Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day... It's Spiritual, too!


Pray for our Leaders...

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1st Timothy 2:1-2


Voting is Important...

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

Doctrine and Covenants 134: 1, 3


AMERICANS,
remember to VOTE TOMORROW!
No VOTE, No VOICE!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are they HEARING what you are TEACHING?

[okay, so this one is sort of random... because I was thinking of my sweet little goat, Josie.]

Our youth need less criticism and more models to follow. You advisers to the Aaronic Priesthood quorums are teachers and models for the young men. Do you know the gospel? Have you prepared the lesson? Do you know each boy and prayerfully determine how you might reach his mind, his heart, and help fashion his future?

Remember, it isn’t sufficient to assume that when you teach, the boy is listening to what you say. Let me illustrate:

In what we call the west boardroom of the Church Administration Building, there hangs a lovely painting rendered by the artist Harry Anderson. The painting depicts Jesus sitting on a small stone wall with numerous children gathered around, knowing they are the object of His love. Each time I gaze at that painting, I think of the passage of scripture, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”( Mark 10:14.)

On one occasion, I had given a priesthood blessing in that room to a small lad who was soon to undergo major surgery. I directed his attention and that of his parents to the painting of Jesus and the children. I then made a few remarks concerning the Savior and His never-failing love. I asked the boy if he had any questions. “Yes,” he replied seriously. “Brother Monson, how does a boy go about getting a little goat and a leash for it like that one in the painting?”

~Thomas S. Monson, “Today Determines Tomorrow,” Ensign, Nov 1998, 48

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sacredness of the Prophet's Teachings

[Today and tomorrow is the semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is a time to sit at the feet of the Lord's prophets. If you want to hear what they have to say, even right online, go ahead right here.

In that light...]

"You might ask yourself, 'Do I see the calling of the prophets and apostles as sacred? Do I treat their counsel seriously, or is it a light thing with me?' President Gordon B. Hinckley, for instance, has counseled us to pursue education and vocational training; to avoid pornography as a plague; to respect women; to eliminate consumer debt; to be grateful, smart, clean, true, humble, and prayerful; and to do our best, our very best.

"Do your actions show that you want to know and do what he teaches? Do you actively study his words and the statements of the Brethren? Is this something you hunger and thirst for? If so, you have a sense of the sacredness of the calling of prophets as the witnesses and messengers of the Son of God."

D. Todd Christofferson, "A Sense of the Sacred," CES fireside for young adults, Nov. 7, 2004

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

[This was read at church today, and the speaker was so expressive I actually FORGOT he was reading and thought how cool it was that the astronaut was in our ward, then remembered. I admit I am more than a little obsessed with astronauts, so I listened. And I am glad I did. This talk is awesome.]

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

by Don Lind

When ordinary people catch a glimpse of eternity, it raises them to superhuman achievement.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
(Julia Ward Howe, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”)

Have you heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”? I will never forget one time when I heard their rendition at the inauguration of a president of the United States. The choir was on the steps of the Capitol. That great beautiful dome glowed like a fine piece of china. It was a bright, clear morning. The flags were flowing. As the choir hit the final note, even the network newscasters were moved almost to speechlessness.

I think of Julia Ward Howe when she conceived that great hymn. She was looking out across a camp of Union soldiers. They were ordinary men, but they were caught up in a cause larger than themselves, a cause that transcended imperfect motives and worldly ambitions. For a moment she glimpsed the glory that could rise from the pain and heartache of that terrible war, and she expressed that glory in words. And her glimpse of glory inspired millions of people and gave them the little extra courage they needed to go on.

We all need courage to go on. Think for a moment what it was really like to be a pioneer. Think of the dispossessed Saints as they looked back across the frozen river at their nice warm homes in Nauvoo. Think what it might have been like for one of my great aunts who was five years of age when she walked from Winter Quarters to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Imagine what it was like to walk behind a wagon or in front of a handcart over the dusty trail. Imagine spending six months in the grime and the dust. Imagine the assignment of gathering buffalo chips for the fire. Think of how glorious that assignment must have been! Think of the mothers who gave birth on the plains. Think of the heartbreak of bearing a child and then having to lay that precious newborn in a shallow grave and cover it with rocks, praying that the wolves would not get to the little body.

