Thursday, May 24, 2018

Savior Makes It Clear that in Some Situations We Have to Judge

There is sometimes a chance for a misunderstanding, especially among young people who may think we are not supposed to judge anything, that we are never to make a value assessment of any kind... the Savior makes it clear that in some situations we have to judge, we are under obligation to judge. 

--Jeffrey R Holland

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mother's Day 2018


A wonderful young mother recently wrote to me: “How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety, and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever your own again? Maternal love has to be divine. There is no other explanation for it. What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again, until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth, we can [then] say with Jesus, ‘[Father!] I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’…..

To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion,13 and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’14 ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

–Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Oct 2015

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Church Announces Upcoming Worldwide Youth Initiative


New Worldwide Initiative for Children and Youth Development

New approach to replace all existing activity programs for girls and boys, young women and young men beginning in January 2020

The children and youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide are precious to us. They represent our future, and ministering to their needs is a significant focus for the Church.

For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families, and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God. The initiative is designed to allow local leaders, families, and even the young people themselves to customize their efforts, while providing service opportunities and activities, fostering healthy relationships, and supporting communities. Details will be shared at childrenandyouth.lds.org as the implementation date approaches.

To this end, effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world. Until then, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8-13. We encourage all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support of Scouting until that date.

We honor Scouting organizations for their continued goal to develop character and instill values in youth. The lives of hundreds of thousands of young men, along with their families and communities, have been blessed by Scouting organizations worldwide.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

I Hate Buttermilk Prayer


One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer.

The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, “Lord, I hate buttermilk."

The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going.

The deacon continued, "Lord, I hate lard."

Now the pastor was totally perplexed.

The deacon continued, "Lord, I ain't too crazy about plain flour either. But after you mix 'em all together and bake 'em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits."

Then this experienced deacon concluded: "Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don't like, whenever we don't understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After You get through mixing and baking, it'll be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. -- Romans 8:28

Saturday, March 31, 2018

April 2018 General Conference

It was an unprecedented day for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an Asian American and a Latin American were sustained as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Gerrit W. Gong, from California, and Ulisses Soares, a Brazilian, join the ranks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling the vacancies left due to the deaths of Thomas S. Monson and Robert D. Hales. Both new apostles previously served in the Presidency of the Seventy.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Charity and Love


Develop Christ-like Attributes: Charity and Love



Read each item below carefully. Decide how true that statement is about you and choose the most appropriate response from the response key.



Response Key:

1 = never 

2 = sometimes 

3 = often 

4 = almost always 

5 = always



Charity and Love



1.             I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)

2.             When I pray, I ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47-48)

3.             I try to understand others’ feelings and see their point of view. (Jude 1:22)

4.             I forgive others who have offended or wronged me. (Ephesians 4:32)

5.             I try to help others when they are struggling or discouraged. (Mosiah 18:9)

6.             When appropriate, I tell others that I love them and care about them. (Luke 7:12-15)

7.             I look for opportunities to serve other people. (Mosiah 2:17)

8.             I say positive things about others. (D&C 42:27)

9.             I am kind and patient with others, even when they are hard to get along with. (Moroni 7:45)

10.           I find joy in others’ achievements. (Alma 17:2)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy, Healthy 2018!


2018

Wishing You…

A healthy start in January,

Lots of LYVE in February,

No obstacles in March,

Less stress in April,

Lots of smiles in May,

A sunny, delightful June, July & August,

A beautiful September,

More treats than tricks in October,

A THANKFUL November,

and

Time to share and enjoy December, pondering a gift you can give HIM.

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25, 2017


Carl Sandberg wrote: “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.

….and because of the birth of Baby Jesus, life after death goes on.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mormons lend meetinghouse to Jewish congregation for a year

Rabbi leads Shabbat service at Irvine California Stake Center
There are so many negative stories in the news these days. This is a positive one!

