April 30, 2014

Visiting Teaching Message May 2014

Visiting Teaching May 2014:
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other
BY BONNIE L. OSCARSON Young Women General President
(A video was shown with Sisters all around the world singing “I Am A Child of God” in their own languages at the same time)
We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common.
In that video we saw eight countries and heard nine different languages. Imagine how many more languages were added on that final verse. It is thrilling to know that as a worldwide sisterhood we were able to raise our voices in testimony of the eternal truth that we are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.
What a great privilege it is to be here on this historic occasion and address all the women of the Church ages eight and above. There is tremendous strength in our unity this evening. As I see all of us gathered together in the Conference Center and contemplate the thousands of others who are viewing this broadcast from locations around the world, the combined power of our testimonies and faith in Jesus Christ surely constitutes one of the most faith-filled and powerful assemblies of women in the history of the Church, if not the world.
Tonight we rejoice in our many different roles as women in the Church. Though in many ways we are different and unique, we also acknowledge that we are all daughters of the same Heavenly Father, which makes us sisters. We are unified in building the kingdom of God and in the covenants which we have made, no matter what our circumstances. This combined assembly is, without a doubt, the most glorious sisterhood upon the face of the earth!1
To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. The Lord has said, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”2
The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. We can still be friends, can’t we?
We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, “The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly.”3 She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sisterhood and our associations and begin to serve.
The fact of the matter is, we really and truly need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We have so much to learn from one another, and we often let self-imposed barriers keep us from enjoying associations which could be among the greatest blessings in our lives. For example, we women who are a little older need what you Primary-age girls have to offer. We can learn much from you about Christlike service and love.
I recently heard a wonderful story about a little girl named Sarah, whose mother had the opportunity to help another woman in her ward named Brenda, who had multiple sclerosis. Sarah loved to go with her mother to help Brenda. She would put lotion on Brenda’s hands and massage her fingers and arms because she was often in pain. Sarah then learned to gently stretch Brenda’s arms over her head to exercise her muscles. Sarah brushed Brenda’s hair and visited with her while her mother took care of her other needs. Sarah learned the importance and joy of serving another person and came to understand that even a child can make a big difference in someone’s life.
I love the example we have in the first chapter of Luke which describes the sweet relationship between Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her cousin Elisabeth. Mary was a young woman when she was informed of her remarkable mission to be the mother of the Son of God. Initially it must have seemed to be a heavy responsibility to bear alone. It was the Lord Himself who provided Mary with someone to share her load. Through the message of the angel Gabriel, Mary was given the name of a trusted and sympathetic woman to whom she could turn for support—her cousin Elisabeth.
This young maiden and her cousin, who was “well stricken in years,”4shared a common bond in their miraculous pregnancies, and I can only imagine how very important the three months they spent together were to both of them as they were able to talk together, empathize with each other, and support one another in their unique callings. What a wonderful model they are of feminine nurturing between generations.
Those of us who are a little more mature can have a tremendous influence on the younger generations. When my mother was just a little girl, neither of her parents was active in the Church. Even at the young age of five, she would walk by herself to church and attend her meetings—Primary, Sunday School, and sacrament meeting—all at different times.
