Showing posts with label Washington D.C.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington D.C.. Show all posts

Cookie Recipe from the Washington D.C. Temple Cafeteria

Anyone who remembers the big cookies from the Washington D.C. temple cafeteria will recall they were often the highlight of youth temple trips and parental errands. When the temple cafeteria closed, it could've been the last time those cookies were ever made.

However, the recipe was shared with anyone who asked for it. Here's the recipe as copied by my mother-in-law many years ago.

We made a batch of this dough, divided it, and added various different toppings to it. Because it uses a base of both white and brown sugar, any combination of toppings can be added to it to make practically any kind of cookie. Because this recipe makes enough dough for dozens of cookies, this would be a great for Christmas cookies, ward functions, parties, family reunions, or anyone else who needs a truly mind-boggling number of cookies.


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 7 cups flour
  • Desired toppings: chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, chopped cherries, dates. Can also be sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream shortening, margarine, white sugar, and brown sugar together.
  3. Mix in eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add each cup of flour until combined. Mix and knead with hands until well blended
  5. Divide dough if desired. Add desired toppings. Dough can be frozen in batches to be used at a later date.
  6. Form dough into balls onto greased or lined cookie sheets. For larger cookies, it helps to flatten the dough slightly to help them spread. Provide space between balls to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Place on cooling racks until cool enough to eat.
  9. Store in airtight containers to keep them fresh, if they last that long. And they might, because this recipe truly makes A LOT of cookies.

Let's Just Stop Saying "Worthy" and "Worthiness"

Many years ago, my mother was alone with another adult female member of the church. And she took that opportunity to ask this woman, an actively practicing Mormon, why she (my mother) wouldn't be allowed in the temple on my wedding day.

Think about the heartfelt nature of this question. It doesn't help that you don't know my mother. But for her to even ask this was not vindictive. It came from a personal place of profound pain.

Imagine someone trusted you enough to invite you to sit in their pain with them for a moment, to speak to it. Coming from my mother, that's what this was. She knew I couldn't do it because then she'd have to sit with mine. So she went to someone else.

And this person, completely unprepared for this moment, looked at her and said the only people who are allowed in the temple are the ones who are worthy to be there. My mother came to an average Mormon with an honest question. And thanks to the obsolete, insensitive language we use so casually in the Church, she told my mother she wasn't worthy of God or his presence. Whether she intended to or not, that was the message she sent with the language she used.

I cannot adequately express to anyone the pain in my mother's face when she told me this. You'd have to know her to fully appreciate it. My mother and I have a complicated history, and the church has been at the center of that for more than a decade. But I cannot describe to you how angry I was when she finally told me this. It seemed impossible to me that anyone could be that insensitive or careless.

I come to my point. The "let's be as Mormon as possible so the non-members will think we're good people and want to join the church" mentality. The habit of leaning into our own exactness, our obtuse insistence in doing things our way, even when it hurts people, and calling that a virtue. This refusal to demonstrate any kind of humanity didn't entice my mother to join the Church. I don't know where people born into the Church got the impression that this is what makes people gets baptized, but that's not how this works. That's not how anything works.

My mother is not a person whose favor is easily won, but it is very easily lost. She has no patience for posturing or pretense. And I realized, after hearing this story, that the church would have to be a very different place before she would ever feel at home in it.

That day, I excised the words "worthy" and "worthiness" from my vocabulary. They have no place in what it means to be a Latter-day Saint to me anymore. There are few words that cause me more emotional and spiritual discomfort. I understand that there is a layer of judgment to them that is inappropriate for me to use because I'm not God. If what I mean to say is prepared, ready, observant, dedicated, devout, or any other words that would be more precise, then I should just say that.

Who are we, as Christians or as Saints, to attempt to measure the faith and devotion to God in another person's heart? And to use such feeble measurements, like the length of a hemline or cups of coffee, to quantify that relationship? Our rulers and measuring sticks will mean very little to God when he sees the ways we used them to punish each other for the universal imperfections that affect us all.

God is good. The thing I can't wait for each and every person to discover about him is how much he cares about us individually. The way all labels and judgments disappear in his eyes and we are finally seen for who we truly are.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Cor. 13:12

We are all deeply flawed beings, struggling to understand and cope with what it means to be human. Let's all remember that a little more often.

Just Married!

This may have been one of the longer breaks I've taken from this blog since I started it, but I promise I had a good reason.

