My adventure in becoming a [Good] Mormon

Posts tagged ‘church’

‘Friendship, Courtship and physical relationship’ Awesome talk :D

I want to share some gospel perspectives on three “ships”: friendship, courtship, and physical relationship.

First, friendship is a gospel principle; it is necessary to our emotional and spiritual well-being. Second, friendship is the foundation upon which courtship and marriage should be built and can thrive. And third, a physical relationship before marriage can prevent the building of a strong friendship foundation, but after marriage it can enhance that friendship.

Friendship

How important is friendship to you? How does it bless your life? Have you ever felt friendless? It’s miserable to feel lonely and without friends. Friendship is necessary to our well-being—not just nice but necessary. We all hunger for it; it’s a universal need.

This was brought home to me by one of my Young Women general board members who took some personal trips this past summer. In her travels, she visited with young women in Idaho, Brazil, Mongolia, and Russia. In each place, she asked them questions about their lives and compiled their answers. Here are the questions she asked, along with the most frequent response she received to each question.

Question: What makes you happy? Answer: Friends.

What are your greatest worries? Friends.

What do you like to do in your free time? Be with friends.

What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Friends.

Why don’t young women come to Mutual? No friends.

Why do young women become less active? Pressure of friends.

Isn’t that amazing! Friends are of paramount importance for young women all over the world. And I believe young men would give similar answers. So too would many adults. We all need friends.

Prophets have taught that friendship is an integral part of keeping the covenants we have made. Consider the example of the people of Alma at the Waters of Mormon. There, they expressed their desire to come into the fold of God. Alma asked them if they were willing to bear one another’s burdens, to mourn with those that mourn, and to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. That is, he asked them if they were willing to covenant to act as friends. They clapped their hands for joy to enter into such a covenant. And their hearts were knit together in unity and love. This is a great scriptural example of friendship. (See Mosiah 18.)

We can look to Jesus Christ for the greatest example of friendship. “Friend” was the highest compliment He could pay His disciples. He said:

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

“Ye are my friends. …

“I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:12–15).

If friendship is so important in the teachings of our prophets and our Savior,shouldn’t we be striving to be great, covenant-keeping friends? To be such a friend is Christlike; to have such friends is heavenly. As Latter-day Saints, we know that exaltation involves the privilege of spending eternity where our true Friend, the Savior, and others who have become like Him are. The scriptures give us this glorious promise: “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory” (D&C 130:2).

Courtship

This brings me to my second “ship,” or relationship: courtship. Friendship should play a key role in courtship and marriage. I see friendship as the foundation in the courtship pyramid. A little story will help to illustrate this point.

It is the story of Isaac and Rebecca. This is not the biblical account, however. It is about our daughter Rebecca and her suitor Isaac. Our Rebecca was not persuaded to marry her Isaac nearly as easily as was the Old Testament Rebekah. Nor was she readily willing to give up her lifestyle and immediately leave her family to be part of another’s life.

Our Becky was 21. She had signed up to do a summer internship through Brigham Young University in Mozambique, Africa. She wasn’t sure if she should serve a mission, but she had at least started the paperwork by getting dental and doctor appointments. She was also thinking about applying for a master’s program in her field. In short, she was trying to decide what to do with the next phase of her life. We all wondered which would win out of the three Ms—Mozambique, mission, or master’s.

Meanwhile, Isaac came along in pursuit and soon offered a choice of a fourth M—marriage. He was headed for medical school in a few months, and he did not want to go without Becky. He later told us that he had his own three Ms that he hoped she would choose—marriage, medical school, and eventually motherhood. “If she did not,” he said, “I knew I would be the fourth M—miserable.”

Becky was a woman of the 21st century. The world and its many glamorous opportunities were available to her, and it was hard for her to set aside some of her dreams. What finally won her over were Isaac’s intrinsic goodness and his kindness to her. He did the romantic things too, like sending beautiful bouquets of flowers, taking her on nice dates, and so on.

But those things would not have won her over on their own. What was most winning to her was how he continually put her feelings and her needs above his own. He did little thoughtful things, the kind that one friend would do for another. For example, when he learned that her watch was too big for her wrist, he removed a couple of links from it and made it perfect for her. Another time she found her car spotless and sparkling inside and out because he had washed it, a deed unsolicited by her. Another time she found a little list he had made of ways to improve himself; many of his goals were service oriented. These kindnesses promised an enduring friendship; they expressed qualities of character that would last even when physical beauties eventually faded.

