July Topic of the Month: Faith

What are the challenges to your faith? What are the greatest challenges to your faith? To the faith of members of your family? To the faith of the members in your stewardship?

What can we do to build and strengthen our faith? The faith of the members of our families? The faith of the members in our stewardships?


Our topic for the month of July is “Faith”. Look for talks on faith by stake leaders later this month, and study on your own by listening to these talks and articles:

Faith is Not By Chance, but by Choice, Neil L. Andersen

Mountains to Climb, Henry B. Eyring

The Opportunities and Responsibilities of CES Teachers in the 21st Century, M. Russell Ballard

Faith and Testimony, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter (section 3)

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Please also reflect on this passage from President Kimball:
“Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.
“Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying [and, I should add, increasingly permissive and wicked] world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.
“And who is to build these reservoirs? Is this not the reason that God gave to every child two parents?
“It is those parents who sired them and bore them who are expected [by the Lord] to lay foundations for their children and to build the barns and tanks and bins and reservoirs.”
(Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 110–11.)

Getting Ready for General Conference

We all know it can be tricky to keep those little ones entertained during 4 sessions of Conference! Download and print these activity pages to keep those little hands busy.

For Primary kids:

Download the PDF for these activity pages here.

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For Young Men and Young Women:

Download the PDF for this General Conference notebook HERE.

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Word of Wisdom

“Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?,” is a question often asked to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in regards to abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and other addictive substances. Members of the Church (known as Latter-day Saints, but often referred to as Mormons) might explain that this is part of a commandment called the Word of Wisdom. Nonetheless, the Word of Wisdom is so much more than avoiding certain drinks or substances. 

In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:19 it reads: 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

Before we came to earth, we lived with God as spirits. When we learned as much as we could, we were sent to earth to receive a body to further progress. Our bodies are sacred gifts from God, our Heavenly Father, and after we die and are resurrected - our bodies will be perfected and united back with our spirits. It is this knowledge that enables Latter-day Saints to strive to take care of their bodies which are the temples of their spirits. When we take care of our bodies, it strengthens us physically and spiritually, so we can be our best selves to support the rigors of life, make important choices, serve our fellow man and all other matters that come our way.  

The Word of Wisdom was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith on February 27, 1833 - well before the medical community knew the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol! It can be found in Doctrine & Covenants section 89. However, not only has God revealed harmful substances, but there is also a focus on what we should be doing to strengthen and take care of our bodies. We are commanded to eat healthy foods in season, partake of meat sparingly and we are promised spiritual as well as physical blessings from following the Word of Wisdom. 

More recently, prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have counseled us to avoid illegal drugs, abstain from abusing prescription drugs, avoid over-eating, get the appropriate amount of sleep, exercise regularly and fast for two meals once a month - all of which help us to master our appetites and be in control of ourselves. 

Members of the Laguna Niguel Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share their feelings on the Word of Wisdom:

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Click below for more information about the Word of Wisdom:

Mormon Word of Wisdom beliefs

Latter-day Saint Topics/Word of Wisdom

Christmas Chalk Walk 2018

Aliso Viejo, Calif. – One of Orange County’s favorite Christmas traditions was back for a fifth year as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted the 2018 Christmas Chalk Walk on Friday and Saturday night (Dec. 14-15).

More than 500 artists participated in the festive event, including students from St. Anne Middle School, Kaiser Elementary, AME Church, and many more individuals, families and groups. 

The holiday affair entertained visitors of all ages as 4,000 people attended the two-day affair, enjoying art, complimentary cinnamon rolls & hot chocolate, holiday music and mingling with other patrons. Guests traveled from as far as Utah and other parts of California, in addition to local community members.

Christmas Chalk Walk organizer, Kristen Kamerman, remarked, “God created each of us with amazing gifts and talents. Mix those all together, sprinkled with lots of love and you have the 2018 Christmas Chalk Walk! A true masterpiece! Thank you for helping us to Light the World! God be with you until we meet again.”

Youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a live nativity as more than 50 young men and young women stood in as Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men alternating during the two nights.

Creative talent was on display each evening from the beautiful chalk craftsmanship to the musical prowess delivered by the Aliso Viejo Singers Co, Zach Gibson, Catherine Clegg, The Wool Covers, Brooke Wilkins, Payton Aurora, Lauren Kimball, Adella Melon, and Nikki Lloyd. There was a Saturday night surprise when a large flash mob, led by Victoria Groskreutz, astounded guests with a smartly choreographed dance to Christmas songs.

Many city officials were on hand including Mayor Ross Chun (Aliso Viejo), Mayor Carol Moore (Laguna Woods), Mayor John Mark Jennings (Laguna Niguel), Mayor Pro Tem Paul Wyatt (Dana Point) and City Councilman Don Sedgwick (Laguna Hills) who all presented their Mayor’s Choice Award for their favorite chalk art piece.

