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*Focus This Month: Gratitude
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalms 100:3-5)
Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever. (Alma 26:8)
Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen. (Alma 26:37)
And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. (D&C 78:19)
There is an LDS hymn entitled "Count Your Blessings." The message of the song is to count your blessings to overcome discouragement, doubt, depression, and other negative emotions. Truly the Lord has done much for us and we have much to be grateful for. Brigham Young said: "The duty of the Latter-day Saints is to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks, to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things, and to be subject to his requirements" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.42).
Primary children are taught this early with a variety of songs which express thanks. One of my favorites reads:
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by a lilac tree,
Im glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me.
He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, mind, my heart;
I thank Him revrently
For all his creations, of which Im a part.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me. ("My Heavenly Father Loves Me," The Childrens Songbook, p. 228)
During this time of harvest and thanksgiving, are there any blessings which we have forgotten? Im thankful to live in a land which allows me to worship God according to my conscience. Im thankful for the changing colors of the leaves and the songs of birds. Im thankful that I have reliable transportation, comfortable clothing, and tasty food. Im thankful to have comfortable living quarters. Im thankful for my mother and father and brothers and sister. Im thankful for the generosity and warmth of my in-laws. Im thankful that I can sing and play the piano. Im thankful that I can read. Im thankful that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gospel has blessed my life in so many ways. Im glad that I know that death is not the end. Im thankful for Christs atonement which allows me to repent and return to live with my Heavenly Father again. Im thankful for the resurrection. Im thankful for the temple and the opportunity we have for eternal families. Im thankful for the love Jesus has shown me as an individual. When my life has gotten difficult, I have felt him especially near, loving me and comforting me.
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.263
It is always safer and better to enjoy the gratitude which we feel to others than to set store upon the gratitude which we think others should have toward us. The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man! (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 38, April, 1903, pp. 242, 243.)
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.337
We owe all to God; we extend our thankfulness and gratitude to him for the manifestations of his love and care and protection. (Oct, C. R., 1906, p.2.)
*Object Lesson: Integrity
There was a tornado which went through the city in which I live recently. Though we were not in the tornado's path, we experienced very high winds, lots of rain, some hail, power and telephone outages, and flying debris. After the storm was all over, I went outside to survey the damage. To my surprise, the main part, including the top, of a tree just outside my bedroom window had fallen to the ground. If it had fallen at a slightly different angle, the tree would have landed on my bed.
There are many trees by my house. Many were the same size as this tree that fell. They experienced the same winds, rain, and hail as this tree, yet they stood firm. Why was this?
Well, I had noticed for quite some time that this tree that fell had a small split between its two main limbs. The wood in this small split had started decaying a little bit. It did not seem like a big problem, but this small split, given adverse circumstances, led to this tree being left with only one limb sticking straight out and no top at all! The other trees had no such split and remained strong throughout the storm.
People are like trees. People who do what they know is right are like those trees that stood firm during the storm at my house. They have integrity. They are unified within themselves. They are not weakened within, so when storms come into their life, they cling to their values and stand firm.
People who know that they should do one thing, but do another, are split. People who cannot decide if they will choose the right or the wrong are split. They may stand for a long time with this split and seem to be all right. We may see Latter-day Saint youth who go to drinking parties on Saturday and Church on Sunday. We may see people who are only as good as the crowd they are with because they let the crowd determine their behavior. These people may seem to do all right, even though they are split. The split does not seem that dangerous and does not seem to cause problems.
Then, the storm comes. It may be a family problem or a health problem. It may be wrong ideas presented as true by a trusted individual. It may be normal problems just from growing up. It may be a very persuasive person who does not live good standards. It may be a very cool party. It may be Satan, seeing a chance to win another soul.
What happens to the people who are split? Just like that tree, if they enter the storm already divided, they can easily fall and break apart. When already weakened, it takes much less opposition and adversity for a person to break. Unfortunately, divided individuals often act against their values. It is easier to fall than fight. It is easier to slide than climb--not only for mountains and trees, but for values. We need to be strong enough to fight, to climb, to stand firm during adversity. We must not be our own worst enemy by not living our values, by living without integrity.
Storms come into every life. We are taught that earth life enables us to experience "opposition is all things" (2 Nephi 2:11). What we must do is be stronger than the opposition. We must live with integrity. We must be as the wise man who built his house upon a rock (Jesus Christ, his Gospel, and the standards he has given us) and whose house was not divided against itself (or we must be consistently righteous). Then, "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down into the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock on which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12)
*Whats New on All About Mormons?
We are gathering members testimonies to put in our testimony section. Share your testimony with our visitors by sending it to us via email.
