Understanding Virtue: A Scripture Chain

In my ward, we are doing a Book of Mormon Summer reading challenge. This will help the young women to complete their value project for virtue: to read the Book of Mormon. The challenge is to read the Book of Mormon in 70 days – during the summer. (It is roughly 7.5 pages a day).

I’m going to start my summer reading challenge tomorrow. Today, I wanted to figure out what to study as I read the Book of Mormon. So…I’m thinking about the Virtue value project. I’m struck by the following question:

“What did He and those who followed Him do to live virtuous lives?” – from Virtue, Personal Progress Value Experience

And I think that’s what I want to study/learn about

Virtue!!!

Virtue!!!

Personally, I feel like we have a pretty limited understanding of virtue. I think that many of us feel like virtue means chastity. If so, then why not simply call it chastity? Maybe then we’ll elaborate and say, “Purity.” Still. Virtue is not really interchangeable for either chastity or purity. Sure, virtue includes chastity and purity, but I really think that it is that and more.

Here is a quick scripture chain that might help to shed a little light on virtue.

Proverbs 31:10

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:1

This is the “virtue” scripture that usually comes to mind. It seems nice. I don’t know. We might have some stereotypes or even wrong impressions about this scripture. This isn’t a scripture that describes a woman who is quiet and appeased by a bunch of gems. This isn’t a scripture that describes a woman who is property that can be bought.

The rest of 31 describes the many “virtues” of this virtuous woman. They include:

  • She is trustworthy.
  • She does good – especially within the context of her marriage.
  • She works with her hands.
  • She brings food. She physically nourishes her family.
  • She wakes up early and takes care of her stewardship.
  • She is a wise investor.
  • She is a gardener – or creator.
  • She is a hard worker.
  • She knows that her merchandise is good. She is confident.
  • She has many skills – she is knowledgable.
  • She is charitable to the poor.
  • She is not afraid or helpless.
  • She provides well for her household.
  • She is elegant.
  • She causes her household to be elegant as well.
  • She brings fame and honor to her husband because of her many strengths.
  • She is strong.
  • She is honorable.
  • She is wise.
  • She is kind.
  • She is not idle.
  • She is a mother.
  • She is prolific in good works (of all kinds).
  • She fears the Lord.
  • She is praised.

All of these items in this list are ways that this woman is virtuous. You could say it another way – she is powerful. Her purity and chastity are part of what makes her virtuous, but she is more than that, too. She gets stuff done. I want to be like her, you know?!

Really look through this list with an open heart and mind. Today, we’d call the virtuous woman a “super-woman,” perhaps. She has a lot going on, for sure, but these things are all achievable – not all at once, but over time. (That’s nearly always the way). We can become wise, elegant, chaste, charitable, honorable, and strong. We don’t have to throw all of the balls in the air and do them at once. We have a lifetime to develop these qualities. And, while we’re striving, I believe we can consider ourselves to be virtuous women.

Doctrine and Covenants 121:45

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.” – Doctrine and Covenants 121:45

Now, lest you think that the charge to be virtuous only applies to women, here is an example where men are told to be virtuous, too.

Throughout verses 41-46, the Lord instructs Joseph Smith on the use of the Priesthood. In verse 39, the Lord warns Joseph of the nature of most men in regards to the Priesthood and to power, in general:

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” – Doctrine and Covenants 121:39

So – the Lord then tutors Joseph Smith on how to be a man who righteously bears the Priesthood of God. Since we made a list for the ladies, we’ll make a list for the men.

  • Not power hungry
  • Long-suffering
  • gentle
  • meek
  • loving to others – unconditionally
  • kind
  • exhibiting pure knowledge
  • without hypocrisy
  • without guile
  • reproving – which means GENTLE CORRECTION
  • sharp – exact and quick – so the dude who reproves with sharpness will correct gently with exactness. He won’t do a “hack job” of it. “Reproving at times with sharpness” doesn’t mean being a bully. Quite the opposite.
  • guided by the Holy Ghost
  • loving, especially to those whom he has gently corrected
  • knows that “faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.”
  • bowels are full of charity
  • virtue garnishes his thoughts at all times – his mind is pure and chaste which makes it poweful
  • confident in God
  • gains an understanding of the doctrine of the Priesthood
  • has the Holy Ghost as a constant companion
  • righteous
  • a father

So – men also have high standards. Both men and women are expected to be not only virtuous, but to strive to be the best people that they can be. We are all expected to be not only pure and chaste, but also motivated by faith and filled with charity. This enables us to be empowered by God.

