Visiting Teaching Message July 2014: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Advocate

Visiting Teaching Message July 2014: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Advocate

EstherThe term “advocate,” when used in an LDS context, in my experience, usually means a) Christ is advocating for my forgiveness, because I am an unworthy sinner, and b) social and political advocates are outspoken about good things, but in an unruly and distasteful way, which is unbecoming of a “good Mormon girl.”

 

Neither of this things is really all that positive or inspirational. And yet…. This message isn’t about either of these things. As complicated as it is to be a woman in the church, this message, for the first time in my church life, breathed hope in regard to the term “advocate.”

 

Consider the use of the story of Esther in the From The Scriptures section:

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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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May 2014 Visiting Teaching Message: Teacher’s Choice From Conference

The Visiting Teaching message the month following conference is always a freebie of sorts, where each teacher or pair of teachers can choose which talk to highlight.

ZwickI would likely choose Elder W. Craig Zwick’s talk, “What Are You Thinking?” simply because it is the one that resonated with me the most.

He begins by sharing an intense story about driving in a semi-truck with his wife and infant son before the days of car seat regulations. Accordingly, his wife held their babe on her lap, which was well and good until they made their “descent over historic Donnor Pass, a steep section of highway,” when the “semi suddenly and unexpectedly filled with thick smoke.” It was hard to see and harder to breathe. With such a heavy truck, it would also take time to slow down and ultimately stop. Elder Zwick did all he could by “using the engine brakes and gearing down.” He described what happened next:

Just as I was pulling to the side of the road, but before we had come to a full stop, my wife opened the door of the cab and jumped out with our baby in her arms. I watched helplessly as they tumbled in the dirt.

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April 2014 Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Savior and Redeemer

The visiting teaching messages of the past many months have all focused on one or two aspects of Jesus Christ’s role. This month, the focus is on his role as Redeemer and Savior.

When discussing stories or attributes of Christ, I try to ask myself, “How does this affect my relationship with God? And how does this affect my relationships with others?”

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Visiting Teaching: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Light of the World

From http://judithweingarten.blogspot.com.au/2007/02/cybele-and-silk-road.html

From http://judithweingarten.blogspot.com.au/2007/02/cybele-and-silk-road.html

This is an interesting visiting teaching topic. The message itself is typical, yet friendlier because inclusive brackets have been added to the text to make it more easily applicable to women, and the history section choices are examples of actions which reflect the “Light of Christ.”

But—in reading, I couldn’t help but wonder what is the “Light of Christ”? Is it the Holy Ghost? Is it symbolism of the Son/Sun giving light? I have heard the phrase so often, and it is defined in my mind… yet… I suddenly wondered if there were more that I did not know. So I looked it up in the most reliable resource I know. The Relief Society magazine. And this is what a 1965 lesson on the “Light of Christ” taught me:

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February 2014 Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Good Shepherd

This is a sweet message, and it is an easy one to adapt individually without too much issue. I say this because I think at the heart of this—it is addressing isolation. The isolation of the “lost sheep” wandering away from the fold—or even, as the James Faust quote includes—the “brokenhearted parents” who might feel isolated because their child might not have made choices that reflect the desire of their parents- especially in regard to the church.

 

Now. Because I am short on time this month as a result of… many things, I chose to just focus on that simplicity: addressing isolation. There are times in all of our lives that was have felt isolation- the teen who aches to be included in social activities, the single adult who longs to be married, the mother of young children who finds herself at a loss for conversation outside of her family, the unmarried or divorced mid-single who is tired of being labelled a “problem” because they “can’t get married,” and the widow who makes cash withdrawals from bank tellers just for the conversation…. Isolation is a common illness, one that we have all suffered from at one time or another.

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