Mothers in May – Herodias

Sorry about the lack of posting. Things have been a little busy, but I hope to post about a few more mothers this month.

Today, I’ve been thinking about Herodias.

Herodias, by Paul Delaroche. (Click Image for Source)

She’s pretty much horrible. She is exactly the kind of mother we don’t want to be! Herodias teaches her daughter to use her sexuality and beauty, to use her virtue, to get gain. Herodias understands the power of a woman, and understands that her daughter is young and beautiful. She uses her daughter (to seduce her own stepfather!) so that John the Baptist would be killed. The story is atrocious.

But there is something we can learn. We need to teach our children that the value of a virtuous woman is far above rubies.

The message about the worth of women that we get from the world seems to be focused on a woman more like Salome. I have to admit, I’m often confused about my own value as a woman. I forget that I’m more than an object. It is okay to be old. It is okay to have a belly that has borne children. Obviously, I want to be healthy, but healthy doesn’t necessarily mean what we see plastered in advertisements and on TV. I often wonder, why aren’t women able to age anymore? Why can’t moms be moms these days? Why can’t grandmas be grandmas these days? Why do they have to be sexy moms or sexy grandmas? It is crazy! I love how Sister Dalton teaches about beauty:

“…’deep beauty’—the kind of beauty that shines from the inside out. It is the kind of beauty that cannot be painted on, surgically created, or purchased. It is the kind of beauty that doesn’t wash off. It is spiritual attractiveness. Deep beauty springs from virtue. It is the beauty of being chaste and morally clean. It is the kind of beauty that you see in the eyes of virtuous women like your mother and grandmother. It is a beauty that is earned through faith, repentance, and honoring covenants. – Elaine Dalton

I don’t know what happened to Herodias or Salome after this incident. I can’t imagine that she felt valued as a woman. Maybe she felt valued for having a womanly figure, but that can only last so long. I mean, Herodias herself knew that she didn’t have the beauty of youth any longer, so she had to turn to her daughter for this favor. It would be sad, to have your entire identity wrapped up in appearances, especially when appearances, over time fade. If we don’t work on our inner, deeper, spiritual beauty, then we will not radiate as we age. We will not be blessed with confidence that we are beautiful women, beloved by our Father and Heaven, our children, our husbands.

I feel drawn to the story of Herodias and her daughter. I have three daughters. I worry about them – living in a world that seems to value hyper-sexuality. I want them to know that power does lie in their bodies, but not to be used in a wicked or evil way. They can be beautiful and do good, like Queen Esther, who also went before a king with a request. They are powerful, like Eve, in that they can bring forth life into this earth! They can be women who are sure in their faith and in their value as daughters of God. They do not need to give in to the pressures of society, and tarnish their own value: which is far above rubies. I want to be an anti-Herodias: teaching my children to be good stewards, and to treat their bodies like temples. They need to learn to treat marriage and family with reverence. And I want to teach them to sustain the prophets.

Herodias is such a good bad example.

What do you think, about Herodias, the beauty and value of a woman, and what we are teaching our children?

Learn more about Herodias for yourself. Download the PDF and read/study the scriptures. There are also questions to help you ponder the principles of this text. If you have trouble seeing the pdf file below, then click here.


Mothers in May – The Mothers of the Stripling Warriors

Happy Mother’s day!

So…one of my favorite examples of mothers given in the scriptures are the mothers of the stripling warriors.

We don’t get to read their narrative. We don’t read their testimonies, per se. We don’t know much about them, specifically, yet these mothers play an integral role in the history of the Nephites. When we learn about their sons, we also learn about the mothers.

The Stripling Warriors
This is what the scriptures teach us about the stripling warriors:

“And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.

Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.” – Alma 53:20-21

The stripling warriors were young.
Usually, when I think of the stripling warriors, I think of the classic picture of Helaman with his host of armies…

Stripling means “youth”. Think about the youth in your ward, perhaps. The young men most likely come in various shapes and sizes. There may be some who are strong and big. Yet there are some who are probably still growing – lanky, a little clumsy, and maybe even scronny. I have a feeling that the young warriors were probably like a typical teachers and priests quorum in shape and size.

