Sunday, January 25, 2009
Today we had an excellent Relief Society lesson given by Sister Tammie Reber. The lesson was based on a talk by Elder Robert D. Hales in October conference called "Christian Courage: the Price of Discipleship." Here is a link to the talk. (I don't know why links won't work in this blog, so just cut and paste it in your browser.)
Elder Hales talk was focused on how we can correctly respond to those who accuse or antagonize us. He said, "...one of mortality's great tests comes when our beliefs are questioned or criticized. In such moments, we may want to respond aggressively - to 'put up our dukes.' But these are important opportunities to step back, pray, and follow the Savior's example."
Tammie had six specific points from the talk that we discussed. They were:
1. True disciples of Christ see opportunity in the midst of opposition.
2. As true disciples seek guidance from the spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter.
3. True disciples respond in ways that invite the spirit of the Lord.
4. As true disciples, our primary concern must be others' welfare, not personal vindication.
5. True disciples avoid being unduly judgmental of others' views.
6. Sometimes true disciples must show Christian Courage by saying nothing at all.
Sister Reber counseled us to take these principles and use them in our daily interactions with our family and friends. She reminded us that sometimes with those we love, we forget to respond in ways that invite the spirit or we become concerned with our own personal vindication instead of being concerned with the welfare of our family members.
We also talked about the need for all of us to become very educated about the principles of the Gospel so that we can share them without fear. The more we learn, the easier it is to answer those who are critical of the Gospel with love. We do not become defensive. Instead, we desire to teach the truth.
I frequent a website that is designed to help Latter Day Saints find answers to the criticisms we hear from day to day. I discovered this site when I taught Seminary and needed answers for students who would bring me questions that their friends were asking them. The website is
Over the past few years, I have gone to this website to get answers to many questions I have been asked by friends about church history or church doctrine. It does not replace our responsibility to search things out in the scriptures and in church publications, but it augments our search.
Have a wonderful week, sisters. This week, let's all work together to learn more about the Gospel and to seek opportunities to invite the spirit of the Lord into our homes, our families, and our lives. Let us show "Christian Courage" in all of our interactions this coming week.
We love you!
Your Relief Society Presidency
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Our lesson today was lesson 25 from the Joseph Smith manual, Truths from the Savior's Parables in Matthew 13. If you don't have a manual at home, here is a link.
(This link wouldn't work in my last blog post, so if it doesn't work, just cut and paste it into your browser window.)
Sister Diane Smith was our teacher. Diane always keeps us interested. Today she broke us up into groups and had each group discuss one of the parables in Matthew 13 and then read the Prophet Joseph Smith's commentary on the parable.
One of the things that stood out to me as I read this lesson was this description of J0seph Smith,
"The Prophet's writings and sermons are filled with scriptural quotations and interpretations, for he had studied the scriptures so extensively that they became an integral part of his thinking. In his teachings, he quoted scriptures directly, he alluded to them, he paraphrased them, and he used them as the foundation for his sermons."
Sister Smith mentioned that when she read that paragraph, it made her think about Bruce R. McConkie and Neal A. Maxwell. They were apostles who loved the scriptures so much and spent so much time in them, that their regular everyday conversation was peppered with scriptural phrases and word combinations. Many times, their conference talks were almost like listening to someone read the scriptures.
In the lesson, there was also a quote from Wandle Mace, "I have listened to the Prophet Joseph Smith in public and in private, in sunshine and in shower, as many others have done as he taught them from the stand. And in my own, and in his house, I have been familiar with him...and do know that no man could explain the scriptures, throw them wide open to view so plainly that none could misunderstand their meaning, except he had been taught of God."
"I have sometimes felt ashamed of myself because, having studied the scriptures so much, even from a child, I had not seen that which was so plain when he touched them."
Sisters, let's work to become so familiar with the scriptures that they become a part of us; That their language slips, almost unknowingly, into our own; That when we have "free" time, we are drawn to the scriptures because they have become such an essential piece of our lives.
A great place to start would be to spend this week studying and pondering the parables in Matthew 13. As part of your study, read this lesson and learn from the Prophet's words about Matthew 13.
Sisters, there is great power to change in the scriptures. Most of us have things in our lives that we would like to change. We want to stop doing something we should not do. We want to start doing something we know we should do. We want to be better mothers and wives. We want to be better teachers and friends. We want to be more effective in our callings. We want to be more like Jesus Christ. The scriptures are one of the tools the Lord has given us to help us make those changes in our lives.
