Category Archives: Teaching

We Thank Thee, O God, For Good Teachers

General Conference Odyssey post for Oct. 1976, Sunday afternoon.

 

This session of conference has more than one talk on the role of teachers. We thank thee, O God, for good teachers who are willing to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ by what they say, what they do, and what they themselves believe.

 

Elder Featherstone mentioned a talk given by Spencer W. Kimball, back in 1966. It was entitled “What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren.” (CES Addresses to Religious Educators, July 11, 1966.) It is not available online.

 

In fact, I figured BYU must have it, so I journeyed innocently down to the library not realizing the many hurdles I would have to experience just to get what turned out to be a mere glimpse of the talk.

 

Going down there on a Saturday is not the best of ideas because there is no librarian available. The talk was in Special Collections and I needed a librarian’s signature to allow me to make a copy of the talk. Of course, by the time I got down there, it was ten minutes to 6:00 pm, which left me 10 minutes to glance at their copy. I quickly jotted down some notes. There was certainly no time to ponder and soak in his message.

 

There were other hurdles that seemed quite unnecessary. I had a passing thought that somehow Satan was barring my way. It was exasperating and frustrating and a complete waste of time and effort. Almost.

 

I persevered because I was determined to share the truth our prophet prophesied of so long ago. It made me wonder what other golden nugget speeches have been given by our leaders that are now buried and forgotten in some library.

 

Much of what I read in Pres. Kimball’s talk is not knew. We are well aware of our responsibilities to teach our children truth. Yet, it’s his eloquence and style of saying important things in a special way that comes across as strong, fearless, faithful and ever loving.

 

He mentioned preparing our missionaries well. In fact, he said if missionaries are well prepared for their missions–with strong testimonies of the gospel–any marriage problems they later encounter will “largely be solved.” That is an idea worth pondering more deeply.

 

He also said, “Teach them all the graces which will take them to Godhood.” Our world will snuff any advances toward Godhood in a heartbeat, yet this sentence urges me forward, changing my attitude enough to keep teaching.

 

Another quote I captured: “We may be bucking a strong tide, but we must teach our children that sin is sin.” This is the so-called dilemma of our day, but shouldn’t be.

Something happened this week that has made me very thoughtful on this topic of teaching. My mother has almost religiously read Time magazine week after week, year after year. For the past year or so, while settling into a care facility, she hasn’t kept up with her reading, so just the other day she showed me an issue where the cover story was about gender. The article explains how boys want to be girls and girls want to be boys. She was appalled and said I have to go home and teach my grandchildren, warning them of this danger. She thought this was a new thing we were dealing with.

 

It made me realize that in the space of 1-2 years our world has quickly kowtowed to this “new” phenomenon and acceptance. We, who understand God’s plan must fear Him more than the mockers, and teach our children that the traditional family unit is eternal in nature.

And this is the essence of what Pres. Kimball was talking about, as well as many of the speakers of this particular session. Absolute truth must speak louder than acceptance of sin.

 

Going back to Pres. Kimball’s talk, he spent some time with Paul’s words, in Ephesians. It may be worth your while to read Chapter 6 if you haven’t recently.

 

Many artists have depicted Lehi’s dream. Who knew that those walking toward The Tree were actually dressed in full armour, grasping the iron rod with both hands while walking against a hurricane blast of wind, uphill?

 

It is a good teacher who inspires our youth to put on each vital part of that armor. It is a teacher who ignites our testimonies. It is a teacher who induces us to begin–and continue–that arduous climb to The Tree.

 

Elder Featherstone quotes from Pres. Kimball’s talk with these words filled with this prophet’s special combination of love and warning:

 

“What do I wish you to teach my grandchildren and all others? Above all, I hope you will teach them faith in the living God and in his Only Begotten Son–not a superficial, intellectual kind of acceptance, but a deep spiritual inner feeling of dependence and closeness; … I hope that you will teach righteousness, pure and undefiled. I hope that if any of God’s children are out in spiritual darkness, you will come to them with a lamp and light their way; if they are out in the cold of spiritual bleakness with its frigidity penetrating their bones, you will come to them holding their hands a little way, you will walk miles and miles with them lifting them, strengthening them, encouraging them and inspiring them.”

 

While this world preaches loudly about love and tolerance, these are only half of the equation. Obedience and perseverance are the other half. A teacher teaches the law and lovingly encourages all to obey the law.

 

We thank Thee, O God, for a prophet who sees beyond this world. We thank Thee, O God, for wise parents and teachers who teach truth and testify with love. We thank Thee, O God, for Thy Son, who waits patiently, yet anxiously, for our arrival into eternal life.

 

Additional posts:

To be home again  Marilyn Nielson

Truth: Do We Shame, Squirm, or Stand?

This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the April 1976 Tuesday morning session. (That’s right, Tuesday morning!)

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the true definition of truth. Is there only one truth or can anyone make up their own truth?

 

The definition we find in the scriptures is when the apostle John quotes Jesus, who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and later Jesus states, “The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me” (D&C 93:26). We also learn that “truth was not created or made” (D&C 93:29), which means it cannot be changed or modified; it is absolute.

 

The people of our day are doing their darndest to change truth, and I don’t believe it’s possible, yet this is the great dilemma of our day.

 

So, here’s my question: Do we shame, squirm, or stand for truth?

Continue reading

Guest Stand: Teaching the Doctrine of Christ

doctrine“…we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”
– – A Plea to my Sisters, Elder Russell M. Nelson, CR October 2015 – –

A question has been burning in my mind.

Are we teaching the doctrine of Christ?

When we go to church on Sunday are we hearing and teaching the doctrine of Christ?  In our homes, are our children hearing the doctrine of Christ taught to them?

