Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Readers Favorite Review of OG by Brittany Shannon

I thought today couldn't get any better...
I'm wearing the new OUTFIT I bought over the weekend, on my super fun girls trip with my mom and sister. I went to Walmart and bought my kids $100 worth of winter clothes (trust me, Walmart is a GEM for me and my kids who go through clothes like fruit snacks).
It's a gorgeous day in the upper 70's.
My bathroom is almost remodeled by my fabulous husband.
My virtual book launch party is literally in less than 2 hours!!!
And I just got my review back from Readers Favorite.
Guyssss
I got 5 out of 5 stars!!!
This is a shock. I don't know why, since my book has gotten ONLY 5 stars on Amazon,
But I just need to pinch myself.
I'm so grateful and happy right. Now. I am smiling pretty hard.

Here is the review below and don't forget to join my virtual party for your chance to win a SIGNED COPY! 
4-7pm MTN time.

Readers Favorite


Reviewed By Marta Tandori for Readers’ Favorite

“Disease kills what the sword does not.” This prophetic statement says much about Og: Conquest of Canaan by talented writer, Brittany Shannon. Og is religious historical fiction at its finest, with liberal doses of spiritual conflict and adventure all rolled into one, sure to please lovers of this genre and have them clamoring for more.

The year is 1406 B.C. and the non-violent town of Avoca has been attacked. Twenty-two-year-old Kaya Lucan has lost the father she loved and is alone in the world. The victim of rape, she is on a self-destructive path and looks to numbing her pain in the wine she copiously consumes. The only problem is that the numbing effects of the wine are temporary and the core of her problems seem to lie in one Travin Shelomo, her childhood friend, who is working his way up the ranks in Joshua’s army and, much to Kaya’s displeasure, is courting another girl from Avoca, the obnoxious Bronwynn. Kaya is soon separated from Travin and her friends, only to be inadvertently wounded as she escapes yet another attack – this time by someone she knows. With illness and infection invading her body, Kaya fights to stay alive for there is a reward waiting for her; a reunion with her friends and Travin. But there’s another problem that soon becomes very evident when she sees Bronwynn – and this one Kaya simply cannot handle - so when Joshua, the military mastermind determined to conquer Canaan, calls to arms able-bodied men and women, she recklessly enlists.

War and bloodshed. Pillaging and plundering. Devout belief in the Almighty God and selfless service to that God. Og, Conquest of Canaan has it all. From the plunders of war, to the stench of slaughtered bodies festering under the onslaught of the relentless sun, to the complete annihilation of entire cities to, finally, the ever-constant threat of disease, Shannon’s story has it all, told with painstaking attention to detail. Brutal yet riveting at the same time, Og: Conquest of Canaan is certainly not for the faint of heart – or for the weak of stomach - yet like the sharpened end of the mighty sword, it delivers a powerful thrust that is sure to please.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Critic's Review for Og by BookLife Prize in Fiction

My heart is like, pounding.
A 9 overall....a 9!?!?!?!
And a 10 in character/execution!?!?!

I have worked so hard for this and I'm seriously beyond thrilled.
Below is my critic's report of Conquest of Canaan: Og by Brittany Shannon
by BookLife Prize in Fiction:

Assessment:
Shannon's compellingly realized historical novel features plucky Kaya Lucan, a cynical, misanthropic wine aficionado, struggling to live in the war-torn Avoca region of Canaan in 1406 BC. The novel's strengths lie in both its taut suspense and its vividly drawn characterization; both Kaya and her childhood friend Travin are lavishly brought to life. This is crisply written and consistently engaging.
Score:
  • Plot/Idea: 9
  • Originality: 9
  • Prose: 8
  • Character/Execution: 10
  • Overall: 9.00
For more info on Og, join our virtual Facebook launch party on September 27!
www.facebook.com/authorbrittanyshannon and join event!
I will have guest authors, discussions, and giveaways! Don't miss it!!
And pick up your copy of OG now available on Amazon. Link on home page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reminder: FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY

It's officially less than a week away!
The virtual Facebook launch party for OG is next Tuesday, September 27, 2016.
It is from 4-7pm and all you have to do is long on to Facebook and join.

These virtual book launch parties are a lot of fun. I have four guest others attending who will talk about their books. Giveaways and discussions always make for an entertaining evening.

Come join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorBrittanyShannon. Click here on events and join the virtual launch party.
Thanks!
By Brittany

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 36

My last two posts were deep. Thought provoking. A bit morose.

