As a hen gathereth her chicks...

Hello! I'm Autumn, The Mother Hen. I'm a Mormon mother blending a family of 18 children. I'm a grandmother at age 32. I gave birth to five children in 5 years, lived for seven years with a spouse with an addiction, then went through a heart wrenching divorce, started school to become a midwife, fell in love and married a widower with 10 children who had lost his wife to cancer, and am now due with our 3rd child. Oh yeah, and we home school. I've had a crash course in big life experiences! I'd like to share with you the lessons I have learned along the way. Welcome to my story...

Monday, October 2, 2017

                     It's so easy to get caught up in the rush of the day. We do a lot of chores in our home. It takes a lot of effort to motivate this many people to work hard. When I am rushing about and giving directions, sometimes I lose my perspective. Then life hands you a moment to remind you where your heart should be.
                     I was sitting on the couch, and the chores were actually finished. My 11 year old son came over and started talking to me. He was just chatting and telling me about some things on his mind. Then my 10 year old daughter took a turn. Last my 8 year old daughter came and was sharing her heart with me. As I sat there listening, I reveled. I enjoyed. I soaked it in. I thought, I don't love these kids for what they do for me. Yes, they are big helpers. They help me with the little kids and the household chores. But I don't want them around me because of the work they do. I want them around me because I just enjoy their company. My favorite moments with them are when we aren't doing anything in particular. We are just being together.
                    Suddenly the Spirit hit my heart so hard. That is how Heavenly Father feels about me. About all of His children. We rush about so busy and get so upset because it seems the work is never done and we will never measure up. But God's favorite moments are when we stop being busy, and slow down to spend time with Him. Time with him in the scriptures, in pondering, and in the Spirit. He misses us when we forget to make Him a priority. Take time to be Holy. God's love is never earned. It's just there. Unconditionally. Because we are His. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dorathy Jane

          Recently I read a great book, "Wife for Life" by Ramona Sabrinski. In it she tells this fantastic story about her great grandmother who was having conflict with her mother in law (among other things) and she left her husband and the town, even though she was pregnant, to go live up on the mountain in solitude.Eventually, when she was 8 months along she finally decided that relationships were of greater worth and value than solitude and worth the work and sacrifice. She came down off the mountain.
           This story impacted me so much! It has kept me thinking and pondering and made me crave more details. I have applied it to my life in many situations and it has helped me to make better choices in my relationships. Stories are powerful tools. They can be the things that soften our hearts and the hearts of our children. They can strengthen us when weak. Cheer us when despondent. Stories can build our faith and our courage. There is one story lately that has done that for me. It's the story of my Grandmother:
               Dorathy Jane was born a twin during the dirty thirties in Cardston, Alberta Canada. She had three brothers, Guy, John and her twin Henry. Her sisters were Kathleen, Evelyn, June, and Lucille. They were extremely poor and lived on a farm.
            The first great tragedy of Dorathy's life hit when she was only 10 years old. Her father passed away from "liver trouble and complications." Dorathy's mother was left a widow of 8 children, the oldest child only 13 years old.
              This placed a tremendous work load on each member of the family. The oldest daughter, Kathleen, did the housework and the cooking. The boys and the other girls did all the farm work. They hoed potatoes and picked strawberries, milked the cows and fed the horses. They had three gardens to hoe and irrigate. They worked and worked and worked. The only fun they ever had was getting to swim in the canal. They had no time for fun and games. Times were very hard. The girls only owned 2-3 dresses, 2 for school and one for Church. Sometimes they had no crops because of hail storms. The children's education suffered. While June was able to attend school through tenth grade, Dorathy was only able to finish 8th.However, no matter how bad things got, they worked hard, remained cheerful, kept close as a family, stayed true to the Savior and His gospel, and they made it through.
                The next misfortune that affected Dorathy and her family was the death of her twin brother Henry when he and Dorathy were 17 years old. I'm sure that great sadness weighed on all their hearts as they faced this trial together. How hard to lose a beloved sibling!
                Well, Dorathy grew up, got married, and had 10 children. Notwithstanding, her life did not improve very much. Her husband did not treat her or the children very well, and he did not provide for them very well financially. Dorathy and her children were poor just like she had been as a child. She had to work at the Indian Hospital as a cook to help provide for the family. She was a great cook and made wonderful rolls, bread, pies, cookies, cakes, and hot chocolate. She was very cheerful, positive, and talkative even through her trials. And though she had left home, she and her sisters stayed close in proximity and in their relationships. Often they even lived down the street from each other and they helped each other through life's hardships.
