Why I fight for life

I’d like to talk about WHY I fight for life and against elective abortion and Planned Parenthood who is the largest provider of elective abortion.

I believe in the wonder and beauty of the creation of a human life. The second that the sperm penetrates the egg, all the DNA is present telling exactly what the hair color will be, whether they will be tall or short, brown-eyed or blue—every detail is present. A new human life has been created. And the second the unique human life is created it deserves a right to live. That being has worth. That growing human life has dignity.

Also, I love babies. I love big, chubby babies, and tiny little growing babies. I love babies who have special needs. I love babies who were wanted and those who were unplanned. I love them all. I do not pick or choose who to love – that love is not dependent on whether they were wanted, planned, convenient, girl, boy, disabled, rich, poor – none of that matters. They are ALL worthy of my love and our love.

I love women. I love empowering, encouraging, and inspiring women. Women are amazing co-creators with God. They have power and strength and incredible nurturing hearts. Encouraging, convincing, or helping a woman to kill her own baby is the most horrible thing I can ever imagine. Every woman I know (and I know many) who have had an abortion and killed their baby carry that burden their entire life. They are hurt, wounded, wracked with loss and pain over their decision. This is NOT empowering or encouraging. On the other hand, I have never in my entire life met a woman who regretting giving birth. Granted, it is hard work to grow and deliver a baby. But I’ve never met a single woman who regretted it and wished they had aborted their baby. Never. We do no favors to women by convincing them that killing their baby will make everything OK. It will not. These women who are so scared and desperate need our love and support—not convincing that ending their child’s life will solve everything. I am here to love and support them. I offer that to EVERY woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy.

I believe that protecting the sacredness of life is crucial for our society. We have seen many societies—from Nazi Germany to Stalin’s Communism to ethnic cleansing—who do not value life and who begin to pick and choose who is worthy of living and who is condemned to die. When we fail to protect our most vulnerable populations, we decline into a degradation and barbarism that will destroy our collective humanity.

I fight against Planned Parenthood because they perpetuate a lie. They tell women that the life they have created is an annoyance and can easily be sucked away. They tell our society that it’s perfectly OK to rip apart a living human being. They tell us that it’s all about “choice” . . . to kill and “rights” . . . to kill. They lie. And they destroy. They destroy babies – millions upon millions – and they destroy women – millions upon millions. They try to cloak it in pink and balloons and slogans – but the organization that kills millions of innocents is rotten and foul to its core.

Fundamentally, I fight for life because of the wondrous joy of a new human life. And that is worth fighting for.

You may wonder if I love you . . .

You may wonder if I love you . . .
…because you’ve had an abortion. Oh, dear sister, I love you no matter what and I grieve with you your loss.
…because you’re gay. I love you regardless. I’m straight, can you love me too?
…because you disagree with me. I love you and respect your opinion. And I admire your passion in working for what you believe just as I do.
…because you are a liberal. I liberally love you and admire your desire to help the underdog in the ways you feel would work.
…because you are Catholic, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Muslim, or whatever. I love you as a brother/sister in faith and try to also walk the path of goodness and righteousness.
…because you don’t agree with religion. I love you as a brother/sister regardless of your faith in science or religion.
…because you don’t like Star Trek. OK, now THAT’s where I draw the line. I’m sorry . . . but that just might be non-negotiable . . .Let me think about it for a bit….

(I know – this was serious and then my brain just took a giant left turn. That’s the way I roll.)

Please know that I love you — you truly are my sister or brother. I honestly feel that way no matter what choices you make in life. That NEVER EVER changes. (well, except maybe for the Star Trek thing . .. and I might need to add in Star Wars, camping, and ice cream. I’ve got issues — ) . OK, I will love you even then – but I might not like you as much as an ice-cream loving Trekkie in a tent. . . Just being real. Oh brother, this was supposed to be serious . . . I might be a bit sleep-deprived.

Preach the Ideal

Preach and teach the ideal!
So often in my work I have people who want to disagree or fight with what I do. They use the argument, “But what about .. . . .”
We see it in our work on families – “But what about those who have bad families?” Um, OK. Keep preaching that the ideal situation for a child is in an intact, married mother/father, family. All the social science data abundantly proves that a child is safest, healthiest, happiest, and most successful in this family. So preach and teach the IDEAL.

