Mitt Romney's Mormonism on Display at 2012 Republican National Convention

Mitt Romney, as expected, during the 2012 Republican National Convention, finally allowed his Mormon faith to become part of the broader conversation -- come what may. Not necessarily in so many words, or specifics about Mormonism,  but rather by subtlety highlighting the values that his religion has brought forth in his life. Romney's decision to be more open about being a Mormon has developed slowly, and it is hoped that in doing so now, it will help concerned Americans feel more comfortable about the man.

Apparently Romney's religious affiliation to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is important to many voters, due to a lack of understanding about what Mormons believe, as many have only heard, if anything, the more controversial aspects about our faith, that make Mormonism sound either mysterious, strange or weird.

For most Americans, tonight was really the first introduction to how Mitt Romney's Mormonism has influenced his life, and how much of what he values, in life, relates directly to his faith -- from his perspective. Perhaps his reference to such a thing as Neil Armstrong's spirit still being with us would not alert most to Romney's belief in an afterlife, but you can bet to most Mormons hearing that, his faith stood out like a beacon in that moment -- including many other similar comments throughout the evening.

Leading up to Mitt Romney's own speech where he would officially accept the Republican nomination for POTUS, three very personal narratives, from Mormons who had, years ago, Mitt Romney as a bishop, were shared, with the word Mormon avoided. Rather, Romney's service, compassion and integrity were the focal points to each of these stories.

McKay Coppins, over on Buzzfeed, put together this short video highlighting moments shared by each of the three witnesses, or testimonies, to Bishop Romney's service.  I say it like this because that is how some members online are describing what it felt like to listen to each of these three speeches. Although I would probably describe them more as love-imonies.

Video: Three Stories To Make You Love Bishop Mitt Romney

I personally found the RNC Biographical video, put together to introduce Mitt Romney to America, to be the most compelling part of the evening, to tell Mitt Romney's Mormon story. It was really beautiful, and from a member perspective so much of Romney's success in both his personal and professional life can easily be traced back to his Mormon upbringing, and personal testimony of Jesus Christ.

Video: Mitt Romney Introduction Republican National Convention

Romney's actual acceptance speech, for those who support him, was inspirational. As far as his Mormon faith being brought to light, it was minimal but effective. 

"We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan; that might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to. 
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO. 
Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love -- this world would be a far more gentle and better place."

I've said this many times in writing here on my blog, that this is not a political blog. And it's not. However, I'm also clearly a conservative Mormon and so it shouldn't be a big surprise to most of you to find that now that Mitt Romney is the official Republican party nominee for POTUS, I support him in this endeavor. Nevertheless, I do not intend to use WBMW to campaign and will continue to respect that not all agree with my political leanings.

But I will continue to, on occasion, share my thoughts when the Mormon faith is brought up in the media in conjunction to the current political climate, where I believe there is something to discuss. For instance, even though Romney has been a bit more open about his Mormon faith, I seriously doubt that for those who have been clamoring for months that he needs to talk more openly about about his religion, satisfaction will result. In fact, I believe this will only stir the hornets nest even more and that all hell is likely to break loose, in regard to Romney's religion, over the next few months leading up to the election.  ( BTW, Mitt said "hell" tonight, too. Shocking! ;)

Do I think it was risky for Romney to cop to the media pressure and bring his faith into the campaign? Yes, I actually do. Do I respect him for doing so? Absolutely. Like I brought up in my previous post, knowing that he was going to do this, I really don't feel it was necessary. If people really want to know about Mormon beliefs there are many credible sources, online, to acquire such information. 

Mormons believe in freedom of religion, which is something most American's of faith will resonate with, in his pledge to protect it for all of us. Likewise, the majority of Christians are passionate about preserving traditional marriage. Romney is strong on both of these social issues, and others, of which the majority of Mormons consider issues of morality. These two issues, alone, are likely to make these next few weeks, and potentially beyond, divisive features in conversations everywhere. 

