Pretty Pebbles: 11/30/14

Why Did Adam Name the Animals Without Eve?
"I think God preparing Adam in such a manner also hints that Eve was always supposed to be the first one to choose to leave the garden. Eve, the one who would bear the burden of bringing souls into the world, the one who would suffer nigh unto death to bring new life, would have to be the one who first made the decision. Adam making that decision first would be a sort of unrighteous dominion--he'd be making a commitment for Eve's body that she should rightly make for herself. Eve needed to be the first, and Adam needed to follow."

The Real Cost of a World-Wide Church
"If I am truly to take my baptismal covenants seriously, I am entrusted with bearing the burdens of my brothers and sisters, even if those burdens originate in a land far away. This experience made me realize the real cost of an international church: Disasters and wars no longer happen to distant people far removed from us, they happen to our people. The world’s fate is our fate because our people are everywhere in it. The price is not money, but comfort. Our hearts must collectively expand to hold everyone’s burdens."

Beard Ban at Mormon Schools Getting Stricter

Both Feet Forward (Video)
"Am I celebrating weakness? Yes! The Lord said:
I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. [Ether 12:27]'
Clearly, weakness and the recognition of it, the humility that follows, and the application of faith in Christ are essential to our eternal progression. Weakness is also the key to authenticity."

The Answer to All the Hard Questions
"Perhaps. Truth isn't always obvious, particularly when it has to compete with alternatives presented in attractive packages. Often we understand the truth only in part, while the whole remains yet to be learned. And in the learning, we face the uncomfortable prospect of abandoning imperfect but heretofore comforting understandings. But trusting that God has all the answers, that He loves us, and that He will answer all our questions—in His way, on His timetable—can simplify our searching. It may not always be easy, but simply trusting in God’s counsel can safely steer us through clouds of confusion."

Many Mormons Are Unaware of the Messy Details
"Other Mormons, however, have downplayed the novelty of the information contained in these essays. They have argued that the LDS Church has never intentionally hidden this information and that Mormons have a responsibility to study their own history (see here, here, and here). Thus, they blame the Mormon rank and file themselves for their ignorance on these matters.
These arguments, however, stand in contrast to statements made by faithful and well-respected Mormon historians ... Placing the blame on the members themselves also ignores the fact that Mormons who publicly discussed the messier details of polygamy and other historical issues have often been marginalized and sometimes even excommunicated by Church leaders in the not-so-distant past."

God Knows the Desires of Your Heart 
"I know that God is aware of each of us. Even in the times when things don't seem fair, or life doesn't turn out how we imagined, I just want you to know that He sees you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your heart and, often in ways you never dreamed of,  He will make them happen... promise."

A Lesbian Mormon Perspective


Book Review: Walking With the Women of the New Testament

Walking With the Women of the New Testament by Heather Farrell is a touching tribute to the testimony, courage and charity of women who lived long ago. But it is much more than that. In a time when many are becoming aware of the need for more women's voices, this book offers the reader over 60 stories of faith, strength and courage from New Testament women.

Too often women's lives and contributions in the scriptures are overlooked or undervalued. I loved Heather's story illustrating this point. When speaking about women in the scriptures she often asks the audience how many women they think are in the scriptures. After allowing a few people to guess, she reveals the astonishing number: 500. I shared this story with a friend, who responded, "Yes, maybe that's true, but they don't do anything important." Unfortunately, I think that this is the message many women receive in the church. This book can open our eyes and our hearts to see and value women. In the New Testament women are there at every major event in the Savior's life and in the early church. Women were not merely present, but participated as well. Mary and Elisabeth were the first to know of the Savior's coming. Mary bravely carried and brought him into mortal life. The Woman at the Well was the first person we know of to whom the Savior revealed his mission as the Messiah. Women stood with him when he died and a woman was the first to testify of his resurrected body.

As Heather so beautifully described,

"In a time period when women's participation in religious life was limited to that of an observer, Christ invited them to be active participants in His church - learning, serving , teaching and leading … Jesus broke down barriers between people, especially between men and women, in an incredible way. He challenged the mentality and customs of a fallen world and elevated the status of women to the plane on which God sees them: a view of women that didn't base a woman's worth on her physical appearance, her marital status, her ability to bear children, or what she had done but instead celebrated her intrinsic worth as a daughter of God."

