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This blog page is not an official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What is posted here is based on lesson materials with my own notes and opinions.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Israel, Israel, God Is Calling

I've been asked to give a talk tomorrow in Sacrament Meeting as part of my new calling.

I don't remember if I mentioned it here, but I was released as a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in January 2016.  I'm now called as a Ward Missionary.

The purpose of the talk is to emphasize how inviting others to the Gospel of Jesus Christ not only brings others closer to Christ, but also ourselves - the invitees.

There are portions of a Devotional Talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that I will be using.  The Devotional Talk will be given linked at the bottom of this post.

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Israel, Israel, God is calling,
Calling thee from lands of woe.
Babylon the great is falling;
God shall all her tow'rs o'erthrow.


Israel, Israel, God is speaking.
Hear your great Deliv'rer's voice!
Now a glorious morn is breaking
For the people of his choice.

Come to Zion, come to Zion,
And within her walls rejoice.
Come to Zion, come to Zion,
And within her walls rejoice.

From:  Israel, Israel, God Is Calling, Hymn #7, Text: Richard Smyth, 1838-1914

"In effect, this has been Israel’s history down through the ages. When things got too sinful, or there was too much secularization in society, or life with the Gentiles was destroying the moral code and commandments God had given, the children of the covenant would be sent fleeing into the wilderness to reestablish Zion and start all over again.

"One of the many unique characteristics of our dispensation, this the dispensation of the fulness of times—the last and greatest of all dispensations—is the changing nature of how we establish the kingdom of God on earth. You see, one of the truly exciting things about this dispensation is that it is a time of mighty, accelerated change. And one thing that has changed is that the Church of God will never again flee.

"In these last days, in this our dispensation, we would become mature enough to stop running. We would become mature enough to plant our feet and our families and our foundations in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people permanently.Zion would be everywhere—wherever the Church is. And with that change—one of the mighty changes of the last days—we no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live; we think of it as how we are going to live.



Because of this change in the latter days, this also means we no longer flee from those who live in Babylon, but we are called to administer and preach to those in every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  We are called to gather the wheat among the tares (Matthew 13:18-43).

How do we do that?  How do we invite those not of our faith to "come to Zion"?

The Savior, Jesus Christ gave us not only the teachings, but also the example of how to do this.

Most people in the Church talk about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others as just simply handing out copies of the Book of Mormon.  That is a part of it, but it's not all of it.

What did Jesus say are the two great commandments?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38 This is the first and great commandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:37-39)
Why is the second commandment so great?  Because the second one is a means of showing reverence and obedience to the first and great commandment.
So, how do we love our neighbors as ourselves?
While Jesus stated that: 
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Jesus did not say that man should not live without bread at all.  our basic needs must be met.
For some, that means training on how to most appropriately handle our finances.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers classes in basic finance - for free within Wards or Branches. (The textbook for these classes can be found here, and the transaction registers can be purchased through the Church's Distribution Center here.  The One For The Money Guide can be downloaded for free here.)
I've given a few of the registers out to people who are not of our faith, explaining how it works, and that it can be used not only for spending purposes, but also for allotting different areas of savings as well.
For others, it could be giving a tissue for those who are upset over turmoil in their life or who have suffered a loss.  One of my personal traditions is to give handkerchiefs to the widowed at the viewing or funeral of their spouse.  It was done for me when my husband passed, and I've tried to carry it forward to others since.  It's a wonderful gesture to show that grieving at a time like that is important and has it's place.
Another need to meet that is more commonly practiced in the Church is delivering meals to the sick or those who are otherwise in need.
While these are not replacements for copies of the Book of Mormon, the reason for meeting these needs is it requires people to actually spend the time to get to know this person well enough to see a need that needs to be met and finding a way to meet it, in conjunction with something (such as a copy of the Book of Mormon) to provide for the spiritual needs as well.
Do you think this wasn't important for the Savior?
Remember, he taught about finances with the Parable of the Talents.  (Matthew 25:14-30)



When Jesus went to find Lazarus was dead, He could have just gone to the tomb to call Lazarus back, but Jesus didn't do this.  Instead He stopped to mourn with his sisters, Martha and Mary.  Grieving is important to Christ as well.  (John 11:31-38)




Did Jesus also not see a need to feed those who followed after Him, not just spiritually, but temporally as well?  Yes, He did, and produced a miracle with bread and fishes as well.  (John 6:9-14)


This did Jesus do, and He did so while teaching from the Scriptures, setting the example for the rest of us.

How do we know who and how to lift and invite others?  After all, Israel, Israel, God is calling.

We pray for guidance, then listen and respond to promptings from the Holy Ghost when they are given us.

It isn't going to be easy.

It isn't going to come at a convenient time.