We see it in our work on parents rights – “But what about those who have bad parents?” Um, OK. Yes, there are some bad parents out there. So help the child, help the parents improve, keep helping them move to the safe, healthy ideal. So preach and teach the IDEAL.

We see it in our work on marriages – “But what about those who never marry?” OK, for most men and women the safest, healthiest, happiest and most successful situation is to be married. Most will, some won’t. But we preach and teach the IDEAL, knowing that not everyone will have that.

We see it in our work to protect unborn babies – “But what about the 12 year old who is raped?” Again, this rare – extremely rare – circumstance does not justify the wholesale murder of millions of babies on the planet. Yes, we provide help, support, love, and healthcare to the child. But again, we preach and teach the IDEAL – knowing that millions of babies will LIVE if we choose life.

That doesn’t make us insensitive to so many out there whose lives don’t fit the best of situations. We love them and care for them and support them. But we continue to teach what is the best circumstance so that our society will strive for the healthiest, safest choices and outcomes. We strive for the best–while knowing that not everyone will reach that. But we know that in reaching for the best, everyone will be better.

We do not teach to encourage unhealthy, unsafe, less-than-ideal choices. Why would we ever do that? We want our society to be a thriving, encouraging, growing society aiming for the best for all of the men, women, and children who want to be safe, healthy, happy, and successful.

So we will continue to teach and preach the IDEAL.

Planned Parenthood

A legitimate question – and here is my answer:

“I have paid attention to you being in the news as a devout supporter of pro-life in Utah. You have said that you would really like to see Planned Parenthood shut their doors. Whenever I see this, I am saddened. And I would really like to know what other solutions there are for women who use Planned Parenthood for their medical needs.

As some background, I am an LDS mother of 3 and have lived in Utah for the last 11 years. When we first moved to Utah, we were opening a new business and struggling to make ends meet in a very real way. Our children qualified for state medical benefits, but my husband and I did not. For years, I went to Planned Parenthood for my yearly checkup and birth control prescription. I was never required to pay anything, just donate if I could. I received excellent care. I saw the same physician each time and she was knowledgeable and respectful. I also noted that I was always asked if I needed help getting out of a dangerous relationship and if I was being allowed to make my own reproductive choices by my partner. I had never and still have never been asked that at a traditional women’s health clinic. Maybe it is assumed that if I can pay for insurance I am in a safe relationship? I don’t know, but that always struck me as interesting.

What other options would someone like me have had? Planned Parenthood was an incredible blessing me for when my life was harder. Of all the stresses I had of raising 3 little kids and having no where near the sufficient amount of money to do it, PP took a huge amount of stress off my plate. I had no intention of an abortion, I just needed great medical care and birth control. If Planned Parenthood hadn’t been around, I have no clue what I would have done. Is the solution for the abolishment of abortion the shuttering of Planned Parenthood?

I am not trying to start an argument, I truly want to know.”
Concerned Mom

Here’s my answer:
Good question – if you go to Pro-Life Utah’s website, you will find many other options.
Bottom line, we do not support an organization that kills babies – plain and simple. Whatever they do that may be good is completely eclipsed by the death of even one child — wouldn’t you agree? So we cannot support them in any way—they kill almost 2,000 babies a year in Utah. That horror cannot be justified because they give out free birth control.

So I would urge you to find somewhere else to go to get your care. There are many options. (Interestingly, my own OB said they would not turn away a woman who needed care. They would care for her . . . so sometimes it takes asking.)

We are saddened every day when we think of Planned Parenthood of Utah killing 6 babies a day. And we will be much happier when they are closed down as we think of the thousands of unborn children who will have a better chance to live.

Hope that answers your question.

