Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Managing Motherhood after Young Women

I am on my third week of being released as Young Women President, and I am just now beginning to feel
that I can do this.

I am finally feeling comfortable with my free-time. I  am relaxing, and enjoying being the kind of mother I didn't have time to be before!
The kids and I are really enjoying having "me" back.   

What have I done?

I have been cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning my house.  I have never cleaned dust like I have this past week.  I didn't know dust grew in some of these places. 
I have cooked...A LOT! 
Just Sunday, I woke up and made German Pancakes for my family, 2 different kinds of syrups, cupcakes, homemade frosting, a full-fledged Sunday meal, and three pies.
I am now thinking of tackling my photos and sorting my recipes.
I now have TIME to do these things!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Marriage and The First Great Commandment

With the one you love

I am on a tangent.
 I wrote about marriage in a previous post after hearing some very sad news of a family I never thought would ever break-up.  In my heart, I am hoping the problems they are having are just a "pause" in their lives and they will beable to fix their problems and come back together where they belong.
I am hoping.
This has caused me to look deep at my own marriage and my own choices.
Every tragic family break-up can be traced back to small choices. 
Choices made after giving in or letting go for a small moment. 
They let their thoughts go in a direction they had no place going. 
And they fed them and fed them and fed them, until a choice was made.
 They lost focus of  what is important and stepped  off the road temporarily
of where they needed to be.
How do we stay focused on having a convenant strong marriage,  and making sure divorce or infidelity doesn't happen in our family?  To our marriage, and to our children? 
  Sometimes we have no control of it happening.
For you who are experienceing this right now, or have, my heart goes out to you!  Truly!  
 I can't think of anything more gut-wrenching  or painful to go through.
If our marriages are good, everything is good in the world.  Simple, but  true!
Marriage is ordained of God, and it can be the source of our greatest joy and greatest happiness in life.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a great great talk this past conference.
This is a talk that is so amazing and so powerful, you really need to LISTEN to Elder Holland give it.  The way he says it is so much better than just reading the words on paper.
He makes so many points that are worth reading, studying, pondering...it is on my must do list this week: "

I loved this part of the talk:
Jesus said to His senior Apostle, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”

The Savior responds to that reply but continues to look into the eyes of His disciple and says again, “Peter, do you love me?” Undoubtedly confused a bit by the repetition of the question, the great fisherman answers a second time, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
The Savior again gives a brief response, but with relentless scrutiny He asks for the third time, “Peter, do- you- love- ME?” By now surely Peter is feeling truly uncomfortable. Perhaps there is in his heart the memory of only a few days earlier when he had been asked another question three times and he had answered equally emphatically—but in the negative. Or perhaps he began to wonder if he misunderstood the Master Teacher’s question. Or perhaps he was searching his heart, seeking honest confirmation of the answer he had given so readily, almost automatically. Whatever his feelings, Peter said for the third time, “Lord, … thou knowest that I love thee.”
To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation 
Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach  my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.
Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world.  
So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”
Do we love the Lord? 
"Do- you- love- ME"
Are we willing to give up all our weakness, addictions, hobbies that take us from Him,
 and whatever it may be...to be where He is and to follow Him?
 "Do you love me more than you love all this?"
Elder Holland continues:
"God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”

And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments."

My list:  
* Listen to Elder Hollands talk: read it, study it and ponder it.


Marriage IS Ordained of God

Another word for ordained would be commanded
It is a commandment of God to work on our marriages, be good to each other, forgive one another's weaknesses, look for the good in our spouses, to not be selfish ,
and to LOVE one another.
This week, I heard of yet another marriage break up. It has left me feeling hurt inside for this family: the  couple and their children.  This family was on the "least-likely-to-ever-in-a-million years-ever- get-a-divorce-or-even-come-close-to-it" list.  It has left me with so many questions...
HOW did it come to this?
WHAT could have possibly  happened...
that divorce was the solution?
Do we live in such a disposable society that even our marriages [even temple marriages] are replaceable?
We get sick of our hairstyles...we change them.
We get sick of our clothes...we replace them.
We want more current or matching furniture...We go buy new.
We re-paint, re-buy, take back, do over....so many things.
Is that what so many think about their marriages? 
Are our marriages disposable??
I have NO idea whatsoever about the circumstances in any of the  situations. Some I know more than I may want to.  But no matter what, it is HEART BREAKING, and DEVASTATING!
"Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but eternal joys as well. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations” Spencer W. Kimball
The most important choice we make in this life, is WHO we marry. Once we have made that choice, we need to do ALL we can to make it work.

