In what the people of God wish were but a dream, the legitimizing of society's dramatic decline in moral values became the hallmark of 2013 - now embedded in our nation's history. 

And in the tailwind of mainstream liberalism's desire to mop the floor with conservatives, is found a band of progressive Mormons, using this temporal momentum to advocate correlating agendas within a religion that understands its purpose and is anchored firmly to their message of salvation.

My review of 2013 will focus on her-story; mine, or rather the way I blogged it, experience it, called it and was invited to write and talk about it from the perspective of a conservative, faithful Mormon woman. 

Note: this post is lengthy.

When I launched WBMW in 2008, as a way to provide credible information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as simply a lay-member, I didn't give much thought that I might still be writing here today, nor where my simple desire to stand for truth and righteousness would take me emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

As I reflect on 2013, it was a year that brought much of what I am passionate and opinionated about, and of deep concern to the LDS Church, front and center in many of our lives. What went down in California in June, by December affects members in Utah, equally; and for many, seemed to come without warning.

A little over a year ago, I decided to be more open with my readers about my personal life and found that in doing so my Facebook page, A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman, grew from approximately 2,500 "Likes" a year ago to over 6,000 in 2013! We've had important discussions there and a lot of fun getting to know each other. So, I'm going to make this 2013 review somewhat personal, too.

Because this blog tightly adheres to addressing many of the social issues that affect conservative Mormons, LDS women's issues, the Mormon faith, and my personal values I decided that I would use this post to gather in one place how and where I've responded during 2013 to much of what happened pertaining to Mormonism.

In order to put 2013 in context, we need to step-back for a moment and recall the climate in which it began. Not only had the LDS Church concluded a Mormon moment that seemed to go on forEVer and Prop 8 'nearing' its stunning and incomprehensible climax, but it had just launched a somewhat controversial, official LDS website; each setting the stage for what was to come.

The LDS Church launched to help members who identify as homosexual, their families, and members gain greater insights into the complex challenges associated with being "gay" (yes, they use the term gay on the website), and living a faithful and fulfilling life within the LDS community. The official position of the LDS Church on homosexuality is posted on the landing page of the website. 

Needless to say, but in 2013 more than ever before Mormons have had much to consider in regard to not only mainstream society's aggressive push to normalize homosexual relationships, in general, but also how to apply the Church's position (charity) in relation to the legalization of same-sex marriage and in developing a better understanding of how to embrace homosexuals, and in particular our gay members.

Truly, those who claim to be Christians are being compelled to stretch our understanding and application of Christlike principles so that we might become more like Jesus Christ and be the people we profess to be; His followers.

In all of the challenges and adversity faced in 2013 the successful work of the Lord is evident in the Church's progress, and in the many opportunities that members have been given, or have created, to share their faith with others.

In February, I was invited by The Washington Post's On Faith Blog, alongside of names like Deepak ChopraMark Driscoll and Danielle Bean, to name a few, to write about the meaning of love in Mormonism -  a definite 2013 highlight for me. After it was published, to my delight, the Mormon Newsroom linked over to the article! Deseret News also recommended it to their readers.

The Washington Post - On Faith: Kathryn Skaggs: A Mormon guide to love

The Mormon Newsroom: A Mormon's View on Love
Beside my passion for boldly speaking what I believe, is my love of social media and using technology to further the work of the Lord, which I actively do in my own little ways and try to encourage others to do as well. I was happy to be interviewed by Deseret News for an excellent article published in conjunction with the General Conference in April.

Deseret News: Values in the Media: A look at General Conference

Corresponding with the growth on my Facebook page in 2013, readership here on the blog has also increased due to the reach of my thoughts and opinions, which were sought throughout the course of the year and most in relation to perceived inequality of Mormon women in the LDS Church and priesthood ordination; ironic, considering I published only one post directly related, in March, addressing the launch of the Ordain Women website. 

In other words, that one post made quite an impact coming from the perspective of a conservative Mormon women (and continues to be read regularly), as opposed to the unified, vocal Mormon feminists voices who have taken to misrepresenting the majority of LDS women by actively seeking the media to advocate for what I continue to feel is oppositional to the doctrine of the LDS Church, its leaders and the unity of its membership.

Attending April 2013 LDS General Conference was a thrill! I came away from that particular conference with a powerful witness of living prophets and thoroughly enjoyed being in the LDS Conference Center (media room), and having the privilege of "noising abroad" the words of living prophets in real-time via the Internet for both the October and April conferences.

In conjunction with April's conference an unprecedented video discussion was posted on the Mormon Newsroom. The three top Mormon women leaders, at the time, shared their frank thoughts about priesthood and being a woman in the Church.

