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Sunday Session 4, Talk 1 – President Henry B. Eyring, 1st Counselor of the First Presidency
- Become Better than you are now
- Do not feel like you are good enough.
- Do not give up trying to be better.
- The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we CAN and we must expect to become better as long as we live.
- We believe that through living the Gospel, we can become like the saviour who is perfect.
- “I’m trying to be like Jesus” Primary Song
- Family is the testing ground for learning Love
- Love is putting others above ourselves.
- Sorrow comes primarily from selfishness, which is the absence of love.
- The idea God holds for us is to form families in a way that is most likely to lead to happiness and away from sorry.
- A man and a woman are to make sacred covenants that they will put the welfare and happiness of the other at the center of their lives.
- Children are to be born into a family where parents hold the needs of the children equal to their own in importance.
- Children are to love parents and each other.
- That is the idea of a loving family.
- Choices to qualify that there will be no empty chairs in our families in the world to come:
- Pray for the love that allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes the weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companions joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften your sorrows of your companion.
- Council to the parents of a wandering child. The savior is the perfect example of persisting in love. Story of Jesus re-inviting the Nephites to come to him. Story of the Prodigal Son gives us hope.
Elder Orson F. Whitney, General Conference in 1929, to the faithful parents that honor temple sealings to their children:
“Though some of the sheep may wonder, the eye of the Shepard is upon them and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of divine providence reach out after them and drawing them back to the fold…Pray for your careless and disobedient children, hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on ’till you see the salvation of God. You can pray for your children. Love them. Reach out to them with confidence that Jesus reaches for them with you. When you keep trying, you are doing what Jesus does.”
- Council to the children. Lord gave you a commandment with a promise. The only commandment with a promise… Honor thy Father and Mother.
- “Try to show kindness in all that you do. Be gentle and loving in deed and thought.”
This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.
I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen. It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.
There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!
The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service. There was a great lesson presented. In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.
They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.
This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.
My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.
The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion. I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry. I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.
I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.
At times I questioned myself if I can answer those temple recommend interview questions with no issues. I remember the last time I went for a temporary temple recommend interview back in March for Baptisms for the Dead. I caught myself being harsh when asked questions. I attribute it to judging ourselves and we are our own worse judge. My Bishop agreed.
I often find myself self-interviewing on one particular question:
Are you kind to your family members?
Am I? What does that mean? It means, do I treat them as Christ would during the good times and the bad times? Do I display patience with my family at all times? Am I a good Father and Husband?
For a while, I was in a cycle of confusion and this is how it went:
I feel like I am in a deep hole, looking upwards at the sky and that I can’t make it out.I feel that my family deserves better than I have given in the past. I have only been at it for over 18 months and I thought I was changing. I’m not sure sometimes. At times I feel like I really have changed.I am not always patient or soft spoken in stressful situations. I seem to let the worst come out of me only in front of my spouse and children. In my early twenties, I picked up the bad habbit of swearing. My language has cleaned up over the past 18 months but I have those moments of relapse.
I expect so much from my family (from expecting the same strictness that I had to follow when I was younger) at times that it only leads me to anger and fits of yelling when things aren’t going well.
I’ve been taught that true conversion happens over time. Am I converted? Am I converted enough?
Could I stand tall with my fellow brethren who are temple recommend holders?
Every Sunday, I feel energized and I believe that I can climb my way out of this deep hole.I realize to myself that I cannot be perfect and Christ-like at all times. That is why we have the atonement.I am thankful for the atonement and the fact that Jesus Christ took upon himself my sins, my sadness and my pain. I am thankful for the ordinance of Sacrament where I can renew my baptismal covenants and be forgiven for my short comings. During Sacrament, I feel true sorrow and pain. I then feel forgiven and my burdens lifted away.
I love the feeling of being clean and renewed for another week.
I pray for long suffering, patience, being a good example for my children and to be a better Father and Husband.
I love feeling I can start over with myself and my family.
I feel like the moment that I slip, no matter how high I have made it I fall to the bottom of that deep hole and I have to start over. Maybe I’ve raised my voice to my kids or handle a stressful situation very poorly. When growing up, my parents were very strict and always yelled. I see myself doing that sometimes. I see my oldest son yelling at his brothers sometimes and I see myself in him and I become deeply saddened.With the atonement comes repentance. I truly feel sorry for the mistakes and actions that make me feel like I am not kind enough to my family. But true repentance means taking steps to not do it again and then, not do it!