Age

I’m 61 years old. But I don’t feel old. My brain age is about 35 — you know, it’s the age where if you woke up but didn’t look at your body how old are you. I’m about 30-35 on any given day. Old enough to be very centered but young enough to have a zest for living and life. When I’m with young moms, I just kind of think I’m their age –then I realize I’m old enough to be their mother.
But age is so . . . meaningless. I adore living. I love seeing the sun rise and the sun set. I love holding hands and walking and eating ice cream. I love having big bold projects to change the world. And I love quietly folding the laundry. 
There’s just something so wonderful about being alive and being vitally engaged in every day. Age is just . . . experience.
I do love being in my 60’s –even though just saying that is pretty flabbergasting. There’s just a certain peace in this age. I’ve done so many things in my life–most importantly raising a family who I adore. But there’s just so much more to DO and to BE and to experience!!
I hit 100 things on my bucket list so I just added 100 more. I still have so much ahead of me – I want to ride an elephant, stick my toe in the Jordan River, sit quietly in the Garden of Gethsemane. There are babies’ lives to be saved, hearts to turn, families and children to protect. There are lakes to swim in and books to read and moments to hold with those I love.
Age is a glorious thing. I’ve loved every birthday I ever had.
And I will march forward–savoring every moment of every day–as I age. Both gracefully and clumsily. It’s all good.
I treasure every wrinkle, every age spot, every ache. It’s all good. It just adds to the tapestry of time on my body and my soul.
61 is wonderful.
62 will be even better.
Every day is a gift.

Smaller dams – upstream: Dealing with temptation

There was a great effort to build a giant dam just above a powerful waterfall.   However, the efforts had been in vain so far and two people had died and several had been injured.  Everyone was frustrated—and scared.

The chief engineer and the construction contractor stood on the shores of the raging river below the waterfall talking animatedly.

“You’ve got to make this work!” screamed the engineer.

“We’ve been trying!” replied the construction boss.  “I’ve got guys dying here.  Your plan isn’t working.”

Off by the shore of the river stood a very old Native American slowly shaking his head.  The engineer noticed him.

“So you think you’re so smart!” he yelled at the Native American.  “What would you do?”

The old Native American turned his head to face the men and said simply,  “Smaller dams, upstream.”

The engineer threw up his arms in disgust.  “What does he know?” he sputtered.

“Wait a minute,” said the construction man.  “I get it.  What if we constructed a bunch of smaller temporary dams all up and down the river upstream.  That would slow the flow of the water considerably and we’d be able to manage building the big dam here.  He’s right.”

Understanding dawned on the engineer.  “Good idea . . .” he muttered to the old Native American.  The man simply smiled and gazed back at the river.

Sometimes we exert tremendous effort to fight sexual temptation—or any kind of temptation–when it hits full force.  Sometimes we fail and then beat ourselves up over our failure.

The key is to build small dams UPSTREAM.

So BEFORE we are in the grasp of that temptation, stop it earlier.  When we first feel lonely or sad or stressed or depressed, build a DAM.  Stop and realize that those feelings can lead to temptation to sin.  STOP the thought process right there and substitute in a positive one.

And BEFORE we find ourselves in a compromising situation, build a DAM.  Stop and realize that you’re not in a good place.  MOVE, leave, turn off the computer, walk away, turn on the lights, whatever you need to do to change the environment.

And BEFORE we feel feelings of sin starting to enter our minds, build a DAM.  Take control of your thoughts.  STOP and insert good thoughts – read something good, sing something, look at beautiful art, just think clean, virtuous thoughts.

If we would pay attention to building dams upstream, that torrent of temptation would be much easier to tame.

Smaller dams, upstream.

My hands

Today I was looking at my hands.  These hands have been many places and done many things in my life:

*They trustingly held my Mommy and Daddy’s hands growing up in Detroit and getting into a canoe on the lake.

*They clapped with joy in receiving FOUR mice from Santa Claus (because Mr. and Mrs. Claus each got 2 . . . which turned into about 16 in a week . . .)

*They wrote a sentence when I was seven, “When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer and a senator.”  Say what?!?

*They wiped lots of tears through my teenage years when I so desperately wanted to be pretty and loved.

*They held my first diploma from Stevenson High School—and then my second diploma from BYU—and then my last diploma from Santa Clara University.

*They held my sweet husband’s hands over the altar in the Salt Lake LDS temple where we were married and sealed together for eternity.

