01 October 2012

Accepting The Will of God

God uses love-inspired correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision 
but which He knows is the better way for us.

07 August 2012

First Presidency Message--August 2012

The Savior’s Call to Serve 
by President Thomas S. Monson

All who have studied mathematics know what a common denominator is. For Latter-day Saints, there is a common denominator that binds us together. That common denominator is the individual call each of us receives to fill assignments in God’s kingdom here upon the earth. Are you ever guilty of murmuring when a calling comes to you? Or do you accept with thanksgiving each opportunity to serve your brothers and sisters, knowing that our Heavenly Father will bless those whom He calls? I would hope that we would not lose the real objective of our cherished opportunities to serve. That objective, that eternal goal, is the same spoken of by the Lord and found in the Pearl of Great Price: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God. By willingly walking the path of service to God, we will never be in the position of Shakespeare’s Cardinal Wolsey. Stripped of his power after a life of service to his king, he sadly lamented: Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, He would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies. 

What kind of service does heaven require? “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.” I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” Like a glowing searchlight of goodness is the life of Jesus as He ministered among men. “I am among you as he that serveth,” Jesus declared as He brought strength to the limbs of the cripple, sight to the eyes of the blind, hearing to the ears of the deaf, and life to the body of the dead. With the parable of the good Samaritan, the Master taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. With His answer to the rich young ruler, He taught us to shed our selfishness. With the feeding of the 5,000, He taught us to see to the needs of others. And with the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us to seek first the kingdom of God. In the New World, the resurrected Lord declared, “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do.” We bless others as we serve in the shadow of “Jesus of Nazareth … who went about doing good.” God bless us to find joy in serving our Father in Heaven as we serve His children on earth. Teaching from This Message “[The Lord] will not permit us to fail if we do our part. He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities. … It is one of the sweetest experiences that can come to a human being” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 20). 

Consider sharing an experience when you or someone you know has felt the Lord magnify his or her talents and abilities. Invite the family to share some of their own positive experiences as they have responded to “the Savior’s call to serve.” Youth Serving in the Temple By Benjamin A. When I turned 17, I started thinking seriously about my future, and I prayed to Heavenly Father about what I could do to prepare to go on a mission and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. I felt that I ought to go to the temple more often because it is the house of the Lord and would be the place where I could feel closest to my Heavenly Father. So I set a goal to do 1,000 baptisms in a year. I truly felt the need to set this goal; I fasted to know if this was what I ought to do. Our Heavenly Father answered me, and I began to go to the Tampico Mexico Temple every Saturday. After I had done 500 baptisms, I set a goal to do family history research on my ancestors, and I liked doing the research so much that I could not sleep because I was looking for names. I found 50 names and eight generations of my family history; I helped do the temple work for all of them. I ended up doing over 1,300 baptisms, and I graduated from seminary, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and am now serving as a full-time missionary, which was one of my biggest goals in life.

August 2012 Visiting Teaching Message....

Taking Action in Time of Need Prayerfully 

Taking Action in Time of Need As visiting teachers, one of our purposes is to help strengthen families and homes. The sisters we visit should be able to say, “If I have problems, I know my visiting teachers will help without waiting to be asked.” In order to serve, we have a responsibility to be conscious of the needs of the sisters we visit. When we seek inspiration, we will know how to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of each sister we are assigned to visit. Then, using our time, skills, talents, prayers of faith, and spiritual and emotional support, we can help give compassionate service during times of illness, death, and other special circumstances.

Through the help of reports from visiting teachers, the Relief Society presidency identifies those who have special needs because of physical or emotional illness, emergencies, births, deaths, disability, loneliness, or other challenges. The Relief Society president then reports her findings to the bishop. Under his direction, she coordinates assistance. As visiting teachers we can have “great reason … to rejoice” because of “the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work” (Alma 26:1, 3). From the Scriptures Matthew 22:37–40; Luke 10:29–37; Alma 26:1–4; Doctrine and Covenants 82:18–19 From Our History In the early years of the Church, membership was small and centralized. Members could respond quickly when someone was in need. 

