Sunday, September 27, 2015

How Can I Help Others Understand My Standards?

Well, the goal was to discuss helping others (especially those friends of other faiths) to understand the WHY behind the reasons we don't always do things the world does (or the way that the world does them). [Feel free to follow the link to the outline given for this week's lesson.]

Instead (and I have a feeling that this is going to be a recurring theme ... which isn't a bad thing at all), we vaguely discussed that while covering some other topics in more detail.

One thing that we discussed quite a lot was following the prophet and the need for personal revelation in our lives.

The Lord doesn't want us to follow Him or the leaders of His church blindly.
We are commanded to seek after our own confirmation for what commandments and suggestions we receive from our prophets (ancient and modern).

Moroni tells us:
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4)
Also, after Lehi told his family of his vision of the tree of life, when Laman and Lemuel asked Nephi about it, his first question to them was "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" (1 Nephi 11:8).

Also, think of Joseph Smith ... he followed what was written in James 1:5
 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Asking questions is GOOD. Praying to know answers for yourself, so that you can develop your own testimony is GOOD. Praying and asking questions or for confirmation so that you can strengthen and build your own testimony? That's GOOD.

(Seriously, if you're able to start doing this now while you're in your teenage years? You all are going to be spiritual powerhouses. Remember how today in his Sacrament meeting talk, Brother Anderson was talking about his mission companion being a mix of Abinadi and  Chief Captain Moroni? Yeah, that'll so be you.)

We also discussed modesty, from For the Strength of Youth.

Remember that your body is sacred. It is a gift from your Heavenly Father.
Your body enables you to partake of some of the most amazing blessings in Heavenly Father's great plan of happiness (aka "the plan of salvation").

The commandments and guidelines we've been given (Yes, they apply to the adults, too!) are to help us to protect ourselves from temptation and to have the freedom (full use of agency) to partake in this great work of salvation.

Our bodies are amazing. Never let anyone (not even yourself) tell you otherwise.
And our bodies are necessary for so many parts of the plan of salvation.
Satan is pretty jealous that we have bodies and he does not.
He wants us to disrespect our bodies or think of them solely as tools for our desires.

We have loving leaders (like our prophet, apostles, our bishop, your teachers, and your parents) who are here to help us learn and grow and develop into the best people we can be.

And, if we respect our bodies (and other people's bodies, remembering that we are more than just a body. We are SOULS and we should treat our bodies as our own personal temples), we are better able to perform the jobs that Heavenly Father gives us on our journey to become more and more like Him.

Remember that YOU are a beloved, precious son or daughter of our Heavenly Father.
Seriously, if you need someone to let you know that you are loved and valued, let me know. I'm more than willing to tell you. And, I'll warn you, there may be tears.

I have a strong testimony that most of the bad things going on in the world wouldn't be going on IF we could just remember that each one of us is a child of God, that we are all loved beyond human comprehension, that each one of us is infinitely treasured by our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ; that we are all worthy of compassion, caring, love, and respect. ... Seriously, if we can just strive to remember that in how we deal with each other, the world would be a much better place.

Okay, I think you get the idea, right?
(But, really, if you ever need someone to let you know that you're important, come see me. Give me a call. Send me a text. Email or Facebook message me. I'd be honored to have the opportunity to let you know that you are important/awesome/needed. Really.)

We had some discussions about what is modest and how modesty isn't just about what you're wearing ... it's about your attitude. If you're wearing something or acting in a way just to draw attention to yourself, that's not in the practice of modesty.

When I was your age (many, many moons ago), one of the questions my ward's Youth leaders requested that we ask ourselves was "Would I feel comfortable wearing this in front of the prophet?"
I would change that to "Would I feel comfortably/appropriate wearing this/acting like this in front of the Savior?"

Brother J (our Sunday School president) had a good example of how we can choose to show our values to others, even when it requires doing things differently than an established way -- He told about how some women who've participated in beauty pageants chose to wear one-piece swimsuits instead of the (rather revealing) two-pieces that were the norm. When asked about their choice, they then had an opportunity to explain something about their beliefs and WHY they CHOSE to do something so different.

We also discussed some great questions that you all had.

Is acting immodest, since you're demanding attention as part of being on stage?
No. Just as in participating in sports, you're developing a talent and working to the best of your abilities. It would be more distracting to be up there and purposefully do a bad job, right?
Also, there are many Latter-day Saints who've gone into acting.
The Church, itself, puts on pageants and plays and theatricals ... if doing so would lead its members towards sinful behavior, you can be sure that our leaders would be a lot more hesitant to recommend these activities.

Thank you all for being a great class today. I know that we got sidetracked (a bit), but I really appreciate your enthusiasm and participation. I had a lot of fun ... and I think that I learned some new things, too. I hope that you all did as well.

If you have suggestions or questions about our class, please let me know!

Sister Cox

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