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In Our Ward: Teachings for Our Times, “Be Ready”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 25, 2010

Teachings for Our Times

Henry B. Eyring, “Be Ready”
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul”

Purpose

To help sisters recognize that we prepared in the past for our present lives of service as daughters of God, and that as we develop our capacity in life we prepare for a glorious future in the eternities.

Opening

Without doubt, my favorite talk of the Conference held last October was that of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul.” He opened with the statement that

[T]here is one kind of latter-day destruction that has always sounded to me more personal than public, more individual than collective – a warning, perhaps more applicable inside the Church than outside it. The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth.

He went on to talk about challenges to our faith, challenges targeting the gospel revealed to us as Latter-day Saints, principles and scriptures we hold sacred but which are not generally known to the rest of the world. He bore his testimony to the reality of the Lord’s promise that

“Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” – and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you.

His testimony was so clear and powerful and dramatic that I was on my feet before he was through – I couldn’t just sit there, I had to stand and almost shout “Yes!”

I remember that that same day, I hoped that this talk would be one of those on our Relief Society schedule, and that I would be the one who got to lead the discussion. It was the first thing I looked for when Linda passed out the assigned lessons.

But now that the morning for that is here, I find that I really cannot teach it in any way that conveys the power of Elder Holland’s testimony. The words are there on the page, and they are good. But it was the way he delivered his testimony, the sound of his voice and the look in his eye, that brought me to my feet, not the words. This was a man who knew that Jesus Chris is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. This was a man who knew the Book of Mormon was revealed of God. This was an Apostle of God.

We are so blessed to live in a day when we can not only review the words of an apostle, but with access to the internet, we can go back, anytime we wish, to replay his testimony, to hear his voice and see his face and feel again the power with which he testified.

Do any of you have a memory of that testimony that you would like to share?

Lesson Development

We will spend the bulk of our time this morning discussing another talk from October Conference, one that may have been every bit as powerful when it was delivered, except that since it was given in the Priesthood Session, none of us heard it delivered live. President Eyring’s address to young men may seem an odd choice for a Relief Society lesson, but the more I read it, the more I realized that everything he was teaching to the young men applies to us as women:

1. “The preparation that counts will be made by [women] making choices to rise to their great destiny as [daughters of] God.”

Let’s think back as far as we can to the first training we had in the gospel. For some, that might be fairly recently. For most of us, it will go back to our childhoods where, whether our families were LDS or not, we had early lessons in faith and action.

What are some of your earliest religious memories? Why do you think you remember that moment or idea more strongly than others? Who was there? Who taught you?

Some sisters have mentioned [prayer, repentance, scriptures, learning that God loves you]. Can you think of moments in your life as a teenager or young woman when [concept] became more important to you, or you had to choose to [exercise faith, actively repent, continue to pray]? What choices have you made as your life progressed that have helped you develop a firmer foundation for your faith?

What is the “great destiny” that we are rising to, as daughters of God? How has our earlier preparation put us on the path for that destiny? Is there more we could be doing – no matter our age now – to rise to that destiny?

2. “[We earn] great faith and God’s confidence by courageous and sustained labor in the Lord’s service.”

How has the Lord shown confidence in you as a daughter of God? What roles or assignments have you accepted that show the Lord’s confidence in you? How have you earned, or at least attempted to earn, that confidence?

What LDS woman do you admire, either from Church history or living today? For what do you admire her? How do you suppose she gained those qualities that you admire? Do you have those qualities yourself, even if not to the same degree as the woman you admire? How can you develop those qualities in yourself?

3. “As we meet our obligations as [women of God], we will help the next generation rise to their glorious future.”

What obligations do we have as women of God? How does meeting those obligations serve the generations to come? We often talk about the obligations of women in terms of service to husbands and children and extended families – and without question they are our most immediate obligations and opportunities to serve. Do women of God have obligations to future generations beyond our immediate families? How can we address those obligations?

Conclusion

Sisters, we are daughters of God. We have a noble present as we serve in the Church and in our families and in the wider world. We have a glorious future in the eternities – more glorious, I think, than we have ever been able to comprehend. We prepare for that future, and better our present, and cultivate the confidence of God, as we serve, whatever our callings are.

[Testimony]



3 Comments »

  1. Elder Holland’s talks in October 2009 and April 2010 both had a powerful effect on me. But for some reason I don’t recall his previous talks being so compelling. And I was at BYU when he was President of the University, so I know I have heard him speak many times before. Perhaps I have only recently been ready to hear.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — April 25, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  2. Wonderful stuff. Thanks. I loved that first part of Holland’s talk especially, too. Also, I think you’re correct that sometimes the excitement we feel as we witness General Conference gets lost when we turn around and try and convey the messages ourselves. I liked how you communicated that sentiment here.

    Finally, I loved your focus on two or three discussion points. (And including a question on LDS women in history was great.) Wonderful.

    So, when are you going to start recording these lessons? And posting the mp3′s online? When? Huh? Huh?

    :-)

    Comment by Hunter — April 26, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  3. Ha! Hunter, my classes aren’t ever going to be record-worthy. I try, and I know where I want to go, but it doesn’t always work as planned.

    The women that were mentioned as admirable included Emma Smith, Mary Fielding Smith, one woman’s mother, Susan Easton Black, and probably a few others I’m not thinking. Each suggestion was accompanied by some really good commentary about why the sister admired that particular woman.

    There was also great discussion about the mix of sisters (ages, stages in life, personalities, backgrounds) in our ward RS, and in practically *every* such group, and how we look to each other not only for all the usual reasons given when talking about sisterhood, but for things like learning how to grow old. (That sounds strange, I realize, but was said in just the perfect way yesterday.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 26, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

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