Tag Archives: truth

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

The War of Words

There is a unique war raging all around us. It’s unlike any war we can remember and it is so cleverly disguised that most do not even recognize that it’s happening. This isn’t a war that is designed by men; with big artillery, armor, trenches, and an army that is fed by C-Rations. Instead, it’s a war designed by women; with words as it’s weapons and under the leadership of anyone with a microphone or a blog who is willing to feed us the emotion we are so hungry for.

If this war took you by surprise, you are not alone. Most families who are busy raising and providing for their children and serving those around them did not see it coming either. As we have tried to wrap our heads around what is causing so much anger and frustration, we have been quite startled to see that the attacks were starting to come our way, very personal attacks against our womanhood, our family and our religion. It feels like we have been dragged into a war we did not want and we are not quite sure how to fight it. Continue reading

Day 3 Report: World Congress of Families

It was another great day of learning and research in Salt Lake City for thousands of people from around the world.

More to come from other speakers throughout the day.

Plenary Panel

Francisco Tatad – Former Majority Leader in the Senate of the Philippines

– There is no greater gift than the gift of life. There is no greater gift than the ability to procreate. If we truly understood this, it would be mind-blowing.

– How do we move forward in the marriage, life and family battle? We need to have a deep understanding and love for the gift of life at all stages.

Mark Tooley – Institute on Religion and Democracy
– Mark talked about the decline of faith WITHIN America’s religions. Why? Liberal and progressives within churches are moving to post-modernism and secularism,

– Progressives are trying to dilute their faith’s doctrine and moral traditions to accommodate secular culture. How? Minimizing the importance of traditional families and moral values.

– As more Christians cleave to their traditional faith, they will need to stand up stronger against the tide within their own churches and continue to declare the importance of truly living the doctrines of their faith. This will prompt a new generation of people who are willing and eager to take a stance on moral issues.

– Despite what we think of Christian apathy, there has been an improvement of dialogue on tough social issues that have elicited strong responses from various religious leaders. Continue reading

Does Standing Out Make Your Light Shine Brighter?

IMG_3843 - CopyOne day while serving with my husband in the Russia Moscow mission, many of the senior couples were gathering down deep in one of the beautiful Moscow metro stations for an outing. Sister Nancy Bice, a dear friend and fellow senior missionary, and I were happily visiting with each other when a woman approached us. She said, “кто bы?”, which means “Who are you?” in Russian. We introduced ourselves by saying, “Здравствуйте, mеня зовут Cестра Пакард”, which means, “Hello, my name is Sister Packard”. She said that she spoke English and our conversation continued. She said she had been watching all of us. “There is something different, special, about you,” she said. I asked why she felt that way. She answered, “There is light coming from your eyes. I see light coming from your eyes.” We told her it was because we had the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and it made us happy. I wish I could say that she was interested enough to accept our invitation to visit with the young missionaries, but that was not the case. Yet, we still parted as new friends. This was not the first time (nor the last) that my husband and I, along with many of the other missionaries, heard something along those lines.

I was reminded of this incident when in his recent General Conference address, President Thomas S. Monson related the story of the BYU Jerusalem Center being approved. When one government official when assured there would be no formal proselytizing from the students, he remarked, “But what are we going to do about the light in their eyes?”[1] Continue reading

6 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception

rp_ask-seek-knock-meme-copy-300x214.jpgMany years ago when I was a freshman in college, I attended a CES fireside. It was November or December, and the topic of the fireside was “Joseph Smith.” At the end of the talks the congregation sang, “Praise to the Man.” As we were singing, people began standing up. After more and more people stood, I followed.

At the end of the song, the priesthood holder conducting the meeting came back to the microphone and told us that there has been a new trend in the Church to stand while singing, but that this practice was not appropriate all of the time. He then said something I would never forget. He pointed to the member of the Twelve Apostles who was on the stand and said that if we wanted to know if we were doing the right thing, we needed to look to the Brethren.

