For way less than the price of signing up one of your kids for T-ball (which might cause you hours of painful observation), you can have this amazing book, which is guaranteed to give you hours of reading pleasure:
Okay, all joking aside, I’m excited to tell you about this book. I feel a little sheepish because I’m one of the contributors and I’ve never been super comfortable with blatant self-promotion. (Subtle self-promotion, yes. But “Hey! Look at me! Look at me!,” not really.) It’s a book that gives insight into the lives, families, values and humanity of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
DeNae has compiled all the essays and contributed some of her own. If you’ve read her stuff before, you know that there will be some laugh-out-loud humor involved. Some of the other writers involved are Becca Wilhite, Debbie (a.k.a. Crash), Ken Craig, Kazzy, Melanie Jacobson, Jana Parkin, Annette Lyon, and more. They do not disappoint. I had the chance to read through a draft of the book before it went to publishing and there is a fine collection of heart-wrenching, head-nodding, and flat-out funny essays.
The book will be officially available on March 10th, but you can order it now (switch infomercial voice back on) for 30% off of regular list price. This is a special pre-order price. That’s right folks, for only $10.50 + shipping, you can add this treasury to your library!
The book will be available for $15 after the release date, and I believe it will also be listed on Amazon at that point. The discounted price ($10.50) comes for ordering early.
Now, if I were a blogging genius, I would have figured out by now how to put a link to order the book on my sidebar. Since I am not, I’ll just direct you to DeNae’s blog page where she has a handy-dandy link to paypal. Please don’t let the extra click deter you; go order a book (or two or more– there are deeper discounts for bulk purchases). To recap:
I wanted to share with you what I like to give as a wedding gift when an LDS couple gets married. I put together this FHE manual for newlyweds, a collection of talks and articles about topics that are important for married couples to study and discuss and understand. There are some really great talks in there!
I print it out, hole punch it and put it in a 3-ring binder. I print out the title page (above) and write a personal note to them about how these messages can bless their marriage and have blessed mine. I usually get one of those binders with a clear plastic pocket on the front cover, slide in the title page, and tie up the whole thing with a pretty bow.
You can download the title page by clicking on the picture of it above, and you can download the whole manual (as an 80-page .pdf file) by clicking on the table of contents below. When you click on either one, you will probably get a dialogue box that pops up asking if you want to save the file. When you click Save, it will download to your computer. Then you can open it and print it.
Anyway, I think it makes a great wedding gift, but I also think it would be a great Valentine’s gift to your husband, and something that would definitely strengthen your marriage if you study it and discuss it together. All of the talks are by prophets, apostles, general authorities, and general auxiliary leaders. (All are cut-and-pasted from lds.org or BYU devotionals or Women’s Conference talks.) Even now, I can still think of more talks I love that I wish I had included, so feel free to print out your favorites, hole-punch them, and add them to the binder. I love the doctrines and principles that are taught in these talks. I hope you will too.
“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully. . . . . When you as husband and wife recognize the divine design in your union—when you feel deeply that God has brought you to each other—your vision will be expanded and your understanding enhanced.”– Elder Russell M. Nelson
I’ve been thinking a lot about covenants lately, and how they are like buoys in a storm. Only by clinging to them can we be safe. When the waters get rough and we get scared or tired or lazy, we may be tempted to just let go, but it will only be at our peril. When we loose the covenant, we lose the blessings. Covenants are the surest way to keep our families safe and bind our children to us throughout eternity. I love Elder Nelson’s thoughts about the power of our covenants.
” Children of the covenant have the right to receive His doctrine and to know the plan of salvation. They claim it by making covenants of sacred significance. …
When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity.”
What are some of your thoughts and testimony after reading this talk? Share your thoughts or insights in the comments below.
To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion here each week.
I have been experiencing a lot of frustration in the mornings. Like the kind where I wonder if my children have brains?
In order to earn “ticket time” (30 min. of TV, Wii, or computer games) after school, they have to complete a list of tasks in the morning before they leave for school.
It’s not hard stuff, people, and it does not matter when they wake up, we are still scrambling to get out the door on time. It makes me crazy. Every time I check on them, they are doing something else. “Oops. I forgot,” after I bark an order to get back on task or we’re going to be late. “I can’t find my homework.” “Why didn’t you put it in your backpack when you were done?!” (like I’ve reminded you every. single. time.) “Can I just have lunch money today? I don’t have time.” “No. I told you last night to make your sandwich before you went to bed, and you’ve been playing with stuffed animals for the last 10 minutes.” My Facebook status the other day said, “Teaching my children personal responsibility may be the death of me.” I’ve been wondering:
Why can’t they seem to handle simple tasks that would make their lives (and mine) so much easier? It’s not like I haven’t taught them. They have an easy checklist, for heaven’s sake.
