December 31, 2013

Visiting Teaching Message January 2014

Relief Society Visiting Teaching Message January 2014
Faith, Family, Relief
This is part of a series of Visiting Teaching Messages featuring aspects of the mission of the Savior.
As we understand that Jesus Christ is our example in all things, we can increase our desire to follow Him. The scriptures are full of encouragement for us to follow in Christ’s footsteps. To the Nephites, Christ said, “For the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27:21). To Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Today our leaders remind us to set the Savior as our example. Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, said, “When each of us has the doctrine of the Atonement written deep in our hearts, then we will begin to become the kind of people the Lord wants us to be.”1
President Thomas S. Monson said, “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is our Exemplar and our strength.”2
Let us resolve to draw near to Jesus Christ, to obey His commandments, and to strive to return to our Heavenly Father.

From the Scriptures

From Our History

“He marked the path and led the way,” wrote Eliza R. Snow, second Relief Society general president, of the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ.3 He ministered to individuals—one by one. He taught that we should leave the ninety and nine to save the straying one (see Luke 15:3–7). He healed and taught individuals, even taking time for each person in a multitude of 2,500 people (see 3 Nephi 11:13–15; 17:25).
Of Latter-day Saint women, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “You wonderful sisters render compassionate service to others for reasons that supersede desires for personal benefits. In this you emulate the Savior. … His thoughts were always tuned to help others.”4

What Can I Do?

  1. Why and how is Jesus Christ my exemplar?
  2. How can ministering to the sisters I visit help me follow the Savior?

“The Perfect Example”


Without reason to fret or worry
without fear or any small doubt
wearying not in this mortality
for we’ve the perfect example;

His name is Jesus Christ
wavering not in his obedience
setting for each in everything
a lasting most perfect example!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

Home Teaching Message for January 2014

First Presidency Message

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

In ancient Rome, Janus was the god of beginnings. He was often depicted with two faces—one looking back on the past, the other looking forward to the future. Some languages name the month of January after him because the beginning of the year was a time for reflection as well as planning.

Thousands of years later, many cultures throughout the world carry on a tradition of making resolutions for the new year. Of course, making resolutions is easy—keeping them is a different thing altogether.
One man who had made a long list of New Year’s resolutions felt pretty good about his progress. He thought to himself, “So far, I’ve stuck to my diet, I haven’t lost my temper, I’ve kept to my budget, and I haven’t once complained about the neighbor’s dog. But today is January 2 and the alarm just went off and it’s time I got out of bed. It’s going to take a miracle to keep my streak going.”
Starting Over
There is something incredibly hopeful about a fresh start. I suppose at one time or another we have all wanted to start again with a clean slate.
I love getting a new computer with a clean hard drive. For a time it works perfectly. But as the days and weeks pass by and more and more programs get installed (some intentional, some not so intentional), eventually the computer begins to stall, and things it used to do quickly and efficiently become sluggish. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Even getting it to start can become a chore as the hard drive becomes cluttered with miscellaneous chaos and electronic debris. There are times when the only recourse is to reformat the computer and start over.
Human beings can likewise become cluttered with fears, doubts, and burdensome guilt. The mistakes we have made (both intentional and unintentional) can weigh upon us until it may seem hard to do what we know we should.
In the case of sin, there is a wonderful reformatting process called repentance that allows us to clear our internal hard drives of the clutter that burdens our hearts. The gospel, through the miraculous and compassionate Atonement of Jesus Christ, shows us the way to cleanse our souls of the stain of sin and once again become new, pure, and as innocent as a child.
But sometimes other things slow us down and hold us back, causing unproductive thoughts and actions that make it hard for us to get started.
Bringing Out the Best in Us
Setting goals is a worthy endeavor. We know that our Heavenly Father has goals because He has told us that His work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
Our personal goals can bring out the best in us. However, one of the things that derail our efforts in making and keeping resolutions is procrastination. We sometimes delay starting, waiting for the right moment to begin—the first day of a new year, the beginning of summer, when we’re called as bishop or Relief Society president, after the kids get into school, after we retire.
You don’t need an invitation before you start moving in the direction of your righteous goals. You don’t need to wait for permission to become the person you were designed to be. You don’t need to wait to be invited to serve in the Church.
We can sometimes waste years of our lives waiting to be chosen (see D&C 121:34–36). But that is a false premise. You are already chosen!
At times in my life I have spent sleepless nights grappling with issues, worries, or personal sorrows. But no matter how dark the night, I am always encouraged by this thought: in the morning the sun will rise.
With every new day, a new dawn comes—not only for the earth but also for us. And with a new day comes a new start—a chance to begin again.
But What If We Fail?
Sometimes the thing that holds us back is fear. We might be afraid that we won’t succeed, that we will succeed, that we might be embarrassed, that success might change us, or that it might change the people we love.
And so we wait. Or give up.
Another thing we need to remember when it comes to setting goals is this: We almost certainly will fail—at least in the short term. But rather than be discouraged, we can be empowered because this understanding removes the pressure of being perfect right now. It acknowledges from the beginning that at one time or another, we may fall short. Knowing this up front takes away much of the surprise and discouragement of failure.
When we approach our goals this way, failure doesn’t have to limit us. Remember, even if we fail to reach our ultimate, desired destination right away, we will have made progress along the road that will lead to it.
And that matters—it means a lot.
Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before.
The Best Time to Begin Is Now
An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now. There is something empowering about the fact that if we choose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment.
Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be—not only 20 years from now but also for all eternity.
Teaching from This Message
President Uchtdorf explained that when we fail to reach our goals, “we can be empowered. … Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before.” Ask family members to share experiences in which they learned more from the process than they learned from the outcome, such as graduating from school or receiving an award.
Become Your Best Self—Starting Now
President Uchtdorf teaches that “personal goals can bring out the best in us.” Consider setting some goals in two or three areas of your life, such as physical health, spiritual health, and friendships, for example. What successes would you like to have in these areas this year? As you prayerfully think of some goals, make sure they are attainable but will require you to grow. In your journal, describe your goals in detail so that you will be able to see your progress when a year passes.


