Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mission call

“… In a world so large, the Creator … somehow not only knows you but loves you enough to ensure that your call is where He needs you to go to teach the children of our Heavenly Father.” 

- Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Called of God” (devotional address delivered at the Provo Missionary Training Center, Aug. 26, 1997). As quoted in "Your Call to Serve," New Era, March 2007

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"There are lots of able-bodied men who, if they could only have a little more faith in God, and could realize the calamities that are coming upon the earth, and the responsibilities of that priesthood that God has conferred upon them, they would be ready to break all barriers and say, Here I am, send me; I wish to benefit the human family."

- John Taylor, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, (2011), 66–76, Chapter 8: Our Missionary Duty

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"we will never be prompted by the Holy Ghost to do something we cannot do."

Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "To Learn and to Teach More Effectively," BYU Speeches, Aug. 21, 2007


Our distance from the Lord matters, but the direction we are heading is more important

"The closer we are to Jesus Christ in the thoughts and intents of our hearts, the more we appreciate His innocent suffering, the more grateful we are for grace and forgiveness, and the more we want to repent and become like Him. Our absolute distance from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is important, but the direction we are heading is even more crucial. God is more pleased with repentant sinners who are trying to draw closer to Him than with self-righteous, faultfinding individuals who, like the Pharisees and scribes of old, do not realize how badly they need to repent."

- Elder Dale G. Renlund, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “That I Might Draw All Men unto Me”, General Conference, April 2016


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life is a gift; we choose our own attitudes despite circumstances

This incident was shared by Lucile F. Johnson of Orem, Utah: “There was an attractive lady whose company everyone sought and enjoyed. She was a delight to be around because she seemed to love life and people to the fullest. One day I said to her, ‘You are such a joy to all of us. What is your secret? Can you tell me?’

“‘Yes,’ she answered. ‘One word changed my life.’

“‘And what was that word?’ I queried.

“‘Malignant!’ Startled, I heard this explanation: ‘The doctor said that word to me and told me I had a limited time to live. I had a choice. I could make everyone miserable or I could try to make others happy. On my knees I realized that I had one day at a time just as everyone else has. I was able to see things I had never seen. My husband, my children, each person took on a beauty you can’t believe. I know that life is a gift whether it be a day or a year and I intend to enjoy my gift to the maximum.’”

Whether the works of God are manifest in healings or in the exhibition of courage and acceptance by those challenged must be left to the ultimate wisdom of Him who comprehendeth all things. How refreshing and strengthening are the lives of those who push upward and onward despite tragedies and griefs.

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
’Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

- Marvin J. Ashton, "Roadblocks to Progress," April 1979 General Conference
Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Obedience is powerful spiritual medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all."

- By President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Leave It Alone," Ensign, June 2015, p. 80. from “Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 17–18.


Story: Man wanted vengeance but followed priesthood counsel to "let it go"

"If you suffer from worry, from grief or shame or jealousy or disappointment or envy, from self-recrimination or self-justification, consider this lesson taught to me many years ago by a patriarch. He was as saintly a man as I have ever known. …

"He grew up in a little community with a desire to make something of himself. He struggled to get an education.

"He married his sweetheart, and presently everything was just right. He was well employed, with a bright future. They were deeply in love, and she was expecting their first child.

"The night the baby was to be born, there were complications. The only doctor was somewhere in the countryside tending to the sick. …

"Finally the doctor was located. In the emergency, he acted quickly and soon had things in order. The baby was born and the crisis, it appeared, was over.

"Some days later, the young mother died from the very infection that the doctor had been treating at another home that night.

"John’s world was shattered. Everything was not right now; everything was all wrong. He had lost his wife. He had no way to tend both the baby and his work.

"As the weeks wore on, his grief festered. “That doctor should not be allowed to practice,” he would say. “He brought that infection to my wife. If he had been careful, she would be alive today.”

"He thought of little else, and in his bitterness, he became threatening. …

"One night a knock came at his door. A little girl said simply, “Daddy wants you to come over. He wants to talk to you.”

“'Daddy' was the stake president. …

"This spiritual shepherd had been watching his flock and had something to say to him.

"The counsel from that wise servant was simply, “John, leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring her back. Anything you do will make it worse. John, leave it alone.” …

"He struggled in agony to get hold of himself. And finally, he determined that whatever else the issues were, he should be obedient.

"Obedience is powerful spiritual medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all.

"He determined to follow the counsel of that wise spiritual leader. He would leave it alone.

"Then he told me, '… It was not until I was an old man that I could finally see a poor country doctor—overworked, underpaid, run ragged from patient to patient, with little medicine, no hospital, few instruments, struggling to save lives, and succeeding for the most part.