Let's move onto something BRIGHT AND HAPPY!
Remember my 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge???
Me too:-)

This is week 36. 
2016 is swiftly drawing to a close. Not that I care. I love new beginnings, New Years, and getting older. No lie!!! But I hate winter, so......I'm conflicted.

This week the prompt for my challenge is Your Home.
Wow I am SO grateful for my home. I've lived here almost 8 years and I've had the chance to remodel things here, tweak things there, and decorate to my heart's content! 

Recently, I did a slight living room make over. I whitewashed my fireplace and took down some nasty old blinds. My curtains look fab! We also hung the TV above the fireplace and removed a super outdated TV stand. I painted the two white chairs with chalk paint, got some more pillows and a blanket from ikea. I think it looks bright and fun! I'm just loving it. My home might be old and not as nice as the new ones, or as big, but it is MINE! And it is my sanctuary. 

That is it for week 36! I'm super grateful for my home. And this challenge ;)

By Brittany

I'd Rather He Cheat: PORN KILLS LOVE


Why?

I was asked, when the LDS church considers physical affairs adultery, don't they consider "pornography" adultery?

Both involve lust outside of wedding vows. Both infringe upon the law of chastity. Both DESTROY marriage. Normally, if a Mormon has an affair on their spouse in the physical sense, they face the necessary disciplinary action. When someone is engaging in pornography, it seems they face a lesser verdict. So the question remains, why?

I've experienced both in a marriage. I've had a spouse physically cheat on me and I've had a spouse addicted to pornography. I'm going to come out and say this: PORNOGRAPHY IS WORSE THAN A PHYSICAL AFFAIR.

Sure, this is an opinion. It isn't doctrine and it has no real hard religious evidence. I'm not a therapist. I'm just a girl whose lived through it. I'm a volunteer and public speaker for the Addiction Recovery Program. This combined with my life's experiences is my "qualification" to discuss this. Having said that, these are still opinions and do not reflect the beliefs of Mormon doctrine.

I'm going to say this: I would rather him cheat.
Porn is evil.

For starters, pornography involves ONE human. 
Isn't that better, you ask?
In my experience, turning sex into a one-sided game makes the individual extremely selfish. They're no longer concerned with pleasing another human being, nor are they concerned with "who" they're having sex with. The act of love-making vanishes and is replaced by an egotistical self-centered rendez-vous. When my ex husband was cheating on me, we were still intimate and the act of sex remained a two-way agreement. When his pornogrpahy addiction expounded, all hell broke loose.

Next, pornography isn't real. The sex isn't real. The bodies, the sounds, the actions aren't real.
When someone becomes so involved in porn, their entire perception of sex changes. They now think that the "porn" is real life. When they can't et it in a physical sexual encounter with their spouse, they are no longer satisfied by sex. They can phaycially lose an erection and arousal because they aren't stimulated by a true, human, flesh-and-bone body. No matter how much the their spouse loves them and desires intimacy, the porn-addicted individual cannot perform.

If you think a man's brain is rewired by porn, the wife of this man also faces brain rewiring: her view on men, and marriage, is corrupted. She will stop believing good men exist. That means she won't treat herself like she deserves one. How then will she raise good children, boys into good men and girls into virtuous women?
Men aren't the only ones struck with the porn impulse. Numbers of female addicts are growing. Both genders in recovery agree: porn is addictive. It is a drug. It needs to be taken as seriously as meth.

"I'm not religious."
How many times have you heard "Porn saved my marriage." ??
"But I enjoy porn as much as my husband."
That doesn't make it okay.
"But it's so stimulating!"
So are drugs, murder and rape.
"I'm not threatened by porn because im great in the bedroom."
Good for you. It's still morally wrong in the eyes of God.

Where do you draw the line on morality?
Our world is blended with morals and increasingly slack Christians who pick and choose what to believe in based on what is convenient. They need room for their pleasures.
The bible states that lust is a sin. Even if you watch porn as a couple and have sex together, the lust was inspired by someone outside the marriage. That is adultery of the heart.

Another way porn kills love is expectations have blown up to unrealistic proportions.
For a man, he is viewing a woman on porn like that is how a woman is supposed to look and act. The actress's body has probably been massively altered by surgery. The actions she performs and the reactions it generates are fake. She is an ACTRESS. The man is an ACTOR. Porn stars are employees of an entertainment industry. Being paid. For a woman watching porn, the size of the man and his actions are also exaggerated. When comparing your marriage and marital love-life to porn, the affected individual suddenly sees their spouse as unfit, undesirable, unattractive, and even a turn off. When you focus so much on this sex, and your lack of satisfaction because of porn, you notice all of your spouses flaws instead of their good qualities. This drives them to more porn.