The book's layout is straightforward, addressing each woman's story in approximate chronological order. The chapters are short, perfect for a busy mom like me. I could pick the book up and read one or two chapters in the morning and spend the rest of the day pondering the lessons contained in each story. Even if the stories are brief, it is evident that Heather has thought deeply about each, for she brings each woman to life and gives her a voice.

The tone was so personal and tender that I felt as if I was talking to a dear friend or an older sister. Heather has a gift for taking modest narratives, many of which are a few lines at most, and give them life. I felt like she was describing people and events from firsthand experience. She sees applications and connections in small things that others may gloss over. Heather may not be an historian or a scholar, but her prayerful study and powerful testimony is evident on every page.

Walking With the Women of the New Testament also lends itself well to sharing with others. Next year, our adult Sunday School classes we will turn to the New Testament. This book would be a perfect companion for anyone looking to deepen their study or any teacher looking to breathe life into the text. Almost immediately after I received Walking With the Women of the New Testament I started using it in my youth Sunday School lessons. I teach three interesting and engaging young women and I found this book perfect for illustrating the gospel principles we are learning. I felt impressed that it was important for them to see and hear the stories of women who were close to the Savior.

Recently my spiritual life has been like a difficult journey in the wilderness. As I ponder my life I often think about the women who traveled with Nephi and Lehi on their journey. Like those women, I have been blessed to grow stronger, but along the way I have wandered, hungry and tired. I found in the pages of this book a spiritual abundance that I had been thirsting for. Heather brought these women to life and allowed me to see Christ through their eyes. Her blog and this book are a part of the ministry to which God has called her and I am glad she has responded to that call. For me, at least, Heather has achieved her stated purpose:

"… it is my hope that reading this book will spark a desire within you to open your own scriptures and to learn more about these women - and about God's plan for women - for yourself."


Faith and Doubt

"Take faith, for example. For many people in our world, the opposite of faith is doubt. The goal, then, within this understanding, is to eliminate doubt. But faith and doubt aren't opposites. Doubt is often a sign that your faith has a pulse, that it's alive and well and exploring and searching. Faith and doubt aren't opposites, they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners."



Motherhood: A Prose Poem
By Christianna Reed Maas

My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide. I sustain humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows.

I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God’s army. I made their meals, and tied their shoes. Today, I walked with greatness, and when they were tired I carried them. I have poured myself out for the cause today.

It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor.

I am great with destiny.

I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of the underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence. I was the gate-keeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed. There is not an hour of day or night when I turn from my post. The fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned, the world will know the power of grace. Hope has feet, and it will run to the corners of earth, because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the opposition of death. I am woman.




"I have a vision. I have a vision of Mothers around the globe beginning their days in peace. I have a vision of our children experiencing a gentle calm surrounding them as they venture out into this too-fast world. I have a vision of each of us—myself included—growing in our capacity to experience an inner spaciousness that will inform our choices, our tone’s of voice, our inner resonance. I have a vision of truly living the proclamation that real peace begins at home. May we all shed our worries about all that has to be done today, our urgency about the ticking clock and break open our anxious hearts instead with the beauty of present moment awareness. Notice intently the sleepy morning stretches. Notice the sticky breakfast fingers. Notice the snail-paced pulling on of socks. Notice and rejoice." Love, Megan Nathanson




Woman is the first to know sorrow and pain, last to be paid for her labor.
First in self-sacrifice, last to obtain justice, or even a favor.
First to greet lovingly man at his birth, last to forsake him when dying,
First to make sunshine around his hearth, last to lose heart and cease trying.
Last at the cross of her crucified Lord, first to behold him when risen,
First, to proclaim him to life restored, bursting from death's gloomy prison. 
First to seek knowledge, the God-like prize, last to gain credit for knowing.
First to call children a gift from the skies, last to enjoy their bestowing.
First to fall under the censure of God, last to receive a full pardon.
First to kiss meekly the chastening rod, thrust from her beautiful garden.
First to be sold for the wages of sin, last to be sought and forgiven.
First in the scorn of her dear brother, man, last in the kingdom of heaven.
So, a day cometh, glorious day, early perfection restoring.
Sin and its burdens shall be swept away, and love flow like rivers outpouring. 
Then woman who loves, through sorrow and shame, the crown of a queen will be wearing. And love, freed from lust, a divine pure flame, shall save our sad earth from despairing. 
That latter-day work is already begun, the good from the evil to sever.
The word has gone forth that when all is done, 
The last shall be first, forever.

"Woman," Woman's Exponent, 21 15 January 1893. By Sarah Lucinda Lee Dalton