Immediately following (and I mean minutes) a press release was posted about approved organizational changes for missions, in order to implement the new "Mission Leadership Council" - significant for sister missionaries who now have input as members of the council, in the capacity of "sister training leaders"; similar to zone-leaders for Elders.

Three Highest Ranking Mormon Women Speak Out On Equality and Priesthood

Video: Top Mormon Women Leaders Provide Insights into Church Leadership and Women's Perspectives

As planned, and is now general protocol for Mormon feminists of all varieties, LDS General Conference is used as a key strategy for obtaining media attention to advance their advocacy, publicly; April 2013 being the first. The Daily Beast published a cover story, which emphasized the division between Mormon women caused by their actions. I was reluctantly interviewed as part of the article, as a conservative Mormon woman not in support of their Modus operandi, or opinions about inequality in the Church. 

The Daily Beast: Mormon Women Face Off Over Right to Priesthood: A group of Latter-day Saints women are squaring off against their more traditional sisters over the right to get ordained.

Sidebar: What Mormon feminists advocate in opposition to LDS leaders and doctrine is not among what I would consider of great import to the organization of the Church, or society, in 2013. However, my responding to their actions is, for me, personally important; for my own spiritual accountability and duty to God.

It's hard to imagine "children of covenant" living during a more wicked time in the history of the world and required, in the middle of it all, to hasten the work of salvation than those upon the earth today; us. And yet here we are, and it is!

The Mormon Newsroom posted a summary of the 2013 LDS Church highlights, among which is an emphasis on the dramatic increase of the number of missionaries serving throughout the world -  and the Church reaching its 15 million in membership milestone; now exceeded!

The LDS Church continues to be among the fastest growing religions in the United States and in the midst of modern-day Babylon! In 2013 preserving freedom of religion was brought to the forefront of Christian and value-based discussions, as critical.

The Church, in its desire to educate members on what religious freedom is (and what it's not), and the need to defend it posted an excellent resources section, including a series of articles, on the Mormon Newsroom: Church Launches New Resources on Freedom of Religion.

Included on the 2013 list of major controversies that affected the LDS Church and its members was the BSA vote on homosexuality, which passed, approving that beginning January 1st, of this year (today) BSA will allow openly gay boys to participate in the Boy Scout program. However, prior to the vote being taken the conversations that took place were shocking!

In all my years of blogging about the most divisive of topics within and without of Mormon culture, nothing prepared me for the initial, negative and passionate reactions, which came from not only those of other Christian denominations, but faithful members of the Church! Seriously, you'd have thought the prophet(s) had all gone astray if you didn't know better.

On the other hand and personally heartwarming to me, were the positive feelings expressed by many in the gay community. Although gays still feel BSA should allow the same for adults who want to participate as leaders in the program, they are glad that BSA and Mormon leaders are united in a willingness to not exclude gay youth who desire to be boy scouts.

Boy Scouts of America Propose Brilliant Plan: Upset Pretty Much Everyone

LDS Church Releases Brilliant Statement in Response BSA Proposal

LDS Church Response: BSA Voting Members Approve Proposal Amidst Controversy

After all of that, in October 2013, the LDS Church celebrated in grand-style their 100-year-old partnership with BSA; awesome!

Mormon 100 Year Partnership with BSA that Almost Wasn't

June 2013 brought about the final chapter of California's Prop 8 saga; my state. That was a dark day realizing the extent to which this nation's justice system, all the way to the U.S Supreme Court, has sunk - both morally and ethically.

At the same time, it was a potent day for the Lord's Church to reaffirm its "unequivocal" stand on the immovable and unchanging doctrine of marriage, which teaches that marriage is ordained of God only between a man and a woman; this, after a year of liberal Mormons and supporting media relentlessly insinuating that the Church was changing (or softening) its position on homosexuality in preparation of an eventual acceptance of homosexual behavior and gay marriage being sanctioned by the Church.

In fact, so convincing were the voices of progressive Mormons in distorting the message of the Church that some of the larger Christian faith organizations came to believe it and are openly critical of the LDS Church for supporting BSA - believing it further evidence of a great downfall to come!

Shocking News: Mormons Declare NOT Softening on Gay Marriage in Response to Prop 8 U.S. Supreme Court Decision!

On the heels of the Proposition 8 court ruling here in California, Deseret News published an article predicting that within 5 years same-sex marriage would be legalized in Utah as gay organizers boldly proclaimed Utah their next target.
""This is the state to have that fight. If we can do it here, where can we not do it?" said Brett Tolman, a former U.S. Attorney for Utah now in private practice."
When I read that, I got chills. I decided to share it on my WBMW FB page and suggest to my readers, many who live in Utah, that the gauntlet had just been thrown down and that they best take it seriously. You can read that status update here, and the discussion that ensued.