Getting married is a lot of work. So is being married, in ways I never fully imagined. Learning to weave my life--my desires, my imperfections, my identity--together with another person's has not been easy. But the rewards have been the sweetest I have ever known.

The story of how I met my husband is one of my favorite stories to tell. It has taken on the life of legend to me, and he swears that I exaggerate it more with each retelling. I thought about sharing it here because it was such a part of my spiritual journey, but it always seemed too soon to do so. Now that we're married, I feel like there's enough of a beginning, middle, and end to the story to share it.

It all began with a phone call in November 2009...


That was my voice-mail answering message. It was intentionally longer than the ability of most people to wait to leave a message, because I hate voice-mail. Too many unknowns, they made me nervous.

So when I left the BYU testing center at 10 o'clock at night to discover that I had a voice-mail from a friend over two thousand miles away, I was both annoyed and intrigued. I had really liked this guy while I was at home that summer. But I assumed I had a pretty good list of reasons of why he didn't care that I even existed. I was 19, he was 25. I was away at school, he was already established with a good job back home. I wanted to serve a mission, he hadn't yet served a mission. In fact, he was putting in papers and we had already talked briefly about that fact. In every way he seemed unreachable to me, so I refused to ever consider the possibility of liking him--let along dating him.

That didn't stop me from putting the postcard he had sent me into a frame on my desk. Sometimes I caught myself staring at it like a missed opportunity, wondering what might have happened if...

"First off, that was the best voice-mail message I've ever heard..."

What? Why is he calling me? What was so important that he would leave me a voice-mail?

"... and I was just sitting here thinking... needed someone to talk to... call me..."

He actually wanted to talk. On the phone. To me!

And we're going to get married and have kids and get a big house and have a tire swing!

Yeah right. Like that would ever happen.

I wish I could remember everything we talked about that night until 4 in the morning. And the next night. And the next. Or any of the nights that followed for the next 2 weeks. We talked about our lives, our testimonies, our hopes, and our desires for the future. We talked about our passions, our thoughts, our challenges in life, and what we cared about most. The more we talked about what we each wanted from a relationship, the more we recognized that the person on the other end was an exact match in every description. We were falling in love at an alarming rate of speed that felt exactly like flying. Or falling.

Flying AND falling!

He was still, in many ways, a stranger to me. But that's what made it all the more exciting. How could someone I didn't even know be such a perfect match for my soul? Every moment of every day suddenly existed only for me to discover more of what he was like. To marvel more at the person God had made in everything he was. By the time the beginning of December came, we had only been talking to each other for 3 weeks.

And just as naturally as talking to him has always been, our thoughts turned to marriage. Dating hardly seemed to matter, for how perfect everything seemed to us in that moment. And the first time we spoke of marriage was when we decided we wanted to be married to each other.

Now this is where you would think the story would end with that magic carpet ride into moonlight, wouldn't you?

Well, you would be wrong!

Remember the part where I said he hadn't served a mission yet? Yeah, that part comes back.

He had already started his papers. He wasn't even sure he was going to get a call because his 26th birthday was fast approaching. And the reality was beginning to sink in that how I felt then was not going to last forever. The enchanted Disney ride was quickly giving way to the largest reality check I had ever experienced. He wasn't coming to take me away from BYU to some enchanted castle in the sky. He was leaving me almost as quickly as he had come, and there was nothing I could do but say goodbye.

In January of 2010 he was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was assigned to labor in the Nevada Las Vegas mission. He reported in April, left on a mission, and was gone almost as quickly as he had come.

To say that I waited for him doesn't really do justice to what it was that I did. It wasn't just waiting--that's what I do in the line at the grocery store. I said goodbye to the other half of myself. I felt incomplete every day he was gone. It was a pain I carried for two and a half years, and I felt every moment of it.
Did I say two and half years? Yes. Because two years of waiting turned into two and a half when I received my mission call in February of 2011--only to discover that I didn't report until June 22nd. The Skype calls with my best friends to read my call letter hadn't even ended before I had counted the months out on my fingers. I had learned a long time ago to accept it every time the sentence was extended.

I still can't see an Air Mail envelope without getting excited
I served in a wonderful mission that gave me so much more than I was capable of giving to anyone at that point. I felt so spent and empty, and every day I woke up inexplicably filled. Out of all the people who needed my service, I was the one who needed it most. I wasn't going to make it the remaining time I had to wait for him to come home. I needed to forget myself and my pain, and that's exactly what I did.

