Saturday, 20 December 2008

Build Faith and Teach Doctrine

So I have decided that this blog will work, dangit! (I think at least a few of you are on board.) So here I go. I am going to do a series of posts hoping it will help generate some discussion here.

One of my visiting teachers is a Laurel adviser in our ward, and she commented on how odd it is to be repeating the Young Women's theme each week. We all agreed that it must be difficult to remember after all this time. It makes me wonder why we don't repeat or at least focus on the Relief Society objectives more often. The first of the official objectives of Relief Society is to "Build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and teach the doctrines of the kingdom of God."

The year before I was married, I had a great Stake President (read one of his talks here). He said that if (in church) the Atonement wasn't mentioned in a talk or lesson, that talk or lesson wasn't worth giving. Two weeks ago we had our Christmas lesson in Relief Society. I haven't gotten a lot out of church lately, since I am still figuring out how to best handle my daughter at church, and we often leave early or come late to accommodate her naps. So, I was looking forward to the lesson. I was disappointed when the lesson consisted of the teacher listing all the things she loved about Christmas: Christmas music, Christmas lights, Christmas movies, Christmas candy, Christmas sweaters, Christmas shopping, etc. Then we watched a movie of the Christmas special the church did of Walter Cronkite telling the story of when soldiers stopped fighting on Christmas Day during WWI-- a great story, but not exactly what I had in mind for the Relief Society Christmas lesson. I left feeling rather disappointed that not once during the meeting had anyone even mentioned Christ. However, when I looked around the room as I left, the majority of the women were in tears. Clearly, this meeting had touched many hearts.

One thing I find difficult is to engage in Relief Society lessons. I recently moved into a family ward after having been in a BYU married student ward for three years. The dynamic is different, to say the least, but I think my current ward situation is much more realistic. How can we, as teachers and as listeners, help reach every sister to "build faith in Jesus Christ" and learn "the doctrines of the kingdom of God"? What have you done in Relief Society lessons to find Christ and strengthen your testimony when the lesson doesn't seem a ready vehicle to help you do so?