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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book of Mormon Class ~ Helaman Chapter 2

Taught by Sue G.

The wicked who desire to gain power will make secret oaths to conspire against the righteous.

Helaman, the son of Helaman becomes chief judge in Zarahelmla following the assassination of Pacumen.  We meet up again with Kishkumen who joins with Gadianton who is an evil man.  Gadianton and Kishkumens lead the secret band of murderers and robbers known as the Gadianton Robbers.  They cause untold damage to the Nephite nation.  In fact, they seem to represent the exact opposite of good in everything they do.The Gadianton robbers are responsible for killing Pahorn II.  Kishkumen conspires to kill Helaman, but one of Helamans servants succeeds in killing Kishkumen.  The Gadianton Robbers flea into the wilderness and cannot be found.

Are there Modern-day secret combinations?  We have examples of groups that work wickedness and oppose righteousness, just as some did in the days of Book of Mormon.   Elder Russell Ballard said that gangs, drug cartels and organized crime families function today much like the secret combinations in the Book of Mormon.  These all have secret signs and code words, secret rites and secret initiation ceremonies, just as the secret combinations of old.  The Mafia, the fascists of Hitler, and the world wide communist movement have all come to power through violence and have conducted much of their business through secret plots and activities, yet we now see and even more apt modern equivalent in the rise of world wise terrorism.    Helaman 2:4

These secret and murderous groups do indeed tend to hide themselves in wait to attack with a furious and merciless force when the opportunity arises for them, sometimes just as the Gadianton robbers did. 

We also have those among us who hide in plain sight.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "As we look about us, we see many who are practicing deception.  We hear of prominent officials who have lied about their secret acts.  We learn of honored sports heroes who have lied about using drugs to enhance their performance.  We see less well known persons engaging in evil acts in secret they would never do in public.  Perhaps they think no one will ever know,  but God always knows. 

The Gadianton robbers found they could hide just as easily in plain sight simply by dressing and acting like everyone else around them.  The members of the secret combinations were able to hide in plain sight because in the days of King Noah the people allowed them to.  One gospel scholar put it his way.  Secret Combinations use the "wolf in sheep's clothing" principle - they are disguised as regular even exemplary members of society.  For example, just as Satan can appear as an angel of  light, these evil groups can appear harmless and even virtuous on the surface.  If the Lords people are indistinguishable from the World in appearance and actions, they are in effect helping to camouflage those who are aligned with Satan.  This is just one more reason why we as members of the Church should not try to look or act too much like the world.

The same motives that drive Satan are the motives that drive Gadiantion, namely to have unrighteous power and control over people.  He "sought to destroy the agency of man" (Moses 4:3).  And just as Satan seeks to entice others to follow him by promising them power, glory and unrighteous dominion, so also Gadianton promised his followers the same.  To the greedy and selfish these are flattering promises. Helaman 2:5-7

Monday, May 27, 2013

What's in Your Secret Garden ~ Family Recipes

Peanut Butter Bars ~ Mary L.

Mix together:

1 cup butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter


2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift together then add:

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups oats
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Spread on 12" X 17" cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes

Won't be set.  Cool.  Spread with peanut butter.
Frost with chocolate frosting.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book of Mormon class - Alma chapter 63

Taught by Sue G.

     We are now coming to the end of the Book of Alma. Basically the Book has covered about 39 years.  We will be bidding farewell to Moroni and watching as some Nephites spread out to settle other lands. Moroni dies at about age 42 or 43.  He was 25 years old when he was appointed to be commander-in-chief of all the Nephite armies. (Alma 43:17)
     In individual council to his sons, Alma commended Shiblons steadiness, faithfulness, patience, diligence and long-suffering.  Shiblon had not faltered even though he had been imprisoned and stoned by the apostate Zoramites. Alma promised his son who had been faithful since his youth, that if he would continue trusting in God, he would be delivered doubt of his trials and be lifted up at the last days.  Alma bore testimony to Shiblon that only in and through Christ can one be saved. That is, saved from Spiritual bondage.     
     After Helaman dies, Shiblon assumes responsibility for the sacred records his nephew Helaman takes the records when Shiblon dies. Both are righteous men. copies of the records other than those forbidden by Alma are made and distributed among the people of the land.  Moroni dies. approximately 5,400 Nephite men, along with their wives and children, leave the land of Zarahemla and go into the land to the north. 

