Posted in service, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 14: Losing Ourselves in the Service of Others

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

Watch video: Preparation of Gordon B Hinckley: Forget Yourself and Go to Work A missionary letter from his father motivates Elder Gordon Hinckley to dedicate himself to the Lord’s work. (2:03)

1. Our lives are gifts from God and are to be used in the service of others.

“We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service fall short of the ultimate ‘profit’ unless they are motivated by the pure love of Christ. If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be unconcerned with self and heedless of personal advantage. It must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children.” (Dallin H Oaks, Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 47.)

From the manual:

If we would claim to worship and follow the Master, must we not strive to emulate his life of service? None of us may rightly say that his life is his own. Our lives are gifts of God. We come into the world not of our own volition. We leave not according to our wish. Our days are numbered not by ourselves, but according to the will of God.

How can we make serving others a way of life?

2. Service is the best medicine for self-pity, selfishness, despair, and loneliness.

Watch or read: What Have I Done For Someone Today? – President Thomas S Monson

From the manual:

I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work and service in behalf of others. I do not minimize your problems, but I do not hesitate to say that there are many others whose problems are more serious than yours. Reach out to serve them, to help them, to encourage them. There are so many boys and girls who fail in school for want of a little personal attention and encouragement. There are so many elderly people who live in misery and loneliness and fear for whom a simple conversation would bring a measure of hope and brightness. …

There are so many who have been injured and who need a good Samaritan to bind up their wounds and help them on their way. A small kindness can bring a great blessing to someone in distress and a sweet feeling to the one who befriends him.

There are so many out there whose burdens you can lift. There are the homeless, there are the hungry, there are the destitute all around us. There are the aged who are alone in rest homes. There are handicapped children, and youth on drugs, and the sick and the homebound who cry out for a kind word. If you do not do it, who will?

How has service brought you happiness? 

3. When we reach out to help others, we find our true selves.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

Image result for When we reach out to help others, we find our true selves.

Watch video: Whoever Will Lose His Life for My Sake Shall Find It

From the manual:

I testify that as each of you reach out to help others, you will find your true selves and bless greatly the world in which you live.

Why does losing ourselves in the service of others help us “find [our] true selves”?

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4. The Church provides many opportunities for unselfish service.

Watch or read: The Greatest Among You – President Dieter F Uchtdorf

‘In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines.’ (President J Reuben Clark)

From the manual:

Brothers and sisters, you will never be happy if you go through life thinking only of yourself. Get lost in the best cause in the world—the cause of the Lord. The work of the quorums, and of the auxiliary organizations, temple work, welfare service work, missionary work. You will bless your own life as you bless the lives of others.

What blessings has Church service brought into your life?

Posted in self reliance, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 13: Peace and Contentment through Temporal Self-Reliance

1. As we work with integrity, our lives are blessed forever.

From the manual:

I believe in the gospel of work. There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.

What have you learned through hard work?

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2. We have a responsibility to help others lift themselves and become self-reliant.

Read: The Perpetual Education Fund – A Prophet’s Rescuing Hand

From the manual:

It is our solemn obligation … to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). We must help them to become self-reliant and successful.

How can we help others become self-reliant?

3. Prophets have encouraged us to prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally for catastrophes to come.

Watch: Temporal preparation President Hinckley encourages church members to be prepared for future calamities.

Read or watch: Becoming self-reliant

From the manual:

We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for ourselves and take care of our own needs. And so we encourage our people to have something, to plan ahead, keep … food on hand, to establish a savings account, if possible, against a rainy day. Catastrophes come to people sometimes when least expected—unemployment, sickness, things of that kind.

What are some small, gradual things we can do to prepare ourselves?

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4. We enjoy independence and freedom as we avoid debt to the extent possible and set aside money for times of need.

Read: Debt – A Self-defence Guide

Read: All is Safely Gathered In

J Reuben Clark gave some great advice about interest in 1938:

‘Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you. ‘ (in Conference Report, Apr., 1938)

Steps to using a budget

1. List all your expenses – go through your bank statement and list everything you spent money on. Look at the cash you withdrew from the cash machine and write down what you spent it on. This exercise will also help you to review your spending habits. Do you really need to buy a newspaper? Do you really need all of those channels on your TV? How much are your phones and electronic devices costing you? Look at your shopping habits – are you buying lots of food that you then throw away because it has gone out of date? You can avoid this by shopping to menus?

2. Prepare a budget – use this information to prepare a budget showing all of your income and expenditure. There is a simple pro-forma in the ‘All Is Safely Gathered In’ pamphlet.

Don’t forget to pay the Lord first – make sure that you include your tithes and other offerings in your budget.

Plan to save – if you save what is left there won’t be anything left! So decide on a fixed sum or percentage to save and build that into your budget. BYU suggests that we should save 10% of our income,

Then adjust your spending to fit your income. Don’t forget to take into account irregular or annual payments such as road fund tax, birthdays, Christmas etc.

