Archive for the ‘family’ Tag

A Call to Arms

Reading: “The Power of the Priesthood,” President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Reading this talk reminded me of how important it is to go back and review the talks given in General Conference. Somehow when I listened to this talk I missed the powerful call to arms for the Priesthood to protect and defend their families. President Packer states,

The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.

President Packer then goes on to explain that main role of the Priesthood is found in the home:

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children might be happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.

I was moved by this talk to better support my husband in his Priesthood role.

What role has the Priesthood played in your home, now and/or in the past? What can you do to help strengthen the Priesthood at home, and in the church?

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On Family

I will be keeping a collection of quotes about families from the April 2010 General Conference on this post. Check back, as I will add quotes as I go through each talk.

The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.

President Harold B. Lee stated: “It seems clear to me that the Church has no choice—and never has had—but to do more to assist the family in carrying out its divine mission, not only because that is the order of heaven, but also because that is the most practical contribution we can make to our youth—to help improve the quality of life in the Latter-day Saint homes. As important as our many programs and organizational efforts are, these should not supplant the home; they should support the home.”

President Joseph F. Smith made this statement about the priesthood in the home: “In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father, and in all home affairs and family matters there is no other authority paramount. To illustrate this principle, a single incident will perhaps suffice. It sometimes happens that the elders are called in to administer to the members of a family. Among these elders there may be presidents of stakes, apostles, or even members of the first presidency of the Church. It is not proper under these circumstances for the father to stand back and expect the elders to direct the administration of this important ordinance. The father is there. It is his right and it is his duty to preside. He should select the one who is to administer the oil, and the one who is to be mouth in prayer, and he should not feel that because there are present presiding authorities in the Church that he is therefore divested of his rights to direct the administration of that blessing of the gospel in his home. (If the father be absent, the mother should request the presiding authority present to take charge.) The father presides at the table, at prayer, and gives general directions relating to his family life whoever may be present.” . . .

Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The adversary is not actively disturbing our Church meetings—perhaps only occasionally. By and large we are free to assemble as we wish without much disruption. But he and those who follow him are persistent in attacking the home and the family.

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children might be happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.

Every law and principle and power, every belief, every ordinance and ordination, every covenant, every sermon and every sacrament, every counsel and correction, the sealings, the calls, the releases, the service—all these have as their ultimate purpose the perfection of the individual and the family, for the Lord has said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

– President Packer

There has grown in me an overwhelming testimony of the value of daughters of God. So much depends on them. In my visits with the sisters, I have felt that there has never been a greater need for increased faith and personal righteousness. There has never been a greater need for strong families and homes. There has never been more that could be done to help others who are in need.

– Sister Julie Beck

Thoughts on General Conference

Reading: April 2010 General Conference

This past weekend I was uplifted and inspired by our General Conference. The unmistakable theme in this conference was family.  I remember in a previous general conference being very excited when a single talk was directed at mothers, but in this conference it seemed like every other talk had quite a bit to say to mothers. Since being a mother pretty much encompasses my whole life at the moment, it was great to have so much instruction and encouragement.

Listening to this conference has made me feel more confident in my choice to be a mother in a time when motherhood is not greatly valued by most of society. I feel more keenly the importance of what I do every day with my little children. I also feel motivated to try harder to teach my children about the gospel, and especially talk more about Jesus with them.

One thing about having little children is that I don’t get to sit and just listen to conference like I did before I had kids.  So, I am really looking forward to going through each talk and writing about it here on my blog.  I look forward to digging deeper into what the leaders of the church had to say to us.

What messages did you get from conference? There was a lot said to mothers compared to other conferences, but there was still plenty said for everyone else, too. What changes do you feel inspired to make after listening to conference?

A Christmas Creed

Christmas is coming up and it seems like every year I get carried away trying to do everything. I feel like it is my job to make Christmas special for my family, but since we do not yet have any firm traditions, I end up trying to do everything.  In the past I’ve ended up feeling stressed out and like I’m missing out on the Christmas spirit.

So, this year I am adopting a new Christmas creed: celebrating Christmas is about our family. Yesterday I was looking at my plan for Christmas I realized that most of the activities I had planned were things I had seen other people do, but that really didn’t matter much to our family. For example, after visiting the bishop’s beautifully decorated home, I wanted our home to be beautifully decorated, too. And, after seeing the products of one woman’s Christmas bake-off I also wanted to bake lots and lots of Christmas goodies. Yet, at this point the only one in my family who cares about Christmas decorations are me, and it’s okay with me if everything isn’t quite perfect yet, nor do we have the funds right now to go all out like this other woman had. And, there aren’t enough people in our family yet to eat lots of Christmas goodies – we can hardly make it through a single batch of sugar cookies! A Christmas bake-off also would not help our goal of eating more healthy.

