Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Developing Good Judgment and Not Judging Others By: Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer

In this lesson we learned about the importance of not judging others. Our judgements about other people are usually incorrect due to "limited information or not seeing beyond what is immediately in front of us".  Judging people in this way draws us further away from the Spirit and distances us in our goal to become one with the Savior.  It prevents us from being filled with charity - the pure love of Christ.
We also learned about the importance of making good judgments as we navigate through difficult decisions in our lives.  Elder Schwitzer provided four guides to help us make choices that lead us towards our Father in Heaven.  They are:
  • First, put your own personal standards in alignment with the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Second, listen to the messages of the living prophet
  • Third, cultivate with the Holy Spirit a relationship of listening, and
  • Fourth, keep the commandments.
As we follow these guides we are able to make good judgements in our lives and keep our choices more in harmony with the will of the Father.  This allows us to be blessed with the joy and happiness He wants to give us in our lives.
Ultimately we found that making appropriate judgements in our lives will draw us closer to our Heavenly Father whereas inappropriate judgments will push us further away from Him.  We have a responsibility to live with the Holy Ghost as our constant companion in such a way that we avoid negative judgments of others and, on the flip side, discern right from wrong in our individual lives.

~Jenny Shadel

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation

This talk was written by Elder Robert D. Hales and the lesson was given by Ashley Gates.

It is our imperative duty to help youth understand and believe the gospel in a deeply personal way.

Our duty to God in helping the rising generation could be summed up in the following three points:

1. Lead by example

2. Lead by understanding and walk alongside
"Besides showing youth the way by example, we lead them by understanding their hearts and walking alongside them on the gospel path.  To truly understand their hearts, we must do more than just be in the same room or attend the same family and Church activities.  We must plan and take advantage of teaching moments that make a deep and lasting impression upon their minds and hearts."

3. Prepare those around you to participate in the gospel, life, and the world around them.
"An equally important part of fulfilling our parental duty to God is teaching our children the gospel and preparing them to participate fully in the Savior's restored Church."

"The greatest missionary work you will ever do will be in our homes.  Our homes, quorums, and classes are part of the missionary field.  Our children and grandchildren are our most important investigators."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lesson #13- Priesthood

Sunday’s lesson was awesome! It was taught by Brianna Sonkens and was lesson #13 in the manual. The topic was the Priesthood. We were able to discuss the lesson in groups and highlight those things that stood out to us. There were so many positive comments and incredible scriptures! Even though the Priesthood is not given to the women of the church, we are the ones who usually benefit most from it. The Priesthood is the power to serve others, and we as sisters, need to help the men honor this authority. D&C 121:34-46 was very powerful in describing the proper use of the Priesthood.

I am so grateful for Priesthood Blessings! They have helped me in great times of pain, sorrow and confusion and have guided me closer to my Father in Heaven. I know that the Priesthood was restored to the earth again through Joseph Smith and that it is the rock and foundation of this church. How amazing it is that we can have this awesome power and blessing in our lives and homes!


Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th Relief Society Lesson

We had a beautiful lesson on Sunday taught by Sister Shaela Beck from the Stake Relief Society Presidency, she shared with us the importance of "Becoming more like Christ through Homemaking". We can improve upon ourselves spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally through our calling as women and the most important place this happens is in the home. All of us are homemakers whether we are single, married, or have children. We have the choice to either kick against it and make our lives miserable, or to accept it with joy and have a happy home. We have the chance to serve those closest to us, our families, every day and though it can be a whole lot of work and exhausting at times, we should always strive to make it special and go the extra mile for that is when the sweetest rewards come.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things As They Really Are

This week, we had the opportunity to hear from Sarah Acree. She chose the talk, “Things As They Really Are,” given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Bednar starts off by likening his feelings to those of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, saying, “I this day am weighted down with much...desire and anxiety for the welfare of our souls” (Jacob 2:3). He informs the listeners/readers that this topic has come to him over time, as he has listened to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. He exhorts us to listen with rapt attention and with a purpose. His purpose centers around the simple and clear definition of truth set forth by the Book of Mormon:

“The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls” (Jacob 4:13).