3. Implement your budget – discipline yourself to keep to the budget you have set. You will sleep better at night.

4. Compare your budget and your actual expenditure – at the end of the week or the month review how well you did. You may find that there were some items of expenditure that you forgot about – build them into the next budget. If you kept to the budget – pat yourself on the back and then keep keeping to it!

Within a family setting, this will only work if both husband and wife are committed to it – family finances and budgeting should be a joint responsibility. Marvin J Ashton wrote:

New attitudes and relationships towards money should be developed constantly by all couples. After all, the partnership should be full and eternal. Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power of authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility. (Marvin J Ashton, One for the Money)

Build a reserve

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‘Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.’ (All is Safely Gathered In)

As mentioned above, save a specific amount. Aim to build up an emergency cushion of 3 months essential obligations (mortgage, fuel, Council tax etc). Save for missions, weddings, education, a deposit on a house, retirement. Shop around for the best rates of return but be careful to avoid get rich quick schemes. If something seems to be too good to be true, it is because it is too good to be true.

Watch: Becoming provident providers Elder Robert D. Hales encourages us to stay out of debt and live frugally as he recounts a story from the early days of his marriage, when his wife exemplified the principles of provident living.

 

Posted in Obedience, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 12: Obedience: Simply Live the Gospel

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“I have been interviewed by many [news] reporters. The one thing they say is, ‘Now what is going to be your theme during your presidency?’ I simply say, ‘The same theme which I have heard repeated in this Church by the presidents of the Church and the apostles for as far back as I can remember: Simply live the gospel, and every one who does so will receive in his heart a conviction of the truth of that which he lives.’”

How can you increase your desire to live the gospel?

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1. We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations that go with that covenant.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we have voluntarily entered into holy covenants, promising to obey the Lord’s commandments. Willing, righteous obedience leads to celestial life, indeed there is no eternal progress without it.

From the manual:

We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations which go with that covenant. We cannot be ordinary people. We must rise above the crowd. We must stand a little taller. We must be a little better, a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more courteous, a little more thoughtful, a little more outreaching to others.

What are some ways the covenants you have made with God influence your daily living?

2. The Lord expects us to live the gospel in every aspect.

Obedience to the commandments seems to be one of man’s challenges.  Sometimes it is not convenient – some of us have got too comfortable in our armchairs to go and do the work of the Lord. we find it too much hassle to go to the temple. Some of us say to ourselves, ‘I’ve done my share, someone else can do it now.’ Some of us are reluctant to leave our comfort zones. And then we wonder why we don’t feel the same sense of excitement about the gospel that we used to.

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From the manual:

We live in an age of compromise and acquiescence. In situations with which we are daily confronted, we know what is right, but under pressure from our peers and the beguiling voices of those who would persuade us, we capitulate. We compromise. We acquiesce. We give in, and we are ashamed of ourselves. … We must cultivate the strength to follow our convictions.

How do we sometimes compromise our convictions?

3. God will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments.

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See: Christ-like attributes – obedience

“The treasure house of happiness is unlocked to those who live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity. Like a mariner without stars, like a traveler without a compass, is the person who moves along through life without a plan. The assurance of supreme happiness, the certainty of a successful life here and of exaltation and eternal life hereafter, come to those who plan to live their lives in complete harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ—and then consistently follow the course they have set” (Spencer W Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 259).

From the manual:

The gospel is not a philosophy of repression, as so many regard it. It is a plan of freedom that gives discipline to appetite and direction to behavior. Its fruits are sweet and its rewards are liberal. 

How would you respond to someone who feels that the commandments are too restricting?

4. Church leaders point out the way and invite members to live the gospel.

Video: I will go and do (1 Nephi 3:7) President Gordon B. Hinckley speaks about being willing to go and do the things the Lord commands.

From the manual:

I have … served in the general councils of this Church for [many] years. … I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

5. Small decisions can lead to tremendous consequences.

From the manual:

I approached a large farm gate one day. I lifted the latch and opened the gate. The movement at the hinges was so slight as to be scarcely discernible. But the other end of the gate cut a great arc sixteen feet in radius. Looking at the movement of the hinges alone, one would never dream of the magnified action that came as a result of that tiny movement.

So it is with the decisions in our lives. Some small thought, some small word, some small action can lead to tremendous consequences.

‘A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted [members]… He encourages us to “be not weary in well-doing, for [we] are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” May we be faithful in fulfilling the duties of whatever calling we have in the kingdom. Let us pay heed to the “small things” that make all the difference. Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments as we have made sacred covenants to do. As our heritage and our growth clearly show, we are, indeed, “laying the foundation of a great work.”

Let us dedicate ourselves to doing the Lord’s work to the best of our abilities. May we honor the faith of our fathers by giving our own faithful service to this great cause.’ (Joseph B Wirthlin, “Faith of Our Fathers,” Ensign, May 1996, 34)

6. By living the gospel, we strengthen the Church and help God’s work grow across the earth.

Video: Cling to God’s values (Numbers 6:1-21) President Hinckley encourages saints to cling to God’s values.

From the manual:

I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness.

How can living the gospel help us cope with uncertainties in the world?