What could possibly have motivated those people to go on under those conditions? They didn’t have to. They could have gone back. There were many people who made peace with the mobs and didn’t go west. What was it that motivated the faithful Saints to do what they did? I suggest that their eyes had seen the glory of the kingdom of God. When Brigham Young saw the Salt Lake Valley it wasn’t filled with the homes and churches and temples that he knew would one day be there. But he had glimpsed the glory, and he never doubted. And he was not alone. In their way, they all had seen the glory of the kingdom. That was what kept them walking across the plains. They had to have a glimpse of the glory, what we call vision or testimony.

Another example that means a great deal to me is that of my great-great-grandmother. She grew up m a pleasant section of England, a place of green, rolling hills. Her family was not wealthy, but they had a substantial living by the standards of their time. They left that condition to cross the ocean—not by Concorde, not by a slow, lumbering jet, not even by a fashionable ocean liner. With a company of Saints, they were able to hire a ship in Liverpool. The only vessel available was one that was supposed to have been scrapped. But they prevailed upon the owners to rent it to them for one last trip across the Atlantic. The owners thought, “Well, it has a reasonable chance of making the trip.” They found a captain and crew who were willing to sail this leaky old bucket.

When they had been at sea for about a week, a storm came up—a storm that, in the parlance of the sailors, put the ship “on beams end.” The beams are the timbers that go across the deck.

Now the captain didn’t want a bunch of panicky landlubbers interfering with his crew during storm conditions, so he simply closed the hatches to make sure the passengers stayed in the hold. So there was no way of escaping.

Down in the dark of the hold, the heavy trunks containing the Saints’ household goods broke loose from the ropes that secured them and slid from one side of the cabin to the other, so that the passengers were afraid to get out of their bunks for fear they’d have their legs crushed in the dark. They had brought their cooking equipment aboard, and all the pans and dishes were clattering from one side to the other, making almost as much noise as the small children screaming in terror in total darkness all night.

When the storm abated and the Saints were allowed up on deck, they immediately held services to thank the Lord for their deliverance. The old sea captain was impressed. After he had heard them sing their hymns and offer their prayers, he said, “You must worship a God who thinks a great deal of you, or you all would have been at the bottom of the sea this morning. The ship dipped water all night, and the sailors stood knee deep in water, pumping for their lives while the old ship went with the storm.”

Now they all knew ahead of time that they were taking that risk. Why did they do it? Why do people do things like that? I suggest that they had glimpsed the glory of the kingdom of God. I suspect there are a large number of people who do very heroic things because maybe just for a moment they glimpse the significance of an ideal.

I’d like you to think of another scene now. Think of the soldiers at Valley Forge, living under almost unbearable conditions with General Washington while he tried to get a ragtag army in condition to meet one of the greatest armies in the world. It is a tribute to the genius of the leaders that that army didn’t just dissolve into the woods and go home. Imagine yourself one of the soldiers at Valley Forge. Your feet are wrapped in burlap (the quartermaster doesn’t have any boots to issue you). You don’t have a gun (the quartermaster doesn’t have any guns to issue you). The tents are inadequate. There isn’t enough food. Dysentery is rampant. Imagine yourself in the cold, miserable wet of one of those tents, trying to cook a little decent food over a campfire (if you were lucky enough to catch a rabbit in the woods). Why did those people stay? I suggest that their eyes had seen the glory of freedom. Those men at Valley Forge had glimpsed the possibility of a glorious future, and that was what kept them there.

Most of our lives are burdened with the humdrum, the routine—doing the laundry, doing the dishes, going to school, commuting to an eight-to-five job, and all those boring, routine things that seem very drab and dull and wretched. But every now and then some people catch a glimpse of what they’re really doing, and that raises them to absolutely superhuman achievement. These are the people we look back on in history with great admiration. Such people have made it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of the gospel under very favorable conditions. We should be eternally grateful to them for that.

I hope we can all say that in some sense we have glimpsed the glory. There are many different kinds of glory that we can glimpse, but all are a reflection of the glory of our Father in Heaven.

Sometimes we glimpse the glory through the achievements of God’s children. Whatever good thing is conceived and achieved by the mind and hand of man is a testimony to the mind and hand of our Creator. In my work with NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) I have glimpsed this kind of glory many times.

I had the opportunity to be in the photographic laboratory when the first photographs from the Apollo VIII mission, which was the first orbital mission we flew to the moon, were coming out of the developer and fixer. The picture that I call “the picture of the century” shows an earthrise coming up over the dark, barren lunar terrain. You’ve seen a hundred versions of that picture. Every crew that went up after Apollo VIII had to take their own version of the earthrise picture. To see that photograph while it was still dripping wet out of the solution gave me a thrill that’s hard to describe.

