Welcome to the Talk Of The Week Club. I began this club as a way to share my love of learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My hope and desire is for you to learn and grow in your faith and love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Thursday a new talk will be posted, come back, open your heart and mind, allow yourself to receive and I promise you will be spiritually fed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week 48: Gratitude: A Path to Happiness **Repost**

Dear Talk-Of-The-Week Friends,

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail from a friend. She spoke of how the last year has been a year of trials for her. She spoke of how the thing that helped her stay afloat through all the turmoil was to remember her blessings and to focus on them. Inside was a blank list called “50 Things I am most Grateful for…”. It really inspired me to start thinking of all the things I am grateful for. When I woke early this morning I decided to continue my study of gratitude and happened upon this talk after listening to many others. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I recreated the Gratitude list and have included it for your own personal list. May we all be blessed with the abundance God has in store for us as we focus on the things we are most grateful for. I testify that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to open the windows of heaven for us! Have a wonderful week! I am off to search for our family “Blessing Basket”!


Challenge: Fill out this 50 things I am grateful for list. (December is a great time to continue in Thanksgiving!)

MP3 Link

Gratitude: A Path to Happiness - Bonnie D. Parkin

Gratitude: A Path to Happiness

Bonnie D. Parkin
Recently Released Relief Society General President

Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God.

This afternoon I am honored to represent those Relief Society leaders who, here in this very Tabernacle, shared the doctrines of the kingdom, emphasized the significance of women's roles in the home and family, called each other to charitable service, and reminded their sisters of the joy that comes from righteous living.

From this pulpit in 1870, Eliza R. Snow asked thousands of women a question that I'd like to repeat today: "Do you know of any place on the face of the earth, where [a] woman has more liberty, and where she enjoys such high and glorious privileges as she does here, as a Latter-day Saint?"1 I bear witness that the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do enjoy grand and glorious privileges.

Blessing Basket

Let me share a sweet story with you. A family was going through a difficult time. It was hard for them not to focus on their challenges. The mother wrote: "Our world had completely crumpled, so we turned to Heavenly Father for guidance. Almost immediately we realized that we were surrounded by goodness and were being cheered on from every side. We began as a family to express our gratitude to each other as well as to the Lord daily. A close friend pointed out to me that our family's 'blessing basket' was overflowing. From that conversation came a sort of game, which my children and I grew to love. Before family prayer each night we would talk about how our day had gone and then share with each other all of the many blessings that had been added to our 'blessing basket.' The more we expressed gratitude, the more there was to be grateful for. We felt the love of the Lord in a significant way as opportunities for growth presented themselves."2

What would a "blessing basket" add to your family?

A Spirit-Filled Principle

Gratitude requires awareness and effort, not only to feel it but to express it. Frequently we are oblivious to the Lord's hand. We murmur, complain, resist, criticize; so often we are not grateful. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who murmur do not know "the dealings of that God who . . . created them."3 The Lord counsels us not to murmur because it is then difficult for the Spirit to work with us.

Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God's love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. "Live in thanksgiving daily," said Amulek, "for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."4

Mercies and blessings come in different forms—sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things."5 All things means just that: good things, difficult things—not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.

How do you feel when someone expresses gratitude to you? One Sunday I sat next to a sister in Relief Society and got to know her a little better. A few days later I received an e-mail: "Thank you for sitting next to my daughter in Relief Society. You put your arm around her. You will never know how much that meant to her and to me."6 This mother's words surprised me and brought me happiness.

How do you feel when you express gratitude to another? I'd like to express gratitude to someone who cares about my grandchildren. A few months ago, while visiting in Texas, I asked six-year-old Thomas to tell me about his bishop. He said, "Oh, Grandmother, you will know him. He wears a dark suit, a white shirt like Papa, and he has shiny shoes and a red tie. He wears glasses and always has a smile." I recognized Thomas's bishop as soon as I saw him. My heart was filled with gratitude for him. Thank you, Bishop Goodman, and thank you, all you wonderful bishops.

An Expression of Faith

Luke chapter 17 records the experience of the Savior when He healed 10 lepers. As you recall, only one of the cleansed lepers returned to express his appreciation. Isn't it interesting that the Lord did not say, "Your gratitude has made you whole"? Instead, He said, "Thy faith hath made thee whole."7

The leper's expression of gratitude was recognized by the Savior as an expression of his faith. As we pray and express gratitude to a loving but unseen Heavenly Father, we are also expressing our faith in Him. Gratitude is our sweet acknowledgment of the Lord's hand in our lives; it is an expression of our faith.

Gratitude in Tribulations: Hidden Blessings

In 1832 the Lord saw the need to prepare the Church for coming tribulations. Tribulations are frightening. And yet the Lord said: "Be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious."8

The kind of gratitude that receives even tribulations with thanksgiving requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit, humility to accept that which we cannot change, willingness to turn everything over to the Lord—even when we do not understand, thankfulness for hidden opportunities yet to be revealed. Then comes a sense of peace.

When was the last time you thanked the Lord for a trial or tribulation? Adversity compels us to go to our knees; does gratitude for adversity do that as well?

