Busy Mormons

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To some people who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the fact that Mormons attend church for 3 hours each Sunday is overwhelming. At the risk of making things even more overwhelming, I’m going to answer the following question: Do Mormons really spend 3 hours per week in church? For many church members that is the case. However, others, especially those called into leadership positions, spend much more time. This is because the LDS Church is largely a lay church – it is run by normal people, those of the congregations, who are called to fill and serve in different capacities. Some of these jobs range from ward librarian to building facility manager to choir director to bishop to stake president and so forth. As members of the LDS Church we receive callings and then serve where we are called. Some callings take little time, others take considerable amounts time. So what do these time requirements look like?

Here’s a fairly typical schedule for someone like myself who serves as the Young Men’s President (which means that I help the bishop of our ward in working with the boys between the ages of 12 and 18):

  1. Pre-church meeting for 45 minutes.
  2. Short break (spent coordinating activities or getting things ready for church meetings) until Sacrament Meeting.
  3. Sacrament Meeting – 1 hour 10 minutes.
  4. Time to get to class.
  5. Sunday School – 45 minutes.
  6. Time to get to class.
  7. Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings – 50 minutes.
  8. Brief clean up of rooms and building after church.
  9. Home from church after spending about 5 hours there.
  10. Wednesday night youth activities – 1 to 2 hours.
  11. Preparation of lesson for Sunday – minutes to hours, depending on the lesson.

Then there are other church responsibilities – home teaching, presidency meetings, temple trips, monthly youth meetings, and so forth. We’ll have youth dances and other youth activities. There might be camping involved too. My church responsibilities require more time than some other people’s and much less than others’. Twice a year we have General Conference instead of our normal church meetings. That is up to 10 hours of meetings over two days. We also have Stake Conference, which can be 6 hours of meetings over two days.

Being a fully invested member of the LDS Church requires dedication and consecration. Most of us are more than happy to dedicate so much time to what we believe in so strongly. We have faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and His church; we love Him and want to serve Him by serving others. Further, we make covenants with the Lord at baptism, when males receive the Priesthood, when we partake of the Sacrament, and when we receive our temple endowment. We covenant with God that we will consecrate all we have unto Him. That includes our time.

Church responsibilities are never a burden (although I know some do feel that they are). That does not mean that spending the time requires no sacrifice, but our burdens are made light through the Savior.

So do Mormons attend a lot of church? Yes, we do but we are building the Lord’s kingdom here upon the earth and it requires a lot of work. His work will not do itself, we need to be actively engaged in it. We as church members can be as involved as we want to be but we should recognize that God and family come first. While we should not neglect our families in the name of service to God, neither should we neglect our service to God because we might feel inconvenienced. The work of God will go forth boldly as we are bold in our efforts. Three hours of church a week often is not enough. We do not get paid for our efforts but we serve because we love – the Lord and those around us. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t a Sunday thing, it’s a Sunday through Saturday thing. It’s who we are. It’s part of our lives. Again, we feel this way – at least I do – because of my love for the Savior and my faith in Him and His gospel, which include His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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.

The Divine Role of Motherhood – Part 4

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A few years ago I talked with my mother about some of the best experiences she had in life. She talked mainly about being a mother. During our conversation I learned much about the great joy she had as a mother but also about the great times of struggle. She stated that the most rewarding and satisfying thing in her life was, in her own words: “The safe pregnancy and delivery of our children and then raising them. Having and raising seven lovely children has been wonderful. It was a lot of hard work but they all turned out okay. We did a lot of things together as a family, we worked hard, we survived hard times and ate cracked wheat. We went to church every week and spent the time together as a family. There were occasional problems but we survived them and overcame them.

“One time when we had 3 or 4 small children a friend was extolling the virtues of Sesame Street and said how her child could count to 10 and knew all the colors and all because the child watched Sesame Street on TV. I was appalled and wondered ‘What is a mother for?’ and why would anyone need TV to teach children what I thought was my ‘job description.’ So we read and played and counted everything and numbered everything and named colors and tied shoes and did all sorts of things. We learned to work and had jobs to learn responsibility.”

She also talked about the struggles of being a mother: “What has been difficult? How about seven babies! It was very difficult when we didn’t have any money and Dad was working two jobs and we were trying to make ends meet. We did not have much money at all, especially when the kids were small. We did not have much but we always survived. It just took a lot of hard work and some ingenuity.

“Another hard time was when we had four children under the age of five. This was a terrible emotional stress. The kids were sick all the time and we had no money. I was physically sick some too. Our washer broke during this time and so the children stomped the clothes in the bathtub to wash them – they thought it was fun; they thought they were like the pioneers. At least they had fun with it.

“These years were hard with a lot of difficult physical work. I was changing diapers on three babies. I also mopped the floors at night so they would stay clean at least the eight hours until morning. I also had to deal with potty training all the kids and cleaning up their messes. We also had a garden and had to plant it and keep it growing and harvest the food and can and store some as well. We had to work really hard to survive.”

My mother found that church helped her cope with the stress of raising children: “I really loved going to church and relief society – that was my salvation once a week. Enrichment was lovely to put the kids in the nursery and be away for 1.5 hours. We had weekly meetings and so it was nice to have some time away from the kids. I could learn and grow and spend time with other ladies in the ward. Church was always a big boost for me and I looked forward to it each week.”

I will always be grateful for my mother and all the work she did (and does) as a mother. She is a remarkable woman and mother. She is someone the Lord looks upon and smiles.