                  Another affliction that tested Dorathy's faith was a chronic illness her son Arthur had. He had some kind of bleeding disorder that the families now believes may have been leukemia.  Dorathy didn't have a car, she walked everywhere she went, even in the winter in Canada. The hospital caring for Arthur before he died was too far away to walk to, and he died alone with the nurses instead of family members. He was only 8 years old. This broke Dorathy's heart and she didn't get over it for a long time. The nurses told Dorathy that Arthur kept asking for them to sing to him but they didn't know any of the songs he asked for. He was asking for the songs his mother had sung to him--the primary songs.
                   One time the trailer the family was living in burned down. Dorathy kept saying there was someone still inside, but when they double checked, all the children were accounted for. Dorathy finally was able to let go of Arthur that day.
                  Adversity seemed to follow Dorathy all her life. Eventually, Dorathy's husband decided he wanted a second wife. It was against the church doctrine to practice polygamy at the time, as well as illegal. Even though it would mean worse poverty than before, Dorathy chose to follow the prophet and not participate. She and her husband divorced and she became a single mother, with 8 children still at home, just like her mother had been. Dorathy kept working hard. She gardened, cooked, cleaned, worked at the hospital, and did what maintenance around the house she could.                                         Circumstances were extremely difficult for the family. They lived in a very small run down house. One time Dorathy bought mud to fix a wall that was crumbling. Yet, she didn't own a trowel or any tools, so she used her hands the best she could to apply the mud.  Another time, her teenage son was kicked out of the local high school for growing a beard, simply because he didn't have the money to buy a razor. Often the local towns people didn't treat Dorathy's family well. Sometimes the people at the hospital didn't treat her well. Although her life as a single mother was tough, she once said that if she had to go through all that so that she could be blessed with her children, it was worth it.
                  Even though Dorathy lost her father, her brother, her son, and her husband, you wouldn't have known how difficult her life had been from talking to her or reading her journals. She always spoke of being grateful for her home, for her children, for her grandchildren, and the gospel. In her old age, though she still had to walk everywhere, she wrote of attending the temple four times one week. She loved to read and she loved to read the scriptures. Her daughter Kathy said that sometimes when she came home from school Dorathy would just immediately start reading the Ensign to Kathy. Dorathy attended seminary when she was older because she hadn't had the opportunity as a child. This grew her love of the gospel even more. Dorathy constantly found opportunities to serve other people. She made hundreds of quilts and cookies and was always gifting people with her blankets and cooking. One time, she told her granddaughter Autumn, "If you're ever sad,or sick, or lonely, you go wrap up in a quilt and that's Grandma holding you." She wrote in her journal about Heavenly Father watching over her garden well. She wrote of her children and grandchildren coming to visit her on Mother's day and how she felt when they left, "It is very quiet now. The voices are gone but the echo of happy children rings in my heart."
                  No matter how bad things got, grandmother worked hard, remained cheerful, kept close to her family, stayed true to the Savior and His gospel, and she made it through. She made it through her trials with faith, hope, and cheerfulness. And so can we, her posterity, because of her example, and the legacy she's left us.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lesson Plan: Claire: A Mormon Girl, by Paris Anderson


Once in a while, a story comes into your life with such perfect timing, you know it was engineered by the Lord. The Lord’s tender mercies are given with such perfect, sweet, impeccable timing.
I have had this series of  books for years—since I was a little girl. I have kept them and couldn’t wait until my girls were old enough to read them. I personally had not read the stories. Or if I had, I didn’t remember them.  A few times over the years I picked them up to read them, just to see what kind of books they were. Only, I was missing two of the five books. So, instead of reading, I would end up on Amazon looking unsuccessfully for the missing volumes. If I had read this story then, it would not have meant to me what it means to me today.
Years later, I am going through an intense personal trial that has re-arranged my whole life.  A divorce. What do I do now? Do I still have worth if I am not married? Do I still have worth if I do not have as many children as I had hoped the Lord would bless me with? Do I still have worth if I am a working mother? A resounding “Yes!” has come to me over and over again. My worth is there because I am a child of God. I don’t have to DO anything for God to love me. He just does. And He has a work for me to do.
Midwifery. I feel over and over again the Spirit guiding me to become a midwife. I never would have done this if the divorce hadn’t happened. But now that I am, in everything that I read and study I can see how all my talents and experiences in life have been preparing me for this. Midwifery incorporates all the things I am passionate about—freedom, entrepreneurship, healthy eating habits, healing with herbs and natural remedies, babies, strengthening marriages and homes,service, being in tune with your emotions, service,  etc.  As I read the stories of the LDS pioneer midwives who worked while they had children, and were called by the prophet to be midwives, I am strengthened and inspired. This is what I am meant to do.
