Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What is the Difference Between a Temple and a Church?

Well, my last post brought to my attention that there are a lot of things I talk about and words I say that don't quite explain what I mean and what I am talking about when I answer peoples questions about my religion. I have decided that maybe once weekly I will try to take one of these common questions and answer it more simply so that my friends that are "Outsiders" as my friend put it, to Mormon culture and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can perhaps get a clearer understanding and picture of what it is I am talking about all the time. I am going to try to keep it simple, but you know me, I love to complicate things. I refer any additional questions you may have to, or you can ask me in person but I'll probably just be confusing. 

 A common question I have failed to answer well has been what is the difference between a Church and a Temple for Mormons?  This is the answer according to me, to the best of my ability. For an official church statement see   But here goes my attempt

A church is a regular meeting house. In a church house we have Sunday services that include the Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society and Priesthood meetings. Sacrament meeting is where we have our sermons, and when we take the Sacrament - which is like communion. Sunday School we learn about the Bible and the Book of Mormon etc. , and Relief Society is a meeting for just the sisters and Priesthood meeting is a meeting for the men. We study the exact same topic, but it allows us to bond as women or as men  in our own unique ways-  like the men all falling asleep and the women all crying a lot (joking, totally joking- sometimes).  

 Any way I digress... We also use the meeting houses for non Sunday meetings such as Scouts, Youth activities, sports,  and dinners. Meetings, meetings and more meetings (we have a lot of committees and meetings).  and also for baptisms  and  confirmations (the gift of the Holy Ghost) which are Ordinances- symbolic things people do to show they are promising to follow God-  if you don't know that word, we use it a lot.   So that is basically the meeting house or church- anyone is welcome there, its where we go for the common every day stuff. Also sometimes they do weddings there, but these are different that temple weddings in that they are like just any other wedding- just till death do you part.  Most often people who get married in the temple have receptions there so that everyone can come and wish them well. 

Ok, so then, What is a temple for?  a temple is a place of higher things. We call it Gods House on earth. Its a place of higher learning- some call it "the Lords University" some say that's BYU, but it isn't. (Go AGGIES!!!)  and its a place more connected to heaven.  In the temple we can do things like baptism and confirmation for our ancestors that have died. We do this in place of them. This is so that those who didn't get a chance in life will have the opportunity to accept that if they want to. We believe people keep learning and growing after they die and just because they didn't have a chance to hear about something here, or just because they weren't ready here does not preclude them from learning about it and deciding they want it later. But the work must be done physically. So we do it, they decided if they want that or not. its not disrespectful or taking away their right to choose anything, its just giving an option to them if they want it.  

Any way,  we also learn more in the temple and make more promises to follow Jesus Christ and live our lives like him. This is why people have to prepare and meet certain requirements before they can go to the temple. You have to be ready because you are responsible to keep the promises you make to God.  Anyone can go to a temple to see inside it and what it looks like BEFORE it is dedicated. If you have that opportunity, I encourage  you to take it.  After its dedicated, you have to meet the requirements, but anyone that meets them can go. (this includes making promises to God and living by those promises.) The biggest and coolest thing, though about the temple (After it is dedicated) , in my opinion, is that marriages are performed there (also called Sealings)  that bind husband and wife  and parents and children together  not just till death but throughout all eternity. The authority to do this is only in the temple, and so it is a very special and important thing to us.   Another cool thing about the temple is its really pretty and super quiet. So its a great place to go and just ponder and be alone with your thoughts.  