*They held my first baby – as I stroked his cheeks with my fingers and wondered at the incredible miracle that had been given to me.

*Then they held my second and my third and my fourth sons – and the miracle and wonder never changed.

*They were held to the square when I was sworn in as city councilwoman and took an oath to defend the Constitution.

*They worked hard to change diapers, wipe noses, drive to and fro and to and fro some more, turned page after page in book after book, and clapped and celebrated every step of our sons’ lives.

*They wiped lots and lots of tears –- my own, my family’s, my friends’.

*They held signs and knocked on doors in the defense of marriage between a man and a woman and waved at more than one motorist giving them the finger.

*They packed and packed and unpacked and unpacked as we moved to Utah and built a home.

*They typed and typed – 13 books so far.

*They shook hands and hugged – spoken to over half a million people so far.

*And this week they held another sign, “We will not stand by while unborn babies are killed by abortion.”

But then the next day, they’re digging in the dirt to plant a flower; holding my husband’s hand as we celebrate 40 years of life together this year; hugging my son as he was hurting; waving to a neighbor.

These hands are an incredible creation of God.  And I have spent my life using these hands to show love and caring, to work hard, and to do His work.  And as they grow more wrinkled and aged, I will wear them out in doing good.

Today I was looking at my hands.  These hands have been many places and done many things in my life:

*They trustingly held my Mommy and Daddy’s hands growing up in Detroit and getting into a canoe on the lake.

*They clapped with joy in receiving FOUR mice from Santa Claus (because Mr. and Mrs. Claus each got 2 . . . which turned into about 16 in a week . . .)

*They wrote a sentence when I was seven, “When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer and a senator.”  Say what?!?

*They wiped lots of tears through my teenage years when I so desperately wanted to be pretty and loved.

*They held my first diploma from Stevenson High School—and then my second diploma from BYU—and then my last diploma from Santa Clara University.

*They held my sweet husband’s hands over the altar in the Salt Lake LDS temple where we were married and sealed together for eternity.

*They held my first baby – as I stroked his cheeks with my fingers and wondered at the incredible miracle that had been given to me.

*Then they held my second and my third and my fourth sons – and the miracle and wonder never changed.

*They were held to the square when I was sworn in as city councilwoman and took an oath to defend the Constitution.

*They worked hard to change diapers, wipe noses, drive to and fro and to and fro some more, turned page after page in book after book, and clapped and celebrated every step of our sons’ lives.

*They wiped lots and lots of tears –- my own, my family’s, my friends’.

*They held signs and knocked on doors in the defense of marriage between a man and a woman and waved at more than one motorist giving them the finger.

*They packed and packed and unpacked and unpacked as we moved to Utah and built a home.

*They typed and typed – 13 books so far.

*They shook hands and hugged – spoken to over half a million people so far.

*And this week they held another sign, “We will not stand by while unborn babies are killed by abortion.”

But then the next day, they’re digging in the dirt to plant a flower; holding my husband’s hand as we celebrate 40 years of life together this year; hugging my son as he was hurting; waving to a neighbor.

These hands are an incredible creation of God.  And I have spent my life using these hands to show love and caring, to work hard, and to do His work.  And as they grow more wrinkled and aged, I will wear them out in doing good.

The Path to God

TODAY’S MUSINGS:  Recently a woman posted on Facebook how she once thought that there were certain ordinances and obedience required to return to God but that she no longer believed that.  She then said, “There are many paths to God and they are all good.”  Many people responded by saying, “God is love!!”

This has caused me to think again about the Plan of Salvation and the path to God.  Let me explain by beginning with a parable:

There once was a father who had many children.  He got them together and announced, “Great news kids!  We now have a huge mansion at the top of this mountain behind me.  Everyone can come!”  The children were thrilled!  What great news!  He continued, “Now there are no rules on how you get there but there is a time limit.  So feel free to go any way you want.  See you at the top!”

