Friday, May 1, 2009

Women's Conference 2009, Day 2

Here's Day 2 of Women's Conference.  It was, as always, fantastic.  Today's highlight was Brad Wilcox's talk at the very end of the day about grace.  

The classes I took today:
Nourishing and Protecting the Family - general morning session by Julie B. Beck
Preventing Emotional Homelessness by Creating a Christ-Centered Home
Charity and Covenant: The Binding Force of a Marriage by Max and Lynne Pinegar
Then Will I Make Weak Things Become Strong by Vicki Matsumori and Brad Wilcox

I've decided if I could do one day of Women's Conference once a month, I might stay spiritually buoyed enough to actually do all these things I'm learning!  I'm going to reread my notes and make an (admittedly unrealistic) To-Do list of all the practical things I should put in place in my life.  And then maybe work on one or two.  After all, I don't want to be made all perfect before Education Week!


Nourishing and Protecting the Family
Julie B. Beck

3 responsibilities of Relief Society:
Increase faith and personal righteousness
Strengthen families, homes
Seek out needs

The job of every mother is to produce a superior daughter.

Our responsibility to family is not just to our children - it is all hands on deck. Even childless people are responsible to strengthen families.

Proclamation on the family - reiteration of values and beliefs that have been held since the beginning of restoration. We have a theology of the family - the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness.

3 pillars of theology of the family:
Creation - where family unit was formed, male and female. Each given specific responsibilities.
Fall - the means for the family to grow, not just in numbers but it quality and experience, to increase faith and righteousness.
Atonement - ties families together forever, gives us opportunity for eternal growth and perfection.

Each person is a son or daughter of god. We accepted a plan that we would come to earth and gain a body and live in a family setting with parents. We knew about the family before we were born.

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of god and the family is central to the creators plan. Both Adam and Eve had leadership roles in their families; they were married for time and all eternity. Marriage is an order of the priesthood, necessary to receive the blessings of eternal life.

Eve's act was a glorious necessity. She should not be condemned; she and her daughters should not be condemned. We celebrate her wisdom; she had a leadership role, to choose to bring children into the world.

Why marriage is important:
Natures of males and females compliment each other, need each other to progress.
Both men and women are essential to bring children into the world.

Plan of happiness is the path to a happy family. Nothing is more important to the church and civilization than the family.

D&C 2 - only words of his 17 year old vision that is included in d&c - promises of children turn to their fathers, the priesthood that seals a man and a woman together and prepares them for the blessings of eternal life - if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted. This leads us to the temple; Joseph Smith had this doctrine from the very beginning.

Ephesians 6 - wrestle against rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places.

We see decline everywhere, decline in importance of the family, divorce out of wedlock increased, 1/4 of pregnancies worldwide are aborted, children are less valued, family is less valued. The family is about us, but a doctrine of the world is about I and me.

Alma - nehor started doctrine of me, we should get paid for what we do etc. Alma 30 - Korihor is called an anti-Christ because he said there would be no Christ. Asked why do you yoke yourself to such a foolish thing, because no man can know of the coming of Christ? These things that are prophecies are foolish traditions of your fathers, because you can't know of things you cannot see. Hope of atonement leads to deranged mind. You get ahead according to your genius, your strength - this is the gospel that is being preached in the world, leading hearts away from God. I should be able to do what I want, why should I tie myself down to family? These teachings are not original, they've been taught by Satan through the ages.

We should never forget that anti-Christ teachings and principles are anti-family, and anti-family teachings and principles are also anti-Christ.

Pres Kimball talk in 1980 - would like to define family out of existence. Some people would like to
When things go wrong in the family, things go wrong in society. Only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to protect and preserve our families.

We do that by keeping our focus on the blessings of eternal life. The lord said his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We are involved in God's work every day, and it changes the way we live, dress, talk, and behave. We have the challenge of a prophet to live deeply, be intentional about everything we do. Our life is not happenstance.

What are our goals? What kind of things would we have to teach them to reach those goals? Temple marriage, missions, education, work,

Teaching things (manners, etc) is a process, not an event.

Part of our responsibility is to bear children. The order to multiply and replenish the earth has not been rescinded. It is selfishness for a married couple to refuse to have children when you are able to do so. Our role is creation. Creating is our blessing now and in the eternities.

D&c 68 - teach your children, prepare them to make temple covenants. That's the goal of young women's, to get them ready for the temple.

