Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Joy of Living a Christ Centered Life

Dear Sisters,

I am looking forward to seeing all of you Sunday. Let's be ready to bear our personal witness to these two conference talks: "The Joy of Living a Christ Centered Life" by Elder Richard J. Maynes (yes, I remember Sister Grant did a wonderful job teaching this talk, I want to add an additional concept to this talk. Also, "What Lack I Yet?" By Elder Larry Lawrence. I see us making Christ the center of our life, changing our selves to make this possible and being humble enough to seek what changes we need to make.

With Love,
Shirlee Chaillet

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"Yielding Our Hearts to God"

This Sunday's lesson is from Sister Neill F. Marriott's conference talk, "Yielding Our Hearts to God". When we offer our broken hearts to Jesus Christ, He accepts our offering. He takes us back. No matter what losses, wounds, and rejection we have suffered. His grace and healing are mightier than all.

Thanks, Launa Turley

Friday, December 18, 2015

"A Christ-Centered Life"

December seems to be about all things Christmas. So, it is fortuitous that the lesson this week for Relief Society is - "A Christ-Centered Life" - Teachings of the Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Lesson 24. He highlights his thoughts with this quote "The best measure of true greatness is how Christlike we are".

Much has happened in our ward and to our ward in this last week. It is a time to reach for GREATNESS. It is a time to remember and emulate CHRIST.

We will spend time on Sunday reminding ourselves, through the words of President Benson, how to put Christ in the CENTER of our Dallas 4th Ward family; in the CENTER of our Christmas celebration; and in the CENTER of our lives!

 MUCH affection, Jeanne Grant

Friday, December 4, 2015

"The Season of Gifts"

The lesson is on the Savior and the gifts He has given us. Be thinking about the teachings of Jesus and what has had meaning for you and impacted your life. Also what does Christmas mean to you?

We give at Christmas not only because of tradition but also because it makes us feel good. This giving represents something elemental in our concept of the Christ’s life and virtue. It is an expression of our esteem for his self-denial, and his benevolence. Our giving, petty as it may be in comparison with his, serves to keep alive in men a virtue which is essential in the whole Christian philosophy. Perhaps every Christmas we should review the gifts of the Savior to humanity.

-Karen Armstrong

Friday, October 30, 2015

“A Plea to My Sisters,” by President Russell M Nelson October 2015 General Conference

“Thirty-six years ago, in 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: 'Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.'

"My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw!”

How does President Kimball’s prophecy on women along with President Nelson’s comment make you feel?

What responsibilities have we, as women, been given?

In this talk President Nelson gives “A Plea & A Promise.” What does he ask of the women of the church? What blessings does he promise?

Sisters, I am thankful to be a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Lord has a plan for each of us. We are important to Him. His work cannot be done without women.

Please read this General Conference talk and come prepared to share your thoughts as we help teach one another about the greatness of women!

Love, Sister Marstella

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come

I am excited to discuss Neil L. Anderson's talk Thy Kingdom Come from the April 2015 Sunday Afternoon Conference Session. I have enjoyed studying his simple message about recognizing the Lord's hand in preparing for the second coming of our Savior. I was especially touched by his words:

"We are far from perfect, but we are not casual in our faith. We believe in Him. We worship Him. We follow Him. We deeply love Him. His cause is the greatest cause in all the world . . . We rejoice in these days and pray that we will be able to courageously face our struggles and uncertainties." 

I loved the faith-promoting stories Elder Anderson told about the faithful saints in regions around the world where the Lord's work and kingdom are moving forward. I invite each of you to ponder his questions:

"Can you see the hand of God moving His work forward? Can you see the hand of God in the lives of the missionaries in Haiti or the Kaivaivatanas in Thailand? Can you see the hand of God in the lives of the Assards and the Affoues? Can you see the hand of God in your own life?" 

With Elder Anderson, I express my gratitude for the hand of God in my life. Each of us anticipates our Savior's second coming with bright faith. Each of us plays an instrumental part in preparing for that day as we serve in our seemingly small roles and strive to share the sweet message of the gospel. I sincerely love each of you and I'm grateful for who you are.

 Love, Claira

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Airplane Cord

President Ward related the following story in Sunday Morning Stake Conference held at the Richardson Stake Center on 10/18/2015:

When he was a kid, President Ward flew a model airplane with his family. The model airplane had a cord attached to it which held the controls for the airplane. President Ward was flying the airplane when the cord came loose and the airplane started diving toward him. He ran to get away from the airplane but it kept chasing him across the field. President Ward smiled as he recounted his older family member laughing and retelling this story "until the day he died."

The cord which controlled the airplane can be likened until the following practices in our lives:

1) Family Home Evening Young couples should start their weekly Family Home Evening practice as soon as they are married. Don't wait until kids come around to establish good habits. Also, kids can help remind parents of FHE.

2) Family Prayer We were told specifically not to go to bed without Family Prayer. There is often one person in the family who pushes family prayer more than others and President Ward offered encouragement to that person to keep it up. Another reason why nightly Family Prayer is so important is because "It is the solution to anger."

3) Reading Scriptures President Ward referenced the following talk by Richard G. Scott about scriptures being "packets of light." Here is the link to that conference talk from October 2011. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/the-power-of-scripture?lang=eng

4) Attend Church/Keep the Sabbath Day Holy We have been recently warned by the First Presidency about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. Here are some striking things that President Ward said about church attendance: "Don't find a reason to miss church. It's just too easy." "Not attending church is a chink in the your marital armor."