Posted in Family, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 11: Home—the Basis of a Righteous Life

Family relationships are the most sacred of all relationships.

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Read: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

From the manual:

The family is divine. It was instituted by our Heavenly Father. It encompasses the most sacred of all relationships. Only through its organization can the purposes of the Lord be fulfilled.

How might this truth affect our relationships with family members?

Fathers and mothers have the privilege of caring for their children and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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President Harold B. Lee said, “The greatest of the Lord’s work you brethren will ever do as fathers will be within the walls of your own home.”

From the manual:

We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.

How has gospel teaching in your home blessed your family?

Through family prayer, children grow with faith in the living God.

‘Praying together, seeking to know the will of our Father in Heaven, and desiring strength to do His will draws Him near to us. This practice unifies family members in a common direction and purpose. How simple the Lord has made it for us! All we have to do is sincerely ask in faith in his name, and He will hear and answer our prayers. Yet, if the prophet bid us do some great thing for such blessings, would we do it? Holding regular family prayer is such a simple thing to do to receive these great blessings. (Rex D Pinegar, General Conference, October 1994)

From the manual:

I know of no other practice that will have so salutary an effect upon your lives as will the practice of kneeling together in prayer. The very words, Our Father in Heaven, have a tremendous effect. You cannot speak them with sincerity and with recognition without having some feeling of accountability to God. 

What blessings have you experienced by having regular family prayer?

Family home evening can draw parents and children together in learning the ways of the Lord.

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Pres Howard W Hunter: Take seriously your responsibility to teach the gospel to your family through regular family home evening, family prayer, devotional and scripture-reading time, and other teaching moments. Give special emphasis to preparation for missionary service and temple marriage. As patriarch in the home, exercise your priesthood through performing the appropriate ordinances for your family and by giving blessings to your wife and children. Next to your own salvation, brethren, there is nothing so important to you as the salvation of your wife and children.

From the manual:

I am grateful that we as a Church have as a basic part of our program the practice of a weekly family home evening. It is a significant thing that in these busy days thousands of families across the world are making an earnest effort to consecrate one evening a week to sing together, to instruct one another in the ways of the Lord, to kneel together in prayer, there to thank the Lord for his mercies and to invoke his blessings upon our lives, our homes, our labors, our land. I think we little estimate the vast good that will come of this program.

What blessings have come to your family through family home evening?

Parents should begin to teach their children when the children are very young.

“I have heard men and women say that they were going to let their sons and daughters grow to maturity before they sought to teach them the principles of the gospel, that they were not going to cram the gospel down them in their childhood, before they were able to comprehend it. When I hear men and women say this, I think they are lacking faith in the principles of the gospel and do not comprehend it as they should. The Lord has said it is our duty to teach our children in their youth, and I prefer to take His word for it rather than the words of those who are not obeying His commandments …. I may know that the gospel is true, and so may my wife; but I want to tell you that your children will not know that the gospel is true, unless they study it and gain a testimony for themselves. Parents are deceiving themselves in imagining that their children will be born with a knowledge of the gospel.” (Heber J Grant)

Video: Learn in thy youth (Alma 37:35) President Gordon B. Hinckley shares a story of the effects of neglecting a young tree. (3:02)

From the manual:

Review President Hinckley’s story of the honey locust tree (see section 5). What applications could this story have for you?

If children rebel, parents should continue to pray for them, love them, and reach out to them.

President Howard W Hunter: A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all these and your child is still wayward or troublesome or worldly, it could well be that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent. Perhaps there are children who have come into the world that would be a challenge to any set of parents under any circumstances. Likewise, perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to, almost any father or mother. My concern today is that there are parents who may be pronouncing harsh judgements upon themselves and may be allowing these feelings to destroy their lives, when in fact they have done their best and should continue in faith.

From the manual:

Once in a while, notwithstanding all the things you try to do, there is a rebellious child. But keep at it. Do not ever give up. You have never lost as long as you try. Keep at it.

What are some ways that parents and others can reach out in love?

We strengthen our families as we seek heaven’s help and nurture a spirit of love and respect for each other.

Do we say, “Yes, most of the time I treat my family as Christ would . . . except when I get mad or when they misbehave.”  Treating our families as Christ would during the pleasant times does not count.  Being kind only counts during the unpleasant times.  If we want to get credit for being kind, we must be kind even when we are angry and even when our family members misbehave.  We must always be kind to our family members, even when we think they don’t deserve it.

From the manual:

I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes.

Why is it important for parents to discipline their children with love rather than anger?

Posted in Family, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley, Temples

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 10: Nurturing the Eternal Partnership of Marriage

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

One evening when President and Sister Hinckley were sitting quietly together, Sister Hinckley said, “You have always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it.” Commenting on that expression from his wife, President Hinckley said, “I’ve tried to recognize [her] individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes, let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does.”

Why is it important for husbands and wives to recognise each other’s individuality.

Heavenly Father designed marriage from the beginning.