Virtue figures into this greatly. I think that virtue is not only a commitment to be righteous (pure and chaste), but it becomes a well of power within us.

Luke 6:19

“And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” – Luke 6:19

This scripture is about Christ – when He healed some people “vexed with unclean Spirits.” I find this use of the word “virtue” particularly interesting because it challenges our modern notion of virtue.

Here, we wouldn’t describe Christ’s virtue as “chastity.” It is something else. It is a power to heal others.

His healing power is described as virtue also when the woman touches His hem and is healed:

“And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” – Luke 8:46

Christ was traveling in a throng of people. Undoubtedly many were touching Him. But only one was healed, and when that healing took place, He could feel his power being physically transferred to this woman.

There is a connection between virtue and power.

We will study one final example like this.

Alma 31:5

“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” – Alma 31:5, emphasis added.

God’s word, as Alma knew, was virtuous. Not only does virtue, in this context, mean pure, righteous or chaste, we learn that virtue is a power that is stronger than the sword.

***

Now that we have studied these verses, I think that we can make better sense of virtue. Virtue is power that is rooted in righteousness and purity. It’s power comes from our decision to be righteous, chaste, and made pure through the Atonement of Christ. So, virtue is definitely related to chastity and purity, but it is a little bit more than that!!! Virtue is a source of power.

Virtue is not a power of force. It is not a power of material wealth. It is a power that surpasses the understanding of this world. Virtue is a power that can enable us to heal, to nourish, to strengthen, and to provide. Virtue is a power that is rooted in our Savior and can only be accessed when we are doing what we can to be like Him.

Really, virtue is pretty awesome. So I will agree with the proverb. The price of a virtuous woman is far above rubies. The price of a virtuous man is far above titanium.

I want to develop this quality.

Okay, I’ll end with one last scripture – because it is applicable and might give us a hint on how to develop virtue for ourselves.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:38-40

“And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.

All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. – Doctrine and Covenants 88:38-40

So – if we want to have virtue, then we have to identify that it is built upon laws and principles. Virtue is only built upon the very highest principles of righteousness.

Additionally, if we want to be virtuous, then we must learn to love virtue. I have a feeling it is one of those qualities that continues to add to itself as we continue to progress and apply the Atonement in our lives.

***
What are your thoughts on virtue? Do you think it is an outdated stereotype or a source of strength and power? How can you work to develop virtue in your life?

Come Unto Christ Scripture Study Guide

Well, this is a little late, but it’s finally here!!!

Youth 2014 Scripture Study Series

Youth 2014 Scripture Study Series

Introducing a new Scripture Study guide, program, series…whatever you want to call it. This scripture study program is divided into 8 parts. You can complete them at your own pace.

Even though I’m not serving in the Youth program anymore, Tiger is a young woman. I wanted to create another scripture study series that would help me to understand more about the youth theme for the year so that I could reinforce it in the home.

The scripture study program is broken up in the following assignments/categories:

  1. Introduction to the Series – This includes a quick overview of the scripture and we study supplemental material from the General Young Men’s and General Young Women’s presidencies.
  2. The Invitation Part One – This assignment will explore the first part of Moroni’s invitation – to come unto Christ.
  3. The Invitation Part Two – This assignment will explore the second part of Moroni’s invitation – to be perfected in Him.
  4. The Invitation Part Three – This assignment will explore the third part of Moroni’s invitation – to deny yourselves of all ungodliness.
  5. Logic Statement – If… – In this assignment, we will study what it means to deny yourself of all ungodliness, and why that’s important.
  6. Logic Statement – If… – In this assignment, we will continue studying the “if” portion of Moroni’s logic statement – to love God will all your might, mind, and strength.
  7. Logic Statement – Then… – In this assignment, we will study the next portion of the Logic statement – which is receiving grace.
  8. Second Logic Statement–If, then – Moroni concludes this verse with a second logic statement. This assignment will explore an practical example of this logic statement. We will see how this whole scripture comes together in this assignment.

