Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 16)

Killer Recipes: Cheesy Garlic Swirls

My family and I love these rolls; and the best part is, they’re super easy! I whip them up whenever I want to impress people with my cooking skills, but don’t want to stress about it. Bread, butter, cheese, garlic—mmm. You cannot fail with this recipe. Seriously, just take a look at that photo; no filter, no editing whatsoever—that is the true form of deliciousness.


1 bread dough recipe (You can use any bread dough.  I usually use half a recipe of the bread dough featured on this blog a few weeks back. Alternately, I’ve also used rolled-out Rhodes Dinner Rolls freezer dough—just use what you have time for.)

½ cup butter

1 ½ tbsp garlic salt

1 ½ cups shredded cheese (You can use any cheese you want, really. I’m a fan of using classic cheddar, but I’ve also used mozzarella and it is just as divine.)

  1. Allow your bread dough to rise.
  2. While the dough is rising, combine softened butter and garlic salt.
  3. Spray your work surface with cooking spray, and roll the dough into an 18×6” rectangle (or do your best). Smear butter and garlic mixture evenly on the dough and sprinkle with cheese. Roll the dough up along the long edge to make a long tube of goodness.
  4. Use dental floss to cut it into individual rolls. I like to start in the middle of the tube and cut each piece in half until I have roll-sized pieces.
  5. There are two options for baking. You can place the rolls into a greased 10” pie plate, which works fine, but if you’re making a full recipe, I highly recommend putting each roll in a greased muffin tin. This way they stay contained, and they’re actually easier to serve and eat.
  6. Cover your rolls with a clean cloth and allow them to rise while the oven is preheating to 350°. 7. Bake for 20–25 minutes. If the tops are starting to look done before the rest of the rolls are done, cover them with aluminum foil and put them back in the oven.


A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

When I was in high school, my parents went on a low-carb diet. It turned out to be great for them, but it was kind of disappointing for my sister and I because it meant my mom stopped cooking the delicious comfort foods we had grown up with.

Okay, I guess a person can live like that. But not me—especially because my favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving—the holiday of carbs, pretty much. I had been known for taking everything on my Thanksgiving plate and making it into a big delicious sandwich on my roll. It was great.

Anyway, that first Thanksgiving rolled around, and my mom decided she wasn’t going to slave away in the kitchen all day making delicious foods that she couldn’t eat.

But she knew my love for Thanksgiving, and she didn’t want to just throw away the holiday, so we started a new Thanksgiving tradition. We decided that we’d all go to Golden Corral, and my sister and I would eat all the carbs we wanted, and my parents would stick to the meat and vegetables.

It. Was. Great.

Granted, it didn’t have all the cherished family recipes, but it had some pretty darn good mashed potatoes and gravy, and the turkey was nice and moist.  And on top of all that, it had cotton candy.

So for the next three years before I left for college, we went to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving, and we took a picture every year of me eating cotton candy, because I’m a dork.


Thanksgiving 2Thanksgiving 3








We always had a really great time on Thanksgiving, and the point is that it doesn’t matter what you do for Thanksgiving. The point is that whatever traditions you have, no matter how “traditional” they may or may not be, you can always have fun while you spend time with your family and think about all the things you’re grateful for.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my awesome husband and the time I get to spend with his family, participating in their Thanksgiving traditions. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father who has given me all of the wonderful blessings I usually take for granted. Oh, and I’m really grateful, too, for carb-a-licious food.


Killer Recipes: Waffles

Every Saturday while I was growing up, my dad would make either pancakes, crepes, or waffles. The waffles were always my favorite. As I got older I began to pay more attention to how he made the waffles, and I asked him to teach me. Eventually I would make the waffles for the family whenever Dad wasn’t there for whatever reason. The recipe is pretty easy and it makes a lot of food! The number of waffles the recipe makes depends on the size of your waffle iron, but a medium sized iron will make around 20.


1 stick butter

2 c. flour

½ c. sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

2 c. water

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Melt the butter and beat all of the ingredients together into a big bowl until smooth.
  3. Pour into waffle iron and cook for four minutes.


