News and Media

Your Field Day

Field Day = life
Matt = you
Matt’s determination = your faith
The track = your life
Cerebal palsy = your personal battles
The spectators = also you

Sometimes we are the runner.
Sometimes we are the spectators.
Every field day should look like this.
Keep trying.
Keep encouraging.
Stop competing.
Everyone gets to finish.
It’s not about who wins.
It’s about who shows up,
and who loves each other.

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Blue boobs.

Stuff was heavy on my heart last night. Two things in-particular.

Yesterday I posted on Facebook about two subjects that are extremely annoying to me: breastfeeding in public and BYU. Ha ha. My Mormon friends who know how many babies are born to college students at BYU might find this ironic combination hysterical. I sure do.

breastfeed byu

Now, as you all know from my last post, for some reason, I am extremely emotional this week.  My overabundance of emotion may explain the guilt I was feeling over these two totally random facebook posts. It wasn’t necessarily the posts that made me feel guilty but two of the responses I received.

One of my young friends was really hurt by my “throw a blanket over it” philosophy. It wasn’t the first and won’t be the last time I disagree with a nursing mom on the ease of covering up while breastfeeding, but the love I feel for this mom who will not back down about my “modesty and politeness-to-others over comfort of baby” stance had my heart bleeding. It just didn’t feel worth the argument to me anymore.

Also, a family member had posted a reply to the BYU post, but then deleted it. She had reprimanded me for not being kind (as I had posted something early about kindness being a large tenet of my faith.)  I responded with a comment that stated that I believed that saying I was not a fan of BYU wasn’t unkind…..but as I lay there last night, I was questioning my extreme dislike of BYU. Those of you who really know me, know how deep my hatred goes. Was it unkind? Was I unkind? Isn’t it really all those jerky BYU people that need to come down off their high horses? Doesn’t everyone know that?

I fell asleep with tears rolling down my cheeks and both of these interactions (among a few other things) weighing heavy on my heart. I was an emotional wreck last night and LG’s arm around me was the only thing that calmed me down until my sleeping meds. kicked in. As heavy as the subjects were nagging at my conscience, I am totally shocked I didn’t dream all night of a blue boob-out at the Wilkinson Center, a BYU football game with a stadium full of crying hungry babies covered by blankets, or perhaps Cosmo the Cougar stripping down to nothing to reveal his true identity as a woman with a latched on baby cat.

I then woke up first thing this morning to this video…

This video is so beautiful. The subject of not bullying is important to me. After 12 hours of guilt, yet still not wanting to change, I couldn’t help but feel like a bully with my overheated opinions on BYU and breastfeeding. I wondered if my intolerances (no matter how petty) had really caused someone pain.

This lecture by Dieter F. Uchtdorf continues to effect my life profoundly. It is probably very poignant to me because no matter how kind I profess to be, it exposes some of my biggest weaknesses. I pretty much fail at this 5 question test every time I take it.

  1. Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
  2. Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
  3. Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
  4. Do you secretly envy another?
  5. Do you wish to cause harm to someone?

O.k. maybe I get a 20% because I can honestly say I don’t really want to cause harm to anyone. Except for the guard on our favorite basketball team. He reminds me of some guys I know personally who are trash talking and arrogant typical hot-headed jerky Mormon basketball players. (The kind that act all nice and righteous in real life but let it all go to pot when on the court. – I admittedly have an open wound because of guys like this.) I totally told my husband on the way out of the game last night that even though he is on “our team” I would love to see him get what is coming to him. I am certain he would run off with his tail between his legs (kind of like he did last night) as his type are prone to do. Dang-it, I’m back to a 0%.

As I pondered further I realized that BYU and breastfeeding would be in the honest answers I would give to several of these 5 probing inquiries. I realized that both subjects are really just surface scapegoats for the bigger causes that are super important to me: being kind and cognizant of those around us.

And then I realized I was a hypocrite. How can I expect others (BYU grads and breast-feeders in-particular) to be kind, humble, and polite to those around them when I am not willing to budge and give them the same benefit-of-the-doubt that I belittle them for not having?

peace with self peace had enough

So, this post is a long way of saying I’ve had a change of heart.

