Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rats in the Cellar

"We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light."
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (1952)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lesson 2 Handouts (January 26, 2011)

Click on an image to enlarge it. Right-click to download or print.

Beatitudes PowerPoint

On January 26, 2011, Stacy showed a PowerPoint presentation which
can be accessed by clicking this link:


Our First Class of 2011

We were so delighted to start our study of the Sermon on the Mount on January 19, 2011 with 13 women and two nursery volunteers.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Starting Up Again!

We're excited to announce that the class will be starting up again, on "Wisdom Wednesday," January 19, 2011 at 12:00 noon. Stacy T. will be teaching us about The Sermon on the Mount. Several young moms want to attend so we are looking into meeting at the church and arranging for childcare. If this isn't possible, we will meet at Mindy C.'s home like we did last year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Report From Today's Class

Today we were so sorry Stacy was sick and not able to teach us, but we carried on and seven of us had a very nice hour together. We talked about our impressions of Stake Conference, about personal revelation, and shared some testimonies and experiences. Sisters shared their struggles and got support from the others. The Spirit was there, and it was an honor to have these sisters in my home to talk about the gospel. A few favorites from Stake Conference:

"You can never predict or prescribe the answers to your prayers or the way they will come." -- Jan Sudweeks

"You say Mormons Aren't Christians?? Those are fightin' words!" -- President Crickmore

Marlene, quoting Julie Beck, shared how she feels "bathed in help" all the time even when she has challenges. Susan feels peace; even when she doesn't know in what way things will work out, she knows that God is in charge and knows her and cares for her. I (Mindy) shared the analogy that as long as we are holding the Savior's hand, even if we are hanging off the side of a cliff (and the people we care for are hanging onto our ankles!), we won't fall.

Stacy (and other sisters), we missed you and hope you will be with us next week!

Monday, June 7, 2010

"An Educated Conscience," by Stephen R. Covey

This is the talk on the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost that Mindy mentioned during the June 7 class. This talk was REMARKABLE, unusual, creative, and really mind-expanding.

Click on this link and click on the button marked "download" to download the mp3 if you want to put it on your iPod. http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=948

Keystone and Capstone

"The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants brings men to Christ’s kingdom, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30). I know that.

"The Book of Mormon is the “keystone” of our religion, and the Doctrine and Covenants is the capstone, with continuing latter-day revelation. The Lord has placed His stamp of approval on both the keystone and the capstone." --President Ezra Taft Benson

Here is a link to the entire article:


Charts: Names of Christ in Book of Mormon

Click on this link, then go to charts 46 and 47 to see the charts that Stacy used on June 7, 2010.


This web site is an amazing resource! They have charted everything you can possibly think of in the Book of Mormon!

List of Ten "Best Books"

This is the list of "good books" we should search in addition to the scriptures and words of modern-day prophets, from lds.org:

Scripture on "Eternal Matter"

This is the specific scripture that Stacy was looking for that we couldn't find during class:

D&C 93:33, "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;

And to continue, D&C 93:34-38, "And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God."

Worksheets for June 7 Class

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stephen Covey Quote and Diagrams from RS Lesson, June 6, 2010

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, page 319:
A Personal Note
As I conclude this book, I would like to share my own personal conviction concerning what I believe to be the source of correct principles. I believe that correct principles are natural laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane.
I believe that there are parts to human nature that cannot be reached either by legislation or education, but require the power of God to deal with. I believe that as human beings, we cannot perfect ourselves. To the degree to which we align ourselves with correct principles, divine endowments will be released within our nature in enabling us to fulfill the measure of our creation. In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve, and to try again.
Again, T. S. Eliot expresses so beautifully my own personal discovery and conviction: "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time."

Handouts for RS Lesson June 6, 2010

The brochure that Stacy based today's lesson on, "That They May Always Have His Spirit to be With Them: A Guide to Sustaining Spiritual Growth." can be found if you click here.
There are seven habits: Three daily, two weekly, and two monthly.

1. Live Clean.
2. Pray Always.
3. Feast Upon the Words of Christ.

4. Keep the Sabbath.
5. Family Home Evening.

6. Tithes and Offerings.
7. Attend the Temple.

Another handout included this quote from Elder Parley P. Pratt on the Effects of the Holy Ghost:

"[His influence] quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being."

Friday, May 28, 2010

"He Cried, Abba," from Andrew Skinner's "Gethsemane"

Pages 60-61: Under the crushing weight of sin, sorrow, and suffering--all of which were orginally ours but now had become his--and in a state of shock and terrified surprise, the Savior cried out in distress to his Father, just as a child might cry out for the comfort offered by a loving parent. The only relief the Savior could hope for might be found in prayer "that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him" (Mark 14:35). Thus, in the most anguished cry of his life, the Savior pleaded, "Abba . . . all things are possible until thee; take away this cup from me" (Mark 14:36).

To miss the significance of the word Abba at this point in the story of Gethsemane is to miss the true relationship that existed between Jesus and his Father. The word Abba is an Aramaic word meaning "Papa" or "Daddy." It is a form of address signifying the close, intimate, loving, and special bond that develops between some fathers and their children. The Gospel of Mark preserves a number of Aramaic words, it being the language of common discourse in Jesus' day, even among the learned rabbis.

