Friday, January 24, 2014


We are counseled to treat our bodies as temples. We are advised to refrain from getting tattoos, getting multiple piercings, or dressing immodestly.

But this isn't a modesty post.

D'you know what it means to me that my body is a temple? It means that I am Heavenly Father's daughter, and no Earthly force is allowed to control my life.

So you could say that dressing immodestly is one way the world tries to control us. But I'm gonna focus on something else.

I have three pieces of jewelry that I wear almost 24/7. Two are CTR rings, and the third is an anklet I made recently. They're my way of claiming myself as my own. I don't wear them to draw attention. I don't wear them as a replacement for tattoos etc because I "can't" have those things. I make the choice not to have those things and my jewelry is totally unrelated.

Sidenote: For the record, even if I had never become a Mormon, I would NEVER have gotten a tattoo simply because I'm scared it would hurt. I don't do needles and I don't do pain. And multiple piercings, same reason (I do have a single set of earrings, but those are fine. By multiple piercings I mean having more than the normal standard one in each ear). Now I just have even more reasons to stay away from those things.

I wear my rings and my anklet because they have great meaning to me. I could go all English class on you and interpret each one as a symbol, but I always hated English class and these symbols aren't something you can assign a fixed meaning to. No, they represent something difficult to put into words. They're my testimony, my conversion, my struggles, my triumphs, my life. And with these inconspicuous pieces of jewelry, I claim myself before the world can claim me. 

Sorry, my iPod camera is terrible quality :P but these are my rings!
I belong to my Heavenly Father, and He has given me this life on Earth to learn and grow and be "in the world but not of the world." That's what my jewelry means to me :)

<3 Marie-Rose

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Puzzle Pieces

Have you ever heard someone compare life to a puzzle?

Each person is like a puzzle piece. We all run around trying to figure out where we fit. But we, as tiny human beings, can't see or comprehend the big picture. It's like trying to understand the entire universe - we're just not big enough; we don't have that kind of mental capacity.

So if we can't see the big picture, how on Earth are we supposed to find where we fit?? If we can only see a couple of pieces at a time, how would we know if we fit in that place or if we need to move to a different part of the puzzle? What if we are in the right place and we can't tell because there aren't enough pieces around us?

Think of putting a puzzle together. If you get all the edge pieces connected, can you guess where that one middle piece goes? Maybe. Now zoom in to where you can't see any of the edge pieces. Pretty much impossible to get that one little piece in the right spot when you have no reference points.

Oh, if only we had the picture on the box to look at....! But didn't we just establish that we're too small to understand that picture?

Guess what? Life is like a puzzle, and only God can see the picture on the box. Oh thank goodness. If He can see the box, His perfect master plan, then we can rely on His guidance to get us to the right place in the puzzle of life.

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<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, January 19, 2014


So today has been all about prayer for me. I went to both mass and church, and prayer came up a lot.

In mass, I don't remember the topic of the priest's homily, but I do remember one specific thing he said. When he was in priest school (actually called seminary, but it's more like legit college than it is like early morning seminary), he felt like he was really bad at praying. So he told one of the instructor-type people; he felt like he couldn't keep doing the whole priest thing. Okay, maybe it wasn't that extreme (I forget, cuz this was before 10am and it's been a long time since then), but he was pretty discouraged. And d'you know what he was told? "Just keep showing up." The quality doesn't matter, just what's in your heart. That really hit me. Cuz I feel like I'm absolutely terrible at praying.

So like a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach? Not faking feelings or thoughts or whatever, but the act of praying. Just do it. Just pray however you know how. We'll come back to that.

Then I got to go to church! For the second week in a row! That never happens. I went literally once in 2013. My friend Sarah gave an amazing talk on how we are children of God. Then a lady that I don't know gave a talk on following Christ's example. And then a guy I don't know gave a talk on that feeling where you just can't keep your head above water, and used a real-life story about a kayaking accident where a guy did actually get stuck underwater and his friends had to pull him out. He compared that to how we are saved. No matter how much we think we will always make good choices, we will all sin sometimes. And we need the Atonement to save us.

