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Showing posts from 2016

The Children's Speaking Parts for the 2016 Primary Program

The children chose their themes and wrote their speaking parts, with some help from the Sharing Time manual and their parents.

Aiyana (6yo): October
Prayer is reverent communication between God and Me. I can pray to God, and he hears me. When I get scared I pray to God to keep me safe. At night I say my bedtime prayers. From reading scriptures, they have taught me how to pray. I have learned that God may not answer my prayers right away, but He does when the time is right. Through my prayers I have developed a strong bond with God. I love going to church whenever I can.
Cameron (10yo): June
The theme for the month of June was “The first principles and ordinances of the gospel make it possible for me to live with God again.” We talked about faith in Jesus Christ leads us to love Him, trust Him, and keep His commandments. The next week we learned that repentance brings forgiveness. On the third week, we talked about when we are baptized we make a covenant. On the fourth week, I learned th…

"I Know the Scriptures Are True"

My talk today to introduce the Primary presentation.

The purpose of the Primary presentation is for the children to share what they've learned throughout the year in Sharing Time. Each child picked a monthly theme and wrote their understanding and testimony of it. The other part of the program is the music. The songs teach gospel doctrine, make it easier to remember and learn the doctrine, and invite the Spirit to testify of the truth of the doctrine.

This year's theme was "I know the scriptures are true," and the accompanying scripture was "For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them" (2 Nephi 4:15).

The letter in the manual from the Primary General Presidency states:
The scriptures are the word of God. As you prayerfully read the scriptures and apply the principles taught in them and in this outline, you will be spiritually prepared to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the children in your Primary. You will also be able to use …

Get Your Kids Involved in Family History Work

My lesson from last month's Primary activity on family history:

Elder Allan F. Packer said, "Temple and family history work is part of living the gospel at home. It should be a family activity far more than a Church activity."

Elder Bednar explained,
Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people. But I know of no age limit described in the scriptures or guidelines announced by Church leaders restricting this important service to mature adults. . . .It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation. . . .I promise you will be protected against th…

"Take Time to Be Holy"

I came across this song yesterday and fell in love with the poetic lyrics:
Take Time to Be Holy (Dickman)Music for ChoirsSubmitted Music (2007-2011)
Take time to be Holy, speak oft with thy Lord. Abide in Him always and feed on His word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on. Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone; By looking to Jesus like Him thou shalt be; Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide And run not before Him whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord, And looking to Jesus still trust in His word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul. Each thought and each motive beneath His control; Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, Thou soon shall be fitted for service above. Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.
Text:  William D. Longstaff Music:  Traditional Irish Melody Arranged By:  Ann…

Teaching Children Really Does Make a Difference

A talk from stake conference today reminded me of the testimony I gave in September and meant to post here. Here's the gist of it.

Sometimes I wonder if teaching the gospel to my children is really making a difference, especially because I don't see the results right away. Scripture study and family home evening require a lot of effort, and most of the time is spent getting them to sit and pay attention and not fight with each other. It reminds me of when Elder Bednar shared similar thoughts in a past conference:
Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and …

To the Rescue: Don't Forget the Children!

Part 3 of my talk from August 21. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

The other talk I chose is Elder Neil L. Andersen's, "Whoso Receiveth Them, Receiveth Me." In our rescue efforts, we mustn't forget the children. At the stake auxiliary in May, one of the general auxiliary leaders said if Jesus were at church, Primary is where he'd be. That statement made me consider how much effort I was putting into making Primary an inviting place where children want to go because they feel welcomed and loved. Primary, usually nursery, is the first interaction children have with church. It's an important time to lay that foundation for them so they want to return.

There are plenty of children in our branch, in all types of circumstances, that we can reach out to. Elder Andersen stated,
[M]y plea today is for the hundreds of thousands of children, youth, and young adults who do not come from these, for lack of a better term, “picture-perfect” families. I speak not only of the youth wh…

To the Rescue: We Can Do It

Part 2 of my talk from August 21. Read Part 1 and Part 3.

Principle 2 : We Must Never Give Up

“President Thomas S. Monson, who has sounded the clarion call to go to the rescue, noted, 'Our members need to be reminded that it is never too late when it comes to our … less-active members … who could have been considered a hopeless cause.'”

As I was working on this talk, Sister X called me to tell me she wants to come back to church. [Sister X got baptized in December and then wanted nothing to do with us by spring due to the negative influence of some "friends."] Even though she stopped coming, I stayed in contact with her, and now I'm picking her up for church next week! I took that as a sign that I had chosen the right topic for this talk!

Principle 3: How Great Shall Be Your Joy If You Bring Save It Be One Soul Unto Christ

Elder Arnold then shared a story about a priests quorum adviser who hunted down a missing priest one Sunday. He found him surfing, and went in …

To the Rescue: Don't Delay

Part 1 of my talk from August 21. Read Part 2 and Part 3.