I remember the first time I heard the word used in actual conversation. One of my Jewish studies professors in graduate school had invited some of us to attend synagogue services with his family. He had reserved a small classroom off to the side of the synagogue assembly hall to answer our questions after the service was over. His young daughter, four or five years old, was in the room with us. It was obvious that she was the apple of her father's eye, for when she kept interrupting his explanations, always beginning with "Abba," he would stop talking and rivet his attention on her--and always with a smile. Afterward, I asked him what Abba meant (although I was sure I knew). He answered with pride, "Why, Daddy, of course."

In Gethesemane, on that terrible but glorious night, in a scene so personal as almost to dissuade us from listening in, Jesus cried out in shockingly familiar tones, "Daddy (Papa), all things are possible for you. Please take this experience away--it is worse than even I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I will do what you desire and not what I desire."

It is important to remember that this plea was not theatrics. This petition really happened between a son and his father. It is a privileged communication, but we have been extended the privilege of learning about it because of God's love for us and his trust that we will hold it in reverence.

"He Prayed More Earnestly" Excerpt from Andrew Skinner's "Gethsemane"

Pages 74-75: From Luke's inspired description, we begin to comprehend that the Savior's anguish and suffering was unrelenting. In fact, it increased and increased--more pressure, more torture, more agony. "And being in agony he prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44). Here the Savior of the universe teaches us through his experience that all prayers are not alike, nor are they expected to be. A greater need, a more intense life circumstance, calls forth from us more earnest, faith-filled petition and pleading.

I remember hearing as a young deacon a priesthood lesson on prayer given by a man that I and the other members of my quorum were very fond of. He talked about the need for profound respect when approaching God in prayer and spoke of several other important matters relative to prayer, including the how's and why's. And then he said, "But I'll tell you a little secret. It's when you are in the middle of a crisis that you really learn about prayer."

He told us about a time when his infant son became sick and then died, how his prayers were different because he and his wife pleaded with such intensity, and about how it felt to really talk with our Father in Heaven. His counsel had a great effect. It is not the words we speak or the language we use that is important. What really matters is getting down to admitting with all our hearts that we need God's help.

Since those days of my youth, I have come to appreciate what our deacons' quorum leader meant and how such experiences help us understand the lessons in Luke's description of the Savior's more earnest pleadings. Not all prayers are alike. As with the Savior, so with us. Some prayers will be more earnest than others.

President Joseph F. Smith also taught that it is the intensity of spirit much more than eloquence of language that constitutes sincere prayer:

It is not such a difficult thing to learn how to pray. It is not the words we use particularly that constitute prayer. . . . True, faithful, earnest prayer consists more in the feeling that rises from the heart and from the inward desire of our spirits to supplicate the Lord in humility and in faith, that we may receive his blessings. It matters not how simple the words may be, if our desires are genuine and we come before the Lord with a broken heart and contrite spirit to ask him for that which we need. (Gospel Doctrine, 219)

President Benson Quote from Andrew Skinner's Book, "Gethsemane"

Page 142-143: "President Benson spoke of the process of repentance and spiritual progress in a way that can serve as a model for the way in which the Lord helps us through our sorrow, suffering, and pain, and eventually removes them. He said:

We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.

But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20; italics added.) . . .

Finally, we must remember that most repentance does not involve sensational or dramatic changes, but rather is a step-by-step, steady, and consistent movement toward godliness. (Ensign, October 1989, 26)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"None Were With Him" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Here is a link to Elder Holland's talk that was used in the Monday 5/24 lesson on Prayer:


Our Dear Friend, the Holy Ghost

I loved this quote, and the whole article is wonderful. The author's homey tone reminds me of C.S. Lewis. I love this church!


"Imagine a dear friend who, whenever he comes to visit, helps you sort out your house. He does not condemn or cajole you. He washes a few dishes. He bakes a few cookies. He sorts the laundry. He never visits without leaving the place better for his visiting. He leaves us feeling hopeful and peaceful.

Thus it is with the Holy Ghost. Whenever He visits us, He burns out a few imperfections, sets our thinking in order, and refines our feelings. On His best days---those when we give Him free reign---He fills us with the greatest of heavenly gifts: charity!"


The Spirit's Refining Power

From Key to the Science of Theology by Parley P. Pratt

“An intelligent being, in the image of God, possesses, every organ, attribute, sense, sympathy, affection, of will, wisdom, love, power and gift, which is possessed by God Himself.

But these are possessed by man, in his rudimental state, in a subordinate sense of the word. Or, in other words, these attributes are in embryo, and are to be gradually developed. They resemble a bud, a germ, which gradually develops into bloom, and then, by progress, produces the mature fruit after its own kind.

The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.

In the presence of such persons one feels to enjoy the light of their countenances, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuse and thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy, to the heart and nerves of others who have kindred feelings, or sympathy of spirit. No matter if the parties are strangers, entirely unknown to each other in person or character; no matter if they have never spoken to each other, each will be apt to remark in his own mind, and perhaps exclaim, when referring to the interview, "O what an atmosphere encircles that stranger! How my heart thrilled with pure and holy feelings in his presence! What confidence and sympathy he inspired! His countenance and spirit gave me more assurance than a thousand written recommendations or introductory letters." Such is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and such are its operations, when received through the lawful channel, the divine, eternal Priesthood."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Detect Counterfeit Revelations

EXCELLENT BYU devotional by Gerald Lund called "The Voice of the Lord" in which he spends a lot of time giving very specific examples of counterfeit revelations and how to detect them. Fascinating and helpful.


The Still Small Voice: Revelation and How It Comes

This is an incredibly practical and engaging analysis of forms of personal revelation, by Gerald Lund. It was part of a series of 1998 BYU Education Week lectures and he refers to a part 2 but I can't find it yet. I will post it if and when I do.



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Ye Are The Temple of God"

An excellent BYU-Idaho Devotional by Elder David Bednar.


Further Comment from Stacy on Chastity

After class on Monday I knew that I needed to spend more time in remembering the Law of Chastity, the three keys of personal purity and revisiting the priceless gift of the Atonement paid for me by My Savior... "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. [1 Corinthians 6:13-20; emphasis added]

I asked Mindy to post links to two important talks by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "To Young Women" and "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments." Please take a look at them if you have a chance. Our soul is what's at stake here--our spirit and our body. Paul understood that doctrine of the soul every bit as well as James E. Talmage did, because it is gospel truth. The purchase price for our fullness of joy--body and spirit eternally united--is the pure and innocent blood of the Savior of this world. We cannot then say in ignorance or defiance, "Well, it's my life," or worse yet, "It's my body." It is not. "Ye are not your own," Paul said. "Ye are bought with a price." So in answer to the question, "Why does God care so much about sexual transgression?" it is partly because of the precious gift offered by and through his Only Begotten Son to redeem the souls--bodies and spirits--we too often share and abuse in cheap and tawdry ways. Christ restored the very seeds of eternal lives (see D&C132:19, 24), and we desecrate them at our peril. The first key reason for personal purity? Our very souls are involved and at stake."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on "Personal Radiation" by President David O. McKay

“Every man and every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone, it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation…. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us…. If we think noble thoughts, if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people.” (Conference Report, April 1963, 129).

“Every man has an atmosphere or a radiation that is affecting every person in the world. You cannot escape it. Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or for evil. It is simply the constant radiation of what a man really is. Every man by his mere living is radiating positive or negative qualities. Life is a state of radiation. To exist is to be the radiation of our feelings, natures, doubts, schemes, or to be the recipient of those things from somebody else.” (Conference Report, October 1969, 87).

Click here for an 8.5x11 pdf handout containing this photo and quotes.

Our Curriculum

The Curriculum for May-June is based on the brochure, "That They May Always Have His Spirit to be With Them: A Guide to Sustaining Spiritual Growth." There are seven habits: Three daily, two weekly, and two monthly. We studied the first habit, "Live Clean" on Monday, May 17. The habits are:

1. Live Clean.
2. Pray Always.
3. Feast Upon the Words of Christ.

4. Keep the Sabbath.
5. Family Home Evening.

6. Tithes and Offerings.
7. Attend the Temple.

Please click here to see a pdf of the illustrated two-page curriculum.

Spirituality Meter

Click on image to enlarge it.

Here is a chart that a high council speaker, Brother Bingham, shared in our ward. He got it from his BYU days; I reworked it and added the quotes.
Please click here for a pdf file you can download, print and share.

"Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" by Jeffrey R. Holland


"To Young Women" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


Monday, May 17, 2010

Main Reason for Word of Wisdom

This really jumped out at me as I was reading the
Phillip Allred article:
"It is so exciting to realize how the gospel's public and
personal commandments allow the Lord to really
transform us. Elder Packer has suggested the Word of
Wisdom is "only incidentally to keep us healthy" – and
reminded us that the promise associated with this
principle is "personal revelation." Therefore, he continued,
"If you will keep your body in a worthy, receptive
circumstance, you will be prompted, even have angels
attend you" (CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 Feb.
2003). Keeping our bodies in this spiritually tuned state
enables us to receive his personal commandments."

"Made Holy in the Body" by Phillip Allred

Here is a link to the talk Stacy referenced in her lesson today
at our Monday class. Phillip Allred is a Professor of
Religious Education at BYU-Idaho and this talk was given
there as a devotional on December 8, 2009. This is a great


Today's lesson on Habit 1 ("Live Clean") of "Seven Habits to
Continually Develop the Spirit Within Us" was wonderful,
and well-attended by 17 sisters including our teacher, Stacy.

Our homework is to study section 89 of the Doctrine &
Covenants, read all the cross-references, and pray about
how we can better follow the Word of Wisdom in our
personal lives.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Themes in April 2010 General Conference

Our teacher, Stacy, studied the themes of all the talks in the most recent General Conference and discovered that twelve of them spoke directly about mothers teaching children and youth.