Finally after 7 1/2 years, I finally made a photo book of our wedding pictures. There was a Living Social Deal that 1)made it affordable and 2) gave me a deadline. So here it is...
Create your own custom photo books at Shutterfly.com.
I'm a big fan of the laity but I want to see training in giving sermons and have those sermons go beyond the standard works and the Ensign. Give up to 1 month for lay members to prepare a sermon where they can research and find sources from across history and around the world. And then keep sacrament meeting to 45 minutes-ish since just the administration of the sacrament takes 20.
However, the administration of the sacrament can/should move to the jurisdiction of the family. Those who want to/need the church for the administration of it, can attend that portion of the meeting, but its ridiculousness to be that the church actively precludes people from taking the sacrament if they can't make church due to not-deigned-to-be-good enough reasons.
After sacrament, the children should be able to leave the chapel and go to their classes. The Unitarians in my home congregation do a cool thing where they sing the children to their classes.
Music in sacrament yes, forget the staid and move in with the joyful, exuberant arrangements. Dance and sing, move and clap. Musical instruments of all sorts performed by ward members.
Joint priesthood and Relief Society, ordain women, make this meeting after sacrament and keep it to 45 minutes. Sometimes have this meeting about action, or use it to brainstorm advocacy efforts and how their ward can put the gospel into action in their community. Knit during meetings, cut out file folder games, etc.
Sunday school last (and maybe not on Sundays), have it for those who want/need to attend. Maybe even give over the Sunday school to the Institutes, encourage each member to be attending one class at all times, call seminary enough for the YM/YW and build it into their programs to earn their achievements.
If not a potluck something like a "coffee hour" where drinks and maybe sometimes snacks are served. Church at this point is only 1 1/2-2 hrs so you shouldn't be having horribly hungry people. Obviously find a different name "fellowship hall" or "social hour." Give people a chance to visit, discuss and really get to know the goings-on of members of their ward. This is where the throughout the week fellowship is going to be strengthened.
I also think that if church on Sundays wasn't such a major investment, members would be more willing to do social/volunteer/nature stuff outside of church. I love the ideas of sometimes conducting worship services outside in nature. That would be a good use for the church owned recreational areas a few times a year.
"Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,” said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. … Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted … the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. … We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense.” (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.)
Sunday school: The lesson was on faith from the Gospel Principles Manual.
Non-member asked: why faith ingests? Why not God?
My thought: that's a good question, a really good question,
What I wish I heard: quoting Jesus, love God What I said: he turns our attention to God. In all his teachings he said: follow me and the way to follow my example is to love God.
What i'm glad I heard: Another woman in the class referenced the 1st article of faith "we believe in God" with emphasis on we believe in God first before Christ.
What I heard: how to increase faith in God, study scriptures, go to church, act What was missing: prayer was missing and that was a glaring omission
What I said: that prayer needs to be included because its an essential part to having faith in God is to develop a personal relationship through prayer. I later thought how prayer needs to be coupled with seeking revealed truth from sources already given. One without the other is not effective but both need to work together. Answers to prayers aren't given if its already written now and accessible to a person but that person refuses to seek it out and rather prayers for it through inspiration.
What I heard in Relief Society Hymn: 273 truth reflects upon our senses, Eliza r snow
What I wish I heard: the last two verses sung, insight into the imperfect view we have of others, judge not
What I am so glad i heard in a lesson on honesty: an attack on white lies, not defense of them
What I heard: a story of a white lie told. Woman told how her son lied to someone when he said he loved plays, but it was not true. Then the person who was told the lie spoke up and said that she was the one lied to. Hilarious!
What I'm glad I heard: taking more than what we need takes from other is a form of theft and dishonestly, specifically mentioning over-consumption
What I wish I heard: More about the injustice present in the world when so many have more than enough and even more do not have enough. Would have loved to hear The Life You Can Save mentioned.
What I heard: gospel principles definition of cheating- workforce issues, injustice against employees
What I said: we have a role in standing up against that injustice and there are many opportunities to add our voice in opposition, consumer advocacy groups, workers rights. The internet provides some really effective, quick and easy ways of contacting legislators through organizations like Change.org, MomsRising, etc. What I wish I heard: recognition that women aren't likely to be in the role of the dishonest and oppressive employers because 1) Mormon women are discouraged from being in the work force and generally when they are in the work force are in low-paying, jobs required little skill and training and are not likely to be in leadership/corporate roles.
What I heard: people focusing fear of damnation for slight actions
What I wish I heard: people stating a balance of faith in repentance, desire to do the right thing, recognize the damage done to ourselves rather than focus on external punishments. Do some Mormons really believe that hell is an external punishment rather than the manifestations of our own conscience holding us accountable?
What I heard: hymn Oh Say What is Truth, last verse, loved it.
What I wish I heard: a talk on the transcendence of truth, maybe a blog post? Anyone know of a good article on this topic?
What I heard: mothers day program
What I wish I heard: the remainder of church is cancelled for families to go home and enjoy the holiday OR last week, church is canceled on Mother's Day. OR In honor of mothers day, priesthood are invited to administer the sacrament to their families.
What I heard: CS Lewis quotes: all careers are in support of the greatest career of all- homemaking
What I wish I heard: this jives with the concept of Radical Homemaking, that indeed our families and are lives are the greatest careers and the purpose for us living. Men need to also return to the home, embrace the principles of Equally Shared Parenting (hey, its in the Proclamation...). Society needs to reorder its priorities so that families can be together, that both men and woman can learn to be skilled nurturers and that both women and men can use their intellects, skills and knowledge to contribute to the larger world.