I recently asked my mother why in the world she did that week after week when she had no support or encouragement at home. Her answer was: “I had Primary teachers who loved me.” These teachers cared about her and taught her the gospel. They taught her that she had a Father in Heaven, who loved her, and it was their concern for her that kept her coming week after week. My mother said to me, “That was one of the most important influences in my early life.” I hope I can thank those wonderful sisters someday! There is no age barrier when it comes to Christlike service.
A couple of weeks ago, I met a stake Young Women president in California who told me that her 81-year-old mother had recently been called to be a Mia Maid adviser. I was so intrigued I gave her mother a call. When Sister Val Baker’s bishop asked to meet with her, she was looking forward to being called as a librarian or ward historian. When he asked her to serve as a Mia Maid adviser to the Young Women, her reaction was, “Are you sure?”
Her bishop solemnly replied, “Sister Baker, make no mistake; this call is from the Lord.”
She said she had no other answer to that except, “Of course.”
I love the inspiration this bishop felt that the four Mia Maids in his ward have much to learn from the wisdom, experience, and lifelong example of this mature sister. And guess whom Sister Baker will go to when she needs help setting up her Facebook page?
I think of the great help that the sisters in Relief Society can be in welcoming young sisters who have recently been in Young Women. Our young sisters frequently feel as if they don’t have a place or anything in common with those in Relief Society. Before they turn 18, they need Young Women leaders and mothers who will joyfully testify of the great blessings of Relief Society. They need to feel enthusiastic about becoming part of such a glorious organization. When young women begin attending Relief Society, what they need most is a friend to sit next to, an arm around their shoulders, and an opportunity to teach and serve. Let us all reach out to help one another through the transitions and milestones of our lives.
Thank you to all the women of the Church who are reaching out across age and cultural lines to bless and serve others. Young women are serving Primary children and the elderly. Single sisters of all ages spend countless hours watching out for the needs of those around them. We recognize the thousands of young women who are giving up 18 months of their lives to share the gospel with the world. All of these things are evidence that, as our beloved hymn states, “The errand of angels is given to women.”5
If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world. Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley once said, “Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.”6 Sister Hinckley was right; oh, how we need each other!
Sisters, there is no other group of women in the world who have access to greater blessings than we do as Latter-day Saint women. We are members of the Lord’s Church, and regardless of our individual circumstances, we can all enjoy the full blessings of priesthood power through keeping the covenants we have made at baptism and in the temple. We have living prophets to lead and teach us, and we enjoy the great gift of the Holy Ghost, which serves as a comfort and guide in our lives. We are blessed to work hand in hand with righteous brothers as we strengthen homes and families. We have access to the strength and power of temple ordinances and so much more.
In addition to enjoying all of these magnificent blessings, we have each other—sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed with tender and charitable natures which enable us to render Christlike love and service to those around us. As we look beyond our differences in age, culture, and circumstance to nurture and serve one another, we will be filled with the pure love of Christ and the inspiration which leads us to know when and whom to serve.
I extend to you an invitation that was issued once before by a Relief Society general president who said, “I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better.7 May we realize just how much we need each other, and may we all love one another better, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