Because of the divorce I was visiting my sister’s house. I look on her bookshelves and find two of the five volumes of the Claire books. She graciously gave them to me. I was not even sure if they were the ones I was missing yet. When I get home, I realized they are. I now own the complete series.
My daughters are finally old enough to start reading some chapter books. We start with Charlotte’s Web. We didn’t discuss as much I wanted to, but we read it. And my oldest was enthusiastic about picking out the next family read-aloud novel. They thought they wanted Heidi. But there were absolutely no illustrations. We look on our shelves and they see Claire: A Mormon Girl. It has cute pictures of a little girl. I am hesitant. I have tried to read it to them before, but they weren’t interested. I am not even sure if I am interested. The story starts out with a little girl disobeying her father. My sister calls me and we have a discussion about the important role of story telling, how it gets the principles of the Gospel into our children’s hearts.
By the time we finish reading I am in tears. My three year old asks me why I am crying. “Are they happy tears Mommy?” I tell her definitely yes. My five year old runs to the bathroom to get me some tissue. We finish the story and I tell them all the reasons why I loved the story. I speak to them of the story itself, but I also tell them about the Lord’s timing in having me read this story right when it will be the most precious to me and how it turned into a tender witness of His love for me. We discuss accepting no answers, the Lord’s timing, the Lord using our talents and strengths as well as our weaknesses, the Lord’s tender mercies and timing in our lives, how we may think we are preparing for one thing, while the Lord is actually getting us ready to use us for a greater purpose, etc. I show them a picture of a canoe, a ferry, pantaloons, and the Nauvoo temple. We watched the LDS Doctrine and Covenants Scripture Stories chapter 50 “The Saints in Nauvoo.” We draw a picture of Claire.
I am not sure how much of the story my 3 and five year old understood. I did a lot of repeating the story in my own words. However, I know that they understood that their mother was touched by a story, and that her testimony grew. They heard their mother bear her testimony. This was an inspiring read that will stay on our family read-aloud list.

Here is the story line of this wonderful little book (spoilers):
Claire is 12 years old. Her family lives in Zarahemla. Every day her father crosses the river to go work in Nauvoo. Claire is allowed to ride with her father up to the river. Then she is instructed to ride the horse at a slow walk on the way back home. Her family treats her like a porcelain doll because she had a twin sister who died from scarlet fever. A Fourth of July celebration is coming to Nauvoo and there is to be a footrace. Claire starts running home instead of riding the horse to train for the race. She believes if wins the race, her parents will let her do more physical things and realize that she is strong.
Claire’s mother is pregnant, with complications, and basically on bed rest. The midwife gets sick and tells them to find another midwife. Claire’s father must go to the Fourth of July celebration because of work, but he tells her she must stay at home with her mother. Claire is so disappointed. She believes that all of her running and training was a waste. She sees her father and brother off at the river, then walks home instead of running. When she gets home, her mother is in labor, and it is obvious something is wrong. Claire goes to Nauvoo by herself to get her father and a midwife. She gallops on the horse to the river. Then she paddles the canoe across the river. Then she runs another mile from the river to Nauvoo. When she gets there, she accidently runs in the race, not realizing it is happening, as she tries to find her father. She does not win. She takes second place. She finds her father, and a lady in the crowd overhears of the trouble and says she is a midwife and will come help. She says she was set apart by the prophet and given a blessing to be able to call down the powers of heaven to help all be well if it is God’s will. They make it back in time. The midwife helps, and the mother and the baby are fine. Claire’s training allowed her to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to preserve her mother and baby sibling’s lives.
Look at a map and learn about the United States, Canada, Scotland, and France.
Do a study on mosquitoes
Look online at historical printing houses.
Read a newspaper article, then write your own “newspaper” article.
Go horseback riding
Do a study on canoes. Make a paper origami canoe.
Do a study on scarlet fever and ague.
Cook outside in a dutch oven.
Have a foot race
Look at a picture of the Nauvoo temple.
Watched the LDS Doctrine and Covenants Scripture Stories chapter 50 “The Saints in Nauvoo.”
Do baptisms for the dead
Learn about midwives and what they do
Bake and ash cake and eat it with molasses
Learn to sew a shirt
Learn what an elm tree looks like
Write your own fairy tale
Learn about Emma Smith
Read some of your own family history stories
Discussion Questions:
What was your favorite part of the story?
Was there anything you didn’t like about the story?
Discuss Papa’s comment on page 23, “Creating such a beautiful place where we can live and learn was probably one of God’s greatest gifts, don’t you think?”
How does Claire’s family treat her? Why? How do you feel about the way they treat her?
