Here are the PDF versions, too. Version One. Version Two.
Here are the JPG versions. Version One. Version Two.
This week for FHE we read as a family D&C 121, which was revealed during Joseph's imprisonment at Liberty Jail in 1839. This chapter has a few of my favorite scriptures....
Verse 7-8:...thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high....
This is a terrific promise that offers comfort during trying times. In the midts of difficulties the severity may seem to magnify itself and overshadow hope and reason. Keeping it in perspective that it is "but a small moment" and perserverance will be rewarded can be reasuring.
Verse 39: We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
I feel reminded of this so many times throughout life from the small to the largest of circumstances. From folsk in pominent positions abusing their power to power company taking advantage because they can.
Verse 43: Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy....
I find this a terrific piece of parenting advice.
Posted by Erika at 8:15 PM
Last weeks FHE was the CES Fireside talk by Jeffrey R. Holland that he gave in September 2008. We watched the actual video from this site. You can read the transcript from this PDF link. I would highly recommend watching the talk first, though. Nothing beats the feeling of compassion and the Spirit when he talks nor hearing from his lips the special blessing he gives "as if my hands were on your head." This is a talk that I will want to always keep on hand and read when I'm going through a difficult time, when I feel alone in my struggles, or when I'm tempted to be vengeful or angry because someone has done me wrong.
Three Lessons From Liberty Jail:
1. Everyone faces trying times.
2. Even the worthy will suffer
3. Remain calm, patient, charitable, and forgiving
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the talk:
[A] spiritual experience, revelatory experience, sacred experience can come to every one of us in all the many and varied stages and circumstances of our lives.
You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced… Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking.
These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.
Jesus, in the course of the Atonement, experienced all of the heartache and sorrow, all of the disappointments and injustices that the entire family of man had experienced and would experience from Adam and Eve to the end of the world in order that we would not have to face them so severely or so deeply. However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us.
Last year I found a terrific way to go green for Christmas. Rachael Ray showed us how to use fabric, scarves, handkerchiefs to wrap gifts (see here for instructions). I've been using them all year long for birthdays and other gifts. Although, not all of my Christmas gifts are wrapped this way I still have quite a few that I did wrap with fabric or handkerchiefs. I've never been a fancy gift wrapper. Normally, when using wrapping paper, I take a piece of scrap paper and write on the back who it is for and then tape it to the gift. It's hard to do this with fabric. So, I made these gift tags that are the size of business cards. I used the font "Santa's Sleigh" to add their names. Then, printed them out as if I were printing photos. This would allow me to choose different names per page, instead of my usual Publisher and having all the names be the same on the entire page. I plan to reuse them a few times before they are garbage. Here is the template if you would like to use them, too.
I love this lesson. Every week I enjoy reading, studying and preparing the YW lessons. I am reminded of just how inspired they are and am relieved that through this inspiration our leaders have thought of everything our youth need to be taught. This is one of those lessons I wish I could teach to many adults.
Here is the handout I prepared for this lesson and below is a blank version as a template for future YW handouts.
I really like the Young Women Manual 3 Lesson 43 lesson about Associations With Others. This explains why we were not meant to be hermits or to give into shyness, etc. Here is the handout I created for this lesson.
Recently, I read a question asking if we could spend a lifetime of nothing but learning and reading without anybody else and simply devote our life to reading, and "understanding humanity on a more broader level than what the majority of people know?" I thought that a very bold and naive conclusion that we can only understand people by being away from them. I appreciated the answer one person gave...
"We do spend our life learning.... and living life in it's fullness still allows plenty of time for a lot of reading. It just takes less TV time.
The ONLY way to understand humanity on a more broader level IS to live with people, associate with them, and even better and more especially with your companion or soul mate.
It would be a gullible assumption to think that one can understand better than the majority through isolation and books. It takes a well-rounded education and experiences to obtain that which you have described. A great objective, none-the-less, and one that we should all be striving is to understand more about each other and to immerse ourselves in good books where we can draw from the experiences of other folks to help enhance our own understanding and personal growth."
