President Gordon B. Hinckley's Challenge and Promise

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in a

worldwide leadership training meeting:

“I am convinced there is no other organization anywhere to match the Relief Society of this Church.

If they will be UNITED and speak with ONE VOICE,


10 January 2004, 20

Relief Society - A Restoration of an Ancient Form


“A Restoration of an Ancient Pattern”

Although the name may be modern date,

the institution is of ANCIENT ORIGIN.

We were told by our martyred prophet

that the same organization EXISTED

in the church ANCIENTLY.”

Eliza R. Snow

(Published in: “Daughters in My Kingdom”)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Standing for Principle: Word of Wisdom

Carolyn Allen
Monday, July 30 2012

The WOW in the Word of Wisdom Part II

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My intriguing interview for my last article with Melody Barber, a Meridian Reader with an in-depth knowledge of the Word of Wisdom and delightful strategies for incorporating it extensively into family life left me with many lingering thoughts and questions about the Word of Wisdom. (The WOW in the Word of Wisdom, Part I.)The following Sunday my testimony of its magnificent power was enlightened when a new member of our ward, Leslie William Thompson, a BYU graduate and a Major in the U.S. Army shared the following dramatic experience in sacrament meeting. (We live in the Washington, D.C. area where our wards are filled without outstanding men and women who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States).
Major Les ThompsonIn his own words, here is his story:

“In 2008, I was assigned to Baghdad, Iraq as an embedded U.S. Army combat advisor to Iraqi security forces in 2008. Our responsibility was to train and mentor senior Iraqi leaders in order to build and enhance their capacity to secure the population and bring peace to their nation. This was a sensitive mission that required building trust with our Iraqi counterparts and mediating disputes between various factions that were extremely divided and sectarian in nature. The small team of advisors that we were replacing had a difficult year that culminated with the death of two their members in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack a few months before we arrived. To make matters worse, they suspected our Iraqi counterparts of complicity in the attack. Needless to say, we wanted to make sure that our first meeting with our Iraqi counterparts went as smoothly as possible so as to step off together on the right foot. We rehearsed every detail prior of the meeting to ensure we did nothing to offend our hosts.
The day of the meeting arrived and anyone of influence in our area of the city for which we had oversight was present. Our host was an Iraqi general who wielded significant influence and was clearly the chief broker of power among them. As is customary in many Arab cultures, he began the meeting with a round of chai (tea) drinking. In fact, he boasted that his chai was the “best in Baghdad” and looked forward to us validating his opinion. As the chai was poured before me, I recognized that my decision to drink or not drink it would have serious ramifications. I knew I had made covenants with my Heavenly Father to obey the Word of Wisdom and would not break it. On the other hand, not drinking the chai could seriously offend our hosts and jeopardize our entire year’s efforts in Iraq – potentially the lives of my team members as well. I paused to say a little prayer to myself asking for inspiration and guidance on what to do.
As luck would have it, the General noticed that I wasn’t drinking my chai and said, “Captain Thompson, why are you not drinking your chai…it is the best in Baghdad and we cannot begin the meeting until you partake.” I hesitated to answer and suddenly the whole room grew quiet and every eye was focused on me with astonishment. The looks on the faces of my team members were that of alarm, as if to say, “I can’t believe you are going to offend our guests over something so trivial! Just drink the chai!” In what was reality just a few seconds, but felt like a few minutes, I was reminded of a world religions class I had at Brigham Young University a decade earlier. I remembered learning that Muslims follow a health code as well, in that they abstain from eating and drinking certain things. I felt immediately prompted to draw a parallel between my faith and his.
I looked back up at the General, who by now had a displeased look on his face, and said, “Sir, my faith forbids me from drinking this chai. I believe drinking alcohol is against your faith, is this true?” He responded, rather proudly, “Yes, as Muslims, we do not drink alcohol because to do so would offend Allah.”
I responded, “Sir, just as your faith is important to you, I believe that I would be offending my God if I drank your chai. I hope you will understand.”
Everybody’s attention now shifted to him. He stared at me for a moment with eyes that could kill, took a puff from his cigarette, and then smiled. He subsequently looked at everyone else and said, “In all my days, I never thought I would be taught to be a better Muslim by an infidel!”
His remarks drew laughter from everyone in the room, which immediately broke the tension. He continued by saying that he appreciated men who would stand for principles and remain true to their faith. I thanked him for the compliment. He then looked at his subordinates and declared, “Anyone who ever serves Captain Thompson chai again will be shot!” This drew slightly more nervous laughter, especially from the young soldier standing next to me who was serving the chai!
From there the meeting went very well and our relationship with our Iraqi counterparts blossomed throughout the rest of our yearlong tour in Iraq. We grew to love each other as brothers, sharing true concern for one another.

