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 the counsel of their parents. 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.
- President Marion G. Romney

Thursday, January 29, 2009

JSH 1:8-17

In the class member study guide this is the question asked for the reading today:
What do these verses teach about how to receive personal revelation?
I like how Joseph starts out in verse 8 saying "my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness;" I think that often this is how the spirit nudges us to take action. I also loved how he found his answer in the scriptures. I think that this is also a lesson for us today in how to receive personal revelation. Verses in the scriptures can also come with power to our hearts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

D&C Section 8

It seems like all of the reading this week gives us a better understanding of what we need to do to receive personal revelation.  Asking in faith and having an honest heart and  keeping the commandments are mentioned in today's reading. What else do we need to do to receive personal revelation? My favorite verse is 10- "Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith." How powerful is faith? I found this quote in the D&C student manual. 
President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared:
"As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know...
"We have had this great power given unto us, this power of faith. What are we doing about it? Can you, can we, do the mighty things that the Savior did? Yes. They have been done by the members of the Church who had the faith and the righteousness so to do. Think of what is within your power if you but live the Gospel, if you but live so that you may invoke the power which is within you." (In Conference Report, Apr. 1960, p. 21)

Living Scripture ~ Sacrament Meeting…

OaksDH_04 I just finished reading this week’s talk from the October 2008 General Conference.  It’s a good one.  It is Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  {Page 17 in the November Ensign, or online here.}

Elder Oaks reminds us how sacrament meeting is the most sacred and important meeting in the church.  He starts out telling about how those of us trying to walk the straight and narrow path, see detours regularly.  It’s easy to be distracted, degraded, downhearted or depressed.  He goes on to tell us that the Spirit of the Lord can help us with these problems.  He also gently reminds us that by participating in the ordinance of the sacrament correctly, we qualify to have the Spirit with us always.

Elder Oaks continues with five points.

  • A reminder of how the sacrament meeting is the meeting for the whole family to participate in. 
  • Personal preparation for the sacrament.
  • How we dress and act for the sacrament.
  • A reminder of the importance of the sacrament.
  • Advice for the priesthood holders that participate in the giving of the sacrament.

So, take a few minutes and read through this talk.  It’s full of good advice and gentle reminders.  It has given me a lot to think about as far as the way my family does things for that hour of church.  My oldest is almost 8, and before I know it, he will be 12.  I’m glad that I read through and discovered the things that he needs to know and do so that he can help with the passing of the sacrament. 

Please, share your thoughts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lesson 5 "This is the Spirit of Revelation"

Reading assignment:
Monday - Doctrine and Covenants 6
Tuesday - Doctrine and Covenants 8
Wednesday - Doctrine and Covenants 9
Thursday - Joseph Smith History 1:8-17

This week we can learn a lot about personal revelation. Today lets consider the question "Why is personal revelation vitally important in our day?" One of the reasons that I appreciate personal revelation  so much in my life is to help me raise my children in righteousness. My children are also His children and when there is something important that I need to know about them, the spirit has always let me know. One of my favorite verses was verse 20. "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love." Many of us may have felt these arms before and it is something you never forget.
If you have any favorite verses or insights to D&C 6, please comment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

JSH 1:27-65

Hey everyone - it's Janelle. Today we'll study JSH 1:27 - 65

Here we find Joseph a few years after the First Vision admitting to us that in his youth he was jovial and cheerful and thus was led into situations that are common to youth and human nature. (vs. 28) This description reminds me a lot of my husband. Nothing too bad, but mischievous enough he wouldn't want his own kids doing it.

So what did Joseph do about it? Pray. Here is what he writes:

29 In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

He was bothered in his spirit and felt the need to reconcile himself with the Lord in prayer. I love that he had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one.

I think that when I sincerely pray that I have some anticipation of a divine manifestation as well. Whether it be peace in my heart or an answer to a question or a desperate plea for another being answered with a solution. All I'm saying is that it doesn't take a visit from Angel Moroni for us to have confidence that the Lord will let us know our standing with Him.

Do any of you have similar experiences to share?

When Moroni comes to Joseph he quotes heavily from the Old Testament. I don't have a particular love for the OT and these verses Moroni quoted made me conscious of that oversight.

Why these verses from Malachi, Joel, Isaiah? Did Joseph understand then better than I do now? Do any of you have insight into Moroni's message?

After visiting Joseph in the field, Moroni commanded Joseph to share his experience with his father. Joseph Smith Sr. recognizes it a message from God and tells Joseph to obey.

Have you ever had a prayer answered by a parent? How do you think it helped Joseph that his family embraced his divine call so early and completely?

In these verses Joseph explains how he met Emma.

57 During the time that I was thus employed, I was put to board with a Mr. Isaac Hale, of that place; it was there I first saw my wife (his daughter), Emma Hale. On the 18th of January, 1827, we were married, while I was yet employed in the service of Mr. Stoal.

58 Owing to my continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and my wife’s father’s family were very much opposed to our being married. I was, therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere; so we went and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill, in South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. Immediately after my marriage, I left Mr. Stoal’s, and went to my father’s, and farmed with him that season.

Gee, I would not have been too pleased with a young man that "of necessity" brought my daughter off to another county to be married. I wonder what Emma's family thought. I am quite certain she was ok with it but that does not start things off on the right foot.

In these verses Joseph explained what it was like to be in charge of the Gold Plates while translating.

At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to ame with this charge: that I should be bresponsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any cneglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to dpreserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.

60 I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.

I am sure Joseph was more than willing to give them back to Moroni. What a relief!

Tomorrow: D&C 3, 5 & 10

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Living Scripture ~ Because My Father…

This week’s conference talk is “Because My Father Read the Book of Mormon” by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis.

Grab your copy of the November 2008 Ensign (page 15) or find the talk here.  Let’s discuss this modern scripture.

From the introduction: I invite all who hear me today to read the Book of Mormon and to apply the promise it contains.  Those who do will know that the book is true.

In this talk, Elder Aidukaitis tells the story of his father’s conversion after reading the Book of Mormon.  He also tells of what else a person can know when they know that the Book of Mormon is true.  He bears his testimony of the Book of Mormon and ends with a challenge for those hearing his voice to read, pray and gain a testimony of this book. 

Read, ponder and share your thoughts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lesson 3: “I Had Seen a Vision”

Lesson 3: “I Had Seen a Vision”, Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide, 4

Reading assignment: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26; Our Heritage,pages 1–4.

After Jesus Christ was crucified, His Apostles presided over the Church. But soon persecution, divisions, and apostasy increased. Within a few decades, there was a falling away from the Church, as the Apostles had prophesied (Acts 20:28–30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3; 2 Timothy 4:3–4). This falling away is known as the Great Apostasy.

Scripture Chain: The Apostasy and the Restoration

Amos 8:11–12

D&C 1:14–17

Acts 3:20–21

D&C 128:20–21

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Living Scripture - You Know Enough

I hope that I am not stepping on any one's toes by posting this but I have so enjoyed reading the conference talks and discussing them so I am picking up where TaLaisa left off. My hope is to have a new conference talk posted each week for discussion.

This talk come from the Saturday morning session of October's conference. It was given by Elder Neil L. Anderson. The title is You Know Enough. Find it here. Here's an introduction: "As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us... In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith."

Please, read through the talk. Ponder it. Then return here, and share your thoughts. We have all week.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

...I am the light which shineth in darkness...

One of the things I've really grown to appreciate over the years is a person who can be honest about himself -- for better or worse. It seems that some of us have no problem confessing the best of ourselves. On the other hand, many of us find it much easier to profess only the things we are worst at. Christ, of course, had no "worsts." That should make listening to Him list His own attributes sort of frustrating, shouldn't it? But it doesn't. I love reading him talk about Himself. I feel the sincerity and humility in His words. I feel inspired to be a better version of myself. I feel inspired to be more like Him.

So, today let's read a scripture chain describing Christ's attributes.

D&C 6:20–21

D&C 45:3–5

D&C 6:32–37

D&C 50:44

D&C 19:1–3

D&C 93:5–19

D&C 29:1–2

D&C 133:42–52

D&C 38:1–3

Sorry that's huge. I cut & pasted it from the lesson manual.

What attributes are especially meaningful to you? Of them, which come easy to you? Which are more difficult to obtain or refine? What is it about these attributes that makes Christ who He is? Or more capable of doing what He did?

