Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday Stations


“This is the season of opportunity for families to stand tall and be counted among the faithful who obey the fourth great commandment: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ ” Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop

That is what this great article titled, "Sunday Stations", by Marci Cole, is all about, keeping the sabbath day holy. When I read this story in the Friend I thought it was such a great idea.

Sometimes I think some of us can fall into the habit of making a list of don'ts for the sabbath day but might forget to spend our time doing great and very sabbath appropriate things.

My little family tends to spend a lot of time together on Sundays but often we are merely lounging around rather than engaging in wonderful, uplifting activities like those that can be found in this article. If you haven't read it yet, whether you have children or not, it is a must read. I think we all could find something worthwhile that works for us individually or for our whole family.

The activities that they had in their Sunday Stations were working on Faith in God or Duty to God, sending an email to someone they loved, calling a grandparent on the phone, reading a scripture story, and reading a story from the Friend. But these are only a few of the many wonderful things we and our children could engage in on Sundays as part of our own versions of Sunday Stations or whatever else works for our families.

There are other simple things like writing in a journal, writing a letter to a missionary or to someone in the military, watching a church movie (short movies can be found on the Church's YouTube page - Mormon Messages), singing or listening to Hymn's or Children's songs, and of course there are many other great things we can engage in.

I never realized what great resources were online on the Friend page. You can color online while listening to a nice song, play games like putting puzzles together of gospel art, listen to or read stories from the Friend, and much more. Check it out!

Well, now with all of that said I would love to hear how you make your Sunday's interesting, engaging, and uplifting each and every week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ought Thoughts

This last Sunday we had some great talks in my ward. Sometimes full talks stick out to me and sometimes little bits here and there get me thinking. This time it was a small moment in a talk but it has me thinking.

One of the speakers mentioned a seminar or a conference he went to years ago where Steven Covey was the keynote speaker. One of the things that Steven Covey talked about was "Ought Thoughts". He was speaking to business men and women on how to be successful. He told them that when they have a thought come to them like "I ought to do this" or "I ought to do that" they should do it and if they did they would have greater success. Well, I think this flows perfectly into all of our personal life businesses.

I often have quick thoughts come to my mind such as I ought to drop by and bring that person a treat or I wonder how so-and-so is doing I ought to give them a call, but do I always listen to my "Ought Thoughts", NO!

Now in this case he used the term "Ought Thoughts" and sometimes that may be all that they are but more often than not I think those thoughts are promptings from the Holy Ghost. If you ever have a thought to do something and that something is good, DO IT! There is no need to question if it is a prompting or not if it is a worthwhile, wholesome, and helpful thought.

I think that often these types of thoughts are fleeting or are simply a quick thought that can be lost. I know that I have these types of thoughts but I also know that I often dismiss them and soon forget them.

I challenge us all to listen to these promptings, these impressions, these "Ought Thoughts" and to urgently follow through or promptly write them down. And I believe that if we do this we will have greater fulfillment and success in our lives and we will come to understand and hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost more frequently and more fully.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mormon Messages: The Blessings of the Temple

"The blessings of the Temple enable us to be sealed (connected) to our families after death and return back to the presence of our Father in Heaven. Visiting the Temple brings a sense of peace and spiritual strength."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Preparing Our Children for General Conference

With General Conference just around the corner and with the reminder of a great article in the Ensign I figured it was about time for a post to help us all to be a little more prepared for Conference this time around.

You can read the ariticle from the Ensign here ---> Preparing Our Children for General Conference.

To read the ideas found in this article but in a more condensed form you can read this document put together by Kate found on Sugardoodle.net.

In addition to this great article filled with ideas are these great activities to keep your children involved during Conference:

2009 General Conference Packet by Melanie Day.
Here is my post from the last General Conference. This post is filled with links to many activities, some of them will still work this time but others will be missing some of the changes.

I hope this helps everyone get ready to have an enjoyable conference experience with the whole family. I'll be sure to post more if I find more packets and activities and would love to hear what traditions or activities your family takes part in each time Conference rolls around.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Gospel Art Book

Many of you have probably already seen this on the homepage of lds.org but just in case I thought I would post it here as well. The Church has come out with a new Gospel Art Book. The original version is a set of Gospel Art Pictures that you can put in a box, with box and pictures this totaled $30. Now with this new version it comes in a spiral bound book for only $3.50. I think this is a wonderful idea.

