Warnings, Calamities, and … Hope?, by Matt

Today marks the last day of the Family Proclamation Celebration. I hope you have loved it and felt renewed in your commitment to faith and family. Thank you so much to all my guest post contributors. I received messages of appreciation from friends and strangers alike about every single one of those posts every day, and I, too, gained something from each message. Thanks also to you readers who came and participated with your comments and encouragement. The drawings for prizes (based on participation via comments or blog hops) will happen shortly and will be announced on all four hosting blogs in the next couple of days.  Tomorrow, here on Diapers and Divinity, we’ll begin a new series intended to help us prepare for General Conference and to introduce the next round of General Conference Book Club, so make sure you stay tuned.

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of my favorite contributor of all, Matt. I’m partial to him because he married me and fathered my children. Frankly, he’s the means by which I am able to have a deep testimony of the power and blessings of family, and the reason I look forward to forever after. I nagged invited him several times to participate in this celebration, and despite his early trepidation, he came through beautifully, just like I knew he would. Blog friends, meet my main man.  🙂


In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles state, “We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

The scriptures are replete with prophetic warnings of calamities. Isa. 24:20 Dan. 7:21 Dan. 12:1 Joel 3:15-16 Hag. 2:6 (Hag. 2:22), Zech. 14:2, Mal. 4:1 (3 Ne. 25:1; D&C 133:64; JS—H 1:37), Matt. 24:7 (JS—M 1:29), 1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 3:1, Heb. 12:26 (D&C 84:118), 2 Pet. 3:3, Jude 1:18, Rev. 6:12, Rev. 11:3 (D&C 77:15), 1 Ne. 14:17, 2 Ne. 6:15, 2 Ne. 30:10, 3 Ne. 21:11-19, D&C 1: 9, D&C 1:35, D&C 5:19, D&C 10:65, D&C 29:14, D&C 29:16, D&C 29:21, D&C 34:9, D&C 35:16, D&C 38:12, D&C 43:18, D&C 45:26-27, D&C 45:30-33, D&C 45:40-42, D&C 45:47-50, D&C 45:63, D&C 45:68, D&C 87:2, D&C 88:85, D&C 88:91, D&C 101:11, D&C 103:2, D&C 106:4,  D&C 109: 45. D&C 110:16, D&C 112:25.

The war in heaven still rages today, waged by Lucifer and his minions in their never-ending quest to destroy the family unit. Why target the family unit? It is the one and only vehicle for returning to the presence of God. (1 Cor 11:11, D&C 131:2.) Knowing this, God established great blessings of protection for families, affixed those blessings to covenants, and offered these covenants to His children on the Earth, if they will but obey.

Disobedience and rejection of God on a societal and national scale is not new to this last gospel dispensation. Adam and Eve lost entire generations of their posterity to the trappings and wiles of the evil one, who convinced them to abandon their faith, their covenants and salvation (Moses 5:13, 55-57.) So wicked and perverse were the generations of Enoch’s day that the children of God who laid hold upon the gospel were ultimately translated, perhaps to spare them from the unending scene of bloodshed, lawlessness, and debauchery of the pre-flood generations. Apocryphal writings attest to the degree of wickedness reached by these people and allude to a complete and utter abandonment of the family unit in society, and total disregard for the sacred, creative powers bestowed by God upon his children.

There are many instructive parallels to these last days, in studying and pondering the divisions between the wicked and the righteous leading up to the establishment of the City of Enoch, and the eventual translation of that city prior to the destructive Deluge of the Earth with water (Moses 7:23-26.)

In these last days, the righteous can plainly discern the effects of the failing of the family. Satan has some of the greatest tools he’s ever had, all aimed at the destruction of the family: intense financial pressures, crushing debt, an overtly sexualized culture, the stain of pornography, and back-sliding moral standards. Social scientists, cultural anthropologists and clergy alike have proclaimed the harmful effects on society stemming from the dissolution of the nuclear family unit. Empirical research shows the stresses divorce places on single parents and children. The cycles are vicious and self-reinforcing: boys growing up without fathers often grow up to be like their fathers, lacking much-needed experience and skills. Abusive and absent fathers share accountability for their children’s promiscuity, single parenthood, low self-esteem, physical and mental trauma. These chaotic environments cannot instill values, moral standards, and cultural norms that embody God’s truths and laws.

