Thursday, August 23, 2012

Welcoming the Holy Ghost into our Homes

After giving a talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost at a baptism, imageI was asked by a few in attendance to share my ideas and notes for use as a Family Home Evening lesson/ activity (link to the lesson/ activity is below).   While organizing and adding to the talk and handout, I was reviewing additional talks and scriptures and came across the talk “The Unspeakable Gift” given by Joseph B. Wirthlin at the April 2003 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  There were a few quotes that were ideal to share:   

“ In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord calls the gift of the Holy Ghost “the unspeakable gift.” imageIt is the source of testimony and spiritual gifts. It enlightens minds, fills our souls with joy,7 teaches us all things, and brings forgotten knowledge to our remembrance. The Holy Ghost also “will show unto [us] all things what [we] should do.” 

“If [we] would open [our] hearts to the refining influence of this unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, a glorious new spiritual dimension would come to light.” 

As we apply the scripture’s teachings, we see how the Holy Ghost can influence our lives, bring us closer to our Savior, bringing us to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and testify of truth.  We must be worthy to receive such a gift, we must prepare our minds, bodies, and spirits to be open to that influence.  But what of our surroundings?  Do our homes reflect that same personal attitude to be worthy of the spirit.  Is home a place that the Holy Ghost is welcome?  Have we prepared our homes mentally, physically, and spiritually to receive Him? 

“Brothers and sisters, do we turn away the still, small voice? Do we do things that offend the Holy Ghost? Do we allow influences into our homes that drive the Spirit from our homes? The type of entertainment that we permit into our homes will certainly have an impact on the power of the Holy Ghost. Much of the entertainment of the world is offensive to the Holy Ghost. Surely we should not watch movies or television shows that are filled with violence, vulgar language, and immorality.

I invite you to ponder individually in a humble and prayerful manner and ask yourself: “Do I have the Spirit in my life? Am I happy? Am I doing anything in my life that is offensive to the Spirit and preventing the Holy Ghost from being my constant companion?” Have the courage to repent, if needed, and again enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Do we enjoy the influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes? Are we doing anything as a family that is offensive to the Spirit? Can we more effectively invite the Holy Ghost into our homes?”

“Our homes need to be more Christ-centered. We  imageshould spend more time at the temple and less time in the pursuit of pleasure. We should lower the noise level in our homes so that the noise of the world will not overpower the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. One of our greatest goals as parents should be to enjoy the power and influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes. We should pray and study the scriptures. We could sing the hymns of the Restoration to invite the Holy Ghost into our home. Regular family home evening will also help.” 

“The Unspeakable Gift” given by Joseph B. Wirthlin at the April 2003 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Download the Family Home Evening Lesson/ Activity here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/103621193/The-Gift-of-the-Holy-Ghost-Talk-Lesson-Activty-With-Handout

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Womanhood, Sisterhood, Relief Society & Christ

The Church recently produced a book entitled “Daughters in my Kingdom: history and work of the Relief Society”   On the book’s webpage there are  quotes and excerpts from that are worth sharing and reflecting on. 

In our ward each sister will receive their own copy at a dinner before the General Relief Society Broadcast. What better way to share in unity and sisterhood than sitting, like Mary, at the Saviors feet together as sisters as we hear the words of our church leaders. 

image “The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” James E. Talmage, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 3

“As women participate in Relief Society, they serve as valiant disciples of Jesus Christ in the work of salvation.” Daughters in My Kingdom, page 7

“Every sister … who has made covenants … has a divine mandate to help save souls [and] and to lead the women of the world.”  M. Russell Ballard, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 25

“We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.” —Lucy Mack Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 25

image “I stress … the deep need each woman has to study the scriptures. We want our homes to be blessed with sister scriptorians.”  Spencer W. Kimball, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 50

Relief Society sisters will become a powerful influence for good as they “reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives.”  Spencer W. Kimball, in Daughters in My Kingdom, pages 50-51

“It is for you to lead the world and to lead especially the women of the world. … You are the head, not the tail.” Joseph F. Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 66clip_image015

“Our eternal happiness will be in proportion to the way that we devote ourselves to helping others.” George Albert Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 77

“Women of the Church are [to be] seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.” Spencer W. Kimball, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 95

“We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children.” Thomas S. Monson, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 103Christ with Mary and Martha Henryk Semiradsky, 1886

“We cannot always lift the burden of one who is troubled, but we can lift her so she can bear it well.”  Elaine L. Jack, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 119

“Let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father's plan. … You are an absolutely essential part of that plan.”  Gordon B. Hinckley, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 143

“There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.” M. Russell Ballard, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 156 image

“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”  Julie B. Beck, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 158

“If you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. … If you will be pure, nothing can hinder.”  Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 169

clip_image016

~ Relief Society ~

“The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.” Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 7

“This organization is divinely made, divinely authorized, divinely instituted, divinely ordained of God.” Joseph F. Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 7 

“The Relief Society was established by the spirit of inspiration, and has been guided by that spirit [ever since].” Joseph Fielding Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 13

“[Relief Society] should be a select society, separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuous, and holy.” Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 15

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“If all the sisters will rally to the support of [Relief Society], it will accomplish a mighty work.” Lorenzo Snow, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 19

“The [Relief] Society is not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls.” Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 24

image Relief Society is “relief of poverty, relief of illness; relief of doubt, relief of ignorance—relief of all that hinders the joy and progress of woman.” John A. Widtsoe, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 25

“There is power in this organization [of Relief Society] that has not yet been fully exercised … nor will it until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society.” Spencer W. Kimball, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 142

clip_image018“This great circle of sisters will be a protection for each of you and for your families.” Boyd K. Packer, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 81

“We are part of a grand whole. We need each other to make our sisterhood complete.” Elaine L. Jack, in Daughters in My Kingdom, page 94

“Relief Society should be organized, aligned, and mobilized to strengthen families and help our homes to be sacred sanctuaries from the world.” Julie B. Beck, in Daughters in My Kingdom, pages 96–97

Relief Society

Our Savior's Love

Today the Relief Society Choir sang “Our Savior’s Love” Hymn #113

Beautiful! jesus_heals_ I have always thought there is no better example of Zion like qualities than that of a Choir singing as one voice, one in purpose, one in heart, one in spirit.  