The kids thought this was terrific. “We can all get there – how easy is this?” “Man, I’m glad there’s no rules—I hate rules.”  “Dad sure loves me!”  And off they went.  Some followed the really easy path to the right and ended up just going in circles.  Some were attracted by the pretty waterfall and ran toward it, only to fall off a cliff and be drowned.  Some saw darkness down a path and thought that looked cool but ended up hopelessly lost in a string of caves.  Some sat on the side of the path and ran out of time.  Some fell into quicksand.  Some got tangled in horrible briar patches.  Some didn’t want a hard climb so ended up on a path leading downward—away from the mansion at the top.  And oh they complained!  “Doesn’t Dad love me?”  “Why didn’t he tell me a better way?”  “This is too hard, why bother?”  “I don’t think there’s a mansion—this is just a trick.”  And you can imagine, very, very few made it to the mansion at the top.

Now once there was another father who truly loved all of his children.  He announced there was a mansion and that everyone could come.  But then he said, “Because I love you, I’m going to guide you on the best path to reach the top.  Your older brother has already hiked the path perfectly so he can help you see the right path.  And because he walked it perfectly, he’s made it possible for you to not be penalized for your mistakes along the way.  That use of time will not count against you.  Follow the signs marked “Home” very carefully.  If you don’t follow them, bad things will happen.  And don’t sit on the side of the path for long because you’ll lose precious time.  This is going to be hard but it will be worth it.  See you at the top!”

Some of the children complained, “Why all the rules??”  Some thought, “I can go faster if I go my way and not his way.”  Some said, “If Dad loved us, he really won’t care which way we go.”  And off they went – and ended up just like the children in the first story.

But many paid attention.  They carefully looked for the signs and followed them.  They tried hard to obey the rules.  Sometimes they were tempted and hiked off toward the pretty waterfall but then they heard the voice of their brother faintly calling to them from the top of the mountain, “Whatever you do, don’t go toward the waterfall.  It’s dangerous!” and they returned to the path, confident that that detour was forgiven and that they were back in the right direction.  Other times they saw a large group of kids heading toward the caves, but they saw a sign pointing toward Home in the opposite direction.  Many areas of the path were steep, rocky, and hard to climb.  They had to work hard.  It wasn’t easy.  Sometimes they would get knocked off the path but they would hear their brother’s encouraging voice, “It’s OK—just get back on the path!”

But those who carefully followed the signs and listened to their brother made it.  Every single one.  And as they enjoyed the beautiful mansion, they knew it was worth it.

In today’s world, some people say, “It doesn’t really matter which path you follow.”  But God is not a God of confusion!  He wants us all to return and become like Him and He knows there is a best path.  Some say, “Ordinances don’t matter, religion doesn’t matter, whatever church you want to follow doesn’t matter.”  But it does matter.  When Christ came to the earth, He didn’t say, “Eh, whatever religion you want is fine—go ahead and follow the Pharisees and their doctrine or follow the Sadducees and their doctrine.  It’s all good.”  Nope.  He established HIS church and true doctrine from God.  Very clearly.  God is not a God of confusion.

Some people will say, “God is love!” which is true.  But they say it as if He doesn’t care—that whatever we do is fine.  That’s like me as a mother saying to my kids, “Go ahead!  Eat all the candy you want!!  No problem!”  But I know that for my kids to be healthy, they need to eat fruits and vegetables.  A parent is not loving when they just let their kids eat whatever they want, do whatever they want, sleep in to whenever they want.  That is not love.  A loving parent sets rules, teaches the consequences to breaking then, and enforces them to help their children become healthy and mature.

We know that there are consequences to our choices—so does God.  Those consequences are not magically removed.  They are there to teach us and guide us to becoming like Him.

For example, God tell us not to have sex outside of marriage—to be morally clean.  Why?  Because He knows that is the best path to be like Him.  Think about it—what are the consequences of that choice:  no unintended pregnancy outside of marriage, no venereal disease, much more stable marriage and less likelihood of divorce, better health, deeper character developed from delaying gratification, more self-respect, more self-esteem, more respect for the opposite sex—I could go on and on.  Just from one choice.  As I said, God looks at the big picture and says, “I know where this would lead so don’t do it.”  But many will whine and complain and say, “But why?  We’re not hurting anyone!” and on and on.  He knows better.

