Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ups and Downs

Well, the buzz from Education Week is over, I'm back to smoking and cursing and knocking back Classic Coke while I watch R-rated movies. Okay, so I'm not quite that bad, but the high is definitely gone and I'm back to just being a regular mortal in a regular mortal family with the ups and downs that go with it. Had a few of both this week, and I thought I'd share.

First up was this: College started again this week. Whoopee!! I have been waiting all summer to go back to school, and I was quite the eager beaver on Wednesday when I left for UVU campus. This is my first time taking English classes, since I switched my major this summer from business, and as such it was also my first time taking classes during the day. I have to say it was intimidating. I sat in the hallway with everyone else waiting for the previous class to get out, and felt old. Not like ancient old, just a little too old. My night classes were full of 30 and 40-somethings going back to school while working, but day classes have actual teenagers in them, apparently. And I haven't been an actual teenager in, oh, about 12 years.

And I felt it. I was sure that everyone was looking at me, wondering why someone so obviously middle-aged was sitting on the floor with all of the cool, hip kids who belong there. I wasn't quite wearing a housedress with my hair in rollers, but I felt like I was just that out of place. That I seemed like the opposite of the girl playing dress-up in her mommy's clothes - I was the pathetic mother who is dressing in her teen's clothes and not realizing how stupid she looks.

But by the time I got into the class, I started to calm down a little. This isn't high school again, there isn't the popular clique sitting in the back talking during class, I'm not going to be forced to play volleyball in gym class and look like a complete moron. And when the teacher started class, it got even better. We each introduced ourselves and said what we wanted to get out of the class, and it turned out that every single person in the room was either a reader or a writer, and they were taking this class, like me, just for fun! Can you imagine my surprise that there could exist a roomful of people who saw "Myths and Legends in Literature" in the catalog and said, "Ooh, that looks like fun?" I was in a room full of nerds, just like me!! No offense, classmates, but what a great feeling it is to know that even if I'm older than most of the college day students, I can still find a place where I belong.

And the classes I took were great, too. I always found my business classes interesting, but this Mythology class and my other class, Critical Analysys of Literature, are absolutely fun to me. I was almost giddy when I left, I was just so happy to be taking these classes on subjects that aren't just mildly interesting (like Business Law or Microeconomics) but exactly what I find to be fun. I had a fairly dopey grin on my face, which is one other way to distinguish me from my 18-year-old classmates. Of course, they aren't also escaping four kids at home, either.

A couple of downs this week: Brad took Zack's scooter to school on Friday and it was stolen. He had attempted to lock it, but there's nothing on a scooter for a bike lock to go through, as Brad has now learned from experience. He ended up having to walk home from school twice this week - once because the scooter was stolen, and once because his bike tire was flat. Poor kid.

I lost Zack at the school bookstore on Thursday. I had forgotten to pick up a book I needed when I was on campus on Wednesday, so I took Darcey (in her stroller) and Zack with me to grab it. What a mistake - the place was absolutely jam packed with hundreds of students. The line was, no joke, a hundred people long. It wound through the front of the store, then zigzagged up and down several aisles, and more people were browsing through the crowded aisles themselves, trying to get their books. As I was attempting to find the end of the line, I turned left and realized immediately that Zack hadn't seen me turn. He was right next to me one second, and the next he had been whisked by the crowd straight ahead, while I had turned. I called his name but he couldn't hear me. My only options were to leave Darcey and go grab Zack, or go up and around that aisle until I could get back to where he just was. I decided on plan B, and that was a mistake - in that 30 seconds, he was long gone.

Instantly my mind turned to damage control. Okay, I thought, get Zack back as quickly and surreptitiously as possible, so no one has to know that I lost my kid. I walked around the perimeter of the store, searching for him, but couldn't see him through all of those people. As the seconds ticked by, and I still couldn't find him, I pulled out the big guns - I went to a desk, and reported my son missing. They called over the P.A. system that there was a lost little boy, and to bring him to the front. Immediately a person who was standing near me said, "I saw that kid." I asked him where, and he took me down an aisle. Zack wasn't there (apparently he moved faster through these crowds than everyone else could) but other people had seen him and were pointing, and finally someone said, "He's right here!" He was up at the front near the registers, slightly scared but not as scared as I was. I thanked everyone who helped and then promptly wanted to crawl under a rug so people would stop looking at me. I did not want to be that mother who loses her kid at the bookstore, although in all honesty, I'm not only that mother, I'm also the mother who loses her kid at Albertsons and at Disneyland and Barnes and Noble and very frequently in our own cul-de-sac. So it's not like I can really erase who I am, just try to make it look like this isn't at all like me, to this room full of strangers. Like I said, damage control. I don't know if it worked or not, but it's probably the last time I take Zack on campus. And I might reconsider ever going in the bookstore again.

While I was in line paying $100 for the two books I was buying (grrrr...what a racket) I saw a magnet for sale that said "This moment is your life." And I wanted to say, "Does it have to be this moment? Can't I pick a different moment to be my life, one that had less humiliation and fear and anger and embarrassment? Wouldn't it be better if some happy moment was the moment that is my life? One of the ups and not the downs?"

No, I can't pick which moments are my life. The point of the magnet is that all of those moments are my life - the happy and the bad and the humiliating and the scary and the fantastic. My life can't always be sublimely happy. My life can't always be the dinner where the kids are all eating and telling jokes and loving each other. But they can be some of the moments. And the flip side is that my life can't always be losing my kid in public or 15 hour plane flights or exploding poopy diapers at the library or rushing a bleeding child to the emergency room. There's a decent sprinkling of the supremely good and the supremely bad, livening up a life that is mostly routine and, frankly, dull. And while I think I'd prefer to at least take the downs in life in a more private place than, say, a campus of 20,000 students, if I've got to have some public humiliation occasionally, at least I can have some public joy too. After all, those moments are my life, and they are meant to be shared.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ed Week Friday

The week is over, and it was both fantastic and exhausting. It was a level of spiritual input that I have never experienced - Women's Conference is the kindler, gentler Education Week. I love Women's Conference, but it's a little too short, and leaves me wanting more. It's the difference between an elegant, gourmet meal and an all-you-can-eat buffet. If I had had the self-control to pace myself, I could have eked out a little more energy for these last two days, but I don't. And just like at a buffet, I've stuffed myself so much that I think I'll never have to eat again.

Sadly, though, that's not true. And it makes the end of the week bittersweet, because I want this sublime feeling to last forever, and I know that once I'm fully immersed in the world again, it will fade. And that's sad. Why couldn't I live a perfectly spiritual life, where I do nothing without praying first and the scriptures are the books I grab when I want to read for fun. Where nothing makes me angry and I am full of love for all mankind, even the parts of mankind that normally bug the crap out of me. Like the people who eat during class and all I can hear is the sucking sound of the candy between their teeth. Or the people who encroach on my personal desk space with their hairy elbows. No, those things wouldn't bother me anymore. I wouldn't even notice them because I am so full of love. Why can't that be me?

So here is a list of all of the things that, were I perfect, I would now be doing forevermore:

Write my personal history
Write a history of all of my ancestors
Donate money to help orphans in Africa
Be a lifelong learner (that's one I think I've got down)
Go on weekly dates with Ryan
Go on monthly dates with each of my kids
Make Ryan go on monthly dates with the kids, too
Focus on the small things to improve our family
Go through all of our closets and get rid of half of our stuff
Keep the house clean and organized all the time
Study the parables and see the deeper meaning
Avoid the 4 No's of communication: lying, blaming, criticizing, anger
Don't be offended and don't offend either
Turn the other cheek
When the kids are fighting, pull out the scriptures. And not to whack them with.
Not feel guilt, unless there is sin involved
Recognize anger as a mask for fear
Show love the way the recipient needs it, not the way I do
Always handle disagreements calmly

But since that list is way too overwhelming, here are the things I'm going to start with:
Read my scriptures with more depth and focus, not just to get it done
Try to take less offense, and to give less offense
Love my family

Those I think I can handle, and it'll give me more to work towards. After all, I don't want to perfect myself too quickly. I want to have a reason to come back next year.


Here are the updated classes today:
Being Enough
Writing Personal History
Calming the Storms Within
Speaking the Language of Faith
Our Divine Design

And if you're interested, these speakers I thought were so great that next year I'll go to any class they teach:
Scott Andersen
S. Dee Barrett
C. Robert Line
Stan Crippen

Our Divine Design

by Scott Anderson

could we remember what it was like in the premortal life to receive our mission call. There were cheers in heaven when we got our mission call.

There are two major focal points of all prophecy in the scriptures.
1. The savior's life, the 1st prophecy ever in this life was made about him. Adam's sacrifice was a similitude. Study all of the prophecies and they point toward the savior.
2. Our life. This moment in time. What it would be like to get a mission call to our day? We would have known it would be hard but we would have been thrilled. Our world is changing so rapidly and we were personally trained to be here at this time. We shouted for joy. Now we're on the earth and we just shout.

Elder Holland - Mormon 8:34-35 - all prophets had visions of our time, which gave them comfort during their darker times. There would finally be one dispensation that would not fail. Ours, not theirs. It gave them joyful anticipations. It allowed them to prophecy of victory. The prophets have been looking at our day from the beginning of time, they are still looking and cheering us on. We go into battle in these last days representing Alma and abinadi and peter and Paul and the sacrifices they made.

They are still cheering us on. Section 58 - whether you live or die, you’ll be bless, great glory after tribulation - you are honored to come and lay a foundation. No one celebrates a great foundation, but they were honored to lay a foundation for us to live their dreams, of building Zion. The pioneers are cheering us on. We will be blessed beyond all others. We are the first being invited into the wedding feast.