Mormons lend meetinghouse to Jewish congregation for one year!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hurtful Worlds

Thomas S. Monson - Prophet
We are all susceptible to those feelings which, if left unchecked, can lead to anger. We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism, and if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others. Ironically, those others are often members of our own families—the people we really love the most.
Many years ago I read the following Associated Press dispatch which appeared in the newspaper: An elderly man disclosed at the funeral of his brother, with whom he had shared, from early manhood, a small, one-room cabin near Canisteo, New York, that following a quarrel, they had divided the room in half with a chalk line, and neither had crossed the line or spoken a word to the other since that day—years before. Just think of the consequence of that anger. What a tragedy!
May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Teaching Kids about the Atonement


8 Ways to Teach Kids the Atonement




Seek natural teaching moments.

Along with formal lessons and talks, look for everyday opportunities. You can find natural teaching moments when a pet dies, when a child makes a mistake, when someone you know is facing a challenge, or when a child is striving to reach a worthy goal and is feeling discouraged. 

Ask questions.

Asking questions gives us an opportunity to find out what children know and help them discover answers on their own. Try asking, “What made you think of that?” or “Why is this so important?” or “What do people miss if they don’t have this knowledge?”

Share personal experiences.

Think about when the Atonement first became meaningful to you. When have you received a special manifestation of grace? Explain the details of such experiences. Along with saying, “I know Jesus lives and loves us,” express how you came to this knowledge. Children respond well to these stories.

Include multiple aspects of the Atonement.

Children need to understand that Christ’s gifts to us are many. For example, explain that Jesus’ Atonement offers us life after death and sin (1 Corinthians 15:22; Isaiah 1:18), but also life amid trials and challenges (Alma 7:11-12). Beyond this, it offers us the opportunity to be transformed (John 10:10). Not only can we return home to God, but we can become more like Him (Matthew 5:48).

Focus on the child.

Among the letters in the word Atonement is the word me. The Atonement becomes truly meaningful when it is personalized. Although God has many children, He is a perfect parent who cares for each individually. The Atonement was performed for all mankind, but also for each individual. It is up to each of us to appreciate, accept, apply, and internalize it.

Provide purpose for the suffering.

To accomplish the Atonement, Christ selflessly and lovingly offered His life and endured spiritual anguish that was beyond the capacity of any mortal. Dwelling on Christ’s death and suffering can sometimes be overwhelming and disturbing for children. Emphasize the purpose for Christ’s suffering: to make possible the plan of redemption, to preserve our freedom, to offer us the chance to live eternally with loved ones, to give us the opportunity to change and be better, to offer us peace, hope, and relief. We can help children discover all that is possible because of Christ’s suffering and, when the time is right, see purpose in their own difficult challenges as well.

Use simple language.

Instead of using the word grace, speak of how Christ can strengthen and help us. Call the Atonement a priceless gift. Redemption can be related to improvement. Resurrection is living after we die. Eternal life is the opportunity to live with God and family. Exaltation is reaching our highest potential, and repentance is changing and being better. As children get older, they can be taught the proper words to go with the concepts they’ve already learned.

Recognize progress.

Perfection may be our ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. Help children learn grace by assuring them that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. Help them see how they can try again when they make mistakes. Teach that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). We can all, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Faith Is Not...


5 Things Faith Is Not


The world has its counterfeits for faith. One way to decide what faith is, and why it is becoming so scarce in our world, is to first explore what it is not.

1. Faith is not gullibility or falling for anything.
Faithless people are sometimes quite critical of those who possess what they do not. They assume that people who live their lives by faith are naïve, easily swayed, and simple-minded. That is not faith. A faithful person is a thinking being, one who can judge, assess, and reason, one who can distinguish clearly between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong. A faithful person does not fall prey to either the foolish or the perverse. Faith can be exercised only in that which is true.
President N. Eldon Tanner explained that faith “will avail us nothing unless it is based on true principles. This is illustrated in a story about the meeting of the Indians with the Europeans when they first began their explorations in the New World. The Indians were amazed at the power and explosive qualities of gunpowder and asked many questions about how it was produced. Taking advantage of the ignorance of [these people] and seeing an opportunity to increase their wealth through deception, the Europeans told them it came from the seed of a plant. The Indians believed them and purchased some seed in exchange for gold. They carefully planted the seed and watched it grow, but of course they did not get any gunpowder. No matter how sincere one’s belief may be in an error, it will not change the error into truth.”