Becky realized that he had the qualities that would endure through good and bad times, the very qualities she would seek out in a good friend. So she did marry Isaac. And now she reflects that she was right about his great strengths being a wonderful asset to their relationship. She feels she is married to her best friend. And this is what marriage should be.

Friendship, then, should form the foundation of romantic love—the love that leads to courtship and marriage. Likewise, both friendship and romantic love can become what God intends them to be only when they are founded on charity, “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47). As we learn in Moroni and 1 Corinthians, charity is patient, long-suffering, kind, free from envy, and unselfish. Charity leads couples to rejoice in truth, to believe, to hope, and to endure. Couples whose love is based on charity want the best for each other. Their love is infused with the pure love of Christ. These are the qualities we should seek for in courtship and marriage. (See 1 Cor. 13:4–7; Moro. 7:45.)

One of the ways to develop a strong, loving relationship is with sound communication. Communication is the way a good relationship begins and also endures. My unmarried children ask me constantly how it is that anyone ever gets together. It seems like such a mysterious puzzle. I know that everyone’s falling-in-love story is different. But there seems to be at least one commonality among most stories. This is a spontaneity in conversation. So many couples say things like, “We just talked and talked; I lost track of time when we were talking; it was so comfortable to talk; we share the same sense of humor; we loved talking about our similar interests and values.”

It was like that on my first date with my husband. All evening we were surrounded by people, but I felt like it was just the two of us. John and I talked to each other nonstop.

I’ve heard it said that “love is a long conversation.” I believe it. In fact I often joke with our children that if I ever run out of things to say to Dad, then the marriage will be over. I’m pretty safe saying that, because we love to talk to one another about everything.

This communication that is so fun in a friendship is also essential as you really get to know someone’s deeper self. A relationship may never develop into a courtship because it can’t get beyond inch-deep generalities.

We sometimes look for happiness in exotic places and for romance in mystique, money, or charm. Instead, we need to look for friends who embody Christlike character. As you date, seek friendships that have enduring strength and that can provide a firm foundation for a marriage. After you have established a solid, virtuous base in your relationship, there is a place for physical intimacy—in marriage.

Physical Relationship

The physical relationship between a man and a woman can be wonderful and good—a beautiful blessing. However, if the physical part of romance comes too early or too fast in a relationship, it can take over. Then it can become the tail that wags the dog. Our physical emotions are powerful and exciting. This is how they are meant to be.But this is precisely why they need to be kept in check until after marriage—when other fundamental parts of the relationship are developed.

We have taught our children some principles that we hope have provided protection for them. We tried to create some catchy phrases so they would remember them easily in times of danger and decision. Let me share just four principles that will protect you if you remember them and abide by them.

  1. 1.Avoid the dangers of the dark. Stay in well-lit places—literally and figuratively. There’s wisdom to leaving the lights on—on the porch, in the living room, at the dance. And there’s safety in shunning places that feel dark in spirit.
  2. 2.Beware the hazard of the horizontal. Don’t lie down together with a date. Just don’t do it—not to watch a movie or to read a book or to rest at a picnic.
  3. 3.Remember the perils of privacy. Find public places to be alone. Learn to have your intimate talks where others are. There is great safety in being together where you can easily be interrupted.
  4. 4.Modesty is a must. Everything about your appearance, your speech, and your demeanor should bespeak that you are a literal spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Father. If we truly understand the significance of our bodies in our Father’s plan, we will show great honor for our bodies. When you dress and act modestly, others will treat you with respect.

You will protect yourself if you choose to be with others who are also trying to make good choices. Someone with whom you will want to share the rest of your life will want only the very best for you. It says in For the Strength of Youth, “Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self” ([2001], 12).

The Lord planned for us to become one in every way. The physical relationship in marriage can help cement our spiritual union. We are made for each other.

Our model is in the very first love story. The Lord said that it was not good that Adam should be alone. So the Lord created Eve to be “an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). The meaning of this scripture is that Eve was created to be a help “meet” for Adam. Meet means fit or suitable. So Eve was a helper who was “suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him” (Gen. 2:18, footnote b). After that, Adam was taught that they should “cleave unto” one another, “and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). So here are all of the elements—being suited for each other first and then adding the physical relationship after marriage.

