Monday, September 29, 2014

Two videos about bringing souls to Christ

"The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance ... and to bring souls unto me." (Doctrine & Covenants 16:6).

Did you know there was a 12th witness to the Book of Mormon...who was a woman?

Joseph and Emma Smith, along with Oliver Cowdery, had moved in with the large family of Peter and Mary Whitmer and their nine children. Joseph translated much of the Book of Mormon there, later the LDS Church was organized there, and people were always coming and going. All of this added a pretty heavy burden to an already busy mother, Mary. 
Mary's son David later explained, “My father and mother had a large family of their own. The addition to it therefore of Joseph, his wife, Emma, and Oliver very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although she had never complained, she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much, or at least she was perhaps beginning to feel so.”
One day, though, probably in June 1829, when she was going out to milk the cows in the family barn — where, David happened to know, the plates were concealed at the time — she met an “old man,” as she described him, who said to her, in David’s account of the story, “You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened.”
“Thereupon,” David said, “he showed her the plates.” And this unexpected encounter “completely removed” her feeling of being overwhelmed, said her son, “and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities.”
Afterwards, Mary was able to describe the plates in detail. John C. Whitmer, her grandson, reported that he himself had heard his grandmother tell of this event several times. He summarized her experience as follows:
“She met a stranger carrying something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first she was a little afraid of him, but when he spoke to her in a kind, friendly tone and began to explain to her the nature of the work which was going on in her house (that is, the translation of the Book of Mormon), she was filled with unexpressible (sic) joy and satisfaction. He then untied his knapsack and showed her a bundle of plates, which in size and appearance corresponded with the description subsequently given by the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. This strange person turned the leaves of the book of plates over, leaf after leaf, and also showed her the engravings upon them; after which he told her to be patient and faithful in bearing her burden a little longer, promising that if she would do so, she should be blessed; and her reward would be sure, if she proved faithful to the end. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, she could not tell.”

Jesus said, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Mary can be titled a twelth witness to the Book of Mormon. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Three ways the Priesthood relates with angels (D&C 13:1)

What does the Aaronic Priesthood have to do with the keys of ministering angels? 

This week in seminary we studied D&C 13, where John the Baptist gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. 

"Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." 

1. Sacrament and baptism help us repent and become worthy to feel the Holy Spirit and be ministered to by angels. 

Dallin H. Oaks: “As a young holder of the Aaronic Priesthood, I did not think I would see an angel, and I wondered what such appearances had to do with the Aaronic Priesthood. But the ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. … Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen.

“How does the Aaronic Priesthood hold the key to the ministering of angels? The answer is the same as for the Spirit of the Lord. In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. ... Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Nephi 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels.” (“Aaronic Priesthood & Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, emphasis added).

2. Living worthy of the priesthood invites angels to guide, protect, and bless you.

Gordon B. Hinckley: “This priesthood which you hold carries with it the keys of the ministering of angels. That means, as I interpret it, that if you live worthy of the priesthood, you have the right to receive and enjoy the very power of heavenly beings to guide you, to protect you, to bless you. What boy, if he is thoughtful, would not welcome this remarkable blessing?” (“The Priesthood of Aaron,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 45).

3. Aaronic Priesthood holders can become ministering angels in the way they serve others.

L. Tom Perry: “Then the adviser shared a brief experience that deeply touched his heart, because one of the priests reminded him of what it really means to be a true minister of Jesus Christ-literally, a ministering angel. The young priest who was passing the water to the congregation came to a man who appeared to have Down syndrome. The man's condition prevented him from taking the cup from the tray to drink from it. This young priest immediately assessed the situation. He placed his left hand behind the man's head so he would be in a position to drink, and with the right hand he took a cup from the tray and gently and slowly lifted it to the man's lips. An expression of appreciation came to the man's face-the expression of someone to whom someone else has ministered.” (“The Priesthood of Aaron,” Ensign, Nov. 2010).

Here is a video about the importance of living worthy of one's priesthood because you'll never know when you're called upon to help someone with it. 

Here's a note about how the word of God is “sharper than a two-edged sword” in D&C 11:2. 

“A message of simple truth, when sent from God—when published by divine authority, through divinely inspired men, penetrates the mind like a sharp two-edged sword, and cuts asunder the deeply-rooted prejudices, the iron-bound sinews of ancient error and tradition, made sacred by age and rendered popular by human wisdom. It severs with undeviating exactness between truth and falsehood—between the doctrine of Christ and the doctrines of men; it levels with the most perfect ease every argument that human learning may array against it. Opinions, creeds invented by uninspired men, and doctrines originated in schools of divinity, all vanish like the morning dew—all sink into insignificance when compared with a message direct from heaven” (Elder Orson Pratt (Apostle), “Divine Authority—or was Joseph Smith Sent of God?” Orson Pratt’s Works on the Doctrines of the Gospel [1945], 1:1).

