Though Mormons don't formally observe Lent, we can use the lessons it teaches to draw closer to Christ. Try one of these Lenten traditions with an LDS twist this Easter season.
For many faiths, today is known as Ash Wednesday, or the beginning of the season of Lent—a 40-day period dedicated to fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter. Christians who celebrate Lent traditionally give up specific bad habits, fast, pray, and practice increased spiritual discipline.
Though Latter-day Saints don’t observe the traditions of Lent, we can always learn a thing or two from it as we search for things that are of good report and praiseworthy. After all, we can always use a reminder to be better and have a more meaningful Easter.
So this year, make a commitment to up your Easter game and try one of these LDS twists on typical Lent traditions:
Commit to making a “negative” change
Lent is well-known as a time to sacrifice. For the next 40 days (plus Sundays, which aren’t counted as part of the 40-day Lent tradition), make a “negative” change by resolving to take something bad out of your life. You could try giving up a TV program, excessive social media use, bad music, junk food, or something else you struggle with.
One of the reasons that youth in particular love John Bytheway is that his style of teaching is relatable—and often humorous! Check out some of these witticisms from classic Bytheway talks and books that aren't just funny but can teach you something, too.
Photo from magazine.byu.edu
Did you know that John Bytheway's renown humor doesn't come naturally? He explains:
I have to add the humor later. I have to figure out what I’m trying to say, what’s most important to say, and then my secondary question is, “Now how do I get the person who doesn’t want to listen to be engaged?” The first question is always “what ought to be taught?” the second is always “how do I teach it so I don’t lose any of those who are most at risk?” So the humor doesn’t come naturally—I have to think later, “this part’s getting boring—what do I do?” There’s other people that the humor just flows, but I have to work on it.
His work is certainly noticeably--and appreciated. Check out these jokes from Brother Bytheway that not only will make you laugh but will teach you an important gospel lesson, too.
1. The Loincloth?
Right away, you just think, “What were they thinking?” I wouldn’t wear a loincloth anywhere, but would you wear one to a war? “Let’s see--I’m going to war tomorrow, what should I wear? There’s gonna be lots of sharp pointy things. Ah the loincloth! Got it! And some sunscreen. Maybe some extra safety pins, right." I dunno. You can just hear his wife: "You're not going out in that, are you?"
If you’re planning a Relief Society celebration in your ward or branch, we’ve got some great ideas to help strengthen bonds between Relief Society sisters.
On March 17 the Relief Society celebrates its 173rd birthday, making it one of the world’s oldest women’s organizations. It is also the world’s largest women’s organization, with over six million sisters in 170 countries. As part of your annual celebration in your ward or branch, try some of these ideas to help strengthen bonds between Relief Society sisters.
A Night of Relief Society History
In making a mighty change and assisting others to make a mighty change, it is imperative to remember that all change happens by the power of the Holy Spirit, which will not only reveal the knowledge of truth, but will confirm the truth of all things and lead people to do good, to do justly, to walk humbly, and to judge righteously (see D&C 11:12).
Repentance takes change. Becoming takes change. Perfection takes change.
Making a mighty change within ourselves is a process—a spiritual process—and a change of heart. As we look at this process of changing and becoming, we find that the possibility and degree of our change relies on many factors: humility, which opens our hearts to knowledge and change; understanding and appreciation, which give us the purpose to change; gratitude, which is the catalyst to change; and the love of God, which is the enabling power of change through the Atonement of our Savior. Each of these steps is a building block in the process of change. And with the help of these things, when we change we will change for the better.
A great example of righteous change is observed in the people of King Benjamin, and his address reveals six important lessons that can help us achieve lasting and eternal change.
1. Spiritual Change Occurs When We Have Love, Faith, and Respect for our Leaders.
King Benjamin is the perfect example of one who was loved, respected, and trusted by his people. He had credibility, therefore when the people came to hear his masterful sermon, they believed his words, saying “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).
With President’s Day around the corner, it’s a good time to remember the difference that various presidents have made in America. Few presidents have made more of an impact than Abraham Lincoln. An impact that reminds us of the similar impact that Joseph Smith had upon the Saints.
There are more similarities than you’d think between Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph. We stumbled upon these gems in Tim Ballard’s book The Lincoln Hypothesis. Here are five of our favorites:
1. Both prophesied the destruction of America if certain things didn’t change.
In the years of turmoil and argument that led up to the Civil War, many forget or don't realize that those were the same years that the Saints were being persecuted and driven from state to state. Both Lincoln and the prophet knew that such persecution and discrimination was not the behavior of a covenant nation—and that God was anything but pleased.
In his 30s, Lincoln prophesied, “Whenever the vicious portion of the population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, . . . this Government cannot last.”