Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This must be important if President Eyring published the same talk four times!

"When words of a prophet seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention." (President Eyring) 

Then I think this should rivet our attention. President Eyring has published the same talk FOUR TIMES, including an adapted one in the newest Ensign. (Click on the links below to access each talk. It would be interesting to compare the similarities and differences.)

Have you ever seen that happen before? And a talk that talks about riveting, repetitive, prophetic counsel? 

  1. May 1997 Ensign - Finding Safety in Counsel (general conference)
  2. Nov. 2001 Liahona - Finding Safety in Counsel (Adapted from April 1997 general conference)
  3. June 2008 Ensign - Safety in Counsel (First Presidency message) 
  4. Oct 2015 Ensign - The Way to Safety (the last page of the current Ensign) 

I decided to thoroughly study the original talk because this repetitive message must be important! 

UPDATE.  Part of how I thoroughly study something is to write about my take-aways. Click here to see my eight takeaways from President Eyring's original 1997 talk.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Why was the Fall a Good Thing, and Why Does it Matter to Me?

Unlike most of the Christian world, people of the Latter-day Saint faith believe that Eve and Adam were courageous to eat the fruit, causing the Fall, which moved forward God's plan of salvation. (See a few quotes about this at the end of the post.)

Here are ten effects of the Fall that we studied in seminary recently.  

Some of these might look bad, but think about it. Without these things, we could never have eternal life and become like Heavenly Father. So they make life harder, but in the long run, they make life much, much better.
  1. Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, instead of seeing through the eyes of a child. (Moses 4:13, 5:10)
  2. Women will have painful childbirth. (Moses 4:22)
  3. Work, opposition, and sorrow in working for our food, including overcoming weeds, which will be for our benefit. (Moses 4:23-25)
  4. Mortality, which brings death, sickness, and injuries instead of perfect bodies. Of course we will receive perfect, immortal bodies at the resurrection. (Moses 4:25)
  5. We are separated from God’s presence. Adam and Eve were sent forth from the Garden of Eden, and we are sent forth from heaven to come to earth away from God's presence. (Moses 4:29)
  6. Joy. Without the opposition of sorrow and misery we cannot know joy. (Moses 5:10, 2 Nephi 2:25)
  7. Children. You and I can come to earth instead of being stuck in heaven while Adam and Eve just puttered around the Garden of Eden and the whole plan of salvation being stuck because nobody was moving forward. (Moses 5:11, 2 Nephi 2:22)
  8. Knowing the difference between good and evil, and the ability to choose good. (Moses 5:11, 2 Nephi 2:23, D&C 29:39)
  9. Knowing the joy of redemption. Without knowing that we fell, we don’t need a Savior to rescue us. (Moses 5:11)
  10. Eternal life. This is our ultimate goal – to return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, live with forever families, and become like God someday. Without the FAll that could never happen. (Moses 5:11)
  11. Being influenced by the devil and his followers. (D&C 29:39-40) 
  12. We need to overcome our fallen nature. Although we are born innocent, once we are old enough to be accountable, Satan tempts us to exploit our mortal appetites of the flesh with selfishness, lust, addictions, and so forth. The Fall gives us the opportunity to spend each day of our lives overcoming the natural man and become a saint by yielding to the enticings of God and using Christ’s Atonement. (Mosiah 3:19)

At first glance, it sounds blissful to avoid the Fall and live in the Garden of Eden forever, always comfortable, having food grow without having to work for it, no suffering, no death, no work, no problems. 

But really, is that what’s best for us in the long run?