One of the reasons the lord didn't temper the weather for the handcart companies so that we would have a sacrifice so great that it would be emblazoned in our hearts.

we have to do this together, not just me or my family, but the whole society together, being unified in purpose.
4 Nephi 1:1-

1. Be baptized
2. receive the Holy Ghost
3. Be converted - study one principle every month, and then do something about it so we are converted.

Object lesson - start at the temple, talk about premortal life, give them three golden keys. Drive away, mother told about children’s births. Then go to chuck e cheeses, mortal life. People would offer them 10 tokens for one of their keys. At the door, their earthy trinkets were taken away. Go to mortuary, learn about what happens after death, and if they had their keys they could be exalted.

4. Marriage and family - mosiah 26:15-20 god is more concerned about this part of our life than we know.
5. Temples

so many people define their lives by their present circumstance

two things brethren are deeply concerned
1. Debt - we've changed
2. Media - allowing us to receive wickedness in many ways
these are the ways Satan always uses to destroy Zion. Our hearts change and we treat each other badly. 4 Nephi 1:21 - the beginning of the bad end

Alma 58 - heavenly father wants to give us assurances that we will be comforted and have hope

Pres. Monson April 2008 sat morning talk - we can and will win our war against sin.

His Healing Hand

Gifts that we receive individually from the Lord.
One of the kindnesses we have is the veil - all we'd do is yearn to be back, we'd be homesick. Enoch sees the lord weeping because he wants his children to come back. His deep personal goal is to have the privilege to take us home to the father.
Jacob 4:5 - the savior wants us to worship the father in his name.
"Receive" 10 times in 12 verses of priesthood oath.

He has prepared for us a series of magnificent gifts.
Alma 7:11-13 - he takes on more than just sins

if they are aware of us down here, what did we feel when we watched him suffer in Gethsemane, did we weep together and rejoice as he completed his mission?

We were prepared for our circumstances specifically.
D&c 88
d&c 18 - gifts

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ed Week Thursday

If Education Week is a marathon, today was the day where I hit a wall. I'm still chugging along, but the energy is fading and it's getting harder to imagine another day of this. Don't get me wrong, it is still amazing, but after four solid days of constant input, my poor little brain is choking.

It would help if I didn't have so much junk cluttering up valuable brain space. I have a collection of useless trivia and 80's jingles taking up a serious amount of real estate that would sure come in handy when I'm trying to remember Articles of Faith 5-12 or the fact that there is a book in the Old Testament called Ruth. No, I can't have useful trivia, it all has to be the useless kind to get stuck in my brain. And all of the hymns that I'll never be able to memorize because I've got the Freedent Gum commercial permanently at the top of my mental playlist.

(In case you were wondering, here's how it goes:
Freedent's the one that took the stick out of gum -
And Freedent moistens your mouth.
Yes, moistens your mouth!
And freshens your breath while you chew!)

I've got more gems where that came from. I'm notorious in my scrapbooking circle for one time, very late at night, singing an o.b. tampon commercial I memorized years before I knew what a tampon was used for. Did I mention we were in public at the time? And I seem to recall being fairly loud, as I tend to be when I'm excited. That jingle is the reason I'll never remember what the Pythagorean Theorem is. There's just no room for useful info when I've got jingles to keep track of.

And that's not even mentioning the Big-Mac-Ingredient song, or the Washington Redskins fight song that I learned from my dad, which I've never heard another human sing in my entire life and therefore suspect that I might have given precious brain lodgings to a song my family made up. (It's been known to happen - my brother Tim asked to sing the song "Scripture Pages" in Primary, not knowing that "Scripture Pages" was the song my mom made up to the tune of "Picture Pages" to call the family together for scriptures. Oh! Picture Pages! That's another one I remember!)

Point being, there's just no room left. That's why these notes are so important to me - most of what I'm hearing has a non-stop route in my right ear and out the left, so if I write it down I've got a second chance to internalize some of this. It's the only hope I have, to go over this at home and hopefully these important doctrines and such will be the crowbar that finally pries out

"All of the pleasure, None of the guilt - TCBY!"


"Chili's, A celebration of food!"


"Rice-a-roni, The San Francisco treat. Ding! Ding!"

It's a tall order, but if anything can do it, Education Week can.


I didn't add any new classes today, so here are the classes I updated for Thursday:
How to Write your personal history
Calming the Storms within
Speaking the Language of Faith
Parables of Redemption
Making Marital Adjustments

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ed Week Wednesday

Holy cow, I don't think my brain is big enough to comprehend all of this. I already gave up trying to implement everything, I'm in this for survival now. I can't believe there's still two more days of this to go. (I mean that in a good way, lest Ryan think I'm volunteering to stay home. I'm still going.)

I learned some things at Ed Week that wasn't taught by an instructor. Here are some of my lessons:

Don't even bother looking at close parking lots for a spot. It wastes time and there isn't going to be a spot, anyhow. I ended up driving around for 10 extra minutes before giving up and going back to the Marriott Center lot, parking in the exact same row I parked in yesterday.

No one is ready for Provo's advanced "lagging left" turn signal system. They give you a left hand turn arrow at the end of the green light, after the light has already turned red, so no one is looking and therefore they sit there during the left arrow. Then I honk, kindly of course, and the car slides through the intersection as the now-yellow arrow turns red. It's a great idea, Provo, but we're just not ready for it yet.

Avoid the Wilkinson Center classes at all costs. I kept wondering why people would be all stressed out about getting a seat in a class - all of the classes I have attended would slowly fill up, so as long as you didn't dawdle you could find a seat. Not so at the Wilkie. Maybe I just picked the wrong one, but when I headed for "Becoming a Woman of Destiny" the line was hundreds and hundreds of people long, wrapping around and around the building. Eventually I ducked through an empty crossing hallway and found another classroom that was not full ("Drawing on Powers of Heaven") and attended it by default.

Comfy shoes! I see some women in heels and I think, what the heck are they thinking?? I've been wearing fairly comfy shoes, and I have a searing pain in my right shin and an ache in my left thigh. (Why the uneven distribution of pain? No idea, just to make a stronger point, I think.) No need to suffer for fashion at Ed Week. If you're under thirty, you're going to get noticed no matter what your footwear. And if you're over thirty, no one cares. Just my opinion, of course. Feel free to disregard it. But don't come whining to me with your podiatrist bill.

It's worth skipping meals, gorging on Fiber One bars (although may I suggest, not on a morning where you ate All-Bran for breakfast, that's just way too much fiber for a 31-year old), inhaling bbq chicken sandwiches while you run from one building to another - I would do any of those things not to miss a class. Although the 4:30 hour has been kind of a bust both days - I'll be trying another new class that hour tomorrow. But other than that hour, there's not a single class that I'd rather eat a leisurely lunch than be there. It's all so good.

I updated these classes:
Being Enough, Doing Enough
Writing a Personal History (dad, you have a cameo in this one)
Speaking the Language of Faith

I've dumped Inviting Heaven into Marriage, Rock Solid Family Relationships, and Strengthening You in Your Family. In all of those cases, the information was good but the teaching style didn't do it for me. Here are the replacement classes, new for Wednesday:

Calming the Storms Within and Progressing Towards Happiness
Building Relationships that last a lifetime or longer
Parables of Redemption
Drawing on the Powers of Heaven
Making Marital Adjustments

I'll do all of these again tomorrow, except the "Drawing on Powers of Heaven" class. Maybe I'll have a late lunch, ha ha. (More likely I'll be in the bookstore, a dangerous place for me in general but lethal when I'm in a learning mood.)

Hope you enjoy it, sorry about all the typo's. I spend an hour doing a spell check, but anything the spell checker doesn't get, doesn't get fixed. I can't believe I'm so lucky to do this. This is completely freakin awesome!!

Making Marital Adjustments

by Doug Brinley

Wednesday: What Prophets Say About Marital Problems/Solutions

Why the increase in divorces and unhappy married couples the past few decades?

What do our prophets say the problem is and what are their solutions?

Baptists have highest divorce right 29%
Atheists 21
Agnostic 20
Jews 23
Mormons 24
Temple married Mormons 6%

If we don't marry in the temple, we are just as likely as the rest of the world to get divorced.

Hinckley - couple had habit of speaking of the faults of the other, unwilling to forgive mistakes, unwilling to forget, carping - a small measure of repentance and forgiveness, they would still be together.

Is this a skill problem?

Hinckley - I find selfishness to be the root cause of most of it.
A happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well being of one's companion. It's the basis of money problems, adultery, lust.
Selfishness is the antithesis
of love. Too many think everything must be right at all times. 1991 ensign

Kimball - divorce is not a cure of difficulty, just an escape. Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other.

Kimball the acceptance of divorce as a cure is a sin of this generation. Marriage never was easy.

Benson April 1986 - selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. How everything affects me is the center of all.

The lord references "heart problem" soft or hard hearts. 22 references in 1 Nephi
453 in book of Mormon
720 in bible

1 n 2:16, 18-19
Nephi softened heart, laman and lemuel did not
1n7:8, 19
1nephi 12:17

Nobody thinks their selfishness, although they think other people are. It's got to be somebody else.

Packer- true doctrine softens hearts- changes behavior
Mosiah 5:2 Alma 5:11-13
Spirit wrought mighty change in heart, to no more do evil, but good continually - that would make a good spouse

Atonement fall creation are the basics

Maxwell - the distance between self-pleasing and self-worship is not far. (Nov 1990) selfishness activates all the cardinal sins. It is the detonator of the Ten Commandments.

Dc 116:11 - be ashamed of littleness of soul - change bishop to husband/wife father/mother

How do we have littleness of soul?

D&c 66 - no wonder he left the church (although It answered a prayer)

Thursday: Doctrines That Strengthen Marriage

The nature of God is the most basic concept of religion.

Joseph Smith - most of mankind does not understand the character of god, therefore don't know themselves. God was as we are now, is an exalted man - he is a man in form. We know we can converse with him as one man to another, and he dwelt on this earth.

