Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stand Strong and Courageous!

In my studies this week in the Book of Mormon, we covered the story of Samuel the Lamanite. 
I was reminded of a song that I first heard 25+ years ago while I was on my mission.  It was sung by a group called Afterglow- a couple of guys who started singing together in high school, They eventually presented firesides and concerts prior to serving missions for the LDS church in Japan and St Louis.  

They had an album of encouraging missionary songs, and since our choice of music was limited as missionaries ( to religious, uplifting or classical music, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the like) we often listened to the same music over and over. Therefore, almost 30 years later, I can remember the lyrics and sing along.  

Click here to hear the song  AfterGlow Go and Do ..
Here are the lyrics
Go And Do
Words and Music by Laurie Fischer
I will go, go and do what the Lord commands;
putting my trust in Him,
For I know the Lord will bless the work that I do,
and fill my basket to the brim.
Though the task seemed impossible Nephi as a lad
Said yes to the Lord and stood up tall.
He got the plates that Laban had
While his brothers stood without the wall
Be like a Nephi, Moroni and Samuel too.
Give all you've got to the work that you should do.
Hold fast to the iron rod that leads you along,
And the Lord will make you strong.
In the days of Moroni war was on the land
he called all his people out to fight;
for their homes, their God and fam'lies too,
for the brotherhood of truth and right
Samuel the Lamanite stood upon the wall
And preached to the Nephites in the town.
He knew the land must surely fall
if the people didn't turn around.

So, I was thinking about Samuel... pictured above... 

In Helaman 16, we learn about Samuel, a Lamanite who was sent to warn the Nephites of their utter destruction, if they did not repent and change their ways.  Of course, for anyone, it is hard to hear that we are doing something wrong.. .  Well, the Nephites were none too thrilled to hear what he had to say.. There were a few who hearkened to his words and believed and were baptized, but.. those who did NOT believe him wanted to stop his preaching. They began to shoot arrows and throw stones to try to hit him, but because he had the Spirit of the Lord with him, they could not hit him. 

Therefore, when they saw that they could not, there were many more who did believe on his words, insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized.  (Helaman 16:4)

However there were still many who became angry that they could not hit him with their arrows and stones, and they called upon their captains to capture him, and bind him.  But as they went to do so, Samuel cast himself down from the wall and fled from their lands - and went to his own land to preach and prophesy among his own people. (Helaman 16:7.)

Looking back to the words of the song, encouraging us to be like Samuel, am I expected to stand up on a wall and preach??  No.. not so much. 

Samuel stood firm and courageous in his beliefs.  He was not afraid to share the gospel, and speak the truth.  That is what I believe our Heavenly Father expects me to do.

On Friday at work, there was only two of us in the office for the day, and my coworker is Catholic - ( I work for a school tuition organization that provides scholarships for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Phoenix.  )  As we discussed a man in Colorado who is a self proclaimed prophet, I was able to share with my coworker my belief in a modern day prophet. I explained that The Family - A Proclamation to The World, that was given in 1995. 

The Proclamation was given, defining our beliefs in families, and regarding gender roles, and the characteristics of what mothers and fathers should be.  I believe that my friend and her Catholic faith have many of the same beliefs and I suggested that I could share a copy of the Proclamation with her. So, that is on my list of things to do - I will commit to getting her a copy of the Proclamation within the next week or two. 

To be like Nephi, Moroni, and Samuel, we must stand strong and courageous, and we will be blessed for our efforts in doing so...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mothers Who Know

In 1983, Janice Kapp Perry, a prominent LDS composer, wrote a song called We'll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman).  It was likely introduced to the Primary aged children (ages 3-12) at that time, but I was 16 years old then, so past the time I would have learned it in church. I probably became familiar with it later on, after I was married, and serving in the church as a chorister to those Primary children.

The words are as follows:

  1. 1. We have been born, as Nephi of old,
    To goodly parents who love the Lord.
    We have been taught, and we understand,
    That we must do as the Lord commands.
  2. 2. We have been saved for these latter days
    To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
    We hear the words our prophet declares:
    "Let each who's worthy go forth and share."
  3. 3. We know his plan, and we will prepare,
    Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
    Daily we'll learn until we are called
    To take the gospel to all the world.
  4. Chorus
    We are as the army of Helaman.
    We have been taught in our youth.
    And we will be the Lord's missionaries
    To bring the world his truth.
At that time, I was a new mother to a handsome baby boy... 
And I was certainly feeling the responsibility of teaching him his true worth as a child of our Heavenly Father. I had a great example in my own mother, (pictured) so I felt I had some good resources to call upon. 

