Scripture of the Month

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Far above Rubies"

Certain TV shows and previews reminded me of a quote from Sister Margaret Nagauld:

"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

We need to be classy women--women with manners, discipline, integrity, virtue, sincerity, and charity. Sister Nagauld isn't the only one to have said this:

1. "It is, unfortunately, all too easy to illustrate the confusion and distortion of womanhood in contemporary society. Immodest, immoral, intemperate women jam the airwaves, monopolize magazines, and slink across movie screens—all while being celebrated by the world. The Apostle Paul spoke prophetically of 'perilous times' that will come in the last days and specifically referenced something that may have seemed particularly perilous to him: 'silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts' (2 Timothy 3:1, 6). Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction—easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves.

"And so, my dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective. Look to your mother. Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness" (Elder M. Russell Ballard).

2. "It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the . . . women of the world, in everything that is praise-worthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and . . . purifying to the children of men" (President Joseph F. Smith, quoted by Elder Ballard).

3. "Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

"Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth" (President Gordon B. Hinckley).

4. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10).

Challenge: Be a virtuous woman, not a woman of the world. Note, this post also applies to men!

photo by Paul Krasovic

Monday, April 19, 2010

Temple Garments FAQ

Washington D.C. Temple
Thanks to my stat counter account, I have discovered that a popular search item is the temple garment. That is understandable since it is such a symbolic and sacred item in our Church and inspires much curiosity in the outside community. Therefore, I am going to address some frequently asked questions about temple garments.

What are temple garments?
Garments are white undershirts and underpants that many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear.

Who wears temple garments?
Members of the Church who have attended the temple wear garments. In order to attend the temple, they must be at least 18 years old and have received a temple recommend (card), which is given after two interviews with local Church leaders to establish personal worthiness to enter the temple. Most men receive their garments at age 18 or 19, before going on their mission. Most women receive theirs whenever they get married or if they go on a mission at age 21 (though if they are getting older and neither has happened, they may receive them). [2013 Update: Boys may now serve missions at 18, girls at 19.] All wearers must show their temple recommend in order to buy garments.

How are temple garments worn?
Garments are worn instead of regular underwear. They are very modest and are not to be altered or removed in order to wear immodest clothing.

When are temple garments worn?
Garments are worn at all times. They can be removed for activities that obviously require removal: swimming, showering, sex. For sports, dance, and exercise, it is advised to wear clothing that cover garments. Some activities require clothing that exposes the garment, such as basketball shorts and ballerina costumes, so Church members wear regular underwear instead. However, such activities are not excuses to "take a break" from wearing garments or to wear immodest clothing. For all the above activities, garments are removed only during the activity and then are immediately replaced.

Why are temple garments worn?
Garments are a constant reminder of the covenants (promises) we made in the temple, encouraging us to live righteously. They serve as a spiritual protection and require us to be modest.

Are temple garments magic underwear?
No. This myth has arisen from misunderstanding the protection they provide. Their primary role is to protect us spiritually, because they remind us to keep our covenants and thus build a strong defense against temptation and sin. However, there have been instances where garments have protected people from physical harm, like fire burns. Such instances are special blessings from God, who works by priesthood power, not by magic. Both types of protection rely on the wearer's worthiness and respect for garments.

Why are temple garments so secret?
Because garments are sacred and symbolic to us, we keep them private. It is highly offensive when others mock or disrespect them, as it would be to other Christian denominations if someone vandalized the cross or used it to represent something evil. Wearers ought to take great care in covering their garments. Besides, no one should reveal their underwear, regardless of what type it is!

Discussion: Any other questions?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Girls No More

Read this article.

And we wonder why girls as young as eleven are losing their virginity and why there are so many sexual predators out there.

The company argues the padding is for modesty. On the one hand, that is understandable. My little sister went through puberty very early, and my mom had a hard time finding a little-girl bathing suit that covered my sister completely. On the other hand, if parents are so worried about modesty, why are they letting their little girls wear bikinis, especially if they are starting to blossom at a young age?

Why can't little girls just be little girls? They'll have the rest of their lives to be grown women. Childhood lasts only for a brief moment. And once it's over, most everyone wishes at some time or other that they could go back.

I apologize this isn't actually a doctrinal post. But this problem of sexualizing our little girls really bothers me. As members of the Church, we must set the example and dress our children modestly from birth and let them remain childlike, as Christ wants all of us to be.

Challenge: Encourage the children in your life to embrace and enjoy childhood.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Recognizing Pornography

My Relief Society president shared that her biggest fear is her sons viewing pornography. It is sad she has to fear this, especially since her sons are only four and five. But my former bishop shared--to my shock and dismay--that nowadays it is at this young and innocent age that many boys get trapped into the sticky web of pornography. Knowing the lifestyle of this woman and her family, I am confident she will succeed in raising young men who do not actively search for X-rated material. However, pornography is not always directly labeled so. It comes in many forms and levels; thus, it is important to learn to recognize and avoid all of them.

"Pornography is any entertainment that uses immodest or indecent images to stimulate sexual feelings," explains a New Era article featured on the new Church Web site. "So even a mainstream television program or advertisement can be pornographic. If images trigger sexual feelings in you, you should avoid them."