We are living in divisive times. Standing up for Christian values, without intention to do so, finds opposition, and often times closer to home than we are comfortable. Nevertheless, as faithful members of His Church we have made a covenant to stand as witnesses of Him in all things, and in all places and at all times. Mitt Romney, in my opinion, is clearly one who takes this covenant seriously.

As one commenter stated on my WBMW Facebook page:

"We need a President that's not afraid to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Kathryn Skaggs

Mormon Voices: 

How Much Mormonism Should Mitt Romney Share?

Just how much of Mitt Romney's Mormonism he will actually share, during this week's 2012 Republican National Convention, is yet to be revealed. By all indicators, if you happen to be following mainstream media, Romney is finally ready to talk to the American people about being a Mormon. We're already hearing sound bites of what this might sound like.

The Democratic party have been very careful to not make this year's presidential election about the personal religious beliefs of a candidate, and we all can pretty much figure out why. However, that has not stopped the liberal media, in particular, from continually pressing Romney to be more open about his Mormon faith -- and suggesting that his lack, or refusal to do so, is evidence that his Mormon beliefs should be considered something odd, and mysterious, about him

Liberals are banking on the idea that the more controversial, or weird, that Romney's Mormon faith can be presented to the public, the less likely they are going to be to vote for a Mormon.  And as we all know, the liberal media have been diligently working to get every negative aspect about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints out there, to accomplish just that. We see this in a willingness, of the media, to pick up every perceived, negative story affiliated with the Church, originating both inside and outside of the Church -- creating a great opportunity for anyone with an ax to grind, or an agenda to promote, in opposition to the Church -- to have their story noised abroad. 

Over the last few months we've seen numerous, negative stories about baptism for the dead, temple worship, the temple garment, homosexuality polygamy, Church finances, etc. -- All in hopes of casting a negative light on the Mormon faith, thus Mitt Romney. Through all of it, Romney has basically remained silent. Personally, I think that's been a good thing. I don't feel that any good would come if Romney spent his time out campaigning for POTUS discussing, or defending, Mormon beliefs, practices and policies, in the least.

What I do see as a positive, for Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, is to focus his remarks around his personal experiences, as a Mormon -- and how this has formed him as a man people might want to get behind. I think that's more of what serious people are interested in, and not, per se, our doctrines, etc.

Those who are interested in the basic beliefs of Mormonism, are able to easily find credible information in numerous places online. Both and the LDS Newsroom are, in my opinion, excellent resources for investigation. And of course, the public is always welcome to visit our Sunday Services to meet our people, and ask their questions to those wonderful missionaries just waiting to do just that!

In fact, just recently Mitt Romney invited the press, who follow him on the campaign trail, to join him for his Sunday worship, pretty much doing exactly what I think he can, and should do, most effectively -- allow observation.

As members, we also have many opportunities to help those within our sphere of influence, who might have questions about what Mormons believe, to open our mouths and invite our friends to ask us -- a Mormon. I saw a member on Facebook post the invitation, to all of her friends, to ask her anything about the Mormon faith, and she would do her best to answer the questions.

Another member friend posted about an inquiry that his friend has, wanting to know what Mormons think about Mitt Romney? In both cases positive conversations are currently underway. Meanwhile other members of the Church are using Google + Hangouts to invite discussion on various gospel topics. What I gather from each of these examples is how we as members should use a proactive approach to sharing our faith.  I appreciate that members are seizing this "Mormon Moment" to find out what people want to know about the Church, instead of waiting to be asked.

In an odd way, perhaps we should thank the media for opening some of these doors that cause people to wonder about what Mormons believe, as it has opened the way for many of us to discuss our faith.

Unfortunately, Mormons have always had to deal with the underlying suspicions that continue to be perpetuated by tho who oppose, and make difficult, the work of the Church. I don't think any of us, here, believe that this will change -- ever. That just means we take the negatives and create positives for sharing what we really do believe and think.

