26 October 2009

The Way of the Disciple

Deb M. taught a wonderful lesson in Relief Society based on the April 2009 talk by Elder Uchtdorf, "The Way of the Disciple." The following are key points that we discussed that offer hope, encouragement, and perspective to us all....
  • ..."the world is not bashful in offering numerous new answers to every problem we face. People run from one new idea to the next, hoping to find something that will answer the burning questions of their souls. They attend seminars and buy books, CDs, and other products. They get caught up in the excitement of looking for something new. But inevitably, the flame of each new theory fades, only to be replaced by another “new and improved” solution that promises to do what the others before could not. It’s not that these worldly options don’t contain elements of truth—many of them do. Nevertheless, they all fall short of the lasting change we seek in our lives. After the excitement wears off, the hollowness remains as we look for the next new idea to unlock the secrets of happiness.
In contrast, the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to all of our problems. The gospel is not a secret. It is not complicated or hidden. It can unlock the door to true happiness. It is not someone’s theory or proposition. It does not come from man at all. It springs from the pure and everlasting waters of the Creator of the universe, who knows truths we cannot even begin to comprehend. And with that knowledge, He has given us the gospel—a divine gift, the ultimate formula for happiness and success.
  • How do we become a disciple of Christ? Faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, making covenants, & service. The more we are filled with the Spirit of God, the more we extend ourselves to others. We become peacemakers in our homes and families, we help our fellowmen everywhere, and we reach out in merciful acts of kindness, forgiveness, grace, and long-suffering patience. These are the first steps along the true way of life and fulfillment. This is the peaceable way of the follower of Jesus Christ.
  • The first step on the path of discipleship begins, luckily enough, in the exact place where we stand! We do not have to prequalify to take that first step. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor. There is no requirement to be educated, eloquent, or intellectual. We do not have to be perfect or well-spoken or even well-mannered.
  • Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.
  • Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping....we need to get off the sidelines and practice what we preach.
  • There are some who believe that because they have made mistakes, they can no longer fully partake of the blessings of the gospel.... One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent.
  • To those who feel inadequate because they have not been members of the Church all their lives, to those who feel that they can never make up for the time they have lost, I testify that the Lord needs your specific abilities, talents, and skills. The Church needs you; we need you. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.
Thank you Deb for your preparation and dedication as one of our wonderful Relief Society teachers. We hope that each of you find strength in the words of Pres. Uchtdorf as he invites each of us to greater discipleship beginning right now, wherever we are in our lives.

Sheryl gave a beautiful talk in Sacrament Meeting about Relief Society and her words of commitment, participation, and service tie in with Presidet Uchtdorf's message of discipleship. May we find joy in our sisterhood as we reach out and support one another in our lives, beginning with those we visit teach. As Sheryl expressed, your many acts of service are truly appreciated. Each of you sisters are vital to the worth and strength of our collective Relief Society. Each of you bring talents, life experience, and strength unique to your life, and we are a better Relief Society because of you. May we each press forward from where we stand at this very moment, and see the great blessings (individually & as a sisterhood) of active participation in Relief Society.

The RS Presidency
Sheryl, Jan, Rebecca & Tammy

22 October 2009

General Relief Society Meeting

Did you miss the General Relief Society Meeting that was held earlier in October? You can watch an excerpt from Sister Julie Beck's talk where she explains the change from "Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment" to simply "Relief Society Meetings" by going to the following link...

Here is follow-up information offered by Sister Beck on the change from Enrichment to RS meetings.

Watch the entire General RS meeting here (under the large screen click on General Relief Society Meeting):

The text transcripts for General Conference can be found here:

You can also find a link to our most recent General Conference transcripts on the right sidebar or side of this blog under "Relief Society 411."



17 October 2009

Abby's House


This past month we've collected 2 vans full of clothing, household goods, and items to donate to Abby's House, a local women's shelter for homeless and/or battered women. Thank you for your generous, giving hearts and helping hands.

Today we met at Abby's House for a brief tour. We learned ways that we can help in the future. There is always need for help in the kitchen, filing, and in Abby's Thrift Shop. The thrift shop has Halloween costumes for $5, some retro prom dresses, and more current items as well from Gap, LLBean, Polo, etc. Drop in to bargain hunt. All proceeds go to Abby's House. Women at Abby's House who are going through particularly difficult times are able to shop for free. Donations are always welcome and appreciated. Tax deduction forms for donations are available upon request. No appointment necessary to drop off donations, just double check that they are open. Their normal Thrift Shop hours are M-F 10-4 & Saturday 10-2. For more information, go to the Abby's House website at http://www.abbyshouse.org

If you or your auxiliary would like to volunteer at Abby's House, please see Rebecca Menzie for a volunteer form. Volunteers are always welcome. As a Relief Society, we look forward to serving at Abby's House in the near future.

Thanks again for your thoughtful donations!

All best,


09 October 2009

Bridging the Past

"Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness." - M. Russell Ballard

We had a nice Relief Society meeting at Sheryl's home a week ago Thursday evening (sorry for being slow with my notes!). Lori Lyn Price, a member of the Arlington Ward Relief Society, and freelance genealogy speaker, shared her findings on several Colonial women whose stories provide us with a better understanding of what life was like for them and women in general back then.

We began with a True/False quiz! Allison and Lisle tied for high scores of 13... How you would have done?