When he and I were reunited at last, he and I were two very different people. We had to get to know each other all over again. He had written me a letter once a week for three and half years, but those letters had no way of showing me the change in his eyes.

Once we were together again, we struggled just as much as we celebrated. We finally came to see each others imperfections, as well as the truth of what our lives together would be. We had no money, no where to live, and there wasn't going to be a magic wand to take our problems away. Only working hard and sacrificing even more could do that.

We finally got married, and it was the sweetest day of my life--but not for the reasons I always imagined. I expected it to be a lot like being a princess and being taken to an enchanted castle. I lamented so many times in two and a half years that it couldn't be that way. It wasn't until I actually got married that I understood the value in our sacrifice.

In the time we waited for each other, he and I came to know everything about each other. I know his likes and his dislikes, and he knows mine. I know his struggles, his mind, and his heart, and he knows mine. By the time I looked into his eyes over the altar, I loved every inch of the person who was looking back at me. Not just because of time--but because in that time, we had struggled together.

We still work hard, because marriage will never be easy. We still have so much to learn about each other and about life. But I couldn't imagine anyone else being by my side. Anyone else, anything easier, any other way than the one we traveled would seem cheap and incomplete by comparison. And for the rest of our lives, we have all that we gave for each other--all that we cherished in being apart.

I know that God lives. He is my Father, and He loves me. I've seen His hand guiding me through the hardest experiences of my life to a place of peace and happiness. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and because of His atoning sacrifice I can be with my family for all eternity. I know Them. I trust Them. They have asked difficult things of me in my life, but it has only made me a wiser, better person.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ on the earth. I have given my life to serving within it, and all the happiness I possess is a consequence of its authority and power. I am so grateful that we have a living prophet with the sealing authority, and for the promises I've made with my husband in the temple. Without the temple, life would be so meaningless to me. I know it is a place of comfort, peace, guidance, and revelation for me. Worshipping there prepared me for marriage more than anything else I did, and I know it is the literal dwelling place of God on earth in our day.

I leave my witness with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receiving the Endowment

I went through the temple to receive my endowment a few weeks ago. It was the most beautifully profound, the most peaceful experience of my life. I was comfortable and prepared for what I saw and the promises I made. It was a simple, yet powerful display of truths I've been taught and have been living for many years. Years of scripture study, fervent prayers, and teaching from the Holy Ghost came together before my eyes. I could see plainly that in every blessing and hardship, the Lord had been leading me to this beautiful place.

In the Celestial Room, I felt at home. I had no questions. I needed no answers, no visions, no voices from heaven or signs from the earth. All was still and quiet, and I was at peace with everything--including myself. In the silence, I was healed and blessed by God. All my problems became weightless, and I felt a quiet triumph as many years of waiting were finally lain to rest.

Not everyone has that experience. For some, the covenants and symbolism of the temple ceremonies are strange and unfamiliar territory. I've watched as dozens of my friends and associates have gone through the temple before me and come out staggering, claiming the only thing they learned was how much they didn't understand. Even after a lifetime of reading scriptures, going to Church, and going through standard temple prep classes, the ordinances can still seem strange and confusing.

So, I'm using this post as a temple preparation playlist. Below are a compilation of talks, scriptures, and other odds and ends which explain the doctrines of the temple. I've also included talks that explain the history of the ceremonies. Some of the talks I've included do not clarify ordinances directly, but they explain aspects of the covenants associated with the ordinances--thereby making the covenants easier to keep.

If you have suggestions for talks or addresses to add, feel free to leave them in the comments.



I haven't as of yet experienced the sealing ordinances, so I'll have to redo this list after I have that experience. It'll be interesting to see what I add to it once I've been through it myself. In the meantime, here's my list:


I know the temple is the House of the Lord, and I'm grateful for my opportunity to go there. There is no better place in the world to be because the Lord is there. I know that as we prepare ourselves to go there in soberness and with quiet and reverent joy, we will be blessed with the Holy Ghost and the revelation he brings. Our spiritual strength will increase, and we will have greater happiness and faith in our lives than we have yet experienced.

I love the temple, I love the Lord, and I love the covenants I've made with Him. I share that testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen


    I've been called as a Relief Society teacher! I wanted a teaching calling SO BADLY, and my bishop said they've had this one in the wings for me for a few weeks now. I'm so excited!