I'm an advocate of not mixing politics with religion, unless absolutely necessary. Some social issues may fall into this category, because they cross over into what people consider moral behavior. Regardless of our own political leanings I hope we can objectively share our Mormon faith with others who, during this political atmosphere, are interested to know more, without feeling any obligation toward either.

What parts of Mitt's Mormonism do you think he should share and/or avoid?

Kathryn Skaggs

WBMW: Mormon in America: Did They Get Us Right?

Overall, most felt that a fair job was done, considering this was an outsiders' look at the Mormons -- but perhaps not balanced. Okay, I can live with that. And of course the fact that it was only an hour long program, with commercials -- giving little time to cover everything we would have liked to see.

LDS Newsroom:Political Neutrality

"The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established."

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Mormon in America: Did They Get Us Right?

You think we'd learn, but we don't. Us Mormons' still get really excited when we hear that those of a secular, reputable station, like a prime time television show, are going to talk about us, in a big way. Don't deny it either. You all did it, and so did I.

 I saw you.

About a week ago many of us started sharing last night's upcoming promotional video about Rock Center's report on "Mormon in America". Granted, the promo video highlighted a segment in the piece that was done very well -- the tour of Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. So we all immediately assumed that the entire, hour-long report, was going to be great! Our anticipation was high, thinking that finally someone was going to represent what being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was genuinely all about -- for the vast majority of faithful Mormons, who live it everyday!

Did they succeed? Well, that depends on who you talk to... Overall, the general consensus, taking all things into consideration, was positive -- for most. Some were outright enraged, however, that the temple garment was displayed with zero regard to how members would feel having something, to them, so sacred, strewn across the screen for all of America to behold! I do understand this reaction. It feels like you've been violated. I had a similar response the first time I saw the garment being displayed, online, by anti-Mormons. I'm now kind of immune, although I shouldn't be, as I've accepted that this is the world in which we live -- little respect for religious worship and beliefs. So we press on...

There have been no shortage of reactions, by members of the Church, to "Mormon in America". In fact, hours before I was able to watch it, here on the west coast, friends in earlier viewing time zones, were sharing real-time feedback. And from what I was hearing, at that point, not favorable. It seems that it took a while, after a bit of discussion, to decide that most of us are pretty okay with how it all ultimately went down. But can I just sneak in, that my favorite response to the showing of the temple garment was the suggestion that if they must show it, could they please use one of our newer styles? That just made me chuckle -- and of course was intended to be humorous.

In the middle of it all, I decided to ask the question on my WBMW Facebook Page: ( If you haven't already, you should LIKE it :)

QUESTION? To those of you who watched or are planning to watch the NBC special *Mormons in America*, I'd be curious to know what you thought about it? Tell me what you liked and what you didn't like....

Feel free to check out their responses HERE -- very thoughtful.

And including other places around the Internet, the discussions boiled down to basically these general thoughts:

General negatives, with a few critiques:

Definitely number ONE -- Did not like that they showed the temple garment.

Did not like that someone, pretty much clueless about the garment, and the temple endowment, was allowed to comment about it, and other facets about Mormonism, of which she has removed herself. Did not like that she was given "authority" status. It was suggested that it would have been better to take those same questions to an actual Church authority -- like an apostle.

Did not like that they interviewed people from both extremes of Mormonism: From dissident, less-active members, to the extreme orthodox member. (Those who read scriptures for 30 minutes a day, as a family-- and still see drinking Coke as a no-no, to be embarrassed about.)

Did not appreciate former Mormons being a representation of what it means to be "Mormon in America". If this was a show to represent those who have left the Church, then certainly their experiences could be considered valid. Although most agreed that they were touched by the former member, who served a mission,  now in the Book of Mormon Play -- and the respect that he showed his parents. Some even saying that they wanted to hug him.

Would have preferred to hear more voices of Mormonism, that the majority of active Mormons feel would better represent their faith. There seems to be a great lack in proper representation of normal Mormons, in the media.

Did not like that the policy on same-sex marriage and homosexuality was not defined from the position of the Church, when the issue was presented.

