General Conference Book Club Week 4: President Monson (Priesthood)

This may seem like a strange pick this week, but unfortunately the reading schedule is somewhat dictated by my own needs.  President Monson gave the talk “School Thy Feelings, O My Brother” during the Priesthood session of General Conference.  I absolutely do not question his judgment on this, but I just want to add that anyone who thinks anger management is largely a men’s issue has not spent much time in the mind of a stay-at-home mom.

I struggle with anger.  I do not have temper tantrums.  I do not hit my children, scream violently, or throw objects, but I get mad.  And it is a challenge for me to let those feelings go so that I can move on with my day.  At a point of great humility, I went to Borders and asked the info desk for a book on Anger Management for mothers.  He eyed me suspiciously and probably wanted to push the red Child Protective Services button under his counter, so I tried to explain that it wasn’t about violent anger, just angry feelings.  Basically, I wanted to get past looking at my children with exorcism eyes.  Anyway, enough about me . . .  How does this talk speak to you?

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“If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry.”

“Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.”

“May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say.”

President Monson’s talk was delivered during the Priesthood session.  You can read it here, or watch it here or listen to it here.

If this is your first stop at our book club, click here for more information.  Join the fun.

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33 thoughts on “General Conference Book Club Week 4: President Monson (Priesthood)

  1. I am so excited to delve into this talk, it was if President Monson was speaking directly to me. I had many taken many concerns to the Lord prior to conference and ANGER was in the top three. I loved this talk when I listened to the morning after priesthood session, now I am ready to learn and grow.

    I learned alot this past week about the differences between doctrine and principles as I prepared my RS lesson. Now I am ready to take that knowledge and tackle this amazing talk. Thanks for choosing this talk.

  2. Joel REALLY wanted me to watch his talk. I did. I got angry he wanted me to watch it. So it will be good to experience it again with new eyes and heart, anf frankly- without Joel.

  3. I think stay-at-home moms definitely have a hard time with this. At least, I do! Men are better able to compartmentalize, so they can just forget what bothered them a few minutes later. But women sit and stew. We have a hard time letting things go. President Monson was wise (guided) to deliver this talk to men (who could handle it), but still have it available to women (who need it). Again, I’m only speaking from personal experience. 🙂

    This was definitely one of my favorite talks, so I’m excited to listen to it again.

  4. I am good at getting irritated at the smallest thing, so watch out when I drive!! I am usually using one nasty name after another. So when Dal told me about the Priesthhod session and told me that we had been advised to always ask “did that person mean to offend me?”, I took it up.

    BOY, has that little phrase changed my entire perspective! In the past few weeks I have found myself feeling a lot more calm and my road rage has almost disappeared. I can’t believe it.

    I too am excited to read and ponder on this talk.

    • Charette, your MIL quote is great. When I read it the first time, I thought, “but I never really get offended.” Then I realized my children are included in the category of all people, and boy howdy, do I let myself get upset. New concept for me, as ridiculously simple as it is.

  5. I have this issue with my children as well. It seems that when one little thing makes me irritated then 50 other things follow and make me even more irritated to where I just get mad all the time that day. I enjoyed this talk and I know I needed it. I have always known that it is a choice to either be mad or not. Sometimes, it is just easier to be mad, but to follow Steph’s previous post about upholding Christ’s name, I better not get mad. I need to show my children a better example of what to do instead of getting so irritated. Thanks for picking this talk.

  6. Amen. I have personally seen so many people (especially within my extended families) who have let anger and hurt ruin their lives. It really eats you from the inside out. The ironic part is that while you are busy nursing your anger, the person who caused the hurt is often oblivious. You are the only one suffering–and it is suffering that can be stopped by following the advice Pres. Monson gave. I hope this talk gets taught in RS & Priesthood. (Although I’ll miss it since I’m in Primary…)

  7. Yeah, this talk was a winner for me as well. I’ve been studying anger a lot lately, and one thing that I’ve found super interesting is that it is a choice…..I don’t know if that was a complete revelation to anyone else. Anger is a secondary emotion that we use to hide things like hurt, frustration, annoyance, and sadness. I’ve found that when I realize I’m angry, if I can stop and identify what I’m really feeling underneath that, I can usually deal with it in a much more healthy way. I’ve also realized, that I almost never get angry with strangers; usually just the people I love. The people I should be most able to expose my hurt, frustrated, annoyed, sad self to.

    President Monson’s talk was really eye-opening in pointing out the negative consequences of anger. Some key phrases that popped out for me were, “Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.” and “I ask, is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry? I know of no instance where such would be the case.” This really pointed out for me that being angry doesn’t solve anything or get you anywhere. If I really want to feel better, being angry won’t accomplish that. And if we want the guidance of the Spirit, we need to avoid anger. This talk was a great reminder. Thanks Stephanie!

