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In a revelation to Joseph Smith, God says (in Doctrine and Covenants section 98:4-10):

 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

From this revelation, we can pick out a few key points we should consider when electing people to represent us in the way God would have us do:

  1. Make sure laws that are passed are constitutional
  2. Laws that are passed that support freedom are justified before God
  3. Elect righteous leaders or else the nation will mourn
  4. Leaders elected should be good and wise men.

Based on these criteria, who do you think lines up best between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama?  Why do you believe this?

This article is inspired by an experience I had at my new Ward (congregation) at church a few weeks ago.

In preparing for General Conference, the Bishop (Pastor) of the ward was giving a lesson to the adults in the congregation.  He was asking certain questions and getting feedback from the members.  I can’t remember the exact question he asked, but it was something along the lines of “What is a prophet?”  Some one answered and he replied that the answer was wrong and emphasized that ONLY men are called to be prophets and women do not get that calling.

The way he said it made me cringe as I thought about all the ladies in the room and as my thoughts turned to the public perception that I’ve heard many times that the Mormon Church is male shovanistic. 

I came very close to raising my hand and correcting him, but I decided it wasn’t the right time and place to do that.  So, I’m doing it here.

In this article, I will first define what a prophet is, according to LDS, or Mormon, scripture.  I will then identify women prophets in the scriptures and share modern day examples as well.

Definition of a Prophet

In LDS scripture, the Bible Dictionary defines a prophet as follows:

The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will. The message was usually prefaced with the words “Thus saith Jehovah.” He taught men about God’s character, showing the full meaning of his dealings with Israel in the past. It was therefore part of the prophetic office to preserve and edit the records of the nation’s history; and such historical books as Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings were known by the Jews as the former Prophets. It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment, and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the Divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, e.g., there are the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule a prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, as in Num. 11:25–29; Rev. 19:10.

As you can see from the definition, Mormon scripture does not define a prophet as being gender specific and a few key elements on what a prophet is stand out to me:

  1. A prophet is God’s messenger
  2. A prophet denounces sin and fortells of consequences to sin
  3. A prophet can predict future events
  4. A prophet is a preacher of righteousness
  5. Having a testimony of Jesus by the Holy Ghost qualifies as being a prophet

Women Prophets in Scripture

Having defined what a prophet is, the next step is to identify women in scripture who were prophets.  From what I’ve read, the following women were  prophets of varying degrees and are found in Christian Bibles: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, Isaiah’s wife, Anna, and the daughters of Phillip.  In addition to these specifically named ladies, there are other women discussed in scripture as being leaders in the early Christian church.

People who claim that men have a monopoly on being a prophet are not basing their views on scriptural facts.  Clearly, there were women prophets. 

Modern Day Women Prophets

I had a hard time coming up with examples of modern-day women prophets.  Perhaps some of you can help me here.  The closest thing I came across (which is another topic) was that in the early Mormon Church, women could give priesthood blessings.

Personally, I have had one example of a woman in a leadership position that prophesied to me.  She was my mission president’s wife.  I wrote about it a few years ago, but the short story is that she prophesied to me that if I worked as hard as I could each day of my mission, that my then rebellious brother would turn things around and go on a mission.  He ended up turning things around and going on a mission.

In conclusion, I’d like to remphasize the scriptural foundation that women can be prophets.  I would like to hear your personal reasons why (or why not) you believe this to be true and if you have any examples to share, even better!

As a follow up to the article I wrote on preparing for receiving revelation during General Conference, I thought it would be great to hear stories from peoples’ experience with the spiritual guidance they received during General Conference.  I understand that some promptings are too personal to share, but I”ll highlight some of the guidance and insights I received without getting too personal.  Feel free to share your experiences as well.

Uniting of our Family

Prior to General Conference, my wife and I had a special Family Home Evening (Family Night), teaching our young 3 year old daughter about General Conference, apostles, prophets, etc.  The Church has a great website with games and activities to teach kids to prepare for Conference.  We chose to make a set of paper rings that we made into a chain, which she tore off each day that had activities such as coloring a picture of Jesus, reading a story of Thomas S Monson, scripture activities, etc.  This helped her (and us) get our minds focused on Conference throughout the week.