What a fitting day to share the love of our Savior, on the anniversary of such tragic day in our present history. 

“Our Savior’s Love” by Edward LeRoy Hart

1. Our Savior’s love shines like the sun with perfect light,
As from above It breaks thru clouds of strife.
Lighting our way, It leads us back into his sight,
Where we may stay to share eternal life.

2. The Spirit, voice Of goodness, whispers to our hearts
A better choice than evil’s anguished cries.
Loud may the sound of hope ring till all doubt departs,
And we are bound to him by loving ties.

3. Our Father, God.  Of all creation, hear us pray
In rev’rence, awed by thy Son’s sacrifice.
Praises we sing. We love thy law; we will obey.
Our heav’nly King, in thee our hearts rejoice.

Listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Version:

By the way… our Relief Society Choir aka any of the Sisters who come up to the stand and sing… (we practice a hymn for a few Sundays prior to singing it in Sacrament Meeting)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Designing Home

Home and Family are important gospel topics and areas I have posted on “Uncooked” before, I have recently begun an interesting project entitled “ Designing Home” which will explore those topics even more.  The site is in blog format, combining Gospel and Christ centered principles and interior design methods. It is just in the beginning stages,  http://designingachristianhome.com/

Designing Home Header

From the introduction:

“In 2002, after a discussion with a friend about bringing Christ into every room in her home, I began writing a book sharing ideas on interior design and the planning aspects of making our lives and especially our homes more Christ centered.

Through this process, I have gathered many thoughts, inspirations, and instructions to aid in our continual pursuit to know and be more like our Savior, specifically by designing our homes to be sacred places to do so.  While a book is still in process, a blog seemed to be the perfect venue to organize my thoughts and share this valuable information.clip_image002

This blog is meant to encourage an active by design approach, addressing physical and spiritual elements and principles, uplifting our home-life experience, creating an atmosphere worthy of the Spirit of God, and help change hearts and attitudes to focus on what is most important.

As an Interior Designer, I have been in hundreds of homes and have clients of many faiths.  In every case I am brought in to create a place that my clients want to come home to, a place that speaks to them, comforts them, and certainly functions for their needs.  Every Faith has its own unique influence on the home, and our homes should reflect that Faith.

Being Christian – a follower of Jesus Christ, specifically a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I will discuss the aspects of designing a Christian or Christ Centered Home with an emphasis on the LDS lifestyle. 

I am excited to use my profession and faith to build stronger homes from the inside out.  May your home be a place of comfort and refuge, may your home bring you closer to Jesus Christ by design. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2: 6-7”  

- Laura C. Kimball, CID, ASID

I hope you enjoy this exciting new project! visit weekly!  http://designingachristianhome.com/

Monday, June 27, 2011

Desire to Become

From Sunday’s Relief Society lesson taught by Sister Ellison – Diagrams included!

Quotes from the Talk: Desire, Dallin H. Oaks, April 2011 General Conference Address Desire to Become Diagram

“I hope each of us will search our hearts to determine what we really desire and how we rank our most important desires.”

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and   choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.”

“When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.”

“In his sermon on faith, Alma teaches that faith can begin with “no more than [a] desire to believe” if we will “let this desire work in [us]” (Alma 32:27).”

“We should remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent. So motivated, we will seek for that condition described by the Prophet Joseph Smith, where we have “overcome the evils of [our lives] and lost every desire for sin.” 5 That is a very personal decision. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “When people are described as ‘having lost their desire for sin,’ it is they, and they only, who deliberately decided to lose those wrong desires by being willing to ‘give away all [their] sins’ in order to know God.” “Therefore, what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity.”  Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 22, 21.

Desire to become - Intensity Scale

Similar message on the topic:

What manner of men ought ye to be?, Lynn G Robbins, April 2011 General Conference Address

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sacrament Meeting Talks

Our monthly Relief Society Meeting was this past Tuesday, featuring tips and advice when preparing and presenting sacrament meeting talks. Here are some of the resources:

Giving a Sacrament Meeting Talk http://lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,7003-1,00.html

Giving a talk in sacrament meeting or in any of our Church meetings should be recognized as a special opportunity. Seek the inspiration of our Heavenly Father through prayer, scripture study, and studying the words of the living prophets in the Church magazines as you prepare your talk. “Ask and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 4:7).

Natural divisions of a talk:

  1. The introduction. A good introduction is short. The purpose of an introduction is to gain the attention and interest of the listeners. You might include a short quotation from the scriptures, a question, or a quick statement about local circumstances or world events.
  2. Statement of what you intend to talk about.
  3. Body of the talk. The body is your development of the subject, containing your illustrations and examples. This is the portion of your talk where you may wish to use a few short notes.
    • Do not present as your talk a story from a book or one of the Church magazines.
    • Give your talk with your own reasoning, using your own words.
    • Say what you have prepared in a friendly, conversational manner.
    • Speak sincerely, with conviction and with enthusiasm.
    • Be for something rather than against something.
  4. Conclusion.
    • Give a short summation or restatement with conclusions.
    • Leave your audience with a positive attitude.
    • Share your testimony of the principle you have taught.
    • Finish your talk within the allotted time.
      (See Communications Manual [1982, item no. 30814], 1–2.)