Increase in Learning by Elder Bednar is a powerful book.

Increase in Learning by David A. Bednar. 

This is a book worth reading, marking, answering the questions in it, and asking your own questions in it. It comes with a companion DVD of Sheri Dew interviewing Elder David and his wife, Susan Bednar. If you pay the price and take the invitations to act that Elder Bednar gives in the book, you will become a changed person. I invite you to do so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adam's Special Temple Day - the First Day Ogden Temple Opened!

What a yummy day! Adam's temple endowment in the Ogden Temple. 

While Adam, Mike and I did a temple endowment, our three teens did baptisms. Wonderful! Adam is getting ready for his mission to Paris, France in the end of October.  

I am smitten with our beautiful temple. 

Look at those gorgeous grounds! 

Family dinner afterward.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three Videos and a Study Chart about Personal Revelation

In seminary we've been studying personal revelation. We are so blessed that God still communicates with His children. Here are three videos I used in my lesson plans recently.  

Voice of the Spirit 

Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation

Receiving Revelation: Power of the Holy Spirit

And here is the chart my students filled out this morning. 

I invite you to spend a scripture study session or two filling one out for yourself. Or use it for an FHE lesson with older kids. 

You'll likely have some fun epiphanies and feel the Spirit like we did. 

Here's how we did it. In small groups, they took turns reading the scriptures and quotes and then write down a truth or principle about personal revelation in the blank box next to it.  We had a fabulous discussion afterward of the principles they found, how they can apply them, and experiences they shared of receiving and following promptings. Beautiful. 

Here are some more great quotes about personal revelation. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Favorite Talk of All Time!

You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory, By Sheri L. Dew
BYU Devotional, December 9, 2003

This is seriously my favorite talk of all time. I have read it over and over, and I've invited others to read and mark it up. Mine has layers of markings, and has been torn, taped, and re-stapled. And it's not the only copy I've read or from which I've taught. I've had my Young Women class read aloud and mark it as a mutual night. I've assigned it in a discussion group. I just L.O.V.E. this talk. I invite you to print it, read it, mark it, and afterward, write a goal or two of how you'll apply what you learned. Then read it again next year. You'll be glad you did. 

Watch it by clicking on the video below. 

Or read the talk by clicking here.

Since tomorrow is my first of several days of discussing personal revelation in seminary, here is a quote from Sheri's talk about that. 

Because the Holy Ghost will show us everything we should do, it only makes sense to learn how He communicates-or to learn the language of revelation. Our challenge is not getting the Lord to speak to us; our challenge is understanding what He has to say (see D&C 6:14).

I remember a time when I was desperate for guidance on a crucial decision. I had fasted and prayed and been to the temple, but the answer wasn't clear. In frustration I told a friend that I just couldn't get an answer. He responded, simply: "Have you asked the Lord to teach you how He communicates with you?" I hadn't, so I began to pray daily that He would. (emphasis added by Becky.)

Not long thereafter, while reading about Nephi building the ship, I couldn't help but notice how clearly he understood the Lord's instructions. With that, I began to hunt for scriptural evidences of direct communication between God and man. At each one I made a little red x in the margin of my scriptures. Now, many years later, my scriptures are littered with little red x's, each an indication that the Lord does communicate with His people-and often. The scriptures are the handbook for the language of revelation. They are our personal Liahona. If you will regularly immerse yourself in the scriptures, you'll get clearer, more frequent answers to your prayers.

Here's another awesome quote from the talk. 

Repentance is, frankly, just plain smart, because sin makes you stupid: Stupid because you are deaf, dumb, and blind to the ways of the Lord. Stupid because habitual sin drives the Spirit away, leaving you outside the protective influence of the Holy Ghost. Stupid because it makes you incapable of drawing upon the powers of heaven. Being stupid costs a lot.

Sin costs a lot, too. It can cost time, money, peace of mind, progress, self-respect, your integrity and virtue, your family, the trust of those you love, and even your Church membership. Sin is just plain stupid. And the cost is off the charts. So repent now. Repent daily. If you want to be sanctified, repentance is not optional.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recipe for easy wheat bread that we make daily

1 2/3 cups warm water 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

2 Tablespoons EACH: vital wheat gluten (optional), sugar or honey, oil (we don't always measure these exactly)

4 cups flour (we typically use 2 cups whole wheat and 2 cups unbleached white...although I wish my family members used 100% whole wheat!) 

2 1/2 teaspoons quick yeast (we like Saff instant)

If you're lucky enough to have a bread machine, place all the ingredients in the pan in the order listed. Select quick loaf, and press start. You won't even work up a sweat.