Watch: Man and Woman President Gordon B. Hinckley testifies that man and woman are God’s design. (0:57)

Watch: Renaissance of Marriage Hear what President Eyring says we all must do to have a renaissance of happy marriages and productive families. (2:36)

From the manual:

How wonderful a thing is marriage under the plan of our Eternal Father, a plan provided in His divine wisdom for the happiness and security of His children and the continuity of the race.

How can this knowledge influence the relationship between a husband and wife?

In the temple, a husband and wife can be sealed together for all eternity.

Eternal marriage is a very distinctive and valuable part of the Church. It involves a ceremony performed in a holy temple by an officiator who has the authority to seal couples together for eternity. This is a sacred and simple ceremony to unite husband and wife in the bonds of everlasting love and in the hopes of eternity.

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From the manual

[The] temples … offer blessings that are had nowhere else. All that occurs in these sacred houses has to do with the eternal nature of man. Here, husbands and wives and children are sealed together as families for all eternity. Marriage is not “until death do ye part.” It is forever, if the parties live worthy of the blessing.

What are the blessings of an eternal marriage in this life and in eternity?

Read: The Eternal Blessings of Marriage – Elder Richard G Scott

Read: Eternal Marriage – Elder Marion D Hanks

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Husbands and wives walk side by side on an eternal journey.

We believe that life is more secure and more joyous when it is experienced in the sacred relationships of the eternal family. A person who lives a righteous life in mortality and who has entered into an eternal marriage may look forward to an association in the postmortal world with a worthy spouse, and with those who were earthly children, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.

From the manual:

Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither exercising dominion over the other, but, rather, with each encouraging and assisting the other in whatever responsibilities and aspirations he or she might have.

Why does marriage need to be “a partnership of equals”?

“The marriage sanctioned by God provides men and women with the opportunity to fulfill their divine potentials. ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:11). Husbands and wives are unique in some ways and free to develop their eternal gifts, yet as coequals in the sight of their heavenly parents they are one in the divine goals they pursue, in their devotion to eternal principles and ordinances, in their obedience to the Lord, and in their divine love for each other. When a man and woman who have been sealed together in a temple are united spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically, taking full responsibility for nurturing each other, they are truly married. Together they strive to emulate the prototype of the heavenly home from which they came. The Church teaches them to complement, support, and enrich one another. . . . If a husband and wife are faithful to their temple marriage, they will continue as co-creators in God’s celestial kingdom through the eternities.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., Daniel H. Ludlow, ed. [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 2:487.)

“I urge the husbands and fathers of this church to be the kind of a man your wife would not want to be without. I urge the sisters of this church to be patient, loving, and understanding with their husbands. Those who enter into marriage should be fully prepared to establish their marriage as the first priority in their lives.

“It is destructive to the feeling essential for a happy marriage for either party to say to the other marriage partner, ‘I don’t need you.’ This is particularly so because the counsel of the Savior was and is to become one flesh: ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh

“‘Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.’ (Matt. 19:5-6.) It is far more difficult to be of one heart and mind than to be physically one. This unity of heart and mind is manifest in sincere expressions of ‘I appreciate you’ and ‘I am proud of you.’ Such domestic harmony results from forgiving and forgetting, essential elements of a maturing marriage relationship. Someone has said that we should keep our eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterward. (Magdeleine Scudery, as cited in The International Dictionary of Thoughts, Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969, p. 472.) True charity ought to begin in marriage, for it is a relationship that must be rebuilt every day.” (Teachings of James E. Faust, 366.)

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God will not withhold any blessings from worthy individuals who are not married.

From the manual:

Somehow we have put a badge on a very important group in the Church. It reads “Singles.” I wish we would not do that. You are individuals, men and women, sons and daughters of God, not a mass of “look-alikes” or “do-alikes.” Because you do not happen to be married does not make you essentially different from others. All of us are very much alike in appearance and emotional responses, in our capacity to think, to reason, to be miserable, to be happy, to love and be loved.

How can President Hinckley’s promises and counsel in section 4 help persons who are not married?

Happiness in marriage comes from showing a loving concern for the well-being of one’s companion.

In 1831 the Lord revealed the law of the Church to the newly gathered Saints and commanded, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). This is the only place in scripture where the Lord asks us to love anything or anyone with all our hearts besides Himself. President Hinckley has… said that a husband should regard his wife “as the greatest treasure of his life.” In Matthew 6:21 we read, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”

From the manual:

Nurture and cultivate your marriage. Guard it and work to keep it solid and beautiful. … Marriage is a contract, it is a compact, it is a union between a man and a woman under the plan of the Almighty. It can be fragile. It requires nurture and very much effort.

What are some ways a husband and wife can “nurture and cultivate” their marriage?

Read: The Parable of the Tableware

Read: Nurturing Marriage – Elder Russell M Nelson

Posted in Faith, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 9: The Precious Gift of Testimony

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley talks about ‘The earliest instance of which I have recollection of spiritual feelings’.

What is your earliest recollection of spiritual feelings?

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Testimony is the great strength of the Church and the wellspring of faith and activity.