You can download this entire scripture study series here:

Or Click on this link.

By the way – this would be a great value project!!!

***
So, download the scripture study program and complete it. Let me know how it goes. Also, if you notice any mistakes, please email me or leave a comment below!!! Also, be on the lookout. I hope to make this scripture study series into an App soon. 🙂

A Daughter of God (Individual Worth Value Experience 1) – and a Give-Away

I’m working on Personal Progress with my daughter. It is really a nice experience.

Today, I’m working on Individual Worth Value Experience 1. Before I even began I was touched by the first sentence:You are a daughter of Heavenly Father, who knows you and loves you.”. It’s funny. When I read that, I want to tell my own daughter that it’s true, that she is loved so much. That I know she is a daughter of God. Yet, as I read it, myself, I feel the Spirit whisper to me to remember that I am a daughter of God, He knows me and loves me. Why is it so easy for me to remember how much my own daughters or others are known of and loved by God, yet it is easy for me to forget the same about myself?

But I know that I’m a daughter of God, and I know He loves me.

This value experience assigns the following scriptures: Psalms 8:4-6, Jeremiah 1:5, John 13:34, Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, Abraham 3:22-23, and Joseph Smith-History 1:1-20. After studying these scriptures, we are to “Write in your journal how these scriptures teach you that Heavenly Father knows you, loves you, and is mindful of you.”

Honestly, I get a good feeling when I’m reading these scriptures, but it is the final verse in the final scripture that really stood out to me:

“It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?” – Joseph Smith History 1:20

What I realize in this scripture is that not only is Heavenly Father mindful of me, but that the Adversary is, too. Just as Heavenly Father pleads with us to know that we are His children, that we, his daughters are beloved and of infinite value; the adversary tries to get us to believe the opposite that our value and love are somehow conditional (usually on our physical traits). This simply is not true, but it doesn’t stop Satan from trying to get us to believe it!

I am reminded of something Elaine Dalton said in a recent conference talk:

“Again I renew the call for a return to virtue. Virtue is the strength and power of daughters of God. What would the world be like if virtue—a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards, including chastity8—were reinstated in our society as a most highly prized value? If immorality, pornography, and abuse decreased, would there be fewer broken marriages, broken lives, and broken hearts? Would media ennoble and enable rather than objectify and degrade God’s precious daughters? If all humanity really understood the importance of the statement “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father,” how would women be regarded and treated?” – Elaine Dalton

I love the line of questioning here, and I want to add a question of my own, How would my life change, how would I regard myself and treat myself, if I really understood that I was a daughter of Heavenly Father, and that He loves me?

Of course, at some level, I know this. But there are times I let myself forget. I get caught up in supposed expectations, I get caught up in chores, and most of all, I get caught up in perfectionism and comparing myself to others. And getting caught up in these things is so insidious because I forget my relationship with God, I forget the love He has for me, I forget that He wants me to be happy.

I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. I know that He loves me. I know that He wants me to cleave unto Him as he cleaves unto me (See Jacob 6:5). And I know that if I will accept this truth in my life, I will be able to feel the satisfaction and happiness from knowing that I am loved by an Eternal Father in Heaven.

***
I mentioned in the title of this blog post that there is a give-away…and there is!

Win this!

Win this!

Please head over to Tiger’s blog at Personal Progress Perspectives to enter the contest. She’s giving away a red (for Individual worth) tie-dye tee-shirt. While you may not be all that into tie-dye, the kids love it! So check it out, comment, and win! 🙂

Handmade Gospel Book for Youth–Knowledge (Part 5)

This is the fifth part of the gospel book for my daughter that just turned twelve. You can also see Part One (Introduction and About the book), Part Two (Faith), Part Three (Divine Nature), and Part Four (Individual Worth).

Knowledge

I have formatted this book to kind of follow the values from the Young Woman’s theme, so this section is all about knowledge. Included in this section are some of the standards included in For the Strength of the Youth that seem to be associated with the value knowledge. I hope you enjoy this little look!

