Sunday, March 30, 2014

Look Up

My dear brothers and sisters, if you ever come across anything that causes you to question your testimony of the gospel, I plead with you to look up. Look to the Source of all wisdom and truth. Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God. There are those in the world who seek to undermine your faith by mixing lies with half-truths. This is why it is absolutely critical that you remain constantly worthy of the Spirit. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is not just a pleasant convenience—it is essential to your spiritual survival. If you will not treasure up the words of Christ and listen closely to the promptings of the Spirit, you will be deceived (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37). We must do these things.

No one knows when the Lord will come again. But the perilous times are now upon us. Today is the time to look to the Source of truth and ensure that our testimonies are strong.

Yes, there are signs of storms forming all around us. Let us look up and prepare ourselves. There is safety in a strong testimony. Let us cherish and strengthen our testimonies every day.

Lesson taken from the General Conference Talk, Look Up, given by Elder Adrian Ochoa

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Addiction Recovery Program

"I testify to you that your body, mind, and spirit can be transformed, cleansed, and made whole, and you will be freed."
-Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 2010 general conference

Brother and Sister Ellis met Sunday with our combined priesthood, Relief Society and youth groups to share the Church's Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) they facilitate in our area. This is the 12-step recovery program incorporating gospel principles to help support the healing and recovery process for those who are struggling to overcome addictions of any kind.  There are also support groups for family members.

The following groups meet in the Francis building at 7 pm:

Addiction Recovery Group
Wednesdays, west entrance, Rm. 118

Pornography Addiction Support (PASG) Group for men
Thursdays, west entrance, Rm. 118

Wives' PASG Group (women only)
Tuesdays, 7 pm, Ellis home

There is also a pilot PASG for young men 
Sundays, 6pm, Stake offices--see the bishop for more details

Additional information can be found on the ARP website (although all of the meeting times on it haven't been updated--above times and dates are the correct ones), including other group meeting sites in the Spokane area, at or by contacting Elder or Sister Ellis at 509-315-9880.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chemo Hat Project

Fun Service Opportunity!

The Young Women have invited the Relief Society sisters to join them in making crocheted or knitted chemo hats for the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The YW have set a goal of donating 50 hats to the ACS in June.  The ACS suggested using a soft yarn and avoiding green or yellow yarn as these colors don't complement skin coloring after chemotherapy.  You can crochet, knit or even sew--whatever you enjoy doing!  Please contact Juli Osmun if you have any questions on the project and give all finished hats to her.

Use a small adult size to accommodate for the loss of hair.  Any pattern will work--here is a link to a site with a variety of hat patterns:

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Significance of the Sacrament

“The partaking of these emblems constitutes one of the most holy and sacred ordinances in the Church.”

Sacrament meeting is the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church. When I reflect upon the gathering of the Savior and his apostles on that memorable night when he introduced the sacrament; when I think of that solemn occasion my heart is filled with wonderment and my feelings are touched.

The partaking of these emblems [the bread and water] constitutes one of the most holy and sacred ordinances in the Church, an ordinance which has replaced the slaying and eating of the paschal lamb which [symbolized] the sacrifice upon the cross of our Redeemer. …  We have been commanded to meet often, not merely once each year, and go to the house of prayer and there remember our Redeemer and make covenant with Him in partaking oft of this holy ordinance.

I wish we could get the members of the Church to understand more clearly the covenants they make when they partake of the sacrament at our sacrament meetings.

1. We eat in remembrance of the body of Jesus Christ, promising that we will always remember His wounded body slain upon the cross.

2. We drink in remembrance of the blood which was shed for the sins of the world, which atoned for the transgression of Adam, and which frees us from our own sins on condition of our true repentance.

3. We covenant that we will be willing to take upon us the name of the Son and always remember Him. In keeping this covenant we promise that we will be called by His name and never do anything that would bring shame or reproach upon that name.

4. We covenant that we will keep His commandments which He has given us; not one commandment, but that we will be willing to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” [D&C 84:44.] 

If we will do these things then we are promised the continual guidance of the Holy Ghost, and if we will not do these things we will not have that guidance.

(Lesson given by Sister Cara Sullenger and taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 6.)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Faith and Repentance

“What we need in the Church, as well as out of it, is repentance. We need more faith and more determination to serve the Lord.”

Let it be uppermost in your minds, now and at all times, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to lay down his life that we might live. That is the truth, and is fundamental. Upon that our faith is built. It can not be destroyed. We must adhere to this teaching in spite of the teachings of the world, and the notions of men; for this is paramount, this is essential to our salvation.

“Faith is the moving cause of all action.” “Faith without works is dead” [James 2:26]—in other words, it does not exist. I think James’ meaning clearly is, “You show me your faith without your works, and nothing will result; but I will show you my faith with my works, and something will be accomplished.” [See James 2:18.] Faith means action. … Faith, therefore, is stronger than belief. … Faith cannot be obtained by inaction or through indifference or passive belief. The mere desire to obtain faith will not bring faith any more than the desire to be skilled in music or painting will bring proficiency in these things without intelligent action.

… If we want to have a living, abiding faith, we must be active in the performance of every duty as members of this Church. …

Repentance is the second fundamental principle of the gospel and the outgrowth of faith.

Repentance is one of the most comforting and glorious principles taught in the gospel. In this principle the mercy of our Heavenly Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is made manifest perhaps more strongly than in any other principle.  If we really understood and could feel even to a small degree, the love and gracious willingness on the part of Jesus Christ to suffer for our sins, we would be willing to repent of all our transgressions and serve him.

(Lesson given by Sister Cheryl Demke and taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 5.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beware of Bondage

God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.

Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. Four are particularly pernicious in today’s culture.

First, addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage. The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation, and other afflictions imposes on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.

Second, some addictions or predilections, while not inherently evil, can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.

Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message.  Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers, or friends to children.

Fourth, forces that violate sincerely held religious principles can result in bondage. One of the most invidious forms is when righteous people who feel accountable to God for their conduct are forced into activities that violate their conscience—for example, health providers forced to choose between assisting with abortions against their consciences or losing their jobs.

Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather His elect, and sacrifice for the rising generation. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace, and atoning sacrifice of the Savior.  

(Lesson given by Sister Suzanne Wright and taken from "Lamentations of Jeremiah:  Beware of Bondage" by Elder Quentin L. Cook.)