We are called to fight against pornography. We cannot sit and act like victims. This is the action of a determined adversary. Teach our children everywhere, at home and mealtimes, fhe. Limit activities so we have opportunities to teach. Talk and teach and ask questions while driving in the car. Fhe is so important - devote best efforts to teaching children. Home is basis of righteous life; no other organization can replace it. We are told to set aside Monday night for families. Not enough to just teach on Sunday - why wouldn't we want Monday in addition to Sunday to teach and strengthen our children for the challenges to come.

No love in all the world can equal the love of a true mother. Life, strength, encouragement, that begat more love. When temptations beset you, remember the love of your mother, how she would sacrifice her life for you. Keep love as the barrier to temptation. Love one another; you can't do it any other way. You can coax them, or induce them, but you can't drive them. You can't force your children into heaven. You can force them into hell. But you can only help your kids through love unfeigned. Our homes should be based on love. We have a sacred duty to love, our children and our husbands. Emma smith was told to be a comfort to her husband. We should have a climate of faith, hope, and charity in our home. Cooking for your husband is a sign of love, wanting to nurture and creates a climate of faith, hope, and charity. We have to work for it and strive for it.

We will need the spirit of the lord now more than every before. We need to work to hear and obey the voice of the spirit. We are preparing for the blessings of eternal life. These same principles apply to any interaction with the rising generation. This is a faith-based work and we have to call upon our faith of Jesus Christ, faith in who we are and where we came from, to qualify for these blessings.

Moses 5 - Adam and Eve were reviewing the blessings of eternal life - verse 10, joy in life, see god. Were it nor for our mortal experience we would never have had children (not all of her children were perfect children, but she was not sorry) they would never have known good and evil, been given redemption, and eternal life. They blessed god and taught their children.

These are the truths of the restored gospel - we are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare.

No one owes us anything - wee owe everything to the Lord. The women of the church will be seen as the lights of the world. People will recognize the truths they were taught before the world was.

"Preventing Emotional Homelessness by Creating a Christ-Centered Home"

Marilyn Bailey

Emotional Homelessness (June 2005 ensign) Since when did home signify merely shelter? Home is belonging, demanding sacrifice and devotion, promising acceptance. Homelessness offers no place to turn when you are sad, troubled, etc.

Foundation of the family has to be love. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the lord, and the second was to love thy neighbor as thyself. Heavenly Father and Jesus love us, whether we are good or bad or somewhere in between. He has provided the guidance we need to progress and reach his potential, through the scriptures.

Give children the love of the scriptures through our example. When her family had early morning study as a family consistently, they did not fight with one another.

Scriptures tell us god's love for us, and by counting our blessings, and by the still, small voice.

How do we show our love for him? John 14:21 - keep his commandments, he will manifest his love to us.

Show our love for our children, not just tell them.

Try to keep commandments so the spirit will be with us. It will lead us to opportunities to help our children. Be where your children need you the most, at the time when they need us. The spirit will tell us where and when that is.

Teach by example. We are all teachers, even though we don't want to be. We can't choose not to be a role model. How we act has an effect on those around us. Some children can learn to be good from a bad example, but don't count on it. We cannot hope to influence others in lives of virtue if we don't live lives of virtue. We can only lift others if we live on higher ground.

Good listeners make ears, minds, and hearts available to children.

Our children need to know the Lord listens to us, will help us endure rather than take our problems away.

Let children know that it's okay to make mistakes. Doing something wrong is better than not doing anything at all out of fear. Seeing us repent is better than 100 fhe's about repentance.

Find strength to be of good cheer, not to give in to anger and resentfulness. Don't live in angry silence or resentful disgust when confronted with a bad situation - face it with good cheer.

Teach accountability and consequences. Let children have their agency. It's hard to let kids do something wrong. D&c 121 - persuasion, long0suffering, love unfeigned. Give children chance to make choices and live the consequences.

Make dinner together time. Better grades, less addiction, less, depression, better eating habits. 1/3 of American children eat dinner with their families regularly. If dinner isn't positive, it can be bad.