 Choose our love and love our choice....for ever.

And make choices our entire lives that will reflect that desire to be together as a family and couple FOREVER.
Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4:
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood[meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. 

·         Is your temple marriage important to you?

·       How committed are you to staying married and being true to your covenants?

Monday, November 19, 2012

God Appears in Small and Simple Places

Church History Tour: The John Johnson Farm
I am kind of jumping and skipping around a little. I totally skipped Fayette, New York, the place of the reorganization of the Church and other places along the way. 

The John Johnson Farm is in located in Hiram, Ohio [30 miles from Kirtland]

I was very unfamiliar with this home and farm in Church History, yet very familiar with events that  happened there.  I knew the history just didn't know WHERE .  That is what was so great about this tour we went on, it helped connect stories and history I have heard my whole life to the actual places they happened.   I had a lot of things mixed up in my head. 
The John Johnson Home was the headquarters of the Church for a certain time period. I  learned that pretty much where ever Joseph was living at the time, became the center of the Church.  Which makes sense.

What happened in the John Johnson home?

 Joseph and Sidney were invited to come live in the John Johnson home for a quiet, peaceful place they could work on the translation of the Bible.  Soon Emma joined with their 4-month old twins Joseph and Julia.  Sidney and his wife Phoebe with their 6 children moved into a log home across the road.

This is the room where Joseph and Emma lived with their twins. Notice the very colorful floor.  The Johnson's were wealthy and their home was decorated in the latest and best fashions of the day. It was a very comfortable home to live in.

Saturday, March 24, 1832 Emma and Joseph had spent the day caring for their now 11 month old twins, both suffering from measles.  By nighttime, Emma went to bed with Julia. Joseph stayed up with little Joseph, who was the more ill of the two. Joseph layed down on the trundle bed near the door and quickly fell asleep. 
They also believe the Prophet and baby Joseph could have been sleeping in this room right off the kitchen and very close to the front door, which was a room used for the sick.

During the cold night, a group of men with black-painted faces burst through the door. Emma screamed as they dragged the Prophet from his bed.  During the attack, baby
Joseph was left uncovered long enough to catch a severe cold and died a few days later.

Sidney Rigdon was also dragged by his heels, his head thumping on the frozen Ohio ground.

They threw tar on them and feathers.  Both of  the men were unconscious for a while afterwards, due to to violence of the act. Sidney worse off than the Prophet.  He suffered bad head injuries and was delirious for days afterwards.

After the mobbing Joseph pulled the tar from his mouth so he could breath. He made his way to the house. When Emma saw the beaten and tarred Joseph, she fainted.  Elsa Johnson and Emma stayed up most of the night, scraping tar from Joseph's skin.
The kitchen.  Notice the swirls in the wood. Another sign of the wealth of the Johnson family. The cupboard opened above shows how the wood looked before the re-finished the home.

kind of blurry...but this is the bread dough box next to the oven. At night time they would fill this with fresh bread dough. In the morning they would wake up and make all their bread.

the well next to the front door, Joseph hid in a few times to escape a mob
the doorstep Joseph was dragged from, and the doorstep he preached from.
What a Prophet he was!!