5) Fulfill Your Callings Callings help us to grow, change and learn to serve. We shouldn't turn down callings because we're just not up for it now. When you commit to an activity, do not skip it. The most pointed remark was when he said, "If you don't do your calling, who will?"

6) Attend the Temple Often Marriages are weakened when couples do not attend the temple. If you don't regularly hear your covenants repeated, how do you expect to keep them?

Other specific words of warning and counsel from President Ward: Do NOT contact old boyfriends or girlfriends on social media. There is no good reason for this.

Challenges for the future: For all members twelve years old and up President Ward issued a challenge to prepare one name for the temple between now and the end of the year. He also reminded us of his previous challenge to read Preach My Gospel.

-Rachel Roark

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lesson 19 Leadership

President Ezra Taft Benson said that in The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints there are no spectators. We are all given an opportunity to preside, teach, serve and minister to members of a ward or stake.  Please read the lesson where President Beson, gives us many of the attributes and skills needed to be an effective leader.

 What callings have you had during your time as a member of our church?

 What skills or Christ-like attributes have you developed as you have served in these callings?

 President Benson taught that Church leaders should follow Christ’s example as a delegator.
How does delegation build the Kingdom of God?

 In what ways have you benefited from responsibilities given to you? Have you personally been affected by a great Bishop, Relief Society President, Teacher, Visiting Teacher? Why were they effective?

 We are all in this together – Let’s have a great discussion Sunday.

 With love, Karen Bateman

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

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This week we will discuss Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet by Jeffrey R. Holland's from the April 2015 general conference. I encourage you to study and ponder the talk.

The imagery in this talk is powerful. Consider the metaphor in your own life:

Have there been times in your life when you felt you were climbing a "sheer canyon wall" without safety ropes or climbing gear? Feeling thus "stranded" with no way to move forward or backward, have you mustered your energy and made one final jump? Have you ever felt the metaphorical "loose sand on flat stone" beneath your fingers? 
". . . Then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing [your] wrists . . . Those strong brotherly arms saved [your] life that day as [you] dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.” 
I have felt those "brotherly arms" extend many times in my life, and I am grateful for the power that has come through the atonement. We are not stranded on a sheer canyon wall. We do not need to jump as high as we can to save ourselves, nor can we. The atonement is truly wonderful! 

Along with studying Holland's talk, I encourage you to study 2 Nephi chapter 2 where it teaches in greater detail about The Fall and The Atonement. I am grateful for the testimony and spirit each of you bring. 

Claira Wilson

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Inconspicuous Callings"

Toenails are important. Most of the time people don't contemplate the magnitude of the importance of toenails. After losing the toenail from my big toe due to running extensively, the true functionality of a toenail struck me. Actually, the end of my shoe struck the place where my AWOL toenail was supposed to reside. Toenails protect the highly vascular and innervated nailbed and being without one is seriously painful.

In the chapter fifteen of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the many members of the body working together to achieve harmony. He likens the parts of the body to members of Christ's church. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of feeling that our calling isn't as important as someone else's more conspicuous calling. With our flawed earthly logic we assume that being a second counselor in a presidency couldn't possibly be as important as being the president. We think that being an assistant or a clerk isn't as important as the person who directs the assistant or clerk. I contend that these more inconspicuous callings are as important as the aforementioned toenail. Let us strive to do a better job at all of our callings in order to further the work of the kingdom. It has become painfully obvious to me that every toe needs its toenail in order to move the body forward with ease.

Rachel Roark

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Chastity - Lesson 7

The animal kingdom has no impulse control. Animals consume, fight and mate simply whenever the instinct hits them. Today's world holds up this same behavior for humans as enlightened, liberated, evolved and as a "sophisticated" living choice!!

Where we have standards to reach up to, we hold ourselves to morals, strive for codes of conduct, and use self-restraint ~ yet we're considered living in an oppressive state dictated by an over-reaching church. Morals and standards require significantly higher efforts, self-motivation and deeper thought processes than is required of animals.

President Benson uses some strong words and also animal imagery in this lesson: "Sexual immorality is a viper that is striking not only in the world, but in the Church today. Not to admit it [or address it head-on] is to be dangerously complacent or is like putting one’s head in the sand."

Those of us who have children and grandchildren cannot be complacent, we must warn, warn and warn again so that we will be found worthy at the last day. We must also stand before our Heavenly Father pure and worthy to enter His Kingdom.

1. What does Pres. Benson say is the Church’s doctrine on Chastity?

2. What are the qualities of Chastity?

3. What are some of the “joyful” consequences of living the Law of Chastity?

4. What is the Power of Purity? Think of the challenges you faced with Chastity as a young woman- what kept you chaste?

Come lets reason together on the important of the Gospel Law.

 See you Sunday with love, Karen Bateman

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Stay by the Tree" - Elder Kevin W Pearson


Please read this April Conference 2015 talk and come prepared to discuss these concerns:

If enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to gaining eternal life – why is being faithful such a struggle?

Why are distractions and deception such powerful tools of Satan? 

What is a key to our spiritual survival? 

What does it mean to be “politically correct” yet “spiritually lost”?

What is “casual obedience” and how does it affect our ability to deepen our conversion?

Let’s remember and recommit how to “STAY BY THE TREE” – together.

