Sunday, March 29, 2015

Because He Lives--Easter Message, It's all true! George and Agatha?

Check this out!

Because He Lives

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pleased to announce the launch of its Easter message, #BecauseHeLives
Visit today to view an inspiring video, declaring that Jesus Christ lives and because He lives, we can find His help and healing when we invite Him into our lives.

It is powerful! 

Contrast how you feel when you watch Because He Lives 
with your emotions when you read this:

In the 1990s, a group of scholars called the Jesus Seminar created headline news, especially in the United States. To put it simply, they questioned whether the Bible is the inspired word of God.

The seminar was composed of specialists in the New Testament Gospels. They taught at leading universities and seminaries in North America and represented every major Christian denomination and tradition. The Jesus Seminar staked out a heady goal for itself. It hoped to recover the actual words Jesus spoke, uncover what he really thought and discover which deeds recorded in the Bible he accomplished.

At its spring 1991 meeting, the Jesus Seminar concluded its first phase—six years of debating and voting on the words of Jesus. In that autumn, the seminar began its second phase, analyzing the biblical accounts of Jesus’ life and deeds.

During their quest to discover the true voice of Jesus, the seminar rejected about 80 percent of his words, calling them later creations. 

Robert Funk, the founder of the Jesus Seminar concluded,

"We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine. Jesus’ divinity goes together with the old theistic way of thinking about God. The plot early Christians invented for a divine redeemer figure is as archaic as the mythology in which it is framed. A Jesus who drops down out of heaven, performs some magical act that frees human beings from the power of sin, rises from the dead, and returns to heaven is simply no longer credible. The notion that he will return at the end of time and sit in cosmic judgment is equally incredible. We must find a new plot for a more credible Jesus."

If you're still not clear, watch Because He Lives again and think with your heart. You too can know truth from error.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Would you like to learn more about what Jesus Christ has done for mankind in our own day?

Do you believe the Easter message--that Jesus Christ was resurrected and therefore you too will be resurrected?        

Would you like to know more about resurrection? More about heaven? More about what happens to us after we die and what resurrection really means?

Any missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would give their day off to answer these questions for you. Find one or reply to this post and I'll find one for you.

George and Agatha:
For those of you who have visited Nauvoo, you know that there is a play performed every night of the week except for Sunday. It's called, Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo. We had our debut of George and Agatha this week which is a new vignette for us. A guest took these pictures and sent them to a fellow missionary who in turn sent them to us. 

Don't you love technology?

Oh, PS, Elder Johnson wants me to tell you that we had a standing ovation after our performance and people even threw money. Okay, maybe not quite. :)

However, if you know Ian Gagon, ask him what he thought of Nauvoo! He was here last week but we failed to get a picture of him and his family--so sad. If anyone has access to pictures he took, please email them to us.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 17, 1842 and 2015 Illinois Meret Mother of the Year

Relief Society:
March 17, 1842 proved to be the beginning of a women's service organization that would fill the world and bring relief to hundreds of thousands.
 We celebrated this great day by riding a horse drawn wagon from the Nauvoo Visitor's Center to the Red Brick Store that Joseph and Emma Smith ran in the 1840's. (It is currently owned by the Community Church of Christ, and they allowed us to use it for a reenactment of the events that took place exactly 173 years ago.)
 The meeting was held on the 2nd floor of the now famous Red Brick Store. The name of the organization--The Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (It is an  organization for LDS women 18 years of age and older.)
 There were only three men at the meeting: John Taylor, Willard Richards, and Joseph Smith. The rest of the room was filled with women. The youngest was 19 year old Bathsheba Smith, wife of George A. Smith who I portrayed.

The whole idea of a Relief Society began with a simple concept: Sarah Granger Kimball and one of her employees, Margaret Cook wanted to do something to help in the building of the Nauvoo Temple. They saw a need for the workers to have their clothes repaired and at times replaced as they were working on the sacred building.
 As the desire to help grew and filled the hearts of many of the ladies in Nauvoo, they decided to organize and make their efforts more efficient.
 When Joseph heard of the plans, he offered to organize them under the Priesthood. At this first meeting, the women voted to sustain Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith, as the first president.  No other names were even nominated and the vote was unanimous. Joseph declared, "Sisters, this is to be a very special meeting that will have far reaching benefits to the women of this the Lord's church, even beyond this mortal life.
Currently, there are  over six million members in 170 countries. As a service organization, we not only take care of the poor and afflicted families within our own church, but reach out in service to anyone of need in both small and large ways. The Distribution Center in Salt Lake City is stocked with huge piles of supplies for aide in times of disaster. 