“'He had come in a moment of crisis, when two lives hung in the balance, and had acted without delay.

"'I was an old man,' he repeated, 'before I finally understood! I would have ruined my life,' he said, “and the lives of others.”

Many times he had thanked the Lord on his knees for a wise spiritual leader who counseled simply, 'John, leave it alone.'"

- By President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Leave It Alone," Ensign, June 2015, p. 80. from “Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 17–18.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fourfold responsibility: family, work, church, self

“Each of us has a fourfold responsibility. First, we have a responsibility to our families. Second, we have a responsibility to our employers. Third, we have a responsibility to the Lord’s work. Fourth, we have a responsibility to ourselves.”

- Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rejoicing in the Privilege to Serve,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, June 21, 2003, 22, 23. As quoted in "With All Thy Getting, Get Understanding," Ensign, January 2017, p. 33


Prayerfully counsel with spouse about family size

"Families today are smaller than they were a generation ago—even LDS families. We can always find reasons to justify delaying or limiting the number of children we have. For example, “We need to graduate first” or “We need to get a better job so we can have more money” or “Why take all the fun out of marriage by having kids?”

"You’ve been blessed with a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You have the blessings of eternity to offer to your children. Don’t get hung up on the thought that you must provide all things temporal. The greatest gift you have to offer to your children is access to all things spiritual in the kingdom of God.

"When you prayerfully counsel with your spouse about having children, remember that you are the youth of the noble birthright. Please don’t leave God out of your deliberations. Share that right to birth with as many spirit sons and daughters as God is prepared to send to your home. After all, these were His children long before they will be yours.

"With faith in God and His prophetic word, go forward without excuse or hesitation and create your own eternal family."

- Elder C. Scott Grow, Of the Seventy, "Prophetic Principles of Faithfulness," Ensign, January 2017, p. 16


When we lose the Spirit, it's easy to think we never had a testimony

"...a testimony is nothing more or less than the Holy Ghost bearing witness to our soul of the truthfulness of the gospel and of the restored Church. When we fail to pray and study the scriptures, the influence of the Spirit in our life is weakened, lowering our resistance to temptation. When we sin and become unclean, we lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost altogether. Without the ongoing witness of the Spirit, we can easily begin to think we don’t have a testimony and maybe never did.

"Our testimony needs to be continually nourished. That nourishment comes from personal prayer, daily scripture study—particularly the Book of Mormon—and serving in the Church throughout our life."

- Elder C. Scott Grow, Of the Seventy, "Prophetic Principles of Faithfulness," Ensign, January 2017, p. 16

Teaching helps article. Consider why you are asking the class this question. Examples of good questions.

"Questioning Our Discussion Questions," by Ted Barnes, Priesthood and Family Department of the Church, Ensign, January 2017, p. 14-15


Monday, January 9, 2017

Teach youth to look for answers in the best books

"For you to understand the doctrinal and historical content and context of the scriptures and our history, you will need to study from the “best books,” as the Lord has directed (D&C 88:118). The “best books” include the scriptures, the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, and the best LDS scholarship available. Through your diligent efforts to learn by study and by faith, you will be able to help your students learn the skills and attitudes necessary to distinguish between reliable information that will lift them up and the half-truths and incorrect interpretations of doctrine, history, and practices that will bring them down.

"Teach them about the challenges they face when relying upon the internet to answer questions of eternal significance. Remind them that James did not say, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him Google!” (see James 1:5).

"Wise people do not rely on the internet to diagnose and treat emotional, mental, and physical health challenges, especially life-threatening challenges. Instead, they seek out health experts, those trained and licensed by recognized medical and state boards. Even then, prudent people seek a second opinion.

"If that is the sensible course to take in finding answers for emotional, mental, and physical health issues, it is even more so when eternal life is at stake. When something has the potential to threaten our spiritual life, our most precious family relationships, and our membership in the kingdom, we should find thoughtful and faithful Church leaders to help us. And, if necessary, we should ask those with appropriate academic training, experience, and expertise for help."


"Church leaders today are fully conscious of the unlimited access to information, and we are making extraordinary efforts to provide accurate context and understanding of the teachings of the Restoration. A prime example of this effort is the 11 Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org that provide balanced and reliable interpretations of the facts for controversial and unfamiliar Church-related subjects.

[As a teacher of youth] "It is important that you know the content of these essays. If you have questions about them, please ask someone who has studied them and understands them. In other words, “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118) as you master the content of these essays."


