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  1. I was born and raised in Canada and I ended up marrying an American. After going through the lengthy immigration process, my husband and I began building our life together in the US. Only two months after I moved to the US, I received a call from my Dad informing me that when he got home from work that day, he was going to pack up his stuff and he was going to leave my mom. That was about a year and a half ago. He also decided at that time that he was going to stop going to Church. Obviously this was devastating for my mom, my brothers and I, though I have made huge progress on my personal relationship with my dad since then. I have gained an understanding of him and his decisions, though I don't at all agree with them. In all this time, my parents have never made their separation legal, let alone filed for divorce. My dad didn't leave my mom for another woman, so that's a non-issue. My dad's issues are more based on tiny annoyances that he has let fester and become huge obstacles. After leaving, my dad has decided it's easier to do nothing and my mom has been clinging to the hope that he will come back one day. For this past year and a half, everything has just been in limbo. Mom has no closure and no reason to start moving on (though she has been taking steps toward establishing a small career), and dad just can't bring himself to do anything. He has his own apartment and has become comfortable. I talk with my dad very openly about how he needs to make a move one way or another to release mom from this state of limbo, but he doesn't. He's gone to a divorce lawyer and still couldn't bring himself to move forward. My dad still cares for my mom financially, so he hasn't just left her to fend for herself, but he has "checked out" spiritually so appealing to him an eternal sense is simply ineffective. Next week my mom is coming to visit me and my family for three weeks. Though their separation happened a long time ago, her wounds have never healed. She still cries often, and has told me she's hopeless for her own future being alone. She attends the temple regularly and studies the scriptures daily. She is a very spiritual woman, but can't seem to lift herself out of her own pity party. My question: What can I do (if anything) to help my mom at least gain some sort of hope? I think she's coming here more as a distraction than anything, but when she has to go back home, everything with still be just as miserable for her as it was when she left. Does anyone have advice on how to help her see that her eternity isn't doomed if she grows old alone? Thanks
  2. As someone who grew up in the Church, the most difficult thing for me was being able to uphold my standards without being a social reject. Being "in the world, but not of the world". I was already awkward enough as a kid, so adding that I was LDS on top of that seemed to make me a target. However, those challenges were most prevalent as I was a teenager. I served a mission and watched converts struggle to give up things that had always been part of their lives that by the worlds standards are totally good. Coffee, sweet tea, shopping on Sunday. All those things are harmless by those outside of the Church. So once a convert joins the Church, they have to rewire their entire mentality to those things in addition to dealing with the pressure and lack of understanding from their family and friends. Before they became a convert, those things were a regular part of their day and interactions, and then all of the sudden they join a Church and "act differently". Sometimes family gets defensive because they feel like they're being judged for something that never used to be wrong. I totally understand how difficult that is to have to stand up for something that at one point, wasn't even an issue. So I guess it's all relative. Were my struggles as a youth as difficult as an established adult who converted later? I can't say. Each person has tailor made trials given to them, so maybe each individual's trials weren't really meant to be compared.
  3. It seems like your head wants to change, but your heart is not willing. You need to have an intense conversation with God like Enos did. Read about Enos and use his example as your inspiration. The desire to stop has to be more than just logical. You need to know you need to stop because the Spirit told you so. Until that happens, your efforts will be in vain.
  4. You said that your VT partner feels that you should just help because you're "supposed to". Does she offer any service to the sister herself? If not, you can direct the sister towards your VT partner. Not in a malicious way, but just so she gets an idea of the type of attitude the sister has. Maybe it will help her see that this sister is taking advantage. Other than that, boundaries definitely need to be set. I'm a firm believer in honest communication. Next time she asks you for something and you feel like you need to say "No", tell her WHY you're saying no. Don't go calling her an unappreciative mooch or anything, just be real with her. Tell her that you have your own life, kids, chores, school, work, whatever it is and that takes up a lot of your time. Explain that you helping her so much really does put you behind in your own life. Give her resources for other babysitters that she can pay, help her understand bus routes, anything to help her be more independent. If you shared Conference talks with her (in a tactful way) about the emphasis the Church puts on self-reliance. Help her understand the value in being self reliant. That's all you can really do. If she gets offended by you setting boundaries, you can't change that and you definitely can't keep doing things out of guilt or obligation. In an ideal world, she'll learn to only call upon you when it truly is necessary, but you have to teach her what is necessary. Remember that saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink". Good luck!
