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?

15 Things Helaman Teaches us About Stewardship over Youth

I have recently gotten a new calling in my ward*. I’m in the Young Women’s presidency. For those of you who don’t know what that is, the Young Women’s is a group of young women ages 12-18. I have served in the Young Women’s in the past. It is such a fun calling. The youth are so vibrant. They are intelligent, happy, and want to do well.

However, it can be a little daunting to serve with the youth. Fortunately, in the Book of Mormon, we can find a great example of someone who was a steward over the youth: Helaman.

A Little Background Information
Helaman was a general in the Nephite army in the Book of Mormon. Specifically, Helaman commanded a group of 2,000 young men (boys, really). You can read more about the circumstances of this army in Alma chapters 56-58. He was a steward of the youth.

Even though we might not be leading young men into battle, many of the principles that Helaman exemplifies in his stewardship over the youth can be applied in our lives. We will study them today! 🙂

Helaman's Stripling Warriors
Helaman’s Stripling Warriors

15 Ways Helaman teaches us to Be a Better Steward over the Youth

  1. Helaman knew those he served. He knew their circumstances – See Alma 56:3-6. Helaman knew the circumstances of these young men. He knew that their fathers had buried their weapons of war – with a covenant never to go to battle again. He knew that their families had been converted to the gospel and were true to their faith.

    We can also gather that, because they were the sons of those who buried their weapons of war, then some of these boys were most likely fatherless. Helaman knew these boys. If we want to effectively serve our youth, then we need to know them. We need to know their circumstances, their families, their cultures.

  2. Helaman honored their families and supported them – See Alma 56:8. Helaman knew the covenant that these boys’ fathers had made. Because the kingdom was at war, and because their liberty was in jeopardy, the fathers were thinking of taking up arms again to fight and defend their country. However, Helaman insisted that they didn’t break their covenant.

    Helaman supported these families, and, as leaders of the youth, we need to do the same thing. We need to be mindful of the families of those whom we serve. These families aren’t here to serve us or “support us” in our calling, we are called to serve and support them.

  3. Helaman loved the boys he served. – See Alma 58:10. Helaman addresses these boys as his sons. He explains that they were worthy to be called sons. What does this mean? I suppose it means that he deeply loves and cares for these young men. He feels responsible for them. This all stems from his love for them.

    We need to also love the youth we serve. It may not always be easy, but if we don’t love them, then being a good steward is pretty much impossible.

  4. Helaman protected them. – See Alma 56:39 Helaman took his charge over these youth very seriously and he protected them. Sure, they had signed up for war, but he wanted them to stay as safe as possible and devised strategies where they would be used as a decoy without ever having to fight.

    We need to protect our youth. They face a spiritual enemy that wants to destroy them. We need to protect them just as Helaman protected his warriors.

  5. Helaman trusted the boys and he trusted their families. – See Alma 56:46-48. When you read this exchange between Helaman and his sons, it is fairly obvious that he trusts them. Even though they are young and inexperienced, he trusts their testimony and strength.

    The young warriors also explained that their mothers knew that God would deliver them, and they do not doubt their mothers.

    Helaman reacts with support and relative awe. He doesn’t say, “You haven’t been in a war. You know nothing.” He doesn’t respond, “What does your mother know about this situation.” Instead, he trusts the young men and he trusts their families.

    It is so important for us to trust the youth and their families. Of course, the Spirit can help us to discern between right and wrong. But we have to be sure that our own opinions aren’t blocking the Spirit. We can trust that the youth we serve do have testimonies and do desire to serve God. When we trust the youth, they will rise to the occasion just as these 2,000 stripling warriors did.

  6. Helaman followed the Spirit – See Helaman 56:44, 50. I know that I just made the point that Helaman protected his sons; however, of utmost importance is that he followed the Spirit.

    The plan was for the 2,000 warriors to be a decoy. However, the Lamanite army stopped marching after them. Helaman thought that they figured out what was going on, and then decided to attack Antipus’s army. But he couldn’t be sure. Maybe they were just waiting so they could trick this small group and then lure them into a trap. In any case, action needed to be taken. The Lamanites were no longer taking the bait. After consideration, Helaman knew that they needed to fight the Lamanites and save the other army. He turns to his young army and says, “Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?”