"In addition to becoming lifelong learners, you must also be doing those things in your personal life that allow the Holy Spirit to work within you. Such things include sincere daily prayer, faithful fasting, regular study and pondering of the scriptures and the words of the living prophets, making the Sabbath day a delight, partaking of the sacrament with humility and always remembering the Savior, worshipping in the temple as often as possible, and, finally, reaching out to the needy, poor, and lonely—both those close by and across the world."


"...Avoid anything that drives away the Spirit."

- By Elder M. Russell Ballard, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "By Study and by Faith," Ensign, December 2016, p. 25

Friday, January 6, 2017

“The Lord loves you!”

"He Loves You," Alice Victoria Weston-Sherwood, Latter-day Saint Voices, Ensign, October 2014 https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/10/latter-day-saint-voices?lang=eng&media=audio 
(Article copied in its entirety below)

I was sitting in the corner of the celestial room by the organ during the dedication of the Memphis Tennessee Temple. President James E. Faust (1920–2007), a member of the First Presidency from 1995 to 2007, had come to dedicate the temple. He and several other leaders were seated behind the microphone. A local Church choir filed in and stood behind them.

A young woman I visit taught was a member of the choir. Throughout the meeting, I prayed that she would receive what she had come for. She had confided in me that she came to the temple dedication that day to find out her standing with the Lord. She had committed serious sins in the past, and though she had repented, she still struggled to feel good about herself. She even struggled to feel good about singing in the choir.

I stared at President Faust, feeling that he, as a representative of the Lord in the First Presidency, ought to be able to do something. But how could I tell him, and how could he do anything? After the meeting, he would file out of the room just as he had come in, and there would be no introductions, no handshakes, and no words exchanged. I understood that he was busy and had travel arrangements, but still I prayed.

President Faust, deep in thought, looked at me for a while—the muscles in his eyebrows were knit together. When the meeting ended, a happy expression flooded his countenance with light.

He looked at me again and then suddenly stood up, turned around, and stretched his arm forward as far as it would go. He pointed directly at my friend. Then he said firmly and loudly, “The Lord loves you!”

President Faust’s gesture was small and simple yet so powerful that it could have come only from the Holy Ghost communicating to him what I could not. Those few words blessed my friend and continue to sustain my faith that the Lord is mindful of the details of our lives and “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Sin and enticements compared to ant poison

"Highly Attractive Poison," Alison L. Randall, Latter-day Saint Voices, Ensign, October 2014, https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/10/latter-day-saint-voices?lang=eng&media=audio 
(Article copied in its entirety below.)

When I stepped out the front door to get the newspaper, I saw an unpleasant sight. A reddish mound of fire ants had formed in the night, rising through the crack between the lawn and the sidewalk.

Though my husband and I hadn’t lived long in Texas, USA, I knew from painful experience that the ants’ stinging bite, not their color, had earned them their nickname. I headed for the garage, where we kept the pesticide. I then read the instructions on the label.

“[This pesticide] is highly attractive to fire ants,” it read. “They will carry it into their mound, feed it to their queen, and the colony will die.” The label instructed me to sprinkle some granules on and around the mound. The ants would do the rest.

I was skeptical. The fire ants seemed pretty clever to me, able to build tall mounds in a single night. I doubted they would fall for disguised poison, but I sprinkled it on anyway.

A short while later I found the mound bustling with activity. I kept my distance but stooped to watch the fuss. They were as ecstatic as if it had just rained manna from heaven. They were hoisting the white granules in their tiny pincers and knocking over one another in their haste to get the poison into their mound.

I watched in horrified awe. They were willingly taking poison into their home. Apparently, the words “highly attractive” had not exaggerated. Somehow the pesticide company had been able to make something bad—lethal even—look extremely good.

I had never seen a more striking example of how bad could be made to look good. It made me think of how Satan does the same thing. I was comforted to realize that although he can sprinkle his disguised poison around my home, he can’t bring it in—unless I let him. So how could I keep it out?

One of my favorite scriptures came to mind: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.” With that Spirit, Mormon explains, we “may know with a perfect knowledge” whether something is of God or of Satan (Moroni 7:16).

That experience of watching those doomed ants filled me with gratitude that my husband and I could judge and know for sure whether to allow something into our home. Our job was to teach our children to follow the Spirit of Christ so that they too could know poison when they came upon it.

As I stooped there, watching those insects transport every last granule into their mound, I vowed to do all I could to keep poison out of my home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse"

"I love what Elder Orson F. Whitney once said: “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.” 6 We should honor the Savior’s declaration to “be of good cheer.” 7 (Indeed, it seems to me we may be more guilty of breaking that commandment than almost any other!) Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”

"I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring. 8 Surely he must have said at least once, “Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.” Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."

- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "The Tongue of Angels," Ensign, May 2007

"Without...the Holy Ghost, a person … would have ...little power to change"

“Water Baptism is only a preparatory cleansing of the believing penitent; it is only a condition of a cleansing from sin; whereas, the Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost cleanses more thoroughly, by renewing the inner man, and by purifying the affections, desires, and thoughts which have long been habituated in the impure ways of sin. Without the aid of the Holy Ghost, a person … would have but very little power to change his mind … and to walk in newness of life. Though his sins may have been cleansed away, yet so great is the force of habit, that he would, without being renewed by the Holy Ghost, be easily overcome, and contaminated again by sin. Hence, it is infinitely important that the affections and desires should be, in a measure, changed and renewed, so as to cause him to hate that which he before loved, and to love that which he before hated: to thus renew the mind of man is the work of the Holy Ghost.”

- Elder Orson Pratt (1811-1881), from Orson Pratt: Writings of an Apostle, Mormon Collector Series (1976), 2:57, as quoted by Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Of the Seventy, "The Sacred Roles of the Holy Ghost," Ensign, October 2014, p. 65

Plan your future around personal commitments, not others' agency

"Do not rely on planning every event of your life—even every important event. Stand ready to accept the Lord’s planning and the agency of others in matters that inevitably affect you. Plan, of course, but fix your planning on personal commitments that will carry you through no matter what happens. Anchor your life to eternal principles, and act upon those principles whatever the circumstances and whatever the actions of others. Then you can await the Lord’s timing and be sure of the outcome in eternity.

"The most important principle of timing is to take the long view. Mortality is just a small slice of eternity, but how we conduct ourselves here—what we become by our actions and desires, confirmed by our covenants and the ordinances administered to us by proper authority—will shape our destiny for all eternity."

- Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Timing," BYU Speeches, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/dallin-h-oaks_timing/ 
"Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him."

- Richard G. Scott, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Finding Joy in Life," General Conference, Aoril 1996, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/04/finding-joy-in-life?lang=eng&_r=1  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Courage to Choose Modesty"

(Entire article appears below, with my favorite parts highlighted.)

Why is modesty so important? Why would a hemline, a neckline, or a T-shirt matter to the Lord? I am the mother of five daughters and two sons, and as you can imagine, the topic of modesty has come up in our home once in a while. But over the years, I have learned that modesty is taught best by teaching the doctrine and setting a positive example. The doctrine will help our children understand why modesty is so important, and our example will demonstrate the blessings of modesty in happy ways.

What Is Modesty?

Modesty is a God-given principle that can help us learn to use our bodies appropriately here in mortality. The definition of modesty in True to the Faith is “An attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior.”1 Modesty is not vain or boastful. Modest people do not use their bodies or their behavior to seek approval from the world or to draw attention to their own real or supposed accomplishments or desirable attributes.

Please remember that the principles of modesty shared here apply to both men and women, sons and daughters, and remember that even as we teach and exemplify modesty, we never condemn those who choose short skirts or “rainbow hair and the many splendored rings.”2 Always we exemplify compassion and Christlike love for the individual while we remain loyal to the standards the Lord has set.

I testify that the choices we make to appear and behave modestly send a powerful message that we understand our identity as sons and daughters of God and that we have chosen to stand in holy places.

I love this scripture: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). Our bodies are the temples of our spirits. It is to this bodily temple that we invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I believe that when we choose to wear modest clothing and behave with a modest demeanor, we wear and we live our testimony of God the Eternal Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ. We witness by our physical appearance that we are disciples of Christ and that we live His gospel.

Why Is Modesty Important?

We live in a world of good and evil, and the physical body can be used for either righteous or wicked purposes. But we know that our precious bodies are a gift from God to each of us. They are sacred. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “To those who know and understand the plan of salvation, defiling the body is an act of rebellion [see Mosiah 2:36–37] and a denial of our true identity as sons and daughters of God.”3 We choose to care for and protect our bodies so that we may be instruments in the hands of God to bring about His glorious purposes (see Alma 26:3). If we desire to stand for the Savior and do His work, we must ask ourselves, If the Savior stood beside us, would we feel comfortable in the clothing we wear?

Modesty in dress, appearance, thought, and behavior is evidence that we understand the covenants we have made that bless us, protect us, and empower us in our preparation to return to His presence. When we were baptized, we stepped out of the world and into the kingdom of God. Everything must be different for us. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean.”4

Modesty is a principle that will help keep us safely on the covenant path as we progress to the presence of God. Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior will help prepare us to make and keep sacred temple covenants. To bless and protect Adam and Eve, God gave them coats of skins to clothe them before sending them out of the garden. In like manner, God has given us a covering of covenants in mortality, symbolized by our sacred temple garments.

What Are the Blessings of Modesty?