Tonight for Family Home Evening we read President Boyd K. Packer's November 2008 Conference Talk, The Test. What I really liked about this talk is the reminder to hold a higher standard when dealing with those who mistreat us. The world would try to convince us that the response would be revenge, but Pres. Packer reminds us that "something much stronger than human nature [can] prevail...."
I can think of a few times in my life when someone does me wrong it can be very frustrating and tempting to fight back with equal determination. Then, to remember that this life is a test and I don't want to fail that test.
Today's lesson was on Being Dependable. We had opening exercises in Relief Society then we all went to the YW room. We had three young women, a very small class. So, rather than splitting the classes we met together. Our plan worked perfectly. In fact, it worked too perfectly. We walked into the room and I announced that since we were meeting together today Sis. D. would be teaching. Well, Sis. D., the advisor, wasn't scheduled to teach until Fast Sunday's. So, it was easy for her to say she wasn't prepared. Oh, NO! Whose teaching?! I looked around at the other leaders and asked them if they had prepared. Nope. No one had, they said. What is the lesson about? Don't Know! What was last week's lesson and one of the girls reminded us it was on learning to love ourselves. Does anyone have a book? Nope. Oh, then I will just look in my purse and see what I have in there. One YW said we could just make something up, maybe discuss something from the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet. How sweet. I pulled out of my purse some colored paper that I had printed the lesson onto so that I wouldn't have to bring my manual along. I announced that today's lesson would be about "Being Dependable" I had the lesson, quotes to handout, a skit to play (the Cindy story found here), and handouts (see above). One yw said "Wow, you're really prepared!" I thought they had figured it out. I must've forgotten to really make it clear that we had played a practical joke on them because at the end when we were talking about our "mix-up" at the beginning of the class the leaders and I were laughing because we weren't sure if we could pull it off without laughing or being believable. I admitted that I'm not a very good actress and cannot usually pull something like that off. Then, the one YW said "That was all acting!?" The other said she couldn't figure out if was a joke or not but found it coincidental that the lesson being taught fit so well that it must've been planned. How funny! We all had a good laugh. I hope this will be one they will remember for a long time. I just wish all of the other YW had been there, too.
This next Sunday's Young Women lesson is from Manual 3, Chapter 42, Preparing for Change. I have made this handout for the lesson. I thought about incorporating a bit of the book "Who Moved My Cheese" but decided against it because it's really not church approved.
For the Young Women Manual 3 Lesson 37, The Word of God as a Standard, I prepared the following visual aids and handout.
To distinguish between Worldly Philosophies and Gospel Principles and Truths I created this table in order to discuss the topics one by one.
As we discuss the topics one by one, I prepared The Word of God as a Standard document for the youth to reference as we read and discussed them together. They are separated by the YW value colors.
Finally, I prepared this handout for the YW to take home.
None of the three Laurels that I teach attended this Sunday. So, I joined the Beehive class instead. In addition to using the Worldly Issue Poster, she used an orange with commandments written on it in permanent marker. She discussed how we are like the inside of that orange and when we follow those commandments that they help keep us afloat. Then, she placed the orange in a clear bowl of water to demonstrate that the orange floats while the peel representing those commandments is still surrounding the orange. After that she removed the peel and demonstrated how the orange now sinks to the bottom of the bowl. The commandments give us the ability, tools, and strength through our lives. (Idea found at Sugardoodle and described as follows: for an object lesson she had taken an orange and with a permanent pen wrote: chastity, temple marriage, pro-life, honesty, etc. She had a bowl of water and dropped the orange in it, after a second or two, it floated up!! She talked about the skin of the orange being kind of like a life jacket - keeping the orange a float - she likened this to the standards of our church. She then peeled the orange and asked the girls what they thought would happen if she put it back in the bowl - it sank of course! I thought this was a great object lesson for the girls that they could relate to. It was also good for them to hear each other talk about the differences between the world's view and ours. (Idea shared by Lynette Packard))
We had the most fun with this Scavenger Hunt. Even the adults wanted to join in. This is how it went. My counselor took pictures that morning of the building. She made sure to use items that would not move, would be there (like the cars), or they could access (meaning not using any rooms where classes would be taking place.) She made sure that within the picture there was enough information to distinguish between similar choices. For instance, the exit sign. It was the only one to the left of the door, rather than above the door. The outside windows, they were the only ones that had one smaller to the right of the larger with a bush, and so on. She did such a terrific job making us guess. I couldn't figure out how she took pictures of screwdrivers (see #2) that were even at the church and wouldn't be moved by that night. It turned out to be a New Era Mormonad behind the glass case/bulletin board. Do you know which one?
