This blog is not an official website of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor is Lindsay their official spokesperson.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Songs of Praise

Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 9

Dear Readers,


Ouch!  This is only Part 9?  I guess I think about the conference articles a lot more than I have written about them.  We'll have to change that.


Today let's have a shout out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  They provide music for several of the sessions of General Conference and other Church meetings throughout the year.  They also perform Music and the Spoken Word every Sunday.  It is now the "oldest continuous nationwide network broadcast in America."


All of the 360 members volunteer their time and pay their own way when they travel.  This is the same for the 110 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square.  If you read the Frequently Asked Questions, you can learn more about the amazing choir, because honestly I don't even know where to begin.  Being a music person, I am fascinated by the singers, their directors, their ORGANISTS (can you tell I play the organ?), and everything that is a part of their organization.


Honestly, who hasn't dreamed of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?  Even those who claim to carry no tune would secretly love to have that kind of musical ability to stand next to 359 other people singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Specifically, I wanted to talk about the hymn, With Songs of Praise that was sung in the Saturday Morning session.  This is in the hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Hymn Number 71.  Did you know that?  Unfortunately, it's not a well loved hymn.  The only time I have heard it sung in a Sacrament Meeting is when I was in charge of picking the hymns to sing.


I was also pleased to pieces that it WAS sung in General Conference, because now I bet it will be sung more in Sacrament Meeting due to the exposure.  That's Hymn Number 71.  The same thing happened with the beloved song, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  It was in the previous edition of the Church's hymnbook.  It was removed because of the lack of enthusiasm about it among the Church's members.  Mack Wilberg comes along, writes an arrangement of it for choir/ orchestra, and overnight it became a SMASHING success and now is widely known throughout the Church's membership.


Now I know there are over 300 hymns in the Hymnbook, and we sing maybe 6 on each Sunday.  There are bound to be some that aren't sung very often, but we are encouraged to be familiar with them all.  Seriously, in the back of the hymnbook it says so.


"In addition to using hymns already known and loved, members are encouraged to become acquainted with new or less familiar hymns.  Try to achieve a good balance between familiar favorites and less well-known hymns." (click here then scroll to Hymns for Congregations)


If you read the words of hymns which were penned by Penelope Moody Allen, it so clearly says that music is a way we can worship Heavenly Father!!!  It so simply states truths about music.  We can show our gratitude.  It can be a prayer.  Music can unite us, and it brings the Spirit.  The last line says, "express the heart too full to speak, in one exultant hymn."  I think it describes beautifully how music can express things that words can't.  Music has been on my mind a lot lately.  I can't imagine my life without this blessing.

The First Presidency has written a message regarding music.  It is printed in the front of every single Hymnbook that is printed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but few have taken the time to read it.  It lists 4 ways that hymns are essential to our church meetings.  It lists 7 ways that hymns move us.  It also lists 6 ways that the hymns can touch us personally.  That is a minimum of 17 blessings, because there is more to the message than what I have listed.

Remember that "some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns." (above reference)  I echo the First Presidency's words "Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment."

Sing a song of praise!  Sing a hymn!

This is by no means as comprehensive as it could be, but yay for General Conference reviews!

If you wish to watch this conference musical number, click here.  Just find this musical number (Saturday Morning Session - make sure to click on "Show Music"), and watch, download, whatever you want.

Are you in love with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?  Do you want to audition with me?  Let me know!  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.

Expressively,
Lindsay

Friday, October 14, 2011

Website Differences

Dear Friend B,

I would be happy to explain this to you:

"What is the difference between mormon.org and lds.org?"

Mormon.org
Mormon.org is the website that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has put together for those who are looking for more information about us, well you know, Mormons.  Elder Ballard just said in Conference, "It is impractical to expect people to type the full name of the Church when seeking to find us or when logging on to our website."  The content of mormon.org is directed at those who are looking to find our more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is easy to find information about our beliefs and values.  It has links to information about Jesus Christ, WHO WE DO BELIEVE IN, Joseph Smith, and why we do missionary work and humanitarian aid, etc.

