Tag Archives: word of wisdom

“Confessions of a Mormon housewife”

This was all over the news a week or two ago, but in case any of you missed it…

CNN has a show called This is Life with Lisa Ling. Recently there was an episode where a Mormon mother spoke about her struggle with prescription drug abuse.

Youth Chosen Topic – Participation in Church

A while back I posted some notes from a discussion we had with the youth about the Word of Wisdom. We had asked them what topics they wanted to discuss, and along with Word of Wisdom, they had general questions about why they need to sing, go to seminary, etc. We combined all of those things into a topic about participation. We were going to be addressing this topic at some point, but weren’t sure when. Since I am no longer the YM President, I won’t have an opportunity to discuss this with the youth, but I figured I’d still share my notes. Remember, these are just notes. I’m sure I wasn’t going to share everything, and I would have allowed the youth to direct the discussion in a certain way if it was going well.

From the youth topic survey, people wanted to discuss:

  • skipping classes
  • getting up for seminary
  • singing in Church
    • See D&C 25:12 – the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me
      For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
    • See Mark 14:26 – Jesus and his disciples sang
      And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
  • false ideology
    • people focus too much on one thing but not another
  • what if you don’t know the church is true
    • not exactly participation, but we figured that we could cover this as part of this topic since participation is a result of and leads to stronger testimonies

What is the purpose of the Church?

  • Mosiah 18: 8-9
    And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
    Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
  • Mosiah 18: 19-21
    And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.
    Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
    And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
  • 4 Nephi 1: 12
    And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
  • Moroni 6: 5-6
    And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
    And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.
  • D&C 20: 75
    It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus
  • D&C 43: 8
    And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.

3 main purposes of coming to Church

  1. Partake of the Sacrament
  2. Learn the Gospel
  3. Help others

Parking of the Sacrament

  • The bread and water help us to remember Jesus
  • We take upon ourselves His name
  • It helps us to remember Him
  • We commit to follow Him
  • Sacrament prayers are located in D&C 20: 77, 79
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Learn the Gospel

  • Listen to talks
  • Prepare for lessons
  • Be open to the Spirit
  • Don’t disrupt others
  • Even principles we’ve heard before can be interesting if we have the right attitude
  • Classes are as good as you make them
  • We should be edified together
    • See D&C 50: 17-25
      Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
      And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      If it be some other way it is not of God.
      Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
      Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
      And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
      That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
      And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

Help Others

  • Hymn 270 – I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go
    • Perhaps there are things we need to do and say that will help others
  • What we say/do, how we act, and our body language has a profound impact on others

Youth Chosen Topic – Word of Wisdom

Yesterday was a 5th Sunday. In most wards this means that all of the MP/RS are together. Lately our youth have been included, not because the topics are particularly relevant, but just because. This is my first 5th Sunday since becoming the YM President, so my wife (she’s the YW President) and I decided to have the youth together on their own. Our presidencies had surveyed the youth over the previous few weeks about challenges that youth face. The overwhelming choice was Word of Wisdom, so we decided to spend our time discussing that. It was a tough choice to go with since it was Easter Sunday, but since they chose it, we went with it.

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One of our YW conducted, a YM played the piano, and we sang Called To Serve. I then did a bit of an intro and another leader then led a discussion about how the Word of Wisdom affects them and coming up with strategies to help them.

Here are my notes for the intro:

