Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Breakfast Recipes

German Pancakes 
by Juli Shogan

Place 1/4 cup butter in a 9x13 pan and place it in the oven while pre-heating to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend 6 eggs, 1 cup milk 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup flour.  When butter is melted and oven is pre-heated, pour this mixture into the pan.  Bake 20 minutes.  It will be puffy and beautiful.

Serve with lemon and powdered sugar or maple syrup.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
by Cat Call

1 gallon whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Mrs. Richardson's butterscotch caramel sauce
3/4 cup cocoa powder (more if you like a darker taste, less if you want a lighter taste)
1 T kosher salt
your favorite hot cocoa mix mixed with two and a half times the amount it calls for
(for example: A hot cocoa calls for 1T per cup. I would use 2.5T per cup, instead. There are 16 cups in a gallon, so I would do 40T of the mixture.)

Heat. Mix thoroughly. Keep warm in a crockpot. Serve with more caramel, whip cream, and a sprinkling of kosher salt.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Special Interest Group: Shakespeare

The Brentwood Ward Relief Society is hosting a Special Interest group that we have been given permission from the stake to invite the other Relief Societies to participate in. This is a Shakespeare Group in which they study Shakespeare’s plays, analyzing themes and plots. It’s a great opportunity to expand knowledge of great literature.  Get ready for HAMLET! We will plan to meet Wednesday, January 15 at 7 PM at Sandie Madsen's home. Prepare by reading Acts I and II. Again, I strongly suggest that you obtain the text SHAKESPEARE MADE EASY- HAMLET. There are many available on Amazon. There will also be some on hand.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reflections on the Mission of Jesus Christ

Now, the peculiarity of His mission, and that which distinguished it from other missions, was this: He came not to seek the glory and honor of men, but to seek the honor and glory of His Father, and to accomplish the work of His Father who sent Him. Herein lay the secret of His prosperity; and herein lies the secret of the prosperity of every individual who works upon the same principle


Jesus, the Son of God, was sent into the world to make it possible for you and me to receive these extraordinary blessings. He had to make a great sacrifice. It required all the power that He had and all the faith that He could summon for Him to accomplish that which the Father required of Him. … He did not fail, though the trial was so severe that He sweat great drops of blood. … His feelings must have been inexpressible. He tells us Himself, as you will find recorded in section 19 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that His suffering was so great that it caused even Him “to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit: and would that He might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.” But He had in His heart continually to say, “Father, not my will, but Thine be done.” [See D&C 19:15–19.]

We are all dependent upon Jesus Christ, upon his coming into the world to open the way whereby we might secure peace, happiness and exaltation. And had he not made these exertions we never could have been secured in these blessings and privileges which are guaranteed unto us in the gospel, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, for he made the necessary exertions. …

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Power of Everyday Missionaries

Elder Clayton M. Christensen's, The Power of Everyday Missionaries - the What and How of Sharing the Gospel was the subject of Sister Wright's Lesson today.  Here is just a couple of excerpts from the book:

Some promises relate to the power and strength people will receive as they share the gospel (the sections and verse of the Doctrine and Covenants in which these promises are given are shown in parentheses):

