Friday, February 24, 2012

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

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.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beer for Mormons

At the beginning of this year,
I bought this stuff at Wal-Mart.

I was glad the kids helped me down it
or I would have drank the whole 2 liter by myself.

In Utah we call this stuff Apple Beer.
It is served at many fine dining establishments.

Posted by Picasa

Shortly after consuming a good portion of this bottle
(I am estimating about 500 calories worth)
I started counting calories
towards better health.

But I just can't stop thinking about this refresco.
(as it refers to itself on the bottle
- See photo above)

I think I am a Mormon applehoholic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

True Joy

Evan and Leah Wampler are friends of ours in Kingsport, TN.
They had little baby Liam a while back.
He weighed just a pound and has been confined to the NICU
for many long weeks
as he grows strong enough to meet the outside world.

Our prayers have been mighty on behalf of Liam
and we have been so pleased that
by the grace of God he has grown and developed.
The wonderful world of facebook 
has kept us updated every step of the way.

Leah posted this picture the other day.
It had the caption

Evan feeding Liam with a bottle for the first time.

It struck me profoundly.
What a beautiful beautiful moment.
How many times have I fed my four children
and never gave it a moment's notice?

This photo so perfectly depicts 
one of the way God works in our mortal journey.
It's a hard lesson to swallow
yet so necessary:
God lets us suffer
so that we can truly enjoy the non-suffering.
If we didn't know the pain,
we couldn't enjoy the joy.

I am so grateful for all the hard times I have endured
because those hard times
make my normal and even somewhat insignificant life
seem like such a miracle every day.

Thank you God
for my trials
and for Liam.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Abigail is gonna kill me for sharing this photo.
I'd like to entitle it
For The Love of Bacon.

This girl can actually out-eat her mom
when it comes the Western Bacon Cheeseburgers.
She also happened to get Straight A's last term.
It was a big deal
because we didn't require it of her 
or offer any rewards or anything.

She just decided she could apply herself better
and she did.
We were so proud.
But, this post isn't about that.

I just wanted to explain why I bought 
her a Western  Bacon Cheeseburger.
We were celebrating

her awesomeness.
She makes us so proud
in so many ways.

I had a profound experience yesterday
and while I was just showering it dawned on me
that I was able to apply the lessons I have learned
about boundaries.
It also donned on me that boundaries
are really just agency.
God has taught us all about agency.

I thought about how so many people don't get how 
to utilize the principle of agency in their lives.
They let people intrude on their agency
and they intrude on others' agency without knowing it.

Yesterday I dropped Abigail off at a Valentine's Party.
It was at the home of a boy that I don't know at all.
When I dropped her off, 
I walked her in and met some of the kids.
I was especially interested in the host.
He explained that their chaperon 
for the night was his 25 year old brother.
I immediately cringed and questioned,
"Is he a good 25 year old brother or 
is he the kind that is going to buy you beer as soon as I turn my back?"
The kid's reaction was very telling.
He looked shocked and said, "No way, he's not that kind."

I reminded Abigail to have fun.
I silently checked to make sure I had covered 
all the lecture bases on the way over.
Don't go anywhere alone. Check.

If there is anything inappropriate 
and I find out later that you didn't call 
with the key emergency word 
which means to come and get you now 
then you will not be trusted 
to go to other parties in the future.


You do remember the emergency word?
You do remember what things are inappropriate?

Yes mom. I know.

But I still had an uneasy feeling.
I sat out in the car and texted Abigail and told her how I felt.
I asked her if she would go in the bathroom 
and pray about whether or not I should leave her there.
She texted back and said "I am staying."

I then went to the neighbor across the street 
that showed signs of a bunch of kids living there 
and questioned them if they thought I could trust this boy and his brother.
They assured me that they were "good people."
I prayed and felt o.k. and then I called LG and he said he felt alright.
So I drove home.

Later in the evening, when we got the low down from Abigail 
about the party I asked her,
"Did you really go in the bathroom and pray?"
She surprised me and said, 
"Yes I did mom, and I felt o.k. about staying."
I was floored. Was she just telling me what I wanted to hear?
I do believe she was telling me the truth.

