Monday, July 10, 2017

Accepting the Atonement

In this week's New Testament lesson, we had to read a chapter in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young. It was about accepting the atonement in our lives. I feel like the atonement is something we, myself included, take for granted. The attitude of the world among many Christians is "just be a good person, we will all be saved." And while yes, all of us will overcome death, our experiences on the other side of this earthly life can be vastly different from each other. We all sin. We all make mistakes that make us unclean in some way. The beauty of the atonement is that we can be clean again when we let its healing power into our hearts. The key word being "let." I remember learning a very powerful thing through personal study and personal revelation. I was reading in Alma 5 and when I came to verses 22 and 23. They read, "22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you? 23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?" My immediate question upon reading this was "how do our garments become stained with blood, and why would we be called murderers if we never killed anyone?" And then it hit me. The blood on our garments is Christ's. We have his blood on us because he died FOR us. To dumb that down, basically it means we are responsible for his death. And we are, aren't we? If it wasn't for the sins we would commit and our natural human-ness, he wouldn't have had to suffer in order for us to have a way back. Here's the cool thing about his blood though. In Alma 5:21, it talks about how Christ's blood can CLEANSE our garments and make them white. So how can blood, which stains by the way, both stain and cleanse? Because it depends on the intention. Christ's blood NOW, because he is a resurrected being, is made of spirit. That spirit cleanses. For instance, if we accept the sacrifice made for us, and take part in the atonement, then his blood cleanses us and makes our garments white. But if we don't live our lives in a way that shows him we accept his sacrifice, his mortal blood, the kind that stains, is on our hands. And THAT is what makes us murderers in the day of judgement that it talks about in verse 23. If we don't accept the Atonement, we are counted as murderers of Christ. I understand that this is "Gospel according to Jill," but it just makes sense to me like that. I just wanted to share.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Being Prepared

Earlier this week, I was sitting in class waiting for it to begin. Some of the students were talking about the Second Coming and what to expect. One of the students, who was a returned missionary, said "Don't worry, the Lord will remove the righteous before anything bad happens." I was astonished. Surely the scriptures do say that the Lord will call up his righteous, but that is after the wars and rumors of wars, calamities, and other things that must happen before the Savior comes back. Furthermore, the students talked about how it would be a quick process. I gently said "you need to really study the scriptures and what the General Authorities have taught about what is to come. It will get bad for everyone. Some of the righteous will probably die. But we are taught that we need not have fear because no matter what we have to go through, if we are righteous, we belong to the Lord and will be saved, meaning we will have eternal life." I was further surprised to learn that some of the students thought nothing bad would happen in America because it is the promised land. The reality is, we don't know what exactly will happen or how long it will take. But I personally suspect, through my studies, that it could take longer than just some stuff that happens over the course of a year. It could take 20 for all we know. We have to be prepared so that when those hard times come, and they will and already are, we will know what to do. In the lesson in my New Testament class this week, I read an article in the November 2005 Ensign about being prepared. As I read that, this experience in my class came back to my mind. We cannot assume that we will be untouched by calamity and trial. In fact, going through those things is what will help refine us and make us ready to meet the Lord. Whenever I think about the last days, I think of the parable of the ten virgins. I think that one symbol that having enough oil represents is our ability to hear and follow the Lord. The day could come that all of our media and means of communication are cut off, and we might not be able to get word from the leaders of the Church. In those days, we had better already know how to hear the Lord and do what he directs. It will be too late to think we can just "learn on the job" in the moment. If we do not now what the voice of the Lord sounds like, it will be chaotic for us as it will be for everyone else. We need to know how to hear him. We need to already know how to act on the promptings and directions the Lord gives. He will need people that have already learned how to go forward with faith, despite fear or anxiety, and fully trust Him, even when things are scary or bleak. It will be too late in that day to think we can just figure it out then. We have to develop those skills now. Don't wait.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My view on Marriage

It's interesting that this week both my Anthropology class and my religion class talked about marriage. The difference was that in Anthropology we talked about marriage in different cultures and the different types of arrangements that there can be. There was no spiritual tie-in. Obviously for Religion class we talk about it from a spiritual perspective. Marriage is an interesting subject to me because I am still single. I am in my mid-30s, which in the Mormon culture is fairly unusual and definitely not ideal (depending on who you ask). I have maybe a different view on marriage. I have friends my age or older (and even younger) who are bitter that they are not married. I have never felt that way. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, but I'm just trying to explain where I'm coming from. I trust in the Lord's timing in my life. He leads me down paths and I follow, and I know that when the time is right it will happen. Or maybe it won't. Maybe my trial will be to not have a companion in this life. Either way, I trust it. I've had an interesting view on marriage. In our Hollywood shows and movies we are lead to believe that it is all sun and roses because you are in love. I know enough to know that it isn't exactly like that. My sister once told me that marriage is kind of like an ebb and flow. You have periods of time when you fall in love all over again with your spouse and then other times that you feel like you just have a roommate. It takes work. I've lived with two different families for a period of time. Because I was in their home, I got to see some of that ebb and flow. I feel like I understand some things about marriage because of that, things that otherwise I might not have known. I know that marriage is ordained of God, and that no one who is righteous will be kept from it's blessings. That's the most important thing to know, in my opinion, and in my phase of life.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mount of Transfiguration