     The Book of Mormon records that the Civilization expanded into the land north ward.  A man named Hagoth constructed a ship to transport men, women, children and provisions by way of the west sea to the land northward.  While this ship was gone, Hagoth built other ships.  On a subsequent trip the first ship was lost.  One other ship also sailed and was lost.
     Latter day Saints believe groups such as these, became the ancestors of the Nephites, the polynesian  peoples of the Pacific.  This belief is substantiated by statements made by several general authorities.

     Elder Mark E. Petersen said, "The Polynesian Saints are characterized by a tremendous faith.... Why do they have this great faith?  It is because these people are of the blood of Israel.  They are heirs to the promises of the Book of Mormon.  God is now awakening them to their great destiny.  As Latter-day Saint we have always believed that the Polynesians are descendants of Lehi and blood relatives of the American Indians, despite the contrary theories of other men."

     Stuart Meha a Maori sent a telegram to President Joseph F smith asking if his people perhaps were descended from Hagoths people.  Pres. Smith replied, "I would like to say to you brethren and sisters from New Zealand, you are some of Hagoth's people, and there is NO perhaps about it."

     President David O Mckay said in a prayer about the Polynesian people, "We express gratitude to these fertile Islands thou didst guide descendants of Father Lehi and hast enabled them to prosper."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sacred Family Relationships

Lesson taught by Beth G.

Anticipating his 70th birthday, President Lorenzo Snow called together a family reunion. 

“The more I reflect upon this subject of a family reunion,” he wrote, “the greater are my anxieties and desires for a family gathering, that I may see you all once in my life, and give you a father’s blessing.”
He urged them to let nothing prevent their attendance “except the most serious and insurmountable obstacles.” 

Why is a family reunion so important?

 … Those connections formed here, that are of the most enduring character, shall exist in eternity.”

A question to ponder: If we don't create relationships here, will we have them in the next life?

All of my family live in the South. My son Jaris was called on a mission there. I have a cousin who wouldn't let anyone in. My momma warned Jaris that all my cousin wanted to do was go fishin! When Jaris knocked on his door and told him he was my son, he said, "come back tomorrow and we will go fishin. Jaris had already warned his mission president so he had permission to go fishing with him. He was able to teach him and he was baptized after Jaris was transferred.

Our relationships give us a grounding connection and security.

I only had one living grandparent, my grandmother who lived next door. I could run to her anytime I had some troubles. Now that I don't live by her, I love to go to Hobby Lobby because there is a section with a candle that smells just like her house. I would tell my kids how good it smelled and make them smell it so they would know a part of her.

Now that I am a grandmother, I will do just about anything to keep my children and grandchildren close. I do lots of things to help build our relationships and we truly enjoy being together. There's nothing better than sitting together on the front porch in the rocking chairs, teaching them the proper way to rock!

Family relationships are sacred and can grow stronger in eternity.

The Lord has shown us that if we are faithful we will associate with each other in an immortal and glorious state; that those connections formed here, that are of the most enduring character, shall exist in eternity.

Faithful Latter-day Saints who are unable to marry or raise children in this life will be able to receive all the blessings of exaltation in the life to come.

People who have no opportunity of marrying in this life, if they die in the Lord, will have means furnished them by which they can secure all the blessings necessary for persons in the married condition. The Lord is merciful and kind, and He is not unjust.

When husband and wife enjoy a oneness of feeling, they encourage love and kindness in the home.

Gary, being a banking numbers man, was always a little exasperated at our check book. He wanted to do something one time and I said, "We can't, just look at the check book". He picked up the check book, looked and just threw it down on the counter. Gary is not one to argue or get upset. Our son came in that night crying and said, "Don't get a divorce".  Just that small thing upset him.  

Hold your tongue until you are calmed down. Your children or grandchildren are watching you. You are the example.

Children learn the gospel best when their parents seek inspiration and set good examples.