What can we teach our sons and daughters to help them have the courage to choose modesty in a world that would mock and scorn them for their pure and virtuous choices? Do they see us using our bodies to draw attention or to glorify God?

Modesty in thought, word, appearance, and behavior helps us obtain three empowering and ennobling blessings.

1. Modesty invites the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Elder Hales has taught, “Modesty is fundamental to being worthy of the Spirit.”5

Let’s help our children understand that they will not want to do anything to deny themselves “the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 121:26). Help them know that precious and powerful spiritual gifts accompany His sacred companionship. God has promised, “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; … By this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive” (D&C 11:13–14). Knowledge, wisdom, and testimony; joy, peace, and happiness—these are some of the great blessings we can promise our children as we invite them to live modestly and be worthy of the Holy Ghost.

One of the challenges of modest dress is that fashions and socially accepted behaviors change regularly. The standards of the Lord never change. Teach young men and young women to be sensitive to the Spirit as they make choices about what to wear, say, and do. As they live close to the Spirit, they do not need to be like the world.

Our children have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and they are traveling the covenant path that leads to the temple and will return them to the presence of God. They need us to assure them and exemplify for them that they will be guided, protected, comforted, and purified as they live worthy of the Holy Ghost.

2. We can teach our sons and daughters that modest appearance and behavior helps protect us from the destructive influences of the world. One of the most deceptive weapons used against all of us is the socially accepted attitude that morality is old-fashioned. Modesty is a defense against such evil influences and a protection of chastity and virtue. Listen to these words in For the Strength of Youth: “Before marriage, … do not do anything … that arouses sexual feelings.”6 Immodest appearance and behavior will often arouse sexual feelings and will break down barriers and invite increased temptation to break the law of chastity.

Elder Hales has taught: “Modesty is at the center of being pure and chaste, both in thought and deed. Thus, because it guides and influences our thoughts, behavior, and decisions, modesty is at the core of our character.”7 Teach and exemplify modesty to help our young men and young women be prepared to defend and protect the procreative powers within them. Help them hold sacred and preserve the expression of love between a husband and wife for marriage.

3. Modesty enables us to “stand as witnesses of God at all times” (Mosiah 18:9). The Savior taught: “Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up” (3 Nephi 18:24). We have a divine mandate to be a beacon to the world, to demonstrate the joy of gospel living, to teach righteousness, and to build the kingdom of God on the earth. Each of us reflects the Light of Christ when we are modest and pure and keep the commandments. Modesty is a witness of our testimony of the Savior and of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

How beautiful and how blessed are they who are guided by the Holy Ghost, who protect themselves from worldliness, and who stand as witnesses of God to the world. And blessed are they who exemplify and teach the doctrine of modesty for all the sons and daughters of Zion.

As we have covenanted to follow the Savior and desire to receive the fulness of the blessings of His Atonement in our lives, there is really only one outfit that matters. Moroni records, “Awake, and arise from the dust, … yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; … that the covenants of the Eternal Father … may be fulfilled” (Moroni 10:31; emphasis added).

The beautiful garments are the robes of righteousness, worn by those who have kept their covenants. Are we preparing our children to put on these beautiful garments?

I testify that salvation is in Christ and that those who have kept their covenants will “have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (2 Nephi 9:14).


  1. True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), 106.
  2. Jeffrey R. Holland, “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling,” Church Educational System devotional, Sept. 9, 2012, cesdevotionals.lds.org.
  3. David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign, May 2013, 43.
  4. Robert D. Hales, “The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 8.
  5. Robert D. Hales, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord,” Ensign, Aug. 2008, 34.
  6. For the Strength of Youth (2011), 36.

  7. Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Aug. 2008, 35.

- Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, "Courage to Choose Modesty," Ensign, October 2014, p. 40-43, From an address given on May 2, 2013, at the Brigham Young University Women’s Conference.

Preaching the gospel and family history work are the greatest duty

"Some individuals may wonder how both preaching the gospel and seeking after our dead can be simultaneously the greatest duties and responsibilities God has placed upon His children. My purpose is to suggest that these teachings highlight the unity and oneness of the latter-day work of salvation. Missionary work and family history and temple work are complementary and interrelated aspects of one great work, “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:10)."

- Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Missionary, Family History, and Temple Work," Ensign, October 2014, p. 30-31 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Perfectionism gives us unrealistic expectations for future spouse

"Another serious dimension of perfectionism is to hold others to our unrealistic, judgmental, or unforgiving standards. Such behavior may, in fact, deny or limit the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in our lives and in the lives of others. For example, young single adults may make a list of desired qualities in a potential spouse and yet be unable to marry because of unrealistic expectations for the perfect companion.