E: Extended Family

Fred and Rick were golfing. Fred says to Rick, “My mother-in-law is an angel.”
Rick replies, “You’re lucky. Mine is still alive.”

One of the trickiest parts of becoming united as a new couple is deciding how to handle in-law situations. While there are many jokes about in-laws, they don’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, most of the time they become a wonderful part of your life. It just takes a little bit of adjusting.

When I first got married—so long ago I can hardly remember—I found myself getting grumpy about how my in-laws did this or that. It wasn’t that they were doing anything bad, it was just different from what I was used to. I allowed myself to be disgruntled and even gripe a little about their habits and choices. One day it occurred to me that there was a different perspective available to me. I realized that my in-laws had raised my husband to be the wonderful person that I loved and wanted to be with forever. Therefore, they had done something right. Could it be there were other things they did right? Of course there were. From that day on, I chose to embrace all the good things my in-laws did and ignore the inconsequential things that had bugged me before. My relationship with my in-laws improved dramatically, and I am continually grateful to them for blessing my life.

As a new family unit, it’s important for newlywed couples to make decisions on their own in every aspect of life. These decisions include happenings such as family dinners and Christmas traditions. Parents, remember that while it’s easy and often fun to encourage your newlyweds to join you for various events, it’s critical that you do not put pressure on them to conform to YOUR traditions. It’s time to let them make their own.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when it comes to your in-laws. Stick to these, and your family reunions could go from slightly uncomfortable to events you look forward to all year long!

For newlyweds:

  1. Be grateful. Your in-laws raised that wonderful spouse of yours. If you fell in love with him or her enough to agree to spend your life together, then you need to give your in-laws some credit. They obviously did many things right. Once you give them credit for the good, it’s easier to ignore the other inconsequential things. It’s ok that they do things differently than you do. Odds are, so do your own parents. So, cut them the same slack and spend your energy getting to know their personalities.
  2. Look for the good. If you want to moan and groan, you will be able to find plenty to moan and groan about. But if you look for the good, you’ll be amazed at how great those in-laws are. And never criticize your in-laws publicly. In fact, pass out compliments every opportunity that comes your way—trust me, they’ll hear about it.

For parents:

  1. Let them go. You raised your children with the idea that they would go out in the world and start their own family. LET THEM. Do not insist they come to Sunday dinner every week. Do not expect them to come for Christmas and participate in YOUR traditions. Allow them to come and go as they choose, and if they choose to join you, welcome them. Remember how fun it was for you to get to make your own way? Or remember how much you hated being forced to do things the way your parents wanted?
  2. Recognize how wonderful your in-laws are. This works both ways. Look at the talents they have. Notice how each in-law is perfect for his or her spouse. Allow them to be themselves, and compliment every great thing you observe. And tell them often how grateful you are that they married your son or daughter.

For both:

  1. Remember, there is more than enough love to go around. Don’t be stingy with your love. Allow the new in-laws a place in your heart and you will increase your joy and happiness more than you ever expected.


G: Family Goals

As we are coming to a close on our M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E. acronym series, we must cover the importance of setting goals in a marriage.

Here is my most important piece of advice: make goals as a couple, and keep making goals. Life constantly changes. The unexpected always happens. So, it is important to adapt when necessary.

Where do you start? Well, if you are single, consider making personal goals you would like to implement with your future spouse. Then, once the future spouse becomes less futuristic, you can discuss those goals with him or her. If you are dating someone, consider learning more about that person and what types of goals he or she has for their future marriage relationship. If you are engaged, take this time during your engagement to really make sure your goals for the future are in line with each other. It’s better to figure out sooner rather than later if you are both on the same track. Finally, if you are married, choose now to sit down and make some goals together. There is no time like the present.

I have a friend who mentioned she and her husband spent many times on their honeymoon discussing and making goals for their marriage and family life.  This a great idea! If goals are made in advance, then when life brings you lemons, you will already have the recipe to make the lemonade!

Try breaking down the goals into topics.

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Family
  • Couple relationship

Then consider breaking down those general topics into subtopics.