Of course you could make this recipe by hand or in a Bosch - just adjust the amounts accordingly.

We love our Zojirushi breadmaker that makes a 2-pound loaf. Very tough and seems to last forever. 

Making homemade bread saves a lot of money, and is an easy way to rotate your food storage. 

It's good to check the dough after it's kneaded for a while.  You may need to adjust water or flour to get the right consistency. You want the loaf to look like a pretty smooth ball.   

This boy of ours makes a beautiful loaf of bread.  He has a gift!  I told him he should start a business.  We have included making a loaf as part of our rotating daily dish chores. We've taught our kids to make bread around seven or eight years old. 

We taped the bread recipe to the inside of our cupboard/

We put virtually all the bread-making ingredients right there where they'll be handy. We even leave the lids off the flour bins and leave the measuring cups and spoons in the bins. (Yeast is best stored in the fridge.)

D&C Scripture Mastery Keywords Song

I wasn't able to load the video directly to the page. So click here to watch it. 

20 Principles to Stay on God's Side of the Line with Media


According to For the Strength of Youth (2011 & 2012 editions), God has drawn a clear line. You can ask yourself these questions about your movies, music, websites, TV shows, books, magazines, and so on. 

God wants you to use this kind of media: 
1. Uplifting 
2. Helps you keep the Spirit 
3. Helps you make righteous choices 
4. Helps you think good thoughts

Satan wants you to use this kind of media:

1. Vulgar
2. Violent 
3. Immoral
4. Pornographic in any way 
5. Drives away the Spirit 
6. Makes evil look normal, funny, exciting, no negative consequences



“Satan has made the television and film media among his most effective tools to destroy minds and souls” (Joseph B. Worthlin, Ensign, Nov. 1988). “Satan’s greatest threat today is to destroy the family, and to make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant” (President Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 227.  He said this in 1972).  Do you see any of that going on in today’s media?  Mick Jagger told Elder Gene R. Cook on an airplane ride something like, “My music is calculated to lead teenagers to sex” (Gene R. Cook, Raising Up A Family to the Lord). “It seems very strange that we place deadbolt locks on our doors to prevent evil people from entering into our sacred homes and then we turn around and invite the same type of people in through television programming” (Randal Wright, 25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them, 66).


“It is very unreasonable to suppose that exposure to profanity, nudity, sex, and violence has no negative affects on us.  We can’t roll around in the mud without getting dirty” (Joe Christensen,  Ensign, Nov. 1996, 39). “The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food, but the brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded it will always remain subject to recall”  (Dallin H. Oaks, “Pornography,” Liahona, May 2005, 87–90). 


“We need to limit the amount of time our children watch TV or play video games or use the Internet each day.  Virtual reality must not become their reality” (Elder Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 16). “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, television watching is tied to desensitization to violence, obesity, teen pregnancy, use of alcohol and drugs. Isn’t that what every young woman would want?  To become a desensitized, obese, pregnant alcoholic?  Probably not” (John Bytheway, “Turn off the TV and Get a Life!” audio CD, 2003). 


“I decry the great waste of time that people put into watching inane television”(Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, May 1999). “American teens spend one-third of each day with various forms of mass media, mostly without parental oversight” (“Impact of Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors,” Journal of Pediatrics, July 2005).  “Research notes that typical teenagers will spend almost twice as much time in front of the television as they will in the school classroom by the time they graduate from high school” (Randal Wright, 25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make..., 63). The average child watches 200,000 violent acts before he graduates. The average teenager sees 14,000 sexual references and innuendos per year on TV.


“I was allowed to have worldly heroes from the time I was very small. Not only allowed to have them but actually encouraged having them by my parents. They would allow me to spend countless hours watching super hero television programs and movies and then buy me their action figures to play with. Later, I had posters of rock stars and movie stars all over the walls of my bedroom, most of which they bought for me. In high school they would also allow me to go to their concerts and buy their products. It seems strange to me now but I think they were shocked when I began to act like the heroes they allowed me to be exposed to” (An anonymous man, quoted by Randal Wright, in 25 Mistakes...161). 


Have you heard people say, “What I watch doesn’t effect me?” If that’s the case, why in one month, did Reeses Pieces sales go up 78% when the movie ET was released? Why did the applicants to become fighter pilots skyrocketed after the movie Top Gun? My friend admitted that being raised watching soap operas contributed to her having skewed views of marriage and love, and led her to commit adultery. Thanks to MTV and other shows, youth are doing dangerous things like riding on top of a car at full speed. What people watch affects them. (See Randal Wright, Education Week.)