Indeed, I have no doubt in my mind that our Iraqi brethren saved our lives on more than one occasion.
Most importantly, I learned the blessings of being faithful to our covenants with our Heavenly Father. I can better understand the meaning behind Doctrine and Covenants Section 84:88 when the Lord says, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

As he concluded, the chapel was filled with a powerful spirit and witness of the “Wow!” in the Word of Wisdom. With emotion, I turned to D&C 89 and read these words that Major Thompson had fully experienced: “And I the Lord give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” (D&C 89:18-21)

With my scriptures open, my mind went back to my conversation with Melody and the expanded Word of Wisdom lifestyle she has established for her family.   I can’t help but think much easier our health management would be if there were more clear cut expectations and understandings for the rest of the Word of Wisdom and to treat it more as a whole, not just hot drinks, alcohol and tobacco! Would our weight and health be in a different place if more of us adopted more of it, as the Barber family has?

As a point of reference, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, says:

Called “a Word of Wisdom” in the introduction, the revelation was given to Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, on February 27, 1833, when the School of the Prophets was meeting at his home in the Whitney Store.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Meet Our Young Women Leaders...

Though, I am no longer working within the Young Women program...
somehow, I manage to end up at Girls Camp...(smile)

This year...our Ward participated in the STAKE Young Women's
Girl Camp at Fishtrap Lake Campground...

MEET our Young Women leaders who helped make
Girls Camp AWESOME this year!

(Left to Right) Janie Toren, Melanie Labrum, Kara Baisden, Ashley Buckwalter
and Amber Olsen (YW President)

 You can see why...the Girls had so MUCH FUN!

This was in celebration of 
"100" years...YW Camps

The THEME was:

There were some moments that opened up for a little 
"huckleberry" picking...

Amber, Kara, and Melanie

 Kara Baisden

Amber Olsen

Early Morning

(Right) Lexie Proctor - was the FIRST to hit the water!
(Left) Kristen Toren wasthe FIRST to go all the way UNDER the water!

K-3 made up a song to sing to Garvin and I
and the "Holy Griddle"
FOOD does MAGIC things to ALL OF US!
 Deer running through our camp!

Hot off the "Holy Griddle"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Kingdom - By: Louisa May Alcott

 My Kingdom

By: Louisa May Alcott

A little kingdom I possess
where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts
On all my words and deeds.

How can I learn to rule myself,
to be the child I should,
Honest and brave, nor ever tire
Of trying to be good?
How can I keep a sunny soul
To shine along life’s way?
How can I tune my little heart
To sweetly sing all day?

Dear Father, help me with the love
that casteth out my fear;
Teach me to lean on thee, and feel
That thou art very near,
That no temptation is unseen
No childish grief too small,
Since thou, with patience infinite,
Doth soothe and comfort all.

I do not ask for any crown
But that which all may win
Nor seek to conquer any world
Except the one within.
Be thou my guide until I find,
Led by a tender hand,
Thy happy kingdom in myself

And dare to take command.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Revolutionary War: Heroic Woman - Martha Bratton

Meridian Magazine - Revolutionary Women - Meridian Magazine - LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views

Here is an article on one of the women of the American Revolution...Just click on the above "Meridian" article...