Here are the photos she took. She divided the girls into two teams. Each team had a different set of photos and a blank answer sheet numbered with numbers corrisponding with those in their set of pictures. The girls had so much fun running all over the building and outside of the building. It turned out only one item had been moved, which was the wood. She didn't realized that the YM were going to be using it that night and they had taken it.
For the young women who are moving from Mia Maides to Laurels I created this dating basket. All of the contents are dating related. For instance, there is the Kissing Poem.
For FHE this week we visited a dear friend who is recovering from surgery. We stopped by DQ on our way (made sure first what her diet restrictions were so that we didn't tease or dissappoint her) and enjoyed a nice treat and a visit with her.
This has been so fun. I'm in the process of creating a Laurel's basket for those YW who are moving up from Mia Maids and the focus will be on dating. This focus was chosen because girls become Laurels at the age of 16 when they can begin dating in groups. I thought to make a cute little "seed" packet to go along with a quote I had found. I had so much fun that I just kept making them and making them. Mostly I used clipart that I already had with a YW theme. I cannot remember where I found them. I will post all the Seed Packets as I am able. Here are a few to get started.
Choice and Accountability
Choice and Accountability
A Couple More Favorites
I will add them as I make more
Reap What You Sow
Reap What You Sow - Blank
6 YW Values - One page for each value
6 YW Values - one page covering all 6 - Having Fun
Using So What Kind of Man do You Want to Marry? as my inspiration and guide (with the exception of the one I created myself to omit a gap) I created these "candy Bar Men" cards (4 per page) to print onto card stock, back to back. I will cut them into their respective four postcard sized info cards, punch little circles in the upper left corner and connect them with a little ring for the lesson this Sunday: Young Women Manual Three Lesson 35, Dating Decisions. There are four cards that I made for the beginning of the group. The first card will be the temple one, on the back of that will be the disclaimer. The next card will be the Ezra Taft Benson quote "Remember, Young Women..." and on the back of that will be the "Qualities that are important to me in a future husband" where the YW can list what they are looking for in their future spouse. These are always interesting and fun to look at years later. The wife of our current Stake President talked about what she had put on her list years ago. Among some important qualities, that he met, she also included something about him being a football player. He didn't meet that one. What fun this will be!
Posted by Erika at 7:20 PM
A few years ago my family and I enjoyed getting to know the ward members better and building a closer relationship with them through this activity.
To begin with, I made this cute little circle using a poem that is often found on plates that folks are supposed to move from house to house, like a chain letter - but, it's a plate. Instead, I made a circle to remind them that we were thinking of them... and it is cute and I like to make things. I used clipart from programs that I had purchased at a LDS bookstore to put together the people around the circle.... this includes the word "WARD." For the name of the ward, using Microsoft Publisher, I added a word art and using the font "SnapITC", a shadow was added and the word was changed to the color orange and placed just above the word "ward." You can see that in the example above, but for the one that I am sharing below I removed it. I printed the circles onto purple paper, had them lamenated, and punched a whole in the top center for a suction cup. Finally, I cut them out using curvy scrapbooking sizzors.