  • None shall stay you (1:5)
  • You shall receive strength such as is not known among men (24:12)
  • He Himself will go with you and be in your midst.  Nothing shall prevail against you (32:3)
  • Power shall rest upon you.  He will be with you and go before your face (39:12)
  • Your enemies will not have power over you (44:5)
  • The Lord will stand by you (68:6)
  • No weapon formed against you shall prosper (71:9)
  • He will uphold you (93:51)
  • The gates of hell shall not prevail against you (17:8)
  • You shall have power to declare His word (99:2)
  • Your tongue shall be loosed, and you will have the power of God unto the convincing of men (11:21)
  • Your mouth shall be filled and you shall become even as Nephi of old (33:8)
  • You will not be confounded.  It shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man (84:85, 100:5)
  • Your words shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, and shall be the voice of the Lord and the power of God unto salvation (68:4)
  • Your arm will be God's arm.  He will be your shield and buckler; He will gird up your loins and put your enemies under your feet (35:14)
Other blessings the Lord has promised to those who share the gospel relate to personal purity and increased faith:
  • You shall stand blameless before God (4:2)
  • You shall be lifted up at the last day (17:8)
  • You will be given a testimony of the words of the prophets (21:9)
  • You shall have revelations (28:8)
  • Your sins will be forgiven (31:5)
  • You shall have great faith (39:12)
  • You will be able to keep God's laws (44:5)
Consider the blessings that pertain to happiness, health, and prosperity:
  • You shall have blessings greater than the treasures of earth (19:37-38)
  • He will take care of your flocks (88:72), and your back shall be laden with sheaves (31:5)
  • You shall not be weary in mind, body, limb, or joint, and you shall not go hungry or thirsty.  A hair from your head shall not falll to the ground unnoticed (84:80, 116)
  • Your joy shall be great (18:14-15)
And perhaps most extraordinary of all, He has promised to fill us and our work with the Holy Ghost, to make us into better men and women:
  • He will send upon you the Comforter, which shall teach you the truth and the way whither you shall go (79:2)
  • The Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record of all things, whatsoever ye shall say (100:8)
  • He will go before your face.  He will be on your right hand and on your left; His Spirit shall be in your hearts, and His angels round about you, to bear you up (84:88)
  • He will bear you up as on eagles' wings; and you shall beget glory and honor to yourself and unto the Lord's name (124:18)
  • He will make you holy (60:7)

If you'd like to read more about this book or the movement, you can visit this website.

The Prophet Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith, whom God chose to establish this work, was poor and uneducated, and belonged to no popular denomination of Christians. He was a mere boy, honest, full of integrity, unacquainted with the trickery, cunning and sophistry employed by politicians and religious hypocrites, to accomplish their ends. Like Moses of old, he felt incompetent and unqualified for the task, to stand forth as a religious reformer, in a position the most unpopular—to battle against opinions and creeds which have stood for ages, having the sanction and support of men, the most profound in theological lore; but God had called him to deliver the poor and honest-hearted of all nations from their spiritual and temporal thralldom [bondage]. And God promised him that whosoever should receive and obey his message—be baptized for the remission of sins, with honesty of purpose—might receive divine manifestations, should receive the Holy Ghost, the same Gospel blessings which were promised and obtained through the Gospel, when preached by the ancient Apostles. And this message, this promise, was to be in force wherever and to whomsoever it should be carried by the Elders, God’s authorized messengers. So said Joseph Smith, the uneducated, the unsophisticated, the plain, simple, honest boy.

Joseph Smith, the great prophet, was not an educated man when God chose him and made known to him his mission. The Lord bestows spiritual gifts and knowledge upon the unlearned, and the greatness of the kingdom is made known to them by the power of the Holy Ghost, and they gradually become great in the knowledge of the things of God.

And in the Spirit of Christmas, Sister Demke reminded us that this is the Season of JOY (Jesus, Others, and You.)  What do you know to be true?

Excerpts from Teachings of the Presidents:  Lorenzo Snow, Chapter #23, The Prophet Joseph Smith.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Be Meek and Lowly of Heart

According to Elder Soares, meekness is the quality of those who are “Godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering.” Those who possess this attribute are willing to follow Jesus Christ, and their temperament is calm, docile, tolerant, and submissive.

When asked how to remain humble, President Kimball offered this formula:

First, you evaluate yourself. What am I? I am the circle. I am the hole in the doughnut. I would be nothing without the Lord. My breath, my brains, my hearing, my sight, my locomotion, my everything depends upon the Lord. That is the first step and then we pray, and pray often, and we will not get up from our knees until we have communicated. The line may be down; we may have let it fall to pieces, but I will not get up from my knees until I have established communication—if it is twenty minutes, if it is all night like Enos. . . . If it takes all day long, you stay on your knees until your unhumbleness has dissipated, until you feel the humble spirit and realize, “I could die this minute if it were not for the Lord’s good grace. I am dependent upon him—totally dependent upon him.” [TSWK pp. 233–34]

Elder Neal A. Maxwell expounded on the topic of meekness during a BYU devotional in 1986:

Meanwhile, the world regards the meek as nice but quaint people, as those to be stepped over or stepped on. Nevertheless, the development of this virtue is a stunning thing just to contemplate, especially in a world in which so many others are headed in opposite directions. These next requirements clearly show the unarguable relevance as well as the stern substance of this sweet virtue.