We're told that after calamities around the world, the first two groups to arrive with aide is often the LDS church and the Mormons.  :)
 My favorite line in the re-enactment was when the eloquent and polished editor and Apostle, John Taylor after attempting to influence the women's choice in choosing the name of the organization said, "I shall have to concede the point, your arguments are so potent that I cannot stand before them. I shall have to give way." He then bowed to the women and sat down.
 I have served many years in the Relief Society organization. I have to concur with John Taylor--our arguments are often potent and we are held with great respect by the men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mother of the Year organization:
We met in Bloomington Illinois this week with the Illinois Mother of the Year Presidency. Sarah Curtis from Macomb, Illinois is the Mother of the Year for 2015 in this state. I was privileged to eat lunch with many celebrities: There were Mother's of the Year from as long ago as 1980, one from 1996,  and then of course several from more recent years. There were probably about 30-40 women who came together to celebrate motherhood. 

What a nice bunch of ladies. (Members of my family were the only ones who were of the LDS faith.)
The pledge that is read at each meeting depicts the overall attitude. It reads:

I pledge--

  • To ask God's help as a parent in today's world,
  • To encourage honesty, integrity, patriotism, and the application of moral values in every area of American Life beginning in my own home,
  • To enhance the spiritual foundation of my home by precept and by example,
  • To love, nurture, and educate my children remembering the power and influence of a joyful home,
  • To seek opportunities to strengthen my family by working, playing, serving, and praying together,
  • To foster personal responsibility and respect in my home and community,
  • To serve my family and community through personal development as an individual, parent, and citizen,
  • To support and promote positive programs for children and families,
  • To wage a vigorous campaign against abuse and violence in all its forms,
  • To remember that with God, all things are possible.

 We were asked to reach out to our friends and acquaintances and encourage them to support this great work. I asked the question, "In 13 seconds or less how would you explain the purpose of your organization." The response was, "To protect and save our children." Throughout the meeting, women expressed concern for the abuse of children all around the world (particularly sex trafficking) as well as concern for their own great grandchildren with an increase of evil in our community and a decline of family support to combat it.

I invite you to look into the program in your communities. You definitely do not have to be a "Mother of the Year winner" to join...anyone can and the fees for new members are waived this year if you sign up on line. What a terrific program. Can you imagine what could happen if the Relief Society joined hands with the Mother of the Year organization like the LDS church has supported the Boy Scouts of America? We could not only save children from barbarius behavior, but we could change the world. 
 I received an award as Merit Mother 2015 from the state of Illinois.
My favorite part of the day was that Adam and his family arranged to be there.
 After the meeting, we spent the afternoon at a park with two of the cutest grandchildren ever!

I'm happy to report that the winter doldrums are over here in Nauvoo. Winter weather is behind us and guests are coming again. Winter break has been a great time for families to visit with plenty of time for quality tours.

We also welcomed twelve new senior missionary couples this week. I'll be helping in the sewing room twice a week for a while and bringing work home in between to try to keep up. Each sister missionary will need at least three pioneer dresses and two aprons. I am assigned to two of the twelve sisters to get them outfitted. 

We will be receiving new missionaries almost every week for the next few months. Phew... relief is around the corner.

However, I fear my days of spending much time on blog postings are  about over. My report will probably be short and sweet for the next month or so and then the tidal wave of summer guests will come. I'll do my best to keep you up to date.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Doctrine and Teachings Unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Well, we’ve been praying for the end of winter and I think we’ve reached it. Twice we had the air conditioner on in our little house and twice in the car this week. Certainly, we’ll have more snow and cold before summertime, but most likely it won’t be zero degrees with the wind chill factor driving it to subzero.
Along with the closing of winter weather, I suspect we’ve seen the tail end of guest-less sites. With spring break this week, we’ve seen many people from Texas, Utah, and Idaho. Even Oregon-ites have made their way east to Nauvoo. We love guests! Hope to see you too!

