A Thread For Talks and Lessons

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A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 22 Feb 2015, 17:43

I'll start with my combined Melchizedek Priesthood lesson today. The topic was working with those who are inactive and/or have been offended.

I started with an excerpt of Pres. Uchtdorf's Oct. 2013 GC address, Come Join With Us, starting with "The search for truth..." and emphasizing "It is not that simple." I included sometimes leaders have made mistakes and that we are all imperfect.

I then read three stories of home teachers who worked with inactives for many years - one from Elder Osguthorpe in a BYU devotional address http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1943, one from Mom3 viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6278&start=10 (scroll down) and one from Ray (same link as Mom3, next page 3). I then asked them what were the commonalities and got good (and expected) answers, including they worked for the long term, met people on their terms, didn't judge, served, didn't abandon them when it was obvious they weren't going to return soon, showed them they cared, etc. I also mentioned here that nobody wants to be a a project or part of a program, but they want genuine friendship and love.

I then referenced a very old talk by Neal A. Maxwell (April 1982) https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... d?lang=eng, quoting paragraphs 3 & 4 (one at a time, spirit not numbers, helping, not judging) and went point by point through his seven steps (although I spent very little time on a couple of them). The steps: recognize the cause; it takes time; careful matching of home teachers; giving the opportunity to serve; provide teaching (these two preceding I emphasized were later in the process); recognize the Lord's hand; prevention (barely touched).

I then quoted Maxwell's "the church is not a well provisioned rest home for the perfected" and played the video clip of Pres. Uchtdorf's "stop it" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-d_PIF-2Rg

It was well received and I had requests for references to Osguthorpe, Maxwell's talk, and the PowerPoint itself. The Bishop said they should have recorded it. (To Mom and Ray, one person did ask what my connection was to these stories and I simply replied you were part of an online forum in which I participate and left it at that. I did not reference your names/usernames.)

(Edited to add nobody wants to be a project or part of a program.)
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."

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by nibbler » 22 Feb 2015, 19:39

I used to give a talk in our branch every other month for a few years. Despite the practice I never got good at it. :? I don't remember many of those.

I was eventually asked to talk on "hastening the work" during the adult session of stake conference. That was over a year ago and it was the last talk I was asked to give. I knocked 'em dead. :lolno: Actually it wasn't because the talk was that bad, at least I don't think so, I got released from my calling and that took me off the "speaking circuit." Anyway, here's a high level overview of what I remember about the talk. It's been a while so most of the details escape me.

I gave a brief history of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (I may have taken a liberty or two, meh).
  • The lighthouse was put in place in the early 1800s to help ships navigate treacherous waters.
  • The tower was built on the outer banks of NC.
  • Sailors complained that the light was far too dim to be considered useful. The light in the tower was refactored and brightened to make it more visible at a further distance.
  • The light was destroyed during the Civil War.
  • A new tower was erected and at that time it was the tallest brick lighthouse in the world.
  • Lightning struck the tower and cracked the masonry. Engineers fortified the tower to prevent collapse.
  • (Now the story picks up with the stuff most people know because it was widely reported as an expensive fools errand). The ocean began to erode the section of beach that the tower was built on. A fight against nature ensued. Sand was brought in, fortifications were built, but the tower had to be abandoned because of the encroaching sea.
  • Engineers performed "The Move of the Millennium" moving the entire tower inland. "...the tallest masonry structure ever moved (200 feet tall and weighing 5,000 tons)."
  • The lighthouse stands today warning ships of the dangerous waters.
I compared this to reaching out to people with love despite our circumstances.
1) The lighthouse doesn't discriminate. The lighthouse might be protecting cruise liners, fishing vessels, yachts, or even pirate ships. It provides service to all boats.
2) When people complained and called the light dim and useless the response was to find ways to make the light shine all the brighter.
3) When brother fought against brother and the tower was partially destroyed people recognized that the need was still great. The lighthouse was rebuilt "and continues to shine to this day."
4) When forces of nature combined and cracked the tower, the tower was fortified. The lighthouse has also weathered countless hurricanes "and continues to shine to this day."
5) [This is where it got a bit personal, but I don't think people picked up on it?] The tower was built on sand, an unstable foundation. Collapse seemed imminent and the lighthouse was even abandoned and decommissioned. There was a great undertaking to move the tower, but the question was where. The service the tower provided was essential but the environmental constraints of the region required the tower to find a new home on sand. The tower was moved in a massive undertaking of human effort "and continues to shine to this day." (I was repeating this for effect).
6) There may come a day where the lighthouse is threatened again but the need will still be great. We can find a way to make our light shine.