LDS Humor is continually expanding. Thanks to all those who have contributed so far! Keep on sending us your funny stories, jokes, etc. We want our humor to be enjoyable to all of our visitors, members and non-members alike, so please use discretion when choosing which ones to send. Our Other Good Stuff section is especially for non-religious humor. Laugh With Us!
October 1997 General Conference has been added (10/19/97)
We have updated several answers on our site, including "Is Jesus the Brother of Satan?" and "Are Mormons Prejudiced?"
In How to Treat a Girl, A. Lynn Scoresby discusses the benefits he received by treating his dates with respect. (10/05/97)
In But I Always Wanted to Give Her Away, Lisa A. Johnson discusses the issue of having a temple wedding with non-recommend holding parents. (10/03/97)
In The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inward Covenant, Elder Carlos E. Asay discusses the importance of the temple garment. (10/02/97)
Our Parenting home page now has links to the best sites on the Web! These sites are non-LDS and all of the ideas they present may not be in keeping with the standards of the Church. However, they have a lot of good advice that is applicable to all parents. Those enlightened by the Spirit can separate the good from the bad. (09/21/97)
Do you know why Latter-day Saints are encouraged to use the personal pronouns thy, thine, thee, and thou when addressing deity? Read The Language of Prayer to find out. (09/09/97)
Elder John Taylor's eyewitness testimony has been added to our Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith page. (09/07/97)
The discussion on Adam-God has been updated. (09/07/97)
The discussion on Biblical support for eternal marriage has been updated. (09/07/97)
A new accusatory question entitled Do Latter-day Saints Intentionally Conceal Their Doctrine? has been added. (09/07/97)
How to Encourage Scripture Study gives practical advice from visitors and Church leaders. (09/07/97)
In To the Home Teachers of the Church, President Ezra Taft Benson instructs the priesthood brethren on how to become effective home teachers. (09/01/97)
Relief Society Rest Stop has expanded to include Homemaking Themes, Uplifting Scriptures, and more Uplifting Poems. The Recipes page also links to recipe sites on the web. Coming soonSeasons and Holidayscraft, food, decorating, and other ideas to make these days special. Contributions for this page are especially welcome!
The Young Womens Corner now has more object lessons, and practical ideas for leaders. Coming soonThink About It!
All About Mormons now has even more information to keep you in touch with the Church, including Church related web sites and internet services, Church phone numbers, and magazine information. Check it out on our Welcome page!
*Announcements from the LDS Community
The Church Museum of Church History and Art has issued a call for entries to its 'Fifth International Art Competition and Exhibit. The competition is open to members 18 and over in almost any media. See the following URL for details: http://www.desnews.com/cgi-bin/libstory_reg?dn97&9708140107
In the September 1997 Ensign, members of the Church were invited to submit original children's songs, hymns, anthems, hymn arrangements, and instrumentals. Submissions are reviewed for artistic merit, usefulness for home or church, general appeal, ease of performance, originality, quality of text, and compatibility of music to text. Awards in various dollar amounts are given. Entries for the next submission must be postmarked by 31 March, 1998. For more information about rules and categories, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Church Music Submission, 20th Floor, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5460, U.S.A.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir plans European tour in 1998. For an article which includes dates and destinations, see http://www.desnews.com/cgi-bin/libstory_reg?dn97&9708100085
To get similar LDS announcements, send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org , with "subscribe mormon-index" or "subscribe mormon-index-digest" (for the weekly digest) in the body of the message. A message may be sent to the same address, but with "subscribe mormon-news" for another list. Also, visit Other LDS Sites which has other LDS-related e-mail lists which you may find interesting.
*I Have a Question: How can I introduce the gospel to my friends and acquaintances?
A big part of being a missionary with friends and acquaintances is just being an example every day. Telling people that we value families is one thing, but spending time with family members and treating them with love and respect is entirely another.
Another part is just listening for an opening to bring up a part of the gospel or gospel living. For example, in my child development class, we discussed a social services program which reminded me of visiting teaching, so I mentioned to my class that my Church runs a program that meets a similar need, but without costing any money. In an English class, my professor made the comment that were losing the pioneer spirit in our country. I told my class that we were celebrating the sesquicentennial of the pioneers arriving in Salt Lake Valley by emphasizing how we can be pioneers today.
These are little things, but now people know that I am LDS and now I have a reason to be an especially good example. Maybe someday one of the people I talked to will meet the missionaries and remember that they once knew a Latter-day Saint who seemed pretty nice.
Discourses of Brigham Young, p.42
Practice your religion today, and say your prayers faithfully. 16:28.
*Question of the Month: How do you get along with non-member relatives?
Let us know what you think. We want your wisdom and input!
Reader responses will appear in the next newsletter. E-mail responses to email@example.com
See you next month!
John and Jenny Walsh
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