Strive to teach your children in such a way, both by example and precept, that they will unhesitatingly follow in your footsteps and become as valiant for the truth as you have been.

Tina S. shared a comment that she thought she was seeking inspiration through prayer with the challenges of raising her children, but that she had really only barely tapped into inspiration. She found that she really needed to study the scriptures and become more spiritually in tune. Doing that allowed her to truly love her children more, be a little less frustrated and gain more patience with them. This allowed a better relationship and in effect, gave her a better position to be of influence. 

May we all cultivate and strengthen our 
family relationships!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Know Your Neighbor ~ Salt's

The Salt Family

Let's all join in welcoming the Salt family, who recently moved into our ward!  They moved from South Salt Lake and bought the Wallis’ house on 600 West. 

Cassie and Spencer met online.  They were married in August 2006 in the Salt Lake Temple.  They have two adorable sons--Brighton Alexander who is 20 months old, and new addition, Colin Kendall, who was born on March 18th.

Matthew Spencer (who goes by his middle name) grew up in Sugarhouse, Utah as the oldest of two children.  He graduated from East High School and served a mission in Houston, Texas.  Spencer attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in civil engineering.  He currently works as an engineer at Ovivo Water in West Valley.  He enjoys baseball and motorcycles.

Cassie grew up in Bountiful, Utah as the youngest of two children.  She enjoyed playing recreational softball from ages 8 through 19.  Cassie graduated from Bountiful High School.  She then attended the University of Utah where she majored in English with a minor in sociology.  She worked as a writer and editor at Alphagraphics until Brighton was born.  
Cassie now enjoys being a stay-at-home mom.  She also likes to read, write and exercise.  One of her favorite ways to exercise is walking hills.

Shortly after Cassie and Spencer were married they adopted a dog from the animal shelter.  Jack is an Australian Shepherd mix.  Cassie says he was their first baby, and he has become a friendly and loving member of their family.

Together the Salts enjoy playing softball and ultimate frisbee.  They love to be outdoors and go backpacking and camping.  Most of all they enjoy spending time together as a family.

We are happy to have the Salt family in our neighborhood and look forward to getting to know them better!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

President Strong's Message to the Relief Society Sisters

We were fortunate to have President Strong teach Relief Society on 
Sunday April 28th

During the last several months the Stake presidency has been praying for guidance for the members of the stake.  The following are the thoughts and feelings that have come after much thought and prayer.

He began by informing us about how this information came to him.  Every General Conference is preceded by trainings for all Regional Directors on Wed, Thurs, and Friday before Conference weekend.  We are very fortunate in our Stake because President Gary Porter is the secretary for the General Bishopric.  He is invited to sit in on all the training and shares what he learns with our Stake.  This message comes directly from President Monson from the October Conference training. 

He said Pres. Monson started out the meeting by telling a story about the five “Neld” brothers who lived in Italy.  All were born with a genetic defect which caused them to have cataracts on their eyes at an early age and due to their poor circumstances, they were all blind.   With the help of the church and an opthamologist, they were able to undergo surgeries that restored their sight.  Can you imagine how they felt when they awoke from their surgeries and could see?  Just like Christ in the New Testament when he healed the blind man, who said, “This I know, where as I once was blind, now I can see.”   There are many in our midst who live in darkness even though it is noon day.   President Monson went on to say, "we can never, ever give up on those that con't see", through some miracle their eyes might be open.

President Strong continued, admonishing that if there was nothing else we remember from his teaching, he wanted us to remember this,  “Ask people to do something, or go see someone and they will feel the Spirit”.  He explained by comparing this statement to missionaries.  We send inexperienced 18 and 19 year olds out to preach the gospel, these missionaries do not know the gospel as well as someone with more years of learning, but they “do something or see someone” and that allows the Spirit to touch their hearts. 

President Strong gave the example of holding family home evening every Monday evening…not because in the Strong family they are always spiritual experiences….in fact, most of the time they are not.  However, once in 20 or once in a 100 they might feel the spirit and that is worth all the times that they don’t.

President Strong taught us from Doctrine and Covenants 109:22, he asked if we considered the blessings of glory, angels and power to be literal or symbolic.  He believes they are literal and that you can see them in a person.  

