Edwards Family

Edwards Family

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Adam is an Eagle Scout...ten days before his mission

I'm proud of Adam for earning his Eagle Scout! 

Kogan and Talia, two of Adam's friends from Logan. Talia is going to the MTC the same day as Adam! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Take the three-day holy music challenge! And an FHE lesson idea.

This is the challenge I gave my seminary students today. I invite you to take the challenge too! 

For the next three days: 

  • Listen to only holy music -- music that invites the Holy Spirit -- and notice what difference it makes. 
  • Of course times of silence is good too, because the Spirit whispers quietly. 
  • Use holy music especially during times of the day that tend to be stressful or contentious, or when children tend to argue or bug each other.  
  • Besides holy music you already own, here are several free ways to listen to holy music anytime and anyplace with a computer or mobile device. 
  • And of course singing hymns or primary songs works too, by yourself or with others! We love doing this in the car, which otherwise tends to be a place of kids arguing. But after singing several verses, the Spirit fills the car and there is harmony. *Big smile on mom's face*  

I also invite you to give a family home evening lesson about music. Here are a few ideas. You could even use one idea several weeks in a row.  

  • Using these music quotes, invite your family to take turns reading the quotes and sharing their thoughts. 
  • You could also have your family open a hymn book to the preface and count how many blessings are promised when we use holy music. You could even mark it like you mark your scriptures. (The preface is here too. I counted 22 blessings...how many did you count?)  
  • Read several scriptures about how to discern good and bad music: Articles of Faith 1:13, Moroni 7:12-17, D&C 50:23-25
  • Read and mark the music and media sections in For the Strength of Youth. 
  • Share your own experiences, thoughts and feelings of using holy music and avoiding music that repels the Spirit. Share your testimony of why our music choices matter to God. 
  • You could end by making a plan with your family to holy music a bigger part of your everyday lives. 

I'd love to hear your results in comments below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I LOVE this movie! "Meet the Mormons"

Whether or not you are part of the LDS faith, I invite you to watch Meet the Mormons movie if it's in your area. The purpose of the movie is not to convert people to the Mormon faith. The purpose is to help people understand that members of the LDS Church are good people who love Jesus Christ and strive to follow Him. The story at the end really got to me, because it's about a missionary mom, and my oldest son leaves on a mission in two weeks. For that mom, finding the Church likely saved her life. Very touching stories. My missionary son and I want to see the movie again before he leaves. Happy for me...I love any excuse to spend time with him before he leaves to serve the Lord! 

Meet the Mormons trailer.

David Archuleta singing "Glorious" with scenes from the movie. 

Emma Smith is my hero.

Tomorrow in seminary we are studying Emma Smith and D&C 25

Here are two videos that show Emma's incredible faith, courage, and love. 



What impresses you most about Emma Smith? 

And here is a video that shows how faith in Christ helps us through challenges today. 


What ways has faith in Christ helped you through challenging times?  What can you do today to build your faith? 

17 Quotes about the Power of Holy Music

1. “Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you...help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...without losing the Spirit...  Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way.” – For the Strength of Youth

2. “Music is an important and powerful part of life. It can be an influence for good that helps you draw closer to Heavenly Father.  However it can also be used for wicked purposes... Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Don’t listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices.” – For the Strength of Youth

3. "We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer."– President J. Reuben Clark Jr., Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 11

4. "It really matters what you listen to. . . . Select music that will strengthen your spirit."  – Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, Nov. 1985, 3

5. "When you sing the hymns, . . .ponder the meaning of the words, enjoy the spirit of the music. Sing with enthusiasm without regard to your tones. You will have a good feeling, and your spirit will be enlivened." –  Elder Graham W. Doxey, Ensign, Oct. 1991, 26

6. "Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites [the] spirit of revelation, of testimony." –  President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22 

7. "Music is given of God to further his purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls." – Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (1966), 521   

Here is my son Adam playing piano requests for residents at a rest home. He got many others involved in this service project for his Eagle Scout project, and the rest home insisted he keep coming back. I love watching him play. He fills our home with beautiful and holy music on a regular basis. 

8. "An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom. If we will listen, they are teaching the gospel, for the hymns of the Restoration are, in fact, a course in doctrine!" – President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22 (emphasis added)

9. "The singing of our sacred hymns, written by the servants of God, has a powerful effect in converting people to the principles of the Gospel, and in promoting peace and spiritual growth." – President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, Sept. 1940, 522

10. "The most effective preaching of the gospel is when it is accompanied by beautiful, appropriate music." – President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 181

11. "Inspiring music may fill the soul with heavenly thoughts, move one to righteous action, or speak peace to the soul." –  President Ezra T. Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1974, 67

12. “The singing of the songs of Zion, though imperfectly, with the inspiration of God, will touch the hearts of the honest more effectively than if sung well without the Spirit of God." –  President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, July 1901, 686

13. "I am comforted by the assurance that there will be beautiful music in heaven, and for that I am most grateful." –  President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1982, 4

14. "We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music, through art, through poetry some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly." –  President Boyd K. Packer, 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year (1977), 267

15. "Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it...It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear."  - Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, Oct. 1976 

16. "When we rejoice in beautiful scenery, great art, and great music, it is but the flexing of instincts acquired in another place and another time." –  Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1984, 21

17. "Those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does." –  President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22

The above quotes are from lds.org.

Now see how many promised blessings you can count for using holy music. This is the First Presidency Preface in the beginning of the LDS hymn book. 