Why was the temple so important to Claire’s family? Why is it important to you and your family?
What do you think about the story of Hemish the spider? If you could re-write the story’s ending how would you?
The book says Papa only had two shirts, one of which had holes in it. Their potatoes were very small. What does this teach you about the family?
Did you like the fairy tale that Claire told? What did this story tell you about how Claire felt? Did Claire’s fairy tale come true? Do you have a secret fairy tale you’d like to come true in your heart?
On page 57 it says, “…a lot of people who have ague go to the Prophet’s house to recuperate, and Sister Emma takes care of them. Not many of them die, and those who recover seem to get better faster.” What does this teach you about Emma Smith, the Prophet’s wife?
How did you feel when Claire was told by her father that she couldn’t go to Fourth of July celebration? How did Claire feel?
How did you feel when you realized that Claire’s mother was in labor and that something was wrong?
Discuss the story of the lambs and the quote “Nothing does well  if without a mother” from page 72. What does “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” say about mothers? How do you feel about your mother? How do you feel about becoming a mother one day?
How did you feel when Claire placed second in the race? If she had been allowed to go the race in the first place, instead of staying home with her mother, how do you think she would have felt about taking second place? Do you think her father would have realized how strong she was for running in the race? What do you think would have happened to her mother?
When Claire and her father found a new midwife, she said, “The Prophet Joseph Smith, himself, set me apart to be a midwife, and in the blessing he said I would call on the powers of Heaven to remedy any situation if it be the Lord’s will. Don’t worry about a thing.” How did this statement make you feel? Why are we set apart for callings? What authority does a prophet have? Sometimes we are given callings we may feel inadequate for. How can we have more confidence to do what we are called to do?
On the way back to Claire’s mother, people doubted the abilities of both Claire’s old horse Jezebel, and of the midwife to be able to stay on the horse, just as they had doubted Claire’s physical strength. What did you learn from Claire, Jezebel, and the midwife Sister O’Brien? Are there people in your life who doubt you? Are there people who have confidence in you? How does it make you feel when people doubt you or have confidence in you? How do you think Heavenly Father feels about your abilities? How do you think Heavenly Father felt about Claire’s abilities? Are there people in your life that you doubt? How can you think about them differently? How do you think Heavenly Father thinks about them?
Heavenly Father knew before hand that Claire’s mother was going to need help, but Claire did not. At one point in the book, she felt that all her running and training had been wasted. How do you think Claire felt about not going to the Fourth of July celebration after realizing that God had prepared her to be an instrument in His hands to save her mother’s life?
Are there times in your life when you have had to accept a big no answer? How did you feel? What were the results? Did you learn anything from the experience?
Has there ever been a time when you prayed for something and were told no? What happened? Why does God sometimes tell us no?
Connecting Literature:
Porter Earns a Quarter, by Nicholeen Peck
Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
Little House on the Prairie
American Girls Series: Kirsten
The Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnett
He Gives the Best Answers:
The Currant Bush:
This family history story about my grandmother:
We expected a little visitor to arrive at our house around the middle of April, 1951. The doctor had told us we could look for a little girl, so LaVerle thought we should get a new doctor – one who could get us a little boy.
The night of the fifteenth of March a raging blizzard struck. All night the wind howled and piled up snow drifts outside and inside. It sounded as if the house would blow down and I snuggled further down in my bed, happy that it wasn’t near the middle of April.
The morning of the 16th found me cleaning snow out of the house while Lloyd cared for the animals. All afternoon I worked on the children’s clothes, getting them in order so as soon as the storm broke we could leave. I had decided to go to Cardston and stay with my folks where I would be close to the hospital and wouldn’t have to worry about storms. As evening approached my plans changed suddenly – the baby had decided it was in a hurry to see the world.
At first I was terrified – no- this couldn’t happen to me. But as the warnings kept sounding we tucked the kiddies in bed and sat down to try and decide what to do. The storm had raged all day and was still going strong. It was impossible to think of going to a hospital. So we decided that Lloyd would go to get a neighbour, Alda Gibb. Before he left we both knelt and prayed. We both knew that our Heavenly Father was the only one who could give us the help we needed that night. Then Lloyd administered to me. As he did the most peaceful feeling came over me and I knew then that everything would be alright. The baby was born soon after Lloyd and Alda returned. We were certainly a happy group when the baby let out his first cry –a husky little boy with lots of coal black hair. As we kidded the doctor later we had followed LaVerle’s suggestion and thus got the boy we had wanted.
The experience was a testimony to me. Never before in my life had I felt the presence of my Heavenly Father as keenly as I did that night and we know for a certainty that it was through His help that the little fellow arrived so easily into this world.