Go Cougars. Breastfeed away.

I offer you my sincerest apologies for being awful and (albeit still with a great amount of hesitance) I promise to try and not just give you the benefit of the doubt but to sincerely LOVE you wherever you are on your journey – even when you are extremely arrogant and especially when you are bare-chested.

Together we are better.

I just got done watching this great news coverage
on the silver medal win for Noelle Pikus-Pace.

I loved Noelle’s quote:

“Together we are better.  Together we are stronger.
Together miracles can happen and dreams come true.”

Photo Gallery  Kragthorpe Family bonds make Pikus-Pace’s medal meaningful  The Salt Lake Tribune - Google Chrome 2172014 120401 PM

Together we are better as families.
Together we are better as a country.
Together we are better in our marriages.
Together we are better as parents.
Together we are better as citizens of earth.
Together we are better as Christians.
Together: It really is the best place to be.

When I Leave the Room

door

If you are an American, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard about Grammy-nominated gospel singer Natalie Grant walking out of the Grammys. The story is all over the place.

On her facebook the night of the Grammy’s she wrote:

We left the Grammy’s early. I’ve many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I’ll say this: I’ve never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I’ve never been more sure of the path I’ve chosen.

She got so many people slinging mud at her that she had to follow up with this:

I’ve tried to read all of the comments on my previous post but I can’t respond to them all. Most of you have always been so supportive and encouraging to me & I’m grateful. It does sadden me when people argue, judge and hurl insults at each other from both sides of the fence. I’m not going to engage in arguments, but just have a few things I’d like to say:
I NEVER said I left during any particular performance. I only said I left early.
I never pointed out any one particular performance, I only said I had many thoughts about the entire show, which were best left inside my head and that is where they will stay. So those who say I condemned one performance but then condoned others clearly did not read the post.
What I DID say is this: I am honored to be a part of the Christian music community. I’ve had many people throughout my career ask why I never tried to go in to mainstream music and last night was a beautiful reminder that I love singing about Jesus and FOR Jesus.
I’ve judged no one. I hate no one. And I believe that every person has been created in the image of God. I will never stand on a street corner and wave a sign, I won’t use my platform to engage in political arguments that will only divide and not unite. I will continue to pray that my life will be my message. I do have my own personal convictions that I live by, and I will continue to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. (Philippians 2:12)
I was honored to be nominated for 2 Grammy awards last night. I’m so grateful that NARAS and The Grammys continue to recognize the contribution that gospel and Christian music make to the world. And I’m so thrilled for those who won in my categories. And I can say that with all sincerity.
My last thought:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus for it is the power of God who brings salvation to ALL who believe.”
Romans 1:16

~ Natalie

I had never even heard of Natalie Grant before this incident was reported, but I was deeply touched by this song of hers that a friend just shared with me. I thought maybe she had written it in response to the backfire, but after listening I was no longer even thinking about the Grammy’s.  Listen, and tell me what you are thinking about when she gets through.

When the song was over, I was thinking about my loved ones and what it is like to leave them, and how much I pray for their safety, protection, and happiness. I was also thinking about my Jesus and how holy and peaceful it feels to trust in Him and know without a doubt that one day I will look at Him in the eyes unashamed and tell Him that I did my best to live up to His name that I took upon me at baptism.

When I leave the room, I want people to know that I fully expect to meet my Jesus on the other side and that I will continue to trust Him to watch over whoever is left standing on the other side of the door. Whether they be Hollywood, gay, the Pope, the President of the United States, a cult member,  my child, my friend, an alcoholic, a murderer, my favorite librarian…whatever and whoever they are…I know Jesus is watching over them and will make all things right according to whether or not they will accept Him in his terms. I do not stand in judgement, but I do stand for Him to the best of my ability and I do hope that someday we can all stand with Him together on the other side of the door. But guess what? The only way to get there is to leave the room. I kind of hope more people will start taking that part of the plan a little bit more serious. This life isn’t about seeking our own carnal desires, it’s about proving ourselves to God that we will choose Him no matter what comes our way.