This week I read the different accounts of what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration. I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. In the account in Matthew, it mentions that Elias and Moses were there, and then in the footnotes it says that Elias was Elijah. However, in the account in Mark it mentions Elias and Moses and then the Joseph Smith Translation adds "or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses." In the account in Luke, it simply mentions Elias and Moses and refers to them several times as "the two men." I had always heard that it was Elijah there, but finding the differences perplexed me. I reached out to a good friend of mine that I trust spiritually and asked him his opinion. Instead of giving it to me he asked a series of questions, in order to help me come to my own conclusion. His first question was: "If we use the restoration as our manifesting template and those critical to restoring keys to latter-day man, who would YOU say must/should have been there?" I answered that if I had to choose one, based on the restoration of keys that happened in the Kirtland temple, I would have to choose Elijah, but that I believed that both could have been there. His next response (this was all happening via text) was: "As far as it is translated correctly." So then I was thinking, well the JST says John the Baptist. He told me to turn to D&C 110. Then he asked, "How many came to Joseph in restoring keys?" I was thinking simply of those mentioned in 110 so I said, "Moses, Elias, and Elijah." In response, he told me that actually we have to consider all who came, so there was John the Baptist to restore the Aaronic Priesthood, Elias, Moses, Elijah, and Peter, James, and John. Then he said that if they were all the major players then, that they would have all been at the Mount too. I could see it then. I remember General Authorities talking about more people being at the Mount that aren't in the scriptural accounts. Then my friend said this, which has given me cause for thought: "The clearest view of such things (particularly when scriptural accounts seem to conflict) is the documented pattern of the Restoration. That is really the grand key to overlay to clarify past dealings." And he's right. If something is being RESTORED, then that means it was in the past as well. Interesting, no?

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Lately I've been feeling a little bit of a spiritual crisis coming on. Not a crisis of faith is intact. Let me explain. I have felt for a little while now like I am numb to the spirit a little bit, which has caused some alarm within my soul. I've wondered if it's because of my medication. Because I have bipolar disorder, I have to be medicated through school or I'll never keep with it. Right now, my meds are in a really good place. Mentally I feel really good, which is a sigh of relief because sometimes it's hard to find the right combination. My doctor and I have worked for a year and a half to get here. The medication keeps me from feeling highs and lows, which is great for a bipolar person. But there is a side effect that I don't like...I can't feel the intensity of the spirit. I can feel peace, but not that fire that I'm used to feeling. I've talked to other LDS people with bipolar and apparently this is common, but I don't like it. It's freaking me out, making me wonder what I've done wrong. This week, in my New Testament class, we read an article from an address to BYU by President Henry B. Eyring. It was called "Always." ( In the address, he talked about the Lord's command to pray always. He also talked about how, in the sacrament prayers, we are to always remember the Lord. The question then becomes, how do we do that? President Eyring talked about how our past efforts are not enough. We cannot stand still. We have to determine to study daily and pray often throughout the day and give everything we have to be close to the Lord. I realized in reading this that I haven't been doing that. I think, because I'm so busy working full time and doing school full time, that I have been counting on my past efforts and closeness to the Lord to carry me through, and haven't been doing what it takes to be there. So maybe some of it is my medication, but maybe I can break through the "even-ness" and feel that fire again. It gives me so much hope that I can feel closer to the Lord and hear his voice daily again. In the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Christ talks about the seed being cast on different types of ground. I want desperately to be the seed that lands on good ground and brings forth fruit. So take heart from my own experience. We can all come unto the Lord and do more to be close to him. I know that's what I'll be doing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oh the Humanity!

You know what sucks? Chronic pain, that's what. Any person that suffers with chronic pain is already starting to nod their head...I can feel it. I went to the waterpark yesterday and I feel like I was run over 10 times by a very large truck. You'd think the sunburn would be my ailment but's all my connective tissues. Stupid fibro. I guess it could be fact I know it could be. So I'll count my lucky stars (or blessings rather) that I don't suffer as bad as some people have to. Normally I'd be jonesin' for a pain pill to block my aching woes but instead I've found some natural things that work wonders: a warm bath with epsom salts, anti-inflammatory foods, yoga ( is fantastic to stretch out all those tight and aching muscles), massage, trigger point therapy and something called the morphine bomb. Morphine bomb? Yes. No, it doesn't have actual morphine, but instead has three oils that really help with pain and overall inflamation.