The first time I saw the Saturn V vehicle, it seemed unimpressive. It looked exactly like all the other boosters. All boosters look exactly three-quarters the height of your TV screen, don’t they? It was out on the beach all by itself. There was no way to judge its height. We had spent all day on Missile Row at Cape Canaveral, Florida, becoming aware of some of the other booster systems. The second day, on our tour of the cape, we went out on pad 39A where the Saturn V test vehicle was sitting. It was 3.7 miles away when we started from the firing room, and the closer we got the more impressed I became. When we got there it was like trying to view the Empire State Building from the sidewalk. It was just a great curved mass of aluminum above me. The best way to see it was to get into the umbilical tower, press the button for the 23rd floor, which is the boarding platform, go up and look down on that vehicle, and then contemplate that someday you might be able to go into that white room and lie on that couch while someone back in the firing room pushes the famous button. It’s a very impressive sight. It gave me gooseflesh. Everybody likes to drive a souped-up car and have some real power in his hands. When you’re in control of the Saturn V, you’re burning fuel at the rate of 14.8 tons a second. The first stage holds 4.8 million pounds of propellant. You run out of that amount of fuel in two minutes and 31 seconds. The ten first-stage fuel lines going into those engines are the size of sewer pipes. With your hands on those controls, you have a certain sense of power.

Of course it’s good to keep man’s achievements in perspective. We have only to look up into the night sky to see how greatly our Father’s works surpass our own. In fact, I have often glimpsed the glory through the beauties of the world our Heavenly Father created for us.

I do a lot of flying getting to and from training meetings and planning meetings and tests at the various contractors with NASA. To do that, I’m furnished with a T-38 by NASA, and I fly it as part of my training as an astronaut. I “drive to work” quite often at 45,000 feet, just barely under the speed of sound. At 45,000 feet there are no commercial airlines. There are no mountains. I like to read the Doctrine and Covenants while I’m flying. Occasionally the weather is clear, and then the view is fantastic. Up west of Albuquerque one day, I could look in one direction and see Baja California and far down into Mexico. In another direction I could see the whole Imperial Valley and the Coronado Islands off San Diego. I couldn’t quite see San Francisco. That was just over the edge of the Sierra Nevadas. I could see a great gash that we call the Grand Canyon cutting across the plains to the north. From my altitude it looked as if some child had taken a stick and run it through a sandpile.

Further up to the north I could see the Rocky Mountains, almost to the Denver area. I could see about one-sixth of the United States in one great sweep, and that’s an impressive way to see a country. From that altitude you can see no litter on the side of the road. You can hear no family squabbles. You are unaware that there are divorces going on down there and lawsuits and discrimination and poverty. It’s a beautiful scene. You see the world as the Lord created it.

I was flying along the east coast of the United States one night at 45,000 feet. A large thunderstorm system had gone through and left the air absolutely clear. The whole coast looked like one great sheet of black velvet onto which someone had thrown handfuls of diamonds.

Perhaps even more thrilling than the wonders of nature is the glory we glimpse in the lives of our Heavenly Father’s children. I was at the solemn assembly when President Lee was sustained as the new president of the Church. I had a spiritual manifestation that that man was a prophet, just as much as Abraham or Isaiah or Peter were. Those little glimpses can help you do a lot of home teaching and some of the other less spectacular jobs in the Church.

The Lincoln Memorial induces in me a tremendous spirit of reverence. To walk into that great marble monument and see that magnificent statue and read the words of the inaugural address inscribed on the wall is unforgettable.

There are also places in nature to which a greater than human glory clings, places where we truly feel we are on holy ground because of what happened or is to happen there.

I don’t know how many of you have been in the Sacred Grove. Most people who go there have a glimpse of the glory. You don’t see the light Joseph saw there, but you have a little bit of the spiritual infusion that he received there in such great abundance.

There are other places where I’ve felt that also. I used to go to NASA meetings in Binghamton, New York, where they build the simulators we fly, and I’d go down to a little abandoned town called Harmony, Pennsylvania. Nearby, the Susquehanna River flows through a relatively narrow section of the Susquehanna River Valley. There are stretches along through there where you can’t see a single house or railroad or telephone pole. There’s nothing that would suggest it is any different than when Joseph and Oliver saw it. You can walk out on the banks of that river and say, “I wonder in which of these pools John the Baptist instructed the brethren to baptize each other. I wonder on which of those little hills or in which grove Peter, James, and John appeared to these brethren to ordain them to the Melchizedek Priesthood.” You feel a little bit of that spirit.

