Thursday, January 04, 2018

Policy Changes

While I don’t intend to resurrect a big argument over whether or not women should or ever will get the priesthood, there are many who would agree that women can provide and even deserve a greater leadership role in the church.

Today, I heard a radio discussion about the life, times, and legacy of Thomas S Monson, and there was a lot of comment about this. A few of the commenters were saying that Pres Monson (or his administration) had ignored the wishes of the women of the church in his refusal to give them the priesthood.

First of all, I don’t know how many women are (or are not) interested in full priesthood ordinations. I have heard many women comment that they would like to get more respect and leadership within the church, even if that doesn’t include the actual ordinations.

While the church is very, very traditional, and change moves very slowly, I’ve noticed something that was put into place during Pres. Monson’s leadership which, I think, will be marked as the starting point toward this respect and position.

When they announced the change in the age of missionary service, two things happened. One, a lot more young men signed up immediately. That’s not a surprise. Get going right out of high school, then go on to college afterward. There was another thing, however, that happened, and that was that many, many more young women signed up for missions.

Missions are often training grounds wherein young Mormons learn the commitment and service necessary for church leadership. Many more young women will now be going through this. As they grow up and mature, they will do so within the existing structures to be able to step into greater leadership roles.

Also, and this is going to be a critical part of that equation, the young men who serve with them will grow up seeing them more as equals in service (over time), and will likely (on the whole) grow into treating them more as equals.

This will take time, of course. It won’t happen as fast as the activists want. I do see it as a natural part of the growth of the church, and this simple policy change could very well drive that growth.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How to Do Something Overwhelming

Sometimes, in life, it’s very good to see the big picture. Steven Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” That’s very good advice.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, the project you’re facing is so big, so daunting, so overwhelming huge that you simply can’t fathom it. If you’re standing at the foot of the mountain, staring up at the snow-capped points that are miles above you, it can be daunting.  Rather than being inspired to lunge ahead, you end up thinking to yourself, “Y’know, a cuppa hot cocoa in my easy chair is lookin’ mighty good right about now...”

Today, my primary cleaning task was the kitchen. After making some brownies for a neighbor’s mission farewell activity, and various other cooking bits, the kitchen was a mess. You can say, “Oh, I have a messy kitchen,” but, really? Take a look at this.

Yeah. I win.

Or lose...
Or something...

When I’m facing this sort of huge task, I can’t do it efficiently. I can’t think of all the things on the counter and pick out all of the ones that go to the pantry, and all of the ones that go to the front room, etc... That just maxes my meter.

But -

I CAN pick one thing up, figure out where it goes, and take it there.

Then, I CAN do it again. I pick up another thing, figure out where it goes, and then take it there.

Yeah, it means I do a lot more walking and a lot more taking. It takes me longer.  But it gets DONE.

And now it looks like this:

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Word For the New Year

A few years ago, I found myself tired of making New Year’s Resolutions. They were always the same, and I’d end up breaking them right away and feeling like a total failure.


Then I read a post in a blog somewhere that changed my perspective on the idea. Instead of a goal or an ideal to work on or a promise to avoid this or that thing that I happen to really enjoy, the idea is to pick a word that you want to focus on for the year.

That first year, I had been particularly depressed, so I chose to work on “Joy”. Then, throughout the year, I would remember the word, contemplate it, think about it, read and write about it, and hopefully find more of it in my life. So, at the end of the year, I could look back and see its impact.

Gone is the guilt of failure. If I have an unjoyful week, I’m fine with that. I just continue my focus and let it grow.

Other words I’ve used in other years have been “Gratitude”, “Creativity”, and “Spirit”.

So this year, I’m going to focus on the word “Prayer”. I’m feeling a real need to re-connect myself with Heavenly Father, and to feel more divine, myself. One way to do that is to simply take a quick moment to pray whenever the thought crosses my mind. To take that thought as an inspired reminder, and to think thoughts of gratitude to God, and to ask for blessings for those around me.

I know that we’re taught that there are certain times of the day when we’re “supposed to pray”. I’m OK with that, but I don’t always remember at those times. So, I’ll take advantage of the times I do remember.

In Alma 34, Amulek teaches that it’s good to pray whenever the desire or the need strikes you, and it’s good to pray over temporal as well as spiritual things:

 17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;

 18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

 19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.

 20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.

 21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.

 22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.

 23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.

 24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.

 25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.

 26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

 27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.

So, that’s gonna be my focus this year.


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.


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