    Even though it was Helaman’s desire to keep these boys out of battle, he followed the Spirit – knowing that they needed to fight without knowing what the outcome would be. He trusted in God and followed the Spirit.

    Like Helaman, we need to stay close to the Lord and follow His Spirit.

  7. Helaman rejoiced in the victories of his “sons.” – See Alma 56:54-56. After their victory against the Lamanite Army and helping to rescue Antipus’s army, Helaman checked on his sons. Not only did they rejoice in their victory, but Helaman was overjoyed to find that not a single one of these boys had fallen to the earth. They were all alive, and Helaman was happy.

    When we are stewards over the youth, we, too, need to rejoice in the victories of our youth. This can happen in a variety of ways. I think that, as we come to love the youth we serve, rejoicing in their victories comes very naturally because we love them.

  8. Helaman allowed his young warriors to be exposed to danger. – See Alma 57:18-19, 23. This can be so difficult. I think that it would have been difficult for Helaman, too. He spent so much time protecting his sons from battle, he still had to allow them to be exposed to the dangers of war. They were, after all, soldiers.

    After one especially difficult battle, there were many people who had fallen and died. Thankfully, again, all of the stripling warriors were spared of death, but about 200 of them had fainted with a loss of blood. Helaman needed to allow his sons to be exposed to this danger in order for them to do what they were sent there to do.

    Likewise, we leaders must be wise, and we must allow our youth to be exposed to danger. This doesn’t mean that we’ll take them to a place we know to be evil. It just means that we need to accept our circumstances, our purpose, and that our youth are strong just like these young warriors were.

  9. Helaman cared for his sons and saw that they were healed. See Alma 57:24-25. Immediately after a battle, Helaman ordered that the wounded should be brought out from among the dead, and that their wounds should be dressed. He found the 200 or so of his sons that had fallen from a loss of blood. Helaman made sure that they received the medical attention they needed.

    Just as Helaman saw to their healing, we need to see that the spiritual and emotional wounds of those whom we serve (or perhaps the physical, you never know, I guess!) are also healed. We can do this by investigating the scene and doing what is necessary to “dress” the wounds that are suffered by those whom we serve.

  10. Helaman was a spiritual example of faith. See – Alma 58:10-12. There was a point, after these battles, where Helaman and those he commanded were waiting for provisions and supplies. But nothing. They waited. Nothing.

    Instead of Helaman murmuring against his superiors, he simply led his group of stripling warriors in prayer. Helaman was an example of faith and loyalty. That being said, he still brought up the issue to his superiors. It was appropriate for him to report what was happening with them. In fact, had Helaman not reported this shortage, then they wouldn’t have discovered the insurrection that happened in Zarahemla.

    Helaman handled this difficult situation with poise. He was a spiritual leader to his youth without being a doormat.

    We can do the same. We need to be spiritual leaders to our youth. They need to hear us pray. And we ned to support those who are over us. Even if things aren’t going well, we don’t need to murmur. We can responsibly report, and find the source of the problem in a humble but effective way.

  11. Helaman was wise. He only did that which was absolutely needful. See Alma 58:16-28. Helaman was a commander in a war. He understood the need to be efficient and wise. He didn’t send his troops out without thinking about their strategy. He didn’t have them do anything more than that which was absolutely needful. What’s the purpose? How effective would a tired and overworked army be?!?

    Because Helaman was a good steward, he wisely chose to do only that which he, and his young army, needed to do. Because of his wisdom, he was able to overtake an enemy city purely by strategy – without any blood shed (on either side).

    We need to be wise, too. Often, I think that it is the American (and Mormon) way to just do everything we can. We want to start our race sprinting. We overcommit and then find ourselves tired or even sick. This is not what we, wise stewards of the youth, can afford to do. We need to do only the needful thing. Sometimes, this might mean saying no – even to good things. We don’t want to waste precious time and effort on something, even if it seems like good. We must be wise enough to prioritize. We are at a war, of sorts, and we have to be good stewards over these youth!

  12. Helaman put his trust in God. – See Alma 58:33. Despite the troubles that Helaman’s army was facing (in not receiving needed provisions from his own country), he still put His trust in God. He didn’t fret. He didn’t worry. He trusted God.

    It could be easy to fret and worry – Helaman was responsible for 2,000 young men. Wouldn’t his responsibility justify worry and perhaps even a little bit of “ark steadying?”