Serious disciples are not only urged to do good but also to avoid growing weary of doing good (see Galatians 6:9 and Helaman 10:5).

They are not only urged to speak the truth but also to speak the truth in love (see Ephe-sians 4:15).

They are not only urged to endure all things but also to endure them well (see D&C 121:8).

They are not only urged to be devoted to God's cause but also to be prepared to sacrifice all things, giving, if necessary, the last full measure of devotion (see Lectures on Faith 6:7).

They are not only to do many things of worth but are also to focus on the weightier matters, the things of most worth (see Matthew 23:23).

They are not only urged to forgive but also to forgive seventy times seven (see Matthew 18:21–22).

They are not only to be engaged in good causes, but also they are to be "anxiously engaged" (see D&C 58:27).

They are not only to do right but also to do right for the right reasons.

They are told to get on the strait and narrow path, but then are told that this is only the beginning, not the end (see 2 Nephi 31:19–20).

They are not only to endure enemies but also to pray for them and to love them (see Matthew 5:44).

They are urged not only to worship God but, astoundingly, they are instructed to strive to become like him! (See Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48, 27:27.)

In the midst of all these things," they are given a Sabbath day for rest, during which they do the sweetest but often the hardest work of all.

Who else but the truly meek would even consider such a stretching journey?

Lesson given by Cassi Campbell, based on Elder Soares' General Conference Talk, Be Meek and Lowly of Heart.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doing Good to Others

We are of the same Father in the celestial worlds. … If we knew each other as we should, … our sympathies would be excited more than they are at the present time, and there would be a desire on the part of every individual to study in their own minds how they might do their brethren good, how they might alleviate their sorrows and build them up in truth, how [they might] remove the darkness from their minds. If we understand each other and the real relationship which we hold to each other, we should feel different from what we do; but this knowledge can be obtained only as we obtain the Spirit of life, and as we are desirous of building each other up in righteousness.

We should have before us a strong desire to do good to others. Never mind so much about ourselves. Good will come to us all right if we keep our minds outside of ourselves to a certain extent, and try to make others happier and draw them a little nearer to the Lord. … When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.

… Individuals can enjoy heaven around them in all places. We have got to go to work and do this; we must go to work and establish heaven upon this earth, notwithstanding the evils that are around us, the devils that are around us, and notwithstanding the wickedness that exists, still we have got to go to work and establish heaven upon this earth.

Lesson given by Sister Kristy Bateman.  Taken from the Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 22.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Loving God More Than We Love the World

The god of the world is the gold and the silver. The world worships this god. It is all-powerful to them, though they might not be willing to acknowledge it. Now, it is designed, in the providence of God, that the Latter-day Saints should show whether they have so far advanced in the knowledge, in the wisdom and in the power of God that they cannot be overcome by the god of the world. We must come to that point. We have also got to reach another standard, a higher plane: we have got to love God more than we love the world, more than we love gold or silver, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

If we … fail to keep the covenants we have made, namely, to use our time, talent and ability for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God upon the earth, how can we reasonably expect to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, identified with the great work of redemption? If we, in our manner, habits and deal[ings], imitate the … world, thereby identifying ourselves with the world, do you think, my brethren, that God will bestow upon us the blessings we desire to inherit? I tell you no, he will not! … We must build ourselves up in the righteousness of heaven and plant in our hearts the righteousness of God. Said the Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” [Jeremiah 31:33.] This is what the Lord is endeavoring to do, and this he will accomplish in us if we conform to his will.

I thank God that in these times of corruption and wickedness in the world, we have holy and righteous men and women who can devote those superior talents which God has bestowed upon them to His praise and glory. And I might say further, that there are thousands of virtuous and honorable men and women, whom the Lord has gathered out from the nations, that are also willing to devote their time and talents to aid in accomplishing the work of God in the interest of His children.

Lesson taught by Sister Cheryl Demke.  Taken from Teachings of Presidents of Church:  Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 21.

