways. Most of my efforts are somehow related to system building and connecting people in large communities to harness their combined power into a stronger more unified voice.

Test Your Purpose: Today my purpose will be _____________. To accomplish that I will use my gifts for ________________ to accomplish these specific goals_______________. Later change the timeline to week, month, and year.

Today my purpose will be two fold:
1) to connect with my children and show them the value of caring for others
2) learn about how to structure my family economically so we can be Equal Shared Parenting and Radical Homemaking folks.

To accomplish that I will use my gifts for being involved in national organizations and reading to accomplish these specific goals:
1) I will walk with my children in the March of Dimes walk, teach them to sew and make things we can sell on Talents of Sisters.
2) start reading the book Equally Shared Parenting and discuss with my husband the possibilities that our interests lead us to.

Otherwise, I would say that my goals are year long, or at the very least, seasonal. This year I hope to create an online community for birth advocates that can become a hub for the thousands who care birth issues in our world. This season, we hope to grow some of our own food and make some of our own household products to develop our skills and save money.

Write It All Down: Once you have a purpose you can stick with, write it all down and it will remind your of who you are and what you want to be. I.e.My five core values are ____________. My five core talents are ______________. In the next ten years my purpose will be ______________. The key features of my personal mission statement are ______________.

My five core values are openness to truth/goodness, compassion, advocacy, social justice and idealism.

My five core talents are:
1) building community and cooperation around advocacy efforts
2) addressing root causes of social issues
3) looking at the big picture
4) being respectful and open to differing view points
5) embracing and valuing the good that is inherent in differing perspectives

In the next ten years my purpose will be to:
1) achieve equal partnership in my marriage
2) find paid part-time employment in advocacy work
3) support and contribute to organizations addressing global poverty
4) continue to develop current advocacy organizations
5) educate my children through experiential learning in living the gospel of the radical Jesus.

The key features of my personal mission statement are make a difference in the world, aspire to the ideal, encourage potential, and value balance and compassion to oneself and others.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What I Wish I Heard: April 24th Happy Resurrection Day!

Sacrament Meeting:
What I heard: youth speaker defining faith as belief, not knowing. We can express our belief as in " I have faith in...."
What I wish I heard: that's all our testimonies need to be. We don't need to know. It's a cultural and not doctrinal proactive that comp ells us to say we know in testimony.

What I heard: faith is not knowing much about something but still believing anyway.
What I wish I heard: the trial of faith that comes is when learning a little more that can lead to questioning and thinking we know enough to reject our belief. But verily, faith is not having a perfect knowledge, which knowing can only come from having all information, the knowledge that only god possesses. Faith means that even in the light of new knowledge, we still believe and have hope that at some future point we will receive all knowledge, the kind that comes with all information, and the skill to see how it all works together.

What I heard: The resurrection is the most important day in the history of the world
What I wish I heard: without the atonement, the resurrection would be the saddest ebent in the history of the world. The atonement, then, is the most important even in the history of the world. Though like birthies argue, you could say that the creation of people was most important, or the fall from innocence in the garden of Eden. Or, let's just admit that hyperbole does a disservice in a church where people take things SO literally. 

What I heard: Gnosticism mentioned and the Gospel of Thomas quoted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
what I wish I heard: choirs of angels singing pointing to everyone present that we can be more scholarly and broad in our studies. 

What I heard: BYU has an apocryphal literature class. I wish I had known about it when I was at BYU, even though I wasn't ready for it. Now that I am, BYU looks like a good place for Peter to work so can take the religion classes I would enjoy.

What I heard: parable of two paths. Choosing the right is the right choice.
What I wish I heard: doing a heart of darkness inversion in using the left as the right choice

Sunday school
What I heard: ah-men at the end of a prayer, rather than A-men

What I heard: a covenant is a non- negotiable contract ( from my husband) example is homeowner associations

What I heard: Abrahams father attempted to sacrifice him, then later Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son.
What I wish I heard: how would that experience Abrahams view of his father? Could be find respect their for other religious views, find the good in his fathers commitment to his religious belief?