"Thus, a sister may be unwilling to consider dating a wonderful, worthy brother who falls short on her perfectionist scale—he does not dance well, is not planning to be wealthy, did not serve a mission, or admits to a past problem with pornography since resolved through repentance and counseling.

"Similarly, a brother may not consider dating a wonderful, worthy sister who doesn’t fit his unrealistic profile—she is not a sports enthusiast, a Relief Society president, a beauty queen, a sophisticated budgeter, or she admits to an earlier, now-resolved weakness with the Word of Wisdom.

"Of course, we should consider qualities we desire in ourselves and in a potential spouse. We should maintain our highest hopes and standards. But if we are humble, we will be surprised by goodness in unexpected places, and we may create opportunities to grow closer to someone who, like us, is not perfect."

- Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Of the Seventy, "Becoming Perfect in Christ," Ensign, July 2014
"Impatience impedes faith."

- Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Of the Seventy, "Becoming Perfect in Christ," Ensign, July 2014

Marriage creates the ideal setting for children

God "designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven."

- Elder Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Spiritual Whirlwinds," General Conference, April 2014

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Children are what God gave you time for

"Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”"

- Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Children," General Conference, October 2011

"the ultimate treasures ... are our children"

"In light of the ultimate purpose of the great plan of happiness, I believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity."

- Dallin H. Oaks, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "“The Great Plan of Happiness”," General Conference, October 1993

To be a Latter-day Saint is to be a pioneer

"To be a Latter-day Saint is to be a pioneer, for the definition of a pioneer is “one who goes before to prepare or open up the way for others to follow.”"

- Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, "True to the Faith of Our Forefathers," Ensign, July 2016

We owe our families the kind of relationship we can take into the presence of God

"We owe our families the kind of relationship we can take into the presence of God. We must try not to give offense or take offense. We can determine to forgive quickly and fully. We can try to seek the happiness of others above our own. We can be kind in our speech. As we try to do all these things, we will invite the Holy Ghost into our families and into our lives."

- President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, "Families Can Be Together Forever," Ensign, June 2015

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Reproving ... adult family members should be rare indeed"

"What seems to distinguish a successful family is that the members of the family continue to care. They don’t give up. They never quit. They hang together through hardships and death and other problems.
"I know of a close-knit family that is wonderfully successful in keeping everyone together. When the parents feel they are losing influence with teenagers, the help of cousins is enlisted to exert some counter peer pressure.
"I would urge members of extended families—grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins—to reach out in concern, to succor. Mostly what is needed from grandparents, aunts, and uncles is unreserved love manifest as interest and concern. It builds confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Reproving and chastening adult family members should be rare indeed. We are told that it should happen only when a person is moved upon by the Holy Ghost. But I have been grateful for those in my family who have loved me enough to give me both the gentle and strong reproof on occasion as needed. We read in Proverbs: “He that refuseth reproof erreth” (Proverbs 10:17)."
James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, "Where Is the Church?," BYU Devotional, 1 March 2005

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Rest from our labors

"The Lord has instructed us to rest from our labors on this day. I am sure this means that a hay baler stands idle in the field on the Sabbath. The family business has a Closed sign facing a potential customer on Sunday. The cash register does not ring to record one of our purchases on His special day. It is truly a day to rest from our labors."

- L. Tom Perry, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "“And Why Call Ye Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?”," General Conference, October 1984

Example of a Sabbath miracle

"A more recent miracle occurred at the Wells Stake Welfare Tannery some years ago where hides of animals were tanned into leather. On regular workdays, the hides were removed from the vats and fresh lime placed in the vats, after which the hides were returned to the lime solution. If the hides were not turned on holidays, they would spoil. But the change was never made on Sunday, and there were no spoiled hides on Monday. Explained J. Lowell Fox, the supervisor of the tannery at the time:

" “This brought a strange fact to our minds: holidays are determined by man, and on these days just as on every week day, the hides need to have special care every twelve hours. Sunday is the day set aside by the Lord as a day of rest, and He makes it possible for us to rest from our labors as He has commanded. The hides at the tannery never spoil on Sundays. This is a modern-day miracle, a miracle that happens every weekend!” (Handbook for Guide Patrol Leaders, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1964, p. 37.)"

- Elder James E. Faust, "The Lord’s Day," General Conference, October 1991

"stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight"

"Criticism, faultfinding, evil speaking—these are of the spirit of our day. From many directions we are told that nowhere is there a man of integrity holding political office. Businessmen are crooks. Utilities are out to rob you. Everywhere is heard the snide remark, the sarcastic gibe, the cutting down of associates. Sadly, these are too often the essence of our conversation. In our homes, wives weep and children finally give up under the barrage of criticism leveled by husbands and fathers. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure. In the Church it sows the seed of inactivity and finally apostasy.