Relief Society Christmas Gathering

Optional Christmas Craft
If you would like, you may stay after the program that night and make this Christmas Decor for your home

The cost for this project is $4 and includes all supplies.  Please watch for the sign-up beginning Sunday, November 17th.  You may bring your money that night.  If you are not able to catch the sign-up on Sundays, please feel free to contact Cassi and let her know that you would like to participate.  (project includes frames only, greenery will not be part of this project)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Continuous Conversion

Sister Shogan's lesson was based on the book, Continuous Conversion.  The following are just a few of the 46 notes she took while reading the book.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "The final judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts -- what we have done (callings we've held or money we have accumulated).  It is an acknowledgment of the final effects of our acts and thoughts - what we have become."  If the whole goal is just to be with God, why did we leave?

Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to become heavenly.  The key word is CHOSEN.  Sisters, are you striving to choose to become heavenly?

As Latter-day Saints we know not only what Jesus has saved us from, but what He has saved us for.  Elder Bruce C Hafen and his wife, Marie, have taught that the Atonement is not just a doctrine that erases black marks.  It is fundamentally a doctrine of human development.  In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read that God made Christ, who knew no sin, to take our sins for us so that we might be made righteous in Him.  In other words, Christ chose to become like us so that we could choose to become like Him.

Sheri Dew taught, "Our responsibility is to learn to draw upon the power of the Atonement.  Otherwise we walk through mortality relying solely on our own strength.  And to do that is to invite the frustration of failure and to refuse the most resplendent gift in time or eternity."

Receiving Christ in the temple requires sacrifice, but that sacrifice begins and perpetuates a life-changing cycle:  We begin to love that for which we sacrifice and we begin to sacrifice for what we love.

Lesson given by Sister Juli Shogan, taken from the book by Brad Wilcox, Continuous Conversion.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Annual Community Leaf Raking Service Project

We are teaming up with Catholic Charities to help those in our community who are in need.  There will be two dates and you can do one or both.  This has been a favorite service activity of our family - and very rewarding to be helping people all over Spokane who are not able to do these things for themselves.

November 2
St. Aloysius Church (330 E Boone)
Meet at 9:15 for snacks and assignments.
You will leave by 9:35 am and return between noon and 1:30 for a Hot Lunch.

November 16
LDS Church (2112 W Francis)
Meet at 8:30 for assignments.
You will be returning between noon and 1pm for a Hot Lunch.

Bring your friends, rakes and gloves.
Bags will be provided.

Being Accepted of the Lord

When I was a boy, I remember my father sometimes taking me with him to work on projects. We had a little garden a few kilometers from where we lived, and there was always so much to do to prepare the garden each season. We worked on the gazebo or built or repaired fences. In my memory this work always occurred in the freezing cold, heavy snow, or pouring rain. But I loved it. My father would teach me how to do things with patience and acceptance.

One day he invited me to tighten a screw and warned, “Remember, if you put it in too tight, it will break.” Proudly, I wanted to show him what I could do. I tightened with all my might, and, of course, I broke the screw. He made a funny comment, and we started over. Even when I “messed up,” I always felt his love and confidence in me. He passed away more than 10 years ago, but I can still hear his voice, sense his love, enjoy his encouragement, and feel his acceptance.
With all my heart I invite you to seek the Lord’s acceptance and enjoy His promised blessings. As we follow the simple pattern the Lord has laid out, we will come to know that we are accepted of Him, regardless of our position, status, or mortal limitations. His loving acceptance will motivate us, increase our faith, and help us deal with everything we face in life. Despite our challenges, we will be successful, prosper, and feel at peace.

Lesson given by Suzanne Wright from an April 2013 Conference Talk entitled, "Being Accepted of the Lord," by Elder Kopischke

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Kingdom of God Moves Forward

This work is built on a sure foundation, being founded on the rock of ages. … No matter who are lost by the way and make shipwreck of their faith, the Church will go on.

His Church will stand, because it is upon a firm basis. It is not from man; it is not from the study of the New Testament or the Old Testament; it is not the result of the learning that we received in colleges nor seminaries, but it has come directly from the Lord. The Lord has shown it to us by the revealing principle of the Holy Spirit of light and every man can receive this same spirit.

… He gives us a knowledge of what we shall do, inasmuch as we are willing to sacrifice our lives rather than go contrary to that knowledge. He opens to us the secrets of the celestial kingdom, and he is constantly communicating to us things that we never knew before. This knowledge and intelligence is growing upon us continually.

It is the business of those who profess to be engaged in His work to move on, to go forward, … without murmuring or having to be urged; so long as there remains a step forward to be taken, that step should be taken.