Tips for Terrific Talks, Meghan Decker, “Idea List: Tips for Terrific Talks,” New Era, July 2004, 11

For many people, speaking in front of others is their greatest fear. As members of the Church, we have many opportunities to speak. The following ideas can help you prepare and deliver a meaningful talk. Remember: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

Preparation:

  1. Start thinking about your topic as soon as you are asked to speak. Don’t procrastinate.
  2. Pray for insight and inspiration.
  3. Identify the gospel principles involved in your topic and how they can bring your listeners to Christ.
  4. Research your topic. Use the words of modern and ancient prophets—from conference and the scriptures—as your primary sources.

Organization:

  1. Plan to start your talk by capturing your listeners’ attention. Sharing a personal experience is a good way to begin and focus your topic.
  2. Explain how the principles being discussed will bless your listeners’ lives and bring them closer to the Lord.
  3. After explaining the principles, teach how to put them into practice.

Delivery:

  1. Remember you are worshipping the Lord, not trying to impress the congregation.
  2. As much as possible, maintain eye contact with various listeners throughout the talk.
  3. Let your own voice come through—your emotions, your reactions, your testimony.
  4. Resist the urge to race. Speak steadily and clearly. Every word is important.
  5. Read the scriptures as real words, the way the writer would have spoken them.
  6. Sincere testimony is the most important part of every talk. Let the Spirit speak through you to the hearts of your listeners.

Delivering an Effective Talk  Delivering an Effective Talk by Marcus Sheridan, Ensign, August 2010, 42-43.   http://lds.org/churchmagazines/EN_2010_08_14___09208_000_022.pdf

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means more than sitting in church, listening to others speak. The Savior has organized His Church to give all of us opportunities to grow spiritually. One of those opportunities is speaking in church, which can be an exhilarating and spiritually satisfying experience. 

To make the most of their talks, effective speakers show enthusiasm, share stories and personal experiences, use quotes and scriptures, and speak through the power of the Holy Ghost.

I. Show Enthusiasm:

The more enthusiastic we are about the gospel, the more others will see our fire and have a desire to experience the same feelings. On the other hand, if our talks—especially at the outset—are filled with apologies or negative statements, we may discredit ourselves, lessen our message, and offend the Spirit. By being excited and eager to share their message—the Lord’s message—confident speakers bless others.

II. Share Stories and Personal Experiences

When we share a powerful story or personal experience, our message can have a lasting impact on our listeners. People love to hear stories. That’s why heads pop up and attention increases when we share them.

All of us have experienced memorable events. It just takes creativity and energy to make the telling of a story interesting. If we can’t think of an appropriate personal story, we can always share a story from the Church magazines.

When sharing personal experiences, effective speakers:

  • Practice telling their stories beforehand so they don’t have to read them and can maintain eye contact with the congregation.
  • Keep their stories short and interesting.
  • Fluctuate their tone of voice and convey feeling.
  • Relate descriptive details when appropriate.
  • Occasionally show a sense of humor but understand that not all talks require a joke.
  • Make their point at the end of each story.

III. Use Quotes and Scriptures

The words of the Lord and His servants teach, inspire, guide, and motivate. If we can bring their words to life in our talks, we can affect others in a positive and profound way.

When citing scriptures and quotes, good speakers:

  • Share the background and history of scriptures and quotes to help listeners understand their significance.
  • Focus on only a few scriptures and quotes.
  • Emphasize important parts.

IV. Speak through the Power of the Holy Spirit

Speaking through the power of the Holy Ghost is the most important way we can communicate. As Nephi observed, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1).  We qualify for that influence as we fast, pray, and prepare diligently for our talks. If we are properly prepared, we have no need to fear (see D&C 38:30). By combining the companionship of the Holy Ghost with enthusiasm, storytelling, scriptures and quotes, and then by adding our testimony of the truths we share, we will uplift and inspire.

V. The Example of President Monson

President Thomas S. Monson is a powerful and moving speaker. An examination of his speaking style and some of his recent general conference talks reveals the abilities of a good speaker. 1  President Monson often stresses that it is his privilege to speak to Church members, and he expresses gratitude for the opportunity. In addition, he regularly shows that gratitude by demonstrating enthusiasm at the outset of his talks. After his opening statements, President Monson quotes scriptures to give his talk direction and tell his listeners what his topic is. He also quotes General Authorities and others to add further light to his topic. President Monson is well-known for sharing personal experiences from his life. He knows that his audience will take interest in and relate to personal stories. He also knows that one of the best ways to teach is by sharing what life has taught him. In relating stories, President Monson uses powerful details to generate interest. Often, he also uses poetry to punctuate his message. Finally, President Monson understands the importance of bearing testimony, which he does frequently and powerfully.

Note: See, for example, Thomas S. Monson, “Be Your Best Self,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 67; “Be of Good Cheer,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 89; “May You Have Courage,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 123.

BYU Campus Education Week: Preparing powerful sacrament meeting messages; by David Mortimer, Church News, August 19, 2010.  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/59765/BYU-Campus-Education-Week-Preparing-powerful-sacrament-meeting-messages.html   dmortimer@desnews.com  (Book: “Amen: Speaking in Church with Purpose & Peace” by Celeste Elain Witt)

Speakers in sacrament meeting should take on the role of the Savior in providing “living water” to those who hear their message, said Celeste Elain Witt, instructor of public speaking at BYU during her Aug. 18 presentation at BYU Campus Education Week.

“As people are coming into sacrament meeting, they’re thirsty,” said Sister Witt, who is also a communications consultant and speech coach. “Everyone comes so thirsty. How are you going to quench it?”   To accomplish this task, Sister Witt guided her audience through a five-step writing process in hopes of helping them create “laser-focused” messages.  “Those in the congregation want the message that you give to be accessible,” she said. “It has to be able to be captured by your audience.”