Watch: Testimony – President Gordon B Hinckley

From the manual:

This thing which we call testimony is the great strength of the Church. It is the wellspring of faith and activity.

In what ways does your personal testimony contribute to the strength of the Church?

“Without the gift or revelation, which is one of the gifts or the Holy Ghost, there could be no Church of Jesus Christ. This is apparent from the obvious fact that in order for his Church to exist, there must be a society of people who individually have testimonies that Jesus is the Christ. According to Paul, such testimonies are revealed only by the Holy Ghost, for said he, ‘. . . no man can [know] say that Jesus is the Lord. but by the Holy Ghost.’ (See 1 Cor. 12:3.) In the 46th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord specifically lists such knowledge as one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as follows: ‘To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ (D & C 46:13.) Everyone who has a testimony of Jesus has received it by revelation from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a revelator, and everyone who receives him receives revelation.

“Wherever and whenever revelation is operative, manifestations of other gifts of the Holy Ghost are prevalent.” (Marion G Romney, Conference Report, April 1956, Afternoon Meeting 69.)

Testimony is a quiet, encouraging voice that sustains us as we walk in faith and impels us to action.

Watch: Increase your testimony. Strengthen your testimony of God and His teachings by recognizing the feelings of the Holy Spirit. (4:59)

From the manual:

Opponents may quote scripture and argue doctrine endlessly. They can be clever and persuasive. But when one says, “I know,” there can be no further argument. There may not be acceptance, but who can refute or deny the quiet voice of the inner soul speaking with personal conviction?

Read: Experience vs opinion

What do we mean when we say ‘I know’?

Each of us can obtain a testimony of the reality of God and His Beloved Son and the restoration of Their work.

Read: Valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ – Elder Quentin L Cook

Read: Receiving a testimony of light and truth – President Dieter F Uchtdorf

Read: Personal revelation and testimony – Sister Barbara Thompson

From the manual:

This witness, this testimony, can be the most precious of all the gifts of God. It is a heavenly bestowal when there is the right effort. It is the opportunity, it is the responsibility of every man and woman in this Church to obtain within himself or herself a conviction of the truth of this great latter-day work and of those who stand at its head, even the living God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does President Hinckley mean when he talks about ‘the right effort’?

We must live up to our testimony and share it with others.

From the manual:

This is God’s holy work. This is His Church and kingdom. The vision that occurred in the Sacred Grove was just as Joseph said it was. There is in my heart a true understanding of the importance of what happened there. The Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of the Lord Jesus Christ. His priesthood has been restored and is among us. The keys of that priesthood, which have come from heavenly beings, are exercised for our eternal blessing. Such is our testimony—yours and mine—a testimony which we must live up to and which we must share with others. I leave this testimony, my blessing, and my love with each of you and my invitation to continue to be part of this great latter-day miracle that is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

How have you overcome feelings of fear about sharing your testimony?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has  reminded us: “The value to the world of the Restored  Gospel of Jesus Christ lies in its savour, its difference from  the rest of Christianity and from the rest of the world. If  we fail to communicate that difference, that unique addition we can make to the understanding and authority of  the rest of Christianity, we will have lost our value to the  world and to the kingdom and will be ‘good for nothing,  but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’  (Matthew 5:13).” (Address to Regional Representatives,  April 5, 1985.)

Posted in Faith, Jesus Christ, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 8: We Look to Christ

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley relates an incident that occurred following the open house of the Mesa Arizona temple. He was asked by a Protestant minister why there were no crucifixes on the temple. President Hinckley responded that for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ while our message was about the living Christ.

“He then asked: ‘If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?’

“I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship. …

“… No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when he said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15.)

If we, as Church members, are to be ‘the only meaningful expression of our faith’ what does that mean for the way in which we must live our lives?

1. Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God.

‘In the premortal life, Jesus Christ, whose main title was Jehovah, was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and thus the eldest brother and preeminent above all other spirit children of God. In that first estate, he came to be more intelligent than all other spirits, one “like unto God” (Abr. 3:19, 24), and served as the representative of the Father in the creation of “worlds without number” (Heb. 1:1–3; D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33; 7:30). LDS leaders have declared that all revelation since the Fall of Adam has been by, and through, Jehovah (Jesus Christ) and that whenever the Father has appeared unto man, it has been to introduce and bear record of the Son (Joseph Smith Translation [JST], John 1:19; Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27). He was known to Adam, and the patriarchs from Adam to Noah worshiped him in humble reverence. He was the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God-Lawgiver on Sinai, the Holy One of Israel. Scriptural records affirm that all the prophets from the beginning spoke or wrote of the time when Jehovah would come to earth in the form of man, in the role of a messiah. Peter said, “to him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 2:25–31; 10:43). Jacob taught that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ” (Jacob 7:11; cf. Mosiah 3:5–10; 13:33; 3 Ne. 20:24).’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

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From the manual:

‘To all who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: “Be not faithless, but believing” [John 20:27]. Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited the western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.’

What accounts and teachings from the Savior’s life have special meaning to you?