President David O. McKay observed, "We find in the bitter chill of adversity the real test of our gratitude . . . , which . . . goes beneath the surface of life, whether sad or joyous."9


To my remarkable, faithful sisters of the Church, I thank you for the ways you extend the Lord's love through your service: your care for families at the death of a loved one, your watchcare as you visit teach, your willingness to build testimonies in children as you serve in Primary, your time preparing young women for womanhood. Thank you for your devotion. I have experienced the love of the Lord through your faithfulness. I have been blessed to serve among you; my heart is brimming over with gratitude and love for each of you. I have deep gratitude for the priesthood brethren with whom I've served.

My most profound gratitude is for my Savior—an obedient Son, who did all that His Father asked and atoned for every one of us. As I remember Him and acknowledge His goodness, I desire to be like Him. May we be blessed to feel of His love in our lives daily. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."10 In His sacred name, Jesus Christ, amen.


1. In Jill C. Mulvay, "Eliza R. Snow and the Woman Question," Brigham Young University Studies, winter 1976, 251.
2. Personal correspondence.
3. 1 Nephi 2:12.
4. Alma 34:38.
5. D&C 59:7; emphasis added.
6. Personal correspondence.
7. Luke 17:19; emphasis added.
8. D&C 78:18–19; emphasis added.
9. Pathways to Happiness, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay (1957), 318.
10. 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 46: Be Still and Know God

This week I was late on posting but I believe it was for the best. Yesterday I was feeling very tormented about some things that are not within my control. Some things that have more to do with someone elses' agency than me fixing myself or the situation. Being in the spot of no control is a huge challenge for me.

While I was feeling the terrible weight of my concerns. I took a moment to pray and to listen. What came to my mind was these words, "Be Still and Know That I am God". I then felt prompted to listen to my favorite hymn " Be Still, My Soul", Hymn Number 124. These too messages brought me so much peace as I realized that God is my Heavenly Father and that his Son, my Savior will both lift me and lighten the burdens I am required to carry in his service.

I found this beautiful talk given at BYU and can testify that the things she suggests to do can bring peace to our souls.

May you hall have a blessed week.

All my love,

MP3 Link

Video Link

Be Stil, My Soul -Hymn #124

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Week 45: Mother's Who Know

Dear Friends,

As I pondered this week's talk, President Julie Beck's "Mothers Who Know" from the October 2007 General Conference kept coming to mind. As I had the privilege to hear President Beck speak not too long ago, the Spirit bore witness to me that she is indeed the one raised up by the Lord to direct us at this time. I was enlightened and encouraged by her insights, her enthusiasm, and her clarity of vision. I was filled with gratitude that she has been prepared "for such a time as this" to lead and direct us. "Mothers Who Know" gives us powerful and clear insights for our roles as mothers. I am grateful for President Beck's simple and detailed direction for how we can optimize our influences as mothers. I am grateful for the sweet privilege of being a mother in Israel during the winding up scenes. I know that what you and I do daily in our homes is truly on the front lines of the battle we are winning. Our living of the Gospel in our homes is essential for the exaltation of our children and ourselves. Our homes are where our influence is most needed and most profoundly felt. May you feel empowered by the Lord as you do His work in your home.

Much love,

MP3 Link

There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.

Julie B. BeckIn the Book of Mormon we read about 2,000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous, and strong. "Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him" (Alma 53:21). These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, "Our mothers knew it" (Alma 56:48). I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon, and other great leaders also knew.

The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).1 However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.

Mothers Who Know Bear Children

Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are "becoming less valued,"2 in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."3 President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that "in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."4

Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve (see Moses 4:26), Sarah (see Genesis 17:16), Rebekah (see Genesis 24:60), and Mary (see 1 Nephi 11:13–20), who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child (see 1 Samuel 1:11), the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection (see D&C 130:18). Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.

Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants

Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. I have visited sacrament meetings in some of the poorest places on the earth where mothers have dressed with great care in their Sunday best despite walking for miles on dusty streets and using worn-out public transportation. They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. These mothers know they are going to sacrament meeting, where covenants are renewed. These mothers have made and honor temple covenants. They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.

Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers

Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness.5 To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.

Mothers Who Know Are Leaders

Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like. They do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting. These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.

Mothers Who Know Are Teachers

Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty. A well-taught friend told me that he did not learn anything at church that he had not already learned at home. His parents used family scripture study, prayer, family home evening, mealtimes, and other gatherings to teach. Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre–missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation. That is influence; that is power.

Mothers Who Know Do Less

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world's goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord's kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.

Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable

Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this—women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the Church to "stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord."6 He has asked us to "begin in [our] own homes"7 to teach children the ways of truth.

Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families. I have every confidence that our women will do this and will come to be known as mothers who "knew" (Alma 56:48). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. See Gordon B. Hinckley, "Standing Strong and Immovable," Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 21.
2. James E. Faust, "Challenges Facing the Family," Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 2.
3. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.
4. To the Mothers in Zion (pamphlet, 1987), 3.
5. See "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
6. Gordon B. Hinckley, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 20.
7. Gordon B. Hinckley, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 20.