Much Affection

– Jeanne Grant ( substituting for the awesome D4 RS Presidency)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Returning to Faith

Dear Sisters,

This Sunday we will be discussing and pondering on the words from an April General Conference talk titled, Returning to Faith, given by Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President.

Sister Wixom recalls and highlights the journey of faith and conversion shared by a young mother in a Relief Society meeting who grew up in the church. The young mother shared that her constant quest was to know why, and she began to question some of the very foundations of her faith. Through all of this her parents gave her space while she searched for understanding and ward members gave her love and nurtured her.

There is a key element in this talk I found that touched my own heart, that this young mother was teachable, had an inquiring mind and was a proactive seeker of answers. This sister during her struggles in what she believes, felt her deceased grandparents were nudging her and saying, “Focus on what you know.”

We all have a unique journey of faith. President Monson counsels in his talk, “Find Joy in the Journey, and let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family.”

Sisters I invite and encourage you to read and ponder this talk by Sister Wixom and come to Relief Society ready to share your personal examples of faith or of someone you know, whether it is past or present so that we can all be uplifted and edified by personal strength and testimonies.

I look forward to this opportunity to substitute teach in Relief Society for Claira Wilson while she is in Utah.


 Sharon Morales

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"The Sacred Callings of Fathers and Mothers"

Coming this Sunday is Lesson 15 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual “The Sacred Callings of Fathers and Mothers”. Please take the time to read the manual this week and bring it with you to class. This lesson is chuck full of wonderful advice on the calling of parenthood. President Benson gives us 10 suggestions for fathers and 10 suggestions for mothers on magnifying those stewardships. Please read them and see how many you have encorporated in your role as a mother.

This lesson, as all of President Benson’s lessons speak to the “ideal”. in this case, the celestial family. Sisters, I testify that whatever state you find yourself in at this moment, excellent parenting is a skill-set you will eventually need in the Celestial Kingdom.

President Benson declared, “There is no more noble work than that of a good and God-fearing mother.” What examples have you seen of noble motherhood? As worldly attitudes about motherhood change, what can we do to uphold the sacred responsibilities of mothers? We were all reared in homes with mothers and fathers. maybe only a mother, perhaps a grandmother – what did you like and admire about the home you were reared in?

What greater tribute could be paid to mothers than the stripling warriors did as we read in Alma 56:47-48 “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers then they did upon their lives: yes they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubts our mothers knew it.”

Do we know that God will deliver us? Have we taught it to our children? Let's discuss, Sunday. 

With love,
 Karen Bateman

Friday, August 7, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 14: Marriage and Family -- Ordained of God


This week in Relief Society, we will be discussing Chapter 14 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual, "Marriage and Family -- Ordained of God". 

President Benson teaches, "[t]he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints views the family as the most important organization in time and all eternity. The Church teaches that everything should center in and around the family." Sisters, these are bold and powerful principles!

He also taught, "God intended the family to be eternal. With all my soul, I testify to the truth of that declaration. May He bless us to strengthen our homes and the lives of each family member so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father in His celestial home that we are all there -- father, mother, sister, brother, all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled. We are all back home."

On Sunday we will discuss these principles and share ways we can practice and teach these things in our own homes and to our own families so that we will have no empty chairs in the eternities.

-Stephanie Johnson

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Broken Things to Mend"

This Sunday’s lesson is “Broken Things to Mend” by Jeffery R. Holland. It comes from April 2006 General Conference.

Sisters, this is one of my very favorite talks given by Elder Holland. Please read this, print it and put it into your hearts. Every time I take a moment to read it and ponder the words a new thought comes to me. Please come ready with a prayer in your heart and be ready to participate.

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” In this promise, that introductory phrase, “come unto me,” is crucial. It is the key to the peace and rest we seek. Indeed, when the resurrected Savior gave His sermon at the temple to the Nephites in the New World, He began, “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

It seems clear that the essence of our duty and the fundamental requirement of our mortal life is captured in these brief phrases from any number of scenes in the Savior’s mortal ministry. He is saying to us, “Trust me, learn of me, do what I do. Then, when you walk where I am going,” He says, “we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have. If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness,” He promises. “I will give you answers to your prayers. I will give you rest to your souls.”

-Karen Armstrong

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Why Marriage, Why Family"

This Sunday we have the opportunity to study D. Todd Christofferson's talk, "Why Marriage, Why Family" from the April general conference of this year.

I invite you to study and ponder this modern scripture so that the Holy Ghost can teach you the truths that this talk contains. I also invite you to take some time to really study and ponder the doctrine of the plan of salvation and consider the role that marriage plays in that great plan. As you do this, consider Christofferson's questions, 'In what way does marriage between a man and a woman transcend their love for one another and their own happiness to become “a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind”? In what sense does it come “from above, from God”?'

As I read this talk, I was particularly impressed with the eternal significance of marriage in the Lord's Plan of Salvation. The spirit brought clarity to my mind as I read Christofferson's words: 'A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive . . . The social science case for marriage and for families headed by a married man and woman is compelling. And so “we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” But our claims for the role of marriage and family rest not on social science but on the truth that they are God’s creation.'

Finally, I invite you to consider how you can protect your own family from a "seemingly infinite array of immoral thoughts and acts" surrounding sexuality, marriage, and family.

I look forward to our discussion and pray that spirit can teach each of us the truths that we need to learn and how we can apply them in our lives.