The John Johnson home was  a place of revelation

Though Joseph had lost a tooth, received a severe injury in his side, was missing a patch of hair, and had nitric acid burns, he preached a sermon at the usual Sunday worship services.  Afterwards he baptized 3 members of the congregation.
The Revelation Room: a sacred and hallowed place.
Sacred because something a great spiritual significance happened here and
 hallowed meaning the Savior has been here
We had a wonderful guide that joined our tour from  the John Johnson farm to Kirtland: Karl Anderson. You might be familiar with several of his books on the Doctrine and Covenants and the revelations that happened in Kirtland.[search them out at Amazon.com] He is a former CES Seminary teacher who is in his late 70s. A jolly guy who was fun to listen to.  He has lived and taught in Kirtland for years.   Because of him, we were able to get into many places we would not have otherwise.   He was great and seemed to know everything about everything that happened in the Johnson home and in Kirtland. 
I liked a statement he said to us many times: "God chose to appear in small and simple circumstances: the manger,  the grove, and this room in the John Johnson farmhome in rural Ohio."

I think for the most part, we as members of the Church are unaware of the many visitations of the Savior to His people.  He leads this Church and is not only very aware of what is going on, but is personally involved.  Many early Saints saw the Savior or were present when He was and felt of His presence. The John Johnson revelation room was one of those sacred and hallowed places on this earth. 

Many revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants happened in the John Johnson home.
Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed in the revelation room
24Behold, I am God and have spoken it, and it is of me
as well as these Sections 65-69, 71,73, 74, 76-81, 99,133

Section 76: Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory

One of the greatest doctrinal revelations given in this dispensation.
  Joseph and Sidney saw the Savior and conversed with Him:
14 Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision.
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
 23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Preparing Future Sister Missionaries

"Who Knoweth Whether Thou Art Called to the Kingdom at Such a Time as This"

With the major announcement that young women can now serve a mission beginning at age 19,
what are your daughters feeling about serving a mission?


 We have one daughter currently serving, and 3 more possibly joining her within the year.

Our three possible future sister missionaries, are deeply considering it, but haven't made a final decision. They feel the energy in the air, they have a desire to serve, but are still deciding if it is what they are supposed to do.  I think righteous LDS young women across the world are all contemplating the same decision.

How can we prepare our daughters to be missionaries?
[I'll give you a hint:  It is nothing magical or new or different. It is very simple]
The best way our daughters can prepare is through a habit of:

  • Personal Prayer and
  • Personal Scripture Study
  • Living what they know
How can we as the parents help them ?
 Once again the answers are rather simple
  • Family prayer
  • Family scripture
  • Family Home Evening
  • Teaching and exemplifying the gospel standards

What is a mission like?

See my daughter's letter: [To Future Sister Missionaries]

  • It is hard!  Physically, mentally, and emotionally.  You won't understand this fully until you are out on your mission.
  • None of your time is yours, it all belongs to the Lord.
  • The greatest 18 months of your life.
  • The best preparation for life and marriage [I added this one in]

How do I know if I should serve a mission? What should I specifically do to prepare?

  • Go and do as Enos did and pour out your whole soul unto him with all sincerity of heart truly desiring to know.
  • Make Preach my Gospel part of your daily study
  • Be familiar with where scripture stories are
  • Memorize scriptures: scripture masteries, and scriptures that mean something to you personally

Whether our daughters serve full-time missions or not, [the bar has been raised]
they need to prepare as IF THEY WERE GOING.

"For who knows if they are called to serve
At Such a Time as This!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eliza and Lorenzo Snow "Key of Knowledge" Restored

Back to the Church History Tour Series:
"When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it.  When we are ready to come to Him, He is "ready to come to us" (Teachings of the Prophets of the Church: Joseph Smith)

Home of Oliver and Rosetta Snow in Mantua, Ohio where
Lorenzo and Eliza Snow lived from 1815-1838
The original home included the large section to the left door.
You see a dividing line right next to the door. That is where an addition was later added.

