Sunday, March 21, 2010
Nobody faint! I’m actually sending out our weekly email again. I apologize (again) for missing a few weeks. I hope you have missed hearing from me. :-) I’ve definitely missed writing the updates.
This week’s lesson was taught by Sister Megan McBride. It was lesson 6 in our Gospel Principles manual (page 27.) The lesson is titled, "The Fall of Adam and Eve." It was a great lesson with some amazing insights from class members. For me, the most profound comment was made by Sister Karen Tran who pointed out that the word "transgress" literally means "to go beyond or over." I have never thought about that. So, when Adam and Eve transgress the law (which was that they not partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) they were actually choosing to go beyond the set boundaries knowing full well that there would be a consequence.
Sister Tammie Reber made the comment that when our children are little, we tell them that they must "never" cross the street alone. That does not really mean that they will "never" cross the street alone, just that it is not right for them at that time. When they are older, the rule will change. It may have been the same for Adam and Eve.
Sister Anna Facuri mentioned that we encourage our children to "go beyond" our family borders as they get older. Since we want them to grow up and be like us, we ask them to move out on their own, go on missions, go to work, marry and have a family. It is required that they "go beyond" in order to become like us. In that same way, it was important for Adam and Eve to "go beyond" the Garden of Eden so that they (and we) could become like Heavenly Father.
Sister McBride used some wonderful quotes. One of them was from Elder James Faust, "We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Eve." Joseph Fielding Smith said, "One of these days, if I ever get to where I can speak to Mother Eve, I want to thank her for tempting Adam to partake of the fruit." Elder Smith continued, "Brethren and Sisters, let’s thank the Lord, when we pray, for Adam."
Elder Bruce Hafen writes,
"First, consider the concept of tasting the bitter in order to prize the good. Adam and Eve’s transgression was not really a wrongful act of "sin" as we usually use the term. While their choice violated the command against partaking of the fruit, that same choice was necessary to enable their obedience to the command to have children. Their transgression was a painful but correct, even eternally glorious, choice. ‘Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption’ (Moses 5:11)"
"Like Adam and Eve, we make many judgment-call choices that inflict pain or trouble upon others and upon ourselves. Some of our judgments may be wise, but some are not so wise. Think of accidents caused by carelessness....Think of unkind words and forgotten promises....Such incidents can lead to ugly consequences, but not all of them are the result of conscious sin. In an important sense, our judgment calls lead us to the tree of knowledge, just as Adam and Eve’s choice led them to that same tree. By confronting the sad or happy consequences of our choices, we can learn through our own experience, as they did, to distinguish the bitter from the sweet."
Thank you so much sisters for being spiritually prepared for today’s lesson. All of your comments (and I only mentioned a couple here) were uplifting and thoughtful. This is why I love coming to Relief Society. You guys are the best!
Have a wonderful week! Remember our Relief Society Birthday Dinner on Wednesday evening. Don’t forget to bring your gently used dresses, skirts and dress pants/blouses to donate to Solutions for Change. Come with an open heart and an empty stomach! :-)
We love you!
Your Relief Society Presidency
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Happy November!!! We are so thankful for all of YOU! You are some of the most wonderful blessings in our lives.
Today's Relief Society lesson was given to us by Kerinda. She taught from an Ensign Article by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland entitled, "Lessons from Liberty Jail." The article was taken from a CES fireside he gave. Here is a link to the fireside.
It is a great article with some wonderful pictures. There is so much in it that we did not have time to cover in class today. Print it out and keep it in your purse so that you can pull it out and read it when you are waiting for kids to get out of school, or at the doctors/dentists office, or stuck in traffic, or waiting for the kids to finish their piano lessons, etc. We have so many little moments in our lives that we can fill with something good. This is a great way to start.
