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God’s Hidden Tribute to Mother Eve: This Will Change the Way You See Womanhood

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on the remarkable impact that women have had in my life.

It deeply pains me that over the course of history, some people have insisted not only that women are inferior to men, but that God agrees.

I have been disheartened to learn how many women feel conflicted about their place in God’s plan and whether He really sees His daughters as being equal to His sons.

So today I want to share the most powerful evidence I have ever come across that God—despite the cultural views of some of His children—has always held a grander view of womanhood than any of us could conceive on our own.

This article deals with one of the most widely known scriptures about Mother Eve. The verse in question has been used by some as an excuse to marginalize women, but, as you will see, it actually contains an extraordinary tribute to Eve and all women.

This discovery has fundamentally deepened my respect for womanhood and led me to believe that we are only beginning to understand the breathtaking vision God has for the role of women in the Church and in Society.

 

Nephi Had a Crisis of Faith, Too

Anyone who’s read the Book of Mormon knows that Nephi was faithful while Laman was faithless. But most people don’t realize that while Nephi and Laman ended up heading in very different spiritual directions, they *both* began the journey into the wilderness with serious questions about whether Lehi was really a prophet and whether his instructions really came from God.

That’s right. Laman wasn’t the only who had doubts. As we will see, Nephi did too. But the way Nephi responded to his questions made all the difference.

Considering the barrage of doubts facing many of our close friends and family members (or ourselves), we urgently need to know how Nephi survived his crisis of faith stronger than ever before, while Laman eventually abandoned his faith altogether.

As we read about Nephi’s crisis of faith, a three-part formula emerges–shedding light on how anyone might successfully navigate doubts as they arise.

Blind Mormon Convert Shares Miracle

While serving as a missionary in Mozambique (South-Eastern Africa), I met many people who had extraordinary faith. One such person is a convert named Ilda. She is a remarkable person who left an unforgettable impression on me.

Ilda was always one of the first people seated in the chapel on Sundays. As she waited for the meeting to begin, she would sit there with the most peaceful and light-filled smile I had ever seen. 

I quickly noticed that this Sister also had the sightless gaze of the blind.

One day, my companion and I visited Sister Ilda. After we finished reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her, we asked her who had been walking her to Church. She didn’t live by many active members, so we were interested to know which member had so dutifully taken up the responsibility of helping this sweet Sister walk the 45-minute distance to Church (part of which was through undeveloped, jungle terrain).

Ilda replied, “No one walks with me to Church.”

We looked at each other in complete confusion and then said, “But if no one walks with you to Church…how are you able to make it on your own?”

Surprising Book of Mormon Reference to Heavenly Mother

The belief in a Heavenly Mother is possibly one of the most distinctive beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s not just something that we wonder or hypothesize about. It’s a doctrinal necessity.

Based on our belief in the principles of exaltation, eternal marriage, and spiritual families, there’s no way that we couldn’t have a Heavenly Mother. In fact, according to revelation received by Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father could not be God without a Heavenly Mother.

However, as grateful as we are for the assurances we have received from modern prophets and general authorities, we long to see a hard reference to the Mother we know watches over us from above.

Well, as it turns out, the Book of Mormon may have a surprisingly clear and intriguing reference to Heavenly Mother.

I found the reference as I was doing a careful study of 1 Nephi 11. 

Why We Didn’t Leave the LDS Church Even After…

Two years ago, while at work, I noticed several of my co-workers engrossed in a discussion. I gathered that they were talking about a book or document of some sort, and as the day passed I became intrigued by what had so captivated their minds.

I finally asked one of my coworkers what they were all so fascinated by. He looked at me a bit awkwardly and said, “I don’t know if we should tell you,” suggesting that the reason had to do with me being a devout Latter-day Saint.

Of course, that only made me more interested to find out what they had all been talking about. I pressed him on the subject and he divulged the name of a 90-page document discussing one man’s reasons for rejecting the LDS Church. I had heard of the document before (it’s one of the more popular pieces of anti-Mormon literature produced in recent years), but never thought to read it.

This time I decided I would.

I found the document on-line and began reading. I didn’t expect to do more than skim over it, but ended up reading the document rather closely.