I reiterated the importance of always rising above circumstance to show love. I mingled some scripture in with my overarching philosophy but I don't remember which ones. Probably "let your light so shine..." and a few others.

I ascribe to the "duck and run" method when I give talks. When the benediction is offered I've already got one foot out the door before they say amen, especially when it's the stake center and it's filled to capacity with nothing but my peers. ;) I don't know how that one was received but one person from my ward did catch up to me before I made my escape. They asked me something about my "nowhere to build but on sand" dilemma. I can't remember the exact question but it was an "oh crud!" moment. I was still in a funky place with respect to my FC (like that's changed since then). Well a deer in headlights just sits there and that's what I did. Shortly after asking they thankfully answered their own question and it was an answer that I remember as being faith affirming for them and I remember thinking "Oh, so that's how that works." ;)

I did get a few "good talk"s in subsequent days but I have zero skill in accepting a compliment. That and my mind is always working overtime. Do they mean it or are they just being polite. Sometimes I hate myself for not being able to take things at face value.

Not sure how I tied that into hasten the work but it's in the history books. I haven't consulted the history book since, I'm sure it says something lame about HtW. ;)
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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by mom3 » 22 Feb 2015, 22:12

:clap: To both of you.

I like this thread, please keep it going. Even if we don't have a talk, we can use the references in class comments and lessons.

As to outing me DJ, thanks for not. I have thought a few times during my life of writing up the story for the Ensign, I am just not sure I am ready to send it out for someone to edit it for their objective. But maybe someday I will, then it's an easy reference.
"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

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 23 Feb 2015, 03:39

mom3 wrote::clap: To both of you.

I like this thread, please keep it going. Even if we don't have a talk, we can use the references in class comments and lessons.

As to outing me DJ, thanks for not. I have thought a few times during my life of writing up the story for the Ensign, I am just not sure I am ready to send it out for someone to edit it for their objective. But maybe someday I will, then it's an easy reference.
Interesting, I had thought you should send it to the Ensign, too.
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."

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2015, 10:40

I copied the talk outline from my Sacrament Meeting talk yesterday and am adding it here.


Testimony and Conversion

1) "Testimony" means "witness" - which means something seen or experienced, felt or believed, certain or hoped. It does NOT mean "known intellectually". (Use court room example, then examples of spiritual witnesses: in church, in nature, in the temple, burning in the bosom, great peace or calm or love, sudden clarity, stroke of pure intelligence, etc.) Some people never have experiences they feel comfortable saying they can accept as proof of things others feel they know. Given this disparity of experience, I love the following verses:

2) D&C 46: 13-14 -
"To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful."

"The CofJCofLDS is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the church whose testimonies are sure and burn brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of their testimonies. I know of no sign on the door of our meeting houses that says, "Your testimony must be this tall to enter." - Pres. Uchtdorf, October 2014 General Conference (Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth)

Brothers and sisters, how true that is here in our ward depends on us and how completely we accept it.

4) James 1:22 -
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only."
"In contrast to the organizations of the world, which teach us to know something, the Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something." - Elder Oaks, October 2000 General Conference (The Challenge to Become)

6) "I Am a Child of God" - The wording was changed from, "Teach me all that I must know," to, "Teach me all that I must do." I would love to see it changed once more, this time to, "Teach me all that I must BE." (I am adding nibbler
s suggestion to this outline: "Teach me all that I CAN be.")

7) "Conversion" means "change" - as does "repent". Thus, one repents (acts / does) in order to become converted (be). In other words, one changes in order to become changed - or to be born and raised and grown up again - or to become a new creature in Christ - or to become Christ-like.

8) Discuss reactive repentance and proactive repentance. (For reference here, the following is a lesson outline from my Sunday School class last summer that dealt with reactive and proactive repentance:

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2014 ... ament.html)

"Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair." - Gilbert Chesterton
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

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Heber13 » 25 Feb 2015, 12:29

I'll share the last talk I gave in Sacrament meeting several months ago:

Talk on the Plan of Salvation

• The topic I’ve been asked to speak on is …”The Plan of Salvation”

When I served my mission in Oakland California, I distinctly remember October 17th 1989.