A special thank you goes out to Kamerman’s amazing “Dream Team” that work tirelessly throughout the year to put on an amazing community event, and Handel’s Ice Cream, Sabrosada, Baja Fish, Circus Trix and Big Air Trampoline Park who all donated prizes and food.  

"Saints: The Standard of Truth" - Have you read it?!!

REMEMBER.

In the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3 it reads, “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder in your hearts.”

Just as we are reminded in the Book of Mormon to remember all that the Lord has done for us, “Saints: The Standard of Truth” can help us remember the heritage of faith and endurance, of those that came before us, in the gospel.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented on the creation of the series, “We feel that having a total picture that is transparent and tells the whole story, tells true accounts, that seen in context, almost everything will be faith-promoting and build faith. So many things have been taken out of context, and seen as in a minuscule way. This now allows a complete picture that we think will bless the lives of the rising generation and our generation, even those of us that are older.” (click here for the full story)

See what members of the Laguna Niguel Stake are saying about “Saints: The Standard of Truth”:

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So where can you find “Saints: The Standard of Truth”?
Read a printed copy: Chapters have been printed in each month’s Ensign or buy a copy for $5.75 from Deseret Book
Read it online: visit saints.lds.org or get the free Kindle version on Amazon
Listen to it: on the Gospel Library app/Church History/SaintsVolume1
Listen to the podcast: mormon channel.org/listen/series/saints

Temple Garments

The world is familiar with different religious apparel worn by men and women of many different faiths. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is generally not known for public religious apparel, but faithful adult members that make sacred promises to God's commandments and the gospel of Jesus Christ in the LDS temples, wear a garment under their clothing that symbolizes their commitment to these promises (which are also referred to as covenants). 

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are often asked about their "Mormon underwear." To some it may seem unusual, but it is a physical expression of fidelity to God that is also found in the book of Exodus 29:4-9; 21 in the Old Testament of the Bible. (See below for a video of the temple garment)

The temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the most sacred and holy places on earth. They are a sanctuary and a safe place, in an often chaotic world. The temple garments are a way to bring a "piece of the temple back home with you to remind you of your covenants," Beth Garlock (Laguna Niguel Stake member). 

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The LDS garments are revered and cherished by those that wear them, so when they are ridiculed or made light of it can be offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When talked about with respect, members welcome questions and discussion about their feelings about garments. The quotes in this post are from members in the wards (congregations) of the Laguna Niguel Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Our understanding of God's commandments and the love we can find in their value, promises and protection can make them easier to follow. It is also through the practice and daily application of following commandments where we can find freedom, in what before may seem like a limitation. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view their temple garments no differently. In what may seem like a limitation to others, the wearing of the garment provides a freedom and protection in what they represent. 

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To learn more about Temple garments click here. Or view the video below which explains the importance of the garment along with other symbolic vestments worn during temple worship. 

Are Mormons Christians?

"Do you worship Mormon? Do you worship Joseph Smith?"

These are questions that are often asked of members of t

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known by the nickname - Mormons, and both can be answered "no!" 

Another common question has a different answer. "Are Mormons Christian?" The answer is emphatically "yes!" Mormons worship Jesus Christ.  Mormons have the same basic beliefs as most Christians, with a few significant differences: 

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is part of the Godhead

The Articles of Faith are 13 statements that explain the basic doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first one is - "We believe in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.

Many Christian denominations believe in the Holy Trinity - three Gods in one, or God without form. Mormons believe they are three distinct individuals, but united in purpose. God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ have perfect physical bodies while the Holy Ghost is a spirit. In fact, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray to God, the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. They worship Jesus Christ as a member of the Godhead. 

Mormons believe in Christ's established Church

Following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the authority in His Church was gradually lost and changed. Many Christian denominations descended from these early beginnings of Christianity and created some of their own traditions and changes. Rather than being a "reformed" church from these traditions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restored church that Jesus Christ reestablished on earth with direct priesthood authority and living prophets and apostles.

Mormons believe in living prophets

If God sent prophets to lead and guide people anciently, wouldn't He still see the need for prophets for people living in modern times? Yes. Jesus Christ has called prophets and apostles who have been given authority to speak God's words and lead Jesus Christ's Church. 

Mormons follow Christ's Gospel as taught in the scriptures 

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints esteem the Bible as the word of God and believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is an ancient record of writings from prophets living in the American continents, that supports the Bible's teachings and clarifies its doctrine. It is proof that God loves ALL His children and it gives witness of the resurrected Jesus Christ. 

Find out more about Mormons and Christians