Friday, December 19, 2014

Lesson 25: The Birth of Jesus Christ: "Good Tidings of Great Joy"


In Relief Society this Sunday, we have the privilege of studying President Joseph Fielding Smith's teachings about the birth of the Savior.  I love his testimony of Christmas, that I think sums up the entire lesson:

"We rejoice in the birth of the Son of God among men.

We are grateful for the atoning sacrifice He worked out by the shedding of His own blood.

We are thankful that He has redeemed us from death and opened the door so that we may gain eternal life.

We pray for peace on earth, for the spread of the gospel, and for the final triumph of truth.

We plead with our Father's children everywhere to join with us in doing those things which will give us all peace in this world and eternal glory in the world to come."

Please watch and consider the following and come prepared to discuss on Sunday:
  • What do you do in your home to remember the Savior at Christmastime?
  • Take a few minutes to watch The Nativity  
  • What are your thoughts and feelings about Jesus Christ's willingness to come to the world as a baby and endure the difficulties of mortality?
  • Think about the connection between the Savior's birth and His Atonement.  How can this understanding influence our Christmas traditions?
  • What is one thing we can do to better allow the story of the Savior's birth to "permeate and influence our lives"?
We'll be discussing all of these "good tidings of great joy" on Sunday!  See you then!

Stephanie Johnson 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lesson 22: Prayer - A Commandment and a Blessing


What a blessing it has been to study the life and "faith in action" of the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith!  He was the first Prophet of God I got to see "in person" at a BYU Devotional in 1970.  He appeared very old to me.  He seemed almost shy.  His delivery was "quiet" in nature.  But I had the unmistakable impression that he was called as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Lord at that time.
Studying his offerings/insights on so many important gospel topics, I have come to revere him.

This week I get to teach Lesson 22: Prayer - A Commandment and a Blessing.  Please consider these thoughts:
1. If you could write a prayer out before you expressed it to the Lord, what would it say?
2. Why is PRAYER a commandment?
3. What is an "enthymeme" and how does it apply to how/why we study the gospel and/or the writings of our modern day prophets?
4. What is ONE WAY we can improve our communication with the Lord upon better understanding the material in Lesson 22 of the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith?

SEE you Sunday!

Jeanne Grant

Monday, December 8, 2014


As a follow up to yesterday's lesson, I wanted to post President Howard W Hunter's advice for us to keep the Spirit of Christ in our hearts this Christmas Season.

"This Christmas, mend a quarrel.  Seek out a forgotten friend.  Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.  Write a letter.  Give a soft answer.  Encourage youth.  Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.  Keep a promise.  Forgo a grudge.  Forgive an enemy.  Apologize.  Try to understand.  Examine your demands on others.  Think first of someone else.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Laugh a little more.  Express your gratitude.  Welcome a stranger.  Gladden the heart of a child.  Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.  Speak your love and then speak it again."

May your Christmas season be filled with the spirit of Christ.

Natalie Marstella

Monday, December 1, 2014


I loved listening to Bishop Monroe's lesson yesterday during the combined RS/Priesthood meeting.  During the lesson my mind drifted back to when I was a young mother of five small children, ranging in age from one year old to 8 years old.  Our family had just relocated to Houston as part of a job promotion.  We were there three weeks when my husband informed me that he wanted to pursue a different life which would not include me.  I remember the deepest of sorrows piercing my soul.

One day I took my children on a bike ride (an activity we so often did when they were young).  I had the one year old in a seat on my bike.  I had my 2-1/2 year old in a trailer behind me and the three older children were riding their own bikes.  As we rode that day, I was pleading with Heavenly Father for help and guidance.  I did not know how I would be able to move on.  I had been a stay-at-home mother.  I would now need to find employment.  How would I juggle work and being a good mother to these amazing five children?  How would I manage to raise the children on my own?  Would I have enough time to teach them Gospel truths so they would stay close to the church?

As I was pouring my heart out to Heavenly Father, a feeling of peace came over me.  I specifically remember the sun shining down on me and the cool breeze blowing on my face and through my hair.  While I was internalizing all of this beauty which was in stark contract to my emotions, I distinctly heard a voice which said to me, "Everything is going to be ok."  And that promise has been fulfilled.

While this experience was seventeen years ago, I can vividly recall all of the feelings and emotions of that day.  I am forever grateful for God's creations.  Anytime I go outside and the sun is shining and the wind blowing, no matter what is happening in my life I am immediately at peace.  I also learned from this experience that Heavenly Father knows me personally.  He knows my sorrows and heartaches as well as my triumphs.  I know he loves ME and cares for ME; and I know He answers prayers.

Sisters, I hope you will take the time to reflect upon your lives and to recall those times when you have felt of Heavenly Father's love for you.  I testify that He does care for each of us, that He does know each of us by name, that He does answer prayers, and that He is there for us whenever we need Him.  I am so thankful for "all His creations of which I'm a part!  Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me."

Natalie Marstella
RS President