Monday, July 20, 2015

Unit 2 Choice 4: Matthew 26:36–27:50; John 19:26–30. His Concern for Others

1. Christ told the other man on the cross that he would go to paradise.  This paradise is where He would be able to be in the Spirit world with other spirits. He would have the opportunity to learn more of Christ and to come unto Him. He is once of those who has an opportunity to accept the gospel.

2. Christ made so that all could have a chance to learn of Him and have a chance to repent. Because He was crucified and rose again so will we and He taught those in spirit prison. That work is still being done and now we do temple work for those who have passed and they can choose to accept those ordinances.

3. Individuals Christ was compassionate towards in His last hours before crucifixion:
The 12 disciples who slept while He was suffering in Gethsemane, He told them to sleep on...
Judas as he brought soldiers to take Christ away, he called Judas 'friend'
Those who wanted Him crucified, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do"
His mother---made sure she had someone to take care of her, some family.

4. How these scriptures reveal something about Christ's character and His divine nature:
Matthew 27:47  He felt completely alone, more alone than any of us ever have to feel.
Luke 23:34   He loves everyone and didn't want anyone to have to be responsible for what had to be done.
Luke 23:43   He still wanted to comfort everyone and was happy that He would be able to teach this man once they both passed.
Luke 23:46   He submitted His will with the Father's, there will was one.
John 19: 26-27  He is compassionate and cares for those around Him, making sure they are taken care of.
John 19:28  He wanted to have one last taste of something before He died, though He would live again.
John 19:30 He is calm and humble. He was exhausted and finished, but did not become angry.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unit 2 Choice 2 John 14:15-17, 26-27 15:26-27 16:7-8, 13-14 The Savior's Instructions about the Holy Ghost

What the Savior taught about what the Holy Ghost does and what disciples must do to receive the Holy Ghost:
John 14:15-17  Keep the commandments, He comforts, dwells within you
John 14:26-27  teaches all, reminds of things, gives peace
John 15:26-27  Testifies of Christ, We must bear witness
John 16:7-8      reprimands the world of sin
John 16:13-14  Guide into truth, Glorify God

Will not leave us comfortless, If we seek to do good we will have that Holy Spirit with us.
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught:
“The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach men things they cannot teach one another. … Moroni [declared], ‘And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things’ 
The Holy Ghost helped the apostles after Christ's death and resurrection to fulfill their missions. He taught them and helped them to recognize what was needful and what was not. 
The Holy Ghost has definitely been there for me in all times of trials and struggles. In the beginning of High School my favorite uncle was having many health issues and there came a day that was very scary that we did not know what was going to happen to him. I prayed so fervently that afternoon after school and I began to fast. I cried a lot, but I felt immediate peace. I remember the next day at school as I was ending my fast near the end of the day. I was looking up at the clock and just pondering/praying, hoping that I would be able to hear some good news when I got home. I had so much peace and reassurance that things would work out. Of course the journey is not easy when certain things happen, but we can have peace and feel the Savior near. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Unit 1 Choice 3 Mark 14:3-9 Matthew 26:6-13 The Savior Anointed

What reason is given for why the woman anointed Christ with "very precious" or costly ointment? What does Mark 14:8 imply that she understood?
She is doing all that she can to express her love to the Savior.  That verse specifically calls out that she is anointing Him in preparation for His burial, as though she actually recognizes that there is little time left and that He will be killed. 
Why did some of the disciples feel indignant and call her actions a "waste"?
They had not yet come to an understanding of what Christ was preparing them for and that He would not be with them much longer. They had been learning and seeing that it is important to care for the poor and that is where Christ always turned to and they didn't want to feel like they were doing something wrong. 

The woman gave of probably her most expensive thing, sacrificing all for the Savior. She gave freely and is an example to us as we should recognize that we can too give all that we have to come closer to our Savior, to show our love and devotion. The things that I could give the Lord now aren't so tangible, because He does not come to my house in the flesh, but others do. We should treat all of our neighbors with graciousness and serve with all of our resources. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Unit 2, Choice 2 Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38; Joseph Smith---Matthew Preparing for the Savior's Second Coming

mark 13     3 Things that believers could watch for to be prepared to meet the Lord:
Stand up for the truths that you know: bearing testimony wherever you go.
Pray always
Watch---be prepared everyday. Recognize the turmoil in the world and cling to the Iron rod.

More truths about preparing for the Second coming:
D&C 87:8  Stand in Holy Places
JS-Matthew 1:32  Watch for the signs of the Second Coming
JS-Matthew 1:37  Read the scriptures and hold them as treasures
JS-Matthew 1:46-50   Do good continually
D&C 33:17   Be Faithful and Pray--Have your testimony ready
D&C 45:56-57   Be wise and follow promptings of the Holy Ghost

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Unit 1, choice 1 The Last Week of the Savior's Mortal Ministry

Day 1--

Christ entered Jerusalem and declared that He was the Messiah.
He told what the 2 greatest commandments were.
In Bethany, Christ's feet are anointed by Mary.

Day 2--

Christ cleanses the Temple.

Day 3--

People confront Christ and try to trick Him with questions. He teaches by parables and angers some men--Seek to take His life.