The stripling warriors were also exceedingly courageous, strong, and true in whatever they were entrusted.

These dudes were awesome. We learn that these warriors weren’t just born true and sober, but had been taught to keep the commandments.

Helaman explains:

“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” – Alma 56:47-48

The courage, confidence, and integrity of the Stripling Warriors had been taught to them by their mothers. I think about this, and wonder – what am I teaching my children? Do I teach them to keep the commandments? Do I teach them that God will deliver if they will keep the commandments? Have I taught my children to be true, to obey with exactness?

I have to admit, I’m working on all of this. We have Family Home Evening. We read the scriptures. These are good things, but I have a feeling that it is more than that. I have a feeling that not only did the mothers of the stripling warriors teach their children through precept, but that these Warriors could see the testimonies of their mothers in their examples. If I want my children to trust God, be courageous and strong, and to be true, then I need to trust God, be courageous and strong, and be true. Funny how that works!

Not only did the mothers teach their young sons, but they didn’t doubt that their mothers had testimonies. I think about that, and I wonder, do my children know that I know? What am I doing to share my testimony with my children. Even if my own children falter in their own testimony, I want them to be sure that I have one.

I love the example of these women. There are only a few mentions of them – they are phrases in three verses, yet their impact has been felt by millions. Not only did they teach their sons, but their testimony preserved the Nephites. Additionally, their examples – as women and mothers – have encouraged and inspired many women in these latter days. I’m so grateful for this quick mention. It helps me remember the importance of what I am doing in my home.

How do the mothers of the stripling warriors inspire you? What are you doing to teach your children and instill your testimonies into their hearts?

Learn more about the mothers of the stripling warriors. Download the PDF, and read/study the scriptures. You can also answer the questions to help you think about and learn from their examples. (If you don’t see the PDF below, then click here).

Mothers in May – Sariah


The mention of Sariah, in the Book of Nephi, is another time when I wonder what her journal must have said about the experience of traveling into the wilderness then sending her sons back to Jerusalem.

Because we have the record of Nephi, and a few of the stories of Lehi, we see that Lehi had been converted to the Lord, and had personally received the charge to flee into the wilderness. I’m sure that the task was difficult for Lehi – to leave everything behind and go into the desert toward an unknown promised land. Yet, Lehi had the vision, he had the promise. Sariah did not have such a confirmation. She had to have faith in Lehi’s testimony and experience. We learn from Sariah that, sometimes, to be a good mother means to be a trusting and good wife.

After her sons go back to Jerusalem, Sariah begins to worry. The journey was undoubtably difficult. After her worries came to a fever pitch, she complained to Lehi, calling him a “visionary man”. It could be tempting to “condemn” her for this, but as I try to put myself in her shoes, I think I understand – she still hadn’t received a spiritual confirmation of the entire trip to the promised land.

Revelation – especially when it comes to revelation for a family – truly intrigues me. For years, I was a single mother, which meant I was the sole receiver of revelation from Heavenly Father for my family. If I needed to move, I knew. If my children needed special attention, I knew. Raising my family was strictly between me and the Lord. Yet I yearned for a partner. I knew that I didn’t have the capabilities or energy to be a mother and a provider on my own. I wanted my children to experience a home with the priesthood. I wanted a companion.

I was blessed. I met and married Homey – a faithful priesthood holder. Things were going along as well as they could as we learned to live with one another. For the most part, he was getting up to speed – Tiger, Panda, and I had been together for years. He was the newbie. I could see that he followed my lead when it came to matters with the children.