Some background information on Eliza and Lorenzo

Eliza Roxcy Snow Young -(January 21, 1804-December 5, 1887) is one of the most well-known women of Church History.  She  was a renowned poet writing hundreds of poems, a school teacher, and 2nd Relief Society General President. She is most knows today for her poems, which are found in our Hymn book:
  • How Great the Wisdom and the Love
  • Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother (Oh, My Father)
  • Truth Reflects Upon our Senses
Eliza was baptized in 1835 at the age of 30. She moved to Kirtland, Ohio, which was the headquarters of the Church at that time. She worked at a school teacher there. She donated a large sum of money to the building of the Kirtland Temple. To show their appreciation, the building committee provided Eliza with "a very nice lot near the temple with a fruit tree,  a spring running through the property, and  a house that accommodated two families."
She claimed to be a plural wife of Joseph Smith (June 29,  1842). 
From Eliza's diary we read,
"I was sealed to the prophet, Joseph Smith, for time and eternity in accordance with the celestial law of marriage which God had revealed.... This, one of the most important events of my life, I have never had cause to regret."
Throughout her life Eliza referred to Joseph as "her first and only love . . . the choice of her heart and the crown of her life." and when Joseph was martyred in 1844 she was so overcome by grief that she could not eat or sleep and even pled with the Lord to allow her to die. It was during this time of grieving that Joseph appeared to her in vision and told her that she must not desire to die. He then explained that her mission on earth was not yet completed and counseled her to be of good cheer and service to those around her. (source)

Eliza was later married to Brigham Young (1844)
Though this marriage was one of convenience and respect, it provided Eliza with security after the death of Joseph. When Eliza arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham arranged for her to live in a log cabin with Clara Decker, one of his other plural wives. Then, in 1856, he moved Eliza into the Lion House which he had built to house many of his wives and children. Brigham highly respected Eliza's intellect and valued her opinion. She always sat on his right side at the dinner table and during family prayer.
Lorenzo Snow (April 14, 1814-October 10, 1901) 5th President of the Church
Lorenzo joined the Church in 1836 at the age of 22. At the time the Prophet Joseph Smith was living in Hiram, Ohio in the John Johnson farm about 4 miles away.
At age 18 Lorenzo attended a meeting at the John Johnson farm. There Joseph Smith spoke to a crowd of about 200 people. He was very moved by this experience, but it was another 4 years before he was baptized. 
 He mentions being "particularly stirred by the counsel of Joseph Smith Senior who said to him 'You will become as great as you can possibly wish-even as great as God, and cannot wish to be greater'" (Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow)
Lorenzo has an extensive history from the time of his conversion, until his death. We are most familiar with his key role as prophet restoring the principle of tithing.  The setting for this revelation was in St. George, Utah.  During a serious drought, the members had fasted and prayed for rain.  Through revelation, President Snow, taught them that if they would pay their tithing, they would have rain.  And they did.  This experience was later made into the church movie,  "The Windows of Heaven".

 The Tour

One of the unexpected surprises of our tour was going inside the childhood home of Lorenzo and Eliza Snow.  It wasn't on our schedule, although I think our tour guides knew it could be a possibility but didn't tell us. It was a great surprise for me.
We were in Mantua, Ohio and our tour bus went down some small country roads until we came to this historic marker which was on the side of the road right in front of the Snow home.
 As we all got out to read the sign and get a quick look of the Snow home, the owners came out.  Though not members of our faith, they invited us in to tour the home.  Keep in mind this is a tour bus load with 50 + people.  Who does that?
For me, this was one of the greatest treats of the tour. 
The home has not passed through the hands of many owners and is very much intact to the original floor plan. The owners also have taken great care of the home and strive to decorate and keep it up as it once was, mixed with  modern day conveniences.  A lot of money had been invested into the home to keep it up and have it reflect that time period.
I was very impressed by the owners. Here they were, not members of our faith, no testimony of our church history, yet they had this deep respect for the Snow family. The home was almost a sanctuary  to honor the Snow family. Very surprising and impressive.
The upstairs in the Snow home. Notice the decor

On the wall in the front living room,
 hangs these pictures of Eliza and Lorenzo Snow

The Snow farm right behind the house.  Can you just visualize this
in the time period of Eliza and Lorenzo?

"O, My Father"

Before leaving all 50 of us gathered on the driveway in front of the house and sang, "O My Father" There was a Mormon Tabernacle Choir member amongst our group, so hopefully it sounded okay.

O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
("O, My Father," by Eliza R. Snow)
Eliza Snow wrote the lyrics just after her own father's death and a year after Joseph's.
The "key of knowledge"  is the fulness of the gospel restored to the earth.