Did not like that a feminist Mormon woman was presented as a spokesperson for the Church, or worse, to represent the vast majority of Mormon women who have no problem with equality in the Church -- at least that's how it came across.

Would loved to have seen a segment on the humanitarian efforts of the Church -- and yet we realize this was supposed to be about the Mormon people themselves.

Tired of seeing baptism for the dead brought up.

Positives that definitely outweigh much of the negative, with a few suggestions:

Tour of Welfare Square and accompanying interviews, seen as glowing! Many really liked how the principle of self-reliance was taught, and how we help those in need --  by giving them the opportunity to work and receive employment services to improve their lives -- versus receiving handouts. No victims allowed.

Loved the family they chose to interview.

Did like that the Mormon family interviewed was of a mixed race marriage. The husband was positive example of how Black Mormons, today, have moved beyond the concerns of the previous Priesthood ban.

Mention of fast offerings -- a positive. Perhaps they could have brought in more about tithing to try and clear up some misconceptions -- though we know that wasn't the purpose of the program.

Interview with a current Bishop of the Church.

Liked how the Mormon ethic of work was presented. Return missionaries are able to use skills learned on mission to better their communities. Missions are a great experience.

Showing the cooperative nature of how members serve in the Church.

Brief intro of Joseph Smith and founding of the Church -- well done, but would like to have heard more about the importance of current Prophet and what that means in the lives of our members.

Happy that polygamy was not made a big deal.

Brief explanation of the Book of Mormon -- well done.

It was informative, without being overly negative.

Personally, I pretty much agree with all of the above, but felt there was one BIG miss, if you really want to know about the Mormon people --  and that is the importance of living prophets. Though from a political perspective it was probably best not to go there, as there are some concerns that Mitt Romney may potentially have issues with where to place his loyalties, if he becomes POTUS -- which we all know should not be a concern.

Overall, most felt that a fair job was done, considering this was an outsider's look at the Mormons -- but perhaps not balanced.  Okay, I can live with that. And of course the fact that it was only an hour long program, with commercials -- giving little time to cover everything we would have liked to see.

Now getting back to our, perhaps, overenthusiastic sharing of this program before it even aired. Yes I do think we all need to be a bit more careful, in the future, with how fast we jump on a bandwagon, before we fully understand the journey. And yet, I continue to see the positive side of welcoming outside observations of the Mormon faith -- as it give us better opportunities to discuss what Mormons believe, and to share our own personal stories. And that, is always a good thing!

If you happened to miss Mormon in America, you can watch the entire show, online, HERE.

So, did we cover your concerns and thoughts? And what do you think was the BIG miss?

Kathryn Skaggs

Clarifying My Position on Mormon Women and Equality as Opposed to McBaine's FAIR Misrepresentation

Being a Mormon women blogger that, at times, takes on some of the more hot-button and controversial issues that affect members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the media also find of great interest, has taken me on a very unanticipated journey, and in particular, over the past 12 months. And being a conservative one, at that, who speaks her mind, has added a dynamic that, in and of itself, has become somewhat controversial in online discussions about Mormonism, amongst Mormons' themselves.

In other words, faithful Mormons don't always agree on what it means to act faithfully.

From my perspective, and the way I write, is that to act faithfully is to hearken to the words of living prophets, and I emphasize, whom members sustain by covenant. Which does not mean blind adherence, but is rather an exercise of faith -- trusting that the Lord is directing this work, and will uphold those whom He has called. However, some strongly disagree with me, to the point of taking on my positions, even seeing them as oppositional to the progress of the modern Church.

The 2012 FAIR Conference was recently held in Utah. (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) It was brought to my attention that I had been quoted by one of its LDS women speakers, Neylan McBaine, in her presentation: To Do the Business of the Church: A Cooperative Paradigm for Examining Gendered Participation Within Church Organizational Structure. (See footnote #8)

I later found out that it was not done favorably -- and worse, inaccurately.