Lesson taught by Sister Kristy Bateman.  Taken from Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:  Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 20.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Missionary Work: "To Reach Every Human Heart"

President Snow said, "When a man receives knowledge, he is prompted to impart it to others; when a man becomes happy, the spirit that surrounds him teaches him to strive to make others happy. … Is there any chance of a man becoming happy without a knowledge of the gospel of Christ? … Though in the world [people] try to make themselves happy, still they are not successful in what they strive to accomplish. They cannot be happy, except upon one principle, and that is by embracing the fulness of the gospel, which teaches us not to wait till we get into eternity before we begin to make ourselves happy, but it teaches us to strive here to make ourselves and those around us rejoice in the blessings of the Almighty.

This, then, should be our aim and object: to learn to make ourselves useful; to be saviors to our fellow man; to learn how to save them; to communicate to them a knowledge of the principles that are necessary to raise them to the same degree of intelligence that we have ourselves."

President Snow said when he had received the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he could not keep it to himself.  Sister Demke related that when she read this, she thought of the song, "How Can I Keep from Singing?"  She then shared this version with us.

Cheryl then said that  all of our songs are different.  They even develop over time, but those around us need to  hear them.  How can YOU keep from singing?

Lesson from The Teachings of the Presidents: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 19.  Taught by Sister Cheryl Demke

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Priesthood -- "For the Salvation of the Human Family"

After healing a young boy on President Snow's mission, he told the mother, "the God of heaven has done this for you" -- reflected his lifelong teachings about the priesthood.  He reminded the Saints that through the work of priesthood holders, "the glory and power of god [is] made manifest" for the benefit of others.

The Priesthood has been restored; it has been bestowed upon man that through that medium, all who would like to be good and happy, might have the privilege.  The gospel tells us how to be great, good and happy.  The spirit of the gospel of Christ teaches all things that are necessary for our present and future welfare.

Although President snow made this statement to the priesthood-holders of the church, how does it apply to us?  "Purity, virtue, fidelity, godliness must be sought ambitiously, or the crown cannot be won.  Those principles must be incorporated within ourselves, woven into our constitutions, becoming a part of us, making us a centre, a fountain of truth, of equity, justice, and mercy, of all that is good and great, that from us may proceed the light, the life, the power, and the law to direct, to govern and assist to save a wandering world; acting as the sons of God, for and in behalf of our Father in heaven."

Lesson taken from Teachings of the Presidents: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 17.  Given by Kristy Bateman

Hiawatha Girls

Beautiful day.  Fun with friends and sisters.

On the way home, we hit Krispy Kreme for "Talk Like a Pirate Day"
Our fearless leader made out with a dozen!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Obedience to the Law is Liberty

A useful way to think about the commandments is they are loving counsel from a wise, all-knowing Heavenly Father. His goal is our eternal happiness, and His commandments are the road map He has given us to return to Him, which is the only way we will be eternally happy. How significant are the home and the family to our eternal happiness? On page 141 of my little brown book, it states, “Indeed our heaven is little more than a projection of our homes into eternity.”

God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws.
In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises.

Lesson taken from the talk, "Obedience to the Law is Liberty" by Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2013 General Conference.  Lesson given by Sister Shauna Hegwer.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Church Leadership and Selfless Service

But said he -- "Feed my sheep."  That is,"Go forth with your whole heart, be devoted wholly to my cause.  These people in the world are my brethren and sisters.  My feelings are exercised towards them.  Take care of my people.  Feed my flock.  Go forth and preach the gospel.  I will reward you for all your sacrifices.  Do not think that you can make too great a sacrifice in accomplishing this work."  He called upon them in the fervor of his heart to do this work.

"The Lord has not chosen the great and learned of the world to perform His work on the earth.  It is not those who have been trained and educated in the colleges and seminaries of learning, but humble men devoted to His cause whom He has chosen to take charge of the affairs of His Church, men who are willing to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit, and who will of necessity give the glory unto Him, knowing that of themselves they can do nothing."