I love that the book is small enough to be taken to church in a bag and that we won't lose any pictures as we take them out here and there. We will still use the set of pictures that we have but I am sure we will find great use for this new version.

You can order the book online HERE.
You may also download or browse the pictures online HERE.

Also enjoy this Promotional Video put out by the Church:

video

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Truths about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints



This video reminded me of a talk by Elder Ballard titled Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits. Here are a few of his words:

"It is not easy to explain something as vast as the Church or as wonderful as the restored gospel to people who know little or nothing about us. Even questions on one specific aspect can be difficult to answer because every question seems to be connected to other questions. The most common request we hear is a fairly simple one that goes something like this: “Tell me a little about your Church.” The key word here is “little.” They are not saying, “Tell me everything you know and then send others to tell me everything else.”

"We, of course, welcome people’s interest, and many will want to be taught more about our doctrines and beliefs. This is why we have over 53,000 full-time missionaries serving at their own expense throughout the world."

"But we need to remember that there is a difference between interest and mere curiosity. Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. Those who are curious in this general way deserve clear and accurate information that comes directly from those of us who are members so that they do not have to rely on the incomplete answers, half-truths, or false statements that may come from the media or other outside voices. The many misunderstandings and false information about the Church are somewhat our own fault for not clearly explaining who we are and what we believe."

He then goes on to explain what portions of our Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits that we might share. To read this portion of the talk and more click HERE.

He then gives us an assignment, "Brothers and sisters, in today’s busy world, I have found that most people will not read or focus on more than just a few important facts at one time. Whatever you choose to use to inform your friends and acquaintances about the Church, write it down, check it for accuracy, and keep it simple and short."

What a great challenge that will help to deter our lack of courage or our anxiety of sharing Gospel truths with others. If we simply have our thoughts and beliefs written down and checked then we will know what to say when the opportunity arrives. I have yet to fulfill this assignment but hope to do so soon and would love to hear what you have written down and if you have been able to use it.

On a totally different note, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mormonad: Text Messaging

So we all know that our world has become a world of text messaging. It is widely used by teens and adults alike. As odd as this might seem I have never sent a text message and I am not even sure if I know how to. Gasp, I know. I am behind the times.

Text messaging can be used for so much good. I've heard of many parents using it to keep track of their teens and stay connected with them. I heard about the stream of text messages that were sent out when President Hinckley passed away which ended in many students dressing up the next day at school. There is good in it.

On the flip side I have seen and heard of students texting during class at school, seminary, church, and church activities. And now because of this Mormonad and Video I see that it not only happens in these situations but also in social settings.

We need to be so careful with how we use our cell phones and text messaging and make sure we teach our children the same. We need to "Keep Texting from Taking Over". This is the title of an article written by Russell and Brad Wilcox and has a great message.

Here is a quote from this great article: "Like all communication tools, cell phones with text messaging capabilities can be positive or negative depending on how they are used. Stories can be told of a texted birthday greeting that made someone’s day or a disaster that was avoided because someone was warned quickly and effectively in a text message. Still, not-so-positive stories can also be told of teenagers texting their friends during Sunday School or seminary lessons, of people being hurt by the content of a message received, or...of people avoiding or disregarding those around them in favor of texting someone else.

Let us be careful of how we use this great media tool.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

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Facebook Page for LDS Newsroom

So I have yet to join the fun on Facebook and don't know that I ever will but surprisingly the LDS Newsroom has just launched a Facebook page. Check it out and if you are already on Facebook consider becoming a fan to keep up to date on everything.

It is pretty neat that the Church is jumping into all of these great media sources.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Name of Christ

This quote by Elder Oaks has peaked my interest and overtaken a few study sessions. I don't fully understand these deeper meanings of taking the name of Christ upon me but I hope to. Please read and share your thoughts and feelings about this wonderful quote.