At least they're just at home, in the bathroom watching a screen, not out there contracting a venerable disease. Right?
It is sick and twisted, but I would rather him cheat. In fact, they're both cheating in my eyes. One is not worse than the other, just like having ten affairs is not worse than having one.

Lastly, watching porn invites the spirit of Devils into one's heart and home. I have watched a good man slowly fall into the bondage of the devil, and start to exasperate his addictions in the form of sexual abuse. There is such thing as abusing the powers of sex, EVEN WITHIN a marriage. Porn changes the way the individual views the act of sex, turns them into a horribly selfish machine who can only react to the visuals they have trained their body to recognize, they aren't concerned about pleasing their spouse which then leads to a very unhappy and sexually frustrated companion, and it can potentially lead to verbal and physical abuse. Not to mention utter spiritual destruction. By all means, so does a physical affair. I find them both abominable.

There is a reason sex was created and that it "feels good." There's are a reason God intended it to be special and between unified couples, married couples, not between a person and a screen of fake images. These images will, particularly for a woman, dissolve her self-esteem and demolish her joy in love-making. She will never feel like she can match up to these "actresses" and watching her husband's dissatisfied behavior will kill her love. Porn kills love.

And no one, either man or woman, should feel like they have to live up to these IMPOSSIBLE and immoral standards. Sex is a contact sport. It is not meant to be a one-man act of pleasure. Selfishness is the epitome of the devil. It will cut into the home, tear apart a marriage, and hurt little children. Especially if abuse is the outcome.

Not always do porn addicts turn into horrible individuals and not always is the spouse SO adversely affected. Of course every situation is different. Some couples claim to enjoy watching porn together. Usually they are so desensitized by that point that they can't achieve arousal without watching porn, but then they engage in sex together. Is this wrong? Is this breaking the law of chastity?

I am not qualified to answer that.

My feelings are just opinions based on my experiences. My experience with porn is that it is far worse and far more painful than a physical affair. Trying to get clean from a porn addiction is a nightmare. If I had a spouse physically cheat on me, at least I would know it was not quite as selfish, that he was having sex with a real life woman who most likely had an average body, average love-making skills, and she would snap at him about being a slob too. That's the cold hard truth. In my opinion. 

If I had it my way, people who participated in porn would face the same disciplinary action in the Mormon church as those having physical affairs. The victim in the marriage may never recover and probably carry these pains for the rest of their life. It doesn't just go away. And the selfish individual must undergo not only addiction recovery, but a fierce personality adjustment to return to the Christlike, selfless spouse that their partner needs them to be. The problem with porn is the images never leave the mind. How does one recover? How does the victim heal? How do they learn to enjoy love-making, establish trust, and care about one another?

The answer is probably time. Forgiveness, yes. And time. Lots of time.
Today, a person can simply click a button on their phone and find porn.
Even social media sites like Instagram and Facebook allow full nudity in their pictures. YouTube is the devil's playground. Anything goes. This is not the 30's and people are not just loyal Christians anymore. It doesn't matter if someone calls themselves a "Mormon". No one is exempt from this infestation on the most sacred part of humanity: marriage.

I wish I had some magical answer. Some cure all. I don't. I can't even say avoid technology! It's everywhere. I can't say, "Don't go to the movies!" Because even animaged characters in Disney films are aexualized.

The choice to try and stay as pure as possible and abide by the law of chastity has to be a DAILY one, and it has to be as important as oxygen. 
People of the Mormon faith in particular should be wise and use caution. No good comes from believing you are above error. 

Obviously, the best way to prepare for a good, chaste marriage is to start young in avoiding pornography. Since that isn't entirely realistic in our day and age, being open and seeking help at every corner is the next best option. Always be honest. Lying about it will make everything worse. It will magnify any marital problems and pretty soon a couple will be so disconnected they aren't even sure which way to turn. Sadly, CHILDREN pay the price for this.

God crates us and blessed us with physical bodies and appetites. He warned us to "bridle our passions." He knew what would happen in the earthly life and what hardships we would face. He lovingly gave us guidelines and boundaries to help prevent pain. There is nothing more parental than a Christian "rule". Humans give their children plenty of rules, because they KNOW better. God knows better.

Luckily for us, he has provided a way to repent. However, bear in mind the consequences of your actions don't ever get erased. Think of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Heleman's army. Why did these 2,000 young boys have to go to war and fight? Because of the sins of their fathers. Their fathers had sinned and buried their weapons, refusing to take arms against their enemies. Later, their families were threatened by the incursion of a wicked army. Heleman encouraged them to abide by their covenants with God, but then their young sons had go fight in their place. Imagine the sorrow these father's must have felt. The fear.

