On Wings of Faith

Notes from the book, On Wings of Faith, by Frederick W. Babbel, the story of apostle Ezra Taft Benson’s 1946 post-war relief trip to Europe.

Miracle of multiplying of mission funds

Brother Olaf Sonsteby, acting mission president in Oslo during the war, buried the mission funds to hide them from the Nazis. When he dug them up, there were 37,000 crowns more than he buried. p. 19

Elder Benson’s sermon in Karlsruhe, Germany to the starving saints

“I support none nor condemn any for what has happened. God will be the judge…

“As I look into your tear-stained eyes and see many of you virtually in rags and at death’s door, yet with a smile upon your cracked lips and the light of love and understanding shining in your eyes, I know that you have been true to your covenants, that you have been clean, that you have not permitted hatred and bitterness to fill your hearts. You–many of you–are some of the Lord’s choicest witnesses of the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“…And almost without except you have been loyal to your country even while abhoring those principles manifest in your government which were completely out of harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ…

“Any man or woman who has a testimony of this work has no fear for the future. Come what may, they will look up and forward. We need the gospel of Jesus Christ in this world. We have it and through us it can be given to others to bless them.” p. 37-39

Denazification: “While in Germany, President Benson instructed our leaders to compile the names and addresses of all mission district and branch officers and teachers and submit these lists to the denazification courts. This was done. In all the investigations which followed, not a single one of these people was considered to be guilty of punishable crimes–a remarkable record!” p. 53

Original story of the refugee woman with the spoon p. 41-42

Baptismal service in ice water, and potato peel sacrament, p. 49

Church records found in Rothenburg and Rathsfeld and salt mines, p. 58

Bomb not going off in mission home yard during strafing while sisters prayed in the basement, p. 51

Elder Benson’s sermon to the Berlin saints in the Russian Sector

“When a nation follows unrighteous leaders, the righteous must suffer with the wicked.” p. 61

Promise of a temple in Europe, p. 62

K-Ration Quartet, p. 73

 

Love Your Enemies. Dutch saints sent their potato harvest to Germany p. 76-77

Singing with angels: Conference in Herne, p. 115-116

Lightning strike on plane en route to Warsaw, p. 135

Warsaw Ghetto, p. 144-146

German members forced out of Zelbak, East Prussia, now becoming Poland

Severe retribution had been reaped upon those of German descent, they were shot, raped, and stolen from.

The saints hid their chickens ingeniously in containers buried in the lake.

“Most of our members in this small community owned their own lands and homes. The lands had been turned over to the Polish people coming into this territory. The homes would subsequently be confiscated as soon as their German occupants could be repatriated–all without any compensation…

“…The two remaining [Priesthood leaders] had succeeded marvelously in keeping the spirit of unity and love among the saints. Their faith and devotion was a testimony to me of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a person’s life.” p. 150-153

Desperate for cigarettes, p. 157-158

Totals: 92 railway carloads of welfare supplies (2,000 tons). Individual family-to-family parcels from America with tens of thousands of food and clothing items. Contributed to the local child-care and feeding programs in several countries.  Brought in Swiss army barracks for refugees from Poland.

Translating a joke, p. 174

Claiming blessings:

Healing of pregnant sister who was bleeding, p. 160

3-year-old deaf-mute boy who could not be healed because of parents’ hatred, p. 160-161

Lack of receptiveness from sister with cancer, p. 161

Miracle of tuberculosis healing “claimed” by Elder Babbel, p. 184-185

Covenant Daughters of God

COVENANT DAUGHTERS OF GOD

Young Women Lesson for July 2016

Sister Jean A. Stevens said, in October 2014 General Conference, “My mother lived a rich life, full of happiness, joy, love, and service. Her love of the Savior was reflected in the way she lived her life. She had a remarkable connection to heaven and a gift and capacity to love and bless everyone around her.”

Isn’t that the kind of life we would all like to live: “Full of happiness, joy, love, and service?” That sounds like an easy life! And isn’t that the kind of woman we would all like to be: Having “a remarkable connection to heaven and a gift and capacity to love and bless everyone around her?”

How did this woman become this way? She must have had a fairytale life, with a wonderful wedding, and all the things in life to make it comfortable and enjoyable, right?

(Have girls read aloud the story from paragraphs 9-12, 15-16, and then read this quote: “In all the seasons of her life, Mother was strengthened and blessed by her love of the Lord and by the covenants she faithfully made and kept.”

