Dear Sister Sassy: Visiting Teaching Dilemma

adbf0f6196d792210049c0cd48fc3f0eSister Sassy is The Exponent’s resident Agony Aunt. Her previous excellent advice can be found here.

Dear Sister Sassy,
My ward just rearranged the Visiting Teaching Assignments, and my list now includes a woman with whom I am not acquainted. I’ve heard she is hostile to us, but the president has made it clear that everyone should receive at least one visit. What do I do?!
Beleaguered in Biloxi

Dear Beleaguered,
There is actually a very simple solution to this problem. Set up a time to go with your companion, and make sure that you travel in the same vehicle. If you live where people drive on the right, try to be the passenger – you’ll want to be as close to the curb as possible. When you arrive at the home, suggest a prayer in the car. This serves two purposes: First, it invites the Spirit and is a good idea. More importantly, from a cowardly point of view, it ensures that you have a reasonably equal starting pistol. As soon as you say “Amen,” spring from the car and march with great speed to the door. I know, you’re thinking this is crazy talk just because I radiate self-confidence and quiet dignity. Hear me out!

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July 2015 Visiting Teaching: Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Forgiving and Merciful

Guest Post by Hope. Read a previous guest post by her here

 

I’ve been exploring the language game surrounding the word “mercy”.mercy

 

Last month a member of my family died after battling a very painful disease. My grandmother called us while he was on his deathbed, and all I can really remember is her saying, repeatedly, that we should all pray for mercy. We should pray that God would have mercy on him, and take him home; he was ready to die. He had had a difficult life, and though he was a good man, he made controversial decisions and some might believe that he did not deserve any such clemency. But she called the next day to tell us that God had indeed extended mercy, and he had passed peacefully with his family. 

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Visiting Teaching June 2015: Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Virtue

As soon as I saw the word “virtue”—I rolled my eyes. Thankfully, this isn’t about the idea of virtue as a sexual commodity. It is about the virtuous aspects and acts of Christ as a servant, healer and friend to us all. So whilst I normally like the General Authority quotes included, I did not find them as inspirational in this month’s message. But I did find inspiration in the From The Scriptures section which was fully focused on Christ and a woman with faith:

 

From the Scriptures

Today, virtuous women, full of faith, reach out to the Savior. In Luke 8 thetouchwe read of a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years that could not be healed. She sought healing when she “came behind [Christ], and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood [stopped]. … And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” This virtuous faithful woman fell down before Him, declaring “unto him before all the people” that “she had touched him” and “was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole”

 

Through His virtue, Christ can heal, enable, strengthen, comfort, and cheer when we choose with courage and faith to reach out to Him.

 

 

Now, to be honest, in the past, when I have read this, a part of me felt like the woman somewhat robbed Christ of virtue—she touched His robe without permission (Luke 8:44).  But I thought about this some more—Christ did not become less because He shared His virtue—nor was He accusing her because she had touched Him. In thinking of this, and in consideration of Christ’s infinite love, I think He turned to share her joy in the miracle; not because He ever intended to accuse her. He turned to share in her joy of being healed- and don’t we all feel that way when we help someone feel well, whether it be trough prayer, a listening ear or chicken soup?

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May 2015 Visiting Teaching Message: Teacher’s Choice from Conference

I confess that the past 12 months have not been easy for me. We moved house twice in this 12 months, and each time, waited 3 -4 months after each initial move for our things to arrive on moving trucks. I feel like I have been packing, unpacking and setting up house constantly for a year. With a perpetual feeling of displacement and clutter—in my physical home as well as in my mind, it has been hard for me to focus on General Conference.

 

 

viewIn the place before where we are now, we were in a remote area; though it took us an hour and 45 minutes each way on a twisty, sometimes slippery canyon road, we attended every other week or more. I was excited to be in this ward at first, but began to feel less and less welcome as the weeks passed. My husband and I were not given callings, not asked to speak, and I began to struggle to feel the spirit at church. I was cornered on one Sunday by two women, one who professed with acidic sweetness that I should follow the “Strength For Youth” pamphlet when making comments in Relief Society. They clearly didn’t like my comment (something on prayer), and were trying to “correct” me. The other woman backed away, sensing the lack of spirit in the other’s words, but the snake still spit at me until I shook myself free. I did not feel safe at church after that, and guarded against being cornered again.

 

As Kate Kelly was excommunicated, and I began to fear for my own safety within the church, my daughters began to be bullied at school. Their tormentor? The only other LDS child at their school. He was the same age as their ages combined, and he seemed to aim his venom most upon my youngest, who was 5 years old. His parents refused to meet with us, though his mother called to blame me and my daughters for tormenting him. She also contacted the bishop, blaming us for making their lives harder– in what way I do not know, as I barely knew her and had little to no interaction with the family. Soon the principal and teachers all became involved and I began driving my daughters to school and picking them up, lingering in the car both times, to ensure they were safe.

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April 2015 Visiting Teaching Message: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Without Guile or Hypocrisy

Easter-Candy-CollageI am a diabetic. I have been a diabetic since I was just under 2 years old. And that is okay. No, I don’t love it. But I am okay with it…..kind of. Mostly. Well, for now.

 

As a child with diabetes, life was hard. I remember running away from my mother as she neared me with a loaded syringe. I remember being angry that I had to have shots/needles/injections, whereas my siblings didn’t. I remember coming out of a darkness, but feeling confused and nauseous as spoonfuls of honey were ladled into my mouth, saving me from dangerously low blood-sugars. I remembered my siblings being jealous and angry at the undivided attention I was given when I had blood-sugar problems—and how I longed, desperately to be ignored when I had those problems. It wasn’t fun. And it made me cry long, hard and often for a child so small. I really have very few happy childhood memories, and I think diabetes is the reason behind this.

 

However, my dad—he was great. He helped to make diabetic things into games.

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Visiting Teaching March 2015: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Long-suffering and Patient

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation

hourglassFrom about the age of 18 and well into my 20’s, every single blessing I had—blessings for study, blessing for heath in illness, being set apart— you name it, the blessing told me to “be patient.” This includes the time I declared my patriarchal blessing was a mistake, so my grandmother made some calls that resulted in a “new” blessing. This “new” patriarchal blessing told me my “old” patriarchal blessing was fine and in force, but, among a few important and intensely private additions—primarily reminded me that I needed to be patient. I grew to dread hearing the word, and by my mid-20’s, I began avoiding blessings from anyone just in case the term “patient” came up.

 

So when I saw that this month’s visiting teaching message was focused of Christ’s attributes of long-suffering and patient …. I was well-familiar and versed in the included admonitions.

 

But guess what? I’m still terrible at being patient.

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