    But Helaman simply trusted God.

    As stewards of youth, we also need to trust God. Yes, this world we live in can be dangerous. It can be easy to think that we need to go above and beyond to protect this group of children we have stewardship over. However, I’ve found that worry usually leads to a frantic pace or frenzied stress. And a frantic pace/frenzied stress is not trusting in God! It’s a waste of our energy, and it will often yield very poor results.

  13. Helaman was aware and thoughtful of his circumstances. He questioned without murmuring. See Alma 58:35-36. I have alluded to this point already, but it is worth an extra mention. While at war, Helaman and his forces were not receiving reinforcements. Instead of saying, “Oh well, I’ll just wait,” he still acted. He wrote a letter to his superior and informed him of the situation.

    Now, it’s important to note that we can question and we can inform – without laying blame on someone. This is exactly what Helaman did. He wasn’t a doormat, neither was he bullish. He was simply direct and honest.

    Because of Helaman’s honesty, Captain Moroni was made aware of a bad situation happening in the country – a coup. The armies weren’t receiving any help because their own country was under siege. Had Helaman not alerted Moroni of his problems, then they wouldn’t have been able to learn about this problem.

    As wise stewards, when we run into issues “from above,” then we will not be afraid to open an honest dialogue with our “superior.” We also won’t murmur or complain. Instead, when we are fair and measured like Helaman, we’ll be able to make real progress and, perhaps, even discover another issue that truly needs attention.

  14. Helaman was blessed by God in his stewardship. – See Alma 58:39-40. Because of Helaman’s faithful service, he was blessed in his stewardship. Throughout his tenure as the general of this small army, throughout all of their battles and other hardships, not a single soul was lost.

    I can’t say that if we are faithful, then none of the souls we have stewardship will be lost. Everyone has their own choice to make. That being said, if we faithfully serve, then the Lord will bless us in our stewardship. He will bless us with peace. And we will be able to have a positive impact on the young ones we work with – no matter what they choose to do with their lives.

  15. Helaman was always focused on the Savior. See Alma 58:40-41. I think that this is probably the most important point. Always, at the center of his motives and service, was the redemption and Atonement of Christ. Helaman was empowered by Christ and sought to protect and stand fast in the liberty that had made him free. Because of Helaman’s focus on Christ, he was able to accomplish the above 14 points. This is truly what made him an exceptional leader.

    If we want to be the best leaders we can be, then we will focus on Christ, as well. What does this mean? I think that it means we will teach the principles of the gospel.

    But it also means so much more than that.

    I think that it also means we teach the youth that the focus needs to be on the Savior. I think that it means we act as a conduit – or a pathway for their own relationship with the Savior. It can be tempting to want to be the person who is so cool and fun – it is easy to try to use our own charm, personality, money, gifts to convince the youth we serve to love us. But that’s not the point. We need to use our own experience with Christ to convince the youth to also love Him. It’s not about us at all, really…and Helaman knew that.

What stands out to you about Helaman’s leadership over the youth? Do you serve young men or women? What do you do to be a better steward?

Handmade Gospel Book for Youth (Final)

Well, this is last post chronicling the book I made for my daughter. Click on the links to see other parts of this book (Part One (Introduction and About the book), Part Two (Faith), Part Three (Divine Nature), Part Four (Individual Worth), and Part 5 (Knowledge), Part Six (Choice and Accountability), Part Seven (Good Works), Part 8 (Intgrity), and Part Nine (Virtue).

The Six Be’s

The Six Be's
The Six Be’s

I’ve always liked the “Six Be’s” not only is it ready-made for cuteness (bees!…and Tiger is a Beehive!), but the teachings are so good. As I was working on this layout, it dawned on me how long ago that President Hinkley gave the Six Be’s talk so long ago…13 years ago, to be exact. Can you believe it? Me, neither.

My Testimony

This is the stuff I know!
This is the stuff I know!

As I was making this book, I kept thinking of Alma and Lehi–who speak to their sons before their death. Now, I’m not predicting that I’ll die anytime soon, but I thought about the idea of a parent teaching a child, and more specifically a parent bearing testimony to a child. I wanted to include my own testimony to Tiger–written. It is important to me that she knows I know.

Closing notes

Just one last little note before saying good-bye!
Just one last little note before saying good-bye!