I know what it is to have such a friend. My husband, John, was kind and thoughtful and romantic in our courtship. Then even when he was going to school full time, working full time, and we had three children under the age of four, he continued to be kind and thoughtful and romantic with me. He has shown this by helping me in my busy roles. He bathed the children every night. He scrubbed the kitchen floor. He was also my window to the world—keeping me abreast to what was happening out there. He provided for us. He encouraged me as a mother. He supported the children in plays, concerts, athletic events, and papers they had to write. He would give me moments of rest—on walks or weekend getaways, taking me to the temple or occasionally on his travels. When I come home tired at night, he makes cheese toast and other such delicacies, so I don’t have to cook. He is my muse and my editor in my writing and talks. He prays for me and gives me priesthood blessings. He is a help suited for me in every way.

I hope that each of us will find such joy in our lives through our relationships with friends, family, and God. We must remember that deep friendships are built on Christlike virtues. Such friendships form a sound base upon which to build a courtship. And finally, very carefully, the physical relationship will enhance that holy friendship in marriage. I testify that these principles are true. May we find joy in the holy socialities that the Lord has provided for us.

Ok, after reading this 1) Mormonism rocks. Why? Because it completely attacks my hopeless romantic side. This whole thing is so full of cute-win, I love it ^^.

2) Those rules: COREY! YOUR DIMLY LIT ROOM THEORY HAS BEEN PROVEN!

Anyways, for rules1 & 2…Whoooops.  It’s not that I use those two for ‘alternative purposes’. I think my issue is I easily trust people. Perhaps too easily, which I’ve discovered, I kind of do. As well, oblivious Cass is, as always, oblivious XD.

Anyways, I’ve spent the past two hours ranting, no more rants for tonight. Just read. I’m going to hunt for my bed in my messy room. Will clean tomorrow.

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Better now…I think.

Right, so I’m deciding I’m never missing church again, except for the MS walk. It just buggers up my whole week.

But the cure to that was Young Women’s :D.

I’ve posted this before but it’s what we watched:http://new.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/your-happily-ever-after?lang=eng

I love how everything in my life concerning things like this just came full circle. Well, I don’t love the fact that it did. But I love how I can trace it, very neat, albeit slightly upsetting. But Uchtdorf made it all ok now. He just reaffirmed what Elder Lewis wrote in the front of my Book of Mormon and it’s all gonna be k, no matter the outcome.

I just realized the circle can actually be traced all the way back to my baptism. Without my conversion, this week would not have turned out to be this alright. Have you ever read your horoscope, gone through the day, then re-read it and thought to yourself that your day did sort of resemble that?

That’s how I feel. But in a much bigger scope than just a day.

Only bad part of today:My irritation with people has been re-affirmed. Granted, the one comment made wasn’t intended as insulting, but it was adding salt to the wound. And people in general just frustrate me today. Can’t make up their minds.

I’ma go draw…Or read…Or play xbox or nintendo, who knows. Is a long weekend and I am mostly free of worries and free to do what I please. Cause it’ll all be ok in the end. Can’t have the happily ever after without the adventures. And I keep saying I want to go on an adventure ;D.

Maybe I’ll write more of my cyberpunk story…Oooh!

Live long & Prosper!!♥

Most terrifying moment of my life

It hit me when I got up to the pulpit that last time I tried to speak in front of a crowd I ended up freaking out and having to get someone else to do it. Not a good time to remember you don’t like public speaking.

Overall, it went good. Besides the points when my knees were shaking so much that I felt like I was gonna fall and I think I was speaking to fast. And my loverly seesters showed up as a surprise, which was very nice!

As promised, my talk:

Good morning my brothers and sisters,

About 5 weeks back, Brother Hernandez came up to me and asked me if I could do a talk next Sunday. I told him that after church that day, I was leaving for Saskatchewan and wouldn’t be back for 5 or 6 weeks. I asked if I could get my topic so I could start early. Well, he hadn’t even figured out the topics for that far ahead but told me he would let me know when I got back. I thought to myself ‘Aha! I’ve gotten out of it!’ like some people say they’ve been able to do….Yeah…As you can see; I didn’t get out of it.

I’ve been given the topic ‘Blessing the sick and needy’. As I’ve come to understand it, there are a couple ways this can be done. There are blessings that can be given by those who hold the Priesthood, such as the laying on of the hands and using consecrated oil, as well as blessings that come from charity given to those who need it and also through prayer. I was slightly confused as to which specifically I was to cover, but I decided to talk about blessings from charity and prayer because those are blessings we are all able to give.