Three months after the Church was organized, the Lord, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, instructed Joseph's wife, Emma, to make a selection of sacred hymns for the Church: "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads" (D&C 25:12). 
Now, 150 years after the first hymnbook was published by the Church, we are pleased to present this revision. Many hymns found in our original hymnbook and in subsequent editions are included, as are a number of newly added hymns. All have been selected to meet the varied needs of today's worldwide Church membership. 

Music in Our Church Meetings 
Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord. 
Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end. 
We hope to see an increase of hymn singing in our congregations. We encourage all members, whether musically inclined or not, to join with us in singing the hymns. We hope leaders, teachers, and members who are called on to speak will turn often to the hymnbook to find sermons presented powerfully and beautifully in verse. 
Latter-day Saints have a long tradition of choir singing. Every ward and branch in the Church should have a choir that performs regularly. We encourage choirs to use the hymnbook as their basic resource. 

Music in Our Homes 
Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music. 
Ours is a hymnbook for the home as well as for the meetinghouse. We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes. The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members. 
Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones. 

Music in Our Personal Lives 
In addition to blessing us as Church and family members, the hymns can greatly benefit us as individuals. Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace. 
Hymns can also help us withstand the temptations of the adversary. We encourage you to memorize your favorite hymns and study the scriptures that relate to them. Then, if unworthy thoughts enter your mind, sing a hymn to yourself, crowding out the evil with the good. 
Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, "and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads." 

From The First Presidency (Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1985, x)

How many promised blessings did you count in the preface? I counted 22! 

Here are a few more resources about using holy music.

Here are four FREE ways to listen to uplifting LDS music 24 hours a day!

How has holy music blessed your life?

Four free ways to listen to uplifting LDS music 24 hours a day

We are so blessed that we can listen to FREE uplifting music anytime, anywhere using a computer or mobile device! 

1. Mormon Channel -- On the top of the screen click on radio, then streams, then Mormon Music Channel. 

2. Mormon Tabernacle Choir 24/7 Music Stream

3. Your LDS Radio

4. And of course Pandora has lots of uplifting music stations. You can listen for free with ads, or pay for a subscription with no ads. 

Note: if you listen to more than holy music on Pandora, you may see some inappropriate ads. It seems that they tailor the ads to the type of music you listen to. My friend who alerted me about the ads said that Grooveshark is a similar service but without ads.

These are some of my favorite Pandora stations. Some of these have LDS music and some don't.

  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Handel
  • The Messiah
  • Celtic Women
  • Piano
  • Jenny Jordan Frogley
  • Paul Cardall (this has a lot of LDS piano songs)
  • The Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • David Archuletta
  • John Schmitt
  • The Piano Guys
  • Gabriel's Message
  • Josh Groban
  • Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband 
  • Josh Groban
  • Hymns 4 Worship
  • LDS Hymns of Worship 
  • Hymns 
  • Hilary Weeks
  • Christofori's Dream

Here are some great quotes about the power and blessings of holy music.

What are your favorite ways to use holy music? 

Wanna take a three day holy music challenge? 

For three days, any time you listen to music, listen only to holy music. (I think there is value in quiet time where there's no music too.) As your family gets ready for the day, play holy music. During times of the day when your family members may tend to fight or bug each other, play holy music ahead of time and see if the spirit of the music helps prevent contention. Play holy music before bedtime to go to sleep with a feeling of peace. Then write in your journal anything you notice. Did your family members get along better? Did you feel less stressed and more peaceful? Was there more harmony and less contention? Did you feel more joy?  Did this experience make you want to change your music habits? I'd love to hear your thoughts and results in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

God's Priesthood is the Greatest Power on Earth

Tomorrow in seminary we are studying Doctrine & Covenants 20.  Here are three great quotes and three short videos about the Priesthood. And then one video by Sheri Dew about LDS women not holding the priesthood. 

I am filled with gratitude that God restored His priesthood power back to the earth. 

James E. Faust – “Priesthood is the greatest power on earth. Worlds were created by and through the priesthood. To safeguard this sacred power, all priesthood holders act under the direction of those who hold the keys of the priesthood. These keys bring order into our lives and into the organization of the Church. For us, priesthood power is the power and authority delegated by God to act in His name for the salvation of His children. Caring for others is the very essence of priesthood responsibility. It is the power to bless, to heal, and to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. Righteous priesthood authority is most needed within the walls of our own homes. It must be exercised in great love. This is true of all priesthood holders—deacon, teacher, priest, elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle.” (“Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 1997)


Becoming a Priesthood Man: Priesthood Duty 

Men Must be Worthy to Use God's Priesthood

“If you are a priesthood holder, remember that the priesthood should be a part of you at all times and in all circumstances. It is not like a cloak that you can put on and take off at will. Any ordination to a priesthood office is a call to lifelong service, with the promise that the Lord will qualify you to do His work according to your faithfulness. You must be worthy in order to receive and exercise priesthood power. The words you speak and your everyday behavior affect your ability to serve. Your behavior in public must be above reproach. Your behavior in private is even more important.“ (True to the Faith, page 27)

"Sanctify Yourselves" Mormon Message with Elder Holland

“Your authority comes through your ordination; your power comes through obedience and worthiness. … Power in the priesthood comes from doing your duty in ordinary things: attending meetings, accepting assignments, reading the scriptures, keeping the Word of Wisdom.”  (President Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1981)

The Magnificent Priesthood

Some people think LDS women are oppressed because we don't hold the priesthood. Sheri Dew gave a beautiful answer to this, and I agree with her. 

Sheri Dew: "What Do LDS Women Get?"