If you are LDS, you will have to speak in Sacrament meeting. It may not be next week, but sometime soon, certainly within the next year.
The odds are ever in your favor, or not...
Most of us don't like speaking. Most of us dislike preparing to speak, even more than we dislike speaking.
Having a whole room of people staring at you and listening to you is frightening. However, look at it from the audience's point-of-view.
Technically, they are passive and supportive. That means they basically like you, want you to do well and will reward you handsomely, if you can just prevent their eyelids from totally closing down.
However, their opinion of you isn't the issue. You are there to be a temporary conduit for the spirit to speak to their hearts. In order to do that, you need to forget yourself and rely on the spirit to help you prepare and to deliver what Heavenly Father wants you to say.
I don't know what Heavenly Father wants you to say, but I can help you prepare.
Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Latter-day Saints attend worship services each Sunday.
Every so often, various news media, and individuals, portray Mormon women as oppressed, devalued and what not.
It's one of those tired stereotypes that never seems to die.
With over 15 million members, the Church has a lot of women in it's ranks. It's hard to attach any accurate stereotypes to that many people.
Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. New members of the Young Women General Board. [You can see they are a diverse group and so are Mormon women.]
Okay, now I'm confused. As soon as I read an article about how missionary work prepares young Mormons for entrepreneurship, I find another article about young Mormons training and being entrepreneurs before they even go on missions.
What's more, this article is in the New York Times and focuses exclusively on women!
So, what explains this penchant for entrepreneurship amongst Mormons?
I'm not certain, but I think we need to go looking for the cause amongst all the training young Mormons receive, and not just what they get while serving missions.
Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Following the pattern Jesus Christ established in the New Testament, full-time Mormon missionaries are sent out two by two (see Mark 6:7) to teach the gospel through lessons and service for 18 to 24 months. Men can serve at 18, women at 19.
I'm glad I didn't.
It's actually a thoughtful narrative on how LDS missionary experiences shape successful entrepreneurship.
The author sums it up with the following statement:
Getting out into the world at a young age and doing something that's potentially scary and unstructured is the best preparation there is for entrepreneurship.
My only complaint is the author doesn't acknowledge that young women serve missions and that they are entrepreneurs too.
I'll solve this by myself by including a picture of sister missionaries.
Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Sister missionaries.
The following is a well-known quote from President Lorenzo Snow:
"As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be."
Many LDS members are familiar with it; even if they don't know where it comes from exactly, or why it was taught.
Members are even required to defend the statement and explain it. Most of us struggle with that.
The Church has come to our rescue in the form of a topic page entitled: Becoming Like God. It is a sensitive and thoughtful piece, well worth your time. I especially like the following:
Since human conceptions of reality are necessarily limited in mortality, religions struggle to adequately articulate their visions of eternal glory...These limitations make it easy for images of salvation to become cartoonish when represented in popular culture. For example, scriptural expressions of the deep peace and overwhelming joy of salvation are often reproduced in the well-known image of humans sitting on their own clouds and playing harps after death. Latter-day Saints' doctrine of exaltation is often similarly reduced in media to a cartoonish image of people receiving their own planets.
What does the above mean exactly? It means don't believe the characterization in The Book of Mormon musical.
Any organization has a central core of people who are the real work horses of the entity.
In the LDS Church, the Presiding Bishopric occupies that position. Their staggering work load is almost incomprehensible.
Currently the Presiding Bishopric consists of:
- Presding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
- First Counselor: Bishop Gérald Caussé
- Second Counselor: Bishop Dean M. Davies
These men don't give as many addresses and talks as the other church leaders, so they may not be as visible or recognizable to you. However, they are well worth getting to know, either as individuals or in their collective capacities.
Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Presiding Bishopric of the Church (left to right) Bishop Gérald Caussé, first counselor; Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson; Bishop Dean M. Davies, second counselor.
I'm disturbed about the controversy over Elder Tad R. Callister's article, The Lord's Standard of Morality in the March, 2014, copy of the Ensign.
You say you don't have your copy yet? You say you can't find it on the website? Neither can I. It makes me wonder how anybody got a hold of it.
When you are finished, make up your own mind.
Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy.
As if building a temple in Philadelphia wasn't enough, the Church is also building a meetinghouse and a 32 story tower. These new structures will help revitalize downtown Philadelphia, providing apartments, commercial and retail space, as well as space for other church needs.
My favorite quote comes from a New York Times article where the Church is praised for leading the way:
"Most developers are followers," Mr. Greenberger said. "Few are pioneers, and the Mormons are pioneers by religion."
Where do the Mormons get the money?
The author tries to answer his own question by speculating that we give because otherwise we wouldn't be allowed inside the temple.
The highest sacraments of the religion, such as marriage, take place in the temple, and having that access apparently motivates Mormons to give.
Making bread is an act of faith.
Every time I make a loaf of bread, I carefully follow the instructions and add the correct ingredients at the proper time.
I know there is science behind it. For example, grains with high gluten content, like wheat, make the best bread. Salt is essential; you can't leave it out of baked bread goods. There are numerous other guidelines.
I don't have to know all the science myself.
If I use the proper ingredients, follow a reliable recipe and adhere closely to the instructions, I can make perfect bread.
I just have to have faith that those who develop the recipe, provide the ingredients and understand the science know what they are doing, even if I don't.
Over lunch at work, one of my colleagues expressed his frustration in making 100 percent rye bread with his new bread maker. I asked him how he was doing it and he reviewed everything for me.
I told him he couldn't use 100 percent rye flour, because it wouldn't work. Rye flour doesn't have the necessary components to make bread rise well. I suggested only 40 percent rye and the rest wheat.
He was indignant. He asked me why they would include such a recipe with his bread maker, if it wouldn't work. I didn't know, but I assured him it wouldn't.
We don't have to have all the answers here on earth, if we put our faith in the right source. The right source is Jesus Christ. Unlike us, He understands the science and He does have all the answers. We just have to exercise our faith and follow Him.
Photo courtesy of © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Bread and other food items are produced at Welfare Square.
Each coach I had in sports would tell me that what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to do it another way.
After learning, unlearning and relearning a variety of different techniques I was pretty fed up.
I wondered if there was anyone out there that knew the proper way to do anything I wanted to learn. In addition, how would I know it if there was?
I was tired of being battered about, never knowing if what I was being taught was correct or if there was a better way.
Many people feel the same about spiritual truth. You can find a church that embraces just about anything you want to believe.
However, which church is right? Is there spiritual truth out there somewhere and if there is, how will you know it?
If this is where you are at in your spiritual journey, you need to decide where you are going to put your faith.
The only reliable foundation is to put your faith in Jesus Christ.
Photo courtesy of © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Jesus Christ.