Relief Society:
What I heard: fundamentals of following the prophet
What I wish I heard: benson was an apostle at the time, it was originally given at a BYU devotional, and the people who quoted him were seventies. The fundamentals are not words of prophets, past or present.

What I heard: stories of people following the prophet in the scriptures, church history
What I wish I heard: stories of when the prophet was wrong; Elijah, Jonah, Joseph Smith

What I heard: the apostles are prophets too
What I wish I heard: but benson, who gave the fundamentals, defines prophet differently. He does not include the apostles in his definition of prophet. Now. 13 and 14 only include the president and his counselors.

What I wish i never heard: the prophet will never lead the church astray
What I wish I heard: kimball define what we meant by that statement. Will the prophet never make a mistake? Say the wrong thing? Speak without the Spirit? Never reject the gospel? Never break a commandment?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Profile

Perhaps the highlight of my week, maybe month is that my profile was published complete with unorthodox and controversial content that I have been chastised for by some Mormons. Can I say that I'm feeling a little vindicated?

If was willing to publish it, and it was censored for being "false doctrine" then the Mormon doctrine police can quiet down, right?

Its not all controversy, though. I start out with a summary of my conversion story and answer questions about Why I'm Mormon and tell some personal stories. However the answers I'm most proud of and glad to see published on my profile are the following (These are the complete answers, so you'll have to click through to read my complete responses).

Why don't women hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church? How do women lead in the Mormon Church?

One of the reasons why women do not hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church is because, as President Hinckley said in an interview with an Australian reporter is that "there is no agitation for that." He seems to imply that if the members of the church were interested in women being ordained to the priesthood that a number of them ought to approach the leaders of the church expressing their interest. One faithful Mormon created a website where Mormons and non-Mormons can express their interest in women of the Mormon Church receiving the priesthood. The URL for that site is
If the leaders take the communication seriously, they have the opportunity to show the world that the Mormon church continues to receive revelation and that the church can change its practices as it better learns the mind and will of God. It would be up to the prophet and apostles of the church to counsel and pray together on the topic of women receiving the priesthood. If they can all agree that God is telling them to extend the priesthood to women, they will share that revelation with the church and the world. 
It may be that God does have a reason for women not to receive that priesthood and Mormons do believe that God can reveal his reasons through the prophet. Certainly Mormons care to learn as much as they can through revelation and they care deeply about what truly is God's will. They want to know that it really is from God and not the popular response caused by the whim of the people. Until that time, Mormon women have many opportunities to serve within the church.

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Mormons believe that God's nature is that of the perfect parent. One of the greatest doctrines taught by the LDS church is that we believe we are loved by a Father and Mother in Heaven. Together, they love us with perfect knowledge of what we need to lead us to truth. They are patient, gentle, kind but firm and fair. Heavenly Father is attentive to our prayers and sends the Spirit to guide and comfort us. He also sends his Spirit to others who will be guided to help and give us comfort in our struggles.

In knowing about the existence of a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, I have a better understanding of who I am as a daughter of God. Though not much is taught about Heavenly Mother, I envision a womanly goddess who is capable, strong, intelligent and all-knowing, creative, hardworking and infinitely loving: the perfect woman and mother and equal to power and ability to God the Father. The vision I have of Heavenly Father is gentle, loving, compassionate, all-knowing, patient and sensitive: the perfect man and father. In both, I find the parents I need to feel loved, comforted, guided and supported. I am able to learn how to be a better parent and partner to my husband because of the example I envision my heavenly parents set for me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I wish I heard at church April 17

What I heard: there is only one person in the world we know we can trust completely, that is God proverbs 3:4,
What I heard: cannot trust advertising, parents and prophets can be trusted
So glad I heard this message
What I wish I heard: that parents and prophets are fallible people, we can turn to god to know when to trust them

What I heard: no other god before me
What I wish I heard: a father who says, you shall have no other parent before me. Obviously that doesn't work. Heavenly mother and the father are one, both can be worshipped equally. When we pray to one, It is known to both. They love us and support each other in their role as parents. Quote the proclamation

Sunday School
What I heard: the tradition of baptism among the Jews is not known ( prior to John the baptist)
What I wish I heard; some Jewish scholar in the ward who knows and can expound on it. Where's Jared Anderson or Kevin Barney when I need him?

