A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15312
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jul 2016, 10:35

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I wish I could have been there to hear the talk.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5280
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Jul 2016, 13:21

Ray DeGraw wrote::clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I wish I could have been there to hear the talk.
I was interested in the post talk comments, Ray. I did get more than the usual amounts of "good talk" and got some very sincere thank yous from some of those who are more on the fringe. One more orthodox guy did say he thought the stats were interesting and I told him I would really love to see the stats specifically for millennials and generation x because I thought we'd see much higher percentages of agreement with things like SSM and he agreed. (I alluded to the idea that the reason we're losing those age groups is because of the ultra conservative stance of the church.)

I was not surprised at the reaction of the picayune penguins. Not a word, even though I made a special point of shaking some specific hands and saying hi afterwards.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

User avatar
Weaselgirl
Posts: 36
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 08:21

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Weaselgirl » 29 Aug 2016, 09:07

I'm being obedient and posting my talk I gave here. I did quote a comment on and earlier post where I said I needed ideas, and the discussion there actually took me in the direction of this talk. It seems really long when I look at it, my apologies.

“The Gospel Unites Us All”

I’m going to begin this talk with a story that I read about 6 years ago written by an accomplished Church historian named Ardis Parshall. I’m sharing this story, because I want you to remember my talk. And also, because I love crying when I’m up here SO MUCH, that I wanted you all to join me.

During the World War II years, the Germans occupied Holland. Through it all, the Dutch Saints, along with the rest of Holland, were steadily impoverished. Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed by bombing; hundreds of square miles of farmland were flooded as dikes were breached. The country’s railcars were diverted to Germany; motor vehicles and even bicycles were confiscated; blankets, clothing, and household goods were requisitioned by Germany, leaving virtually nothing for the Dutch themselves. Whole factories were dismantled for shipment to German territory.
The real troubles began in September, 1944, when the British attacked the Germans at the Dutch city of Arnhem. The Dutch supported the British attack in every way possible, including a transportation strike. The Germans retaliated by starving the Dutch into submission. Cities along the North Sea were isolated from the rest of the country, with no food shipments allowed in. No fuel was delivered, and people burned everything – including their household furniture – to survive the winter of 1944-45. The people starved, some dropping dead on the street as they hunted for food and fuel. When the Allies entered Holland in the spring of 1945, they found a completely demoralized people, so exhausted that nothing mattered except securing enough food to live another day. The daily ration for most of the Dutch had been reduced to one-tenth of the normal pre-war diet.

