Tag Archives: Relief Society

Three hours?

When my co-worker inquired about Mormon Sunday services, her response was “3 whole hours?” Yes, 3 hours each Sunday may seem like a lot, but when you break it up into three sections, with socializing in between, it doesn’t seem as daunting.

The first hour of Mormon Sunday services is called Sacrament meeting. It is the main purpose of the entire service. The worship starts with an opening song sung by the congregation, followed by a prayer which is given by a member of the congregation. We then sing another hymn, followed by the passing and taking of the sacrament. During this time, is a moment that I like to take and reflect on the week that has just ended, think of what I did well and what things spiritually I need to improve on. After the sacrament is over, 2-3 members of the congregation who have previously been assigned, give 5-10min talks(aka sermons) about various gospel subjects. In between the talks, there is usually another hymn that is sung, or a musical number performed by members of the congregation. After the last speaker, another hymn is sung, then a prayer is offered.

The second hour is called Sunday School. There are various classes to choose from. Usually a class entitled Gospel Essentials that covers the basic aspects of the church. Another class is Gospel Docterine which usually goes more deeper into the docterine of the church. Some times, depending on the need, there is a class called Temple prep that helps those who are planning to go to the temple for the first time prepare. For children under the age of 2(or 18months I think), there is nursery class, Ages 2-12 go to primary class, and ages 12-18, have their own Sunday school as well. Each year the theme of the classes rotates. One year is Old Testament, next is New Testament, then Book of Mormon and so on.

The third hour of services for adults are classes where the women and men are separated. The men go to Priesthood and the women to Relief Society where another lesson is taught. Children ages 2-12 all stay together and ages 12-18 are split up into classes of young women and young men.

Yes, 3 hours of church each week is not always easy and often does seem long, but I can’t imagine my life without it. By the time Sunday rolls around, I am exhausted from my week. Going to church, learning my about my Savior, worshiping him and being surrounded by an incredible support system of people who believe the same things as I do and struggle with the same things I do is very energizing. It gives me a renewed sense of who am I, my purpose in life, and excitement to move forward in becoming a better citizen, co-worker, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend.

What is your Sunday service like? How long? Do you enjoy it? If you are Mormon, which hour is your favorite?

Regaining Patience and Sanity

Last week I road tripped to my brother’s house, 2-year-old in tow, to watch his 3 kids for him while he and his wife took a little weekend away. Hurricane Irene brought a few (more like a lot) of stresses to their home and so I offered to give them a break. I saw this as a great opportunity for my son to spend some time with his cousins as well as give me some practice with multiple children. I realized I need a lot more practice. I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly patient person but I’m not the most impatient person I know either. Last week I was the most impatient person I know. I really started to wonder if I would be able to handle multiple kids (a little late now!). I mean, what are you supposed to do when someone has a stinky diaper that is emitting toxic fumes, a 2-year-old is scaling the kitchen cabinets in search of marshmallows and the other 2 kids are wrestling to the death? All at the same time!  Fortunately for me though, Saturday night brought some much needed perspective.

Saturday there was a meeting held worldwide for the Relief Society, the women’s organization or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I watched this meeting via live stream on lds.org. There was one segment of one of the talks that really stuck out to me. The person who shared this message is an apostle of the Lord, just like the apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament times. I also have great respect for this man, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, because of his life story. As I’ve mentioned before, some people think that all Mormons are totally naive and closed off to the world. Not this man. He grew up in Soviet controlled East Germany. His family eventually had to flee to West Germany because it became too dangerous for them in East Germany due to his father’s differing political views from the Soviets. When this man talks about surviving hard times, keeping perspective, or hope I listen extra hard. He has experienced the worst of what the world has to offer. This particular message is about patience.

Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.

In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences.

As a mother I feel like most of my successes go unnoticed or are considered tiny. I would imagine that people in other circumstances feel the same way also. After listening to this message I realized that the person I was most frustrated with was myself, it wasn’t the kids. I should have been able to go in there and be the super fun aunt/mom that everyone wanted to obey and knew how to take care of 4 kids with ease. When I realized I was losing control of the situation quickly and I had no idea what I was doing, I lost all patience with myself. But, when my sister-in-law came home she proclaimed with joy, “The house is still here and the kids are alive! Thank you!” That is a success I will take. I survived elementary school pick-up for the first time; a success I will take (and trust me, this is a big one). We didn’t go to the ER, not even once; a success I will take. All the children went to bed every night; a success  I will take.

I am grateful for apostles of the Lord that share inspired messages of hope. I know these men and the other leaders of The Church are called of God. I never feel so empowered and so filled with hope than when I listen to their words. There will be more messages shared by these men and women this Saturday and Sunday. If  you are interested in listening, you can do so here. I know their words will help you no matter your situation or circumstance. I know I’ll be listening.

What I Like About Being Mormon

I was thinking today about what I really enjoy about being Mormon. There are a lot of things but I decided to go with a pretty practical one. We just moved, not a big move, just across the city but big enough where it has been an adjustment. Since we moved we’ve been traveling a lot and as I divulged a few weeks ago I was pretty sick so getting to know people in our new neighborhood has been very slow moving. And, if you’ve ever been to the Boston area you know that when something is just a few miles away it translates into a 30 minute plus commute due to traffic and just the general layout of the city. So if I wanted to I could easily go a long time (like weeks probably) without seeing anyone I know besides my husband and son. This is where being Mormon comes in.

I’ve talked about Relief Society before, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women’s organization. In addition to providing spiritual needs for the women in the ward there is a very practical side to the Relief Society as well. My chapter of the Relief Society has been doing park days/outings throughout the area every week as well as meeting together at church on Sunday. Because of these outings and meeting together on Sundays it gives me the extra nudge I need right now to get out of the house and get together with friends, which for stay-at-home moms is really essential to maintaining sanity. This is one thing I love about being Mormon. The Church helps us with our practical needs as well as our spiritual needs, because really they are all interconnected. I love having something to be involved in, no matter where I am currently living or what my present situation is. I will always have a congregation to be a part of, a natural way of meeting people and making friends and a natural way to serve and contribute to something other than my own home.

The gospel of Jesus Christ does not coincide with isolation and it’s not about just bettering ourselves. It’s about being a part of a community and serving each other and loving each other, no matter our current needs or situation. Have you experienced a time when being a part of an established community helped you?