Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I found this interesting article in the online Meridian Magazine titled Consecration in Marriage by H Wallace Goddard. It is a little long, but I enjoyed it! I hope you will too!
I will try and keep up on the Happy Valley Ward GDC blog even though I won't be able to be in class over the next couple of weeks. (Now I made the commitment!)
Make a Great Week!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
It is a beautiful You Tube video called "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning" and it focus on Joseph Smith's ministry starting with his first vision through his martyrdom in just 25 short years.
During that time period he received revelation and doctrinal teachings that had been up to that time lost to this generation. Basic life questions like:
Does God exist?
• Physical nature of the Godhead
What is the origin of man?
• Pre-mortal existence
• Our creation in God’s image
What is the future of man?
• The three kingdoms of glory
• Eternal marriage
• Our potential to become like Heavenly Father
How do we become sanctified through the law of Christ?
• Mode of baptism
• The gift of the Holy Ghost
Where do we receive the ordinances of salvation?
• Apostles and prophets
Who has the authority to administer the ordinances?
• Melchizedek Priesthood
• Aaronic Priesthood
What about those who die without knowledge of the gospel?
• Baptism for the dead
Enjoy this video and give thanks for our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith.
(click on text below)
"Oh How Lovely Was the Morning"
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
To help class members resolve to strengthen the kingdom of God through diligent service, particularly by sharing the gospel through missionary work.
The following true story highlights thee important concepts that we will be discussing today:
1. Prepare ourselves to do God’s Work
2. Serve Him with all our might, mind and strength
3. Remember this is His work and:
a. He is preparing people to hear his words
b. He will give us the words we should speak if we but open our mouths
"Most of the way through the talk, my eyes were drawn to two little slips of paper sitting on my desk. Two papers, each containing a name of a perspective elder in the our ward. Two papers containing a commitment I’d made to visit these people. Of course, I knew that once I left for conference I wouldn’t be able to keep my commitment and that I had better just go and take care of it now. So, I paused the talk, said a prayer, and jumped in my car, off to look for these people.
I found the first home with a little difficulty as their house number wasn’t on their home, but I did find it. A woman answered the door, and I asked, is this where Ken lives? She said yes, but he’s not here, he’s deployed, out to sea. I explained that I was from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ll try to recount the conversation the best I can below:
* Ken doesn’t claim to be a member of your church.
* OK. Here’s what I'd like to offer. I know how hard it is to be a single parent while your spouse is out to sea. I’d like to offer myself as someone who can come into your home and share with you a message of Christ. Also, I can be someone you can lean on for any help you might need. It’s something we do in our church and it’s called Home Teaching.
* Yes, I know, I grew up a Mormon too.
* Yes, but I don’t consider myself a member.
* If you don't want us to come over any more, I can give you a way that we can make sure that doesn't happen any more. You can write a letter to the bishop and you can have your name removed from the records of the church. Then it will be as if you had never been baptized, and we won't bug you any more. But as long as you're on our list, we're going to drop by. It's what we do.
* Well, I don't think I'd want to go that far...
* Well, I’d like to offer myself one more time, I can be someone you can call for anything, even just for help fixing a flat tire. (I shared with her how I had done that with another Navy lady I home teach while her husband was deployed.)
* Well, I’ll think about it.
* I feel that I need to tell you that the Lord is mindful of who you are, and your needs. He loves you and wants you to know that.
* Now you’re going to make me cry.
* I’m sorry, but that’s what I'm here for... to share this message with you. That God knows YOU.
* Bishops, relief society, home teachers, missionaries have been trying to come for 20 years, and here I am, crying.
* I don’t understand why I was here today, or what just happened, but I know I was on the Lords errand, and he had a special message for you, and I got to be the one to bring it. Once again I’d like to offer myself as someone that can be here for you.
* I’ll think about it. Can I have your name and number?
* Sure... I don’t even know your name.
* Hi Cyndi, good to meet you. :-)
* It’s good to meet you too. :-)
* I need to be going now, but I want to testify to you one more time... this wasn’t my doing. There was a reason I was here today. God wanted you to know that you are loved.
And I left. Our entire conversation was probably about five minutes, but SO much was communicated, taught, and learned. A hard heart was softened. A closed door was opened.
As I got in my car, I immediately bowed my head and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. This was EXACTLY what I needed. This healing was for me too. As I left her house, all I could say, “I thank thee, I thank thee, I thank thee.” I was overwhelmed at the miracle that had just occurred.
When I returned home, I resumed the talk where I had paused it and this is the next thing that Elder Eyring said:
“Your faith will grow as you serve the Lord in caring for Heavenly Father’s children as the Lord’s teacher to their home. You will have your prayers answered. You will come to know for yourself that He lives, that He loves us, and that He sends inspiration to those with even the beginnings of faith in Him and with the desire to serve Him in His Church.”"
They have continued to meet weekly and subsequently he learned that Cyndi's grandfather was an active member. Her Grandfather had died not too long ago and it had really impacted her as she was close to him. Her heart was softened; she was prepared to hear this message.
1. Prepare to serve the Lord
What are some of the attributes the Lord desires in those who serve Him? (See the following scriptures. List the attributes on the chalkboard and use the questions to encourage discussion.)
a. D&C 4:3; 11:8. Why is desire an important attribute in serving the Lord? How can we increase our desire to serve Him.
b. D&C 4:5–6; 12:8; 18:19. Which attributes are repeated most frequently in these verses? Invite class members to share experiences that show the importance of any of these attributes in serving the Lord.
c. D&C 11:6, 20. Why is obedience important in serving the Lord?
d. D&C 4:7; 31:12. How has prayer helped you in serving the Lord? Encourage class members to select one of these attributes and prayerfully strive to improve in it.
2. Serve him with all our might, mind and strength
• Read D&C 4:1–2 with class members. According to verse 2, what does the Lord require of those who serve in His kingdom?
What does it mean to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? (This suggests total dedication to the Lord’s service.)
• Why is it important that we devote our whole souls to the Lord’s service?
• Why are we sometimes less than fully committed to the Lord’s service?
• How can we improve our commitment to serve the Lord with full devotion?
3. Remember - This is God’s work
a. “The field is white.” - He is preparing people
Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord communicates a sense of urgency about spreading the gospel. This is because the purpose of missionary work is “the salvation of souls” (D&C 100:4).
• Read D&C 4:4, 11:3, and D&C 33:3 with class members. What did the Lord mean by comparing missionary work to a field that is ready to be harvested? (Answers could include that many people are prepared to receive the gospel.
• The Lord warned the elders not to be idle and said that they should “go forth” rather than “tarry” (D&C 60:13; 75:3). How might this warning apply to us? Why do some of us delay sharing the gospel?
b. “Open our mouths and they shall be filled.”
In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord gives direction about what we should teach and how we should teach as we share the gospel.
He also encourages us to share the gospel without fear, promising to help when we feel inadequate.
• Read some of the following verses with class members: D&C 11:9, 15:6, 18:6, 31:3–4, 33:10–11, 42:12, and D&C 52:8–9.
What do these verses reveal about what the Lord’s servants should teach? Why is the message of repentance so important? (See D&C 18:10–14. *
• Read some of the following verses with class members: D&C 18:20–21, 38:41, 42:6, 14, 75:4, and D&C 100:7–8.
What do these verses reveal about how the Lord’s servants should teach? Why is it important to avoid contention in teaching the gospel?
What does it mean to “[lift] up your voices as with the sound of a trump”? (D&C 42:6; 75:4).
How can we be both bold and meek as we teach the gospel? (See Alma 38:10–12.)
• The Lord repeatedly exhorted the elders to open their mouths to declare His gospel, “not fearing what man can do” (D&C 30:11; see also D&C 30:5; 33:8–11).
The Lord also said that He is not pleased with those who “will not open their mouths … because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2).
How might this apply to us? How can we overcome fear in sharing the gospel? (See D&C 19:38; 33:12–14; 75:9–13.
This was a fun concept for me to think through. In the work I do as a business process consultant, one of the principles that we consult to is the the logic associated with setting up businesses. This includes:
- establishing how an organization is going to create value and for who.
- determining specific products/services that will be offered, and associated required processes.
- defining roles and required skills and training
- developing the structure to support the roles to perform their processes
- monitoring performance to insure the product/services are being realized
As I thought through the series of events that lead to the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it occurred to me that this same logic was applied!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Seminary from Iraq This is story of an Army Capt stationed in Iraq that takes on the challenge to teach early morning seminary - virtually to his two teenage sons in the states. Takes hope/action? Was there testing? His confirmation sounds pretty priceless.
I was also impressed by young McKay Hatch's story of encouraging his friends to "don't cuss". McKay's story was highlighted in the March 2009 New Era Magazine.
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is the beginnings of a chart that will include some scripture references that explain Faith as a process that increases as we engage ourselves in these activities. It also requires the practice of regular repentance. I just wanted to see if I could post a powerpoint slide that I created as a picture that can be read!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The picture above is titled "Of One Heart" and was painted by Liz Lemon Swindle. I love it. It is a reminder to me that even through my darkest trials and tribulations, if I am humble and faithful, I can receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost that will bring "peace to my mind".
I found an article in the Meridian (online LDS magazine) titled "Conduit Revelation" written by Philip A. Allred. It was a little long, but I found it very informative. I have included some of the quotes from this article if you don't have time to read the whole thing.
Elder Boyd K. Packer recently noted, "The voice of the Spirit is a still, small voice-a voice that is felt rather than heard. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought into your heart" (Ensign, May 2000, p. 9). What this means here is that this voice is internal, not external.
Elder Richard G. Scott helps to define this in what I consider a landmark address to the Church Educational System in August of 1998:
I would explain that an impression to the mind is very specific. Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though the instruction were being dictated. A communication to the heart is a more general impression. The Lord often begins by giving impressions. Where there is recognition of their importance and they are obeyed, one gains more capacity to receive more detailed instruction to the mind. An impression to the heart, if followed, is fortified by a more specific instruction to the mind (Richard G. Scott, "Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led," General Authority Address, The Twenty-Second Annual Church Educational System Religious Educators Symposium, Brigham Young University, 11 August 1998, p. 4).
Thus general impressions come to the heart and specific instructions are delivered to the mind. Elder Scott�s suggestion that the Lord begins with the general impressions, to see if they will be heeded, then moves to more specific instructions has been borne out many times in my life. When I have been willing to follow those initial tuggings I have been rewarded with greater direction. However, when I have been slothful or doubtful I have squelched these precious communications and I know that I have lost something of significance from the Lord.Elder Dallin H. Oaks offers this helpful distinction: "As a source of knowledge, the scriptures are not the ultimate but the penultimate. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation. A study of the scriptures enables men and women to receive revelations. Because scripture reading put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord" ("Scripture Reading and Revelation," Address to BYU Studies Academy, Provo Utah, 29 Jan. 1993, 3-4).
Elder Carlos E. Asay notes, "I fear that many of us rush about from day to day taking for granted the Holy Scriptures. We scramble to honor appointments with physicians, lawyers, and businessmen. Yet we think nothing of postponing interviews with Deity-postponing scripture study. How much better it would be if we planned and held sacred fifteen or twenty minutes a day for reading the scriptures. Such interviews with Deity would help us recognize his voice and enable us to receive guidance in all our affairs. We must look to God through the scriptures" (Ensign, November, 1978, 53-54).
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Hi Everyone - Here is the reading assignment for next week.
I posted the rest of lesson #3 (the parts we didn't get to cover last week) in the previous blog. I hope you find time to read and ponder. I was really touched with the scriptures that provide us Christ's personal witness to the Book of Mormon.
Also, I was taken back by the admonition to the saints who 'took their gift' for granted. It sort of woke me up and caused me to reflect if I was in that same boat! I love the words "remember the new covenant". I have committed myself to some new actions . . .
I would enjoy hearing about yours . . .
See you in two weeks!
By the way, I really enjoyed last week's class participation. Hopefully you felt uplifted as well.
Witnesses to the Book of Mormon
Read D&C 5:11-15
• Consider the experiences of the witnesses. What were they commanded to do?
Read Ether 5:4
• Why was it important to assign 3 witnesses?
Jesus Christ adds his witness to the Book of Mormon in D&C 17:6; 19:26
- How easy was it for the witnesses to share what they experienced?
- What are the way’s we can witness the Book of Mormon?
Our Responsibility to “remember the new covenant”
Read D&C 84:54-55
• Why was the church under condemnation?
• What were they instructed to do to lift this condemnation?
Read D&C 84:57
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
Continue reading D&C 84: 58-62 for further instructions.
Challenge - Reflect in your journal:
• How the Lord is preparing you to fulfill your purpose in building his kingdom? What preparations are you engaging to help build the kingdom of God?
• Think of what it would take for you to not “treat lightly the things that you have received”
• What ways do you “remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon”?