I blog about different things for different reasons. On occasion, I blog about something simply because I have a fire in my bones and I need to let it out.
Cue fire. Cue bones. Cue outlet.
Let’s talk about pornography, shall we?
This article was written as an opinion piece by a BYU student. I’d like to highlight a few parts of her message:
Someone once told me, “Prophets don’t talk about pornography for fun.”
In the past five years, hardly a session of General Conference has passed without the brethren warning about the dangers of pornography. They have reason to warn. Pornography creates a shattering ripple effect impacting the viewer and surrounding. …
In 2010, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Tragically, the same computer and Internet service that allows me to do my family history and prepare those names for temple work could, without filters and controls, allow my children or grandchildren access to a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in their brains forever.”
The ease of access to pornography through the internet has led to a dramatic increase of consumption and acceptance in society despite its negative effects. …
This is one area in which we simply cannot be complacent. We must be involved in the fight because it is no longer a question of if this will affect you, but when.
Ralph Yarro, a former Novell executive and anti-pornography advocate, told the Church News in 2007, “Wake up. Apathy will kill you here. If porn hasn’t touched your life already, it is going to rip huge, gaping holes in it.”
There’s more, so go read the full article. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind anyway, but this has left me with a taste in my mouth. Not bitterness, really, just … well, fire in my bones. I have been blessed so far to not be in the direct line of fire of Satan’s sledgehammer, but its reach is far and wide. I’ve seen it pound down hard on people I know and love. Good people. And once the shattering has happened, it’s a slow and painful process to heal. I want to state that I know healing is possible because I absolutely believe in Jesus Christ and I believe there is no darkness that He cannot dispel and fill with light. I believe in Him, so I believe in repentance, and I believe in restoration. Having said that, this whole business really makes me want to punch Satan in the face.
We have a huge problem in our families with pornography and the influence that it is having in our families. The powerful feeling that has been coming over me is, “Sisters, fight—fight, sisters.” You have the responsibility in your homes. Many of our women are being drawn into this behavior also. At our last general conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave “a word of caution to all—both young and old, both male and female.” This is our responsibility.
When I heard her say this, I felt the Holy Ghost. This is part of our call as “lionesses at the gate” of our homes. Even with our best efforts, this plague can affect our families, but it must be in spite of our best efforts. The danger is too great to be ignored.
I quote some prophets:
Spencer W. Kimball: “Members of the Church everywhere are urged to not only resist the widespread plague of pornography, but as citizens to become actively and relentlessly engaged in the fight against this insidious enemy of humanity around the world.”
Ezra Taft Benson: “The prophet Lehi also saw our day in his great visionary dream of the tree of life. He saw that many people would wander blindly in the mists of darkness, which symbolized the temptations of the devil. (See 1 Ne. 12:17.) He saw some fall away “in forbidden paths,” others drown in rivers of filthiness, and still others wander in “strange roads.” (1 Ne. 8:28, 32.) When we read of the spreading curse of drugs, or read of the pernicious flood of pornography and immorality, do any of us doubt that these are the forbidden paths and rivers of filthiness Lehi described?”
Howard W. Hunter: “Be faithful in your marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. Pornography, flirtations, and unwholesome fantasies erode one’s character and strike at the foundation of a happy marriage. Unity and trust within a marriage are thereby destroyed. One who does not control his thoughts and thus commits adultery in his heart, if he does not repent, shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear (see D&C 42:23; D&C 63:16).”
Gordon B. Hinckley: “While the matter of which I speak was a problem then, it is a much more serious problem now. It grows increasingly worse. It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful. I speak of pornography in all of its manifestations. . . . The excuse is given that it is hard to avoid, that it is right at our fingertips and there is no escape. Suppose a storm is raging and the winds howl and the snow swirls about you. You find yourself unable to stop it. But you can dress properly and seek shelter, and the storm will have no effect upon you.”
Thomas S. Monson: “Pornography is especially dangerous and addictive. Curious exploration of pornography can become a controlling habit, leading to coarser material and to sexual transgression. Avoid pornography at all costs. Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards. In short, if you have any question about whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate, don’t see it, don’t read it, don’t participate.”
