Sunday, October 27, 2013

How the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints Leaders and Members are Called

A little background information for those who are not familiar with the church. The general body of the church is divided into Stakes and the individual congregations within the Stakes are called Wards. (Where there are not enough members it is somewhat different.) We address each other as Brother and Sister which probably seems really strange to nonmembers but it just seems endearing to me. Stakes are presided over by Stake Presidencies and Wards are presided over by Bishoprics. The leaders who preside over the church as a whole are known as The General Authorities and general Officers of the Church. They include the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders. Each of them have been called and set apart by those having priesthood authority and are sustained by the general membership of the church at the semi-annual general conferences. Procedures were put in place by Joseph Smith for the succession to the office of President when the President of the church dies. Simply put, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assumes leadership and the President of the quorum who holds that office by seniority in the quorum becomes the next President of the church. When Joseph Smith was martyred most of the apostles were away serving missions, and there was confusion among the members until Brigham Young and other apostles returned. Since Joseph Smith there have been 15 presidents of the church; each time the President of the Quorum of the Twelve has been sustained as our new leader. For a very good talk on this subject search for "The keys that Never Rust by James E Faust" on lds.org or on YouTube.com.
       Each stake in the church is presided over by a Stake Presidency and each ward by a Bishopric. They and all other officers and teachers in the church have been called and set apart by authority and have been sustained by the congregation which they serve. I have lived in Canada, Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and West Virginia so I’ve had lots of opportunity to see the church in action in both large and small congregations. There have been 10 presidents of the church during my lifetime and I can’t begin to count the number of Bishops that have presided over wards that I have lived in. Each time a new Bishop has been called I’ve seen no campaigning or jockeying for position; the man recommended by the Stake Presidency and approved by the First Presidency has been called. Each ward in the church has the same organization and each officer and teacher is called by the bishopric, set apart and sustained by the congregation. I know of no other organization in the world that is so simply organized and has functioned so efficiently. I sincerely believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is not a "new" church but is a restoration of the primitive church, "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2: 20) and that it was divinely restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
            By: Nola Smith

Sister Cardon Shares

I am a new member of the ward. I married Gordon Pedersen. I have a daughter on a mission. I keep a blog up for her so all her friends can see how she is doing. I have done this for another daughter that has already returned from her mission. Blogs are great.

My daughter is serving in the Scotland/Ireland Mission and she has been out 6 months. She is serving in Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. Here is a recent heart felt testimony she shared with us and a picture of her. I though you might want to include her testimony and the picture.

-Kristine Cardon Pedersen

 Sister Cardon Shares:


"I know that the Lord is watching over all of us. All we have to do is have faith in Him and I know He will deliver, for that is His promise to us. If Christ could raise men and women from the dead, can he not soften the hearts of those we love, can He not put prepared people in our paths, can He not help us with the everyday simple challenges we face in this life. I know that He can but we must pray to him daily, hour by hour in our hearts and He will reward us as we believe in Him.  Remember, it is easy to believe, it is easy to follow the Savior. His burden is easy and His yoke is light, we are not meant to go through life alone, but are meant to rely on the one who will always be there to help us."





Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great Mormon Grandma

           More from A Mormon Great Grandma

I always wanted to serve a mission for my church. I even had my own plan worked out! I thought if I could just get people to scan through The Book of Mormon and read some pages that I would mark they would say "Wow, I need to find out more about this." The Book of Mormon contains a complicated historical record of three Israelite civilizations that lived on the American continent but what impresses me is not so much the history but what is recorded of the lives and teachings of their prophets and other leaders, and of the Savior. I would ask them to read:
 2 Nephi chapter 2
Mosiah chapter 2 verses 5-13
Moroni chapter 7 verses 12-19
Moroni chapter 10 verses 4-7
And some say that Joseph Smith or one of his contemporaries wrote this!