“We see that we take upon us the name of Christ when we are baptized in his name, when we belong to his Church and profess our belief in him, and when we do the work of his kingdom. . . .

“There are other meanings as well, deeper meanings that the more mature members of the Church should understand and ponder as he or she partakes of the sacrament.

“It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so. (See D&C 20:77.) The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.

“What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred possibilities, one concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other—closely related—concerning exaltation in the celestial kingdom. . . .

“Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us. . . .

“. . . Our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7)” (Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, pp. 102–3, 105; or Ensign, May 1985, pp. 80–81, 83).

Again I would love to hear your insights and thoughts on this topic. Thanks for reading.

This particular quote was found in the Book of Mormon Student Manual.
Pictures Courtesy of LDS.org

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Publicity Dilemma: Big Love

This is an article that was posted in the LDS Newsroom about the attention the Church receives from Hollywood and other media, most often negative attention. The most recent attention has been on the HBO show "Big Love" and an attempt "to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies". "[We] sometimes...wonder whether and how [we] should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices."


This article answers the question of how we should respond in these situations and declares the minimal effect these misintrepretations really have on the Church long-term.

SALT LAKE CITY 9 March 2009 Like other large faith groups, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes finds itself on the receiving end of attention from Hollywood or Broadway, television series or books, and the news media. Sometimes depictions of the Church and its people are quite accurate. Sometimes the images are false or play to stereotypes. Occasionally, they are in appallingly bad taste.

As Catholics, Jews and Muslims have known for centuries, such attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a size or prominence sufficient to attract notice. Yet Latter-day Saints – sometimes known as Mormons - still wonder whether and how they should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices.

Church members are about to face that question again. Before the first season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies.

Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding. Last week some Church members began e-mail chains calling for cancellations of subscriptions to AOL, which, like HBO, is owned by Time Warner. Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company. Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series. As Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have both said recently, when expressing themselves in the public arena, Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness.

Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.” In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church (You can see examples of this in the full article (link below).)

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints.

If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years. Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

To read this entire article in the LDS Newsroom click HERE.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Create - President Uchtdorf

This is a wonderful video with portions of President Uchtdorf's talk "Happiness, Your Heritage" from the last General Relief Society Meeting. The video can be downloaded from the Relief Society page on lds.org.

"Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty."

I loved this talk but the message has kind of slipped from me since the meeting. After watching this video I feel a renewed desire to get out there and create and a sense of empowerment, with his assurance, that I can. Enjoy!

video

Friday, March 6, 2009

BRitD

This post was written a little while back and was posted only partly on this blog and entirely on Modern Molly Mormon where I am a small contributor (known as Mystery Molly). I decided to post the whole thing here, enjoy!

My husband and I have been trying to get our house in order. This means cleaning out closets, going through boxes, and taking a whole slew of things to the D.I. It has been quite the undertaking and is still a work in progress. But as I have gone through some boxes of things I haven’t seen in a very long time I came across a t-shirt, in fact I came across way to many t-shirts. Most of them I put in a box to carry downstairs and sort them later. One of the t-shirts ended up in my drawer. It was a shirt given to me as part of an extended family reunion. I have many of these kinds of shirts all with a different acronyms on them. I was unable to attend this specific reunion but still was given a shirt.

The back of the shirt reads like this:



The other night I chose it as the shirt I was going to wear to bed and I quickly remembered what those letters represent – Be Righteous in the Dark. At first glance I felt like I knew what our reunion was about even without being in attendance but then my brain started stewing over this seemingly simple phrase. What did it really mean or what could it mean?

So today I decided to ponder this a little and came up with four different ways to look at Being Righteous in the Dark. Many questions floated around in my head and ended up here as well. And of course with my love of the meaning of words I decided to look up the word dark.


1 - One meaning of the word dark is hidden or secret –

Are you righteous behind closed doors? Are you righteous in your hidden thoughts? Are you righteous in the darkness of your own solitude?

We must learn to be righteous when we are alone.

2 - Another meaning of the word dark is evil or wicked -

Are you seeking for righteousness in the darkness of this evil world? Are you taking to heart the phrase “be in the world but not of it”? Do you shun evil and worldly things and seek after the things of God? Do you stand up for what you believe even when you stand alone?