Much different than the world's view of the nature of god.

What do we know about H.F.?
Elohim - Hebrew, plural
Married - a husband
Parent - a father
Has a home/residence - Abraham 3:1-4,9 near Kolob, star that gravitationally controls that planet - our premortal home
Was once a man like us, dwelt on an earth

We need to stay close to the lord, because he is a father and wants to help us. There is no problem he can't resolve - there is no child that he would say "I haven't seen one like this!"

The lord and his servants know more about helping marriage and families than secular help.
No one has more interest in our success than the Lord does.

Father of many spirit children, many worlds d&c 76:23-24 - inhabitants are his spirit children. His world is resurrected, glorified and celestial as this earth will be dc 88:19-20

Spirit children - the nature of the offspring is determined by the nature of the substance that flows in the veins of the being. Spirit/resurrected beings have spirit matter

Melvin Ballard, 3 degrees of glory pamphlet

JS - resurrected beings will have spirit in their bodies, not blood.

So we as resurrected glorified beings will have spirit children, like Heavenly Father did.

Would we want a mission for our children that will test their souls? Or that will drive them to their knees? Finding people to teach is the hardest part of a mission can make you wonder if you are doing any good. But most are grateful for the experience, no matter how hard it is.

That's kind of how mortality is. When we get to the other side, we'll reflect on earth life the same way. The life cycle is painful; we don't tell newlyweds that one spouse will eventually have to bury the other one.

Father's joy is to see us do well, like all parents. His goal is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life, for us to become as he is. Hence the importance of marriage in the plan of salvation. Moses 1:39

Elder oaks - our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them. Ensign may 1995.

Hebrews 12:9 - Paul taught that god is the father of our spirits

How do you think heavenly father treats his wife? Is he critical, sarcastic? Do they have a fight once a month just to clear the air?

Pornography is so damnable because you can't be in the celestial kingdom with thoughts in your head about another person. You can't look at another person that way, it's someone else's wife.

By your words, by your deeds, and your thoughts you will be judged.

Zeezrom was converted because amulek was able to discern his thoughts by the power of the spirit. We have to have pure thoughts and pure minds and end up in the celestial kingdom, thinking about what they would do with another person. Eternal marriage involves a sexual relationship, creating spirit children. Adultery would be possible physically.

Our father understands the trials and challenges of mortality we undergo because he has been through them himself. Every marriage has access to the best marriage and family counselor in the universe.

Nature of evil spirits - Heber c Kimball in journal of discourses saw in vision evil spirits in spirit bodies, in image of god with no body. Satan's curse is that he will never be a husband/father - thus he works to destroy marriages/families. When we start fighting, guess who is applauding? That's why we get endowed before sealed, because we need that power and knowledge of the evil that will be attacking our marriage.

Dc 130:22, 88:14-18 - soul
Ether 3:8, 16-17 nature of spirits
Dc 77:2-3 - spirit body like mortal body
Dc 129:4-9 - keys to discern - you can't tell by looking if someone is a mortal or resurrected etc. We can't feel spirit. Nothing in mortality can destroy a spirit
Dc 131:7-8 - spirit matter is elastic, adult spirit in newly born body
dc 45:17; 138:50 - we will miss our body at death, it's is a prison, can't have children, can't have feelings
dc 88:6-13 - light

temple marriage is in the name of father, son and Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ is part of our marriage.

Our spirit was born as a baby, grow to adult in premortal life, is born, lives, and dies - spirit can't die - Christ provides resurrection - reunites body and spirit through power of the atonement - if we are married in the temple (and treat each other well) - we come forth as man and woman, marriage continues and can create spirit children.

If Christ did not exist, our body would die and our spirit would be in that state for eternity, like Satan.
2nephi 9

because of Christ we can be married forever.

The world say "till death do you part" so be a good husband while you can.

How we benefit from the atonement
1. Sins forgiven as we repent
2. Resurrect
6. Covenants, ordinance personal righteousness exalt us
7. Become joint heirs with Christ and become members of church of the first born through temple marriage
8. Will live on this earth in celestial state
9. Satan banished forever - plan of father completed for us as we gain exaltation dc 76:33; 133:73

Heber c Kimball - god is pleasant, lively, and good-natured because when I have his spirit, that's how I am. He is jovial, lively person, and a beautiful man.

Holy ghost is a man, one of the sons of our father, he is a man
third member of the spiritual 1st presidency, so to speak.

dc 130:22

Holy ghost remembers who we were in premortal, he knows what is expected of us. He is going to help us prepare for our foreordinations, priesthood, young womanhood, mission, finding a spouse. We need to live so that we receive that help.

True doctrine understood would make you a saint; it would make you insane if you went against it.

Drawing On the Powers of Heaven to Realize Righteous Desires

by Edith Marsh

Wednesday: How to Grow and Progress from Trials and Afflictions

When we are trying to achieve a new level of righteousness, Satan works hard to discourage us.

People can fail us, but the savior never will. He is an unchanging God. I will not put my arm in the arm of flesh 2 Nephi 4

When we turn to the savior with yearning hearts he speaks peace to our souls. And it's not conditional peace. The lord is not turned away by circumstances, even though we say it won't happen to us for all these reasons.

The world will tell you in bad circumstances that you can’t possibly have peace. But the savior gives you a peace inside that can come to you regardless.

Alma 58:10-12 - pour out souls to strengthen us, he spake peace to souls, granted great faith, gave hope, we took courage - they didn't get anything tangible, but got assurance that everything would be okay, and they were more determined to conquer.

Harold b lee said the hardest test is the death of a loved one.

Mosiah 24: eases their burdens, broaden shoulders, burdens didn't get taken away but they felt light. So they would stand as a witness that the Lord visits people in their affliction.

She was in a car accident and when she regained consciousness the spirit told her that her husband was dead but everything was going to be okay. Isn't that what we would do for our child - comfort them, over and over, tell them even through their pain that everything is going to be all right. She felt that joy and peace that comes from the savior, and has never forgotten it.

D&c 45:62 - great things await you

Don’t give up on the lord, the prayer you are asking is probably already being answered; it just takes some time to get it.

The savior would have use serve others by relieving their pain the best we can. The lord often sends angels to bear us up, sometimes those angels are people.

The most special times come through dark moments.

Jacob 3:1 - he will console you and plead your cause

Strength is forged in adversity.

Once we accept that life is difficult, then it doesn't feel difficult - because we've changed our expectations. It pains us when we expect life to be easy.

Everyone gets their own package because the lord knows what we need - our trials will bring out our talents the best.

It is pain that brings hope, it is pain that purifies. Growth and progress depend more on the difficult conditions than the easy ones.

Don't ask the lord to take away the trials he has specifically designed for your growth.

Three kinds of problems:
1. Problems that are natural consequence of mortal life.
2. Problems of our own making.
3. Trials that the Lord gives us for our eternal growth.

One of the purposes of adversity is preparation.

The answer to our pain is prayer - bring our hearts to the lord through prayer.

Philippians 4:7

Alma 22:23

Let us not die with our music still in us.

Parables of Redemption

How the Parables of Jesus Help Us to Better Understand and Apply the Atonement

by C. Robert Line

Wednesday: The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

Keys to understanding the parables
Often conceal rather than reveal doctrine
Often teach doctrine of atonement
Best understood when their context is understood

Matthew 20
It doesn't seem fair, but when we read them as a story we only get so much. Inside the deepest doctrines are the pearls of greatest price.

What is the context?
Matthew 19 - verse 16-23 - man asks how to receive eternal life, sell all he possesses, he couldn't do it. Rich man can't get into heaven. V.25 - the key that unlocks parable - who can be saved?

Parable is about salvation, how you and I are saved.

Verse 26 - with man salvation is impossible, only through Jesus Christ. "This" = salvation

Alma 34:9 - can't be a sacrifice of a mortal, only eternal

Verse 28 - peter asks what's in it for us? Christ says, plenty. And so will any who sacrifices for his sake.

The twelve were looking for a better reward because they labored longer
The reward was promised if they were worthy, but it was hinted that some outside the apostolic circle would prove in the end more worthy than some of the apostles. Bruce r mcconkie

What is parable about?
1. Rebukes against the spirit of entitlement.
2. More important - it is an in-depth teaching about the savior's grace and mercy.

Important symbols
1. Lord of the vineyard - Christ
2. Laborers in the vineyard -
Those who join the church,
3. The penny - eternal life

Related scriptures:
2 Nephi 25:23 - by grace we are saved, "after all we can do" doesn't mean that we have to do everything. Grace s an enabling power than gives us ability to do good works. Meaning "despite all we do" - even if we labor all our days and it will still not be enough. We'd still be unprofitable servants. Our works are important but they don't have a salvational role

2 Nephi 2:3 - Jacob is redeemed not because of his righteousness, but because of Christ’s' righteousness

Atonement is infinite. Mathematically, infinite plus 1 = infinity. Spiritually speaking, we have to enter into covenant with him as the one. What we do here really doesn't matter, as long as we decide to be in and stay in the covenant relationship. That's what you have to be to attain eternal life. When we get our penny, will we be proud of ourselves? No, we are woefully short of our own salvation. It doesn't matter how many hours we labor, as long as we get in the covenant relationship.
Matthew 20
How Christ describes reward
V4 right
13 - I do thee no wrong
15 - lawful

Not for sinners, willfully rebel, just those in the covenant and remain in covenant.

V.10-12 - notice the attitudes
Look at section 84 - reward is everything the father has, how can you ask for more?

We say that people are proud of being rich or clever or good looking but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking - cs Lewis. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it that the next man. It is the comparison that makes you proud, the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.
Mere Christianity

V.12 - irony that these laborers thought 12-hour day was burden, misery - should see that it is still better than living in sin.