    So my first lesson is on The Infinite Power of Hope, a talk from the 2008 General Conference by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I couldn't have asked for a better topic, or a better talk. It's full of really important information that I feel really confident I can do a lot with, especially in light of almost all of my recent experiences. I can honestly say that preparing this lesson has been a capstone to those experiences, allowing me to sort through them internally in order to better understand many of my weaknesses, and how to turn them into my greatest strengths.

    Some would find this to be really surprising coming from me, but I never realized that hope was so fundamental to everything about the Gospel. I mean, I understood long-suffering and its place within the promise of enduring to the end in faith, but I never understood that hope was the same thing as an abiding trust in God to help us do that. Once I learned that, it was like all these gaps in my understanding came to my attention and I understood exactly what was missing from my life. Talk about a revelation--this is something I desperately needed to hear.

    I only got my assignment on Sunday and I don't have to give my lesson for another two weekends, but I was excited to get started--and I'm learning so much that I needed to know. I'm hoping I'm not the only one that will end up benefiting from this lesson, but I have another two weeks to work it out so I should be fine.

    In other news, our branch's temple trip is this weekend, and I'm naturally very excited about it. It's the first time I will have been in the temple since my father died, and I'm very curious about what that will be like. I'm also eager to leave a lot of my burdens with the Lord and to commune with Him in His temple. Being in D.C. again after so long will also be a beautiful experience, and I'm looking forward to taking my first evening shots. Fellowship with my new friends is also a great plus as well. All around, it's going to be a great night!

    And in other other news, my prayers have been answered thus far about getting up to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. It occurred to me about a week ago that I REALLY would like to go and since I'm in the east and it's a righteous desire, there should be nothing stopping me. I tried to pitch the idea to my mother and she pointed out many flaws--the price of travel, the distance, the price of lodging, etc. So I did what any faithful Latter-day Saint freshly out of her teens would do.

    I made a Facebook status about it. Then I prayed.

    And wouldn't you know it--a girl from my single's ward REALLY came through for me by putting me through to a Young Single Adult's conference in Pennsylvania that will be staying up there VERY cheaply. Now the only hindrance is transportation, which I'm still trying to work out. If all goes according to plan, what would have required a 6 hour drive can be cut in half, taking this whole outing from extremely unlikely to highly doable. I'll definitely keep praying about it and see how far we can take this. It's another one of those instances where you pray, expecting not to get an answer, and the Lord surprises you once again with how much He's willing to come through for you if you're asking for something that's worth having and you're willing to put in your share of the work. And--you guessed it--that makes me VERY excited.

    Very excited, indeed. :)

    Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?

    The temple has been re-opened in Tonga. Let me just say, I love temples; everything about the temple has already brought a joy to my life I never thought I would have. Performing temple work for my ancestors has restored unity in my family; something I never dreamed would happen. Seeing that a temple has been re-opened for the Tongan people is wonderful news, and I'm sure that the members in Tonga are overjoyed.

    I was talking to a friend of mine today, who happens to be a member of the Church. He was joking and telling stories about his relationship with his (non-member) girlfriend. He carried on long enough and in such a way that I became concerned. In response to his remarks, I reminded him that if he chooses to date, he needs to be protective of that girl's virtue, if not more reverent about it. Regardless of whether or not she is a member of the Church, he needs to respect her enough to do that for her. Our conversation continued, progressing to tithing. He made a comment that he hadn't paid his tithing in over 3 years, and my brow furrowed. I asked him if his bishop knew. He said that he tells his bishop that he doesn't pay his tithing in every interview, and his bishops always says, "Now you get that taken care of," and then allows my friend to go to the temple to perform baptisms. I sighed, and ended the conversation. I didn't have the heart to hear any more.

    I imagine the brothers and sisters in Tonga; how grateful they must be to once again have the Lord's sacred house open in their country. Before the temple was built, members would have been required to travel to New Zealand, or one of the other surrounding island nations that are also fortunate to have even one temple. I think of the Tongan members that might not have been able to afford such travel expenses, and how their spiritual growth was impeded because of circumstances beyond their control. In all honesty, I don't want to fathom how frustrating that would be.

    And I don't have to. A trip to the Washington DC temple requires a drive that takes less than two hours. The trip is usually made in large groups with air-conditioned vehicles. And yet there are youth like my friend that have the experience all but given to him. He does not live entirely worthy to have the experience, nor does he intend to improve. He takes his spiritual decay upon himself, and I am just baffled.