2. Faith is neither weakness nor ignorance.
True faith is anything but weak. The early Brethren of this dispensation were, in fact, taught that faith is a principle of power, the same power by which God created the worlds. Further, “the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and . . . it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist” (Lectures on Faith 1:15–16). Nor is faith the opposite of knowledge. A certain level of knowledge and understanding is needed before an individual can exercise faith. The School of the Elders learned, for example, that in order to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation, a person must (1) believe there is a God; (2) have a correct understanding of the character, perfections, and attributes of that divine Being; and (3) possess an actual knowledge that the course in life that he or she is pursuing is according to the will of God.
“Faith is the child of knowledge,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote. “It is reserved for those only who first have knowledge; there neither is nor can be any faith until there is knowledge. No one can have faith in a God of whom he knows nothing. Faith is founded on truth; it is the offspring of truth; it can never exist alone and apart from the truth.”

3. Faith is not blind.
In fact, those with faith are frequently able to see and discern things that a faithless person could never perceive. That is why some say believing is seeing, not the reverse. Nor are Latter-day Saints, who are presided over by prophets, seers, and revelators, expected to follow their leaders like blind sheep. President Harold B. Lee said, paraphrasing Brigham Young: “The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.” One of the great strengths of the Church is that there are millions of people throughout the world who exercise bold, intelligent obedience.
Adam and Eve were commanded to “offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.” The Mosaic account indicates that “after many days” an angel appeared to our first father and inquired as to why he was making an animal sacrifice. His answer was beautiful: “I know not, save the Lord commanded me” (Moses 5:5–6). Was Adam obeying blindly? Not at all. Adam and Eve had already had a great deal of experience with the Almighty. “God conversed with him face to face. In His presence he was permitted to stand, and from His own mouth he was permitted to receive instruction. He heard His voice, walked before Him and gazed upon His glory, while intelligence burst upon his understanding, and enabled him to give names to the vast assemblage of his Maker’s works” (Lectures on Faith 2:18). No blind obedience there.

4. Faith is not positive thinking, nor does it consist in willing something into existence.
Obviously it is a good thing to be positive, to be upward-looking, to be optimistic about now and the future. But faith is not positive thinking. Nor can one with a positive attitude will things into being.
Imagine a full-time missionary, a zone leader, serving, let’s say, in France, who turns to the missionaries under his charge and says, “Come on, elders and sisters, if we just had the faith we could baptize this whole country!” The Gospel of Mark records that while in His hometown, Nazareth, the people heard the Savior’s preaching and asked, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in His own house.” Now note this astounding verse: “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mark 6:3–5; emphasis added). Now imagine that we heard someone standing 50 feet away from Jesus say, “Come on, Lord, just exercise your faith!” No, that would never be appropriate, not just because He is the Son of the living God, the second member of the Godhead. Jesus could not and did not reward faithlessness with a display of signs and wonders because “faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe” (D&C 63:9).
The Book of Mormon records that approximately 350 years after the birth of Christ, Mormon sought earnestly to lead his wayward people back to faith. He had been appointed the leader of the Nephite armies and at about this time won a battle against the Lamanites. Mormon explained that “the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own [see Helaman 13:37]. . . . Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.”
Mormon was thrilled, hoping against hope that something, anything, could bring about a conversion among his people. “But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die” (Mormon 2:10–14). Now picture some positive-minded, goal-driven, 21st-century person on the sidelines sounding off: “Mormon, Mormon. Come on, you’ve got to put your heart in it. Let’s exercise some faith!”
In all three of these scenarios are factors over which the missionary, the Master Himself, and the prophet-editor Mormon had no control. One of these factors—and a deeply significant one at that—is the moral agency of the people, their right to choose what they will do with their lives. Being positive and upbeat is great, indeed so much better than being deflated or living like Eeyore the donkey. But it is not faith.