Day 4--

This day is unknown

Day 5--

The Last Supper
The first Sacrament
Christ's washes the feet of Apostles
Garden of Gethsemane

Day 6

Charges against Christ.
Pilate fears the people so sentences Him to death
Christ is hung on the cross

Day 7

His body is in the Tomb
Christ is doing work with Heavenly Father

Day of Resurrection

Christ is not found in the Tomb
He comes to Mary and says He is Risen.
He has Risen, not yet ascended to the Father

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Unit 2, choice 2 major principles the Lord wants us to understand from parables.

Luke 16:1-12    We need to have an eternal perspective and do all that we can to have things set right and how we wish them to be for when we no longer have time to work here on Earth. Since we know of eternity, we should be looking forward to that and preparing with that in mind. Our worldly riches will in the end benefit/profit us nothing.

Luke 16:19-31   Are we all not beggars? It is important to always have humility in our hearts. We don't know people's stories and that shouldn't even matter. We are all on a long journey, fighting an uphill battle. The Savior opened the way for all to come unto Him, no matter the timing. Those in "hell" or spirit prison are able to be visited by those in paradise or "Heaven". They can be taught and still repent. Vicarious work is done in the temple so that they can accept those ordinances still.

Luke 17:11-19   We need to give thanks where it is needed. There are blessings abounding in our lives and we need to recognize the hand of the Lord. If we are able to be thankful for things and have Faith and a heart of thanksgiving, we can begin to become "whole". There is more than just healing, the one Leper had the faith to become whole.

Luke 18:1-8    As we come unto Heavenly Father in prayer and communicate with Him, He will take the time to help us through our trials and all that we ask. We should not give up hope or stop moving forward on the path we are on. If we continue on in faith, we will be commended. Through persistence, even someone previously unwilling will come to aid. The Lord wants to help us and loves us. It will be given: Knock and ye shall receive.

Luke 18:9-14   We should not be prideful. We are all sinners in God's eyes, and rightfully so. As we come humbly to our Father in prayer, we will gain perspective and be able to increase our strengthens and strengthen our weaknesses.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unit 1, choice 1 Luke 10:1-24 "The Lord Appointed Other Seventy Also"

The Lord's counsel and instruction to the Seventy:  Christ instructed them to be calm and be humble. He told them that it would be a hard duty to teach and administer. They should enter calmly and be serviceable to those they enter into. He told them to take nothing with them, possibly to help them to rely on the Lord and also so they couldn't be robbed. If they are accepted into a house and fed they should eat and also heal sick. If a city turns them away they should cry repentance to those people. He told them that they are blessed to hear and see so many great things.

Articles of Faith 1:6  "We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church..."  In our day we also have quorums of seventy and are really quiet few in number among the world. This gospel and church is the same that was on the Earth in Christ's day. We have a system in the church that is divinely appointed so that all are looked after and are visited from priesthood holders that can bless the sick. We know that the Lord is on our side if we have faith and are steadfast. The gospel of Christ will stand strong and Satan will not win the battle.

The office of "seventy" in the Priesthood: In the priesthood there is order brought down from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Seventy is an office that branches down to reach all members of the gospel to be watched over by direction of the Prophet.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unit 2 Choice 2 Matthew 17: 14-21 The Savior Healed a Young Man

List three things the Savior said were needed for the disciples to heal the man:
1. Faith
2. Prayer
3. Fasting

What is taught about what is needed for miracles to occur:
3 Nephi 18:20    This scripture teaches that you need to trust in the Lord and pray. It is important for us to be in communication with our Father in Heaven, to be hearers of the gospel word and prepared to listen and receive through the Holy Ghost.
Doctrine and Covenants 50:29      It is needful for us to be repentant people. We need to be humble before the Lord, asking for forgiveness when necessary and choosing to do our best each day.
Doctrine and Covenants 42:48     This scripture is a little different than the others. It seems that, yes if you want to be healed and have the desire it will be given you---unless! It is your time and Heavenly Father is ready for you to return and your work is done on the earth.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Unit 1, Choice 3 Matthew 14:22-33

When the Disciples first saw Christ walking on the Sea they were afraid and did not know who it was.
Peter's response, asking the Savior to let him walk on water to know it was him, was showing his doubt and made it seem like he was like others who are always asking Jesus to prove himself.

According to verse 30, Peter began to sink because when he noticed how strong the wind was he became afraid and no longer was able to keep walking on the water.

When he began to sink he ask the Savior to save him and the wording used was that the Savior stretched forth His hand immediately. He didn't hesitate, but was right there.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:67 ---When Peter was able to walk on the water, he was focused on the Savior, having "an eye single to [his] glory". If we fill our bodies with light, so much so that there is no room for darkness or doubt, we will be able to overcome and be unscathed by the storms in our lives. We will come out cleaner, stronger, and more faithful.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Unit 2, choice 1 Matthew 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35; John the Baptist

What did the two disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus Christ? They asked him if He was who they should be looking for, the one prophesied to come or if they need to keep looking.
3 Things I would have told John if I had been with those two men: I would tell him that Christ testified of his (John's) goodness and that those that are about the Lord's errand are always persecuted no matter what they do. I would also definitely tell of the miracles that were performed by Christ as He showed who He was. That is something that couldn't be overlooked.
Why John wanted his disciples to go to Jesus Christ: He was in prison and he knew it would be important for his disciples to keep the faith. Christ showed unto them miracles and also testified of John's good works and righteousness.
What did Christ say about John the Baptist?  He was the greatest prophet among them.
3 Reasons from Joseph Smith why John the Baptist is among the greatest prophets: he was the one entrusted with the divine mission to prepare the way for the face of the Lord, he was entrusted with the divine mission to baptize Jesus Christ, and at that time, was the only legal administrator in the affairs of the kingdom there was then on the earth, and holding the keys of power.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease. I think that John's attitude here is that the credit needs to go to Christ and he should be the one that people remember, remember His miracles and works and all that he does goes to the Savior. It is important for all of us to be more like this. We need to give all of our credit to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and live our lives in honor of them. We can be true Christians. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Unit 1, choice 1 Matthew 5:1-12 The Beattitudes

Definition of the word Blessed: to be fortunate and to be acting in accordance with virtue, making no wrong. Someone who is blessed receives true joy in the things that they do.

