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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!

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