With all of the news of women in the world searching for something, I have turned my thoughts to Relief Society, and just church in general.  Through the years, I have spoken with and read about several women who “avoid Relief Society.”  I myself have had experiences of leaving Relief Society feeling worse than when I came or coming home from church exhausted rather than rejuvenated (Primary!!).  Part of this could be my own personal preparation (or lack thereof), but ultimately I feel uplifted and strengthened when a lesson is founded upon the teachings of our Savior rather than focusing on how we should be living.  With such a focus, Relief Society can quickly become a place where we compare and compete, sharing stories to “one up” each other. Our church meetings can be devoid of that motivation which inspires us to become better and to feel unified. Continue reading

Do You Talk About Love, or Do You Love?

The world has been talking about love for a long time. Who do we love? How do we express love? What does love look like? What does it not look like? We have been spending so much time telling others to love as we do, that we have forgotten to love those very people we are talking to. We have been spending so much time trying to convince everyone else that our way of  love is the right way, that we have forgotten to follow the true example of love: Jesus Christ. We talk about love, but do we actually love? Do we follow Jesus Christ’s example?

Loving each other is a commandment:

“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.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

Continue reading

Teach the Children About the Christ in Christmas

baby-jesusGrowing up, one of my favorite Christmas stories was commonly titled, “Teach the Children.”  * In the story, the narrator comes across Santa Claus in their house. Santa requests that the narrator teaches their children the true meaning of Christmas. In this story Santa teaches that the popular symbols of Christmas like candy canes, Christmas trees, and stars all center around Jesus Christ, his love, and his sacrifice. I believe that these spiritual meanings for our Christmas symbols are vital for our children to know and pass along. We must teach our children about Jesus Christ and how he is not only the center of Christmas, but the center of our lives.

The Star – Stars are commonly placed on top of Christmas trees. Heavenly Father placed a bright star in the sky when Jesus was born. It was so bright that when the sun set, there was no darkness. In the New Testament (Matthew 2), the star led the wise men to Jesus; and in the Book of Mormon it was a sign to the world that Jesus Christ, our Savior, had been born (Helaman 14:1-2,5 and 3 Nephi 1:21). In the story, the star represents God’s promise being fulfilled that he would send us a Savior. We can also teach our children that because the star was recorded in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, we know that Jesus Christ truly was born. Continue reading

12 Family Home Evening Ideas to Review General Conference

The October 2015 General Conference was one week ago. How well did you and your family pay attention? Can you remember what was taught, what stories were told, and who spoke on certain subjects?

In his Sunday morning talk Pres. Russell M. Nelson spoke to the women of the church and said in part, “Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.”

What better time to review the teachings and counsel of church leaders with our family than in family home evening? It can be a powerful way to reinforce doctrine and our families’ understanding of it. We can use this special time to help our children become sin-resistant.

Here are 12 ways to review the October 2015 General Conference in family home evening.

Family home evening ideas to review General Conference with your family. Start planning your next lesson now!

Continue reading

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

When You Think You Are Beyond the Gospel’s Light

Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.

Want a stronger testimony? You might try to simplify things by just living the basic doctrines of the gospel.

I remember the first time I felt like I was in over my head. I had just graduated high school and the bishop of our congregation, or “ward,” had invited me in to his office during Church. As we chatted about my plans for college and other things, he asked if I would accept a “calling,” or in other words, a church assignment. I was expecting him to ask if I would be the ward chorister or something. But instead, he asked me if I would accept the assignment to be the teacher of a group of teenage girls, or “Young Women,” in our congregation.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a girl graduates from High School or turns 18, she stops attending the teenage girls’ classes, and attends the women’s class, the “Relief Society,” in the ward. I had been really looking forward to attending the women’s classes.

Here Am I, Don’t Send Me!

I was surprised, to say the least. Though I had already graduated, I was still seventeen, which meant that there could technically be a Young Woman in the group of girls who was older than I—the teacher—was. I felt very young and unprepared. I had never taught before. And to make things potentially even more strange, because I had just left the Young Women program, that meant that I was now expected to “teach” the peers and friends I had been in the program with for years! I felt very uncomfortable giving any kind of counsel in such a formal setting to girls that I loved to chat and hang out with. Would they think I was coming off as “holier than thou?” Would it change my friendships?
Continue reading

Inside The Mind of An Inactive Member

young-woman-studying-scriptures-919086-galleryThe last nine months, I’ve been studying the scriptures with a study buddy. We use an online site that gives us a daily reading assignment with a question to answer. We do the reading separately and answer the question. Then we discuss our answers and talk about what we read.

Recently, we had an interesting discussion about Alma 7:15: “Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you. . . .” The study question was: “How does fear affect the repentance process?”

My answer: “It is terrifying to think that in attempting to lay aside every sin that you will fail. It is actually easier to keep the status quo and accept the fact that you are not going to heaven than to think about failing in the attempt. Fear also affects our repentance when we fear man more than God. We fear what our peers think of us, and how our family perceives us.”

Continue reading

Can We Learn To Counsel in Our Councils?

ward-council-452390-galleryCouncils within the Church are counseling together better than ever. We are all interested in advancing the work of building the kingdom of God. Instead of sitting back and complaining, we are trying open communication and new ideas. And we are succeeding.

Every few months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers guest speakers at their Leadership Enrichment Series for Church employees. Recently, the General Presidents of Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary spoke on counseling together. This was an enlightening subject, especially as we are all seeking the best way to communicate and strengthen ourselves against the onslaught of the world that tries to tear us down and separate us. Here is a general list of what was taught on how to conduct good council meetings: Continue reading