Nov 272015
 
Aloha Sisters!
Once again, tis I, Sister Smith — Here to give you my notes and perspective on today’s Relief Society lesson.  It’s my hope that those who missed it (for whatever reason – but especially those serving in Primary & Young Womens) might be able to partake still of the spirit of friendship, learning, and inspiration that was present there.  
Sister Wallace began her lesson with a beautiful story about a Sacrament Meeting talk given by her son at age 15.  They were living in New Zealand at the time, and like many 15 year old boys, he was long and lanky, and smack in the middle of adolescence. She was teaching seminary at the time, and full of the spiritual knowledge that comes with that responsibility.  
Her son had been assigned to speak about the Priesthood, and since he was a Teacher at the time, he specifically quoted Doc & Cov 20:53-57:
 53 The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;
 54 And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;
 55 And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.
 56 And he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the elder or priest—
 57 And is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the church, by the deacons, if occasion requires.

Sister Wallace was deeply touched by the powerful witness her son bore, and by the weighty responsibilities he clearly felt as related to his office in the Priesthood.  She was surprised at how much she learned and what she felt as he spoke.  It was as especially meaningful experience for her as she looks back on it later, she said, because it was just a week later that he suddenly died.  That turned out to be the last opportunity she had to hear him teach and bear testimony of Gospel principles in this life.
With that introduction, we then dove into a discussion about The Priesthood.  Sis. Wallace wrote 4 words up on the board — Words we need to understand and really know, as relates to the priesthood:
POWER
KEYS
AUTHORITY
BLESSINGS
We then broke into 5 groups and were given copies of two talks, listed below, along with papers on which were written the 5 questions we would all be discussing.
Those are excellent, excellent talks, Sisters, and even a quick read-through will give you insights and help you learn even more than you already know about this important topic.
It was a great opportunity to talk amongst ourselves for a while about the question given to our group and the highlighted excerpts in each talk.  (Props to Sis Wallace for preparing all of that for us!)  After several minutes, each group reported a summary of what they had learned.  Ready for those 5 questions?  Here they come…
What is the priesthood and why is it important?
The priesthood is, simply, God’s power and the authority to act in His name on earth.  There are so, so many reasons it is important to have it here on earth!  The reasons mentioned briefly by the Sister Missionary speaking for the group were — Saving ordinances for ourselves and our ancestors, all so that we can live together with our families in the presence of God once more.
What are priesthood keys?
Keys — Think about what we use keys for here.  Opening doors, trunks, starting engines… 
Priesthood keys similarly give us access to things.  What are priesthood keys?  Here’s a quote from Elder Oaks:
“Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood [holders] to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth.”
What is priesthood authority and how does this apply to women?
The talk by Sheri Dew, posted on our L7 Facebook Group’s page, was mentioned… And, quite frankly, we had an awesome 2 minutes of rejoicing in our role as women.  (Thank you, Sister Christensen!  We love you!!!)  Sadly, there are no fonts that can convey her beautiful Aussie accent, so I’m afraid I shall not be even attempting to quote you what she said.  If you want to know, I recommend calling her up for a repeat performance of her mini speech on why women should be okay with men holding the priesthood.  😉
What blessings do we receive through the priesthood?
I don’t know if anything I could write would be any better than this excerpt from Sis. Burton’s article:
As I have studied, pondered, and sought to understand the priesthood, it has been helpful for me to consider what the world would be like without it. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explored this idea when he said: “Can you imagine how dark and empty mortality would be if there were no priesthood? If the power of the priesthood were not upon the earth, the adversary would have freedom to roam and reign without restraint. There would be no gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and enlighten us; no prophets to speak in the name of the Lord; no temples where we could make sacred, eternal covenants; no authority to bless or baptize, to heal or comfort. … There would be no light, no hope—only darkness.”
The thought of no priesthood power is sobering. I, for one, stand up and rejoice that this sacred power has been restored to the earth through a prophet of God in this last and glorious dispensation of the fulness of times!
How can we better understand the doctrines of the priesthood?
Another quote from Sis. Burton’s talk sums it up quite nicely:
I recommend the following to you for your careful and prayerful consideration:
Doctrine and Covenants sections 13,2084107, and 121, and Alma 13. Then I invite you to memorize the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44. By doing so, I promise you that the Holy Ghost will expand your understanding of the priesthood and inspire and uplift you in wonderful ways.
Sis. Wallace added her testimony about how important it is for us to understand the priesthood so we can be full, active participants in Hastening the Work.  She challenged us to read those two talks and study those scriptures this week in preparation for next Sunday’s lesson.  It’s going to be great, sisters.  
Let’s do it!