First, Sister Witt said speakers should refine the topic given to them by priesthood leaders, which is usually generic, to have a greater impact.   “If you don’t narrow your topic, you will be searching for information for way too long,” she said. “If you narrow your topic properly, the other steps will naturally flow.”

Methods she suggested to help narrow a topic included personal experiences and a specific event or challenge facing the ward audience.  Once a topic has been narrowed, Sister Witt said speakers should develop a clear purpose or mission statement for their talk.   “Figure out what your mission is and then actually write it out,” she said. “Put it at the top of your computer page or your yellow tablet.” She added that most mission statements revolve around inspiring, motivating or informing listeners.

Once the speaker determines a specific mission, they can begin to develop the message of the talk itself. Most sacrament meeting attendees, according to Sister Witt will only recall one sentence from the talk. As a result, speakers should harness the power of determining what that sentence is without being too quirky or overly dramatic.  “You need to actually write down the sentence you want them to take home,” she said. “How are they going to know what to take home unless you tell them?”   After the process of specification is over, research for the talk can begin.   “There’s no question that in the one or two weeks you’re given to prepare, you don’t have time to become a gospel scholar,” she said, “but you owe it to your audience to actually do some research.”

Instead of going overboard to find something new on a given topic, Sister Witt encouraged those in attendance to look at scriptures and other sources familiar to Church members in a different way. She illustrated this by showing close-up pictures of wildflowers she had taken, later revealing that they were located on Y Mountain in Provo.   “If you look carefully, you will notice things that no one else has ever noticed,” she said. “If you see what no one else can see, you can say what no one else can say.”   During the process of inserting the research into the talk itself, Sister Witt emphasized the need to use quotes effectively and avoid over-referencing sources, even scripture references, which can detract from the message of the source itself.  

In a seemingly paradoxical move write an introduction and conclusion to the talk.   “You can’t write your introduction and your conclusion until you know what it is that’s in the middle of your talk,” she said.

18 Speaking Tips:

From “18 Public Speaking Tips” by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.  & my thoughts, quotes, scriptures, and other ideas from (in italics) to make the original 18 tips a bit more tailored to sacrament meeting talks. Find the original article here: http://money.howstuffworks.com/18-tips-for-public-speaking.htm

If this were a list of the human race's greatest fears, public speaking would be right at the top. Whether it's forgetting your lines or realizing you have a tail of toilet paper hanging out of your pants, fear of public speaking really boils down to fear of being ridiculed, rejected, and publicly humiliated. But don't worry -- with the following tips, you'll be fine! So relax and check out the first tip to get started.

Giving Talks in Church can be one the most nerve racking experience, however sooner or later you will probably be asked to give one. These 18 tips tailored with additional sacrament meeting  talk advice can help calm the nerves and put the whole experience in a much better perspective.

1. Watch the Masters: If you've got a speech or presentation in your future, start looking for what makes successful public speakers so successful. Note their styles and habits and keep them in mind as good examples. Watch, Read, Study talks given at general conference – These are great examples for sacrament meeting talks and you may find some great quotes to include too!

2. Fix Up, Look Sharp: If you're in a position where public speaking is required, let's hope you've already got a handle on the importance of personal grooming. If not, take heed: The better you look, the more ready and professional you'll feel. A lot of people are going to be looking at you -- make sure you look your best. When we attend a Church meeting, our purpose is to worship our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our clothing should show our reverence for them. We do not dress to attract attention to ourselves, thus distracting others and causing the Spirit to depart. Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether they are on Sunday or during the week. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask your leaders for guidance.” Robert D. Hales, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord,” Ensign, Aug 2008, 34–39

3. Hello, Room. Nice to Meet You. If at all possible, check the specs of the room where you'll be speaking. Is it football stadium big or conference room big? What about the sound system? If you'll be using a microphone, it's a good idea to test it out beforehand. The more familiar you are with your environment, the more comfortable you'll be at the podium. This is great advice! Why not come and practice at the podium, run through your whole talk if that helps – or just ramble at the podium, practice using the microphone, the chapel is usually empty after church and during midweek activities.

4. Sober Up: If your speaking engagement is at a social function (e.g., wedding, reunion), it might seem like a good idea to guzzle as much liquid courage as you can before your speech. But listening to a sincere speech from someone who's nervous is much better than listening to incoherent babble from someone who's loaded. First off, the Prophets and the word of wisdom have yet again solved this dilemma for us by counseling us to abstain from alcohol, our lifestyle already reflects a decision not to impair our judgment. However, have you ever looked up the word sobriety in the Topical Guide and read the scripture references, or found the definition? We are counseled to be sober - this soberness means to be serious and thoughtful in demeanor or quality, having to do with our behavior, manner, or appearance, especially as it reflects on our character. “Walk in the ways of truth and soberness” Mosiah 4:15 “Speak the truth in soberness” D&C 18:21

5. Know Your Material: Winging it is not a good idea when you've got a speech to make. While going with the flow and being flexible is smart, trusting yourself to be brilliant without any preparation is something even the pros don't attempt. Do your research. Know your topic and what you're going to say about it and how you'd like to say it. The more you know, the more confident you'll be up there. The effort we put into a talk does reflect in our confidence, just pondering on the topic, reading scriptures and conference addresses will help us gain our focus. It is important to remember “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” D&C 38:30 the Lord will help us “I will not leave you comfortless” John 14:18. Keep it simple, over preparing can be as flustering as under-preparing. Over- preparation often leaves the speaker with too many points, no way to get to them all, and a difficulty remembering which is what and where you are going; keep in mind sacrament meeting talks are not dissertations or research papers on the mysteries of the kingdom of God, this is an opportunity to share what you know about the simple truths of the gospel and add your personal connection and testimony of them.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice: Once you're prepared, go through the speech. Then read it again. Then again. And then once more. Practice in front of a mirror. Practice to your dog. Grab a friend or family member and practice in front of a real human being. Every time you go through your presentation, you're adding another layer of "I know this stuff." The more we do the more familiar we are doing it, the easier it gets!