In the midst of an endless march of horrific news stories, unending wars and threats of war, the dreary political landscape, and our own uncertainty and fears, our prophets have not remained silent!

While serving as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, gave an October 1998 sermon, in which he warned, “There is a portent of stormy weather ahead, to which we had better give heed.”   Three years later, just after the 9/11 attacks, he said,

“[Our  present situation (war, economy, etc.)] pull[s] us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary.  . . I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.

“Now, I do not wish to be an alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake us. I earnestly pray that it may not. There is so much of the Lord’s work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell referenced this calamity in his last published article in October 2004.

“Prophetically, President Gordon B. Hinckley said to us at a recent general conference that current events in the world did not constitute the “all-consuming calamity.” President Hinckley also cautioned: ‘Peace may be denied for a season. … We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. … Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God. … This is the crux of the entire matter—obedience to the commandments of God.’”

Elder Maxwell’s short but powerful article serves as a keystone, tying simple but essential guidance that serves as a framework for dealing with the ever-increasing severity of the judgments to be poured out upon the earth “without measure.” D&C 1: 9, D&C 101: 11, D&C 103: 2, D&C 109: 45.

Do not allow your love toward your fellows to wax cold, especially within families. Humility bred from a love and reverence for the Lord is a powerful antidote to the hardening of your heart. Service, in any form, will spark love within you for those you serve. Elder Maxwell counsels:

 “Pay heed, therefore, to your inborn spiritual reflexes. Use, even more, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, who can fill you with “hope and perfect love” (Moro. 8:26). He can “enlighten your mind, … [and] shall fill your soul with joy” (D&C 11:13). How precious and relevant these gifts of hope, love, and joy are in any age, but certainly in yours, when so many feel unloved, hopeless, and sad!”

Do not allow despair to take hold of your heart. Despite the loss of hundreds of descendants, Adam and Eve rejoiced when they learned of their redemption from the Fall (Moses 5:10-12.)  Enoch, who refused to be comforted after seeing the Flood and the destruction of mankind, rejoiced in the knowledge of the Redemption (Moses 7:44,47). Alma exclaimed his anticipation of the Savior’s mortal ministry, which mirrors what many of us feel concerning His second coming, “And now we only wait to hear the joyful news declared unto us by the mouth of angels, of his coming; for the time cometh, we know not how soon. Would to God that it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice.”

Many of you reading this are already members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  If you are not, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon, which contains a critically important message about surviving these times in which we live.  Those who are members of the Church should strive to enter the temple and enter into the protective and redemptive covenants with God. Those who have already done so need to master and keep them as if you were clinging to a buoy in a turbulent sea, awaiting rescue.  The Holy Ghost will continue teaching, leading, guiding, inspiring and training you. I end with the immortal words of Neal A. Maxwell, who wrote to you, in the final days of his life.

Do not “refuse to be comforted.” Let the revelations comfort you. Let the scriptures refresh you!

You young disciples are so privileged, and though the times in which you will live will be turbulent, there will be glorious accomplishments, too.

Thus, I have desired to place some perspective on these, your days, and I salute you for what your generation represents and the divine compliment God has given you by placing you here—now.

Make use of these, “your days,” for as you become more like Jesus, there will be more and more things He will give you to do.

My feelings are such that I salute you! Perhaps this feeling is so strong because I have a more keen sense of who you really are than you do, a clearer picture of your rendezvous in these, your days, speaking of you collectively. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!”

I know Heavenly Father’s promises are as sure as His warnings. As we are willing to defend, protect, and preserve families, despite growing calamity, the Lord will continue to defend, protect, and preserve His covenant children.

