Thursday, May 26, 2016

Intimacy: Marriage Superglue

Intimacy is the glue that bonds a marriage together.  Before applying the glue a couple must make sure they are compatible and fit together spiritually, socially, and temporally before applying the glue. Intimacy before marriage can hinder instead of help our ability to determine compatibility with our partner. Intimacy before marriage can conceal rather than reveal that there is something missing in our respect, love, or spiritual connection.

(idea from

Monday, May 23, 2016

Teachers Council: Teaching the Savior's Way

We just held our first ward teachers' council. I have taught the "Teaching, No Greater Call" course in the past.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is focusing on developing the quality of teaching in the LDS Church.  Some of this improvement involves transforming many of our traditional and accepted teaching concepts and paradigms. In our ward and stake, we will conduct a teacher's council each 4th Sunday. 

I was curious if we could manage the logistics of continuing the usual schedule of meetings while at the same time having all Sunday School, Primary, Relief Society, Nursery, Priesthood teachers and Ward Council members attend this teachers council. We seemed to pull it off without a hitch.  Attendance of some of the other Sunday School classes second hour was more sparse but adequate. 

I'm not really sure the direction this teacher's council will take. A member of our Sunday School presidency served as a discussion facilitator. There are a series of videos and a short manual the Church has produced which serve as a kind of curriculum to stimulate conversation.

One topic that was raised today was how the Church plans to apply the "Come Follow Me" principle in Primary.  While I have been amazed at how successful the program has been with the Deacon's Quorum, I'm not sure a primary teacher could just assign Little Johnny to prepare and teach the lesson next week, but I think teachers could invite primary children to teach or lead discussion on a particular principle or part of the lesson.  

Applying "Come Follow Me" principle to the Primary was suggested as a possible way to deal with a behavior issue in our CTR7 class.  An intelligent child who has difficulty being reverent and attending may be served by having them prepare and present or lead a discussion on a part of the lesson.  This sure works for the Deacons. 

Having 6 children of my own, I know that my older children can easily prepare a Family Home Evening lesson but even the younger children can make significant contributions and in this way, the following scripture came to my mind, and I realized that the "Come Follow Me" principle would serve to "loose the tongues of our children", empowering them to "speak great and marvelous things". 

"And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter. ... and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things;" (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi, 26:14,16)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Choose Christ

The LDS Church is led by a prophet of God.  So, just like the Bible, LDS believe there is a man on the Earth now who communes with and speaks with God just like Moses or Elijah. So, if there is a living Moses on the Earth today, what is he saying? 

In the last April General Conference of the LDS Church, President Thomas S. Monson spoke of the importance of choices.  Pesident Monson loves to quote from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", particularly the part where Alice converses with the Cheshire Cat about which way she should go when she comes to a crossroads. The Cheshire Cat reaponds, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”  

President Monson said, "It has been said that the door of history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. The choices we make determine our destiny. 

When we left our premortal existence and entered mortality, we brought with us the gift of agency. Our goal is to obtain celestial glory, and the choices we make will, in large part, determine whether or not we reach our goal.

Although it is imperative that we choose wisely, there are times when we will make foolish choices. The gift of repentance, provided by our Savior, enables us to correct our course settings, that we might return to the path which will lead us to that celestial glory we seek."

President Monson then challenged that we all "needed the courage to defy consensus" and the faith to "choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong". 

Lastly, President Monson concludes, "As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day—whether to make this choice or that choice—if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pesach Sheni: Second Passover

God instituted 3 Feast days each year where all members of the House of Israel and all nations were called to appear before the Lord in the temple.  These festival days of commemoration and remembrance are Pesach or Passover, Shavuot or Pentacost, and Sukkot or Tabernacles. While most people (even non-Jews) have heard of Passover or even participated in a Seder Service, many people may not be aware of Pesach Sheni (Chain'-ee) or Second Passover.  

Appearing in the temple for Passover requires ritual purity.  However, because there are so many ways to become ritually unclean according to the Law of Moses, there was likely a good number of persons not able to participate in Passover because they could have simply been in the same room as a person who has died. Accordingly, God established Second Passover a month later so any person's who could not observe the First Passover could observe the Second (Numbers 9:9-13).

I am an ER doctor, and am routinely in the same room as someone who has died, even if they are not my patient.  In reality, when it came to First Passover, I was working every day.  So, when I heard about Second Passover, I decided to put on a simple Seder meal for my family and talk about Passover and Pesach Sheni.

Followers of Christ observe Passover by participating  in the Lord's Supper each week. Jesus Christ gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses and observed Passover Himself. However, before His crucifixion and during the Last Supper, Christ instucted His disciples that they were to remember Him by breaking and blessing bread and blessing and drinking wine in His name. The Lord's Supper is the Christian Passover. But, it is still significant and fun to observe the original Passover and point out all the wonderful symbolism that points to Jesus/Yeshua as the promised Messiah and remember God's deliverance of the whole House of Israel from Egyptian bondage. 

You will note that we do use lamb in our Seder. Some would question this as the lamb has not been ritually purified and sanctified in the temple by an authorized priest of Aaron.  But if we were really worried about ritual purity (tumah and taharah), could we observe any part of Passover at all? Also, LDS believe our homes are next to the temple in holiness and all worthy makes are ordained to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. But most importantly, the Passover lamb is the most important symbol of Jesus Christ and I wouldn't feel right substituting chicken or anything else. 

By the way, I seasoned the Lamb with fresh rosemary and parsley from my garden together with cumin, garlic, salt and pepper and it was perfectly tender, moist and delicious.

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Umbrella

Some people think that they don't need a Church to enjoy a personal relationship with Christ. However, can we deny that Christ started a church with Apostles and prophets, etc. for the "perfecting of the saints" (Eph 4:12)?  During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ authorized leaders in His church and sent them forth to "baptize all nations" and then regularly "break bread" and administer the Lord's Supper to His fold.  Knowing this, can we suppose we can reach the "perfection" in Christ apart from Christ's Church even with its imperfect members and even imperfect leaders?

Elder Bednar makes the following analogy about the priesthood. The atonement of Christ is an umbrella that protects anyone who stands under it from the rain (sin, death). Priesthood is the staff that holds up the umbrella. A person holding the umbrella could hold that umbrella over others and shield others from the rain, but they themselves may not be necessarily standing under the protection of the umbrella.  

Just because a man holds the umbrella (priesthood) and may be a unrepentant sinner, and may themselves not be under the protection of the atonement of Christ (umbrella), doesn't mean the umbrella isn't good, or the handle isn't good or that we shouldn't remain standing under it.  The Doctrine and Covenants says "Amen to the priestood of that [wicked] man". Nevertheless, we all need to use the atonement of Christ and His church to keep out of the rain even if we see the holder of the umbrella getting soaked.