So, that is the simplest and clearest explanation I can give you of what the difference is between the Temple and the Church meeting house.  I hope that makes it a bit clearer for my "Outsider" friends. I hope you continue to ask questions and I hope I can get better at answering them.    Here is a good link for more answers on this question  Hope you found that helpful.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Settling For More

A few weeks ago while I was In church I started writing a post on my phone that I never finished, and apparently didn't save properly. It was supposed to be about how God had bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves, how sometimes the things that we want are far below what he would give us, what he has in mind for us. I know that is true, and I know in my life when I align my will with Gods will, that is when i find the most happiness and joy. 
  I don't know what I was going to write that Sunday, but recent events have given me great cause to ponder this subject in terms of marriage, Which seems to be your favorite subject to read about. There are many kinds of marriage available here on the earth, organized by governments, by men, and by religions. There is only one Marriage that I believe to be organized by God  and as a covenant, if lived up to valid and recognized by him not only for here and now, but throughout all eternity. Families are the most important part of life here on earth, and throughout eternity, so this is a subject I take very seriously.
  For the past few weeks some of my co-workers have been playing match maker with me. There is a guy we all mutually know that is a very very wonderful man, an excellent worker, kind, good looking, and has many many great qualities. I consider him a very great and dear friend, and for reasons I will try to explain, that is where it must stay, no matter how closed minded anyone else believes I am being.
  I have tried to think over the past couple of days how I could possibly explain to anyone why it is so important to me to marry a worthy  priesthood holder in the temple. I don't know that I can do it justice honestly, but I will try. One reason this dear man for now must only be a friend, is that he isn't a member of my church, and he isn't able to take me to the temple to marry me.
  Some have expressed that it is sad that a relationship of that nature could be cast aside just on the grounds of religion, if it were just religion then that truly would be sad. But it really isn't. My church doesn't say I can't marry a non member, I know many that have and have made it work, and even sometimes later in life their spouse may reach a point where they decided to join the church and be married in the temple, but this arrangement is not for me.
   I wish I could even begin to explain the blessings that are possible through and eternal and celestial marriage, I don't even fully understand them though, and I wont have words. I just know that God wants me to have more than just someone I am married to for here and now, that brings me a measure of joy, God wants me to have a fullness of joy, and that is available only in his holy house (the temple) through making and keeping sacred covenants. 
  Even in the short term, if I were to marry someone not believing in and following the gospel of Jesus Christ, and living and making the same covenants and on the same religious course as me, it would just be settling for less, it would make me unhappy and cause me great heart ache no matter how much else love, or fun, or how many things in common we had. 
  The first and greatest obstacle I thought of was actually the Word of Wisdom.  Speaking particularly of this instance, I know he would want to have coffee, tea, and alcohol in my house. I could compromise and make this work, and it would be OK. But, I don't want it there. I don't want it in my house. It would be a source of constant internal conflict that I have no doubt would over time erode away the strength and love in our marriage and result in divorce
 Even in dating, I know that the law of chastity would probably lead to conflict, and that is yet another concern. He may be respectful and that would be fine, but it would still be an underling stress and conflict if one doesn't believe in no sex before marriage.  Another problem  in marriage, would be the constant struggle, to constantly be going alone to church, to put my children in an unstable and conflict filled battle ground,  and to not feel like I was understood  in this aspect of my life would be exhausting to me. He would also feel constant pressure to either join me, or would pressure me to not go so I could spend time with him. Church stuff takes a lot of time. 
  Also,  I would like my marriage to be a partnership to build a family for eternity, with eternal goals, based on a foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want my husband to help teach these things too.  When I get old, I want to go on a mission with my husband, this would be yet one more thing I would be required to sacrifice for a non temple marriage
  I understand that temple marriages do not always work out ideally, that there are struggles and still divorces, and spouses that give up on their covenants and these struggles still exist for some. I know that some marry a non member and eventually they get those things that I don't want to sacrifice, I know its possible for that change over time.
 The thing of the matter is that, I don't want to start knowing that I am already in that battle. I don't want to have to constantly hope for and pray for that change in a spouse. I have waited 30 years (What girl doesn't start planning her marriage from birth? ) and I am willing to wait 30 more, or even more than that if necessary to have a marriage that can be built on eternal foundations. I will wait and trust in the Lords timing till that time I can settle for more than just here and now, more than just what will make me happy for an instance. True happiness is longer lasting, it gives hope despite challenges and it looks for and builds towards eternity. 
   I love my friends all of them, whether they believe in God or not, whether they are Mormons or not. I think everyone in humanity has a great deal to do to help each other and contribute to each other. I appreciate the diversity of growing up and being around people of different faiths, or no faiths, there is much we can all learn from each other. But in terms of marriage, dating, those relationships, I cannot settle for less than what God has planned for me, I cannot settle for less than temple and eternity bound. I wish I could explain all the feelings in my heart on this matter, but here at least is a start. I hope that helps my friends and co-workers to understand a little better. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to Chase off a Door to Door Meat Salesman