I had been thinking about deception early on during my freshman year. I wanted to follow God. I wanted to be one of the five virgin’s whose oil cruses were full, but I did not feel like I knew how to do it. After this was said, I was sorry that I had followed the crowd, but I was very grateful for the counsel given to look to the apostles. Since that time, I have learned some ways that have helped me to remain faithful, keep my spiritual cruse of oil full, and continue to joyfully endure to the end even when something I read, hear, or don’t understand shakes my faith. Continue reading

The Truth About the Lies We Tell Ourselves

rp_mormonad-234x300.jpgI admit it:  I don’t always tell myself the truth.  Whatever name I give them–rationalizations, excuses, fibs—these thoughts in my head are the opposite of truth.  I have learned that I often tell myself lies. Maybe some of my lies sound familiar to you: “I don’t have time to exercise.” “I’m too tired to say a good prayer right now.” “It’s not my fault that my relationship with (fill in the blank) is rocky.  If they would just (fill in the blank), then we wouldn’t have problems.” “I don’t need to listen to this lesson; it doesn’t apply to me.” “I’m not good enough. . .” None of these statements contains full truth.  Some of them are lies of the worst sort.

Here’s the straight-up truth about these lies we tell ourselves: the more we repeat them, the more we believe them, and the more we believe them, the greater distance we put between ourselves and the atonement of Jesus Christ. Whether we have convinced ourselves that we are beyond the reach of the Atonement, or we have determined that we don’t need repentance because we’re not committing any “major sins”, we are not being honest. Continue reading

Discerning Truth

Messy ToddlerWhen you walk into the kitchen and see your toddler covered in the chocolate cake you just made and ask, “Did you eat the cake when I told you not to?” and your toddler responds, “No,” you know this is a lie. You can see the cake all over your child’s face and hands. There are tiny chocolate finger prints on the counters and cupboards in the kitchen. You do not doubt the truth of the matter. You may even laugh to yourself that your little one thought she could get away with this.

Most of everything in this life is not so obviously a lie or a truth. As you watch television and movies, read articles and books, and listen to the conversations of your friends and family, you will be presented with a lot of information. Some of it will be true. Some of it will be false, but most of it will be a mixture of both. The devil is a master of deception. He knows that if he tells us something that is obviously not true, we will not believe it. We may even laugh that we were presented with such undoubtedly false information. So instead of just presenting us with lies, Satan presents us with a mixture of truth and a mixture of lies. And he is really good at it. Continue reading

How Do We Teach and Defend Doctrine With Compassion?

How do we  teach and defend church doctrine with compassion and with kindness within our own Church membership?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a long time. It’s a question that every member of the Church needs to address, and it’s one that we’re going to need to get better at doing. For the past several years we’ve been seeing a growing trend in the media (whether it be in blogs, Facebook, news articles or comment sections) where people are preaching a new “religion of tolerance” that I find fascinating. We’re seeing philosophies that subscribe to the idea that if people truly call themselves Christians or want to be kind and loving, they need to accept all types of behavior and actions. To do anything less is deemed un-Christlike or judgmental. As Elder Holland put it, “Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).”[i]

Continue reading

Underground Christians

aida-tours-cappadocia-underground_city_cappadocia-turkey-03.12.2013Deep in the heart of Turkey lies a magical place known as Cappadocia, one of the most awe-inspiring sites my husband and I have ever laid eyes on. Before the time of Christ, an ancient civilization carved out nearly 200 underground cities throughout this region, easily rivaling the set of any Indiana Jones movie. It was incredible!

By the 4th century A.D., these magnificent cities were inhabited by early Christians who were forced to flee underground for protection from violent religious persecution from the Romans. Some of these elaborate and sophisticated cities go eighteen stories below the surface of the earth and boast numerous tunnels, stables, residences, halls, churches, meeting rooms, wells, and passages connecting various cities together. There are churches carved into caves with their walls and ceilings adorned with colorful, detailed biblical frescoes. These underground cities, supporting as many as 20,000 people, protected their citizens from religious persecution and attacks threatening their lives. Archaeologists and historians say that the early Christians tried to defend and protect themselves by using large round stone doors to cover the entrances, complicated maze systems, and even holes in the ceilings which were used to pour hot oil over intruders. Continue reading