Matt didn’t write a bio, and he’s already asleep, so I don’t know how much he wants me to tell you about him. First and foremost, he’s my husband, and deserves some kind of trophy for “Excellence in a leading role” in our family. I took this picture just yesterday when we all hiked around in the canyon.  As you can tell by my daughter’s face, her dad is her “favorite grown-up.” Her brothers probably agree. Whatever. I admit he’s my favorite grown-up, too.

Mothers and Nurturing, by Allison Kimball


When I was growing up being a mother was not something I aspired to be. I loved my mother, still do. She was an amazing mother, still is, but I wanted something more out of life. I had degrees to earn, a career to pursue, exotic places to visit.  Motherhood, although something I would eventually do, was not in my 10- or 15-year plan after graduating from high school.

Imagine my surprise to meet the man of dreams, more importantly the man of my list (you know that impossible list of qualities that your future spouse must have) just 9 months out of high school.   I was so young, we were both young, but we immediately started our family.  Now 20 years later I find myself a mother of 9, reflecting back on that beautiful path the Lord has taken me on.  I am so thankful I was wrong about motherhood.  The Lord had a greater plan for me.

However, being a mother is hard!

The Proclamation on the Family says, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children “.  Well the secret is out, I am not naturally a nurturing person.  It’s a struggle for me.  I don’t do it well.

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Some days are endless.  I know there is great joy in motherhood, but sometimes I want to scream and pull my hair out at the monotony and chaos that accompany keeping a house, not to mention the children.  I’m  a very selfish person.  I want a little bit of time alone in a day, time when no one is calling my name.  Time when no one is touching me or demanding something of me.  Quite often, unless I find time between the hours of 12am and 5am, I don’t get that time alone.  My life is filled with teenagers, toddlers, and everything in between.  No one’s schedule matches, and everyone needs mom.

The other day as I was slamming the dishes in the sink that were left to soak (without any water) feeling sorry for myself, tears streaming down my face, I said, “Sometimes I don’t really like being a mom.”  Of course, the instant the words came out of my mouth I regretted them, because I love my job as a mother. It is my chosen profession, one that has challenged me in every way imaginable.  It’s a job I still don’t do well.  I’m not a perfect mother, far from it. I make mistakes every single day, multiple times a day, but my love for my children keeps pulling me up to try again.

“We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection.”  (Patricia T. Holland, “One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ, Ensign, Oct 1987)

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The beautiful thing about each of our lives is that we are imperfect, and the Lord loves us and continues to bless us despite our imperfections.  He knows how to succor me personally when I am doing the best I can do and when I don’t think I can put one more foot in front of the other.  He knows how to give me snapshots of who my children are, their value and worth after a long day when all the wrong buttons have been pushed.  The Lord in His wisdom has filled my imperfect life with tools to teach me how to nurture and love my children in ways that are beyond my own ability. He allows me to fulfill my role as mother.

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So today as I look out the window and watch the children play I am so thankful for this calling from the Lord (see L. Tom Perry, “The Importance of the Family,” Ensign, May 2003, 40).

“Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children. One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.”4 (President Boyd K. Packer, “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”, Ensign, May 2012)

He has taught me once again, patiently holding my hand through the temper tantrums, the mounds of laundry, and the endless dishes. I have grown in the last 20 years in ways I never thought possible.  I still have a long way to go before nurturing and patience come naturally for me, but I have faith that the Lord will take this weak thing and make it strong to bless the lives of His choice children.

Allison Kimball:
I am your basic run-of-the-mill mother.
I have 9 amazing children.
I am wife to 1 magnificent man who loves and supports me.
I used to have 13 chickens, traded them in for 1 puppy.
I praise God whenever I can.  I would be nothing without Him.
In my free time I quilt, paint, design digital scrapbook kits, and read.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway. Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art! We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

Faith, Prayer, Repentance, Forgiveness: The Power of Apology

There’s that one song on the radio that says over and over, “It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late.” That song bugs me, because if you’re still alive, it’s not too late. I mean (Pretend I’m talking out loud to my radio in the car. It’s been known to happen.), you might be too proud to apologize, or too scared to apologize, or it might seem too hard to apologize, but I guess that doesn’t make for good lyrics. Too late? Lame excuse.