  • Spiritual
    • Have FHE weekly
    • Morning family scripture study (or evening, whichever you feel will work best for your family)
    • Couple prayer
    • Family council each fast Sunday

These are a few ideas of goals that you can make as a couple and as a family.

I know it can seem daunting. But remember, we do not have to be perfect now. Our quest to perfection will not be completed in this life. We get credit for trying, and that is what goals are all about. Life happens; things happen. Sometimes paths change, and we need to reevaluate. I know that when we are diligent in keeping the commandments, and we work in our families to follow the council of living prophets, our lives will be blessed.


5 Ways to Study The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that discusses the role and importance of the family. This beautiful document intends for the whole world to benefit from it, not just those of the LDS faith. We invite all to read and study this inspired document regularly.

Reading a religious article is easy, but studying a religious article can be difficult to do. We often find ourselves reading the scriptures or religious articles on a “repeat” motion as we might feel with waking up, showering, and eating every morning. Daily routines are good for us, but what can we do to make them better? We could exercise after we wake up, listen to some pumped-up music while in the shower, and start reading that new book we just bought while eating breakfast.

We can also enhance our personal religious readings by finding new ways to study the words of God. Here are five fun and different ways to study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to enhance our routine studying of this precious document.

  1. Make it Personal – While reading the Proclamation, insert your name into every place appropriate, along with the name of your spouse if you are married. For example, I would read the opening sentence as, “We, The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between Joshua and Elizabeth is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of Elizabeth and Joshua’s family.”
  2. Highlight Your Part – Highlight every section that applies to you. If you are a woman, highlight all the parts pertaining to a woman’s role and a mother’s role, even if you do not have children. The same goes for men. Knowing what the Lord desires for each of us specifically, will help us improve in these roles or prepare for them.
  3. Discuss the Worldly Differences – It is no secret that the statements made in this Proclamation are very different from the world’s opinions of what gender can be and how romantic relationships can look. Don’t shy away from these topics. Mark the differences between the Lord’s words and the world’s words and discuss them with yourself and your family. Be prepared to know and stand up for what you believe in.
  4. Live what you Read – When we practice what we learn, it truly becomes a part of us. The Proclamation contains nine paragraphs. Starting from the beginning, read one paragraph from the Proclamation each week for nine weeks. Each week, pray for and look for experiences in which you can practice what the specific paragraph you read teaches. Even if the paragraph talks about the roles of the opposite gender, look for ways to sustain and respect the roles of that gender.
  5. Make a Plan – We are more likely to fulfill our goals in life once we have written them down. Write down a plan of how you intend to incorporate and continuously live the principles taught in the Proclamation. Revise this plan as necessary and return to study it often. Nobody and no family are perfect, but this Proclamation gives us the guidance and tools to strive for perfection.


Make Decluttering a Joy

I was going to write about new and creative ways to organize, but while I was looking for inspiration, I saw this phrase: “Why organize when you can declutter?”

When I was a senior in high school, my mom read a book about decluttering. The following Family Home Evening on decluttering was traumatic for all of us, a family of pack rats, but it was especially traumatic for me, as I knew that going off to college soon meant I would have to do some serious decluttering.

I remember cradling each of my books (more than 120 in total) in my hands, bawling, and asking myself, “Does this spark joy in me?” and if it didn’t, I hesitantly placed it in a pile destined to end up at the local thrift store.

Now, I’m terrible at decluttering (I only threw about 6 books out), but I can see how necessary it is when space is limited, and things are just getting too hard to organize.

I think that one of the problems I encountered when attempting to declutter so long ago, was that I only had the one question to base my decluttering on, “Does this spark joy in me?”. Joy is defined as a feeling, source, or cause of great happiness, not just something that you’re used to having. This makes things hard, because some things you just have to keep, even if they don’t bring you joy. Conversely, some things that you may think bring you joy just have to go.

William Morris said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” So how can you decide what is clutter and what is not, with so many vague parameters? I have compiled a list of questions you can use to evaluate.

