Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Foul Language: Your Ways to Fight it

I'm noticing that as I get older, swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain becomes more and more prevalent around me. After a while, it's hard not to get discouraged when you hear so much of the trash that comes out of people's mouths. And then, there's the swearing in books and movies which are appropriate otherwise. How do you get away from it?

Here's what the For Strength of Youth book says about language:

"Do not use profane, vulgar, or crude language or gestures, and do not tell jokes or stories about immoral actions. These are offensive to God and to others."

 "Always use the names of God and Jesus Christ with reverence and respect. Misusing the names of Deity is a sin. When you pray, address your Father in Heaven in reverent and respectful language. The Savior used such respectful language in the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:9–12)."

 "How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity."

I read a really great article in the New Era a while ago about this very subject. Before I read it, I knew that I shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain, but I didn't know why. After reading it, however, I realized the importance of not taking Heavenly Father or Jesus' name in vain.

Basically, a girl was in a choir, and one of the kids in the choir was using the Lord's name in a rude way. So this girl asked her to stop, even though she was a bit shy. The girl said to the other, "Please don't say that. He is my Savior." The room got quiet, and she was embarrassed, but to her surprise, another member of the choir spoke up, "He is my Savior, too."   (To read the full article, click here.)

This story has always stuck with me. We keep the Lord's name holy because He  is our Savior and He saved us from our sins. 

So, now I pose a question: How do YOU stand up to foul language and rude uses of the Lord's name? I REALLY want to know! I want to hear anything you have, whether it's just something you've said once, or a method that works every time. Or maybe it's not something you said, but something you did! Whatever you have to say, let me hear it! To do this, write a comment with your ideas by clicking the comments below. You can comment anonymously if you want! But this will only work if people comment!

You will help other teens by showing your ideas! I will be posting everyone's ideas on The Life of a Mormon Teen's Facebook page! (Unless you specify that you don't want your comment there. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Blessings of the Book of Mormon

Exciting News! This girl just finished the Book of Mormon, cover-to-cover, for the first time!!! Reading the Book of Mormon for myself has been such a great experience for me! I didn't know that I could do it until my young women's leaders challenged me to do so. I admit, it took longer than I thought it would, but I learned so much!
First, I learned that I CAN do anything I put my mind to. For me, reading the Book of Mormon seemed daunting.  I'm not really sure what I was afraid of, maybe I was afraid that I would never finish. Over the years, there have been many times where I've started reading, only to get to 1 Nephi chapter 6. But this time, I did it. The main factor which I think was key to my success was that I had faith. This time when I started, I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me. I asked that He would help me understand it, and help me accomplish this goal. Because I knew that my goal of reading the Book of Mormon was pleasing to Heavenly father, I knew that He would help me.
Second, I learned how much I can gain from reading the scriptures everyday. I started realizing this back in October, and I posted on it (Scripture in My DAILY Life). But throughout these months, I have been realizing it even more. Those days when I don't read the scriptures simply don't go as well as the days where I do read the scriptures. Also, I have so much more confidence because I know that what I'm doing is pleasing to Heavenly Father, and I know that He is proud of me. It's great to know that the most powerful person in the universe is proud of me.
Third, I know the scriptures better. This is a great thing for my blog posts, talks, and lessons that I may be asked to give. I have had a fabulous example of that in the last week. I have been writing a talk for New Beginnings, a meeting in Young Women's for the parents and girls, and because I knew where a certain scripture was, I was able to use it in my talk. I didn't have to research it because I knew exactly where it was!
Fourth, my testimony in the Book of Mormon has been enriched. Before I read it, I mostly knew that The Book of Mormon is true. But now that I've read it from cover-to-cover, I can absolutely testify that this book is beautiful, holy, strengthening scripture that will enrich our lives and help us live to our potential.