Matthew 11 - burden is easy, light

L tom Perry Nov 1999 - Christianity is not weight, it is wings
Not a burden, it is buoyant.

Wailing wall - this is the closest thing to the temple - they are praying for return of temple, mourning loss of temple in 70 a.d.

People that are wandering need to be loved back, you can't shout at them from a distance for them to join you, you need to go to them.

D&c 1:30 - most offensive doctrine to outsiders, that there is one true church

Sometimes confuse it with this scripture - 1 Nephi 14:10 - church of Lamb of God, church of the devil
2 Nephi 10:16 - the church of the devil isn’t any particular church; the church of the lamb is religion that will save. Religion that

Well-intentioned churches are not mother of abominations. Church of the lamb is by loyalty not membership. There are members of other churches who belong to the lamb is based more on who has your heart than on who has your records.

Church of the Lamb/devil are churches of the heart - any one of any institution can be in it. Some members of LDS faith are doing things to put them in the church of the devil.

1st pres Feb 1978
Many people given a portion of god's light - i.e. Confucious, Plato, etc.

Elder oaks 2000
Master’s reward in final judgment will not be based on how long we have labored in the vineyard. It's not punching a time clock. We need to become something; it might take some longer time. Many who come in 11th hour have been prepared in other ways than formal employment in the vineyard. Still need perfecting ordinance of baptism and Holy Ghost.
d&c 123:12 - 11th hour laborers know not where to find it.

Benson 0 good uses good men to do his purposes

Whitney 1928 - maybe people can be more useful out side the church for a wise purpose in god. We have no quarrel with the gentiles - they are our partners.

Salvation is in Christ - he is the one that saves.

Drawing on the powers of heaven to realize righteous desires

Thursday: Parable of the Talents

4th key to understanding parable: parables are often a microcosm of the plan of salvation

Parable of the talents touches on this life and also the pre-existence.

Maxwell apr 1997

Trying to comprehend the meaning of this life without the plan of salvation is like trying to understand a 3-act play while seeing only the second act. The atonement and knowledge of the savior helps us to endure our trials and see purpose in suffering and to trust god for what we cannot comprehend.

Matthew 25:14-30

Context is parable of ten virgins, though some things in this parable don't have a context.

Lord of the servants - God
Servants - all of us
Talents - gifts and abilities

Historically, a talent back then was about $2.5 million
(Anywhere from $500,000 to $4,000,000)

Do we realize how much our worth is?

Verse 21, 23
They end up with 4 and 10 talents, but both get the same reward. In both cases, the lord considered 2 and talents "a few".

Verse 29
Bad economic plan to take from poor and give to rich. Alma 12:9-11 - if you listen to gospel you'll gain more light, the greater portion of the word. Spiritually speaking you can't stand on neutral ground - you either increase talents or they wither and die

2 Nephi 28:29-30 - this is an attitude in the church occasionally - if you ever stop learning you will apostatize (JS)

If you have chosen to follow Christ, you have left neutral ground, and can never get back to it. You will either serve god or Satan.

Matthew 25 Verse 24-25
Heavenly father is going to reap where he hasn't sown - he expects us to do the sowing. He has given us the ability. Some get a rake and some seed, and some get a tractor - if you get a tractor, you better get to work.

"Hard master" - men are prone to conceive of the attributes of god as comprising in augmented degree the dominant traits of their own nature. (Talmadge)

Something is missing - where did the talents come from? Why did some have 5, some 2, and some 1?

Matter always existed, can't create it or destroy it. One type is intelligence or spirit matter, more fine or pure than regular matter. It has substance. Section 93 is coarse matter, iron carbon, etc.

Heavenly father organizes intelligence into a spirit
He organized element into bodies. A spirit is an organized intelligence.

Christ is the firstborn, meaning he was the first spirit child born to god the father in the pre-existence.

Alma 13:3 context is priesthood holders in pre-existence

Some had exceeding faith, implies some had little faith or no faith. Why have faith when you can see god?

Verse 5
1. We had agency in the preexistence.
2.dc 93:29 - agency began when we were organized as spirits.
3. We could choose good or evil (sins).
4. Abr. 3:18-19 - we had varying degrees of faithfulness.

We had lessons; we made choices in the preexistence.
5. We started our preexistence as spirits on the same standing - equal capacity!

Mcconkie - we developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities. No two spirits remained alike. The whole house of Israel was inclined toward spiritual things.

Mcconkie - men are not born equal (on the earth). Each person in this life has those talents and capacities which his preearth life entitle him to receive. Some by obedience to law acquired one talent and some another and all bring with them into mortality.

We’ll be judged on two things - spiritual knowledge, received testimony AND obedience -
Section 82:3 - sons of perdition had testimony but not obedient, received the worst

Lehi’s dream describes 4 types of people, parable of sower has 4 types of soils - there are always 4 types of outcomes based on the above.

D&c 93:38 - innocent in the beginning of premortal life. We were given agency and were free from sin at the beginning. God redeemed us from our personal fall in the preexistence. We not only chose heavenly father's plan, but we partook of the atonement and were cleansed from our sins.

There is not such thing as original sin all children start out their mortal probation in purity and innocence because of the atonement.

People exercised faith in the atonement, it was operative Infinitely. In order to come here innocent we had to be saved. With a credit card you can buy things, but eventually the payment has to be made.

They had to have faith in the atonement, and some people exercised great faith.

Some of us worry about not being able to be redeemed from our sins, but we shouldn't doubt because it's happened once already. We've already experienced the cleansing and forgiveness.

We know this:
We start out as spirits
-Innocent, free of sin
-Same capacity
We start mortal life
-Innocent again - free of sin
-Different capacities because of choices made in preexistence

Isn’t it reasonable to believe that what we were given in this world was because of obedience in the premortal state? Harold b lee

God does not punish, he blesses. We are put in places we are because of justice and mercy.

Do good with what you have, and he will bless you with many things.

Wj Cameron "Is there a chosen people?" in James H Andersons God's Covenant Race. Pp 300

Our greatest success comes from being ourselves

Building Relationships That Last for a Lifetime or Longer

by Carrie Wrigley

Wednesday – Communication: Strategies That can bring you together rather than pull you apart
There has never been a better time to learn how to build relationships that we can use to learn in practical ways how to communicate and appreciate each other.

In the gospel we have the lofty beautiful principles - be ye therefore perfect - that can be discouraging in regular life. Seek learning by study and also by faith - find secular resources and also through the Holy Ghost. If secular wisdom matches concepts in spiritual resources, then we can trust it.

Communication - strategies that bring you together rather than pull you apart.

Communication is the top concern for people in therapy.

The distance in relationships comes from "I know what I need, but it isn't what you need, and you don't understand my need." It creates an impasse in the middle of a very natural process.

Thy watchmen shall lift up their voice because they see eye to eye - Isaiah scripture. Seeing eye to eye happens through communication.

Poor communication is telling what you see and then trying to convince the other person that that is right. That they have to see it that way.

D&c 130:2 - the same sociality with eternal glory.

The same relationship, the same personalities, the same communication skills we have here is what we will have on resurrection morning. Nothing magically changes when we die. Alma 34 - this life is the time to prepare so we can have relationships we will want to have forever.

Essential resources for effective long-term relationships
1. Positive time. Invested, focused time.
2. Effective communication.
The more time you spend together the more you need strategies to understand and communicate well.

Ephesians 4:29-32 - no corrupt communication, just edification, bring grace. No anger, evil speaking, be kind, tender hearted, forgiving.

D&c 136:23-24 - cease to contend, speak evil, drunkenness on anger, edify

Edify means to build. Use language to builds positive solution, makes people feel better about themselves. Language that is critical hurtful and tears down, we are destroying relationships.

The quality of the communication determines the quality of a relationship.

You can't not communicate. More is communicated by not saying anything - most of our language is body language, less by vocal tone, the least is the actual words you use.

Body language is incredibly communicative, and can either build up or tear down.

The key to communication is having the right heart, the right feelings and honesty. Communication works best if you can say what you are thinking and feeling, from a clean, pure, honest heart. Its not just skills. Speaking the truth in love.

Building blocks of negative communication
1. Truth - I’m right, you're wrong, my job is to convince you
2. Blame - it's all your fault
3. Martyrdom - poor me, I’m a victim
4. Put downs
5. Hopelessness - why even try
6. Demandingness - my way now!
7. Denial - I’m not angry/hurt/sad
8. Passive aggressiveness - silent darts, pretending everything’s okay
9. Self-blame
10. Helping - let me fix that for you
11. Sarcasm - "sit-com"-munication
12. Defensiveness and counter-attack

The first 3 minutes predict the final course of a conversation:
Harsh start-up never ended well
Softened start-up more likely to solve problem and end with relationship strengthened

Examples of criticism:
Labeling - you're such a
Generalizing - you never, you always, you only think
That’s harsh

Criticizing - generalizing your displeasure to a widespread negative view of the person's basic character or motivation system. Escalates the problem, feels like character assassination, inviting defensiveness, emotional flooding, emotional withdrawal, with no solution.

Relationship problems are almost always circular. This person did this, but they blame that, who blames him back for that other thing, who blames back because of something else.

Complaining - expressing displeasure about a specific event or behavior that you'd like to see changed. Can be resolved by specific, respectful solutions developed together.

Don't ignore large problems.

The goal - communication that is
1. Effective
2. Respectful

We may not agree, but I see what you see and you see what I see. See that there is validity to each other's points. I honor and validate and see as just as real and just as important what I'm experiencing.

The feeling good handbook by David Burns, the best handbook ever.

Communication has two properties
You express your feelings openly and directly.
And you encourage the other person to express his or her feelings.
The ideas of both people are important.

Matt 22:39 - love neighbor as thyself. You don't get full picture of puzzle until you put his pieces with her pieces.