One new thing I have experienced in Washington, that I don't recall in Utah, was the door to door meat salesman. Maybe because in Utah everyone has a friend or a neighbor that is a farmer that they can get some bulk meat from cheap, or maybe because my parents got that doorbell ring before I could, but...
  Here in Washington, I get a visit once or twice a year with these guys telling me they have the cheapest meat prices, but you have to buy bulk and have a big freezer, not to mention it costs a lot of money. 
I have always had a dilemma as a single person that I don't need that much meat, so its hard to get rid of these guys for me. Yesterday, I found the quickest solution ever. 

  Bit of a personal note, for those who don't know, starting about two years ago I decided to cut back the meat in my diet. Coming from a meat and potatoes family, I used to eat meat as the main part of my every meal. Well, I guess living by hippies has rubbed off on me. I now eat meat only once to three times (not days, meals) a week depending on my roommate and if I am a guest in someones house.  My own meals I either do vegetarian or Pescetarian (Fish/seafood but not other animal flesh). I rarely buy meat- only if I am planning a special meal for friends.  I am not a vegan- I eat eggs, cheese and that sort of thing, and I do have a little meat each week. Mainly I just believe in moderation, and I don't think my previous habits were healthy for me or moderate in my meat consumption. I don't eat red meat except on very rare occasions.  This is my own personal preference and I don't say this because I think everyone else should eat as I do.  Now, however, you can get an accurate picture as to why I have no need for the door to door meat market, and why I also was not lying  with my response to the salesman.

 So there we were, me and my friend who had come over to enjoy the latest episode of Doctor Who. Just as my friend stepped up to my door, up came the salesman. He started the pitch I've heard all to often, and very quickly I was able to respond  "Thank you, but I am a vegetarian"   a true enough statement that very quickly got rid of the salesman, and got me a "wow!! good job" from my friend. Never thought of that approach before. I don't think meat salesmen will be a problem for me in the future. 

Stake Conference? yay!!

So yesterday and today we had our Stake conference . I just wanted to share that one of the most  personally meaningful talks I heard was about fear. Sometimes, I just choose to be a chicken, and not confront my fears. Sometimes I get tired of being "brave and want to back off confronting them after I have started.  I liked this talk a lot. I tried to capture what the member of our stake presidency said exactly, but all I can give you is the gist of what he said, and that was that our fears are generally generated by our own misconceptions of our inadequacy.  In terms of fears such as public speaking, or our ability to live the gospel, this is absolutely true in my opinion. 
  The Stake RS President also talked about how the savior never gives us an invitation that he doesn't have a way for us to fulfill, and that no man is an island, we need eachother. 

  The member of the stake presidency read one of my favorite quotes from Maryanne Williamson and I think it connects those two Ideas:
 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Knowing Before Hand the Things That I Should Do.

I have been thinking all day today about a scripture in the Book of Mormon, when Nephi was off trying to get the gold plates from Laban. Right as he goes out that third attempt to get the records  he says  "And I was led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that I should do."

