Sunday, July 29, 2007
The last couple of weeks we have had piano prelude music. It was a lot better than the organ music. I have thought a bit about how the organ just makes people talk over it when they visit before the meeting. I thought that perhaps it would be better to turn the organ volume down, but I think the piano is much better than even that.
The bishop recognized a young man who graduated from primary, got his Faith in God award, and was receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and being ordained a deacon.
One of the youth reported on Especially For Youth(EFY) that some of the youth went to this past week.
Pioneer Day coming up this week. She spoke of what the Utah pioneers saw when they entered the valley.
Brigham Young set forth some rules for the new land. He also set the plat for the temple and the city was plotted around it.
After they planted their crops the crickets came and were destroying everything. Everyone prayed and the seagulls came. They would gorge themselves on crickets, purge themselves in the Salt Lake and do it again.
A member of the bishopric spoke. He talked of everyone being a pioneer in some way as we better our families, wards, and communities. He also talked of those in the scriptures who are pioneers (Moses, Lehi, Ruth).
Those that serve in the church, including the bishopric, do not receive a salary of kickback on their tithing.
We should act as pioneers and not murmur and complain, but do our duties.
Where in the plan of salvation does resurrection fit? God's purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). Resurrection accomplishes the immortality part of that. Immortality will be given to all men whether they were good, bad, or somewhere in between. Everything that was outside of our ability to do was done by Christ. The rest is left for us.
The women came on Sunday to finish preparing the body after having quickly done a little preparing late Friday to get done before their sabaath (Saturday). When they got there they found him gone having not understood what he taught about rising the third day.
The instructor based his remarks on a talk by President Thomas S. Monson.
Service is the primary purpose of the priesthood. We can only use it for others. We can not bless ourselves when we are sick. We can not baptise ourselves.
“99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence” (D&C 107:99).
"14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." (1 Tim 4:14-16)
What happened with you this week at church?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Faith is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. If you exercise your faith it grows stronger.
To be a good cook it takes more than a cookbook. One can read a cookbook from cover to cover and will not become a good cook until they practice what they read.
One can read the scriptures from cover to cover, but not be a Christian until they live what is in the scriptures.
How does one explain what salt tastes like to one who has never tasted it? How does one explain how they know Jesus is the son of God to one who doesn't know? How does one explain how they know the Bible and Book of Mormon are the word of God to one who does not know?
The teacher related the story from the Bible and also showed a short video about the Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and the resurrection.
Chapter 14 of the Teaching of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball
“Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods before Me”
From the manual, "Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn’t also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry. " Another way to look at it might be, anything that we are willing to do rather than server God is an idol. For example:
- Sleeping in rather than going to our church meetings.
- Things that make us late for church.
- Things that keep us from keeping the Sabbath day holy.
- Things that keep us from doing our home teaching.
- Things that keep us from paying our tithing.
We have all heard or witnessed the phenomenon where when a talk is being given or a scripture is being read that we immediately think that so and so needs to listen to this. I am also starting to recognize another phenomenon where we recognize it is talking to us and we joke about it, but have no intention of doing anything about it to change. Football seems to be one of those topics that fall into this category. It is like people feel that is something that won't matter in the long run in spite of the fact that it breaks at least two of the basic ten commandments.
Exodus 20:3 - 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:8 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
What happened with you this week at church?
Sunday, July 08, 2007
One of the primary children turn 12, graduated from primary, received the Aaronic priesthood, and became a Deacon.
My wife spoke and here is her talk with source citations added by myself:
Start of my wife's talk -
President Heber J.Grant declared: "It is our duty to teach our children in their youth...I may know that the gospel is true, and so may my wife, but I want to tell you that our children will not know that the gospel is true, unless they study it and gain a testimony for themselves." (Quoted in conference by President Thomas S. Monson, "If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, November 2004, 115 (Text, Audio))
Margaret S. Lifferth, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency stated in the
October 2006 General Conference (Text, Audio), "Children are open to gospel truths more
than at any other time, and protected childhood is literally a one-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to teach and strengthen children to choose the right. It's easy to know
what to teach. The scriptures and our prophets are clear about what to teach our
children. Nephi summarizes in 2 Nephi 25:26.
"Knowing that we teach of Christ and His gospel, how do we do it? Begin by following
the counsel of our prophets and making time in our homes for family prayer, scripture
study, and family home evening. Have we heard that counsel so often that it seems too
simple? Or are we so busy that adding one more thing feels too complex? I testify that
even when our family worship seems less than effective, obedience alone invites the
blessing of the Lord.