I have also visited the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman in western Missouri. I get the same glimpse of glory there that I do in the Sacred Grove. We’re told in prophecies that someday there’s going to be a very special meeting there. It will be presided over by Adam. He will ask for reports from all the dispensations. Then the Savior will appear, and Adam will turn over to him a kingdom for the millennium. But that will be a private meeting. Probably only a few select priesthood holders will know about it. But you sense the great impact of that area.

Not everybody glimpses the glory. Sometimes a lot of people just miss the point. Toward the end of the last century, a Reverend Wright was a leader in the community of Elkhart, Indiana. A man by the name of Professor Kelly visited him. Professor Kelly was a local teacher who was trying to raise money for research in technical matters, and he wanted Reverend Wright’s support. He said that if people concentrated their industrial and technical efforts, they could do unbelievable things to raise their standard of living. He outlined some of the things that he thought might be accomplished. He said that man could increase his life span. He could construct homes that provided unheard of comforts and conveniences. He might even fly like a bird someday.

Reverend Wright said, “That’s an impious thought! I’m not going to support this. Go home and pray for forgiveness. To suggest that man could fly like a bird is to defy the will of God!”

Reverend Wright had two sons—Wilbur and Orville.

Sometimes people don’t glimpse the glory. And sometimes they glimpse a counterfeit glory. They waste their lives searching for the seven cities of gold or the fountain of youth. They’re following an image. They search for fool’s gold rather than the real thing. They have missed the point.

Let’s hope that we can glimpse the true glory and catch the real spirit.

Your generation, and I hope my generation too, could live to see the second coming of the Savior. You may see times of trial that make crossing the plains or an ocean voyage across the North Atlantic look very mild. You will need to have glimpsed the glory to sustain you through such times. If you do that—if you have glimpsed the glory of the gospel, of the Second Coming, of the millennial reign, of the celestial kingdom—it can sustain you as you cross your plains and the dust rolls up in your face. You may have to bury your children on the plains or freeze your feet at Valley Forge or meet whatever your challenge is to be. You will have trials as every generation has had trials. You may have more trials than most generations. You need to glimpse the glory to sustain you through those times.

[photo] When men soar above mortal limitations, they look at life from an eternal perspective. They see themselves as God sees them. It’s like looking at the world from 45,000 feet. The trials and struggles on the surface disappear. (NASA photo.)

New Era, July 1983

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pure Religion

"One who practices pure religion soon discovers it is more rewarding to lift a man up than to hold him down."

--Marvin J. Ashton, "Pure Religion", Ensign, Nov. 1982, 63

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Purple Hats, Pink Candles, and Perseverance

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER by Erma Bombeck


I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it, live it and never give it back.

"Perseverance means to continue in a given course until we have reached a goal or objective, regardless of obstacles, opposition, and other counter influences...Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic...It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying."

--Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Never Give Up", Ensign, Nov. 1987, 8

Friday, May 30, 2008

I wove a braclet... but he invented sheep...

"We sometimes feel great respect and reverence for creative genius as expressed in great art or music. How much more should we revere the power and majesty of our Divine Creator? We may stand in awe of man’s creations of beautiful buildings or bridges. But remember the Apostle Paul's words to the Hebrews: 'He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house... For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God' (Heb. 3:3–4).

"Those who feel no reverence for the creations and the divine attributes of God likely will have little appreciation for other sacred things. Such a lack of veneration for God's creations may diminish until a person becomes totally insensitive to the feelings of others. This, I am afraid, is the condition in some parts of the world."

~M. Russell Ballard
"
God's Love for His Children"
Ensign, May 1988, 58

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Remember

"If we pay close attention to the uses of the word remember in the holy scriptures, we will recognize that remembering in the way God intends is a fundamental and saving principle of the gospel. This is so because prophetic admonitions to remember are frequently calls to action: to listen, to see, to do, to obey, to repent. When we remember in God's way, we overcome our human tendency simply to gird for the battle of life and actually engage in the battle itself, doing all in our power to resist temptation and avoid sinning."