Beattitudes :
Blessed are the poor in Spirit
Blessed are they that mourn
Blessed are the meek

Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness

Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart

Blessed are the Meek: Meekness is a great thing to be a holder of. Those who are meek are willing to learn, to be taught the word of God and to come unto Christ. They are humble individuals with a desire to know the Lord's will. People who are meek are calm spirited and are able to see things as they are, because their emotions do not override what is being taught, etc. 

Blessed are the poor in Spirit: Those who are poor in Spirit have a great desire to come where they will be fed and clothed. They have probably had battles and are now humble, wanting to learn and to become a part of something better and more worthy in life. They are seekers of truth. They are not prideful, boastful, or of any such thing, they come knowing that they may have little to offer. 

Blessed are the pure in heart: This is an important attribute, as the pure heart is untainted by worldly desires and anger/malice. No one is perfectly pure in heart, but it is something that we can work on and strive to be as we push out the bad things that lay in our heart, we give room to more beautiful and virtuous things. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Unit 2 Choice 3: John 2. Water to Wine and Cleansing the Temple

John 2: 1-22

What impressed you most about the miracle found in John 2: 1-11?  This miracle was quite simple, but it made a statement and opened the way for Christ to perform more miracles and to have people's eyes opened to who He was. 

How does the institute student manual help in understanding why Jesus Christ would refer to His mother as "woman"?  The institute manual makes clear that Christ was being humble and honoring His mother. In other translations of the same section of the bible, it seems to us to be more of this nature. To use the term 'woman' was of high respect, though today for a son to say that seems improper. Christ used the same kind of wording as He was on the cross. 

In what ways are Jesus Christ's actions in John 2: 13-16 symbolic of what He desires of each of us?
In this passage, Christ is driving out the business that is happening in the temple. I think that it is symbolic of our souls. We should not let unclean and impure things enter our hearts, minds, bodies, etc. We need to be clean and be ready to serve the Lord, not letting anything interfere with the Spirit that should dwell within us. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Unit 1 Choice 2: Luke 1: 5-80. The Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:14  Zacharias was told that the birth of his son, John the Baptist would bring joy and gladness and that MANY would rejoice at his birth.
Luke 1:5-25, 39-45, 56-80, and Bible Dictionary: "John the Baptist"
         What a blessing for Elisabeth and Zacharias to be able to have a son, after many years of barrenness. The family would of course rejoice at bringing a child into their family. As Mary came to Elisabeth and spoke with her about how they were both expecting and of how it all came about, their was much rejoicing as they found that Heavenly Father was blessing them and that they were instruments in the Lord's hands to bring about some very important things. After Mary left, Elisabeth bore John and both were healthy, which was something to rejoice as I am sure family was concerned for the health of Elisabeth as well as John. There were many miracles that came about that would help the family and the people see that there was something great to be had for this child, as they came to naming him John and at this point Zacharias was again able to speak.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Saving Power

        The temple is our we can obtain the blessings that Heavenly Father wants us to receive. Covenants are made in the temple, to help families be together forever. We have to work to be worthy of those blessings and to keep our covenants throughout our lives so that we can be together with our favorite people forever, our families.
        "We can trust Heavenly Father...." I love all that Elder Gong says. Becoming an eternal family means change. We have to change and become what our Father wants us to be and we can put of fear and have faith in Him.
        Elder Orson F. Whitney said,
                                    The Prophet Joseph Smith declared----and he never taught
                                     more comforting doctrine--that the eternal sealings of faithful
                                    parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant
                                    service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves,
                                    but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may
                                    wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or
                                    later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching
                                    out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this
                                    life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay
                                    their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread
                                    a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal,
                                    to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful
                                   experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and
                                   disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on,
                                   trust on, till you see the salvation of God.
      Now, there is a lot said in that quote, but the most important thing that I get from it is that we, ourselves, need to be dedicated to the Lord and to our families. Parents, do good, do things in the goodness of your children. Know that it is not your "fault" how ever they decide to live their lives. Stay strong and always, always be sure that your children know that they are loved by their parents. Siblings, be sure that your brothers and sisters always, always know that you love them. If it is 'hard' to love them, find something to love and be sure that they know that you have found love for them.

    What is a covenant and what are covenants that we make with the Father?
    I am so grateful for covenants and grateful that Heavenly Father trusts us with eternal truths and with the blessings of the gospel. I am so HAPPY that I am a daughter of God and that I am able to find Him and follow Him. I want to be known as a Covenant Keeper.

                                                       Just one last thought!

(In regards to Chapter 16 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

"A Ladle Full of Love, Everyday!"