  5. I don't think punish is an accurate term... I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and opens doors along the way for us to accomplish those things. Sometimes we don't recognize those things or we outright ignore those things. That doesn't mean that Heavenly Father all of the sudden changed his mind and doesn't want you to accomplish that thing anymore. I think He just puts another door to the same opportunity in front of us until we choose to go through. Your nagging voice saying "If you do that, you won't get what you want" is interesting. Getting what you want isn't really what it's all about, is it? Just remember. Heavenly Father is merciful, loving and understanding. No need to worry yourself with whether or not you're doing enough, and the whole reason we are on this Earth is to make mistakes and learn from them. We're mortal and imperfect. Heavenly Father understands when we are giving our best and that is good enough for Him because the Atonement makes up the difference. Hold your head high. You are good enough.
  6. Parents have to establish a relationship with their children to be able to talk about such things. Problem is, there isn't really a guideline on how to do that. I wish more families would help their children understand that sex under the correct circumstances is a beautiful thing. Posts like this would probably happen less. Even if the OP isn't asking his parents, at least he's asking.
  7. In Singles Ward, my Bishop spoke often about the Law of Chastity. Several times he mentioned that even if a couple who had previously broken this law, fully repented and eventually got married in the Temple, the fact that they had previously been immoral with one another would forever plague their marriage since the relationship began on immoral terms. How much more happy and at peace would you be with yourself if you started and maintained a relationship on chaste terms? I'm not saying it's wrong to repent and marry the person you committed the offense with, I'm simply stating how much more at peace you would be with yourself in your future marriage if you remained morally pure from the start. Another word of caution: Pornography warps your view of how intimacy should be in marriage. Since your boyfriend still struggles with this addiction, his view of you as a woman is being degraded every time he succumbs to his addiction. You need to understand your worth as a woman and a daughter of God and not settle for someone who currently isn't in control of his urges. You need to have the courage to escape this relationship because it is obviously toxic for both of you. It will be hard, but it is the safest course of action for both of you. The Atonement is full of compassion and mercy. You will be alright and you will overcome your weaknesses.
  8. Things like that aren't so cut and dry. Like Pam said, if you need to ask, you should probably talk to your Bishop about it. Yes it is uncomfortable, but he can give you more inspired, direct advice that we just cannot give you.
  9. I know there are people who would love the have the calling that I do, but I just can't seem to appreciate it at all. I'm the CTR 5 teacher in my Ward and every week I have to teach I leave Church feeling drained and frustrated. The kids in my class aren't terribly unreasonable, they're just normal 5 year old kids who don't seem to care much about what I have to say. After all, by the time I get to teach them my lesson, it's the third hour and they're done sitting still. I'm just not very patient of kids I guess. They want to play and they want to tell me all these random stories that have nothing to do with anything and I'm just not amused. :banghead:What are some things that you have done with your Junior Primary classes that have made the lessons more meaningful or interesting to the children?
  10. I was apart from my husband for my entire pregnancy and the first 3 month of our son's life due to the immigration process. It was awful. What got me through was my baby. Having that little piece of my husband that I could feel inside me and later was able to hug and kiss and cuddle gave me so much comfort. Smother that little precious baby with all the love you have. That child is a manifestation of your love for your husband and it will help to have that baby to distract you and make you forget about being lonely. The time will pass and you will be even more in love with your husband when he comes back.
  11. You can't be the only person who has observed how dysfunctional the Ward is. They probably all know it but are too scared to acknowledge it. I say you speak up and shake things up. Call people out on their bull, and ask women out on dates. Be the change that Ward needs! Having to go to Church with a bunch of people who are cynical and snooty is going to be a huge drag and it's obviously something you don't want, so don't let it be that way. Help those people lighten up!!! Being "old" and single doesn't have to suck and it definitely shouldn't be a cause of judgement from the rest of the Mormon world. It's the members that think being old and single is wrong that need the slap in the face.