Claira Wilson

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Priceless Blessings of the House of the Lord

"The blessings of the house of the Lord are eternal. They are of the highest importance to us because it is in the temples that we obtain God’s greatest blessings pertaining to eternal life. Temples are really the gateways to heaven."

Sisters we look forward to Sister Doerk's lesson tomorrow and encourage each of you to read the lesson "Priceless Blessings of the House of the Lord" and come prepared to participate.

Friday, July 10, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 12: Seek the Spirit in All You Do


This week in Relief Society, we will be discussing Chapter 12 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual, "Seek the Spirit in All You Do".

There is so much wisdom and doctrine for us to discuss on Sunday, but I love President Benson's counsel to mission presidents, and I think this can apply to each of us in our own spheres:

"I have said so many times to my brethren that the Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit and magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability. ... Your greatest help will come from the Lord Himself as you supplicate and plead with him in humble prayer. As you are driven to your knees again and again, asking Him for divine help in administering your mission, you will feel the Spirit, you will get your answer from above, your mission will prosper spiritually because of your dependence and your reliance on Him."

As you study this lesson, please pray that each of us will have the constant companionship of Spirit, especially as we discuss these things during Relief Society on Sunday, so that as we learn and share and testify, we will receive the inspiration the Lord has for us!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Sabbath Day

Sisters we enjoyed a wonderful talk from Bishop Monroe this past Sunday. During Relief Society this coming Sunday we will discuss more on the Sabbath Day.

Please take a moment to read Elder Russell M Nelson's talk on the Sabbath Day in April 2015 General Conference. (CLICK HERE to read the talk)

 As you read this talk, please ponder these thoughts:

 What did the Savior mean when He said that “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath”?

 How do we hallow the Sabbath day?

Ezekiel 20:20 "And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God."

How can we know if an activity is appropriate for the Sabbath?

How can the promise that the "fullness of the earth" be ours?

How can you ensure that your behavior on the Sabbath will lead to joy and rejoicing?

How do we make the Sabbath Day a delight?

What sign will you give to the Lord to show your love for Him?

Sisters I love you and I look forward to discussing together our thoughts on the Sabbath Day.

Sister Marstella

Friday, June 26, 2015

Parable of the Sower

Sisters, I am excited to study and discuss Dallin H. Oaks' talk about the Parable of the Sower on Sunday. The fun thing about parables is the multitude of interpretations and applications that can be found through in-depth study. I have experienced this in a profound way as I have prepared this lesson this month.

I would encourage each of you to read the talk and take some time to really ponder what kind of "soil" your heart is today, this week, this hour. Think of times when your soil has been stony, thorny, or rich and good.

Dallin H. Oaks said, "How can we prepare ourselves to be that good ground and to have that good harvest? .. . We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children."

- Claira Wilson

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Come listen to a prophet's voice and hear the word of God . . . .

Sisters we declare to the world that we have a Prophet of God living on the earth today; that he holds the holy priesthood of God, and has the power and authority to speak for God to us. In Amos 3:7 it says "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto His servants the prophets." We can see through the The Family, Proclamation to the World, which is one of the newer declarations by a Prophet of God, that our prophet knew and understood how quickly the degradation and coarsening of society would happen, and what a horrific attack would be waged against the family, the most effective unit of not only the Church but of society.

We have had 16 prophets since the beginning of the Restoration of the Gospel, but the most important prophet to each of us is the prophet at the time we are living. Why? How many prophets have you lived through?

We sustain President Thomas S. Monson as the Prophet, Seer and Revelator, who holds all of the keys of the priesthood. We also sustain his two counselors and the twelve apostles as prophets, seers and revelators.

Can you think of a time that a prophet spoke and you immediately changed your actions to be more obedient? What blessings came from that?

President Benson talks about the "Grand Key" which, if honored, will crown each of us with God's Glory and bring us victorious against the fury of Satan. What is the Grand Key?

I love your input sisters. Please read the lesson and come Sunday to share your testimonies of the privilege to have a Living Prophet of God to guide us in these latter days.

With love, Karen Bateman

Thursday, June 11, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 10: Flooding the Earth and Our Lives with the Book of Mormon


This week in Relief Society, we will be discussing Chapter 10 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual, "Flooding the Earth and Our Lives with the Book of Mormon". I love the progression of the recent lessons we've been studying from President Benson: learning about Jesus Christ, our Savior, then about Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration, then the power of God's word, specifically the Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion, and now, how we can flood our lives and the Earth with the Book of Mormon!

President Benson says, "We have an increasing number who have been convinced, through the Book of Mormon, that Jesus is the Christ. Now we need an increasing number who will use the Book of Mormon to become committed to Christ. We need to be convinced and committed." He then says, "I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it."

Sisters, I echo President Benson's challenge. Please take some time before our lesson on Sunday to prayerfully consider what steps you can take to bring the Book of Mormon more fully into your own life, and come prepared to share the inspiration you have received.

See you Sunday!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes"

Dear Sisters,

Last month we discussed some of the attributes of our Savior.  We will be discussing more of his attributes on Sunday.  Did any of you choose an attribute and work to develop it since our last lesson?  If so, share that with us on Sunday.  If not, start today.  We are using the "Preach My Gospel" text to learn more about our Savior's character (see lesson on developing Christ like attributes).

See you Sunday.