    I have been on the Bloggernacle long enough to know that a variety of opinions exist regarding the temple. I've read the personal narratives of both men and women that resent everything about the temple, and many things about the Church. I would hate to think that I am looking into the future of my friend every time I read those narratives. As a child of God, he deserves so much more than he is providing for himself, as do the authors of that writing.

    I would urge us all to remember the youth of our branches and wards, whether they are our children or not. As someone who sees the other side of the Youth of Zion, I can honestly say that they falter in ways that are painful to watch on a daily basis. But there has to be something we all can do so that things don't have to be this way. Are there others in your ward or branch that also falter? Is there anything you can do to help? Could helping them be as easy as asking if all is well, and listening to them voice their needs? And if helping wasn't that easy, would you still try?

    It makes sense that the temples, the house of the Lord, should be so central in the lives of humanity. They represent the home we left, and the eternal home that should mean more to us than anything. They are houses of order and peace that are meant to reaffirm to us that our Heavenly Father loves us all. Are we doing enough to take ourselves there, and to bring our friends and neighbors with us?

    How many lives have to be lost, how many hearts have to break, before we will stand up and say, "No more," and take action?

    Originally posted on Waters of Mormon
    September 29, 2007

    What is my world?

    "Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it." - Buddha
    What is my world?

    A name tag from the AP Language and Composition mock test that's says:

    does not need AP to validate herself as a person

    (Only to discover that I got the highest score on the hardest prompt out of 2 schools that took the mock test.)

    What is my world?

    A set of scriptures that I treasure more than any book I will ever own, let alone anything I've read this year in AP... and yet I haven't touched them for pleasure in I don't know how long... Which makes me question: how do I give myself FULLY to two different things? And I don't think it takes a genius to see exactly what aspect of my life has taken control right now.

    What amazes me is that I don't talk to my branch president very much at all, and yet when I went into his office for my temple recommend interview (youth baptism trip is this Saturday), I can't help but notice the questions that he asked me:

    "Do you say your prayers?"..."Do you read your scriptures?"

    In addition to his question about whether or not I pay a full tithe, which I think is pretty much a standard question that he has to ask, those were the only questions he asked me... and I'll be honest, I'm 1 out of 3-- that's 33%. Needless to say, I'm failing the test.

    Considering the first temple interview I underwent was much more inclusive with many more questions (I mean, he didn't even ask me about the law of chastity this time-- not that I have anything to admit, mind you), and I believe there's just as much in what a person DOESN'T say as there is in what they express in words... without realizing it, my branch president managed to nail me for the two things I'm not doing right now... And, especially when it comes to prayer, they're specifically the two most important aspects of my testimony.

    Church leaders are men of God-- you're a foolish mortal if you think anything differently. LOL
    (If that last statement offends you, RELAX, it's an inside joke.)


    News of this documentary has hit the Bloggernacle, and I've read some mixed reactions on many a different blog. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the documentary. I'll probably tape it, and if I think it could be helpful to me, I'll show it to my mother and sister. I think such a means would be a great way to introduce them to the gospel, considering the television has consumed their existence. They might as well watch something that will explain why I've been absent from our household every weekend for almost a year now.

    When I was at the temple, I spoke with one of the sister missionaries from Brazil. She told me to think for a moment to see if the spirit was prompting me to share the gospel with anyone. A few people came to mind, but most realistically, I thought of my sister. She will be a teenager next month, and I'm not ready for that! She's in for a lot of rough times ahead, and I'd like to see her come unto Christ... the world is such a cold, unfeeling place, and I don't want her to feel how I felt at her age. She needs the gospel, and ever since my conversation with the sister missionary, I've been thinking of ways to present it to her. And I have an idea.

    Currently, my sidebar lists what is on my MP3 player. I've since taken off a few of the songs that have swearing and profanity in it, and will shortly be searching for some Christian rock music to take its place. I have POD, which is probably the most well-known Christian rock group other than Creed. I know she likes POD, and I'm the one that puts the music on her MP3 player, so I think I'll be able to open the discussion with some carefully placed rock songs. We'll see how that goes.

    My First Temple Trip

    The temple and the visitor's center were amazing! I love going to both. We saw "Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration," and I was crying within the first 5 minutes. My testimony of Joseph Smith is stronger than ever, and I'm so grateful that he was our Prophet.