"I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course.

"What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.” "

- President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, "The Continuing Pursuit of Truth," Ensign, April 1986. "This is an edited version of a talk President Hinckley delivered 18 June 1983 at the BYU—Hawaii commencement exercises."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sabbath observance will keep us free from materialism

"In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance: “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.” (D&C 59:9.)

"Who can question but that sincere Sabbath observance will help keep ourselves unspotted from the world?"

- Elder James E. Faust, "The Lord’s Day," General Conference, October 1991

Male ambition intended to make faithful providers, gaming is a false ideal

"Another insidious tactic the adversary employs in this generation is to channel men’s natural ambition to work and achieve into virtual dead ends. God placed in young men the desire to compete and achieve, with the intent that they use this ambition to become faithful providers for a family. In our youth, this ambition can be channeled into academic, athletic, or other pursuits that help to teach persistence, discipline, and work. Satan, however, would subtly intercept that ambition and channel it into a virtual world of video games that eat up time and ambition and lead to addiction.

"No matter how hard you play a video game, virtual work can never bring you the satisfaction that accompanies real work. Real work is the effort, persistence, patience, and discipline to achieve worthwhile knowledge, perform a needed labor, or accomplish a challenging goal."

- Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, "Revealed Realities of Mortality," Ensign, January 2016, p. 20

Focus on the gospel, not the filthiness surrounding us

"...in 1 Nephi 15. Nephi is explaining Lehi’s vision of the tree of life to Laman and Lemuel when they ask the meaning of the river of water. Nephi answers in verse 27: “And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water” (emphasis added). Lehi’s mind was focused on the tree of life and getting his family to it to partake of its fruit! He didn’t even see the filthiness because of this focus.

"That was the answer! Keeping inappropriate media out of our home was a start, but a more direct and conscious effort to teach our children the gospel is what would ultimately be their best defense against anything that could lead them away.

"Because of this experience with the scriptures, my husband and I decided to redouble our efforts in teaching our children and thus keep our eyes on the love of God instead of the filthiness in the world."

- Kerry Hanson Jensen, "Our Best Defense against Pornography," Ensign, January 2016, p. 12-13.

Attending Sacrament meeting each week preserves us from falling away

"No man goes away from this Church and becomes an apostate in a week or in a month. It is a slow process. The one thing that would make for the safety of every man and woman would be to appear at the sacrament table every Sabbath day. We would not get very far away in one week—not so far away that, by the process of self-investigation, we could not rectify the wrongs we may have done."

- Elder Melvin J. Ballard, of the Council of the Twelve from 1919 to 1939, "Classic Discourses from the General Authorities: The Sacramental Covenant," New Era, January 1976

Friday, July 22, 2016

If you...concentrate on the dark side, this is what you will see

"You have a choice. You can wring your hands and be consumed with concern for the future or choose to use the counsel the Lord has given to live with peace and happiness in a world awash with evil. If you choose to concentrate on the dark side, this is what you will see."

—Richard G. Scott, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil," General Conference, April 2004

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sabbath ideas

• Make a Sunday album. Get a three-ring binder, some page protectors, and cardstock. Attach an illustration from a magazine such as the Ensign to a sheet of cardstock. On the facing page write an inspirational story from the life of the person in the photo. You can do the same thing with photographs of your ancestors by researching and including stories about their lives.
• Create Sunday games by cutting out and laminating the games that come in the Friend. If you need to write on them, use an overhead projector marker. The ink will wash off easily with a damp cloth.
• Make a family trivia game. Gather up information about relatives and use it to generate questions. Write each question on a card (for example, “Who served a mission in Rome, Italy?”) along with the answer. Take turns asking questions of the other players.
• Write a creative letter to a missionary or a loved one. Get a big piece of paper and have everyone in the family write on it in a different color and in a different direction. You can also write on a roll of adding machine tape or the plain side of wrapping paper.
• Ask family members to tell stories about “the good old days.” Have someone record the stories to include in a family history.
• Write notes or draw pictures of appreciation for your bishopric, neighbors, and family members. You can focus on a different person each Sunday.
• Make a list of blessings. In different colors of ink, write the names of the people and things you are thankful for on a roll of shelf paper. Number each item. The list will become quite long if you really think about your blessings and express your gratitude for them. Of course, you can use other paper instead, but you can roll the shelf paper into a scroll and tie a ribbon around it to remind you of your Heavenly Father’s love for you.
• Catch up on journal writing by taking time to write about recent events, or follow the counsel of President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, to reflect about how you have seen the hand of the Lord in your life.
• Hold a family council and decide how to serve others or how to focus your Sabbath observance on the Savior.
Whatever you do on Sundays, ask if the Savior would approve of the activity. Uplifting activities “inviteth and enticeth to do good continually” (Moroni 7:13). Ask yourself, “What message am I sending to God by what I do on the Sabbath day?” 