2. Each of us can know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world, resurrected from the grave.

Watch video: He is not here: for He is risen. President Hinckley speaks about the Resurrection from the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. An excerpt from “Special Witnesses of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2001. (2:24)

Watch video: Jesus is resurrected.  Peter and John find the empty tomb. Jesus, now resurrected, appears to Mary.

Read: Jesus Christ and resurrection.

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‘Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings, p. 121). Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

From the manual:

‘The acquisition of understanding and enthusiasm for the Lord comes from following simple rules. … I should like to suggest three, elementary in their concept, almost trite in their repetition, but fundamental in their application and fruitful in their result. …

The first is to read—to read the word of the Lord. … Read, for instance, the Gospel of John from its beginning to its end. Let the Lord speak for himself to you, and his words will come with a quiet conviction that will make the words of his critics meaningless. Read also the testament of the New World, the Book of Mormon, brought forth as a witness “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” (Book of Mormon title page.)

The next is to serve—to serve in the work of the Lord. … The cause of Christ does not need your doubts; it needs your strength and time and talents; and as you exercise these in service, your faith will grow and your doubts will wane. …

The third is to pray. Speak with your Eternal Father in the name of his Beloved Son. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20.)’

How have these principles helped you deepen your spiritual understanding?

3. We need to continually ask ourselves, “What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

Seeking to know and understand the attributes of Jesus Christ is of little worth unless we try to become like him and obtain those attributes. See 3 Nephi 12:48.

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From the manual:

‘What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?

Learn of him. Search the scriptures for they are they which testify of him. Ponder the miracle of his life and mission. Try a little more diligently to follow his example and observe his teachings.’

How would your life be different if you did not know of the Savior’s teachings and example?

4. We look to Jesus Christ as the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, and the focus of our faith.

We sometimes speak of faith as the first principle of the gospel. It would be more accurate to talk of ‘faith in Jesus Christ’.

From the manual:

‘We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.’

In what ways is Christ our “one bright hope”? How is He our “beacon to a better way”?

Elder Dallin H Oaks said: ‘Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings.’

 

 

Posted in Holy Ghost, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 7: The Whisperings of the Spirit

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From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

This section tells how the Spirit inspired President Hinckley when searching for a suitable place to build a temple in Hong Kong.

Have you ever had an experience where the Spirit has whispered to you in the night or in the early morning?

1. The Holy Ghost is the Comforter and the Testifier of truth.

See Experience vs Opinion.

From the manual:

‘The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of Truth, who can teach [us] things [we] cannot teach one another.’

Elder Bednar likes to ask at the end of meetings or discussions – ‘What did you learn from what was said?’ He then asks ‘What did you learn from what was not said?’

The Holy Ghost’s specific role is to testify of the Father and the Son. See 3 Nephi 28:11.

2. We need the Holy Ghost to guide us in our service at home and in the Church.

From the manual:

‘May I give a special word of counsel to parents who stand as heads of families: we need the direction of the Holy Ghost in the delicate and tremendous task that is ours in strengthening the spirituality of our homes.’

How can we invite the Holy Ghost to direct us as we lead our families?

3. Revelation almost always comes to us through a still, small voice—the whispering of the Spirit.

See video: Receiving Revelation.  You can receive personal revelation from God by living His gospel and having the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit usually communicates with us through our thoughts and feelings. See D&C 8:2-3.

Boyd K Packer taught:

‘The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather, it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all….Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of teh time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening.’

From the manual:

‘Why is it important to know that the Holy Ghost usually communicates in “a still, small voice”? What have you learned from your own experiences about recognizing communications from the Holy Ghost?’

4. The things of the Spirit enlighten, build, and uplift us.

See Spirit or Emotion?

From the manual:

‘How do we know the things of the Spirit? How do we know that it is from God? By the fruits of it. If it leads to growth and development, if it leads to faith and testimony, if it leads to a better way of doing things, if it leads to godliness, then it is of God. If it tears us down, if it brings us into darkness, if it confuses us and worries us, if it leads to faithlessness, then it is of the devil.’

How can these teachings help us recognize the influence of the Spirit?

“We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity, but that is no authority.” (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, 159)

Consider what Joseph Smith told Brigham Young:

“Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, that it will lead them aright. Be careful and not turn away the still, small voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their heart open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits—it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good” (quoted in Juvenile Instructor, 19 July 1873, 114)

5. The Holy Ghost will be our constant companion as we live for this blessing.

See video:  Having the Holy Ghost. You can invite the Holy Spirit into your life through prayer, scripture study and being obedient to God’s commandments. (2:56)

Consider the differences between:

  • feeling the Holy Ghost testify to us
  • being given the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.

From the manual:

‘“How do you keep the Spirit of the Lord with you at all times?” Well, you live worthy of it; you live worthy of the Spirit of the Lord. That is what you do. And you will have it. … Just live right. Stay away from the sleaze. Stay away from pornography. Stay away from these things that pull you down. The books you read, the magazines you read, the videos you look at, the television programs you look at, the shows you go to, all have an effect on you and will do if you subject yourself to the influence of those titillating kinds of things which are designed to make you poor and somebody else rich. Stay away from them.’