The second hour of church, which I think is called Sunday school but someone please tell me if I'm right, we talked about knowing who God is. We as Mormons know that He has a body. He's not just some random cloud. He's a Being. We look like Him. We know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all one in purpose but separate in being. We know that They know each of us personally. The guy teaching us had us go find scriptures that tell us something about God. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find anything, but I did! 3 Nephi 9:21 "Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin." He is our Savior.

We also discussed beliefs about God that other Christian churches have that are different from ours. One of the guys sitting behind me brought up the Trinity. I was proud of him cuz he correctly identified it as a belief of the Catholic church and defined it as the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in being, not just in purpose. Then the guy teaching us pointed us to some scriptures that seem to support the Trinity. So we talked about how being "one" can mean one in purpose, not being, and how Heavenly Father trusts Christ so much that He lets Him act for Him.

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Then in YW we talked about how we can know Heavenly Father better. Prayer was a big part of it. See, there it is again! And also Sarah gave me the option to say the closing prayer for the second week in a row, but I chickened out. Next time, I think I'll probably do it :)

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Anywho. So the lesson. The lady teaching us (what is the proper term for these people?? Are they teachers, or leaders, or what??) had three things: a flashlight, a map, as a cell phone. Object lessons. The flashlight represents the Spirit, the map represents the scriptures, and the phone represents prayer.

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One thing Abby, another one of my awesome friends, said when we were discussing prayer was the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach! I told you we would come back to that! We can't suddenly magically have a perfect relationship with Heavenly Father. It takes some work and some praying and some scripture reading and some missionary moments and some service and some faith. But you'll get there. And I'll get there. And it shall be awesome :)

<3 Marie-Rose

PS oh and I almost forgot!! Abby also said that we often see prayer as a chore, something we have to do before we can eat or go to bed. But really, it's a gift from God. The gift of being able to directly communicate with Him! And isn't it considered polite to use gifts you have been given, to show your appreciation? Even that ugly sweater you got for Christmas, you gotta wear it once, just so the person who gave it to you feels like you appreciated it. Now, on a scale of ugly sweater to iPhone, how often should you use the gift of prayer? I would answer "constantly" :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Did you know it wasn't added to the theme until 2008? If you've been a member of the Church for any length of time, you probably did know. But I didn't decide to convert until 2012, and I had just barely started learning about the Church in 2008. Or maybe it was a little after, my mental math skills are fried today :)

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Anywho! The Personal Progress booklet defines virtue as "a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards."

Usually, when discussing virtue,  people tend to focus on the "chastity and purity" aspects. Those are important things that need to be discussed, but I'm not going to discuss them here in much detail. I see virtue, and integrity as well, as a summary of all the other standards and values. If you have integrity and are virtuous, that means you're probably following the standards :)

In a December 2008 article, Sister Elaine S. Dalton compares virtue to training for a marathon, saying:
Virtue isn't something you have instantly. It is strict training. It is the daily, deliberate practice of small things.
Time and time again, virtue is compared to having strength, being strong, powerful. Purity. Pure gold awesomeness :)

Virtue to me, like integrity, means standing up for what you believe in. To me, it means refusing to compromise when it comes to your standards. To me, it means being in the world but not of the world.

So today, I echo the call to "return to virtue." The world is sometimes a scary place, but if we face it with virtue and integrity, knowing our divine nature and individual worth, doing good works and making good choices, and above all having faith, the Spirit will be with us always. And with His guidance, the world no longer looks quite so scary :)

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

<3 Marie-Rose

Monday, January 13, 2014

Guess what guys!!!

I finally figured out how to do a blog button, guys! You should check it out on my new snazzy tab bar on top, the new page I just created :) I'm super excited!!!! Thanks to Francesca for the idea to use a kitty cat praying :) 

<3 Marie-Rose

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sacraments and Covenants

In mass today, the priest talked a lot about baptism.

There are three readings in a Catholic mass. The First Reading is from the Old Testament and the Second Reading is from the New Testament, and the Gospel is from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Today's Gospel was about when Jesus was baptized.