Thursday, May 21, 2015


We have the glorious opportunity to discuss again the Book of Mormon, keystone of our religion. Ezra Taft Benson said

“we should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings.”

Prophets have said we can get “nearer to God” by reading the Book of Mormon, than any other book - why then wouldn't we read this book first? And daily?

For our discussion Sunday, ponder some of these questions?

1. What specifically have you learned from this great book?

2. Why is the Book of Mormon called The New Covenant?

3. What doctrines are clarified by the Book of Mormon?

4. What has the Lord,himself,said about the Book of Mormon?

5. How has reading the Book of Mormon made you more like Christ?

6. Who are your heroes in the Book of Mormon? Why?

 Sisters, we all love the Book of Mormon, let’s discuss Sunday, just how blessed we are to have it in “our day”.

Love you, Sister Karen Bateman

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"Is Not This the Fast that I have Chosen?"

This week we are studying "Is Not This the Fast that I have Chosen?" given by President Eyring during the April 2015 General Conference. He started out his talk with Isaiah's words about fasting in Isaiah 58, where we are promised that our fast can:

 -loose the bands of wickedness
 -undo heavy burdens
 -free us from oppression
 -break every yoke that binds us

I would invite each of you to think of the very personal and intimate needs of yourself and your family. Applying this verse, think of the ways that you could be blessed by the law of the fast in greater measure.

I would also invite each of you to sit down at some point this week and prayerfully read and ponder both president eyring's talk and Isaiah chapter 58. Allow the spirit to teach you about the power of fasting by bringing back to your memory the experiences you have already had with fasting, as well as giving you a hope for the blessings you can receive in the future through observance of the law.

I am continually so grateful for each of you. When you share your experiences and bear your testimonies during relief society, the spirit carries the simple truths of the gospel to my heart and broadens my understanding. I look forward to learning about fasting with you on Sunday.

Claira Wilson

Friday, May 8, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 8: The Power of the Word


This week in Relief Society, we will be discussing Chapter 8 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual, "The Power of the Word". I love this lesson that teaches us about the power that is to be found in the word of God and the promised blessings if we are diligent in studying the scriptures! President Benson says:

 "My dear brethren [ and sisters!], this is an answer to the great challenge of our time. The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life." (emphasis added)

President Benson shares counsel from other prophets and apostles and then adds:

 "I add my voice to these wise and inspired brethren and say to you that one of the most important things you can do as priesthood leaders [ and righteous women] is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found therein. There are few other efforts that will bring greater dividends to your calling. There are few other ways to gain greater inspiration as you serve." (emphasis added)

On Sunday we will talk about these principles and share our own testimonies about the power in the word of God and how we can have more of that power in our daily lives.

 See you Sunday!
 Stephanie Johnson

Monday, April 27, 2015

"How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes"

Dear Sisters,

On May 3rd Karen Armstrong and I will be teaching a lesson from The Preach My Gospel Manual. The Stake Presidency has requested we read this book 2015. As a Relief Society Presidency we want to contribute to this goal by also teaching from this wonderful book. Sister Marstella has already taught one lesson and will be teaching one more this year. Karen and I will teach “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes?” (Chapter 6)

We will teach about the attributes of Faith in Jesus Christ, Hope,Charity and Love and Virtue on May 3rd. On June 3rd we will complete the lesson by teaching about Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence and Obedience.

Please read this chapter so you can share your thoughts and feelings during our lesson. We want you to know that we (Natalie, Karen, Lindsey and I love each of each very much and you are in our prayers regularly.

Shirlee and Karen

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Which Way Do You Face?"

This Sunday's lesson is based on the General Conference talk "Which Way Do You Face?" by Lynn G. Robbins from October 2014 General Conference. I am personally really excited for this lesson because this was my favorite talk from the October conference. I can look back and see that my life has been changed as I have studied and tried to apply the principles taught.

In one of my favorite quotes from the talk, Robbins uses Christ's life as our example of conduct. Robbins says "The Savior, the only perfect being who ever lived, was the most fearless. In His life, He was confronted by scores of accusers but never yielded to their finger of scorn . . . In every way possible, He was His Father’s perfect disciple. He was so perfect in representing His Father that to know the Savior was also to know the Father. . . May His inspiring example strengthen us against the pitfalls of flattery from without or of conceit from within. May it give us courage to never cower or fawn at the feet of intimidation. May it inspire us to go about doing good as anonymously as possible and not 'aspire to the honors of men' And may His incomparable example help us always remember which is 'the first and great commandment'"

I would encourage you to read or listen to the talk in preparation for this week's lesson. As you read, you could ponder the following questions:

  • In what ways have do you practice the "first and great commandment" to love the Lord? 
  • How have you stood up and looked to God under the immense pressures of the world, despite fear of judgment or scorn? 

Thanks so much for your preparation and diligence in bringing a strong spirit with you to Relief Society lessons. I look forward to learning from each of you tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lesson 7: Joseph Smith, an Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

John the Revelator in the New Testament, testified before the Lord comes again that a heavenly messenger would visit the earth, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and every nation,and kindred, and tongue,and people. We as Latter-day Saint women understand that angel to be the Angel Moroni, who appeared to the young Prophet Joseph Smith, and over a period of time, tutored him, from the Lord to be the Prophet of the Restoration.

We love and honor the Prophet Joseph Smith, and appreciate that he sealed his testimony with his blood. Do you personally have a testimony of this great Prophet? Have you borne that testimony to your children and grandchildren?