For the activity I would make a homemade apple pie and we would grab some store-bought ice-cream and a game and show up at someone's house. There we would enjoy a dessert of pie and ice-cream and either visit or play the game we brought. I would give them the friendship circle, which was for them to keep - not share. It did invite them to do something nice for someone else, though. Showing up at someone's house uninvited worked most of the time. We still remember how one family kept insisting that they must have invited us and that they had forgotten and that we were just being polite about it. We always had a good time with the family we were visiting and we could always tell that they enjoyed it, too. So, all was well as the uninvited guests.
We really miss these outings. Maybe one day we will continue them. For now, I am happy to share with you our little "Ward Friendship Circle"
Last night the Young Women played a homemade mini golf game. Using these printed onto cardstock the area was set up as follows:
There are 7 groups. One representing each of the YW values. Each group contains four things.
1) What NOT to do
2) What TO do
3) Blank Sun representing the Celestial Kingdom where they will write the blessings they would recieve by following the commandment or council that group is suggesting. Ex: NO PEER PRESSURE, instead CTR. What are the blessings of choosing the right over peer pressure.
4) Quote cards for them to receive when they get the golf ball into the hole. There are four per page. Print as many as needed for all the girls.
How to set it up.
What NOT to do should be put in the direction you do NOT want the ball to go. The arrows should be placed heading in the direction you want the ball to go. The sun should be placed at the final destination and the girls can decorate the cans however they like in addition to the sun. Then, as each hole is played, the girls get a quote card.
Because I was too late getting to the dollar store for plastic golf clubs, they used crutches and whatever they had for hitting the ball. We didn't have enough used cans, so they used pitchers for the holes.
Our opening hymn was 219 "Because I've Been Given Much" Then, we learned about Patriarchal Blessings by reading together an article titled “About Patriarchal Blessings,” found in the March 2004 New Era. Then, we enjoyed a delicious and creative dessert brought by our friends. It used a chocolate rice cake, with a layer of whipped cream spread on top and then some sliced strawberries on top of the whipped cream. It was delicious.
This is a FHE chart. I've seen many types of charts to keep track of who is in charge of different parts at the next FHE. These hats have velcro behind them so they can be removed and rotated among the family.
If you have a FHE chart, I would love to post it on this site. Please contact me.
This is copied from lds.about.com
New to Family Home Evening or need a little help to get organized? Then check out this outline. Just fill in the information, do a little planning, and change it to fit your family's needs.
The person assigned to conducting Family Home Evening should fill out the following outline ahead of time, as well as assign family members for the prayers, lesson, activity, refreshments, etc.
Here is a Printable Outline (The underline is where you write the title of the lesson.)
TITLE OF THE LESSON
Objective: What your family is to learn from the lesson.
Opening Song: Select a hymn to sing, from either the LDS Church Hymnbook or the Children's Songbook. Choosing a song that accompanies the lesson is a great way to start your Family Home Evening. For help see the LDS Music resources.
Opening Prayer: Ask a family member, ahead of time, to give the opening prayer.
Family Business: This is the time to discuss things of importance to your family, such as meetings, trips, and activities of both parents and children. Some items of family business can include:
Discussing events of the upcoming week
Planning future outing and activities
Talking about family needs or things to be improved/worked on
Finding ways to serve others in need
Scripture: Ask someone (ahead of time so they can prepare) to share a scripture. (This optional item is perfect for larger families and groups.)
Lesson: This is where the heart of the evening should be. Whether it is a story or object lesson it can focus on an LDS topic, a community issue, or other topics of interest. Some ideas include eternal families, respect, baptism, the Plan of Salvation, littering, the Holy Ghost, etc. Youth and children should have opportunities of preparing and teaching a Family Home Evening lesson although they may need some help. For lesson helps check out the Lessons and Talks and Visual and Musical Aids categories.
