Thought: Use the safety equipment He has provided for you. Hold fast, and believe that Heavenly Father will bless you for your diligence.
(Ann M. Dibb, "Hold On," Ensign, Nov 2009, 79-81.)
Song: "The Iron Rod," Hymns, #274
Scripture: Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things. (1 Nephi 15:25)
Object Lesson: Have family members imagine being in a football game where they are the only players without a helmet or shoulder pads. Why would that be difficult or dangerous? Have a family member read Alma 44:18 and explain why the Lamanites were so vulnerable. Ask your family if Heavenly Father has provided them with any "armor" against the attacks of Satan. Read together D&C 27:15-18 and discuss how each element in the "whole armor of God" helps protect us in our battles with Satan. Why is it dangerous to go without the "armor of God"?
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 220.)
Story: Some time ago I participated in a survival camp with a group of young people in the High Sierra Mountains. After three days of physically challenging and spiritually strengthening experiences, we faced one of the last activities - that of rappelling down an eighty-foot cliff.
When my turn came, I surveyed the setting. Overhead the sky was blue and clear. Over the edge of the cliff was a long, long way down, and I could not see the landing place below or the people who would welcome me or pick up the pieces. The instructor securely wrapped a strap around my legs and waist, placed the rappelling rope in my hand, and proceeded with instructions. It's fascinating how much better we listen and concentrate when we know that what is being said really matters. He had previously explained the skill of rappelling and the importance of the safety rope with each individual who went down the cliff ahead of me, but when it was my turn, I listened more intently. I wanted to know all that he knew. I didn't want any of the rules overlooked or minimized. If I followed the instructions, I'd get down safely; if not, I would suffer varying degrees of discomfort according to my ability to follow the instructions. I learned right away that his instructions were accurate when I experienced some discomforting rope burn on my hands.
Without looking down, but always looking up and straining to listen for instructions, advice, and encouragement, I began my descent. About halfway down, as I pondered my position, I was reminded of the teachings of President George Q. Cannon: "When we went forth into the waters of baptism and covenanted with our Father in heaven to serve Him and keep His commandments, He bound Himself also by covenant to us that He would never desert us, never leave us to ourselves, never forget us, that in the midst of trials and hardships, when everything was arrayed against us, He would be near unto us and would sustain us. That was His covenant." (Gospel Truth, 1987, p. 134.)
The Savior bound Himself to us. He is our safety rope. He throws out the lifeline - literally our lifeline. Through obedience to His laws and commandments, we tie ourselves securely to Him. The rope I held was the safety rope. I had my agency. I could hang on or I could let go. Or if I wanted, I could take out my pocket knife, exercise my agency, and cut just one fine strand at a time. Surely one strand at a time would present no risk.
I likened the rope to the commandments. I can break one commandment at a time. Surely one commandment at a time won't hurt. Would we ever consider letting go of a rope and challenging our ability to survive against the law of gravity? Or would we ignore the commandments of God and pit our resistance against the power of the adversary? If we choose to hold onto the rope, we are limited, restricted, curtailed, but through that very process our Father in heaven has said that He will make us free. Only after we are tried and tested can we be trusted with our inheritance as heirs to the kingdom of God. If we choose to let go of the rope and release ourselves from the laws and the commandments, we also choose the consequences, because even God obeys the law. Through disobedience to laws, we will fall.
Those men in prison, your brothers and mine, chose to let go of the rope. . . . Let us each protect ourselves from enslavement and release ourselves from those prison walls of our own making, those things that weaken our grasp on the safety rope, the lifeline, the iron rod. The Savior taught that should one choose to willfully leave his parents and waste his inheritance in sin, his repentant return would be greeted with rejoicing and acceptance. Thus He illustrated the worth of souls to the Father and the love His disciples should have for each other.
(Ardeth Greene Kapp, My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990].)
Activity: Explain to the family that when you cross the street you are supposed to "Stop, Look, and Listen" to make sure it is safe to cross. Stop on the pavement near the curb. Look and see if anything is coming and drivers can see you. Listen carefully because you can sometimes hear traffic before you can see it.
We should remember to "Stop, Look, and Listen" in our daily activities to keep us safe from spiritual danger too.
Divide the family into two teams.and give each team a pencil and paper. Give each team one minute to write down all the words they can think of that start with S, T, O, and P. The words must have something to do with things that keep us spiritually safe, are important to the family, or with blessings they have received.
Refreshment Raspberry Sticks
- 1 cup butter
- I cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water (if needed)
- Raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut the chilled dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope the length of your cookie sheet. Put ropes onto the cookie sheet, side by side. With your finger, make an indentation all the way down the length of each rope. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill the indentation with raspberry jam. Put back into the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes. Place cookie sheet on rack to cool cookies. Cut on the diagonal. Makes 3 dozen.
(Lion House Desserts, [Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000] p. 111.)