As I thought about what would actually make Christmas better for our family, I realized the number one thing was just doing things together at a family. Yet, somehow I had left out those kind of activities almost entirely from my plans. Not just that but I realized that other plans I had could be changed to make them easier on me and more enjoyable for my family.

So, this year, whenever I come up with a Christmas plan I’m going to ask myself these questions:

  • Which family member(s) will get something from this activity and what will they get out of it?
  • Is the amount of work and effort I put into this activity proportional to the amount of joy and fun my family will receive from it?
  • Is there maybe an easier way to do this plan that will still bring the same benefit at the same or similar monetary cost?
  • How can I do this activity in such a way that it will bring our family closer together?

I’m already feeling much more into the Christmas spirit. I still have ideas for lots of fun things to do, but they are things that are really going to make a difference for me and my family, not things that just stress me out and bring my family little joy.

What family activities do you do that really bring the Spirit of Christmas for you and your family?

House Rules

Reading: “More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 2009 October General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

The Mormon religion holds at its center the family.  We spend a lot of time at church talking about how to make our homes better places.  In this talk Elder Bednar talks about three ways that we can be more diligent in making our homes a special place.  These are:

  • Express love – and show it.
  • Bear testimony – and live it.
  • Be consistent.

In our house we do our best to read scriptures every day, even when the toddler is fussy and grumpy.  We do this because I know from my own life that consistency in prayer and scripture study is better than inconsistent spurts of diligence. However, there are other areas where I could strive to be more consistent. For example, while I try to be clear with my daughter about rules of the house, sometimes when I am tired or stressed or over busy I will not think about the house rules and either punish her for things that she didn’t know she shouldn’t do, or let her get away with things that she really knows not to do.  I believe very strongly that consistency is important in all aspects of parenting because it creates a safe and known place for your children, and it was good to be reminded of this by Elder Bednar.

Which of these areas that Elder Bednar spoke of  could most help your home life improve?  Have you seen how greater love, testimony, and consistency have improved your home life in the past?

Good Cheer in Hard Times

Reading: “Be of Good Cheer,” President Thomas S. Monson, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session

In this talk President Monson shares three stories of people who suffered incredible hardship.  One story was of a family who lost a child while crossing the ocean to join the Saints in Nauvoo.  Another story was of a man who lost his sight and sought a blessing, but also saying that whether or not he received his sight back he was still grateful.  The last story was of a woman forced to walk from her home in East Prussia to West Germany and who buried each of her four children along the way.

All of these stories President Monson shared do not have a traditional happy ending.  We don’t know if the man ever received his sight back.  We don’t know what happened to the woman after she arrived in West Germany.  Instead each story ends with the person or family being of good cheer despite their hardship because of their faith in God.

When I first heard this talk I was deeply touched and realized on a deeper level that the most important things in life are our families and the gospel.  Sometimes I get discouraged too easily because I am focused on fleeting things that don’t matter so much, like possessions, comfort, or pride.  I can learn from these stories to focus on the important things and to trust in God more readily.

Today I am going to watch what disappoints me or stresses me and see if maybe I can be more focused on family and the gospel in those areas.

When you read or heard these stories, what did it bring to your mind?  Have you ever felt joy through the gospel at a time when you would have expected to be sad?

“And My Father Dwelt in a Tent”

Reading: 1 Nephi Chapter 2, especially verses 1-15

Note: Over the next three weeks my posts may be more sporadic as we work on moving.  I’ll do my best to keep up, though!

When Lehi began to face persecution because of the things he was commanded to teach, he prayed for help and he was told to leave Jerusalem.  He took only his family and what they would need to survive.

This story is a great compliment to Elder Perry’s talk on living a simple life in this past general conference.  The verse “And my father dwelt in a tent” is almost comical as it is one of the shortest verses in the whole Book of Mormon.  However, this simple phrase shows how Lehi and his family gave up so much in order to follow the commandments of God.

It is clear they gave up quite a bit as Laman and Lemeul were very upset about it.  In verse 11 it says,

For behold, they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and led them out of the land of Jeruslame, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness.

In American society, we like stuff.  It is easy to get wrapped up in acquiring more things.  Often, it seems as if the most important thing is not even the stuff, but the acquiring of new stuff, as once we have something it loses a lot of its specialness.  What really matters, though, is our family and the basic necessities we need to survive.  Our stuff can distract us from what is really important.

We are moving in two weeks.  This story was especially poignant for me as I identified with the needing to pack up and go to a place that is totally new.  However, I am not giving up nearly so much as were Lehi and his family.

Today as I start to pack, and plan what we need to do for our move, I’m going to think about Lehi and his trip and realize a) how blessed I am materially and b) that the most important thing to take care of as we move is our family relationships.

What in your life is most important?  How much of it is material things?