    At the Washington D.C. visitor's center, they have all kinds of interactive displays that tell you about the history of the church, the temples, and everything you could ever want to know! There is one thing that sticks out in my mind about the display with Emma Smith, and it's her testimony of Joseph Smith as a translator of the Book of Mormon. She said that he could barely write a letter, let alone dictate a manuscript without some kind of divine intervention. She testified that he would dictate for hours upon hours, then no matter how long or numerous the distractions, pick up right where he left off without looking at the written, translated manuscript that was already taken down. Emma herself was the scribe at times, and she said that she believed that his work is genuine, and that even an educated person (which Joseph was not) could not have created what Joseph received from Heavenly Father.

    While watching the Joseph Smith movie, I had such a profound respect impressed upon me for Emma this second time of seeing it. I would really love to get to know more about her. I question whether or not I could have possessed her patience, her understanding, her faith in the work of her husband (even if I knew it to be true) despite the adversity of doing so. I would like to believe that I have the faith to be as strong and courageous as she was, and she truly is a role model for all the sisters of this church.

    The temple was beautiful inside and out, but I must admit, I was nervous to perform the baptisms. I'm not sure why, but I was stricken with terrible anxiousness, and was not able to relax until after the baptisms and the confirmations were performed. Once it was over, and we went up to the vend-eteria, we (tried) to get something to eat from the vending machines. But, alas, it was not that simple. It kept eating our money. The Pay Day got us twice. The M&Ms, however, eventually dropped two down so we got what we paid for. It got to the point where I had to ask, "Isn't this gambling? This putting money in a machine with no certainty that we'll actually get anything in return? We're gambling in the temple!" The brethren standing there in all white, I'm sure, got a kick out of that, because he was laughing.

    We went to the LDS bookstore, and I got Ben a book by John Bytheway: What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission. He'll love it because it's John Bytheway, AND it's about missions. He takes his mission very seriously (as he should), and I know he'll appreciate this.

    I also bought a Hymn book, and a French Book of Mormon. They were both relatively cheap, so I look at it as a birthday present to me, from me. The Hymn book will give me something (of worth) to practice on my guitar now that my guitar class is over. The French Book of Mormon will help me increase my French vocabulary, and I really want to work on being fluent in a second language. Because I've taken French classes, I figured a French Book of Mormon would be good for that. So really, I got two books that will help me achieve two goals that I already had. I'm just proactive about achieving what I set out to do, I suppose.

    Since I've been home, I called my mom as she said to do in her note. She wasn't very pleased when I talked to her. She said that, because I told her we were leaving early so as not to be gone all day, meant that I would be back around 4 at the latest. That's what I thought was going to happen. Little did I know, baptisms for the dead require an entire day, starting early and ending late in the evening. I didn't mean to do that, and she isn't very happy with me right now.

    And then, of course, my father had to call me to make me feel that much better about myself. I promptly hung up on him, as I always do. Just because my patriarchal blessing says to pray for him, which I've done, does NOT mean I have to speak to him or see him. I am firm in this resolve. What I'm doing with him at this point isn't out of anger; rather, self-defense. He cannot be trusted. That is a fact. And now he must live with the consequences. He doesn't seem to understand that. But I don't really care what happens to him at this point. He is the Lord's problem now, not mine.

    I think I'll go and play some hymns now. I want to start working on #98 right away. It's my favorite.


    I almost lost my chance to go to the temple. Because tomorrow is my birthday, my mom wasn't going to allow me to go. Then I threw my version of a tantrum (which is more a guilt trip) and my mom finally gave in and said, "Do what you want."

    I've worked too hard for too long for her to take this from me! I'll stay home on Sunday if I have to, but I WILL go to the temple! This isn't negotiable! I'm sorry, I know the scriptures preach obedience, but this is ridiculous! I shouldn't have to fight with my mother in order to be a member of this church at every single turn. It's unnecessary. What does she accomplish, other than seriously agitating me? And making me want to get away even more? Church is my refuge, and I can think of a couple of LDS parents that would trade one of their limbs for their child to have one iota of my faith and dedication! I look at the other Young Men and Women in my branch, and their very demeanor, the acquiescent silence in which that half-heartedly partake of the lessons, screams "I don't want to be here right now!" If they only knew how fortunate they are to have what I long for, pray for, every day!