       Ok, I know I have shared this video before, but it tells so much! Marriage changes throughout the years; kids come and then they leave! So many couples are shocked and ill prepared for that time when the children are no longer under foot and needing constant direction. "The last third of marriage can be a time of strengthening marital bonds and solidifying spiritual resolve." (Chp. 9).
       So many married couples have had similar experiences in which they find that they don't even know the person to whom them are married. They have let their expressions of love dwindle and get lost in the whirlwinds of the years. Couples need to take the necessary time daily to hold each other, yes, embrace. Talk to one another about one another! Your marriage is so important and it can and should just get better and better.  President Ezra Taft Benson has stated, “Man is at his best when complemented by a good woman’s natural influence”. You can't influence each other if you aren't communicating!
        Share some hobbies and have some separate hobbies, but don't put your hobbies ahead of being there for your spouse, your eternal companion, your best friend. The empty nester stage may be more difficult or more of a life change for the wife, as she most likely spent a lot of her time at home, in constant worry of her children. Be patient in the adjustments and work together to find what will be best to fill that time.
        I truly believe the best way to have a smooth transition and smooth transitions throughout marriage is to continue courting and dating the person to whom you are married. That shows value to your marriage partner. Don't get lost in the bustle of life and forget to spend time loving.

 (In regards to Chapter 9 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Friday, March 20, 2015

To Be a Father, Be Present

            Of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives" Chapter 13, it talks about how being present in the lives of children should be organized into categories. The categories mentioned are: "to be there(physical), to be aware (psychological), and to give care (practical). 
           After going through and learning about father involvement and its importance and the lack of father involvement there seems to be in society, I realize even more that I had a seriously super dad. I have been reminiscing about the many things my dad did that I just knew as normal and never gave much thought to, but observing children and families a lot recently I have seen that it was quite a novelty.
            My father figured out implementing the truths in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, as it reads, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” I just don’t remember too many other fathers that I knew or have known to take responsibility for certain aspects of care of their children. I remember as a small child having my dad come in and help me with a bath and teaching me that it is important to wash our bodies and it was no “shottie” job. He made sure that all of us kids had clean ears. That is one specific thing that stands out to me.
            I knew without a doubt that my dad loved me. He told me, a lot. Both of my parents were wonderful in loving and rearing their five children, but as much as my mom was the “nagger”, my dad always backed her up or was the one encouraging us to do better and be better in everything we were involved in. It was dad who always asked if my homework was done or would find us doing homework with a television on and turn it off and get us back on track. He was the one that I ran to with my report card in hand to show how great I had done in the last term.

            Dad understood another principle that I want to point out from The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” He understood and understands the great responsibility it is to be a husband and a father and that he is accountable to his Eternal Father.  One amazing thing is when a man can be a father to more than just his own children. There are many examples that I saw while growing up of how my father filled that role for many different children at different times. My dad was a friend, a support, an encourager, and more than I will ever really realize I owe to him. 

(In regards to Chapter 13 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Equal Partnership

         Equality does not mean the same, but it is equally yoked; not one having more control or power over the other. In God's way of marriage, spouses should be equally yoked, lovingly caring for one another.
        Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve's act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall." I think this is so beautiful, because we all know that "the Fall" had to take place in order for us to be able to return to Heavenly Father. It was through that experience that Adam and Eve were able to bear children, and thus for all of us to receive bodies and come to Earth.   Elder Oaks continues by saying, "Eve's act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression, but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life...The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Eve did not "sin," because God had decreed it."
       Eve had courage, she wanted to be able to obey the commandments of God and to experience the joys of life.
       Now, in marriage, partners are to be equally yoked; partners in family life. In my own marriage so far, I have come to love the phrase "my better half", because truly, my spouse is my other half, he has the skills and ability to do all of the things I can't do or that I am not very good at. He truly completes me. We work together, both trying to bring our best selves to the relationship. This can be hard! It is so easy to get into a rhythm of life where we are our worst selves to those we love the most. We drop all of our worries and our pain on our family, on our spouse.
        Each day, we need to make conscious effort to treat our spouse fair and with love. In a talk by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, entitled "Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners", he says, "In the little kingdom of a family, each spouse freely gives something the other does not have and without which neither can be complete and return to God’s presence. Spouses are not a soloist with an accompanist, nor are they two solos. They are the interdependent parts of a duet, singing together in harmony at a level where no solo can go."
You can view the full talk here. It has some great stories of how we need to work on our equal partnerships and our expectations of our spouse. 
        I think it is so important that we council with our equal partner and learn how to help each other in our various callings and responsibilities of life. W. Cleon Skousen and Henry B. Eyring share great stories of how council's should work and how they truly do work.
       Elder Richard G. Scott has said, "In some cultures, tradition places a man in a role to dominate, control, and regulate all family affairs. That is not the way of the Lord. In some places the wife is almost owned by her husband, as if she were another of his personal possessions. That is a cruel, mistaken vision of marriage encouraged by Lucifer that every priesthood holder must reject. It is founded on the false premise that a man is somehow superior to a woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
       I think this is all so important, because as we realize that there are no boundaries of our responsibility, we will come to love and serve more fully in our home. Yes, there are certain responsibilities that may seem to weight heavier on one spouse or another, but they both hold those burdens together, enjoy things together and support one another.
      President Boyd K. Packer said, "There is no task, however menial, connected with the care of babies, the nurturing of children, or with the maintenance of the home that is not the husband's equal obligation."
     In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, we can all "try a little harder to be a little better", as we learn to better love our spouse.