I applaud you Natalie Grant.

Snow in Appalachia

My daughter Abigail gets so mad when she has to correct people on the correct pronunciation of The Appalachian Mountains. Out here in the western U.S. everyone seems to think that everyone should say App a Lay shun.

Abigail knows with every fiber of her being that the correct pronunciation is App a La (a like apple) chin. I mean, Hello, everyone knows that! But people out here in Utah don’t know it and they do dare correct her all of the time. She tells them they are ignorant which I think is pretty awesome and kind of ironic. I would discourage her from the fight, but I am proud of her Southern blood and she did live in TN for eight years of her life so I understand it’s kind of her duty.

Check out this picture of a family friend who dressed up with her husband as rednecks. They nailed it with the crashed NASCAR and everything. Man, I miss the south. I especially loved its quirky sides. I miss blogging about it.

In the last twenty-four hours there has been a lot of buzz about how the South is full of a bunch of idiots who can’t navigate the road in bad weather. It really upsets me. Anyone who dares criticize has never had to navigate a shady icy windy holler with ditches on both sides. Trust me, it’s not a fun experience.

If you don’t believe me, go check out this video of a very long traffic pile-up in Atlanta. Count how many truck-trailers were involved and remind yourself that these guys drive all over the United States….they know how to navigate in the weather…they just can’t possibly keep their vehicle under control on a road that was covered in ice then piled with snow that will not be salted or plowed…and even if it was, it still may not free it of ice.

Because I have lived in the South, I want to stand by my daughter in defense of the Southerners…sometimes Appalachian Americans are smarter then you babbling Yankees…sometimes you really are the ignorant ones. I know it’s hard to swallow. I’m sure you feel kind of how I felt the first time I tried out one of their fancy rest-stops…total mind-blown.

To be fair though, sometimes Appalachian Americans can be total idiots, just like the rest of us. Here’s a good joke.

Two rednecks were given a special SAT test to meet their admission requirements to the Military Academy. Soon after the test began the first guy turns to the second guy and asks, “Old MacDonald had a what?

The other replies, “He had a farm.”

The first asks, “How do you spell it?”

To which the second replied, “E-I-E-I-O.”

Perhaps, the thing I love about Southerners the most is that they laugh freely at themselves. I sure miss that.

Oh and I have to add this. I also love how Southerners aren’t afraid to trash talk especially when it comes to their abilities in college sports.

bbc

When Tragedy Strikes

I feel. I feel deep. It is part of who I am. I have no way around it. I am a sensitive person. I am pretty sure I get it from my mom. I cry at the drop of a hat. I really should be an actress. So, when tragedy strikes, it kind of knocks me out for a bit. It really knocks me out. I have to give myself cognitive therapy so that I don’t succumb to the warmth of the sheets in my bed. I have to distract myself. I even lie to myself if necessary. Most of all I have to get some answers.

I think because I feel, I have chosen God consistently throughout my life. I need somewhere to go when nothing makes sense and let’s face it, there is a lot that doesn’t make sense.
Like other people though, I usually vacillate in my own incompetence for a bit before I turn to God. I am trying to change that, but I guess I can take comfort in the fact that at least I get to God at some point. A lot of people don’t have the same luxury.
So after the CT shooting last Friday, these were my reactions, put out there for everyone and their dog to see. Oh the evil of social media. It really shows one’s true colors.

This should not still be happening. Give me your best solutions for the safety of our children. Serious. I am writing Congress. I am so heartbroken.


I refuse to read more than one news report about the shooting. 
I suggest you all do the same.

Use your energy to make the world a better place.

We have the highest obligation to protect the children. The American citizens demand that every school has two armed trained military personnel on guard every day. Repost if you agree.

Pondering again on the words of Mormon leader Dallin H Oaks spoken to the world that would listen just two months ago:

Although I do not speak in terms of politics or public policy, like other Church leaders, I cannot speak for the welfare of children without implications for the choices being made by citizens, public officials, and workers in private organizations. We are all under the Savior’s 

command to love and care for each other and especially for the weak and defenseless.

Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.

I know one amazing 12-year-old angel with open arms and the most tender heart who is probably cuddling up with some kindergartners tonight and that brings good tears to my eyes. Love you Braxton Wills!

How about we train gun sniffing dogs to guard every school? I seriously can’t stop obsessing for an answer. I grieve by taking action.

Trying to press forward by going out to a movie but it’s hard to move forward when so many fellow Americans are in mourning. God bless.

It just occurred to me that God had even more reason to be in public schools on Friday. I am sure He held each of those victims in the palm of His hand and hugged them as He told them they would never again have to feel pain.

See how I vacillate? I ended off with this:

Love. Peace. Joy. This world is overcome and the next will have no heartache.

And this: Must read! So touching.


twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled wit

h such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

The only place for peace is God. I don’t know why it takes me so long to figure that out every time tragedy strikes. I am stubborn. Hard-headed. Prideful. A natural woman. Eventually I’ll get there without vacillation, but at least I am aware of my tendency, and that is the first step towards fixing it.
So, as I hold onto God as tight as I can today. I write this.
I am proud to say that my kids went off to school today just like any other day. I am not mother of the year, far from it, but I made a choice a long time ago to limit the media into my home. We don’t have any TV but Netflix and it makes all the difference. They know something tragic happened and we have prayed for CT, but my babies went off to school today feeling safe. And that is all a mother can do. If by chance some awful thing ever does happen to them, all I want them to have is a feeling of safety and security and love up to the very moment of the unspeakable.

I thank others who have helped me make sense of it all.
Two links were particularily helpful. 
This one gives a plea for the mentally ill.
And my hubby sent me here where he was able to convince me that the answer is not about gun control
or even about guarding our schools. 
The answer my friends is the same answer for all other woes in our life:
Trust in God.
Evil has always been around. Awful things happen every day. We are no worse off today then yesterday. In fact, we are better off because we don’t live in a war-torn country. We as Americans freak out when tragedy strikes, but tragedy strikes much more frequently in other parts of the world.
So what can I do?
I can trust in God.
How can I trust in God?
I can continue to pray with my family.
We can read our scriptures and let God’s word work in our lives.
We can limit the crooked media’s influence in our homes.
We can show compassion to others.
We can stop having stigmas towards the mentally ill.
We can reach out to our neighbors who may be struggling.
We can love more deeply.
We can quit fighting over politics.
And that is what I resolve to do.
And because I have a new resolve, 
I can be grateful to God for the reminder, 
even if it’s in the form of an awful tragedy.

My Brother’s Take on Mormon Feminism

There has been a lot of talk lately
about a movement of
anti-Mormons
who have penetrated the active church-body
by inviting the women to wear pants to church this Sunday.
I’m privvy to these things because I live in Utah.
It was on the front page of the paper.
LG read part of the article to me
when he was home for lunch
the other day.
We discussed the stupidity of it.
Women have always been able to
wear pants to church.
Why would any woman
want to be a Bishop?
We laughed.
Then LG made my day.
“Alice you look so sexy in a skirt.”
So I posted this on facebook.
Feminist Mormons are planning a “wear slacks to church day” 
to celebrate the similarities between women and men. 
I’d rather celebrates our differences. 
Besides my husband thinks I look hot in a skirt. 
If that means I’m objectified, so be it.

It got a discussion going.
Perhaps my favorite part of the discussion
was my ultra-conservative, gun-slinging, Limbaugh-loving,
football-coaching, huge-dog owning, Idaho-dwelling
brother saying this:
(for my non-Mormon friends –
this first question is what is asked of 
the members to determine
worthiness to attend the temple)
(YM is short of Young Men
YW is short for Young Women)

Yes, feminist crazed ladies,
the men of the church
are not anti-women.
In fact,
they are 
what my brother calls
equal diffrencialists.
I am proud to say
that I now
have a great term to describe
what I am too:
an
equal diffrentialist.
And so is 
She touches on some deep
Mormon doctrine here
and I loved her article.
I’m so grateful for the women of the church
who magnify their callings
and bless the lives of my daughters.
Here are some recent photos
that Sister Seale
e-mailed
of Sophia and her buddies
at their 
female only
activity days
held
every other week.
I love how these photos
showcase what we teach
Godly girls.
Choose the right.

