Three Sunday afternoon thoughts

Here are just a few thought’s I’ve had this Sunday afternoon, they are in no particular order.

Thought One: I posted a meme with a quote by Pres. Howard W. Hunter on the Millennial Star Facebook page a few weeks ago which said, “We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and forgiving.”

Along the lines of forgiveness and kindness, in my Gospel Doctrine class today I included a story of Edward Partridge, the first bishop of the Church. He was one of the leaders of the Church in Missouri and in charge of helping people settle into land and life there. He was a target of mob violence and suffered a tarring and feathering. He said of the incident,

“I told [the mob] that the Saints had suffered persecution in all ages of the world; that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone; that if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person; that I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ; but, to leave the country, I was not then willing to consent to it. I bore my abuse with so much resignation and meekness, that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought; and as to myself, I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no hatred towards my persecutors or anyone else” (Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chapter 4).

In the age of social media mob violence, we need to be kinder, gentler and more forgiving of each other. We will be more effective as Latter-day Saints by being kinder to people than by being argumentative and rude. Continue reading

#LDSconf General Conference – Mar 25, ’17, Women’s Session

President Bonnie L. Oscarson [Young Woman General President] will be conducting this meeting. President presides.

President Oscarson: We are grateful to be gathered in the Conference Center. We hope you feel of our love for you. The First Presidency, adivisors, and the presidencies and boards for the Relief Society, Young Women’s Organization, and Primary are present on the stand.

The music will be provided by Relief Society sisters from Brigham Young University

Choir: Come, O, Thou King of Kings

Opening Prayer:

Choir: I Feel My Savior’s Love

Continue reading

Book Review: Changed Through His Grace by Brad Wilcox

Book Review: Changed Through His Grace, by Brad Wilcox

The first time I heard of Brad Wilcox was Christmas time, 1978. I was at the Missionary Training Center, preparing to serve in Bolivia. My girlfriend was attending BYU and dropped off a gift for me: The Super Baruba Success Book, by Brad Wilcox. Wilcox is a few months younger than me, so he published this book prior to serving his own mission. The only thing I can remember about the book is a personal anecdote, where Wilcox talks about using a locker room shower for several weeks that delivered only cold water. Eventually, it occurred to him that the other showers provided hot water and he made the switch.

Since then, Wilcox has thrilled young people in the Church with his personal stories that deliver messages that relevant to them. I know of several LDS youth who have returned from Especially For Youth conferences bubbling over with enthusiasm for the gospel because something Brother Wilcox said stirred them.

Changed Through His Grace is not directed specifically towards youth, but retains the frequent anecdotes that make Wilcox so popular as a speaker and author in the Church. The book speaks briefly on one important component of Grace, how it ties in to the atonement of Christ, and how it is the power that changes us.

The book begins by explaining that grace and salvation are neither brought about by the cheap grace of some Christian faiths, nor by earning it by our own works. Wilcox suggests a middle path, where we are saved by Christ’s grace, but we must embrace that grace, allowing it to change us into holy and sanctified children of God.

The book focuses less on how Christ can transform us, and more on how we can access His power in our lives. This includes discussions on commandments, ordinances and covenants, including those made at baptism, the Sacrament, and in temple.

One interesting thought Wilcox shared concerns the Parable of the Talents. He suggests we view talents as if they were books given by the Lord to us to use. The books are freely given, but only are of use if we crack the covers and read them. Only then can the books enrich and change us. For those who have read the books given them, the Lord welcomes them to his Master Library. The individual who tosses his one book in the trash or allows it to collect dust and cobwebs, has not benefited nor appreciated from the gift. His book is taken away and given to another.  Though a terrific analogy, I would have loved to see Wilcox develop this idea more: do I only need to read the books/talents given me, or does quality count as much as or more than quantity read?

I encountered such moments several times in the book. Wilcox would make a very astute observation and then hurry off to his next point, rather than slow down and delve into the various facets of the subject. Still, for a primer, it holds many gems and anecdotes that will keep the reader engaged with the text.

This is a wonderful book for helping the average LDS Christian understand how the grace of Christ works in our personal lives, and how we can use Christ’s grace to become Christlike. It is a great beginning to understanding what grace is, how it changes us, and how it brings joy, peace, and hope to us.

Available March 27,2017 at Deseret Book, Amazon.com, and other retailers

Review: Beauty and the Beast

Following on Disney’s 2015 live-action Cinderella, we now have a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, which opened on March 17, 2017.

For those who are not familiar with Disney’s treatment of the story, it is worthwhile seeing the animated version before seeing the live-action film. While the live-action film is not slavishly faithful to the earlier animated film, it is fun to see how certain iconic scenes were rendered with real people. Alternately, one can review the details of the original story, though this could lead to dissatisfaction with the way the story has changed for our modern time. [spoilers] Continue reading

Review: Worth the Wrestle by Sheri Dew

Sheri Dew is an inspiration to many, particularly we ladies who wonder how to navigate a Church whose culture seems to value achievements other than the ones we have attained.

In this new book, Worth the Wrestle, Sheri Dew speaks of the need we so often have to truly wrestle to know God and His will for us. Sheri Dew is often asked questions as a prominent Mormon woman, one whose unmarried and childless status invites questions married mothers might not be asked:

  • How do I know if I’m receiving revelation?
  • Will the Lord forgive me after what I’ve done?
  • Why can’t we seem to get ahead financially even though we faithfully pay our tithing?
  • What if the Church’s position on gay marriage bothers me?
  • Will I be able to provide for my family?
  • Why can’t I find ‘the one’?

Sheri writes, “May I answer these questions, and any questions you may have, by posing a different question: Are you willing to engage in the wrestle? In an ongoing spiritual wrestle?” Continue reading