  12. In an Institute class I attended, the teacher told us about a time when he lived about an hour away from the Stake Center. He had a calling that required him to go to that building on a weekly basis for meetings. There was another female member who lived nearby to him who also had a calling that took her to the Stake Center on the same day every week. They discussed making the hour long drive together each week, but after some thought decided it would be best not to drive together because it would just put them into a situation where there they could develop a more intimate relationship. They both wanted to respect their spouses and remain free of temptation. There wasn't any romantic feelings between the two, they just didn't want to put themselves in a situation where it could become anything more than plutonic. The lesson I learned is to avoid any sort of interaction with the opposite sex that could be misconstrued as unfaithful. Do I want others to see me alone with a man that isn't my husband? If I do, what would those people think I was doing with that man? Would it look like I was being unfaithful? In essence, you avoid the appearance of evil. There is no reason to go hang out alone with another person of the opposite sex if you aren't married to them. That just opens the door to being able to develop more intimate feelings for that person who isn't your spouse. Your husband needs to understand that even if he isn't DOING anything wrong, it still LOOKS bad, and it's putting him in a position to develop feelings for other women that he should only have for you, his wife. He shouldn't be looking at pictures of women in clothes that are meant to be provocative. They aren't pictures of his wife either! It's not okay, and he should value your relationship and marriage more than that.
  13. I am a Canadian who married and American and moved to the US. We researched the immigration process both ways, but they're pretty much the same. I wouldn't say going one way or the other was easier. One thing to consider is the medical examination. It has to be done by a physician authorized to complete examinations for immigration purposes. There are only 4 in all of Canada. Yes. FOUR. One is in Vancouver, one in Toronto and two in Montreal. I was in Alberta so I wasn't anywhere near any of those choices. You are required to go to the US Consulate in Montreal for a final interview. In my case, we had already been married and I was entering the US as a Spouse of a US citizen. The interview was necessary to prove I was in love and wasn't just marrying for the green card. Regardless of the reason you are applying for permanent residency in the US, you will have to go to Montreal for the interview and have the results of the medical exam in hand. Those medical exam results take several days to be completed so I had to arrive in Montreal 8 days before my scheduled interview date at the Consulate. Canadian/Provincial health care does not cover the cost of that medical exam which is $250, as of 18 months ago. Being in Montreal for 8 days gets to be expensive with food, transportation, and a room to stay in. All the application fees are already really pricey, so altogether you're spending upwards of $2000 for fees and travel costs, not to mention lawyer fees if you choose to have one. That will probably double your costs at least. We did it without a lawyer to save money, but it took a really long time. It's up to you what you choose to sacrifice, time or money. Either way, the whole process sucks. Just make sure you follow all the directions you are given and triple check everything you send in. Another thing to be cautious about is if you move to the US and get married within 2 months of your arrival and stay there. That puts up some major red flags for immigration and it makes things extra difficult in the long run. I don't have all the technical advice, like which forms to fill out and all that. It was so stressful and overwhelming going through all of it, I think my brain just discarded all the information. I do know what I had to go through though and it wasn't fun. Just make sure that you're willing to put in a lot of time and a lot of money if your relationship gets to that level. Getting an immigration lawyer would make things a lot easier, but you still have to provide him with your entire life's history so be prepared to dig that all up. Addresses you have lived at for the previous 5 years, jobs for the past 5 years and their owners contact information. It's very in depth. Hope this helps... I know it sounds very pessimistic, but really, nothing is made easy for this whole process and nobody is really willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just be prepared for the most difficult process you will ever go through!!
  14. I don't have smaller versions of the pictures. Maybe this will work??
  15. I really like that idea of painting on plywood. He did something similar to that last summer, but instead of being on plywood, he stretched industrial shrink wrap around two trees in a park and painted on that. It was totally legal and it got him a lot of attention. He didn't like how temporary it was though, so maybe doing it on plywood would help that because he can keep it/sell it. He has done business cards before. He just doesn't really know how to market himself for legal jobs. As far as his work resembling gang art, he always does completely different styles. The only similarity in his work is the word he paints. But really, I know nothing about gangs and how they operate. But here are a couple picture. The first was done on a legal wall, the second was done on shrink wrap. The last one was done on paper.