1. Newly married brides had equal say with their husbands about which business should be the family business.

2. A woman was expected to carry on the family business after her husband's death.

3. Women were free to start their own business.

4. A girl's attire was very similar to the clothing her mother wore.

5. There was a distinct division of labor between men and women on farms.

6. Colonial New Englanders married early - in their teens.

7. Divorce was not recognized or legal in colonial New England.

8. Ownership of a woman's property was legally transferred to her husband upon marriage.

9. A husband was expected to consult with his wife when making decisions regarding finances and property.

10. It was legal in colonial New England for a husband to hit his wife.

11. Sex between a married woman and a man (single or married) was considered adultery and was a capital offense.

12. Sex between an unmarried woman and a man (single or married) was considered adultery and was a capital offense.

13. People immigrating to New England tended to arrive in family groups rather than as single men and women.

14. There was a high rate of illiteracy among women.

15. A woman's domain was the family dwelling and yard surrounding it.

16. Single males outnumbered single females 4 to 1.

17. Women bore about 8 children on average.

18. Women were not allowed to speak publicly.

1. F, 2. T, 3. F, 4. T, 5. F, 6. False (early 20's), 7. F, 8. T, 9. F, 10. F, 11. T, 12. F, 13. T, 14. F, 15. T, 16. T, 17. T, 18. T

The answers to the quiz, and text that Lori Lynn referred to can be found in the following books, all of which are suggested reading on the topic of Colonial Women in New England.

Good Wives, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Fissures in the Rock, by Richard Archer
Daily Life in Colonial New England, by Claudia Durst Johnson
American Jezebel, by Eve La Plante
The Muse of the Revolution, by Nancy Rubin Stuart

Lori Lyn profiled 5 fascinating women from Colonial times. By clicking on each women's name, you can get their brief history offered at Wikipedia...

Writer and poet, Anne Bradstreet. Anne was the first woman in Colonial New England to have her work published.

Upon the Burning of our House, July 10, 1666

And when I could no longer look,

I blest his grace that gave and took,

That laid my goods now in the dust.

Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.

It was his own; it was not mine.

Far be it that I should repine.


Slave & poet, Phyllis Wheatley. Phyllis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book.
phyllis Wheatley

"Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,

Taught my benighted soul to understand

That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:

Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.

Some view our sable race with scornful eye,

'Their colour is a diabolic dye.'

Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,

May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train."

A statue of Phyllis Wheatley is located on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston.

Heroine, Hannah Duston. After being kidnapped 6 days postpardum by a band of Indians who killed her newborn, Hannah escaped, along with her nurse and a young boy, by scalping the Indian captures in their sleep, and then following the Merrimack River south from Boscawen, New Hampshire back to her home in Haverhill, MA. She was rewarded for her bravery.
statue located in Haverhill, MA

"The muse of the revolution," Mercy Otis Warren. Mercy was America's first female playwright. She also was the first woman to create a Jeffersonian, or anti-Federalist, interpretation of the Revolution, titled, "The History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution." She was the first woman to publish her writings with professional intent, rather than for family, friends, and/or personal hobby. She was a strong advocate for freedom of speech, freedom of press, trial by jury, and checks and balances of the executive and legislative branches of government; all of which would come to be part of our nation's Bill of Rights.

She wrote, "Our situation is truly delicate & critical. On the one hand we are in need of a strong federal government founded on principles that will support the prosperity & union of the colonies. on the other we have struggled for liberty & made costly sacrifices at her shrine and there are still many among us who revere her name to much to relinquish (beyond a certain medium) the rights of man for the dignity of government."

Statue of Mercy Otis Warren at the Barnstable County Courthouse

Midwife & theologian, Anne Hutchinson. In 1638 Anne was tried in civil court for "traducing the ministers," and in her own defense she stated,

"...you have no power over my body, neither can you do me any harme, for I am in the hands of the eternall Jehovah my Saviour, I am at his appointment, the bounds of my habitation are cast in heaven, no further doe I esteeme of any mortal man than creatures in his hand, I feare none but the great Jehovah, which hath foretold me of these things, and I doe verily beleeve that he will deliver me out of our hands, therefore take heed how you proceed against me; for I know that for this you goe about to doe to me, God will ruine you and your posterity, and this whole state."

statue located in front of the Boston State House

After discussing these colonial women, we noted a few points of common ground they all shared...these women were brave, well-educated (their fathers were very involved and supportive), and they were supported by their husbands. We discussed OUR common ground with these women. We noted the importance of partnership in marriage, and how important it is for our children to feel support and guidance in their goals from both parents.

I marvel at how far we have come as women- from having a limited, controlled voice, and a narrow role in life to today; where we can speak freely, vote, govern, compete, debate, and the list goes on...
True, our greatest, most influential work will be as a mother in our home, but the choices we have as to what we do with our lives has never been greater. Our choices for creative outlets have never been greater. Our opportunities have never been greater.

My final thought ties in with the temple. As we go to the temple and notice that we in fact are serving a woman who lived in colonial New England, perhaps we can feel a greater bond after taking the time to learn what their environment and circumstances were like. We can honor them sister-to-sister by the significant act of taking their individual name through the temple and offering eternal, exalting choices.

Thank you, again to Lori Lynn for sharing your knowledge and thoughts with us pertaining to women in Colonial New England. It was an education!

Lori Lynn has started a freelance business offering lectures on genealogy. Her website is http://bridgingthepast.com.