The Gospel Blesses Families

Reading: “The Gospel Blesses Families,” Chater 1: My Purpose as a Missionary, Preach My Gospel

In this short section there are listed many ways that the gospel helps families.  We believe that families are very important, and are the most basic part of the church.  A happy family is the greatest joy anyone can experience on earth.

Here are some of the ways that this chapter listed the gospel can help families:

  • Families can be sealed for all eternity
  • Families can experience peace, joy, and a sense of belonging and identity
  • Families can resolve misunderstandings, contentions, and challenges
  • Families with problems can be healed through repentance, forgiveness, and faith in the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ

There also are shared two quotes.  First, from the Proclamation on the Family:

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achived when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Successful marriages and families are establsihed and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.

And, from President Harold B. Lee:

The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.

Right now family is pretty much what I do all the time.  I am staying at home to take care of our baby and our home.  When we are focused on the principles of the gospel, we are happier together.  When we don’t we are less happy and may feel stressed or angry with each other.  Even when we may not be in the best of times, my greatest source of joy is from my family.

Today I am going to read the proclamation on the family again and think about what it means.

How does the gospel bless your family?

Home Making

Reading: D&C 88:118-126, especially verse 119, and BD Temple

We moved.  It was a lot of work.  It still is a lot of work, as I try to get my home unpacked and organized.

So, as I am getting settled into a new home, I am lead to ponder about the role of the home in our lives.  In the Bible Dictionary under temple, it states that only the home can rival the sacredness of the temple.  It always amazed me that our homes are comparable in sacredness to our most sacred place.

So, how can I make our home more like a temple, and honor its sacredness?  In D&C 88:118-126, the Lord instructs the early Saints on what a temple should be like.  In those verses the following things are listed:
– Seek learning
– Organized (literally in the sense of making an organization, not organizing your stuff, but it seems that is also good)
– Prepared with every needful thing
– Prayer
– Fasting
– Faith
– Glory
– Order
– God
– Incomings and outgoings in the name of the Lord
– Salutations in the name of the Lord
– Cease from light speeches, (loud, rude) laughter, lustful desires, pride, and light-mindedness
– Let one speak at a time
– Love one another
– Learn to impart to one another
– Not idle, unclean, or critical
– Arise early and go to bed early
– Charity
The one verse that is truly dealing with temples is verse 119, which talks about the house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, order, and God.  But, all of these things I listed seem like good qualities of a good home.  A home where people work hard, love and respect each other, and are learning about God seems to me to be the kind of home God would want me to have.

So, how can I encourage these things in my own home?  Two things come to mind.  First, I can make my home a house of order by making things orderly and tidy.  I believe strongly that there are many things more important than having a spotless house, but I also have observed that when my home is in good order everyone is happier and everything seems better.

Second, I can be more positive about things.  I can do this by growing my testimony and by focusing myself on Jesus Christ.  As the homemaker of my house, I also have often observed that when I am feeling down and depressed, everybody else gets grumpy too.  When I am happy and positive my attitude seems to rub off on others a lot more than their attitude rubs off on me.  Maybe that is just my house, but there is the saying, “When Mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy, ”  so there must be some truth in other homes too.  As I have observed in several entries a few weeks ago, the best way to be happy is to focus on Jesus Christ in my daily life.

The two things I listed are what I feel would be most helpful for me, personally.  What do you do in your home to help it be more sacred?  What could you do to improve the sacredness of your home?

A Word of Encouragement for Young Mothers

Reading: “Daughters of God,” Elder Ballard, General Conference April 2008

Last conference I, with probably about every other mom in the whole church, really loved Elder Ballard’s talk directed to young mothers.  It was a very affirming talk and came at a time when I was just trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing with this mother thing.

Elder Ballard gave specific reccommendation for mothers, hubands, children, and the church on how to support mothers.

His advice to mothers was:

  • Recognize the joy of motherhood comes in moments.  He quoted Anna Quinded as saying, “I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
  • Don’t overschedule yourselves or your children.
  • Find time to renew yourself.
  • Pray, study, and teach the gospel.

His advice to husbands was:

  • Show extra appreciation and give more validation for what your wife does every day.
  • Have a regular time to talk to your wife about each child’s needs.
  • Give your wife a “day away” every now and then.

His advice to children was:

  • Do small chores without being asked.
  • Say thank you more often.
  • Tell your mother you love her more often.

His advice to the church was:

  • Be careful not to overload young mothers in what you ask them to do for the church

He also stated, “No role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.”

The advice he gives for young mothers that I struggle the most with is overscheduling.  Every day I feel like I have more to do than can ever be done.  We are not yet into the scheduled tasks exactly, but there is always a huge pile of things I would like to do that I just don’t have time for.  So, today, I’m going to ponder what is most important and try to prioritize my activities as such.  And, I’m going to try and take more joy in the doing than in getting it done.

If you’re a mom, what does your family do that really helps you?  Or, if you’re a husband or a son, what do you do for the mom in your life that helps her, or what could you do?