Here is a link to a wonderful BYU Fireside talk that was given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in 1994. Although it has been a few years, it is a wonderful talk, filled with ideas of how we can make those changes in our lives and become better disciples of Christ.
We love you sisters. Continue forward with all the good things that you do.
Your Relief Society Presidency
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Today's lesson was lesson 24 out of the Joseph Smith manual, "Leading in the Lord's Way". It is a beautiful lesson. If you have not had a chance to read it yourself, please take time to do so. It contains some beautiful quotes from and about Joseph Smith.
If you don't have a manual, here's a link.
The lesson focused on how Joseph Smith taught us to lead as Christ led. As leaders, we must teach correct principles and help those we lead learn to govern themselves. We must recognize that we need wisdom from the spirit and acknowledge the Lord's blessings in our lives. We must love those we serve, and we must be an example through our service and obedience.
Sue taught us that the most important leadership role we will ever have in our lives is that of being a parent. She gave thoughts about leadership from a couple of conference talks. One of them was a talk by N. Eldon Tanner. It is the First Presidency message in the June 1977 New Era.
She gave us a handout with the following quote from Elder Tanner. If we read it and concentrate on applying it to our role as parents, it has great meaning.
"Our only hope of greatness lies in following the example of Christ. To be a great leader, then, one must do the following:
First, look to our Savior as the perfect leadership example.
Second, accept the role of teacher and servant.
Third, search the scriptures for correct principles.
Fourth, pray for guidance, listen, and respond.
Fifth, help the individual to develop self-government.
Sixth, hold individuals accountable for their work.
Seventh, express adequate appreciation.
Eighth, set a personal example consistent with that which he teaches.Ninth, listen to the voice of the President of the Church, who is a prophet of God, and follow his counsel and example."
One of the quotes from the lesson that touched my heart was this one from the prophet, "As I grow older, my heart grows tenderer for you. I am at all times willing to give up everything that is wrong, for I wish this people to have a virtuous leader...."
Sisters, as your presidency, our hope and love for you mirrors the love of our Lord. We try our best to live lives that allow us to lead and guide you the way that our Savior would lead if he were here. We love you. We pray for you and we are very grateful for the prayers that you offer on our behalf.
In your prayers this week, please continue to remember all those in our ward who need blessings. Also, if anyone can spare an hour or two to head down to the hospital and hang with Patrick this week, that would be great. Please call Sister Anderson to correlate your visits.
Have a wonderful week. May we all remember this lesson as we interact with our families and those we lead and may we all strive to be more like Christ in our personal relationships.
Your Relief Society Presidency
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Happy New Year, Sisters!
Today, Kerinda gave her presidency message on "Coming to Christ." It was a
very appropriate choice since many of us are still trying to decide what we
are going to do as a New Year's resolution.
Kerinda taught from three sources: The book "Mary, Martha, and Me" by
Camille Fronk Olson, a BYU women's conference (2008) address by Sheri Dew,
and a talk by President Benson. I have included links to each of the talks.
The link for President Benson's talk is REALLY long, so if it won't work,
cut and past the entire link into your browser window. If that doesn't
work, the talk is called "The Great Commandment - Love the Lord" and is
found in the May 1988 Ensign.
One of the quotes from President Benson that Kerinda used in today's lesson
is as follows:
"To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming
and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of
our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love
of the Lord.
The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet
of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted
in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the
Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let
the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).
Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we
truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. “For
this is the love of God,” says John, “that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn.
5:3; see also 2 Jn. 1:6).
We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must
come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou
shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop
out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our
affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order
of our priorities.
We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives."
That quote reminded me of two scriptures from Paul's writings that I love:
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved
us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from
the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may
dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth
knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians
Sisters, we love you. You are in our thoughts and prayers consistently. We
wish for all of you a new year filled with Christ. We hope for all of you a
desire to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of
Christ. We anticipate great joy as we all strive together to come unto
Christ and to let our lives show our commitment to Him.
Your Relief Society Presidency
PS Don't forget to read next week's lesson. It is Joseph Smith lesson #24,
"Leading in the Lord's Way."
Wow! Can you believe that it is the last Sunday of the year?