Testimony: The person teaching can share their testimony about the topic, if applicable, at the end of their lesson. Alternatively another family member could be assigned to share their testimony after the lesson.
Closing Song: You can select another hymn or song that reflects on the lesson topic.
Closing Prayer: Ask a family member, ahead of time, to give the closing prayer.
Activity: This is the time to bring your family together by doing something together! It can be anything fun, like a simple family activity, a planned outing, a craft, or a great game! It doesn't have to go along with the lesson, but definitely can if you have any appropriate ideas.
Refreshments: This is just a fun option that can be added to your Family Home Evening. If you know of a cute treat that can represent the theme, that would be ideal, but is not necessary. See these Family Home Evening Refreshments for some tasty ideas.
Note: To help remind each family member of their assignments for FHE you could create a FHE Chart.
While reading the Book of Mormon I came across a section that reminded me of the song Amazing Grace. So, for FHE, I printed out the words to that song and we sang it as the opening song. Then, we read the scripture that reminded me of it, which is Mosiah 27:28-30. This was our FHE... really, a simple spritual thought.
This past week our Family Home Evening was about how we hear the whispering of the Holy Ghost. We based our lesson from the talk Eight Ways God Can Speak To You by By Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Then we discussed how other prophets had described the voice of the Lord, outlined below.
This FHE turned out to be a stepping stone for our next intended lesson about Patriarchal Blessings and the 12 tribes of Israel.
How Do Prophets, Seers, and Revelators Describe the Voice of the Lord?
“It” refers to the voice of the Lord.
Joseph Fielding Smith:
It can be as deep and meaningful as anything tangible.
It is penetrating.
Spencer W. Kimball:
It comes as deep, unassailable impressions that settle on the mind as dew from heaven.
They are deep feelings.
It is an impressive consciousness of direction from above.
Dallin H. Oaks:
It can take the form of enlightenment of the mind.
It can come as positive or negative feelings about how to act.
It can uplift our emotions.
Harold B. Lee:
It is not audible to our physical hearing.
Joseph B. Wirthlin:
It enters quietly into our mind and heart.
It is so simple and precise we assume it is our own idea or a passing thought.
As we reconcile these whisperings to what we know to be true, we learn to recognize them.
It yields the fruits of the kingdom.
If our hearts are open it brings conviction.
It whispers consolation to the soul.
Boyd K. Packer:
It caresses gently.
It is a sweet, quiet voice of inspiration.
It comes more as a feeling than as a sound.
Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind.
(I think this came from excerpts from Hearing the Voice of the Lord, a book on personal revelation that was written by Elder Gerald N. Lund. I'm not sure because I had written them down, not sure where I originally found the information, and don't even own the book.)
It may have been a couple of weeks since my last post... but, we have had Family Home Evening. First, we had a funeral to attend during one week. This was heartbreaking as it was an 11 year old girl who was a cousin, by marriage, as well as a good friend of my daughter. As was pointed out during the funeral, it is easier to accept, even if we do not like it, the death of those who are sick or elderly. It is much harder to accept, or even understand, the death of a child. As a latter-day saint, though, we have a much greater understanding of the purpose of this life which explains why bad things happen to good people. There is an understanding that the fullness of the gospel provides as a strength to carry us through these tragedies. I couldn't imagine the extra burden of grief that I would carry should I be without these understandings and the testimony of the truth of the gospel.
Family Home Evening tonight was about the current Prophet and Apostles. Since there have been a lot of changes I thought it would be fun. We started out by singing from the children songbook "Follow the Prophet." Then, using the YouTube on my computer and we listend to the Apostle Song (see below). Then, I took this document from which I had previously cut out all the pictures of the apostles and once set (the one all spaced apart) of the words to the song and played a matching game. After we had listened to the Apostle Song I flipped upside down all the pictures and mixed them around. Then, we took turns picking one picture up and trying to remember which name and fact was about that person. When we were done, we listened to the Apostle Song again. We had made many mistakes, which made it more fun. We finished the lesson by singing to the Apostle Song along with YouTube video and a closing prayer.