As Kerinda taught us, Elder Holland states that there are four lessons that he would like us to learn from Liberty Jail. They are:
1. Everyone faces trying times.
Elder Holland says, "When that happens we can sometimes fear God has abandoned us, and we might be left, at least for a time, to wonder when our troubles will ever end. As individuals, as families, as communities, and as nations, probably everyone has had or will have an occasion to feel as Joseph Smith felt when he asked why such sorrow had to come and how long its darkness and damage would remain. We identify with him when he cries from the depth and discouragement of his confinement: “O God, where art thou? . . . How long shall thy hand be stayed . . . ? Yea, O Lord, how long shall [thy people] suffer . . . before . . . thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (D&C 121:1–3). That is a painful, personal cry—a cry from the heart, a spiritual loneliness we may all have occasion to feel at some time in our lives. Perhaps you have had such moments already in your young lives. If so, I hope you have not had too many. But whenever these moments of our extremity come, we must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. He does hear us. He does see us. He does love us. When we are in dire circumstances and want to cry “Where art Thou?” it is imperative that we remember He is right there with us—where He has always been! We must continue to believe, continue to have faith, continue to pray and plead with heaven, even if we feel for a time our prayers are not heard and that God has somehow gone away. He is there. Our prayers are heard. And when we weep He and the angels of heaven weep with us."
2. Even the Worthy will suffer.
"And when we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us. And the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane. So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers. And it certainly underscores the fact that the righteous—in the Savior’s case, the personification of righteousness— can be totally worthy before God and still suffer."
3. Remain Calm, Patient, Charitable, and Forgiving
"Remaining true to our Christian principles is the only way divine influence can help us. The Spirit has a nearimpossible task to get through to a heart that is filled with hate or anger or vengeance or self-pity. Those are all antithetical to the Spirit of the Lord. On the other hand, the Spirit finds instant access to a heart striving to be charitable and forgiving, long-suffering and kind—principles of true discipleship. What a testimony that gospel principles are to apply at all times and in all situations and that if we strive to remain faithful, the triumph of a Christian life can never be vanquished, no matter how grim the circumstance might be. How I love the majesty of these elegant, celestial teachings taught, ironically, in such a despicable setting and time."
4. Do All Things Cheerfully
"In this final canonized statement of the Liberty Jail experience, the Lord says to us through His prophet, Joseph Smith, “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters, when we are in even the most troubling of times], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17; italics added).
What a tremendously optimistic and faithful concluding declaration to be issued from a prisontemple! When he wrote those lines, Joseph did not know when he would be released or if he would ever be released. There was every indication that his enemies were still planning to take his life. Furthermore, his wife and children were alone, frightened, often hungry, wondering how they would fend for themselves without their husband and father. The Saints, too, were without homes and without their prophet. They were leaving Missouri, heading for Illinois, but who knew what tragedies were awaiting them there? Surely, to say it again, it was the bleakest and darkest of times. Yet in these cold, lonely hours, Joseph says let us do all we can and do it cheerfully. And then we can justifiably turn to the Lord, wait upon His mercy, and see His arm revealed in our behalf. What a magnificent attitude to maintain in good times or bad, in sorrow or in joy!"
In the CES Fireside, Elder Holland closed with a blessing to the sisters. He said, "I bless the sisters within this audience and within the sound of my voice. I would have you know how much we cherish you, how much God cherishes you, and how much the flag of faith has been flown by the sisters of this Church from the beginning. In every generation, it would seem, from the beginning of time down to the present hour and beyond, so often it has been the women in our lives—our grandmothers, our mothers, our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters—who have taken that torch of faith and that banner of beautiful living and have carried gospel principles wherever it would take them, against whatever hardship, into their own little equivalent of Liberty Jails and difficult times. Sisters, we love you and honor you and bless you. We ask that every righteous desire of your heart, tonight and forever, be answered upon your head and that you will walk away from this devotional with the understanding and the knowledge firmly in your heart as to how much God and heaven and the presiding Brethren of this Church love you and honor you. "
Sisters, we hope that you also realize how much your Relief Society Presidency loves you. Please know that we want to be available to you whenever and however we can. Have a wonderful week! Let's spend this week counting our blessings and watching for moments that we can be a blessing to those around us, our families, our neighbors, our friends, our sisters.