Isn’t it interesting how often he pulls references from Jacob? May I suggest that we all go back and re-study this book of scripture - perhaps it will align us better with the purpose of Elder Bednar’s talk.

If you’ve ever noticed a talk given by Elder Bednar, you’ll notice that he writes/gives his talks much like you would propose a thesis project: a opening statement, thesis, and then three supporting points. I’ve given a brief overview of the opening statement and his thesis, and below are his three supporting points.

1. “We will first review several key elements of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness as the doctrinal foundation for knowing and understanding things as they really are.”

2. “We will then consider methods of attack used by the adversary to distract us from or inhibit our capacity to discern things as they really are. 

3. ‘And finally, we will discuss the responsibilities that rest upon you as the rising generation.
    -You will need to be obedient, to honor sacred covenants, and to discern things consistently as they really are in today’s world that grows ever more confused and wicked.”

Instead of going into depth on all three points, I’ll just mention the things in this talk that caught my attention, and perhaps share a bit with you about why.

Our Divine Destiny

-President Boyd K. Packer has taught, “Our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character.”
   ‘Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies.’

 ‘Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, we should not be surprised that Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly.’

The Adversary’s Attacks

“I testify that as you desire to so learn, as you ‘watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives,’ you will be spiritually enlightened and protected.”

“Satan also strives to entice the sons and daughters of God to minimize the importance of their physical bodies. This particular type of attack is most subtle and diabolical.”

Read the paragraph that begins with: ‘Sadly, some young men and women in the Church today ignore “things as they really are....” He continues to talk about marriage and about how distractions of excessive video gaming or online socializing effect our covenants that we have made in the House of the Lord.

One of my favorite quotes from this talk: “Today, I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifiling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls.”

Closing message: “The Lord knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do, and who we really are becoming.... For your happiness and protection, I invite you to study more diligently the doctrine of the plan of salvation - and to prayerfully ponder the truths we have revisited.

He then offers 2 questions for personal consideration and studying:
1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?

2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?

-The Rising Generation: Elder Maxwell once made a statement that greatly impressed Elder Bednar: “The youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation.” Elder Bednar then wonders if we have hear this description so much, as we are the rising generation, that we have begun to take it for granted.

This is the point that hit me so hard when I read this talk: “Thus, obedience is the principal weapon upon which the rising generation must rely in the latter-day battle between good and evil.”

“As we heed that inspired counsel, we can and will be blessed to recognize and repel the attacks of the adversary-today and in the days that lie ahead. We can and will fulfill our foreordained responsibilities and contribute to the work of the Lord in all the world.”

In a closing statement of my own, I would like to reiterate what I shared on Sunday during our testimony time. Lately, I've been feeling over inundated by media influences, and not by any choice but my own. Whether I have been reading comments from good friends on Facebook to pouring over the blogs of other friends, I have had a pressure upon me that was making me feel inadequate. I wasn't buying a new car; I wasn't taking my kids to Disneyland; I wasn't "keeping up with the Jones'," as my mom would say. I felt as if I wasn't good enough to contribute to the world because I wasn't doing everything my 'friends' were doing. Now, I'm old enough to understand the difference between reality and digitally perceived reality, but I found myself feeling bad about myself. So, I decided to take a break from those outlets. I didn't blog as much. I didn't check my email as much. I didn't pour over Facebook as much. Then I came across this talk and understood why I had felt prompted to do so. I think that re-evaluating my life helped me to make a change that worked for me. I hope that you will search your lives, and align yourself with the Lord's will. Then, as we do that, the things we have placed in our lives will line up in rank of priority, or they will simply fall out of our lives.

I hope you'll re-read this talk. Any apostolic witness of the doctrine would be worthy of a second-glance.

Have a wonderful week!
Krista Hollingshaus

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Much Can One Heart Take?

This last Sunday we had a combined lesson with ALL Relief Society sisters.  What a treat!  It was wonderful to feel the love of this great sisterhood in our cozy little room.  Those who were unable to come were missed dearly.

Brief notes from the lesson:
How Much Can One Heart Take?