Today our membership is over 14 million and is spread throughout the world. Visiting teaching is part of the Lord’s plan to provide help for all His children. “The only system which could provide succor and comfort across a church so large in a world so varied would be through individual servants near the people in need,” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency. “… Every bishop and every branch president has a Relief Society president to depend upon,” he continued. “She has visiting teachers, who know the trials and the needs of every sister. She can, through them, know the hearts of individuals and families. She can meet needs and help the bishop in his call to nurture individuals and families.”

24 July 2012

Being Always in the Middle...

"There will be moments of beginnings and moments of endings throughout our lives, but these are only markers along the way of the great middle of our eternal lives. Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for His purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives...

The Psalmist says, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we [should] rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). And a poet muses, “Forever—is composed of Nows.”

...Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us."

30 June 2012

Emerging with Faith in Africa....

“It is easy to love the people of Africa,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said repeatedly. The faith and obedience of African Latter-day Saints, born of their love for the gospel, sets an example for all members of the Church, he said. 

 “The memory I always have is the spirituality of the people,” Elder Holland said during an interview in Freetown, Sierra Leone. “That is a little hard to convey, unless you have been here, unless you have seen firsthand their goodness, their faith, and their spiritual gifts.”

To read more from this wonderful article, click here.

27 June 2012

The Importance of Saving Your Marriage...

"A marriage, like a human life, is a precious, living thing.  
A marriage, eternal in duration and God-like in quality, 
does not contemplate divorce."

~Elder Dallin H. Oaks

14 May 2012

What is real growth?


 “The temple is the great final measure of real growth,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. “Not just the temple experience, but the making of covenants in the temple and then keeping those covenants.” 

 In the accompanying video, prophets and apostles teach that real growth in the Church is not about the number of baptisms and meetinghouses or the number of wards and stakes. Instead, real growth is manifest in how individuals live their lives after baptism. “When we speak of real growth, we speak of what follows a person’s baptism into the Church,” Elder Oaks said. “Sometimes we tend just to count the growth of the Church in terms of the number of convert baptisms. But this a very premature and incomplete view of the matter.” 

 “Conversion has to happen within the heart and soul of every individual,” Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. “We can’t convert a person; all we can do is invite them to come and enjoy the fruits of the gospel.” “We have more good people in the Church now than ever [before]. … They know more about the gospel; they can move through all that’s ahead of us with power and all end up with happiness,” President Boyd K. Packer said.

02 May 2012

The power of hope...

"Hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges... to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart." 

 ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

17 April 2012

One Mormon Woman's journey...

If you have difficulty viewing the video above, click here to open in your web browser.

2012 Women’s Conference to Be Held April 26-27

Brigham Young University and the Relief Society will cosponsor the annual Women’s Conference on Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27, 2012, in Provo, Utah, USA. They will host and broadcast to women from around the world. This year’s theme, “And they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory,” comes from 1 Nephi 14:14.

“Women come to Women’s Conference to be uplifted and to feel connected with other women who share similar values and beliefs,” said Sandra Rogers, international vice president at BYU and the chair of Women’s Conference. “They feel stronger because they are in the company of other women who are also trying to live the gospel and have the Lord’s spirit in their lives.”

As in previous years, both days will begin with a morning opening session at 9:00 a.m. and end with a general afternoon session at 3:45 p.m. at BYU’s Marriott Center. Featured keynote speakers include Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy Andersen (who will speak Friday afternoon); Matthew O. Richardson, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, and his wife, Lisa Richardson (who will speak Thursday afternoon); Sandra Rogers, international vice president at BYU and the chair of Women’s Conference (who will speak Friday morning); and Ruth Todd, an award-winning TV news anchor (who will speak Thursday morning).

Three one-hour concurrent sessions, with up to 16 classes to choose from per hour, will be held between the two general sessions each day. Subjects include family, gospel, home, marriage, and service, among others. Six of the concurrent sessions will be conducted in Spanish, and the four general sessions will have live Spanish translation.

The conference also features various activities, including book signings, an evening concert, an “instant choir,” and as well as the “Sweet Is the Work” service event, which includes the sharing stations and over 23 service projects . Patrons’ name badges will serve as their ticket to all sessions and activities.