I want to thank SilverRain, also a Mormon woman blogger, at The Millennial Star, a conservative LDS website, for her beautiful response to Sister McBaine's FAIR conference talk -- addressing how my comments were taken out of context, and "craftily" used. In doing so, SilverRain shares some very personal thoughts, in response to Sister McBaine's overall advocacy for women in the Church that, I believe, have been overlooked by many -- which makes this a very important read. I think.

In a recent FAIR conference, Neylan McBaine presented ways to include women in a Church which offers the priesthood and administration of the Church only to men. While I agree with some things she wrote, and with some I do not, there is one particular point I would like to examine. 
There is a false dichotomy, perpetuated when Sister McBaine misquoted a post by Kathryn Skaggs. 
In this dichotomy, there are two groups of women in the Church: those who see a problem with the way women are utilized and heard in the Church, have likely been adversely affected by it, and who therefore choose to “agitate for change;” and those who have never felt the pain a male-only Priesthood can bring to women, who don’t question the authority, and who therefore urge women to, essentially, “sit down and shut up” about it. 
But there is another group, of women who have likely been mistreated or misunderstood by a member of the male-only priesthood in the past, or of women who have never been hurt but have still pondered these issues deeply, who would like to see hearts change, but who believe that the male-only Priesthood structure is in place at the will of the Lord, and who support the Lord’s authority structure and the Lord’s established methods for any change that will come. 
In her presentation, Sister McBaine quoted Sister Skaggs, “It’s been my experience in speaking to and reading the thoughts of many progressive Mormon women, that they do not have a strong, LDS doctrinal understanding of priesthood and womanhood…. Faithful, active Mormon women do not oppose the counsel and inspired direction of living prophets….” But there is a whole lot in those craftily placed ellipses.
Please read her entire post: As A Woman in the Church

I had great hopes that perhaps FAIR would assist me in having a correction made. Or, that I would be given the opportunity to personally respond on their website, in a way that would enable me to clarify the reasons I feel that my words are distorted, by Sister McBaine. I felt that responding here on WBMW would not address the FAIR audience. Ultimately what was decided is that I could submit only a few sentences to clarify my position, to then be added as a new footnote to the published article, on FAIR -- which I did.  (Which makes me even more appreciative that SilverRain did such a fine job in her rebuttal. As of this posting, my response to FAIR has not been added, yet.*)

Here is the prompt I was given, by FAIR, and my brief response...

Kathryn Skaggs disagrees with the portrayal of her words. The following clarification comes from her:
Sister McBaine, in an attempt to present an example of how LDS women exacerbate the emotional pain suffered by some women, in the Church, who have experienced gender discrimination, unfairly used two comments that I made in my own article titled: Mormon Women, Priesthood and Equality – posted on my personal blog, A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman -- in a way that I feel is a gross misrepresentation of what was actually intended. My intentions for writing my own thoughts about equality issues in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was to not only validate LDS women's concerns and experiences, but more importantly to highlight how faithful Mormon women deal with such trials of faith -- in ways that strengthen their testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Kathryn Skaggs

See also:

WBMW Woman: "The Crowning Creation and Glory of the Human Experience"

A few months ago I was approached by freelance writer, Frieda Klotz, working on an article for Forbes Woman. She requested an interview with me which, reluctantly, I gave. Her questions were focused on the role of Mormon women in the Church -- a controversial issue, for some, to say the least. After providing my direct answers, to her inquiries, a good month passed and I hadn't heard back from her. I decided to contact her to see if she was still planning on using the interview. She informed me that she was no longer working with Forbes.

My first reaction was one of relief. I struggled, somewhat, with a few of the answers I had given her, and wondered how they would be perceived, especially within the Church, and particularly with my readers here. I'm generally quite guarded about speaking of those things that others would take as criticism toward the Church. However, after careful consideration, and with Frieda's blessing, had decided to post the interview here, as I felt the content important. Needless to say I have not done so -- yet.

But, after listening to a recent Q&A with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, following a beautiful apostolic speech that he gave at Harvard, (Which I highly recommend.) coupled with Mother's Day, which centers on the divine role of women, the timing, now, seems perfect.