Understanding which road to be on
where on the road one is found
which way then one is bound
identification of one’s location
makes all of life easier to grasp
without having to guess or wish
while nothing is ever truly easy
one can simplify by observation
thus to set achievable goals
measuring marks from a to z
knowing which road we’re on
where we’re headed this day
found in obedience to Father!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

December 30, 2013

“Being Prepared” i

“Being Prepared”


Having read the prophecies
knowing what’s still to come
answering boldly who’s side
thus knowing also a target
for the road is straight to be
allowing snipers to right/left
yet knowing of the Gospel
thus to waver not at all
being prepared as one can
for things will get worse
much worse for the righteous
as the last days progress
so much still yet to come
the prophecies having read!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

December 29, 2013

"One Goal" (short essay to prepare for new year)

"One Goal" cji c/ork
Every single person who sets goals should have just one goal! This goal is predicated upon all others goals one might set in their life. It would be my expectation that one might meaningfully have thousands of goals. These could be found as either tangible or intangible goals. They should be in the six main areas of their life; family, social, physical, mental, financial and moral/ethical. Thus with goals in each of the six areas however one were to define them would be a mixture of both tangible and intangible. Secondary to this these goals should have a blend of short term, medium term and long term durations. Short term could be as short as one or two hours to up to three to four weeks. While medium term goals are usually from one month to one year. Long term goals could be from one year to any number of years especially where intangible goals are concerned.

Seems like a long way from just one single goal but bear with me a bit longer. Goals to be efficient need to be written and specific (see Paul J. Meyers) and be broken down in generally the following way. The initial part of a goal is for it to be written clearly and understandably so that one can see exactly what it is that they want to achieve. Part of the written clarification is whether the goal is tangible or intangible. Next to place it in a specific area of your life. Some may overlap – i.e. family and social, moral/ethical and financial – but one should pick the area best identified with the goal. Then one sets a date for the achievement of this particular goal. This is the date when you want to achieve the goal – it could be as short as a couple of weeks or many months or even years. (Note: for very short term goals less than a couple days – simply identifying it and listed it is usually enough.)

For every goal one has they follow the above pattern – until in each area of one’s life they’ve as many as ten or more – with some being tangible and intangible. Next when this initial stage is done – one then has to prioritize the goals they taken the time to write up for themselves. (Note: remembering even the list we make for daily things we want/need to do – we should prioritize them – this is so we get the most important done first – the less important may either wait till tomorrow or even another week.)