Knowledge

A few thoughts on knowledge.

A few thoughts on knowledge.

So, this page is all about knowledge–gaining knowledge and why it is important. I have always valued the chance I had to receive an education, and I wanted Tiger to understand that everything in the world around her will give her knowledge – not only what she does in school.

Tiger is a very curious individual, and I encouraged her to continue to satisfy her curiosities in a smart way. This time in her life is especially geared for obtaining knowledge. Though she will have chances to be more social, and it is fun, I encouraged her to remember to keep those interests balanced with gaining knowledge.

Education

About receiving an education.

About receiving an education.

This page is closely related to knowledge, but I wanted this to focus more on her goals in life and how an education will help her to obtain those goals. I understand that a 12 year old girl might not know exactly what she wants to do in life, but I wanted her also to understand that if she wants to keep her future options open, then she needs to make wise decisions now. Receiving an education is a big part of this.

Word of Wisdom 1

A cute quote about health.

A cute quote about health.

This little nursery rhyme is a nice little reminder on how to live a happy healthy life:

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If you are only willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your heart they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.

Cute and true!

Word of Wisdom 2

My thoughts to Tiger on the Word of Wisdom.

My thoughts to Tiger on the Word of Wisdom.

In this layout, I wanted to make sure that there is more to the Word of Wisdom than “don’t drink, don’t smoke.” Right now, I know that those aren’t temptations to Tiger. That might change, and perhaps there will be a time when she needs more guidance about the temptation to break the word of wisdom, but for now, I wanted to help her concentrate on how everything we put into our mouths effects us. This is often hard for me to remember.

I also wanted her to know that when we treat our bodies well, then we are also treating our spirits well. There is a connection between out bodies and spirits. If we smoke, drink, eat too much junk food, don’t get enough rest or exercise, then not only does our body suffer, but our Spirit also suffers.

I’m hoping that if she understands “why” the Word of Wisdom is so beneficial, then she will be more apt to keep it in the future.

Receiving Revelation

Pattern to Receiving Revelation

Pattern to Receiving Revelation

Finally, I wrote about receiving revelation. Here, I wrote/illustrated the pattern to receiving revelation- as taught in the Doctrine Covenants 9:7-9.
Pattern for receiving revelation

  1. Study – instead of expecting the Lord to solve all of our problems, we need to be proactive. We study our problem and the solution; we study the choice that we are trying to make; we study what it is we are going to learn; then we come up with our own solution that makes sense to us based on the information that we have gathered. This doesn’t have to take days or weeks. It may only take a few minutes. What matters most is that we study it out in our minds.
  2. Ask – After studying out the issue in our minds, then we are ready to counsel with the Lord. We can ask Him if our decision is right. We ask through prayer, fasting, and through seeking answers in the scriptures or at the temple. While the Lord wants us to be think more independently, He still wants to be a part of the process.
  3. Recognize the Lord’s Answer – After doing this, then the Lord will answer us in one of the following ways:
    • No – if it is wrong, then we will not feel right about the solution we have prayed about. We won’t feel confident or empowered. We will feel confused or blank. We have to learn how the Spirit speaks to us.
    • Yes – If the solution is good, and God endorses it, then we will feel happy. The scriptures say that our “bosoms will burn,” and I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I know that I feel happy, enlightened, hopeful, and as if everything is completely clear.

Understanding the pattern to receiving revelation is very helpful. Soon enough, Tiger will be making big decisions in her life. This pattern can help answer any of the questions she will have.

***
Well, that’s it for the knowledge section. I’ve actually finished the book, Tiger is 12 and has it, but I wanted to make sure that I updated it here, too. 🙂 Next up is Choice and Accountability. Check back later to see it!

Young Women’s Lesson 1-10: Supporting Family Members

This is the last lesson I taught the young women of my ward. I’m moving to a new state, and this was my last week. It is a little sad, but I was happy to teach. My favorite thing about serving in the Young Women’s has been teaching on Sundays.

The objective of lesson 1-10 is: Each young woman will learn how to support and be loyal to her family.