So, in the homily, the priest talked about the "sacrament of baptism."

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary app defines sacrament as "a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality"

I'm not sure if that's the Catholic definition, but it's close. There are 7 Catholic sacraments: baptism, confession, communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (when a guy becomes a priest), and anointing of the sick. One cannot receive all 7, because a priest can't be married. Some just happen once (baptism, confirmation, holy orders), some technically just happen once but special circumstances could lead to multiple times (marriage, anointing of the sick), and some you're supposed to do on a regular basis (confession, communion).

Anywho, so now that you know what I mean when I say "sacrament," let's get to the main point of the post.

In his homily, the priest said "we are a sacramental people." He said other Christian faiths consider baptism, etc, to be blessings, not sacraments. There's a difference, but I'm not sure I can explain it. To use an example, the Catholic church believes the bread and wine literally change into the Body and Blood of Christ when the priest blesses them for communion. That's a sacrament. Most churches believe the bread and wine/juice/water are just a symbol. That's a blessing of sorts.

As soon as he said "sacramental people," I thought of covenants. I'm not entirely clear on what kinds of covenants one makes as a Mormon, but I think baptism is one of them.

Remember how I said a Catholic is only baptized once? And a Mormon is only baptized once. But the difference between my Catholic baptism as an infant and my upcoming baptism as a young woman is the authority by which it is performed. A Catholic baptism requires two things. One, the water. One must either be immersed or have water poured over them (usually just over their head, like for an infant). Two, the words "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," invoking the idea of the Trinity. I'm 99% sure the baptism has to be performed by a priest or pastor, too. But it doesn't have to be a Catholic priest. I know the Catholic church accepts Lutheran baptisms, and probably a few others too.

But being baptized by a priesthood holder into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... There's the priesthood. Which I don't completely understand, and I'm not clear on what all happens at a Mormon baptism, but I know the Spirit is present. And that's enough for me. A Mormon baptism is not just a simple blessing. It has great meaning.

I wish I knew more about Mormon baptisms and covenants so I felt qualified to talk about this topic.

I'm not sure where I thought I was going with this post. Oh yeah, I was gonna contrast sacraments and covenants. It would help if I knew more about covenants. Mostly, I think they're just different ways of saying very similar things.

<3 Marie-Rose

Ps I got to go to Mormon church today and it made me super happy :D

Thursday, January 9, 2014


So I've been procrastinating on this post. Why? I'm not sure how to define "integrity," much less talk about it. So I shall begin by taking a look at what the Personal Progress booklet has to say about integrity.

"I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong"

In the first value experience, it says "Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our beliefs and standards." Those standards can be found in For the Strength of Youth. 

So as far as I can tell, integrity is sticking to the values and standards you have been taught, even in the face of worldly pressures. Even when personal desire and temptations get in the way.

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 Integrity means choosing not to drink coffee even when your friends and/or family are pressuring you. It means walking out of the movie theatre when the movie isn't as clean as you thought it would be. It means working towards that "A" when your peers think it's cool to not care about school. It means taking time out of your Saturday free time to volunteer. It means getting up at waay-too-early-am to go to seminary. It means reading your scriptures and saying your prayers. It means choosing clean books and music. It means dressing modestly. It means making all those little everyday choices and knowing that you're accountable for every single one. 

Today I will leave you with a challenge. Tis a challenge to myself, as well. Pick a standard that you know you should work on. And work on it :) 

I'm not condemning you for needing to work on something. I'm right there with you; I have plenty of flaws. No one is perfect, and having the strength to make the right choice doesn't just suddenly happen. It takes some effort. 

But isn't it well worth the effort? Think of the promised blessings! 

Remember that scripture, John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." 

<3 Marie-Rose

Ps I hate sounding preachy, but I couldn't think of a better way to present this one... How'd I do? 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good Works

We usually associate good works with big service projects. But that's not the only thing you can do to be doing good works.

Big service projects are awesome, but they take planning and coordination and I'm better at participating than I am at organizing. That's not to say I refuse to plan a big service project, just that I'd rather not. 

So how can we do good works in between the big service projects our leaders come up with? I say we be nice to people. 