Today our lesson was on the conference talk by Elder L. Tom Perry titled
"Let Him Do It with Simplicity." Here is a link to the talk.
I was impressed with how timely this talk was to all of us at this time.
Elder Perry talked about how we all have times in our lives when we
experience stress and anxiety. He said, "One of the challenges of this
mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get
the better of us - to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining
positive, even optimistic. Perhaps when difficulties and challenges strike,
we should have these hopeful words of Robert Browning etched in our minds:
'The best is yet to be'"
In RS, we talked about the "spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle."
We listed many of those benefits. It might be wise for each of us to list
the benefits we can think of in our journals this week.
Elder Perry ended with this blessing, "In our search to obtain relief from
the stresses of life, may we earnestly seek ways to simplify our lives. May
we comply with the inspired counsel and direction the Lord has given us in
the great plan of happiness. May we be worthy to have the companionship of
the Holy Ghost and follow the guidance of the Spirit as we navigate this
mortal journey. May we prepare ourselves to accomplish the ultimate purpose
of this mortal test - to return and live with our Heavenly Father - is my
prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Sisters, as your Relief Society Presidency, we are so touched by the way
you love and support each other. I have often wondered how women outside
the church survive without any "church sisters." Thank you for all you do
for each other and for all those that you meet in your daily lives who need
your support and comfort.
We love you.
Your Relief Society Presidency
Our lesson today was lesson 23 from the Joseph Smith Manual "How Good and
How Pleasant It Is...to Dwell Together in Unity." Sister Diane Smith
taught a wonderful lesson (and brought delicious treats :-). She
facilitated a great discussion among the sisters . We talked about how
unity has touched all of our lives and how we can foster more unity in our
families, wards, communities, etc.
The lesson pointed out the as we strive to be obedient to God's laws and
over come our selfish feelings, we grow in unity with Christ and with each
other. One quote from Joseph Smith is, "Let us realize that we are not to
live to ourselves, but to God; by so doing the greatest blessings will
rest upon us both in time and in eternity."
I love that quote because it references the fact that striving to be more
Christlike and being more unified with those we love brings us joy not
only in the life to come, but also right here and right now.
I've included a link to a talk by Sheri Dew from the 2008 Women's
Conference. As always, she is wonderful. Print it and take it to bed
with you to read each night before you go to sleep. It will make you
smile and give you a strong desire to strengthen your commitment to be
more Christlike and more unified as sisters in the Gospel.
Merry Christmas, Sisters. We love you. We pray for you and think of you
each day. Thank you for all you do for each other. Thank you for the
unity we share. Thank you for your righteous examples. Have a wonderful,
Your Relief Society Presidency
This week we are starting something new in Relief Society. Each week, as a Presidency, we will send out an email to all Relief Society sisters giving a short synopsis of the lesson we had in class and adding something (a talk, a scripture, etc.) that we would like to share with all of you. We hope that doing this will help to unify all of us each week. Our sisters in Young Women and Primary can get a taste of the spiritual food we receive in Relief Society each Sunday.
Today, Sister Bean taught a GREAT lesson out of the Joseph Smith manual. It is lesson 22 - Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths. Wow! There is so much in this lesson. If you did not get a chance to read it yet, take some time to read it tonight or in the next few days. You will love it.
Sue (and Joseph Smith) helped us remember that the Gospel encompasses all truth and that we should be constantly searching and studying to learn all truths that are available to us. The lesson reminded us that there is so much to learn that we will be learning long into eternity, but that there is no need to be overwhelmed because we will learn the Lord's truths "line upon line" little by little. As soon as we learn one truth, the Lord will teach us another.
One of the scriptures mentioned in the lesson was Jeremiah 31:33-34. The Lord is describing the latter days. It reads:
"After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity , and I will remember their sin no more."
I think that is what we are striving for, sisters. We are to fill ourselves with knowledge and truth so that we can assist the Lord in filling those we are in contact with each day - our families, our friends, and even our enemies, so that all shall know him.
I've linked to a copy of a short BYU devotional talk by Marilyn S. Bateman. It talks about learning and the role it plays in our quest to become like Christ. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks again for a great lesson, Sue! Sisters, don't forget our Relief Society Christmas Enrichment night this Wednesday, 6:30 p.m at Karen Brown's home.
We love you all,
Your Relief Society Presidency