Next morning Reece Gibb and Glen arrived on saddle pony and after seeing the new baby asked what we were going to call him. When I said “Montey”, he said what do you think of naming our Branch after him as he is the first baby to be born here and we are trying to find a name. Of course the idea suited me. Later we voted on it in the group and the name Montey was chosen. When President Ursenbach came to organize the Branch he suggested that we use the name of one of the nearest towns for the name of the Branch. However, when the story was told why we all wanted Montey he agreed with us that it should be Montey.
If we could live as close to our Heavenly Father every day as a group of us were that night I am sure our little Montey Branch would be a great success.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Thoughts on PLATO's APOLOGY, CRITO, and Abinidi

Socrates says that the force of truth is eloquent. He is so right! I read a few speeches by Obama lately for the first time. I was amazed at how he appeared to praise the founding fathers and the story of our country. Yet I felt no stirrings in my heart because I know that while his words were true about the founding fathers, he lied in that he said what he did not personally believe. Obama hates America and is trying to destroy it. Yet, when someone more obscure, maybe a friend, or a mother of little children, speaks similar words, but means them with all their heart--at those times, the eloquence of truth starts a fire in my heart! Abinidi also affirmed that the words he preached were true, "Know ye not that I speak the truth? Yea, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God." Mosiah 12:30
Socrates states he is "confident in the justice of my cause." This type of confidence is of the utmost importance. Whatever we undertake--if we have not the knowledge that our cause is right, good, true, and just--then the setbacks and obstacles that will undoubtedly come will be enough to hedge up our way. Only this kind of confidence will give us the courage and the determination to continue on at all costs.
Socrates warns against foolish pride that gets in the way of our learning. Instead of listening and seeking wisdom from others, or from God--the Only one whose wisdom is infallible, we humans have a tendency to get puffed up by the little bits that we learn, and then we effectively shut down further learning. I read a short story about Thomas Jefferson in the Freedom Series about how he always tried to listen to others and learn from them instead of trying to talk and show off the knowledge he had. I really need to learn to be a better observant listener -learner! Abinidi also speaks about wisdom, "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?" Mosiah 12: 27
Socrates asks what should be an obvious question. "Did ever man...believe in the existence of human things, and not of human beings?" He continues with this argument to show that he does believe in God. What an obvious, undeniable, wonderful argument! If one finds a watch on a beach, one would never say, "Wow! Look at this thing that just magically came into existence!" But rather one would know that a watch maker must have created the complicated little machine. How much more obvious is it that we, as complex, reasoning, intelligent beings must have had a Creator?
I loved this quote, "A man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong--acting the part of a good man or of a bad." This makes me think of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Uncle Tom never let fear of death stop him from performing an act of charity or living true to his conscience. Abinidi also demonstrated the same moral strength when he was given the choice to recant his words, or face death. The scriptures say, " And he that taketh not his across, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:38-39.
Socrates stated that he would never recant his words, "Men of Athens, I honour and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting any one whom I meet..."
Abinidi also refused to take back his words, "Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands. Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day." Mosiah 17:9-10
I believe that I or my children may one day face this same challenge. I read an email today saying that the army gave a debriefing to it's soldiers stating that Christians are the most dangerous extremist group out there. I hope that I will have the courage to testify of Christ always, even unto death. I have read the story of Daniel in the Lion's den to my children many times. Tears often come to my eyes as I think of the courage that Daniel had. I have learned that courage must come from a deep abiding faith in Christ. If I want that kind of courage, I must develop and keep strong my relationship with my Father in Heaven, my Savior, and the Holy Ghost.
Socrates warns against love of riches, "Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard nor heed at all?" Abinidi also warned the people about the love of money and worldly things, "Why do ye set your hearts upon briches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and cspend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?" Mosiah 12:28
I have been thinking a lot lately about the scary times we might have ahead. I asked my husband why it would be that way? What was the purpose? He said that it had to be that way. Even in the church we are still way too attached to the world. God cannot create a Zion people and prepare for the second coming when our hearts are still so attached to our riches. That gave me great peace. I look forward to Zion! And whatever it takes for us to get prepared for the Savior to reign, will be worth it in the end.
Socrates says, "Men of Athens, do not interrupt, but hear me; there was an understanding between us that your should hear me to the end...I would have you know, that if you kill such an one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me." Abinidi spoke similar words, "Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time."