Image result for equally yoked

(In regards to Chapter 4 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love and Encouragement

Don't we all just need some love and encouragement? I know that the best thing I received from my parents and my family growing up was love and encouragement. There were also expectations and I knew that they had expectations for me, because they loved me!
President Hinckley has said, "As Children grow through the years, their lives, in large measure, become an extension and a reflection of family teaching. If there is harshness, abuse, uncontrolled anger, disloyalty, the fruits will be certain and discernible, and in all likelihood they will be repeated in the generation that follows. if , on the other hand, there is forbearance, forgiveness, respect, consideration, kindness, mercy, and compassion, the fruits again will be discernible, and they will be eternally rewarding. They will be positive and sweet and wonderful...I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes." I love this quote, because you realize that you are wanting to allow growth, understanding, independence, but that this is achievable through acceptance, proper and loving rearing, not through control.
We all need to realize what our parents are trying to accomplish, in whatever tactics they use and understand that if we respect them and what they are trying to do, we will better be able to understand their needs as well.
So, how do we become the type of parents that President Hinckley has described? We have got to love the Lord and use the tools he has given us to constantly change and improve each day. Change is important, because none of us are perfect.
Dallin H. Oaks said, "The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change." 
I love that the gospel is the key in helping us become all that we are meant to be. We have help along the way as we learn to bridle ourselves and see the world the way that Christ does.
"The key", Elder Robert D. Hales has taught, "to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes."

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said, " devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this god-given responsibility."

(In regards to Chapter 11 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Whoso Shall Offend One of these little ones..., it were better for him that a Millstone were Hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the Sea" ~Matthew 18:6

This is a huge topic to discuss, so I am going to touch on just a few key points. The best definition of abuse I think is this, "Abuse consists of actions or attitudes that are intended to hurt or control."

Physical abuse: "Grabbing or pushing in a sibling relationship is different from such behaviors in a couple relationship." I think this is important to know and believe. I have known a lot of Young adults who thought that "playing rough" with their girlfriend or boyfriend was okay. It is just how they are, but it is wrong. Girls, you don't have to act tough to roll with the boys. You need to be respected and also respect.

In talking about ALL forms of abuse, it is important to know that we still need to forgive the abuser. It's true. Heavenly Father wants us to forgive all, He will decide whether He will forgive or not. So, Forgive, BUT tolerate no more. I emphasized the but, because it is different from me saying, Forgive and tolerate no more. I feel like when I say these two statement they give off a different idea about how your attitude will be after. I have seen in situations, even other than abuse, that you forgive someone and won't accept that behavior anymore...If you are sweet and gentle around the topic and just trust that it won't come back, I feel that it most likely will. It is okay to not trust someone the same. It is okay to be bold in your resolve to accept nothing but respect and better treatment.

If you have experienced abuse in some form, THE LORD LOVES YOU! I love you, truly. Life is hard enough without those kind of trials. Know that you can grow from those experiences, as badly as you and everyone else wish you didn't have to have those experiences, you can be more of YOU, because of them and show real love and compassion towards others. 
Brigham Young said, "Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord; study their dispositions and their temperaments, and deal with them accordingly, never allowing yourself to correct them in the heat of passion; teach them to love you rather than to fear you."

Richard G. Scott: 
"You must understand that you are free to determine to overcome the harmful results of abuse."
Please Please Please, read this talk, by clicking on this link, here. Elder Richard G. Scott says all that I wish I could. His words are helpful. 

"If you give way to your angry feelings, it sets on fire the whole course of nature...and you are then apt to set those on fire who are contending with you." ~ Brigham Young 

"Heavenly Father sees us in terms of Forever."

(In regards to Chapter 24 of the text, "Successful Marriage and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Friday, February 13, 2015

It Is What God Gave You Time For!

       Bearing and rearing children is a divine call and is a gift that brings us that much closer to our Heavenly Father. It gives us a glimpse of how great His love is for all of us. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

"It is what God gave you time for!" ~Elder Neil L. Andersen  (Click Here for the link to the talk that inspired this video)
     I love this quote. I love thinking about this as we learn that though the world population is at it's highest ever, the rate of childbirth is at it's lowest ever and is projected to continue in decline. We are being constantly told by the media and confused sources that we are overpopulating the earth and we have to back off, but what they aren't looking at is that people are living longer and the group of people that are living longer right now is the biggest group of people we have ever had (baby boomers) and we are getting a false sense of overpopulation. Along with things I have previously shared, we are living in a me society. Everything is selfish and if we continue on this trend, why would we have a desire to have children? The media tells us that children will only hold us back, but I say that this just isn't true. This is what God gave us time for.  

“And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Ne. 2:23)."

President James E. Faust said, "...while few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few opportunities offer greater potential for joy". Right along with that is what Elder Russell M. Nelson offered, "God has revealed the eternal nature of celestial marriage and the family as the source of our greatest joy."  I have a testimony of the things that these great men have said. All my life I have wanted to be able to be a part of this. To know the joy of parenthood and hopefully someday I will be able to. It is something that I think all of us long for in someway, even if we don't recognize it or don't let ourselves recognize it.  Now, don't forget to remember all of the principles I have and will talk about in other posts pertaining to marriage and children. The Family: A Proclamation to the World also states, 
"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."

President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood. Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious. To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges. The good result form such efforts becomes life's most satisfying compensation." 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities and comforts to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support a family. The gap between those who are and those who are not willing to do this is widening in today's world...We rejoice that so many Latter-day Saint couples are among that unselfish group who are willing to surrender their personal priorities and serve the Lord by bearing and rearing the children our Heavenly Father sends to their care." 