This hymn teaches that: God is literally the Father of our spirits, and that we are literally His children. It is also the only hymn that talks about having a Mother in heaven.

Joseph Smith taught that God “looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard” and that “if men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 39, 40). (See New Era, Joseph Smith's Key of Knowledge)

Having this knowledge changes everything.  We know how to approach God in prayer. We know we can. We know He lives. We know He is there. We know He cares, and that He hears and answers prayers.  We know we are His children, He knows us by name, He knows the very details of our lives, and we know that He loves us deeply.

This is from that "key of knowledge" restored to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I am grateful for what Joseph taught and for the knowledge and testimony I have of this gospel of our Heavenly Father.

It is true!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts on Being Released as Young Women President

A huge day in my life yesterday...I was released from my wonderful calling  as our ward Young Women President. I served for a little over 3 years and worked with the most amazing women in the world.  It was such a privilege!

In that time frame, I have had 6 of my eight daughters in there with me. What a joy!!  I know some mothers and daughters may not  enjoy being in young women's together and may need space from one another,but we have loved it as a family.

It has given us more time together and more opportunities for me to be involved in their teenage lives --and to teach them the gospel.

I can't really explain the feelings I have of being released.  It is sad for one.  But happy on another.  If I had to compare it to anything, it feels like being released as a missionary. One one side I have this complete satisfaction and peace that I did what  I was called to do and gave it all I had.  Then on the other side it feels like something has been physically ripped away from me There is this feeling of leaving people behind who have been a huge part of my life, who I have loved, and taught the gospel to. It is a very hard calling to leave. Thankfully, my calling never ends in my home, with my daughters.

Serving in Young Women's has been one of the greatest experiences of my life-right up there with being a missionary. That is the comparison I keep coming back to.  These young women were so much fun to teach the gospel to. It was so rewarding and fulfilling to be there helping them to understand and apply the gospel into their teenage lives, and learn from their struggles.  There are no words to express how great this was.

Many of the highlights I have blogged about!  see: {Young Women}

I already have a new calling in our ward teaching Sunday School to the 13 and 14 year old class.  I am so excited to teach the new curriculum that will be starting in January, plus I still get to teach lots of the young women!

On to the next thing!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Family Proclamation Young Women in Excellence


The Family Proclamation is a great yearly theme for Young Women. 
 Besides about 3 Personal Progress experiences that specifically mention reading or studying the Family Proclamation, almost every Personal Progress experience can be connected to the Proclamation.  Check for yourself!
The principles in the Proclamation are principles we need to be living as families,
 but are also principles our young women need to know and understand now.  As they come to internalize these principles they will know where they are going and which path they need to take to get there.
This is one of those important purposes we have as young women leaders,
 to guide the young women to the Savior and realize their divine nature.  The Family Proclamation is very much apart of that process.
We have had a year of studying and focusing on the Proclamation. 
 It has been a year I have felt such a divine purpose in what we were doing.  The Proclamation carries with it such a strong spirit of who we are and where we need to be.  I love it!
And I have had so much joy in guiding the young women towards the principles
of their feminitity as daughters of God  who have a divine nature and purpose, of what a marriage is founded upon,virtue before, after, and during marriage,  what a  happy successful family looks like, and of their future divine role as mothers and nurtures in their homes.
Our theme for  Young Women in Excellence was
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

For the program, since it is a family theme, we asked 8 parents of our young women to share a  how they apply the Proclamation in their family. [ We gave them certain paragraphs or principles to cover]  To not make the evening too long, we asked them to keep their comments to 3 minutes.

We also had 10 young women to come up and quote a paragraph before the couples spoke about them. 

So imagine this, young women quoting the Family Proclamation, then parents sharing how they live those principles in their family.  P-O-W-E-R-ful!!  It was this wonderful Family Proclamation Celebration! 

To prepare for this event, all the young women made a
The idea comes from Shannon at theredheadedhostess.com
I loved this project for the young women.  One, they became familiar and introduced to their ancestors names, and 2 it was the first step of learning about them.  Hopefully that spirit of Elijah sparked inside of them!

