A Lenten Personal Progress – Days 4 -10

value-choice-and-accountabilityA funny thing happens when flowers and lovely things appear – men stop talking.

I first encountered this in college, after an amazing intellectual discussion with some fellows. I proposed that we could continue the discussion the next day at my apartment.

But I made a mistake. Instead of ordering pizza and snacks, I made dinner. And I set a proper table. These men, who the day before had been full of incredible existential insights, became vapid social beings, sharing trivia and light anecdotes. It was a pleasant night, but I was disappointed.

I’m not sure I like the lack of discussion that has accompanied my prior Lenten Personal Progress posts, so while I will be continuing my pilgrimage, I will put up a weekly post, rather than a daily post. I’ll do this on Saturdays.

To jump to a particular day, click on one of the links below:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Long Term Projects

In order to get through all the value experiences in such a short time, I’m having you start a number of long-term efforts, which you will be doing simultaneously. As you see this list grow, you will realize why it would have been really great to simply work on one value experience a month over the period of four years. But you can do this, if you’re determined. A lot of these “habits” are habits you would need to have as a missionary or mature adult. I’ll bet you know women and men who already live lives of devotion like this, who are constantly striving to become more like the precious individual they know God sees in them. The long-term efforts you will be working on by the end of this week are:

  • Review and keep your standards (Started Day 1)
  • Pray morning and evening (Started Day 2)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (Started Day 3)
  • Begin a habit of regular scripture study and prayer (Starts Day 4)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (Starts Day 5)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (Starts Day 6)
  • Read your patriarchal blessing or set an appointment to get a recommend for one (Assigned Day 7)
  • Help plan meals, obtain/prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes. (Starts Day 8)
  • Increase your understanding of the atonement and plan to share your testimony. (Starts Day 10)

Day 4 (Saturday)

value-virtueAs you look forward to the various experiences, you will see a few times when you are supposed to teach a lesson or give a talk. Now is a good time to reach out to your family or FHE group to make sure you will be able to present lessons on those topics on those dates. Also, go ahead and approach a member of your bishopric or branch presidency about giving a talk.

If you are on schedule, you will be finishing the Virtue Value experiences today. Congratulations!

 

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 1 Nephi 18-22: Lehi and his family travel across the seas. Nephi creates plates to record sacred matters and copies over two chapters from Isaiah (he’s so excited that this important prophet/statesman also testified of the Messiah). Nephi explains to Laman and Lemuel that he and his father aren’t the only ones who believe in the coming of a future Messiah.

flower-virtueStart and complete Virtue 4: Determine to partake worthily of the sacrament each week and fill your life with virtuous activities that will bring spiritual power.

flower-choice-and-accountabilityBegin Choice and Accountability 1: Begin a habit of regular scripture study and prayer.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 4 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 3 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 2 of 21)
  • Begin a habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 1 of 21)

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Day 5 (Sunday)

value-integrityOne of my favorite pioneer journalists is Martha Spence [Heywood], who started keeping a journal in Winter Quarters. She was an Irish spinster with a sharp wit and a skill for making ladies hats.

I mention Martha today because whenever she’d stop writing in her journal, she’d always start again on a Sunday. It seems Sunday was the day she repented of failing to keep a journal. Martha only had one child survive infancy, but she is now the ancestor of thousands. Because of her journal, she is now more famous than her husband.

Though your life seems simple and modest, you can also have a large impact on the future.

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 2 Nephi 1-5: Lehi prophesies, gives his posterity blessings, and dies. Laman and Lemuel attempt to kill Nephi, who flees with those who look to him for leadership. The Nephites build a temple.

flower-integrityStart and complete Integrity 3: “Think of a time when you had the courage to show integrity, especially when it was not easy or popular. Share your experience and your feelings about it.”

flower-choice-and-accountabilityBegin Choice and Accountability 2: Choose three standards you will improve upon.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 5 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 4 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 3 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 2 of 21)
  • Choose three standards you will improve upon (day 1 of 21)

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Day 6 (Monday)

value-integrity

Integrity is an interesting word. I can imagine a person who thinks that integrity means they should be mean and nasty, if that’s how they honestly feel. That may be genuine to the natural man, but it is not integrity.

The definition of integrity is “innocence, blamelessness; chastity, purity,” from the Latin integritas, “soundness, wholeness, blamelessness.”

Choose to be blameless, innocent, and pure.

 

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 2 Nephi 6-11: Jacob preaches a sermon about the future of the Jews, the Messiah, and concluding “it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.” He quotes Isaiah 50-51.

flower-integrityStart and complete Integrity 4: Interview a woman you respect about her understanding and application of the word integrity. Make a list of ways you can make your actions consistent with your knowledge of right and wrong

flower-good-worksBegin Good Works 1: For two weeks, record the quiet acts of service others perform.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 6 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 5 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 4 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 3 of 21)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (day 2 of 21)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (day 1 of 14)

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Day 7 (Tuesday)

value-integrity

You are a precious daughter of God, and before this life you chose to believe Christ’s promise in the pre-mortal realm that He would redeem you. Only those who had this pre-mortal faith in Christ are born into this world.