The atonement not only takes care of the sinner, but it gives comfort to the trodden. If you've been hurt by pornography, if you suffer feelings of inadequacy, if you lack intimacy because of a torn relationship, my heart goes out to you. Know YOU ARE ENOUGH. God made you just the way you are. He never expects you to be more, to be an "actress". He loves you and the right partner will, too. You're beautiful enough. You're body is pleasing enough. Your ambitions in the bedroom are enough. You do NOT have to take abuse. Seek help, from a church leader, and from the Lord if you're struggling. There are Addiction Recovery Meetings for addicts AS WELL AS family members. I volunteer for the LDS Addiction Recovery Program and I testify it CHANGES LIVES. Don't give up hope. And always, ALWAYS, react with love...even when it seems impossible. Love is not the same thing as sex...but love must be present in the home, especially for children.

I anticipate some will disagree with me. That's okay. I'm not demanding everyone take my side. I just wanted to share my thoughts and lend support to anyone who has gone through this.

It is my wish that people stop supporting the pornography industry. That they take more control of their love-life. Sex can be immensely satisfying. Yes, between two people FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. You have a whole lifetime to practice, discuss, explore. Think of the possibilities? Don't let porn be one of them.

By Brittany

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I Committed Adultery: Marriage and the LDS Religion

I committed adultery.

The words repeated in my mind several times.
It was strange, the way I reacted.



My mind was a little numb. Words evaded me.
Again, I stared at my bishop as he read from the manual regarding the Church of Jesus Christ's policies.

My bishop looked at me, quoting a passage from the manual.
"Five years," he said. "In five years you can be sealed to your husband and daughter."

So it goes for someone who commits adultery in the LDS religion. The added bonus: if you want to marry the person you "commit adultery" with, you must wait a MINIMUM of five years to be sealed in an LDS Temple. They were calling me an adulterer.

I wasn't mad.
Because it wasn't true.

I knew, in my heart, I did not commit adultery.
My bishop and stake president reaffirmed their faith and support in me by helping me write a letter to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We, together as loyal members of the Mormon religion, entreated the Prophet of the church to take a closer glance at my situation that he might decide for himself, on a personal level, whether I should indeed be included among adulterers. My sweet bishop and stake president validated my concerns and expressed, in their own separate letters, how they felt an exception should be made for me. Not every circumstance is black and white.


I've always been a good, "Mormon girl", and even amidst a few setbacks, sexual sin has been something I take seriously. As a matter of fact, the whole reason I was divorced in the first place was because my husband at the time could NOT remain faithful. A sex and pornography addict, my ex husband strayed in every manner of sexual sin, and ultimately became verbally, sexually, and physically abusive. After a year and a half of enduring this, the Lord told me to "guard my womb". This revelation came through the authority of a priesthood blessing, a prayer offered by worthy Mormon men. This man who blessed me didn't know me, or my husband and our trials. But he gave me the answer I had dreaded hearing...LEAVE.

Five years after that horrific nightmare, I was remarried, temple worthy, and holding a paper in my hand that confirmed the First Presidency's stance on my transgressions.
Adulterer.

The word that best describes how I felt about this "label" would be flummoxed.
I was also the recipient of some judgment...devout family members demanding an explanation to why I hadn't already been sealed to my new husband.
I felt slightly alienated.
I'd been so faithful in my first marriage. I'd tried SO hard. I wanted to do things right the second time.

I'd tried everything to fix my first marriage, EVERYTHING. I was not the one who wanted a divorce. The Lord asked me to do it, and after refusing for many months, I finally obeyed. It broke my heart. I would've stayed forever and endured what I had committed to endure. That man could have killed me--which he threatened to do once--and I wouldn't have left. I take the marriage covenant seriously.
Nine months had gone by between the time I left my ex husband and the time of my indiscretion. I was living in an entirely different state, and had not seen my ex husband... For nine months. Was this new person an influence in the dissolution of my marriage? The manual asks.
I firmly told my bishop and stake president, No. Absolutely Not.
They agreed.

It was perplexing enough to know without a doubt God told me to end my first marriage, but to be called an adulterer, years later, as I sat married to a new man, was bewildering.

My decision to be married civilly this second time was no concern of anyone else's, but in the Mormon religion marriage outside of a temple is a topic for gossip. When you're not sealed a year later, the "customary" time frame for LDS couples married civilly, that gossip intensifies.