  This worked towards a Personal Progress experience Individual Worth 6:. 
'When you participate in family history, you come to understand your identity and individual worth. Visit with your living relatives to learn as much information about your family history as possible. Then complete a pedigree chart of your family and list the temple ordinances that have been completed for each person. "

We also asked the young women to bring something they have passed off this year and connect it to a principle in The Family Proclamation. These are some of the ones my daughters did.

My daughters' Proclamation Pillows made on a mutual night

The Proclamation Pillows was a Laurel Activity . The idea came from Shannon again, at theredheadedhostess.com [she is awesome!]Search for her project: Throw Pillow With a Message

A FHE Lesson
 Proclamation Place mats made by my 12 year old

The place mat idea comes  Kristin @ Inkablinka.com: Family Proclamation Place mats
Go check out her instructions and Family Home Evening lesson that goes with this. 

We did tweak them a little when I found these place mats at Walmart. It was too perfect to pass up. We just outlined a plate and cup. Then we bought letter stickers for the words. The pictures we found on google images and we added Velcro dots to keep them in place.  

This was by far one of the best events I have ever  been apart of in Young Women. 
I love this calling!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Times in Which We Live: Conference Classics

Words of wisdom from Gordon B. Hinckley:

Now,...we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be.
 Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another.

 But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.

 Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

 Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us."

Read this talk:  (Ensign, November 2001  The Times in Which We Live, Gordon B. Hinckley)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cleansing the Inner Vessel: Conference Classics

This is a blast from the past Conference re-read

I am leaving the Church History Tour Series for a little bit and going back to a classic re-read of a great great Conference talk: Cleansing the Inner Vessel by President Ezra Taft Benson

This talk was given in the April Conference of 1986, just 5 short months after President Spencer W. Kimball's death.  This was President Benson's first conference address... and WHAT  A TALK!!  This was given when I was a  Senior year in high school.  My oh my, how the world has changed in these 26 years.

Elder Quenton L. Cook referred to this in his conference talk this last conference so I decided to go back and re-read this one myself.

What a treat this was.... and so powerful!


This talk has several themes on How we can cleanse the inner vessel:



As I have sought direction from the Lord, I have had reaffirmed in my mind and heart the declaration of the Lord to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” (D&C 6:9; D&C 11:9.) This has been a theme of every latter-day prophet, along with their testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
Repentance was the cry of our late and great prophet, Spencer W. Kimball. This theme permeated his talks and the pages of his writings, such as his marvelous book The Miracle of Forgiveness. And it must be our cry today, both to member and to nonmember alike—repent.
Watchmen—what of the night? We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. As Moroni counseled, we must cleanse the inner vessel (see Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church.
A prophet of God stated, “Ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow … until the good shall overcome the bad.” (Jacob 5:66.) It takes a Zion people to make a Zion society, and we must prepare for that.

Using our resources 

"During the past few years a number of resources have been set in place in the Church to help us. New editions of the scriptures have been published—are we taking advantage of them? More temples are located closer to our people—are we going to the house of the Lord more frequently? The consolidated meeting schedule was set up—are we taking advantage of the increased time with our families? A special home evening manual was provided—are we using it? A new hymnal has just been published—are we singing more songs of the heart? (See D&C 25:12.) And so the list goes on and on. We have received much help. We don’t need changed programs now as much as we need changed people!
We remember our beloved President Kimball for many marvelous words of counsel, among which was his encouragement to “lengthen our stride.” We needed that direction, for the Book of Mormon warns us of the tactics of the adversary in the last days: “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” (2 Ne. 28:21.)"

Awake, forsake immorality 

"There are many “awake” passages in the Book of Mormon, such as: “O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell … awake … [and] put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.” (2 Ne. 1:13, 23.) As a people, it seems we can survive persecution easier and better than we can peace and prosperity.
The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other. (See Journal of Discourses, 8:55.)
President Joseph F. Smith said that sexual impurity would be one of the three dangers that would threaten the Church within—and so it does. (See Gospel Doctrine, pp. 312–13.) It permeates our society.
In the category of sins, the Book of Mormon places unchastity next to murder. (See Alma 39:5.) As Alma states, “Now … I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, … for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (Alma 39:9.) If we are to cleanse the inner vessel, we must forsake immorality and be clean."

