Friday, May 22, 2009

Going Old School

I apologize dear reader(s) for not updating this poor blog for so long. Ever since I became the mother of 4 in November, I have lost track of much of my former life. In view of what appears to be the very limited readership of this blog, even when I was updating it regularly, we have decided to move the weekly RS lesson notes from this electronic format back into good old-fashioned ink on paper. Look for the new "Last Week's Lesson" column in our "Minute From the Second" newsletter. If there is anyone left on the planet to read this message who would like me to also post the "Last Week's Lesson" column here, leave me a comment to let me know. Otherwise, you can consider this blog officially dormant.

Yours Truly,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

General Conference Sunday Morning Session

President Monson conducted this session. The speakers are:

1) Henry B. Eyring spoke about being united
2) Robert D. Hales addressed responding in a Christlike way to those who attack the church
3) Keith B. McMullin
4) Elaine S. Dalton spoke about returning to virtue
5) M. Russell Ballard
6) President Monson spoke about enjoying the journey today

Sunday Afternoon Session

President Uchtdorf conducted this session. The speakers were:

1) Boyd K. Packer
2) Russell M. Nelson talked about marriage
3) William D. Oswald who spoke about some basic principles of good teaching
4) Eduardo Gavarret
5) Carlos A. Godoy
6) Quentin L. Cook talked about hard times
7) President Monson

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

General Conference Saturday Morning Session

President Monson conducted this morning's session, announcing 5 new temples: Philadelphia, PA; Calgary, AB; Kansas City area; Cordova (Argentina?); Rome, Italy. The speakers for this session were:

1) L. Tom Perry who talked about Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau, and simplifying our lives
2) Silvia Allred of the RS General Presidency
3) Neil L. Andersen, who told several great stories, but I can't remember the theme of his message
4) Marcos A. Aidukaitis who shared a bit about his father's baptism in 1940 and the importance of the Book of Mormon in their lives
5) Dallin H. Oaks who instructed us on the proper preparation for participating in the sacrament/ sacrament meeting
6) Dieter F. Uchtdorf who gave a wonderful talk on hope

General Conference Saturday Afternoon Session

President Eyring conducted this session. The speakers were:

1) Joseph B. Wirthlin, who talked about facing adversity with 4 strategies: a) laugh b) seek for the eternal c) understand the principle of compensation d) put your trust in God
2) Jeffrey R. Holland talked about ministering angels both in heaven and on earth
3) Gerald Causse
4) Lawrence E. Corbridge
5) D. Todd Christofferson
6) David A. Bednar who spoke about prayer

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Today's lesson taught by yours truly, Potato Girl, on Elder Dennis Neuenschwander's April 2008 Conference address "One Among the Crowd."

This talk uses three scriptures stories to illustrate the idea of a righteous individual struggling against a wicked crowd. The first is the story of the woman with the 12 year issue of blood found in Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:24-34 and Luke 8:43-48.

The second story Elder Neuenschwander uses is that of Alma in the court of King Noah, found in Mosiah 17:1-4.

The third story is Lehi & Nephi's vision of the people partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and the mocking crowd in the great and spacious building (1 Nephi 8:10-12, 25-28, 33 and 1 Nephi 11:7-23,32-36).

In the first story, the woman with the issue of blood moves through the crowd that is thronging Jesus in order to touch him, having faith that she will be made whole if she can do this. Elder N. tells us that the main difference between this woman and the rest of the crowd is that they came to see Jesus, perhaps hoping to witness something out of the ordinary, a spectacle, while she came to be healed. We discussed the differences between approaching the Savior/ attending church/ watching General Conference with the goal of seeing or with the goal of being healed.

In the second story, Alma must leave the crowd of evil priests in order to follow the teachings of the prophet Abinadi. When he speaks out on Abinadi's behalf, he is thrust from the group and must flee from those who are seeking his life.

In the third story, the righteous people partaking of the fruit of the tree of life are already separate from the crowd in the great and spacious building. Their task is to ignore the mocks and scorns coming from the crowd. Some of those who have partaken of the fruit hear the crowd and feel ashamed, eventually wandering away from the tree and becoming lost. Others pay the crowd no heed, and are able to continue to feast on the fruit, which represents the love of god.

Elder N. says of the woman with the issue of blood that she "resolutely and quietly pressed forward with a single purpose in mind: to come to the Savior, having faith that He had the power to heal her, that He cared about her and would respond to her need." He reiterates this statement at the very end of his talk, saying: "In all of life’s circumstances let us quietly and resolutely press forward to the Savior, having faith that He cares about us and has the power to heal and save us."

We put the key elements of this statement up on the board like this:

-quietly and resolutely press forward to the Savior
-have faith that the Savior
---has the power to heal and save us
---cares about us
---will respond to our need

I asked everyone to think about what they could do to follow the example of the woman with the issue of blood as she sought healing from the Savior.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today's RS lesson taught by Kristin Ellis from Joseph Smith Manual Chapter #17: "The Great Plan of Salvation."