As someone who has studied argumentation and rhetoric, I was immediately struck by the subtle tools of deception used by the author. Whether the author was purposely relying on misleading presentation techniques, I do not know. But I do know that the most emotionally impactful parts of the document were based on deeply flawed logic and zero substance.

However, I did learn things about Church history that surprised me. Obviously it was impossible to have all the context, but some of what was true was enough to leave me feeling pretty unsettled.

I was suddenly plunged into confusion. Many of the claims made by anti-Mormons were based in half-truths, presentation tricks, and outright lies, and yet some of what was true seemed to have no good or plausible explanation and simultaneously could not simply be brushed aside as unimportant details.

In the midst of this confusion, Brittney and I prayed and considered the implications. For the first time in many years, we asked with uncertainty: was Joseph Smith really a prophet? Is this really Christ’s Church?

Does your Church Perform Miracles? A Mormon Missionary’s Response

When I was a missionary in Southeastern Africa, it was very common for Christian churches to claim that they could perform the miracles that Christ and his apostles had performed. Churches would fill chapels and even stadiums so that their audience could witness a pastor give sight to a blind man or heal a cripple.

Because of this cultural phenomenon, people would often ask me, “Does your Church perform miracles?” It was a question that both missionaries and members were familiar with. And it was a question that we struggled to satisfactorily answer.

Of course, I would explain that Christ and his apostles never would have used divine power to make money or to put on a show for the world. I explained that Christ generally performed his miracles in private, commanding the recipient to tell no one what had happened.

And I would also explain that God has restored true Priesthood power and authority—power and authority only found in the LDS Church.

But to be honest, without an account of modern miracles similar to what had happened in Christ’s day, I always felt that, given their cultural expectations, my answer was insufficient.

On the last day of my mission, that changed.

A Mormon Convert’s Clever Response to an Attack on Her Faith

One of our Sunday School teachers was baptized into the Church when she was 35 years old. As the only member of the Restored Church in her family and living in what some call the “buckle” of the “Bible Belt”, her membership was often challenged—particularly by close family members.

One day her brother arrogantly came to her and said, “If I could prove to you that the founder of your Church was an unrespectable good-for-nothing, a gold digger, etc.… would you leave your Church?”

She responded, “Well, yes.”

He got really excited and said, “Well, let me tell you about that Joseph Smith.”

7 Things an Apostle’s Love Story Tells Us about True Love

At our fingertips, we have access to epic tales of romance, songs of passionate affection, and chick-flicks-galore. But while these compositions captivate our imagination, they leave us wondering what ‘true love’ really looks like when it isn’t scripted or airbrushed.

Brittney and I are convinced that Elder Richard G. Scott and his sweet wife, Jeanene, share one of the truly great love stories of all time.

When Elder Scott visited Mozambique, my mission president mentioned how striking it was that, even as a widower, Elder Scott spoke of his wife as though she were still with him. He would say things like, “I don’t think Jeanene would want me to have another piece of cake.” Even though she had passed away 15 years prior, he kept her ever present in his thoughts and conversation.

There’s just no way you can listen to Elder Scott speak of marriage and his “beloved Jeanene” without feeling incredibly touched. Throughout his apostleship, he revealed details of their marriage that help us understand everything true love was meant to be.

The following are 7 traits of true love that we learn from the Scotts.

We Never Expected to See this in a Sacrament Meeting

Something happened this last Sunday that Britt and I never expected to see in a Mormon sacrament meeting. It was certainly surprising but also incredibly inspiring.

After the second speaker finished her remarks, a sweet young girl made her way to the stand to perform a musical number with her Dad, accompanied by her Mom. As the mother played the introduction, we recognized the familiar and beloved tune of “Love is Spoken Here.”

The young girl braced herself as she prepared to sing the first words. She took a breath and began to sing. But to the dismay of her tender heart, the sound that came out of her mouth was not what she had prepared. Congestion and perhaps a little stage fright had taken her voice.

She was clearly mortified. She looked at her Dad with tears in her eyes, not knowing what to do. He hugged her and encouraged her to try again. Her Mom replayed the introduction, but as she started to sing, she again found herself unable to voice the words she had practiced–all while two hundred people watched.