In Moroni 7:45 it says   “And  charity suffereth long, and is  kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Jesus is the perfect example of charity because along with all the good works he did in his life, like showing compassion for the poor and healing the sick, he blessed us, the needy, with his gift of the Atonement. We should strive to follow his example and help to lighten one another’s burdens through love, kindness and understanding. Not only do we bless others’ lives when we perform acts of charity, but we are blessed too. As you continue to be charitable to your fellow man, the ‘True to the Faith’ book says “You will find that your love increases. You will experience the joy of being in the Lord’s service. The Holy Ghost will be your constant companion…You will be prepared to meet the Lord at the Judgment, when he will reward you according to the dedication to His work.”

A wonderful story of charity and blessing the needy was told by Thomas S. Monson, in the January 2006 issue of the Liahona. President Monson says:

Be an example in charity. From Corinthians comes the beautiful truth, “Charity never faileth.” 17

Satisfying to the soul is the ready response the Church has made to disasters of nature in so many locations. Frequently we have arrived first on the scene following such disasters and with the most help. There are other organizations which likewise respond in a generous fashion.

What is charity? Moroni, in writing a few of the words of his father, Mormon, recorded, “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” 18

One who exemplified charity in his life was President George Albert Smith. Immediately following World War II, the Church had a drive to amass warm clothing to ship to suffering Saints in Europe. Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Marion G. Romney, an Assistant to the Twelve, took President George Albert Smith to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City to view the results. They were impressed by the generous response of the membership of the Church. They watched President Smith observing the workers as they packaged this great volume of donated clothing and shoes. They saw tears running down his face. After a few moments, President Smith removed his own new overcoat and said, “Please ship this also.”

The Brethren said to him, “No, President, no; don’t send that; it’s cold and you need your coat.”

But President Smith would not take it back; and so his coat, with all the others, was sent to Europe, where the nights were long and dark and food and clothing were scarce. Then the shipments arrived. Joy and thanksgiving were expressed aloud, as well as in secret prayer.

Again, that’s from the January 2006 issue of the Liahona

After witnessing the charity of others towards those suffering in post World War II Germany, President Smith was so moved that he gave the coat off his back to those who needed it. By doing this, he demonstrated how even just witnessing great acts of charity, you can, as the ‘True to the Faith’ book said  ‘find that your love increases’.

From Gospel principals, it says “We should not try to decide whether someone really deserves our help or not. If we have taken care of our own family’s needs first, then we should help all who need help. In this way, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who causes rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.”

As we find our love increasing, we will find we are more accepting of others and less ready to judge those who require our assistance, which enables us to help more people without much hesitation.

The second part that I felt I should talk about is prayer. On LDS.org, from the Gospel library, it says “Remember the needs of others as we pray. We should offer prayers “for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]” (Alma 34:27). We should ask our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort those in need.”

Also from the gospel library: When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings…Our prayers for our own welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if we “turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need” (Alma 34:28).

If we pray for our own wellbeing, we must also remember to pray for the wellbeing of others, otherwise it will be futile. However, when we pray for blessings for those in need, we must also try to act on it, to the best of our ability, and do all we can to help it to happen. Prayer goes hand in hand with charity. Without one, it is unlikely the other will be as effective when we strive to assist others.

I would just like to finish off with a brief excerpt from the Nov 2001 edition of Ensign, where President Monson was quoted: “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.”

I would like to close with my testimony. I know that through charity, one can find a greater love for humanity and a willingness to help bear others’ burdens with them. I also know that when you give without judgment, good things will come back to you, especially when you’re not expecting it. I am grateful to those who have given to me without judgment, expecting nothing in return, those of you who have generously given your time to me and helped guide me as I joined the Church. I am also grateful to all of you who extended the hand of friendship to me as I was joining; it was wonderful to be welcomed so openly. I am grateful to all those who put up with all my questions, to my family who accepted my decision as best they could and I am very grateful to have received a calling so soon after my conversion.

I have witnessed the power and effectiveness of prayer and know that, when you pray with your heart, you will receive answers and blessings. One of the first answers I received, just before I joined the Church, was to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is true. Through prayer, I have also come from having somewhat of a belief in the Atonement to being blessed to know that our Heavenly Father loves us immeasurably, so much so that he has blessed us with the gift of the Atonement. I have also been blessed with many friends who have helped me build my testimony, and with your help, and A LOT of prayer and scripture study, I have come to know this Church to be true.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen.