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

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lesson 11 cont... sort of....

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've had a nasty head cold the past few days.... I swear what I'm about to write is related to the gospel - bare with me! :)

While I was watching TV the other night, I saw a special on Nightline. They created a panel of four people coming from very different backgrounds. Two of the individuals believed that Satan exists and the other two did not.  

I found it most intriguing to listen to the arguments of those who did not believe in Satan. The most heated portions of the debates came when those without belief in Satan asked for proof of Satan's existence. The two men who did not believe kept hammering away at those that did, belittling them and making their faith-based belief seem small. There really was some dark power behind them and their words. 

What I got out of the 'face-off' were these main points- 

1st: One of the people on the panel, a preacher, pointed out a fundamental belief that we hold. That is, belief in God implies a belief in Satan. You cannot know good without evil, you cannot know pleasure without also knowing pain. This knowledge is not just something created in the universe. It is real.  

2nd: I think that one of the most powerful tools Satan has is convincing people that he doesn't exist. How better way is there to creep into someone's life if you won't or can't even recognize his presence?

3rd: Faith is enough. I don't know how else to put this. If you have a confirmation, if you believe in something, have faith in it, you don't need tangible proof. Throughout the history of the church, even through the scriptures, this has proven to be the case. We cannot be the generation of sign-seekers. 

4th- What is so terrible about being 'old-fashioned'. I got the impression through watching the debate that those who believed in God and believed in Satan were painted as naive. This is what Satan wants. When we are painted into a corner, when those around us make us feel like less than we are, that we are not as enlightened, we are at risk of forgetting the truth we know. 

Forgive me for getting off topic, but I felt that this was relevant and I hope that you think it is too! I would love to hear feedback on what has been discussed or if you watch the face-off (you can just watch certain segments of it). 

Click here to read more about it or here to watch the full 'face-off'.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lesson 11

One of the things that I found most interesting about this lesson was in D&C 4:2, which means a lot to me personally.

~ "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day" ~

We are taught to serve God with all that we have. I imagine myself someday standing before God, and being asked what I have done to serve him. I have read this scripture many times. Years ago, I felt that serving God meant serving dutifully in whatever church calling I am serving in. But I have realized that serving God means much more.

I am serving God when I am an example in the workplace. I am serving God when I go to the temple. I am serving God when I read my scriptures. I am serving God when I support or grieve with others. I am serving God when I strive to help the spirit reside in my home.

I would ask everyone to consider how they serve God. What do we do everyday to serve God with all that we have? Are there ways that we can serve with more of our faculties? 

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Week

Hello Everyone! I just wanted to post something and let everyone know that I'll be posting my thoughts on the lesson tomorrow and probably Thursday. Until then!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Lesson 10, Part 3: Pride

Emma was warned in verse 14 of D&C 25 to avoid pride:

"Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride..."

President Benson gave a talk called "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" during General Conference in May 1986.

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.)

Blessings for those who are humble:

D&C 1:28

D&C 19:23

D&C 112: 10

D&C 124:97

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lesson 10, part 2 "Likening the Scriptures to Ourselves"

The scripture chain in this lesson is "Likening the Scriptures to Ourselves". Did you see the article in this month's Ensign under the same name?

Some of the suggestions in the article were:
  • • What situations in my life are like the situations in these verses?

  • • What are the principles in this chapter that will help me in my own circumstances?

  • • What events or circumstances in my day are like the events or circumstances in these verses?

  • • Is there something in this chapter that helps me with a current personal problem, question, challenge, or concern?

  • • Is there something taught that is similar to what the living prophet and apostles are teaching today?

  • • Is there something taught that could help with an issue the world is struggling with today?

Do you have other ideas that we can use to help us personalize our scripture study? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Scripture Chain:
1 Nephi 19:23
D&C 25:13–16
D&C 61:36–37
D&C 82:1–6

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lesson 10 "This is My Voice Unto All"

Reading Assignment: Doctrine and Covenants 25

Today I just want to look at verse 2, in this revelation to Emma Smith:
"A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if you art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion."

Take a minute and reread this talk by Sister Dalton from last October's conference, "A Return to Virtue."

A return to virtue must begin individually in our hearts and in our homes. What can each of us do to begin our return to virtue? The course and the training program will be unique to each of us. I have derived my personal training program from instructions found in the scriptures: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” “Stand . . . in holy places.” “Cleave unto [your] covenants.” “Lay aside the things of [the] world.” “Believe that ye must repent.”“Always remember him and keep his commandments.” And “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, . . . seek after these things.” Now more than ever before, it is time to respond to Moroni’s call to “awake, and arise” and to “lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.”

What parts of that talk stuck out most to you? Please share you thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Lord's expectations of us as Church Members

*Read D&C 20:68-69. what do these verses reveal about the Lord's expectations of us as Church members?
These verses reminded me to live as I believe, "by a godly walk and conversation". They make me want to watch more closely the things I am saying and be a better representative of this only true and living church that I am blessed to be a member of.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lesson 9 "The Only True and Living Church"

Reading assignment: Doctrine and Covenants 20:1-36, 68-69, 75-79; 21; 27; 115:1-4; Our Heritage, pages 14-16.

Just a few thoughts: 

In section 20 verse 5 we read: "After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;"

This is the verse that I kept thinking about after I finished reading the assignment. How easy it is to be entangled by the vanities of the world. What can we do to keep from being entangled? Why do the vanities of the world seem so enticing? In the Doctrine and Covenants student manual I found the paragraph below. 

What is Meant by "Entangled Again in the Vanities of the World"?
The Prophet Joseph Smith described the time period involved and the activities referred to by the Lord: "During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three--having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me,--I was left to all kinds of temptations; and mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament." (History of the Church, 1:9-10.)

I like the advice the we are given in verse 6  - repentance, humility, faith

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lesson 8 - Part 2

First, thank you for your comments on yesterday's post. As members of the church we are blessed to have the priesthood and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, I think we take it for granted. Taking a few minutes to remember the blessings was a good thing for me to do; and as I read the other comments, I found myself nodding my head in agreement.

Today we will go over the Aaronic & Melchezidek Priesthood. Hopefully you will learn something that you didn't know before. First, from the "Serving in the Church section" of the church's website, I found this explanation of the Aaronic Priesthood:

"Priesthood offices are divisions of authority with different rights and responsibilities of service. Offices in the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop. The bishop oversees ordinations to these offices.

Deacon ~ Worthy brethren may be ordained deacons when they are at least 12 years old. A deacon follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) pass the sacrament, (2) collect fast offerings, (3) care for the poor and needy, (4) be a standing minister appointed to "watch over the church" (D&C 84:111), (5) assist the bishopric, (6) serve as a messenger, (7) participate in quorum instruction, (8) serve in quorum leadership positions, (9) fellowship quorum members and other young men, (10) be baptized and confirmed for the dead, (11) speak in meetings, (12) share the gospel, (13) bear testimony, and (14) care for the meetinghouse and grounds.

Teacher ~ Worthy brethren may be ordained teachers when they are at least 14 years old. A teacher has all the responsibilities of a deacon. A teacher follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) prepare the sacrament, (2) "watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them" (D&C 20:53), (3) serve as a home teacher, (4) "see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking" (D&C 20:54), (5) "see that the church meet together often, and . . . that all the members do their duty" (D&C 20:55), (6) usher reverently in ward meetings and stake conference, (7) assist the bishopric, and (8) participate in seminary, where available.

Priest ~ Worthy brethren may be ordained priests when they are at least 16 years old. A priest has all the responsibilities of a deacon and teacher. A priest follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) "preach, teach, expound, exhort, . . . and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties" (D&C 20:46-47), (2) "administer the sacrament" (D&C 20:46) by worthily officiating at the sacrament table and offering the sacrament prayers when authorized (see D&C 20:77, 79), (3) baptize when authorized by the bishop (see D&C 20:46), (4) confer the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain deacons, teachers, and priests when authorized by the bishop (see D&C 20:48), and (7) assist the bishopric.

Bishop ~ The office of bishop is the highest in the Aaronic Priesthood. The bishop is the president of the priests quorum, the president of the Aaronic Priesthood, and the presiding high priest in the ward.

The Melchizedek Priesthood is the greater priesthood. Associated with it are all the authority, knowledge, and covenants that are necessary for the exaltation of God’s children.

Some weeks after John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood, Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood. An account of this experience is not included in the Doctrine and Covenants, but references to it can be found in the heading to D&C 13; 27:12–13; 128:20; and Our Heritage,page 14.

Melchizedek Priesthood includes the authority to govern the Church, preach the gospel, and administer the ordinances of salvation.

We'll end the discussion of this lesson with these questions: How can parents, grandparents, and others help boys and young men prepare to receive the priesthood? How can others help instill within boys and young men a deep appreciation for the priesthood?

How can we encourage our husbands to be spiritaul leaders in our homes?

How are women blessed by the priesthood? How are children blessed by the priesthood? How can we show our appreciation for the blessings of the priesthood?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lesson 8

Julie asked me earlier in the week to host the discussion for lesson 8, and I agreed and then spaced it. I spent a couple days feeling sorry for myself and a day worrying about a talk in sacrament and then realized that I needed to get this done. So, sorry for the delay.

Lesson 8 is about the Restoration of the Priesthood.

The priesthood is one of the main themes in the Doctrine and Covenants. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord gave many revelations that add greatly to our understanding of the keys, offices, organization, ordinances, duties, and blessings of the priesthood. These revelations provide guidance in using the priesthood to move forward God’s work on the earth.

What is priesthood? The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. It is the power by which He created and governs the heavens and the earth. It is also the power by which He redeems and exalts His children. He gives a portion of His priesthood power and authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern His kingdom on earth.

What are some ways in which priesthood holders act on behalf of God to bless His children? See D&C 20:38–55; 107:8–12, 23, 35.

And now for some discussion questions:
How have you been blessed through the service of priesthood holders?
What influence has the priesthood had on you?
How have you seen the power of the priesthood manifested in your life?
How has the priesthood blessed and strengthened your family?
How can you make the influence and power of the priesthood more effective in your life and for your family?

Tomorrow: The difference in the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Living Scripture - Even a Child...

This week's conference talk is Even a Child Can Understand by Elder Gerald Causse.

"God...has ensured that the truths regarding God are understandalbe to all His children, whatever their level of education and intellectual faculty."

I have a child getting baptized this month so this talk in particular spoke to me. It talks of how the gospel is understandable for all. Elder Causse says, "...At eight years of age a child can have sufficient understanding to enter the waters of baptism and make a covenant with God with complete understanding."

When you have a minute, read the talk. Ponder it, then come back and post your thoughts. What parts struck you in particular?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jeepers! I'm so sorry I've been so bad here this month! How's this for a rotation for the next few months?

This week (3/1-3/7): Amanda Lesson 8
3/8-3/14: Pam Lesson 9
3/15-3/21: Julie P. Lesson 10
3/22-3/28: Tricia Lesson 11
3/29-4/4: Janelle Lesson 12
4/5-4/11: TaLaisa Lesson 13
4/12-4/18: Julie A. Lesson 14
4/19-4/25: Amanda Lesson 15
4/26-5/2: Pam Lesson 16
5/3-5/9: Julie P. Lesson 17
5/10-5/16: Tricia Lesson 18
5/17-5/23: Janelle Lesson 19
5/24-5/30: TaLaisa Lesson 20
5/31-6/6: Julie A. Lesson 21

Any objections? Let me know if this works. We can be flexible throughout the months if we need to, but let's use this as a rough draft. Amanda...are you okay with going this week?