~Marlin K. Jensen
"Remember and Perish Not," Ensign, May 2007, 36

[I thought this would be a little different spin on Memorial Day]

Friday, May 02, 2008

paddling with one oar?


"What happens if you try to paddle a boat using only one oar? You go around and around in circles. If you paddle hard, you go fast. If you paddle slowly, you turn gently. But you still just go around in circles. It’s the same with trying to make study replace faith or trying to exercise faith but without study. We can often find ourselves just going around in circles. I think that the Holy Ghost cannot give us some answers until we are actively seeking knowledge."

—Chieko N. Okazaki
Ensign, Nov. 1994

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Where We Can Receive Guidance

"It is not surprising that in the face of tremendous evil and temptation the Lord does not leave us to find our way on our own. In fact, there is more than enough guidance available to each of us if we will listen. You have received the gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and inspire you. You have the scriptures, parents, Church leaders and teachers. You also have the words of the prophets, seers, and revelators who live in our day. There is so much guidance and direction available that you won't make major mistakes in your life unless you consciously ignore the guidance you receive."

Paul V. Johnson, "The Blessings of General Conference," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 51



For those not aware, today and tomorrow is the semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is a time to sit at the feet of the Lord's prophets. If you want to hear what they have to say, even right online, go ahead right here. Enjoy and God be with you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Living Christ

THE LIVING CHRIST
THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

Flourish image for decoration

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fullness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

THE FIRST PRESIDENCY THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE
Image of the signatures of the First Presidency Image of the signatures of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

January 1, 2000

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Move Over, Dumb Bunny!

PERSONALLY, I have nothing big against the Easter Bunny. BUT he sure can make it tricky for kids to be excited to learn about the TRUE reason we celebrate Easter/Resurrection Sunday. So I just thought I would SHARE the few cool ideas I DO know to make the REAL stuff interesting (and a little sweet!)!


Resurrection Cookies

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt

1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

tape

1. Set oven to 300ยบ.


2. Place pecans in zipper baggie and beat them with
the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.

3. Put vinegar into a mixing bowl. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Sprinkle a little salt into the bowl. Add 1 cup
sugar.

4. Beat with mixer on high speed for
12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.

5. Fold in the broken nuts.

6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper covered cookie sheet
.

7. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven OFF.

8. Seal the oven door with a piece of tape.


9. The next morning open the oven and give everyone a
cookie. The surface will be cracked and the cookies are hollow.

10. Have the children help you and t
ell them the following story as you make the cookies.


The Resurrection Cookie Story


As they beat the nuts with the wooden spoon, explain to the children that, after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.


Before you put the vinegar in the bowl, let each child smell it and then explain that, when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink.

As you beat the egg whites, ex
plain that eggs represent life and how Jesus gave his life to give us life.

Sprinkle a little salt in
to each child's hand and let them taste.
This represents the salty tears shed by the followers of
Jesus.

When you add the sugar, explain that this is the sweetest
part of the story because Jesus loves us and wants us to know and belong to him.

Explain that the color white represents the purity in God'
s eyes.

As you mound the cookies onto the waxed paper, explain that the cookies represent the rocky
tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

When they put the tape on the oven explain that the tape represents how Jesus' tomb was sealed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

The next morning when they take a bite and see the cooki
es are hollow, explain how, on the first Resurrection day, his followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

JESUS HAS RISEN!

OR a shorter lesson, with rolls...

Resurrection Rolls

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

8 large marshmallows
Melted butter
Cinnamon
Sugar

Directions:

Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This
represents the linen used to wrap Christs' body.
Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.

Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the

marshmallow.
Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow
will "ooze" out of the seams)

Bake according to package directions. (The oven represents the tomb.)
Cool.

Break open the roll and the body of Christ is no longer there.

I really like these, particularly hidden in an actual easter egg hunt, but numbered. Just have the kids save them. A good way to bring them BACK to the real purpose for celebration. There are lots of versions online of these, or you may have a favorite scripture and a symbol you like to use. That's okay. But this is just one that was pretty good. They do SELL Resurrection Eggs, but this is how to MAKE them with plastic Easter eggs from the dollar store. Not bad for UN-commercializing Easter, eh? Hee hee!

TRUE Easter Eggs

This carton contains twelve plastic eggs. Each egg contains part of the Easter story, along with the appropriate item (except for the 12th egg, which should remain symbolically empty). The eggs are numbered (1 through 12). Simply open up the eggs in order to read the Easter story.

