Thursday, October 29, 2015

Questions from October 25th's lesson

Okay, from my scrawled-out, semi-cryptic notes, here's the questions that I didn't have (full, scriptural) answers for you on Sunday.

And I apologize. I should be more of a Scriptorian by this point.
I should get to ponderizing, huh?
  1. If Jesus brought people back to life during His mortal ministry, were they resurrected then?
  2. The reference for the "ye are the light of the world/candle and bushel" scripture
    (Which I SHOULD know, since it's my husband's favorite scripture. Yeah, epic fail, right?
    Good thing repentance is still possible!)
  3. Reference for "Without charity, ye are nothing" scripture.

Okay ... so, let's get the easy ones out of the way first.
I love blogging these answers, since I can EASILY get scripture references using a web search.
(You could also do them on your phone/tablet via the Gospel Library app. Easy-peasy-rice-and-cheesy.)

I knew that the "light of the world" scripture was in Matthew, but I hadn't grabbed out my scriptures to look it up.

It's found in Matthew 5:14-16:

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

So, there we go. We're commanded to be a good example and bring the light of Christ and His gospel to the world. We can't just hunker down and binge-watch Netflix (bummer!) but we need to help be a force for good in the world. Others will see us and our actions ... which can lead to great opportunities to discuss the WHY we're doing these things (i.e., service, paying our tithing, observing the Sabbath, listening to our leaders, etc. Hey, we're a peculiar people [like in Titus 2:14, among MANY other references]).

I was pretty sure that Paul was the one who wrote "without charity ye are nothing." I mean, it sounds like Paul ... so, after a quick search, I was pleased to see that I was on the right track (All those years of Seminary and Institute paid off, right?).

In 1 Corinthians (being Paul's epistle/letter to those saints in Corinth), he writes:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 

But, it's not the only place where we find this discussed ...
"If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity." (Moroni 7:44)
(You'll notice that a lot of concepts and topics are discussed MULTIPLE TIMES in the scriptures. Probably because they're important. *nods*)

Now, to the BIG question that one of you asked in class -- If Jesus Christ brought people back from the dead while He was on earth, were they resurrected (Like Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus)?

Our Stake President did give me the nod that I was correct when I told you that my recollection is that Jesus was the first person to be resurrected. But, I was really irritated with myself that I didn't have scriptural references in my head immediately to give you as answers.

So, I did some sleuthing. And, well, this is a BIG (aka GOOD) question. We could discuss this for a few lessons, in fact. Way to raise the tough questions! I love it!

The first link to come up was from the Scripture Study Helps section online at (Seriously, bookmark this link. It's pretty awesome).

Under the Guide to the Scriptures link, there's an alphabetical index. Going to the 'R' section, I scroll down and there's "Resurrection."

In the entry, there's a LOT of information ... but the second paragraph starts. "Jesus Christ was the first person to be resurrected on this earth." WITH SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:
Acts 26:23: "That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles." (emphasis added)

Colossians 1:18: "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (again, emphasis added)

Also, my searching brought up the Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3. In Lesson 8 - "The Resurrection and Judgment," it states that Lazarus was not resurrected. ("No, he was brought back to mortal life, not immortal life. Lazarus would die again.")

The Teachings of Brigham Young manual (Your parents used it for Priesthood and Relief Society back in the 1990s. So did I. That's how you know that I'm OLD.) has a lesson about "Understanding Death and Resurrection":
"Jesus is the first begotten from the dead, as you will understand. Neither Enoch, Elijah, Moses, nor any other man that ever lived on earth, no matter how strictly he lived, ever obtained a resurrection until after Jesus Christ’s body was called from the tomb by the angel. He was the first begotten from the dead. He is the Master of the resurrection—the first flesh that lived here after receiving the glory of the resurrection (Discourses of Brigham Young,  page 374)." (<--- References to original materials is crazy important. Just so you know. ^_^)

Well, I hope that this helped you with some of the things we discussed last week in class.
I know that you've been waiting with BATED BREATH until I (finally) posted these answers. :P

Have a great rest of your week! I look forward to talking about Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance with you on Sunday! (It's not as boring as it sounds. Pinky-swear!)

October 25 - Last class of "Becoming More Christlike" (Though it's a continuing process ...)

We had a great class on Sunday.
I want to thank you all for participating. And not just because I was more than a little nervous due to the fact that our Stake President had joined us.

We discussed the lesson "How Can I Show Love for Those I Teach."

There are many ways we can show our love to others, as Jesus showed love to those He taught.