As I think about this – I know that in some ways I may not be the best to teach it. I mean, I love my family, but I don’t have the best relationships with them. I know that I have a lot of room to grow. I realized that, as usual, I’d learn more from the lesson than I could possibly teach the Young Women. Amazing how it always happens that way.

I didn’t really follow the lesson plan as outlined. Here is an idea of what I did – in case it helps you.

Introduction
I began with a similar introduction. Instead of asking the young women to think about a time when they were ignored or felt like a friend wasn’t listening, we did a little bit of an object lesson/role play. I had one girl start talking to another. After a few seconds, a third young woman interrupted them. The first girl then ignored the young woman who was talking to her and only paid attention to the young woman who had interrupted them.

They got frustrated, it was funny, and we had a good time.

We talked about the situation. I asked the young woman, who had been ignored, how she felt about being ignored. The reaction was obvious.

I related – talking to a person on the phone when you know that they are watching T.V. or are on the computer. We all agreed: we hate that! Then, we talked about what we would like instead. We came to the conclusion: in our relationships, we want approval, support, loyalty, and encouragement.

After that, I brought up the fact that these qualities – (approval, support, loyalty, and encouragement) should also be in our family relationships. Unfortunately, we don’t always work hard to show proper respect and love to our family members. Because of this, our relationships with them often suffer.

Scripture Discussion

“Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.” – Doctrine and Covenants 108:7

Consider asking the following questions:

  • Who are our brethren?
  • What do you think that it means to strengthen them?
  • In what ways should we strengthen our brothers, sisters, and parents?
  • What do you think that the outcome would be if we did this?

Application
It sounds strange, but I then encouraged them to be mindful of applying this lesson before I even finished it. We read the following Value Experience from Personal Progress

“Make your home life better. For two weeks make a special effort to strengthen your relationship with a family member by showing love through your actions. Refrain from judging, criticizing, or speaking unkindly, and watch for positive qualities in that family member. Write notes of encouragement, pray for this family member, find ways to be helpful, and verbally express your love. Share your experiences and the divine qualities you’ve discovered with that family member or with a parent or leader.” – Divine Nature Value Experience 3

Explain that you are about to watch two videos. You will discuss them after, but as you watch them, think about the relationships you have in your families. Let the Spirit guide you to know which family member you should pick to complete this goal.

After you have explained what they should be mindful of, show the first video:

After the video, discuss it a little bit with the young women. When we talked about it today, I felt impressed to mention the following:

  • They were both unhappy with the relationship at first.
  • Even though Dylan was the son, he took initiative to make the relationship better.
  • Dylan listened to the prophets, and applied their teachings to his life.
  • I explained to the young women that we, parents, aren’t perfect. We get scared. We want the approval of our children, and sometimes don’t know how to go about it. If they make the first move, they may find that the relatinoship improves. Often, children teach their parents.
  • I also let them know that even if their parents don’t respond to their efforts, they shouldn’t give up. They will need to pray, and the Lord will bless them for their efforts – even if their parents never appreciate the work they put into it.

After discussing this video, show the following video.

Discuss this video with them, too.

A few things I felt impressed by:

  • Neither brother was happy about the relationship at first.
  • Luke felt like there was no hope in his relationship with Sam.
  • They worked together on the Student council campaign.
  • Sam let his guard down – let Luke know about his depression.
  • Luke made a sacrifice for his brother – dressed like a Bee and danced in front of the whole school!
  • As Sam changed himself, this enabled him to change his relationship with his brother.
  • Because Luke was understanding, he was able to build a relationship with Sam.

Follow the Spirit, of course, and encourage the young women to share their reactions and feelings. Help them to see how each relationship was healed. Also, if you find appropriate experiences to share, share them. You may invite a young women to share an appropriate experience. I’m sure that the Spirit will guide you as you teach.

I closed the lesson with the quote given in the book:

“Be one who nurtures and builds. Be one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” – Marvin J. Ashton

Conclusion
Close with your testimony and with encouragement – for the young women to find a relationship that they can strengthen in their family. Testify of the love we can have in our lives as we strive to strengthen and develop better relationship with our brothers, sisters, and parents.

Personal Testimonies of Personal Progress

I have been privileged to serve the Young Women for the past few years. I love being able to be with the youth. They are so vibrant, happy, and fun. They also are grounded and inspiring. They dream, think, and teach me so much.