I thought about that this morning.
I thought about how I didn't intrude on my daughter's agency.
I thought about how I acted like God.
I was a concerned parent, I communicated those concerns,
but then I laid the decision making where it belonged:
in my daughter's lap.
I thought about how I was proud 
that I had taught her how to pray 
and listen for the still small voice to communicate with her.
LG and I have taught her to go to the ultimate source of wisdom:
not him and I, but to our loving and all-knowing God.

I then thought of all my friends who control their kids.
Who don't let them utilize agency.
Who don't allow them to grow and learn.
Which in turn keeps them from seeking out God in their lives.
And also in turn makes them want to rebel against being controlled.

I thought even deeper about why God gives us agency.
He wants us to learn to be like Him.
He doesn't want to control us.
Because He knows that would make us resentful.

He has a perfect knowledge of boundaries,
and he doesn't intrude on our boundaries.
And he doesn't let us intrude on His.

Agency was awesome last night.
I am sure there will be days when my kids will choose wrong,
and I will dislike agency,
but I will come back to this post
and remember this incident
and know that agency is vital
and that agency is awesome
because it's only the agency
that we can see our kids grow up
and make their own great decisions.

Don't control people.
Do this.
"Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Trenchcoat

I was pretty stoked when I found this trenchcoat 
at the thriftstore a while back.
Did you know that it has a special pocket on the inside for a gun?
My hubby is the one that explained that to me.

I was just thinking how my hubby
would love for me to show up at his workplace
with just the trenchcoat.
If I packed a gun along with it,
I do believe it would make me 50% more sexy.

I got a free item with my purchase.
Of course I picked a book.

Posted by Picasa

Happy Valentine's Day y'all.
I dare one of you to go to your husband's workplace in just a trenchcoat.
Let me know how it turns out.

Sorry LG.
All you get is another dumb poem.

There are days.

There are days I want to strip down
and arrive at your workplace in
nothing but a trenchcoat,
but then I remember that you have co-workers.

There are days that I look at our children
and think how amazing we are
and how our posterity is the finest
and then I remember that they screw up,
but they are still the best kids ever.

There are days I can only feel love.
A love so consuming that I feel nothing else at all.
All I can think of is you with your arms around me
and then I remember how that actually feels
 to my skin
and it makes me love even deeper
which I never think is possible.

There are days I want to scream at you
because you frustrate me to no end.
Why don't you do everything the way
I do everything?
And then I remember that you do the taxes,
and the technical support, and the math homework
and I am grateful that we are different.

There are days that I wonder where you are.
Are you in a man cave or another universe?
You retreat often inside yourself
because you are introverted and overwhelmed.
And then I remember what a great listener you are
which really helps me because I am the talker.

There are days in the distant past
(and hopefully many more in the future)
that the world consisted of just you and me
and we laid around and did nothing
but be together
and I remember those times as
the absolute best.

There are days that are swallowed up in the busies.
And you and I run around serving our kids
our co-workers, and neighbors and friends
and we don't have a second to think about ourselves
or each other.
And at the end of the day,
it's all we can do to sneak in a good night kiss
and mumble an "I love you"
before the night turns into dreams
and I remember that I missed you
all day long.

There are days.
Many many days.
And hopefully many many more.
Where you and I are in love.
Through the think and the thin.
The wrong and the right.
The counseling and therapies.
And lessons learned and mistakes made.
The tired and the awake.
The kids and the jobs.
The cats and the dogs.
The sick and the health.
The sane and the crazy.
The summers and falls.
And winters and springs.
The basketball practices and dance lessons.
And doctor appointments and lunch breaks.
The afternoon delights and faraway business trips.
The jokes and the tears.
The broken down cars and the puking kids on flights.
The campfires and lightning bugs.
The mountains and hills.
The lakes and the oceans.
The hotels and pools.
The woods and the downtowns.
The pounds lost and the delicious treats.
The Christmases and birthdays,
and Easters and Flag Days.
The scripture readings and temple trips.
The vacations and lack thereof.

But really all those days
make up for the most beautiful thing ever.
Me and you.
Sharing the days.