The Family Proclamation lists the ingredients of successful marriages and families. If I were to rewrite one sentence from the Proclamation in the form of a recipe, I think it would look something like this:


It seems simple enough, but it is hard work (which, coincidentally, happens to be one of the ingredients). And since it is challenging, we mess up. Often. That’s why I think that the two ingredients that will have to be added over and over to the recipe are repentance and forgiveness. Consider the following words of wisdom:

“To be guileless is to have a childlike innocence, to be slow to take offense and quick to forgive. These qualities are first learned in the home and family and can be practiced in all our relationships. To be guileless is to look for our own fault first. When accused, we should ask as the Savior’s Apostles did, “Lord, is it I?”. If we listen to the answer given by the Spirit, we can, if needed, make corrections, apologize, seek forgiveness, and do better.” —Elder Robert D. Hales

“To any[one] within the sound of my voice who has trouble controlling his tongue, may I suggest that you plead with the Lord for the strength to overcome your weakness, that you apologize to those you have offended, and that you marshal within yourselves the power to discipline your tongue.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The sweet peace the gospel brings never comes at all when we justify our misconduct or blame others for our unhappiness. But there is a way out. … Face up, quit, get out, confess, apologize, admit the harm we have done…” —Elder F. Burton Howard

“On a visit to see my Uncle Ray last year, … Hanging on the kitchen wall was a framed expression which my aunt had embroidered. It carried a world of practical application: ‘Choose your love; love your choice.’ Very often this will take compromise, forgiveness, perhaps apology. We must ever be committed to the success of our marriage.” —President Thomas S. Monson

“Every marriage is subject to occasional stormy weather. But with patience, mutual respect, and a spirit of forbearance, we can weather these storms. Where mistakes have been made, there can be apology, repentance, and forgiveness. But there must be willingness to do so on the part of both parties.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley

“You have felt [your Heavenly Father’s approval] in your family when you asked the pardon of your spouse or forgave a child for some mistake or disobedience. These moments will come more often as you try to do the things you know Jesus would do. Because of His Atonement for you, your childlike obedience will bring a feeling of love of the Savior for you and your love for Him.” —President Henry B. Eyring

There’s a reason I chose to write about the importance of repentance and forgiveness in family relationships. The reason is me. I make mistakes all the time. Just yesterday, I lost my patience with both of my sons for performing below their potential at school. What I considered tough love was probably, in part, actually a little unkind. This morning, I lost my temper when my daughter refused to eat breakfast and responded to me with defiance. Here’s the thing: I am the parent, but I am still the learner, too. So when the Spirit pricks at my heart and says, “You could have handled that better,” then I need to swallow my pride and apologize. When I dropped off Natalie at school today, before I let her hop out of the van, I pulled her up onto my lap, looked into her pretty blue eyes, and said, “Does Mommy need to apologize?” She nodded her head. I told her I was sorry and that I had acted wrongly. I asked her forgiveness. I gave her a hug. And as I drove away, I promised Heavenly Father that I would try (again and again) to do better.

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he usually says sorry first–even when the fault is as much or more mine than his. It is an immediate diffuser of coldness and distance. When someone sincerely says “I’m sorry,” we can breathe easier as we work through our disagreements. And because we hope our Heavenly Father will forgive us all the way when we make dumb mistakes, we need to be willing to offer that same kind of forgiveness to others, especially those with whom we have covenant relationships.  I’ve always loved this powerful analogy by Elder Holland:

Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, ‘Hey! Do you remember this?’ Splat!

Well, guess what? That is probably going to result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of your landfill with the reply, ‘Yeah, I remember it. Do you remember this?’ Splat.

And soon enough everyone comes out of that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy and hurt, when what God, our Father in Heaven, pleads for is cleanliness and kindness and happiness and healing. Such dwelling on past lives, including past mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

So when you find that your relationship with your spouse or your child is strained (as it will often be), put down your shovel and pail, put down your pride, and say “I am sorry.” When spoken with a humble heart, and then followed by an “increase of love” or any of the other ingredients, your marriage and family recipe is one step closer to successful. The song got it wrong: It’s never too late to apologize.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Principles of Successful Families, by Becca Wilhite


When my kids were small, hours were eternal. And there were so many of them in a day. It was impossible to find an activity that could adequately fill one without driving me to lunacy or complete physical exhaustion.