Be modest.

Be tough.
Be beautiful.

It’s crazy to me
that scorned
women can
find these things
wrong.

I don’t want my daughters
to be anything
but
equal diffrentialists.

And trust me,
no woman
should ever want to
be in Cub Scouts instead.
I know,
I’ve been a Scout leader
three different times
in my
“mom only to daughters”
lifetime.

Fat

Fat is a nasty word.
The only time it should be used is in regards to the stuff on the backside of a butchered pig.
Fatback is the only time when fat is a good thing.
And what a good thing it is.
Just ask the green beans.

I’ve been called fat. A lot. It sucks.
After watching this video on facebook yesterday, I was perplexed.


I offered the following on my page as a passive aggressive response to a few people I know who judge “fat people.”

“I hate it when physically in-shape people look down upon those who aren’t. I hate to tell you this, but you’re not superior, especially in regards to the things that matter most: kindness and appreciation for others wherever they are in life is a learned art and maybe you should get off the treadmill long enough to take some lessons. I don’t experience as much prejudice in this department as I used to, but it sure makes my blood boil whenever I encounter it.”

The funniest thing about my above rant is that I got all kinds of people, my friends mind you, apologizing to me for the way that I had been treated. Why did they apologize? Because they think I am fat and that I have reason to be apologized to. Kind of ironic, huh? I never mentioned that I had been treated badly, did I? In fact, I hadn’t had any teasing at all, I only posted the comment in defense of others and in opposition to the people out there looking down on this lady. I’ve actually been feeling pretty good about the way I am looking until yesterday. HA.

Well as you, who read my blog, know I’m on a journey of self-discovery. I’ve learned to love myself and I am still learning to take care of myself. I all too well know the life of this anchor. I know what it is like to be raising 3 young daughters (and she has a full-time job to boot) and to feel the stress and eat too much and exercise too little. I also know what it’s like to get off my butt and count calories. I also know what it’s like to have a propensity to being larger as a child and as an adult.

I also know what it’s like to lose a nephew and to know that in his last week on this earth he was called fat by some mean little girls and that the word F A T may have been racing through his mind in his last breathe. It breaks my heart. Absolutely makes me shed tears. Right now in fact.

Yes, people are fat, but trust me, they know it. You pointing it out to them, or looking down on them, or even apologizing for others’ fat name callers to someone who has recently lost 35 pounds doesn’t really help the situation and it doesn’t really motivate people to be better.

Do you know what motivates people to be better? Loving them wherever they are. Loving them right where they are. Even if it’s at 700 pounds. Anyone who has watched Richard Simmons should know this fact.


Do you know why loving them helps? Because the reason they are fat is that they don’t love themselves enough. Period. Or maybe they have a health condition? Or maybe they are just a husky kid that could eventually be a college football star if they live long enough to pursue that goal? The point being: You don’t know what they are capable of, if all you see is F A T. And you will also never know the beauty of loving people in their weakness if you can’t see past it. You don’t even know what scars are under the fat.

If you can love F A T people then maybe they can learn to love themselves. And if you can love them F A T, maybe they will love you in your weakness.

See how that works? Well, yeah, you do kind of have to admit your own weakness first. Maybe you could start with judging,  lack of charity, or complete and total PRIDE?

Where Jesus Eats

My friend Amanda is an amazing person. I mean an AMAZING person. I feel so privileged that not only did our paths cross while I lived in Tennessee, but that we became good friends. She, like many other Tennesseans, is exceptionally spiritual and extraordinarily kind.

Back in the beginning of 2012 (yes this post has been sitting in my inbox for that long) Amanda won a contest put on by a local radio station.

