• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

We Testify of Jesus Christ

The March 2008 issue of the Ensign and Liahona focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the testimonies of modern apostles and prophets, it contains stories and expressions of gratitude and love for the Savior from members around the world.
 
The first article in the issue is “We Testify of Jesus Christ” (also available on a new Church Web site, JesusChrist.lds.org). It is the last original message by President Gordon B. Hinckley published in the Church magazines and would be noteworthy for this fact alone, but it is also a strong and powerful witness of the reality of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world. As you read it, you can hear President Hinckley’s voice, his intonations, his earnest and matter-of-fact declarations of Christ’s divinity. He did, in fact, use many of these same expressions before, but that doesn’t matter. One of his legacies will be his testimony of the Savior, which will reverberate in our hearts for years to come. For instance, he said:
 
“Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.”
 
I am grateful for President Hinckley and for the faithful witness he bore of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
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Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Situations

This month’s Ensign has an article with help for families that have experienced some sort of trauma. In “Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Situations,” a mother tells how a family crisis involving her newborn daughter affected her two-year-old son. She talks about the complex emotions and behaviors her son exhibited after this traumatic situation, as well as the changes she noticed in herself. This article is noteworthy because it highlights the importance of the gospel in family life and also gives solid practical advice for dealing with difficult situations. Following this story, LDS Family Services gives further information in a piece called “About Trauma,” which includes symptoms and additional helps.

Face Trials with Smiles

If you want to get to know one of the most genuinely good guys out there, read “Face Trials with Smiles” in this month’s New Era. It’s about Porter Ellett of Loa, Utah, a young man who lost his right arm in an accident when he was four years old but hasn’t let it slow him down a bit. He is a great athlete and has a great attitude. To see pictures of him in action, read the PDF version of the article.

An Experiment in Geographic Origins

I’d like to perform a little experiment. Here is a breakdown of the geographic origins of the contributers to this month’s New Era (at least those whose origins could be identified; the list includes articles, Q&A responses, and letters to the magazine). What do these numbers mean? I’ll leave that to individual interpretation. Suffice it to say, I think some people might be surprised by them.
• U.S.—non-Utah 12
• Non-U.S. 11
• U.S.—Utah  7

Dating and the Eternal Perspective

No, this has nothing to do with eternal dating. “Dating and the Eternal Perspective” is the latest in a string of Ensign articles for young single adults. This one contrasts the world’s ways with the Lord’s ways when it comes to attitudes and behaviors related to dating, courtship, and marriage. It contains a remarkable number of quotes from General Authorities on these subjects, as well as personal stories from young adults who have had a variety of experiences in the dating arena. Here’s a statement I find to be true: “Humility will help us accept the Lord’s timetable when the opportunity for marriage comes sooner, as well as later, than anticipated.” (For me, it was sooner.) This article has much to recommend it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s being recommended by many singles ward bishops right now.

Too Fast

In this month’s New Era is a story titled “Too Fast” about an LDS military pilot who has a spiritual impression to increase speed as he is bringing a large cargo plane in for a landing. The final statement by the copilot brings the story to a conclusion that may be somewhat predictable, but only in the context of LDS narrative.

That’s what I find remarkable about stories like this. They seem so common, and we often take them for granted as we’re flipping through the pages of the Church magazines, but these stories of miraculous, counterintuitive, irrational spiritual promptings are part of our collective heritage as Latter-day Saints. And it’s important that we share these kinds of stories with one another, if for no other reason than to assure one another that we’re not crazy when we follow the still, small voice.

Band of Brothers

For openers, I’d like to highlight the article “Band of Brothers” by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this month’s Ensign magazine. In it Elder Wirthlin discusses the lessons we can learn from the experiences of Easy Company, a group of World War II paratroopers whose story is recounted in Stephen Ambrose’s book Band of Brothers. (For you at FMH, Elder Wirthlin says right up front, “Please understand that when I speak of ‘brotherhood,’ I include our wonderful and indispensable sisters in that definition.”)

 
The message has to do with the relationships we form with one another in our Church assignments. Elder Wirthlin says, “Establishing a bond of brotherhood is critical. If those who serve with you feel this mutual love and trust, the work of the Lord will thrive and heaven will aid you in your efforts. Fail to establish this bond, however, and you may find your work tedious, toilsome, and unproductive.”

Among other things, Elder Wirthlin discusses the value of a great cause in establishing this bond of brotherhood and sisterhood. He notes, “You can get people to work by using threats or promising rewards. But if you want to create a band of brothers, you must inspire those who work with you and encourage them to give their all in a great cause.”

I find this a remarkable message from a man whose addresses I always enjoy reading. This one was originally given at a seminar for new mission presidents in 2006. I can see how it may apply particularly to mission life, but it has wise counsel for us all.

I’m dealing with some difficulties in my present Church calling because of those who create cliques and foster an “us-against-them” attitude between different groups within the ward. I’m going to see if I can use Elder Wirthlin’s words to inspire some change.