The communication process
Sender and receiver
Message goes from sender to receiver, what they are feeling about specific situation
Receiver reflects back what they heard
Sender either confirms or corrects until receiver can tell exactly what the sender means. Then they switch.

Ineffective communication, two senders no receivers. No one accepts receiver role. Everyone wants to prove their point and prove the other person wrong.

Is someone catching the message?

Effective listening skills
Listen to understand, don't listen to respond.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Add nothing to your reflection. Just mirror back and validate what the speaker said to you.

Effective speaking skills
Speak in digestible chunks, in sentences not pages.
Use I messages, not you messages.
Be clear, but be kind. The point is to be heard and understood. Don't put the listener on the defensive.

Calming The Storms Within and Progressing Toward Happiness

By Stan Crippen

Wednesday: It's the Little Things That Count - Spouses

Surgeon generals warning - the scriptures advise dispensing education week counsel in wisdom and order, line upon line, here a little, there a little, as you return home to your family that has been living in the world this week.

In other words, don't give them a drink out of a fire hose.

Principle 1 -
If you want to change your relationship, start by changing yourself.

If something is bugging, pray for a soft heart

Principle 2 -
By small and simple means shall great things come to pass (alma 37:6)

In a forest, it's not the trees that trip us, it 's the vines. If w can change little, practical everyday things it will make a big difference. Instead of making large changes.

It's the little things that matter - praying together, reading scriptures

Satan’s greatest desire is to take your hope away. Christ wants to give you hope.

Marriage is practice for the Celestial Kingdom - or whatever kingdom you're working for.

Hopefully we are making our home life to be like a heaven. That's what we are progressing towards.

Our relationship with our spouse should exemplify our relationship with our Savior.

Little things to do-
Listen - eye contact, not interrupt, responding appropriately, we learned to communicate in our home family then had to mesh with someone who communicates differently
Forgive Quickly
Speak highly of each other
Physical Affection
*Don't take offense easily - lots of scripture references
Choose your arguments
Fight fair (no harmful words, tones) focus on resolving, not winning
Cleave to each other
Schedule time to be together (it's like a houseplant that you don't water)

And not do!
Read minds
Make Thoughtless comments
Take each other for granted
Point Fingers - don’t assess blame, assume there is a reason for the behavior
Leave important acts undone (anything your spouse thinks is important)
Leave important words unsaid
Focus on little irritations
Use annoying tones of voice (teasing, sarcasm, insults, not just what you say but how you say it)
Cleave to other things
Let relationship go stale

Hinckley - "Husband and wife are companions. She neither walks behind him nor ahead of him but at his side."

If we think we have all the answers, we begin to walk ahead, which gives our spouse permission to walk further behind. We don't have all the answers.

Hinckley again "You can trace all marriage problems to selfishness, thinking of oneself instead of one's companion. I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well being of one's companion. Any man who will make his wife's comfort his first concern, will stay in love with her..."

Things husbands can do to meet the needs of wife
Ask more what can I do? And then do it
Go to bed together, early.
Be on time for work
Enjoy food prepared for you and say thanks
I love it when you lead out spiritually
Be positive
Talk with me about more than our normal daily life

What wives can do
Save time and energy for me and us
Help me feel like I'm superman and I will be
Make my lunches with oomph!
Have snuggle time with the kids
Wear perfume and lotion
Forgive always
Play catch with me
Plan temple trips
Read books together
Speak positively of me to others

Learn each other's differences
Genesis 2:24
150 years ago, you had to cleave for survival - today, we don't need each other for survival. We have so much leisure time that we fill up that we can cleave to other things. Ask if your first cleave is unto your spouse?

Picture of an Amish bucket, made of wooden strips held tightly together with iron bands so that it is watertight.

Give love and affection freely

Proverbs 5:18-19
Be the kind of person that can be ravished for

Stay out of the rear-view mirror
You can't drive looking only in the rearview mirror, you'll crash. In marriage, we can get in a mode that we are always looking back. We need to more forward, have hope, look to the future, or we will crash.

This gospel is a gospel of the second chance, or repentance. Do not insist on remembering what god is willing to forget. Our mistakes should be remembered as guides to better lives in the future. Hugh b. Brown

It's the Little Things That Count - Families

**Note to self - try making the boys hug when they are fighting. Also, give them lists of jobs, detailed expectations of their jobs

2nephi 32:3,5 - two things that I should do - feast on the word, listen to the spirit, those things will tell you what you should do. No need to have an exhaustive list of things we need to do, rely on scriptures and spirit to tell us what to do.

Advice should fall like snow, very softly.

Church pamphlet - getting the bugs out of your marriage - through distribution center.

Key to strong family is having a strong husband/wife relationship.

Self-esteem in topical guide - doesn't reference scriptures but references man, spirit child of heavenly father, potential to become like heavenly father, the worth of souls.

Crumpled dollar bill still worth something. Sometimes we look at our worth and see the crumples, but god sees in their hearts. Self-esteem is on the outside, how we look, our trophies, and letter jackets.

Help children see that their worth doesn't come from outside things. Hope kids don't have abundant good looks so they don't rely on their outside worth, experience poverty so they appreciate what they have.

Kids want to be/have something different. If they can remember that they are a child of god, their worth on the inside, it will help them.

Family proclamation on parenting - should be defining document for our family.

First we should love and care for each other, and our children. We have kids and feel the need to meet their needs, but neglect our marital needs.

Used forced service (anonymously) as one of their chores, to teach them service.

How do we integrate the teachings of Jesus Christ in our family? Don't feel guilty, but what can we do to improve:
Recreational activities

Are organized sports supporting your family?

Brethren should lead out in prayer, fhe, should preside

Parents help as equal partners

Parenting styles -
Teach correct principles and allow choices
Children may -
Learn to make choices
Develop appropriate self-confidence
Take risks
Be self-motivated
Make decisions and live with consequences

Overly controlling and dominating:
Children may -
Lack self-confidence
Do what they're told
Don’t learn to take risks, scared
Don’t think for self
Don’t trust their judgment

Overly permissive:
Children may -
Grow up thinking anything they do is fine
Think won't be accountable for actions
Feel they aren't expected to live by same rules as everyone else

Adam and eve are told what's there, are told about the temptations - given choice and consequence.

Hinckley quote - use the discipline of love rather than the heartbreak of the discipline of terror that children might experience. I know that your patience wears thin but I hope that you would restrain your anger. Among all the assets you possess nothing is so precious as your children. The greatest thing to have is the love, confidence, and respect for your children.

We are the custodians of our children - the lord lent them to us, and has not given up his interest in how our children turn out. Fathers, control your tempers. Mothers, control your voices. Ensign July 1997 Hinckley

Focus on teaching correct principles

Rear them in admonition of the lord - teach them the words of god, the guidance from the scriptures so they know where to turn.

They are not a mirror of us, where when they do something wrong it means we did something wrong. We make mistakes just as often as they do, but god doesn't spank us, does he?

The lord’s arms are not just open, they are outstretched, ready to receive. We need to emulate god. We have not failed as long as we have tried.

Hinckley - sept 1998 - husband, live worthy of the priesthood. Wives, give encouragement to husband. Children, listen to parents. Let there be peace in the homes of our people.

Pure hearts in pure homes are within whispering distance of heaven. McKay

Three most important meetings for healthy families
1. Sacrament meeting - for self - we can't lift someone up if we aren't lifted our selves.
2. Weekly Date Night - spouse
Also, get always once or twice a year. Sometimes it takes the first four hours just to melt and remember why you love them.
3. Family home evening - family. Try to create a memory, it doesn't matter if it's only ten minutes or in your pajamas.
Family executive meeting - scheduling, alleviating irritants in time management
Family Council meeting - what we want to do, family goals
Personal Visit - listening more than talking
Time Alone

Pinpricking - we do it with our words and actions. We don't draw blood, but we don't uplift.

Sometimes we get caught up in the thick of thin things. Elder Holland called them spiritual Twinkies, the things that take our time but give us nothing in return.

Trying to push someone from underwater, when we try to push them up, we push ourselves down farther. We need to be on solid ground to pull other people up.

Yearly Planning Meeting
1. Family activities I'd like to do this year.
2. Areas our family could improve.
3. Personal goals I have this year.
4. Personal improvements I want to make
5. Things I'd like to do with Mom and Dad

You can be a kids' advocate or cheerleader when they have their own goals

What children like their parents to do:
Snuggle in bed and talk
Say I love you daily
Be a friend at times
Singing around the piano
Talking about day
Listen without getting upset
Family bike rides
Lay down on the floor
Play together not just watch
Personally made gift at Christmas
Time away
Be kind to each other
Help with project
Praise and support
Thank you

Monson 2006
Training our families requires our presence our time, our best efforts.
Sometimes we put our best effort in things that give us immediate feedback instead. Have time for counseling and guidance.

There is a little bit of heat and a little bit of pressure in this world today that can share into something that we are not. What is the heat and pressure shaping your family’s' life into something you don't want.

(Chicken and golf ball story)
Feb 11, 1999 1st pres letter

Find one things we can change in our family

Friday: Enjoying the everyday journey of life - measuring success, priorities, and happiness

Communicate lovingly

elder Marvin J. Ashton conference address - "the tongue can be a sharp sword."
none of us need one more person bashing or pointing out where we have failed or fallen short.

We need to be our family's cheerleaders - the world will humble them, we need to be there to shore our family up. Root for each other.

"Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped."
dc 115: defense and refuge from the storm in our home

do anything you can do to uplift others.

Js - happiness is the object of our existence - path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, keeping commandments

Our kids do drugs, have sex, etc because we think it's going to make us happy.

so many people are so busy with their church activity that they aren't active in the gospel. Happiness is the aim of the gospel, David o McKay 1984.
joy is sweeter than pleasure. Pleasure is gratification of senses.
3 Nephi 27:11 - if something is built on works of man or devil, have joy *for a season* (like kids in summer, over so fast) we can do something wrong and think we're having joy, but it doesn't last. We end up in a personal hell.

