• 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

Music Download: The Family Is of God

The Friend has posted an MP3 download of a song whose sheet music appears in the magazine this month. “The Family Is of God” can be downloaded at the Friend’s Web site in two versions: with vocals and without vocals. It’s a nice little song with a strong melody and lyrics that teach a good message.

Photo Gallery: Guatemala

The New Era has posted a gallery of photos from the article “From Generation to Generation” in the September issue. The article centers on two teenage members of a family in Guatemala. The photos aren’t breathtaking landscapes or stunning portraits such as those you might see in National Geographic, but they tell the story of a hard-working family trying to pass along important life skills to the next generation.

Love, Limits, and Latitude

The August Ensign contains an article with great guidelines to common-sense parenting. “Love, Limits, and Latitude,” by Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, and Julie H. Haupt, offers advice on avoiding parenting that is too authoritarian or too permissive, focusing instead on the love parents should show toward their children, as well as the limits they should set and the ways they should encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. For instance, it says:

“Milk will spill; children will sometimes be less than careful on the playground; teens may let their social life sabotage their grades. These experiences can teach them that certain actions are not productive. Helping to clean up the milk, bandaging the wound, or talking through an improved study schedule would be more effective than scolding a child in an attempt to teach a lesson that is already obvious.”

The article also discusses how to foster children’s sense of independence by giving them latitude. This approach often requires negotiation and compromise on the rules at times, but it helps children prepare for real-world situations. Children can also benefit from this approach in their spiritual lives. As the article says:

“Providing latitude also gives children space to develop their own feelings about the gospel. Teens who have learned to recognize the Spirit and to make choices based on their understanding of right and wrong—rather than simply on parents’ demand for obedience—will be better equipped to make wise decisions in the face of stress or peer pressure.”

This sort of advice seems like common sense, but It’s sometimes hard for parents to follow it. The Ensign does a good service by offering reminders and examples like those in this article.

I Almost Lost My Sister

Whether directly or indirectly, most people’s lives have been affected by someone who has suffered from some form of depression. And when someone close to you goes so far as to attempt suicide, your feelings and thoughts can range from confused to angry to guilty.

This month’s New Era includes a story called “I Almost Lost My Sister,” which, as the title suggests, was written by a young woman whose sister tried to kill herself. This young woman’s description of her reaction to her sister’s desperate act is poignant because it is so accurate and human.

This story has no miraculous ending, though it is a happy one, of sorts. And the lesson the author learns is no less impressive than a miracle: to cherish our family relationships and to “fight to keep the relationships strong.”

I’m glad to have these sorts of personal narratives in addition to the more general, clinical, or principle-based articles on subjects such as this.

Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs, and Other Surprises

As we all know from reading the comments of bloggernacle denizens who studiously read the Church magazines each month, the stories in the magazines never reflect the real lives of average Latter-day Saints. They’re just pablum, eyewash, mini-sermons that are sanitized for general LDS consumption.

Well, I, of course, disagree somewhat with that assessment, and I would like to offer as proof the article “Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs, and Other Surprises” from this month’s Ensign. It’s a quite humorous tale of one woman’s journey from confident and idealistic new mother who had studied child development in college to harried and all-too-realistic mother of four who constantly has to deal with surprises her schooling did not prepare her for.

Her experiences have given her some wise insights. For instance:

“I’ve learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from preschool children: to greet each day with enthusiasm and eagerness; to pursue adventure despite obstacles; to delight in new discoveries; to enjoy spontaneous fun; to regard the eating of toothpaste and the emptying of sand-filled shoes on the carpet as minor problems, not major catastrophes.”

For these and many other descriptions of situations all parents can relate to, read the full article. Maybe it’s not the nitty-gritty, questioning fare you’ll find on many a Mormon blog, but it really doesn’t pull any punches and actually gives some good advice.

How Long Are You Going to Keep Me?

This month’s New Era contains a sweet little story about an LDS family who adopted a Chinese girl, who always asked them a certain question. In “How Long Are You Going to Keep Me?” the author, Ryan Marie Lusvardi, tells of the various ways his family answered his new sister’s question, telling her that they were going to be with her forever. In addition, he mentions his sister’s attempts to identify with her family:

“Lily had her own system of deciding who was Chinese. She decided our mother, who has dark brown hair, was Chinese because, as Lily put it, ‘Your hair is like mine.’ When my skin became brown in the sun, Lily would say, ‘You’re kind of Chinese because your skin is like mine.’” Lily looked for and found ways each member of our family was like her.”

One of the nicest parts of the story is the artwork, which is by an artist from mainland China. You can see it in the PDF.

By Divine Design

This month’s Ensign and Liahona contain an article that uses images from Asian culture in order to highlight important teachings found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” “By Divine Design”includes several examples of Asian art, which are a refreshing change of pace from what you usually see in the Church magazines.  


Liahona-By Divine DesignThis artwork is featured on the cover of this month’s Liahona and probably would have been on the cover of the Ensign as well if that magazine hadn’t included the article about the new First Presidency (though the cover photo of them at their press conference is also quite good). Check out this article, particularly the pictures, which you can view in context in the PDF version.