I know that Joseph Smith’s story is quite fantastic but if you believe the New Testament it should seem reasonable that the Savior would be involved if His church was to be restored. Joseph Smith was a very young man, uneducated, untraveled, and living in a frontier community when he translated the Book of Mormon and organized the church. His contemporaries at that time were also mostly uneducated and unsophisticated. Conditions were chaotic, the church was persecuted, members fell away, Joseph Smith was martyred but the church survived and continues to grow. All of this is recorded in our histories, in the writings of those early church leaders and the journals of members. It seems impossible to me that under such conditions the church could have survived and thrived as it has without the direction of the Lord. I believe with all my heart that Joseph Smith was what he professed to be, that the book of Mormon was translated from plates that were given to him by an angel, that it is another testament of Jesus Christ just as we professes it to be, and that this is a divinely restored church. It seems to me that it deserves to be investigated.

- Nola Smith

Sunday, October 13, 2013

THE BLESSINGS OF RELIEF SOCIETY

           On my 18th birthday, in 1978, I became a member of Relief Society, the women’s organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have enjoyed every minute as I have participated in and been a part of the organization for the past 35 years. Using Robert Fulghum’s framework, I wrote this article to express my feelings about Relief Society, about the wonderful women I’ve met and the dear sisters that I have worked with, served with, and shared my life with.

ALL I EVER REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN RELIEF SOCIETY

            Much of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I’ve learned in Relief Society. Wisdom was not at the top of the undergraduate mountain but here in the trenches of this inspired organization surrounded by the wonderful women of God.

            These are some of the things I’ve learned: Bear your testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Make friends. Do your visiting teaching – you’ll be amazed at the lasting friendships you make. Keep your house tidy. Return things that you borrow. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone and show them an increase of love afterwards. Try to live providently. Work hard to provide balanced meals, but always make extra. You never know when you might be called on to take a meal to someone. Rotate your food storage and store only the things that your family will eat. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you – but chocolate is even better. Live a balanced life. The things that you learn here on earth will stay with you, so learn some and think some and draw or paint or sing or dance, but do it every day.

            Make some time for yourself to recharge your own batteries. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be prepared for challenges and adversities, disappointments and sorrows. But also be prepared for moments of unequaled joy like when you fall in love or when you lay your eyes on your first child or grandchild. Be aware of wonder – especially when you are raising your children. You’ll be amazed at how fast they grow up. Remember that you are a child of God and so are all of your friends and neighbors and even people that you don’t know.

            There is a Plan of Salvation. Parents and grandparents die, and so will we. But we have the assurance that we will see them all again. And remember the scriptures and the opportunity that we have to read and ponder them daily. Remember to “feast upon the words of Christ for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” Everything you need to know is in the scriptures somewhere: the golden rule and loving as Christ did, and the Word of Wisdom and the Plan of Happiness. And don’t forget to be at church on Sundays to partake of Christ’s sacrament and to be uplifted by the teachings shared. Make time to attend other church activities for fellowship and fun.

            Think of what a better world it would be if we all – sisters in this true and restored church - loved one another unconditionally - if we reached outside of our comfort zone and made a new friend.  What if we stood steadfast in faith, family, and relief; and if we took as a motto something that was quoted by President Spencer W. Kimball about the time I entered Relief Society.

“To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.”

The Relief Society organization, now over six million members strong of sisters between the ages of 18 and 100 (or more) has a place for each of us. Being a part of such an organization is a privilege not to be taken for granted. We need Relief Society and Relief Society needs each of us to do our part in helping fulfill the Lord’s purposes of mortality.


It is still true, no matter how old you are - just starting out your adult life, or in your later years - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “Two are better than one, … for if they fall, the one will lift up her fellow: but woe to her that is alone when she falleth: for she hath not another to help her up.” We can lift and strengthen each other. And remember that much of what we really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, can be learned and practiced in Relief Society.

-Susan Curtis

Living on Purpose: Being a Christian

My name is Mitzi.  I am posting on this blog along with many other friends and neighbors who are also Mormons to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I decided to preface my posts with the title, “Living on Purpose” because that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I hope each morning when I get up that I will do a little better than I did the day before in discovering my purpose here on earth and fulfilling it.

I get significant help from praying to God, reading scriptures, participating in religious services regularly and serving others both inside and outside of my family.  I want to share some of the things I have learned throughout my life in the sincere hope of helping someone else find peace and happiness.  We all have tremendous purpose and that becomes more evident as we pause to evaluate how the hand of God has touched our lives each day.  Here is an example and what it taught me.