(In regards to Chapter 14 of the text, " Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Between Husband and Wife!

        The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, "...We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."
        David A. Bednar has said, "The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation."    I want to start off by saying, youth, don't be afraid to ask your parents any questions that you have. Yeah, they may freak out or act weird, but that is because they know the previous two statements to be true and something that close to their heart and serious is something hard to discuss with a son or daughter who they know is getting different messages everywhere they turn. To parents, don't freak out. Answer your children's questions matter of factly, share your testimony, let them know that they can ask you what they want. Don't turn it around on them and push for your own answers. It takes a little leap of faith for them to talk to you at all about these things.
       Let me tell you something. Intimacy is so important. And it is so important that it be reserved for your spouse. Intimacy includes the Lord and if you don't save those feelings for the person that you are to spend the rest of your life and the rest of eternity with, it may be tainted. It will be tainted. You can't take it back. You can move forward, with the help of the Lord and through his atoning sacrifice, but why don't we try to skip the heartache?  
(More people wait than you think!)
 The Psychological Case For Chastity
     In the world today we are constantly hearing things about sexual fulfillment and it is an obsession, a very ridiculous obsession. No one needs to be sexually fulfilled. So, reading the above linked article will help you to understand this.
   Intimacy in marriage is something that helps to fill in gaps and strengthen all aspects of the marriage. Three main things that come through intimacy in marriage are connection with God, strengthening bonds, and procreation. President Spencer W. Kimball has said, "There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women an expression of love".  Youth feel as though they are constantly taught that sexuality and intimacy are bad, wrong, immoral, and just something that is horrid. It is not true, but it is something that cannot and should not ever be tampered with or experimented in anyway, before you have the right to it. You do not have the right to it until you are married. I know that relationships happen and you feel like this is the person you want to be with forever. You have discussed it and there is no way anything will come between you. So, why not? Because, you are not his and he is not your until you are married. I tell you that the pain and sorrow that can come from that kind of thinking, with no reserve is indescribable and is not something you have to go through. The above article discusses this. Sexuality is for between a husband and wife, because if there is intimacy in any other relationship, the relationship is not standing and leaning on the right things. When troubles come, things can't and won't be discussed properly, because the relationship is full of lust and self-gratification. Don't go there.
    Here is a video that I found and she answers a lot of questions very candidly. It is great. Stand strong in your faith and don't follow others. They won't be there later on.

(In regard to Chapter 5 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Communicating Well Through the Dating Phases

      Leave no rock un-turned when you are dating someone. Any type of red flag should be discussed. Does that seem weird? I think that many people are afraid to over step boundaries when they are dating with questions, but if you are getting to know this person and wanting to know if you should progress the relationship, you have the right to know what ever you think is important. You should be comfortable with this person enough that you can have real, meaningful conversations.   Let's back it up just a bit. There are steps to dating and many times some steps are skipped. There is a trend going on of skipping straight to exclusive courtship and being intimate in ways, such as holding hands and kissing.
      Take time to get to know the person, dating others as well and not rushing anything. It is a nice stage of dating that is more carefree and has less emotional drainage. Learn the important things first so that you don't get too far into a relationship that seems hard to get out of. Do they have a testimony? Do they have a desire to build a strong, happy family?  Once you think that all of the initial questions are answered and you feel you want to move on in a relationship, don't assume. Too often we don't discuss these transitions and it seems like in our culture now, we just assume that we must be boyfriend and girlfriend. I tell you from my experiences, I think that it is something that has to be discussed. Talk about the progression of the relationship so that both parties can be on the same page.
    Be straight forward with your feelings. Tell them how  you feel about the progression of the relationship and that you would like to be exclusive. This basis of discussion is important so that you feel open with being able to discuss all topics.
     Now, relationships can move on from there in two different directions. You can continue on the path that will and can eventually lead to marriage or any time along the path there may be a separation of the relationship.
    This is something that I want to talk about. You have to be straight forward in these situations as well. Do not beat around the bush. Do not let there be a "falling out". You should have no intention of hurting the other person, because inevitably there will be some hurt anyway.
     I am going to share a couple of personal stories in which break ups occurred. I have had all different kinds of break up. I have had the kind that just kind of happen, the relationship fades away. I have had the one where they beat around the bush and don't ever say what they want to say and I have had one where I was very honest and kind and there was still a lot of pain. In one situation I had been getting to know a young man, we were never officially dating, at least I didn't think so since it had never been stated. We were just friends who had gone on a few dates. Well, he asked me out on a date and told me that he was not ready for a relationship, it seemed a little out of the blue to me, as he proceeded to talk about stuff we could do in a few days and asked me to hangout with him and another couple for games in a few days and said he would call me. He said he just didn't want a serious relationship right then. I agreed, because I was not looking for anything serious then. After he took me home that night, he never called me again and wouldn't answer my calls or texts and it was gone. I feel like he beat around the bush, thinking that this was the way to not hurt my feelings. Everyone, honesty is the best policy. It will be painful either way, but leave a relationship, whatever stage it is at, the most honest and caring way you can.
     Another experience was when I had been seeing a young man for awhile, but I felt that the relationship should not progress for various reasons. I asked to meet with him and as we walked I explained the best I could the way that I felt and it was painful for both of us. It is not always only painful on one side of a break up. It was a rough day as we discussed different things, but I parted the best that I could. I tried to leave no question unanswered and said that I was open to discussing more if necessary. After some heartache, we were able to be cordial and friendly.
    Breaking Up without Going to Pieces: When Dating Doesn't End In Marriage
Read that talk no matter if you think you need it or not. It has so much good in it for relationships as they progress and for both directions of progression.