1. Turn off TV and phones.
2. Have set time to eat.
3. Prepare dinner together. Benefits are not as good if mom does it all. (YAY!!)
4. Have specific job for each person, to feel needed
5. Have each person be present
6. Choose activities carefully
7. Eat at home even if its take out
8. One parent is sufficient
9. Start young
10. Be consistent

God is a better source to go to than us to solve their problems. We won't always be there, but He will. D&c 82:10

We get discouraged. Negative thoughts come from Satan; he wants us to fail so he can have more company. He wants us to feel emotionally homeless. We don't have to follow his promptings, and our children need to know that.

Home is a haven against the storms of life. Living the gospel can prevent emotional homelessness. Help our children know and understand this. Serving others is the essence of the gospel and will bring us joy.

Denise Demers

Alma 32:37-40 - make the seed our children - nourish our children, don't be barren or we won't be able to partake of the fruit.

How do we nourish our children, protect them, and provide for them? How do we create a place that is not barren? Just like a garden needs well-prepared soil, we need to prepare our family's soil.

To prepare a garden, you dig down really deep, lay down a layer of newspaper/cardboard to keep the weeds out. Then add the best soil.

What can we do to block out Satan? Follow the prophet. The prophets have been saying the same things forever. We know what we need to do.
D&c 138 - whether by god or the voice of his servants, it is the same.

3 Nephi 19:9 - prayed for the Holy Ghost to be given to them, what they most desired. They spoke what Jesus spoke, nothing varying.

We don't have a manual that tells us how to deal with our kids and the things they do, their crises. The scriptures lead to current revelation on topics that the reader needs at that time. We should read scriptures constantly so we can get access to what HF wants us to do today. This is why we do daily scripture study. This is the missing manual. We read, and we receive the answers for things we need help with. They are written out specifically, they come by inspiration. If we can feel the spirit each time we read, we can get god's answers for our problems.

Wee make a difference in everything we do - just by getting out of bed in the morning, we will make a difference.

Learn to feel, recognize, and act. 1 Nephi 4:6 - led by the spirit.

You can read every book on a subject, even speak to a therapist, but the most effective answer might come through prayer.

"Charity and Covenant: The Binding Force of a Marriage"

Lynne J. Pinegar
Covenant - an agreement with god and man, whose terms are set by god, he will sustain, sanctify, and exalt us if we agree to obey his commandments. Our marriage covenant strengthens us against the world. We have enlisted the very god of heaven and earth to help us in our marriage. His promises are sure.

If we dedicated our lives to our marriage, we would live his commandments with exactness, we'd put our relationship with our husband over every human relationship. Mortal misunderstandings can make mischief in marriage. If each partner reduces his personal demands and maximize our selfless service.

Do we undermine our marriage by telling people about spouse's shortcomings? Respect each other enough to treat each other with civility.

Satan gives us negative responses to say to our spouse, to damage our relationship. When adversary suggests an evil, unkind, out of control way, in stead choose to respond with charity and love.

What we are not willing to place on the altar of our marriage will undoubtedly come back to trip us up. Practice selfless sacrifice.

A marriage can be successful so long as selfishness doesn’t enter in. Adversity can cement relationships that prosperity can destroy. We are married to give happiness, not to get it.

We need to look at our children as treasures. The lord trusts us to prepare them so they will want to return to live with him. Teach them self-discipline, love and service, education of gospel and

Who is the most important person in the family? None, it's the family. We make decisions that are best for the family.

1984 Reese ensign article. Make something beautiful and peaceful in life. Happy wife makes a real difference. A wife can create happiness or unhappiness for those in her sphere of influence. What better gift than a loving joyful relationship in the family, encouragement is given rather than disparagement. Children need to see our cheerful example. Be pleasant and loving even when frustrated - that's how to show how difficulty is handled and soothes your heart. At every point we can choose what attitude to have, we have no excuse for our attitude.

Max J. Pinegar

Your path to happiness is mostly dependant on who is your traveling companion.

Moroni 7 - what charity is and is not. Suffereth long, is kind, envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth, believeth, hopeth, endureth all things. Charity never faileth, is pure love of Christ.

Real charity is not something you give away - it’s something you acquire and make a part of yourself. When charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again.

Most charity comes from kindness, not judging, giving each other benefit of the doubt, remaining quiet. Accepting someone's differences, shortcomings, having patience with someone who ahs let us down. Resisting impulse to become offended. Being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. (Marvin j Ashton)

Greatest examples of charity - infinite atoning sacrifice. Abraham and Isaac, Joseph sold into Egypt, fed his family during famine. Restoration of the gospel - charity through millions of church members who accept callings, serve in the church.