Last Monday our Family Home Evening was on Modesty. I choose this topic because I had a young family member visiting who I had overheard sharing wardrobe choices for school, like short-skirts. I realized this was an opportunity to discuss all the important avenues of choosing to dress modestly.... self-respect, not attracting unrighteous young men, not making righteous young men uncomfortable, and respecting our Temple to name a few. We also discussed what exactly is modest and what isn't. The lesson was color coded to share equally the reading between all involved, and we discussed a lot as we went through it. When the lesson was finished I gave them a copy of the New Era Poster "Don't Be A Dummy" from the July 2001 New Era.
This is not a comprehensive lesson as I wanted to have a primary focus. This could easily be more in depth.
Here is the Lesson... (Sorry, I didn't keep track of my sources. I'm sure a search on LDS.org would quickly find all the sources.)
Posted by Erika at 8:20 PM
I was having a hard time with this lesson. I hadn't intended to teach it and then it turned out that I was given the opportunity. I had to pray and think a lot.... very tiring.
Here is the lesson intermingled with an article from the Ensign (Keith K. Hilbig, “Experiencing a Change of Heart,” Ensign, Jun 2008, 29–33).
Lesson 29 – Change of Heart
Read Alma 5:26 (p219)
Read Alma 5:12 (p218)
Read Alma 5:14 (p219) Keep Open for later
Read Alma 7:14 (p225)
Some years ago in Eastern Europe, I listened as a young elder stood before his fellow missionaries in zone conference to share an experience that shaped his life. He and his companion had found and taught a middle-aged man named Ivan (name has been changed) in a distant city. Their investigator came from a difficult background, as was reflected in his well-used clothing, ragged beard, and hesitant demeanor. Life had been harsh and unkind to him.
Without any prior religious training, Ivan had much to overcome. Practices not in harmony with the restored gospel had to be set aside. New principles needed to be accepted and then incorporated. Ivan wanted to learn, and he prepared himself diligently for his baptism and confirmation. His clothing remained threadbare and his beard ragged, but he had taken the first steps. Shortly after Ivan’s baptism, the missionary was transferred. He hoped that he might again cross paths with Ivan.
Six months later the mission president reassigned the young elder to his former branch. Surprised but eager to return, the elder, with a new companion, came early to sacrament meeting his first Sunday back in the branch. The members were pleased to see the missionary in their midst again. They rushed forward with broad smiles and warm greetings.
The elder recognized nearly everyone in the small congregation. However, he searched in vain among the faces for the man he and his companion had taught and baptized six months earlier. There arose within the elder a sense of disappointment and sadness. Had Ivan returned to his harmful habits? Had he failed to honor his covenant of baptism? Had he lost the blessings promised by his repentance?
The elder’s fears and reflections were interrupted by the approach of an unfamiliar man who was rushing forward to embrace the missionary. The clean-shaven man had a confident smile and an obvious goodness radiating from his countenance. Wearing a white shirt and a carefully knotted tie, he was on his way to prepare the sacrament for the small gathering that Sabbath morning. Only when the man began to speak did the elder recognize him. It was the new Ivan, not the former Ivan they had taught and baptized! The elder saw embodied in his friend the miracle of faith, repentance, and forgiveness; he saw the reality of the Atonement.
The missionary told his peers attending the zone conference that Ivan had changed and grown by every measure during the months the elder had been away from the branch. Ivan had embraced the gospel, and it radiated from him. He had experienced a “change of heart” (Alma 5:26) sufficient both to be baptized and to press forward in the continuing process of conversion. He was preparing for the higher priesthood and the ordinances of the temple. Ivan had indeed been “born again” (Alma 7:14).