Here's the thing: you have to use it consistently. Unlike normal painkillers (don't get me wrong..those can be fun. But we gotta think about our livers people), you don't really feel the affects immediately. But over just a few short days of taking it consistently, you will notice results. Your overall pain will be decreased (or gone), you will be able to tell a difference in your inflammation levels, and you will notice that you just feel pretty darn good. Even your mood will be elevated. I love it. Seriously, I do. I ran out of Frankincense and pitched a whiny fit while I waited for my next bottle to come in the mail. And the pain came back because I couldn't take it. Ugh. Get it together Brewer! Note to self: DON'T RUN OUT EVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU ARE HEALED OF CHRONIC PAIN! Yeesh. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crispy Fried

No...I'm not talking about chicken (mmmm....fried chicken). We're talking about my skin. Ouch. Today we went to the waterpark in Canandaigua. I really tried to stay in the shade but obviously that plan didn't pan out. I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad except that I literally have spent zero time in the sun this summer. Zero. Not good for skin health. Speaking of health, I continued my streak with "waterpark food" know, a fried "veggie" burger and french fries washed down with a mountain dew. Food-wise I would call this day a fail, but at least I had fun...right? Fun counts for something?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallows' Eve

Well, it's that time again. Everybody's all costumes and jack-o-lanterns and I'm just over here munching on a snickers bar for breakfast.  There's something about Halloween that gives guiltless permission to consume a not-so-healthy amount of chocolate though, so who can hate on that?

Speaking of Halloween, it recalls one particular story to mind. I was 15, and had just been asked by my mother (who had a 2 month old baby) to take my 10 year old brother and his friend out to trick-or-treat.  No problem.  We had a good neighborhood for it, after all. So off we went...them all costumed up and me full of teenage attitude. At some point during the night, we found ourselves walking along a darker stretch of road.  Just up ahead I heard a dragging sound...a metal type of sound.  A shadow was moving up ahead, and as he passed under a street light my heart flew up somewhere around my eyeballs. The mask, in my memory at least (which cannot always be trusted), was some weird cross between ALF and the faces from those creatures in "The Village."  And that dragging sound?  He was dragging a huge-as-crap metal chain behind him.

I'd like to take a brief time-out here to explain a few Jilly-isms to any who are not aware. First of all, I am highly sensitive and afraid of things that can be completely ridiculous. I can't do haunted houses. I can't watch scary movies. I don't like windows that aren't covered up at night. I can't even watch action movies that have more than just a little blood in them. I search every possible place a person could be hiding when I get home (I mean...I'd rather face them head-on then have a horror movie moment when they sneak up behind me on the couch).  I don't pull up window-to-window with another car at a stop-light just in case they have the sudden urge to shoot at me. There are more. Many more.  I know, you don't have to say it.

Back to guy with chain. Jacob or Griffin may have said something about him to me, but I was so zeroed in on that dude that I couldn't tell you what it was. He must have heard us behind him, because suddenly he turned, looked at us, and ran into a yard and out of sight. ALL of my Jilly-senses were going off, pinging around my head and body like electricity gone wild. As we got closer, he suddenly jumped out and started chasing us.  We (and by we I really mean me) turned right around on our heels and booked it in the other direction. Confession:  This was admittedly a bad-sister moment for me.  I'll be honest in saying I had no idea if those two kids were even still behind me.  I was just running like the know...self-preservation. It only took a few seconds to remember that I should be worried about my brother. I looked over my shoulder and luckily they were keeping up with me pretty well. One of them lost whatever hat they were wearing, and maybe some sunglasses. We weren't turning back. I was relieved to find out that they were just as scared as I was (I'd gotten a lot of flack from my siblings and friends over my scaredy-pants issues over the years). Of course they were only 10 so I'm not sure that tips the scale in my favor at all. Needless to say, we were done trick-or-treating that night.  We went back to my parent's house, excitedly telling the rest of my family what had just happened. And you know what? We still tell that story. 

Happy Halloween everybody! Ya'll be safe now, you hear?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Beginnings (From jack and jilly)

Today marks a new beginning.  And I’m highly excited…like can’t even sleep more than 5 hours excited.  Today I embark on a journey of health and healing.  How will I do this? Well, I am starting with a 40 day juice fast.  Some of you may think I’m crazy, and I don’t care.  If you feel the need to tell me what I’m doing is wrong, please make sure your comments are heavily steeped and backed by some serious research, because I have done mine for a long time and know that this is my next step. Or better yet, feel free to keep your comments to yourself.  It won’t sway me and I don’t need the negativity in my life. that the disclaimer is out of the way…I know this will be difficult..especially in the beginning.  This is a cleanse of the body/mind/spirit.  And I couldn’t be more ready.
This morning as I was laying in my bed pondering getting up or continuing to pretend that I was actually sleeping, I picked up my phone to glance at the calendar…and then realized the date.  And then I laughed. Out loud. February 19th.  What is the significance?  On this day four years ago I suffered a traumatic experience that left me with PTSD and set off a series of events and health troubles that led me to where I am today…desperate for healing and change.  I laughed because I didn’t plan on starting my fast on this date in particular…in fact it never even crossed my mind.  What a better day to begin anew?! Maybe February 19th will no longer be a marker for how many years I’ve been in panic-attack-and-depression hell and will now be a marker for when my life began again.  So I guess the date couldn’t be more perfect! Ready, Set, Go!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Invitation

The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.  I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.  I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon, "YES!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.  I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here.  I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.