Wife of Mormon Prophet Dies at Age 85

From “Mormon Voice” in the Houston Chronicle, published Saturday, May 25, 2013, by Heather Hemmingway.

“Behind every great man is a great woman” is an adage that I’m sure Church President Thomas S. Monson would agree with when speaking of his 85-year-old wife Frances, who died Friday, 17 May in a Salt Lake Hospital.

Funeral services were held Thursday, 23 May at noon in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and were open to the public.

According to a Church news release, Frances Beverly Johnson Monson had been hospitalized for several weeks and “passed away peacefully of causes incident to age” while surrounded by family.

Read the article in full in the Houston Chronicle.

On The Lord’s Errand: the Life of Thomas S. Monson

The Boy Scouts of America and Same-gender Attraction

These are not my words, but are those of my son, Paul Freeman, which he posted on Facebook yesterday following the BSA’s vote on admitting gay boys into their troops. Since he voices my own thoughts so well, I am reposting them here.

Here’s my response to the recent resolution passed by the BSA. Here’s a link to the resolution: http://bit.ly/14F8tKJ. Read it.

I don’t see this as [the] BSA lowering its standard of morality. I see this as [the] BSA reaching out to young men who are afraid to admit they are attracted to males instead of females for fear of being bullied and ostracized.

[The] BSA is not saying that practicing homosexual behavior is acceptable. The resolution BSA passed actually says, “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting…”
I believe that sexual activity should be reserved for the lawful marriage of a man and woman, and youth should be taught the sacred nature of the family and the powers that bring life into this world.

Nevertheless, young men with same gender attraction need the scouting program just as much as other young men.
The burden is on parents and leaders to teach all young men to live the Scout Law, the Scout Motto, and their Duty to God.
And if straight young men are uncomfortable being around young men with same gender attraction, that is a good opportunity to teach them how to handle their concerns instead of attacking someone who they’re afraid of.

It may very well be that scouts today could face sexual harassment as adults. While it’s a crying shame to think youth will have to face such a problem, women have had to deal with harassment for centuries.

Look at the state of how women are being treated in the military today. Commanding officers are using their influence to get away with horrendous acts of harassment against their subordinates.

This is a great opportunity to arm young men with the virtues that will set them apart in this new generation.

Finally, here is the link to LDS Newsroom where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responds to the vote results. The Church is the single largest religious denomination which supports the BSA. Scouting is integral to its youth ministry for young men.

Exclusion of gay boys never has and never will be Church policy. Rather, it encourages all to participate, as it encourages all to follow the high standards of moral cleanliness as their “duty to God.” When Boy Scouts are abiding by the Scout Oath and Scout motto, sexual orientation is not an issue. As my brother put it, “scouting is asexual.”

As the mother of two Eagle and one Life Scout, I know that the Scouting program has made an incalculable difference in the lives of my sons. All have received their undergraduate degrees and all have or are completing their post-graduate studies. They are proactive in their religion, strong in their faith, and true to their professed beliefs.They are engaged fathers, supportive husbands, and attentive sons.

I know that the youth programs of the Church, including the BSA, and the men who have led by example, are in large measure responsible for my sons becoming who they are today.

But, Scouting is not just about going on camping trips and earning merit badges. It is about developing one’s faith in God and loyalty to country. Citizenship in their community, both sacred and secular, are the foundations upon which the BSA is built and upon which the boys are encouraged to structure their own lives.

I believe that participation in the Boy Scouts would equally benefit all boys, as it has my own sons; from its educational and recreational activities, from its fostering of faith and self-worth, and from its exposure of growing minds and hearts to the excellent men and women who devote their energies to the program.

It seems to me, young men with same-sex attraction, with all the challenges they face in this life, require that bolstering most of all.

Finding the Common Ground

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, an LDS candidate, spoke at commencement exercises for Liberty University, a Baptist institution, about how important it is that we as a people stand together for what is right to protect our society and our nation.  I strongly agree with the opinions he expressed in this speech and so wanted to share it.  He says it much better than I can.

In this article, the editor of an online Catholic magazine reported on the speech and used it as the lead article of that day’s issue.  He refers to the 2012 presidential race as “one of the most important Presidential elections in the history of the United States” in commenting on the unlikely convergence of three very disparate denominations at Liberty University.  He goes on to state:

The fact that a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would be the commencement speaker at the Baptist University founded by Dr Jerry Falwell speaks to the urgency of the hour. Add to this the fact that this Catholic Editor in Chief of Catholic Online would consider the speech important enough to make it the lead article, and the point is made even clearer.

All too often, people of faith find themselves bickering and quarreling over the differences in their beliefs, until anger and animosity overcome all hope of a reasonable exchange of ideas.  I have seen, much to my dismay, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exchange words of bitter acrimony with others whose beliefs challenge their own.

This is not only regrettable but counterproductive—even harmful to all parties concerned.  It is especially sad because of the great commonalities members of the Church share with other Christian denominations.  We believe and strive to follow so many of the same tenets and principles, our faith shares far more commonality than differences.

It is those shared beliefs—the sanctity of marriage, the importance of family, the necessity of freedom of religion—that we must protect when they come under assault in the public forum.  Only by setting aside our differences and banding together to stand against the forces destructive to our society will we effect any change for the better.

To Alora on Her Baptism

We believe that man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam’s transgression. Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith vs 2

May 12, 2012

Our granddaughter, Alora, was baptized on Saturday.    In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that children are free of sin until they reach the age of accountability.  Their salvation is assured through Jesus Christ and, therefore, no baptism is required.  (Moroni 8:14-20)

This past week, Alora reached the eight years old.  She is mature enough to discern right from wrong and control her behavior.  She has decided to be baptized, to take upon her the name of Christ, and to be confirmed a member of the Church.  This is a day for which all members pray, that their children will set their feet upon the path of righteousness of their own volition.  It is a day of great joy.

To commemorate the occasion, Dallas and I bought Alora a set of scriptures, one book which includes the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price.  Inside the front cover, we wrote our personal testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of scriptures in her life.  The following are those words:

Dear Alora,

Of all the gifts you could receive, these scriptures are the most precious, second only to redemption through our Savior, Jesus Christ. These scriptures are a gift from our Heavenly Father because He loves you and wants you to return to live with Him and His Son forever. These books are His words to you to guide you home. When you read them with a prayer in your heart, you will know He loves you and these words are His words just for you.

We want you to know how much we love you and how proud we are of you for taking this important step in your life, knowing that you are striving to return to Heavenly Father and be with us as a forever family. That is our greatest wish for you and all of us.

We know the Book of Mormon is true and Heavenly Father prepared it for us through his prophets. We know Joseph Smith is a prophet, as is President Thomas S. Monson. Our greatest gift we can give you is our testimony of Jesus Christ. He is our Lord and Savior, and only through Him can we return to our Heavenly Father. Reading these pages and pondering them in your heart will lead you to the same testimony.

You are our great joy.

Nanny & Papaw

To All The Women In My Life

It’s difficult to choose of all Pres. Uchtdorf’s messages to share as a Mother’s Day thought, but this particular address emphasizes the inherent self-worth of all women, mothers or not, and so it’s well-worth sharing. My wish to all the women in my life this day is that they know they are loved, appreciated, and valued, especially by our loving Father in Heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The Disease Called Perfection

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” —Michael J. Fox

Maybe it is because I spent so much time today reading the heartbreaking comments so many people have posted on Single Dad Laughing, that I feel so compelled to post today.  The button on the bottom right will send  you to Dan’s amazing post, ‘The Disease Called Perfection’, a serious delve into the anguish caused by the pressure people put on themselves and upon others to appear as the media’s contorted perception of beautiful, behave pleasantly, never feel lost or uncertain, never make mistakes, never feel anger, never doubt, never sin, never fail to meet the expectations of others or mold yourself into their misconception of you.

As Dan so poignantly points out, lives have been lost—lives of children—because a person feels encompassed in darkness, trapped in their horrible situations, and there is no hope of that ever-changing.

They feel they have betrayed God or God has betrayed them, or they have disappointed their families or shamed them or angered them or whatever overwhelming despair overcomes them, and they take their own lives because they see it as their only means of escape.  Because of the despair of imperfection in a society that demands it. Continue reading

Brighter and Brighter Until the Perfect Day

July 23, 2008

Dear Son,

After I sent you my letter last week, I went back to proof and polish it for publishing on my blogs, and ultimately ended up adding to it. The finished product can be found at both A Mormon Family Journal and A Mormon Journal, so I’m not bothering to send it to you again. Honestly, I doubt that you had time to read it all last week. With that in mind, I’m only going to send that which I haven’t previously sent you this week, so you can have time to finish reading it all if you have a mind. And, since I know you’ve got pictures to peruse and other letters to read, I’ll only send the last bit. (I also got our family page up and running. You can check it out if you like).

But, before that, a bit of chat. Hurricane Dolly is headed straight for Brownsville, but she’s just a timid little thing (barely a category 1), so it doesn’t look to be too serious. We hope to get a bit of rain out of it, but I’m skeptical. All we’ve seen thus far are sprinkles. Continue reading

A Yearning for Truth

July 16, 2008

Dearest Son,

The following is a letter that I started to write you on Sunday during Sunday School (the foyer, for once, was quiet and deserted). The rest I finish today with all my hopes and prayers that it may be of use to you somehow as you endeavor to bring those around you unto Christ.

Gosh. I wish there was some way I could convey to you the power of today’s sacrament meeting. I must have heard Brother Keller wrong when I understood Ben to be speaking today (I thought at the time that it seemed rather early, considering his recent return home), or, Brother Keller could have simply been Brother Keller. At any rate, the McAvoys spoke, a relatively new couple in the ward, married six or seven years and 40-ish. It was simple and simply powerful and moved everyone in that room.

Sister McAvoy spoke about being raised in the Church, her earliest recollections of feeling the witness of the Spirit (when quite young), and gaining her own testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. She thought it a bit vague to say, “I know this Church is true,” and expounded on the definition of truth and all we imply when we use that well-known phrase. Continue reading