No. And here's why. 
  • First, you and I wouldn’t even be here if Eve and Adam hadn’t eaten the fruit, because they couldn’t obey the commandment to have children until they ate it and had their eyes opened. The whole plan would be stuck, and we would be stuck in heaven unable to progress further. 
  • Next, could we even appreciate joy without sorrow? Good health without sickness? Triumphs without failure? Accomplishments without work? 
  • Would our muscles ever become strong if we didn’t have to work for what we eat, live in, and own?  
  • Think of a baby learning how to walk. If we coddled the baby by holding her all the time and never letting her down on the ground, sure, she would never fall, but neither would she learn how to walk or run or dance. It holds the baby back not to let her work, fall, grow and progress. 
  • Would we grow mental and emotional stamina and resilience without doing hard things? 
  • Would we need to work our spirits so hard with prayer, scripture study, and listening for the Holy Ghost if we weren’t physically separated from God? (See Moses 5:4.) 
  • Without the temptations of Satan opposing the commandments of God, could we fully exercise our agency and show our allegiance to God? 
  • And most importantly, could we ever become like God without the Fall, which created the opportunity for us to come to earth, gain physical bodies, become stronger and more compassionate because of the challenges of life, and be tested to show we will be loyal to God even outside of His presence?  
No, we could not. Did the Fall make life harder? Sure it did. Did it make life better? Definitely.

Why does this matter to me?

Because when I’m having a hard day or a hard challenge, it helps to remind myself that THIS IS THE PLAN. Coming to earth and experiencing pain and sorrow, hard work and challenges, amidst the joys and triumphs is the plan for helping us become like God. When I remind myself of this, suddenly I feel more purpose and perspective, which brings a level of peace, and the challenges seem more worth it. 

God cares more about our progress than He does about our comfort. The Fall is a perfect example of His loving care about our progress back to Him. 

Here are four quotes about the importance and necessity of the Fall. 
Elder John Widtsoe: "Eve faced the choice between selfish ease and unselfishly facing tribulation and death." (Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 193). 
Encyclopedia of Mormonism: "As befit her calling, she realized that there was no other way and deliberately chose mortal life so as to further the purpose of God and bring children into the world." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under "Eve")
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Ne. 2:25). Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall (see Bruce R. McConkie, “Eve and the Fall,” Woman, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, pp. 67–68). Joseph Smith taught that it was not a “sin,” because God had decreed it (see The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 63). Brigham Young declared, “We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least” (in Journal of Discourses, 13:145). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:114–15). ("The Great Plan of Happiness, Ensign, Nov. 1993)
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it you will die.” (“Fall—Atonement—Resurrection—Sacrament” [address given at LDS Institute of Religion, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 14, 1961]).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Printable General Conference notes chart, and how to get more from conference

Who is excited for General Conference?  Me, me, me! 

Click here to download or print the chart below to help you take summary notes. 

I still take notes in a notebook, but this helps me think about the main theme of each talk and my favorite parts and such. It's what I'm giving my seminary students.  

Click here for

Here and here are a few suggestions for getting more from General Conference.

Click here for another 2 minute video about why General Conference matters. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A professional organizer's four step system to make a paper pile disappear

I don't love paperwork. Do you? 

Even though I used to be a professional organizer, I still feel overwhelmed by a pile of papers. So here is a little system I've developed to make processing papers as fast, pleasant, and painless as possible. 

Step one: Gather stuff. 

  • Gather all the lose papers into one pile or bin. To keep me from getting distracted, I actually like putting the paper pile right on my lap. 
  • Have your calendar and to-do list handy.
  • To make sorting as fast as possible, I suggest making a few little signs that you can use over and over. Below are the signs that work for me, which I made from 4x6" index cards cut in half. 
    • To file
    • Dad's nightstand 
    • Enter into planner
    • Projects to do soon
    • My nightstand
    • Bookcase 
    • Other room

Because my desk is in my bedroom, the foot of my bed is a convenient place to sort papers.

Step two: Sort your papers into piles using your handy dandy signs.  
  • I suggest some upbeat music for this process, like Alex Boye or something else uplifting and fun. 
  • If a task can be done in just a minute or two on the spot, like sending a quick email or paying a quick bill, you may choose to go ahead and do it now rather than adding it to a pile.

Step three: Take each pile and put it away quickly. 

What you DON'T want is for those piles to stick around and clutter up your space again. 

If you have a bunch of papers to file, rather than wasting time opening and closing file drawers over and over, you can take a little time to sort those into drawers first, which makes filing go much more quickly.  In fact, next time I may use these signs as I sort the whole paper pile. 

Step four: Add any items onto your calendar or to-do list. 