Some of those we are prompted to share with will reject the message.  What then?  Is your service in vain?  No.  Jesus loved them enough to atone for their sins as well.  We want to see as many of our brothers and sisters in a Celestial glory, however some will not want a Celestial lifestyle.  Jesus hasn't turned them away completely, for in our Father's House are "many mansions"  (see John 14:2, and this article).

It is my testimony that as we seek the will of the Lord and are led according to His Spirit, we will receive the personal revelations not only directing us towards others, but also directing us back to Him.

When the Heavens open up,
When the thin veil between God and man is pushed aside,
When Spirit touches spirit,
Then sacred truths they confide.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I testify of this in His Holy Name, Amen.




Link:  Israel, Israel, God Is Calling Devotional Talk By Elder Holland



Friday, November 6, 2015

My Take

It's been hard not to notice all of the media reports, not only of the status of members of The Church who are living homosexual lifestyles, but also the status of children being raised by couples living a homosexual lifestyle in the home.

I'll start by saying this:  These are just my opinions and not of anyone else, and not of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those of you who know me know I had a very long and hard struggle with how the Church defines widows as singles.  After all, why would a religion whose basic tenants include eternal marriage suddenly ditch the recognition of a sealed marriage after one of the spouses dies?

It took a lot of years and a lot of heart to heart talks with the Lord to find out it doesn't define me, it doesn't define my eternal marriage. This change is made to protect the widowed who find someone else to marry from being considered guilty of adultery from the Church.  Sometimes the harsh rules are there to protect us.

My take is that this is the same.  For years the Church has already had rules regarding excommunication of people living alternative lifestyles.  Those who have been members of the Church for a while should know this.  The change, for me at least, was with the status of children who are being raised in a home where homosexuality is practiced.


Again, to me, these rules of making the child wait until they are 18 to determine how that child wishes to live their life is also a protection.

It's not about punishment, it's about covenants.  Not only to make them, but the ability to keep covenants that have been made.  It's about getting serious about taking the Lord's name upon us, not just in outward appearance, but in inward belief.

It was hard for me to wait three years and eight months to be baptised, as my parents were opposed to the Church.  I have some experience in knowing you are an outsider.  There are times, even though I've been baptised for over 35 years and married in the Temple, when I still feel like an outsider, mostly because my responsibilites are not the norm for most women in my faith.

The Church, the gospel in my life, the blessings, the peace, the loved ones whom I hope will be awaiting me on the other side of the veil, all of it has been worth the wait, worth the struggles, worth the tears, even worth the betrayal I have experienced from time to time in this Church.

To be able to fully live my religious beliefs without the disdain and temptations of family members who do not understand the covenants I have made with the Lord, it has been worth the wait.

Again, just my opinion.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lesson 16

I Was Blind, Now I See

From the Manual:  https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-16-i-was-blind-now-i-see?lang=eng


Slideshow:





Videos used in the lesson:



Source:  https://youtu.be/fycvkAhYz1I?list=PL4E784EC0770935C0




Source:  https://youtu.be/zDEXQ-GTYTs?list=PL4E784EC0770935C0




Source:  https://youtu.be/slTa15a3mp0?list=PL4E784EC0770935C0





Source:  https://youtu.be/TEy6jgfCSgI

Lesson 14

Who Is My Neighbour?

From the Manual:  https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-14-who-is-my-neighbour?lang=eng


Slideshow:





The Parable of The First Responder:

http://genealotech.blogspot.com/2010/06/parable-of-first-responder.html



Videos used in the lesson:



Source:  https://youtu.be/E7zwQ_7q-fU?list=PL4E784EC0770935C0




Source:  https://youtu.be/53Pqw20xK10?list=PL4A73DDEE675FBC39



 Source:  https://youtu.be/R7ldbrua9as?list=PL4A73DDEE675FBC39


Lesson 13

I Will Give Unto Thee The Keys of The Kingdom

From the Manual:  https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-13-i-will-give-unto-thee-the-keys-of-the-kingdom?lang=eng





Videos used in the lesson:





Source:  http://bcove.me/xziimk1q





Source:  http://bcove.me/ge6gjgay


Lesson 11

He Spake Many Things Unto Them In Parables

From the Manual:  https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-11-he-spake-many-things-unto-them-in-parables?lang=eng

Slideshow:





The use of an optical illusion was to point out that while some people heard a duck story, Jesus - and those who were converted and had the Holy Ghost - heard a parable of a rabbit.

This lesson was all discussion, there were no videos used for the lesson.





Lesson 9

Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God

From the Manual:  https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-9-seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god?lang=eng




Videos used for the lesson:





Source:  https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-06-1070-phylacteries?lang=eng




 Source:  https://youtu.be/-3nN9-C1yKU?list=PL4A73DDEE675FBC39



Source:  https://youtu.be/YzmbLWIqUBk?list=PL4A73DDEE675FBC39



Source:  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1993/04/the-language-of-prayer?lang=eng#watch=video