Here is an additional article:

Martha Bratton (? - 1816)

Martha Bratton is known for two heroic acts in which she bravely defied demands from British Officers. 
Not much is known about Martha Bratton’s early life, but her acts of heroism during the Revolutionary War are very well known and commemorated. 
Her husband, Colonel William Bratton was away fighting for General Sumter's army, and Martha Bratton was left in charge of the gunpowder hidden on their property in North Carolina. The British were given a tip about the gunpowder and immediately left to seize the commodity. Bratton was told that they were coming but did not have enough time to move the gunpowder. Not wanting the British to get  hold of the ammunition, Bratton came up with another plan.  She poured a trail of powder far away from its location and, when she heard the British approaching lit the trail.  The British were furious and demanded to know who had blown up the ammunition.  Even with the threat of severe punishment Bratton willfully replied, “It was I who did it…Let the consequence be what it will, I glory in having prevented the mischief contemplated by the cruel enemies of my country.”
On July 11, 1780 Bratton had another encounter with the British where she bravely stood up to their demands.  British Captain Christian Huck visited Martha Bratton’s house  to question Bratton about where her husband’s location.  Bratton told the truth, defiantly saying that he was with Sumter’s army.  Huck replied that Colonel Bratton should instead join the loyalists.  Bratton bravely answered that “she would rather see him remain true to his duty to his country, even if he perished in Sumter’s army."  Huck was enraged by this answer and threw her son, who had been sitting on his lap, to the floor.  One of Huck’s soldiers held a reaping hook that he found nearby to her throat and threatened to kill her but Bratton still did not tell them of her husband’s location.  Another officer persuaded the soldier to let Bratton go. Such mistreatment of women was not uncommon during what was essentially a guerilla war.
It also was routine to force women to provide food for soldiers and Captain Huck demanded that Bratton prepare and serve dinner for them.  She had thought about poisoning the soldier’s food, but she knew her husband was close and instead sent word to his troops that the British were there.  After she prepared the dinner, she and her children went upstairs and left the British to finish their meals.  When they had finished the British went to one of her neighbors, James Williamson’s, house to sleep.  With about 75 men, Colonel Bratton and Captain M’Clure executed a surprise attack on the sleeping soldiers. The battle spread towards the Bratton house and Martha Bratton and her children were in danger.  Bratton forced her son to hide in the chimney where he would be safe from stray shots.  After the battle was over, Bratton went into her yard and found that all of her relatives had survived. The Patriots were victorious and many of the British soldiers, including Captain Huck, were killed while others retreated into the woods.  She opened her house to care for wounded soldiers on both sides.  Many of the British soldiers taken hostage were also held at her house.  One of these British soldiers was the officer that had saved her life.  She returned the favor by persuading the Patriots not to hang him but instead include him in a prisoner exchange. 
The defeat of Huck encouraged many men in the area to join the armed struggle against the British and was a turning point for the war in North Carolina.  
In 1839, on the anniversary of Huck’s defeat, a toast was made in honor of Bratton saying,  “The memory of Mrs. Bratton. – In the hands of an infuriated monster, with the instrument of death around her neck, she nobly refused to betray her husband; in the hour of victory she remembered mercy, and as a guardian angel, interposed in behalf of her inhuman enemies.  Throughout the Revolution she encouraged the Whigs to fight on to the last; to hope on to the end.  Honor and gratitude to the woman and heroine, who proved herself so faithful a wife- so firm a friend to liberty!”
Brattonsville, South Carolina was named after the Patriotic Family and the Bratton Family home still stands.  After William Bratton’s death in 1815 and Martha Bratton’s death in 1816, their son took over the home, which he remodeled in 1839.  He added a wing, which was used as a school for girls. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Help to Bear Each Other UP!

Alma 26:27 

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

Gordon B. Hinckley 

"I have seen President David O. McKay discouraged.  I have seen President Joseph Fielding Smith and President Harold B. Lee and President Spencer W. Kimball discouraged. All of us can become discouraged. . . .

"It is important to know, when you feel down, that many others do also and that their circumstances are generally much worse than yours.  And it's important to know that when one of us is down, it becomes the obligation of his friends to give him a life" (The Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 156).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

TEACHINGS for Mothers: April 2012 General Conference

Teachings for Mothers: April 2012 General Conference

Call to Action from the Prophet

  • “My dear brothers and sisters, may your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families. If there are disagreements or contentions among you, I urge you to settle them now” (Thomas S. Monson, “As We Close This Conference,” April 2012 general conference).

Families under Covenant

  • “President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

    “ 'In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. …

    “ 'Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best.'

    “But another crucial source for that feeling of being loved is love from other children in the family. Consistent care of brothers and sisters for each other will come only with persistent effort by parents and the help of God. You know that is true from experience in your own families. … Give children opportunities to pray, when they can pray, for each other in the circle who need blessings. Discern quickly the beginnings of discord and recognize acts of unselfish service, especially to each other. When they pray for each other and serve each other, hearts will be softened and turned to each other and to their parents” (Henry B. Eyring, “Families under Covenant,” April 2012 general conference).