Read the Book of Mormon 

Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.” (D&C 84:56.) The Lord continues: “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.” (D&C 84:57.)
Now we not only need to say more about the Book of Mormon, but we need to do more with it. Why? The Lord answers: “That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.” (D&C 84:58.) We have felt that scourge and judgment!
The Prophet Joseph said that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction.) The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent.
“But there is another reason why we should read it,” President Romney continued. “By doing so we will fill and refresh our minds with the constant flow of that ‘water’ which Jesus said would be in us—‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ (John 4:14.) We must obtain a continuing supply of this water if we are to resist evil and retain the blessings of being born again. …
“If we would avoid adopting the evils of the world, we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds with and call them back to the things of the Spirit. I know of no better way to do this than by reading the Book of Mormon.”
And then he concluded: “And so, I counsel you, my beloved brothers and sisters and friends everywhere, to make reading in the Book of Mormon a few minutes each day a lifelong practice. [the promise]“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, pp. 110–13.)
Beware of Pride 
May I now discuss a subject of grave concern that deserves deeper development than we have time. It is the subject of pride.
In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride. It is always considered as a sin. We are not speaking of a wholesome view of self-worth, which is best established by a close relationship with God. But we are speaking of pride as the universal sin, as someone has described it.
Mormon writes that “the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction.” (Moro. 8:27.) The Lord says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 38:39.)
Essentially, pride is a “my will” rather than “thy will” approach to life. The opposite of pride is humbleness, meekness, submissiveness (see Alma 13:28), or teachableness.
In the early days of the restored church, the Lord warned two of its prominent members about pride. To Oliver Cowdery, He said, “Beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.” (D&C 23:1.) To Emma Smith, He said, “Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride.” (D&C 25:14.)
“Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart,” the Lord warns us. (D&C 42:40.) “Humble yourselves before God,” says the Book of Mormon. (Mosiah 4:10.)
When the earth is cleansed by burning in the last days, the proud shall be as stubble. (See 3 Ne. 25:1; D&C 29:9; D&C 64:24.)
The great and spacious building which Lehi saw was the pride of the world where the multitude of the earth was gathered. (See 1 Ne. 11:35–36.) Those who walked the straight and narrow path and held onto the word of God and partook of the love of God were mocked and scorned by those in the building. (See 1 Ne. 8:20, 27, 33; 1 Ne. 11:25.)
“The humble followers of Christ” are few. (2 Ne. 28:14.)
Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.
Was it not through pride that the devil became the devil? Christ wanted to serve. The devil wanted to rule. Christ wanted to bring men to where He was. The devil wanted to be above men.
Christ removed self as the force in His perfect life. It was not my will, but thine be done.
Pride is characterized by “What do I want out of life?” rather than by “What would God have me do with my life?” It is self-will as opposed to God’s will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God.
Humility responds to God’s will—to the fear of His judgments and the needs of those around us. To the proud, the applause of the world rings in their ears; to the humble, the applause of heaven warms their hearts.
Someone has said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” Of one brother, the Lord said, “I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.” (D&C 58:41.)
The two groups in the Book of Mormon that seemed to have the greatest difficulty with pride are the “learned, and the rich.” (2 Ne. 28:15.) But the word of God can pull down pride. (See Alma 4:19.)
With pride, there are many curses. With humility, there come many blessings. For example, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” (D&C 112:10.) The humble will “be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge.” (D&C 1:28.) The Lord is “merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts.” (D&C 61:2.) Humility can turn away God’s anger. (See Hel. 11:11.)
My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church.The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it.
Beware of Pride , the talk given 3 years later.

His Pep-talk

We have made some wonderful strides in the past. We will be lengthening our stride in the future. To do so, we must first cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, being morally clean, using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves.
We can do it. I know we can. That we will do so is my prayer for all of us. God bless you for all the good you have done and will be doing.