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* All About Mormons Newsletter *
Welcome to the All About Mormons Newsletter, a bimonthly publication. John and Jenny Walsh alone are responsible for the opinions contained in this 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 that are not restricted by copyright, please send them to email@example.com (If you get unusual letters mixed in with this newsletter, please let us know so we can be sure you get it in plain text next time)
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*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.
"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." (Mosiah 2:41)
*Focus This Month: Visiting With Love
by Jenny Scoville Walsh
Have you ever had a time when you werent ready for company? Maybe you needed a shower or a nap, or you had a headache, just started a project, your dishwasher broke, your basement flooded, the kids had messed up the whole house, youre running out the door, or you finally sat down after having a long day and didnt want to talk to anybody. There are millions of reasons why we may not be perpetually ready for visitors. There are many reasons why we would not welcome an unscheduled visitor to our home. We like privacy and autonomy. We like scheduling our own lives and getting ready for what is going to happen next. We have expectations of how our homes, our children, our clothes, our hair, etc. should look when people see us.
Though we realize that we have times we are not ready for visitors, sometimes we forget that others feel the same way. There is a cultural practice among some Latter-day Saints, at least in the United States, that I believe should be questioned and changed. It is the practice of dropping by other members homes unannounced, particularly those who are less-active.
When I discuss this practice, it does not refer to Christmas caroling or dropping off a little giftthough even these could be preceded with a phone call to make sure the person is home and ready for visitors. It does not refer to door-to-door tracting by missionaries (though considering this subject makes it easier to understand why tracting is a less effective method of missionary work). It mainly refers to arriving at someones door (particularly someone you do not know well) expecting to visit with them at that time, especially in their home. It may involve spur-of-the-moment home or visiting teaching, missionaries who are "just in the neighborhood," ward council members visiting people they havent seen at church for a while, visiting someone who just got out of the hospital or just had a baby and other similar circumstances.
I believe we accept this behavior in ourselves because we have heard stories of people who have felt prompted by the Spirit to visit someone. When they did, the person gratefully said it was an answer to a prayer. However, I believe the story could be just as wonderful if the person receiving a prompting calls first to see if this is a good time to visit. The other person could say, "Thank you for calling. Ive been praying that someone would think of me, Ive been so lonely." Then they could arrange a convenient time to see each other.
I am sure that many Latter-day Saints who participate in this uninvited visiting mean well and may want to have the results of a Spirit-led visit. However, much of the unannounced visiting that I know about actually has the opposite effect. It is not Spirit-encouraged, but often policy-driven and thoughtlessly performed. When this happens, people feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, imposed or intruded upon, frustrated, or even angry and offended. It may drive less-active members further from the Church. This is because they are not feeling loved, but judged, harassed, or just disrespected. Their needs, lifestyle, and schedule were not considered when the visit was planned.
Some may say that the people they visit know they will not be judged and we will be kind, so why would they worry? They do not know that you will be kind and non-judgmental if your very presence shows little regard for their feelings. Some may say that they need to drop by unannounced because they dont know if the person still lives at that location. A letter or phone call could still be attempted before dropping by an address of someone that you suspect has moved. You might mention in the letter or phone message that you hope to drop by on a certain date between 7 and 9 p.m. (for example) to find out if they are receiving your correspondence and if they do not wish this, they should call or write before then. Others may argue that they drop by unannounced because no one responds to their letters and phone calls or keeps scheduled visits. If this is the case, send letters informing the people that they can request no contact with the Church or be removed from the records of the Church. If they dont welcome your phone calls or if they avoid visits with you, why do you think an unannounced visit would be a good idea?
To conclude, I am advocating more consideration and love for our brothers and sisters. Im sure that church policies and spiritual promptings would not preclude kindness and respect for others. If you have dropped by unannounced in the past, reevaluate this method of contacting people. Is it effective? What do the people who were visited feel about it? Consider changing your policy so that you schedule visits with others, whether active, less-active, or non-member. I believe that doing this will make us more effective servants of the Lord, for when we show love and respect to others, they will feel the love of the Savior through us.
*Object Lesson: No Unclean Thing (3 Nephi 27:19)
by Jenny Walsh
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Tommy who lived in a very pretty house with his father, mother, and many brothers and sisters. His parents were getting ready for a party. They needed him to take good care of the garden outside for a little while. In the meantime, they would get everything ready inside.
"When you are outside, stay clean. Stay away from the mud. When we call you in, you can enjoy the party with us," the parents told the little boy.
