Welcome to 2019! I enjoyed writing about Christmas music in the month of December. (See all of those posts HERE). It really helped stave off my usual holiday anxiety, and even though we were down with the flu, we had an enjoyable Christmas. I wanted to continue writing about inspiring music this year — although not every day. So, I’m going to try most Mondays to share a song, hymn … something to divert you, and me from the insanity that is our social media world. If you have a favorite song, let me know in the comments and I’ll write about it. Continue reading
Here is the link to my blog on this week’s lesson.
This Sunday I gained an interesting insight from comments made by the Bishop of Nauvoo First Ward. He described in great detail the accommodations Nauvoo will make as part of the new two-hour schedule, then mentioned that we are moving from a chapel-focused people to a temple-focused people.
I had blogged in September about the way a shift to a 2-hour format would reduce the pressure to build new chapel facilities in expensive urban areas where the Church is growing. But just as I didn’t anticipate the luminous nature of the change when announced in General Conference, I didn’t make the logical leap to wonder what the newly-available funds would be used for.
Funds that previously would have been required for chapels to support a 3-hour worship format will (obviously) now be available to build and maintain temples.
Along that line, I received a cryptic e-mail from a relative yesterday, with the subject “Go to the Temple“. I had no idea what my relative was talking about, but in describing their experience performing proxy endowment and initiatory ordinances, they wrote:
Talking with my husband’s family last night, I gained some insight to the cryptic e-mail from my family. I also heard about friends of his family where the wife was a sister to Elder McConkie. Several years ago the Endowment ceremony changed, and these family friends happened to be having dinner with members of the First Presidency of the day. Reportedly, the First Presidency of that day was shocked at how quickly news of the changes to the temple ceremony had spread by word of mouth outside the temple.
I am so sad that my local temple is closed for renovation…. I feel a bit like a child who wakes on Christmas morning to find they are a long ride from the festooned tree under which presents have been placed.
In other news I’ve only heard from relatives, sister missionaries are now allowed to wear slacks while proselyting. This was a particularly welcome shift for my daughter, who is serving as a biking missionary on the high plains of Nevada. She’s also really glad she has a missionary companion who has a conventional sense of style, who can help guide her regarding purchase of appropriate slacks. (Not that my daughter didn’t wear pants in the past, but they tended towards the kind designed for dudes, often with capacious pockets fitted with zippers.)
I now return you to your study of the Come, Follow Me material for the week.
Mitt Romney is about to be sworn in as the junior Republican senator from Utah. This is a time for him to send important messages to his constituents. For example, he could discuss the failings of the increasingly socialist Democrat party. He could consider concerns about religious liberty. He could talk about the importance of following the Constitution. He could opine on the government shutdown and border security. So many potential things to discuss and Mitt….pens a pointed op-ed lambasting Republican President Trump.
You can read that op-ed here.
To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.
What is going on with Mitt Romney? There have been plenty of conspiracy theories, that Romney is working with insiders to bring down Trump at the behest of the Deep State, for example. I don’t think that’s it.
If you watch the Netflix documentary on Mitt and follow his public career, his behavior is actually quite easy to understand: he went into public service out of a sense of duty and obligation, not because he is power hungry. He is speaking out against Trump because he truly feels Trump’s behavior is repugnant and below the dignity of the presidency.
There are a myriad of problems with this, but the biggest is that Romney simply has no self-awareness.
This post is based on a sacrament meeting talk that I gave a few months ago that I have felt prompted to share on here:
One of the most dramatic stories in the Book of Mormon involves the four hundred and fifty individuals who follow Alma the Elder after he is converted by Abinadi’s powerful testimony of the Savior. Alma and his people came from a society that was riven by deep inequality, materialism, sexual transgression, and pride. And yet, when they gathered together at the waters of Mormon, Alma and the other fledgling converts were able to form a society where the people “[had] their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.”
How were they able to do so?
We also live in a society that is riven by deep inequality, materialism, sexual transgression, and pride. We too have made similar covenants to serve each other “in unity and in love.” And yet we too often we fall short of that ideal. In our church community, in our families, and in our own relationship with God, we are often divided by contention and pride.
Today, I would like to talk about the ways that Alma ensured that his people would be “knit together in unity and in love one towards another” and how we can do likewise.
To start, I want to quickly list ten things that Alma and his people did in order to maintain that kind of unity. I will then return to discuss in greater detail some of those that stood out to me
- The people made sacred covenants and relied on God’s covenantal promises (Baptism in Mosiah 18; Story of Mosiah 23)
- The people were devoted to serving one another. (Mosiah 18: 8-9)
- The people taught each other (Mosiah 18:25)
- The people sacrificed for one another (Mosiah 18:27-29)
- The people were led by inspired leaders and unified in their understanding of doctrine (Mosiah 18: 18-20)
- The people honored the sabbath day together (Mosiah 18:23)
- The people avoided contention and Pride
- Mosiah 23:7 – “Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another”
- Mosiah 23:15 – “Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.”
- Mosiah 27: 3-4 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.
- Alma 1: 30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were a thirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.
8) They were grateful
- Mosiah 25:10- And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.
- Mosiah 26 And they did admonish their brethren; and they were also admonished, every one by the word of God, according to his sins, or to the sins which he had committed, being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.
9) They had a missionary spirit
- Mosiah 25:11 And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.
- Mosiah 28:3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not abear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
10) The people forgave one another