Pride by PreS. Benson - Pride is when we choose to do our will over god's will. May 1989 ensign, beware of pride. If you are having problems with pride, read that article.

What is success?
achieving a goal

mosiah 3:19 - definition of success
natural man is what we feel when someone cuts us off on freeway, or we see scantily clad people. Natural man will be with us forever.
We need to dot he things to keep the Holy Ghost, yielding to enticings puts off natural man. Atonement is the key to letting go. We need to be as a child, meek, submissive, humble, patient, full of love.

It's not the qualities the world will look at as a successful person, but it's the lord's definition of success.

We need to see our trials as an opportunity for growth, not just an infliction.

David o McKay - ppi with savior
1. Accountability about relationship of spouse.
2. Each child individually.
3. What you've done with talents.
4. Church assignments, how you've served other men.
5. Not how you've earned a living, but if you were honest in all your dealings.
6. Contribute in a positive manner to community, state, country, and world.

Changes are made personally, one-on-one, not just in a class setting. We change lives individually. The lord's favorite number is one.

Christ didn't condemn the woman taken in adultery. He just wants you to stop, not hate themselves and beat themselves up.

Matthew 6:33 - if we had faith, happiness, peace, progress, prosperity will come

we have to row our boat, but the lord is pulling the other oar.

Happiness comes from forgiveness, forget yourself and help others. Being offended is an anchor, sticking you in the mud, and not moving. Satan loves to create offense.
d&c 81:5
"whosoever will lose his life (not focused on own life) for my sake shall find it."

do we turn too much to dr. Phil? To the world? We need to look to the Lord for light and strength and comfort.

Sometimes we are so busy doing the things that matter, that we neglect the things that matter most.

What matters most for me right now? Sometimes it's personal fulfillment, sometimes it's being a parent. What matters most in bringing back from Ed week that we can do different, which will have a ripple effect through our family.

Kimball, faith precedes the miracle
price of happiness: 1. Life gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity, not half-hearted compliance
2. Forget yourself and love your companion more than yourself.

Exodus 18:13 - get people to god, let them seek out god, teach them the gospel, put able people to be stake pres, bishop, rs pres, quorum pres, home teachers. We all have to do our part, or they will wear away. We all bear burden, then there is growth and endurance and peace.

We are training leaders in our children. God doesn't care about Wednesday activities, just about growth in our youth so that they can be successful in missions and life.

Matthew 6:7-8 - we need to ask him what we need

ether 12:27 - weakness is a gift from god, so we'll be humble, and obedient, which makes us teachable and prosper.

thoughts of Martha and Mary poem by launie severnsen

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Strengthening You in Your Family

By D. Kelly Ogden

we aren't asked to read the scriptures, wee need to study, search, ponder, liken, and treasure the scriptures. Lds people know the gospel is true, but do they know the gospel?

Why study the scriptures and how to study is the topic.

we're commanded to
john 5:39
if we love him, we'll study his words
millions of books exist, but only 4 contain the word of god.
Scriptures give us peace. It tells us all the things we need to do. 2 Nephi 32
we get answers and solutions to all of our questions and problems
if you're waiting for an angel to come down to give you the answer to your problem, you're wasting your time - all the angel would do is show you where in the scriptures to find the answer.

2 n 32 - angels= messengers=missionaries and us
feast upon the words, not nibble. There's a great banquet spread out, but we choose to go to McDonald’s instead.

Verse 5 - the holy ghost will show you - bring them to your remembrance, if you've been studying conscientiously just when you need to remember the holy ghost will bring them back to you.

Our goal is to be like the father and son, and that will give us eternal life.

If we don't study these things, we're showing a lack of love. The Old Testament spans about 1000 years (moses to Malachi) and the book of Mormon also 1000 years - that's a lot of work.

If we want to be like god, we would want to know what it says. We'll be judged from these 4 books, even if we don't read them.

We learn how to follow his example and have models to follow.
the scriptures can bring joy.
we can receive personal revelation.

how to study the scriptures

we learn more when we involve more of our physical senses.
hearing the words helps sometimes - using two senses
mark scriptures
add quotes from general authorities and insert them
keep a scripture journal and write impressions that you receive
don't have a quota - it might make you skip writing or thinking in favor of pushing on.
dramatize stories

1 Nephi 11:1 - he questioned, asked, pondered, he gets chs 11-15 because he was pondering

d&c 76: some say the most important revelation given to man, received while meditating on the translation of the bible John 5:29

d&c 138:11 received revelation while sitting in his room, reflecting and pondering the scriptures, reading 1 peter 3 and 4

JSHistory - verse 12 - read James 1:5, pondered

1 Nephi 15:24 - hearken to word and hold fast, will never perish, fiery darts will not hurt us

Interesting side note, this teacher spent his entire mission going through the standard works one time, very very slow and detailed, making tons and tons of cross references, which served him well when he was asked to help create the footnotes for the new scriptures whenever that was. This guy did most of the Old Testament himself! How cool is that. Probably won't do this class again, though. I looked at the clock too often, and as my friend Rachel pointed out yesterday, that's a sign.

Rock Solid Family Relationships

Mark D. Ogletree

How Will Your Children Turn Out?

"In terms of your happiness, in terms of the matters that make you proud or sad, nothing - I repeat, nothing - will have so profound an effect on you as the way your children turn out.
"You will either rejoice and boast of their accomplishments or you will weep, head in hands, bereft and forlorn, if they become a disappointment or an embarrassment to you." Pres. Hinckley Nov. 2000 Ensign, pg 50.

2 timothy 3:1-5
but understand this, in the last days there will come times of stress 2 - for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen, etc.

Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Boyd k packer.

the devil is well organized, the whole intention is to destroy the family - Benson

more lds females have had sec than lds males - 12% to 7%

drop out rate is between 16-24

only 20% of baptized young men receive mission calls

Satan’s ultimate goal is to destroy the family, because if he would destroy the family he wouldn't have just won the battle, he would have won the war.

problem #1 - overcommitted and under connected families

biggest problem in society and church today.

children have lost 12 per week in free time, 25 % drop in playing, 50% drop in unstructured outdoor activities.


Are you a frantic family?

Struggle to family meals?
Too much time to and from activities
homework is hard to squeeze in
kids don't hang out
don't go on family trips or outings
too busy for weekend activities

- hey, an aside from me - we're doing pretty good! Not a frantic family at all, I'd say! -

problem #3 - a valueless society

problem 4 - a materialistic society -

the cost of winning, by dean Hughes (book recommended)

the road to happiness is paved with lovely widgets.

Problem 5 - a selfish society
problem 6 - an overprotective parenting paradigm - helicopter parents

fearful that kids won't be able to withstand mundane requirements of homework, curfew, cleaning rooms, and showing up for dinner - discipline becomes lax.

Demands for extracurricular performance are high, but family responsibility is low. It makes them think others will pick up the slack.

Parents shower kids with material goods, hoping to buy compliance.

We must decide to steer or go where the river takes us.

What to do?
1.Get priorities straight
2.spend time together family 4.experiences
5.reclaim family mealtime
6.reclaim family bedtime

merely keeping busy is not necessarily evidence that we are using our time wisely. Activities are not accomplishments.

1. Priorities - where we spend time should be our priorities, family
2. Time - just 10 minutes makes a difference in the life of a young boy, or years and years fixing the kid if not.

Time distractions -
watching TV
talking on chat rooms
surfing the web
downloading music
video games
cell phones
church work
competitive clubs
touring teams
tournaments tutoring
going to movies
field trips
staying in room with door closed

70% of families have double incomes, but double stress. Kids are shoved into sports because if they don't start young, they'll never make it in the bigger leagues.

Lds families - mothers 33 minutes talking to kids each day, fathers 18 minutes - Ed week slides in PDF format

get priorities and time expenditures to line up - what will it take to make you spend time on your priorities.

#3 - one on one experiences with children
3nephi 11:17 pg 429
Christ was obedient in every way, that’s the first thing he wants us to know.

We minister one by one to our children, like Christ ministered to the 2500 one by one.

ch 17 verse 20 - my time is at hand, he's got to go - he perceives (led by h.g.) we are weak, tells them to ponder, verse 4, very busy verse 5 - they didn’t want him to leave, he has compassion, then asks to bring the sick for blessings
that wasn't supposed to happen, he was supposed to leave in verse 4, but he doesn't have a schedule that is more important than people

practical solutions:
never bring work home.
Plan a family activity every Saturday.
Schedule a time each week to spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each family member.
Interview each child formally every fast Sunday

4. Reclaim family mealtime
5 times a week or more, less likely to be in trouble
3 or fewer times, least well adjusted
Mealtime conversation starters - if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If you had $500 what would you do
If there was a fire, what would you do?
,meet any person in the world
meet some one from history
favorite hero
all time favorite movie
skip a day of school
most embarrassing moment

5. Reclaim family bedtime
stick to bedtime
spend 30 minutes winding down
read book talk about stuff at the bed side
perfect bedtime is a story with family, a song, a prayer,. 4 steps to bed, jammies, brush teeth, say prayers, get in bed. Then have personal time with kids in their own beds.

It's the last thing of the day, needs to end on a good moment.

6. Family vacation
use them to teach the gospel

7. Get rid of the TV and other media

Thoughts on this class - you know, I don't think I'll go again. I'm not a big fan of teachers who just read slides. Frankly, I can read slides on my own time, and I think I'll download his PDF and read it and hit a different live class. Good info, though. He also flew through it at the absolute speed of light, so I couldn't even type fast enough (and he didn't tell us about the website having the info until halfway, grrr.)