Are there things in your life that are impairing your ability to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost?

“If a man ‘yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord’ (Mosiah 3:19), then he is born again. His spiritual death ceases. He becomes alive to the things of the Spirit; he returns to the presence of God because he receives the gift of the Holy Ghost; and he is alive to the things of righteousness. He crucifies the old man of sin, becomes a new creature of the Holy Ghost, and walks in a newness of life. This is what is meant by being born again.” (Bruce R McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 350)

Posted in prayer, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 6: How Mighty a Thing Is Prayer

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

‘Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said of him: “He is a bright man with extraordinary judgment, but when he comes up against an insoluble problem, he goes to his knees.”’

What does this insight teach us about prayer?

Would our lives be different if prayer was an element in our decision making?

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1 God is our Father, and He invites us to pray to Him individually.

From the manual:

‘We can draw nearer to the Lord in our prayers. These can become conversations of thanksgiving. I can never fully understand how the Great God of the Universe, the Almighty, invites us as His children to speak with Him individually. How precious an opportunity is this. How wonderful that it actually happens. I testify that our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. It is a miraculous thing, but it is real.’

Why should some prayers be “conversations of thanksgiving”?

‘For what should we pray? We should pray about our work, against the power of our enemies and the devil, for our welfare and the welfare of those around us.  (Alma 34:20, 22–25, 27) We should counsel with the Lord pertaining to all our decisions and activities.  (Alma 37:36–37) We should be grateful enough to give thanks for all we have.  (D&C 59:21 )We should confess His hand in all things. Ingratitude is one of our great sins.’ (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1977)

See The Sin of Ingratitude

 

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2 Family prayer leads to miracles for individuals, families, and society.

Watch video: Prayer. Learn from a humble woman’s example how the power of prayer can work miracles in our lives.

From the manual:

‘If there be any among you who are not having family prayer, let that practice start now, to get on your knees together, if you can possibly do it, every morning and every evening, and speak to the Lord and express your thanks, invoke His blessings upon the needy of the earth, and speak to Him concerning your own well-being.

I give you my testimony that if you sincerely apply family prayer, you will not go away unrewarded. The changes may not be readily apparent. They may be extremely subtle. But they will be real, for God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6.)’

What are some obstacles to consistent family prayer? How can family members work together to overcome these obstacles?

Brigham Young: ‘If I did not feel like praying, and asking my Father in Heaven to give me a morning blessing, and to preserve me and my family and the good upon the earth throughout the day, I should say, ‘Brigham, get down here on your knees, bow your body down before the throne of him who rules in the heavens, and stay there until you can feel to supplicate at that throne of grace erected for sinners’. (Discourses of Brigham Young p46).

What does President Young’s statement mean to you? What if we only talked with our loved ones when we felt it?

See Alma 34:17-28

“…May I ask this important question: How many families in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have regular nightly and morning family prayer? Those who neglect to do so are displeasing the Lord and are entitled to the same rebuke which the Lord gave some of the leading elders of the Church in the early days. No parent should depend solely on the organizations of the Church for the training of the children. They should be taught to pray regularly, secretly as well as in the family circle. The counsel that Alma and Amulek gave to the straying Zoramites is just as essential to the Latter-day Saints today as it was two thousand years ago.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:48)

3 We need to be prayerful and listen, for our prayers will be answered.

Watch video: The Hope of God’s Light. Many of us have wondered if God knows us or if He even exists. Todd was someone who wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get an immediate answer to a prayer. But could God be giving us small but obvious answers? And how patient do we need to be?

From the manual:

‘Believe in the power and majesty of prayer. The Lord answers our prayers. I know that. I have seen it happen again and again and again. Prayer brings us into partnership with God. It offers us an opportunity to speak with Him, to thank Him for His magnificent blessings, and to ask Him for guidance and protection as we walk the paths of life. This great work, which is spreading over the earth, found its roots in the prayer of a boy. He had read in the family Bible, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5–6). That is the promise. Is there any greater promise anywhere in the world than that promise?

Why does prayer have the power to bring us “into partnership with God”?

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Neal A Maxwell: Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened only by a combination lock. One tumbler falls when there is faith; a second when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God’s judgement – not ours – right for us. (New Era, April 1978)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Family, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley -Chapter 5: Daughters of God

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

This section talks about the great blessings that came into President Hinckley’s life through his mother, Ada, and his wife Marjorie Pay.

Video: President Hinckley – The Women in Our Lives

From the manual:

“How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives. God bless them. May His great love distill upon them and crown them with luster and beauty, grace and faith.”

Who are the great women who have blessed your life?

1 Women have a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God.

The Church is publishing a series of in depth essays on its website on certain gospel topics. One that may be relevant to this lesson is on Mother in Heaven.
From the manual:
‘You are very precious, each of you. … You occupy a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God, our Father in Heaven. You are His daughters, precious to Him, loved by Him, and very important to Him. His grand design cannot succeed without you.’
Why is it important for us to understand the “high and sacred place” of women in God’s eternal plan?

