Lessons from Life – Scouting

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When I was younger I went on a number of Boy Scout campouts. On one campout we got to our campsite late. We had to set up out tents in the dark. The tent that I was assigned to was old and not in very good working condition; none of the three of us who were to sleep in it were able to put it up correctly. This was due to a number of factors – little light by which to see, tent poles that weren’t quite going together correctly, and inexperience on our part (although by that age I had put up many tents). We decided to be content with a tent that wasn’t quite put up right; it held its form and we could sleep in it so we decided to leave it as it was. If it had been a “normal” Arizona night we would have been fine but that night was different.

Elsewhere a storm was brewing – literally. This storm quickly moved towards us. After we settled down for the night and had gone to sleep, it started raining. This was not just a light misting rain, it was a downpour. The three of us woke up with our tent collapsing around us and with the water level rising in our tent. You would be correct if you thought a pool of water does not belong inside a tent. However, ours had one. We were practically swimming in the tent in our soaked sleeping bags. Two of us (including me) loved the experience, one did not.

We survived the night only a little worse for the wear. We were not prepared for the storms that hit us. It wasn’t completely a lack of our preparation but we didn’t have the tools – a tent – that could withstand the rain.

On a different campout I had a very different experience. This time we were not weathering a thunderstorm; this time we were not setting up a not-quite-functional tent at night; this time it was daytime in the desert with nothing but a compass and some instructions. As part of an orienteering competition my scout patrol had to try and complete a course faster and more accurately than all of the other patrols if we wanted to win the competition. Given nothing but bearings and distances, we had to traverse the course, find the checkpoints, and then end up at the destination. I had spent a lot of time practicing orienteering. I practiced my pacing so I had a 5 foot long pace set. If there was one thing I could do well, it was orienteering. In this particular competition and every other one I did for scouting, my patrol and I did not lose; we never lost an orienteering competition. It’s not that we were better than the other scouts, we were just more conscientious about the activity. We were the best because we had prepared, we were true to our preparation, and we sought to perform our task with exactness. We strove to be like the worthy warriors of Helaman’s army who “did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:21). We did not just go blindly without preparation; we studied, we planned, and we acted (see D&C 9:7-8). Part of this preparation involved in gathering the right tools for the job. We needed the proper tools – we needed a compass; without one we would never have succeeded.

With scouting and scout activities, sometimes I failed (like when our tent collapsed around us) but most of the time I was successful. Scouting is designed to be like that – challenging, but with some effort a scout – any scout – is able to succeed in most of the activities. Some of the physical tasks are beyond the capabilities of some boys but those tasks can be modified if needed. Scouting is about building confidence and competence. That’s how the gospel is in general. We are taught and trained; we partake of gospel milk before gospel meat. While there are set specific requirements and commandments, personal requirements are sometimes modified based on knowledge and capability: “For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation” (D&C 82:3). The key is simply to act with all the integrity and capability you can, whether that is in setting up a scout tent or traversing an orienteering course or in your relationships with others. Integrity to God is what is important in life. Integrity takes preparation and work; it takes holding to the course and finding and following the guideposts. That is one thing I learned from scouting, that success comes only after preparation, hard work, and by using the right tools. Success comes from trying to act with exactness to the principles we have been taught. It comes through at-one-ment with God; in other words, integrity with and to God.

Selected October 2009 General Conference Quotes and Thoughts – Priesthood Session

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The following notes are only from talks by the Apostles.
 
Elder M. Russell Ballard – Communication Between Fathers and Sons

Priesthood and family are two of the most powerful things in the gospel.

Fathers and sons – how to talk to each other. We are all on a journey of becoming who we will become someday. No one has arrived yet. Fathers are the primary model of manhood for their sons.

Sons – how to take full advantage of your relationship with your father.

  1. Trust your father. He is not perfect but can help you. Talk to him, let him know your thoughts and dreams. You dad wants you to be happy and successful.
  2. Take an interest in your father’s life and his job and who he is. Find out what you don’t know about him.
  3. Ask your father for his advice on friends, dating, school, church, and so forth. This can also motivate him to give better advice and be a better person.

