Sunday, October 25, 2009

Music and Heaven

The Sunbeam lesson I taught today was "Music Makes Me Happy." Whether it be instrumental or voice, music can calm fear, brighten sorrow, and dispel anger, and it serves as a way to praise and pray to Heavenly Father.

"There is no music in hell," said Brigham Young, "for all good music belongs to heaven." He also said, "If we could hear the music there is in heaven, it would overwhelm us mortals." We may not yet be able to hear heaven's music, but "never, indeed, do we feel so near heaven as when listening to the performance of some grand anthem, in which the angels themselves might fitly take their parts" (John Taylor).

Good music and grand anthems take form in Church-related and classical music. "If you do not have a taste for it [classical music], listen to it thoughtfully," counseled President Hinckley. "If you do not like it the first time, listen to it again and keep listening. It will be something like going to the temple. The more often you go, the more beautiful will be the experience."

Bring heavenly music more often into your home, especially Church music, for "there is a great deal lost in the homes of the people by not having the songs of Zion sung therein" (Heber J. Grant). Pay attention to the way you feel while you listen to the music. Enjoy the peace, happiness, love, and inspiration that fills your soul.

Challenge: Listen to the music playlist provided on this blog (scroll to the bottom of the page) or to any Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Primary, Church, EFY, or classical CD to feel near heaven.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Temple Garment

After my endowment in San Diego
In General Conference 1997, Elder Carlos E. Asay shared the following story: “A few years ago, in a seminar for new temple presidents and matrons, Elder James E. Faust, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told about his being called to serve as a General Authority. He was asked only one question by President Harold B. Lee: ‘Do you wear the garments properly?’ to which he answered in the affirmative. He then asked if President Lee wasn’t going to ask him about his worthiness. President Lee replied that he didn’t need to, for he had learned from experience that how one wears the garment is the expression of how the individual feels about the Church and everything that relates to it. It is a measure of one’s worthiness and devotion to the gospel.”

Can you imagine a temple recommend interview based on that one question? I can, for the proper wearing of garments shows modesty, obedience, and respect for, understanding of, and dedication to temple covenants. In short, “‘How it is worn is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.’”

I remember the first time I put on my garments in the temple. I thought it would feel weird or awkward. Quite the opposite was true: immediately they felt comfortable and right, and I knew they would be a protection and blessing to me.

With the passing of time and daily habit, it is easy to forget these feelings. We need to think, as Elder Asay thinks, that garments are “the Lord’s way of letting us take part of the temple with us when we leave.” The symbolism of the temple garments reminds us of the covenants we made and the blessings we may receive if we keep our covenants. In turn, these reminders help us to choose the right.

“The heavy armor worn by soldiers of a former day, including helmets, shields, and breastplates, determined the outcome of some battles,” noted Elder Asay. If we wear our garments properly, we will have the armor we need to win the battle against the devil and his armies.

With all this power and protection, we will be blessed. “Don’t forget,” reminded Elder Asay, “that the word garment is used symbolically in the scriptures and gives expanded meaning to other words such as white, clean, pure, righteous, modesty, covering, ceremonial, holy, priesthood, beautiful, perfection, salvation, undefiled, worthy, white raiment, shield, protection, spotless, blameless, armor, covenants, promises, blessings, respect, eternal life, and so forth.”

Challenge: If you wear garments, evaluate how you wear and regard them. Go to the temple often to remember the covenants and blessings associated with them. If you do not yet wear garments, prepare now for that beautiful transition. Wear modest clothing and undergarments. Keep your baptismal covenants. Use what symbols and power you have right now—CTR rings, the priesthood, the sacrament, scripture mastery verses—to make good choices and show Heavenly Father you are ready and worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and properly wear temple garments. And when that time comes, welcome it and be faithful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Heavenly Father Loves Me

With the seasons changing, I am reminded of all the creations Jesus made. Although all are different, each is beautiful in its own way: from the starry heavens to the deep oceans, the lush forests to the barren deserts, the majestic mountains to the tiny flowers, the galloping horse to the waddling penguin, the flying birds to the swimming fish. They all testify of His existence, power, artistry, and love, as written in my favorite Primary song:

Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by a lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him reverently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.

("My Heavenly Father Loves Me," Children's Songbook, p. 228--To listen to the song, scroll to the bottom of the page; it is sixth on the playlist.)

Sharing Time: What is your favorite creation?
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

179th Semiannual General Conference

It never ceases to amaze me how each Conference seems even better than the last. This one was no exception. We heard powerful talks, sweet testimonies, inspiring stories, and beautiful music.

The theme for this General Conference was love for God and for others. Although not all talks specifically brought up this subject, they all stemmed from it: personal revelation helps us to the keep commandments, which shows God we love Him; we do missionary work because we love God's children and want them to be happy; we become more like Christ when we love God and others; and so on.

I have so many favorite talks and quotes, but my absolute favorite was President Uchtdorf's talk about love. His message was very clear, informative, encouraging, and interesting. President Uchtdorf is a talented speaker. I can feel his love and testimony when he speaks.

There is much I learned and need to work on. I can't wait for the November Ensign!

Sharing Time: What was your favorite talk?
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