Watch this video of some of the young women from my ward bearing their testimonies of the Personal Progress Program. These young women are amazing.

Knowledge 1 – The Importance of Gaining Knowledge (Experience and Activity)

“Learn about the importance of gaining knowledge by reading Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 4:7, 2 Nephi 28:30, D&C 88:78-80, D&C 90:15, D&C 130:18-19, and D&C 131:6. Think about why you need to gain knowledge and understanding about how to apply gospel principles to your present and future home and family life. Write in your journal what you have learned about knowledge, and discuss it with a family member or Young Women leader. – Knowledge Value Experience 1

We decided to use this value experience as a basis of a young women’s activity.

Activity
Well – the activity was more of an object lesson. We started by giving each of the young women an ingredient or utensil needed to make cookies. They had partial instructions. They had an idea of what to do, but not specific information on how to do it. We didn’t let them know that we had the full instructions, we simply told them to make cookies.

They didn’t know this, but we did have instructions, and would be willing to give them the instructions if they would simply come to us and ask them for the instructions. Once they asked for instructions, they had all of the tools they needed to prepare the cookies.

One really interesting thing that happened with our group – it took them a few minutes to decide to ask for instructions. A few girls thought they already knew how to make cookies, but couldn’t be sure on the measurements. They seemed to be leading the group. It was another young women, who isn’t quite as loud, that mentioned, “Maybe we should ask them if they have instructions.” Luckily, the other young women listened, and they asked for the full instructions. Because they sought extra wisdom, they received it.

Another interesting thing happened with our young women – Even when they had the instructions, they didn’t really read or follow them! They kind of did, but not really. When they were mixing the dry ingredients, the recipe explained that dry ingredients included: flour, baking soda, and salt. They stopped reading after dry ingredients, and were mixing in the sugars, too.

I stopped them, and said, “Have you guys read the instructions?”
They replied, “Yes, it says to mix together dry ingredients.”
I then asked, “What does it say after that – in the same step!?”
They saw the ingredients listed. When they noticed their mistake, they weren’t sure what to do. I guided them – and assured them that everything would be okay, but that they should read the instructions – now that they had them.

After the young women finished mixing the cookies, a few adults helped to bake them – while we explained the meaning of the object lesson/activity.

One of the young women presented this portion beautifully (she was actually in charge of the entire activity. I only mentored her and helped her in final execution – she did all of the work, including tying in a spiritual lesson).

She mentioned that the object lesson of making cookies is symbolic of our lives. Sometimes, we feel like we don’t have instructions, but we do – if we go to the Lord and ask Him. They are in our scriptures. It is important to gain knowledge in this life. She mentioned that, “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance,” (D&C 131:6). It would have been practically impossible to make the cookies without instruction – it is also impossible for us to be saved without knowing the gospel.

She also did a good job of explaining that we do have the scriptures, and they do us no good at all if we will not read and follow them – just like it didn’t do the young women any good to have the recipe for cookies if they weren’t willing to follow it. She mentioned the scripture, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels,” (Proverbs 1:5). We have to actively listen and obey the knowledge that we receive.

After presenting this object lesson and it’s corresponding spiritual message, we encouraged the young women to read the rest of the scriptures on their own and then write in their journals about the experience.

***
If you would like to do this activity, here are the ingredients you will need for the cookies:
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees (farenheit).

In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together butter and both sugars. Beat until fluffy – a few minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add in dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

When you give the girls these ingredients and instructions, start by giving them the ingredients unmeasured. Also, give them instructions that don’t include measurements – in other words, give them partial instructions. Be prepared with the full instructions on another card.

When they ask for instructions, give them the full recipe.

If you have a lot of young women, you could also hand each utensil to a young woman (measuring cups, spoons, beaters, bowls, etc).

I hope you have fun!