Five years after the date of your marriage, the letter read.



It was signed by the prophet and his counselors.

Five years until I could be sealed to my new family.

I was a little stunned. And then relieved.

I've never told this story to anyone, other than my bishop and stake president.
The story I shared with the prophet of the Mormon church and his counselors was a gruesome one. I wrote in detail what happened during my first marriage and the months after I left my husband.
Due to the extreme abuse and heartache, I turned away from the church and sunk into a dark depression. I was consumed with hatred toward my ex husband. I felt abandoned by God. I was a good person. Why was this happening to me?
My ex husband was refusing to sign the divorce papers, and intended to drag out the legal process, emotionally crippling me along the way. My world was in utter upheaval.

Nine months after I left my ex husband, I met Glen. We began dating and it was clear things were getting serious. Glen knew I was going through a divorce. He was not currently active in the LDS religion, but neither was I...temporarily. I didn't care what religion Glen claimed, as long as he was a good man. Credentials, I'd discovered, mean little when not aligned with a golden heart. A resume of righteousness did nothing to keep my ex husband faithful, and the result was a morbid pit of despair. I told Glen I was never getting married again, and that I would literally break things off with him if he said the "M" word. However, my feelings for Glen grew rapidly and I couldn't deny that I loved him.

We discussed a future together.
Honestly, my heart was shattered.
My divorce, and the pain it caused, was like gangrene in my heart. Divorce is like death, they say. And it is true. I was dying. The only way to survive it was to cut it out and move on. That part of my heart was dead and gone. I didn't know what I had left to offer a new man, and I felt fairly worthless as a woman. Even with Glen's love, I didn't feel like I deserved happiness, nor did I think I'd ever achieve it forever. I was a broken woman, but something inside of me whispered, You're going to be a mother. And he is going to be the father of your children.

The flame in me that dreamed of being happily married sparked anew at this chance for revivification.
"Your future is as bright as your faith."
President Monson.


I told Glen I would only consider marrying him if we lived together first.
This was a contemplative decision, as we both had deep Mormon roots. My fear compelled me. I was desperate for love, and totally afraid of it. I cannot describe in words the fear I lived in every day. Even though Glen had never given me a reason not to trust him, and we were living under the same roof, I ached from past betrayals. I was careful not to project that onto my new relationship, and we discussed our relationship's progression casually, openly, and lovingly for years to ease my discomfort. After two years of dating, I actually mentioned to Glen my feelings of wanting to go back to church. We took the necessary steps toward civil marriage, and became active in our local ward immediately after.

Happily.
Just not quite "ever after".

My divorce was not final for over a year after I left my ex husband. The man I had been married to dragged me through the mud, let our home foreclose instead of selling it and KEEPING the profits, he wracked up over $10,000 in debt on a joint account, and was finally excommunicated for his actions. For two years after the divorce was final, I was harassed by creditors, subpoenaed to court, almost bankrupted. My credit, and spirit, were in tatters. This man was evil at its finest.

But, because I moved in with Glen, chose to start a new life together, pleading fervently that my heart could heal and love-and- be-loved-again, all BEFORE my divorce was final, I was considered an adulterer before the LDS church. It didn't matter that I had legally separated from my ex husband, which is all I could legally do without him signing the divorce papers. The church policies considered me a married woman. I committed adultery.

I didn't react with anger or even bitterness towards the church, or my ex husband, when I received this news. Heck, in today's world, nearly everyone is committing adultery. It's hard, especially for older generations with really straight Mormon values to absorb, but it's the truth. Couples either know about the infidelity and don't care, hide it, or live in constant shame and judgment.

What is ironic about my situation is the five year rule only applies to the people if they married the person they "committed adultery" with. At first, I thought this was silly. Isn't it better to be in a monogamous relationship? I dated Glen EXCLUSIVELY for four years. We were married civilly and held active church callings AND TEMPLE RECOMMENDS when we reached out to the First Presidency about being sealed.

Others might assume I had the right to be resentful. Some friends of mine even claimed the church had no right to revoke my "agency" or "determine" who/when I can marry. I've born the brunt of a few "unfair" proceedings from the church. The bishop who presided over my first marriage erroneously ignored our situation, allowing my ex husband to carry on in his ward callings. Our bishop never revoked his temple recommend or encouraged church discipline.
I've had several reasons to "turn away from the church" as some friends have claimed.

But being told I have to wait five years to make an eternal commitment...this was such a weight off my shoulders.
Let me explain.
I'm so grateful for that five year rule.
My husband and I have two kids.

