Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Relief Society

When I was younger, Relief Society seemed like an organization for "old married ladies".  *lol*  I did not become a member until my late 20's, and not much happened during that time to alter my opinion.  One of my earliest memories of Relief Society was when I visited a meeting with a friend.  Someone or other's husband happened to be visiting the meeting (for whatever reason) that day as well, and the woman conducting the meeting practically drooled all over herself because she was so "honored" to have a "member of the Priesthood" (a man) there.  My "women are just as good as men" part's eyes rolled back into my head several times, I think.

Today, of course, my opinion has changed.  Indeed, my views on the Church as a whole have changed, in large part due to the efforts of my sisters in the Relief Society.  We lost my father in 1979.  Social invitations for the family all but withered on the vine, except for the women who were in my mothers Swiss Chorus and also members of various wards' Relief Societies.  During my 2nd pregnancy, my Visiting Teachers came over several times to help with household chores after I was put on bedrest.  Even today, when my husband did not want the boys going to church with me because all they had were shorts and sweats to wear...bags of trousers were dropped off at our door.

So, what inspires the members of this wonderful Society to do their work and how does it get done?

God and Jesus are the inspiration!  In order to become more like them, we need to do the things that either they would do or that they would have us do.

How does the work get done.  Let's examine the Relief Society purposes:

  • increase faith and personal righteousness
  • strengthen family and home
  • seek out and help those in need

Now, many books, pamphlets, magazines, webites and other sources of information have been written on the Relief Society itself and its purposes over the years and it would be impossible to do any of the purposes justice by trying to cover them all at once.

So let's start at the beginning!

In order to help other people who have the desire to increase their personal faith and righteousness, I have to first get my own "house" in order.

Three things I can do to increase my personal faith and righteousness  are:

  • pray daily
  • read scriptures daily
  • stop smoking
Prayer has been difficult for me.  I tell myself I can't kneel on the floor because of the operation I had last year on my knee.  There's always another time, or a better place.  Sounds like someone is trying to stop me from communing with my Lord, doesn't it?  My goal for this week is to have personal prayer at least 2x per day.

Reading, or more accurately, studying scriptures has come easier...but I could still improve.  I am exposed to scripture many times during the day, but that is not the same thing.  I have two smaller goals in this area.  The first goal is to study scripture for 30 minutes daily (not necessarily all at once) and the second to memorize a verse of scripture.

Although I have the feeling that I will be studying and memorizing even more than that.  I smoked my last cigarette last night.  Not by choice, exactly ... I ran out and there is no money to buy more.  Even if there was, I could hardly justify buying cigarettes and letting my family do without.  So my goal here is to make it through the week without buying cigarettes.  Any and all prayers and well-wishes gratefully accepted!

What will you do to increase your faith and personal righteousness this week?

Monday, July 23, 2012


Many people hear the word missionary and think of people going to foreign countries to convert people to Christianity. And while many missionaries do fit the above description, not all that use the title fit that bill. They might represent a different religion. They might serve in their own country. In the widest sense of the word, many other people are on "missions", that may or may not have anything to do with religion: salespeople, recruiters, news reporters, teachers, etc.

The missionaries I will most often speak about are those who represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, commonly known as "Mormons". While there are some 55,000 people serving full-time LDS missions around the world, they are not all young men between the ages of 19 and 21. A growing number of young women serve missions, I believe which are usually shorter than those of their male counterparts. And numerous senior couples serve missions.

And while many of the missions are of a proselytizing nature, there are several dozen other types of mission opportunities listed on the Church's website at lds.org, covering a wealth of subjects from Accounting and Finance to Welfare and Humanitarian missions.

In fact, it can be argued that everyone belonging to a group is, essentially, a missionary for that group.

 The first reference to "member missionaries" I can find in a cursory search at lds.org is to an article in the June 1989 Ensign magazine, titled (aptly enough), "Every Single Member a Missionary". I must admit my own faux pas here and say that I read this to mean that each and every member could be/was a missionary. After reading the article just now, the author was referring to unmarried members. But, with slight modifications, the suggestions can apply to any member.

So, my challenge today to myself (and anyone else who want to play), is to share your faith with someone whose views are unknown to you or different than yours. Please be respectful of those with other points of view. And people of any faith are invited to join in! Have a great week!