Was her life perfect? Did everything work out just as she had planned? And yet, did she live happily ever after? Then covenants must be awfully powerful, if they can bring happiness, joy and love into our lives despite heartbreak, war and loneliness.

THE COVENANT PATH

President Eyring told us, “You were tutored by [Heavenly Father] before you came into this life. He helped you understand and accept that you would have trials, tests, and opportunities perfectly chosen just for you. You learned that our Father had a plan of happiness to get you safely through those trials and that you would help bring others safely through theirs. This plan is marked by covenants with God.” (April 2014 Conference)

So the plan of happiness follows a pathway of covenants.

Let’s draw a picture of happiness. This is our real-life fairytale.

[Draw a stick figure princess in the lower center of the chalkboard. Have each girl copy what you draw onto her own piece of paper for a do-it-yourself handout that will keep them engaged and help them learn kinesthetically.]

This is the princess. That would be you. We all live in a dark world with evil and sorrow, but there are stars to guide us, points of light from the heavens. And we each carry a light, the light of Christ, to light our path.

[Draw a scepter in her hand with a star on the end.]

[Draw a path from the stick figure to the lower center of the picture.]

This is the strait and narrow path. It is strait (not “straight”) which means it is restricted. We don’t get to choose your own path or how to walk it; we follow exactly as it is designed. This path is the Gospel Path, and our part to play in the gospel is basically the 4th Article of Faith. We exercise faith, repent, get baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We are allowed to enter into the kingdom of God on the earth (the church). We take upon ourselves Christ’s name and become members of his family, with the possibility of inheriting what he has. We act in his name, in other words we do what he would do if he were here. We promise to keep the commandments, to bear each other’s burdens, and to stand as witnesses of God. (Mosiah 18:8-11)

[Write BAPTISMAL COVENANT on the path.]

So where does this path lead? Well, a kingdom has to have a castle, right?

[Draw a temple outline.]

In fact, it is the House of God. By entering into the temple and making covenants in which we are initiated, endowed with power, and sealed together as families, we join the covenant that God made with Abraham and become members of the House of Israel. Abraham is now our ancestor and we belong to his family (Read Bible Dictionary, Abraham, Covenant of, paragraphs 2-3.) The terrestrial world is symbolized by the moon, and we enjoy the greater light that the moon has as it reflects the light of the sun into the dark world.

[Draw a moon by the temple.]

Keeping our temple covenants helps us become a terrestrial society: good people trying to help each other become better. As children of Abraham, we are obligated to “bless all nations of the earth” through the Priesthood (the power of that runs His church), and “gather Israel,” or seek, teach and invite others to join the House of Israel in this life and vicariously through family history and temple work.

[Write HOUSE OF ISRAEL (ABRAHAM) on the temple.]

Before Abraham’s time, Heavenly Father made a covenant with his ancestor and the symbol of that covenant is the rainbow.

[Draw a rainbow over the temple.]

I know you are thinking that the rainbow covenant was made with Noah after the flood when promised God wouldn’t flood the earth again, but that was just a renewal. The original covenant is found in the Joseph Smith Translation appendix and not many people look there so not many are aware of it. It is also mentioned in D&C 76. Enoch led an city entrenched in wickedness, and he taught them through Priesthood power so well over a long period of time, that they became too holy for this earth and the City of Enoch was taken up to heaven. Let’s read the covenant made with Enoch. (JST Gen. 9:21-25.)

When the people on earth have created a Zion society by “embracing the truth” (which we do when we are baptized) and by looking upward, the City of Enoch will come down from heaven and join Zion on earth. We look upward when we keep our temple covenants. All the symbolism in the structure and the interior of the temple pulls our eyes upward, just as the ceremony pulls our perspective heavenward, and the covenants will fit us for a Zion society, where everyone is equal and there are no rich or poor.

Article of Faith 10 relates to both Enoch’s and Abraham’s covenants: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the ten tribes, that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be established upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally on the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive it’s paradisiacal glory.” In fact, the temple connects heaven and earth even before the final days. Angels minister to us, miracles happen, prayers are answered every day as we keep the covenants we have made. The heaven we create on earth, Zion, will eventually be joined by the City of Enoch and become the real Heaven.

[Write ZION COVENANT (ENOCH) on it. Under it, write “Create Zion.”]

The first covenant of all was made with Adam and Eve when they left the Garden of Eden.

[Draw a sun above the rainbow.]

