Equality

h3. Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "The Weak and the Simple of the Church," by Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov 2007, 6-9 h3. Thought: No member of the Church is esteemed by the Lord as more or less than any other. It just does not work that way! . . . I bear witness . . . that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God--every soul. (Boyd K. Packer, "The Weak and the Simple of the Church," Ensign, Nov 2007, 6-9.) h3. Song: "Jesus Said Love Everyone" Children's Songbook, p. 61. h3. Scripture: Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:34-35) h3. Lesson: Get two cups that you can't see through, one that is old and worn and one that is new and nicer. Make some mud and smear it on the inside of the nicer cup. Show your family the outside of the cups and a jug of milk and ask them which cup they would choose to drink from. Then show them the inside and ask them which cup they would prefer now. Invite them to talk about why they chose the ordinary cup over the nicer cup. Invite your family to think of some people they know that the world would think are very ordinary but who are really wonderful and Christlike people on the inside. Read together 1 Samuel 16:7 and then decide as a family how to finish the following sentence. "What I am on the __________ is more important than what I look like on the __________." (Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The New Testament, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006], p. 44.) h3. Story: I was miserable. Everything was going wrong in my life. I understand that in the eyes of a seventeen-year-old, every problem seems magnified; however, I really felt I had hit bottom. My ship was taking on water fast. One night, speaking in confidence to my mother, I told her, "I feel like I am drowning." She responded, "But, Art, you're a strong swimmer." I was failing four out of five classes in school. The principal had recently called me into his office to tell me that he was kicking me out of "his" school. If I wanted to complete my education, he demanded that I do it elsewhere. His remarks cut to my very center: "Art, you are a loser. You always have been and always will be. You will never serve a mission for your church--why would they want you? You'll never be an Eagle Scout--you haven't got what it takes. You'll never graduate from high school, and certainly not mine." With that, I was sent home. The parents of one of my best friends called me to their home later that same day. Their remarks hurt even more. They felt I was a bad influence on their son. Their demand was simple: "Don't ever spend time with our son again." I was hurting more deeply than I ever had before. I wanted to scream--instead, I cried like a baby. I laid my head on my pillow that night and sobbed. Mostly I was feeling sorry for myself, but I also felt a real sense of loss. I didn't know where to go or what to do. The waves were crashing in, and I felt hopeless. Maybe I really was worthless. Maybe my principal was right--I was a loser. Surely God must have made a mistake in sending me to earth; how could I have possibly fought for right during the war in heaven when everything in my life seemed so wrong? Sleep simply would not come. The tears wouldn't end. During the early morning hours, I crawled from my bed to make one final attempt to communicate with God. A part of me warned that I was unworthy to call on his name and that my desires would only be met with silence and disdain. I hesitated. But something pushed me back to my knees. Alone, and drowning in a sea of darkness, I cried with all the energy of my heart to God. "Who am I? Do you know me? Do you love me?" My questions were fired in desperation--I had to know. Would God come down so low as to hear me? What happened next is still difficult to describe. I wish I could say that an angel appeared in glorious fashion and answered the questions of my heart and mind. But, as you may well guess, it didn't happen that way. I wish I could tell you that a strong, powerful voice penetrated my mind and restored peace to my soul. But that didn't happen, either. Instead, I felt something. I wasn't sure at first what it was. It was warm. It felt like a small point of light touching the innermost part of my heart. With it came thoughts and feelings I had never had before. And what I learned on my knees that morning changed the course of my life forever. . . . The first and founding principle of self-esteem is the knowledge that we are God's children. We are literally his. . . . The second truth is that God loves us unconditionally. . . . Third, as God told Moses thousands of years ago, He also has a work for us to do. I do not mean "us" collectively but "us" individually. Each of us was sent to earth with a purpose--a work to do. Many people travel through their entire lives and never find what it is because they never take the time to look. We were each born with a birthright--it is ours to find and keep. As a struggling seventeen-year-old, that truth is what was taught to me through the avenue of prayer. It has served me well through some of the darkest hours of my life. (Art E. Berg, Finding Peace in Troubled Waters, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995].) h3. Activity: *Play "Who Am I?"* One family member thinks of a famous person while others try to guess who it is by asking him questions. He can only answer by saying "yes" or "no." Limit questions to 20. Repeat with another family member thinking of a famous person. Continue as long as your family likes. Explain that even though some people are more well-known, that doesn't make them more important to the Lord. (Alma Heaton, The LDS Game Book, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], p. 34.) h3. Refreshment *Poor Man's Pudding* * 2/3 cup uncooked rice * 1/2 cup sugar * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon * 2 quarts milk * 2/3 cup seedless raisins nutmeg In a saucepan, combine rice, sugar, cinnamon, milk, and raisins. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, heat until near boiling point. Remove from heat and pour into a well-buttered 3 1/2 or 4- quart baking dish. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 to 3 hours. Stir 2 or 3 times during the first hour. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg, and continue cooking for additional 1 to 2 hours. Pudding is done when liquid is all absorbed. (Paula Julander and Joanne Milner, Utah State Fare, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1995], p. 132.)
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