What I heard: revelation on how the church should operate cannot come from others who do not have the keys of the office whose duty it is to conduct church operations
What I wish I heard: non hierarchical revelation and how people of the church should feel welcome to make proposals and suggestions. When a priesthood holder is humble and loving, they will listen. Example: Joseph listened to Emma and we got the word of wisdom

Relief Society
What I heard: not judging the cause of a persons poverty and not judging what they do with charity given "what they do with the money is between them and god, what you do with the money is between you and god."
What I wish I heard: examples of this and a discussion of helping address causes of poverty and seeing true need rather than not looking for cause, difference between judging cause and addressing cause

What I Wish I Heard April 10 Testimony Meeting

What I wish I heard: someone bare testimony of heavenly mother. I felt prompted to bare testimony of heavenly mother, but time ran out. The feeling was so strong that I feel in order to act on it, I need to remember and act on it in the month of May. It was clear to me that the spirit was telling me that's what I am supposed to do.

Sunday school:
What I heard: a lesson on the priesthood
What I wish I heard: how women are affected when they are completely excluded from a lesson on the priesthood no mention in the manual at all.

What I heard: In the past the priesthood hasn't be extended to all the people it is currently extended to (used to be the tribe of Levi, then every worthy white male, now every worthy male). The Lord's requirements change over time. Left open the possibility that the requirements may change in the future.
What I wish I heard: mention that the priesthood is not currently extended to women but may be in the future. The priesthood has the responsibility to seek the will of god and make it happen. Would we know that god does not want women to have the priesthood if we never ask?

What I heard: a womans voice saying that the priesthood is the power of God to create
What I wish I heard her say: she believes womanhood receivers authority from God to create and bear young. That somehow women are or should be granted recognition that they too have the authority to act in Gods name.

What I heard: it hadn't always been that every worthy male receives the priesthood that's just how it is now.
What I wish I heard: that may be how it is now, and it can change in the future. Someday it may be conferred on women

<-------- and I said it. Later in the lesson
What I wish I had said: you can sign agitating faithfully to state you would like to see revelation sought on the matter

What I heard: it takes a sister to point out what the priesthood does
What I wish I heard: a discussion on why is that

What I heard: it's kind of a big thing to a young man to pass the sacrament
What I wish I heard: it's kind of a big thing that young women aren't allowed to pass the sacrament

What I heard: women do hold the priesthood when they marry a priesthood holder in the temple
What I wish I heard: some one point out that is false doctrine
What I wish I heard: women in some way participate in the priesthood before the sealing rite, they are participating in the priesthood in the endowment ( and initiatory as well ) it is not understood how that occurs since they are not ever ordained to the priesthood by priesthood holders ( and I said it)

What I heard: women are more spiritual and do not need the priesthood
What I wish I heard: men and women are not all that different, both can benefit from the duties of the priesthood and both can benefit from developing the qualities of perfect parenting

I like this lesson much more when it's a mixed group of male and females. This lesson sucks when it is just women in relief society.

Relief society:
What I heard: right off in a lesson on self-reliance: no one should feel bad that they need help during some times of their lives. Accepting church welfare is not shameful.

What I heard: self reliance should keep us from being dependent of others
What I wish I heard: interdependence among communities and self reliance fosters independence in communities

What I heard: emergency preparedness supplies can include birthing kits, diapers(save cloth) pamphlets on elimination communication, little potties, diva cups

What I heard: quote on emotional self reliance. Members should seek solutions for their emotional needs. Go to the church after our resources have been extinguished

What I heard: we are more capable than we think we are because we are children of god. We receive godlike power because we share traits of god.

What I heard: expecting help from others
What I wish I heard: sometimes the help doesn't come because it can't (I said it)

What I heard: you are wrong for saying that people aren't helping when you need
What I wish I heard: I'm sorry that was your experience

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What I wish I heard: Conference edition

Its Conference weekend and good news! There is less that I wish I heard in Conference than in a regular church meeting. That's a good sign, right?