    Blessings are wasted on those that don't appreciate them...

    What I would give to have parents in the church! I can't even begin to tell you! If my mother cared about the gospel, if church was something I could share with my family, instead of having that "line of demarcation" as a circle in the sand that divides me from them!!! If ONLY that were so! And the nature of this division only manifests itself more and more as I continue in the church... even tonight as I was preparing the names of my family members for temple work tomorrow. Only 1 of them can be done, and I didn't know that until a few hours ago. Apparently, if the person was born within the last 95 years, you have to have permission from the person's closest family to perform a baptism for the dead. That left me with one person I am able to baptize from my family. And I was inwardly very upset about that. My family is stubborn and not at all receptive of my choice. I would not have their permission to do this, so chances are, I'll be waiting until they all die before I can DO anything about this temple work I've been trying so hard to accomplish... but once again; to my family, I'm on the wrong side of the line.

    And I can FEEL these family members on the other side of the veil becoming increasingly impatient. They WANT this work done! They've been waiting so long, and I got SO CLOSE! And NOW what?

    The situation may look hopeless now, but that doesn't matter to me. I will do what I have to in order to be a faithful servant of Heavenly Father. I will not let some minor setbacks dissuade me from the straight and narrow. I have a mission, a work to do, and I will get it done!

    (I inherited some of that stubbornness. Now, watch me use it!)


    So much to share, so little time before lunch.

    But I'm fasting since I'm going to the temple tomorrow. And you know what? I haven't been swearing as much! AND I was perfectly nice to my friends this morning, with whom I am otherwise inconsiderate (You have to know me better to understand why I do that.) And it feels good, let me tell you, to see that I CAN be righteous.

    I've been reading an article on the FAIRwiki, and it's REALLY fascinating. Seriously, it had me LAUGHING at times because of the conclusions it was drawing against fundamentalist Christians. I suggest that, if you're reading this entry, you need to also read this article.

    I went to the historical society yesterday, and I managed to find a lot of relatives from my father's side of the family. I wanted to also find what I could for my mother's side, but that didn't really happen. Somehow, I think my father's family are the impatient ones on the other side of the veil. I think I ought to just go ahead and prepare what names I have, that way I can be certain I get ANY of them prepared, instead of going back to the historical society to see what else I can find. It was an amazing experience nonetheless, and I was so happy that I was able to be the one to bear the burden. I'll admit, it was a burden. I had to go immediately from school to the historical society to work, and I didn't get home until almost 9 PM. I only started to enter the information from my research to my family history software when I finally was so tired, I went to bed around midnight. I will definitely say, however, that it was worth it.

    I talked to my mother last night about going to the temple. She didn't seem too thrilled about me going, since tomorrow is my birthday. But honestly, this is the best and only way I'd like to spend my birthday, especially since Ben is supposed to be coming with me.

    As feminine as I DON'T want this to sound, I just have to figure out what I'm going to wear, since it has to be white. I do have some white skirts, but I think they have blue lines on the waistband, so we'll see what happens... I have other private matters that are of more importance at the moment, and I have someone looking into for me. Hopefully, THAT won't be an issue, because if it is, I might just have to cry. And we just can't have that.

    I can't believe I'm finally going to the temple tomorrow! I can't can't CAN'T believe it! I have been waiting for so long, re-shaping myself constantly to make this happen, and it just seems so surreal now that it's the day before... I almost don't know what I'm going to do afterwards....

    Prepare for my SECOND trip!


    I can't wait to get my names ready for this weekend.
    I can't wait to go to the temple.
    I can't wait for Ben to turn 16 so I can see him more.
    I can't wait to go to college.
    I can't wait to have my own room.
    I can't wait to have a talk.
    I can't wait to have a calling.

    The new missionaries for out branch asked me to come to the gospel principles class to meet a young woman from Peru that will also be going to the temple this Saturday, and a man that has been investigating the church for about a year. Ingrid was very nice that is also very excited, and David was a quiet, reserved gentleman. I was thinking to myself, I really hope he decides to be baptized! The church is the best thing in my life right now, and I imagine he'll be happy too.

    The hardest part about the church is the waiting! I had to wait to wait to be baptized because I had to do new member lessons. Then I had to wait for the new member lessons. Then I had to wait to get my patriarchal blessing interview. Then I had to wait to meet the patriarch. THEN I had to wait for the blessing to come in the mail!