7. Visualize Yourself Being Fabulous: Negative thinking will get you nowhere but down in the dumps. If you believe that you'll be great, you will be. If you think you're going to fail, you probably will. It's as simple as that.”Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them; for the Lord they God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:6 “I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail” D&C 64:31

8. Know Your Audience: To whom are you speaking? If they're colleagues, they probably want to learn something from you. If they're friends, they're likely looking to be entertained. If it's a judge, well, he or she wants to be convinced. Know who your audience is and tailor your speech and delivery to them. Give them what they want! Your audience is simply your brothers and sisters in the gospel. Our Sacrament Meeting congregations are a mixture of members and non-members of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences, investigators to new converts to lifelong members with varying church activity. The purpose of your talk is to help members build faith and testimony.

9. Relax! We're usually our own worst critics. If you forget to read a sentence off your notes, it's doubtful anyone will know. If you skip forward to the next image on the projector by mistake, no one's going to run you out of town. Don't worry. It's not life or death, it's just a speech. Again you are among friends, your brothers and sisters in the gospel, of all the places in the world you should feel less judged in a church congregation with fellow saints and followers of Christ. Practice confidence, reassure yourself of your safety, and practice supporting others and not judging them when they speak. “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.” D&C 121:7, 9

10. Don't Give It Away: If it really, truly makes you feel better to announce to the room that you're so nervous before you begin, go ahead. But your speech will have a lot more weight if you don't. Chances are good that you're the only one who knows you're shaking in your boots -- why show the cracks in your armor? Let them believe you have it under control, even if you don't feel like you do.

11. Slow Your Roll: One of the biggest indicators of nervousness is the lightning-fast talker. You might have the best speech ever written, but if no one can understand what you're saying, it doesn't matter. Pace yourself and remember to speak at a normal (or even slightly slower) pace when you're speaking publicly. I am a fast talker, it think fast, I am usually pressed for time. I can attest, it takes a lot of energy to remind yourself to slow down. If you are relaxed you will speak slower, part of that is giving yourself enough time to get through each thought, to break down your talk in its most simplistic form so you can get to everything, and to speak your thoughts clearly.

12. The Eyes Have It: People trust people who look them in the eye, so look at your audience when you're speaking to them. Don't look at the floor -- there's nothing down there. Don't look solely at your notes -- the audience will think you haven't prepared. You appear more confident when your head is up, which puts your audience at ease and allows you to take command of the room. The better you know what you are going to say – the better you can say it to your audience – tell them your talk, speak to them and with them – our spoken language is not complete without our physical expressions, voice inflections, facial expression, and our ability to convey emotion through body language and words.

13. Go On, Be Funny! Who doesn't like to laugh a little? You don't have to be a comedian, but a few lighthearted comments can help humanize you to your audience. Win them over with a smile and a well-timed clever remark, if you can. But be advised, too many jokes can weaken the validity of a presentation. Careful, look to tip #1 & #4 for some advice here. Humor can break the ice, but when used inappropriately it can also quickly chase away the Spirit.

14. Your Errors Are Okay: So you tripped on the microphone cord. So what? So you said macro when you meant micro somewhere in your speech. So you accidentally said the name of your sister's ex-boyfriend during your toast instead of the name of her new husband -- so what! Everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledge them and move on. No one is perfect, so you fumbled, correct yourself and move on! You will beat yourself up on it more than anyone else, so be the first one to let it go, even have a laugh about it later on! Our Sacrament Meeting talks are given by our members, not by paid clergy or professional speakers – we have members of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences, new converts to lifelong members each with varying church activity. We all make mistakes.

15. Keep It Short, Please: Even the president's State of the Union Address is only around an hour. Know what's expected of you and deliver that -- and no more. We've all been tortured by a speaker who goes on and on, caring little for the audience's interest or comfort level. Don't be one of those speakers -- always leave them wanting more. Practice to stay within your time limits, don’t over prepare so you can hit your key points within your time. If your time has been cut short by someone/ thing else be flexible – don’t spend your precious time complaining about what time you don’t have. Know what are the most important points. Eye contact with your audience will also help you know when your time is about up.

16. It's SO Not About You: The more you can take the focus off yourself, the better. After all, it's not likely you're being asked to give a presentation of your life story. So concentrate on the message and find freedom in just being the messenger. Your purpose is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Build faith and testimony. It’s not about you or how great you are as an orator; your humility will speak with much more eloquence and understanding when sharing the gospel.

17. Fake It 'Til You Make It: The old saying "fake it 'til you make it" is actually pretty good advice. Even if you have zero confidence in yourself, try acting like you do. The longer you fake it, the more comfortable it will feel, until, viola, you're a bona fide confidence machine. Confidence is built - it is a process and takes practice, it begins with an attitude of “I can do this”. “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 1 Nephi 3:7

18. Be Yourself: We're all human. We're all a little afraid of the podium, the microphone, or the boardroom. Despite what you may believe, people don't want you to fail. They ultimately want to see you succeed. Give them what they want by just being the best you can be. We need to have faith and confidence in the Lord to allow him to teach and guide us “Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? …have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Exodus 4:10-12

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Courageous Parenting

May’s Fifth Sunday Combined Priesthood and Relief Society Lesson included a discussion continued from my ward conference assignment based on the conference address by   Larry R Lawrence, of the Seventy, Courageous Parenting, October 2010 General Conference.  I pulled what I felt were the 10 key points from the talk, and followed them with Elder Lawrence’s message  is in quotations.  Ultimately as parents, teachers, and leaders we must teach our children, we must be courageous in the fight for righteousness.