My daughter will be four and my son will be two when we enter the temple to be sealed. They will both remember that day.
I will get to hold them in the sealing room and look at their faces and tell them about all the wonderful things we did to prepare for that ceremony.
There's a reason the Lord wants these children to know this day, to experience it, and to remember it.
Marriage as we know it is vanishing. My children will have the opportunity of witnessing for themselves what it is, why it is important, and what a temple sealing implies.

Glen and I have been together almost eight years now. If we had gotten the answer that we could be sealed right away, you know how I would've reacted? 
Petrified.

Because of my first experience, I have a slight temple aversion. Being sealed for eternity absolutely terrifies me. Even now. 
I admit, I live under an invisible cloud of "what if?"
Glen and I have had some struggles. We have hurt one another. We have laughed and cried. We have shared much joy. Our journey will not be a perfect one. It won't even be an easy one. I know divorce is not the "solution" to a problem. Every marriage has its set of trials. You can give one up, but you will sign up for another. I see my second marriage as a second chance. A second chance to live, to be a better woman, to have a better future. Glen and I have been GIFTED five years to prove to ourselves, to God, that we are ready to make an eternal commitment. 

To me, there is no need for the "gray area" I was striving for, because the church has set guidelines for a reason. They protect us.

People may declare, "Religion is another word for rules."
Depends.
My response: Perspective.



I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Having a good family is all I've ever dreamed of. Being a good wife is part of that. Nothing has taught me more about marriage and motherhood than these experiences. What has the Lord permitted me to go through? Why is it painful? Has he set boundaries to guide me in these decisions? Have I stepped over them at times?

Do I set boundaries for my own children? "Rules" to keep them safe? Will I let them fall so they may learn to stand back up? Will I comfort them when they do so?
Religion is not a set of "rules". It is a REMEDY in a wicked, wicked world.

It doesn't matter to me if the Mormon leaders say I have to wait five years--ten years--fifteen years--to be sealed to my family. Five years is NOTHING in the Lord's time. I don't even care if people think I've been treated "unfairly". Glen and I spoke with our bishop three years ago. We confessed our sins and were made clean. We have temple recommends and go to the House of the Lord together. We have made monumental progress from the paths-and pains-we've endured.

Perhaps I would have even said no if church leaders said we could be sealed sooner. Truly, I'm that scared of being hurt. I take marriage THAT seriously. Maybe five years isn't enough!

Thinking of entering into those covenants with Glen causes trepidation to course through me. I don't mean that as a reflection on him as a man. I mean it as a reflection on the celestial promise a person makes inside the temple.
But I'm also scared of not being sealed to my family forever.

I understand marriage is not just some fairytale. It also isn't just about the husband and wife. It is about the FAMILY. An eternal unit. What is best for the "family" will be best for the marriage. It can require a lot of effort, sacrifice, patience, and prayer. Marriage is a covenant between spouses and God. It is an eternal commitment. It comes with blessings...and consequences. I've had three years to ponder the meaning of marriage and what I am going to do to make it work. No. Matter. What. 

Two years from now, I will lead my kids by the hand into a sacred room and tell them we all get to be together for eternity.
*Not because I made a decision on a whim.
*Not because it is popular for Mormons to get married in a temple.
*Not because I want to salvage some reputation.
*Not because I think Glen is Prince Charming and I am Princess Perfect.

But because I was privileged to have a five year opportunity to make a conscious decision of my own free will and choice (AKA Agency) to set an eternal goal, take upon myself an everlasting covenant.

I committed adultery.
Those words do not apply to me, even if the five year rule does.
I paid the price for my sins, and have long since moved on.
I love the LDS church and know the First Presidency has divine guidance when making decisions regarding their members.

I've made some poor decisions, but I am still a good Mormon girl.
I am obedient by nature and have never acted out without pain as my number one instigator.
We will all face pain in this life. It is my ambition to touch those lives and help those pained individuals. Don't give up. A "No" from the Lord is always a bigger "Yes" in disguise.
I am honored to live righteously, attend the temple, and worship freely.
I'm so thankful for the atonement, that I may be forgiven of my trespasses. I've had moments of doubt, and will continue to. I have a past of sin. I'm human. But my sins were no worse than the person sitting on the front pew, judging me. I've humbly learned not to judge anyone else's situation based on what I see from the outside. My own struggles have softened my heart and given me more compassion to God's children. We don't set out to make mistakes, we are just doing the best we can in a world full of chaos.