  • The Word of Wisdom was NOT given by way of commandment
  • It is a principle with a promise
  • Similar to Prohibition in the 1920’s, there was a temperence movement in the US around Joseph Smith’s time and it is likely that some early church members (or at least their families) were participants
  • There is also a suggestion that Emma Smith didn’t think that the men who attended the School of the Prophets should be chewing tobacco
  • Possibly affected by these circumstances, Joseph Smith prayed about this and received a revelation
  • It was affirmed by many leaders over the years, but wasn’t really a commandment
  • After arriving in the Salt Lake valley, the members committed to live it, but still didn’t follow through
  • During the following years they were persecuted because of polygamy, and had other focuses
  • In the 1890s apparently James E Talmage (the author of Jesus the Christ) had some sort of anxiety (“nerves”) problem and his doctor suggested he smoke to calm his nerves. The First Presidency said he could.
  • By around the turn of the century as polygamy was less of an issue the Word of Wisdom became more prominent, particularly during Joseph F Smith‘s time as President of the Church
  • In 1906 the church officially started using water instead of wine in the Sacrament
  • In 1915 church leaders were instructed not to ordain men to the priesthood or give temple recommends to people who didn’t follow the Word of Wisdom
  • In 1933 the Church Handbook of Instructions listed it as a requirement

I then spoke for just a few more minutes about some a few reasons why we follow the Word of Wisdom. I generally tried to “defend” against some of the arguments that might be out there against the Word of Wisdom.

  • Some people might say that they used to drink in the bible.
    There are all sorts of things that were done before that we don’t do now
  • Some people might say that having to follow the Word of Wisdom takes away their freedom
    I believe it gives us freedom. We are free from addiction, guilt and the consequences that come from not following this principle. My wife shared a story about a friend of hers who as a teenager got drunk at a party and ended up having a baby. The girl gave the baby up for adoption and stayed active in the church. In the later years she wanted to serve a mission but couldn’t. She had no idea. There are obviously more details of this story, but the point was that there are consequences to our actions and we don’t always know what those consequences are or how they will manifest themselves
  • It wasn’t given as a commandment
    This may be true, but it has essentially become a commandment. Many of our modern-day prophets have told us to follow it. We need to be faithful and try following it so we can realize the promises

The last point I tried to make was about how it gives us an identity. God’s covenant people have always had certain characteristics or observances that identified them as such. What did circumcision have to do with whether or not the people of Israel followed the Lord? Not much (that I can think of), but that gave them an identity and set them apart from others. The same could be said about certain clothing, Sabbath Day observance, and so on. Polygamy used to be our identity, and as it wound down, observance of the Word of Wisdom geared up. Now we are known around the world for it.

I took about 10 minutes and then the other leader took about 20 minutes to discuss other Word of Wisdom related things with them. The meeting definitely could have been better (it’s hard getting teenagers to be engaged and contribute), but overall it wasn’t bad. Some good points were made, and you could tell that some of them were definitely listening.

A 48-year long experiment of faith?

I taught the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class this past week and we were covering Alma 3235 (lesson 28). We spent a majority of the time discussing faith and the experiment we are to do.

One thing that has always frustrated me is that people are willing to “experiment” with all sorts of things… drugs, alcohol, alternative lifestyles, etc. However, they often aren’t willing to experiment with the things that matter most. From a Church point of view, they won’t try to keep the Word of Wisdom, or they won’t try to stay morally clean. It’s as if the experiment isn’t worth doing.

I brought up the recent sort-of discovery of the Higgs boson particle (the so-called “God particle”). The existence of such a particle was first proposed in 1964. In July of this year, it was announced that they have probably found it, but they can’t prove it yet. That means that there have been scientists around the world trying to prove the existince of this particle for 48 years. They are getting close (very close), but they still haven’t gotten there yet. Isn’t that amazing?! Can you imagine feeling so strongly about something that for decades you are working towards that goal? Well, that is exactly what we should be doing in the gospel.

The whole chapter is great, but here are a few key points about the experiment:

Alma 32: 27 …awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith…

Alma 32: 40 …looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof…

Alma 32: 41 …nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof…

Alma 32: 42 …because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it…

Do you have a testimony of the Law of Tithing? If not, obey it, then keep obeying it. If you haven’t felt the blessings being poured out on you from the windows of heaven, keep obeying the law. Exercise a particle of faith; look forward to the blessings; be patience; be diligent.

If we are willing to put in the effort, whether it be 48 minutes, 48 days, 48 weeks, or 48 years, God will help us find the results we seek from our experiment. We will be able to get the fruit “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.” It is a beautiful promise!