"In fact personal obedience and example in every part of our lives are the ultimate
gospel lesson for children. So study, learn, and apply the gospel. We cannot teach
principle that we do not know and that we do not live who we are and what is in our
heart ae discerned by children more quickly than we think."
President James E. Faust said in the April 2003 General Conference, "Who are good
parents? They are those who have lovingly, prayerfully, and earnestly tried to teach
their children by example. In D&C 68:28 it states, 'Successful parents are those who
have sacrificed and struggle struggles to do the best they can in their own family
circumstances.'" ("Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered," Ensign, May 2003, 61 Text,
Megan Northrup, Research Assistant, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University (as
wrote, "The scriptures tell us to teach our children in the spirit of love. Christ
himself declared, 'Whoso shall offend one of these little ones. . . it were better for
him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth
of the sea' (Matthew 18:6). Paul wrote to the Ephesians: 'And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord' (Ephesians 6:4). Remember the ancient proverb, 'a soft answer turneth away wrath' (Proverbs 15:1)."
President Faust stated in the talk referenced previously, "An important element of
doing the best we can as parents is to provide loving but firm discipline. If we do not
discipline our children, society may do it in a way that is not to our liking or our
children’s. Part of disciplining children is to teach them to work. President Gordon B.
Hinckley has said: 'One of the greatest values . . . is the virtue of honest work.
Knowledge without labor is profitless. Knowledge with labor is genius.'
"Satan’s pervasive snares are increasing, and raising children is becoming harder
because of this. Therefore, parents need to do the very best they can and to enlist the
help that Church service and activity can provide. If parents misbehave and stray even
temporarily, some of their children may be prone to take license from that example."
"We learn much of parenting from our own parents. My love for my father deepened
profoundly when he was kind, patient, and understanding. When I damaged the family car,
he was gentle and forgiving. But his sons could expect strong discipline if there was
any shading of the truth or continued breaking of the rules, particularly showing
disrespect for our mother. My father has been gone for almost half a century, but I
still sorely miss being able to go to him for wise and loving counsel. I admit I
questioned his counsel at times, but I could never question his love for me. I never
wanted to disappoint him."
In preparing for my sharing time I came across this story (Editor's note: talk was
paraphased when the talk was given due to time constraints, but has been included here
in it's entirety).
What Have You Done with My Name?
(George Albert Smith)
"A number of years ago I was seriously ill. In fact, I think everyone gave me up but my
wife. With my family I went to St. George, Utah, to see if it would improve my health.
We went as faras we could by train, and then continued the journey in a wagon, in the
bottom of which a bed hadbeen made for me.
"In St. George we arranged for a tent for my health and comfort, with a built-in floor
raisedabout a foot above the ground, and we could roll up the south side of the tent to
make the sunshineand fresh air available. I became so weak as to be scarcely able to
move. It was a slow andexhausting effort for me even to turn over in bed.
"One day, under these conditions, I lost consciousness of my surroundings and thought I
had passed to the Other Side. I found myself standing with my back to a large and
beautiful lake,facing a great forest of trees. There was no one in sight, and there was
no boat upon the lake or any other visible means to indicate how I might have arrived
there. I realized, or seemed to realize, that I had finished my work in mortality and
had gone home. I began to look around, to see if I could not find someone. There was no
evidence of anyone living there, just those great,beautiful trees in front of me and
the wonderful lake behind me.
"I began to explore, and soon I found a trail through the woods which seemed to have
been used very little, and which was almost obscured by grass. I followed this trail,
and after I had walked for some time and had traveled a considerable distance through
the forest, I saw a man coming towards me. I became aware that he was a very large man,
and I hurried my steps to reach him,because I recognized him as my grandfather [George
A. Smith]. In mortality he weighed over three hundred pounds, so you may know he was a
large man. I remember how happy I was to see him coming. I had been given his name and
had always been proud of it.
"When Grandfather came within a few feet of me, he stopped. His stopping was an
invitation for meto stop. Then . . . he looked at me very earnestly and said: 'I would like to know what you have done with my name.'
"Everything I had ever done passed before me as though it were a flying picture on a
screen---everything I had done. Quickly this vivid retrospect came down to the very
time I was standing there.My whole life had passed before me. I smiled and looked at my
grandfather and said: 'I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.'
"He stepped forward and took me in his arms, and as he did so, I became conscious again
of my earthly surroundings. My pillow was as wet as though water had been poured on
it---wet with tears of gratitude that I could answer unashamed.