Before readying myself once again to cover the 2013 October General Conference, my husband and I, celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary in August, decided to take a last-minute, three-week trip to Europe - our first time. It was an amazing trip that we will never forget.

Due to the late planning, my attentions were completely consumed by the necessary preparations to leave (nearly a full-time job) and I pretty much became clueless for a few months as to what was going on in Mormon world - until my return.

Once again, the Ordain Women movement had decided to use General Conference to advocate their cause, but this time they took it to an entirely new level. In order to once again draw attention to their cause they decided they would request tickets to the priesthood session and under the guise of being "faithful" LDS women who simply wanted to make a show that they are ready and serious about being ordained.

As more and more LDS women began to find out what was going on with the Mormon feminists of Ordain Women frustration and concern began to rise. I was contacted privately (as nearly none were willing to publicly share their thoughts), and by more than a few of my readers wanting to know my thoughts and sharing with me that these sisters did not represent them or any of the women in the Church that they know. And most, expressed that they didn't feel any of the negative feelings about not being ordained to the priesthood and didn't feel the need to be in order to feel validated in the Church.

Knowing these frustrations I contemplated blogging about the issue, but felt to hold-back for various reasons. Surprising to me, was when Deseret News contacted me and asked if I would feel comfortable commenting on a piece they were doing, which was going to address the matter.

Once again, reluctantly, but with a confidence I can't explain, I agreed. The interesting thing that happened during that interview, was that I broke a very important rule that would normally have caused me great concern, but it didn't. In fact, I was completely at peace after the interview concluded. 

What I did, was that during the interview I clearly made it known that the Mormon feminists requesting tickets to the priesthood session, etc., did not represent the majority of mainstream LDS women - I spoke on behalf of my faithful sisters! You don't do that when you're interviewed and have no authority to do so. I'd never taken such a liberty before, even in my writing. But somehow I knew it was okay; I know the faithful women of my Church. The article that Deseret News published was a very important one and I hope that all of you had the chance to read it.

Another significant thing that came out of that whole conference circus (OW marching and insisting on being let into the priesthood session), was that during the press conference that OW had arranged to take place after they weren't allowed iito the male-only session, because they knew they wouldn't be (tickets also denied) was a statement that Ruth Todd made. She said,

"Millions of women in this church do not share the views of this small group who organized today's protest, and most church members would see such efforts as divisive. Even so, these are our sisters and we want them among us, and hope they will find the peace and joy we all seek in the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Here are a few other articles I was interviewed for, or was quoted around the same time and on the same topic.

In early November, Sheri Dew's much anticipated and very timely book, "Mormon women and the Priesthood" was released. I got my hands on it the very day it came out, read it and posted my review. I tell you this, because I feel that we all need to read it; it's that important considering current events.

Book Review: Sheri Dew on Mormon Women, Priesthood and Gender Equality

I was invited by LDS Living Magazine to write a review for their website, covering Chapter Two of Sister Dew's book, specifically. I knew others would be covering the remaining chapters, but I didn't know who? And boy am I glad I didn't! I was pretty taken back when the series of articles was published and I saw the names of the other six! 

2013 went out like a lion, with the swift legalization of same-sex marriage in, of all places, Utah! What was predicted to take perhaps five years, took less than six months from the time the prediction and challenge were made following the Prop 8 decision by SCOTUS; leaving many reeling in shock! 

The LDS Church posted an official response to the court ruling on the Mormon Newsroom in support of those who originally voted to preserve traditional marriage and confirming the official and unchanging position of the Church on marriage.

Having been through Prop 8, as a California resident and member of the Church, I know what it feels like to have your world rocked when what is believed to be progressive wields its way in such a manner that you feel you've lost the power to do anything about it. 

There is still much we all can and must do going forward and I believe the Lord expects us to continue to be light.

Because I know that division is an act of free-will, intended to liberate those who feel imprisoned by the very thing that will provide true freedom, I don't fear it. It is God-given. It is liberal ideologies, which suggest that division is to be shamed and sameness unity; not God.

I believe that we can be divided on many things in this world, but must resist contention; there's a huge difference. Our goal is not to become equal or same with each other, but with God. Let us not confuse the doctrine of unity in order to tolerate sin temporally. 

We can love each other and reject all things contrary to God's will; that is our charge as disciples of Christ. And that is what we will do going forward into this new year with the ongoing challenges of discipleship.


Kathryn Skaggs 

Happy New Year!

Continue reading at the original source →