  • “One hundred years ago, President Joseph F. Smith connected happiness directly to the family and admonished us to focus our efforts there. He said: 'There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home. … There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life. … The home is what needs reforming' ” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 382, 384). …

    “When people make family and religious commitments to gospel principles, they begin to do better spiritually and often temporally as well.

    “And, of course, societies at large are strengthened as families grow stronger. Commitments to family and values are the basic cause. Nearly everything else is effect. …

    “Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. Remember President Harold B. Lee’s counsel that 'the most important … work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes' (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 134) and President David O. McKay’s timeless 'No other success can compensate for failure in the home' (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).

    “Organize your personal lives to provide time for prayer and scriptures and family activity. Give your children responsibilities in the home that will teach them how to work. Teach them that living the gospel will lead them away from the filth, promiscuity, and violence of the Internet, media, and video games” (M. Russell Ballard, “That the Lost May Be Found,” April 2012 general conference).

The Role of the Church and Family Life

  • “Husbands and wives, you should be equal partners in your marriage. Read often and understand the proclamation on the family and follow it. … Use the family resources of the Church. In raising children, families can draw upon the help of the ward. Support and work in tandem with priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and take full advantage of the Church’s youth and family programs. Remember another of President Lee’s insightful phrases—that the Church is the scaffolding with which we build eternal families (see Teachings: Harold B. Lee, 148)” (M. Russell Ballard, “That the Lost May Be Found,” April 2012 general conference).

Making Sacrifices

  • “A faithful Latter-day Saint father on a remote island in the Pacific did heavy physical work in a faraway place for six years to earn the money necessary to take his wife and 10 children for marriage and sealing for eternity in the New Zealand Temple. President Monson explained, 'Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.' …
  • “Perhaps the most familiar and most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families. Mothers devote themselves to the bearing and nurturing of their children. Husbands give themselves to supporting their wives and children. The sacrifices involved in the eternally important service to our families are too numerous to mention and too familiar to need mention. …
  • “The Lectures on Faith teach that 'a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. … It [is] through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life' ” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Sacrifice,” April 2012 general conference).

Examples of Parents

  • “Religious observance in the home blesses our families. Example is particularly important. What we are speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say. When I was nearly five years old, my mother received word that her younger brother had been killed when the battleship on which he was serving was bombed off the coast of Japan near the end of World War II. This news was devastating to her. She was very emotional and went into the bedroom. After a while I peeked into the room to see if she was OK. She was kneeling by the bed in prayer. A great peace came over me because she had taught me to pray and love the Savior. This was typical of the example she always set for me. Mothers and fathers praying with children may be more important than any other example.

    “The message, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, are our essential family curriculum. No scripture characterizes our faith better than 2 Nephi 25:26: 'And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins' ” (Quentin L. Cook, “In Tune with the Music of Faith,” April 2012 general conference).

Scripture Reading

  •  “I hope we are reading the Book of Mormon with our children regularly. I have discussed this with my own children. They have shared with me two observations. First, persistence in reading the scriptures daily as a family is the key. … It requires great effort from every family member every day, but it is worth the effort. Temporary setbacks are overshadowed by persistence.

    “We know that family scripture study and family home evenings are not always perfect. Regardless of the challenges you face, do not become discouraged” (Quentin L. Cook, “In Tune with the Music of Faith,” April 2012 general conference).

Bearing Your Burdens

  • “President James E. Faust, my boyhood stake president, said: 'I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartbreak for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infirmity. This anguish often continues every day, without relief, during the lifetime of the parent or the child. Not infrequently, parents are required to give superhuman nurturing care that never ceases, day or night. Many a mother’s arms and heart have ached years on end, giving comfort and relieving the suffering of her special child.'

    “As described in Mosiah, … 'And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord' ” (Ronald A. Rasband, “Special Lessons,” April 2012 general conference).

Teaching Our Children to Understand the Doctrine

  • “This divine privilege of raising our children is a much greater responsibility than we can do alone, without the Lord’s help. He knows exactly what our children need to know, what they need to do, and what they need to be to come back into His presence. He gives mothers and fathers specific instruction and guidance through the scriptures, His prophets, and the Holy Ghost.