Here is what my paper planner looks like inside, both my monthly calendar and my current task list. I created these charts to fit my life. I also use blank pages to write a to-do list for the week or day, but with my current life full of seminary teaching, homeschooling, and blogging, I don't write those that often. Sometimes I use a hole punch to insert a paper right into my planner. 

If you need to store papers that go with a task or project on your list, you can store them in a manila current project folders. I have manila folders for each of my current projects using the paper trays on my desk, as seen in the picture below, with these labels:  
  • In. This top tray is where I gather papers until time to process them. 
  • Seminary teaching stuff. My manual, class roster, and so on. 
  • Education. A folder for the various school programs my children participate in.
  • Other projects. A manila folder for each of the current projects I'm working on: food storage inventory, food storage meal plan, stuff to mail my missionary son, handouts to give to the sisters I visit teach. The manila folders in this tray change over time as projects in my life change. You might want a folder or tray for financial papers like bills, coupons, ads, and your budget. Or one for a church calling or community leadership position. Or one for a vacation you're planning. This little system is really handy because you know where to find and put away your most important papers. 

Now, take a step back, look at your clean desk and SMILE.

My dream is to be so on top of things that I daily process papers that come in, and never let them pile up again. But for now, my four step system works great. 

One more tip is to prevent papers from coming into your home in the first place. 

  • Sort the mail and other papers by a trash can and/or recycler. Then what you place in your in-tray will be less and more manageable. 
  • See how many bills you can switch to auto-pay. 
  • Prevent bills and statements from coming in the mail by switching to paperless email statements. Then create a folder to file those away within your email system. 
  • Unsubscribe from as many email or mailing lists as you can. If you have certain email lists you want to see sometimes but not all the time, create an automatic filter to hold onto those emails in a certain folder. Gmail makes this easy. 

Feel free to leave a comment below about your favorite tricks for taming paperwork. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

My new best friend for studying the scriptures

I cannot say enough good about these books!  They help bring the scriptures to life like never before. 

David Ridges' Old Testament Made Easier series has helped me get more out of the Old Testament than I EVER have before. I have loved using Ridges' books here and there for studying the D&C or Book of Mormon, but I admit that teaching Old Testament in seminary had me feeling pretty insecure, and I am using these virtually daily with my scripture study. They have been a life saver for me!  

I love our wonderful seminary curriculum, but with the lessons being so basic with the Old Testament there are still many unanswered questions for me. These books are helping me immensely to understand these kinds of things: 

  • cultural happenings
  • word definitions
  • symbolism
  • types of Christ
  • wonderful quotes from Church leaders, which I sometimes write in my scripture margins
  • patterns and themes I didn't see before, which is one of the ways Elder Bednar admonishes us to study scriptures
  • helps me see doctrines, principles, and applications of those
Ridges has written curriculum for the Church and understands the importance of making sure he uses rock solid resources, and of siting them correctly. These books are priceless to me in helping me understand and love the Old Testament like never before.  If I teach seminary again next year, I plan on buying the New Testament series. 

Of course I already have several best friends for studying the scriptures: 

  • Praying before studying to invite the Holy Spirit to help me understand, find and apply principles, and feel the truth of what I'm studying. No commentary can take the place of the scriptures themselves and the Spirit, which is the ultimate teacher and testifier. 
  • My little zipper bag with my colored pencils and Zebra pens. 
  • My new large set of scriptures. 
  • The many scripture feasting tools I have been blogging about the past few months. 
  • And now I add to my best friend list my beloved commentary books by David Ridges

P.S. Be aware that there is a first and second edition of this series, which start and end in different chapters of the Bible. In other words, if you get first edition for book one and second edition for book two, you'll get Moses and Abraham chapters not necessarily in his first edition, but you'll skip 24 chapters of Exodus. I hope that makes sense. :) 

I stay an hour after teaching seminary to wait for my daughter's math class. I found this happy, comfy chair where I like to study my scriptures. Here I have my new scriptures, my Ridges book, my old scriptures, and my pencil holder. 