Ezra Taft Benson said that the first Vision was the greatest event in the world since what?
What is the most singular evidence that Joseph was a Prophet?
What blessings have come to you because of the Restoration of the Gospel?
When you are challenged with why you are a member of this church, what do you learn from the Prophet Joseph?

If you have read any sacred or fun stories about the Prophet Joseph, please come prepared to share them! Please read lesson 7 and also the Joseph Smith History at the end of your triple combination, right after Abraham and just before the index.

See you Sunday, Love Karen Bateman

Friday, April 10, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 6: Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer


This week in Relief Society, we will be discussing Chapter 6 in the Ezra Taft Benson manual, "Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer". In the lesson, President Benson shares his own testimony of Jesus Christ:

With all my soul, I love Him.

I humbly testify that He is the same loving, compassionate Lord today as when He walked the dusty roads of Palestine. He is close to His servants on this earth. He cares about and loves each of us today. Of that you can be assured.

He lives today as our Lord, our Master, our Savior, our Redeemer, and our God.

God bless us all to believe in Him, to accept Him, to worship Him, to fully trust in Him, and to follow Him.

The lesson then explains:

This testimony of Jesus Christ was the foundation of President Benson’s life. It shaped his priorities, guided his decisions, and helped him through trials. It provided perspective on the purpose of mortality and confidence in the promises and blessings of eternal life.

Is the testimony of Jesus Christ the foundation of your life? Does it shape your priorities, guide your decisions and help you through trials? Please take some time to read the beautiful teachings in this lesson and come prepared on Sunday to share your thoughts and feelings as we discuss how we can better make the Savior the foundation of our lives.

Stephanie Johnson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Relief Society Birthday Photos!

This week's lesson is based on Elder Ballard's recent talk at General Conference. I would encourage each of you to follow THIS LINK to watch, listen to, or read the talk.

Elder Ballard gave a powerful analogy that compared The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to a boat. He said ""Brothers and sisters, stay in the boat, use your life jackets, and hold on with both hands. Avoid distractions! And if any one of you have fallen out of the boat, we will seek you, find you, minister to you, and pull you safely back onto the Old Ship Zion, where God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are at the helm and will guide us right . . ."

As I read this talk, I pondered the times that I have "jumped out of the boat". I also thought of some of the people in my life who are currently "overboard". I ask that you ponder your own experiences and think about the following questions:

  • What do you do on a regular basis to made sure you are "staying in the boat" and "holding on with both hands"? 
  • What can you do to help those who have "jumped out of the boat"?
  • What blessings come into our lives as we heed the council to "stay in the boat"?

Thank you, again, for all you do to prepare for the lessons. The spirit that you bring with you on Sunday is the true teacher for you and those around you.

Claira Wilson

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Principles of True Repentance"

Sisters -

After almost 3 1/2 months, I am so happy to be healthy and back in the Dallas 4th Ward again. The lesson this week is Number 5 in the Ezra Taft Benson Manual entitled "Principles of True Repentance" As you read through the lesson - Please ponder the following questions:

1. What principle of the gospel is repentance?
2. What is the principle that precedes true repentance? Why?
3. How does "Godly Sorrow"differ from feeling regret for something you have done wrong?
4. What are the two separate but different parts of true repentance?
5. What prominent role does Satan play in repentance?
6. How do we qualify to be members of Christ's Church?
7. How is a "Mighty Change of Heart" different from a change in behavior?

Take time to prayerfully consider your own life, what needs to be corrected in order to return and live with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ?

General Conference is almost here and I still miss Neal Maxwell, and his beautiful words, I close with four quotes from him on Repentance:

"Repentance requires both turning away from evil and turning to God. . . Initially this turning reflects progress from telestial to terrestrial behavior, and later on to celestial behavior. As the sins of the telestial world are left behind, the focus falls evermore steadily upon sins of omission, which often keep us from full consecration." What is a sin of omission Sisters?

"God ask us now to give up only those things which, if clung to, will destroy us!"

"Cleansing repentant circumstances are to be welcomed even if the scrubbing is painful"

"When you and I make unwise decisions, if we have frail faith we not only demand to be rescued but we want to be rescued privately, painlessly,quickly - or at least to be beaten with only a few strips." (2 Nephi 28:8) Sisters how can we really feel forgiven until we first feel responsible? How can we really learn from our own experiences unless these lessons are owned up to?

See you Sunday,
Sister Karen Bateman

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Plan of Salvation

Some days we may feel overwhelmed by the burdens which lay at our feet. We may be wondering "Why me?" or "How will I ever get through this?" At times such as these, I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of Heavenly Father's plan for His children.

In Preach My Gospel, we are taught that "The Plan of Salvation teaches us where we came from, why we are here on earth, and where we will go after this life. It maps our eternal journey through premortality, mortal life, death, resurrection, and to our life in the eternities. The plan also explains what our loving Father in Heaven does to help us make this journey successfully so that we can return to His presence and become like Him. The plan focuses on the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ in overcoming the effects of the Fall and making eternal life possible for us."

Sisters, in preparation for Sunday's Relief Society lesson, I hope you will read "Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation" from the book Preach My Gospel. I look forward to discussing this amazing principle of the Gospel with you.