Individual Worth 1 – Our Relationship with Heavenly Father

“You are a daughter of Heavenly Father, who knows you and loves you. Read Psalms 8:4–6; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Doctrine and Covenants 18:10; Abraham 3:22–23; and Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20. Write in your journal how these scriptures teach you that Heavenly Father knows you, loves you, and is mindful of you.” – – Individual Worth – Value Experience 1

A few points that I learned in this reading:

  • God created the whole earth, yet He is mindful of man. We have been blessed. (see Psalms 8:4–6)
  • God knew us before our existence on this Earth. He sent us here for various specific purposed. The Lord knows us and what we are capable of doing. (see Jeremiah 1:5)
  • God loves us. We are commanded to do likewise and love one another. (see John 13:34)
  • The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:10)
  • God had a special relationship with each of us before we came to this earth. (see Abraham 3:22–23)
  • Heavenly Father is willing to answer our humble prayers – no matter our circumstances, wealth, power, and ability. He loves each of us – as we are His children. (see Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20)

It brings me so much comfort to know that I have a Heavenly Father who knows me, specifically. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows the desires of my heart. He knows who I was, am, and who I can be. Accordingly, He has blessed me with the life that will best suit me – so I can receive salvation.

I know that this is easy for me to believe. I’m blessed. I have a good life. Sometimes it is hard to understand why there are so many who suffer in such horrible circumstances. But I feel like Heavenly Father is mindful of their pain, and he will bless them. He has sent us to this world so we can be proven. We each must endure our own lives well. It is comforting to remember that He is aware of our challenges and that we can go to Him for strength.

There is a phrase in my patriarchal blessing that I will share because I think that it can apply to every single one of us. “Recognize, that you have been sent here. … You were sent at this time so that you might do more with your life than you ever could have done at any other time in the History of the Earth.”

Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us. He hopes for our success. He has known us long before we can remember. We can trust in Him. We can do as He commands – even when we don’t see the entire picture. Even when the commandment doesn’t make sense to our mortal minds. We can trust that He will guide us to do what is best because He loves us.

Divine Nature 1 – Divine Qualities of a Daughter of God

“What are some of the divine qualities of a daughter of God? Read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” ( here); 2 Peter 1; Alma 7:23–24; and Doctrine and Covenants 121:45. In your own words, list the divine qualities discussed in your reading. Think about how you can discover and develop each of these qualities. Record your ideas in your journal.

As I read the scriptures listed in the value experience, I had the following thoughts and impressions.
The Family

  • Family is central to God’s plan. My being one of His spiritual daughters is a part of that.
  • Daughters of God are created in His image.
  • My gender has been a part of my identity since the pre-mortal realm. It is no accident that I’m a woman now.
  • My family relationships can be perpetuated beyond the grave. – This is kind of mind-blowing.
  • We are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Replenish means more than simply multiplying. It means we make it good, we are refilling the earth with something good and nurturing. It will be able to sustain others. We weren’t commanded to multiply. We weren’t commanded to populate. We were commanded to both multiply and replenish.
  • Children (daughters) are a heritage of the Lord.

2 Peter 1

  • We have been given all that we need in this life from our God.
  • Knowledge, virtue, diligence, faith, temperance, patience, Godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. – Acquire and develop these characteristics to live a life that will be rewarding and please God.

Alma 7:23-24

  • We should be humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of patience, long-suffering, temperate, diligent, willing to ask, grateful, faithful, hopeful, and charitable. I love finding these lists in the scriptures.

Doctrine and Covenants 121:45

  • We need to obtain charity, faith, and virtue. We also need to develop a confidence in the Lord.
  • Our lives, when we live worthy, will be filled with His power.

    There is an interesting promise here. “and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.” I think that this is so very interesting! What is this doctrine? I’m thinking that it is the blessings of the temple. The power and blessings of the priesthood have filled my life as I work hard, study, do what I can to keep the commandments, and as I attend the temple.

    I still have so much to learn about the gospel, and the temple, but I have felt a significant influence of the power of the temple in my life.

As daughters, we do have divine qualities. I don’t think that we learn much about them in the world around us. It seems like we are encouraged to be competitive, skeptical, and sexual – rather than charitable, faithful, and virtuous. It seems like the world considers what the Lord has suggested to be outdated and old fashioned. It is hard to make the decision to listen to the whispering of the Spirit over what the World proclaims to be womanhood.