Ask yourself, “What is this show teaching my family?”  Most shows today teach the exact opposite of what God wants us to teach our families. Most shows teach it’s normal and cool to do wrong things: swearing, disrespecting and disobeying parents and teachers, hurting others, killing others, rudeness to family and friends, calling mean names like “butt head,” lying, cheating, stealing, sneaking, the dishonest guy wins the girl in the end, good girls should “settle” for dishonest and mean guys, fighting, arguing, cheating, sexual promiscuity, immodesty, instant gratification, greed, materialism, idolizing movie stars with no morals, people’s value is based on how they look and what they own, there is no God, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, defying the law and authority, that the parents and teachers are dumb, and so on. Is this what we want our families to turn out like? 


“Part of my warning voice tonight is that [media] will only get worse.  It seems the door to permissiveness, the door to lewdness and vulgarity and obscenity swings only one way. It only opens farther and farther. It never seems to swing back” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, Nov. 2000). “We live in a world that promotes pornography and prohibits prayer” (John Bytheway).


“There are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world...” (D&C 121:34-35).

A letter from a mission president and his wife in April 2014: “One of the biggest surprises we have experienced is the lack of preparation as our missionaries arrive.  Very few contribute financially for their own support.  Few have any work experience and few have any useful skills. Few know how to study.  Many come with unresolved sin. A major contributing factor to these challenges is video gaming... As we worked with Church psychiatrists, we learned that it is a common problem in Church missions. We currently have six missionaries who have confessed to video addiction and almost all missionaries have significant experience with it. Video gaming rewires the brain and a person gets to the point that social interaction is nearly impossible. Frustration is resolved by violence. Last night we went to dinner with the local Church Education System director and his family.  His wife is pregnant with their fourth child. Their children's ages range from three to eight years old.  They are very cute.  As they came in, each child was playing a video gaming device and would not even pause long enough to be greeted. It terrified us. A strong impression came this morning to warn you that Satan can turn even a seemingly harmless activity into a tool for his destructive goals. Please use great caution with your children and grandchildren. Please be careful with your own computer use. Even excessive social networking can distract and miss use time." 


“President Boyd K. Packer once taught that ‘inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings.’ Elder Henry B. Eyring recently said, ‘Only when my heart has been still and quiet, ...has the Spirit been clearly audible to my heart and mind.’ And Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin counseled, ‘Inspiration comes most easily to a mind that is calm and focused.’ We need to make time to find those peaceful settings where our hearts can be still and our minds can be calm. Then we will be open to the Spirit and ready to receive the inspiration we need” (Charles W. Dahlquist, II, "Rise Up, O Men of God," Young Men Open House, 2007).


“But Mom, it’s just one bad part.” What if I gave you a pan of delicious brownies and reassured you that there’s only one little bad part—just a little bit of dog poop in the brownies? President Benson said, “Thoughts lead to acts, acts lead to habits, habits lead to character—and our character will determine our eternal destiny” (“Think on Christ,” Ensign, March 1989, 2). President Kimball said, “How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking? Nor is any thought, when persistently entertained, too small to have its effect” (Miracle of Forgiveness). 

“‘Mom, it’s not that bad, it’s just sex and violence...’ What did Alma the Younger say to Korianton were the worst sins? [1] Denying the Holy Ghost, [2] murder, [3] breaking the law of chastity. Most of television is 2 and 3... And they often deny the Holy Ghost...not in the same way, but by rarely mentioning God or anything religion, and when they do mention something religious it’s usually in a negative way” (John Bytheway, “Turn off the TV and Get a Life!” audio CD, 2003). “But Mom, I’m 17 now so I can watch rated-R shows.” At what age does our mind grow a smut filter? (See Randal Wright, BYU Education Week).  If it’s below God’s standards as a child, it’s still below as an adult. 


“The Spirit is offended when we pollute our minds with harmful, violent material, whether or not such material causes us to commit violent acts... It is troubling that so many people consider it entertaining to view violence or play violent video games” (Brad Bushman, “It’s ‘Only’ Violence,” Ensign, June 2003).  “Watching violent...shows can effect you no matter what they’re rated. For more than 30 years, Church leaders have been warning us against watching violence” (Name Withheld, “Just a Little Violence?” New Era, August 2007).  Some think it’s “fun” to watch horror films. God says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1: 7). “Thou shalt not...commit adultery nor kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). Isn’t watching immorality and violence “anything like unto it?” 


“The strongest predictor of violence in adulthood is children’s repeated exposure to violent [shows] games...[This] more strongly influences future aggressive behavior than does living in poverty, engaging in substance abuse, or having abusive parents. Men in their early 20s who were heavy viewers of violent TV shows between the ages of six and nine were twice as push, grab, or shove their spouses. They were also three times as likely to be convicted of criminal behavior.  Women who were high-volume viewers of violent shows as young children were more than twice as likely as other women to have thrown something at their spouses and more than four times as have punched, beaten, or choked another adult” (L. Rowell Huesmann, “The Impact of Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research,” Journal of Adolescent Health 41, Dec. 2007, S6-S13). 