1. Children sense our fear, they are sensitive, they follow our lead. “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid” (Joshua 1:9). This [is] a good theme for parents. What the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand. Elder Joe J. Christensen reminded us that “parenting is not a popularity contest.” In the same spirit, Elder Robert D. Hales has observed, “Sometimes we are afraid of our children—afraid to counsel with them for fear of offending them.”

2. Our children are in spiritual peril. If your child was sick or in danger you would do all in your power to heal and help them. Are we doing all we can to help them spiritually? “Challenges and temptations are coming at our [children] with the speed and power of a freight train. As we are reminded in the family proclamation, parents are responsible for the protection of their children. That means spiritually as well as physically.”

3. Listen to the spirit, always mention when you are feeling the spiritYoung people understand more than we realize because they too have the gift of the Holy Ghost. They are trying to recognize the Spirit when He speaks, and they are watching our example. From us they learn to pay attention to their promptings—that if they “don’t feel good about something,” it’s best not to pursue it.”

4. Spouses, support each other in decisions, communicate your feelingsIt’s so important for husbands and wives to be united when making parenting decisions. If either parent doesn’t feel good about something, then permission should not be granted. If either feels uncomfortable about a movie, a television show, a video game, a party, a dress, a swimsuit, or an Internet activity, have the courage to support each other and say no.” “If your spouse doesn’t feel good about something, show respect for those feelings. When you take the easy way out by saying and doing nothing, you may be enabling destructive behavior.”

5. Morality must be taughtParents can prevent a lot of heartache by teaching their children to postpone romantic relationships until the time comes when they are ready for marriage. Prematurely pairing off with a boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous. Becoming a “couple” creates emotional intimacy, which too often leads to physical intimacy. Satan knows this sequence and uses it to his advantage. He will do whatever he can to keep young men from serving missions and to prevent temple marriages.” “It is vital that parents have the courage to speak up and intervene before Satan succeeds. President Boyd K. Packer has taught that “when morality is involved, we have both the right and the obligation to raise a warning voice.

6. Be involved, communicate, listen to your childrenI have always believed that nothing really good happens late at night and that young people need to know what time they are expected to come home. There is a great deal of wisdom displayed when parents stay up and wait for their children to return home. Young men and women make far better choices when they know their parents are waiting up to hear about their evening and to kiss them good night.”

7. Know where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doingPeer pressure becomes more powerful when our children are away from our influence and when their defenses are weakened late at night. If you have ever felt uneasy about an overnight activity, don’t be afraid to respond to that warning voice inside. Always be prayerful when it comes to protecting your precious children.”

8. Make righteous living a part of your everyday lifestyleCourageous parenting does not always involve saying no. Parents also need courage to say yes to the counsel of modern-day prophets. Our Church leaders have counseled us to establish righteous patterns in our homes. Consider five fundamental practices that have the power to fortify our youth: family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, family dinner fhe10together, and regular one-on-one interviews with each child.”

9. Gather your family togetherIt takes courage to gather children from whatever they’re doing and kneel together as a family. It takes courage to turn off the television and the computer and to guide your family through the pages of the scriptures every day. It takes courage to turn down other invitations on Monday night so that you can reserve that evening for your family. It takes courage and willpower to avoid over scheduling so that your family can be home for dinner.”

10. Communicate, personally “One of the most effective ways we can influence our sons and daughters is to counsel with them in private interviews. By listening closely, we can discover the desires of their hearts, help them set righteous goals, and also share with them the spiritual impressions that we have received about them. Counseling requires courage.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Having an Eternal Perspective

Sunday Report from April 10th RS Presidency Lessonflying over Japan 2011

Three questions were posed for contemplation and short written answers from the sisters:  What does it mean to have an Eternal Perspective?  What helps you keep an Eternal Perspective?  How does having an Eternal  Perspective help you? – we will come Banff Canada 2008back to these…

I love standing atop an overlook and taking in the view.  I have been to many places, where I have stood on top of the world, seeing for hundreds of miles.  From the 39,999 feet in the air, mountain Cincinati 2009tops, tops of buildings in cities, plateaus.  I love the beautiful view.  It reminds me of what is most important.  I can’t see from the top of a sky scrapper the traffic that is making someone late or upset, I can’t see the work piling up on my desk and even great obstacles like a mountain seem overcome-able.  From a distance great things seem small and easily attainable - doable.   however, unlike my limited St. George Valleyview, although while standing atop I can see for miles – I can not see details except for what is close at hand – God’s view also sees us individually, he sees all the details and the big picture together.  

What does it mean to have an Eternal Perspective? 

Sisters answers: Having and Eternal Perspective is “to know I can return home again”, “Having an Eternal Perspective means that all decisions (and even the way we view the world around us) are shaped and determined by our understanding that life is eternal and by our desire to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father”, “Having and eternal perspective means knowing what matters and what matters less”

Having an eternal perspective – is having God’s perspective.  In the early church the symbol of the “all seeing eye” was used on the Salt Lake Temple and in tabernacles (it is also seen on our US one dollar bills).  This symbol represented God’s ability to see all.  The illustration below shows the difference in how we see vs. how God sees.  God’s perspective is not limited like ours.  We see only our present moment, even our personal pasts and future plans are fuzzy to God's Perspective and Man's Perspectiveus.  When we strive to have and eternal perspective, we increase our awareness, we have a better understanding of our purpose and being.  We gain an understanding of this kind of view from reading the scriptures, gospel teachings,attending the Temple, making and keeping our covenants, from Prophets and Apostles, personal revelation, patriarchal blessings, and making good choices.  

“Perspective is the ability to see things in their true relationship.” Young Women Manual 3, Lesson 22: Eternal Perspective 

“The nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 51).