Love, Your Relief Society Presidency
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wow! What a weekend. I hope that all of you were able to attend both sessions of Stake Conference, they were amazing. I took some notes and as I was thinking about typing them into my computer, it occurred to me that it might be fun to share them with you. So, here are a just a few of the things that stuck out in my mind from Stake Conference:
President Holladay is a walking miracle. We all knew it, but he confirmed it. He spoke of Alma the Younger and how , as he was racked with torment because of his guilt about his sins, he cried out, “Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me….and [after he cried out] my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain.” Alma 36:18,20
He then spoke of Peter, walking on the water. He said that as Peter lost sight of Christ and began to sink into the waves, he cried out, “Lord, save me. And immediately, Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him.” Matt 14:30-31
President Holladay used these two examples to teach us that when we are in despair, if we will cry, “Jesus, have mercy on me”, He will come and catch us and we will be filled with joy. Christ will “succor” us (Alma 7:11-12) and the literal meaning of succor is “to run to” meaning that Christ will run to our aid.
President Holladay then pointed out something I have NEVER before noticed in the scriptures. In Exodus 20:3-5, the Lord says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me….for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” President Holladay pointed out that the footnote to vs 5 states that the Hebrew word translated as “jealous” can also mean “possessing sensitive and deep feelings.” In all the times I have read and/or taught the ten commandments, I had NEVER read that footnote. President Holladay then expanded on that thought. He discussed the Lord’s sensitive and deep feelings. A lovely example he used was when Mary Magdalene saw Christ after his resurrection and he told her to “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my father.” (Jn 20:17) President Holladay suggested that Christ was saving his first physical embrace after his resurrection for his Heavenly Father because of the sensitive and deep feelings that they share. That is a scripture I have always wondered about and I loved President Holladay’s idea.
Sister Brady is the Mission President’s wife. She told a very short story about walking through a spider web. (Ew!) She then compared a spider’s web which is hidden except in a certain light to the wiles of the devil. She said that we much look at our lives in the correct light so that we can see Satan’s spiderwebs and avoid them. In order to do that, we must have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. She quoted a scripture which should be pretty familiar to all of us in the 8th ward. D&C 121:46
“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth….”
He continued where Sister Brady left off and reminded us that we must feed ourselves daily with the good word of Christ. He asked us to have a love for and a reliance on the Book of Mormon. He stated that as we do that, we will be motivated to share the Book of Mormon with our friends and neighbors. One of the things he said that really stood out for me was that the Book of Mormon has answers to our problems. It brings us peace and comfort. In today’s uncertain times, why would we not want all of our friends to have the same peace and comfort that we derive from the Book of Mormon.
What a treat!!! If you were there, you know what I mean. What a great, tender, funny, love-filled, godly man.
He was all over the board, but here are a few highlights:
James 1:22-25 – “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only….” Elder Cordova spoke of being a “forgetful hearer”. He cautioned us not to go home and forget the spiritual promptings that we feel in conference as we listen to the Lord’s servants. (That is one of the reasons I’m doing this. I want to remember the things I took notes about.)
Matthew 22:36 – “Which is the greatest commandment …? Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Elder Cordova then reminded us that we cannot love the Lord unless we love our neighbor. He tied that into missionary work and temple work. He spoke of rescuing those who have passed on by doing their work in the temple. He spoke of rescuing those around us by doing missionary work.
He said that President Monson asked the 70 to come and teach us the importance of reaching out to save those who have left activity in the church. He told a story of a person who left the church who said that the gospel had never left his heart. He said, “I know where the church is, but sometimes I need someone else to show me the way.” That story really touched my heart. I want to be available if ever the Lord needs me to show someone the way back.
Elder Cordova spoke of a letter from the First Presidency dated February 11, 1999 which was read in Sacrament meetings and taught by home teachers. It called on parents to teach their children the principles of the Gospel. It asked us to do four things:
1. Have family prayer.
2. Have Family Home Evening.
3. Have Family Gospel Study.
4. Have Family activities
Elder Cordova promised us that as we do these things, we will be blessed with family unity and our families will not fail.
