Sunday, February 26, 2012

Teaching Reverence : words of Spencer W. Kimball

Recently I've been occasionally supplementing my scripture study with The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A. I found the following thoughts on reverence from President Spencer W. Kimball very valuable, and I didn't want to lose track of them, so I am posting them here.
As with the other principles of the gospel, reverence leads to increased joy.
We must remember that reverence is not a somber, temporary behavior that we adopt on Sunday. True reverence involves happiness, as well as love, respect, gratitude, and godly fear. It is a virtue that should be part of our way of life. In fact, Latter-day Saints should be the most reverent people in all the earth.
Where, then, does reverence begin, and how can we develop it?
The home is the key to reverence, as it is to every other godlike virtue.
Let me emphasize the importance of teaching children to pray. It is during personal and family prayers that little ones learn to bow their heads, fold their arms, and close their eyes while our Father in heaven is being addressed. Behavior learned at home determines behavior in Church meetings. A child who has learned to pray at home soon understands that he must be quiet and still during prayers in worship services...
...Of course, parents should attend Sunday meetings with their children.
The father and mother should work together to make sure that preparation for meetings is a pleasant family experience. The last minute rush to gather the children, dress, and hurry to meeting is destructive to reverence.
When families fall into this pattern they are frequently late to church, there are often cross words and hurt feelings, and the children are often upset and restless during the service.
How much more reverent is the family that prepares well ahead of time for meetings, that arrives at the chapel well before the meeting begins, and that sits together to listen to the prelude music and put worldly concerns out of their minds.
Parents with small children sometimes have a difficult time helping their youngsters appreciate meetings and keeping them from creating disturbances. Perseverance, firmness, and preparation in the home are essential ingredients for success. If they are perplexed about how to handle their children at church, young parents might seek the advice of a more experienced couple in the ward.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"[Living] after the manner of happiness"

"I have found that one of the secrets to a joyful life is to recognize that doing things the Lord’s way will make me happier than doing things my way."
- J. Devn Cornish, The Privilege of Prayer, October 2011 General Conference

"We should never forget that freedom and happiness in all aspects of life come by understanding and living in harmony with eternal gospel principles. They provide a sure foundation upon which to build a productive and happy life."
- Kenneth Johnson, Restoring Faith in the Family, April 2008 Ensign

Ingredients for happiness according to 2 Nephi 5, shared by Marlin K. Jensen, Living After the Manner of Happiness, December 2002 Ensign:
  • Family: "There is no other organization that can so completely satisfy our need for belonging and happiness like the family."
  • Keeping the commandments: "Here is a simple but powerful truth: living righteously and keeping God’s commandments make us happy."
  • Planting gardens and raising animals: "I cannot tell you logically why something as simple as planting a garden, however modest, and harvesting and enjoying the fruits of one’s labors is a source of great happiness, but I know it is." ; "Animals—be they horses, cats, dogs, hamsters, or turtles—touch us deeply and promote our emotional well-being. Given affection and care, they return affection and care generously and consistently. People whose lives include relationships with animals are usually happier. For me at least, heaven will not be heaven unless the animal kingdom is part of God’s kingdom."
  • Scriptures: "Our lives are bound to be happier when we use the scriptures to answer our very personal questions and needs. There are other uplifting influences the scriptures can have in our lives. They can cleanse us from evil thoughts and fortify our resolve to resist temptation. They can give comfort in times of need such as the death of a loved one or other personal tragedy. Reading them can put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord so that our depression and self-doubts will flee and our 'confidence [will] wax strong in the presence of God' (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45)"
  • Preparedness: "If we are prepared we not only do not fear (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30), but we actually enjoy and derive considerable happiness from the events of our daily lives."
  • Work: "No matter what our life’s work turns out to be, I know we’ll be happier if we regularly labor with our hands. Labor can take many forms: yard work, sewing, quilting, cooking, baking, auto repair, home repair—the list is endless, and so is the happiness and sense of accomplishment such activities produce."
  • Temples: "A good test of how well we are doing in our quest to come unto Christ may be how we feel about the temple and our experiences there. Temple can be synonymous with happiness and joy. It was for Nephi and his people."
  • Church service: "Of course, true Christian service can’t be provided exclusively through institutional means. Random acts of personal service motivated by our feelings of charity are necessary for our salvation. But the organized Church as established by the Lord Jesus Christ, in which we look after and serve others and are looked after and served by others, provides a wonderful source of happiness for all of us."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why wait? Research says you should!

This news is a little dated now (December 2010), but still important...

Chastity before marriage has been found to drastically improve relationship stability, satisfaction, sexual quality, and communication within marriage.

According to the BYU newsroom article Good Things Come to Couples Who Wait, a study done at BYU and published in the American Psychological Association’s December 2010 Journal of Family Psychology (Busby, D. M., Carroll, J. S., Willoughby, B. J. (2010). Compatibility or restraint: The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 766-774), finds that the timing of sexual intimacy in a relationship matters in terms of its effect on stability measures.

The BYU article linked above notes:
“Most research on the topic is focused on individuals’ experiences and not the timing within a relationship,” said lead study author Dean Busby, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life. “There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship,” Busby added. “I think it’s because they’ve learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up.”
The BYU article also states:
Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved with this research, read the study and shared his take on the findings. “Couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship – often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy,” said Regnerus.
I am so grateful for inspired Church leaders who have encouraged, promoted, and exhorted the Lord's commandment to live the law of chastity; for instance, The Family: A Proclamation to the World states:
We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
 Our Creator truly knows what is best for us and how we can be happy. The surest way to experience the joy He intends for us is by obedience to His laws and commandments.