- Paula J. Lewis, "Making the Sabbath a Delight," Ensign, March 2016

The goal of gospel teaching is to help reach exaltation

"In the Church, the goal of gospel teaching is not to pour information into the minds of God’s children, whether at home, in the classroom, or in the mission field. It is not to show how much the parent, teacher, or missionary knows. Nor is it merely to increase knowledge about the Savior and His Church.

"The basic goal of teaching is to help the sons and daughters of Heavenly Father return to His presence and enjoy eternal life with Him. To do this, gospel teaching must encourage them along the path of daily discipleship and sacred covenants. The aim is to inspire individuals to think about, feel about, and then do something about living gospel principles. The objective is to develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to become converted to His gospel.

"Teaching which blesses and converts and saves is teaching which emulates the Savior’s example. Teachers who emulate the Savior’s example love and serve those they teach. They inspire their listeners with eternal lessons of divine truth. They live lives worth emulating."

- Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, Ensign, March 2016, p. 4

Friday, June 24, 2016

 "Selective obedience brings selective blessings, and choosing something bad over something worse is still choosing wrong."

- Elder Jörg Klebingat, Of the Seventy, "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence," General Conference, Oct 2014

Monday, June 6, 2016

Daily scripture study imparts strength to avoid temptation

If you immerse yourself in the scriptures each day of your life, you will have strength to resist serious transgression...”

- Elder Daniel L. Johnson, of the Seventy, “Hold Fast to the Rod,” Ensign, February 2016, p. 61

When Our Children Go Astray,” Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy, Ensign, February 1997

When A Child Leaves the Church,” by Robin Zenger Baker, Ensign, February 2016, p. 44-47

Blessings of doing family history

Never forget that family history—and the temple ordinances enabled by it—is an essential part of the work of salvation and that participation in this sacred work for the dead blesses the lives of the living. It strengthens our faith in and commitment to the gospel, helps us resist temptation, draws our families closer together, and strengthens our wards and stakes.”
As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise that if you look beyond the bonds of time and mortality and help those who cannot help themselves, you will be blessed with more closeness and joy in your family and with the divine protection afforded those who are faithful in His service.”

- Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Joy of Family History Work,” Ensign, February 2016, p. 29 and 33

Happiness in marriage and parenthood can exceed a thousand times any other happiness.”

- James E. Faust, “The Enriching of Marriage,” General Conference, October 1977

When we are involved in watching, reading, or experiencing anything below Heavenly Father's standards, it weakens us.”

- Linda S. Reeves, 2nd Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency, “Worthy of Our Promised Blessings,” General Conference, October 2015

Honoring the Sabbath strengthens families

Honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness.”

- Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Shipshape and Bristol Fashion...”, October 2015 General Conference

"Healing" can mean different things

It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will.”

- Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “To Be Healed,” April 1994 General Conference

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.”

- Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character,” October 2010 General Conference, emphasis in original

Express gratitude for what your spouse does for you. Express that love and gratitude often. That will make life far richer and more pleasant and purposeful.”

- Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage,” April 2011 General Conference

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Service lessens power of temptations

Fill your life with service to others. As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven's children, Satan's temptations lose power in your life.”

- Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” October 2013 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/personal-strength-through-the-atonement-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities. With your husband you can nurture, strengthen, and cause those traits to flower."

- Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve, "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage," General Conference, April 2011

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"every world problem may be solved by obedience to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

- David O. McKay, as quoted in, "Helping Others Find Faith in Christ," Ensign, Dec 2014
"prayer is the provider of spiritual strength"

President of the Church, "Be Your Best Self," General Conference, April 2009

Latter-day Saints should be the best parents

"Our family-centered perspective should make Latter-day Saints strive to be the best parents in the world. It should give us enormous respect for our children, who truly are our spiritual siblings, and it should cause us to devote whatever time is necessary to strengthen our families. Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family."

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," General Conference, Oct 2005
"The messages portrayed on television, in movies, and in other media are very often in direct opposition to that which we want our children to embrace and hold dear. It is our responsibility not only to teach them to be sound in spirit and doctrine but also to help them stay that way, regardless of the outside forces they may encounter. This will require much time and effort on our part—and in order to help others, we ourselves need the spiritual and moral courage to withstand the evil we see on every side."

- Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, "Three Goals to Guide You," General Conference, Oct 2007