We can choose to be true to our hopes and dreams from that forgotten time. All were good before this life. That may be the knowledge which inspired Nephi to write: “I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.” 1

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 2 Nephi 12-21: Nephi is so inspired by Jacob’s sermon that he copies over Isaiah 2-12. Israel will be cursed for their worldliness, but will be redeemed and cleansed by Christ in the Millennium.

flower-integrityStart Integrity 6: Prepare to observe the law of the fast this coming Sunday. This means abstaining from food and drink for two consecutive meals and making a fast offering. Dedicate your fast to a purpose.

flower-individual-worthBegin Individual Worth 2: Learn about patriarchal blessings. If you don’t have one, prepare to receive one.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 7 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 6 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 5 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 4 of 21)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (day 3 of 21)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (day 2 of 14)
  • Don’t have a patriarchal blessing? Schedule an appointment with your bishop for a recommend to get one (1st reminder of 21)

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Day 8 (Wednesday)

value-integrityChrist said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” 2

It helps to remember that the Greek word Christ was using meant “complete” and that he had just finished a sermon talking about loving everyone.

You might not be the “prefect” weight or have “perfect” grades, but if you love everyone, you are the kind of perfect that Christ commanded us to be.

If you are on schedule, you will have started all the Integrity experiences by the end of today. Congratulations!

honor-beeBook of Mormon: Today is a free day. If you’re behind in your reading or any of the value experiences, use this time to catch up.

flower-integrityStart and complete Integrity 7: Research the Church’s counsel regarding family. List the issues, trends, and problems that weaken the family. Write your plan to strengthen your present family and traditions to establish for your future family.

flower-good-worksBegin Good Works 2: For two weeks, help plan meals, obtain and prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 8 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 7 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 6 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 5 of 21)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (day 4 of 21)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (day 3 of 14)
  • Read your patriarchal blessing or set an appointment to get a recommend for one (2 of 21)
  • Help plan meals, obtain/prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes. (1 of 14)

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Day 9 (Thursday)

value-choice-and-accountability

We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.

God grants us free agency, and this is why He allows us to make choices, even when those choices cause terrible harm to others.

Christ can save us from the sins we have committed if we repent. Christ will also save us from the eternal consequences of the actions of others if we desire and can lift these burdens from us even in this life.

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 2 Nephi 22-27: Nephi repeats Isaiah’s writings about Christ’s Millennial reign. Nephi prophesies the destruction of his own people, but Isaiah foretells the words of Joseph (Lehi) will come forth in the last days.

flower-choice-and-accountabilityStart and complete Choice and Accountability 3: Discuss the blessings and responsibilities of agency with a leader or trusted adult. Document your understanding of agency and the consequences of choices and actions.

honor-beeThere’s no long-term experience scheduled to start today. Take a glance at future long-term experiences – there might be something you’d like to get started earlier than planned in my schedule.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 9 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 8 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 7 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 6 of 21)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (day 5 of 21)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (day 4 of 14)
  • Read your patriarchal blessing or set an appointment to get a recommend for one (3 of 21)
  • Help plan meals, obtain/prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes. (2 of 14)

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Day 10 (Friday)

value-choice-and-accountability

The Book of Mormon gives us the wonderful stories of Alma the father and Alma the son. As a young person, each of them was involved in teaching wrong things.

Alma the father made a choice to heed the preaching of Abinadi, and blessed unknown numbers of people.

Alma the son made the choice to repent even though he had earlier rejected God and preached against the Church. I suspect Alma would tell you the wrongs he had done were far worse than anything you might have done. If he could repent, so can you.

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 2 Nephi 28 – Jacob 1: Nephi continues his prophecies about the last days, testifying that Christ will show unto us, with power and great glory, that these are his words. Nephi dies.

flower-choice-and-accountabilityStart and complete Choice and Accountability 4: Study the process of repentance, pray for guidance, and apply the principles of repentance in your life. Record in your journal what repentance means to you.

flower-faithStart  Faith 5:Increase your understanding of the atonement and plan to share your testimony this Sunday.

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 9 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 8 of 21)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (day 7 of 21)
  • Continue your habit of regular scripture study and prayer (day 6 of 21)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (day 5 of 21)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (day 4 of 14)
  • Read your patriarchal blessing or set an appointment to get a recommend for one (3 of 21)
  • Help plan meals, obtain/prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes. (2 of 14)
  • Increase your understanding of the atonement and plan to share your testimony.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Notes:

  1. 2 Ne. 33:12
  2. Matthew 5:48
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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

5 thoughts on “A Lenten Personal Progress – Days 4 -10

  1. “I’m not sure I like the lack of discussion that has accompanied my prior Lenten Personal Progress posts”

    Don’t get too concerned because I don’t think anyone has been doing much responding this week. Then again, I mentioned Flowers and only you responded so maybe . . . 😉

  2. LOL (re: only me responding to the post about Flowers…).

    I’m sorry to see that Elder Perry passed away today. The flag in front of the DC temple was at half mast, so I presume that was in honor of Elder Perry.

  3. OK – let me say that the readings for Integrity 3 were extensive. Good thing I know I have a couple of days coming up where I can catch up!

    Thoughts on the Book of Ruth. It’s a terrible thing when a King can’t revoke his orders, and when a populace is so concerned about setting precedent that they will persuade the King to put away his wife (Vashti, in this instance). I had forgotten that the King’s edict commanding that the Jews be killed could not be countermanded, and that Esther and Mordecai therefore had to persuade the King to issue a countermanding edict allowing the Jews to counterattack any who attacked them (those killed in the counter-attack included the ten sons of Haman, as well as over 75,000 others throughout the kingdom).

    We see the effects of these unrevokable edicts in the story of Daniel, when the King is maneuvered into condemning Daniel to the lions’ den, despite the King’s desperate desire that Daniel might be saved.

    Sometimes when rules are made, there are unintended consequences. Thus it certainly was in ancient times. I imagine our future selves will be able to note such future unintended consequences for certain “wise” decisions that are being made today.

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