We watched the following clip during the lesson:

D&C 136:31- The Lord said, “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.”

Do we have to do it alone?
Of course not!  John 16:33- "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  The Lord has blessed us with help through revelation, scriptures, family, friends, leaders...and of course the Relief Society.

Barbara W. Winder, “Art thou greater than he? … “Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” (D&C 122:7–9.) Few of us will ever pass through such adversity, but we all need our Father’s comfort and counsel many times in our lives. If we rely on the Lord, live his gospel, converse with him daily, and are obedient to his teachings, he will provide the way for us to accomplish his work.”

What is Relief Society? 
Relief society is a personal invitation from the Lord to ALL sisters, asking them to be a part of something that will enrich their lives, by uniting their hearts with the Savior’s and thus preparing them for exaltation.

Bonnie D. Parkin said, “Relief Society was not man-made or woman-made. It was, as President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) explained, “divinely made, divinely authorized, divinely instituted, divinely ordained of God to minister for the salvation of the souls of women and of men.” There is no other organization for women that has such a place in the Lord’s kingdom. So the question is, do we value this divine organization? Do we value our membership in Relief Society? Do we value Relief Society as individual sisters?”

President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has cautioned us not to drift from the cause of Relief Society: “Too many sisters … think that Relief Society is merely a class to attend. The … sense of belonging to the Relief Society rather than just attending a class must be fostered in the heart of every woman.” And then he makes this earnest assignment: “Sisters, you must graduate from thinking that you only attend Relief Society to feeling that you belong to it!"

What is your role in this organization? Bonnie D. Parkin- For many years Relief Society was part of the National Council of Women in the United States. Shortly after Sister Belle Spafford was called as the Relief Society general president, she said to President George Albert Smith (1870–1951) that going to the meetings in New York was costly and of little benefit. “President Smith gently chastised [Sister Spafford], ‘Do you always think in terms of what you get? Don’t you think it’s well to think in terms of what you have to give?’ ”

Sisters, what do you bring to Relief Society? What are you willing to share? Do you view Relief Society as a place to go on Sundays because you have nowhere else to go? Do you view it as a place to give as well as to get? Would we value our membership in our beloved society more if we lost ourselves in giving?

Bonnie D. Parkin, “With a giving mentality, we would prepare for Sunday lesson discussions in order to make a contribution. We would faithfully attend home, family, and personal enrichment meeting because we had something to offer—maybe just a word of encouragement to the sister sitting next to us. We would use our visits with each other to witness of the Lord’s truth as we discuss the Visiting Teaching Message. The value we place on our membership in Relief Society should be evident in all we do and say.

Additional Reading Material:
We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith (Luke 8:43-48), virtue, vision (Mark 7:25-29), and charity (Mark 12:41-44) who:

• Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study. (Mary and Martha- Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-45; John 12:3-8 and Wife of King Lamoni Alma 19)
• Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. (Deborah- Judges 4-5)
• Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes. (Ruth- Book of Ruth)
• Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood. (Eve- Genesis 2; Moses 3:21-5:12, esp. 5:10-12; Abraham 5:14-18), (The mother of the sons of Helaman- Alma 56:47-48; 57:21), (Hannah- 1 Samuel 1-2:21)
• Delight in service and good works. (Lydia- Acts 16:14-15), (Abigail- 1 Samuel 25:18, 23-33)
• Love life and learning. (Elizabeth- Luke 1, 2, see also Matt. 23:35), (Mary, mother of Jesus- Luke 1, 2, John 2:1-5)
• Stand firm for truth and righteousness. (Abish- Alma 19:16-31), (Esther- Book of Esther)
• Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth. (Sarah- Genesis 11-23, Abraham 2), (Sariah- 1 Nephi)
• Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation. (Anna- Luke 2:36-38)

Bonnie D. Parkin, "I invite you to devote yourself to Relief Society. Work at it. Organize and participate and sustain this great work we have been given by God. Trust each other. Lift each other spiritually in your thoughts, teachings, and discussions. Show charity and love—not by assignment but from the heart."

Sisters you are loved and needed more than you will ever know!  Please come be a part of this grand organization.  If you are already an active part please strive to improve each and every day.