So You Have to Teach YW the Sunday After a Major Policy Change that Hurts Your Heart

I’m sorry, I got nothing.

No, I owe you more than that. I owe my YW more than that. I don’t know if it’d be ok to share everything I want to share with my YW this Sunday, so I’ll post it here and the tech-savvy ones can read it. I owe the girls a scavenger hunt on the temple grounds where we go to church. Maybe we’ll do that. I don’t know.

There was only one other girl my age at church when I was a teenager. There was a group of girls a couple of years older than me and a group a couple of years younger than me. The other girl was my best friend at church. The very first Sunday I met her, I was 9 years old; I learned we were born just days apart and my middle name was her first name. In the course of our growing up years, our ward boundaries changed and our ward was split and then brought together again a few years later. We were lucky to stay with each other the whole time. I went to her homecoming dance when were were sophomores. We hung out at mutual and in Sunday School and YW.

By the time we were seniors in high school, though, I knew she was doing things that didn’t align with the standards set by the Church and she eventually stopped coming. When I turned 18, I was still in high school (my birthday is in December), but I had no friends in YW, so I moved up to Relief Society. I didn’t know why my friend stopped coming; I never asked. I do remember judgmentally remarking to my mom that my friend was doing things she should see the bishop about. That was the first time a friend of mine went “inactive.”

There was a time in my senior year when my mom stopped coming to church. She had anxiety attacks at church around certain people. At the time, I was very judgmental of my mom for not coming to church like you’re “supposed to.” She comes to church now that they’ve moved far away from that ward, but that was the first time someone in my family had to take a break from church for their health.

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Relief Society Lesson 20: Feed My Sheep

“We must all learn to be true shepherds. We must manifest the same love to others that the Good Shepherd has for all of us. Each soul is precious to Him.” from the Life of Ezra Taft Benson

Thoughts on Less-Active Saints

This lesson is very firm on our “duty” to bring less-active members back into full activity in the church. To this point, we read quotes such as these:

“As followers of the Lord, part of our mission is to reach out to our brothers and sisters who have separated themselves from the Church.”

“The challenge before us is great. … We must exercise great faith, energy, and commitment if we are to reach these brothers and sisters. But we must do it. The Lord expects us to do it.”

“This challenge will never be met until stake, ward, quorum, and auxiliary leaders and faithful members everywhere exercise their will and faith to bring the less active back into full activity in the Church.”

I was taught a similar duty when I was a young girl in the church. I remember, particularly, as a newly called Mia Maid president, being taught that my stewardship included the less-active girls in my class. I understood that I would be held accountable for their choice to come to church – or not. This is a tall order for a 15 year-old girl with limited resources.

Since that time, I have left behind the idea of “accountability for others” – and hold more to the idea of simply loving others and accepting them where they are.

The early quotes listed feel harsh to me and I prefer to think of work with all church members (active or otherwise) – feeding the sheep – as an exercise in love, compassion, and following the Savior.

How do we best love God’s flock? How do we best feed His sheep?

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September Visiting Teaching Message- Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Powerful and Full of Glory

Link to the message on here.Lioness Roaring

The main story in this lesson is of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, which admittedly, is some pretty awesome power. However, as I tried to make a list things Christ did with or through power, I noticed they were quite varied. He had physical power over the elements: calming the waves, turning water to wine, feeding the 5000. He had power to heal the blind and sick. He also spoke calmly and powerfully when scriptural and traditional religious arguments were brought to him. He used his power to push cultural norms and customs when it came to talking with and eating with people of varying social levels. His power included showing emotion, being honest about fears and facing them, and forgiveness.

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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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