    “In a latter-day revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instructs parents to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Notice the Lord doesn’t just say we are to 'teach the doctrine'; His instructions are to teach our children to 'understand the doctrine.' (See D&C 68:25, 28; emphasis added.)

    “Teaching our children to understand is more than just imparting information. It’s helping our children get the doctrine into their hearts in a way that it becomes part of their very being and is reflected in their attitudes and behavior throughout their lives. …
  • “Sometimes the most powerful way to teach our children to understand a doctrine is to teach in the context of what they are experiencing right at that moment. These moments are spontaneous and unplanned and happen in the normal flow of family life. They come and go quickly, so we need to be alert and recognize a teaching moment when our children come to us with a question or worry, when they have problems getting along with siblings or friends, when they need to control their anger, when they make a mistake, or when they need to make a decision. (See Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching [1999], 140–41; Marriage and Family Relations Instructor’s Manual [2000], 61.) …

    “Learning to fully understand the doctrines of the gospel is a process of a lifetime and comes 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little' (2 Nephi 28:30). As children learn and act upon what they learn, their understanding is expanded, which leads to more learning, more action, and an even greater and more enduring understanding.
  • “We can know our children are beginning to understand the doctrine when we see it revealed in their attitudes and actions without external threats or rewards. As our children learn to understand gospel doctrines, they become more self-reliant and more responsible. They become part of the solution to our family challenges and make a positive contribution to the environment of our home and the success of our family” (Cheryl A. Esplin, “Teaching Our Children to Understand,” April 2012 general conference).

Moral Agency

  • “Wise parents must weigh when children are ready to begin exercising their own agency in a particular area of their lives. But if parents hold on to all decision-making power and see it as their 'right,' they severely limit the growth and development of their children.
  • Our children are in our homes for a limited time. If we wait until they walk out the door to turn over to them the reins of their moral agency, we have waited too long. They will not suddenly develop the ability to make wise decisions if they have never been free to make any important decisions while in our homes. Such children often either rebel against this compulsion or are crippled by an inability to make any decisions on their own.
  • “Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opportunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly. And yes, this means children will sometimes make mistakes and learn from them. …
  • “In raising our family, we decided that our most important goal would be to help our children establish their own connection to heaven. We knew that ultimately they would need to depend on the Lord, not on us. Brigham Young said, 'Were I to draw a distinction in all the duties that are required of the children of men, … I would place first and foremost the duty of seeking unto the Lord our God until we open the path of communication from heaven to earth—from God to our own souls' ” (Larry Y. Wilson, “Only upon the Principles of Righteousness,” April 2012 general conference).

A Message to Single Parents

  • “My message is for the single parents in the Church, the majority of whom are single mothers—you valiant women who, through the varying circumstances of life, find yourselves raising children and running a home on your own. …

    “We hope that when you attend meetings and see seemingly complete and happy families or hear someone speak of family ideals, you will feel glad to be part of a church that does focus on families and teaches of their central role in Heavenly Father’s plan for the happiness of His children; that in the midst of world calamity and moral decay, we have the doctrine, authority, ordinances, and covenants that do hold out the best hope for the world, including for the future happiness of your children and the families they will create. …

    “Although you often feel alone, in truth you are never totally on your own. As you move forward in patience and in faith, Providence will move with you; heaven will bestow its needful blessings.

    “Your perspective and view of life will change when, rather than being cast down, you look up.

    “Many of you have already discovered the great, transforming truth that when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter. Although circumstances may not have changed, your attitude has. You are able to face your own trials with greater acceptance, a more understanding heart, and deeper gratitude for what you have, rather than pining for what you yet lack” (David S. Baxter, “Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents,” April 2012 general conference).

Power of Love

  • “The Father’s plan designated the pattern of the family to help us learn, apply, and understand the power of love. On the day my own family was organized, my sweet Ann and I went to the temple and entered into the covenant of marriage. How much I thought I loved her on that day, but I had only begun to see the vision of love. As each of our children and grandchildren entered into our lives, our love has been expanded to love each of them equally and fully. There is seemingly no end to the expansive capacity to love” (Paul E. Koelliker, “He Truly Loves Us,” April 2012 general conference).