Dear Sister Sassy: Our Resident Agony Aunt

adbf0f6196d792210049c0cd48fc3f0eHere at the Exponent we’re proud to introduce a column by our resident Agony Aunt, Sister Sassy.  An expert in homemaking, spirituality, doctrine, culture, morality, and pretty much everything else, Sister Sassy has been dispensing bad advice to fictitious readers for seven years and is excited to share her (dubious) recommendations with this audience.

Dear Sister Sassy,

It is my understanding that Family Home Evening is non-negotiable and key to my family’s happiness.  My husband is supposed to preside at our weekly gatherings.  When we were first married, we had FHE all the time, but it seems like now we’ve lost our spark.  My husband seems barely interested, even when I use themed printables! I am worried that he is going elsewhere to get slapdash spiritual lessons and forced activities.  Is he getting so much out of his Bishopric meetings he feels I have nothing left to offer him? Is this grounds for divorce?
Forlorn in Fremont

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Relief Society Lesson 20: Love and Concern For All of Our Father’s Children

Relief Society Lesson  20: Love and Concern For All of Our Father’s Children

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Lesson 20: Love and Concern For All Our Father’s Children

rosegardenstatue  “I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and the failings of each other, and not to magnify them in our own eyes nor before the eyes of the world.  There should be no faultfinding, no back-biting, no evil speaking, one against another, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We should be true to each other and to every principle of our religion and not be envious one of another.  We should not be jealous one of another, nor angry with each other, and there should not arise in our hearts a feeling that we will not forgive one another our trespasses.  There should be no feeling in the hearts of the children of God of unforgiveness against any man, no matter who he may be.” (Joseph Fielding Smith – lesson manual)

When I read this lesson, this quote alone spoke to me as being the message I would share with my sisters in Relief Society.  I have chosen to break it down into the many bits of counsel that Joseph Fielding Smith offered, supplemented by other quotes from sisters in leadership callings.  A good companion talk for this lesson is Sister Oscarson’s April 2014 address “Sisterhood: Oh how we need each other.”

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June 2014 Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Minister

visiting-teaching-901054-galleryIn many denominations the term “minister” refers to an ecclesiastical role analogous to the Bishop in our church.  To me, the idea that Latter-Day Saint women are ministers (albeit in a different sense) is one stop toward acknowledging both in language and in deed the vital role that women play in the Gospel.  My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, and I am a Mormon minister.  It is both a plan of action and a title that reflects a spirit of service.

The suggested materials include a quote from President Linda K. Burton, who said:

“With practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God’s children.  To help us better [minister to] one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: ‘First observe, then serve.’ … As we do so, we are keeping covenants, and our service, like President Monson’s , will be evidence of our discipleship.”

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Relief Society Lesson 10: Our Search for Truth

Sunnmøorsfaering by Silje Bakke

Sunnmøorsfaering by Silje Bakke

The topic of this lesson is knowledge and the search for truth, as the name suggests.  A helpful parallel source, for those who want to include a woman’s voice, is Chieko Okazaki’s 1994 address “Rowing Your Boat.” I draw a few quotes from her talk to add to this lesson plan, but it could be used more fully as a companion, as she speaks specifically to the needs of women.

Discussions of knowledge can be tricky in some wards, because some members feel defensive when they see themselves as less well-educated, while other members who have had many opportunities for learning feel that their knowledge is attacked as worldly.  It may be helpful to begin a discussion of knowledge that encompasses a very broad definition of the term.

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