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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The Shelf

448px-PreservedFood1 Friday, 1 July 2000

At dinner today we listened to the radio, and in particular to a story about homosexual marriage.  I have to say, I’m a little confused about what to think.  The LDS church is not in favor of homosexuality, but I feel that that’s only because they [gay people] have extra-marital sex.  But how can it be anything but extra-marital?! Marriage is not allowed in such cases.  Yet I’m fairly sure the church isn’t in favor of gay marriage either.  What a pickle.  Makes me glad I’m straigt!!!! [sic]

I wrote that journal entry when I was sixteen.  I was on vacation with my family and I remember thinking a lot about gay marriage and homosexuality more generally, trying to figure out how the pieces fit together with what I understood of the Gospel.  Reading the entry now, I am struck by several things.  First, I seem hopelessly naive and unclear about the church’s stance in a way I am sure the youth of today could not be.  Having firmly understood that I was not to have sex outside of marriage, I naively assumed that was the main objection that the church had to homosexuality.  Gay marriage would, in that understanding, be the perfect solution.  So why was the church against gay marriage? Or was it? Seemingly I was unsure even of that.

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Church Games

800px-ChildrenI’m glad I ceded my usual spot to our guest post this morning because what she had to say about mediation was I think very valuable.  I am not part of the Ordain Women movement and did not attend the walk to the priesthood session.  I do believe that the ordination of women would be a good thing for many reasons.  I hope that it happens in my lifetime.  This week it has been very hard to witness the open conflict between church members online.  It seems that every time I log in I see something that upsets me and my response has been to withdraw and refuse to engage.

When I am unhappy, stressed or depressed often my response is to defuse the tension with humor, often inappropriately timed and unappreciated by others.  Maybe that will be the case today as well. However, I’ve decided to go for it anyway and make a post about the silly games my mother and I used to play in church meetings when we got bored or antsy.  After a week like this, we could all use a good laugh.  Lest you think I don’t have a speck of reverence in my body I will say that in general I pay attention and get things out of my meetings, but we all have our days.  Next time you’re at the back of stake conference sitting on the hard chairs for what feels like eternity, why not play one of the following little gems?

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