Saturday April 2

Morning Session:
What I heard: Primary President describes children in the terms of the scriptures, meek, submissive. Adults should follow their example
What I wish I heard: acknowledgment that children are not inherently submissive. Most (if not all) children do not fit that description most of the time. We don't really want to follow the example of our children because then we would be completely egotistical and protecting of what we believe is ours.

What I heard: a Latin American speaker's accented English
What I wish I heard: the Latin American's home language, translated into English for English speakers like the English is translated into so many languages throughout the world.

What I heard: Quentin L. Cook said do not judge women who work
What I wish I heard: it is good for women who want to work outside of the home to do so and then praise them for their and their husband’s ability to provide and nurture their children. At this point in time, our society is not structured to support this equal sharing of child care and work responsibilities. Families are working to find solutions that work for them, provide for their family's needs and do not marginalize the talents and abilities of either mother or father.

Statistical report:
What I heard: humanitarian report
What I wish I heard: the total amount given in fast offerings to local communities throughout the world in the last year. Last year, the Ensign reported that the church has given $1 billion in humanitarian relief in the last 2 decades but they did not report any estimates of fast offerings that did not go to world wide efforts but stayed in local units. That amount will likely be staggering.

Sunday morning:
What I heard: Presiding Bishop described the origins of the Welfare program and prophet's statements of prioritizing humanitarian efforts in front of temples, etc if needed.
What I wish I heard: The church is trying to find new ways to increase the amount of aid that goes out to the world. All the profits from the Salt Lake downtown revitalization project will go to humanitarian efforts throughout the world.

What I loved hearing! It is our duty to do what we can to make the world a better place.

What I heard: President Monson said If you have a temple nearby, go to the temple more often.
What I wish I heard: It can be hard for parents of young children to go to the temple frequently. Grandparents, help your adult children go by babysitting. Ward members, young men and women, help young families go.

Sunday afternoon:
What I loved hearing! Elder Christoffersen counseling us to take criticism/ feedback in a positive way. If we do not, the person who loves us enough to correct us will stop offering that feedback and progression is halted. Begin to self-correct.

What I heard: A Seventy said pay tithing even when there is a concern about having enough and your lack will be made up to you.
What I wish I heard: Sometimes the lack in not made up and...this is a good case where inspired wisdom from the Lord's anointed.
Also what I wish I heard: Mormons don't have the monopoly on tithing. Moral secularism is riding the tithing train now too, encouraging every person throughout the world to give a portion of their income to alleviating poverty and making the world a better place ( The church will soon begin having to defend itself that they aren't giving enough to humanitarian efforts.

What I heard: C. Scott Grow
What I thought: teeheehee

What I loved hearing: Seventy said to do identify a child's behavior as a characteristic of that child's identity.

What I loved hearing : Holland saying "little bedlamites." The littles are a new name.

What I heard: A very slow, soothing, sleep inducing rendition of "More Holiness Give Me."
What I wish I heard: something stirring and that doesn't take up more time than the prophet was given to speak. Most people I know don't do too well after sitting for hours, so close to the end listening to something so long. As least they're not running over time. This time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What I wish I heard in church on Sunday

This is likely going to become a new series. Every Sunday I sit in church and listen to the lessons and talks that at a surface level are good but I often find myself thinking "if only they went deeper" or "I wish they went further and said this..." I decided that my thoughts were worthwhile and though I may not be able to hear those talks at church or discuss them with my family members and friends, that I could take notes, and create those talks and lessons in mind.

In fact, I think I remember hearing I think President Eyring say that his father did something like this. I'm taking it a step further by writing down my thoughts while I'm at church and then coming home and posting them on my blog. I hope to have conversations about this with my readers, friends and peers and create the kind of church meetings that would be more uplifting for me personally, though the way they are at church may be exactly what most others need for themselves.

So here you go, my first installment of "What I wish I hear in church on Sunday..."