Natalie Marstella

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Loving Others and Living with Differences" -- Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"The teaching to love one another had been a central teaching of the Savior’s ministry . . . But the commandment to love others as He had loved His flock was to His disciples—and is to us—a challenge that was unique . . . Why is it so difficult to have Christlike love for one another? It is difficult because we must live among those who do not share our beliefs and values and covenant obligations . . . We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We must live in the world because, as Jesus taught in a parable, His kingdom is “like leaven,” whose function is to raise the whole mass by its influence (see Luke 13:21; Matthew 13:33; see also 1 Corinthians 5:6–8). His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices." (Dallin H. Oaks, October 2014)

This Sunday we will be studying "Loving Others and Living with Differences" by Dallin H. Oaks. I invite each of you to read through the talk, pray for guidance to understand the principles you can apply more fully in your life, and come to Relief Society prepared to discuss what you learned.

I appreciate everyone's dedicated preparation and contribution to our lessons. I leave each Sunday feeling humbled and edified as the Holy Ghost teaches me through your comments and testimonies.

Claira Wilson

Thursday, February 12, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 3 "Freedom of Choice, an Eternal Principle" & Chapter 4 "Living Joyfully in Troubled Times"


This Sunday we have the privilege of studying two lessons from President Benson! We will be discussing Chapter 3 "Freedom of Choice, an Eternal Principle" and Chapter 4 "Living Joyfully in Troubled Times". I love these principles and I particularly love how well the dovetail together. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from these lessons.

"We are free to choose, but we are not free to alter the consequences of those choices. Clearly, there would be little trial of faith if we received our full reward immediately for every goodly deed, or immediate retribution for every sin. But that there will be an eventual reckoning for each, there is no question."

"Therefore, a man would do well to examine himself to see that he is in harmony with all of God's laws. Every law kept brings a particular blessing. Every law broken brings a particular blight."

"The real issues of today are, therefore, not economic or political. They are spiritual -- meaning that man must learn to conform to the laws which God has given to mankind."

"Happiness must be earned from day to day. But it is worth the effort."

"Do we realize that happiness here and now consists in freely, lovingly, joyfully acknowledging God's will for us -- and doing it in all ways and all affairs big and small? To live perfectly is to live happily. To live happily is to grow in spiritual strength toward perfection. Every action performed in accord with God's will is part of that growth."

"We will never be alone if we live as we should, because our Father will always be with us to bless us. He wants us to be successful. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to achieve the good goals we set. He will do His part if we do our part."

Please read and ponder these lessons and come prepared to discuss the parts that touched your hearts! See you Sunday!

Stephanie Johnson

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Hastening the Lord's Work within Our Own Souls"

Contributed By Robert L. Millet, Church News contributor

While “real growth” or deep conversion is surely the product of consistent and sustained gospel living, what does it look like? How might we know if we are, through the years, experiencing real growth? What might we begin noticing in our own discipleship?

In recent years we have been reminded by our leaders that a significant prophecy is being fulfilled in our day. The Lord said: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” (D&C 88:73). To hasten is to urge on, to accelerate, to move or act quickly.

Specifically, the Brethren have called upon the Latter-day Saints to hasten the work of (1) reaching out to those who may not now enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel; (2) extending the blessings of that gospel to those who have died without the opportunity to receive its requisite covenants and ordinances; and (3) searching out and caring for the poor and needy among us.

These selfless acts—missionary work, temple work, and compassionate service—are part of what we are called upon to do as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle James, brother of our Lord, explained that this is what true Christians do; this is what he called “pure religion.” But there was one more thing involved in pure religion—namely, keeping ourselves unspotted from the vices of the world (Joseph Smith Translation, James 1:27). This facet of the Christian faith has to do with personal spiritual development.

In addition to hearing much about hastening the work, we have been told how important it is to encourage and foster “real growth,” that is, deep conversion, complete consecration to God and His Church and kingdom. While such growth is surely the product of consistent and sustained gospel living, what does it look like? How might we know if we are, through the years, experiencing real growth? What might we begin noticing in our own discipleship? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

1. There begins to develop within our hearts a desire to do more to further the work of the Lord and to be better people than we are. This seems to be what Abraham felt when he wrote of how he had previously been a follower of righteousness but had felt the need “to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge” (Abraham 1:2). That is, Abraham wanted to do more and be more.

2. We gradually begin to view commandments, laws, and Church directives differently, to no longer see them as guard rails, barricades, or hindrances to life’s enjoyments, but instead as helps, guides, and kind gestures of a benevolent Father in Heaven. To those Saints who had begun to gather to the land of Missouri, those who had come out of the world and chosen the gospel path, the Savior promised that they would be “crowned with blessings from above, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time” (D&C 59:4). We certainly cannot enjoy the blessings of living a law we do not keep or one of which we are ignorant. John the Beloved explained that “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome, oppressive]” (1 John 5:3).

3. The more we search the scriptures, we begin to see patterns, connections, parallels, and principles for living. Holy writ becomes more and more relevant to everyday life. In a sense, the words of the prophets become our words. Many of us can still remember the final sermon and testimony of Elder Bruce R. McConkie. As he began to unfold the truths associated with Christ’s atoning sacrifice, Elder McConkie said:

“In speaking of these wondrous things I shall use my own words, though you may think they are the words of scripture, words spoken by other apostles and prophets. “True it is they were first proclaimed by others, but they are now mine, for the Holy Spirit of God has borne witness to me that they are true, and it is now as though the Lord had revealed them to me in the first instance. I have thereby heard his voice and know his word” (“The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” April 1985 general conference).