If you feel so inclined (even if you don't feel inclined to share, per se), choose one of these attributes you'd like to obtain or refine and work on it over the next little bit. And please do share any progress or experiences you'd like as you do this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...these shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever...

We're going to revisit a bit of Monday's discussion today. Let's read Doctrine & Covenants 18:11-12, 19:16-17 & 20, 58:42, and 76:62-70.

I like the "whys" we are taught in 18:11-12 -- don't you sometimes just wonder why Jesus did what He did? Think about the "whys" in these verses and where you fit into them. Why did He suffer, die, and resurrect for you?

19:16-17 & 20 give another good "why," don't they? For me, this gives a glimpse of what charity really means. This is real love. In what ways does parenthood give us an opportunity to better understand this "why?"

Okay, remember our discussion yesterday about "a bright recollection of all our guilt?" Maybe I really was onto something there. Read 58:42 and think about how that will affect our time at the judgement bar. What do you think?

Finally, 76:62-70 -- here's the best motivation EVER to repent, right? I get the feeling from the passages we've studied this week that Christ wants us to realize that repentance -- receiving and accepting this incredible gift He's given us -- is a GREAT thing. A really super wonderful thing that's better than any present we ever opened on any Christmas morning ever. And it'll last a whole lot longer than the Barbie Corvette ever did.
What are your thoughts about these verses? What do they make you feel?

What can we possibly do to show our gratitude for this perfect gift? I wonder if this is perhaps a silly question -- I mean, duh, just use it, right? But let's get specific -- how can we really show we're thankful for Christ's Atonement?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It works better when you comment!

Just sayin'....


...the spirit and the body are the soul of man...

Today we'll be jumping around a bit. Doctrine & Covenants 88:14-18, 93:33, and Alma 11:42-44.

These passages all discuss the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Kind of fun, considering the newness of life we all seem to crave at the beginning of a new year.

What do you learn about the Resurrection in these passages? What are your thoughts on 88:17-18? Is the "it" in verse 18 (...it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness...) the earth or the soul? I lean toward the earth, but I'd like to study a little further and hear your thoughts on it as well.

What do you make of 93:33?

And Alma, wonderful Alma -- the part of my Book of Mormon that was beautifully worn and marked just a few months ago before I fell off the study wagon for the umpteenth time in my life. I love Alma 11. Verses 42-44 took on new meaning for me this last time we studied them together. Share your feelings about these verses.
What do you think humankind's "perfect form" is? Is it a collective "this is the perfect body" sort of thing, or do you suppose it's more individual...maybe "this is you at your best" or something entirely different. What are you hoping for?
What about the "bright recollection of all our guilt?" I have some thoughts about this one. What are yours? I used to fear that moment -- I still do a bit, I suppose, considering all that I have yet to repent for -- but I think I may have misunderstood the meaning of this phrase for a time. I feel now that this is not a recollection of ALL our guilt (as in everything I've ever done wrong EVER, even if I've repented of it), but a recollection of the guilt we still possess -- the things we haven't asked forgiveness for. I have a greater motivation to repent when I think of it this way. What are your thoughts?

As always, discussion is open in the comments.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

...that they might not suffer if they would repent...

Today we're going to study Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-19, 18:10-11, 19:19 & 24, and 34:3.

Section 19 is one of those greats, don't you think? Christ really paints a descriptive picture of the suffering He experienced for us. Verse 18 is always particularly painful for me to contemplate.

What have you learned from verses 16-19? What do you know about His Atonement that you didn't know before?

Reading the remaining passages, think about "why." Why did Jesus do this? Why was He willing? Why did He need to? Why do you need Him?
And think about "how." How did He do what He did? How can you show your gratitude for His gift?

Discussion is open in the comments. Please share your thoughts.

Shall We Try This Again????

With the New Year come renewed desires to get this going. As always, if you'd like to take a turn hosting, please email me at julierallen at me dot com and I will invite you to be a contributor.

For now, how does this hosting schedule sound?

For the month of January:

Week of 1/4-1/10: Julie (Lesson 2)
Week of 1/11-1/17: TaLaisa (Lesson 3)
Week of 1/18-1/24: Janelle (Lesson 4)
Week of 1/25-1/31: Pam (Lesson 5)

Sound okay? Let me know.