  8. I never ever had any problems with anger AT ALL…until I became a mother. And now, sometimes when I find myself yelling at my kids, I have no idea who I am anymore.

    I’m grateful for this talk. My angry reactions won’t change my kids’ behavior, so we just need to find a better way.

  9. Stephanie….some how you knew I needed this. How is that?? I swear sometimes I get so angry over the dumbest things. I do lose my temper way too much. I am proud to say that I have not yelled or raised my voice yet this week. This talk was meant for me and my bad habit. I need to enjoy the moments. I get mad about a dirty kitchen floor, mud on the tile, and a messy bedroom. I need to remind myself to chose my battles and those things can be cleaned up. There will be a time when I won’t have a dirty kitchen floor. And that makes me sad, so I should just embrace it. They will be grown and gone before I know it. I have enjoy every moment. Also my children are not going to remember the toys on the floor, a bathroom that so desperately needs to be cleaned, but he will remember and be impacted by me raising my voice at him. Thanks for the awesome talk!!!

  10. President Monson mentioned a few things that might make someone angry and that go me thinking about what my triggers are. He hit a few on the head for me. Like when people (my kids) don’t behave they way I want them to behave. But another big trigger for me is being tired. Of course I have a newborn right now so proper rest is all but impossible. I just need to work on recognizing when I am cranky because I am tired and wrangle those feelings better before I let me lack of sleep turn molehills in mountains. I’ve decided that whenever I am tempted to raise my voice with my kids I will instead walk up to them and whisper in their ear.
    We’ll see how it goes.

  11. I like how Katie said that anger is a secondary emotion. I just need to figure out what the primary emotion is so I can fix it! Because being annoyed or frustrated or whatever is so much easier to fix than being angry. I think ice cream is the only thing that helps with anger. 🙂

    But seriously though, anger is a big deal! Here are some of the notes I jotted down while listening to this talk.
    – I need to lower my expectations. It’s so much easier to exceed someone’s low expectations than try to reach someone’s (irrationally) high expectations. My kids are only 5 and 3. I need to remember to keep my expectations at that level!
    – It’s not possible for the Holy Ghost to be in our home when I’m angry. Why would I want that gift taken away from my entire family when I’M the one with the problem!
    – No one can MAKE us angry. It’s OUR choice.
    – The story about the brothers living in the same room for 62 years and never talking to each other really hit me. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. I really want my molehills to STAY molehills!
    – Make a CONSCIOUS decision, EACH TIME such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we might be TEMPTED to say.

    There’s a phrase in my patriarchal blessing that has always humbled me: “guard your tongue.” Even at 13, I was already counseled to guard my tongue! It’s been a struggle ever since. But President Monson definitely made me realize that this is just one of those triggers about me that Satan knows well! Satan knows that he can ruin my whole day – and therefore, my family’s whole day – if he can get me to not guard my tongue. But the blame isn’t on him. His job is to TEMPT. It’s MY choice of whether or not I allow myself to give in to that temptation. And that goes back to having moral discipline! (I love how all the talks are so intertwined!)

  12. I think that President Monson identified two of my triggers in these two sentences: “We may experience {anger} when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave. Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected.”
    Most of the reasons I become angry are because my children are not acting how I expect them to. But, I become angry because of other feelings, like disappointment, or surprise, and then I CHOOSE to be angry. And often, I want my girls to change faster than they do (or can) and then I am frustrated, and then CHOOSE to be angry again. I need to work on being patient with my girls and also patient with the Lord as He changes and works with me. Sometimes I think something should happen now, but He knows best, and it’s okay if I have to wait sometimes.
    I also like the reminder that the Spirit cannot be with us when we are angry. Now, how will I make the best decisions on helping my children to learn and grow, if I don’t have the Spirit with me? Great reminder.

  13. I am like Jeanette and found that I am unable to function properly when I am tired. I am unable to think of creative ways to solve problems (which is so important when you are a parent). Lack of sleep seems to rob me of patience. So as a gift to my kids, I need to make sure that getting plenty of sleep is a priority.

    Perhaps we can prayerfully ask to understand what our triggers are and get enlightenment on any changes we can make. eg ways to get more sleep, useful mantras to repeat in our head “did they intend to insult me?”, are we stretched too thin – what can we let go? are there certain situations or times of the day where we can’t seem to handle things as well as other times – what changes could be made to make life smoother?

    President Monson reminded us that “To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan”. I have found that humbling myself in prayer to get assistance in overcoming the influence of satan is very useful (When I finish my prayer and I feel better, I often say to myself, “why didn’t I do this earlier!?!”) I also seem to get persective when I take myself away from the situation and write.

