Fortified

I just got home from a class swim party to celebrate Carmen’s last day of school.
It was a fun party for the kids, and I really enjoyed talking with the other moms.

My daughters love to swim, so I knew they would love the party. However, like most days, I had my hands full.

I think some of the moms looking on were a little concerned about me rolling in with my stroller, floaties, googles, towels, etc. etc. but most moms just gave the look of, “we’re all in this together.”

That’s what I realized. As I visited with these moms, they are all such great people.

We are all in this together. We are all there to fortify each other.

They talked about their little Kinder graduate with such pride, and it was fun to get to know them better. I am always fascinated with people. From a young age I liked to read biographies. I love to ask questions, to interview and to find out what makes people the way they are today. I think it has led me to be a very loving, accepting and non-assuming person.

If you look enough, there is light shed on things you may not understand.

It’s best done when talking with people, but social media has added another element to this. Sure, there are the arguments about whether people are authentic or not, if it breeds a culture of comparison, or if it is just simply a time-waster.

However, what I realize now more than ever is that it’s hard to ask questions.

Sure, I can type on someone’s wall… I can private message, tweet, @ someone, etc. etc. But most of the questions we want to know we are scared to ask.

We want to know if people are ok. If they’re hurting. If they’re still together. If they live their faith. If their brother ever got married. These are questions that matter. Questions I’m happy to talk about when we are sitting poolside, but just seem too personal to dig in via media.

That leads me to my word–fortified.

We take a stand every day. We are creating an “image” for ourselves online, chatting with other moms, serving in our church communities, volunteering at school, in the workplace. Although most of us like to be non-judgmental, assume the best, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, we are still creating little notes in our brain about the world around us.

I am scared when my daughters will live in this world, and have friends that choose such distinct labels for themselves. We can scroll through someone’s profile, and we can see what they like, share and post. This defines them.

Will my girls be wise enough to fortify themselves against this?

Will they know to see the bigger picture, to connect with real people and to assume there is more to the story?

I’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon again. I have a strong testimony that we must read our scriptures daily in order to fight off Satan and to fortify our testimonies. We need to know how to treat others, to love and serve, and we can find God’s word in the scriptures.

President Ezra Taft Benson has instructed that “the Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means”:

First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and His gospel. It testifies of His divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in Him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.

Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Nephi 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon is similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time (3; emphasis added).

Robert L. Millet

I have a testimony of this. I know the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ.

Only when we have drunk deeply of the waters of life—when we have been grounded in revealed theology, rooted in genuine spiritual experience, and established in the things of God—can we hope to withstand the burning rays of doubt and the scorching thirst of skepticism. Robert L. Millet

As I was “drinking deeply” I realized so many of the lies we see today, are exposed in the scriptures. Many of them through Sherem.

Here are a few patterns of those who are enemies of Jesus Christ, explained very well in the following article:

Sherem the Anti-Christ, Robert L. Millet

  • They Deny the Need for Jesus Christ.
  • They Use Flattery to Win Disciples.
  • They Accuse the Brethren of Teaching False Doctrine. 
  • They Have a Limited View of Reality.
  • They Have a Disposition to Misread and Thereby Misrepresent the Scriptures.
  • They Are Sign Seekers.

Having described Sherem’s power of persuasion, Jacob noted:

“And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken”

(Jacob 7:5; emphasis added). Jacob here provides a marvelous pattern for steadfastness in the face of spiritual persecution and intellectual challenge.

-“Sherem the Anti-Christ,” Robert L. Millet

Jacob was fortified. He had been taught. He received revelations. He had a testimony, and he was converted. He had seen angles and he had heard the voice of the Lord. He is now one of my favorite prophets in the Book of Mormon.

He’s also a man of compassion towards women, children and families. He opens his heart as he wrote his record, and I am grateful for his account.

As I raise my daughters in this world, I want them to be fortified against the enemies of Christ.

I want them to be able to get to know people, to ask questions, and to be strong women.

I also want them to be able to wade through social media, to reserve judgments but to also be aware of flattering words and those who are confounding the doctrines of Christ.

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Nora graduated preschool.

She had a great group of co-op kids, and I watched her excel. She can write so many words, color exceptionally well, and gets along well with others. She follows directions and the other moms say she is helpful and kind.

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I am proud of her and her bright future. She is a little more reserved at times, which makes me  worry about those who will try to influence her. I pray even if she is quiet, she will stand her ground and feel confident. I don’t want her to feel pushed around or anything less than special.

She’s a gem. IMG_2286
Carmen graduated Kindergarten. She’s come so far, and she loves to learn.

She wakes up every day ready to go to school. She text messages her teacher at 6am some days, and tells her all the fun things she is up to.

 

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She also has made great friends. They all like TCU, because that’s where their teacher went. They think it’s funny to say “Boo Baylor,” and they all love the color purple. It’s been a class bonding thing, for sure. IMG_3538

However, I pray she will stay true to herself. Every night when we read the scriptures as a family, we talk about “Standing for what’s right,” even when no one is looking. In the halls of her school, I read the quote.

“What’s wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. What’s right is right, even if you’re the only one doing it.”

I love that. We need to fortify our kids to stay true to the covenants and promises they’ve made to follow the Savior, to lift and care for others, even if they are the only ones.

Then Jared…

He graduated high school. Not just graduated, but KILLED IT.

He lettered in like 5 subjects, had a 4.0 for 4 years, and got like a 36 on his ACT.

To say he is smart is an understatement.

I was so glad I could come out to Utah to celebrate him and his accomplishments.

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We also fit in a little girl time, shopping… IMG_3269

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And tie-dye matching shirts…

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But the part that stood out most to me about Jared was during our special dinner to honor him. We had a table of like 30 at a special restaurant and we all took turns talking about Jared, and some memories of him.

A few people got a little teary-eyed, and there were some heartfelt comments.

One thing that my dad said that stood out to me was that 9 times out of 10 when he came downstairs to check on Jared, he was either sleeping, kneeling by his bed to pray, or reading his scriptures.

Here’s a boy only 18 years old, heading off to Thailand to serve God for 2 years, and he’s got it figured out. He knows his Heavenly Father and he communicates with Him daily. He is a great friend. He is sincere. He is kind. He has goals written on his white board, and one of them says, “To be fearlessly kind.”

I love this. Jared is a man who is fortified. He can withstand anything.

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That’s what is so uplifting about family. They fortify us.
They can be some of our greatest friends, examples and a fortress around us.

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I’m so happy I have these people to love and care for me.

I know they pray for me, my daughters and all the challenges of life.

I know they have a testimony of the Savior, and they are trying daily to fortify their families in these last days!!

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Because we really are all in this together!

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