Say hi to people in the halls, not just your friends. Be friendly to everyone. Lift someone's spirits when they're having a rough day. Do little things to make someone's day. 

Last year at school, Beth's locker was right next to mine. I didn't know her very well, but we'd been in the same PE class a few years back and had been partners for a lot of the activities like tennis and pickleball. Anywho, one day she put a sign on her locker that said "Need a smile? Take one" and had smiley faces along the bottom. D'you know how people do that on signs with like phone numbers and stuff, so you can rip it off easily and not have to write the information down to remember it? She did the same thing with the smiley faces. It totally made my day. And based on how long it took for all the smiley faces to be taken (not long at all!), she made a lot of people's days.
I had not taken a smiley face, but seeing the sign was good enough :) I wrote her a thank-you note. Thanking her for being awesome and making people smile. I wish more people would do little things like what Beth did to make people smile :) 

By all means, please get involved in big projects every chance you get. They can be great fun, and a wonderful way to serve. But big projects aren't the only way to make a world of difference in someone's life. We're all human, we all want to feel loved and cared for. Let someone know that you're cheering for them. Because that emotional support is important. 

<3 Marie-Rose

(You probably already know that I change all names when I mention people I know in real life, but her real name isn't Beth)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Choice and Accountability

I was reading The Work and the Glory today, specifically the 7th book.
It covers events in church history from when Joseph Smith was martyred (well, like 2 weeks-ish after) to when the Saints start leaving Nauvoo for the West. The fictional family that the book is centered on, the Steeds, have to make a choice. Do they stay in Nauvoo, or do they follow the Lord's command to go West? For most of the family, the choice is simple. But for a few family members, who are not members of the church, the choice is not so easy. They can stay behind, but they'll probably never see the rest of the family again. But why would they go, if they don't believe it is the Lord's will? 

One family I would like to focus on is Will and Alice. 

Some background, for those of you who haven't read the books (and possible spoilers if you're not to book 7!)

Will is the adopted son of Joshua Steed. Joshua is not a member of the church. Will, after much soul-searching and arguing with his father, is a member. 

Alice is the daughter of Joshua's business partner, Walter Samuelson. Samuelson isn't exactly a fan of the Mormons. So when his daughter decides to be baptized, there's problems. Samuelson is glad Alice and Will are engaged (he and Joshua tried matchmaking a couple years prior), but that doesn't make it okay for her to get baptized. Eventually a compromise is reached, involving when and where Alice shall be baptized and married, and Will is to work for Samuelson for 6 months or so. He thinks he can convince Will to stay in St. Louis instead of going West in the spring.

But then Will is called to go to New York, and Alice with him, and accepting the call means Alice's parents will likely never ever speak to her again. Especially because going to New York means getting on a boat and sailing to California. Because they have to leave right now and there isn't time for Will to work for Samuelson for six months. 

Can you say #convertproblems? Oh my goodness.

Will and Alice have a choice to make. Do they follow the will of Heavenly Father? Or do they follow the will of Alice's parents?

Consider the consequences. If they go to New York, there exists an immediate, painful consequence: Alice loses her family. But if they don't go to New York, there exists some less-immediate and mostly vague consequence, eternally. 

The question is, which is worse? Well, as an outsider viewing the situation, going against God is worse. But what if it were your family? That would be exceedingly difficult. 

For as many posts that I tag "#convertproblems," I have it easy compared to many. As weird as it will be to tell my sisters that I'm getting baptized, as much as my parents think maybe I'll forget about it and it won't happen, as much as I freak out about my extended family finding out... no one is going to disown me because I want to join the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Things might get a little tense, but they'll work out in time. 

I know I'm straying from my topic a little bit, but I think I can find a way to bring it back. Bear with me :) 

Not every convert can make the transition easily. I've read many difficult conversion stories, and one of my best friends is struggling through one right now. I can't imagine what that must be like. 

I admire them. Very muchly. 

To be able to make that choice, between family and faith.... I don't know if I could do that. It's an almost unimaginable sacrifice. But we are all called to make difficult choices. Everyone has their own trials. They may be different trials than yours. But they're still difficult. 