I’m grateful, however, that I can go to the scriptures and words of the prophets to know what divine qualities that the Lord has given me. I feel a sense of purpose as I work to develop these qualities. I also know that my life has been filled with joy and comfort because of the knowledge that the Lord has given me.

I mentioned, above, the blessings of the temple. I am studying these Young Women’s values as an older woman – one who has attended the temple, rather than one who is preparing. I am grateful that I have the blessings of the temple because what is taught there echoes what I’m learning about my divine nature. In the temple, we are taught in a unique and subtle way. However, it is through continued temple service that I’ve felt more comfortable with my role as a woman and mother on this earth.

I’m grateful to know that I’m a daughter of God.

Faith 1 – Hebrews and Alma

I’m serving in the Young Women’s these days. One of the things that our YW president asked us (leaders) to do is participate in the Personal Progress program. I was fortunate to be able to do personal progress when I was in young women’s, and I think that it will be good to get reacquainted with it by fulfilling the goal.

Yesterday, I decided to start with the first Value Experience for Faith:

“1. Learn about faith from the scriptures and living prophets. Read Hebrews 11, Alma 32:17–42, Ether 12:6–22, and Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20. Read two general conference talks on faith. Exercise your own faith by establishing a habit of prayer in your life. Begin by saying your morning and evening prayers regularly. After three weeks of following this pattern, discuss with a parent or leader what you have learned about faith and daily personal prayer. In your journal express your feelings about faith and prayer.

So, I am doing a few parts of the scripture reading at a time.

Hebrews 11
I love this chapter of scripture. I have always loved the following verse:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” – Hebrews 11:13

This scripture is such a source of inspiration. Of course, right now, I feel incredibly blessed. I have had the opportunity to marry a man I truly love. I have the three most beautiful girls. T and B were already super awesome daughters. I’m so happy to have added C to the equation of my life. I feel like I haven’t had to wait, but I’ve been blessed to have received so many blessings now.

I also want to share another verse that really struck me:

“God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.” – Hebrews 11:40 (see the Joseph Smith Translation in the footnote)

Our suffering is a trial of our Faith. Our faith must be tried in order for it to be strong enough to exercise in the atonement – then we receive perfection through Christ’s infinite grace.

This can be scary – suffering! However:

  1. It is necessary
    • We will suffer regardless of our strength or lack of faith – (so we might as well have faith)
  2. It will help strengthen us as we endure our struggles
    • It is our shield
    • It anchors our hope in Christ – who will help us overcome every struggle

    Alma 32:17-42
    This is the classic object lesson/analogy – faith and the seed. Often, I think of the first part of the analogy – the initial planting. Faith is exercised, and then the seed sprouts into a plant. I’ve done this in my life many times – I’ve exercised faith, and then I’ve seen the “seed” sprout. It is always exciting to start something good, hope it works, then see it is working! The plant is sprouting! SUCCESS!

    I realize that I often get so overcome with the happiness (and novelty) of the initial sprouting that I tend to get a little proud. The sprout grows, but it isn’t as dramatic; I grow bored. I forget to work as hard as I did in the beginning -when I could see no sprout. I lose discipline and diligence and the plant suffers – it may even die.

    Alma, in his lesson, teaches how to overcome this tendency. He teaches:

    “And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

    But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

    And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.” – Alma 32:40-42

    Alma teaches that we need to constantly nourish the plant – rather than let our grounds go barren.

    Here’s what I can take from the lesson:

    1. Have an eye of faith. Visualize the end result. Don’t get bogged down on the current status. Even if the status quo is good, continue to see what it will become.
    2. Nourish it. Continue to provide the environment for this faith to develop.
    3. Be Diligent. To see the seed reach its full potential as a fruitful plant, then it will require my continued sacrifice and (often monotonous) work.
    4. Be Patient. I was surprised by this advice from Alma. I often don’t recognize the patience that faith requires – even though I have experienced it! In fact, I usually get irritated by the need to be patient. Instead, I need to be patient by looking forward and by being grateful. This will inspire continued nourishment and diligence rather than discouragement, boredom, and frustration.

    I was so happy to read these scriptures, it is so exciting as they go along with the fact that I’m focusing on diligence this year. Yay for scriptures and personal revelation!

  • "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:42.
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