Tommy went outside and began to play in his yard. It was a beautiful place, with fruit and nut trees, flowers, grass, vegetables, berry bushes, insects, animals, and many other wonderful things. He was having a very good time as he climbed the trees, played with the animals, took care of the garden, chased butterflies, and many other enjoyable activities. Then, he found some mud.
He knew that his mom and dad told him to stay away from the mud and at first he obeyed. But after a while, he forgot because the mud looked very fun to play in. First, he just looked at it. Next, he practiced jumping over the mud. He tried to see how close he could get to the mud without actually touching it. Then, he dipped his finger into it and smeared it around. Then he took off his shoe and let his toes play around in it for a while. Then he stepped into it and walked around, enjoying the sucking sounds that he made as he lifted his foot for each step. Pretty soon, he was covered in mud, head to toe!
"It's almost time for the party! Are you ready to come in?" called his mother.
"I'm coming mother," called the little boy as he stepped out of the mud. As he approached the door, he saw his reflection in the glass. "Oh no! I'm a mess! Mom and Dad won't let me in the house like this!" It was true. His mom and dad only let clean people come inside, after they had wiped their feet. They wanted their house to stay clean and nice inside.
Then, he looked past his reflection into the window and saw that some guests had already arrived. He even saw some of his friends, dressed in nice clean clothes with polished shoes and clean, combed hair. How he wanted to be with them, to talk with them and play with them. Then he looked down at himself again. How embarrassed he would feel to be seen by all of those people who were clean and dressed up when he was muddy and dirty. Even if his parents let him in the house and even if everyone were very nice to him, he knew that he was not ready to be there.
Suddenly, he realized that he wanted to be clean--totally clean. But what could he do? He tried to wipe off the mud, but it was caked on, and wiping his pants with muddy hands didn't do any good. Then his dad sent out his big brother John to help him clean up. John got out the garden hose and turned on the water.
"Come here, Tommy," he said. "I will help you get cleaned up." Tommy followed Johns instructions.
"Stand right here. Now turn around," said John. Muddy water splashed onto the grass as John sprayed Tommy down with the hose. When there wasn't any more mud on Tommy's body, John turned off the water. Tommy's clothes were soaking wet and still looked a little brown.
John had a towel, a change of clothes, and a comb for Tommy's hair. After Tommy dried off, he changed his clothes, and combed his hair.
Before he went back inside, John reminded Tommy, "Im going to tell mom and dad that youre clean. Ill be right back. Stay out of the mud." Then John went and told his parents that Tommy was now ready to come inside.
Tommy obeyed John. He no longer wanted to play in the mud. He just wanted to be clean.
John came back and let Tommy come inside. Then, the whole family enjoyed the party with their friends.
*What would you think about Tommy if he thought getting cleaned off was too much
trouble and decided to miss the party instead?
*How are we like Tommy?
*How is Jesus like John?
*What does the house represent?
*Must See Page:
Every one who is teaching or may teach in the future (okay, everyone) will benefit from this teachers ideas for involving your class members in the lesson. See Teaching Ideas
*Fun Stuff: A Little Humor for You!
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a Bishop, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Scriptures a little and get your hair cut and we'll talk about it."
After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Scriptures diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited and minute and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, why even Jesus had long hair...."
To which his father replied...."Yes, and they WALKED every where they went!"
--Contributed by Kent
Our three year old daughter was participating in a family scripture study, in which
each of us quoted a scripture in turn. When Ruth's turn came, she enthusiastically said
"Adam fell that men might be..." Then she paused with a puzzled look on her face
and asked: "Who pushed Adam?"
--Contributed by John
***Name a Book of Mormon Novel***
The Headless Jaredite
War and Peace
A Tale of Two Lehites
Arms and the Man
Pride and Prejudice
Gone With the Wind
Jacob and the Giant Beach
A Senine Saved is a Senine Earned
--Contributed by Bronson
A Farewell to Arms (Or, Ammon Rescues the King's Sheep)
--Contributed by Jenny
Akish Secretly Gets A-Head
--Contributed by John
*From Our Readers:
by Gordon Bush
Hatred, Anger, Prejudice too.
These are but a few of Satan's tools.
How many times has he used them on you?
Lying, Cheating, and Gossiping too.
How many times has he made you his fool?
Stealing, Greed, and Jealously too.
These are a few more he often throws at you.
How many times have you been his pawn, a time or two?