D'you know what? We all still need to make those choices. Making those choices, enduring those trials... That's how we grow. That's how we mature. That's why we're here on Earth. 

Every choice you make, you're accountable for it. You have free will, agency, but there's a catch: consequences. That's why they call it "Choice and Accountability." Because you can choose to do whatever you want, but you're accountable for those choices. And now that I'm repeating myself, I will leave you with a single question. 

If you were in Will and Alice's situation, what would your choice be? 

<3 Marie-Rose

I love seminary

Seminary is my favorite. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go for the 5th time this school year. It made me happy.

We talked a lot about missionary moments and warm fuzzies :) Makes me want to get a bunch of BOMs to carry around with me everywhere. I love hearing what my classmates (and teacher) are doing to spread the gospel. It reminds me of myself as an investigator. I had many much "I can relate" moments that morning :)

Then we moved on to discuss Mosiah 25. To be quite honest, I was totally lost. I guess it helps to go to class every day, d'you think??

I really liked how we talked about being happy and sad at the same time. 
Mosiah 25:7-11
7 And now, when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records, his people who tarried in the land were struck with wonder and amazement.
8 For they knew not what to think; for when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage they were filled with exceedingly great joy.
9 And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.
10 And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.
11 And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.

See? Being happy and sad at the same time. Some examples were shared, as well. One that struck me was from church history, when they had to leave Nauvoo, right after they had finished the temple. They were happy to have finished, but sad to be leaving their awesome temple that they had worked so hard to finish. 

For me, an example of being happy and sad at the same time can be found in the fact that I went to seminary yesterday. I was so happy to be able to go, but at the same time sad because it was only the 5th time I've gone all school year. Ridiculousness, I'm telling you. 

Some questions our teacher asked us were, "how's your revelation coming? Do you recognize the Spirit's influence?" I realized I need to work on those things. I'll have days or even weeks when I feel the Spirit regularly, but then life happens and I forget to be listening for His promptings. 

Anywho. So basically, I love seminary and I really wish I could go more often. Especially cuz it's the Book of Mormon. I grew up learning about the Bible (even though it wasn't the best Bible education ever....), but I don't know the BOM as well as I would like to. Having read it three times kind of helps, but there are confusing parts that I still don't quite get. 

Go to seminary, people! It's an amazing opportunity, and you don't wanna waste it :) 

<3 Marie-Rose

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I'm not sure what else I can say about knowledge that you haven't heard already. We are to seek both temporal and spiritual knowledge. So that means you should go to college and read your scriptures. And knowledge is the only thing that stays with you after you die; all your worldly possessions stay behind.

When I think of "temporal knowledge," I cringe at the thought of school. Of studying. Quizzes and tests and projects. Especially because I have a very low opinion of the public school system. But then I have to think of how blessed I am. Many people don't have half the chance that I do. I have the educational resources to guarantee myself a reasonable job and income. I just have to put forth a little effort.

D'you know what makes me sad? The people who treat high school as a joke. They sleep through all their classes, don't do any homework, and generally don't care. They think they're "cool." You know the type. And some of them get it figured out. They realize that there's this thing called a transcript and a GPA, and once you screw those up, you can't fix it. And some never get it figured out. 

I highly recommend the book Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. It's by twin brothers, teenagers, who believe that because people expect very little of young adults, the young adults don't do very much. If your mother didn't expect you to do the dishes, would you do them? Well, the school system doesn't expect much of us teens, either. So the mentality is, why should we do more than expected of us?

Well, to gain knowledge, because Heavenly Father expects us to. Just because your teachers or your parents don't expect you to do something, doesn't mean your Father in Heaven doesn't expect you to do it. Oh boy, that was a messy sentence. 

So basically, you should gain knowledge. And balance your time spent gaining knowledge between your schoolwork and your scriptures. Both contain important lessons that one day you'll be glad to have learned. 

<3 Marie-Rose

PS you really should read Do Hard Things. The authors are Alex and Brett Harris. It's one of the most inspiring books I've ever read.