I know everything happens for a reason. I know my testimony cannot be shaken. I know I am being blessed for having repented, for trying, and for sharing my experiences with others.

I'm learning invaluable lessons and have gained a deeper understanding of God and His eternal principles--namely celestial marriage--through these experiences.

The Lord knows me. He knows my path. He DIRECTS my path. What others have judged and misunderstood, I hope to clarify. And I hope to lend s u p p o r t and l o v e to anyone who goes through something similar. Heaven is on YOUR side.
By Brittany 


Anxiety and Depression


If you don't have anxiety or depression, count yourself numbered among the many God has blessed with a barrier around your heart. The conditions of anxiety, in my opinion, are not mental disorders brought on only by genetics and failed human behaviors by those incapable of mastering their psych, but rather anxiety and depression can be a direct result from the BLESSING of God to those He knew needed to feel and understand compassion, charity, pain, sacrifice, and love as close to Jesus Christ as possible.


As mortals, it is near impossible to grasp this level of "feeling" and our physical bodies can react under the pressure. Nonetheless, I remain firm in believing it is not simply a nuisance, but also a special gift, to be able to feel the anxieties and depressions of the world, as opposed to not, for those who are aware of what pains need comfort, and what problems need solved, will be the ones to make those drastic changes, as Christ did. Yes, it is also a blessing to never experience the throes of anxiety or depression, to never know the weight and torture of living with feelings that can only in the most minor degree relate to the Savior's atonement, but it is likewise a blessing to know emotional disorders. Rather than calling yourself mentally ill, call yourself sensitive to the otherworldly powers God has bestowed upon you in order to fulfill your work here on the earth.

"God will not require of us what He has not provided us the tools with which to succeed." 💜
By Brittany Shannon

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 35

35 weeks....phew.
Over halfway done with 52 weeks and closer to winter every day.
Today was beautiful. The weather was perfect and sunny. I'm loving fall, but terrified for the cold season.
I love to take walks around my neighborhood with the kids, but I admit to being a recluse in winter. I just hate snow!!!

So this weeks prompt for the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge is: your neighborhood.
Fitting, as I mentioned above I love to take walks around the block.

My neighborhood is, I have to say, fantastic.
I love my neighbors.
It has motivated us to stay whenever we have contemplated moving.
I'm grateful that I don't hate my neighbors and that I don't live on a busy street; it somewhere unsafe.
That's what I'm grateful for this week!

By Brittany Shannon

Monday, September 5, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 34

It is week 34 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge annnnnnnnd....
I'm a little sad about it because the prompt is: things you like about fall.

Fall?!?
FALL?!?
*sigh* 
It is here.

Ok. So I'm being dramatic. I actually really like fall, but I HATE winter and fall means winter is a blink away. (That's Utah)
I like fall because I enjoy the fashion.
I love boots and scarves and cute jackets. I like being able to layer without being hot. I like leg warmers and beanies. And hot chocolate!

These are things I'm grateful for:

I also do love the changing of the colors. The mountains look really pretty for a few weeks in their transition, right before it snows and everything just becomes a morbid icicle. (Hahah...I can't wait until I'm forced to be grateful for winter;)

Anyway, those are the things I'm grateful for and this concludes week 34 of the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge!
Happy September, friends.

By Brittany Shannon

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why Doesn't God Care About Me?

Have you ever wondered, Why doesn't God care?
Who am I kidding...of course, you have. 

I think we have all been through something immensely painful and thought, God has abandoned me. He isn't answering my prayers. I see no way out. 


Maybe there isn't a God.


I have struggled with this a lot in my life. Here is what I've figured out:
Faith without works is dead.

Dead my friends.
Not napping. Not dormant. Dead.

Why does the Bible and the BOM ask us to exercise our faith?
Well, that is the existential question.
To keep it alive.


For just a minute; think about exercise. Physical exercise. Think about training for a marathon, or IronMan, or lifting weights, kick boxing, swimming a race. How do you prepare? Do you sit and stare at the pool and think, "Alright, God. I'm jumping in. Make me float!"
Do you stare at a weight machine and think, "I'll start with 100lbs and take it from there."
Or do you pick up a 3lb dumbbell and work up to it?
If you've never ran a race in your life, how far do you think you'd make it in a 10k?
The bottom line is: how HARD do you train? When you really want to succeed, how much physical effort do you have to put in?

A freakin ton.

That bench press won't press itself.
Are you going to blame someone else-God even- for your inability to bench press 200lbs?

