If you haven't visited Women in the Scriptures you are missing out. As the name of her blog implies, Heather shares insights into the women of the scriptures. She has a standing challenge to study the scriptures paying particular attention to the women mentioned, the roles they have, the things they've done. Some of my favorite posts by Heather are Getting Adam to Partake, How many women would you guess are in the scriptures?, and The Importance of Birth. Welcome, Heather!
Several weeks ago my husband and I took our two little children (3 and 2) on a road trip to “middle of nowhere” Nevada. It was a long trip and, since my 6 month pregnant body desperately needed a break, we broke up the trip by stopping for the night in Wendover, Nevada. Wendover is a little city just barely over the Utah border whose economy consists almost solely of gambling and prostitution. We were there on a weekend night and every time we walked through the casino to get to our hotel room we had to pass through groups of drunk young men who were obviously hanging around for lewd and immoral reasons. As I walked past them with my two small children clinging to my hands and my belly bulging out in front I felt their eyes bore into me. Their stares, their laughs, and their openly crude remarks about my condition made me feel filthy and exposed. When we got back to our hotel room all I wanted to do was curl up and cry; I’d never felt so degraded.
Later I realized that the reason I’d felt so humiliated by this experience was that my husband and I, with our little crew of children, represented everything good and virtuous that these young men were forsaking. We were a walking testament to the eternal truth that “…God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” and that “…God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” Our presence bore witness against them and they probably felt as uncomfortable around us as we did around them… it is no wonder they mocked us.
We live in a time when the doctrine of the family and the sanctity of life are openly criticized on all sides. It is getting harder and harder for those who believe in traditional marriage and moral values to speak about their beliefs without being classified as “old-fashioned” or “out-of-touch” with the world. Yet, this isn’t the first time in history (nor will it be the last) when righteous people of God have had to take unpopular or difficult stance in order to protect the sanctity of life and the family.
The first chapter of Exodus tells the story of the Puah and Shiphrah who were midwives to the Hebrews at a time when the children of Israel “multiplied and grew” in Egypt. The Pharaoh was afraid the Hebrews would over power them and so he tried to limit their population. Yet, when slavery and hard work failed to dissuade the Hebrews from having more children Pharaoh called Puah and Shiphrah and told them, “… when you do the office of midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools, if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live". (Exodus 1:16) These two women knew that there would be serious consequences for ignoring the Pharoah’s command but they put their faith in God and chose to do what they knew was right. They continued to deliver children and save them all alive, boys and girls.
Months later Puah and Shiphrah were again called before Pharaoh. When he asked them why there were so Hebrew boys toddling around they told him, “…Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come unto them.” (Exodus 1:19) It is unlikely that all the Hebrew women had quick and unassisted births. Yet it seems that they were significantly different enough from their Egyptian counterparts that Pharaoh believed the midwives when they told them that Hebrew women gave birth differently than Egyptian women did. Remarkably, Puah and Shiphrah suffered no consequences for their blatant disobedience of the Pharaoh. Furthermore, as a result of their actions, and presumably many other midwives who helped them, there were 603,550 Israelite men who were over the age of 20 years old at the time Israel was delivered out of bondage. Many of those men probably owed their lives to women who, at great risk to themselves, had the courage to protect the sanctity of life. In fact, Moses himself would probably have not have survived infancy without these women’s courage.
Just like Puah and Shiphrah it is often our daily actions and choices that bear the strongest testimony of our beliefs. We can preach, till our faces turn blue, about the importance of traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, and the value of children but none of those words will ever has as much impact as will the individual choices we each make. It is the rings on our left hands, our pregnant bellies, the crew of children we load into the car each day, the couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, the parent who sacrifices to stay home with the children, and our youth who behaves modestly that bear daily testimony to the world that we believe in family and the sanctity of life. Our decisions may not always be easy to make, nor will our doctrines always be popular or politically correct. Yet just like the Hebrew women who were “not as the Egyptian women” the choices we make about marriage and family will set us apart from the rest of the world and bear testimony of what is right. Knowing that we are doing what is good in the eyes of God should give us the confidence to stand, even before Pharoh if needs be, and defend our choices and our beliefs. Or at least the very least it should give us the confidence to make it past groups of drunk and crude young men without feeling ashamed. Even though next time I think I'll still find a back door to sneak in!
Don't forget to visit The Red Headed Hostess, Welcome to the Madness, and We Talk of Christ today to see what wonderful goodness they have about the Family Proclamation!
"Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones." (First Presidency Preface, Hymns, 1985, x)
The Purple Cow Bookstore is sponsoring today’s prize of a Hardbound LDS Hymnbook engraved with your family name and one of Cocoa’s favorite songbooks from childhood, Let’s Sing Together.
The Purple Cow Bookstore an independent children's bookstore located west of the Oquirrh Mountains in Tooele, Utah. They help you bring children and books together!
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