Where do you and I fit in? Has the virtue of cherty been implanted in our hearts? Where do you rate yourself on a scale of one to ten? Where would you rate your spouse, your children? Where would they rate you? When you discuss something serious, what is the tone of your voice? Are you trying to manipulate? D you talk in a demeaning way?

Joseph smith in liberty jail said:
The spirit has a near impossible task to get through to a heart that is full of hate, anger, self-pity, but has instant access to a heart that is kind, loving.

One of the hard things we might have to do is love those who are hard to love.

Lynne J Pinegar

Adversity is a part of our lives. This life is designed to challenge and test us; it is imperative that we pass the test to inherit all we've been promised. Mosiah 3:19The opportunity to face adversity is evidence of Heavenly Father’s infinite love.

With the lord's help and the support of each other we can get through any problem. We let them know they can always come to us with their problems. We teach them how to go to the Lord for inspiration and guidance. When faced with adversity we must personally discover how we will deal with it, no one can do it for us. We turn to the lord until we find him. He hears our pleas. A prayer for strength is always answered. Do whatever we must to find the lord, open ourselves to feel the spirit. Pray, repent, study the scriptures, attend the temple, seek priesthood blessings. We receive from the lord what we cannot do for ourselves.

Blessings are not reserved for just those who are most righteous or serve in highly visible callings.

You can have revelatory experiences in the most miserable situations. Man's extremity is god's opportunity. Be believing, don't curse god for our situation, but turn the place we are in into a temple, a place of peace and love from God. The lord never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face, nor will he as long as one person remains to be aided. We feel alone, but that distress is of our own making - always there are those angels around us, seen and unseen. We don't have to be perfect or close to perfect to receive his spirit, just trying to be better than we were before.

At the end of our lives, we will be more grateful for the hard times than we will for the easy times. That is when we felt the need for his sacrifice, that we honored him, grew closer to him, that we passed the test we were given.

Max Pinegar

One of the principle stumbling blocks to our receiving personal revelation especially in our family relationships, - at those times that we need personal revelation more than in any other circumstance. One of the principle stumbling blocks is contention. The spirit of contention. His only suggestions to eliminate the terrible cancer of contention: Matthew 26:20-22 - Jesus with disciples at feast of Passover - says one of you shall betray me. They asked, Lord, is it I? Each of us should ask ourselves that question, especially in disputes with husband and wife, or with children. We should go in prayer and ask Heavenly Father - Lord, is it I? Most of the time, both spouses will receive the answer that yes, you are the one. Ask Heavenly Father if he would please let me know what some of my weaknesses were. Ether 12:24 - if men come unto me, I will show their weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient, if they are humble and have faith, I will make weak things become strong unto them.

Teach our children who they really are. In "true to the faith" Pg 249 - each is a spirit son or daughter and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

"Then Will I Make Weak Things Become Strong"

Vicki Matsumori

We do not need to be perfect to attend the temple; we only need to be worthy. We can be strengthened in the Lord.

Jesus became a natural man, received a body and became subject to tendencies to anger, jealousy, greed, etc. Joseph Smith, Nephi, Moroni all complained about their weaknesses. Ether 12:27

What is my weakness? We think our failings are all too obvious, but we need to go to the Lord and ask what our weaknesses are. It is a vital part of coming unto Christ. Is our twisted ankle due to clumsiness, or our love of cute shoes? Or do we wear the cute shoes out of pride?

Why have I been given my specific weakness? We don't think it's fair that we deal with a short temper or whatever, but those weaknesses are ours for a purpose. We are given weakness to be made humble, and specific weaknesses for specific people. (Why were we given 8 children? Because the lord knew we could handle 7 just fine.)

Paul's thorn in the flesh is a reminder to stay humble. Israelites fought Midianites with 300 specially chosen, with only 300 it was clear that the victory came from the lord's help, and not because of their own ability. We might be tempted to take credit for our successes. We might say that's just the way I am. One's parents may have failed, our background maybe frustrating but as sons of god we have power to change our lives. We can overcome and master ourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson - that which we continue to do becomes easier, not because the nature of the things has changed but our capacity has increased.

The world's solutions are not sufficient - only coming to Christ can we truly change. His grace is sufficient for us to change. He gives us enabling power, and that can change us. The savior wants to save us from our inadequacies than just our sins. We have less choice in our inadequacies than we do over our sins.