We must learn to be righteous amid the evils of the world.


3 – Another meaning of the word dark is gloomy or cheerless.

Are you righteous when in the midst of your trials and days of gloom? Do you seek the healing power of the atonement? Do you pray more fervently? Or do you question the love of God and forget to turn to Him in your times of need?

We must learn to be righteous during the battle of our trials.


4 – The last meaning I chose for the word dark is hard to understand or obscure.

Are you righteous and filled with faith even when a doctrine of the Gospel or the weight and purpose of a trial are hard to understand? Do you follow the words of the Prophet or other church leaders even when at first the purpose may seem unclear or unnecessary to you?

We must learn to be righteous and have a greater faith in God’s plan for us.

Brigham Young was the one to make this statement, “…we must learn to be righteous in the dark.” (Brigham Young’s Office Journal, 28 January 1857.)

What a powerful and true phrase that is. It is and will more profoundly continue to be a necessity, a must, an essential to Be Righteous in the Dark.

I challenge us all to find our greatest struggle in the dark and become more righteous there.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On the Lord's Errand:The Life of President Thomas S. Monson

The Church just released the full video of "On the Lord's Errand: The Life of President Thomas S. Monson." online. It is about an hour long of learning about our Prophet.

This could be a great FHE lesson, Sunday activity, or simply an evening learning more about our prophet. Click on the link above and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Apostle Song

The Official NEW Apostle video is out with Elder Andersen added. To read more about Elder Neil L. Andersen and to see the Apostle video with him added click HERE. If you would like to see the old versions with Elder Wirthlin and the other with a surprise ending continue on with this post. Thanks! I hope this helps.

I am sure many of you have seen and enjoyed the old version of the apostle song:


Since the passing of Elder Wirthlin a new version of the video and song has come out with an interesting ending. We will have to wait for a more complete version in April or May. I will be sure to post it when it comes out. Enjoy!!!:

video

Monday, March 2, 2009

Inner Talents

Yesterday in Relief Society our lesson was on talents. As a portion of the lesson we went around the room and each shared a talent that we had or a talent that we wanted to develop or acquire. It was fun to see how unique everyone is and how everyone has something to offer. It was a good lesson and a good reminder to be continually developing, strengthing, and seeking talents.

Later on in the afternoon I started to think about this lesson again. I realized something. Almost every sister mentioned an outward, physical talent such as, sewing, painting, photography, decorating, etc. Only a few mentioned more inner talents, talents which I think are of greater worth but often are not acknowledged as talents. One sister mentioned that she was cheerful and another that she had a sense of humor. These were the only two talents, that I can recall, that are more personal, inner talents and what great talents they are. Sadly, some sisters had a hard time seeing any talents in themselves. I think so often we only recognize the outer talents in ourselves or the lack of outward talents in ourselves, but if we looked more closely we might just find that we have so many talents that are of such great worth that might be a little more hidden or less noticeable.

It is great talent to be able to sew cloth together but what a greater talent it is to be able to be friendly and unite people together.

It is a great gift to be able to take pictures of people and their smiles but it is a greater talent to be able to make people smile.

It is great to be able to enjoy playing a sport well but it is even better to find joy and love for playing with children.

I don't mean to lessen the importance of and the need for all gifts including the wonderful physical talents we have been blessed with and that we have acquired but I do mean to emphasize the importance of the less often recognized gifts. Our spiritual gifts and our inner talents are so vital and I think are sometimes over-looked and not developed as they should be.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton shares with us some of these less recognized gifts,
"Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.

We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us."

In his talk he continues on to emphasize only a few of these gifts but it is wonderful. To read this whole talk click here ---> “There Are Many Gifts”

Let us all strive to recognize our inner talents and gifts. Let us all strive to recognize and encourage the inner gifts of others. Let us all strive to develop, strengthen, and acquire uplifting and worthwhile talents and gifts. Just as Elder Ashton said, "God's gifts and powers are available to all of us...every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009 General Young Women Meeting

For information about the General Young Women Meeting that will be held on March 28th click HERE.