Waiting in my apartment to meet up with other missionaries, all of a sudden my world around me changed. It felt like the whole apartment building was picked up and dropped with a sudden crash. I remember feeling on odd disequilibrium as the aftershocks of a 7.1 earthquake caused our entire reality to wave and bend and sway.

When your entire foundation suddenly becomes unsure…it is a strange sensation, and is actually quite scary. How can concrete sidewalks roll like the waves of the ocean?

Things didn’t make sense. It just was freaky.

For a few weeks, we took off our proselyting clothes, and wore jeans and t-shirts (and name tags) and worked in Downtown Oakland at soup kitchens, and shelters, and witnessed the massive destruction and how it impacted the lives of so many.

Although I was a missionary, well taught about God and His plan, my new experience introduced new thoughts to me. It made me wonder?
• Does God do this? Does He cause death and destruction just to remind us He is there?
• Or are things in this life random and we are all left alone to just deal with what happens to us? Is control in life the illusion?
- I was telling my 16 yr old son last week that when I was a kid, our NFL game wasn’t Madden NFL on Xbox. It was a tin box with football figures magnetically lined up. Then, the game started when we turned it on and it all shook. The pieces would randomly move around the board, and we hoped one of our players with the ball would move towards the goal. But mostly, the pieces flopped and fell all over the place in a random scene of chaos and pointlessness.

• Is this what life is like? Stuff happens, and we all flop around to it?

Sometimes I think we get used to our perception of reality, we have our footing, things seem to make sense, and what others struggle with are their problems we don't understand, but we are sure in our view of things. We even say, "I know these things are true".

But life has a way to introduce fundamental changes that make us re-evaluate what we believe. They shake us so much, we wonder about our foundations, in ways our prior thinking never thought was possible. To doubt is not always a sign of weakness. Sometimes, it is a sign that we are aware, awake, and ready to learn something new because new things are happening to us...not caused by us or our doubts or lack of testimony. They simply happen in this plan, like someone switched the board on and we start flopping around, and we cannot avoid them, we can only pass through them.

In preparing for this talk, I read what L. Tom Perry said in Oct 2006 General Conference:
We are not left alone to wander through mortality without knowing of the master plan which the Lord has designed for His children.
Thanks to the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith, we know God has a plan for all of us. Sometimes I think if God is perfect, it seems his plan should be perfect. We should have an earth where cheesecake spontaneously grows from the ground, mountain lions play hide and seek with us, Xbox is a subject in high school, and of course, all of our 19-foot jumpers swish through the net like we’re Michael Jordan.

What kind of plan is this where floods, earthquakes, death and sickness, as well as broken relationships and families, and sorrow is all around us?

Brothers and Sisters, God’s plan is a perfect plan. And the more we understand it and the purpose of it, the better able we are to have a sure foundation to view the things that happen to us.

The Plan of Salvation is like a 3-part Act of a play:
1. First act is the exposition. Its where we learn the characters and the setting. There is a protagonist (the hero of the story), and an antagonist who tries to keep the protagonist from succeeding.
a. In our story, the dramatic conflict began, as we learned of Heavenly Father’s master plan, and had to choose to believe our hero, Jesus Christ, could succeed in the plan and save us all.
b. The antagonist (Lucifer) sought to destroy the Plan.
c. Because we are all here on this earth, we know we chose to follow our Hero, and became co-protagonists with a divine role to play in this story.
d. But our victory does not end there, that is just the end of our first estate, of our first act in the 3 act play.

2. The second act, also referred to as "rising action", typically depicts the protagonist's attempt to resolve the problem initiated by the conflict in the first act, only to find him in ever worsening situations to test the resolve of the characters.
a. For our story, the 2nd Act is this Earth Life.
b. Christ came to earth and taught the people truth, the gospel, only to be rejected by His own people, bound, beaten, and killed.
c. As part of this act, the protagonist and co-protagonists must not only learn new skills they didn’t have in Act 1, but also arrive at a higher sense of awareness of who they really are and what they are capable of.
d. In other words, we learn more about who we are in this act through experience.
e. There is an end to this act. Death. But that, again, is not the end of the story.

3. The third act is resolution. The climax is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are.
a. Christ will come again, we will be resurrected through the grace of the Atonement, and the righteous will be saved, to live again with God and as families, have eternal happiness.

Understanding this plan and this story, helps us to put into context the things that happen around us, day to day.