Just a few more words before I’m done! And a cute picture, of course!!!

Love ya!!!

Ciao!!!
Ciao!!!

And that’s it!

***
I did finish this book to Tiger just in time for her birthday. She was so excited about it. She loves it. She has been reading from it a lot. And, last Sunday, she taught a lesson on Gratitude and actually used it in her class! Pretty exciting. I’m very happy with it.

Now…to add to the craziness, I’m thinking of making another book–for her 13th birthday. It won’t be as involved as this 12 year old book, but I really think I’d like to do something nice. I’ll be brainstorming a bit first, though.

Have you made a book? On another note, perhaps you’re not really an “artsy” person. If you were to find a book like this–handwritten, pretty, etc. With inspiration about the Values, and Standards from For the Strength of Youth–at Deseret Book or a similar store, would it be something you would buy? I’m thinking of sending them some kind of pitch…I’d love to hear your feedback!

Handmade Gospel Book for Youth–Integrity and Virtue (Parts 8 and 9)

These are the eighth and ninth parts of a book I made for my daughter’s 12th birthday. You can also see Part One (Introduction and About the book), Part Two (Faith), Part Three (Divine Nature), Part Four (Individual Worth), and Part 5 (Knowledge), Part Six (Choice and Accountability), and Part Seven (Good Works).

Integrity

The next section of the book I made for Tiger had to do with Integrity. Again, I grouped a few of the concepts taught in For the Strength of the Youth in this section.

Language

The Importance of what We Say.
The Importance of what We Say.

On these pages, I wrote about the power of language. Language is one of those things that can either be really great or pretty terrible–it depends on how we use it. I also reminded Tiger that we can’t control what others say, and we can provide a good example to others. I think that we live in a time when people don’t seem to care about what they say. We hear people curse, gossip, say the Lord’s name in vain, make threats, and joke about sacred things. Often, we brush it off, it’s just a joke, or they are only words, but we must remember what Paul teaches “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good…and edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

A Self-Test

Elder Uchtdorf's Self Test.
President Uchtdorf’s Self Test.

This page is a self-test about negative speaking/gossip that President Uchtdorf gave during a recent General Conference. This page also includes what we can do instead.

Integrity 1

Isn't Elder Bednar the Best? And isn't this house cute?
Isn’t Elder Bednar the Best? And isn’t this house cute?

I actually have three layouts that deal with Integrity. For this first one, I drew a picture that was based (heavily) on this illustration. (Note: Usually I like to be more creative and copy less, but I found myself pressed for time with this project, and I wanted to get it done before Tiger turned 12…so I kind of copied stuff…oh well…better than nothing!). The quote that I included is from Elder Bednar. I like it!

Integrity 2

An Integrity "assignment" that actually helps Tiger to finish a value experience!
An Integrity “assignment” that actually helps Tiger to finish a value experience!

I was having trouble coming up with a good layout for Integrity. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. As I thought about it, I was led to the first Value Experience for Integrity. I decided to make a little bit of a “worksheet” with questions and prompts for Tiger. When she finishes this, she will have finished the first value experience for Integrity!

Integrity 3

Pretty wise words!
Pretty wise words!

I know that this isn’t a quote from a GA, but I don’t care because I love it! This is just one of the most succinct explanations of integrity, and I felt like it would help Tiger to really understand what integrity is–and how it is different than honesty. So…thank you Oprah for some wise words!

Virtue

Virtue

First, can I just say how much I love that the value Virtue was added, and that the Value Project is to read the Book of Mormon? I can’t believe that we weren’t reading the Book of Mormon as a requirement for Personal Progress in the first place!!!

I love Elaine Dalton!
I love Elaine Dalton!

This layout explaining Virtue is a quote from Elain S. Dalton. Don’t you love her???!!! Also, the picture I drew was heavily inspired by something I saw online, but I can’t find the page.

Dating

Dating...duh duh duuuuuuhhhhhh...
Dating…duh duh duuuuuuhhhhhh…

Even though Tiger shouldn’t be dating until she’s 16, I felt like I should absolutely include some thoughts on this subject in the book. I took this chance to let her know that it is okay and appropriate for her to start thinking about boys, but that she will have time to have experiences with boys, dating, and other things that seem like fun in the future. I advised her to listen to what the prophets have taught. This is a time for her to have fun, discover herself, and prepare for the future–rather than get wrapped up in a relationship with a boy.