The consequences of war did not end for the Dutch Saints with the closing of World War II – they faced additional months of near-starvation. Some of the first organized aid to reach them came from the Saints of the United States, who mailed parcels to the Saints throughout Europe as soon as the mail system was again operational and before larger-scale shipments could be made.
By the spring of 1947, the Dutch Saints were sufficiently organized, their most basic needs for food and shelter and clothing being met, that they could turn their minds and hands to producing food for themselves. The church’s Welfare Plan – so new that it had not yet been widely taught in Europe before the war – was presented to the Saints in Holland, and the people accepted the idea that by working together, they could produce a crop – potatoes, it was determined, would be best, along without whatever green vegetables could be added – that could be shared with all the Saints in Holland. Cooperative effort, they agreed, was better than a hundred scattered and individual projects.
Saints throughout the country found suitable parcels for raising crops. Parcels were generally small – backyards, strips of land along roadways and canals, larger plots on former farms that were not being worked due to a shortage of labor. When the Saints, both men and women, had prepared the soil, whole branches gathered for the planting: hymns were sung, prayers were offered for the safety and abundance of the crop, and the potatoes and beans and cabbages were planted.
And in was under those conditions, both of starvation and a keen awareness that “we are of one faith, and the gospel unites us all,” that the Dutch Saints learned that the Saints in Germany were living under even worse conditions than the Dutch themselves.
Mormon crops were flourishing all over Holland later that year when Walter Stover, president of the East German Mission, visited Holland and met with Dutch Mission President Cornelius Zappey. These men, and President J. Wunderlich of the West German Mission, as well as other leaders in the former war zones, had been in touch by letter and knew something of the hardships faced in each country. Hearing tales directly from President Stover, however, moved President Zappey beyond what letters had done.
President Zappey’s words:
If we – if we could only give our potatoes to the members of our Church in Germany. What a beautiful lesson could be learned from this; but what would they say if we should ask them for the food for which they had worked so hard to give to the people who had caused them such suffering and depredations – the people who had ruthlessly confiscated the last bit of their food and exposed their little children to starvation. And if they should approve of the idea, how would we be able to export the potatoes, for the exportation of food to Germany is strictly forbidden by the Dutch government, because the Dutch people doesn’t possess sufficient food for their own use.
Despite his apprehensions, both about the reaction of his Saints and the legal problems involved, he presented his idea. President Zappey again:
The result was startling. The Saints thought it a wonderful plan. The word “enemy” was not heard. The progress of the potato project was now watched with double interest and proudly came the reports, “We have so many potatoes for Germany,” and “We have so much.”
No one at home will ever realize, I think, the victory and the joy it has been for us. It will take about four railroad cars to transport all these potatoes. When I think of the suffering and the privations the people of Holland, as well as our Saints, suffered at the hands of the Germans, and how our Saints have labored long and diligently to raise all this food with only one goal in view – to send it to our Saints in Germany – I thank my Heavenly Father for the spirit of the welfare work at home and in this mission.
It was decided that the crop was so bountiful that each branch president would be allotted a share of the food to distribute to the widows and other especially needy people in their areas. Those branch presidents weren’t always successful. One widow, given a sack of potatoes, learned that her gift had come from the crop grown for the Saints in Germany. She returned her sack to the branch president, insisting “My potatoes must go with them.”
When it came time to ship the potatoes to Germany, an unexpected problem arose. Instead of the expected 15 tons of potatoes, for which President Zappey had obtained export permission, the Dutch Saints brought in a crop five times that size. With mingled joy and fear, he returned to the Agricultural Ministry … and the minister himself approved the increased export.
Immediately, trying to avoid the possibility of further obstacles, the Saints loaded 67 tons of sacked potatoes onto the trucks they had engaged, and those heavily laden trucks, in convoy, pulled away from the mission warehouse and headed east where, a few days later, they reached Presidents Stover and Wunderlich, and the Saints of Germany who faced another cold, hungry winter.

The Dutch Saints did it again in 1948. Only instead of 67 tons of potatoes, they grew 90 tons.

And even that wasn’t enough to satisfy their desire to help their German brothers and sisters.

While most of us today suffer from the too-easy availability of protein and fat, the opposite condition existed in much of Europe following the war. Meat was virtually non-existent, and fats of all kinds were in desperately short supply.
There wasn’t much the Dutch Saints could do to produce protein and fat in the odd lots and roadside strips they used to grow their vegetables, but there was one thing they could do. Even in the poverty of the post-war years, those Saints reached deep into their pockets and contributed what cash they found to a fund to buy herring for shipment to Germany. Herring was chosen especially for its high fat content, as well as its general abundance in the seas off the Dutch coast.
They bought nine tons of herring, enough barrels of fish to fill an entire train car. That fish and all those potatoes, in their bags and barrels, was loaded by missionary labor onto six train cars.


A few years later, the night of January 31-February 1, 1953, a strong northwest wind began to blow. The storm grew more and more severe and added its force to that of a high tide, raising the level of tidal surges to more than 18 feet above the mean level of the sea. In Holland, much of whose land was lower than sea level, having been claimed from the ocean by the building of dikes and the draining of seawater, the losses were catastrophic. Almost without warning – radio stations did not then broadcast at night – the sea rushed into and over Holland. Tens of thousands of animals died in the flood; thousands of buildings were destroyed, tens of thousands more flooded and damaged; and 1,835 human beings drowned. Reports describe the flood that night as the worst natural disaster to happen to Holland in the past 500 years.
Five days after the disaster, President Edwin Q. Cannon of the West German Mission sent a special delivery letter to every branch president in West Germany. He reminded the Saints of what the Dutch members had done for them immediately after the war. He recognized that the German Saints were still struggling with extreme poverty and had little to spare, but if – if – any German Saints had articles of clothing they wished to send to the Netherlands, the mission office would be pleased to receive that clothing and deliver it to the Dutch consulate in Frankfurt for shipping to the flood zone. No drives were to be conducted among the German members – no branch quotas established, no pressure placed upon anyone. It was to be a low-key, perfectly voluntary suggestion.