Next, during General Conference, my wife found a great activity where she arranged 5-6 bowls with goodies in them such as pretzels, M&Ms, carrot sticks, etc.  On each bowl she taped a picture of something that would likely be discussed in Conference such as a picture of Jesus, scriptures, families, etc.  Our little girl then sat and listened for the speaker to say “Jesus” or “family”, etc. and when the speaker said that, she could take a treat and eat it.  The funny thing was that the carrot bowl was “Jesus” so at one point our girl had 7 half eaten carrot sticks and she said: “Mommy, my tummy hurts from eating so many carrots!”

Pretty soon, she decided to start sharing carrots with me.  The good thing for me was that she started sharing everything with me so I got quite a few M&Ms too. 

It was fun to be with our little family (our 1 year old boy was a bit young for the activities so he slept during conference) and see our daughter learning from the men and women who had prepared messages for us.  Although I didn’t have any bid spiritual manifestation, I did see how we came closer as a family and united in the gospel, which is awesome!

Excellent Quotes

Last April, I noticed that many speakers come up with awesome quotes.  This Conference was no exception.  I’ve written about all the quotes and also have a poll for people to vote on their favorite quote.  Feel free to stop by and vote.

So far, the one that is winning is by David Bednar during the last session of conference:

Knowing the gospel is true is a testimony.  Staying true to the gospel is conversion

Personal Peace

Going into conference, I was somewhat unsettled.  I had a lot of stress going on as far as business situations are concerned.  I was praying for guidance on certain issues.

As I watched conference and listened actively, I gradually started feeling less anxious and more peaceful.  I didn’t realize that I was calming down until after conference was finished.  I noticed I hadn’t thought about the issues all day and when they came to mind, I felt everything would be fine, as it usually is when we re-focus our vision on God rather than the things of the world. 

I’m sure you have some great stories to share as well.  If you are comfortable, feel free to share any guidance you received during last week’s General Conference.

Romney’s win in the debates last week and his surge in the polls is seen by many political analysts as something unprecedented in US Presidential history, this late in the elections.  For those who support Romney, this is inspiring and an amazing feat. and has charged many conservatives up around the country.  Those who do not support him are also inspired to try harder and are also charged up more than before to support Obama.

Since I am a conservative, Mormon Republican I obviously lean towards Romney and associate with mostly people who are of the same opinion.  Being somewhat of an “insider” so to speak, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve seen and heard among Mormons leading up to and after the 1st debate that lead me to believe the majority of Mormons feel God helped Romney win the first debate.

1.  People sharing their “testimony” of Mitt Romney

For those who are not familiar with the monthly Mormon “Fast and Testimony” meetings, I’ll briefly describe what they are.  On the first Sunday of each month, Mormons fast usually from food and water, for a day and use the money they would have used to pay for food and donate it to those who are less fortunate.  During the “Fast and Testimony” meeting in church, Mormons are encouraged to stand up and share their “witness” or “testimony” of Jesus and the gospel.

Although discussing politics in church isn’t a normal occurance, I have heard some Mormons getting up recently and testifying of how God is leading Mitt Romney and praising Romney for being such a good man.

While I do not condone testifying of men at the pulpit, I appreciate that people are excited for a potential leader of our country who they feel is a righteous person.

2. Fasting for Mitt Romney

For those who are not familiar with the Mormon concept of fasting for someone, I’ll briefly explain.  Occasionally, Mormons will unite in prayer and fasting to pray for a person who is sick, a situation to improve, etc.  The concept is that through fasting and meditation, one comes closer to God and the powers of Heaven are brought down upon the person or situation.

A week or so before the debates, I received a Facebook message from one of my fellow Mormon friends.  She had joined a group to fast for Mitt Romney before the 1st debate so God could lift him up.