Fathers

  1. Listen to your sons. Ask the right kind of questions. Need to know what is going on in his life. Don’t assume you know how he feels or is thinking. Find a best way to connect. Have a one on one relationship. At least one really good conversation per month. Ask about feelings as often as you can without overdoing it. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Pray with and for your sons. Give them blessings. Share your testimony. Never give up even when fervent prayer in behalf of any who wander is all you can do.
  3. Have the big talks with your sons – drugs, girls, gospel, sex, pornography. Have open and frequent conversations on these topics. Talk about wholesome sexual relationships within marriage.

The most important decision for returned missionaries is to marry the right girl in the temple. Court and date and do not just “hang out”. Do not go the way of the world.

Honor your priesthood and love one another by making relationships with each other.

Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Adversity and Work

The brethren pray always for us. Winter will always give way to Spring. Remain steadfast in hope.

Shared story when he was 11 and living in the loft/attic of a barn. He was a refuge for the 2nd time in a few years. Boys made fun of him because of his East German accent. Now he can look back and see the great personal growth he made in the midst of that adversity.

Two important principles that sustain through adversity.

1. Work. Keep working, regardless of what you do. His parents worked various jobs to survive – truck driving, mining, laundry. Work kept their minds off their difficult circumstances. As they kept working, things got better. Those who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and work are a benefit to all. Don’t compare your efforts to others. Just do the best we can. Work is an ointment for anxiety.

If stuck in the mud, the Lord will be more willing to him who gets out and pushes instead of just praying. The righteous work we do in our homes cannot be delegated. Do not devote ourselves solely to worldly things.

Retirement is not part of the Lord’s plan of happiness. We need to consecrate everything to the Lord’s word. Endure joyfully to the end. Whether you are the youngest Deacon or the oldest High Priest, there is work to do.

2. Learn. Education is not the filling of a bucket, it is the lighting of a fire. Learning is not merely a good idea, it is a commandment. You do not progress faster than you gain knowledge. Knowledge does away with darkness, anxiety, and doubt.

Books can become your university. Seek knowledge by study and faith. Apply faith to your study. It will amplify your intellectual capacity. Do not neglect the fountain of revelation. Seek out the knowledge that leads to peace and truth.

It is often in the trial of adversity that we learn the most important things.

Pres. Henry B. Eyring – Spiritual Preparation

His containers of consecrated olive oil. Be prepared for any emergencies. When the call comes be ready. Preparation begins long before the crises that we might face.

Make choices to rise to your destiny as children of God. We don’t know what will come but know what you need to be ready.

1. Have faith. Priesthood is power to act in the name of God. You have to have faith that God lives and has confidence in you. Faith dies not come on a moment, it comes from courageous and sustained labor in the Lord’s Kingdom.

Deacons and Teachers an Priests can give as inspired and powerful talks as you hear in General Conference.

Some do not prepare as they should. We will be held accountable if we can help and do not.

2. Confidence to live up to the promises and blessings. Courage to stand firm in the face of temptations and adversities. We can be examples for the youth. D&C; 121 – pattern of righteous priesthood action.

Be unwearying in the Lord’s work. No lights out method of shepherding the youth.

Don’t tell your kids to do something or make a sacrifice you are not willing to do yourself. Have a feeling of wanting to do more to rise to the occasion and he prepared.

Pres. Thomas S. Monson – Anger

Anger is the root of many of the tragic stories in the news. Cease from anger and forsake wrath.

Story of husband and wife arguing in the car, thrown toy that was aimed at wife but hit the 18 month old son and damaged his brain.

Anger doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t build anything and can destroy everything.

There are many causes for anger. We can get upset for perceived wrongs or insult. A man is a fool who takes an insult where none is intended.

Can you be angry and not sin? Can you feel the Spirit when you are angry? No. The spirit of contention is of the Devil. God’s doctrine is to do away with anger.

No one can make us angry – it is a choice. Becoming angry is following the influence of the devil.

Shared story of Elder Marsh’s wife saving the strippings of the milk. Thomas B. Marsh became angrier and angrier and swore before a magistrate that the Mormons were dangerous. This was a factor in Bogg’s extermination order. 19 years later Marsh came back, saying he had lost much because of his choices.

Don’t given in to the feelings that lead to anger – irritation and so forth. Think of the consequence of anger. Leave unsaid the harmful and hurtful things you might say. School thy feelings.

The Oath & Covenant of the priesthood applies to all of us priesthood holders. Great promises await us if we are true to the Oath & Covenant of the priesthood. Harbor no animosity but be peacemakers.

Blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood, Part 6

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We should not try to dominate or control others just because we hold the Priesthood. We can persuade others to do what is right and to repent by being patient, gentle, and meek.
We are also counseled to be kind, full of knowledge, but without guile and hypocrisy (how often knowledge and hypocrisy go together!). We should be full of charity towards all. We should have virtuous thoughts all the time, not just when at church or performing priesthood ordinances.

I love the promise in these verses; if we do all those things – be pure, without guile, and full of charity – we will be able to stand before God with our heads held high. We will be confident and know that we are worthy to be in His presence. His Spirit will give us that assurance – we will be comfortable because we will have years of experience with the Holy Ghost and will be comfortable with His presence.
Pres. James E. Faust explained some of the great responsibilities that bearers of the Aaronic Prieshood have; he also answered the “now what?” question:

“1. All priesthood holders need to magnify their callings, acting in the Lord’s name to the extent their office and calling permit. We magnify our callings by following the direction of our quorum presidency, the bishop, and our quorum adviser. It means preparing, administering, and passing the sacrament as we are asked to do so. It also means performing other responsibilities of the Aaronic Priesthood, such as cleaning our Church meetinghouses, setting up chairs for stake conference and other Church meetings, and performing other duties as assigned.

2. Holders of the Aaronic, or preparatory, Priesthood are obligated to qualify for the higher priesthood and to receive training for greater responsibilities in Church service.

3. Holding the Aaronic Priesthood carries with it the obligation of being a good example, with clean thoughts and proper behavior. We acquire these attributes as we carry out our priesthood duties.

4. You will be associated in your quorum and other activities with young men who have the same standards that you have. You can strengthen each other.

5. You can study the scriptures and learn gospel principles to help you prepare for a mission.

6. You can learn to pray and recognize answers.” (Ensign, May 2006).
Aaronic Priesthood holders may feel that they are too young to become so serious about the gospel; the Lord doesn’t think so. Heavenly Father has such great love and trust in them that He gives them the Priesthood, a portion of His power.

For men in the church, there are a few momentous ordinances in life that are necessary for exaltation. Baptism and confirmation, ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood, which occurs when at age 12, ordination to the Mechizedek Priesthood, which occurs when one is at least 18, and marriage in the temple for time and all eternity. Aaronic Priestood holders may be young, but they are on their way along the path that leads to eternal life with our Father in Heaven.

Blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood, Part 4

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The Aaronic Priesthood also holds the keys to repentance and baptism. Priests can baptize. They cannot, however, confer the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirm someone a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baptism without confirmation is incomplete, just as the Aaronic Priesthood without the Melchizedek Priesthood is incomplete. A bishop, whose office is part of the Aaronic Priesthood, helps people repent if they have more serious sins.

As stated earlier, the Aaronic Priesthood is a prepatory priesthood. It prepares those who bear it for the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is the priesthood of higher ordinances, administration, and governing. Elder Hales spoke of these preparations:

“The Aaronic Priesthood is…given for this preparatory time in your life. How you bear that priesthood now will prepare you to make the most important decisions in the future. These decisions include receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood, going to the temple, serving a mission, getting an education, selecting an occupation, and choosing a companion and being sealed for time and for all eternity in the holy temple. There is a time and season for all of our decisions. Make sure you make decisions in the proper time and season. All of these life-altering decisions will be made in a very busy, relatively short period during your 20s—during what I call the ‘Decade of Decision.'”

He continued:
“While training to be a jet fighter pilot, I prepared to make such vital decisions in a flight simulator. For example, I practiced deciding when to bail out of an airplane if the fire warning light came on and I began to spin out of control. I remember one dear friend who didn’t make these preparations. He would find a way out of simulator training and then go to play golf or swim. He never learned his emergency procedures! A few months later, fire erupted in his plane, and it spun toward the ground in flames. Noting the fire warning light, his younger companion, having developed a preconditioned response, knew when to bail out of the plane and parachuted to safety. But my friend who had not prepared to make that decision stayed with the plane and died in the crash.
In the decade ahead, your time for preparation will be limited. As you are Aaronic Priesthood bearers, it is important that you prepare now. You must develop your own preconditioned responses for the important decisions you will make in the next decade of your life. You must know what to do and when to do it when each decision presents itself. Remember that making no decision at all could be just as deadly as making the wrong decision. Many of the decisions you make or don’t make will have eternal consequences.” (Hales, Ensign, May 2007).