Source: L7 Relief Society

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Nov 272015
 
That’s a quote from Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, from today’s lesson.
What is he talking about there, Sisters?
Any guesses?
If you were there today, you probably know – But given that I’m writing this up mostly for the benefit of those who couldn’t be there, I’ll give you a hint with another quote from that lesson. 
“I think we all know that the blessings of the _________ are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon our wives and daughters and upon all the faithful women of the Church.” 
That’s right, the PRIESTHOOD!
Some of you might remember how Sis. Wallace mentioned we’d be learning more about the Priesthood yet again this Sunday, and those of you who are totally on the ball probably studied the lesson this week.  You might have even done the “homework” she gave us… Or you might be a little more like me and completely forgot about it.  OOOPS!  No worries, though, whoever you are and however well you remember things, 
This lesson is for you, now!
Allow me to continue with the rest of the quote I started up there, regarding the universal blessings of the priesthood.
“I think we all know that the blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon our wives and daughters and upon all the faithful women of the Church. These good sisters can prepare themselves, by keeping the commandments and by serving in the Church, for the blessings of the house of the Lord. The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons, for neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” 
I wish I could share with you the spirit present in the comments shared during class after that quote was read.  There is just a beautiful feeling of compassion, understanding, strength, and unity there.  We are all in different places and circumstances, but we all love the Gospel and want to help each other.
One sister talked about the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 121, telling us clearly the manner in which the priesthood should be exercised.  “…with love unfeigned…”
Here’s the longer excerpt from that section,
:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
:42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
: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;
:44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
From there another sister briefly referred to some of the turmoil over questions about women being ordained to offices in the priesthood, and I love what she said.
“We need less focus on WHO is ordained, 
and more focus & attention given to WHAT it is for!”
AMEN, Sister!
Would that we could all share with each other more of our faith and less of our doubts, and in doing so perhaps we will all find answers to the burning questions in our souls. There’s nothing wrong with questions — The Lord *wants* us to take our questions to Him — but sometimes when we change our questions or think of new ones, that will change our life, our perspective, and even give us the answers we need.
Sadly, I don’t have as much time to give you a blow-by-blow account like I did last week.  Our teacher once again split us up into groups and let us discuss some things amongst ourselves.  Each group took a few of the verses from D&C 84:33-44, and then we shared what we’d discussed.  It was a good opportunity to hear from the sisters around us, some of whom don’t often have the opportunity share their perspectives & thoughts during class.
I loved the experience of one sister who had served as a Stake Relief Society secretary in one of the other stakes here in Laie.  She would attend meetings for upwards of 8 hours on Sundays, never get that cherished Sunday nap, but wake up Monday refreshed and ready for the week.  The Sunday she got released from that calling, she came home from church… and took a 4 hour nap.  :)  (Blessings of renewing our bodies in the service of the Lord.  Yay!)
I also loved Sister Christensen’s tying in Visiting Teaching — Her last VT plug!  Wahh!  We’re going to miss you, Sis. C! — on the verse that talks about receiving the Lord’s servants.  As we do our Visiting Teaching, we are about His work, on His errand, and truly His servants in that capacity… Therefore, please, Sisters!, receive your visiting teachers and be available for them when they want to come visit you!  :)  
Again, wish I could elaborate a little longer for you, but hope this is good enough for now.  There is so much light and truth and inspiration available to us as we study the teachings of our Latter-Day prophets!  
Next week should be the next lesson in that same manual — 
Hope you can make it!

Source: L7 Relief Society

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 Posted by at 7:12 pm