Judging from the historical leap in the polls Romney had after the debates, it is nothing short of a miracle.  I think many Mormons believe that through prayer and fasting, Romney shined in the debates.

3. Putting Romney’s name in the temple

In Mormon temples, there is part of the endowment ceremony where people come together joining hands in a circle and pray for a list of names of people who are in need of help.  The names are written down on little pieces of paper and put into a box and prayed over in general terms, not individually by name.

One of my friends was telling me that his parents, who are temple workers, saw Mitt Romney’s name on the pieces of paper numerous times as they were emptying the prayer box after the temple ceremony.

He then shared with me that he and many others feel that God helped Romney win the debates because of the prayers offered in his behalf in the temples prior to the debates.

Conclusion

While I do not have hard data, I do get the feeling that most Mormons feel that Romney was lifted up by God to help him win the debate and put him ahead of Obama currently.

I am also aware that those who do not support Romney feel that Romney cheated and lied his way through the debate to beat Obama.  Those who support Obama also feel that Romney didn’t really do that great, it’s just that Obama did so poorly that Romney looked better than he is.

In order to gather some hard numbers on this issue, feel free to take the short poll below and as always, feel free to leave a comment.

I just read the article and watched the videos on the news broadcast about my friend, John McDonald, who just lost his young daughter today.  I can’t even fathom how painful it must be for them today as they remove her from life support.

After she is gone, they not only will have to deal with the loss of their precious daughter, but the financial burdens from the expensive medical costs as well.

Below are some of the ways that you can join me in helping this family out in time of need:

  1. Pray for them
  2. Pay for them: if you go to this website, you can donate some money to cover some costs.  They need $50,000 and only have about $15,000 raised so far
  3. Encourage them: you can leave words of encouragement when you leave a donation.  Even if they don’t know you, I’m sure they will appreciate your kindness

In closing, if you have ever lost a son or a daughter, there was a very good talk by a Mormon General Authority given this past week in the October 2012 General Conference.  He shares a very touching story of losing his little son and sharing how he was able to rely on the Savior to help him through the trial.  The video is in the link below:

Shayne M. Bowen conference talk

The article I wrote last after last April’s General Conference was fun, so I thought I would continue the tradition.  This time, I’ll include the best quotes from all sessions of conference, including Priesthood session.  As with last conference’s article, I will include a poll for you to vote on your favorite quote.  Just so you know, the quote that had the most votes by far last conference (49%) was the one by Dieter Uchtdorf, which is:

“Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do!”

Below are my favorite quotes from General Conference this time.

Best Quotes from October 2012 General Conference

  • Quentin Cook, a Mormon apostle, gave a talk addressing the challenges of unrighteousness in the world and the apathy followers of Christ have sometimes.  As part of this, he discussed how some husbands mistreat their wives and the quote I liked was: God will hold men responsible for every tear they make their wives shed.
  • Ann Dibb, the second counselor in the General Young Women’s presidency shared an experience of meeting a young girl who wore a t-shirt that stated I’m a Mormon…are you?  She went on to state that if she were to make a t-shirt, she would have it read: I’m a Mormon.  I know it.  I live it.  I love it.  She then went on to describe what knowing, living, and loving the gospel means.
  • Dieter Uchtdorf, Mormon apostle and counselor in the First Presidency, hit another home run.  I had 5 quotes from his talk and had to narrow it down to just three.  He discussed living our lives without any regrets and giving our best self each day.  The two quotes I chose are: When it comes to living the gospel, we shouldn’t be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and claimed he went swimming; Sometimes in life we get so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey (this one is actually one that Thomas Monson said a few years back, so I should probably give him the credit for it.); and The deepest regrets of tomorrow can be avoided by following the Savior today.
  • Gary Stevenson, the new presiding Bishop for the LDS Church, gave a great talk in Priesthood session (the session for just men) about making right choices in life.  He said What you do, where you go and what you see will shape who you become.
  • Henry B Eyring, an apostle and counselor in the First Presidency, gave a very excellent talk about giving our will over to God.  Two quotes I liked were: Our own desires, rather than “Thy will be done” create a pavilion between us and God . He also said We can’t insist on our time table when the Lord has His own time table.
  • Boyd K Packer is the acting President of the Quorum of the 12 apostles for the LDS Church.  He shared a very thrilling story of when he was traveling years ago on church assignment in one of the Pacific Islands.  They were traveling by boat and the waves and darkness hindered them from their destination.  One of the lights on the shore was out as well, so they couldn’t make it safely to the harbor.  They had to go around to another harbor.  Relating this story to our spiritual lives, he said As we put our focus on the light of Jesus’ teachings, we’ll be guided to the harbor of spiritual safety.
  • Linda Burton, the Relief Society President for the Church had a great quote in relation to the service we render to others.  She said First observe, then serve.
  • Jeffrey Holland gave a great talk on Jesus’ 12 apostles building the church after He had died.  The quote in this talk that stood out to me was The crowning characteristic of love is loyalty.
  • Daniel Johnson, of the Quorum of the Seventy said Our discipleship will be determined not by the trials we’re faced with, but how well we endure them.
  • David Bednar, one of the apostles, shared an excellent talk on becoming fully converted to the gospel.  He emphasized that having a testimony, or witness, of the gospel isn’t enough.  We need to be fully converted to the Lord.  He said: Knowing the gospel is true is a testimony. Staying true to the gospel is conversion.