We came to this earth by “falling” from heaven. We were separated from God, and we were no longer pure and holy because this world is full of sin and error. But this was necessary to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become like God so He allowed the Fall to happen, and then provided a Savior for us. Jesus Christ would “fit us for heaven” as the Christmas carol says, through His Atonement, which would free us from our sins through repentance, and the sins of others against us through forgiveness, and make us holier and better than we could be on our own, so that we could become Celestial beings and enjoy Eternal Life, or God’s Life, ourselves. (Read 3 Nephi 27:13-14.)

All of these covenants are only possible because of Christ’s atonement, His part in the Gospel covenant. Article of Faith 3 says, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

[Write GOSPEL COVENANT—ATONEMENT (ADAM) by the sun.]

Each of these covenants is part of the New & Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel (Elder Marcus B. Nash, December 2015 Ensign), and the whole thing operates by love: God’s love for us, and our love for him and for our brothers and sisters on earth.

[Draw a heart around the entire picture. Write NEW & EVERLASTING COVENANT above the heart.]

God’s love: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoso believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Our love: The statement that love is the sum of all the commandments is found in every book of scripture. (Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:30-31; D&C 59:5-6; Moro. 10:32) I like the way it is stated in Romans 13:8-9 “…He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law…if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Keeping the New and Everlasting Covenant does not just bring us happiness in the next life; it makes us happy here, because the most joyful experience in the world is to feel and share God’s love.

As Elder Nash said, “For all who abide the terms of the new and everlasting covenant, the reward is joy and peace in this world and eternal life in the next.”

Paul wrote to the Romans, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Read Romans 8:35-39) As long as we have the love of Christ, we will have happiness, despite times of trial.

Everything that happens outside our power will be a blessing to us, even things we might term as “bad.” As Paul taught, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

So the great news of the gospel is that a life of happiness does not depend on everything working out the way we plan, and no bad things happening, and being able to follow all our dreams and hopes, and having enough money to buy what we want, and getting the exact number of children we want, and never having a crime committed against us, and having perfect health and beauty, and any other things that we don’t have control over. It does not depend on WHAT HAPPENS TO US. It depends on something we have total control over: THE KEEPING OF OUR COVENANTS to love God and our fellow human beings!

Now we can see how Sister Stevens’ mother lived a life filled with “happiness, joy, love and service,” despite missing out on some of her fondest dreams and enduring great periods of loneliness and trial at what should have been the most pleasant time of her life. There is no permanent disappointment or sorrow on the covenant path.

It is the love of God and for God and others that brings us the greatest joy, the greatest happiness and the greatest peace in this life.

[Share a personal experience about any of these covenants that will help you testify that the keeping of covenants brings joy.]

covenant

Smiling is not the universal language

Very interesting article on cultural differences in smiling.

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/05/culture-and-smiling/483827/

Girls Camp Testimony Meetings

A great article by MiddleAgedMormonMan about what pure testimony is.

http://middleagedmormonman.com/home/2016/06/beyond-crickets/

Feeling Overwhelmed? This is for You

April 22, 2016

Letter to Southern Utah University students from my brother, the president of SUU

 

Hello students,

I wish I could visit with each of you personally to provide some encouragement as you prepare for and work through finals next week. Since I can’t, I have decided to send you all this little note of support. Some of you will be graduating on the 30th and I look forward to exchanging great big smiles and shaking your hand as you walk across the stage to receive your diploma. For those of you who have further to go before you complete your studies—please come back next fall. Please keep working toward your degree with us here at Southern Utah University.

It was not too many years ago when I was in your shoes. I remember watching the homework pile up and feeling overwhelmed as finals approached. (The truth is, some days I still feel overwhelmed.) May I tell you one of my favorite stories from one of America’s best writers of the 20th Century? Remembering this story always helps me feel better.

John Steinbeck wrote and published nearly 30 books. You might remember him as the author of Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath, for which he was awarded a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. In his last decade of life he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the President of the United States.

My point is—Steinbeck was a good writer. No, he was a great writer. In fact he was one of America’s best!

One of his last books is called, Travels with Charley. He had been writing for decades and was looking for something new. So he loaded up his pickup truck, with a camper on the back—you don’t see these so often anymore but these campers used to be very popular back in the day—anyway, he loaded up his truck and camper with a typewriter and paper and everything else he needed, and took as his only companion his dog named Charley.

His plan was to drive across American and write a book about his experiences. In total he drove about 10,000 miles.

Okay, are you with me? He was a great writer. He received the best awards a writer can be given. He was very successful! Keep this in mind while you read the next paragraph, which is from the book, Travels with Charley. (This is very cool.)