Years passed, full of those ceaseless, relentless hours.

What happened, then? When did the space-time continuum shift? Why is it that now, hours are scarce, precious, and all too short? Time, that monster that used to hover over me, huffing out the moments like hot breath, has disappeared, been replaced by a frantically-ticking clock, spinning seconds into hours, into weeks and years.

These days, it’s my most important work to wrangle that clock into submission and slow down one hour a day. Keep my finger on the second hand so it won’t get out of control and run away with my family’s moments.

A few minutes of that hour happen in the morning, when groggy, bed-head kids and half-primped teens and at least one sweaty, post-work-out parent (the other parent may have abandoned the work out ritual, again) meet at the kitchen table for scripture study. It’s one time in a day that I’m grateful that school is in session. The forced schedule kick-starts our morning motivation. Even through the yawning, the paper-scorching morning breath, and the zoning out, the words get spoken aloud. And we pray together, and I pray in my heart. I pray for the sinking in. I pray for the application. I pray they’ll remember the sweet moments here, not the other kind.

The rest of the wrangled minutes come at the other end of the day. Back around the table, in what have become “our spots,” we gather for dinner. It’s my one consistent offering. We don’t do fancy. We don’t even always do tasty. I’m no Julia Child. I can’t even spell “gourmet” without looking it up. My kids didn’t know meat came on bones until I accidentally introduced them to KFC. Now they think of The Colonel as a kindly uncle who stops by once a year to clog our arteries.

Dinner is simple around here. I don’t mean easy – give me credit, please. I mean unadorned. And while I try to feed these people healthy meals full of green and growing things, that’s not even the most important part for me. The nourishing I aim for is the other kind. These minutes, the ones carved out of every evening, stolen from work schedules and rehearsals and practices and play time, these minutes hold the moments.

At the table, between passing the white salad dressing to that kid and the pink salad dressing to this kid, we hear the stories that make up the missing hours of the days. We hear the giddy stories about the boy who almost said the most charming thing. We hear the angsty stories about the friend who is, if not actively in trouble, heading that way. We hear the hilarious stories that don’t translate to any place but that table. Sorry. You had to be there. We hear the frustrating, the exciting, the proud-making stories. We hear and we tell the stories of the other parts of our lives.

And in sharing the stories, we recapture a few of those spinning moments. Every day, a few minutes at a time.

Becca Wilhite loves being a wife and a mom and a writer. In that order. Consider yourself invited to visit her online anytime at BeccaWilhite.com

[Editor’s note: Becca is also a master friend.]

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway. Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art! We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

When Founded upon Christ, by Becca Riding

Cover me, I’m going in…

I am a mother of 4.

In Jim Gaffigan’s most recent stand-up routine he says “Want to know what it’s like having 4 kids? Just imagine you’re drowning…and someone hands you a baby.” Mother of Four is a new title for me, having only recently acquired that Fourth, and I’m still getting used to the water, as it were.

It is a Thursday. I get up bleary eyed and stumble to my kitchen to dig out some stale cereal for the hungry masses to eat for breakfast. There, on my kitchen counter, is a box of peaches waiting to be canned. Half a bushel. Staring me down. “Yes,” I think, “I will get to those today.”

Cue the shrill cry of a distressed newborn. I throw a handful of cereal in my mouth, take a gulp of milk, and go scoop her up. And what’s this? Crying baby…who….won’t open her eyes?? This is new. Four kids, and the surprises keep coming. Quick call to my pediatrician to take advantage of the fact that I’ve now paid enough co-pays to buy him a car. Baby who won’t open her eyes? He has no idea. So, you know, we’re figuring that out. As I’m talking on the phone, holding Baby Four in one arm, I’m using the other arm to wash peaches in the sink.