    And now I have to wait to get my names ready for the temple, which will also take time. I'm just lucky that the local historical society has a subscription to Ancestry.Com and other websites like that. I should be able to find what information I still need because of that. But I still have to wait.

    Then I have to wait, once I get the names taken care of, to GO to the temple... I just hope I don't forget to wear white undergarments that day... when I'm impatient, I tend to be careless.

    It's just so hard! I've done almost all the preparations, and what preparations I've yet to make, I have to WAIT to do. I'm extremely goal oriented and proactive; when I want to get something done, I want to get it done as soon as possible. And that's useful, because it makes it difficult for me to procrastinate (unless it's something I REALLY don't want to do) but it makes it hard to be patient.

    And I remember praying to Heavenly Father to help me to be more patient... and of course, you have to be careful what you pray for; because the way to become more patient is out of necessity, and necessity usually arises through trial... so I was basically ASKING for all of these things to be in a difficult timetable for me. But I know it will be worth it!

    The one thing that is hardest to wait for is my boyfriend, Ben. He is probably, aside from the church, the greatest blessing I have in my life. He introduced me to the church, he encourages me to be the person I would be, and is a really great example, as well as a wonderful friend. I have nothing but good things to say about him, and I can't wait until he turns 16 in less than 2 months. We've been waiting ever since he was 14 for this, and it's hard to believe that we're so close.... but we've been so caught up in waiting and passing time that we really haven't thought much about how things will be once he IS old enough to date. So the e-mail I just sent him asking him to consider what he wants, and warning him that I intend for us both to talk to his parents about it, is the latest development between us. And while it's safe to assume that the conversation with his parents will be one of the more uncomfortable ones I've ever had, I know it's necessary, I more than know that he's worth it to me, and it's a great idea for his parents to be involved and informed about our intentions.

    Plus, having someone to whom I can be accountable will make it easier for me to control myself. I know they're trusting us both to do the right thing, and by letting them know that I understand that, I know I'll be holding myself accountable for what I do.

    The waiting may not be easy, but I've seen that it's necessary. The timetable in which everything takes place ends up being perfectly catered to what it is I need to accomplish, so it really is fruitless to complain. All I can do, I suppose, is to catch up on my D & C reading, say my prayers, and know that everything will work out the way it's supposed to, and in Heavenly Father's time frame.

    He has innumerable years experience with humanity and it's problems. It's safe to trust that He knows what He's doing.

    Templebound Paradox

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    My birthday, and the day I will enter the temple for the first time, is in 6 days!!! My LDS friends and I will be headed to the Washington DC temple, where I'll be doing baptisms for what names I've been able to gather from my family.

    I am the first LDS member in my family (of which I am aware) and it hasn't been easy to get what information I've found about anybody. My parents are divorced, but the commonalities between the two branches is that none of my relatives are willing to discuss family matters. Or to cooperate. Especially on my dad's side. My grandmother is a Protestant, and when she heard I was Mormon, she said it was "unusual," and was noticeably less willing to talk to me... and one thing I'll defend about Social Security is the Death Index, which is the only online resource that has offered me anything as far as useful information. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't really have anything about my mother's side of the family.

    I must admit, I was disappointed when I found out that I'll only be able to perform baptisms for females. I wanted to be the one to baptise my grandfather. However, that's not the way things are done. Now I must re-focus my energies on discovering what I can about my female relatives, which is proving difficult. I'll be going to the family history center soon to see what I can find out, plus to prepare the names I have for baptism. Then I'll be all set!

    I cannot WAIT to go inside the DC temple! The closest I got to the temple was the visitor's center a couple of months ago. I remember looking at the temple in the reflecting pool and deciding, with every fiber of my being, that I wanted to be worthy of going inside! My life, ever since then, has been dedicated to making the necessary improvements. It hasn't been easy. I have a chronic swearing problem, and I still find myself, every day, repenting for all the slip ups that I have. It's so frustrating. If I let my guard down for a second, I slip up. And I have no one to blame for it but myself. At least I'm willing to admit that now. Before, I would blame everyone else. But I'm getting better about that.

    But the changes are worth it, that much I KNOW is true. I'm taking the steps not only to improve myself, but to reunite my family. My ancestors will finally be able to receive the gospel! And what's really amazing is that, being a convert, I remember what that FEELS like! When you receive the gospel, and you know you have returned home...

    I can't deny my ancestors that... I have to get these names ready.

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