On mormon.org you can chat with a representative from our Church, but if that's way more commitment than a person wants to give there is a very thorough Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link found near the upper right corner of the page.  It lists over 100 questions organized by topic.  Very easily a person could clarify any question that they had about our faith.  Also, find a church location, request a Book of Mormon or to have missionaries visit you in your home to tell you more.

One of the neatest features of mormon.org is the new "meet a mormon" campaign that has been happening during the past year.  Real Mormons have created profiles (here's mine!) to show that we are average, regular Joe's (or Lindsay's :).  We also have weighed in on these questions that people are so confused about.  A visitor to mormon.org has access to many testimonies.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is NO cult.  We have a prophet who is God's mouthpiece.  He tells us what God wants us to know, which may or may not be what we want to hear.  Reading all of these testimonies of members of The Church of Jesus Christ shows that we all truly believe in Jesus Christ.  The doctrine of Christ is real and very personal.  The Church is just the organization that brings order to living the doctrine of Christ on Earth.  There is also a really great talk by Dallin H. Oaks, one of our apostles, that explains this.

Visit mormon.org.  I dare you.  Member or non-member will find it an edifying trip.  Members should regularly log-in and add to the content that is listed to share with those seeking the truth.

LDS.org
The family of lds.org websites have been designed with the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in mind.  However, THEY ARE OPEN TO EVERYONE.  There is nothing secret about the content.  We do not post things there that we don't want our friends and neighbors to view.  In a digital age, it makes sense to have an online library of all of the Church's resources.  They are numerous, which is why there are so many websites in the lds.org family (i.e. conference.lds.org, temples.lds.org, youth.lds.org, music.lds.org, etc).  Mormon.org is just a subset of the Church's websites, (just like mormonmessages.org).  It organizes content that is fundamental to our religion so that someone doesn't click on the lds.org homepage and think "What now?".

Think of all the paper we are saving through having these resources online.  With over 14 million members that makes for a lot of manuals, pamphlets, etc.  Also, it is great to not have to drag a large bag of Church sponsored materials everywhere you need to go.

You can read the scriptures online.  You can get help with your calling, whether that be leadership tips (this is new, watch the tutorial!) or finding the materials needed for your organization.  Use the study notebook (found under Tools) and study Ensign articles, conference talks, and words from the prophets and apostles.  Find the Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching message.  Purchase Church approved materials for use in your home.  Log-in to access your stake and ward directory and the new calendar feature.  Watch Mormon Messages and other uplifting media.  The hymns are all online and so is other LDS artwork.

The list is endless.

With so much content to wade through, it can be confusing to find things sometimes.  This is why I link to lds.org so much.  I want to help make members aware of resources that they didn't know were there.  There is no need to look elsewhere for Family Home Evening ideas, Primary Sharing time ideas, etc.  No member of the Church is expected to read every webpage that the Church sponsors, far from it.  No member of the Church is required to visit lds.org.  It is a resource to bless the lives of the members.  And it does bless mine.  I hope this blog shows that.

Every blog post that I write, links somewhere on mormon.org or lds.org.  I want people to know that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and of His church.  I want them to be able to know what I know, to read what I read, and to feel what I feel about the truthfulness of the gospel.  This is why I avoid linking to other sites.  I do not want anyone to get their information from a source other than the Church itself.  This is also why I don't care if my blog grows to be big and famous.  When someone reads here, because of a search that they did, they are provided with a link to the right source to learn more.  People are searching.

I would encourage other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to become a little bolder and share a little bit more on the internet about what they believe.  Share a little less about what you ate for lunch, who said/wore what, or funny animal pictures/ videos, etc.

Bottomline:

Everyone is welcome at either mormon.org or lds.org.  Members of the Church should not send non-members to lds.org unless linking them to something specific, because that defeats the purpose of mormon.org as being a concentrated place to answer their questions if they are left to click around on their own.

Hope this helps,
Lindsay

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old-School Education

Dear Daughter,

I would like to take a moment and tell you how much I love you.  Words are very difficult to find to express exactly how I feel about you and the joy that you have brought to my life.  There is so much that I am thinking.