Want to read more? Go to http://conference.lds.org and click on the Search button. Click on Advanced Search, type the word “pornography” and click the little box for “President of the Church.” You will be given hundreds of references where living prophets have spoken out against the plague of pornography.
Since I can’t actually punch Satan in the face, even though I really, really want to, what can I do? What can you do? How can we fight? Feel free to fill up the comment box with good ideas, good organizations, opportunities to fight, small ways to make a difference, support for those who are in the claws of this stupid beast, whatever moves you and will encourage others. I’m not in the mood for despair or anger or bitterness, so let’s find ways to do what’s right and fight.
Here are my own ideas and suggestions. I am not a professional. I’m not even a stellar wife or mother. But I have ideas and a desire to make a difference– at the very least, in my own family.
TO A MOTHER: Talk openly with your children about pornography and its potential for harm. Most men who are addicted to pornography are exposed to it at an early age. Help them to understand Satan’s role and its opposition to Heavenly Father’s Plan. Carefully choose a way that is age-appropriate to talk about what pornography is. Maybe terms like “pictures or movies of people who are naked or very immodest” and “showing people touching the private parts of bodies” are a good place to start. After your discussions, when your daughter or son won’t look at the bra section of the store because they think it’s “pornography,” don’t worry about them being a little over-reactive. Congratulate them for trying hard to keep their mind clean. This is not about teaching people that the body is dirty; this is about helping children learn how to recognize and resist danger. An excellent (and doctrinally sound) resource for teaching about sexuality in general can be found here. Be a prude in monitoring family media intake, and don’t be ashamed of it. Embrace your role as a guardian of virtue. And be honest about it with your children. “I changed the channel because the clothing was immodest and they were joking about sex.” I love that Elder Holland quote (above in the article) about blasting a crater in your brain. Matt recently taught the young men in our ward that pornography is the equivalent of dousing your spirit in gasoline and setting it on fire. There will be that much pain, and that much scarring. President Hinckley told mothers to teach their children to avoid it “like they would the plague.”
TO A WIFE: If your husband has a heartbeat, he struggles with this on some level. The world is cruel to him in its blatant temptation and oppressive titillation. If he watched the Super Bowl, he’s seen pornography (for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started). Talk to him about it. Ask him how he’s doing: What can you do to help him? What steps can your family take to help him feel protected? What measures does he currently use to avoid the temptation? Be prepared to feel threatened a little as you learn what a real struggle it might be for him to stay unharmed by the storm. Cling to each other a little tighter. Express your love for him and your desire that he remain clean. Encourage him to fight the hard fight. Pray for him, and pray together. Talk about your covenants and go to the temple often to remember them and reconnect to them.
TO A WOMAN: Don’t hesitate to speak out against pornography when you see it. Talk to store managers and write letters to TV providers and companies. Express disapproval for that which is wrong. Don’t be afraid to call a sin a sin. Don’t fall into the trap of watching shows and movies or reading books that are only a little bit bad. Steer clear of inappropriate media, period. If you have the bandwidth to participate in organizations that fight the pornography industry, do it. If you have money to contribute to the cause, give it. Find something within your grasp and … grasp it.
TO A WIFE WHOSE HUSBAND IS ALREADY ADDICTED: I am sorry. I mean really, really sorry. Some of the previous advice will apply, but so much of the recovery will depend very much on your husband’s ability to repent and make changes. Work closely with your ecclesiastical leaders and qualified professionals. All I can do is share a few resources that I am aware of. And I can bear you my testimony that the pornography problem is not your fault. While there may be things you can do to improve your relationship, your husband has fallen into a trap set by Satan, plain and simple. The trap does not have to be a death sentence for your husband or for your marriage. Seek out counsel and comfort from the Lord; He will help you to follow the right course. No matter what, it will not be an easy course, but I know He will help you.
Available Resources: (I cannot possibly recommend what will be the best for you and your situation. Seek the Lord’s help and use the spirit of discernment as you research out possible tools to help in your recovery.)
I just want to conclude with something else I know to be true. Satan is powerful, but goodness is more powerful. We have the power within us to withstand temptation and fight against evil. We do. So though the storm rages and the sledgehammer swings down upon us, the rock of our Redeemer will help us to stand. Mothers, unite! This is an army I’m proud to be a part of.