This is how I have felt recently. I am dealing with a personal trial of a greater magnitude that what I can really comprehend or express to you at this time, but over the past few months it seems to me that as the time has come for me to take steps to deal with this trial and to face it, just as the moment comes that I need to take this action or that action a sudden inspiration comes to me, and I know exactly what I must do next. At first I hesitated to listened, my delays caused more trials and pains to come my way that what was necessary. I have learned to listen and act, and when I do I feel peace that I am doing the right thing even though often times it is a difficult thing. I am learning to not run away from things that scare me, and I am learning that when the spirit tells me its time to take this step or that step or to do things in this order  then I will be most happy if I listen. 
  I don't think I've ever done things quite this way before. Its very humbling when I try to sit down and come up with what needs to be done on my own I can think of nothing, but when I need it God just sends the answer my way. I feel very taken care of right now, and very very humbled.  
  I have felt over the past few months not to worry about the usual things that I stress a great deal about- for instance, when my roommate was getting ready to move out a few months ago, and I knew I would need to find a new one, I didn't stress. I just felt peace that it would be taken care of and I should just focus on taking care of transitioning into my new ward, and a new roommate appeared out of no where and moved in just as the old one moved out.  That's the way its been for the past few months. 
 I am extremely aware of just how aware my Heavenly Father is of me, How much he loves me, and how well he knows me and my individual struggles, my weaknesses, and my strengths. He has blessed me with great friends, that have even dreamed dreams about how they can help me, and then they were awesome enough to follow though. I am very grateful to them. 
 I have never felt so loved or taken care of in my life, and as I face whatever trials lie ahead, I am grateful to experience something like Nephi, so awesome as being led by the spirit, and not knowing before hand the things that I should do, but knowing no matter what it is I must face, no matter how ridiculous it seems, what insurmountable road block seems to be in my way, I know that God has my back. I know that people who love me have my back, and I know that I will come out of it not only OK, but better than I have ever been before.  Thank you, to all my dear and cherished friends that listen to the spirit, and that are just plain amazing friends.  We can't and shouldn't face things alone, that's why God put us all here together, to help each other. I think its the greatest thing in the world that God is in charge, and he knows what he is doing because none of the rest of us have a clue, but if we listen to him, he will direct ALL our paths. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mand Cave

That is not a typo, I wrote Mand cave, not man cave.  You know what a man cave is, what is a Mand cave? my room, or actually more exactly  my entire house except my roommates room.  What do I do with the Mand Cave? Well, Primarily I sleep, and play Facebook games, watch Netfix/Hulu and waste a lot of time, But occasionally, I use the Mand cave to be super creative and write songs, stories and paint paintings. Because the Mand cave is a place of discovering your soul, unless you are too scared of yourself and prefere to use stall tactics like Facebook to not have to learn anything scary about yourself, which usually comes out when one is being creative. It is my goal today to confront that ugly monster- my inner thoughts, and exercise creativity in THE MAND CAVE!!!   You should do the same, but you can't come to the Mand cave unless your name is Mandi. Sorry, visitors are not welcome, my dog will attack you, find your own cave. Time to go write a song....

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fake it till you make it? No, just become it.

I had a big thought this morning. «Fake it till you make it»  is a lie. Rather, we should work on becoming until we are. A fake dimond will always be a fake dimond, its not going to suddenly change over night into what it claims to be, just because it has claimed  to be so for years.
However, a piece of coal can become a dimond, even though it looks nothing like it, if the correct amounts of heat pressure and time are applied.
«Fake it till you make it» is just lying to yourself and others, its a fake. To truely change and become something truely great and brilliant requires change. True and lasting change requires absolute honesty with yourself and others. Become until you are, dont fake it till you make it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Too Busy Being Creative

Ok,  so I haven't blogged as much as I would like to. The truth is I am just too busy being creative!!! In the past two weeks, I've written like 3 new parodies (tonight I am working on two more) a real song,  I finished a short story, and I painted a picture of a tree rooted on a rock in the middle of a big storm in the middle of an ocean. 
  So I want to keep up with writing here, but I am so busy being creative I dont have time to think of anything to write. Just wanted to give you a quick update. I got to go, I have two new parodies half writen.  

Peace out!!!