Steinbeck wrote, as he began his drive across America and felt overwhelmed about the project, “I pulled [my truck] into a small picnic area maintained by the state of Connecticut and got out my book of maps. And suddenly the United States became huge beyond belief and impossible ever to cross. I wondered how . . . I’d got myself mixed up in a project that couldn’t be carried out. It was like [okay—pay attention to this part] it was like starting to write a novel. When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure fall on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.”

Wow, did you get that? He was a great writer—the best. He had written almost 30 books by this time. And yet he still felt completely overwhelmed every time he started to write another book! The only way he was able to do it was to “write one page” and remove from his mind the “possibility of ever finishing.” It was too overwhelming. For some, things may seem easy, for others it is almost too much. If you are one of the later you just might become as successful in your life as Steinbeck was a writer!

If one of America’s best writers could feel completely overwhelmed doing what he did so well, then it is okay for you and me to feel overwhelmed. Remember what Steinbeck did? He stopped thinking about everything he had to do and just focused on one thing—one page. He just wrote one page. And then he wrote one more page. And pretty soon the separate pages came together to make a book—a fabulous book—one page at a time!

If you ever feel a little overwhelmed looking at all of the work you have to do. If you think you can’t do it all. That it is simply too much or too hard—stop thinking, as Steinbeck did, about the whole book—and just focus on one page. Take your homework one assignment at a time—one problem at a time—one test at a time—one day at a time. Maybe when it gets very hard, take things one hour at a time or five minutes at a time. Just stop. Take a deep breath and do one problem, read one page, do 10 minutes. You don’t do anything big and worthwhile all at once. Just take it one day at a time.

I promise you the reward of finishing this semester and coming back for another, and then another until you graduate will be worth it. Let me assure you—you can do it. Never give up.

With my warmest regards,

President Scott Wyatt

I Am a Mormon Because I Am a Feminist

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1718/valerie-hudson-cassler

BYU Education Week 2015–The Great Visions of the Pearl of Great Price

The Great Visions of the Pearl of Great Price–Michael Wilcox

  • Education Week 2015
  • Keys of,Leadership,Priesthood

THE VISION OF ABRAHAM

All of the visions in the Pearl of Great Price have to do with the cosmos and the broad expanse of eternity. God elevates man to the status of great things, such as the stars: eternal, celestial, glorious. Elevating man does not diminish God, because the greater multiplication still exists, as he teaches in this vision.

The key to Abraham’s life is found in verse 2, that he sought for the blessings of the priesthood.
–having been a follower of righteousness
–desiring to possess knowledge
–to be a greater follower of righteousness
–to possess greater knowledge
Righteousness and knowledge are linked, like a stairway, growing grace for grace. The key to gaining knowledge from God is to be true to the knowledge he has already given you.

The reason the scriptures begin with accounts of the Creation is to instill in people the understanding of how great and intelligent God is, that this greatness is illustrated all around them, and to know that he is smart enough and clever enough and amazing, and can be trusted and worshipped.

To teach us about the stars and their light and their relationship to Kolob and Kolob’s relationship to God, is to teach us about ourselves and our intelligence and our relationship to the church leaders, who have greater light, and who orbit Christ, who is a twin star with Heavenly Father. Each time we look at the light of the stars in the heavens, it will be a reminder that we also are beings of light (intelligence), we have our place, we should stay close to our leaders, who will stay close to Christ. There are 15 apostles who are fixed like the 15 stars in the figure illustrating this scripture.

These noble and great ones have more light because they were righteous and light was added to their righteousness, as in Abraham 1:2. Intelligent people recognize that others have more intelligence than they do. A “fool” according to Shakespeare and the Bible, is one who thinks he is the most intelligent.

In life, we have rock stars, movie stars, athletic stars. These stars are not stars–they are not fixed. They are not safe points from which to navigated.

By following the stars of God (the 15 apostles), we can “hie to Kolob” or come unto Christ.

Our temples have star stones, sun stones, moon stones, which represent Revelation 1, the different lights God sends into the word.
Guiding light = stars (12)
Clarifying light = sun
Soft, gentle light, the gentle commandments = moon
These are the lights that generate out into the world from God.

Lucifer’s great mistake was that he could not orbit.

D&C 21 “Wherefore, meaning the church, though shalt give heed unto all his words (the seer, now there are 15 seers)…you shall receive his words as if from mine own mouth…by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you, the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness, and the heavens will overflow…”