What helps us see things as they really are?  Elder LeGrand Richards said: “God bless you to realize where you came from and the great privileges that are yours. If the veil were rolled back and you could just see one glimpse of God’s great eternal plan concerning you and who you are, it would not be hard for you to love Him, keep His commandments, and live to be worthy of every blessing that He has had for you since before the foundations of the world were laid” (“Patriarchal Blessings,” New Era, Feb. 1977, p. 7).

“An eternal perspective gives us more than eyesight—it allows us to look within ourselves and understand what is truly important.” A Sense of Perspective, Carol B. Olsen, June 1982 Ensign 

“When we understand the great plan of happiness, we are gaining an eternal perspective, and the commandments, ordinances, covenants, and the experiences, trials, and tribulations can be seen in their true and eternal light.”  “Those without an eternal perspective, or those who lose sight of it, make their own standards to benefit themselves and their own selfish interests. Their mortal perspective becomes their standard and for some their god.” May 2000, Ensign, Keep an Eternal Perspective Jay E. Jensen

What helps you keep an Eternal Perspective?

Sisters answers: Read Scriptures,  Pray, Fast, Ponder the Doctrine, Hold a Temple Recommend, Go to the Temple regularly, Attend Church, morning prayer, “read and re-read your patriarchal blessing”, “contemplate the atonement – the knowledge that the Lord went through all things for us”, “My choices day to day. What kind of music am I listening to, my language, my thoughts.  If I am choosing clean thoughts and actions, I have an eternal perspective”

Keeping ourselves with in the parameters the Lord sets, helps us to make and continue to make good choices.  Also knowing that we are not alone in this, we have the help of Gospel teachings and leaders and the Love and guidence of orur Heavenly Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and hte Hoy Ghost.  We are also promised wonderful blessings to look forward to – to help us look beyond our moment.  D&C 122: 7 “…know thou, my [child], that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.”  D&C 121:  7-8 “My [child], apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmall moment; And then, if thou aendure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy bfoes.”

How does having an Eternal  Perspective help you?

Sisters answers: It helps me… “to have not doubt, no fear – to have peace and comfort even in a world of turmoil “, It helps me stay focused on my goals in life and to keep Christ with me”, “I live a better life, be a better person”, “In my trials and struggles, it helps to focus not on what’s immediately in front of you but further down the road. Or look at the bigger picture – it  helps while working through”,  “Helps me make righteous decisions, even when it is not easy or convenient”, “It gives me substance”, “Helps me to know why I am here, where I am going, and the Savior's plan for me”, “Change bad habits, Realize what’s important”, “I am better able to prioritize my time and focus on the essential, the necessary and good”, “It helps me on the straight and narrow path, It helps me in my decisions, thoughts, and conduct”, “Life is crazy & stressful! There are more demands then we can possibly live up to. Having and Eternal Perspective helps weed through some of the busy stuff and try to focus my energy on what is truly important. It is still hard but coming to church, reading the scriptures & prayer helps!”  “ When I pray it helps to know that God is there to help.”  “My faith helps me to keep positive about my future.  My faith in God the Father and the Son.” “to be closer with our Heavenly Father, to do his work, both spiritually and physically”, “[While dealing with a death in the family] Having and Eternal Perspective helped me cope.  I know we’ll be together again, for eternity, what a blessing.  Having an Eternal Perspective made me stronger.”,   “Helps me focus on the Savior.  Helps me to remember I am really Heavenly Father’s daughter and I am a lot like Him – it is possible for me to become just like Him”, “I can see the good side of every situation or thing”,

An Eternal perspective also helps us to view others as He does.  God loves all his children.  Certainly our perspective or view of people change as we get to know someone better, knowing their situation and their story, knowing them as we serve them we are able to understand them more and increase our view to God’s perspective of that person.  This is an amazing blessing from magnifying our visiting teaching calling.

In Samuel Chapter 1 we see an example of Eli’s perspective of Hannah change, after assuming she was drunk, and telling her to put away her wine - he learned why she was emotional she was actually pouring her heart out to the Lord in the Temple because she wanted to have a child.  He promised her she would have a child, she was blessed to have Samuel, who became a prophet.  We do not know the reasons behind some actions, it is important for us to not pass judgment.  We can be blest to know how God see His sons and daughters if we ask Him, and as we serve, love, and forgive them.

What can we do to help us cultivate and maintain an eternal perspective? Carol B. Olsen shares with us in an Ensign article from 1982  Five Senses we can rely on to help us in this ongoing pursuit.  Article excerpts:

“…I was in a turmoil. Anyone who crossed my path at school or at home, had to listen to my frustrations and concerns. But finally I began to settle down, and when I did I saw that my reaction had been out of proportion. I had lost my sense of perspective. Our goal had been to keep our home life harmonious and as calm as possible, especially in view of all the social changes we were facing in the world. But my attitude was defeating that purpose. This realization was a beginning, and I quickly worked to restore a measure of good sense.

In trying to understand what an eternal perspective is and how to cultivate one, I have learned to rely on five “senses” other than the usual five physical senses. I call these a sense of humor, a sense of time, a sense of faith, a sense of vision, and a sense of love.

The first, a sense of humor, is frequently undervalued, but I have found it essential to survival. Apparently so have others. Humor helps us maintain perspective. This involves seeing the amusing side of even the bleakest situation. One writer defined comedy as “tragedy plus time,” which is another way of saying that things look differently from a clearer perspective.Humor can relieve tension, give insight, and help us see things in their proper and hopefully more eternal perspective.