When I was 10 years old, my parents built a house in a Denver, Colorado suburb.  After all the unpacking, we started in on the yard.  Appealing at first for the large wealth of potential it provided, when the boarders were in and sprinklers ready, we were exhausted.  It was summer.  There were bugs- or rather bug colonies.  The day the pallets of sod arrived was mildly exciting, muted only by our pure fatigue at the sight of more grueling work. 
My mom started in as early as she could but by midday and only part of the front done, she surrendered to pure exhaustion and sat on a bench in the small shade of our front porch.  The job was too big.  Despite the urgency of the wilting sod rolls, she had completely drained her physical wells.  I wanted so much to help as did my four siblings, but the rolls were too heavy. 
Later that afternoon, a most wonderful neighbor drove by and perceived our need for help.  He immediately called everyone he could and organized a sod laying party.  It was more of a surprise party for us- we had no idea help was on the way!  My parents had very few motivational words for us as we headed back out to the daunting piles of sod.  Even though dad was home, his contribution was still drastically insufficient for what needed to be done.  The urgency was increased by fading sunlight and rapidly drying sod.  We could not wait- morning would be too late.

Suddenly cars started pulling up in front of our house.  Whole families got out in work clothes and gloves and just started grabbing sod rolls and hauling them.  More and more people arrived.  The transformation of our yard was incredible, but the transformation of our spirits was even more so.  Amidst the hurried effort to lay sod, there was a beautiful hum of happy conversation.  Everyone worked, sweat and swatted bugs together never stopping until the work was done.  In the glow of our back porch light and several flashlights, we laid the final roll of sod.  The impossible suddenly possible thanks to many wonderful hands.

I felt something amazing that night as a little 10 year old.  It was the pure joy of service.  A joy felt by both server and served.  And I learned what it means to be Christian- “to be called [God’s] people and [to be] willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:8) 
In all that Jesus Christ did through His mortal ministry He sought to teach this basic principle:  “Love one another; as I have loved you” (Holy Bible, John 13:34).  This is how a true disciple is to be identified.  Christlike love means reaching out in kind ways to those around us- from opening a door for someone to forgoing a cool evening inside to help a weary neighbor lay sod. 
I believe that no act brings greater joy than one performed in behalf of another.  I have been on a stage in front of a cheering crowd.  I have felt the exhilaration of intense fun on a roller coaster.  I have felt the joy of a great paycheck after hard work and the relief of an A in a difficult class.  However, nothing quite compares to the deep satisfaction I get when I know I have helped someone.  It’s true.  Being a Christian means following in Christ’s ways, acting as He acted, and loving as He loved. 
I love being a Mormon because in every lesson I have ever been taught, in every sermon I have ever attended, in every teaching I have read from our prophets and apostles, this one resounding truth is continually emphasized:  “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”  (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26).


I could not begin to name all the people who were there.  Many of them may not even remember that evening but everyone in my family does.  And we still feel fantastic whenever we reminisce!



-Mitzi Robins

Life long member of the "Mormon" church

            I am an 80+ yr old great grandmother and a life long member of the "Mormon" church, which has been the greatest influence for good in my life and in the lives of my family. There is so much about the church’s organization that impresses me, including the organization of its general councils, its totally lay ministry at the local level and the simple but all encompassing programs that provide for our spiritual and temporal needs: as well as lots of opportunities for service and fun. One of my experiences might illustrate. After growing up in a very small predominantly Mormon town I married and moved to Provo, Utah where my husband was educated at Brigham Young University (Talk about being immersed in Mormonism!) we moved east for further education and employment . At one point, after more education we moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan for work. Our family had grown to five and our fourth child was due soon. We knew only one person in Kalamazoo, the man who had hired my husband and who belonged to another church. Not many days after our arrival our baby was born. The day after I and the new baby were released from the hospital I had to be rushed back because of a medical emergency. My husband called our bishop and immediately our small congregation went into action. Members of the Relief Society (our women’s organization) went to our home. One sister took our two day old baby and cared for her, arrangements were made for the care of our three year old and meals were brought in. We were extremely grateful, but not surprised! Because of the way our congregations are organized such service is not unusual and I have often been given opportunities to serve as well as be served.              

-Mormon Great Grandma