    Like Corri I feel so unlike myself when I get frustrated. I often feel guilty too. One of my worst nightmares is that my kids will grow up and remember mum as a grumpy mum. Something I pray a lot about, and think a lot about, isn’t so much the anger, but something that anger can take away – being a happy mum, and showing my kids that I love them and love being a mum.

  14. Okay, well I already left a dozen comments scattered among yours, but I have to say that even though I loved all the reminders and statements of doctrine in this talk, I found myself still feeling unresolved. I understand that anger is bad bad bad, but where is the practical advice about what to do when you feel it?? The more I read it and all your comments too, I recognized that I’m approaching it all backwards. I’m focusing too much on trying to figure out how to let anger go once it’s already consumed me, and not enough on how to keep it at bay in the first place. In either case, though, I really liked Juggling Motherhood’s emphasis on prayer and the important role it can play in the anger-healing process. If I can tap into that power, I feel confident that I can literally refine my character and change my “natural” impulses to react with anger.

    • Today as I visited my brother’s ward, a 75+ y/o man bore his testimony by quoting D&C 88:119. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing: and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house a glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

      This gentleman taught that that we live in our houses, that our bodies are our houses. Now that intrigued me. He went onto teach us that we are able to overcome our weakness through self mastery. The light bulb went on. I had read this talk so many times that the scripture “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath” came directly to my mind because the footnote for the word cease meant self-mastery.

      My intent to be taught became stronger. As he continued his teaching He taught that fasting is the only way to become masters over ourselves. Then He used the Savior as an example. He shared with us that even Christ fasted for 40 days and nights was probably starving and was even tempted a number of times. He continued to explain that at any moment Christ could have turned the rock to bread but yet through fasting, humbling Himself, and letting the natural man go He, the Savior of the world developed self mastery by forsaking wrath, which was His ability to have anything He desired.

      As this gentleman continued to bear his testimony, I was blessed with a greater understanding in knowing that I could answer the question I had been asking myself all week. “How do I rid my myself of contention/anger? Mosiah 2:32-33 “But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah. For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him. . . .” made me stop to wonder “who do I listeth to obey.” As I get angry, I follow Satan. But when I choose to be loving and kind then I am following the Savior. He wants us to Love everyone. In Galatians 5:22-23 it states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against there is no law.”

      Now as we look at the Doctrine–Obedience and the Principle–Self Mastery we have a lot of work ahead. But with the assistance of fasting we can be like Christ and become the Master of our house (that includes emotions as well as physical temptations) and overcome our weaknesses.

      I don’t think there is any easy answer in ridding ourselves of anger, but we have the tools to become the Masters of ourselves.

      • Wow! Thanks for that! I have never really made that connection before either…..I think that will forever change the way I think about that scripture, and add so much meaning to it.

  15. One thing I noticed in this talk is that President Monson seemed to understand that angry feelings exist. He said we must make “a concious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger”. This week I was more aware of the angry feelings that I have throughout the day. I was honestly very surprised to realized how often I get angry, and what things provoke me to anger.

    My mission president knew how to follow the scripture “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” He was a great example to me!

    I know that there are times I have to be sharp with my children. I don’t know why, but a sharp voice seems to work better. (I call it my P.E. voice) But the key is to follow up the sharp voice with “an increase of love” If I just leave it with sharpness I can’t let it go, and then anger takes over, and it escalates into yelling and fighting. The love removes the anger.

    • I remember hearing once that sharpness doesn’t necessarily mean harshness, but rather clarity, like a sharp picture… Being clear and focused. I think that’s a cool concept that helps me to eliminate some of the drama that tends to be a natural part of “reproving”.

  16. A great talk from a wonderful man. I love how gentle he was in his presentation, like someone else pointed out.

    The story that he shared was heartbreaking. Like others, I find myself getting very angry, quite suddenly sometimes, when my kids do something I don’t like or “when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave.”

    I pray that I (and each of us?) will yield less to the influence of Satan. I hope that I can remember that it is my choice whether or not I get angry at something my children, or husband, or whoever does. I’d rather stay out of Satan’s tool box, altogether.

  17. Hi all,
    I used some of the content of this talk for our lesson in fhe tonight. Our kids were getting grumpy with each other after school today. After having a talk with them in the afternoon, I thought we should carry on the discussion during fhe. After song & prayers I started acting dramatic and was being whiney, grumpy, angry and loud – I was using phrases that the kids would often use in anger as well. We talked about their feelings when I was doing all those loud noises. Then we got everyone to be quiet, and we compared the feelings we had. We talked about satan & anger. We talked about the importance of everyone playing a part in bringing a good spirit into the home. We talked about anger, and what we could do when we feel angry. Now our catch phrase is “are you adding to the spirit of the home or detracting from it?”

    GCBC is really helping to bring great discussions into our homes. Thanks!

    Mika @ http://jugglingmotherhood.wordpress.com/

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