One of my favorite things about you is that you are left-handed.  Neither your dad or I are left-handed.  It shows me that even though you are 50% my DNA and 50% his, you are still you.  You are unique and special and have your own thoughts, dreams, desires, talents and abilities.  I think it is easy for people to think you are a mini-me, but you're not.  You're on loan to me from Heavenly Father.  A Spirit picked to come to our family.  Though you are young, you have your own preferences and style.  I love that you can offer me opinions about crafts and fashion.  I love discovering all of your potential and watching your talents blossom.  For some reason, every time I see you pick up a pencil, and decidedly use your left-hand, your whole life flashes before my eyes, because I know that you will do great things.  Most of them without me.  You are you, and I am me.

Right now you are still young and you do exhibit many age-appropriate behaviors.  I love how you nurture your dolls or me, because you have no younger sibling.  I love watching your limited coordination, or hearing you mix up consonant sounds, because I know all too soon you will be a grown, refined woman.  I know I need to spend more time with you.  It is all going too quickly and I miss your earlier stages.

I am impressed with your love of the Lord.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing you sing hymns all day long.  Recently, you've been singing "Praise to the Man" and "The Spirit of God" the most, but you also have a vast repertoire of over 50 Primary Songs/ Hymns.  I love your little prayers and desire to serve others.  I love when you decide we should pray for someone and we stop and do it right then.  I love that you already have your sights on the temple.  I love that the "Joseph Smith Movie" is your media of choice and that you watch it several times a week.  I also secretly love that you insist upon singing "Latter-Day Prophets" before we read scriptures every night, though I try to get out of it every night.  I also love your support of me in my calling.  Yesterday at the Church, you stood up at the Primary microphone and said "I'm Sister [our last name].  I'm giving a talk." and proceeded to share what you knew about the gospel.  I was busy doing other things, but now I wish I had stopped and hung on your every word.  You have been really patient as Dad and I have served others, but I know that Heavenly Father blesses you for helping us help others.

Now, my little pioneer, pay attention to this.  I hope you never grow out of your pioneer stage.  We all loved Nauvoo, this summer, and all have been inspired by the early saints of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I have decided that the best thing I can teach you is to be like a pioneer woman.  I came to this conclusion a few weeks ago when I was wondering what to do about your education.  Homeschooling?  Public schooling?  There are a lot of options and everyone seems to be so concerned about starting earlier and earlier.  All of your friends are starting pre-school, pre-K, or Kindergarten, AND dance lessons, gymnastics and soccer.  I have wondered what we should do.  There are so many different ideologies.  Some people have a full-blown curriculum for their 2 1/2 year old that they plan to home-school.  Other parents are lamenting that their child went to Kindergarten knowing too much.  They were so far ahead of everyone that they were bored and never were able to develop a "good work ethic."  This led to difficulties later in the upper grades.  What am I to think?

Lately, I have been turning to the pioneers for inspiration.  I know they did not have the same educational opportunities as we have now, so I don't know if it is a fair place to look for inspiration.  Pioneers did learn to read and write when possible and taught their children.  There were several schools in Nauvoo.  We toured one.



Literacy was important then, and our Church still recognizes it as important now.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also encourages women to get an education.  I know that pioneer women valued education.  I also know they valued hard work.

Daughter, I want to teach you to work hard, like a pioneer woman.  I want you to know how to keep house, how to sew, how to cook, how to value your time and money.  I want you to know how to preserve and prepare for emergencies.  I want you to constantly render compassionate service to others like a pioneer woman.  I want you to value your relationships with other people and how you treat them.  I want to teach you to have faith like a pioneer woman who endured a life of constant struggle and sorrow, yet NEVER wavered in her belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want you to love the Lord, like a pioneer woman would, consecrating everything she had to the growth of the Kingdom.  I want you to know that you are a beloved and precious daughter of God, that you should be virtuous, and have a love for the scriptures & and the words of the prophets.  Be prayerful, learn to read and write, and yes, value constant education like a pioneer woman.