“What would she do with 500 chicken
 sandwiches from Chick-Fil-A?” 

Her winning answer will tell you much more about the kind of person Amanda is than I ever could.

“Distribute them to the homeless in Knoxville.”

It was no surprise that her answer won from all the entries. Chick-fil-A is well known as a Christian establishment and I am sure whoever chose the winner of the contest, chose correctly in Amanda. The homeless population is extremely high in K-town.

Here is a photo from back in February, of Amanda’s three kids handing out sandwiches. 

Amanda explained to me that she had romanticized the whole thing thinking she could pray with each individual and tell them that people cared about them.

Instead her mini-van was mobbed until every last scrap was gone (including her kids lunchbox leftovers) in only a minute and that they were then asked to leave by The Salvation Army who informed them that they were breaking some kind of law.

Amanda and I exchanged an e-mail the other day. I wanted to make sure she was still o.k. with me writing about her experience after all the backlash Chick-Fil-A had received lately. Here is her response,

“Thanks for reminding me of promises, I’d made 6 months ago. It’s so easy to let our personal busy take over and not do good on the follow-through. I don’t mind a bit if you blog about it and I’m not worried about any backlash. God’s got this and He will get all the glory. What we did with Chick-Fil-A was not a publicity or political statement it was a chance to love on people in a very real, practical way.” I just LOVE that Amanda. I love how much she cares for others. I love how much she gives her life to others. I love that she is always actively looking for ways to help others and that she goes around constantly making promises to God, even if it will be hard to keep them. I love it that her “fail” is mightier than anyone else’s “success.”

Real quick I wanted to share a funny story that Amanda told me:

This weekend I was privileged to spend 3 days with our Middle School Ministry at our church.  We had this incredible speaker, Acton Bowen.  Acton is a past youth minister, speaker, and Christian correspondant for Fox News.  He was talking about meeting with one of his friends who was a member of the Black Ops team in the US Armed forces and telling of his many missions.  Acton said that they met at Chick-Fil-a which is “where Jesus eats”.

You all can hate on a place because of their stance on gay marriage, that is your prerogative, but please realize that this restaurant is a lot like Amanda. They are always doing a whole lot of good. Oh, and their food is also like Amanda too:
A – MAZ – ING!

Here are a few other good recent news stories about Chick-Fil-A.

Here is a recent car-line in Waynesboro, VA taken by my cousin Jarrett. Chick-fil-A had committed a good portion of their profits to the family of Ethan Blevins, who had recently passed from leukemia complication.

How about the time they opened their doors with free meals to police officers after the Colorado movie theater shootings?

As for me? I love my gay friends. I truly do.
But I want to eat where Jesus eats
and I hope they can be o.k. with it.

For some chick-fil-a funny,
check out this old post.

Baptizing the Dead

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a good friend inquiring about the practice of baptism for the dead. This post is my response to her and I’m posting it here for all inquiring minds.

I know it may sound creepy to you, but really it is mercy at its finest. As a practicing Mormon, baptizing for the dead is something that I have participated in, and I can honestly say that it is a beautiful thing.

We don’t expect other people to understand. It’s not really surprising to us Mormons that the media has been using the practice as a way to criticize the church. In fact we expect this to happen. Believers have expected such ever since the days of the Savior himself. Look at how they mocked the Savior of mankind. Don’t you think that the mainstream will be mocking his followers still today? When my church is mocked, I actually accept that as further evidence of its truthfulness.

Go here for the church’s explanation of baptizing for the dead, but I would like to take just a minute to explain the practice of baptism for the dead from my own perspective.

Three doctrines that must be understood to even begin to wrap your mind around this practice are:
1- We believe that we are eternal spiritual beings having a most vital mortal experience. We lived with God as spirit children before we were born on this earth and our whole goal and purpose of this earth life should be to prove ourselves worthy to live with him again someday.
2- Our eternal glory is tethered to how we act on this earth. It is vital for our eternal salvation that we be baptized (as Christ was to show us the way.)
3- It takes a body to exercise our true God given agency and that is the purpose of this life, for our spirit to prevail over our body that is vulnerable to mortal temptation.