“The strength of the Church is not in . . . its thousands of houses of worship across the world, nor in its universities . . . The strength of this church lies in the hearts of its people, in the individual testimony and conviction of the truth of this work” CR 4/73 Ensign July 1973 pg 49. Gordon B. Hinckley
Saturday, January 17, 2009
1. Began in the days of the Apostles:
- John A. Tvedtnes: "In view of the evidence from the ancient texts ... it seems clear that the general apostasy in the early Church was the result of individual apostasy by dissident Christians who not only rejected the Lord's chosen servants, but sometimes set themselves up in their place. With the passing of the apostles and other recognized authorities of the early Church, these rebellious individuals filled the void and brought their own opinions, rather than the Lord's revealed truth, into the Church." (Rejection of Priesthood Leaders as a Cause of the Great Apostasy, Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research)
2. After the departure of the apostles, spiritual gifts ceased to exist in the Church.
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "This condition also led to the universal belief, which the world holds even now, that the canon of scripture is full and there is to be no more scripture, notwithstanding the Lord has revealed through his servants that revelation is to continue." (Essentials In Church History, p8)
3. In the 4th Century, the Church as it had evolved, became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine.
- Over time the simple principles of the Christian faith were embellished almost beyond recognition with pomp and mystic rites borrowed from pagan worship.
- Doctrines of the gospel were changed:
- The doctrine of the Godhead became one of mystery.
- The ordinance of baptism was changed to sprinkling.
- Infant baptism was instituted.
- Changes in the administration of the Sacrament were instituted.
- Those entering the ministry were forbidden to marry.
God prepared the way for Restoration
"Beginning in the 14th Century, the Lord began to prepare those social, educatinal, religious, economic, and governmental conditions under which he could more easily resotre the gospel for the last time." Bruce R. McConkie Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed (1966), 717.
2 - Reformers There were many great ones; I just learned of William Wilberforce last night (Amazing Grace is the show/video about his contribution - excellent watch!)
3 - Americas with independent peoples
4 - Constitution with religious freedom
Many truths were revealed in the First Vision
"I submit that in the few minutes that Joseh Smith was with the Father and the Son, he learned more of the nature of God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord than all the learned minds in all their discussion through all centries of time" President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, 24 Oct. 1998, 6)
Truths revealed through First Vision:
- God and Jesus live
- They are two separate beings
- God answers prayers
- Revelation has not ceased
- Satan is real
- Satan has power but God's is greater
- No church at that time had fullness
How did God prepare Joseph Smith to be a prophet? How are we using our personal trials and afflictions to become better servants of God?
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The attached Wordal (picture of word associations represented in size by number of references within a given text) was created from all the scripture references given in this lesson for the names, roles and characteristics associated with Jesus Christ.
I thought it was interesting that the word LIGHT was given the most emphasis as you can see by the size of the word light in the picture.
The Light of Christ is sometimes referred to as our conscience, but it is much more than that. Read the second and third paragraphs under the “Light of Christ: on page 725 of the Bible Dictionary to gain a greater understanding of the Light of Christ, then read D&C 88:6–13; D&C 93:2; Moroni 7:13, Moroni 7:16–19
The following are some key points to consider:
- The Light of Christ “[fills] the immensity of space” and “giveth life to all things” (D&C 88:12–13).
- It is an uplifting influence that is given to every person who is born into the world (D&C 93:2).
- It helps us know good from evil and invites us to do good and believe in Christ (Moroni 7:13, Moroni 7:16–19).
1- Spend some time to ponder and journal your insights and impressions of how remembering and understanding Christ's roles, attributes and atonement could impact or change your daily behaviors.
2- Ponder and journal how you can show the Savior your gratitude for His Atonement
Sunday, January 4, 2009
We will be using the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide this year. I will not be "recreating study guides" but I will share any additional information that I think will be helpful in our studies this year.
Also, here is an invitation to YOU to add via the comments section on this blog any ideas you may have to help motivate or encourage our class learning!
One idea is to categorize your thoughts into the following three buckets:
- Ah Haaaas! (I was formerly calling these 'appetizers') Insights connections, patterns, or themes that adds to your understanding & testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- TA Das! Personal accomplishments or acknowledgment of others relative to class purposes and lesson content or personal scripture study.
- Uh Ohs? Specific questions or challenges that were answered through the scriptures
• Hymn # 41 Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise - awesome hymn describing the context for D&C study! LDS Hymns
• Meridian Magazine – The Voice of Warning Shall be Unto All People, Scot Facer Proctor http://www.meridianmagazine.com/gospeldoctrine/dc/041228dcintro.html
• Web tool that provides daily scripture reading assigments: http://www.readthescriptures.com/