Both Socrates and Abinidi had a message they felt they must give that God had put into their hearts. What are the messages in my heart that I feel I must deliver? I have felt strongly I need to give a message of family--to make it popular to love children and to bear children, and to bear many children. I feel the need to spread the message of the true principles of freedom and to speak out against socialism and communism. I feel the need to speak up for true leadership /celestial education. I feel the need to speak up for a return to virtue, including shunning all immodesty and immorality portrayed in the media. At times I have felt my own inadequacies in delivering these messages. At times the opposition has been strong enough to deter me for a time. But what can I do to persist? Again, I must have the confidence Socrates speaks of that my cause is just. I do have that. If I stay close to the Lord I know he can make my weaknesses strong for His grace is sufficient. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27
Socrates and Abinidi stated that they had authority from God.
Socrates makes the case for facing death with dignity. He says that death is not to be feared, but that death comes to all men eventually, and that there are probably many good things in the life to come.
Socrates stated that a judge's duty, "Is, not to make a present of justice, but to give judgment; and he has sworn that he will judge according to the laws, and not according to is own good pleasure." If only the judges of our day would follow this principle! They have usurped power by judging according to their own desires instead of according to the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land.
Socrates said he "sought to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests." Alma asks a series of probing questions that when truly pondered cause us each to "look to" ourselves and examine our hearts, whether we are virtuous and wise. (Alma Ch 5.)
Socrates says, "He only gives you the appearance of happiness, and I give you the reality." The scriptures have a lot to say about appearances:
  • 2 Nephi 4:31
    31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
  • John 7:24
    24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7
    7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Jacob 4:13
13 Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old
Satan does the opposite of God. He lies and he uses appearances often to spread his lies. He would have us believe that wickedness is happiness, but this is false and can never be. He would have us believe that living a just and true life will be dull and will not bring us happiness. He has been spreading this lie for a long time. In Plato's Republic (Great Books Vol. 7 book 1 pg. 313) the argument for living an unjust life is persuasively given. But Satan is wrong! I love how Socrates' students stated that though they could not argue for justice, they still knew that the just life was better. That is the light of Christ. The knowledge they were lacking was the Great Plan of Happiness. Having this knowledge--that life does not end here and that a day of reckoning will surely come, and that this life is a drop in the bucket compared to the eternities with which we will have to live with the consequences of our actions, and that God and angels watch our actions night and day and are recording it--this knowledge is the argument for living a true life of virtue, not just the appearance of it.
"The unexamined life is not worth living." How true! We are such creatures of habit and culture. Only in self examination and by asking questions about the world we encounter can we come to find the truth that may set us free from sin and sadness.
"The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness." He also states in Crito, "Not life, but a good life, is to be chiefly valued." and "Think not of life and children first, and of justice afterwards, but of justice first, that you may be justified before the princes of the world below." What beautiful quotes!! This again makes me think of Uncle Tom, Jane Eyre, Corrie Ten Boom, and Daniel in the Lion's Den.
"No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods." This makes me think of the scripture in D&C 122: 7-9 when the Lord speaks to Joseph Smith:
"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?  Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."
Socrates tells Crito not to value the opinions of the masses, but rather the opinions of good men.
Socrates states that in reality the masses, "cannot make a man either wise or foolish; and whatever they do is the result of chance." The scriptures also remind us to be humble and not fear men, but rather to fear God:
  • Matthew 6:27 "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?"
Socrates warns that zeal can be very dangerous if misplaced in false principles. This makes me think of the many do-gooders in the government that make law after law after law to try and micro manage us out of our freedom and into forced goodness. Sounds like Satan's plan to me!
Socrates ends his life by saying, "Leave me then, Crito, to fulfill the will of God, and to follow whither he leads."
Hymn, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go."
Isaiah 42:16 "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make a darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."
God will lead us on!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Thoughts on Pride and Prejudice the Book

The message that spoke to my heart from Jane Austen’s book, “Pride and Prejudice” was that true integrity and virtue lead to happiness and prosperity, whereas dishonesty and lack of character lead to misery.
When Mr. Whickham and Mr. Darcy are first introduced, Wickam appears to have all the goodness, manners, character, and virtue. Mr. Darcy is assumed to be proud, judgmental, condescending, selfish and even wicked. Time soon shows how the opposite was true of both men. Plato writes, “I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish and that others less esteemed were really wiser and better.” Lydia, while not evil like the man she married, had many negative traits. She was selfish, inappropriate, and not virtuous. Yet her sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, were sensible, forgiving, and proper.
Similar to the play “Clouds” by Aristophanes, it first appears as though the unjust characters prosper. Whickam has all the popularity of the town, while Mr. Darcy is despised. Lydia, though the youngest daughter, is very first of the sisters to obtain the marital status. She gloats about it and feels she has triumphed over her sisters. At the dinner table Lydia says, “Ah Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman.”