4. Our personal gospel study becomes more and more enlightening and faith affirming, so that regularly during the week we are fed and spiritually strengthened. Because of this, our attendance at Church—in which we partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, receive instruction and inspiration from those who teach us, and enjoy sweet association with members of the household of faith—need not be our only opportunity for building gospel scholarship and being edified. Sabbath worship thus becomes the capstone for a spiritually productive week.

5. We begin to be more secure and settled in our faith, less troubled by unanswered questions; in short, we begin to have doubt banished from our hearts and minds. Cyprian, one of the great defenders of the faith following the apostolic period, described his own experience: “Into my heart, purified of all sin, there entered a light which came from on high, and then suddenly, and in a marvelous manner, I saw certainty succeed doubt” (quoted by Harold B. Lee, in Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 57).

6. We begin to feel a deeper sense of love for and loyalty toward the apostles and prophets, those charged to guide the destiny of the kingdom of God. As the Lord explained in modern revelation (D&C 1:38; 21:5), their words truly become His words. Their counsel becomes His counsel. President Harold B. Lee was fond of teaching, “That man [or woman] is not fully converted until [they see] the power of God resting upon the leaders of this Church and that witness goes down into [their hearts] like fire” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee[1996], 520). We begin to see and feel about world conditions and the state of society as the Brethren do.

7. With the passing of time and as we mature spiritually, our faith is transformed into certainty. Indeed, our receipt of personal revelation and our regular encounter with the Spirit of God leads us to that point where our faith begins to be “unshaken in the Lord” (Enos 1:11; see also Jacob 7:5). Further, that conviction manifests itself in commitment. Because true faith entails a decision (see Neil L. Andersen,“It's True, Isn't It? Then What Else Matters?” April 2007 general conference), it becomes with us, as it was with the early Latter-day Saints: It is the kingdom of God or nothing!

On more than one occasion I heard President Gordon B. Hinckley comment on the need for the Latter-day Saints to get the gospel from their heads to the hearts. Yes, we as followers of Jesus Christ need to have a reason for the hope within us (see 1 Peter 3:15)—an understanding of the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel that is as stimulating and satisfying to the mind as it is soothing and settling to the heart. In addition, we need a witness and an assurance that produce and result in real growth, in deep conversion, in complete consecration. In this way and through this sacred process, the work of the Almighty is hastened—within our own souls.

Robert L. Millet is professor emeritus of ancient scripture and former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Monday, January 26, 2015


I am sending this out early in the week so you will have time to prepare for the lesson this coming Sunday.  Please take time to read Chapter 7 from “Daughters in My Kingdomand consider the following and be prepared to share.

1.  How have you been able to become friends with those you Visit Teach?

2.  What do you do to prepare spiritually for this sacred calling?

3.  In what ways have you been able to show love to those you visit above the “once a month visit”?

4.  Have you been able to be creative and make lessons memorable?  How?

5.  Are you keeping track of important dates in their lives?  What might they include?  What do you do?

Thanks in advance for your willingness to participate and bringing your whole selves to our meeting.  It truly makes all the difference.

Love to all,
Sister Armstrong

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence"

Elder Klebingat said "Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings...By applying the atonement of Jesus Christ, you can begin increasing your spiritual confident today if you are willing to listen and act."

I would encourage each of you to reread this talk and ponder the following questions:

  1. Do you have a personal witness that your current offering as a Latter-day Saint is sufficient to inherit eternal life?
  2. What specific blessings would increased spiritual confidence bring into your personal life?
  3. Which of the six suggestions stand out to you as something you could incorporate ingot your life on a regular basis?
I look forward to engaging in a spiritual discussing with each of you on Sunday and hope you will come with thoughts in mind to share.  I testify that your life will be blessed as you read and ponder this inspired message.

Claira Wilson

Saturday, January 17, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 2 -- Pray Always

President Benson said, "I would humbly urge all...to keep in close touch with our Father in heaven through prayer.  Never in this dispensation has there been a greater need for prayer."

As you read this chapter you may ask yourself the following:

1. What events in President Benson's life illustrate his reliance on the power of prayer?
2. What suggestions does President Benson give to improve our communication with our Heavenly Father?
3. What will I do to act upon the teachings of President Benson on prayer?

I look forward to discussing this lesson with you on Sunday.

Alison Thorsen

Thursday, January 8, 2015

President Ezra Taft Benson & Chapter 1: The Great Commandment -- Love the Lord

Sister Sheri Dew taught, "Studying the life of a prophet is more, much more, than simply recounting events.  It is an opportunity to see the hand of the Lord in action as He prepares and tutors a man to be ready when the moment comes that He anoints him as His mouthpiece on the earth."

This year we have the exciting opportunity to study and learn about President Ezra Taft Benson.  As I have studied and learned about his life this week, I have developed such a love for him and his teachings.  I encourage each of you to take some time to learn about President Benson's life from the following links:

This week we will also be discussing Chapter 1:  The Great Commandment -- Love the Lord.  I love President Benson's teaching, "To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing.  It is no lukewarm endeavor.  It is total commitment to our very being -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -- to a love of the Lord.  The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one's life."  Please come to Relief Society prepared to discuss what this means to you and one thing you can do to be more fully committed to a love of the Lord.  See you then!

Stephanie Johnson