*Note - Only an hour after this post went live, I received this email from FAIR President, Scott Gordon:

"It seems we at FAIR can't reach an agreement for how to handle the disagreement you are having over Neylan's quotes. The solution that we talked about, which I thought would be a good solution, will not work. As you may be aware, FAIR is a collection of volunteers with a variety of opinions on various issues. While because of the love that we have for the gospel that usually isn't a problem, there are times where we find ourselves with contrasting opinions among our volunteers.

I think it is important that people have a chance to go check out for themselves what you said on this issue, that way they can see what you said in full context. To do that, we are going to make the link to your blog live.

While I know this may not be everything you want, I hope that this conciliatory step in your direction may help a bit and may bring some traffic to the article in question. I also note that there have been a few blogs popping up discussing this issue. That was going to be my other recommendation that you should blog about it. I think it is great to bring women's issues to the forefront and have a good discussion."

Eternal Marriage: It's Been Worth My Best Efforts

Today I, literally, celebrate my 34 years of marriage to my eternal companion. The older I get the more I understand how significant this accomplishment is, but even more important is its significance to my eternal progression. I will celebrate not only the temporal years that we have been together, but also the success that we have had in applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ to our marriage -- in order to have come thus far. Because, trust me, without it, the beautiful relationship that we share would most likely not have evolved to what it is today -- and that I trust it will be throughout eternity.

The greatest blessing that our Heavenly Father can bestow upon His children is that of Eternal Life - the kind of life that He enjoys -- and in His Presence. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) we believe that this, the greatest of all the gifts of God, can only be bestowed upon a man and a woman, sealed together for time and eternity, in His Holy Temple. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, to bring about His Eternal Plan for our Salvation.

Knowing this eternal truth can better help us to understand why traditional marriage is under attack, and made so difficult in this life. A civil marriage is in the process of becoming eternal, and as such its success is just as important as a temple marriage. The adversary is currently doing his greatest work, affecting the outcome of marriages, in direct opposition to that of God's work. God wants to help us progress eternally. Satan wants to dam our progression and invites us to his way of life -- eternally -- by opposing God. The math is really that simple.

David A. Bednar, an Apostle of the Lord, on why Satan is opposed to marriage between a man and a woman:
"Lucifer relentlessly assails and distorts the doctrines that matter most to us individually, to our families, and to the world. Where is the adversary focusing his most direct and diabolical attacks? Satan works unremittingly to confuse understanding about gender, to promote the premature and unrighteous use of procreative power, and to hinder righteous marriage precisely because marriage is ordained of God and the family is central to the plan of happiness. The adversary’s attacks upon eternal marriage will continue to increase in intensity, frequency, and sophistication. 
Because today we are engaged in a war for the welfare of marriage and the home, in my latest reading of the Book of Mormon I paid particular attention to the ways the Nephites prepared for their battles against the Lamanites. I noted that the people of Nephi “were aware of the intent of [their enemy], and therefore they did prepare to meet them” (Alma 2:12; italics added). As I read and studied, I learned that understanding the intent of an enemy is a key prerequisite to effective preparation. We likewise should consider the intent of our enemy in this latter-day war. 
The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy, and to bring them safely home to Him. Lucifer’s attacks on the plan are intended to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy and to halt their eternal progression. The overarching intent of the father of lies is that all of us would become “miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27), and he works to warp the elements of the Father’s plan he hates the most. Satan does not have a body, he cannot marry, and he will not have a family. And he persistently strives to confuse the divinely appointed purposes of gender, marriage, and family. Throughout the world, we see growing evidence of the effectiveness of Satan’s efforts. 
More recently the devil has attempted to combine and legally validate confusion about gender and marriage. As we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern that the counterfeit alternatives the adversary advocates can never lead to the completeness that is made possible through the sealing together of a man and a woman, to the happiness of righteous marriage, to the joy of posterity, or to the blessing of eternal progression. 
Given what we know about our enemy’s intent, each of us should be especially vigilant in seeking personal inspiration as to how we can protect and safeguard our own marriages —and how we can learn and teach correct principles in the home and in our Church assignments about the eternal significance of gender and of the role of marriage in the Father’s plan." 