He then reminded us of the four responsibilities that we all have (as stated by President Hinckley)
1. Responsibility to family
2. Responsibility to employer
3. Responsibility to Lord’s work
4. Responsibility to ourselves
He stated that they are prioritized, but they are all important. We cannot neglect one. They must be balanced.
He finished with D&C 104:13-16.
“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable….I, the Lord …built the earth…and all things therein are mine….And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way….”
Elder Cordova explained:
We are the Lord’s. His purpose is to provide for us in His own and holy way. Be faithful to Him.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Well, summer is over and it is time for me to get back to being responsible. I apologize for not keeping up with these Sunday messages over the summer. I have missed talking to all of you each Sunday.
Today the High Priests Quorum joined Relief Society and Patrick Ord taught all of us from a talk given by Elder David Bednar called "Things As They Really Are." If you have not already done it, print the talk and read it. It is excellent.
Elder Bednar took his title from a scripture in Jacob, “The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls” (Jacob 4:13)
Brother Ord first pointed out that in the talk Elder Bednar gives an "apostolic warning." He says,
"Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes.
If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience."
Brother Ord pointed out that we sustain the Prophet, First Presidency, and apostles as prophets, seers and revelators and because of that, an apostolic warning ought to be something that we pay very close attention to.
Elder Bednar asks two specific questions in his talk:
1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?
There are so many good things that we can do with technology. This blog and emails to each of you are some of them. However, as usual, Satan is ready to twist the good things about technology into something that draws us away from the spirit.
Elder Bednar closed his talk by referring to the "greater capacity for obedience" that we who live in this dispensation have been blessed with. He quoted Mormon 9:27-28:
“Hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God” (Mormon 9:27–28)."
His final paragraph says:
"I testify that God lives and is our Heavenly Father. He is the Author of the plan of salvation. Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, whose body was bruised, broken, and torn for us as He offered the atoning sacrifice. He is resurrected; He lives; and He stands at the head of His Church in these latter days. To be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and not a virtual experience.
I testify we can and will be blessed with the courage and determination to face the world and all the powers of the evil one. Righteousness will prevail. No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. I bear witness and testify of these things as they really are and as they really will be in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."
Have a wonderful, obedient week, Sisters.
We love you,
Your RS Presidency
Monday, June 22, 2009
Diane started by telling the story of the prophet's older brother Alvin. Alvin was about 8 years older than Joseph. When Joseph was almost 18, Alvin got very sick. When he realized that he was not going to get better, he called his family together to tell them all goodbye. I love that he told Joseph to "be a good boy." In those days, age 17 was a man, but Alvin loved Joseph as his little brother.
13 years later, Joseph had a vision in which he saw his mother and father and Alvin in the celestial kingdom and he "marveled how it was that [Alvin] had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins."
It was at this point that the Lord revealed great truths previously not known about redemption for the dead.
It is not hard to imagine the great joy that filled Joseph's heart to know that his dear brother was not lost and to begin to understand that all men would have an opportunity to learn and live the Gospel whether in this life or in the life to come. A few years later, after the ordinance of baptism for the dead was introduced to the church, Hyrum was baptized for Alvin.
Diane taught us that God loves all his children, not just those who find the Gospel while they are here on this earth. She reminded us that Jesus offers forgiveness to both the living and the dead. She quoted Joseph Smith,
"The situation of the Christian nations after death, is a subject that has called forth all the wisdom and talent of the philosopher and the divine, and it is an opinion which is generally received, that the destiny of man is irretrievably fixed at his death, and that he is made either eternally happy, or eternally miserable; that if a man dies without a knowledge of God, he must be eternally damned, without any mitigation of his punishment, alleviation of his pain, or the most latent hope of a deliverance while endless ages shall roll along. However orthodox this principle may be, we shall find that it is at variance with the testimony of Holy Writ, for our Savior says, that all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men wherewith they shall blaspheme; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, evidently showing that there are sins which may be forgiven in the world to come, although the sin of blasphemy [against the Holy Ghost] cannot be forgiven [see Matthew 12:31–32; Mark 3:28–29]." (emphasis added)
We then talked about the fact that God is merciful to all people, living and dead. And we were reminded that we have the duty and privilege to be baptized and confirmed for those who have died without the Gospel.
