Scripture of the Month

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Modern Media and Family Home Evening

Teach your children how to use modern media in righteous ways by incorporating them in Family Home Evening:
  • Have everyone share their favorite Mormon Message.
  • Download hymns and Primary songs to iTunes, iPods, or iPhones. Make playlists for certain activities, such as "On our way to church" or "Wiggle songs."
  • Take photos or make videos to submit to the media library on lds.org.
  • Make profiles on mormon.org.
  • Read an Ensign (or other Church magazine) article, General Conference talk, or the scriptures and have everyone follow along on their laptop/tablet, phone, or iPod touch. Or have each person read or watch a talk of their choice and then share what they learned with the rest of the family.
  • Work on Personal Progress or Duty to God online.
  • Listen to the LDS radio.
  • Work on scripture mastery or memorizing the Articles of Faith together.
  • Play games from The Friend online.
  • Have Family Home Evening with family members elsewhere via Skype.
For more ideas, read "Keeping Safe and Balanced" in the February 2012 Ensign.

Sharing Time: What are some other ideas?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Disciplinary Councils

In my Doctrine and Covenants class at BYU, my professor gave us the following talk by Elder Ballard to read when we got to section 102: "A Chance to Start Over: Church Disciplinary Councils and the Restoration of Blessings."

Not having ever been in an disciplinary hearing, I did not know much about them, and this address really enlightened me. Church disciplinary councils seemed scary, but not anymore (though the idea of confessing something to that many people is still scary). Having had to talk to bishops, though, I can imagine that the love and encouragment a truly repentant person may feel in a hearing is hundredfold.

Elder Ballard shared the following analogy in his talk:
I remember as a child occasionally coming unkempt to the dinner table. My mother wisely sent me to clean up and then return. My parents would have been pained if I had taken offense and had run off—and I would have been foolish to do so. In the same way, the servants of the Lord occasionally find that they must, in loving concern, send some of Heavenly Father’s children out the door so they can return clean once again. The Lord does not want us to “miss supper.” In fact, he has a great feast prepared for those who return clean and pure through the door. He is greatly saddened when anyone decides they prefer to be unclean and miss the meal, or when they find an excuse to take offense, or when they run away. He is pleased to extend the chance to start over.
We must realize how incredibly merciful the Lord is and how much He sincerely desires us to return to Him. If we understood how much that desire also dwells in the priesthood leaders in disciplinary councils, we would not run away from the Church. Furthermore, we should all be supportive and nonjudgmental toward each other. We should extend welcoming, loving arms to all who have strayed. Church should be a place where we feel safe and uplifted, not ashamed or shunned. That is not to say we won't experience punishment and pain, but the suffering we feel should be as a result of our own sinning and repentance process, not from how others are treating us. As Saints we covenanted at baptism to "bear one another's burdens . . . mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:8-9).

Discussion: Read Elder Ballard's talk. What did you learn?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"He Ain't One Bit Better"

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Imagine the Prophet were to come to your ward. What would you do? Would you arrive early to church? Would you dress your very best? Would you make sure you and your family were reverent, attentive, and smiling? Would you be respectful and full of admiration if you got to talk to him? You probably would do all these things. And why? Because he is the Prophet of God, of course. But why wouldn't you do these things any Sunday for any priesthood holder?

President Boyd K. Packer shared this story in General Conference of October 2007 (I recommend reading the entire address):
When I was a young man, I was a home teacher to a very old sister. She taught me from her life experience.

When she was a little girl, President Brigham Young came to Brigham City, a great event in the town named after him. To honor him, the Primary children, all dressed in white, were lined up along the road coming into town, each with a basket of flowers to spread before the carriage of the President of the Church.

Something displeased her. Instead of throwing her blossoms, she kicked a rock in front of the carriage, saying, “He ain’t one bit better than my Grandpa Lovelund.” That was overheard, and she was severely scolded.

I am very sure that President Brigham Young would be the first to agree with little Janie Steed. He would not consider himself to be worth more than Grandpa Lovelund or any other worthy member of the Church.
All worthy priesthood holders should be treated as if they were high-ranking Church leaders. They should be respected, listened to, and loved. When we are faced with priesthood holders who do not fulfill their duties, John Bytheway, in his book Behind Every Good Man, advises that the positivity and admiration we give them will encourage them to reach higher and meet, if not exceed, their priesthood expectations.

Furthermore, just because a man is not a General Authority does not mean he isn't righteous. The Church needs strong men to lead wards, to be role models for the young men, to be diligent home teachers and missionaries. What matters is not a man's calling but the fact that he holds the priesthood.

Challenge: Show respect to all men who hold God's priesthood power.