  1. Do you know what it is? (I’ll give you a hint on this one: if the answer is no, just toss it.)
  2. Does it have sentimental value?
  3. Does it work?
  4. If not, can you fix or repurpose it?
  5. If you can, do you have a realistic plan to do so?
  6. Does it take up a lot of space?
  7. Have you used it in the last year?
  8. If you were shopping right now, would you buy this?
  9. Do you have a similar item that serves the same purpose?
  10. Does it spark joy in you? (If your item answered yes for 6 and 9 and no for all the others, be very strict about the definition of joy in this question.)

I encourage you to use these questions to aid you in your decluttering. And maybe if you do, decluttering won’t be as much a traumatic experience (like it was for me), and more of a joyful experience.


Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Home Sweet Home: More Than a Location


Why did I take this class?
It was a question I hadn’t stopped asking myself for the previous 48 hours. I asked it when I lay shivering in my soaked sleeping bag, when I stood in dripping wet clothes as snow came down in large flurries, when they separated me from class and left me to survive on my own in the wild. Why did I take this class?
The survival class sounded like a good idea two months ago when I signed up for it. They told us the final would be four days long, that they would separate all of us and survive based off the skills we had learned. I could be home! I thought.
At the time I was sitting by my homemade shelter made from branches and bark. Home. I stood up and searched and found a large piece of bark and then started carving that very word: Home.
Later, in charcoal I would add below the poorly carved “home” the words “sweet home” to read “Home sweet home.” This little signed changed everything. I began to “tidy up” camp, brushing away the dead leaves and twigs, dragging a large fallen branch over to sit on, creating little tables for my tools and food.
Suddenly, I wasn’t just surviving: I was thriving, and it was all because I had created a “home sweet home.” So many times even in my own, snug, cozy life I had been living moment to moment, simply trying to  get by to the next day. In the back of my mind, I knew that I would be leaving that makeshift shelter in just a day or so, but that didn’t matter. This home had become a place that I thrived in, and I knew coming back from the final I would do everything in my power to make my little apartment a place where I could continue to thrive.
They say home is where the heart is. I used to see that as a passive phrase, that home would just happen to be wherever my heart was and that where my heart would be was completely out of my control. I know now that you can make a home by working to put your heart and love into wherever you are.
By Jessica Olsen

The Best General Conference Memes and Tweets

We all love General Conference. We love the spirituality, the stories, the songs. But we also love a little good clean humor. Here are a few of the funniest memes and tweets that came out of the April 2017 General Conference.

For more Conference memes and tweets, check out this page.



















R: Living your Religion in Marriage

Photo by Sarah Wells



Getting married is hopefully the best decision you’ve ever made, but like any major life change, it comes with a lot of transitions. Even if you come from the same religious background, it is likely that you and your spouse will have some differing views and traditions when it comes to religion. (Read more on merging traditions in the first installment of this series.)

My husband and I were both raised in a similar way, with religion being a top priority in our families’ lives. Despite that, we have had to learn how to make our religious practices work in our marriage.

Here are a few things we’ve learned

  • Talk about it. We had to sit down and discuss what religious practices we wanted to carry into our relationship. We decided which things were a priority to us, and what we would start doing now so that we could have well-established traditions for when our children are born.
  • Set a time to be spiritual. This could be every day, every week, or whenever you decide is best for you. We have loved setting aside time every day to study and pray together. It’s a quiet time when we can reflect on what is most sacred and important to us, and in which we can remember what is truly important. No matter what you and your spouse do during your spiritual time, setting aside time for it will ensure that you can have time amidst a busy schedule.
  • Involve friends and family. Just because you are married now doesn’t mean you have to exclude friends and family. My husband and I have loved having a weekly religious discussion group every other Monday night with four other couples in our apartment complex. We keep it fun and always have a treat and game to go along with it.
  • Lift each other. One of the best things about being married is that you have another person to encourage you. Never nag or criticize your spouse when it comes to religious habits. If you know he or she can be better, show your spouse! Treat them how you want them to be and that’s how they will act.

As my husband and I live our religion together, we feel closer together and find meaning in our marriage. As you find what works best for your new marriage, you will find that having religious traditions you can do together will increase the spirituality of your relationship and help you to be closer.

By Mckenna Clarke
This is the third post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition
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