As Brennan got older, and his sisters joined our family, we tried often to get in the habit of reading the scriptures together, usually The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We have been counseled by our church leaders to do this, and it was a blessing to our family. Our children became familiar with the accounts of ancient people in the book, but the practice of reading aloud together made them excellent reading students at school.  

One of the wonderful stories in The Book of Mormon is that of Helaman and his 2000 Stripling Warriors.
In October 2007, Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society General President, said the following, "In The Book of Mormon we read about 2000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous and strong. 'Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God,  and to walk uprightly before him.' (Alma 53:21)  These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said ,  'Our mothers knew it.' (Alma 56:48)  I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon and other great leaders knew. "

Sister Beck continued on to say that Mothers Who Know do the following :
***Bear Children
***Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
***Are Nurturers
***Are Leaders
***Are Teachers
***Do Less
***Stand Immovable and Strong

At the time of Sister Beck's Talk, in 2007, my children were ages 12, 10 and 6, and still fairly impressionable.  We regularly attended church as a family, and taught our children in the home to follow the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Needless to say, there are likely times in every mother's life that she feels that she is not doing enough, or she has failed in teaching her children.  Sister Beck's talk was encouraging to mothers around the world, to remind us to remember how important it is to KNOW - how to be an influence for good on the lives of our children, and also the world.
You Can read her full talk  Here  .  

My children are now 21, 19, and 15, and they are not too old to be taught.  I worry still with some of the choices they make, but hope that they will always return to the things that we have taught them throughout their lives. The world today is in turmoil, and there are fiery darts of the adversary being tossed at them from every turn.  

I have enjoyed reading the account of the Stripling Warriors, and being reminded how great of a responsibility it is to continue teaching my family. I feel the weight of it a little more as a single parent now, but I know that with the help of my Heavenly Father, and diligence in following the commandments, I can try to make sure that my children know that I am a Mother Who Knows..

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    May Our Hearts Be Drawn Out in Prayer Continually

    In our Pathway class this week, we discussed chapters 30-35 in the Book of Alma, in The Book of Mormon.  In Chapter 31, we learn about the Zoramites, an apostate group of people in a land called Antionum.  They were dissenters from the Nephites, having been taught the word of God, but failing to keep His commandments.

    They had taken up the habit of public prayer - had built a tower upon which only one person could be admitted.  While upon the tower, whoever desired to worship must stretch his hands toward heaven, and recite a given prayer...

     15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast aspirit,  and that thou art spirit, and that thou wilt be spirit forever.
     16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hastaelected us to be thy bholy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that cthere shall be dno Christ.
     17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever;and thou hast aelected us that we shall be saved, whilst allaround us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell;for the which holiness, God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bbind them down to belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
     18 And again we thank thee, God, that we are chosen and holy people. Amen.
    The Zoramites were certainly a self-righteous people, full of pride, for after each man would offer this selfsame prayer, they would go to their homes and never speak of God again, until they assembled again.  (Alma 31:23)
    After hearing the Zoramites pray, and observing their habits, Alma and those who were with him were astonished. Alma saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride. (Alma 31:25)  He then proceeded to pour his heart out to God that he and his brethren might have success in bringing the wicked Zoramites unto Christ, because they believed there was NO Christ. His heartfelt pleading asked for blessings upon himself and his brethren, as well upon those whom they would teach. 
    Following this event in the Book of Mormon, Alma goes on to teach the poor whose afflictions had humbled them. I imagine that Alma and his brethren had their hearts continually drawn out in prayer for the people they taught and hoped to teach. In Chapter 33, Alma reminds us that Zenos, a prophet of old, taught that men should pray and worship in all times and places. 
    A modern day apostle, Henry B. Eyring, has said  When God has commanded us to pray, He has used words like ‘pray unceasingly’ and ‘pray always’ and ‘mighty prayer.’
    “Those commands do not require using many words. In fact, the Savior has told us that we need not multiply words when we pray. The diligence in prayer which God requires does not take flowery speech nor long hours of solitude. …
    “Our hearts can be drawn out to God only when they are filled with love for Him and trust in His goodness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, )
     This is some thing that I need to work on - which I think requires a little more humility on my part. Most of the time, I remember to pray morning and night, and if a special occasion where I need a little extra help arises, but I often just go through my day doing my own thing, and don't always remember my Heavenly Father. I need to remember more often, that for all I have, and all that I am, I am indebted to my Him.  As I remember to thank Him for all that is good, and ask for help in all that I do, I will become more reliant on Him to guide and direct me in my life.
    If we can ALL try to be a little more prayerful in our live, and personally speak with our Father in Heaven, what a better and kinder place this world would be.