Really, it was a great Sunday.
Great talks in Sacrament meeting and then I got to substitute in mr. b's Primary class. After that, a great Relief Society lesson.
In Primary, the lesson used the story of Jacob and Esau to teach how our values effect our choices (and although is didn't state it--the consequences of our choices). Esau sold his birthright for some dinner. He must have been really hungry. Satisfying hunger = temorary value, keeping birthright = eternal value.
We make choices everyday. I think I'm going to think more about where my choices are coming from this week.
In Relief Society, out lesson came from a general conference talk given last Novemeber by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. When I read it last night (woo hoo-I actually read the lesson in advance for once), it struck me to be so very, very spot on for the times our nation is going through right this moment. And-it seemed to fit right in with Jacob & Esau.
You can find the full text of the address here.
Here are the parts that stuck out to me:
The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).
As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. …
“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”2
I have heard a few parents state that they don’t want to impose the gospel on their children but want them to make up their own minds about what they will believe and follow. They think that in this way they are allowing children to exercise their agency. What they forget is that the intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, of things as they really are (see D&C 93:24). Without that, young people can hardly be expected to understand and evaluate the alternatives that come before them. Parents should consider how the adversary approaches their children. He and his followers are not promoting objectivity but are vigorous, multimedia advocates of sin and selfishness.
We cannot presume that the future will resemble the past—that things and patterns we have relied upon economically, politically, socially will remain as they have been. Perhaps our moral discipline, if we will cultivate it, will have an influence for good and inspire others to pursue the same course. We may thereby have an impact on future trends and events. At a minimum, moral discipline will be of immense help to us as we deal with whatever stresses and challenges may come in a disintegrating society.
Then he tells us that "We will be fortified in the moral discipline needed to walk uprightly before the Lord and be at one with Him and the Father."
What an inspiring message. There is right and wrong. It is good to stand up for what is right. It is good to know we will be "fortified."
But the things he said that stood out to me the most were:
Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.5
We must declare the essential need to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him in soberness, or in other words, with reverence. Each must be persuaded that service and sacrifice for the well-being and happiness of others are far superior to making one’s own comfort and possessions the highest priority.
What choices are we making, showing what we value
Someday, everyone will have what they need. Everyone will be taken care of. We just aren't ready for it yet.
We need to get there ourselves, not have it forced.
How's that for a little politics thrown into Sunday School?