  • We can serve others.
    In Marvin J. Ashton's General Conference talk, "We Serve That Which We Love" (from April 1981), he states: "We serve that which we love. If we sacrifice and give our love for that which our Father in Heaven asks of us, it will help us set our footsteps upon the path of eternal life. Again I conclude, what we serve we learn to love, and what we love takes our time, and what takes our time is what we love."
  • We can be kind to those we teach.
    I'll admit that sometimes, as much as I do love you all, it can be a little difficult to keep your attention (That's my biggest challenge as your instructor ... and, as far as challenges go, it's one that I prefer. You all are a great class. You bring energy and a wonderful spirit to the class. You all seem to genuinely like each other and get along. You are willing to take part in our discussions. I am VERY grateful for all of this.) ... so, on the occasions that I need to redirect the focus to the topic we're discussing, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU and I'm trying to be more like Jesus, I make sure to GENTLY adjust your focus. I work really hard at not snapping and using a tone. It's one of the ways that I can show my love and respect for you (and, by practicing not losing my cool, I also get the benefit of growing just a little bit more like Jesus and our Heavenly Father. So it's a TOTAL win-win situation).
We also talked about WHO we are teaching (Hint: It's everyone. We all have opportunities to learn from each other ALL THE TIME. It's a big responsibility ... and, well, if Heavenly Father trusts us with that responsibility, He'll give us the opportunities and abilities for us to fulfill it.) -- We can be good examples to our families. We can help teach our friends. Since "every member is a missionary," we can all help to bring all those around us to an awareness of the gospel and of God's love for them. We will have opportunities to teach our children (or, if you don't have any children of your own, you can teach those children around you, like Sheri L. Dew's wonderful example ... or in the example of Great-Aunt Rose from Elder Uchtdorf's talk at the October 2015 General Women's Session).

And we also discussed the WHY of loving those whom we teach ... because, well, if someone is making me feel bad about myself and showing that they don't feel that I'm worthwhile, I sure am going to have reservations about listening to them.

Our actions will speak to others louder than our words. So, like my Seminary teacher, Joan Schofield, would tell us, "You need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk." As Ralph Waldo Emerson (he's a famous writer and poet) wrote, "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."
If we don't infuse our actions with charity (that pure love of Christ), others may think that we're preaching to them or being hypocritical. 

Elder Renlund, in his Conference Talk, "Through God's Eyes," tells us:
"Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ.”5 Every day we should plead with God for this love. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ."

As we are filled with this love, it will be evident in our actions and behavior. People will be able to FEEL, through you, the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for them. They will KNOW, through you and your example, that they are LOVED and VALUED and IMPORTANT.

Just imagine how different the world would be if everyone KNEW that they are important, that they are loved beyond comprehension, that they are precious and valued? And that those around them are equally loved and cherished?
I really do think that, if everyone KNEW these facts, that everyone would act in a much better, kinder, happier manner. We'd all be more eager to assist each other, to protect each other, to help each other, and to love each other with a perfect love for our spirit brothers and sisters.


We also had the opportunity to discuss a situation that one of you is/was faced with.

We've had many Conference talks (for both General and Stake Conference!) about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

Sometimes, meetings or activities will be planned for Sunday.
Others may not always have the same beliefs or priorities as we do.
(I have a cousin-in-law who observes the Sabbath on Saturday, for instance.)
But, as we show love for those around us, that gives us an opportunity to serve and teach them.

In this case, there was going to be practice for a class.
And the teacher, after learning that a few of his students have church on Sunday, told them, "Well, come after church."

This does put one in a predicament. However, we have instructions on how to handle these things ...

1 Corinthians 10:13 --
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
In this case, it could be tempting to just say, "Oh, well, I'll go to church and then do this afterwards."
(Bonus points to your classmate for not even considering this. And bonus points to [Classmate]'s family for teaching that Sabbath day observance is a priority in their lives.)

You could also choose to just say, "I can't be there," and leave it at that. Your grade would most likely suffer.

OR, as Sister Seltz talked about in Sacrament Meeting, you could follow Sister Carole M. Stephens's example from her Conference talk.
She was in the situation where her granddaughter would NOT stay buckled in her carseat as they drove to Sister Stephens's house. Sister Stephens tried everything she could ... and said a prayer.
She received an impression to teach her granddaughter WHY staying buckled in her carseat was necessary.

We can apply this to our lives, especially in the case of a teacher (or coach) setting up things on the Sabbath day.