It is because God is loving that He wants the best for us and knows the best way to help us become like Him.  He has established commandments for us to obey because He loves us and because that is the best way to become like Him.  He calls us to repent (turn back to Him) and provides forgiveness for when we mess up.  He has established His true church—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—to show the best path to return to Him and to become like Him. 

God is love.  And His love is shown by helping us to become like Him and to live His life.  That is His work—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Man.”

Christ’s “Strong” Side

In much of my work, I have been called to be a voice of warning. Repeatedly, people whine and complain and say I should be more Christlike. That used to wound me deeply. But now I am very clear and very centered on this. Many people perceive Christ as “take the children in His lap” or the “neither do I condemn thee.” In other words, they look to the loving aspects of Christ’s character — His ability to connect with the ones who didn’t fit the norm, Hs loving outreach of healing, His compassion and love that flows freely from His arms. That is a wonderful, amazing, and critical part of His nature.
But Christ also has what I will call a “strong side” to His nature. His first act in arriving in Jerusalem for His ministry was to boldly throw the moneychangers out of the temple — physically! “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple . . .” That was also His last act in the temple at the end of His ministry. He was bold and clear in His constant calling out of the Pharisees and Sadducees. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Remember – those were the Church leaders of His day! He did NOT mince words! And he chews them out (and the lawyers:) a LOT.
And even though He told the woman taken in sin that He did not condemn her, He then said clearly, “Go and sin no more.” 
So this is also Christlike. How do we reconcile this? I believe everything Christ did and does is motivated by love. Everything. So when He’s being compassionate and healing people, that seems very clear. What seems less clear is how his “strong side” was also motivated by love.
Christ protects His Father and His Father’s house. So out of love for Him, He cleansed the temple. Out of love for the humble followers who were being led astray by the Church leaders of the day, He called out those who were leading them falsely. And also out of love for the Pharisees, He spoke out as well calling them to repentance.
Is it truly loving to let someone continue to go down a wrong path or to sin? Is it loving to stand by and say, “Well, I support their right to choose.” “Well, to each his own path.” or all the other platitudes we say today? Christ wants us all to become like Him–and to live with Him. He knows that the path to doing so involves lots of repentance and obedience. So He is very clear in calling all of us to repentance and urging us to abandon sin. BECAUSE HE LOVES US.
It’s like when I was raising my kids. They would have loved to eat candy all day every day. Would I have been a loving mom to let them choose that? NO. Because we have to look at “Where will this lead?”
So in the work that I do to protect and promote the family, to protect the sanctity of life, and to protect the health and innocence of children, I am also a voice of warning. I speak out–clearly and boldly. I flat out speak truth: Unborn babies are precious and have dignity and the RIGHT TO LIVE. Women do NOT have the right to choose death of another human being – no matter how small. Marriage is ordained of God and is only between a man and a woman. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
I make no excuses for speaking truth.
There are many who disagree (sometimes quite violently and with personal attacks and foul language!). But there are those who agree, but want to tiptoe around and not offend anyone. They urge me to “be more Christlike.”
And I smile and say, “Yes, that is EXACTLY what I’m trying to do.”
And others wonder why I do what I do and how I can be so bold and blunt (I like to use the word “clear” )
And I will tell you — it is because I love people. I love babies. I love mommies and daddies. I love families. And I KNOW that these truths will lead them to happiness now and in the long run. And I want that for everyone.
Some may say I have to agree with them to love them. I disagree. Christ loved and loves everyone–even if He disagrees with their behavior. I strive for the same.
So I shall continue to try to be like Christ — loving, compassionate, kind to those who are different–AND bold, clear in declaring truth, urging to repentance and encouraging obedience to God’s laws.
So continue to encourage me to “be more Christlike.” And I will continue to try:)

Make things happen

In my morning devotional today, I was studying the prophet’s talk, “A Plea to My Sisters.” LOVE this part: (quoting Pres. Packer) “We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.” Then Pres. Nelson continued: “Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world.” AMEN AND AMEN AND AMEN. I work with so many incredible women (and men!) who are courageous and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Bravo to all of you!!!!