Having faith is ever so different than just believing in a God, and doing what we consider convenient in our personal conquest of mortality. Going through the motions and earnestly putting God's will above your own are going to lead down different paths. Like a stroll through the park, or a climb to surmount a mountain. One demands much more strength and stamina.

Spoiler alert: this earthly life is the mountain, not the stroll.


Transfer that amount of physical exercise now to the concept of faith.
How hard are you training for a testimony of God? Like, really?
Be honest with yourself.

How much do you EXERCISE your faith?
Are you building up to something great?
Are you at a great level, and now you're maintaining?
Are your faith muscles weak or bulging?
(Flex, baby)

After you've thought about this for a minute, think of that scripture again. 
Faith without works is dead.

It is the hardest thing in the world to ask yourself, truly honestly, in a raw moment of pain,
Is God quiet because I have failed to exercise my faith in Him?
The painful part is...usually the answer is yes.

It stinks the big stink. But the scriptures are full of promises. BUILT ON TWO WAY .AGREEMENTS. God will and CAN perform miracles, He answers prayers, rescues, comforts, but He requires something of us.
I know. How could He possibly expect anything from the lazy mortal human world, right?
We want to snap our fingers and hit a button online and have God's help express shipped over night while hardly moving from our tear-stained pillows and grief.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and WANTS to help us in all of our trials (trials, by the way, he so lovingly granted us to help us learn and grow to become like Him) but that help IS conditioned upon our faith. And faith without works is dead.

Now to the fun part.
How do we exercise our faith?

For me, BEARING TESTIMONY of what I know is equivalent to a hearty ab work out five nights a week. I want a six pack. And I also want a six pack of spirituality. When I speak of the things I KNOW to be true, my faith gradually increases. My faith in God is incrimentally expounded, bit by bit, as I curl and squat and sprint through my experiences. 

I can tell you I doubt. I doubt almost every day. And I hurt. Man, do I hurt.
But I recieve answers and small whisperings of help when I am exercising my faith. When I do MY work, the Lord does HIS. He has to. It is part of the everlasting covenant in the Bible.
What else is in this promise? 
"When ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

Eeeeeesh.
Yowza.
I mean, isn't God's grace enough?
I don't even like running.
Sorry. This is part of God's plan. 
When you really study His word and His gospel, you come to understand just HOW MUCH is required in our part in mortality. How much work we actually do HAVE TO DO. Why? The REWARD!

Now for the tricky part. It is exceedingly difficult for us mere mortal humans in our haste and selfishness to ask ourselves, What could I be doing more?
If you find yourself crying, on your knees, begging, PLEADING, for God to hear and help and comfort, do the remarkable and ask, Lord, what would YE HAVE ME DO?

My answer is consistently: Have faith.

This faith is useless if I do not exercise it. I have to keep it alive. My promises and blessings are contingent upon it.

"I the Lord am bound, when ye do what I say."

He is bound! By eternal concepts.
Therefore, I have no choice but to ask myself, What am I NOT doing, if the Lord's hand has ceased to bring me peace?
I know, the big time stink again.
We couldn't possibly be doing anything, wrong, right?
We're perfect.
Nay, my friends.
We screw up all the time. We feel alone, and yet we turn our back on God more than we even realize.
Faith needs to be exercised almost incessantly and part of this is sharing our experiences, being a witness of God and Christ at all times, that we may "bear one another's burdens, comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, God is not absent because He doesn't love you.
I promise He isn't even absent at all.
It is hard, and takes a significant amount of humility, to understand what we are doing to push the Lord and His comforting Spirit away. But please, take the steps to do so. You'll be amazed what you find when you release a little bit of pride. When you decide to do more squats (spiritual squats) you'll find your faith growing, your blessings more abundant, your trials smaller, and you'll live with more peace.

This I know. I have experienced it.
I do doubt, and frequently. It is hard.
But I do push ups, I run, hard and fast, I even slow to a jog sometimes when life gets crazy...but I never stop.
Stopping means I lose my muscle strength (testimony) and I get weak and lazy...and wind up alone and in pain.

"Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I shall give ye rest."

This, coupled with our diligent work and exercise, will bring about great happiness.

God does care.
Do you?

By Brittany Shannon

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Official Trailer for Og Live

I'd say a whole bunch of stuff...but nothing needs to be said.
🎉📚🙌

Watch for yourself!
Official Trailer for Conquest of Canaan: Og
Now live 


Video by Elise Orozco

Screenplay by Yours Truly

Conquest of Canaan: Og by Brittany Shannon
Available for purchase as Ebook now.
Print release September 27, 2016.
Virtual Facebook Book Launch Party