Plato wrote about the appearance of verse true character; “For what men say is that, if I am really just, and am not also thought just, profit there is none, but the pain and loss on the other hand are unmistakable. But, if, though unjust, I acquire the reputation of justice, a heavenly life is promised to me. Since then, as philosophers prove, appearance tyrannizes over truth and is lord of happiness, to appearance I must devote myself,” and “…for the highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not.”
However, in the end, Mr. and Mrs. Whickam’s lives are characterized by wretchedness, not joy. They are made miserable by their marriage to each other, and the truth of their character is made known to everyone in town. They must now live forever with their own failings and vices, as well as that of their spouses. Their affection for each other soon dwindles. Their finances are in constant ruin because of their inability to control their spending.
Contrasting Whickam and Lydia’s folly, both Jane and Elizabeth’s happy endings shine bright in favor of true virtue and goodness. They each are blessed to marry men with sound character, judgment, and kindness, their lives are blessed both by love and wealth. While Mr. Darcy never became popular with all the town, his true nature was made known and understood by all the sensible, wise, and prudent characters.
In Plato’s Apology, Socrates “sought to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests.” He also speaks of the “appearance of happiness” vs. “the reality.” He states, “For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private.”
The great message of the Book of Mormon is that “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10.) The Lord said, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” (1 Ne 2:20).
(Other themes to explore: Love can inspire one to greater character, the effects of one persons’ sins and folly can greatly injure other people.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Tortoise and the Hare Lesson Plan

This Story is also in “The Children’s Book of Virtues”.
The Children's Book of Virtuesthe tortoise and the hare
Discussion Questions:
Was the hare kind or polite to the tortoise?
Has anyone ever spoken unkindly to you before? How did you feel? How did you react? Do you wish you had acted differently?
Have you ever spoken unkindly to someone? How did you feel? How do you think they felt? How do you wish you had spoken to them?
What does diligence mean?
What would happen if you were not diligent in feeding a pet or farm animal? What about practicing a musical instrument?
How did the tortoise demonstrate diligence? How did the hare not demonstrate diligence?
Dallin H. Oaks said, “Some people live the gospel with ‘short, frenzied outbursts of emotion,’ followed by long periods of lapse or by performance that is intermittent or sputtering. What we need in living the gospel is ‘the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.’”
In what areas of the gospel could you and your family be better at diligence?
In what ways does scripture study benefit us when we read with diligence?
Is there something in your life you want to be better at doing diligently instead of sporadically?
Here is a story about being obedient diligently:
“A story is told about how Arabian horses are selected and trained. Because these horses are used in important service, they must have unquestioning obedience to their masters. Early in their training they are taught to respond instantly to the master’s command. Then they are given a test to see how they behave under pressure. For a long period of time they are kept in an enclosure away from water that is available just outside the gate. After a period of time the gate is opened, and the horses run for the water. Just before they reach the water, however, the master blows a whistle. Because of their thirst, some of the horses pay no attention. But others immediately turn and go to the master. These obedient horses have learned discipline and are accepted for the most important jobs. The others are used in less important work.”
Do you think you are diligent in your obedience to the Spirit?
Have various races, ie pillow cases, hopping, walking backwards, etc.
Go to the pet store and hold a tortoise or to a farm and hold a rabbit.
Set a goal together as a family to do something diligently for a whole month. Make a chart and mark your progress. Try to be diligent all month long.
Color a coloring page of a rabbit and a tortoise.
Make a paper tortoise—turn a paper plate upside down, color it green, glue green lentils onto the back as the shell, use green construction paper to cut out a head and legs.
Use cardboard to make a “tortoise shell” costume
Connecting Literature:
The Foolish Tortoise by Eric Carle? (I haven’t actually read this!)
Nate the Great and the Tardy Tortoise? (I haven’t actually read this!)
Huge Harold by Bill Peet
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess

The Little Hero of Holland Core Phase Lesson Plan

The Children's Book of Virtues
A wonderful resource for good, healing, stories loaded with character qualities is “The Children’s Book of Virtues” as well as others by William J. Bennett.
This book has many short stories and I am planning on doing a lesson plan for each of the stories. Here is the first for:
The Little Hero of Holland:

Discussion Questions:
The story starts by saying, “For centuries the people of Holland have worked to keep the walls strong so that their country will be safe and dry.” What ways does your family work to make your home a physically safe place? One of the “My Gospel Standards” says, “I will honor my parents and do my part to strengthen my family.” In what way can you contribute to making your home a safe place, thereby strengthening your family?
In what ways can you and your family make your home a spiritually safe place?
What things could be like “strong walls” for your family? (ie prayer?)