2 The Lord’s counsel to Emma Smith applies to all.

For useful background information on Emma Smith and D&C 25 see the Revelations in Context article Thou Art an Elect Lady
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From the manual:
What aspects of the Lord’s counsel to Emma Smith are especially helpful to you?

3 Mothers have a sacred calling to bring up their children in righteousness and truth.

From the manual:
‘I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world.’

Russell M. Nelson (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles): The earth was created and this Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally. (“Celestial Marriage,” Ensign, Nov 2008, p. 93)

For parents, why is “no obligation more binding” than rearing their children “in love and peace and integrity”?
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4 Women have great responsibilities in the work of salvation.

From the manual:
‘Women in the Church are associates with their brethren in carrying forward this mighty work of the Lord. … Women carry tremendous responsibilities and they are accountable for the fulfillment of those responsibilities. They head their own organizations, and those organizations are strong and viable and are significant forces for good in the world. They stand in an associate role to the priesthood, all striving together to build the kingdom of God in the earth. We honor and respect you for your capacity. We expect leadership, and strength, and impressive results from your management of the organizations for which you are responsible. We uphold and sustain you as daughters of God, working in a great partnership to assist him in bringing to pass the immortality and the eternal life of all of the sons and daughters of God.’

‘Blessings of the priesthood are shared by men and women. All may qualify for baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. All may take upon themselves the name of the Lord and partake of the sacrament. All may pray and receive answers to their prayers. Gifts of the Spirit and testimonies of the truth are bestowed regardless of gender. Men and women receive the highest ordinance in the house of the Lord together and equally, or not at all (see  D&C 131:1–3)

Opportunities for development of spiritual and intellectual potential are equal. Masculinity has no monopoly on the mind, and femininity has no exclusive dominion over the heart. The highest titles of human achievement—teacher, educated professional, loyal employee, faithful friend, student of the scriptures, child of God, disciple of Christ, trusted companion, loving parent—are earned under a uniform requirement of worthiness.’ (Russell M Nelson, General Conference, October 1989)

Why is it important that men and women work together to move the Lord’s work forward? What are some examples you have seen of this?

5 Relief Society is a source of immeasurable blessings.

Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they:

  • Increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement;
  • Strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and
  • Work in unity to help those in need.
    Handbook 2: Administering the Church, [2010], 9.1.1
From the manual:
‘God bless the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. May the spirit of love which has motivated its members … continue to grow and be felt over the world. May their works of charity touch for good the lives of uncounted numbers wherever they find expression. And may light and understanding, learning and knowledge, and eternal truth grace the lives of generations of women yet to come, throughout the nations of the earth, because of this singular and divinely established institution.’
How can you strengthen the Relief Society in your ward?

6 Rise to the stature of the divinity within you.

We know we shall reap
Whatsoever we sow
We promise, we keep
Wherever we go
We need not look far
To find gratitude
We share a bright star
For good attitude,
To live as we should

It’s time to rise
With stature divine,
With virtuous eyes,
And a wholesome mind
With love for the land
And the sky above
We labor by hand,
We give and we love,
And we do not shove

A struggling mother
Much marred by abuse,
Needs hope not smother
To feel she’s of use
As a morning star
We shouted for joy
For just where we are-
With life to enjoy
For each girl and boy

With minds full of light,
We’re full of glory
The oppressed now bright
Know a new story
A broad horizon
Can master one’s fate
For daughter and son-
It is not too late-
For love’s bloom, not hate!

We can cultivate
Beauty all around
Through prayer and not fate
We are safely sound
To safeguard from sin,
Stand above evil
And rise and begin (clean the drab within)
Speak against what’s ill-
And, harvests then fulfill

– Gordon B Hinckley

From the manual:
‘I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.’
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Patricia T. Holland:

“On a pristinely clear and beautifully bright day, I sat overlooking the Sea of Galilee and reread the tenth chapter of Luke. But instead of the words on the page, I thought I saw with my mind and heard with my heart these words: ‘[Pat, Pat, Pat,] thou art careful and troubled about many things.’ Then the power of pure and personal revelation seized me as I read, ‘But one thing-only one thing-is truly needful.’ (See Luke 10:40-41.) …As I sat pondering my problems, I felt that same sun’s healing rays like warm liquid pouring into my heart, relaxing, calming, and comforting my troubled soul.

“Our loving Father in heaven seemed to be whispering to me, ‘You don’t have to worry over so many things. The one thing that is needful-the only thing that is truly needful-is to keep your eyes toward the sun-my Son.’ Suddenly I had true peace. I knew that my life had always been in his hands, from the very beginning! The sea lying peacefully before my eyes had been tempest-tossed and dangerous-many, many times. All I needed to do was to renew my faith and get a firm grasp of his hand, and together we could walk on the water.” (Jeffrey R. Holland and Patricia T. Holland, On Earth As It Is in Heaven [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 81.)

How can we gain a better vision of what God sees our potential to be? How can we progress toward reaching our potential?