Monthly Archives: November 2017

Can You Turn on the Dark?

One of our responsibilities on our mission in Moscow, Russia was to teach an Institute class in English each week. As part of the lesson one evening I planned to share a video. When the time came I asked, “would one of you mind getting up and turning on the dark?” As you might imagine, a fun conversation ensued. Because I’m such a teaser I egged them on, and we went around and round about light verses dark, and which has power over the other.

Let’s talk about the dark

I’m not truly afraid of the dark. Are you?  But, being in the dark is uncomfortable – even in our own homes, a familiar place.  When it’s dark we feel uneasy, we bump into things that we know are there, but we now can’t see …they become obstacles to us. We have a difficult time in making things out.

In the dark our imaginations shift into high gear, reality becomes distorted to us, and we can begin to see in our minds things that aren’t really there, and wonder if there are things lurking that might get us.

We are easily fooled in the dark, presented one thing but told it is something entirely different.  (Think of the haunted houses you went through as a child, where peeled grapes were presented as eyeballs and wet pasta as brains). 

How about doing a simple task in the dark, like coloring a picture? We can’t see the lines that are provided for us to stay inside of to make our picture lovely.  When the lights come up we have drawn all over the page, all out of the lines; something we would not normally do.  (Well, I can only speak for myself, I’ve not seen any of you color.)

What about doing a complicated task in the dark?  Anyone here want to undergo brain surgery while the hospital is in a total blackout?

Being in the dark causes distress, confusion, and problems. Thank you,Thomas Edison. Continue reading

In Praise of Women

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

We live in a society where it is “uncool” to be ladylike, act like a lady, and especially think like one. But don’t we secretly long to see a man honor his role and a woman honor her role according to the way God created them? Neal A. Maxwell gave an inspiring talk, in praise of women, back in April 1978, that simply makes me happy to read. I like hearing praise for women being feminine women.

First, he states, “In the work of the Kingdom, men and women are not without each other, but do not envy each other, lest by reversals and renunciations of role we make a wasteland of both womanhood and manhood.”

Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened in our world today. We don’t praise the identifying roles of womanhood or manhood. We’ve meshed them all together and created a wasteland of the human spirit, all in the name of equality.

Well, this is where I turn to the scriptures to discover what a virtuous woman should be (Proverbs 31:10-31):

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. (Women are to be honored and praised for their womanhood.)

She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. (She tends animals and gardens and clearly works hard all the day long.)

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (A woman’s work is never done. Some of us have help, most of us do not, nevertheless, we all share in the load of providing for the comforts of the home.)

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. (She makes important decisions and directs the welfare of her household, which extends into the community.)

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Her compassion knows no bounds; she takes care of all she can who are in need.)

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (She provides for her household first, seeing that her children are dressed well and secure.)

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (Every woman has the right to see herself as royalty.)

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (She provides income through her talents and is responsible in that endeavor.)

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (She is intelligent, wise, and kind.)

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Her children and husband recognize her worth and praise her as a woman of virtue.)

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. (Faith is more important to her than vanity and appearance.)

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Scriptures: Meaning In Their Depth

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

The other day I was talking with a friend who was explaining to me her view of the world. She said she liked to be open and learn from whatever was “out there” and she opened her arms wide to show how open she was. I appreciated and understood what she was saying, but the thought came to me that I personally prefer to look deep. I further explained that I’m honestly not interested in what the world has to teach me anymore. People are free to believe what they want, but I have learned that for me I like what the scriptures teach as I find meaning in their depth.  

This week, we are covering the welfare session of the October 1977 General Conference. Pres. Kimball talks about consecration and what this principle asks of members of the church. He says,

“Consecration is the giving of one’s time, talents, and means to care for those in need–whether spiritually or temporally–and in building the Lord’s kingdom.”

We’ve all heard that definition most of our lives and it’s familiar to us. Earlier this year, in Sunday School, we all had a lesson on consecration. I remember hearing from a few different Gospel Doctrine teachers that they really didn’t know how to teach anything new in this lesson. However, at that time, we were all still learning how to use the new supplemental material offered in the manual. And it gives an interesting additional view of this principle and has spurred me to study it further. In the article called “The Law,” we learn a few more details.

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Catch the Vision of Come Follow Me

The guidelines of the new Come Follow Me program, state:

“In these latter days, God has restored the priesthood and organized priesthood quorums and the Relief Society to help accomplish His work (see Moses 1:39). So each Sunday when we gather in Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, we gather to discuss and plan how we will accomplish His work. That is why these meetings need to be more than classes. They are also opportunities to counsel about the work of salvation, learn together from the teachings of Church leaders about that work, and organize to accomplish it. These changes to our Sunday meetings will help us fulfill these purposes.”

The phrase that sticks out to me is “these meetings need to be more than classes.” If you’re like me, you’ve been a little frustrated with Sunday lessons for a while. I’ve heard from others that they are not feeling edified enough after a lesson. We all fall into ruts, but with this new schedule we can take on Elder Bednar’s challenge and catch the vision.

During the 2014 Mission President’s MTC training, Elder Bednar asked “if they as individuals and as a Church will choose to keep pace with the Lord’s hastening. Or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with?” We all have a responsibility to prepare ourselves to follow the Lord in hastening the work.

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To Become Better People

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

In the closing session of October 1977 General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball stood before the congregation and said,

“This has been a great conference and as each one of these wonderful sermons has been rendered I’ve listened with great attention, and I have made up my mind that I shall go home and be a greater man than I have ever been before.”

This is the prophet of our church inviting us to become better people.

Next year, our Priesthood/Relief Society curriculum manual will be the General Conference talks we have just listened to. Why? In hopes that we will go home, study them, and become better people.

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Are There Any Miracles for Me?

What examples come to mind when you hear the word miracle? I think of the ancient miracles found in the scriptures: the parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Christ, Christ healing people and raising some from the dead, and Christ’s resurrection, to name a few. What about modern-day miracles? I think of beating cancer, surviving what should have been a fatal accident, or other incredible healing or protection stories.

But what if those kinds of stories don’t apply to you? What if someone you know and love doesn’t survive a terminal illness or survive a devastating accident? Can miracles still be found in your life? According to Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy, the answer is yes. Elder Hallstrom suggested that perhaps we need to look at a deeper understanding of what a miracle is in order to see more miracles around us. He said:

“My limited knowledge cannot explain why sometimes there is divine intervention and other times there is not. But perhaps we lack an understanding of what constitutes a miracle.


Often we describe a miracle as being healed without a full explanation by medical science or as avoiding catastrophic danger by heeding a clear prompting. However, defining a miracle as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand” gives an expanded perspective into matters more eternal in nature.”

“A beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand.” That sounds a lot like a blessing. Can some of our blessings also be considered miracles? I believe so. Continue reading