Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I recently heard about a school in Salt Lake City, whose principal is great, and happens to be a lesbian.  I heard that many parents found out that little fact about their principal, and took their children out of the school because of it.  That broke my heart.  And I know that this is not the only case of prejudice like this going around.  So I feel like I want to state my beliefs strongly and boldly right here.

My name is Aubrey.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I believe that the principles taught by the scriptures and prophets in this church are wonderful.  I believe in dressing modestly.  I do not smoke.  I do not drink alcohol.  I do not drink coffee.  I do not believe in sex out of wedlock.  I do not agree with acting on same-gender attractions.

I do not agree with those things, so I do not participate in those things.  But it stops there; with me not participating.  I do not look at anyone with any less value if they do participate in those things.  It does not make anyone any less of a person because they live differently than another.  I know many of those things are considered perfectly normal in this world, and maybe people think I am weird for not doing them.  Some of my very best friends in the world drink, smoke, are gay, have sex before marriage...  And I love them and look up to them as incredible people.  In many ways they are much better than me.  I would be infuriated if I found out they were being persecuted for their ways.  We are all people and we are all blessed with agency; we live here and are free to choose how we live our lives.  Much worse is the person who points the accusing finger than the person who makes his own choices and does the best he believes he can do in his life.

In our last general conference, Dieter F. Uchtdorf stated:

"The moment we judge someone else...we condemn ourselves, for none is without sin...  When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:  STOP IT!  ...  'Don't judge me because I sin differently than you'."

You can read the entirety of his talk here:  The Merciful Obtain Mercy

This is one of the principles of this church that I am the very most passionate about.  Stop judging people.  Stop feeling like it is your responsibility in any way to punish someone else for their actions, especially if they have never even wronged you.  We are all here because we all chose to come to Earth to get a body, and we are all doing the best we can with the situations and temptations and lives that we have been given.  I firmly believe that the merciful obtain mercy.  I am far from perfect, and I hope that I can obtain mercy for the things I have done wrong in my life.  I strive every day to give that mercy and love to others, and I would wish that other people are out there doing the same thing.  No one can get through this life alone, so why don't we reach out with love, and help each other, instead of ridiculing people just because they live differently than we do?

People have given their lives time and time again to give us the freedom we enjoy in this country.  Isn't it ungrateful to persecute people for living that freedom?  We should take the knowledge of good that we have, and use it to better the world we live in.  To serve, and to be kind.  Not to judge others for the way they choose to use the freedom they have been blessed with.

Stop judging, and Start loving.

That's all :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

With His Stripes

In light of this Easter weekend, I would like to share a song I wrote that bears testimony of the greatness of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  First I'll share the scripture that inspired it:

Isaiah 53:3-5

3- He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

That scripture has been a source of strength to me for many years.  It is so humbling to remember what our Savior has done for us.  We owe him everything.  Not too long ago, I was in a pretty dark place and I felt the power of the atonement as a source of wondrous healing and comfort.  I will never forget that moment.  I was reminded that we are never alone, and Jesus Christ went through everything so that he could be with us every step of our lives.

As this scripture came to my mind and I thought about that experience, I wrote this song.  It is called, "With His Stripes, We Are Healed."

I shared the lyrics and my experience with this song in more detail on my music blog:  "With His Stripes, We Are Healed"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lessons to Live By: Words of the Prophets

Did you LOVE General Conference?!  I did.  It was fabulous.  Brock and I spent the weekend in Salt Lake with the Thompson Clan and it was wonderful.  Here are some of the important lessons I learned from this session:

- To paraphrase Pres. Ucthdorf:  If you're being mean, STOP IT!  :-) 

- The Church is not synonymous to the Gospel.  It is more important to be active in the gospel, but that activity can be supported by activity in the church.

- Elder Oaks reminded us that we owe everything we have to our Savior, so we must dedicate everything we have and do to his Eternal purposes.

- I noticed a lot of themes about overcoming adversity, letting go of the past, and moving forward.  We are never alone or unloved.

- I liked Elder Scott's point about keeping our bodies healthy so we are better able to serve the Lord.  There's some motivation to exercise!  Ha ha ha :-)

- Ask yourself this question:  "What thinks Jesus of me?"  And if you don't like the answer, change it.

- President Monson's talk was a powerful reminder of why we are really here.  "We enter mortality with the power to think and to achieve. . . We were sent here with a way to return home."  I loved that.  We need to slow down and focus on what really matters in life.

Conference is such a precious gift we have.  In Primary the other day, we were talking about following the Prophet.  We gave examples of prophets such as Moses and Elijah, and talked about how the people were blessed for following their words.  We have the opportunity to listen to a prophet just like Moses and Elijah, in the comfort of our homes, every 6 months.  I think it's important to not take that precious time for granted, but to listen to the guidance that is so readily available to us.  I am so grateful to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I know that, no matter what our lives, situations, or beliefs, the words we hear from the prophets are excellent lessons to live by!