You can serve the eggs directly from this carton, in a decorated basket, or at each place setting at the dinner table. [Or in a real egg hunt like my family! Yay!]

This can provide a unique presentation of the often-heard Easter story. In addition to opening the eggs in order to tell the story, you can play a game of "scrambled eggs" by having players match the scripture to the appropriate item, or putting the story in sequence.

Egg 1: Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He asked Heavenly Father to bless him. He did not want to suffer. He said to Heavenly Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." But Jesus wanted to obey Heavenly Father. He would suffer for all people who would repent of their sins.

Matthew 26:39-44
Plastic or Paper Cup

Egg 2: One of Jesus' 12 apostles, named Judas, made a deal with some wicked men. The wicked men wanted to hurt Jesus. They said they would give Judas 30 pieces of silver if he would show them where Jesus was. So Judas showed them where Jesus was, which was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:14-16
3 Dimes or other Silver Coins

Egg 3: The wicked men took Jesus to the Pharisees (the ruling men of Jerusalem). The Pharisees tied Jesus up and took him to Pilate, the Roman leader.

Matthew 27:1-2
Knotted Twine

Egg 4: Pilate asked Jesus many questions. Pilate told the Pharisees that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Pilate wanted to let Jesus go, but the Pharisees hated Jesus. They said to Pilate, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate did not want trouble with the Pharisees, so he washed his hands (act out with the soap) in front of the people saying, "I am free of the blood of this just (good) person." Pilate let his Roman soldiers take Jesus to crucify him.

Luke 23:13-24
Chunk of Soap

Egg 5: The Roman soldiers took Jesus, took off all his clothes and put a red robe on him. They put a crown of thorns on his head. They made him hold a long green branch in his right hand. They made fun of Jesus, called him names and spit upon him. Then they took the long green branch and hit him on the head with it.

Matthew 27:28-30
Square of Red Felt

Egg 6: After the Roman soldiers had done all of these terrible things to Jesus, they took the robe off him and put his clothes back on him. Then they took him away to Calvary Hill. The soldiers lay Jesus on a wooden cross. They nailed his hands and feet to the cross.

Matthew 27:31-32
Toothpick Cross or Cross Charm or Tiny Nail

Egg 7: Jesus was on the cross. He prayed and asked Heavenly Father to forgive the Roman soldiers who crucified him because the soldiers did not know Jesus was the Savior. The soldiers took Jesus' clothes and played a game called "casting lots" to see who would win the clothes.

Luke 23:34-37
Pair of Dice

Egg 8: Jesus' mother and his disciples and friends were very sad. They loved Jesus very much. Jesus suffered on the cross for many hours. Then Jesus died. His spirit left his body. The sky was dark. There was a big earthquake. Rocks broke in pieces. The Roman soldiers were afraid.

Matthew 27:45-46, 50-54
Bag of crushed rock or potting soil

Egg 9: One of Jesus' disciples, named Joseph, took Jesus' body off the cross. He wrapped Jesus' body in a clean cloth and laid him in a tomb (a place where people are buried).

Matthew 27:57-59
Piece of White Cloth

Egg 10: After Joseph laid Jesus' body in the tomb, he rolled a big stone in front of the tomb so that Jesus' body would be safe.

Matthew 27:60
Rock

Egg 11: Jesus' body was in the tomb for 3 days. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with sweet spices.

Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:1-9
Bay Leaf or Other Herb






Egg 12: When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary got to the tomb, the stone was rolled away from the door. They looked inside the tomb, but Jesus' body was not there. They saw an angel who said, "Jesus is not here, for He is risen as he said." Jesus was resurrected! His body and spirit had come together again. He was alive again! Jesus promised that we, too, will be resurrected like Him. This is a very special gift that Jesus gave to us.

Matthew 28:1-6
Empty Egg

Knowing Christ Better

"We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him. . . .What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is."

--Howard W Hunter, "The Temptations of Christ", Ensign, November 1976, p. 19

The Gift of the Resurrection


"The Savior's Resurrection assures all of us that someday we, too, will follow Him and experience our own resurrection. What peace, what comfort this great gift is which comes through the loving grace of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind."

~M. Russell Ballard, "The Atonement and the Value of One Soul," Ensign, May 2004, 84


Happy Easter, blog readers! Please watch the movie The Bread of Life online (it is free and only about 10 minutes long) as a celebration of our Savior's great gift to us!!!
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