We're getting ready for the first Relief Society meeting reinactment. We perform both tomorrow morning for the Temple missionary sisters and Tuesday afternoon the 17th for the Nauvoo sister missionaries. (For those of you who don't know, Relief Society is the oldest and largest women's organization in the world. Most LDS women are members of it.) We'll be performing in the Red Brick Store where the events actually took place. I get to play the part of Bathsheba Smith, wife of George A Smith. She was only 15 years old at the time and the youngest one in attendance. I'm not exactly 15 but closer to that number than most missionaries here. :) I'll report on this event next week.

 As you know from my last post, I’ve been contemplating the lost doctrine that was originally part of the Holy Bible. Well, in our training meeting this week, Elder Brinley taught us 50 doctrines and teachings that are unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I won’t mention them all because that would most likely bore you to death, but here are a few:

  • The state of little children who die without baptism
  • Knowledge of Satan--his nature, character, and origin
  • The meaning of resurrection--restoration of body and spirit
  • The purpose of life and Plan of Happiness 
  • A Word of Wisdom for our day--a move from a meat-oriented diet to grains and plants.
  • Purpose and impact of Adam and Eve and their partaking of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
  • Understanding of our pre-mortal existence and what happens after this life
  • The great judgments on earth in the latter-days
  • The gospel taught on earth prior to Christ's birth
  • The relationship between grace and works clarified
  • Tithing defined and the purpose of fasting and offerings
  • Atonement of Christ is more clearly defined and understood
  • The nature of hell--it is not a charcoal pit, but the suspense of not knowing your eventual destiny
  • Characteristics of the Godhead described (not like the Trinity as found in other churches)
  • We pray to the Father--not Jesus. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ by inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost
  • Revelation from God continues beyond Biblical days. The canon of scripture is not closed. It is not man who tells God if and when He can speak.
  • Clear precise steps for repentance

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Religion in our case is not a theory at all but a Divine plan to help us get through this life and return to our Father above.

Our Father in Heaven is a God of love who allows men agency. It is the wicked choices of some who bring evil and sadness into this world. Nothing evil comes from God. In fact, He hurts when we hurt; however, our sufferings can all be for our growth and benefit. This life is short in comparison to the ions of time we'll have to experience the consequences of our actions here. Let's be wise and avoid too many regrets. Repentance is a great blessing.

Find more answers at

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Winter One Day...Spring the Next! Finishing Up Humanitarian Service Projects! Why Only One True Church?

On Monday March 2nd, there was enough cold and snow for a sleigh ride.
 You're right...this picture is of a wagon not a sled, so I'll post pictures of Elder Johnson and me on the sled later when I get them. (I was so caught up in the majesty of these horses, I lost my head.)
 Don't you love these Percherons though? All of the horses that we use in Nauvoo are Percherons.
On Wednesday of last week while attending the beautiful Nauvoo Temple, it was still so frigid that we had to bundle up just to get 600 feet from the car to the temple.

However, two days later, we took this picture. Check it out--57 degrees with little to no snow.

Humanitarian Projects:
What do you get when you cross  115 ambitious Nauvoo missionaries with little to no guests in the Nauvoo sites?
....You get more home-made gifts for charity than you can imagine.

Sister Susan Clement oversees our humanitarian effort here in the Nauvoo Mission. We started last October and will finish up the end of March. So far, we have made:

113 Quilts of all sizes
61 Comfort Bears
218 Hygiene Kits
94 Pairs of Mittens
120 Pillow Cases sturdy enough to double as a carrying bag
122 Adult Cover-ups (Okay...Bibs)
122 Layettes for new born babies leaving the hospital with little to no cloths (Each set contained a blanket, sleeper, burp cloth, and hat. We also included mittens, socks, and other items when possible.)
18 School Bags (We got a late start on this idea. In fact, we've only been working on it for a week.)
367 Hats
30 Pajama Bottoms

 Sister Clement is shown presenting the results of the five month service project.

The projects you see in these pictures are just the ones prepared to go out this month.

The donations were given primarily to hospitals, schools, shelters, and other government facilities.