[Guest Author] Caught Your Kid With Porn? Six Ways to Lift Your Relationship Instead of Lose It

This is a guest blog post by my dear friend Claudine Gallacher, MA, from Porn Proof Kids. Check out their website and get a free poster at the end!  Portrait of Happy Family Outside Playing

Caught Your Kid with Porn? Six Ways to Lift Your Relationship Instead of Lose It 

Parents, what’s the most important thing you can do to raise a child to become a healthy, addiction-free adult? The answer is simple: create an environment where your child feels safe. That’s according to Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S, and Founding Director of the Sexual Recovery Institute.

Creating a Safe Place to Talk

In a telephone interview, Weiss told me that a young child who has been exposed to pornography needs help sorting through the experience.  When parents fail to make a child feel safe or, even worse, when parents shame their child, they may be leading their child towards addiction. The key is to focus on building a team spirit, remembering that porn–not their young child– is the enemy. That’s not easy! Parents typically feel anger,fear, and guilt when they discover their child has been seeking out pornography. However, it’s important for parents to work through their negative feelings before talking with their kids.

Where do my negative feelings come from?


Anger: A parent’s anger may stem from a sense of betrayal if their child has been deceptive by sneaking and hiding their porn use. Parents are not sure if they can trust their child again. Fear: A parent’s fear often comes from these three sources:
  • First, it emerges from the parents’ desire to help their child avoid suffering. Parents fear the negative consequences that porn use can have on a person and his/her relationships.
  • Second, fear comes from the parents’ desire to avoid feeling their own pain. Parents view their child’s problem as their problem, and parents don’t want this problem!
  • Third, parents have no idea what to do to help their child, and that’s scary! They simply want their child to stop the behavior, believing if the behavior ceases, everything will be okay again.
Guilt: The guilt arises from the parents’ belief that if they had done something differently or noticed something sooner, their child would not be looking at porn. Often this guilt leads parents to be angry with themselves.

What Your Anger, Fear, and Guilt May Teach Your Child

When parents are swimming in this toxic emotional soup, they might yell or they might give their child the silent treatment. In either case, the child learns to internalize messages like these:
  1. I’m in trouble and my parents want to punish me. If I can’t stop looking at porn, I need to make sure I don’t get caught ever again.
  2. My parents believe only bad people look at pornography so I must be bad. There is no way my parents can love me now. I will only let them see the good parts of me from now on.
  3. I have caused my parents pain. In the future, I need to protect them from this pain by making sure I completely hide any of the “bad” parts of myself.
  4. My parents are embarrassed by my actions. They are ashamed of me and disappointed in me. There must be something wrong with me.
  5. My parents don’t understand the world I live in. My parents don’t understand what I face. My parents are incapable of helping me with this. I am alone.
When parents project anger, fear, and guilt towards children, children reflexively put up defenses. How can we expect children to receive our help when they feel they must defend themselves from our negative emotions? It’s helpful if parents remind themselves and their children that they are on the same team. Fighting side-by-side, kids and their parents have the power to reject pornography.

dad son stairs

Focus on these 6 steps to lift your parent-child relationship:

  1. Stop blaming your child or yourself. People make mistakes. We all fall short. Beating ourselves up does not make wrongs into rights. Ask yourself, “How can this challenge help me grow closer to my child? How can I be my child’s coach, helping my child learn how porn can be harmful and mentoring my child in how to fight its powerful lure?”
  2. Openly acknowledge this situation is not their fault. Tell your child, “Even if you were curious and were searching for it, I am sure what came back at you was not what you expected.” Tell your child you are sorry that porn is so easy for kids to access; it’s not fair that kids should have to handle this challenge.
  3. Reassure your child that your relationship is important to you. If you’ve been angry because your child has been deceptive, explain to your child that you are actually sad because you value your relationship with your child and you want to be able to trust him/her. You also want your child to be able to feel comfortable talking with you about any subject. The fact your child has been breaking family rules and hiding behavior is a sign that your relationship is in need of some repair.
  4. Honestly admit you may not have taught your child all the skills necessary to avoid the pull of porn. Rejecting porn takes more than just knowing that viewing it is wrong. Explain that isn’t fair to expect a young person to know how to handle these powerful images. Let your child know that the world has changed since you were growing up and that you, like many parents, haven’t realized all the ways pornography attacks young people.
  5. Be understanding of your child’s fears. Your child may have been hiding their porn use because of fears of punishment and/or fears of having to stop watching it if caught. Porn can create powerful feelings of need. Reassure your child that these feelings are normal and that your goal is not to punish but to help.
  6. Use the words we and us. Unlike the words you and I which describe separate individuals, the words we and us convey human connection and will help a child feel safe: “We have both been caught off guard. We were both blindsided by the porn industry. When porn came after you, neither of us were prepared. We are going to work on this problem together.”
For more tips on what to do if your child has accessed pornography, read “A SMART Parent’s Guide.” Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