Diane closed with this scripture, D&C 18:15-16
"15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
Sister Smith reminded us that doing temple work, like missionary work, brings souls into the Kingdom of God. We are promised that we will have great joy with the souls we do temple work for.
Sisters, how blessed we are to know that the Lord loves all of his children. In the Prophet Joseph's words, "...While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard."
What a fitting thought to end with on Father's Day. Let us strive to honor our Heavenly Father this Father's Day by looking upon the whole of the human family with His eyes. Let us love one another and serve one another as He does.
We love you sisters! Thanks for everything you do for each other and for all of those around you. Keep it up!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Kerinda then had us open to our Bible Dictionaries and read the definition of faith found here. That was amazing. It is something that we all should read over and over and over. Click the link and read it now. Kerinda reminded me that sometimes I forget to use the Bible Dictionary as I should.
We then focused on the fact that, "strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness...." Elder Pearson said, "As patterns of obedience develop, the specific blessings associated with obedience are realized and belief emerges. Desire, hope, and belief are forms of faith, but faith as a principle of power comes from a consistent pattern of obedient behavior and attitudes. Personal righteousness is a choice. Faith is a gift from God, and one possessed of it can receive enormous spiritual power."
We spoke of how fear and faith cannot coexist.
Elder Pearson said, "We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently. Because there is an opposition in all things, there are forces that erode our faith. Some are the result of Satan’s direct influence. But for others, we have no one but ourselves to blame. These stem from personal tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change. I will refer to these influences as the “Six Destructive Ds.”"
The Six Destructive Ds are:
Doubt which leads to
Discouragement which leads to
Distraction or lack of focus and reduced commitment which can lead to a lack of
Diligence which leads to
Disobedience which ultimately can lead to
The good news is that it does NOT have to happen that way. We have the power to choose differently.
We ended with the words to Hymn #128, When Faith Endures
I will not doubt, I will not fear.
God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find
An inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly
My trust, my prayers, humility.
That fear departs when faith endures.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Up to this point, this blog has only contained copies of the messages emailed out to each sister every Sunday. That is about to change. We would like to see the blog used to get all kinds of (hopefully) useful information out to the ward sisters.
Since we are living in exciting economic times, we have discussed in Relief Society many times the need for all of us to live more frugally. Here is one of my family's favorite VERY economical, so easy it's embarrassing, recipes. We fondly refer to them as "White Trash Burritos."
Canned Chili (We use whatever was on sale the weeks before and is in our food storage. Right now, it is Dennison's turkey chili.)
Shredded Cheese (We like medium cheddar, but I think that jack would be really good in this recipe.)
For 8 burritos (enough to fill a 9x13 pan) use 3 cans of chili (or 2 cans of chili and one can of refried beans.)
Warm the chili. Spoon chili into a tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down in a 9x13 pan sprayed with Pam. Repeat until pan is full. Pour any remaining chili over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 until warm all through (only about 20 minutes since the chili was warm when you put it into the tortillas.)
Serve with salsa and sour cream. Today we ate this with Caesar salad (Huge heads of Romaine lettuce are on sale at Henry's for 77 cents) and corn.
I buy my Chili when it is on sale for $1.00 or less per can. My last big purchase was when Ralphs had it on sale for 50 cents a can a few months ago. I bought 3 dozen cans and used the end of them today.
This is really frugal if you make chili from scratch (dry beans) and use the left overs to make burritos the day after. I have a great recipe that makes in the crockpot if you want it.
Okay! Time for you guys to share your frugal recipes. Just press the comment button and type!