“Violent video games might be even more harmful than violent TV programs. While television viewing is usually a passive activity, video game playing is highly interactive. Most violent video games require the player to take on the identity of a violent game character, and most of these games reward individuals for behaving aggressively. For example, players get points for killing people. The violence portrayed in these video games is almost continuous. ...Violent video games increase aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Lamentably, the most popular video games are violent ones” (Brad J. Bushman, “It’s ‘Only’ Violence,” Ensign, Jun 2003, 62).


One study showed children’s programming had more violence per hour than prime time shows, with Cartoon Network having the most (Kristen Fyfe, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, A Content Analysis of Children’s Programming,” March 2, 2006, on Violent cartoons are not realistic. A heavy piano is dropped on a character, which flattens the character and makes kids laugh.  Then the character bounces back up to his original size.  This teaches kids that real consequences don’t happen from their violent actions. 

“My ten-year-old boy went into a slump at school. He daydreamed. He didn’t do his work. His grades dropped so markedly he was failing. At the suggestion of an observant teacher, television cartoon watching was stopped. Within a few weeks Richard was back to his usual excellent study habits. He was reading, doing his work, and was a different boy.... Television cartoons teach violence and confusion, and waste valuable time” (“Screening Out the Garbage: How to Teach ‘Correct Principles’ about Television in the Home,” Glen C. Griffin & Victor B. Cline, Ensign, August 1976).


“At the Impact America Conference we learned that if any child or teen had internet in their bedroom they would fall [to pornography addiction]” (Joann Hibbert Hamilton, “Who Will Speak for the Children?” audio CD).  “Don’t parents realize that if they let their children watch much television, they are setting them up for [pornography] addiction?”  (An expert teaching professional counselors about helping pornography addicts, cited by ibid).  “The more media a teenager is exposed to in their bedrooms, the more willing they are to engage in premarital sexual behavior. Everything should be done to try to protect youth from these immoral influences. As Michael Rudiski said, ‘The thing about young people is when they see things in the mass media and they think it’s going on, they start doing it’” (Randal Wright, 25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them, 67).


“Not only is television a tremendous time waster, but also it has the potential of being psychologically addictive... There is a very simple way to tell if you or any member of your family has an addiction. Shut off all [electronic] media for seven days and see how everyone reacts to the experiment. Over the years I have challenged thousands to give up television for a seven-day time period...I have asked them to keep a journal. One teen said, ‘I have never prayed so much, read as many scriptures, or had so many conversations with my Mom and Dad.  I have never felt closer to the Lord in my life.’ From a mother: ‘An amazing thing happened... Our teenage daughter cleaned her room! Our 12-year-old discovered that the Reader’s Digest was interesting—read it until bedtime and took it to the bus stop on day two.  Day seven: We held a family council and have dramatically cut down on TV hours. We are spending more quality time with our children and with uplifting literature” (Randal Wright, 25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make...64-5).

If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water he’ll jump right out. But if you put him in cool water, and turn up the heat a little at a time, he’ll get used to it and before he knows it he’ll be dead.  That’s how Satan works with us, little by little. “[If you raise the temperature of my] bath water … only one degree every 10 minutes, how [will I] know when to scream?”  (Jeffrey R. Holland quoted Marshall McLuhan, in “A Prayer for the Children,” Ensign, May, 2003).


“Pornography impairs one’s ability to enjoy a normal emotional, romantic, and spiritual relationship with a person of the opposite sex. It erodes the moral barriers that stand against inappropriate, abnormal, or illegal behavior. As conscience is desensitized, patrons of pornography are led to act out what they have witnessed, regardless of its effects on their life and the lives of others. Pornography is also addictive. It impairs decision-making capacities and it ‘hooks’ its users, drawing them back obsessively for more and more.  A man who had been addicted to pornography and to hard drugs wrote me this comparison: ‘In my eyes cocaine doesn’t hold a candle to this. I have done both. ... Quitting even the hardest drugs was nothing compared to [trying to quit pornography]’ (letter of Mar. 20, 2005).  Some seek to justify their indulgence by arguing that they are only viewing ‘soft,’ not ‘hard,’ porn. A wise bishop called this refusing to see evil as evil” (Dallin Oaks, Liahona, May 2005). 

Sister Linda Reeves gave an excellent talk in April 2014 General Conference. "Protection from Pornography: A Christ-centered Home." Click on the video above to watch it. 