However, one day, a situation came up. I was not really feeling any kind of inspiration one way or another, but Homey had a strong feeling. He knew what we, as a family, including the girls, needed to do. It was a little shocking – not to have the revelation. And I found myself needing to believe. It makes sense – that he would receive revelation for our family, but it hadn’t happened yet. I had to exercise faith and follow his prompting. I knew that this was my duty as his wife and helpmeet, and I also knew that to be the best mother I could be, I would be united with my husband. Sariah didn’t yet have a sure knowledge of the need to flee Jerusalem bound for a promised land. She, instead, was being a good mother by standing by her husband and trusting in His closeness to the Lord and ability to receive revelation.

Obviously, Sariah falters as her sons are gone. But this rift is short lived. Lehi explains to Sariah that he is a visionary man! He bears his testimony. We learn:

“And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.” – 1 Nephi 5:6

Lehi’s testimony comforts Sariah. To me, this speaks volumes to Sariah’s faithfulness and closeness to the Spirit. If she wasn’t close to the Spirit, a testimony would not have comforted her. Sariah trusted her husband: she trusted that he was close to the Lord and was righteous. Through her humility, she was able to feel the Spirit comfort her about the divine mandate to flee Jerusalem and go to a promised land.

I don’t think I can stress how impressive this is. Trusting other people takes a lot of faith, but don’t you think that’s what’s most important – especially in a marriage relationship? Of course there are exceptions, but I have found the Lord guide me in the same way. when I go to him with a problem – especially some kind of problem I’m having with my husband – I’m reminded that he is righteous, and just as much as the Holy Ghost works with me, the Holy Ghost works with my husband. We are on the same team. Sometimes, the Lord gives the revelation to the husband. Other times, the wife is guided. Either way, we need to be united as husband and wife – trusting in each other and in the Lord.

Finally, Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam return – with the plates. Sariah is completely comforted and she shares her testimony. (another testimony from a woman!)

“Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.” – 1 Nephi 5:8

She knew Lehi had been commanded to flee Jerusalem. She no longer had to go on faith, but she had received a confirmation of her own.

I can only imagine the impact that Sariah’s testimony must have had on her children. Obviously, Nephi recorded it. I think about Sariah, and I’m inspired to be a better wife and how that translates into being a better mother. Sariah inspires me to be closer to the Spirit, humble, and to bear my testimony.

Here is a little study guide you can use to learn more about Sariah. (If you don’t see the pdf, then click here).

What did you learn from Sariah? How does Sariah inspire you to be a better mother?

Mothers in May – Mary (mother of Christ)


I love reading about the women in the scriptures. I have to admit, there are times when I wish that we had more of a narrative of these women. I mean, can you imagine, learning more about womanhood and women from women? Can you imagine scriptures, written by women? I think that they would look a lot like some blogs I like reading… 🙂

I’m just saying, I love to read the accounts of the women in the scriptures because we learn so much, and – let’s face it – because I’m a woman!

So…for today: Mary (the mother of Christ). I love Mary. I love her example and her testimony.

But my favorite thing, hands down, is her simple obedience.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord…

Can you imagine this scenario for yourself? I mean, really think about it! In the past, I’ve romanticized what it must have been like for Mary. I’ve thought, oohhh cool, it would be awesome to be Jesus’s Mother. But now, when I really think about it, I realize that it would have been a huge decision, and not really all that easy.

First of all, there is the usual stuff that goes on with pregnancy: I don’t particularly like it. Personally, I’m sick, I’m in pain, and well, it’s pregnancy. I can’t imagine pregnancy without many of the modern luxuries I enjoy either. So, there’s that for Mary: pregnancy.

Now, I would imagine that most people wouldn’t believe her when she explained how she got pregnant. There are plenty of people who still, at this day, don’t believe her explanation, and we live in a relatively tolerant time. Can you imagine the way the people in her life (that didn’t believe her) must have made her feel shame?

When the angel announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of Christ, she was engaged to Joseph, but was unsure of how he would take it. There was a chance that she would be stoned to death! For her to choose to bear Christ, her life was at stake!

Yet, humbly, she answered the angel:

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:38

She had enough faith to be obedient.

What an amazing trait for a mother!