It helps us to feel a sure foundation of where we came from, why we are here, and what happens next in this story.

It helps us develop hope. My daughter once gave me a framed picture of her and me laughing. The caption read,
It will all be OK when it is over. If it is not all OK, then it is not all over.
Indeed, Elder Uchtdorf taught us about perspective as we are Always in the Middle of things (July 2012 Ensign).
Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us.

We are always in the middle.
Understanding the plan, and our place in the 2nd act, with its inherent trials to overcome, is critical to knowing we can use these trials to learn from and grow our character and our awareness of our character. As Eve learned in seeing who she really was, "There is no other way."

Essential in this plan is our agency, our choice as to how we will face adversity, doubt, and fear, because these are sure to be a part of it.

Let me share with you a poem I heard once. It is a spin-off of the well-known poem Footprints in the sand. This is slightly different and goes:
Butt-prints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream.
One set of footprints there was seen.
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

And then the strangest print appeared.
I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
This print is large and round and neat.
“But Lord, it’s much too big for feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,
“For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and gained no strength.”

“You laid quite still. You would not grow,
This walk is not for me, you know.
So I got tired. I got fed up.
And there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must walk, and one must climb,
and one must rise and take a stand;
Or leave his butt-prints in the sand.”
At times we may want to pop-a-squat and sit where we are when life gets hard or loses meaning.

But we can choose to stand, and join the co-protagonists, and overcome our trials, and grow from it. 

• There is a difference between Knowledge and Wisdom
Knowledge can be gained by study and thinking
Wisdom comes from the experience of applying knowledge
• As one friend once told me, “Knowledge is knowing a Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

Wisdom is having our eyes opened. How does that happen?

As we read in D&C 136:31-32
31 My people must be atried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the bglory that I have for them, …
32 Let him that is aignorant blearn cwisdom by dhumbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eeyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
Neal A Maxwell in April 2001 General Conference instructed us:
how specifically will we be tried? He tells us, I will try the faith and the patience of my people (see Mosiah 23:21). Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, “Thy will be done,” but patiently also, “Thy timing be done.” …
Those, however, who “plow in hope” not only understand the law of the harvest but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. True, those with genuine hope may see their proximate circumstances shaken like a kaleidoscope at times, yet with the “eye of faith” they still see divine design (Alma 5:15).
And so in conclusion, hope and faith are critical as we pass through this life.

We must have faith in the plan of our Father in Heaven, as he told Joseph Smith in the jailhouse,
“Know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
Knowing God’s plan can help us secure our foundation: to know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Not because church doctrine is true and simple to understand, but because understanding God's plan is simply about becoming who we truly are.

Remember, Act 2 is just a phase, we'll get over it.

It is the middle of our eternal existence. It is for our experience to learn who we really are. We can learn new things, and acquire new skills when we choose to stand as co-protagonists against the opposition. It really is through our actions we develop our faith.

Let us all work together as a ward family, to lift each other in times of need, to provide encouragement, and yes…sometimes to just cry with those that need to cry.

Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, our protagonist, our hero, our examplar, who at His time of greatest despair pled with His Father that the cup that seemed too great to drink from, said,
“Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”
And he finished his preparations among men.

To all of our benefit, we now have hope, in Christ, that the 3rd act will bring resolution, and happiness, and it will all be worth it when the Lord embraces us and tells us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

In his name, I say, amen.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Sheldon » 27 Feb 2015, 12:28

Mother's Day talk I gave over 15 years ago.
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men , as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (D&C 121:39)

A lot of places in the scriptures use "men" to mean mankind, or men and women. But in this scripture the Lord was talking to the early leaders of the church, all men. Also take note that it says "almost all men", not some, but almost all!

Sometimes it is easy for husbands and fathers to assume that just because they have XY chromosome, that they are in charge, the boss. But this is not the plan that our heavenly parents set up for us.

In our house, my wife and I share as equal partners in governing our home. There are some things that my wife is better at doing, and making decision on, so she is in charge of those things. And, believe it or not, there are even some things that I am better at, so I am in charge of those things. But the mere fact that I hold the Melchizedek Priesthood does not put me in charge. The Lord stated this in DC 121:41 "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by long suffering by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned."