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The Amazon best-selling book Good Pictures Bad Pictures includes an easy to remember CAN DO Plan™ for kids to use when they see pornography. Subscribe to our PornProof Kids blog and get this free printable poster to reinforce the skills your kids needClick here to subscribe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Seven Myths and Truths about the Creation, and Why they Matter

I have never studied as deeply about the Creation as I did in the past week. And I never expected it to move me so much.

Today in seminary we learned about the grandeur of the Creation (see Moses 2). I found myself in tears as I watched the students in their seven silent rotating "creation stations." They studied, marked scriptures, and dug deeper into what Heavenly Father and the Savior did for them during each "day" of creation. What they did for us fills me with awe, gratitude, and love. 

This is our class room set up with the tables as "matter unorganized" before starting our seven rotating stations. (Activity idea adapted from The Red Headed Hostess, who is full of amazing ideas.) I brought a snack of Costco organic animal crackers to make the point that to make cookies we must have ingredients. Unlike most of the Christian world which believe God created everything from nothing, we believe God created everything from matter that was already there. (See Tachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 350-52). 

Why does understanding the truth about the Creation matter? 

Because it answers some of life's big questions, gives us perspective, helps us know our purpose, and defeats modern myths about the creation that are causing a lot of problems. Here are some myths, or false doctrines, that are widely accepted in the world today, along with the contrasting truths that we learn from Moses chapter two. This would be a good FHE discussion, because young people today are being taught these myths as truths in schools all across America (except myth 2 because God isn't taught at all).

Myth 1 - The earth was created by an accident from a big bang, and there is no God. 

The truth is that we DO have a Heavenly Father, and He DID create the earth through His Son Jesus Christ (see Moses 2:1). I love Elder Nelson's classic response about the big bang theory. "Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary? [Even]... if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions!" (Ensign, May 2012). As a former heart surgeon, Elder Nelson (now President Nelson) has great respect for God's creation of the human body, "I testify that the earth and all life upon it are of divine origin. The Creation did not happen by chance. ... The Creation itself testifies of a Creator" (Ensign, May 2000).
Just for fun, see how many phrases you can count in Moses chapter two where God is telling us that HE created the earth, to make sure we know it was not an accident. Mine are marked in yellow above. I counted 48 times in one chapter!  

Myth 2 - God is a mist without a body or feelings.  

The truth is that God created us in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26-27 and Moses 2:26-27). It would be hard for me to have faith in, rely on, or feel nurtured by a God who didn't have feelings, experiences, or understanding of what I'm going through. How grateful I am to know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ both have resurrected bodies (see Doctrine and Covenants 130:22-23) and they understand and know how to support us through our challenging earthly experiences. 

Myth 3 - Animals are more valuable than humans. 

The truth is that God created man as His crowning creation (see Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, June 1982). Up until it was time to create humans, Heavenly Father delegated the creation work to His Son. But when it came to creating man and woman, Heavenly Father stepped in and took the lead (see Moses 2:26). It's because "We are the offspring of God" (Elder Mark E. Petersen, Moses: Man of Miracles, p. 163). And God told Adam and Eve to have dominion over the animals (see Moses 2:26), not the other way around. 

I do not believe in killing animals for fun or sport. Neither did President Kimball, who said, “I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food" (General Conference, Oct. 1978, quoting Pres. Joseph F. Smith). However, I do believe there is a problem when we get the value of humans and animals backwards, like in the meme below.  Mixed up priorities? Indeed. 
Correction for the above meme: My husband, an attorney, looked up the law and said the fine would actually be up to $15,000. Still the point is the same.  Human life being valued less than a bird's life? Mixed up priorities. 