He compared the Church to a great building, with individual Saints as parts of that building, saying that we should "never feel too lofty to be sometimes cut down, squared, scored, and hewed to be fitted into the place we are to occupy in the spiritual building"

Lesson given by Sister Cheryl Demke from Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 18.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Blessings of Trials

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."(Elder Richard G. Scott, October 1995 General Conference)

Lori referred to a BYU Hawaii Devotional given by Brad Wilcox. Referring to Ether 2:17, he says, "What we need to understand about our Father in Heaven is that He prefers to prepare us to face the storms of life, the contrary winds, rather than to still them. So if you are past your fourth watch and He has not come, don’t assume that He is not there, that He doesn’t care, He doesn’t listen, or that you are not worthy. Assume your ship is tight like a dish. You will not sink. Somewhere in the past of your life, experiences have been placed by a wise and foresighted Father in Heaven to prepare you to face the very things that you are facing. As the lion and the bear came to David, before Goliath, to prepare him to face Goliath, so will lion-and-bear moments come in your lives before the Goliath moments come. Because if your ship was not tight like a dish and you have reached the fourth watch, He will come to you and still the storm. So if the storm is not still, we must assume our ship is tight like a dish.

Elder Scott also says:  "I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stand Strong in Holy Places

"When I was in the ninth grade, I returned from my first out-of-town game with the varsity baseball team. My father discerned that on the long bus ride home I had witnessed language and behavior that was not in harmony with the standards of the gospel. Being a professional artist, he sat down and drew a picture of a knight—a warrior capable of defending castles and kingdoms.

As he drew and read from the scriptures, I learned how to be a faithful priesthood holder—to protect and defend the kingdom of God. The words of the Apostle Paul were my guide:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

"Staying on the gospel path of covenants, commandments, and ordinances protects us and prepares us to do God's work in this world."

Lesson from Elder Robert D. Hales' conference address, April 2013, Stand in Holy Places.  Lesson given by Suzanne Wright.

Washington Spokane Mission Dinner Policy

Missionaries are encouraged to visit members and may eat with members any day of the week as set forth in the dinner policy.  They are authorized to have meals with members ONLY under the following parameters:

  1. Circumstances are appropriate or both missionaries and members.  Missionary guidelines must be obeyed.
  2. Missionaries and members should use these visits to encourage and support each other in preparing and inviting others to be taught the gospel.  Missionaries should teach gospel messages, share experiences, and pray with the members to help them feel the spirit of missionary work and a greater enthusiasm for sharing the gospel.
  3. The ward mission leader coordinates the visits (meals)
    1. Each meal is scheduled with an objective consistent with the Missionary Purpose.
    2. The WML's priority is to help fill the week with excellent teaching opportunities consistent with the Ward Mission Plan.  It is not to provide a meal each day.
    3. Priority should be for investigators, less active members, part member families, recent converts (and prospective elders), and others who would be blessed most by the association with the missionaries.
    4. Do not use signup sheets or meals calendars
    5. Missionaries should not eat at the same home regularly
    6. The WML should advise each member of these parameters at the time the dinner appointment is made
  4. Visits do not last longer than 1 hour (this includes a 10-15 minute lesson by the missionaries)
    1. Missionaries ALWAYS ask for referrals
    2. Members should ALWAYS provide referrals for the missionaries
    3. If a lesson is being taught to an investigator, less active, recent convert, part member family, or prospective elder - the visits may last 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    4. Meal should last approximately 45 minutes and the lesson should last 30 minutes or less in many cases but not to exceed 45 minutes
  5. Missionaries should leave homes by 6pm (If teaching a missionary lesson to an investigator, less active, or recent convert, that time may be extended as set forth above).  When requested by the Stake President, this time may be adjusted based on local circumstances when approved by the Mission President.
  6. Meals with members or others are a privilege, not a right.  Missionaries should express appreciation, behave courteously, and observe etiquette and local customs.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

That We May Become One

Before the Saints were driven from Nauvoo, the leading Brethren of the Church met in the temple. They covenanted that they would “never cease [their] exertions, by all the means and influence within [their] reach, till all the Saints who were obliged to leave Nauvoo should be located at some gathering place of the Saints.”1 Determined to keep this covenant, President Brigham Young established the Perpetual Emigrating Fund in 1849. Under this program, the Church loaned money to emigrating Saints with the understanding that the people would repay their loans after they arrived in Utah and found employment.