Just as the senses of taste and smell are intertwined until it becomes difficult to tell which one is doing the sensing, so are the senses I call a sense of time and a sense of faith. A sense of time requires patience, long-suffering, and a discipline and control that comes from within rather than being imposed from without. Faith is the positive motivating force which gives purpose and direction to the sense of time.  President Hugh B. Brown once observed that he never could set his watch to the Lord’s timetable. I suspect most of us have that problem, too often operating according to day-to-day expediencies.  We get a glimpse of the Lord’s timetable in the Doctrine and Covenants where he comforts the Prophet Joseph Smith, imprisoned many months in Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.” (D&C 121:7.)  The Prophet’s adversity undoubtedly seemed longer than a moment to him. From my even more limited perspective, my afflictions surely do. But when I want to rail against fate or apparent injustices, I recall that I too have been admonished to “endure it well.” (D&C 121:8.) The Lord’s perspective is wider and loftier than ours. The scriptures say he knows “the end from the beginning.” (Abr. 2:8.) We do not. But we can, to the best of our mortal ability, try with faith and courage to see a wider and higher view. In so doing we will have greater opportunity to commune with the spirit of goodness and light and love which comes from our Savior.

These senses of time and faith can stretch as wide as eternity, but they may also be as small as a minute. In other words, sometimes what we need to focus on and develop an appreciation of is the present: what is happening just now. Savor those moments of present which we too often ignore. Others who have been near to death also testify that indeed the sky is bluer and the sound of laughter sweeter.  Having developed this sense of time and faith, we are better able to avoid becoming caught up “in the thick of thin things,” as one writer described it. We can distinguish meaningful, purposeful activity from mere busyness.

A sense of vision involves more than eyesight. It requires awe, involvement, optimism, purpose, enthusiasm, creativity, and appreciation of beauty. At first these words may not seem to be related. But when I think of the people of vision I have known, these are the qualities they share.  Joseph Smith said of the Latter-day Saints, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (A of F 1:13.) The question is, why do we seek after these things? I think it is for the effect these experiences can have on us. The fields of choice are purposely left open so that we can select according to our interests and talents. Where there is vision, life flourishes. There is beauty to be appreciated everywhere, creative experiences to be savored, learning and thinking and growing to be enjoyed. To the degree that we understand the possibilities we gain an eternal perspective.

Finally is the sense of love. And in its perfected form, love is  charity, the pure love of Christ. It is the redeeming, reforming, life-giving love that our Savior has for us. It is such a potent, positive, compelling love that we are drawn toward it and respond, as children respond to us when we are kind, tolerant, and long-suffering, with a reciprocating love of our own. We are enlightened and expanded in our understanding through this love, which we can reflect to others.

We can see the potential power of this divine love in 1 John BlochCarl-ChristConsolator4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Charity will cast out any negative quality: resentment, envy, greed. All flee in the face of perfect love. But John specifically mentions fear. What happens when we are afraid? We prepare to defend ourselves. All of the body’s and the mind’s mechanisms close down and become very focalized. “Flight-or-fight” decisions are made. This may be appropriate behavior when we are truly endangered, but so much of our fear is learned, and sometimes we fear excessively or inappropriately. It is this fear that perfect love casts out. The Savior promises us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.) Unhampered by fear, apprehension, or anxiety, we can expand our perspective through love.

Humor, time, faith, vision, and love—these have been given to all of us to use and to develop. As we do so, our perspective broadens, and life comes into a truer focus.”  A Sense of Perspective, Carol B. Olsen, June 1982 Ensign 

May we all enlarge our view to see the larger picture, to see what God sees for all of us. May we cultivate an eternal perspective.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keep it Simple, Sisters!

We had a wonderful Relief Society Meeting Tuesday Night KISS: Keep It Simple Sisters”.    simple red

Confucius said “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  We do a great job of complicating our lives, our families, our decisions, even gospel living - We should be simplifying!  We should focus on what is most important, plan so we are prepared and partake the joy that comes from simplicity. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo Da Vinci 

As part of the evening’s activities, Sister Kelley taught us a lesson on Keeping it Simple! (based on President Uchtdorf’s talk “Of things that matter most” from Oct. 2010 general conference.) Sister Kelley’s Presentation on Simplicity, http://www.scribd.com/doc/48605981/RS-Simplicity, compares Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to not only what we need physically, but what we need spiritually – She broke it down to keep it simple!

We are also reminded by Sister Julie Beck , “Mothers who know” Oct. 2007 General Conference, that we need to choose what is most important to do with our time.

“The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. 

When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all.

That is influence; that is power.”

Sister Kelley also created this beautiful video to finish the lesson – enjoy! (Thank you Sister Kelley – it was a wonderful lesson!)

"Simple Gifts" is an 1848 Shaker song by Elder Joseph Brackett.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
 
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Sorrows May Become Joy

I was reading yahoo news this morning and saw this article “Billy Donovan's Secret Sorrow” by Jason King, The Post Game (online sports news) – I do not keep up with sports, so I really don’t know much about these people’s careers, but their personal stories are touching – to read what they have done with their sorrow to support each other, strengthen their family, strengthen their faith in God, and serve others is remarkable, worthy of sharing, and worthy of emulating.  Click on the link to read the article – it is worth the time:  http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201101/billy-donovans-secret-sorrow#

We do not know always see why we experience heartache, deep sorrow and suffering, but there is purpose in all things. BlochCarl-ChristConsolator It is truly amazing to see the strength and direction that can come from those experiences. We need to have faith in and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and know we are a part of his plan – the Atonement is for us.  

“But if our sorrow and suffering strengthen our faith in our Savior,  Jesus Christ, “[our] sorrow shall be turned to joy.”  (John 16:20)

Such trials give us the development of spirituality that we probably never would get if we didn’t have the experience where the very jaws of hell gape open their mouth wide after us. Not only must we survive, but we must develop the ability to have a concern for others while we are suffering. It is a key element in our spiritual growth. As we lose our lives in the service of our fellowmen, we find ourselves.”

“Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us.” Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy, Robert D. Hales, October 1983 General Conference

“I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)   “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)  “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14: 18)

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4) “He will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, … that he may know according to the flesh … that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance.” (Alma 7:12–13.)