Myth 4 - A baby's life doesn't start until he or she is born.

The truth is that God created our spirits long before we were born on the earth and are of great value (see Moses 3:5). And anyone who has seen a pregnant mother's ultrasound can attest that the unborn baby is alive and well, moving around like a newborn. It's interesting that endangered animals' eggs are protected by law because their lives are valued, but unborn human babies are not protected or even valued as much as these animals. Definitely mixed up priorities here. 

Myth 5 - Gender is random and doesn't matter. 

The truth is that "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

Gender is not an easy issue for many people, including an LDS friend of mine who was born male but his whole life has felt that his spirit is a female. It may not be until the next life that we have answers to those challenges that can make life excruciating for some people. All I know is that while I live what I believe, I also must be kind, compassionate, and respectful to others. 

Myth 6 - I'm not dependent on a God. I make all my own success.  

Believing that is like the fish in a tank who think they aren't dependent on anyone else. Who feeds them? Who cleans the tank? Who gave them the tank or who gave them life to begin with? 

Elder Nelson said, "...the Creation—of planet Earth and of life upon it—undergirds all other creative capability. Any manmade creation is possible only because of our divine Creator. The people who design and build are given life and capacity by that Creator. And all materials used in the construction of an edifice are ultimately derived from the rich resources of the earth" ("The Creation," Ensign, May 2000). So yes, we do work hard for our successes in life like raising a family and providing financially for them, but it's God who gave us bodies, the earth, our talents, capacity, brains, and everything else we need to be able to work hard to succeed. It's all from Him. We are nothing without Him. 

Myth 7 - The purpose of life and our bodies is self-centered pleasure. 

The truth is our lives on earth have great purpose, which is a wonderful reassurance during this challenging time away from our heavenly home. One of the purposes is that God wants us to form eternal families, like He commanded Adam and Eve to do when He told them to "multiply and replenish the earth" (see Moses 2:28). President Kimball said that God was the one who married Adam and Eve, helping them start their eternal family (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 192). 

Elder Nelson said, "Grand as it is, planet Earth is part of something even grander-- that great plan of God. Simply summarized, the earth was created that families might be" (Ensign, May 2000). 

Why does it matter if we believe these myths or false doctrines about the creation? 

Because if we believe them, life would not be as precious or as sacred as it really is. Life would be temporary, not eternal. Life would be an accident, not on purpose from an all-powerful, all-loving God. If life is temporary and un-sacred, it would be natural and easy to justify things like immorality, dishonesty, abortion, suicide, addiction, and simple meanness to others. If life didn't have purpose beyond our own desires, it would be natural to sin all the time to serve one's every whim. If we don't believe we are dependent on something more powerful than ourselves, a great Creator, then we have nothing to set our morals, virtues, and laws of right and wrong, which again creates a self-serving, ultimately self-destructive life. 

The blessing of understanding the truth about the Creation is just the opposite. Even though earth life is challenging, these truths give us purpose, perspective, faith, and a higher power to rely on, trust, and ask for help. We have strength beyond our own to become better than we ever could on our own. We honor our own life and the lives of those around us as sacred and precious. 

Here is a 5 minute video clip of "The Creation" by Elder Russell M. Nelson. Click here for his whole talk. 

I invite you to write a thank you letter in your journal to Heavenly Father for all that He and His Son have created for you and me, and for the truths you know. 

Click here to see Seven Keys of Overcoming Evil Influence from Moses chapter one. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Teens Are Meant for More." Wow, please watch and share this inspiring video with every teen you know.

These high caliber teens put to rest the myths that teenagers are intrinsically irresponsible, apathetic, lazy, and selfish. 

Teens can overcome society's low expectations and become the people God sent them to earth to become. This video inspires teens to be more, to take responsibility for their own character, their future, and for making the world a better place. I feel the Spirit bear witness of the truth they are sharing. Please watch and share with others. 

Two of my former seminary students are in this video and I couldn't be more proud of them. Click on the video below to watch the five minute video. This would be great for watching and discussing in FHE. 

And please check out their inspiring blog to help teens raise the bar for themselves and make a difference in the world!