President Boyd K. Packer once advised a stake president to never ever "pull priesthood rank" on his wife. This is good advice for all men, not just Stake Presidents

Some may think that having a committee of two, the husband and the wife, of equal authority, might present a problem when it comes time to make decisions. However a committee of two is exactly what Christ intends marriage to be! Even among the first Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, the rule for decision is unanimity, as explained in the 107th section of the D&C.

President Hunter postponed many decisions, sometimes several times, until the feelings of everyone in the first Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles were in harmony and the decision to act could be unanimous. Now if this is the law in the highest councils of the church, is it not the higher and better law for the council of the family, the most sacred of all church units?

According to President James E. Foust, A family is headed by a righteous patriarch and a righteous matriarch as equal partners. The carnal man might regard unanimity as an inefficient means of doing things, but unity and equality are never inefficient to the spiritual man.

So how do we apply this practically in our homes, so that we jointly preside righteously in the home? Like I mentioned before, in our home we have a division of labor, much like you would find at your workplace. For this division of labor to work, all must know who is in charge of what. One of my daughters might ask if she can get her ears pierced. Well, I know that the girls appearance falls mostly under the stewardship of my wife, so I tell them to ask their mother. Sometimes they come back with "but aren't you incharge of this family?" This usually results in a little talk (or my girls would say a "big talk") about what it means to preside in a home. We explain to them that we both are "in charge", but that some things have been delegated to their mother, and some things have been delegated to their father. So that when one parent says to ask the other, my girls are learning that we are not just being lazy, but that we are sending them to the proper authority for that decision.

Now what happens when my wife and I disagree on some decision? We have decided to go with the choice which is most conservative, or least likely to cause problems or harm to our home, family, or children. This may mean that the girls will have an early curfew, or we don't make some purchase, but we will always error on the side of safety.

Since my wife shares in presiding over our home, when I'm out of town on business, she can easily take charge in all matters. She feels comfortable making decisions in my behalf, and to my continued surprise, always makes the right choices for my family when I'm gone.

Several years ago, while addressing temple ordnance workers, The Los Angeles Temple President said that we often confuse two priesthood's: the Melchizedek, whose charge it is to administer the Church and Kingdom of God, and the patriarchal, whose charge it is to administer the affairs of the family. He said the patriarchal priesthood is given only over the alters of the sealing rooms, and is given simultaneously and jointly to a sealed husband and wife.

It is only by expanding our vision to take in such an eternal perspective that we can begin to appreciate the loving concern of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother in providing the means for the fullest of celestial glory, enjoyment and happiness for their children through a plan which values equally both the masculine and feminine in
their children.

To give you an historical view of this patriarchal priesthood, I 've borrowed from a talk given in a Stake Priesthood meeting some years ago by Lisle G. Brown of the Huntington West Virginia Stake Presidency, who is also the Special Collections Librarian at Marshall University.

We are not accustomed to thinking of the things that we receive in the temple, the washings, anointings and the endowment in the terms of priesthood conferral, but the brethren Joseph Smith first endowed described their experience in such terms. One of those, Bishop George Miller, stated that the Prophet "conferred on [the brethren] the
Patriarchal Priesthood, when he "washed and anointed [them] as Kings and Priests [un]to God" (Mills, "De Tal Palo Tal Astilla," p. 121.) Joseph Smith himself stated that "patriarchal authority" would be part of the restored temple ordinances and that the Saints should "finish that temple [in Nauvoo] and God [would] fill it with power"
(WJS, p. 245).

During this period Joseph Smith also publicly testified to the Saints that he had administered the ordinances of "Abraham's Patriarchal power which [was] the greatest yet experienced in this church" (WJS, p. 245). The Prophet stated that this order of patriarchal priesthood is also called New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage (D&C 131:1-4), because celestial marriage is the crowning ordinance of that priesthood order.

Furthermore, persons who received their washings and anointings from the Prophet, understood that as a result of participating in the temple ceremonies they had entered into a special priesthood quorum. William Clayton, Joseph Smith's private secretary, wrote in his journal, " was permitted to [receive] the ordinance of washing and anointing,
and was received into the Quorum of the Priesthood" (William Clayton Journal, Feb. 3, 1844, typescript). Even women who received these ordinances were considered members of this special priesthood quorum. Brigham Young noted that in October 1843 two sisters, who were endowed, were "taken into the order of the Priesthood," and a few days later upon his own wife's endowment she was also "admitted into the priest order or
Priesthood [sic]" (Brigham Young 1840-1844 Journal, Oct. 29, Nov. 1, 1843, CA).