When Sister Clement reported the Humanitarian success at our weekly training meeting, many of us wore the shawls made at the Family Living Center to honor her. Sister Clement was responsible for edging most of the shawls you see below. Of course, she edged them on top of everything else she was doing. Sister Clement adds a new dimension to the word "ambitious". I fear she makes the rest of us appear a bit lazy. :)

Only One True Church?
Some people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have expressed annoyance that Mormon's claim there is only one true church. I understand that feeling. In fact, if I were in charge of coming up with a church that could one day fill the whole earth, I wouldn't pick such an unpopular notion. The point is....this church is not man made... at all. 

So how can it be explained in a less offensive way?

This week as I was reading the scriptures, I came across this explanation given by a prophet in ancient America. In regards to the Holy Bible, he said:

 24 And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.
 25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.
 26 After they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominablechurch, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.
 27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
 28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God (1Nephi 13:24-28)

Does that put it in a little better perspective? There is so much good in many other religions...come and see what we can add to the truths that you already have. Come and see what might be tripping you up in your quest to become more like the Savior.

If you don't know whereelse to go...will you go to and request that a missionary introduce you to a Book of Mormon?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring Has Not Sprung...Yet, Mothers in America

Note the temperature below registers 4 degrees. 
About a half hour ealier that day (February 27th) it said 0 degrees but we didn't have time to stop for the evidence. Add humidity and wind chill factor and you get the idea of winter in the mid-west.
(Check out that blue sky--isn't it beautiful!)
 However, in church today President Gibbons said that he heard from a reliable source that spring is just around the corner. He also said that it must be a pretty sharp corner because we can't see it from where we are. :)  I've seen bulbs trying to come up, but I'm having to go on faith as well that the cold is coming to an end.
 Speaking of coming to an end....these missionaries are performing their good-bye skits at our morning breakfast. As you see, we're all a little bit crazy.

I don't think most of the Nauvoo missionaries started out this silly, but as we put out our best efforts, we are qualified for the work. Even though there are some with amazing credentials after their names, a large majority of us are just ordinary people who in the end do extraordinary things. If you've ever considered serving a it happen!

We'll have lots of people to thank next fall when we get home. Lately, I'm thinking sweet thoughts about Elder Johnson's secretary and office manager, Betty Ronan, back home. She probably doesn't know it, but we would most likely be home already if it weren't for her. So if you live in Colorado, and get a chance to stop by the Allstate office at 6390 Gardenia St #220, thank her for us....would you?

Another person that has sacrificed for us in quite a different way is our granddaughter, Avry. I suspect that she was praying that we'd be able to attend her baptism in Florida the first of February. We were praying that she would have a wonderful and memorable day even though we couldn't be there. As missionaries make sacrifices, you gotta know that it is all motivated by love. There is nothing that I can share with my grandchildren of more worth to me than my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that as Elder Johnson and I give of our time as missionaries, other people's lives will be blessed--most particularly are each and every one of our children, inlaw children, and grandchildren.

Mother of the Year:
All across the country, mother's were considered and a few chosen to represent each state as Mother of the Year. I have a thoughful daughter that submitted my name. That is the greatest honor of all.

Anyway, I was nominated in Colorado, but since I currently live in Illinois, my name was also turned in here. Long story short, I will be going to Bloomington, Illinois to receive an award  for runner up Mother of the Year. Mostly, I'm excited to meet other amazing mothers. 

As part of the application, we were asked to include our philosphy of parenting in 150 words or less. I thought I'd include mine here. It really isn't mine alone of course, but a compilation of what I've gleaned over the years. Perhaps, it will be helpful to you. The rising generation are quite amazing, and we as parents and leaders, need to rise to meet them. Don't you agree?

Amy's philosophy of parenting:

(Parenting was a team effort, so Amy will talk in terms of “we” to describe their parenting philosophy.)

Amy and Gregg’s underlying parenting philosophy was to teach their children correct principles and then allow the children to govern themselves as often as possible.

They allowed their children to fail at times and to feel regret for their own mistakes while young when their “falls” were not as devastating. It also meant that the children could take full credit for their successes. Basically, they felt that children need to experience and own the consequences of their own behavior both good as well as bad.

Defining correct principles can be tricky in our society. They focused on: honesty, integrity, good work ethics, kindness, and sensitivity to others which included service, being a team player in both work and play, valuing an education, and loyalty to family, and society.

Hope you'll all compliment the mom's in your life and congratulate them for all their efforts. 

Hope you'll also do the best you can as you influence children all over the world.