Sacrament meeting

What was said: give relief to japan, donate money because we can't be there to help

What I wish I heard: Oftentimes when aid is needed, extra volunteers can be a burden, accommodations cannot be found for them, their community has the man power. Their number one need is money to obtain the supplies they need to rebuild, provide for their needs. Giving money is the best way we can help in most aid situations. It is also the most scarce In our lives. An LDS woman in Idaho had a great idea to raise money in an effective way that offers good and services that people need and are seeking and then directs the profits to aid organizations. Talents of Sisters collects crafts from hobbyists and sells the products on etsy to people who are seeking out those goods. Crafters can donate their goods and so the whole amount goes to humanitarian fundraising or pledge a portion of their profit. A strength of talents of sisters is customers come from everyone and are not limited to certain demographics. So next time you are looking for a one of a kind gift, look on Talents of Sisters. And next time you feel like crafting and don't have a way to gift that craft, list it on Talents of Sisters and turn your hobby into relief.

What was said: people who are suffering want people to listen and understand, validate their suffering not judge

What I wish I heard: This is not a skill that many of us have. It is a terrible feeling to feel alone in your suffering. Often it is uncomfortable for people to hear of others tales of woe and they choose to focus on staying busy and doing in Service rather than providing the most needed service which is listening and providing relief to emotional anguish. Thank goodness for Christ and his perfect understanding of our suffering that we are never really alone. As instruments in the hands of God, we can provide that physical and emotional companionship to others like he provides to us.

We need community. I would like to see church members familiarize themselves with research on the necessity of community, how it ensures our survival and our health. They would see that the church provides this community in inspired ways. However, members of the church have a few things to learn when it comes to creating that community of support and relief.

What was said: talk on learning and truth, academic learning should be sought after in all areas of learning (excellent!)

What I wish I heard: discuss the limits of this- examples of learning that goes from studying very different forms of thought "embracing truth wherever it can be found" learning that comes from studying other religions

What was said: Prophet gives revelation at conference

What I wish I heard: There hasn't been a revealed revelation since 1976. Revelations are not common in the church (even the Proclamation is not revelation!) and it is a disservice to say that everything that comes out of conference is revelation. The hymn testimony says it best "I know a prophet speaks to us for our eternal gain." They may speak with inspiration at conference but conference is not revelation unless something is specifically stated as revelation.

Sunday school
What was said: Jesus is sinless

What I wish I heard: Jesus did not have to be sinless to be the savior of the world. Everyone has imperfections, even the lamb without blemish is not going to be perfect in every way to the cellular level. I do not feel the need to believe that Christ was perfect without sin to still believe, love and appreciate his atonement. A more human Jesus still makes the infinite and eternal atonement possible for everyone.

It doesn't matter all that much to me one way or the other and it doesn't upset me when I hear how adamantly most Mormons believe that Jesus literally lived without sinning. I would however love to hear a strong analysis on both sides of why/why not his sinless state was necessary for the atonement to be carried out. Raising the possibility that he was not without sin (but was capable of repenting and learning from his mistakes) would likely cause all sorts of havoc with people's testimonies. I, for one, would not find it challenging to my faith. At a higher level than that, I don't "know" in the testimony sense of knowing that Christ was sinless. I guess I better study and pray about it.

Relief society

What I heard: a woman's voice "as a young elder..." as she read a first hand account written by a man (and the uncomfortable titter of the other women present)

What I wish I heard: Someone go off on how ridiculous it is that women are denied the priesthood based on their gender. That person is not going to be me, but how refreshing it would be if we could stop avoiding the white elephant in the room that women, if they were to be honest with themselves, are uncomfortable with authority being given to men only. If women could be honest, would they say they think women should have the priesthood?. The priesthood doesn't have to be male. Leaders of the church can receive revelation to grant priesthood to women. Fast for that revelation, pray for it. In fact, today was the day at FMH was publicizing a communal fast on the topic of women receiving the priesthood in hopes that church leadership will "ask of God." (James 1:5)

Random Pondering:
I think it would be cool if the church were to experiment with a mega church in an area like Seattle. How many people would be in the congregation? If there are about 300 people attending each ward on Sunday, and there are 5 stakes, that is about 1500 people at church on Sunday. Would reactivation efforts be more affective with more people free from leadership? Would our communities be stronger?