Inviting Heaven Into Your Marriage

By H. Wallace Goddard

Before the class starts -
My new, go with the flow, the spirit will direct me to the right class theory is in jeopardy, as I am accidentally in the wrong marriage class. Whoops. I was looking at the schedule and I decided to go to the class titled " Building Relationships that Last for Lifetime or Longer" - the daily topics looked applicable to a variety of situations instead of just simply marriage. But once I left the last class, I was on autopilot and walked to the Benson building instead. It wasn't until I was looking at the handout for this class that I realized I blew it. And the other class is over in the Harris Fine Arts building, which I knew I couldn't get to in time and still get a seat. So I'm here, for today at least. I can challenge the assumption that I can learn anything from any class, if my heart is open.

Goal of class - give principles and practices to apply in many situations, also rejoice in gospel of Jesus Christ, which will help any relationship.

When god comes into our heart, it changes everything, but until you've experienced it you won't understand. He doesn't come to condemn, but to save, to redeem, to love.

we always have the exact right people in your family to make you crazy. The lord is saying, "I’m giving you people who will make you crazy, unless..." the natural partner is an enemy to their spouse, unless... (king Benjamin) unless we yield to the enticing of the holy spirit, and put off the natural spouse, through the atonement of Christ.

Moses 5:6
why make sacrifices? Adam says, I don't know except God tells me.

Are there things in our marriage that god wants us to do, that we don't do because we don't understand?

Verse 7 - the sacrifice and the one who made it is full of grace and truth. Every time you make a sacrifice, you are doing what Jesus did, surrendering your will to his.

Verse 8 - action step - do *all* in the name of the son, and repent

the rest of the Christian world thinks Adam and eve were dopes, were stupid and rebellious enough to get busted and put us all in a bad situation. We see Adam and eve as heroes, courageous people who chose the hard but growth filled road. When we choose marriage (or have children), we choose the hard but growth filled path.

V 10 - like Adam and eve, we are choosing experience over keeping ourselves unstained. Eve talks about joy of redemption and family life.

Family life will discourage us and frustrate us, but that is part of the plan.

we ritualize our frustrations - we are so used to being irritated by our spouse without them even having to do anything.

In past generations, our heroes were always those who sacrificed themselves for the sake of others. The biggest revolution in human history where our heroes are now people who take care of themselves at all cost. Today's dogma is, if marriage is not meeting our needs we not only have the right we have the obligation to get out.

The cultural mandate is you must take care of #1.

You have to choose the world's way or the Lord's way, you can't have both.

There is an advantage to knowing at the beginning of a marriage that there will be unresolvable situations in your marriage. When we make sacrifices, choose to give up some of our preferences, we are in similitude of /Christ.

If we want to grow, sacrifices are a part of it. It is fundamental.

We can't look at marriage as a marketplace - we can't keep looking for a better deal.

We need to commit our time and talents.

Trouble in a relationship comes when we take another’s behavior personally. When we see others as selfish it's because we are being selfish.

Commit time and talents means to inconvenience ourselves, maybe it means helping around the house or work in the yard or go to a ball game.

we impose our wants on another, and when they don't want the same, we resent them. Everyone wants different things, we need to recognize that what makes one person happy isn't what makes the spouse happy.

When we understand the spirit of sacrifices it stops feeling like a sacrifice. It is just behaving out of love.

Our sacrifices always seem so big when we don't have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hearts.

First and foremost, we have to have commitment. If every day wee asks ourselves if we want to stay, we won't stay. We need to honor our covenants.

Do you find his qualities and compliment them? Do you see him as a flaw colony? Or do you see him as a remarkable son of god, who has unique gifts and who god has joined with you.

No covenant is likely to be effective if god isn't a part of it.

do w yearn to get out into greener pastures? In marriage, the grass grows greener on the side you water most. If all your fondest affection goes to people other than your spouse, you are going to see less beauty in your spouse.

"damning by faint praise"

the trick is it's not just suffering, it's making a sacrifice that is worthwhile and smart. Wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

2 Nephi 2, 9 - atonement scriptures mosiah 3 and 4, Alma 34, 42

when I'm filled with the doctrine of the atonement, then my path is clear. The atonement makes us saints, lets us be around other imperfect people and lets us think we're having fun.

Speaking Language of Faith Builds Attitudes of Faith, Thus Reducing Contention and Making The Title of This Class Very Long

By S. Dee Barrett

change our language, then help family members change their language, to help reduce contention in the home

Nephi, when laman and lemuel begins to murmur, he teaches them. He always saw they lacked faith, and having faith changes murmuring.

Pres. Monson, may 2001 "to the rescue" language of the spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know god and keep his commandments. Language permits one to break barriers overcome obstacles, and touch human heart.

Be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.

If we can tweak our language, we can improve our family.

1 Nephi ch 5 - manner of language

when someone complains, we want to defend, and that increases the contention. When someone complains against us, we need to be able to not go down to that level of complaining.

Lehi says I know I am that way. He agrees with the complaining. Verse 5 - I know the lord will deliver our sons - faith - after this manner of language did lehi comfort sariah. When someone is complaining, they need comfort, they need faith building.

Sariah was comforted by words, but second witness (when they return) she was comforted again. It takes two witnesses. We try to tell people things, but not in the manner the Lord requires, then when the good thing happens, it is not taken as a second witness.

Verse 8 - now she really knows of the power of God, and after this manner of language did she speak. She was able to leave this stressful situation with a witness of God and faith.

when the bow breaks, lehi even complains but there's no mention of sariah complaining. She has had her witness.

Elder Holland quote - relationship with each other is greatest chance to say what you want to say about the atonement. What you believe about the atonement is not going to be said in a classroom. It will come in your human relationships with other people who have problems.
ces symposium 1980

How we deal with people and their problems tells the world what we believe about the atonement.

Moroni 7:2-4 - a peaceable follower of Christ, because of how he treats other people.

By dealing with other people, it shows the Lord what is our relationship with the Lord.

When everyone bugs us, problems with everyone, it's our problem. We don't have a peaceable relationship with the savior. The more we find ourselves at odds, the more we need to turn to the savior. (I expected this class to tell me how to fix my kids, but he's saying to fix myself.)

2 Nephi 31:12-14 - we need baptism to be on the course to pursue what god wants us to pursue. If we follow the son with full purpose of heart with no deception, no hypocrisy, repent, witness that you will take the name of Christ, be baptized, then receive holy ghost, then we can speak with tongues of angels.

If we want to handle the language of spirit, the manner of language, the tongue of angels, that's we have to do. Verse 14, second witness of same thing.

You get on the path to get the Holy Ghost, it will cleanse us, and then we can speak with the tongue of angels.

it's more important to be prepared to talk than to prepare your talk. That's what Nephi is saying in 2 n 31 and 32. The lord will guide us, guide our thoughts and words. Be prepared with no hypocrisy, repenting, etc, and be able to speak with tongue of angels. (or manner of language, or proficiency of spirit.)

come home to a contentious house - the spirit of contention is very catchy. That spirit can come and be a part of us. We have to decide which spirit to listen to. 2 Nephi 32:8 - hearken to spirit that teaches man to pray. Not praying is still obedient, just not to god. In the last day, the question is not going to be if we were obedient, it is whom we were obedient to. 3 Nephi ch 11

the moment we need it most, we need the manner of language, the language of the spirit in order to communicate, give testimony, to give faith to whoever is contentious.

fighting back is obedient to Satan.

Elder Scott - how the spirit works with us at these moments. Impression to the mind is very specific. Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though the instruction were being dictated. A communication to the heart is a more general impression. The lord often begins by giving impressions. Where there is recognition of their importance and they are obeyed, one gains more capacity to receive more detailed instruction to the mind. An impression to the heart, if followed, is fortified by a more specific instruction to the mind. 11 Aug 1998

pres monson would get impression to go back into the hospital, but doesn’t know why - once inside will get a name, then can go and serve that person. If impressions are obeyed, then greater detail can come.

first step of building attitudes of faith is having a manner of language that we can rely upon when we have to instruct those we have stewardship over.

Wednesday – Speaking Language of Faith Builds Attitudes of Faith

*Reminder to self - advice from the sweet lady sitting next to me - Noah might be helped by putting his routines on paper, as lists that he can accomplish on his own without me needing to tell him what to do. That might lessen his anger and help him to be less frustrated.

"You need to get away and slow down this merry go round of life long enough to find a quit place where you can be still and know that I am god"
Russell Ballard

If you’re hassled and you can't fin quiet moments where reverence can precede your receiving revelation you are going to miss out on one of the most important blessings of being a member of the church." Ballard

Be on time to sacrament; let the spirit work on you in the peace.

What is faith?
Things hoped for, true, not seen, principle of power and action, causative force in everything.

Do we talk of faith? Are our words said in faith?

Alma 32:21 - are they teaching faith or wishful thinking?

We don't have to have a perfect knowledge of God/Jesus Christ or of his ways, how they work.

Faith is action. We have as much faith as what we know. Faith is what we know, so we can go out and do.

1 Nephi 3:7 - sometimes we focus just on what we don't know, when faith is what we know.
I will go and do - faith statement - for I *know* the lord giveth no commandments

Laman and lemuel focused on what they didn't know, all Nephi knew that if god gives commandment, there would have to be a way, even though he didn't know how

What he knew helps him deal with the unknown.

The key to improving faith is to increase your knowledge of god and his ways. Our faith is

James 1:5 - ask is faith action, then James teaches about god - that god will answer

John 7:17 - if you need proof, ask god. You need evidence, so practice the actions that god tells you.

Faith: (from lectures on faith)
God exists
Correct idea of attributes
Actual knowledge that course you are pursuing is his will

Faith is the belief that every time you flip the light switch, the light turns on. We might have evidence that it works, but we have faith every time that it will keep working.

Taking the step in the dark is faith; having knowledge of god keeps you willing to walk in the dark.
1 Nephi 4:6 - faith statement is "led by the spirit" (not the not knowing) laman and lemuel would focus on not knowing what's around the corner, Nephi trusts that even though he doesn't know what's around the corner, he will go anyhow and god will take care of him.