The world gets caught up in schooling, and creative crafts and learning materials while frequently forgetting about moral values and work.  Yes, Daughter, the best thing that I can do is to teach you to be like a pioneer woman and that's exactly what I plan to do.

I love you so much.  I feel like I have told nothing in comparison to all of my love for you.

Be strong and always trust in the Lord.

Love,
Lindsay

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Am a Child of God

Dear Readers,

Whew!  It's over.

Last night was Nuevos Comienzos (New Beginnings) for the Young Women.  For the past 10 days, I have done nothing, but work on the details for that.

Today is a special day for Daughter.  She has been very patient these past 10 days, so today we are heading to the science museum and we will meet our Dad for lunch.  In celebrating Daughter today, this is one of her favorite Mormon Messages right now.



By recognizing that I am a daughter of the Divine One, this means that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is watching out for me.  He blesses me ALL of the time.  This makes me really happy.

Exhaustedly,
Lindsay

Saturday, October 1, 2011

At the Door and On the Stair

Dear Mother,

I have a great story for you, but it requires background information, so read on!  You'll love the ending.  You won't know whether to laugh or grab a tissue, because Daughter is so sweet and precious.

At the Door:

In our bedroom hangs the picture by "Jesus at the Door" by Del Parson.  It is the one that you gave to Husband and I with the gold foil leaf.  There have been many times that Daughter has pointed it out and so we have talked about it.  I have explained to her that there is no door handle on the door and that she must choose to open up the door, because Jesus is knocking on it.  We have to choose to be close to Jesus, because He wants to be close to us.  I have knocked on the wall of my room to demonstrate that Christ is knocking and calling "Daughter, Daughter please let open up the door."  We must let Him in our lives.




On the Stair:

This week Daughter and I were on our way upstairs to do the laundry.  She was holding a book and we had talked about reading it together, but decided to first do the laundry.  I told her to put the book on the couch, and Bear (who was in her other hand) also.  She misunderstood what I was saying, and I could tell that she truly wanted to understand, so I clarified.  I said,  "Book on the couch, Bear on the couch, Daughter come upstairs for the laundry."  Daughter understood and she started upstairs.  I had been waiting for her midway up the stairs and I bent down and gave her a big hug.

This is the conversation that followed:

Me:  That was good obeying!  I am so proud of you!

Daughter:  I obeyed!

Me:  When we obey our Mom and Dad it helps us obey our Heavenly Father.  Mom and Dad ask us to do things and so does Heavenly Father.  Heavenly Father has asked us to do things like go to church on Sundays, read the scriptures, and pray with our families.  Daughter is obeying Heavenly Father!

Daughter:   (big gasp and jaw-dropped smile)

Me:  Daughter goes to church on Sundays!  Daughter reads the Doctrine and Covenants every night.  Daughter says prayers with our family!

Daughter:  Daughter is obeying!

Me:  Yes, you are!  The things that Heavenly Father asks us to do are called commandments.  When we follow Heavenly Father's commandments we get to live with Him again.  Do you want to live with Heavenly Father again?

Daughter: (smiling and nodding yes)

Me:  That's wonderful.  Heavenly Father loves you so much and wants to live with you again.  Heavenly Father loves you.

Daughter:  (thinking)  Jesus loves you.

Me:  You are right.  He does.  Jesus loves Mom and Daughter.

Daughter:  He is saying, "Daughter, Daughter, open up the door." (see above)

Me:  (I had to think for a minute what she meant)  Oh, you mean like the picture in my room?

Daughter:  Yes.  He is saying, "Daughter open up the door.  Let me in."

Me:  And is Daughter going to open up the door?

Daughter:  YES!  And I will tell Him, "Hola!!!!!" (Hello in Spanish)

Me:  (no response, smile, laughter, wonder and awe)

Mother, I have often thought about choosing to open up the door and letting the Savior into my life.  Yet, I have never thought about what happens once the door is actually opened.  It does make a person ponder...

Would I greet the Savior with a big hearty "Hola!" or would I be looking through the peephole in shame timidly opening up the door?

I love Daughter.  She teaches me.

I love you.

Love,
Lindsay