“None Go Alone”


Holding hands as if one
leading, guiding, growing
caring, sharing, teaching
always as more than one
a phone call or a visit
dropping a short note
maybe an email of ‘hi’
seeking those who’ve needs
finding those who are lost
being with those we love
assisting the more active
fellowshipping those less
reminding all of pure love
so none go alone today
or in this life’s journey
knowing as Father taught
we’re never ever alone!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

Home Teaching Message May 2014

Home Teaching Message May 2014:
“The Witness”
BY PRESIDENT BOYD K. PACKER President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 2014 General Conference)
I wish to share with you those truths which are the most worth knowing.
Times of war or uncertainty have a way of sharpening our focus on things that really matter.
World War II was a time of great spiritual turmoil for me. I had left my home in Brigham City, Utah, with only embers of a testimony, and I felt the need for something more. Virtually our whole senior class in a matter of weeks was on its way to the war zone. While stationed on the island of Ie Shima, just north of Okinawa, Japan, I struggled with doubt and uncertainty. I wanted a personal testimony of the gospel. I wanted toknow!
During one sleepless night, I left my tent and entered a bunker which had been formed by lining up 50-gallon fuel drums filled with sand and placed one on top of the other to form an enclosure. There was no roof, and so I crawled in, looked up at the star-filled sky, and knelt to pray.
Almost mid-sentence it happened. I could not describe to you what happened if I were determined to do so. It is beyond my power of expression, but it is as clear today as it was that night more than 65 years ago. I knew it to be a very private, very individual manifestation. At last I knew for myself. I knew for a certainty, for it had been given to me. After some time, I crawled from that bunker and walked, or floated, back to my bed. I spent the rest of the night in a feeling of joy and awe.
Far from thinking I was someone special, I thought that if such a thing came to me, that it could come to anyone. I still believe that. In the years that have followed, I have come to understand that such an experience is at once a light to follow and a burden to carry.
I wish to share with you those truths which are the most worth knowing, the things that I have learned and experienced in nearly 90 years of life and over 50 years as a General Authority. Much of what I have come to know falls into the category of things which cannot be taught but can be learned.
Like most things of great worth, knowledge which is of eternal value comes only through personal prayer and pondering. These, joined with fasting and scripture study, will invite impressions and revelations and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. This provides us with instruction from on high as we learn precept upon precept.
The revelations promise that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection” and that “knowledge and intelligence [are gained] through … diligence and obedience” (D&C 130:18–19).
One eternal truth that I have come to know is that God lives. He is our Father. We are His children. “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1).
Of all the other titles that He could have used, He chose to be called “Father.” The Savior commanded, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven” (3 Nephi 13:9; see also Matthew 6:9). His use of the name “Father” is a lesson for all as we come to understand what it is that matters most in this life.
Parenthood is a sacred privilege, and depending upon faithfulness, it can be an eternal blessing. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home.
Those who do not marry or those who cannot have children are not excluded from the eternal blessings they seek but which, for now, remain beyond their reach. We do not always know how or when blessings will present themselves, but the promise of eternal increase will not be denied any faithful individual who makes and keeps sacred covenants.
Your secret yearnings and tearful pleadings will touch the heart of both the Father and the Son. You will be given a personal assurance from Them that your life will be full and that no blessing that is essential will be lost to you.
As a servant of the Lord, acting in the office to which I have been ordained, I give those in such circumstances a promise that there will be nothing essential to your salvation and exaltation that shall not in due time rest upon you. Arms now empty will be filled, and hearts now hurting from broken dreams and yearning will be healed.
Another truth I have come to know is that the Holy Ghost is real. He is the third member of the Godhead. His mission is to testify of truth and righteousness. He manifests Himself in many ways, including feelings of peace and reassurance. He can also bring comfort, guidance, and correction when needed. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is maintained throughout our lives by righteous living.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred through an ordinance of the gospel. One with authority lays his hands on the head of a new member of the Church and says words such as these: “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
This ordinance alone does not change us in a noticeable way, but if we listen and follow the promptings, we will receive the blessing of the Holy Ghost. Each son or daughter of our Heavenly Father can come to know the reality of Moroni’s promise: “By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5; emphasis added).
A supernal truth that I have gained in my life is my witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Foremost and underpinning all that we do, anchored throughout the revelations, is the Lord’s name, which is the authority by which we act in the Church. Every prayer offered, even by little children, ends in the name of Jesus Christ. Every blessing, every ordinance, every ordination, every official act is done in the name of Jesus Christ. It is His Church, and it is named for Him—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (seeD&C 115:4).
There is that great incident in the Book of Mormon where the Nephites “were praying unto the Father in [the Lord’s] name.” The Lord appeared and asked:
“What will ye that I shall give unto you?
“And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.
“And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?
“Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
“And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. …
“Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake” (3 Nephi 27:2–7).
It is His name, Jesus Christ, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
In the Church we know who He is: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the Only Begotten of the Father. He is He who was slain and He who liveth again. He is our Advocate with the Father. “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that [we] must build [our] foundation” (Helaman 5:12). He is the anchor that holds us and protects us and our families through the storms of life.
Each Sunday across the world where congregations gather of any nationality or tongue, the sacrament is blessed with the same words. We take upon ourselves the name of Christ and always remember Him. That is imprinted upon us.
The prophet Nephi declared, “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
Each of us must come to our own personal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. We then share that testimony with our family and others.
In all of this, let us remember that there is an adversary who personally seeks to disrupt the work of the Lord. We must choose whom to follow. Our protection is as simple as deciding individually to follow the Savior, making certain that we faithfully will remain on His side.
In the New Testament, John records that there were some who were unable to commit to the Savior and His teachings, and “from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66–69).
Peter had gained that which can be learned by each follower of the Savior. To be faithfully devoted to Jesus Christ, we accept Him as our Redeemer and do all within our power to live His teachings.
After all the years that I have lived and taught and served, after the millions of miles I have traveled around the world, with all that I have experienced, there is one great truth that I would share. That is my witness of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience:
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him” (D&C 76:22–23).
Their words are my words.
I believe and I am sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and “by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).
I bear my witness that the Savior lives. I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