If this happens, let your teacher/coach/whomever know WHY you can't be there, WHY you believe that keeping the Sabbath is important, WHY the Sabbath isn't just part of the weekend ... and let them know that you're willing to make up work as needed on other days of the week (or out of class or whatever). This way they know that you're invested in this class/activity and not just blowing them off because you're irresponsible or lazy. (Because you're NOT those. We all have our moments ... like how I've not blogged about class until THURSDAY MORNING. Goodness gracious ... but you're full of unlimited potential. You surpass labels.)

Another situation we talked about is responding kindly and civilly when others ... well, aren't being kind or civil. (Just like in Proverbs 15:1 - "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." -- I've been told that, if an argument starts and you must participate in it, lower your voice to the same degree that the other person raises his or hers. It could end up with you whispering and the other person yelling ... and it's REALLY HARD to keep up yelling or arguing with someone who's being so quiet. #TheMoreYouKnow) ... Just because someone isn't being nice doesn't mean that you need to lower yourself to that level. It gives you a great opportunity to show them (and those around) how a person can and should respond.

Yeah, that was a lot to cover in a lesson. Probably too much for just one lesson, really. ^_^
But you all did a great job of taking part in the lesson. I hope that it was enlightening and helpful to you.
(If not, please let me know what you DO need.)

See you Sunday!
(Remember that it's Fast Sunday ... and you'll all be full of Halloween candy, right ... so I won't be bringing treats THIS week. But next week should be good. ;D)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Becoming More Christlike: First Take

Due to General Conference and Stake Conference, we only have two classes this month.

And, well, I don't know that we were the most effective on Sunday. Whoops.

But we did get to know more about each other as members of the class shared what had gone on since we'd last met (two weeks ago). And that was a good thing ... maybe not the most spiritual or spiritually-enlightening, but it does make me happy that you all feel comfortable talking with your classmates (and your teacher).

We did briefly hit on the overall theme for our lessons for the month of October: Being More Christlike.

I mean, this is a HUGE topic. It's way too big to cover in four or five weeks; trying to cover it at all in only two weeks is pretty much impossible.
SO, that means that I really do need y'all to work on this outside of class.

There are five overall lessons that we COULD cover:
  •       How can I invite others to become more like the Savior?
  • Truly, that's a LOT to cover. And these are great things to develop.
    It's our overall goal to become more like Christ, our perfect example -- to develop more fully the attributes that He possesses: perfect love, wisdom, charity, compassion, kindness, understanding ... I could go on, but let's just put it this way, if there's ANY WORD that is a word to describe something good/positive/virtuous/etc., He's that.
    (Except maybe for the tasting-type words. But you know what I mean. And I'm sure that none of you are smart-alec enough to bring that up, right? :P)

    We did talk a (very) little about General Conference. One of you was rather impressed with Brother Devin G Durrant's talk, My Heart Pondereth Them Continually ... you remember, the one where he has challenged us all to "ponderize" a scripture every week for the next 52 weeks.

    I SHOULD have written or marked the other talk that one of you found that spoke to you. I believe it was one of President Uchtdorf's talks ... and, since he delivered a FEW talks, it's a little harder to narrow that one down.

    I shared with you a bit from Elder Dale G. Renlund's testimony/talk, Through God's Eyes, which is very applicable to this month's Sunday School theme. Summed up, we need to strive to look at other people through God's eyes, recognizing their individual worth and how VERY much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them. And we, also, should then do our darndest to treat them with that same love. That charity, when we learn to have and practice it, will help us become more Christlike. It will also help others to want to become more Christlike and to return to Him.

    I did also challenge you all to look for opportunities (or MAKE opportunities) for you to practice being Christlike, or leading others to be more Christlike.

    I also extended the challenge that you prepare yourself for Stake Conference ... so that you have questions that you'd like to have answered. And listen for answers to those questions in the speakers' addresses ... or in the feelings and impressions that you receive as you listen.

    I do hope that you're reading your scriptures and saying at least one sincere prayer daily. These are really good habits to cultivate NOW (instead of when you're OLD, like a certain teacher who's still attempting to be better. Seriously, establish those good habits NOW. It's super good advice. I wish I had done it back when I was much, much younger).

    If you have any questions or need some help on a topic, feel free to ask me for help.
    I do hope that you'd also include your parents (it's nice for them to feel needed/appreciated/honored), but I'm more than willing to help research or discuss stuff.

    Hopefully I'll see you all at Stake Conference.
    Remember, it's the WHOLE STAKE meeting at 10 am. If you want a comfy chair, you'd better try and get a seat early.
    If I see you, I'll wave to you!