Modesty

Esther vs. Jared's Daughter...
Esther vs. Jared’s Daughter…

The layout for Modesty is actually four pages (two layouts). I feel that modesty is incredibly important–especially at the age of 12. I know that the decisions she makes now will shape the choices she makes in a few years. I want her to be mindful of the power of modesty. A while ago, I wrote a talk and blog post on the subject. Up to this point, Tiger has made it a commitment to be modest. I hope that she will always choose this.

Music and Dancing 1

More advice!!!
More advice!!!

I love music, and honestly the consumption of music and other media can be difficult for me to choose the right. I haven’t always done so. But I’ve changed and have become much pickier about what I consume, and I can see how it has blessed my life to do so. I encourage Tiger to also be very careful about her music and dancing. They really do impact us.

Music and Dancing 2

The Song of the Heart
The Song of the Heart

One of my favorite scriptures.

Purity

Purity: it seems a little advanced for a 12 year old, but it is so important.
Purity: it seems a little advanced for a 12 year old, but it is so important.

In this layout, I’m much more open about keeping the law of chastity and how remaining pure will bless Tiger’s life. The idea of purity is scoffed at. It is considered “old fashioned.” There are many feminists who decry purity. The thing is, they are wrong. Purity is of utmost importance. It will help us to be happy. It will help us have the Spirit. I know that we need to encourage our daughters (and sons) to be pure.

***
Well, there you go. This covers Integrity and Virtue. I will have one more post with the final pages of the journal. Thanks for checking it out! Have you been working on something like this? If so, let me know! Any ideas?! 🙂

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.

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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 – Choice and Accountability and Good Works (Parts 6 and 7)

These are the sixth and seventh parts of a book I made for my daughter’s 12th birthday. You can also see Part One (Introduction and About the book), Part Two (Faith), Part Three (Divine Nature), Part Four (Individual Worth), and Part 5 (Knowledge).

Choice and Accountability

Choice and Accountability 1

I love this crazy wolf!
I love this crazy wolf!

In this layout, I included a story told by Shane M. Bowen – it is actually a Native American fable about a fight in each of us between two wolves. One is evil, the other good. Which wolf will win? The one you feed. I got this idea on how to draw the wolf here.

Repentance

A Story of Repentance
A Story of Repentance

Here, I told one of my favorite stories of repentance in the scriptures: the woman who washed the feet of the Savior. This includes the parable that Christ taught–of the creditor and debtors. This is one of my favorite stories of the entire scriptures because of the tender display of love and gratitude made by the woman. She truly understands that Christ is her Savior. Her washing of the Savior’s feet is also very indicative of how we all feel when we truly repent: overcome in gratitude and love for our Redeemer.

Good Works

Good Works 1

Good works and our Baptismal Covenant
Good works and our Baptismal Covenant

In this layout, I wanted to teach Tiger that performing good works is actually a part of her baptismal covenant, as we learn in Mosiah 18:7-10. Here is the list I included:

  1. Desire to come into the fold of God and be called His people
  2. Be willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light
  3. be willing to mourn with those that mourn
  4. be willing to comfort those that stand in need of comfort
  5. stand as a witness of God
  6. serve God
  7. keep the commandments

The Lord expects us to bring forth good works.

Good Works 2

Happiness comes from living the way the Lord wants you to live and from service to God and others
Happiness comes from living the way the Lord wants you to live and from service to God and others
A cute little picture.
A cute little picture.

This quote comes from Elder Bednar. And the picture, I can’t really take credit for it. I drew it, but I pretty much copied the idea from something I found on Pinterest. Typically, I’d link to the inspiration here, but I can’t find it right now…

Service Ideas

Service Ideas
Service Ideas

To go along with the theme of good works, I decided to create a list of things that Tiger can do to serve others. Fun!

Tithes and Offerings

Pay your tithing!
Pay your tithing!

This is a layout about tithes and offerings. Here, I wrote a pretty personal story to Tiger – how paying my tithing helped me to feel at peace even when I totaled my car a few weeks before Christmas. Stay straight with the Lord!!!

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That’s it for now. Thanks for checking out the book. Tiger loves it. Next post will be about integrity. Have you been working on a book for you children, or similar? Let me know it is going!

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.

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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!