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* All About Mormons Newsletter *

http://www.mormons.org

January/February 1999

Happy New Year from All About Mormons! We hope you had a Merry Christmas! Welcome to the All About Mormons Newsletter. If you like what you read, email this to friends and family! If you have poems, stories, object lessons, questions, answers, or good ideas to contribute, please send them to jenny@mormons.org

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Would you like the entire world to know your feelings about Jesus Christ and his gospel? Would you like to share how you learned that the Book of Mormon is true? Send your testimony and/or conversion story to jenny@mormons.org and we will post it on the site.

*In this newsletter:

*Book of Mormon Quote of the Month

**The Book of Mormon is a volume of sacred writings comparable to the Bible. Its principal purpose is to testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of his teachings. For a free copy, call (U.S.) 1-800-528-2225.**

I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another--

I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2:20-21)

*Focus This Month: Hallelujah (Praise ye the Lord)

When Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray, he included praise to Heavenly Father. In my prayers I have gotten good at thanking God for things and even better at asking for things. But I have felt awkward praising God, because I didn’t know quite what to say. I was reading the Book of Mormon recently in the Isaiah chapters and I found a short and beautiful chapter. It is 2 Nephi 22 or Isaiah 12. It is a prophesy that when Christ returns we will praise him and it gives examples of the praise we will give him. I read the chapter over several times and then I thought to myself that it would be perfect to be put to music, just like famous verses have been put to music in Handel’s Messiah and many other places. Then I thought, why not me? I’d never done something like that before, but I was a music major for a year and loved to write songs, so I thought I’d try.

These are the words as they match my tune.

Oh Lord, I will praise thee.
Oh Lord, I will praise thee.
Though thou wast angry with me—
Though thou wast angry with me
Thine anger, thine anger is turned away
And thou comfortedest me.

Behold, God is my salvation
I will trust and not be afraid.
For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song
He also has become my salvation.

Oh Lord, I will praise thee.
Oh Lord, I will praise thee.
Though thou wast angry with me—
Thine anger is turned away
And thou comfortedest me.
Thou comfortedest me.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water
Out of the wells of salvation.
Therefore with joy, with joy, with joy
Shall ye draw water out of the wells
The wells of salvation, the wells of salvation
Shall draw water out of the wells

Praise the Lord, call upon his name
Declare his doings among the people.
Praise the Lord, call upon his name,
Make mention that his name is exalted.

Sing unto the Lord, Hallelujah!
For he hath done excellent things.
This is known in all the earth
Hallelujah!

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion
Cry out and shout, Hallelujah!
For great is the Holy One of Israel
In the midst of thee!

As I put these words to music, the realization of how much Jesus Christ has done for me and how much I need him flooded my heart and mind. Gratitude swelled inside me. I sang these words, truly praising Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for their love, their great Plan of Salvation, their mercy—for everything they have done. Whether I sing the song or read the words, I immediately recapture these feelings and know that I am praising God. Our Heavenly Father has provided this earth for us. He provided a Savior to us so that we could return to live with him in heaven. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died for us, and was resurrected again, allowing us to repent and be resurrected. We have so much for which we can be grateful. As King Mosiah reminds us, even if we do all that we can all our days, we are still unprofitable servants. However, we should try to do all that we can, including showing understanding and gratitude for our blessings by giving praise to our God.

*Object Lesson: The Parable of the Popcorn (author unknown)

Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared forth for the popper's hand.

And then it was that the popper did take the kernels all of which appeared alike unto him and did apply the oil and the heat.

And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves a hundred fold and some did burst forth with whiteness which did not gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the popper and likewise, some others did not too much.

But lo, there were some that did just lie there and even though the popper's heat was alike unto all, they did bask in the warmth of the oil and kept everything they had for themselves.

And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring joy and delight to many munchers but those which kept of the warmth and did not burst forth were with hardness and disgust.

And thus, we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the hear is on some come forth and give their all while others do procrastinate their day of pop, to burn and become as chaff to be discarded and forgotten.

*Reader Response

I am a fifteen year old Seminary Student. I would like to tell you about the best lesson I have ever had in my life!! A few days ago I had just gone to Seminary. We sang the Hymn and did Scripture mastery---Just like every day. About ten minutes into class, the secretary walks in and informs our teacher that he has a phone call. He asks her to take a message. She stops him mid-sentence saying, "No, it is from the Stake President and it is very urgent!" So he goes to take the call. We continue doing Scripture mastery. About 5 minutes later, our teacher comes in(acting very serious and somber, with his head down.) He says, "Class, the news I am about to tell you is very exciting and serious. The stake president got a call this morning from the area Presidency who was contacted by the First Presidency. The Prophet has announced the construction of the Independence, Missouri temple. The day the Saints have been preparing for is finally here. Please do not panic. Your Bishop's have been contacted and they will be contacting your family's. We will be meeting tonight at the Stake Center, or Early tomorrow morning. We will then be instructed on what to do next. I asked the President if we are to release you back to regular classes or if we could keep you here." Meanwhile, the class is crying hearts are beating very fast and virtually everyone believes him. He then walks over to a girl and asks her to pull his leg like he has been ours. The reason behind this is to make the Second Coming seem real, and to see whether or not we are prepared for it. It was a major realization for me on just how suddenly and quickly it will come, "as a thief in the night", the scriptures say. ~Tim

*What’s New on All About Mormons?

