Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Take advantage of learning opportunities

Language learning can happen in day to day situations. Missionaries can teach their companions not only words, but whole phrases.  Repetition makes a difference.  Babies learns to understand words after they have heard them about 200 times.  An adult has to use a word about 20 to 40 before it is a permanent part of their vocabulary.  Words cease to need translation.  Tortillas. Adios.

Reading is easiest.  Writing is next, with a dictionary of course. Understanding comes after much listening.  Context helps and it is important to help people listen for what they do understand without worrying about words they don't know. Don't speak unnaturally, but sometimes speaking slowly and clearly will help your students learn faster.

Speaking is most difficult for people because it is in speaking that mistakes are most obvious and embarrassing.  But it is important to realize that mistakes are a part of the process of learning.  A toddler will never learn to walk without falling down. A teenager will never learn to drive a car with a manual transmission without stalling the engine and jerking the car.  It gets smoother after you do it  enough times.  So get your students busy making those mistakes so they can move on to  smoother speech.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Important things to know about English class

1.  Focus on speaking, the most difficult skill.  They can learn reading and writing in school or on their own.
2.  English class should be fun and useful to English learners at different levels.
3.  Each class should be somewhat independent so that if they miss a class they are not lost, but can come when they can.
4.  Teach the class about prayer.  God can help us learn to speak English or Spanish.  If they all come at the same time, have an opening prayer when you can.  Always have a closing prayer.

We pray to God, our Heavenly Father.
To begin we say: Heavenly Father.
Then we say:  We thank thee for
Then we say: We ask thee to
We close: in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Explain the options in a very simple way. 
Give Examples:  We thank thee for English class.  We ask thee to help us learn English.

Teaching prayer is a sweet experience and the spirit will help you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Teaching English to Spanish speakers

When I cannot express my thoughts and feelings in Spanish, I will post here in English. I began this blog when Elder Babcock and I were a missionaries in the Puerto Rico San Juan East Mission teaching the Gospel in English on the islands of the Caribbean.  I want to retain the ability to preach and teach in English.

One of my goals is to develop a curriculum for English speaking missionaries to use to teach English to Spanish speaking elders and hermanas and to our spanish speaking members and their neighbors and friends.  It is hard to prepare English lessons in Spanish, so I may use this blog as a way to prepare and distribute the curriculum.

I am convinced that missionaries can improve their ability to speak Spanish by teaching English to their companions.  The missionaries end up helping each other and the end result is magnified.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What do we need to know about God?

What do we absolutely need to know about God?  Joseph Smith said

1. He is Eternal
“First, that he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was after it was created.

2. He is Merciful
“Secondly, that he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting.

3. He is Unchangeable
“Thirdly, that he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and his course is one eternal round, without variation.

4. He is Truthful
“Fourthly, that he is a God of truth and cannot lie.

5. He is No Respecter of Persons
“Fifthly, that he is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him.

6. He is Loving
“Sixthly, that he is love” (Lectures on Faith)

We can learn about Heavenly Father by learning about Jesus.

“Most scriptures that speak of God or of the Lord do not even bother to distinguish the Father from the Son, simply because it doesn’t make any difference which God is involved. They are one. The words or deeds of either of them would be the words and deeds of the other in the same circumstance. Further, if a revelation comes from, or by the power of the Holy Ghost, ordinarily the words will be those of the Son, though what the Son says will be what the Father would say, and the words may thus be considered as the Father's." (Bruce R. McConkie) 1982

2 Nephi 26:23-33 is a wonderful summary of His love and concern for the human family.

23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
31But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
32And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
33For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them allto come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why do we ask people to read The Book of Mormon?

It is important to read the scriptures, but more important to search, ponder, and pray until we understand what they are teaching about Jesus Christ. The Old Testament was written to testify of Christ and to prepare the world for his coming.  It helps us understand that Jesus Christ was part of Heavenly Father's Plan from the Beginning.  Much of the symbolism in the Old Testament is explained in the Book of Mormon. The prophecy in Isaiah 52 verse 7 is an example.