What I heard: a truly awful talk on Sheri Dews Aren't we all mothers talk. Be happy you weren't in my ward today. My head almost exploded.
1. Denigrating men- comment that the talk is only talking to women because of course men can't also be mothers.
2. Comparison priesthood to motherhood "how is that fair that men get to move mountains and women suffer childbirth?"
3. Putting octopus mother on a pedestal for dying in order to care for her young, not sleeping, eating or moving for a month as she uses her last breath to care for her young. Really!? Is that what we want to suggest to our human mothers that all her efforts that go into caring for her children should bring her to the point of her death?
What I heard: a how to talk on teaching children based on Elder Uuchtdoorfs talk on parenting (I think priesthood session?) from last conference , it was nice.
What I wish I heard: mention of Heavenly Mother somewhere, somehow. recognition of the difficulty and challenge of motherhood and the importance of fathers, family and community members to support and assist mothers. encouragement for mothers to care for themselves by letting go and sharing of some of the mothering responsibility so that they can pursue the skills and abilities they have gained through their lives and education. Of course, too much to ask, but we're working on it.
What I heard: a woman saying the closing prayer in sacrament. So there you go, it does happen.
What I witnessed: the honoring mother's ceremony at the end of sacrament. The Young Women passed around little bags of chocolates with a decorated card quoting President Hinckley. It was a good quote about recognizing the challenge of mothering and promising the blessings of the Spirit to guide mothers in their efforts. However, I did not receive one for whatever reason. I was busy with a toddler on my lap and she ran out of her supply when she got to me and then didn't get back to me to give me one and I wasn't about to ask to make sure that I had one. Its a good thing that my mother was there, she got hers and we shared it.
After sacrament, I left church early to attend Ina May Gaskin event in Seattle at Town Hall. Now there is a way to honor mothers! To read more about it, hop over to my birth blog: Descent into Motherhood.
Thought Experiment: You’ve died. You are at your own funeral. What do you want your friends and family to say about you? What did you do with your life? Write down five things you hope people say about the legacy that you’ve left. Write down five things you hope people say about your personality.
Core Values: Discover what drives you. What principles guide your actions and ideal self? Try to strip away all cultural conditioning and/or religious rhetoric and assess five core values by which you live your life and inform who you want to be. Write these down. Evaluate if there any disconnect between what you wrote down in step one and step two.
Find Your Purpose: Why does what you are doing matter? What motivates and inspires you to keep following these values? Chose a purpose. It can be big or small, but has to be intentional. It is the reason for your goals and can change over time. If you are struggling to find your purpose try this experiment. Write down your five most valuable gifts and talents. Next, write below those what each of these can be used for. Finally, evaluate what types of careers or activities you would enjoy that would utilize some of these talents.
Test Your Purpose: Today my purpose will be _____________. To accomplish that I will use my gifts for ________________ to accomplish these specific goals_______________. Later change the timeline to week, month, and year.
Write It All Down: Once you have a purpose you can stick with, write it all down and it will remind your of who you are and what you want to be. I.e.My five core values are ____________. My five core talents are ______________. In the next ten years my purpose will be ______________. The key features of my personal mission statement are ______________.
One of the reasons why women do not hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church is because, as President Hinckley said in an interview with an Australian reporter is that "there is no agitation for that." He seems to imply that if the members of the church were interested in women being ordained to the priesthood that a number of them ought to approach the leaders of the church expressing their interest. One faithful Mormon created a website where Mormons and non-Mormons can express their interest in women of the Mormon Church receiving the priesthood. The URL for that site is www.agitatingfaithfully.org.
If the leaders take the communication seriously, they have the opportunity to show the world that the Mormon church continues to receive revelation and that the church can change its practices as it better learns the mind and will of God. It would be up to the prophet and apostles of the church to counsel and pray together on the topic of women receiving the priesthood. If they can all agree that God is telling them to extend the priesthood to women, they will share that revelation with the church and the world.
It may be that God does have a reason for women not to receive that priesthood and Mormons do believe that God can reveal his reasons through the prophet. Certainly Mormons care to learn as much as they can through revelation and they care deeply about what truly is God's will. They want to know that it really is from God and not the popular response caused by the whim of the people. Until that time, Mormon women have many opportunities to serve within the church.
Mormons believe that God's nature is that of the perfect parent. One of the greatest doctrines taught by the LDS church is that we believe we are loved by a Father and Mother in Heaven. Together, they love us with perfect knowledge of what we need to lead us to truth. They are patient, gentle, kind but firm and fair. Heavenly Father is attentive to our prayers and sends the Spirit to guide and comfort us. He also sends his Spirit to others who will be guided to help and give us comfort in our struggles.
In knowing about the existence of a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, I have a better understanding of who I am as a daughter of God. Though not much is taught about Heavenly Mother, I envision a womanly goddess who is capable, strong, intelligent and all-knowing, creative, hardworking and infinitely loving: the perfect woman and mother and equal to power and ability to God the Father. The vision I have of Heavenly Father is gentle, loving, compassionate, all-knowing, patient and sensitive: the perfect man and father. In both, I find the parents I need to feel loved, comforted, guided and supported. I am able to learn how to be a better parent and partner to my husband because of the example I envision my heavenly parents set for me.