Now it’s your turn!  Select the quote you like the best in the poll below.  If you don’t see a quote you liked or want to share a comment related to something you heard in October 2012 General Conference, please share.

A few years ago (well….more like 20 years ago!) I was a freshman at what was then called Ricks College in Rexburg, ID.  At the time, my passion was ballroom dancing.  I had danced through high school and Ricks had the best dance program in the state at the time and was a good preparation for the best dance program (BYU) in the country.

My first year, I was on a team called “Style”, which went around the western united states putting on shows and also teaching kids how to dance appropriately and have clean fun.

Everyone on the team was very down to earth and friendly and full of energy.  One young man stood out though.  He was always full of optimism and positive energy.  Nothing seemed to get him down and we all had great fun as we toured the western U.S.

He went on a mission and I lost track of him…until about 7 years ago when I bumped into him.  He was good friends with friends of mine and it was great to see he had a beautiful little family.  We’ve kept in touch off and on throughout the years since then.

Some of you may remember, about 4 years ago, I wrote a post on this blog about his new little daughter who had been featured in the local news in Seattle.  She was dying at the time from a rare heart condition and at that time they were asking for prayers and donations to pay for a heart transplant.

Imagine their excitement, joy and gratitude they felt when the heart transplant was successful and they had raised money to do the surgery!  I along with others received a note of thanks from my friend, who is her father.

Fast forward 4 years from now.  The sweet little girl’s body rejected the heart and she is on life support without a chance of survival off life support.  Here is a note I received from him today:

Heaven will soon be sweeter. Our precious daughter Mia will be reunited with her donor tomorrow after she is taken off life support. We are devastated and wish this was not happening. It all seems like a terrible nightmare. We will be sad for a very long time, and will miss her everyday. She was the happiest, sweetest little girl, and there will be a hole in all of our hearts. The children are very sad and just want her to wake up. We are in agony and are trying to hold it together for sake of our other children. We are so thankful for all of your love and support and have truly felt it. The pain is too much for my soul, but your prayers are being felt. I am not sure if I will update again until we are back in Utah. I just needed you all to know that we are thankful for your love. so thankful. Tomorrow we will be doing the impossible task of letting our sweet little angel go back to live with her Father in Heaven. We will miss her everyday.

Please join me in praying for the McDonald family to give them comfort and faith in this trying period.  I can’t imagine how they feel and I pray God’s love and peace over them.

I just joined a non-profit Christian organization that promotes getting Christians out to vote. Last election 30 million Christians sat out on the elections and if even 1/4 of them got out, it would have made a difference, I think.

I know some of you are pastors and leaders for your churches. I encourage you to join the “Champion the Vote” initiative to help get more Christians out to vote this year.