7¶How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

In Mosiah 12 the prophet Abinadi tells the people of King Noah that the Lord is angry because of their iniquity and abominations. This is a different Noah than the one with the arc. Abinadi predicts slavery, the death of their king, affliction, famine, pestilence, insects, the east wind , and complete destruction if they don't repent. The people are angry and claim they are good and their king is good. They take him to the king who puts him in prison. The king calls his priests to council and accuse Abinadi. One of the priests asks Abinadi:

• Mosiah 12: 20-24 … What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying: 21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him bthat bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth:

Do you think they really wanted to know what this scripture meant? Or, were they saying, why are you prophesying all these terrible things?  Why aren't you publishing peace and good tidings? "

Abinadi accuses priests of pretending to teach and to understand prophecy. He says in effect, "How come you have to ask me? You say you are teachers, what do you teach?

They answer, "We teach the Law of Moses."

"Then why don't you keep the 10 commandments?"

They don't like that and try to kill Abinadi but the Lord protects him. Abinadi tells them I haven't finished giving Lords message and I haven't answered your question. So he finishes giving them the 10 commandments and tells them yes they will be saved if they keep them. Then he explains that Law of Moses was preparation for the Messiah and symbolic of Christ but not enough to save men without Christ and his atonement. Abinadi then quotes Isaiah's prophesies about Christ and his suffering for our sins. He explains the resurrection and salvation that comes through Christ. Every righteous prophet who ever lived is a child of Christ.

Then he finally answers their question about the meaning of the Isaiah scripture. In Mosiah chapter15 starting in verse 14 He tells them that these prophets who taught about Christ are the ones who published peace and brought good tidings.

Here is what he says in Mosiah 15: verses 17-18

• Mosiah 15:17 -18 17And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever! 18And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the afeet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of bpeace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

Abinadi explains that Jesus Christ was part of Heavenly Father’s plan from the beginning. He explains the Resurrection of the dead. First the resurrection of the prophets and all who believed them and the resurrection of those who died before Christ came, in their ignorance not having salvation declared unto them. And little children also have eternal life.

Mosiah 16:8- 9 8But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. 9He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

This is the good news. It is important to read the book of Mormon and try to understand it.

The scriptures are about helping us live the Gospel.
Helping us have faith in Jesus Christ.
Helping us to repent of our sins, to change.
Helping us to desire to be baptized or to renew our baptismal covenants through partaking of the sacrament.
Keeping us in tune so that we can receive the Holy Ghost
And endure to the end.

The wicked priests of King Noah had the scriptures but they didn’t do them any good.

The Pharisees in the time of Jesus had the scriptures that recorded the words that Jesus spoke as Jehovah to old testament prophets, but they didn’t do them any good because they also had Jesus with them, and they weren’t paying attention to the words he was speaking directly to them.

In John 5:39-47 Jesus told the Pharisees to go ahead and -- 39¶ Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

He was telling them to search the scriptures, but he was also telling them to pay attention to what he was telling them now. In verse 36 of this same chapter he tells them. “the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the father hath sent me.”and in verse 38.. “and ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”

Later in verses 46 and 47 Abinadi says,

• 46For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Some people today have the scriptures, but it doesn’t do them any good unless they help them be closer to Christ and his gospel.

We need to be willing to hear and understand and believe not only the ancient scriptures, but also the modern ones and the words that he is giving to the prophets in our day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Life didn’t begin when we were born and it does not end when we die, because we are more than just a physical body. The spirit or soul within us is a spirit child of God. We were created in his image. Our spirit bodies were created in the image of God. He has a body of flesh and bone. He wants us to become like him. He has a plan for our happiness.

In this pre earth life Jesus Christ was chosen as our savior. He wanted us to have a chance to know the difference between right and wrong. We were given agency, or the power to choose to follow Jesus.