We started with this statement by Joseph Smith on page 210 of the manual:

“I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits. …"

We need to remember when we are teaching the plan of salvation to others that although it is helpful to talk about pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal periods in our existence, there is no beginning or end to our spirits.

Why are we here on earth? To receive a body. To have mortal experiences which allow us to learn and become more like god.

The one quote that stood out to Kristin more than any other as she prepared the lesson is this from page 210:

"We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment.”

We discussed this quote in parts. The discussion topic for the first part: How does acting on the revelation we receive help us to receive more? Some answers:
-Keeping a scripture journal of impressions that come while reading helps me to notice or remember the revelation I receive. -Following President Eyring's counsel to keep a journal of god's hand in my life helps me in a similar way.
-My capacity to recognize revelation increases as I exercise it.

To better discuss the second part of the quote, Kristin asked: How do we live the gospel as Joseph Smith describes without becoming overwhelmed? Some answers:
-Day by day.
-Be realistic and don't beat yourself up.
-Remember that our life happens in stages, and we can't do everything at once.
-Set short-term goals to help you reach long-term goals. I like to mark off goals on charts and give myself rewards.
-When I start the day with a prayer and then report back to god in prayer at the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and that god is guiding my day.
-I try to remember that Satan wants us to feel overwhelmed and give up. Christ, on the other hand, wants us to have hope.
-Making Christ an active part of my life makes it all possible.
-Sister Hinckley shared an experience in her book Small & Simple Things about setting a goal to read each of the 4 standard works for 15 minutes each day. After a week or so with very little progress, she realized that she had aimed too high with this goal and modified it.
-I tell people what I'm going to do so that I'll feel accountable.

For the last few minutes of the lesson we talked about the section that starts on page 211 "We came to earth to obtain a body." Kristin asked: How have you gained a testimony of the sacredness of your body? Some answers:
-Seeing someone sick or with a body that doesn't function properly has helped me appreciate how miraculous it is to have a body that works properly. It helps me to respect the gift I've been given, to be able to move freely, to leave a room and go somewhere if I choose.
-I have prayed for help in seeing modest fashions as beautiful.
-I met a man on a plane once who told me how impressed he was by the mormon women at the gym who always dressed differently than the other women.

We ran out of time. Kristin closed by bearing her testimony of the Savior and his central role in our salvation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today's RS lesson was taught by Sondra Soderborg based on the Joseph Smith manual chapter 16, "Revelation and the Living Prophet."

In 1831 the prophet Joseph Smith was living in Kirtland, Ohio. It was a time of great revelation. Others were often present when the Lord answered the prophet's prayers through revelation. Parley P. Pratt recorded this:

“After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation. Each sentence was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each, sufficiently long for it to be recorded, by an ordinary writer, in long hand. … There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back, in order to keep the run of the subject.”

The general membership of the church did not have access to these revelations. The leaders of the church met together and decided to publish some of them. Doctrine and Covenants section 1 was given by the Lord as a preface to this collection of revelations.

Revelation is necessary and will be provided in God's true church. Through revelation, Joseph Smith was given to understand that the rock referred to in Matthew 16:18 is revelation.

Joseph had to help the early saints understand that only the prophet receives revelation for the whole church.

Discussion Question #1: Please share a time in your life when you can see that by following the prophet your life was blessed.

Discussion Question #2: Please share a personal revelation that has been important in your life.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

RS Lesson by Kathy Diehl based on Elder Scott's October 2004 Conference address "Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind."

The RS theme for our ward this year is D&C 19:23. How do we get peace in our life? When have you felt peace, and where have you been? When you felt peace, were you problem free? Is it easy to feel or find peace? We are fortunate to have people to guide us to the source of peace.

Elder Scott says that a tranquil conscience is rare on earth. 2 Nephi 2:27. The adversary works to take peace from us. External forces affect our peace of mind, worry us. This kind of unsettled mind can be resolved, often by the passage of time. What worries are affecting your mind right now?

This type of worry is very different from peace of conscience, which is controlled by what you do. What does a conscience do for us, why have we been given one? To guide us. To help us distinguish right from wrong.

Moroni 7:15-19. What is the connection between the light of Christ and conscience? Every person has the light of Christ, and conscience is a manifestation of that light. Conscience is a defense against that which is spiritually harmful. Elder Scott says that the ability to have an unsettled conscience is a gift of god to help you succeed in this life. The light of Christ activates our conscience.

1 Timothy 4:2. The phrase that struck Kathy in this scripture is "conscience seared with a hot iron." What is the difference between good guilt and bad guilt? What it motivates you to do. Bad guilt is a feeling you have about things your shouldn't feel bad about.

Conscience permits the Lord to be there. Conscience can be a flash of insight, a twinge to do good. When we go against light we attempt to justify ourselves. Any time we know "to do good and do it not" is sin. Elder Packer says in his talk "The Light of Christ" that we can be directed to moderate our actions. We must maintain our sensitivity to conscience.

Kathy closed by reading this poem by Myra Brooks Welch, quoted by Elder Packer in his April 2001 conference address:

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile: "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar"; then, "Two!" "Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!" said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He's "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.