I was asked to speak on my favorite conference talk. My favorite was Elder Holland's, but it didn't feel like the right one. Every day I read a different talk, and each one was wonderful. I couldn't choose! It wasn't until Friday that it all came together. I picked two that went together perfectly. In fact, they were given one right after the other in conference. The first one I'd like to share is "To the Rescue: We Can Do It" by Elder Mervyn B. Arnold. He began,

The Savior clearly understood His mission to rescue our Heavenly Father’s children, for He declared:
“The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. …
“[For] it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” . . .
Let me share four principles that will help in our rescue efforts.
Principle 1: We Must Not Delay Going to the Rescue

Elder Arnold shared a sad story from a former Area Seven…

An Unexpected Gospel Lesson From Cleaning My Glasses

Based on the testimony I gave Sunday.

Because I only wear my glasses shortly in the morning and before bed, I don't put effort into taking care of them properly. I wipe them clean with just my shirt and only use water if they're really dirty. I've never had any issues with this method.

When we first moved here, I went to a community event showcasing local businesses and received eyeglass cleaner and a cleaning cloth from an optometrist. They sat in a drawer for the last two years. A couple weeks ago, out of nowhere, I finally decided to use them.

The difference was unbelievable!

I was astonished by the enhanced clarity. I couldn't believe not only that I had been missing out all these years on even better vision, but also that I didn't even know I was missing out! I thought my glasses had been perfectly clean, when in fact they had the potential to be even clearer had I used the proper materials specifically made for the job.

I immediately related this to the gospe…

The Constant Companionship of the Holy Ghost

The talk I gave at a baptism last night.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is often underappreciated. Once we come to understand why his constant companionship is a gift, we value it more and do whatever we can to be worthy of keeping his presence in our lives.
Elder Bednar said, “Everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost" (Increase in Learning, p. 49).
Why? Elder Gerald N. Lund stated, “When one is given the gift . . . of the Holy Ghost, he has overcome spiritual death to a degree, for he has come into the presence of one member of the Godhead” (Ensign, "Salvation: By Grace or by Works?", Apr. 1981).
With the perspective of having a member of the Godhead—one who counsels with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ—as a constant presence in our lives, it's easier to see how he is a gift and brings so many blessings to us through the many roles he plays.
He gives us guidance straight from the One who…

I Am Hannah

This was the part I wrote for my role in the pageant for our stake women's conference on women from the scriptures and Church history. 
I am Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, from the Old Testament. I was in a polygamous marriage, and as if that wasn’t hard enough, my husband’s other wife, Peninnah, could have children, but I could not. Peninnah would tease me for being infertile because she was jealous that our husband loved me more than he loved her.
Every year we went to the temple. One year, Peninnah was so cruel, I wept bitterly and couldn't eat. My husband tried consoling me by asking, “Am I not better to thee than ten sons?” Of course he was a good husband to me, but the love a woman has for her husband and the love she has for her children are not quite the same, and I wanted to experience that motherly love more than anything.
I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the temple alone and poured out my soul in prayer and tears. I vowed to God that if He would …

Stake Women's Conference: Daughters of Light

At the end of April, our stake had a women's conference. A couple months before the event, I was asked to portray one of the women from the scriptures: Hannah. I was told to prepare a 3-5 minute talk about her from her point of view. It needed to include the lines, "I offer you the gift of [gospel principle]..." and "My prayer for you from the past is..."

I put a lot of thought into my talk (read it here) and came away learning a lot not only about Hannah, but also about how her story applies to me. I was again reminded how really studying scripture stories in depth can lead to a deeper understanding of the people and lessons involved.

The day of the event, all the women participating in the pageant arrived early to get into costume and run through our entrance. The place was decorated beautifully!

The stake Relief Society president wanted us to really get into character and have fun. She was hoping we would dance during our procession into the hall. I was the …

"Lift Thine Eyes"

Last week at stake conference, I had the privilege to sing alto in a special women's choir for the a cappella number "Lift Thine Eyes" from Mendelssohn's Elijah. I had never heard it before, and I immediately fell in love with it the first time I listened to it. The message of the song is just as beautiful as the music:

Lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help.

Thy help cometh from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

He hath said thy foot shall not be moved.

Thy keeper will never slumber.

Lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help. 

To me, the words mean we can get help from the Savior at His temple, the mountain of the Lord. I also love the line, "Thy keeper will never slumber," a reminder that Christ is always there waiting for us to seek Him and rely on His strength and righteousness. We may fall asleep while praying, reading our scriptures, sitting in Church, or even attending the temple, but He is always aware and ready to comfor…

3 Ways to Encourage Pondering After Personal Scripture Study

There's a difference between reading and studying the scriptures, and we're advised to do the latter. There are several resources available to help us search and understand the scriptures. Some of these are seminary and Institute manuals, the Church magazines, general conference talks, other LDS books, and even the dictionary.

Yet, there is a second step we're supposed to take after studying the scriptures, and that is to ponder. This means to think about what we've read in order to make connections, discover personal application, and receive revelation. Here are three things you can do to take the time to ponder after reading.
1. Listen to Heavenly Music

Maintain the Spirit you've invited through scripture study by listening to uplifting music, such as that from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It will aid in keeping away distractions, both externally and internally, so you can focus on the words you've read and what they mean. If you enjoy doing so, sing, hum, or …