Until Three starts puking on the carpet, raising the question: What in the world did she eat so early in the morning that is THAT color purple??? Awesome. But at least it didn’t seem to bother her; she never even took her eyes off “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Plunk Baby Four in her bouncer to fend for herself for a bit. I am on my knees, humming as I scrub the carpet.  The peaches on the counter roll their eyes at me.

I am going to get those darn peaches canned.

Two trips to the doctor and several hours later, I have pawned One and Two off on a Christlike Protestant neighbor, but Three and Four are both screaming at the top of their lungs. They are miserable. They want to be held, by me and only me. They cannot be comforted, but I alternate between one and the other, back and forth, as they continue to shriek. My eardrums are, quite honestly, over it.  I am trying, very hard, not to lose it utterly.

Which is when I lay them oh so lovingly and gently on the carpet, wrap an apron around my courtesy-of-your-children waist, and bottle those peaches. Happy little slices, sprinkled with Fruit Fresh, and packed neatly into their gleaming jars.  Perfect. Just like the good little Mormon I am, I am canning to the sound of misery and outrage, the soundtrack of this moment in my life. And as I stand here, white knuckle gripping my sanity and pouring sugar syrup into each jar, I think “Oh, please. Just let the Savior cover this day. Let Him cover my inability to do and be everything I need to be and can’t be today. Please let the atonement cover it.”

And the greatest thing is? It does.

Becca Riding was born and raised in Utah but calls North Carolina home. She served a mission in Switzerland, married her very best friend, and has four kids. She recently completed her first-half mile jog, which she’s pretty excited about, and she seriously needs a nap.

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Look at what you could win if you participate in today’s blog hop! You have until Sunday to add a link to your own Family Proclamation Photo Essay post at at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, or at Middle-Aged Mormon Man…  All you need to do is put up some of your own photos with phrases from the Proclamation. Better get busy!

Would you like a beautiful photo proclamation book? It uses the entire text from The Family: A Proclamation to the World to accompany your photos! Designed by Jill Means it looks great with color or black and white photos. You can see sample pages above.

Viovio is giving away a $50 gift certificate for one lucky participant in today’s blog hop to use in ordering their own personalized photo book! The Family Proclamation template is created for a square book, so the winner will be able to create a book from any of the square sizes – 3.5 x 3.5, 5×5, 8.5×8.5, 10×10, or 12×12. Viovio produces gorgeous, high-quality photo books and photo cards. With a variety of templates to choose from you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit to showcase your family photos.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway. Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art! We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

Marriage Is Essential, by Michele Stitt

A few years ago, our LDS Bishop called me into his office where he was counseling a newly married young couple.  “Tell them what it means to be equally yoked,” he directed.  “Tell them why you and Jeff are happy in your marriage.”  At the time, I mumbled something about horses and wagons and pulling together.

…Let me see if I can be more clear now.  I’ll start by quoting the Proclamation:

“Marriage between man and woman is essential to God’s eternal plan.  …Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

Elder David A. Bednar once said:

“Righteous marriage is a commandment and an essential step in the process of creating a loving family relationship that can be perpetuated beyond the grave
1. [because] The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation and
2. By divine design, both a man and a woman are needed to bring children into mortality and to provide the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children” (6/06 Ensign, 82-84).

It has been said that in a contented marriage, partners have 5 positive feelings or interactions for every 1 negative one.  Since Jeff and I have been hitched to the same wagon now for nearly 15 years, I thought I’d share 5 POSITIVE THINGS he does that reinforce our partnership.

He actively loves (which I’m sure often involves “praying with all the energy of his heart” for charity).  He makes sure we have a weekly date; he brings home newspapers from his travels for me to read and discuss with him; he always shares his chocolate.

He listens.  He understands that I cannot sleep if the kitchen is a mess, so no matter how late he got home from work or how tired he is, he works beside me until the last dish is loaded in the washer.  He understands unspoken cues like—pulling-the-blanket-over-my-head-on-Saturday-morning means “Please feed and dress the kids and make sure they’re ready to go to soccer/piano/scouts/etc. by the time I get up.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught

“I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to [strengthen marriages…It is that] every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion… Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.”  (11/04 Ensign, 82).