Because through it all
we can count on one thing
and that is that
There are the days.
And they are ours.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Little Orphan Annie

While I was growing up,
my sisters and I loved Little Orphan Annie.
We didn't just like it, we were obsessed with it.
I guess we kind of wished we had a Daddy Warbucks too.
Even though we had great parents,
we wanted Daddy Warbucks' house.
And Pun-jab.
We also wanted to dance like that
and sing like that.

One thing bothered me about the movie though.
I know, I can only think of one thing. Weird.
Little Orphan Annie's rat tail.
Imagine my surprise when Caroline was sportin' the same "do" last night.
I cringed all up inside.
My little girl Alice wanted to brush it and make it right.
Yeah, I am weird.
And a little obsessive.
Even orphans deserve good hair.
Especially if they are on TV.

This video is for my little sister Renee.
I want her to know that I finally forgive her
for placing the VHS Annie in the VCR
with peanut butter all over her hands.
And like Annie taught,
there is always tomorrow.
And this tomorrow we will be watching Annie on DVD.
And the next tomorrow we may even have Blu-Ray.

Did I tell you my new secret obsession?
I want to make Caroline famous.
She deserves to be the modern day Shirley Temple.
She is sooo dang cute.

If we dyed her hair red she could play Rosie.
And if LG lost 80 pounds and grew his hair out he could sooo be Matt Damon.
I guess Abigail will have to play Scarlett Johansen
since I am nowhere near close.
Man, all we need is a zoo.
See it always goes back to Daddy Warbucks.

(We loved the movie by the way,
but beware there is a lot of language)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Break Up

I broke up with my blog.
But I can't seem to let it go completely.
During the day I find myself remembering the good times
and the bad.
I think of funny things I want to write
or things that are happening that I don't want to forget,
but then I remember that I broke up with you my dear blog.
I don't need you anymore.
I am doing fantastic.
I don't need the dream of thousands of people being interested in what I have to say.
I gave it up.
I grew content with the simple life that I have.

But then I remember all my friends who I miss.
Their comments brightened so many of my dark days.
I wonder how they are doing
because even though none of them were as public about it
they seem to have survived breakups of their own.
They no longer come to talk to me through the internet
because I think they grew content with their lives too.
I guess we are all getting older.
Or more feministic. 
That isn't a word.
 I love it when I make up words.
And then I chuckle thinking about another reason why I miss my blog.

The blog was a lot of things for me,
but the one thing I miss the most about it
was its ability to connect me with my friends.
My blog was a place for them to come and tell me
that they are right there with me.
They get me.
They were so happy that I dared admit things others wouldn't.
It was a place for me to laugh.
And cry.
And get my fingers moving
when I didn't want to write.

Now all I have is my i-phone
and even though it is a cool new boyfriend,
like the star quarterback kind
it's not the same.
I miss my lowly little homely blog.
He always got me.
He always made me smile.
And he always validated me.

But gosh darnet, I am with the star quarterback now,
I don't need validation.
Back to my couch to play some more words with friends
and forget about the fact that my creative outlet won't ever let me take him back.

If the new and improved me who is worthy of dating the star quarterback just wasn't counting calories 
maybe I could fill my temporary lonliness with oreos and milk tonight.

Alice, get it together. You are dating the star quarterback.

Have you noticed that I haven't even changed my masthead?
But I am reading my scriptures every day.
Cultivating my relationship with my Savior.
Running three times a week.
Counting calories.
Occasionally posting on my other blog.
Working two nights a week.
And spending way too much time with my quarterback.
Therefore the deeper blog separation and the excuse for only reading one book so far all year.

I believe it is time for another break up.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Toddler survival

Last Sunday, we found out last minute that it was one of Caroline's nursery teacher's birthday. 
(Is that too many possessives in one sentence?)

Anyway, you know how we feel about Sabbath worship, so we couldn't go to the store to get her a gift.
While having my Sunday nap, I woke up to an idea for a gift. I scrounged around the house to find appropriate pieces and made a homemade batch of cookies to include.
I thought the gift turned out cute even though it was completely made from stuff we found around the house.

And let's face it, we all could use some tricks up our sleeves to survive the toddler years.