I think about myself, do I always answer, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;” when I am faced with my own duties as a mother and servant of God? I have to admit that there are times when I mutter, “am I the only person in this house who knows how to do dishes?!” rather than humbly serving my family – cognizant of the fact that in serving them I’m serving God.

I’m grateful for the humble faith and obedience of Mary who had the courage to be the Mother of the Savior.

Study more about Mary yourself. Here is a little study guide – with Scriptures to read and Optional questions to answer. Take time to really ponder her role as a mother and how you can learn from her example. If you have trouble seeing the pdf file below, either reload this webpage, or click here.

Mothers in May

Since it is May (and Mother’s day is coming up), I’ve been thinking about Mothers.

Self Portrait
A cubist self-portrait (when I was pregnant!)

It is interesting to me how Mother conjures up so many strong emotions. Obviously, people feelings about their own mothers can run the gambit. There are times, when I think of my own mother, that I feel happy, love, frustration, pity, gratitude, and even anger. Sometimes I feel guilty, sorry for myself, justified, happy. I have laughed with my mom, fought with her, cried with her, and I’ve shared special experiences with her. Our own relationships with our mothers are very complicated.

Some of us are mothers. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a mother. I have four beautiful children. I wish I could say that being a mother has always been roses, but it is hard work. I don’t always feel happy, lovey-dovey, or energized. Sometimes, my kids get on my nerves! Sometimes, I need a break. Sometimes, my kids bring me more happiness than I ever imagined possible.

Fun at home…Life is good as a Mom.

Yesterday, Sasquatch (the three year old), started singing “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…”. She knew every word. It was so cute.

As much as I feel proud when I accomplish something hard, the feeling of my children accomplishing a goal is unparalleled. Last year, both Tiger and Panda submitted art for the children’s art exhibit at the Church Museum of History and Art. They both had their artwork accepted! Seeing it filled me with a sense of happiness – not only for me – but for them. Last week, for the first time, T-Rex (the one year old boy), folded his arms during a prayer. Each of these accomplishments filled my heart with so much love, I felt my chest expand.

Yet, motherhood isn’t always easy. And the very thing that makes motherhood possible – hormones – makes it quite difficult for me. I have ups-and-downs. Sometimes, as mothers, it is easy to forget who we are. Through the daily doldrums of mothering, I sometimes forget my own desires, ambitions, and dreams. At the end of the day, when my husband comes home and talks about my day, he asks me about mine. I usually feel pretty blank. What to say? Often, we have talks about his dreams and career ambitions. I remember, one time in particular, thinking about myself – I used to have dreams, but I can’t even remember what they are or if they matter. Sometimes, our identity gets lost in a whirlwind of laundry, dishes, and diapers.

But it isn’t one way or another. Motherhood is a part of life. We need to learn how to balance it all. Even though mother isn’t my entire identity, it is a part of me, and I’m very happy about that.

The point of all this is – Motherhood – it’s amazing. It is loaded with emotions, often conflicting. The world sends us even more mixed messages. And as Mother’s day approaches many of us have one of two responses:

  • Yay! Great! Breakfast in Bed! And I love my mom! I think that I’ll call her!
  • Yikes! Breakfast in bed is great, but I’ll probably be cleaning the kitchen later. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom, but I should call her or else I’ll be in trouble. I’m a mother? – I have no idea what I’m doing. 😉

While I can’t offer some way of coming to terms to Mothers and Motherhood specifically (I’m working on it, believe me), I do think that the scriptures can. There are several examples of mothers in the scriptures. Even though the stories may not be super-detailed, there are wonderful examples of great mothers in the scriptures.

Throughout the Month of May, I’ll be blogging on the following women: Mary, Sariah, the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors, Elisabeth, Sarah, Herodias, Hannah, and of course Eve. If you have any insights on any of these women, please email me! at chococatania [at] gmail [dot] com. I would love to put some guest posts up here. Just let me know. 🙂

I hope that throughout this month, we can feel more assured of what motherhood is and appreciate the mothers that we have known.