5. Faith is not absolute certainty as a result of tangible, observable evidence.
Alma remarked in his marvelous discourse on faith: “Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it” (Alma 32:17–18). These verses are crucial to our understanding what it means to have faith in these latter days, a taxing time of spreading unbelief. Far too many people today—and some of these people are Latter-day Saints—want tangible, empirical, scientifically verifiable evidence for the truthfulness of the restored gospel. If we could demonstrate through DNA research that the Nephites and Lamanites were actual, pre- Columbian people and that the Lehite colony did in fact come from Jerusalem, then this critic will believe. If in the near future adequate and substantial archaeological evidences for the Book of Mormon peoples could be found, then the naysayer would be persuaded of the historicity of this testament of Jesus Christ. If we could just prove convincingly that the 11 Egyptian papyri fragments held by the Church have something to do with Abraham the prophet, then that doubter will accept the book of Abraham as ancient holy scripture.
In using Thomas the apostle as an illustration, President Howard W. Hunter explained that “in a sense, Thomas represents the spirit of our age. He would not be satisfied with anything he could not see [John 20:19–29], even though he had been with the Master and knew His teachings concerning faith and doubt. . . . Faith does not take precedence over doubt when one must feel or see in order to believe.
“Thomas . . . wanted knowledge, not faith. Knowledge is related to the past because our experiences of the past are those things which give us knowledge, but faith is related to the future—to the unknown where we have not yet walked.” President Hunter wisely observed: “Thomas had said, ‘To see is to believe,’ but Christ answered, ‘To believe is to see.’”
If we were to take Thomas’s approach, we might well demand physical proof or a rational explanation for what Jesus did when He healed the lepers, the paralyzed, the woman with the issue of blood, blind Bartimaeus; when He multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed five thousand men; when He calmed the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee; when He raised from the dead the daughter of the Roman centurion, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Can we provide scientific evidence for such miracles? No, we cannot. Then how do we know that they actually took place?
Professor Hugh W. Nibley was a beloved 20th-century Latter-day Saint apologist, a defender of the faith. As many Saints know, he was a man of extraordinary intellect, but, perhaps more important, he was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and a man of deep and abiding faith in the restored gospel. “The words of the prophets,” he testified well over a half century ago, “cannot be held to the tentative and defective tests that men have devised for them. Science, philosophy, and common sense all have a right to their day in court. But the last word does not lie with them. Every time men in their wisdom have come forth with the last word, other words have promptly followed. The last word is a testimony of the gospel that comes only by direct revelation. Our Father in heaven speaks it, and if it were in perfect agreement with the science of today, it would surely be out of line with the science of tomorrow. Let us not, therefore, seek to hold God to the learned opinions of the moment when he speaks the language of eternity.”
Faith is NOT many things. We must be grounded and settled spiritually to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in the power of redemption that comes only through the sufferings and death of Christ, faith in the Father’s perfect plan of salvation, faith in the restored Church of Jesus Christ and its apostolic leadership. This is vital, for it is only a solid faith, an enduring and fruitful faith that will empower us to “withstand the evil day” and to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:15, 17). It is only through acting on a faith built on truth—“things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24)—that deep conversion takes place. Then we are able to face opposition calmly, encounter enemies kindly but boldly, and make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy Pioneer Day!


Riddle Given to Pioneer Children

1-Find first a father’s name whose failing powers his son deceived;

2-Then name that father’s mother, who the promised heir received;
3-Next name a mother who in grief her son from home must send;
4-Her husband’s father next appears, God’s chosen faithful friend;
5-Then find an only brother’s name, who sought his brother’s life;
6-And, last, a woman, who, unloved, became that brother’s wife;

7-Now who was he that with all these relationship could claim?
The initial letters of their names combined will give his name;
The father , grandfather, the mother, grandmother, and wife;
The brother – all are his, who gave a mighty nation life.