(In Regards to Chapter 2 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

The Road of Dating and Finding "The One"

    I just want to say one thing to begin that someone told me when I was entering my dating years that has really helped me and if remembered ALL THE TIME, can save so much heartache and also just help us to get to know people and date the right way.
    To remember: Be respectful of the person you are "dating" or on a date with; chances are the future husband or wife of someone else and you have a responsibility to take care of them.
     Now, something that has been happening ever increasingly in our culture is a decrease in dating, an increase in hanging out, an increase in promiscuity, and an increase of marital age. Now if we think about General Conference talks, these topics are discussed quite often and the leaders of the church are against these trends.
   I want to point something out. There are ideas about these trends that lend us to follow them. The world is telling us that we have got to be at the top. We need to be well on our way to where we are going, know where we are going, and let nothing stand in our way. It seems that a message that goes along with that is that marriage is going to hold us back too much from what we really want. I want to tell you, no. Marriage will help you become all that you are meant to be and you can still achieve those things that you think are important, but you will have a clearer perspective.
   Also, no body wants to get married or go on dates, because that starts the potential for marriage, because they don't feel they are done with their single years. "Single years" is a totally new thing. We have created a whole new stage in life between childhood(teenage years) and adulthood. This is emerging adulthood, but I see it as those without courage, an unwillingness to grow up. It is all me centered. I know that some people are not purposefully staying unwed well into adulthood, but there is a large majority that is putting forth little to no effort.

DATE:  It takes practice! So date a lot. View that article about the importance of a lot of dates. You are habit forming in high school so date right. Boys, ask girls out a lot and don't stick with one girl. Ask them all out. Do fun and simple things. One of the funnest dates I went on was one where there were two couples and we split up at Walmart, each with a $5 limit to pick items to make a "gross" dinner and then make it for the other couple. It was so fun and there was time to joke and have a good time. A date can be as simple as walking around at a park, walking around the mall and making up different games.

Cohabitation: This is something that is ever increasingly important to address. We keep feeding this lie that cohabiting is good and okay, because it helps us know all the evidence if a future marriage would work out. Well, no, cohabiting couples that eventually marry are WAY more likely to end in divorce than those who don't live together previously. You enter a cohabitation situation with an escape route and as you just happen to decide that marriage will be okay, you or your partner or both, never really get rid of that back door attitude. We should never allow divorce to be an option before ever getting married.
     So, one thing that I think we are so consumed with is finding the right person to marry. We want that one perfect person. Well, they aren't out there. I am sorry. Have you ever met somebody that you absolutely loved everything about? All their mannerisms and everything? Chances are there is something that wouldn't work so well if you were married to them. You don't have to find someone who is absolutely perfect and while you are out critiquing so heavily, you are losing opportunities to go out with some awesome people.
    STOP being caught up in who you will marry and decide today if you are marriage material. Yep, because everyone is looking for that right person, so maybe you should see if you are someone that you think would attract the type of person you want.
Lines of worthiness are important for all of us. We have to be aware of the boundaries and not cross them and if we have or do, follow the way back that the Savior has given us. Make things right in all ways with the Lord and with your heart.
      Jeffrey R. Holland said:   "Do you want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed Latter-day Saint. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. You separate dating from discipleship at your peril."        If you separate the two, you won't be available to love. You have to learn to truly love yourself and love the Lord, wanting to serve Him and fulfill His will. Otherwise, your heart will not be something that can give what you need to give to your future spouse.

Necessary for you to be happy in marriage and to get you to a Temple Marriage (<--- the way to go):

  • Keep the Commandments
  • Strengthen your testimony
  • Be selfless
  • Communicate
  • Have Courage
(In regards to Chapter 1 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why Be Married?

         Let me tell you! One unique way I have come to see marriage is that it is so freeing. How great we feel when we are able to share our deepest feelings with someone, but that is hard! Being married is even better than sharing things with your mother or a favorite sibling. You don't and shouldn't hold anything back. Yes, marriage is about the other person, as I have said before, but in being selfless and looking to help the other person, we become more of who we are supposed to be.
An analogy I came up with is this:
       I like to think of my husband and Myself as a team. Members of a team do not all have the same responsibilities, but all contribute to one goal and each of their roles are vital to the end. Remember when I played Badminton? Well, in two on two games it was very important for partners to communicate and to be in sync with each other. We needed to know that person so well that we knew what their move would be in any given situation and be prepare to back them up and be where they couldn't be. One of us was the front player, while the other was the back player so that we had all of the court covered. One thing that was vital was to know that just because I was the front player didn't mean that I could never step back and take some of the role there or my teammate to come up front and fill in for me. In marriage our husbands and ourselves have very specific roles and they work together so well. This does not mean that there aren't times that we need to fill in and help in the other's role.  In decision making it is important to know who has the background or more experience, who is better equipped for particular decisions. Also, there is no person that you will ever completely agree with on everything. I think it is important to know when to back down and let your husband take control or vice versa. It's a blessing to be able to trust the other and let them lead in their duties and responsibilities. 
      Something I want to focus on is that we are to always see and look for the best in our spouse! Seriously, think of the emotions when you like someone, when you want to marry someone. You want the very best for that person. That is all you want. That is an important feeling. That is something that the Lord wants for us, the best. We are worth that. 
      As I think of marriage and it's importance I think of the reasons why people decide that a certain marriage isn't for them (usually one that they are in) and what comes to my mind is that if you are in pursuit of individual fulfillment, that is why marriage isn't working for you. I really don't think that you can become all that you can or should become on your own though. You won't have the strength you need if you vacate from something that is so important and lasting. 
      click here to see a video about marriage and how important it is and how sometimes it takes a serious event for us to see it. What I say is, don't wait for something to happen and take care of your marriage now and always. 