The story continues and says, “Even little children know the dikes must be watched every moment and that a hole no larger than your finger can be a very dangerous thing.” Spiritually, Satan is always trying to send negative and evil things into our hearts and homes. What things must you and your family stay on guard against to protect yourselves and your family?
What does it mean to be blind? Do you know any other stories about someone who is blind? What do you think your life would be like if you were blind? What helps do blind people have today?
Even though Peter was little, he gave service to the blind man. Was it big service? Do you think it made a big difference? Who do you know that might be lonely and want company?
When Peter looked at the strong gates he asked himself a question, “If they gave way, what would become of us?” What would happen if your spiritual “gate” “gave way”?
When Peter saw that it was getting late he thought of his mother and began to “run” home. Do you think Peter had an obedient heart? Are there times when you could be quicker in obeying your parents or Heavenly Father?
Did Peter disobey his mother when he chose to stay with the dike? Remember, in the beginning of the story we were told that even little children were told to watch the dikes. Sometimes we are given two instructions or commandments that seem in opposition to each other. How can we discern which rule to follow at these times? Who else has had situations like this? (Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Nephi and Laban)
When Peter heard the sound of trickling water, he immediately looked for the source. He practiced “alertness.” (Look up Bill Gothard’s 49 operational definitions of character qualities.) What do you think would have happened if Peter has chosen to ignore the sound he heard? Have your parents ever heard a funny sound in their vehicle? What would happen if they ignored those sounds? Here is an example of “listening” to the Holy Ghost from Wilford Woodruff:
“I drove my carriage one evening into the yard of Brother Williams [a local member of the Church]. Brother Orson Hyde [of the Quorum of the Twelve] drove a wagon by the side of mine. I had my wife and children in the carriage. After I turned out my team and had my supper, I went to bed in the carriage. I had not been there but a few minutes when the Spirit said to me, ‘Get up and move that carriage.’ I told my wife I had to get up and move the carriage. She said, ‘What for?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ That is all she asked me on such occasions; when I told her I did not know, that was enough. I got up and moved my carriage. … I then looked around me and went to bed. The same Spirit said, ‘Go and move your animals from that oak tree.’ … I went and moved my horses and put them in a little hickory grove. I again went to bed.
“In thirty minutes a whirlwind came up and broke that oak tree off within two feet from the ground. It swept over three or four fences and fell square in that dooryard, near Brother Orson Hyde’s wagon, and right where mine had stood. What would have been the consequences if I had not listened to that Spirit? Why, myself and wife and children doubtless would have been killed. That was the still, small voice to me—no earthquake, no thunder, no lightning; but the still, small voice of the Spirit of God. It saved my life. It was the spirit of revelation to me.”
Have you ever “heard” or felt the Holy Ghost warning you not to do something? What happens when we ignore the Holy Ghost?
We are told “Peter understood the danger at once.” Why did Peter understand the danger? Who taught him? Do you think he listened attentively while being taught? How can we better understand dangers around us?
The story says Peter threw away his flowers and “he climbed down the side of the dike and thrust his finger into the tiny hole.” In order to do his duty, Peter had to sacrifice some things, like the flowers. What does it mean to sacrifice? What else did Peter sacrifice to do his duty? What other stories do you know about sacrifice?
Peter seemed very uncomfortable throughout the night. Why do you think he stayed even though he was uncomfortable? When we are called upon to do the right thing, can it be uncomfortable sometimes? Have you ever felt uncomfortable in front of your friends while standing up for what you believe in? How can we find courage to continue doing our duty in hard moments?
While Peter was struggling he thought of his family and thought, “I must not let them be drowned…I must stay here until someone comes if I have to stay all night.” Think of the Savior in Gethsemane and how much pain He was in. Who do you think He thought, what motivated Him to help Him finish His great task?
The people were very grateful to Peter for what he had done for them. Can you think of people in your life who have done things you are grateful for?
Look up Holland on a map or globe
Look at pictures of Holland
Make a cake for someone
Let the children feel/read some braille
Show the children videos of seeing eye dogs, or introduce them to a real one
Sing “Give Said the Little Stream”
Visit an elderly person
Make a rain stick with a paper towel holder, toothpicks, and beans
Visit a canal
Look up different types of blue flowers. Paint your favorite ones. Give the painting to someone lonely.
Sing “Little Bunny Foo Foo”
Sing “Quickly I’ll Obey”
Build a “wall” by gluing sugar cubes together. Then take a pitcher of water and poor water over the sugar cubes to show how quickly it could destroy a wall.
Connecting Literature:
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss                                             Helen Keller
Little Sunshine (also in “The Children’s Book of Virtues”)
The Little Engine That Could
Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Nahum Prince