Women and men age 16 and older may register online now at the Women’s Conference website or by calling 801-422-8925 (toll-free at 1-877-221-6716). In-person registration is also available at the BYU Harman Continuing Education Building lobby weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on the days of the conference at the Marriott Center outdoor ticket booths beginning at 7:30 a.m. For more information, visit the registration page of the Women’s Conference website.

A delayed rebroadcast schedule of talks from this year’s Women’s Conference will be posted on the BYU Broadcasting website after May 3.

For additional information about the conference, visit the Women’s Conference website, or call 801-422-7692.

16 April 2012

Looking through Windows...

"My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?...

The Apostle James taught, “If any … among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s [or woman’s] religion is vain.”

~Thomas S. Monson
(taken from President Monson's 2010 Relief Society message, Charity Never Faileth)

April's Visiting Message Message...

Love, Watch Over, and Strengthen

Like the Savior, visiting teachers minister one by one (see 3 Nephi 11:15). We know we are successful in our ministering as visiting teachers when our sisters can say: (1) my visiting teacher helps me grow spiritually; (2) I know my visiting teacher cares deeply about me and my family; and (3) if I have problems, I know my visiting teacher will take action without waiting to be asked. {1}

How can we as visiting teachers love, watch over, and strengthen a sister? Following are nine suggestions found in chapter 7 of Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society to help visiting teachers minister to their sisters:

• Pray daily for her and her family.
• Seek inspiration to know her and her family.
• Visit her regularly to learn how she is doing and to comfort and strengthen her.
• Stay in frequent contact through visits, phone calls, letters, e-mail, text messages, and simple acts of kindness.
• Greet her at Church meetings.
• Help her when she has an emergency, illness, or other urgent need.
• Teach her the gospel from the scriptures and the Visiting Teaching Messages.
• Inspire her by setting a good example.
• Report to a Relief Society leader about their service and the sister’s spiritual and temporal well-being.
From the Scriptures
Luke 10:38–39; 3 Nephi 11:23–26; 27:21

From Our History
“Visiting teaching has become a vehicle for Latter-day Saint women worldwide to love, nurture, and serve—to ‘act according to those sympathies which God has planted in [our] bosoms,’ as Joseph Smith taught.”  {2}

A sister who had recently been widowed said of her visiting teachers: “They listened. They comforted me. They wept with me. And they hugged me. … [They] helped me out of the deep despair and depression of those first few months of loneliness.” {3}

Help with temporal tasks is also a form of ministering. At the October 1856 general conference, President Brigham Young announced that handcart pioneers were stranded in deep snow 270–370 miles (435–595 km) away. He called for the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City to rescue them and to “attend strictly to those things which we call temporal.” {4}

Lucy Meserve Smith recorded that the women took off their warm underskirts and stockings right there in the tabernacle and piled them into wagons to send to the freezing pioneers. Then they gathered bedding and clothing for those who would eventually come with few belongings. When the handcart companies arrived, a building in the town was “loaded with provisions for them.” {5}

For more information, go to reliefsociety.lds.org.

What Can I Do?
1. How can I know what my sisters need?
2. How will my sisters know that I care deeply about them?

1. See Julie B. Beck, “What I Hope My Granddaughters (and Grandsons) Will Understand about Relief Society,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2011, 113.
2. Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 112.
3. Daughters in My Kingdom, 119–20.
4. Brigham Young, “Remarks,” Deseret News, Oct. 15, 1856, 252.
5. See Daughters in My Kingdom, 36–37.

Recipe of the Month...Taco Chicken Fingers


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 bag (9 oz.) tortilla chips (may substitute bread crumbs)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Cut each chicken breast half crosswise into 1/2 inch strips.  In a large shallow bowl, whisk Ranch and milk until blended and smooth.  Place chips in a resealable plastic bag.  Using a rolling pin, crush chips into fine crumbs.  In another large bowl, mix chips and taco seasoning.  Toss chicken in Ranch mix, then in crushed chips.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake until just browned and chicken is cooked throughout (10-12 minutes).