For links to the following articles, check out our What’s New page.

The October 1998 General Conference talks are now available.

A new article on Civil Disobedience has been added

The Young Men's Corner is now up and running!

*Response of the Month: How do you keep Christ in Christmas?

My wife heard this idea from Kathie Lee Gifford, on the Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee show.

When Christ was born, he only received 3 gifts (or as told in modern times). Our children only receive 3 gifts (toys, activities, etc.) for Christmas. Now, they might get other presents from friends and relatives, but my wife and I stick to the 3 gift rule.

In addition, this usually helps keep our Christmas spending down. Who wants to pay for Christmas purchases for the next 6 months?? ~M.A.P.

A CHRIST CENTERED CHRISTMAS website (http://www.velluto.com/ccc) mentioned by Sam

KEEPING CHRISTMAS

When all the ornaments are boxed
and tinsel put away,
Be careful not to package up
the spirit of this day.

The peace and joy of Christmas time —
the willingness to give,
Much more than fleeting reverie —
Ideals by which we live!

May warmest Christmas wishes,
and, the greetings we impart --
Remain a Christmas greeting card
inscribed upon our heart.

And may the Christmas story that
each one of us hold dear,
Be cherished, and embraced, and lived
each day throughout the year.

May the mem’ry of His message,
and the spirit of this day
Remain forever in our hearts
and ne’er be put away.


Sharon Velluto
>From "A Christ Centered Christmas" 1998 SVI Inc.
**************************************************

WISE MEN

It was wise men who foretold His coming.
‘Twas the wise who awaited His birth.
And the wise from afar
Who followed the star,
To the Savior, at last come to earth.

It was wise men who followed His footsteps.
The wise gathered to learn of His will,
‘Twas the wise who believed,
While the world was deceived.
It’s the Wise Men who follow Him still.

‘Twas the wise who declared, "He is risen!"
After suffering death on the hill.
With their lamps burning bright,
Through the darkness of night,
It is wise men who watch for Him still.

It is wise men who know of His glory.
It is Wise Men who praise Him and sing,
"One day each knee will bow,
To confess humbly, Thou,
Art Jesus the Savior and King!"

Sharon Velluto
>From "A Christ Centered Christmas" 1998 SVI Inc.
*************************************************

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

One Christmas on the battle front,
Fields lightly dusted with the snow,
And "no-man’s" land between the trench
Lay deathly quiet, hushed and low.

A silence, not of peacefulness;
But poison, malice, hatred, fear,
And memories of bloody war
Still echoed through the frosted air.

One serviceman the silence broke
By hoisting up in painted scrawl
A small hand-painted sign which read
"A Merry Christmas, One and All!"

A puzzled laugh, then a reply
"Frohliche Weihnachten, Bruder, Freund!"
Their sign was lifted in the air
A Christmas greeting, crudely penned.

Another sign, with a response,
They corresponded for a while,
Then climbed out from dismal trench
Exchanging handshakes, greetings, smile.

Forgetfulness erased the hate,
And, for the moment conflict ceased,
Changing enemies to friends,
Replacing war with blessed peace.

Inspired and lifted by the day
Which celebrates the sacred birth
Of Him who truly lived the song,
"Good will to men, and peace on earth."

Opposing forces --- yet alike
Each man with home and wife and son,
These men who worshipped the same God,
On Christmas Day, became as one.

Sharon Velluto
>From "A Christ Centered Christmas" 1998 SVI Inc.
Poem adapted from the writings of President Spencer W. Kimball.
See The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City; Bookcraft, 1982, p.
419
***********************************************************************************

CHRISTMAS STORY

Christmas isn't the lights or the holly,
It isn't the ribbons of gold,
Not the carols, the tree, or the presents,
It's a story not oft enough told.

Of Wise Men who watched and who waited
For the sign of His birth from afar,
And hoping to witness the Promise
They followed a glistening star.

All huddled and cold on a hillside,
The shepherds who heard the glad song
Of angels who sang Hallelujah,
Peace on earth for the Savior is born!

It's the story of two weary travelers;
Foreigners, seeking for some place to stay,
And, finding no room but a stable,
And naught for a bed but some hay.

It's the tale of a wonderful baby
Wrapped tight in swaddling clothes,
And laid upon hay in a manger;
God's gift to bring hope to the world.

Sharon Velluto
>From "A Christ Centered Christmas" 1998 SVI Inc.

(Thank you Sam)

We read the Christmas story as told in Luke 2. We used to act it out when I was little, but now we read it together and afterwards sing Christmas hymns as we look at Christmas lights. It’s always been a very good experience. ~Jenny

Others contributed to this question, but their answers and poems were lost. If you would like to share more on this subject, please send your contributions to us!

*Question of the Month: How are you as a family or as an individual preparing for emergencies and disasters?

Thank you for your wonderful responses so far. Let us know what you think. We want your wisdom and input!

Reader responses will appear in the next newsletter. E-mail responses to jenny@mormons.org

See you later!

John and Jenny Walsh

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