The Lord Leads His Church

Elder D. Todd Christofferson posted a highly revealing and fascinating status update on his Facebook page today:

Someone recently asked me why the Brethren are focused on teaching about Sabbath day observance throughout the world. The answer is very simple. It came as a direct revelation to the First Presidency and the Twelve from the Lord.

If we keep the Sabbath day holy, individuals will be stronger and will experience a transforming depth of spiritual maturity. The Lord has taught for centuries to let the Sabbath be a delight for all. We are all learning and teaching this law anew worldwide. We know it will bless all.

This status should quell any doubts that people have as to whether the Lord actively leads his Church.

With most impressions and promptings that we feel, the line between the Holy Ghost and our own efforts is blurred. It is hard to tell whether something comes directly from God, or whether comes from our own desire to be righteous and do good. And indeed, we have been counseled to not worry ourselves too deeply about the difference between the two. But there are times when revelation comes through in a fashion where its divine origin is unmistakable. And in those moments, words and thoughts from heaven flow through us. Those are the moments that we might describe “as a direct revelation . . . from the Lord.”

What Elder Christofferson is suggesting is not merely that the First Presidency and Twelve are trying to do their best and acting upon their good desires. Instead, the instruction to focus on Sabbath day worship was “direct revelation . . . from the Lord.”

This language is unequivocal and profound. God is leading his Church. He cares about what the Brethren teach. He cares about our spiritual state. And he has made it clear that improving Sabbath worship is one of the greatest priorities for our day.

Tools for a Happy 2016 – Money Management

Savings graphSaving money was the topic of our ward’s last 5th Sunday discussion.

Fun as it was to come up with a perpetual planner, that was a mere lark compared to the really cool tool I worked on during the holiday break. The problem was developing a template to plan and manage family finances and scheduling.

Just like there are lots of tools for performing tactical management of money, I was looking for something that would help us get a strategic approach to money. To some people this comes naturally. To many couples, this is no big deal. Some families already have systems to live well within their means.

We, on the other hand, find the financial aspect of life to be somewhat of a challenge, in part because we have lacked a tool that helped us have a common understanding of our spending and obligations.

A few years ago I had set things up so the bills would get paid with a minimal amount of effort on the part of my husband and myself. The holy grail was a tool that would help us easily visualize the year’s finances in advance so it would be easy to stay on budget even when the bank account showed lots of money “just sitting there.”
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Taking Control of Mobile Technology

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As a parent of children with Android and iOS devices, I want to be able to control and limit their ability to use their electronic devices, inside or outside of the home.

The sight of a child’s face buried in their cell phone or tablet—for hours on end, with their ears covered with headphones, watching YouTube videos—is enough to drive any parent crazy. Mobile technology can be a wonderful thing, especially when it is properly controlled, and used in small doses.

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The Scandalous Book of Mormon

Recently, I read The Emmaus Code, a book written by a Protestant Christian author about types and symbols of Christ in the Old Testament. The author did an admirable job of rounding up a variety of things which point to the coming of Christ. Yet, what surprised me most was the author’s suggestion that these images and metaphors were not understood fully by the Prophets of old and that it wasn’t until the coming of Christ that their meaning was revealed. Even though he rightfully pointed to the fact that Christ infuses the whole of the Old Testament, he did not believe that those who came before truly knew Christ.

As Mormons, it is easy to forgot how shocking and revolutionary some of the claims in the Book of Mormon are. It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing the Book as merely a collection of powerful but utterly conventional stories and sermons on Christ. But the scandalous insight at the core of the Book of Mormon is precisely what it reveals about Jesus Christ and knowledge of him long before his coming. Continue reading

Tools for a Happy 2016 – Planning for Productivity

You may have heard of the Passion Planner, a tool developed by Angelia Trinidad and launched via a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $700,000. My daughter was really excited about the planner and will be using it for 2016.

I, on the other hand, have been supporting Chris Bailey in his “A Year of Productivity” project, which has morphed into A Life of Productivity. Chris’ articles about what he’s been learning about productivity during his dedicated immersion in the subject are wonderful to read, and he seems to be just a really great guy. He was even pretty zen when I told him his logo makes me think of chicken:

Brain Sprout

One of Chris’ coolest insights, in my opinion, is that true productivity occurs when energy, time, and attention are focused on the goal. In retrospect, he found that a large percentage of his posts dealt with energy, time, or attention.

Productivity

Inspired by my own 50+ years of learning and nearly as many years trying to find a planner I liked, here’s an excel-based planner you’re free to use, if it suits you. Continue reading