“‘Shawn was consumed,’ his mother said, ‘It came to the point we could not get him out of the game [Everquest].  He moved to his own apartment, devoted his life to the online fantasy world of wizards, warriors, and elves. After a while he stopped leaving the apartment. He quit work, he even stopped buying groceries.’ His mother finally moved him into a group home for people with addictions. Finally... Shawn moved into his own apartment, bought a used computer, and his life once again spiraled out of control.  He chained the door shut. For two weeks he didn’t answer his phone. He cut himself from reality. On Thanksgiving 2001, his mother cut the chain on her son’s door. She found him dead from a...gunshot. He was lying in front of the computer.  Everquest was still on the screen.’ [There are] 430,000 subscribers to this game” (San Francisco Chronicle, quoted by John Bytheway, “Turn off the TV...,” 2003).

“A guy named Reuben...played Civilization for seven straight years after a college dorm friend gave him the installation disks.  ‘At the time the ability to create an alternate world was a refreshing break from the routine of student life. For the first week I didn’t sleep... It was worse than being on crack.  I’d always get a sinking feeling when I looked out the window and saw it was dawn. I’d be angry at myself for being such a loser, because the game was controlling my life”   (San Francisco Chronicle, quoted by John Bytheway, “Turn off the TV and Get a Life!” audio CD, 2003).  


“To you I have only one question [about choosing media according to God’s standards]: are you going to follow the true and living prophet or not?  It really isn’t any more complicated than that” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, “When Shall These Things Be,” March 12, 1996, BYU Devotional).  A good question to ask your family is, “Would we watch that if Jesus were in the room watching it with us?” “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same” (D&C 1:38).


“...Media offers much that is positive and productive. Television offers history channels, discovery channels, education channels. One can still find movies and TV comedies and dramas that entertain and uplift and accurately depict the consequences of right and wrong. The Internet can be a fabulous tool of information and communication, and there is an unlimited supply of good music in the world. Thus our biggest challenge is to choose wisely what we listen to and what we watch) (M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Nov. 2003).

“Read good books together . . . I feel sorry for parents who do not read to their young children. I feel sorry for children who do not learn the wonders to be found in good books . . . If we could follow a slogan that says, "Turn off the TV and open a good book," we would do something of substance in strengthening another generation . . . If you cannot find good heroes and heroines for your children on television, help your children find them in good books” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing For Something, 190).

“I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages [using social media] filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.” (Elder David A. Bednar, "To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood," BYU Devotional, August 19, 2014)Click here to watch or read his talk.


The brethren are concerned that today’s youth are lacking communication skills like talking, because of spending so much time with electronic media like texting.  Leaders at the MTC say some youth who have a testimony can’t share it by mouth because they’re so used to electronically communicating. They are also worried about today’s LDS young adults not courting and dating, but rather “hanging out” and texting.

“I wonder what would happen if we treated our Book of Mormon like our cell phones? What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? What if we turned back to get it if we forgot it? What if we flipped through it several times a day?  What if we spent an hour or more using it each day? What if we used it to receive messages from its text?  What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? What if we gave it to kids as gifts? What if we used it as we traveled?  What if we used it in case of an emergency? This is something to make you go Hmm...where is my Book of Mormon? Unlike our cell phones: One plan fits all. Unlimited usage. No roaming charges. You always have reception. No weak signals. And we don’t ever have to worry about our Book of Mormon being disconnected because our Savior already paid the bill” (Author Unknown).

Elder Bednar said, “Today a person can enter into a virtual world, such as Second Life, and assume a new identity... Wall Street Journal: Ric Hoogestraat is ‘a burly [53-year-old] man with a long gray ponytail, thick sideburns and a salt-and-pepper handlebar mustache. … [Ric spends] six hours a night and often 14 hours at a stretch on weekends as Dutch Hoorenbeek, his six-foot-nine, muscular … cyber-self. The character looks like a younger, physically enhanced version of [Ric].’ [He] sits at his computer with the blinds drawn. … While his wife, Sue, watches television in the living room, Mr. Hoogestraat chats online with what appears on the screen to be a tall, slim redhead. 

“He’s never met the woman outside of the computer world of Second Life, a well-chronicled digital fantasyland. … He’s never so much as spoken to her on the telephone. But their relationship has taken on curiously real dimensions. They own two dogs, pay a mortgage together and spend hours [in their cyberspace world] shopping at the mall and taking long motorcycle rides. … Their bond is so strong that three months ago, Mr. Hoogestraat asked Janet Spielman, the 38-year-old Canadian woman who controls the redhead, to become his virtual wife. The woman he’s legally wed to is not amused. ‘It’s really devastating,’ says Sue Hoogestraat, … who has been married to Mr. Hoogestraat for seven months’” (Quoted by Elder Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” CES Fireside, May 3, 2009). 