For more details, visit the Champion the Vote website or see the video below:

I graduated from BYU in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree and registered for a Masters degree program that offered evening classes that fall.  At the time, I was working part time as a business development consultant for a large company in Provo, Utah.  I had student loans and planned on getting a full-time job by the fall so I could pay for my Master’s degree.

I had never had a problem getting a job, but that summer every job I applied for (including within the company I worked for) didn’t pan out.  I interviewed at least 20 times for various jobs throughout the summer and got close to getting a few of them, but for some reason it just didn’t pan out.

With each job that I was turned down from, I continued to pray and try and stay optimistic.  I was certain that I would recieve a job and had all the faith that the Good Lord would provide by giving me a full time job so I could move forward with my education.

A few weeks before classes started my faith was shattered when I received a bill from the University stating that I owed full tuition for the upcoming quarter.  I looked at my bank account and although I had been trying to be frugal and save as much as possible, I still didn’t have enough to cover the costs.

Crushed, I dropped to my knees in my room and offered a prayer.  I explained to God (as if He didn’t know already!) how hard I had been looking and working towards preparing for the future.  I talked with Him about being confused as to why things weren’t working out.  I shared my frustration and my fears about the future with Him.

After getting everything out, I sat and waited.  I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but just followed what I felt I should be doing.  I’m being a bit facicous, but I thought God would open the heavens and show me where the pot of gold would be so I could waltz on into school and drop my full tuition down and life would go on just as I had planned it.  I would point to the heavens and thank God and then move on with my life.

What God had in mind was a much different (and better) plan.   After a few seconds, I felt an impression come over me that my Grandmother needed help.  That came as a surprise to me.   I had been praying for something altogether different.  I tried to re-focus on getting an answer about school, but my mind kept coming back to my Grandmother.  As I thought about her, I received another impression that was frightening to me.  It was that I needed to drop out of school and move in with her.  That impression floored me.  I was an independant 26 year old man (and single).  How was that going to prepare me for securing a good career and possibly a wife and family?  Furthermore, I had been estranged from my mother and grandmother after I had decided to join the Mormon Church and hadn’t really communicated with them for 15 years.

Although I had clearly received revelation, I wanted to not believe it was true.  I got up and walked out of my room.

I tried to put the feelings and thoughts out of my mind about quitting school and moving in with my grandmother aside, but I couldn’t do it.  Finally, I decided that I would fast and pray for revelation to know what I should do.  That weekend was LDS General Conference (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mormon General Conference, I’ve written about it here and here) and so I thought that it would be a good opportunity to see if God really wanted me to move up to live with my grandmother.

As I listened to Conference nothing in particular stood out to me.  All of the talks during the Saturday session were good, but nothing earth shattering.

Things changed during the Sunday session though.  Thomas Monson got up to share his talk entitled “Models to Follow“.  While he spoke, another impression came over my heart and my mind that I needed to move in with my grandmother and drop out of school.  This time, as the Holy Spirit washed over me, all doubts and fears were removed and I knew what I needed to do.

Three weeks later, I was living with my Grandmother.  One week after that, I got my first job that launched my career (and paid for my Masters Degree a year later).  Two weeks after that, I met a beautiful young lady who is now my wife.  We have two beautiful young children.

God hears our prayers.  He knows what is best for us.  Many times we get in the way by trying to force things to happen, but if we let go, He will lead us to where we need to be.  God answers prayers in a variety of ways.  If we prepare our hearts and clear our minds, God will speak to us through prophets and directly to us as well.

I encourage you to watch this video in preparation for conference.  Maybe God has something in store for you that He wants to share through his prophets.

I read a recent article that states the following:

On Wednesday Hudson…revealed that a group calling itself Catholics for Obama had been making push poll phone calls in support of the president’s re-election bid. Among the questions being asked, he said, was “How can you support a ‘Mormon’ who does not believe in Jesus Christ?”

The article goes on to mention some other shady things the campaign is doing in Ohio to drum up support for Obama.

What are your thoughts?

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