He then asked us to go to D&C 109:22.  D&C 109 is the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland temple and was received by revelation by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  All the dedicatory prayers for all temples built since then are received by revelation thru the prophet who is living at the time of the dedication.  D&C 109: 22 reads: “And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them.”
He then listed the blessings that are underlined and asked if we thought that they were symbolic or literal blessings.  The vote was unanimous for literal.  He then said that these are blessings that we don’t think about often enough and take for granted too often. 
            ARMED with POWER
            NAME upon them
            GLORY round about them – D&C 93:36, Alma 5:14 – 
what is the glory round about them?  
Light and truth, countenances.
            ANGELS have charge over them 

Pres. Strong related several stories about how when his family was on vacations, one in particular at Disneyland, a woman came up to him and asked him where he and his family were from.  When his wife replied, “Well we’re from a small town north of Salt Lake City called Centerville,” the woman immediately yelled across the way to her husband and said,
“I told you so!”  There is a glory that radiates from our countenances, or light and truth, that is discerned by others and something which we sometimes in our area take for granted.  Because we carry that glory around us, others feel that and can be touched by the spirit.

We underestimate the literal meaning of this scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants.
It is our responsibility to provide an environment where a reaction can take place.  Sometimes people need help and we can be the catalyst to help them change.  Our responsibility is to go and interact with our neighbors and friends that do not attend.  Go over armed with God’s name, glory, and power.  We must have more person to person interaction.  Extend ourselves, give the Spirit an opportunity to be present.  We can be catalysts!

Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem, when the church was trying to purchase a choice piece of land there for the Jerusalem Center, told the Prophet that he knew him to be an honest man and he believed him when he said the church would not proselyte at the Jerusalem Center, but he said, “What will you do about the light in the eyes of the students?”  The light is visibly present.

Then Pres. Strong made an analogy that was quite powerful.  He asked us to pretend that we were in Chemistry 101.    He talked about gasoline engines in cars and how they emit toxic wastes that are harmful to our bodies.  He talked about the red blood cell and its affinity to bind oxygen and take to the cells.  The red blood cell will release that oxygen to the cell and then return to take on more.  But the engine releases carbon monoxide gas.  Carbon monoxide has a greater affinity to bind to the red blood cell than oxygen does, and in areas where the carbon monoxide is present, the red blood cells will take on the carbon monoxide before they will take on the oxygen, thus causing carbon monoxide poisoning, or suffocation of the body due to lack of oxygen.  Nitrous oxide and Hydrocarbons are two other toxic wastes given off by the engine that are toxic to the body as well.  Now the toxic substances will remain toxic and as they pal around together, nothing will cause them to change.   But in order to make cars more safe and not emit these toxins out into the atmosphere, the catalytic converter was invented and placed on the car to prevent these toxins from escaping into the air.   In the catalytic converter, the toxins are run over platinum, a precious metal.  The platinum acts as a catalyst to cause electron shell changes of the toxins and then they can be converted to less harmful substances such as carbon dioxide and water.

CO  - (Carbon monoxide)                                CO2  (Carbon dioxide)
            NO – (Nitrous oxide)-----Platinum (catalyst)----     N2
            HYC – (Hydrocarbons)                                  H20    (water)

The same type of reaction can take place with those who don’t have the gospel in their lives or have removed it from their lives for a time. 

Sin filled soul --- touched by Light and truth -- Meets with the Bishop -----
                             (glory) of a friend        who creates an environment
                                                               for change to take place

                Atonement is applied --------- Change takes place

We can carry God’s name, power, and glory around us.  Lives of those that are around us can change because they feel the spirit.    We need to increase the number of opportunities where the spirit might be present and can affect change.  The only way that this can take place is:
Person - to - Person INTERACTION!!!

President Strong then challenged us to:
1)    Put offenses away
2)    Be the most friendly Relief Society in the entire Church.

President Strong ended by admonishing us to, “Become the most friendly Relief Society 
in the entire Church!” 

There are many seats still left empty in our Relief Society.  Let’s work on filling them!