ANSWERS: 1-Isaac, 2-Sarah, 3-Rebecca, 4-Abraham, 5-Esau, 6-Leah, 7-ISRAEL

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Be...

Gordon B Hinckley is credited with this quote.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Most Important Calling in the Church

Dieter F Uchtdorf

What is the most important calling in the Church? It is the one you currently have. No matter how humble or prominent it may seem to be, the calling you have right now is the one that will allow you not only to lift others but also to become the man/woman you were created to be.

            In his April 2017 General Priesthood talk, President Uchtdorf shared this [humble] example:

During the 150th anniversary of the pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Brother Myron Richins was serving as a stake president in Henefer, Utah. The celebration included a reenactment of the pioneers’ passage through his town.

President Richins was heavily involved with the plans for the celebration, and he attended many meetings with General Authorities and others to discuss the events. He was fully engaged.

Just before the actual celebration, President Richins’s stake was reorganized, and he was released as president. On a subsequent Sunday, he was attending his ward priesthood meeting when the leaders asked for volunteers to help with the celebration. President Richins, along with others, raised his hand and was given instructions to dress in work clothes and to bring his truck and a shovel.

Finally, the morning of the big event came, and President Richins reported to volunteer duty.

Only a few weeks before, he had been an influential contributor to the planning and supervision of this major event. On that day, however, his job was to follow the horses in the parade and clean up after them.

President Richins did so gladly and joyfully.

He understood that one kind of service is not above another.

He knew and put into practice the words of the Savior: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” [Matthew 23:11].

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blessings Large and Small

Neal A Maxwell (1926-2004)

When, like a big boulder, a large blessing rolls visibly into place, it is certainly noticed, appreciated, and counted. Meanwhile, however, the less-noticed, pebble-sized blessings mount up, layer upon layer. Cumulatively, the latter may out-mass many of our large blessings. Those seemingly smaller blessings are the frequent subtle signals that He is mindful of us. Because both large and small blessings reflect the beneficence of God. We need to be aware of both, thankfully and constantly, and make honest and full inventories. God’s hand is surely in the pebble-like details as well as in the large panorama, and His ways of measuring are so much better than our ways. Though He sends “rain on the just and on the unjust” [Matthew 5:45] – both the deserving and the undeserving – blessings are dispensed according to our obedience to the laws upon which they are predicated [Doctrine & Covenants 130:20-21]. Nevertheless, when God blesses us, He does it with the Malachi measure and the harvest baskets are “pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” [Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:10]. Besides, for us, blessings size is clearly not as important as the Blessing Source.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

First Presidency Easter Message

Easter is a wonderful time to remember Christ's life and reflect on the great love He has for us.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently shared a beautiful Easter message from the First Presidency that illustrates the story of Christ's Atonement and His resurrection. 
At this Easter season, we remember with immense gratitude the sacrifices of our Savior in Gethsemane and on Calvary’s cross. No mere mortal can comprehend the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane. His suffering there caused Him to “tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18). Following the agony of Gethsemane, the Savior’s wounded body was nailed to a cross on Calvary’s hill. He was mocked and cursed and derided. When merciful death came, His body was gently placed in a borrowed tomb. He had passed beneath all things so that He might save all things.
Three days later, angels declared to the weeping Mary Magdalene: “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6). With these words, the most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history was announced — the Savior’s victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary were wiped away. The salvation of mankind was secured. The Fall of Adam was reclaimed.
At this Easter season, we solemnly testify that our Savior was resurrected and that He lives again. As a result, each of God’s children will receive the Savior’s gift of immortality. And those who follow the Savior’s teachings and receive the gospel’s saving ordinances will be blessed with life eternal.
The First Presidency's message also goes perfectly with this year's #PrinceofPeace campaign, which helps God's children draw closer to Christ as they celebrate this Easter season.