As the missionary concluded his remarks, he asked himself aloud, “How much of a ‘change of heart’ have I experienced in the past six months?” He continued his self-examination, asking aloud, “Have I been ‘born again’?” These are two profound questions that each of us should privately pose on a continuing basis.
In the intervening years I have reflected upon the words of the young missionary and the actions of Ivan. I have pondered the role that a “mighty change” (Alma 5:12) in our hearts and being “spiritually … born of God” (Alma 5:14) play in the process of embracing the restored gospel. I have concluded that they are clearly an important part of the Lord’s doctrine, not just one-time experiences in mortality. They are ongoing opportunities, intended to deepen the process of conversion and individual personal refinement. They prepare us more fully for eternal life.
What is the intent of a change of heart? Deepen the process of conversion, individual personal refinement, and prepare for eternal life
How often is this suppose to happen? Ongoing (not just one-time experience)
A Change of heart is a change in a person’s entire life – her thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions, everything that the heart represents. She gives her love, dedication, intelligence, and talents to the Lord and wants only to serve the Lord.
Read Mosiah 3:19 (p153)
We know from the standard works that baptism by immersion allows us to become a member of the Church, but that ordinance alone does not constitute the spiritual rebirth that allows us to return to the presence of Heavenly Father. Similarly, as we are confirmed following baptism, we have the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. However, only when we have truly repented—and thus actually receive the Holy Ghost—can we be sanctified and thus be born again spiritually. Hence, Alma’s piercing inquiries are valid for each of us repeatedly throughout life.
The challenges of being born again and experiencing a mighty change of heart are challenges we all must face. The Book of Mormon is a wonderful resource to better understand the process of experiencing a mighty change of heart and of being born again. Its prophets provide a fuller doctrinal declaration of the process.
Read again Alma 5:14.
What are the three questions posed to members of the Church by Alma? Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
(YW READ) Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminds us that “those members of the Church who have actually been born again are in a blessed and favored state. They have attained their position, not merely by joining the Church, but through faith (1 John 5:1), righteousness (1 John 2:29), love (1 John 2:7), and overcoming the world. (1 John 5:4.)”
READ D&C 4:2 (p7) This change is what the Lord was speaking of when he commanded us to serve Him with all our heart, might, mind and strength.
Alma the Younger personally experienced the transformation from being an enemy to God to becoming a new creature, a being who was converted and, therefore, committed to building the kingdom. (YW READ) If all people must be born again and have a change of heart, it matters not if we were born into the Church or were converted later as youth or adults. We all must at some point experience that change of heart and that rebirth of the Spirit as we continue in the process of conversion. The process of rebirth and change of heart is intended to be comprehensive, available to all nations, and, hence, each individual.
Why do you think a person’s heart must be changed in order to become like God? It is a necessary step in becoming like God.
Elder McConkie, speaking at a Brigham Young University First Stake conference, offered these comforting and encouraging words: “With most people, conversion [spiritual rebirth and accompanying remission of sins] is a process; and it goes step by step, degree by degree, level by level, from a lower state to a higher, from grace to grace, until the time that the individual is wholly turned to the cause of righteousness…. this means that [she] overcomes one sin today and another sin tomorrow. [She] perfects [her] life in one field now, and in another field later on. And the conversion process goes on until it is completed, until [she becomes], literally, as the Book of Mormon says, saints of God instead of natural men.”
It matters not whether our spiritual rebirth is sudden or, as is more common, gradual. While the process may be different, the results will be similar. There is no difference in the quality of the conversion. For each individual, experiencing a mighty change of heart is manifested by feelings of joy and love, both of which eliminate the prior pain of disobedience (see Alma 36:20-21). How kind is our Heavenly Father! How encompassing is His Son’s Atonement!
King Benjamin asked the people if they believed his words and if they would trust in the Lord and be faithful all their lives. Let’s read the following scriptures for the answer?
Read Mosiah 5:2 (p157) and 5:5 (p158)
Repentance and obedience to the commandments brings the greatest possible joy in this life.