Jeff gets this.

Jeff forgives and moves on.  When Jeff and I were first married, I backed his brand new car into a cement pole.  When I called Jeff to tell him the bad news, I expected the first big trial in our fledgling marriage.  But do you know what he said?  “Are you okay? Don’t worry about the car.  It’s a car.  But you—how are you?”

Do you know what is even more wonderful to me about this story?  In all the time since this accident, Jeff has never complained about our insurance rates going up.  He never stands behind and beside the car waving his arms (like missionaries do), to help me back up.  He forgave and forgot about it.

As I think about Adam and Eve, they inspire me as people who certainly had trials but who “got over it” and moved on as equal partners.  To quote Marie Hafen:

“Adam and Eve fell that they might have JOY.  But they didn’t skip merrily out of Eden singing and wishing everyone a nice day.  They walked in sorrow into a lonely world, where they earned their bread by the sweat of their brows and learned about joy in the midst of misery and pain.”

Just as we have no record of Adam constantly bringing up Eve’s transgression in their two hundredth year together, Jeff has never once mentioned the totaled back-end of his car.

Jeff remembers who I am.  He tells our children by word and action that I’m a beloved daughter of God.  He remembers I’m his best friend by calling me in the middle of the day just to see how I’m doing; he relishes telling every new dinner guest our “how-we-met” story; he is the first to give me credit as his partner for any success he experiences in his career.

So there—5 good things about Jeff.  I’ll have to get back to you on a negative one.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep gratefully pulling along right beside him.

Michele is a wife and mother of two who currently resides in Alpine, Utah. She and I became friends in Minnesota, and she has been a mentor and example to me for many years. Thank you, Michele, for sharing these great ideas and insights.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway.

Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art!

We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

In Love and Righteousness, by Melanie Jacobson


I love the Proclamation to the World because it talks about the most sacred thing on the planet: the family.

I love my family more than anything, both the one that raised me and the one that I’m raising. It is the primary tool that God gave us to understand His love for us. I’m not sure there’s any other way to comprehend God’s love without functioning within some kind of a family.

Everyday I fail at something as a mother. I rack up the same mistakes over and over again: impatience, impatience, impatience, and impatience. And also impatience. But nothing else I’ve ever done could ever school me to develop patience the way my family can. And being a mother and wife is also working to refine my spirit in ways that nothing else in the whole breadth of my experience could. And my experience is really, really broad. I’ve helped my own parents die. As a teacher, I’ve nurtured hundreds of other people’s kids along a path that was about so much more than grammar and verb tense.

But family is the incubator for the most vital resource this world will ever know: the next generation. And each new generation is the most important one because they will move us forward. (And if we do this right, take care of us when we’re old. I’m looking at you, Eden.) And I am called to shape that. Each of us who raise children are architects of what the world will become. This is what I believe, taken straight from the Proclamation:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

I want to answer before God that I brought my children up right. I’m trying to raise them up unto the Lord so that they can lift everyone around them. I feel the weight of this every day. Sometimes I try to hide from it inside books, TV shows, exercise videos, or girls night out with friends. But when I return to my kids, it always brought home to me that my husband and I were given these spirits to raise, and I can’t fail. I can’t fail in doing the most important work I’ve been given to do on this earth.

It can be hard to remember when that work looks more like cleaning up an overturned box of cereal or plucking dirty underwear from the boys’ bathroom floor. It doesn’t feel like Great Work to drive my kids between a million different appointments or supervise them outside while they play on the cul-de-sac. Then again, I don’t guess the Egyptians slapped the pyramids together in a day, either. Or even a year. I bet they took entire lifetimes to build.

So sometimes after an escape from reality, I have to remind myself that I only have a short window of time to lay the foundation for the lives my children will build for themselves. And I get back to work, one overturned bowl of cereal at a time.

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. Her fourth novel, Smart Move, hits shelves in October.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code:  Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway.

Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art!

We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.