“Sadly, some young men and women in the Church today...neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions, and detours that have no lasting value. My heart aches when a young couple—sealed together in the house of the Lord for time and for all eternity by the power of the holy priesthood—experiences marital difficulties because of the addicting effect of excessive video gaming or online socializing. A young man or woman may waste countless hours, postpone or forfeit vocational or academic achievement, and ultimately sacrifice cherished human relationships because of mind- and spirit-numbing video and online games. As the Lord declared, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment … : Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known (D&C 60:13)” (David A. Bednar, “Things As they Really Are,” CES Fireside, May 3, 2009).

  • Click here for six resources to teach your family appropriate use of media. 

  • Click here to see how an LDS bishop and lawyer answers the question, "How can I protect my children from pornography?"

Feel free to tell us your favorite principle or quote in a comment below.  If you've seen a difference in your life from when you have used Satan's type of media, to when you repented and only used God's type of media, what differences did you notice?  If you're willing, leave a comment below. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Favorite Quotes about Promised Blessings of the Temple

Here's an easy FHE idea. 

Here's what we did for FHE today: Divide up the quotes and have each person mark the blessings they found in their quotes, and then list all the promised blessings together. we also wrote blessings that weren't on the quote list that we notice ourselves, like peace. Each person chose their favorite blessing on the list. We circled these. Then have the family discuss and write a goal of how often to attend the temple. These quotes will inspire and motivate you to make the temple a priority!

See how many promised blessings you can count...

You leave the temple better than when you arrived. 

"You'll leave the temple better than you arrived.  I promise." (President Gordon B. Hinckley, St. George Regional Conference, Nov. 14, 2002, in Deseret News excerpt).

“In the temple, the precious plan of God is taught. It is in the temple that eternal covenants are made. The temple lifts us, exalts us, stands as a beacon for all to see, and points us toward celestial glory. It is the house of God. All that occurs within the walls of the temple is uplifting and ennobling” (President Thomas S. Monson, “Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Nov. 2010). 

"I would admonish you to go [to the temple] often. The temple is a place where you can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments...experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord" (President Monson, “Until We Meet Again,” Ensign, May 2009).

“I hope that everyone gets to the temple on a regular basis. I hope your children over 12 years of age have the opportunity of going to the temple to be baptized for the dead. If we are a temple-going people, we will be a better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers. I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you. Now, please, please, my beloved brethren and sisters, avail yourselves of the great opportunity to go to the Lord’s house and thereby partake of all of the marvelous blessings that are yours to be received there” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, July 1997, quoting Fireside, Lima, Peru, 9 Nov. 1996).

Temple work transforms our character. 

"In the temple, through the power of the Holy Spirit, knowledge is transformed into virtues.  A person who attends the temple regularly grows more patient, more long-suffering, and charitable.  He becomes more diligent, more committed, and more dedicated.  He develops a greater capacity to love his wife and children and to respect the good qualities and the rights of others.  He develops a greater sense of values, becoming more honorable and upright in his dealings and less critical of others.  In the temple knowledge is transformed into feelings of the heart, resulting in actions that build character.  Thus, the family is strengthened and the community is uplifted to the extent of his influence" (Royden G. Derrick, Temple in the Last Days, p. 53)

Our beloved new Ogden, Utah temple. We're thrilled to have it back in about ten days! Our son receives his temple endowment the day it opens, September 23rd in preparation for his mission to Paris, France. My husband and I were honored to clean the grounds before the open house, usher in the open house, and then walk through with our family and neighbors. 

Temple work brings revelation to solve problems

Prayers are answered, revelation occurs, and instruction by the Spirit takes place in the holy temples of the Lord” (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1988).

I promise you that, with increased attendance in the temples of our God, you shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your life as you bless those who have died" (President Ezra T. Benson, Conference Report, April 1987, p. 108).

“Elder Widtsoe pointed out that ‘whoever seeks to help those on the other side [through temple work] receives help in return in all the affairs of life.”  Can the temple’s lively powers affect our daily life and even our livelihood?   “I can think of no better preparation for one’s labor on the farm, in the office, wherever it may be, than to spend a few hours in the temple, to partake of its spirit and to give oneself unselfishly for the benefit of those who have gone beyond the veil.’  The temple radiates.  It sends blessings to both sides of the veil” (Wayne E. Brickey, quoting John A. Widtsoe, in 101 Powerful Promises from Latter Day Prophets, p. 103).

“In modern revelation, the Lord likened his house to a tower (D&C 101:41-45).  It is a perfect comparison.  Many of us have gone to the temple perplexed by some problem or decision and while there received even more than a prompting or even an answer. We received a grander view.  We saw we had not seen before.  We understood the situation afresh because we could see so far.  In the Lord’s high tower, we are not distracted by the stresses and confusion below. We are presented only with those things that matter forever.  The landscape stretches in every direction” (Wayne E. Brickey, 101 Powerful Promises from Latter Day Prophets, p. 103).