The world has a hard time having faith in Christ because their knowledge of him has been diluted.

Faith statements in the scriptures are action statements, not the not knowing, it's the doing.

Nephi gained his faith through experience, being taught by his father.

1 Samuel 17:
David facing goliath is the lesser miracle in this story. The greater miracle is that he convinces the king to let him go out. David had an experience with killing a lion and a bear, so he knew that the lord saved him in the past and would save him in the future.

Record your spiritual experiences, let the lord build on them. The lord sending Nephi to get the plates, that wasn't the first time the lord told him to do something.

1nephi 2:16 - Nephi desired to know god - laman and lemuel were not willing to give up their sins to know him. We need to be willing to accept his will.

The lord will ask us to do something but will introduce himself before or right after asking. Look in scriptures for when the lord tells someone to do something, and see if there is knowledge of the attribute of god with it.

Look at the word "god" or Jesus Christ and see what each verse says about the attributes or qualities of god. Write the ways of god in the margin. Next time a challenge comes, be like Nephi - say I don't know what will happen, but I will do it, and then teach about the quality of god.

We don't use scriptures enough. We like to paraphrase scriptures a lot. Open the scriptures to bring in that second witness, nail it home and show the prophets words.

1 Nephi 3:19-20 - scriptures show the language of fathers to our children, preserve the words. The exact words in the scriptures are important. The language brings the power of the spirit.

If we think of contention as lack of faith, we want to open the scriptures. Teach them from the scriptures.

1 Nephi 17:17-18
Nephi doesn't just say, "they murmur" he says why they murmured.

Laman and lemuel did not want to labor verse 24, teaches them faith in the lord guiding their life.

Change the way we perceive contention. Often it is a lack of faith. The old way is just do it and trust, won't move us to do things. The new way is what we know about the lord guiding their actions.

Lost sheep, lost coin, prodigal son - each are lost for different reasons, the lord brings them back differently.
Sheep wanders off, the lord picks them up and brings them back. They just get distracted.

Coin gets lost by someone. The church is referred to as a "her". We have to search to find it, find out what the pain is and help them come back.

Prodigal son - the lord doesn't go after the son, he prays and waits for the prodigal son to hit bottom and then come back.

When we've lost someone, we need to know what kind of lost they are, that's how to know how to get them back.

Laman and lemuel showed some faith but they didn't build on it.

Thursday - Four Big No's of Communication

Mosiah 3:19 - we'll be an enemy of god unless we yield to enticing of god. We are perfect in our obedience - are we listening to god or to the natural man, to Satan.

In communication, in testy situations do we listen to the spirit or do we listen to the natural man. In contentious situations, with spouse or children, what do we do? Do we stay in the manner of language of the lord; do we listen to enticings of spirit? That's when we need it most.

If the kids are grouching, we send them to their room until they change their attitude. But it isn’t' lasting change. We want to be able to talk to them with the spirit. We want them to experience giving up their frustration and turning to god.

Someone who has a hard heart is whom we're dealing with. When we listen to Satan, we preach the gospel or call them to repentance, which is occasionally needed, the sharpness of truth (not the manner of language is sharp, just the directness of the words we use d&c121:43). But usually need faith building. Teach promises. If you do this, then the lord can. Why do you want them to do something? It should be able to relate to the Lord. We want to tell them that, then they can try it on their own and have that be their second witness.

We want to get them to try, to experiment on the word like Nephi did on lehi's words. We want to inspire them to take action - to kneel and pray, to go to the scriptures in this moment of contention.

We believe the lord answers our prayers. The next time you are frustrated, be a role model. Don't be snappy at people; instead choose some book of Mormon time. It is the marvelous work and a wonder.

Alma 4:19 - if we believe that verse, we use the scriptures to teach.
Alma 31:5

If you stay away from these 4 things, you'll be fine.
3 Nephi 11:23-29
All three names of the godhead are used - oneness
When we were baptized, we agreed to have no more contention - the two go hand in hand. Gift of Holy Ghost is given at baptism so we can not have contention.

Any time we make a covenant, god endows us with power to do it. So we have covenanted not to have contention and he gives us the power to do it.

Ephesians 4:25 - (the whole book is on unity) -
1. Put away lying, speak truth. Even if we aren't lying, do we try to deceive? Not give the whole truth? Make too many promises we don't keep, or make threats that we don't follow through on? Do we talk about other people and not give the complete truth? Lying is a sign of hatred (proverbs 22).
If you know someone doesn't lie, you can trust and get strength from that person. Also, you can trust a compliment from that person.
When you want someone to believe what you are saying, you will set that up with your words from the past. Anyone who sees a lie it makes you and your words less powerful.

2. Verse 26 - Anger. It's destructive. It smothers the feeling of love. Anger is a secondary emotion, we feel something else first - rejection, fear, etc - but anger is easier. You need no self-control to be angry. When you're angry with someone they cannot feel your love. It takes away your love.

Skill to overcome anger:
"I feel.... When....Because"

(You’ll need practice - say it to yourself first - you can see your own motives if you're honest)

Anger doesn't solve anything. If we get angry, we pull away our hearts.
Luke 9:51 - Samaritans were mad because Jesus was going to worship in the Jewish temple.
When we get angry, our judgments become unjust.
If you’re angry with someone, all you are going to do is make them angry with you.

Is this a problem you have to bring up, or do you realize that this is a selfishness problem. Are we putting expectations on our spouse or children that they can't meet?
Most problems are expectation problems. Adjust expectations to what is appropriate.

3. V. 29 - No corrupt communication - just what is good and edifying. No criticizing. No such thing as constructive criticism. The lord would counsel, not criticize. Counsel and inspire you to change. Talk, explore ideas, helping them see some faults that need to be corrected. Criticize is attacking, labeling. Sarcasm is criticism's sister. Sarcasm is humor wrapped in barbed wire. Attacking with humor. It's destructive. Start with keeping it out of your marriage. It needs to be out of our family. It's usually just frustration, another way of expressing frustration about life.

4. Blaming - an emotional bowel movement on someone. Taking all the ugliness in me and not wanting to deal with it, so I'm just putting it on someone else. Any frustration that I feel has nothing to do with me, it is all you. One of the signs of a blaming culture in your home is if people spend more time covering themselves. "Now, don't get me wrong!" Protecting themselves that they can't get to the true issue. You can’t spend more time trying not to get blamed than trying to fix the problem. Kids will spend more time covering themselves instead of doing good things. Wee don't always have to blame someone. Sometimes it's the routine of the family, not the individuals themselves.

All of these hurt them and us.

Friday: Stop Contention by Avoiding the First and Second Offense

most of healthiness comes down to the 4 no's: lying, anger, criticism (and sarcasm), blaming.

the lord's anger is just the guilty taking the truth to be hard.

Disagreement and fighting is two different things.

Alma 43:7-10 - 2 different motives for lamanites and nephites
someone wants you to get angry, so you can be a pawn in their power game. Pawns are expendable. Anyone who is stirring us up to anger, they've got different motives.
Lamanites: want power, control, anger
Nephites: preserve liberty, were compelled to withstand the lamanites, were obliged. They don't want to go to war, but they have to.

Mormon 3:9-10 - Nephites take the first offense, they move toward their destruction. The Lamanites would never have destroyed them if they had never taken the offensive.

Alma 48:14-15
think of how many prophets and great men Mormon had studied, and he named his son after Captain Moroni.

They had faith that the lord would prosper them, warn them, or prepare them - Moroni didn't glory in shedding of blood. Sometimes the lord told them to flee, or fight, or surrender. But they never wanted a war.

Pres. McKay, when it's okay to enter a war (not begin one)
1. An attempt by others to Dominate and to deprive others of free agency.
2. Loyalty to country.
possibly 3. A weaker nation being crushed by a stronger one.

Attitude about going to war:
don't want to, but will if we have to.

How does going to war have to do with our family. Are we quick to fight? If we can apply attitude of war to family situation, how quick are we to go to war in our family?

When can we enter a war?
If the choice is going to destroy a family, we need to defend.
Are we easily stirred up to anger like the Lamanites? Or can we be like Nephites, not easily stirred up, unless someone wants to harm our spouse or our children.

even in the war, we shouldn't get stirred up to anger. You don't need to hate the person. It is the hate and anger that is giving military people problems - they need a better cause than hate, stay focused on what they are defending.

If you want to get in a fight, set the timer for 30 seconds, because after that you aren't fighting over the issue, you are fighting to win.

There is no good reason to go to war, unless you are compelled or obliged to.

Alma 43:45-46 - you have power to stop every argument that begins by not being guilty of the first or the second offense. You can't instigate or argue back - and if you and your spouse both commit to this, there is peace.

If two kids are fighting, and we get angry, we're adding the third offense! We need to build their faith.

when someone says something to offend us, we can respond with an offense back (2nd offense) or give a peace offering. What do we say back to someone? If the world has overcome him, instead of offending back, we need to build faith.

Kids and teenagers will throw first offenses at you (and 2nd and 3rd) we need to make sure we aren't retaliating. Turn the other cheek.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our spouse and children is not giving the second offense.

Most of the time when the first offense is given, they don't even know it happened. So our second offense looks like a first offense to the other, and they have the choice to stop it.

when everyone can live like this, Zion comes. One heart, one mind. Disagree all you want, problem-solving needs to happen. We've got thousands of issues that we get along with, but we'll get focused on the few that have problems. We forget that we are doing great in so many other ways.

d&c 93:22 -
Matthew 17:24-27 - parable of the coin out of the fish - who does the king tax - his children, or strangers? Strangers. Jesus doesn't have to pay tribute to the king. But so we don't offend the king, get the miracle coin and give it as tribute.