Once we’ve prioritized our goals we go to the next step of the process and this is to list all of the obstacles which stand between us and the achievement of each individual goal. Sometimes some are stymied by what this obstacles might be – i.e. sailing around the world would be easy – while baking a twenty tier cake might be more difficult. This is where I invoke the Funny Girl song, “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and allow some others who are usually negative what it is I’m trying to accomplish and they’ll invariably rain on my parade by telling me all the reasons I cannot accomplish this goal. Then I write down what they’re saying and see what it is I’ve missed.

Now that the obstacles are written down – I need to find the solutions to each obstacle! Again the idea of eating the elephant one bite at a time works very well in effective goal setting. Once the solutions are written down – I ask whether this is still a worthwhile goal for me at this time – if the answer is yes – I validate the date of accomplishment and make any adjustments which might be needful. Then comes the fun part of writing out each goal and that is to get photos, make drawings, cut out pictures so that I can see myself accomplishing the goal(s). With this I then write affirmations to go along with the pictures and apply the act as if principle. 

This may seem like a lot of work for one or even a thousand goals – however, one will learn that some need all of these step while others do not – especially the shorter range goals after one gets used to setting more than just one or two goals in their lives. In addition having all of this written down allows you to keep track of where you are in your progress – let’s say an example might be to read 20 books – 15 non-fiction and 5 fiction over the next six months. This would mean reading just over three book a month – and you just check them off as you read them. Keeping score is very important for then you know where you are and not just where you think you are.

Okay back to the one goal which determines all other goals! Throughout the Scriptures Heavenly Father and the Son (our Lord and Savior) are constantly referring to each of us with our families coming back to live with them (if you take the Scriptures literally and haven’t been led astray that only 5% is really factual the rest can summarized in Greek Philosophy). If this is the case – which I not only believe but know to be true – then our only real goal in mortality is to return to our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son with our family intact (both our progenitors and our posterity). I reference 1 Peter 3:7 where it says, Husbands and wives are heirs together forever! Or one can review the many Scriptures where the Son talks of many mansions – and there are many more – which point unerringly to our having the right if we’re worthy to become like the Father and the Son and inherit eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom with them. Paul talks of this often and well as many of the Prophets.

Thus we should each have ‘one goal’ i.e. “At the end of my mortal probation I will return to my Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son our Lord and Master Jesus Christ – with my extended family in the Celestial Kingdom to dwell with them for time and all eternity as an eternal family.” This is a tangible goal the Scripture tells us it is so – and we know when it will occur at the end of our mortal probation. We know the obstacles; i.e. to be found fully obedient to all of the Commandments, Statutes and Laws as set forth by the Father, the Son and their representatives here on this earth known as Prophets and Apostles (called by them only). We know the solutions to the obstacles begin and end with learning what all of the Commandments, Statutes and Laws are that were to be obedient in full with in our lives. Pictures, photos, drawings can all be made representing this return and the affirmation’s can easily be stated.

Why this one goal? This one goal is the key to the rest of our mortal lives – in that – every other goal we’ll set will either take us closer or further away from the accomplishment of this on single goal. Thus as we set the daily, monthly, yearly goals in our life the one paramount question will always be – will this bring me closer to the obedience needed or further away. We then have a simple decision tree whereby we can reject some goals out of hand – while pursuing those which bring us closer.

Dating, what to do or not do – all become quite clear – our mode of dress – what music we listen to – what movies we watch – how we obey in keeping the Sabbath Day holy – all these areas of our lives become much more simplified based on what importance we place on what the Father, the Son and the Prophets/Apostles have taught us throughout time and continue to do so today. 

Hopefully this helps one and all as we prepare for another very difficult year – and our planning and modifications we each need to make in our lives as we relate to the worldly around us.

In the name of Jesus Christ – amen  - c/ork

“One Goal”


Perhaps just a myth
these lives just time
decaying upon death
without value or love
empty as some teach
without body or parts
without emotion to feel
in total rejections to be
or just perhaps this:
Meaning and loving
Our Father preparing
places for each of us
families to be eternal
as Prophets teach
self-worth and value
moral and virtuous
eternal and forever
with accomplishing
just one goal only
to return to Father!

Copyright © 2013 – cji