What I heard: citation from Elder Oaks talk from oct 2010 conference: revelation both personal and through authority

What I wish I heard: bring up the legitmate concerns of when the person in authority is wrong, or when someones' personal revelation conflicts with priesthood direction

Concept I like: Spirit through osmosis soaking it up when surrounded by people who possess the spirit, a good essence that strengthens those near by

What I heard: The Holy Ghost is male

What I wish I heard: We don't actually know that the holy ghost is a man. Could be a woman (see Fall 2010 Exponent), could be a group of people. Does it matter? It would be nice to know but it doesn't change that the Spirit is real and good and present in the LDS church and throughout peoples of the world. It just bugs me that people speak with such certainty that the spirit is male when they don't actually know and the prophets/apostles who spoke with such certainty didn't actually know either.

What I heard: visiting teachers and home teachers are there for us when we need them.

What I wish I heard: Most visiting teachers and home teachers are not there for us the way that would be most beneficial to us. We could call learn more about providing emotional support.

Left-overs from church last week:

What I heard: Thinking of work as service: imbuing spirit and love into work done for others, laundry, dishes, food

What I wish I heard: We can also look at our employment and the men of the church can look at their paid employment: how does your work help and serve other? Is it meaningful service? If you do not like the answer to that question, is it important to be engaged in paid work that does help others? Do we have a responsibility to people outside of your family so much that we serve others and our families simultaneously in our paid employment? Are our priorities in paid employment focused on how our work efforts serve others?

Alright, let's discuss.

And please remember, its fine to disagree with me and point out inaccuracies or to suggest references that might give me additional insights. Just do it respectively and without attacking me. I haven't had that problem yet among my readers (thank you!) but you know, gotta add the obligatory, lets act like respectful Christians...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting Mystical on you...

I have always been drawn to the concept of the Tree of Life. I fell in love with it when I was introduced to the LDS church and read Lehi's vision for the first time. But even beyond that, I have loved the connection to family history with our roots and branches. Then there's the connection to ancient cultures where it has appeared in Meso-America, the Middle East, the Celtic Isles. I also love the natural world and greatly appreciate trees. But even with that, I didn't entirely understand why I feel so drawn to them. The color purple is the same way and I still haven't figured that out (though information on amethyst might explain a large part of it). The word Wisdom is something that I've been inexplicably drawn to a well. 

So here's the connection between Wisdom and the Tree of Life: 

Proverbs 3:18: "She [Wisdom] is a tree of alife to them that lay hold upon her"

There is a strong tradition in the Old Testament of Wisdom as a female goddess. I'm learning some of it from the book "Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God." Other sources where I've heard from is "Nephi and His Asherah" from the Maxwell Institute and "How to Worship Our  Mother in Heaven without Being Excommunicated." 

So not only is the Tree of Life, the love of God but it is also the gift of wisdom that comes to those who love God. It can also be called a symbol of the Goddess so the love of God that comes from that tree, then, is also the love of our Mother in Heaven. 

One insight I had a few years ago that has stayed with me is the different meanings of the phrase "love of God." The possessive is ambiguous. Is it God's love or our love for God? Both? I like to think of it as both, that feeling God's love through the Spirit is a gift but also our love of God is a fruit of faithful living. As we progress along the path to the tree, our love of God grows. In that way, the journey to the tree that each Mormon is on, is an archetypal journey to wisdom. 

Like Lehi, I find the promise of that fruit to be completely worth it. It is my hope that at the end of my life's journey that one of the fruits of the tree of life (which from the Old Testament is not just the love of God but it is also the gift of eternal life) is finding Heavenly Mother not just Our Father and the blessing it will be to learn of them through our eternity. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book of Jenne and Carolyn continued: Highlights from the Book of Mosiah

Updated July 2012: I stop summarizing the Book of Mormon for my mother because she is now reading on her own and doesn't need it anymore! In April 2011, she was baptized. As you read in my recent post, she was endowed in the temple in June 2012. I'm on to reading Women Who Run with the Wolves as my parallel scripture for women since the LDS canon is so lacking the feminine viewpoint. 

In my original post, I summarized and highlighted the first 4 books of the Book of Mormon. I'm continuing my effort to pull out what I feel are the most important lessons from these books so I can share them with my mother. The following summary is also part of the original post so it can all be kept in one place, as well as broken up into chunks as I feel that makes it easier to read. 