“Testifying of Truth”


Pushing aside the worldly
subjecting oneself to truth
caring only to share today
or each encounter to be
never allowing deviation
understanding so well
the Commandments
the Covenants made
obedience to the Father
praying through the Son
testifying of truth alone
placing all on the line
allowing other choice
wavering not in truth
hoping they too will do!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

"Defining Courage"

Details of death of Army nurse in Afghanistan

The News Tribune
April 29, 2014 Updated 18 hours ago
TACOMA, Wash. — In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders.
One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.
The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.
The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.
In the words of her commander, Moreno ran "into hell" to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the Oct. 5 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.
A total of 12 bombs exploded that night — a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.
The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat.
The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.
Moreno is Madigan's only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.
Moreno "sacrificed her life so others could live," her Bronze Star commendation reads.
The News Tribune previously reported Moreno's death and covered her memorial service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But her award commendation, which the newspaper obtained recently, sheds more light on that chaotic day, and on the heroic steps that were taken to honor the Soldiers Creed: "I will never leave a fallen comrade."
Moreno is one of only 11 women from Lewis-McChord to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and one of only two women from the local base who were commissioned officers when they were killed.
Moreno died with Sgt. Patrick Hawkins and Spc. Cody Patterson of the Georgia-based 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and special agent Joseph M. Peters of a military police unit based in Italy.
The Army says their sacrifices stymied an attack "that would have resulted in the deaths of unknown multitudes of innocent civilians." At least two insurgents died in the compound; two of them were wearing suicide vests.
The narratives were written to support military honors several soldiers received for their actions in the fight. Moreno posthumously received a Bronze Star. So did Hawkins and Patterson.
Spc. Samuel Crockett, who survived that bloody day, received a Silver Star for risking his life over a two-hour rescue. He played a key role in recovering Moreno's body after the 11th blast, and in providing life-saving medical aid to a wounded soldier.
He also set off the 12th and final bomb, but it had a low detonation that did not injure him.
The battle began as the soldiers approached the compound in Kandahar's Zhari district and called out for its occupants to surrender.
None of the insurgents inside would be taken alive.
The first to die was an Afghan woman walking out of the compound wearing a suicide vest.
She detonated the explosive, killing herself, wounding six troops and setting off a second blast nearby. Two soldiers rushing to help troops wounded in the first blast hit the third bomb. A second enemy fighter died in those early blasts, too.
An Afghan insurgent who ran away from the building detonated the fourth explosive, another suicide vest. The bomb killed him and a military working dog named Jani.
Moreno heard a call from a staff sergeant to help a wounded soldier. At the same time, the battle's ground commander told all of the soldiers to stay where they were.
Her Bronze Star commendation uses dry, formal military language to describe the decision she faced.
"Disregarding her own well-being," it reads, "Moreno unhesitatingly moved to assist (the soldiers) upon realizing the severity of the wounds sustained by her fellow teammates."
"While in transit, Moreno detonated Device No. 5 and was killed in action."
Few could make the same choice.
"None of us would have done what you did, running into hell to save your wounded brothers, knowing full well you probably wouldn't make it back," the commander of Moreno's female Special Operations support team in Afghanistan, Capt. Amanda King, later wrote in a eulogy.
The battle did not end with Moreno's sacrifice.
"Follow me," Hawkins told Patterson as they made their move to reach the wounded.
Patterson stepped on a mine, the sixth detonation. He stumbled and hit the seventh, delivering fatal wounds to both him and Hawkins.
Peters, the military police officer, set off explosions No. 8 and No. 9 after working to clear a helicopter landing zone for medical evacuations.
Crockett arrived with a 20-soldier force dispatched to clear the area of mines and rescue the wounded. He was trained for the job as a soldier in a North Carolina-based explosives command.
He cleared space for medics to work on casualties and made his way to isolated Rangers, escorting them through the mine belt to safety. He managed to retrieve Hawkins, the fallen military dog and various pieces of sensitive military equipment without detonating more bombs.
"His focus on retrieving teammates from stranded positions ultimately preserved their lives," his Silver Star commendation reads.
Moreno's body remained on the field.
Three soldiers from Crockett's unit tried to retrieve her, but struck the 11th explosive.
Crockett ran to them, halting at the edge of his cleared path.
He saw his platoon sergeant injured but standing. Crockett guided him back to safe ground.
With no clear path to his two newly wounded teammates, Crockett got down to the ground and swept the earth for mines with his own hands.
He reached a private first class who lost his right leg to the bomb. Crockett applied a tourniquet and "single-handedly dragged him to an area where medics could safely render treatment."
There was one more injured teammate left to recover from the 11th explosion. Crockett set off the final blast as he stepped to the wounded sergeant.
It didn't kill him, so he continued with the rescue. He chose a different path, again swept the ground with his hands, and brought his teammate back to safety.
Still, Moreno's body remained where she fell.
Crockett got as close as he could to the fallen nurse, attached a drag line to her and pulled her to the safe area.
With Moreno recovered, the operators made the call to leave the compound.
Finally, they got out of hell. They did not leave one of their own behind.
Information from: The News Tribune, 
“Defining Courage!”