Marriage, as ordained of God, is the fork in the road that will either lead us to God or ultimately keep us from Him. Advocates that encourage, and/or support, same-sex marriage work against the Plan of Salvation. Granted, we each have our individual agency to do so, nevertheless it is clearly in opposition to what God teaches about marriage, through His prophets, and why.

The family is not only the basic unit of a moral society, but it is also the basis for Eternal Life. It is the foundation upon which the entire Plan of Happiness was founded and its ability to continue throughout eternity. For those who believe and/or advocate any other way for the family to perpetuate itself, clearly do not understand absolute laws that govern these eternal truths.

My marriage is the most important earthly relationship that I enjoy. I'm so grateful to be married to a person who, from day one, has put the Lord first in his life -- never once faltering. And because of that commitment, our entire family has been richly blessed.

As I reflect on our marriage, I can honestly say that I love him profoundly more than the day I was sealed to him, in the Los Angeles Temple (pictured above) 34 years ago. I could never have predicted the many challenges that we would face in raising our five children --  and everything that goes along with that!

We are now incredibly joyful grandparents to 10 perfect grandchildren. Each one a dear treasure to us. Our lives are rich indeed, because of the commitment that we share to the gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation to our lives. We are far from perfect, but we have a deep desire to be together forever and we both share fervent testimonies of the power of eternal covenants -- made with God.

I love this quote by Dallin H. Oaks. It fits us perfectly!

"A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect women. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together for perfection."

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

Kathryn Skaggs

If you're interested in learning more about what I've personally learned about having a successful marriage: The Three Pillars of a Successful Marriage - and Love, is Not One of Them! ; )

Mormon Messages Video: Saving Your Marriage

Book of Mormon in 60 Seconds Via Business Insider

With Mormonism reaching peak interest among mainstream media, Grace Wyler, a political reporter for Business Insider, decided to make the trip to upstate New York, and see the much acclaimed Hill Cumorah Pageant presented by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) -- where members believe that the record, also known as the golden plates, of the  Book of Mormon, were buried, and ultimately dug up by the Prophet, Joseph Smith -- under the direction of the angel Moroni. As fantastical as this all sounds to those outside of the LDS Church, nonetheless, this is what Mormonism teaches, in regard to how we have the Book of Mormon today.

With this understanding of how Mormons' believe the Book of Mormon came into our hands, it's no wonder that those outside of our faith would be somewhat interested, or at the very least curious, in the opportunity to learn more about this sacred text that the LDS Church holds in equal esteem to the Bible.

I love how Wyler decided to share her experience with her readers on Business Insider. She points out that although the majority of the audience are members of the Mormon faith, the actual script of the Hill Cumorah Pageant is written for non-members. Wyler returned from her Hill Cumorah Pageant experience with a great selection of photographs, depicting key scenes from the play, that tells the story of the Book of Mormon. She shared these pictures with her readers, including simple captions to help them briefly understand the content of the Book of Mormon --  in only minutes. Frankly, she did a brilliant job. So great, that I decided to share it and encourage you to do likewise. And surprisingly, she got most everything spot on! 

Head over to see this great photo presentation of the Book of Mormon in approximately 60 seconds: 

I don't know about you, but I can think of quite a few ways to use this Book of Mormon guide -- beginning with my grandchildren!

I was fortunate to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant, for the first time, just a few years ago. The night we attended we got completely drenched. I figured that many would leave because of the rain. But no. We all stayed, and even in such adverse circumstances, and perhaps because of it, my own testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Prophet, Joseph Smith, were strengthened. Member or non-member, there's really no denying the powerful Spirit that attends this tremendous effort to share the gospel and strengthen testimonies.

Kathryn Skaggs