How many more times will he use these on you?
before you wake and see the dawn?
We are here to learn to be more Christ like you see.
Satan would like to drag you down with him.
Believe me, he's not your friend!
So to him be sure, no help you lend.
There is just too much other beautiful stuff.
To let Satan drag you down in the muck.
So lift up your eyes and on the light focus in.
The pure love of Christ is what we all need my friend.
Work hard to keep those evil things out of your life.
And in the end you'll behold a beautiful sight.
Remember also to watch out for revenge and spite.
They too will mess up your life.
Leave vengeance and judgement to the Lord each day.
And soon you will be walking in the right way.
The path to our Lord is not easy these days.
So many others seem to be taking the easy way out.
Satan, he's no fool, if you work for him he'll give you a handout.
He'll do his best to lead you astray.
So be careful of what you do and say.
Do good if you can and often pray.
Try and grow nearer to Jesus each day.
*Response of the Month: How can you have a spiritual Sunday while caring for small children?
Forgive me for being long - this is an area that bothers me each Sunday as I sit in
Church meetings and see 'worldly' materials there - filling young minds full. My heart
aches for each young child to crave to read scripture stores, and have distractions that
are more fitting in the Lord's House.
Not having my own children - but running a day care and having had influence in the lives of small children for most of my life, thru Church and otherwise - I have experienced the opportunity for teaching very young toddlers and even infants patterns for living that can be embedded for life. I am shocked at the materials parents allow their children bring to sit and read and play with during Sacred Meetings. Children learn very young how to behave, in the home, at church, in public, while playing, ... they can KNOW the difference between Reverent and Non-Reverent activities - but only if the adults are consistent and separate the two. Putting away the activities of the world, the books, the play figures, the games, the movies, the monsters, the space ships...etc. and using toys or activities that promote a more reverent, quieter and still fun and meaningful play helps separate Sunday from the rest of the week. It is a separate and special day!
There are Church activity books for all ages, there are board games, card games, books, music, video's that help keep the young (and old) mind directed towards more spiritual goals. A young child can have a special box of Church figures and use their blocks to build a home for them, flannel board stories, 'scriptural-like dress up clothing, play Primary, coloring books, sections of scriptures with activity ideas for each... there are many ideas a parent or older sibling can come up with. It takes time and consistency to create a habit of reverent play. The T.V. can be covered with a special "Sunday" covering to remind everyone what the day is for, and uncovered for a special family/church video. The home can be reverenced with beautiful Church music, a variety for every member to enjoy. The family can spend precious time together reading family histories, writing their own histories, writing letters to relatives, working of family photo albums, listening to special conference talks, music, family tapes from Mission Farewells/Homecomings, watching Grandparents and family on special videos, reading scriptures together and writing their meanings .... The whole family can have an afternoon nap on one bed or in the living room... they can spend time visiting other family or even making a special trip to visit someone who hasn't got family and share an activity with them!
What ever the parents do on Sunday's - teaches the children what things they need to be doing. If one parent has responsibilities that take up lots of their time - what time they do spend with family can be meaningful. If the news or sports comes on, even once in a while - the rule isn't consistent. Very young children learn quickly, remember long and imitate life around them. Having consistency is vital! They are sponges and love learning, they can remember who our Scripture Families are and what events have taken place - Sunday is the best time of the week to fill their brains and hearts with the most important things... I wish Parents and Grandparents would be more obedient in keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, have their own habits and traditions consistent and themselves enjoy a day of rest and peace ! The children will follow their lead ! ~Karen
You can have a spiritual time any time while watching and caring for small children, by keeping a spiritual perspective. They are of course the children of God as are we. But He has sent them here so we might teach them and guide them and help them to grow closer to Him. I wrote a poem about this very thing and gave to the other primary teachers. Hoping that it might help them to stay focused.
A Teachers Thoughts
Watch the little ones
Gaze into their eyes
Listen to their questions
What concerns trouble their minds
So newly departed from Gods' presence
What gentle souls with playful hearts
Full of wonder, Oh! Where to start?
Full of love, so precious, so tender
Teach the little ones to walk the path in Christs' light
Good shepherds, love your flocks
Watch over them, lead them not astray
Help guide them down righteous paths
Watch over us Dear Lord
Guide us in all we think, do and say
Bless us as we guide your little ones on their way
May we all stand spotless before God
On our Judgement Day
*Question of the Month: How would a mother prepare her son for a mission?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
See you later!
John and Jenny Walsh
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