Several days later, the mission staff delivered five truckloads of such packages to the Dutch consulate to be sent to the Saints in Holland.

Some of the final words the Savior shared were these, during his last supper: 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 all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

"The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people." - Marvin J. Ashton


A brilliant friend of mine wrote---So often we talk of the atonement as being a relationship between ourselves and God -- To be at one with God. When we look at actual doctrine of eternal relationships, a different way to look at the atonement is seen. The atonement is a state of being as one with humanity before God. When we have reached a point of helping, aiding, and loving people, when we can truly love and aid all of God's children without concern for their color, nationality, religion, addictions, or legal status. At that point, we are living the atonement of God.
I don't think we achieve atonement .. If we are living as God would like us to, we LIVE the atonement. We become one with our community as we give of ourselves.

That statement gave me insight into the meaning of this teaching of Jesus:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I will close with the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

User avatar
LookingHard
Posts: 2566
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by LookingHard » 29 Aug 2016, 09:24

Nice!

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15312
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Aug 2016, 10:30

Beautiful.

Thank you for sharing with us.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
mom3
Posts: 3100
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by mom3 » 29 Aug 2016, 18:19

Thank you for obediently sharing that beautiful talk. Ours were so so yesterday. This really helped. Thank you.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Ann
Posts: 2549
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Ann » 31 Aug 2016, 06:13

Weaselgirl, thanks for posting this. Such a breath of fresh air to hear something truly inspiring in a talk. I guess I've been under a rock because I didn't know the story. I went to keepaoitchinin.org and see that it's a fantastic four-part post. Thank you for putting me into it.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

User avatar
Weaselgirl
Posts: 36
Joined: 20 Jun 2016, 08:21

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Weaselgirl » 01 Sep 2016, 10:57

Hey, my evil plan to have you guys pretty much write my talk worked. :D

And I'm glad you liked it. That means a lot.

User avatar
LookingHard
Posts: 2566
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by LookingHard » 01 Sep 2016, 11:58

Weaselgirl wrote:Hey, my evil plan to have you guys pretty much write my talk worked. :D

And I'm glad you liked it. That means a lot.
What? You weasel! :D

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 15312
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Dec 2016, 15:14

The assigned speakers tomorrow are stranded out-of-state, so my wife and I have been asked to speak, instead. The topic, not surprisingly, is "Ye are the light of the world."

Here is a brief outline of the talk I prepared today:

1) I have lived a relatively "light" life in two ways: full of light and not heavy. (examples) There have been times of comparative difficulty (unemployment, death of loved ones, constant moves, my wife's struggles to accept herself, etc.), but my personal burdens have been relatively light. I understand that this is not true for everyone, including many of you here today - and in preparing this talk my mind has turned to those whose lives and burdens are darker and heavier than mine. This has led me to ask:

"How can I "lighten" their lives?

2) Discuss Jesus' life and ministry

James 1:27 - "Pure religion and undefined before God . . ."
Rich young man (perfect church member in every way but willingness to serve others with his resources)
Matthew 11:28-30 (. . . all ye who labor and are heavy laden . . .)

Jesus was born and raised in fear and poverty and oppression. He preached primarily to those whose lives were dark and burdened.

So, how can we be the kind of light that Jesus was? What does it mean, in practical terms, to be a light unto the world in terms of being a disciple of Christ?

Matthew 25:31-40 (Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these . . .)

This passage lists only one factor in the separation of the righteous and the wicked - evidence of a commitment to the two greatest commandments to show true love.

Please answer these questions, silently to yourselves, and commit to do just a little better in areas where your answers are not what you would like them to be:

"When was the last time you . . . (insert "gave food and drink to the hungry and thirsty" - "took in a stranger" - "clothed the naked" - "visited the sick and imprisoned")

My prayer today is that all of us can do more to build Zion here where we live - to share light not only in our countenances and our words, but also in our actions - specifically as we strive to do whatever we can to "lighten" the darkness and heaviness in the lives of the most burdened among and around us.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users