The Church pamphlet "Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts" reads, "Some materials that are not explicitly pornographic can still fill your life with darkness and deprive you of spiritual strength. Television programs, pictures, movies, songs, and books often treat unchastity and infidelity as common, appealing, and humorous. Avoid anything that drives the Holy Ghost from your life."

With these definitions in mind, probably all of us have accidentally seen, read, or heard pornographic material, no matter how mild it was: a CD cover, a Facebook photo of a friend, a bestselling novel, a chart-topping song. Now that we recognize it, we need to be more careful of what we allow ourselves and our famililes to view, because it seems that accidents are the number one way people get drawn into pornography. They slowly desensitize the spirit and awaken curiosity. Like a spider web, they are deceptive, and once we realize we are stuck, it's too late. Protecting from these small, sneaky ways that get us on the path to worse things is the hardest part and to what we must give the most care and attention.

Challenge: Eliminate all types of pornographic material from your life, no matter how trivial they seem to be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Woman at the Well

painting by Simon Dewey

John 4:1-15 tells the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. Jesus told her, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (vv. 13-14). I have drunk deeply from the gospel well thanks to the following, and I can already feel it reviving my spirit:

  • General Conference: Amazing! I love Conference so much for the Spirit and motivation it brings.
  • Personal scripture study: I've gotten back into the habit almost daily and am learning a lot from the wars in Alma about fighting spiritual enemies.
  • Family scripture study: While my family was here, we sang a hymn and had a spiritual thought every night.
  • Family Home Evening: My little sister gave an excellent lesson on the Holy Ghost and truth.
  • Priesthood blessing: My husband gave me a blessing of comfort (see the post "The Priesthood and Love").
  • Music: Whenever I work on this blog, I listen to the playlist (found at the bottom) of MoTab, hymns, Primary songs, and instrumental arrangements. Beautiful music brings the Spirit to my heart and home.
  • Patriarchal blessing: I reread my blessing today and was dismayed that I had forgotten so much of the counsel and promises found in it. I am going to read it more often.
This past week of spiritual feasting has reminded me of how important it is to do the small and simple things to keep up my spirituality and that time-wasting can be just as detrimental as sin to my enthusiasm for righteous living. I remember always being spiritually full my freshman year at BYU because of the constant opportunities to drink at the well. We should create such an environment wherever we are so we can become women and men at the well and answer as the woman did, "Give me this water, that I thirst not" (v.15).

Challenge: Take every opportunity to drink from the well of everlasting life.

The Priesthood and Love

Recently I had a disturbing nightmare, and the images bothered me all the next day. At bedtime I asked my very tired husband to give me a blessing. He readily agreed and gave me a beautiful priesthood blessing, saying that which I needed to hear and tenderly comforting me. The blessing not only filled me with peace, but also with intense love for my husband for caring for me and for using his priesthood to do so. Of course, I slept soundly that night.

I am so grateful for the priesthood; it truly is the power of a loving God. I am also thankful for loving men who are willing to use this power properly to bless others. How blessed I am to have one of those loving men!

The priesthood revolves around love: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned" (D&C 121:41). My husband's love for me brought him close to the Spirit; my love for him increased my faith. And the blessing worked.

My patriarchal blessing counsels me to honor and respect my husband's priesthood and encourage my husband to give blessings to me and our children. I extend this counsel to all of you: do not deny the brethren opportunities to serve and bless others with the gift and power of the priesthood. Put faith in them and you will be surprised by what they can do.

Challenge: Next time you need to be comforted, ask a worthy priesthood holder to give you a blessing.

photo from theideadoor.com

Parenthood

General Conference focused on parenthood, specifically teaching children the gospel and setting an example for the youth. Some paraphrased highlights:
  • Church programs should support, not supplant, the home. (Elder Packer)
  • If we strengthen children when they are young, they less likely will need to be rescued as teenagers. (Elder Eyring)
  • Begin to teach children by the cradleside, by example and precept. (Elder Perry)
  • Children, even infants, respond to the spirit of the Book of Mormon. (Elder Bednar)
  • If we want our children to come unto Christ, we should too to show them the way. (Sister Lant)
  • Children intuitively want to be good. It is up to us to help them retain that connection with heaven. (Sister Lant)
  • There is no substitute for the youth seeing us live the gospel. (Elder Hales)
Sharing Time: Which General Conference talks or quotes stuck out to you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

"We Listen to a Prophet's Voice"

We listen to a prophet's voice and hear the Savior too.
With love he bids us do the work the Lord would have us do.
The Savior calls his chosen seer to preach the word of God,
That men might learn to find the path marked by the iron rod.

In ev'ry land, in ev'ry tongue, our prophet will be heard;
How swiftly round the world his voice reveals the gospel word!
The sacred message that he brings will witness and agree
With ev'ry prophet called of God throughout earth's history.

Hosanna! Let our praise ascend unto the Savior's throne;
Rejoice! The prophet has confirmed that by Him we are known.
Attend, ye earth! The prophet speaks; come listen and obey.
He is the man who holds the keys of priesthood pow'r today.


(Hymns, 22. Listen to it here.)

Challenge: Study the words of this hymn to strengthen your testimony of the prophet.