Under Heavenly Father’s direction Jesus created the earth so we could have these experiences and get physical bodies.

Satan, one of God’s spirit children rebelled against Heavenly Father and did not accept His plan. He wanted to have God’s power. He was allowed to come to earth without a body to tempt us and try to make us miserable. It is a good test because we don’t remember living with God.

Adam and Eve, two of God’s spirit children were chosen to become the first parents on earth. They lived in a place called the Garden of Eden where they were still in God’s presence. They were innocent and could have lived in the garden forever. But they would have had no children. God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that they would die and he commanded them not to. But he gave them the power to choose what they would do.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and they chose to eat. Because of this they became spiritually separated from God suffering a kind of spiritual death.

It was a necessary part of God’s plan that they be able to know good from evil. But it was a choice they had to make for themselves. God had created them perfect. Some people think Adam was a bad man, but God wouldn't have chosen a bad man to be one of the first parents.

Once they became mortal, Adam and Eve would make mistakes and become unclean. Sin would make it so they could not return to live with God. They would have children who would also have the power to choose between good and evil.

Because they were mortal they would suffer a physical death as well as spiritual death. But God had a plan involving Jesus Christ that could take care of everything.

The Book of Mormon teaches about this plan. It is one of the reasons it is important to read the Book of Mormon. It is because of the Book of Mormon that we understand these things.

2 Nephi 2:22-25 If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden…And Adam and Eve would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.

I need to say more about bodies. God is the father of our spirits. We are literally his children and he loves us. We lived with him in Heaven. Our spirit bodies are in the image of his body. The body of God the Father is a body of flesh. Because God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, Adam and Eve were created in God’s image with bodies of flesh and bones. 

But they didn’t know how to be good. They didn’t know the difference between Good and Evil. They weren’t like God. They had to be fall and be cut off from God before they could be free to choose. Satan and the spirits who followed him are on the earth now. We can’t see them, but they can tempt us and give us bad ideas. But God’s spirit and the light of Jesus Christ can give us good ideas.

The Book of Mormon tells about a prophet who saw the spirit body of Jesus Christ before he was born as a baby. First the Brother of Jared saw just the finger of the Lord touching stones to make them shine. But because of his faith the Lord let him see his spirit body.
Ether 3:16 Behold, this body, which ye now bbehold, is the cbody of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

After the fall the bodies of Adam and Eve changed. They could bleed and die. They were able to have children and the bodies of their children could die.

It is good to have bodies Our bodies can get us into trouble, but part of God’s plan was for our spirits come to earth and get bodies. We’ll talk more about how wonderful this is when we talk about resurrection.

Part of Heavenly Father’s plan was that Jesus Christ would make it possible for every person to be resurrected.

What happened when Jesus was resurrected? 
What kind of a body did he have?

Luke 24:36-43 36And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, peace be unto you. 37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. 41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43And he took it, and did eat before them.

3 Nephi 11:14-15 14Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may bfeel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the god of Israel, and the God of the whole dearth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. 15And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.

Because Jesus was resurrected he gained power over death for all of us. After we have spent time in the spirit world, we will all get our bodies back. They will be real bodies. The good will be resurrected first because they will be ready first. The bad will have to suffer for their own sins in the spirit world but when they are ready, they will also be resurrected and all of us will have to stand before God to be judged.

How do you think you will feel when your body is restored to perfect health? You will be young and strong. It will be a physical body of flesh and bone. You will be able to speak and sing and hear and see. You will be able to run and jump and dance. It won’t be just like being born again on the earth. It will be an immortal body that can never die again.

God will judge everyone fairly. We will be rewarded not only for our works but also for our desires. God will know our hearts. He will assign us to different kingdoms of glory and give us all the glory and goodness we are ready and able to handle. There are three kingdoms of glory. The scriptures compare them to the sun and the moon and the stars.

The sun is the brightest. It is the kingdom where God lives. It is called the celestial kingdom and those who receive this kingdom will live with him and become like him. They will have been made clean because of Jesus Christ and his mercy.