But when I falter I feel like I have failed at repentance. I take my prior transgressions from the week before and add it on to this week as well. That deep hole is getting even deeper.
What if it has been months that I feel I’ve been doing a good job and then I mess up by losing my temper and swear up a storm and scream and yell?
When do I become better? How long do I go without slipping before I can answer “Yes” to the question “Are you kind to your family members?” It can’t be one week. A Month? Two Months?
How can I live higher laws if I cannot live these lower laws?
Am I ever going to make it to the Temple?
Go to back to Despair
I feel like I have finally broken out of this confusing cycle by realizing that during this journey of life every day we build ourselves up to be much more righteous and when we falter we have the atonement and repentance to lift ourselves up and try again. As long as we are on the upward climb we are doing well.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times that by doing in faith the following: Daily prayer, scripture reading, and keeping our minds constantly on the Savior Jesus Christ and the Savior make a very, very large difference.
- Salvation is an individual matter.
- Exaltation is a family matter.
- Family is the support for Salvation.
- The home is a laboratory for learning the gospel.
- Men need women to be exalted and visa versa.
- We cannot be released in our calling as parents.
- The Church is to assist, not replace parents in their responsibility to teach children.
- Parents have a sacred responsibility to teach Children of God.
- We’re taught to shun filth.
- We’re taught to honor thy parents.
- You can teach only by persuasion, long suffering, reproving, and more love.
- We’re all responsible for our own salvation.
These key points from his talk should echo in our minds. In the bigger scheme of things, we are merely stewards of our children on Earth. Our children are children of God entrusted under our car to teach them, to protect them and to love.
I also like his point on how Church is to assist and not replace parents. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reinforces and strengthens our families. It should reiterate what is learned in the home and not be something new when taught during our Sunday Schools.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many, many times before, but I think it makes sense to repeat these words of wisdom:
If you were to erase everything your children learn in Sunday School and Church and strictly rely on what is taught at home, would they still have the same level of knowledge of the Gospel as if they did attend Church and Sunday School?
I hope so.
Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.
I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.
It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.
There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.
The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.
Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!
Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.
After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.
I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.
I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.
My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.
After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.
My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.
What can I do for you?
Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.
I told him about my problems and he counseled me.
My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.
“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”
My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.
He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.
“This is easy” he said.
“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”
He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.
My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.
My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.
I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.
What else good can come from doing home teaching?
Having a home teacher!
At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.
I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.
“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”
When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.
When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.
I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.
I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.
Thank you, Heavenly Father.
Just a little observation that I’d like to point out in fun.
Is it safe to say that Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers is the official unofficial snack of LDS Families?
- At every LDS Family’s house I’ve visited, they have Goldfish Crackers.
- For almost every sacrament meeting that I’ve been to, I see little children sitting quietly with their plastic zip lock baggy of Goldfish Crackers. I’ve tried it on my little boys this Sunday and it seems to have worked very well at keeping them quiet!
- The Cheddar Goldfish Crackers are so, so good.
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I’ve had some time to think of what I’m thankful for. There are a lot of things: My family, my friends and the Gospel.
I am thankful for my family. A man is nothing without his family. A family is necessary to keep me grounded and progress in life. With family, I have the desire, the drive and the purpose to move forward. I receive unconditional love. I give unconditional love.
I am thankful for my friends. A man is nothing without his friends. Friends are needed to keep me on path . With friends, we help each other, that we may do well and take care of our immediate families. Friends are just an extension of family.
I am thankful for the Gospel. A man is nothing without the gospel. The gospel is needed to know where I am going. With the gospel, I become a better person to benefit myself, my family and my friends.
Last Sunday during Elders Quorum, we had a lesson on Strengthening Our Families out of the Book Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball.
Within this lesson we discussed how the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan. We, as parents, need to “build reservoirs” of spiritual strength when our children for the tough times they may face. It is our responsibility to make sure home is a refuge for our children from the outside world.
Home is where our children should be nurtured: both in temporal things and spiritual things. The lesson also teaches how important it is for: scripture study, family activities, just spending time with them and having family home evenings. Prayer in our homes should done in the morning and in the evening and be a common event, not reserved for special occasions.
One of the men in Elders Quorum mentioned a book in which one of the quick things they do during the morning and evening is read from a devotional book: Stand a Little Taller: Counsel and Inspiration for Each Day of the Year by Gordon B. Hinckley, the current profit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This book came highly recommended.
This definitely seems to be a book that I have to get as soon as I can.