To find out more about the Book of Mormon, click here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Good Friend, and a Timely Answered Prayer

Well, a couple days ago I was really struggling. Usually I am very confident in myself, but some boys had done some mean things to me and I was starting to doubt if anyone loved me.  I tried rationalizing that nobody loved me; maybe friends were just pretending, or they just didn't really care. I wondered if I was a burden.  I just felt kind of pointless. And, I was scared for the future. In school, we had been talking about careers and classes and college. I was scared. I was afraid that I didn't have what it would take to stay standing in the hurricane that I knew the future would be. I just felt so alone.  Mostly, I wondered if I was conducting myself in a way that made people want to love me.
So, late at night, I decided to pray. At first I thought "Well, you should know that you are loved. Look what Heavenly Father has done for you." But I just felt so alone. I was afraid that I would get an answer to my prayer, but I wouldn't know how to receive it or interpret it.
Then, I remembered that somewhere- whether in church, the scriptures, or a general conference talk- I had read that we must have faith.  Once we displayed faith the Lord would bless us. So, I decided to just try.  I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me feel like I was loved.
After praying, I was planning on reading my scriptures to help me feel better. But my hand just started reaching for my iPod to check facebook. I just felt like I needed check facebook. So I did. And I found that one of my best friends in the whole entire world had posted on my facebook wall. It said:

Dear Whitney,
I love you a lot and have been thinking about you lately!! YOU are the BESTEST FRIEND anyone could have!! YOu are amazing and fantastic! I want you to know that everyone loves you a lot, i mean who couldn't love you? I hope you are having a great day! I LOVE YOU LOTS!!!!!
(Name has been removed for security reasons)

As i read this, I started bawling. These were exactly the words I needed to hear. I literally needed these words.  Word for word.
I just have to marvel at how the Lord answers our prayers. Later, I was talking to the friend who sent me that message, and she said that she just had a feeling that she should leave me a message on facebook. We realized that it was the Holy Ghost. The Lord knew what I would need and when I would need it. And because I have chosen amazing friends who are in tune with the Spirit, I have been blessed that they can help me when I need it most.

I'm so grateful for my Heavenly Father who loves me and listens to my prayers. I'm grateful for all of my friends, but especially the lovely friend that helped me the other day, and who I know with a surety loves me. I'm so grateful for that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Arise and Shine Forth: Your Light Can Illuminate The World

Wow! It's been a while since I've posted! Sorry about that! Usually I post every week....... Anyway.  As you all probably know, a new year means a new mutual theme! Here it is in Doctrine and Covenants 115:5:

“Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” -Doctrine and Covenants 115:5

Short and sweet, this scripture has A LOT of meaning in it for us!
What is light? There are many instances in the scriptures where light is referenced. The brother of Jared recieved light in the stones he asked Jesus to touch, Joesph Smith saw a pillar of light, the ten virgins held old lamps, and it is said that Jesus's glory and brightness defies all description. (Joesph Smith History 1:17)
But one of my favorite descriptions of light is from the sermon on the mount. It is Matthew 5:14-16:

14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

God created you, yes you to be a light. He literally wants you to be a light to all the world. And you really can! Your Father has given you specific gifts that enable and empower you to shine for the world!

I am in the middle of writing a song about being the light. I am going to call it "Be The Light". I got the inspiration for this song when we had a fireside. I honestly don't remember what the speaker was addressing us about, but he said a phrase once, only once, that struck me with great force: "Be The Light". This wasn't even his topic, but those three little words have inspired me. Like I said, I'm not finished with the song yet, but I feel like I should share the chorus:
"Would the Lord make a light if it wasn't there to shine
He made the sun in the sky
and just like the sun, He created you to shine
Shine o'er the world, Be The Light"
It's a simple song so far, but I can't wait to finish it!

I know that people at school watch us everyday. It's true. I see it. We have the responsibility and privilege to share our happiness. Your single light can illuminate thousands, even millions if you just allow your the radiance of your testimony to shine through your everyday actions.  

To learn more about our mutual theme this year, click here.