Joseph Smith's Nauvoo teachings make it clear that he did not view the Priesthood merely as a male status symbol, nor as a fraternity of brethren, nor as a managerial enterprise for governing and correlating the Church, but as having actual divine power and spiritual authority. In one of his letters, now contained in the Scriptures, he indicated that the Priesthood was a necessary prerequisite for handling and control the powers of heaven (D&C 121:36). Inevitably, women need that power the same as men, because ultimately the powers of heaven can only be used in hands of those blessed and anointed with a fullness of God's powers. What are those powers? The scriptures make it clear: Of
those men and women, who inherit the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, those who have been sealed eternally as husband and wives by the Holy Spirit of Promise, the revelation states that "they shall pass by the angels . . . to their exaltation and glory in all things, . . .which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever
and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore.. . . they shall be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them" (D&C 132:19-20). Note that both the husband and wife have "all power" in their exaltation, not just the husband alone.

There are differences, not in degree but in dominion, in the authority received by of the endowed, sealed and anointed Latter-day Saint woman in the temple and that held by her husband.

First, woman does not hold authority independent of her husband, who does act independently in his priesthood capacity from his wife. The woman may be a "lawful heir to the fullness of the priesthood with [her] companion," but only with him will "she receive the priesthood, exaltation, power and eternal glory," "for a woman can have but little power in the priesthood without a man." Elder James E. Talmage explained
this distinction in these words, "In the restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Holy Priesthood is conferred, as an individual bestowal, upon men only, and this in accordance with Divine requirement. It is not given to woman to exercise the authority of the priesthood independently; nevertheless, in the sacred endowments associated with
the ordinances of the House of the Lord, woman shares with the man [all] the blessings of the Priesthood" (YWJ, Oct. 1914, p. 603). President Joseph Fielding Smith also affirmed that women do not hold the priesthood independently, "but if they are faithful and true, they will become priestesses and queens in the kingdom of God, and that implies
that they will be given authority" (DOS 3:178).

Secondly, the scriptures state that "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that "there is
nothing in the teachings of the gospel which declares that men are superior to woman" (DOS, 3:178). Indeed, the highest exaltation requires the union of a man and a woman; neither one of them can attain that glorified state without the other.

Thirdly, the authority a woman receives in the temple is not a priesthood of ecclesiastical prerogatives like that of men, whose priestly ordination yields the authority and power to administer the temporal Kingdom of God. The endowed and anointed sister is a queen and a priestess. These are not offices in the priesthood, anymore than a
king and a priest are the man's offices, but they are expressions of authority exercised by the glorified couple in the eternity's. Thus, a woman's priesthood does not have the trappings of the administrative Church offices of the ordained Latter-day Saint man. Hers is a priesthood of spiritual power alone. Moses's sister Miriam was a priestess in her own right, and she exercised her spiritual gifts and powers as a prophetess. Her actions were approved by the Lord, until she overstepped her bounds and presumed to challenge the temporal authority of her brother's priestly and prophetic office which he had received
by special calling and ordination. Latter-day Saint men who understand this distinction will not feel threatened by Latter-day Saint women who exercise their spiritual gifts, nor will Latter-day Saint women seek to usurp the positions of men who exercise their authority in the Church's quorums and councils.

If we, as priesthood holders, are to gain an appreciation for women, for our wives, we must adopt this expansive view. We must leave behind the traditions of our fathers -- the
myths, fallacies and errors of a fallen world. Our wives, especially those who have received the ordinances of the temple, are not possessions to be elevated on a pedestal and admired in some fashion in our minds. Neither are they to be reduced to possessions, which may subject them to whims of their husbands They are, instead, our equals
in the sight of God, endowed with power and authority from heaven --
queens and priestesses, prospective or real, in the eternities.

Such is the stature and dignity of women. We as Latter-day Saint men, should above all classes of beings on this earth, properly honor and esteem womanhood. By doing so, we men honor our priesthood. Indeed without honoring women, valuing the feminine as we value the masculine, we will fall short of the promises extended by loving Heavenly Parents to their children. We shall share equally in the blessings of exaltation with our wives, or not at all.

Perhaps only when we see our wives, exalted as glorified beings, crowned as queens, and robed at priestesses, will we really come to appreciate who they are. Our challenge as priesthood holders is to view womanhood, just as our Father and Mother in Heaven do. Can we really do less than this and expect to receive our Heavenly Parents approval?
I think not. I leave these thoughts with you in the name of Jesus Christ.