Awakening in the morning
dressing as usual to do
checking the daily reports
getting assignments today
medical supplies packed
body armor put in place
helmet on and secure
going forth on patrol
explosions and screams
troops wounded in need
orders given but two
stay and or able to go
going the only choice
another in need now
then another explosion
no other sounds today
giving one’s life today
trying to help another
awakening in forever!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

April 29, 2014

"This Valley"


“This Valley”


Relevance to the few
only the faithful to go
transporting space/time
reaching back years
millenniums to measure
unknown to the masses
peace in the valley
not just any valley
but this valley found
wherein history begins
with a sure knowledge
if not now to learn
in time/space shown
where only some go
of sacred relevance!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

April 28, 2014

"To Be As Job"

“To Be As Job”


Can we understand good
and then appreciate bad
knowing both are in life
happy with the goodness
sad but enduring the bad
to be as Job in humbleness
loving and praising God
whether in the good/bad
appreciating our mortality
proving ourselves worthy
appreciating the trials
sharing in the goodness!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

April 27, 2014

"Voter Fraud" (registered in two or more states)

“Voter Fraud”
(registered in
two or more)


Afraid of the results
stacking the odds
registered voters
two or more states
dead people voting
fear at the polls
rigged machines
part and parcel
demeaning freedom
abusing powers
Attorney General
Courts of Law
disregarding all
only way to win
voter fraud
stacking the odds
rigging the results!

Copyright © 2013 – cji

April 26, 2014

"Families Are Forever"

“Families Are Forever”


Holding fast to the eternal truths
families are forever and ever
we sing hymns of the Sabbath
we read the Scriptures as one
how many remember the eternal
thinking of obedient/worthy
pleasing Heavenly Father
in service to the Savior
families are forever/eternal
unlike the teaching of men
each Sabbath to renew
covenants fully to keep
eternal and forever today
as are families to become
eternal truths holding fast!

Copyright © 2013 – cji