At this point, she buried her head in her Dad’s chest, feeling embarrassed and disappointed. As the ward watched, there was a silent exchange between the young woman and her parents. It appeared that they were all trying to figure out if she should give it one more go.

That’s Not What *Stripling* Warriors Would Actually Look Like…

I think we’re probably all familiar with the iconic picture of Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors. No doubt this depiction, like the animated Living Scriptures rendition, was shaped by popular imagination.

But aren’t we doing the story a disservice by imagining a legion of 18-25 year old warriors who apparently had access to a 24 hr gym and a highly specialized regimen of supplements? 🙂

As it turns out, learning what “stripling” meant in Joseph’s day speaks volumes about what the stripling warriors would have actually looked like.

“Stripling” is a word that, while once common, has virtually vanished from the vocabulary of English speakers. Except, that is, for Mormons who use it to describe Helaman’s valiant warriors. And yet, even we don’t really know what it means. While most have probably never given the word much thought, some of us may think it means “brave,” or perhaps “strong,” or even “young” but in a fairly broad sense.

The 1828 dictionary helps us understand what the word really meant when Joseph used it in translation.

A Miracle and a Metaphor I’ll Never Forget

When I was serving a mission in Mozambique, Elder Richard G. Scott came to visit the members. During his time there, he spoke at a District conference that we packed with as many people as we could find—both active and inactive members, investigators, and anyone else who was interested in the prospect of hearing a modern day apostle speak.

I was so excited that these people whom I loved so much would get such an incredible opportunity.

Elder Scott got up to speak and had not been speaking long when the power went out—No lights, no microphone, and in the sweltering heat and humidity—no fans. Chaos ensued. People started getting up and walking out. Most others began talking with one another. Almost no one was paying attention to the soft spoken Elder Scott as he continued to speak.

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5 Surprising Evidences for the Book of Mormon

So, here’s the deal: a reality of being a Latter-day Saint in the 21st century is that each of us has either personally struggled with a crisis of faith or we have painfully watched people close to us struggle.

Many people want us to believe that this is a Mormon phenomenon. But it isn’t. Far from it.

As society places greater and greater trust in secularism, religion has lost some of its appeal. Secular attitudes have undermined faith in the authority of scripture, the calling of prophets, and the existence of God. Religions everywhere are buckling under the pressure and actually, according to the data, the LDS Church is doing a better job retaining members than many other religions.

But even if that is the case, we still can’t help but ache for close friends and family members (or ourselves) who face a barrage of doubts.

This article is a humble attempt to turn the tables on the doubt that so many members struggle to overcome. We seek to reach the members who desperately want to believe but no longer know how they can.

In this article we use a logical approach to overcoming doubt. And you may wonder why. The reason is simple. People who seriously struggle with doubt have come across information that they find to be both disturbing and convincing. They often feel so compelled by the arguments against the Restoration that, to them, exercising faith in the restored Gospel seems about as foolish as exercising faith in a unicorn.

So, for those who may need a couple of reasons to exercise faith: We’ve got some.

And just to be clear, the evidence included in this article is not the type of ‘archaeological’ or ‘DNA’ evidence that is never really conclusive. We should avoid that type of evidence because it can quickly be invalidated by new evidence.

Instead, we focus on textual evidence because it isn’t refutable and you don’t have to be an expert to inspect it for yourself.

1. The Money System Described in the BoM Is Distinctly Ancient

What Critics Don’t Realize about the Meaning of “Mormon”

I recently interviewed out of state for a job. After some of the pre-interview activities, I went to lunch with several of the other applicants. During the lunch, someone in the group made a thinly veiled criticism of Mormons. I wasn’t offended by it, and I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t really the right time or place, but the thought “awkward” did pass through my mind.

It wasn’t until someone asked where everyone had gone to college that I realized things were about to get a little uncomfortable.

When it was my turn, I confidently said, “BYU.” There was immediate recognition on several faces. By the looks in their eyes, the woman who had earlier spoken poorly of Mormons, along with one other, clearly did not think much of the Latter-day Saints.