So, essentially, you were a spirit child of God that was sent to earth as a testing ground. You are given commandments from God to 1- assist you in your journey and 2- to prove your faithfulness.

Baptism happens to be a vital “must-accomplish” commandment in order to enter into the kingdom of God.
Christ taught in John 3:5 “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God while in our mortal tabernacle of flesh.”

The next obvious question is, “What about the people who never heard of this commandment of baptism, how is that fair for them in the next life?”

This is where baptisms for the dead comes in. The practice of baptism for the dead is for these very people. Worthy mortal beings can act in proxy for those who are without their bodies. (Because it takes a body to baptize and to make that choice).

I sometimes wonder if people think we go around digging up dead people to baptize them. The answer is NO. That would be creepy. We just get baptized in name only for those who have died and God has worked it out somehow that this practice counts as real baptism in their behalf.

Another thing that needs to be understood. It is our belief that as members of Christ’s church that this our responsibility, to provide salvation for all mankind. That is why we have different missions in our church. We perfect the Saints for our own salvation, we proclaim the gospel for the salvation of the living among us, and we perform temple work for the salvation of those who have gone on before.

Our beliefs drive our actions. In the temple, we don’t just baptize people for the dead, but we also, in proxy, provide the sealing ordinance (which is required for families to live together forever). We do this because we do not want to deny anyone from the blessings that God has so abundantly shared with us. With greater wisdom comes greater responsibility. We also do it because we believe that there will still be a chance in the next life for those who have never heard the truth on earth or who are repentant from their disbelief (to a degree I don’t understand).

We believe it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance, therefore as a merciful God, Heavenly Father will give all his children as many chances as it takes for them to be taught before the final judgement, which means that he will give all his children the same opportunity. (This last sentence is making me laugh because I guess in this way God is more of a Democrat than a Republican).

For those of you  who are still confused. Consider this verse in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 15:29
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they baptized for the dead?

I love this verse as it is such a testament to what those who have the Bible alone are missing. This is the only time that baptism for the dead is mentioned in the New Testament and it leaves one to wonder why Christ would not have taught more about this for those that follow the Bible alone. What if he did teach more and you are just missing it because in the many many translations of the Bible parts went missing? What if the only way to have ALL of God’s practices is through modern revelation or further scripture? These are areas of question  that my religion can also answer.

We believe that baptism for the dead was a practice in the ancient church also. And apparently so do other Christian scholars.

The thing that has been making a lot of fuss in the news lately is Jewish people were upset that this work was done for victims of the Holocaust. They wanted the work abolished all together. I think it was very very classy of our church leaders to go ahead and erase the work that had been done in order to satisfy the Jews’ insistence that their ancestors don’t need it nor do they want it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clearly bowed out in order to be at peace with the Jews.

It is and always has been our stance the we do the work as called to do and that the deceased will have the option of accepting or denying that work for themselves from the spirit world. Therefore, we aren’t forcing the work on anyone including the victims of the Holocaust.

I have done this work for many people and I can honestly say that I had some amazing spiritual experiences that let me know that the people accepted the work on the other side. Sometimes I don’t experience anything and I am left to assume that these people didn’t want the work to be done.

Now that you understand baptism for the dead and a little more about the work done in the temple, you will also understand why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known throughout the world for having the most extensive genealogy library and database ever. Yes, as members of the church we seek out our dead. We trace back our family lines as far back as we possibly can: preferably all the way back to Adam and Eve. We want to know of every living person who ever lived on the earth and it is our goal to provide the gospel for every single one before the earth is destroyed and sanctified by fire.

We daily fulfill the prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6

Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

I could go on all day, but I will stop there. I hope this helped you understand my religious practices a little better. I am sure that some haters out there will leave their opposition in the comment section, but I invite those of you with further questions to feel free and ask away or click on over to mormon.org.

And if you are extra curious, I would love to mail you your own copy of The Book of Mormon, just send me your name and address via e-mail or FB message.