The Book of Mosiah: 

Mosiah begins with the reign of King Benjamin who is the king over the Nephites at the time. He was a faithful man and a conscientious leader. At one point in his reign, he gathered his people to together and expounded on the scriptures and taught them principles of the gospel. Chapters 2-5 are his address to the people. Linked verses are highlights of his address. 

King Benjamin's Discourse: 
Mosiah 2:17: Perhaps the most famous line from King Benjamin "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings are ye only in the service of your God." 
Mosiah 2: 19-22: Give thanks to God for creating you, recognize their (Father's and Mother's) role in your life
Mosiah 2: 23-24: What God requires in return: keep commandments and he/they "doth immediately bless you." 
Mosiah 2:34: "ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly father (+mother), to render to (them) all that you have and are"
Mosiah 2:41: "the happy state of those who keep the commandments of God, they are blessed in all things temporal and spiritual."
Mosiah 3: 5-11: prophesies of the coming of Christ. 2 important things here: King Benjamin reveals the name that Christ will be known by. Verse 7 teaches us that Christ, in his atonement, also experiences our suffering including our pain (from any cause), our fatigue (which can be caused by frustration, weariness in suffering, physical disability, etc). 
Mosiah 3:14: Little children cannot sin. They must come to an awareness of right and wrong before they can be held accountable for their mistakes. Cross reference: Moroni 8:8 
Mosiah 3:18-19: The Atonement does not work for those who do not accept and believe in it. We must "yield to the enticings of the Spirit" and "becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ."
Mosiah 3: 24-25: "whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works." At that time, it will be clear to each of us the results of our actions during life. Cross reference: Alma 11: 43 We will have a bright recollection of our guilt. Our understanding will not be clouded anymore and we will know perfectly where we went wrong. That awareness can be horrific to possess because we are our own worst critics. There is pain that comes from realizing our mistakes. That pain is what is being described by scriptural references to "fire and brimstone." Alma describes it as wishing that he could cease to exist but knowing that he could not and would have to live with his mistakes and the hurts he caused others. This is where the Atonement comes in and why it is so useful and necessary. It makes it possible for us to forgive ourselves for the hurt we cause ourselves and others. Once we forgive ourselves we can carry on with hope and assurance that despite our mistakes we are good people. 

Mosiah 4:9: "believe that [God] has all wisdom and all power both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things that the Lord can comprehend" Yet we are promised that we can and will comprehend all the things the Lord can comprehend IF we are willing to do what it takes to get to that point when we are ready to learn those things, even "all wisdom and all power." 
Mosiah 4:10: "if you believe all these things see that ye do them." 
Mosiah 4:11: Strike out "unworthy creatures" and its a great verse showing how we can feel God's love through forgiveness and how we can go about living a faithful life. 
Mosiah 4:12: if you are faithful, ye shall be "filled with the love of God" and "ye shall grow in knowledge of that which is just and true." To me, this means a perfect knowledge and understanding of what is right. The world needs a great deal more of that and I take hold upon the promise that I can find it from the source of all true and goodness with the hope that everyone else can do the same. 
Mosiah 4:13: Those who come to know the love of God (whether you think its how to love like God, be loved by God or show love to God), "ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably." 
Mosiah 4:15: I'm really just including this verse because its one of my favorites and is my hope for what my children learn: "ye will teach [your children] to love one another and to serve one another." 
Mosiah 4:16: Ye will succor those that stand in need of your succor, ye will administer of your substance unto him who standeth in need." And thus begins some of the greatest social justice verses in all of scripture. Also, cross-reference to the baptismal covenant (i.e. the covenant a member of the LDS church makes at baptism). 
Mosiah 4:19-22, 26: Like I said, some of the best verses on the topic of social justice in all of scripture, perhaps all religion in general. This is the gospel of Christ in word and action. 
Mosiah 4:24: Also empathizes and excuses those who feel guilty for not having enough to give. "I would that ye would say in your hearts, I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give."
Mosiah 4:27: Wise words indeed: "See that all things be done in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that a  [wo]man should run faster than [s]he has strength."