     We have probably all seen this a time or two, but isn't it profound? So how do we fix it, or better yet how do we keep it from getting broken? We treat it as a prized possession, something we polish everyday. Here is a recording of W. Cleon Skousen and Henry B. Eyring discussing what they have seen as the divine way to converse and come to conclusions. It isn't always argument or differing opinion free, but unanimity can be found and hearts can be at peace. 

     I love this, because we are reminded that we are a team. We see that it is not us against our spouse, but it the two working together towards a common outcome, the best possible. 
   The Lord wants us to become something and it is hard for us to understand the path we go on and how it will lead us to that, earth life is not pain free. I just found a beautiful video that I think has a great message.  
        Dennis Prager is a radio talk show host, author, public speaker, and well known for his political views and stance on moral values. I want to share here something he spoke called The Case for Marriage:       Unfortunately, it is probably harder at this time in history to make the case for marriage on purely rational grounds than almost anything else. And unfortunately, equally unfortunately, it is unbelievably necessary, because so many men and women wonder, why get married? I’m going to deal with some of the objections. 

First, let me just say that this is primarily addressed to men because more men need to be convinced, because women, by nature—yes I believe there is a feminine and a masculine nature—want commitment. Nevertheless, this is addressed to both sexes, but especially to men. So, let’s deal with it: The case for marriage.

Well, first of all, do you want to build a life with someone? It’s so simple, isn’t it--do you or don’t you? I don’t know why people would want to live a life, without having shared it with somebody, or shared it with a series of somebodies over a course of a lifetime.

There’s no comparison: Do you want to get deeper? Do you want to grow up? And I know this sounds a little—almost insulting. It’s not meant to be insulting, but come on—everybody who has married, whether they’re divorced or they are still married, knows, marriage makes you more mature. It can’t have any other effect, because when you’re single, your primary concern, totally understandably, is you: When will I get up? What will I do today? Where will I be this weekend? What will I do? What will I think? How will I feel? What will I eat? But when you get married, it’s "we." That makes you grow up. That makes you a deeper person as well, because the deepest relationship that exists in the world is that of a husband and wife. That is the deepest relationship. I’m not saying that there are no other spectacular relationships and there are no other great friendships. I have wonderful, deep, loving relationships with men I have had my whole life. I love that; I can’t live without that. But there is nothing that quite compares to the depth of the relationship between a husband and a wife.

Now, people will say, "aw, come on, why get married? Hey--I can live with somebody, why get married—it’s just a piece of paper? I love that line: It’s just a piece of paper. To which I always say—let’s say you’re with a man for now for 4, 6, 8 years and you’d like to marry, but he says, "nah, it’s just a piece of paper." I have a great answer for you: "Well, honey, if it’s just a piece of paper, why don’t you sign it?" Because everybody knows it’s not just a piece of paper. There is a world of difference, even though it may not be in one’s heart—there is a world of difference between being married and living together with somebody. Let me tell you something: There is a very big difference between the word boyfriend and the word husband, between the word girlfriend and the word wife, even between the word partner and the word husband or wife. It’s not just a piece of paper.

Now I know all the arguments aside from just a piece a paper: fear of commitment--especially men have this. I understand that; I understand it as a man. Of course, you tell a guy: "this is the only woman you’ll be able to touch for the rest of your life," let’s be honest, it causes men to start to hyperventilate. I understand that. So, you have a choice: Would you like to have a deep, committed relationship with a woman or a succession of women and on your tombstone will be written, "Here lies so and so. He had eight great relationships." I don’t think that’s the better way to live a life, and I don’t think it makes you happier as a man, let alone as a woman.

Oh, and another one: "There’s so much divorce." So what? It’s like saying there are so many car crashes I won’t get a license. Yes, there are car crashes—there are marriages that end up crashing—and everyone is a tragedy, so what? Why is it an argument against marriage? All it is is an argument to marry the right person, but it’s hardly an argument against marriage.

And society needs marriage. Society wants people to take care of each other. It’s better for the world when people marry. Yes, the case for marriage is powerful. The fact that our age needs that case is a very troubling fact. It is simply a better life for society, for me, for the person I’m marrying, for our children, for the world: marriage. I’m Dennis Prager.

  One more thing...Did you know that marriage is healthy? It isn't just the health of society, but actual individual health and well-being is strengthened by marriage! It is true. People have a better sense of self, they are more active, make better food choices, and overall they are happier. Humans are social creatures and that doesn't mean that we need a lot of friends or to be around a lot of people or that we can't have commitment, but it means that we like to have security. 
    I have a strong testimony of marriage and it's importance here and also it's importance in the grand scheme of things. It is a blessing to have someone by your side, helping me to focus, picking you up when you are done, someone you can help, and someone who shares in your joys and holds you in your sorrows. No "significant other" will always be there for you like a spouse. And yes, the paper matters. 

(In regards to Chapter  2 and 7 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")