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by nibbler » 27 Feb 2015, 14:25

15 years ago!

Wow, I can't even remember what my name was 15 years ago.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by mom3 » 27 Feb 2015, 14:52

Sheldon - That is fantastic. I love it. Copied, pasted and keeping. Thanks.
"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

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Mar 2015, 14:27

This talk was assigned as a 10 minute talk the week before Easter since GC falls on Easter. In actuality I gave an abbreviated version which took out most of the scripture quotes. I would have gone into much more detail particularly using more of John, had the talk been longer.
Today is what much of the Christian world knows as Palm Sunday, celebrated as the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion.

It is John who tells us Jesus feasted in Bethany six days prior to Passover and the next day went into Jerusalem. (John 12:1)

We know it was Sunday because Jesus celebrated a Passover Seder with His apostles on Thursday, where he instituted the sacrament the night before his Crucifixion.

Many Christians mark this week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday as Holy Week.

It is aptly named.

Much happened during this week, and much of what we have recorded of Christ’s Earthly ministry and greatest events in the history of the world happened during this time frame.

Perhaps the Savior had a sense of urgency, knowing His time with His disciples was very limited.

It was between these Sundays that Jesus “...Cast out all those that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers…” (Matt 21:13)

It was Monday when he cursed the fig tree “and presently the fig tree withered away” and He told the disciples if they had faith they could “say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; and it shall be done” and all things they “ask in prayer, believing, [they] shall receive.”(Matt 21:20-22)

Here He gave the parables of the wedding guests where he said “many are called but few are chosen,” (Matt 21:28-46, 22:1-14), the parable of the ten virgins (Matt 25:1-13), and the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) among others.

He gave the parable of the sheep and the goats with the question and answer

“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?

....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.” (Matt 25:37-40)

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21) was spoken during this week.

It was during this time when Jesus answered the lawyer’s query about the greatest commandment with

“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.” (Matt 22:37-39)

Likewise it was during this week that Jesus taught a different audience:

“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.” (John 13:34-35)

He listed the sins of the Scribes and Pharisees and repeated “woe unto you” several times in doing so - because they had missed the mark, and He mourned for Jerusalem (Matt 23)

He spoke of a day in the far future when He would return in triumph. (Matt 24)

During the first sacrament, Jesus referred to wine as the “blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt 26:26-28)

After the meal, Jesus and at least some of the apostles went to the garden of Gethsemane.

There Jesus confessed that his “soul [was] exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt 26:38)

There He knelt and said “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”

And a short time later “Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” (Matt 26:39-42)

Luke tells us an angel strengthened Jesus and “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44).

What followed was the betrayal, which Jesus foresaw; the condemnation and sentencing by both the Roman and Jewish rulers, the scourging and the crucifixion.

On the cross at Golgotha the very human Jesus is heard to say “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)

With dusk on Friday beginning the Sabbath and Friday counting as the first day, the greatest miracle ever - the miracle of Easter - was to happen the third day, Sunday, a week after Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.

“That Easter morn, a grave that burst proclaimed to man that “Last and First” had risen again and conquered pain…, death..., (and) fear.” (Hymns 198)

The risen Lord appeared to the two Marys, the eleven remaining apostles, including Thomas who doubted, to disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to others.

To the Nephites, who had endured destruction and three days of darkness, the risen Lord proclaimed himself the “light and life of the world” and gave what Elder D. Todd Christofferson refers to as the Doctrine of Christ:

“This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; …and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God….

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them” (3 Nephi 11:32-35, 39).

Said Elder Christofferson:

This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand—even for a child. (General Conference April 2012)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of hope for all people everywhere.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said:

When the Savior rose from the tomb, He did something no one had ever done. He did something no one else could do. He broke the bonds of death, not only for Himself but for all who have ever lived—the just and the unjust.

When Christ rose from the grave, becoming the firstfruits of the Resurrection, He made that gift available to all.

I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.

On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth.

Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced. Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse. On that day they stood triumphant.

On that day the veil of the temple was rent in twain.

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair. The superb man they had loved and honored hung lifeless upon the cross.

On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior—the man who had walked on water and raised the dead—was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.

On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.

It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.

I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.

But the doom of that day did not endure.

The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the
proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.

Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come. (General Conference Oct., 2006)
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

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