"I have thought of this many times, and I want to tell you that I have been trying,
more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. So I want to say . . . :
Honor your fathers and your mothers. Honor the names that you bear, because some day
you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting to them (and to your Father
in heaven) what you have done with their name."
More of the article by Megan Northrup follows: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World states that 'parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness . . . to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live'"
"Teaching children is often not easy. For some parents it is the the greatest challenge
of their lives. But it is not without rewards. President James E. Faust (1990) said,
"While few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few
opportunities offer greater potential for joy. Surely no more important work is to be
done in this world than preparing our children to be God-fearing, happy, honorable, and
"...John the Beloved wrote that we will have no greater joy in this life than to see
our children walk in righteousness, as we have taught them."
"Elder Dallin H. Oaks (1999) said: "In the Lord's great plan of salvation there are no
more important teachers than parents, who teach their children constantly by example
and by precept" (p. 78)." (Text, Audio)
"Do your part to build a happy home. Be cheerful, helpful, and considerate of others.
Many problems in the home are created because family members speak and act selfishly or
unkindly." "Remember that the family is the most sacred unit of the Church."(For the Strength of Youth p 10-11)
In Enos 1:13, Enos is remembering the words of his father. "Behold, I went to hunt
beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning
eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. "
And in Alma Helaman talks about the 2,000 stripling warriors. These young me who were
going to war for the first time. Alma 56:47-48 reads, "47 Now they never had fought,
yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their
fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers,
that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. 48 And they rehearsed unto me the
words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." What examples
these women must have been to their children.
"Elder Boyd K. Packer (2000) reminded us that all who consider themselves followers of
Christ are commanded to be "even as he is" (1 John 3:7), and He was a teacher of
children." (Megan Northrup)
"Paul prophesied of wicked and corrupt forces that would lead the children of men away
from the gospel. He prophesied that 'in the last days perilous times shall come' (2
Timothy 3:1) and that 'evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and
being deceived' (2 Timothy 3:13). Fortunately, as Elder Boyd K. Packer (2000) taught,
we can be safe. Our safety is in teaching the children, by example and by
-End of my wife's talk
The choir sang.
One of the high councilmen spoke. He shared with us the parable of the iceberg. He talked of how someone notice the intense wind that were blowing on this iceberg. The observer noted that with the surface area of the iceberg the wind should be pushing it all around. Someone then told him that the amount of ice that was under the water and untouched by the wind was much larger than that the wind was pushing on. Thus the currents moved the iceberg and not the wind.
The currents that flow in our families are stronger than the winds of the adversary that blows on the individuals. Of course if those currents are rough and pushing in the wrong direction that is going to quickly lead the members of the family into dangerous waters.
Atonement = garden + cross.
The diciples sleeping.
Why were Peter, James, and John there? They were the head of the Church after Christ died. Was there something they were supposed to learn? What responsibilities or learning experiences are we sleeping through? Some would argue that staying awake was such a simple thing, so to take it a step farther, what simple responsibilities are we sleeping through?
Jesus went and started his prayer three times in the same way, asking if the responsibility of the atonement could be removed from him, but either way he stated that he would do the will of the Father.
Spencer W. Kimball manual chapter 13 - Obedience
"True Faith motivates us to do the will of God."
"Obedience based on faith is not blind obedience."
"Is it blind obedience when one regards the sign 'High Voltage --Keep Away' or is it the obedience of faith in the judgment of experts who know the hazard?"
What happened with you this week at church?
The building is tan brick. It feels like a small chapel like maybe the building is a phase 2 building. There were just enough people to almost fill the little chapel. Since it covers such a large area I was a little suprised at how few people there were. Some people talked in their testimonies about how it seemed weird to call the congregation a ward, since they were a branch for so long. There were a ward several years ago when we came here, so that was odd to hear people still talking about the days of being a branch. It sounded like their temple is the Chicago temple.
Fast and Testimony Meeting
My son was very excited as they blessed the sacrament, since one of the priests looked like Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees. That is one of our kids favorite shows. Not that this fact has anything to do with anything spiritual that we may have taken from the meeting, but it still made me chuckle.
I have always enjoyed the fact that the church is uniform and world wide, so that when we travel we do not have to figure out if we are going to find a good church when we get there. One of my wife's uncles also commented on that as we talked about going to church. As the members of the Virginia ward talked in testimony meeting today several of them also talked about having the church with them whereever they went. That was interesting, since it was something that was on my mind and heart.
There were several people talking about patriotic things. It was good to sing the Star Spangled Banner.