Paul - I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me. Never had thorn removed, but was strengthened.

Commandments give so we can be made humble

How can I turn my weakness into a strength\?

We need to develop faith in Jesus Christ. It takes time, and is difficult to see progress. God forces us up to a higher level putting him into situations where we have to be braver or stronger than ever before, and that’s why our trials and weaknesses continue even when we've been trying really hard. We can't see the tremendous thing god wishes to make with us.

God didn't send us to earth to start a race, he sent us here to finish the race. We don't have to win, to come in first, to be the best, the prettiest, the most righteous, we were sent to learn humility, to rely on the lord. If we finish our race in the strength of the lord, we will be made strong in the place god has prepared for us.

Brad Wilcox

Author of the Continuous Atonement

2 Nephi 25:23 - by grace we are saved after all we can do. Most quoted, less understood scripture in the church, and can be discouraging if we don't understand.

After all we can do - does it mean that Jesus will come put the finishing touches on our best effort? No. We can receive manifestations of grace without doing anything. Grace is a constant energy source that takes us all the way through. Grace doesn’t just come after; we may receive grace before during and after what we do. After is more about separateness, not temporal setting. Regardless of what we can do.

All we can do - can we do all? We might be able to have a day of busyness but we can't keep that pace, and get discouraged that we can't do all we can do all the time. We want to do our best for the lord; we think the lord will not be satisfied with anything less than our best, less than our all. Any effort is acceptable to god, even if he and I both know it's not my best or my all all the time. Any offering is acceptable because god is more concerned with the offerer than the offering. One of Satan’s strategies is to tell us if we are not perfect we are failing. God is pleased with every effort we make to better ourselves, no matter how faltering.

We can do - what can we do without god? We are dependent on god for every breath we take. We are like a jockey bragging about winning a race, but forgetting we were riding a horse. There is one set of footprints in our sand, and it's always his.

Grace is given constantly to give us power to climb the mountain. He's not the goal at the top, which we achieve through our works; he is there with us every step. We still have to do the works, but we do it with his grace.

After all, what can we do?

Do - we have our checklist that we have to have to keep us conscience free. We are not human doings, we are human beings. Doing is just a means to being and being is a means to becoming. Keeping that focus makes us more patient and willing to work on that checklist.

Teach me all that I must do, instead of know, because it's not enough to know if we don't do. Maybe one day we can sing all that I must be, more like our heavenly parents and savior Jesus Christ.

We - after all we can do, but not we as in you and me, but as in Jesus and me together. Dc 123:17 - cheerfully do all things that lie in our power - Jesus is speaking, he is part of "us". Emmanuel is one of his titles, meaning "god with us". That companionship is where salvation is found. Not Jesus supplementing our works, or our works supplementing his grace. We don't stack his grace and our works to reach a height requirement - it's about growth. It’s about a relationship that is greater than the sum of the parts. We are two hearts not two parts, two hearts working together.

Who makes up the difference between where I am now and my best efforts? How much does god do and how much do we do? Jesus doesn't make up the difference, he makes all the difference. We aren't trying to fill a gap - Jesus has done that. He made payment in full. Justice has no claim on us, Jesus now can make his arrangements, and he helps us use what he’s given us to turn this weak thing into a strong thing. He wants to turn this weak woman into a heavenly mother, a goddess.

A mother can pay for lessons, and because she paid that debt, the mother can require some things. Practice. Practice didn't pay anything back, didn't pay towards the debt. You require the child to practice because you want the child to grow to reach a higher plane. Jesus asks faith repentance baptism and enduring to the end with the help of the Holy Ghost. We can take advantage oft his so we can not only return to god, but become like god.

We are not trying to repay our debt, but because repentance initiates a process that leads us on a path. We suffer for our sins, not for punishment or repayment, but for change.

He wants to transform us into a strong person that won't fall again. It takes time but he will be there however long it takes.

The lesson by Carol Lynn Pearson

“"The Lesson": 

Yes, my fretting, 

Frowning child, 

I could cross

The room to you

More easily. 

But I’ve already

Learned to walk, 

So I make you

Come to me. 

Let go now—


You see? 

Oh, remember

This simple lesson, 


And when

In later years

You cry out

With tight fists
And tears—

“Oh, help me, 


Just listen

And you’ll hear

A silent voice: 

I would, child, 

I would. 

But it’s you,
Not I, 

Who needs to try

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