Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Night Out With the Girls and a Renaissance of Virtue

I took my baby son and oldest daughter to a church meeting last night that was for young women and their mothers. So baby son had a night out with the girls. Wanting to have a fun, social, and inspirational night with my daughter and some kindred spirits (a friend of my daughter's and her mother), I arranged to meet them at their chapel and then go to their place after the meeting for ice cream, which I offered to bring. (Haagen Dazs- yummy! All of my listening to Sally Fallon interviews on the Internet has turned me on to real cream. "Eat Fat, Lose Weight" is one of the titles of her book. Sounds heavenly to me! As a nursing mother I feel like I am always hungry but the hunger is less constant now that I am eating more animal fat. My next step is to move on up to homemade ice cream made of raw cream, not pasteurized.)

That's one thing all this Leadership Education has taught me, that if I want something, I get to create it. And why not? Why sit and wait for others, like my daughter's YW presidency, to organize a social after the broadcast? Last year we got to go to the Conference Center and hear President Monson in person speak to the young women. Wow! I felt a witness from the Holy Ghost that he is God's prophet and mouthpiece. Last year I was pregnant and knew that this year I would not be able to go to the Conference Center to see the meeting in person, as I don't like to leave my nursing babies for very long and they don't allow babies.

The speakers inspired me. More on that later. This morning I marveled that I only had to take my baby out once during the whole meeting, not because he was fussy, but to change his diaper. I was wondering about why that happened and that it occurred to me as to why. It's because I felt free to nurse him right there in the chapel, since all the lights were off so the satellite broadcast of the meeting could be seen on the screen. (It was the Young Women's General Broadcast for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See lds.org) I used to nurse occasionally in church meetings just to make a point that I felt that a woman should be able to nurse wherever she has a right to be (I still feel that way). But sometimes it is just easier to nurse in the nursing mother's room where I can kick back and relax and not worry about the baby popping off, exposing me. I also don't have to worry about my baby's noisy slurping bothering people. (My nurslings tend to sound like little piglets.) I don't do the blanket thing as the baby pulls it off after he's about three months old. So it was nice to sit in the meeting and nurse and not have to walk out and find the nursing mother's room in a strange building.

Anyway, it was fun to be at a chapel in a more rural setting where I could see a tractor across the street when I looked out the glass door of the building. Sister Elaine Dalton was on fire! She continued her theme of "Return to Virtue." This talk last night must be Part III. Part I was a year ago, and Part II was last fall at a CES fireside. She made comments that I wish had been made by Church leaders when I was a girl, about how virtue is the best beauty secret, and that virtue is the only source of eternal beauty. She told the story of getting to meet the prophet David O. McKay's wife in Huntsville, Utah. (I love Huntsville-- that's where we go ice skating and go to visit my friend KeeNan. We also got to meet Senator Bennett at the McKay home in Huntsville two years ago. I won't say any more about Bennett in this time of political volatility.) President McKay called his wife "my queen." Sister Dalton said she was a queen because she had lived years of virtue. Her hair was gleaming white and her eyes sparkled like jewels, all because of her inner virtue.

I love this Renaissance of Virtue! It just wasn't emphasized when I was young. My son has a T-shirt he bought from our Commonwealth School that says on the front "Want freedom?" When I first saw the shirt I thought, "Yeah, I want freedom. Of course, who doesnt'?" On the back of the shirt, it says, "Get virtue." That's not the popular answer as to how to get freedom but it's true. You can see and buy the shirt at getvirtue.com. Why is virtue so important? Because, as Sister Dalton has pointed out, virtue actually means "strength," as the Latin root word is virtus which means strength. We can only be strong from protection from the Lord and that protection comes from being good. I have felt motivated to organize some firesides for my youth and their peers that focus on virtue. When we are good, or virtuous, more freedom comes to us, and when we are bad, our choices become limited and we have less freedom.

I have learned that Montesquieu taught hundreds of years ago that the best form of government is a republic. In a republic, the goal of education is to instill virtue. So it's no coincidence that in this time of political and economic trouble, Sister Dalton feels inspired to urge a return to virtue. In her talk last fall she stated that our economic and the physical upheavals in our world come from a lack of virtue. Our government is supposed to be a republic, according to the Constitution. Our Constitution is ordained by God for the protection of all flesh, according to the Doctrine and Covenants. Only as we are virtuous will we save the republic. People are mad enough at the government, as evidenced by the huge turnout at the caucus meetings, that hopefully we will start being good and turn this country around!

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