Those honorable people who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ and who are blinded by the craftiness of men will receive the second kingdom that is compared to the moon.
It is called the terrestrial kingdom.

Those who sin and do not repent will receive the telestial glory after they suffer and pay for their own sins. Those who murder and lie and steal will have time to get ready for a kingdom of glory and light.

Only those very few like Satan who want to crucify Jesus again and want nothing to do with God will be in darkness.
Jesus Christ will save everyone who wants to be saved.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:28-32
28They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same bbody which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.
29Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
30And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
31And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
32And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.

1 Corinthians 15:40-41
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

what about priesthood

Some history

Different religions have priests that have something to do with their gods.  The priests seem to somehow stand between the people and their god.  They approach the God in behalf of the people. Sometimes it involves communication or sacrifice. Rarely do they claim to have the power or authority of the god and usually the communication is one way.

The Bible talks a lot about priests in the time of Moses that were called to take care of the tabernacle and the temple.  In ancient Israel the priesthood was hereditary and only members of the tribe of Levi had the priesthood.  It was a family responsibility to serve the people. 

Moses and the prophets before him like Abraham had a different kind of priesthood. They were chosen by God. They didn’t just speak to God.  God also spoke to them. 

“Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of as "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:4), and so Jesus plays the role of High Priest once and for all. Jesus is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek because, like Melchizedek, Jesus was not a Levite, and thus would not qualify for the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:13-17).wikipedia.org

To Christians the priesthood that matters most is the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  He had the power and authority of God.  He spoke for God.  He did God’s will.  Before he was born, Jesus was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, who spoke to the prophets and gave them his priesthood.  He told Moses to ordain Aaron and his descendents  to the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood.  But  he gave Moses his own priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood. 

When he established his church in ancient times, Jesus called twelve apostles and gave them special authority to give the Holy Ghost.  I’ve talked about this before. With the priesthood given them by Jesus Christ they were able to do all of the miracles he did.  After Christ's death and resurrection his apostles tried to establish churches. They knew that someday the gospel of Jesus Christ would be taught in all the world and Christ would return to reign on the earth as Lord and King.  But first there would be a falling away. The apostles would be killed and the church would be taken over by men who did not have the priesthood of God.

It took angels in modern time to bring that priesthood back to the earth.(see "angels-know-about-baptism.")  

So what is Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now?

It isn’t a job.
Priests aren’t paid.
It isn’t an exclusive position. 
There are many priests.
It is about more than priests.

Mormons sometimes seem to have too many answers to questions you have never thought of and they don’t answer the questions you do have like--  What about women? And
Why didn’t the Mormon church let blacks have the priesthood?

They want you to be baptized by someone who has the same priesthood John the Baptist had.

They want you to be confirmed a member of the church and be given the gift of the Holy Ghost by someone who has the same priesthood that Peter James and John got from Jesus Christ. 


I am a woman.  I do not have the priesthood.  But men with the priesthood have given me authority to teach in the church, to be in charge (at different times) of the organizations in the church that serve women, young women, and children. I have been given authority to be a missionary.  I have been given authority to work in the temple.  I have access to all of the blessings of the priesthood.


I know black priests and elders.  The president in charge of the congregation in St. Croix is black.  I don’t know why they were the last people to have access to the blessings of the priesthood.  In Bible times among the Israelites only men who were Levites were chosen to have the priesthood.  They had work to do.  They had responsibility to keep a people prepared to receive the Messiah. 

Now every worthy male may be ordained to the priesthood.  Not all are called to be apostles, or seventies, or bishops.  But every worthy young man can expect to be called to be an elder and a missionary to help take the gospel to all the world.  The only people who don’t have access to the blessings of the priesthood are those who don’t want them or whose countries have kept missionaries from teaching and baptizing their people.

The full blessings of the priesthood are available only in holy temples, and many people still live far from a temple.  Some are unable to travel to a temple.