Temple work blesses homes and families.

The path from the temple to the home of man is divinely brilliant.  Every home penetrated by the temple spirit enlightens, cheers, and comforts every member of the household.  The peace we covet is found in such homes” (John A. Widtsoe, “The House of the Lord,” Improvement Era, April 1936, 228).

“The house of the Lord...has a major part to play in our homes. It cleanses, soothes, and vitalizes with its own special oil. The temple of God invites us and appoints us to keep progressing until we become like him.  And it endows us with power to do so (D&C 105: 11-12). There is a big difference between the home that is networked with the temple by service ‘as often as person circumstances will allow’ and the home that is orphaned by its mother home” (Wayne E. Brickey, 101 Powerful Promises from Latter Day Prophets, 102).

“There exists a righteous unity between the temple and the home. Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family; understanding the eternal nature of the family will draw you to the temple” (Gary E. Stevenson, “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” Ensign, May 2009).

“Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention? That concludes our tour. Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some ‘home improvement’—hopefully not an ‘extreme home makeover’” (Gary E. Stevenson, “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples,” Ensign, May 2009).

“The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ... that they are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, linked to their generations, and assured exaltation in the presence of our Heavenly Father” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Shield of Faith,” Ensign, May 1995).

“What is it that is more important than attending and participating in the ordinances of the temple?  What activity could have a greater impact and provide more joy and profound happiness for a couple than worshiping together in the temple? “ (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Ensign, May 2009).

Temples give us the honor of being Saviors on Mount Zion to our ancestors.

“[When we do temple work] for those who have gone beyond the veil...we expect no thanks, nor do we have the assurance that they will accept that which we offer. However, we serve, and in that process we attain that which comes of no other effort: we literally become Saviors on mount Zion. As our Savior gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for us, so we, in some small measure do the same when we perform proxy work in the temple for those who have no means of moving forward unless something is done for them by those of us here on the earth” (President Monson, “Until We Meet Again,” Ensign, May 2009).

 "Now let me say something to all who can worthily go to the house of the Lord.  When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you: You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears.  You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before.  You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised" (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 254).

Temple work brings angels to help us. 

"...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" (President Joseph Smith, Dedication Prayer of the Kirtland Temple, Doctrine and Covenants 109:22).

Temples push back and helps us overcome darkness. 

"Every time a temple is dedicated to the Lord , the darkness pushes further back, prison doors are opened and light comes into the world." (President Spencer W. Kimball, Church News, Jan. 27, 2001)

“Every foundation stone that is laid for a temple, and every temple completed … lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness” (President George Q. Cannon, Logan Temple cornerstone ceremony, 19 Sept. 1877; quoted in Nolan Porter Olsen, Logan Temple: The First 100 Years [1978], 34 in David E. Sorensen, "Small Temples-- Large Blessings"). 

"Brigham Young prophesied: 'It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise' (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 72). Our days are not unexpected days, and the Lord has provided for our spiritual safety and for the safety of our students. As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power of revelation and spiritual gifts given to the righteous. The Lord gives us added power as we are willing to remain righteous in a wicked world. ...The blessings of the temple are one compensatory gift to this generation. ... There is spiritual power in tying our youth more completely to their fathers" " (Elder Neil L. Anderson, "A Classroom of Faith, Hope, and Charity, CES Broadcast, Feb. 28, 2014). 
“Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” 93–94).

Prioritize making time for the temple. 

"...Attend the temple on a regular basis. Make sure in your planning that you include a visit to the temple as often as personal circumstances will allow. I promise you that your personal spirituality, relationship with your husband or wife and family relationships will be blessed and strengthened as you regularly attend the temple." (Howard W. Hunter, Church News, Sept. 24, 1994)
“When a temple is conveniently nearby, small things may interrupt your plans to go to the temple.  Set specific goals, considering your circumstances, of when you can and will participate in the temple ordinances.  Then do not allow anything to interfere with that plan. Fourteen years ago I decided to attend the temple and complete an ordinance at least once a week.  When I am traveling I make up the missed visits in order to achieve that objective.   I have kept that resolve, and it has changed my life profoundly” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Ensign, May 2009).

Keep our focus on the temple.

"Some people want to keep one hand on the wall of the temple while touching the world's 'unclean things' (Alma 5:57) with the other hand.  We must put both hands on the temple and hold on for dear life.  One hand is not even almost enough" (Bruce C. Hafen, "The Atonement: All for All," Ensign, May 2004).

Go here for ways to get your family excited about family history and temple work.