Thinking back on the experience and reflecting on a particular teaching by Joseph Smith, I thought about the irony of their sentiments and the woman’s comments. It is an irony that few are aware of and an irony that members of the Church might be interested to know.

What We’ve Always Overlooked about Adam & Eve

Last week we wrote an article called 7 Tools that Could Transform Your Scripture Study. One of the things Britt and I hoped to help people see is that we can get so much more out of our scripture study if we put aside the things we think we already know and approach the scriptures as if there are all sorts of spiritual treasures yet to be discovered (there are).

Today we’re going to share a powerful example of how cultural understanding can sometimes obscure what the scriptures are actually saying.

Here goes:

So, we don’t know about you, but Dustin and I grew up learning that God gave Eve to Adam as a “helpmeet,” or sometimes “helpmate.” In countless discussions and lessons, that is how Adam and Eve are almost always characterized.

The problem is that the terms “helpmeet” and “helpmate” are nowhere to be found in scripture. In fact, research shows that the origin of those words comes from a misreading of Genesis. It’s not just Mormons who have misread these verses, so have Christians in general.

As it turns out, Eve was not Adam’s “helpmeet.” Help and meet are two separate words (hence the space between them in the verses). Eve was “a help” (pause) “meet” for him. There’s a difference, and it matters

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5 REASONS ANTI-MORMON ARGUMENTS ARE TOTALLY UNCONVINCING

Not too long ago, Britt and I were eating dinner with a family member when she proceeded to tell us that she was seriously struggling with doubts about the Church. She told us that she and her husband had stopped attending Church meetings a year earlier and that she didn’t know if she would be able to look past the things she had heard about Church history. We tried to share some of our thoughts and experiences, but she didn’t seem interested in hearing what we had to say. Their struggle was heartbreaking for us to see, but, unfortunately, we know many others like them.

If you are like us, you also have multiple friends, family members, and acquaintances who have struggled deeply with doubts and maybe even left the Church. 

After seeing so many good people struggle, I have decided to do something about it. You see, there are many people who want to believe, but after learning seemingly disconcerting things about Church history, they are unable to work past their doubts.

Too many have been driven from the Church, not because they were looking for a reason to go, but because they happened upon information that they couldn’t reconcile with their faith nor simply ignore.

I personally know what it’s like to struggle with understanding how certain historical realities fit into the story of the Restoration. I also have many ex-Mormon friends, and have become familiar with just about every anti-Mormon argument in the book. And yet, I’m a Mormon through and through.

Today, I am sharing a list of 5 reasons that anti-Mormon arguments are not nearly as convincing as they sometimes seem to be. 

I hope that by sharing what I have learned through both faith and reason, someone who is struggling might find strength and perhaps a few who have left the fold might find their way back.

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7 Tools that Could Transform Your Scripture Study

We don’t know about you, but Brittney and I can’t think of many significant spiritual experiences that weren’t directly related to the scriptures (whether by pondering the words as we go about our day, having a focused study session, or hearing a verse read or expounded in a talk). We’ve come to know for ourselves why Prophets like President Benson have so strongly emphasized that the Book of Mormon, and other scriptures, can change your life.

Dustin and I have also learned, however, that reading a few verses in a “going through the motions” sort of way, isn’t going to change anyone’s life. You’ve got to do more than endure through a chapter if you want to have experiences with the Spirit.

We’ve definitely had our fair share of days when we’ve read just to read. We probably all have. But once you have tasted of the inspiration and spiritual experiences that come through true scripture study, you develop a deep hunger to come back again and again.

The tools Britt and I list below have dramatically impacted our scripture study experiences, and we hope they make a difference for you too.

1. The 1828 Dictionary

I don’t think we realize how quickly language changes. Words that meant one thing at the time of the BOM translation have since taken on very different meanings. Lucky for us, Noah Webster completed his famed American dictionary in 1828. By doing so, he preserved in time the meaning of words at about the exact time that Joseph Smith published the first edition of the Book of Mormon.

Using this dictionary (there are apps and websites for it) can help you find little treasures that you may have otherwise completely missed. We want to share just two examples of the impact that the 1828 Dictionary can have.

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