President Young called Elder Lorenzo Snow and others to raise funds for this effort. It was difficult for Elder Snow to ask the Saints for donations—they were poor themselves, having been driven from place to place before settling in the Salt Lake Valley. He wrote in his journal: “In performing the mission of soliciting means from the Saints who, after having been robbed and plundered, had performed a journey of more than one thousand miles, and just located in an unwatered, desolate recess of the great ‘American Desert,’ I found myself inducted into an uphill business. With very few exceptions, the people had very little, or nothing they could possibly spare.” However, everywhere Elder Snow went, people gave all they could. He reported: “The efforts and willingness, everywhere manifested, to eke out a portion of the little—the feeling of liberality and greatness of soul, which everywhere I met in the midst of poverty, the warm-hearted greetings I received even where comparative indigence held court, filled my heart with exceeding great joy. One man insisted that I should take his only cow, saying that the Lord had delivered him, and blessed him in leaving the old country and coming to a land of peace; and in giving his only cow, he felt that he would only do what duty demanded, and what he would expect from others, were the situation reversed.”

After collecting donations in northern Utah, Elder Snow observed, “The hearts of the Saints were open, and, considering their circumstances, they donated liberally and amply, and I need not say cheerfully.”

Although the people had little to give individually, their unified efforts blessed many lives. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund expanded beyond its original purpose, helping more than just the members of the Church who had been in Nauvoo. It continued for 38 years, helping tens of thousands of converts from many lands gather with their fellow Saints. (From the Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pg.195)
Elder Marlin K. Jensen said, "The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism.’”  That thought ought to inspire and motivate all of us because I feel that friendship is a fundamental need of our world. I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give. Perhaps one reason the scriptures make little specific mention of the principle of friendship is because it should be manifest quite naturally as we live the gospel. In fact, if the consummate Christian attribute of charity has a first cousin, it is friendship. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul slightly, friendship “suffereth long, and is kind; [friendship] envieth not; … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; … [friendship] never faileth.” (April 1999 General Conference)

We should be bound together and act like David and Jonathan as the heart of one [see 1 Samuel 18:1], and sooner let our arm be severed from our bodies than injure each other. What a mighty people we would be if we were in this condition, and we have got to go into it, however little feelings of friendship we may have in exercise at the present time. I can just tell you that the day will come when we must become united in this way if we ever see the presence of God. We shall have to learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We must go into this, however far we are from it at the present time, yet no matter, we must learn these principles and establish them in our bosoms. Now this I can see clearly, and that is the reason why I talk about these matters in the style in which I do, for I wish to plant them in the minds of the Saints, and to have these things among their every day feelings. (Lorenzo Snow)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Faithful, Energetic Service in the Kingdom of God

" I say, let men serve God faithfully and energetically, and be cheerful . . . there are times when persons are brought into conditions where it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to assume a cheerful aspect.  But such times are very few."

"Knowing our religion to be true we ought to be the most devoted people on the face of the earth to the cause we have embraced.  Knowing as we do, or should know, that the gospel we have received promises all our hearts can wish or desire, if we are faithful, we ought to be very faithful, devoted, energetic and ambitious in carrying out the designs and wishes of the Lord as He reveals them from time to time through His servants.  We ought not to be lukewarm or negligent in attending to our duties, but with all our might, strength and souls we should try to understand the spirit of our calling and the nature of the work in which we are engaged."

Lesson from Teachings of the Prophets:  Lorenzo Snow, chapter 15.  Lesson given by Sister Kristy Bateman.

As Sisters in Zion

We must cherish one another, 
watch over one another, 
comfort one another 
and gain instruction, 
that we may all sit down in heaven together.  
Lucy Mack Smith

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Be of Good Cheer

President Monson quotes a well-known author saying, “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden
we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the beauty of nature, and personal pursuits (your interests or talents) that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

Much of our success in life depends on how we respond to our trials, which shows our true character. We will experience trials and people will disappoint you, BUT we can choose one of two basic responses to trials: the Lord’s way or Satan’s way. So with our agency we get to decide.

President Thomas S. Monson says,  “Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments,there will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”
“There will be times when it appears there is no light at the end of our tunnel or no dawn to a night of darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes.” our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is our Exemplar and our strength. He is the light that shineth in darkness. He embraces the opportunity to lift burdens, provide hope, mend bodies, and restore life.”
“It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Lesson given by Brandy Bergeson