Posts Tagged 'Children'

Let’s Talk About It – As a Little Child and Names

As I was waiting for my daughter at school, another child came and asked my younger daughter what her name was. When she said it, this little first grader beamed and said she had a girl in her class with that same name. As I watched her reaction, I thought about just how often my children discuss names. They love to make connections with other names they know, especially when they meet someone with the same name as their own, or of someone they already know. They can hardly contain their excitement over this realization. And what about those little girls who write their names a hundred times in their journals? And when they try out their name as a future Mrs. somebody.

“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.” (3 Nephi 11:37) What is it about names and little children? I know this scripture isn’t specifically relating to becoming like a child in how they feel about things, but perhaps there is a correlation. I wonder about how this relates to how I feel at this point in my life. Do I ever react this way when I hear a name? Should I feel this way about any names in particular? Names are so important in our life. They are so personal. Some times they become even sacred in nature to us. One in particular, is when we choose to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and become his disciples.

I wonder what your thoughts might be. How does a name in the heart and mind of a child, relate to taking upon us the name of Christ? What does this mean for how we should feel when we find others who have chosen to become disciples of Christ? Any thoughts?

Advertisements

Ponderizing – Week 8 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
2 Nephi 25:26.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Jesus-Portrait

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everything I do to live my faith and my religion, revolves around the understanding that Jesus is the Christ. That He is the Lord who, under the direction of His Father, created the world I live on today. That Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, who spoke to the prophets of old, and cared for His people. He came down to the earth, to live and die for all mankind. He has made it possible for all men to live forever as resurrected beings. He is the only way that we have the opportunity to return and live with our Father in Heaven for all eternity. This opportunity can only come through our acceptance of His infinite atonement. He has done his part, but we need to choose to accept Christ into our lives and live faithful to Him and His commandments. Through the atonement, we can repent and be forgiven of all our sins. The faith and hope I have in Jesus Christ, has blessed my life beyond anything I ever thought possible.

As a covenant member of the church of Christ, I have a duty to share that understanding with others around me. This scripture is one of my favorite verses in all of the scriptures, because I am a parent. I personally find so much joy in believing in Christ, and I have a great desire to share all that I can about this with my children. I believe that families on earth, can be families in heaven. The gospel teaches that each person much choose this for themselves, and so if I hope to have my family with me forever, I have a responsibility to teach them of Christ and the power of His atonement. How will my children know Him, if I do not speak of Him? How will they know that He can bring the greatest joy, if I do not rejoice in Him? How will my children know that He is still actively leading His people today, if I do not teach them about the prophesies of Him that have come to pass and are still to come? How will they know where to go to learn of Christ, if I do not show them the importance of reading the holy scriptures and modern revelations, where the prophets’ writings of Him can be found? How will they know, that Christ is the only way to becoming and remaining free of the bondage of sin, if I do not do all that I can to teach them this truth? This freedom is the only way to have true happiness in our lives. This is eternal happiness.

There are places that people can learn of these things without their parents, such as church, but the best place for children to learn is within their own homes. A parent, who has already gained a testimony of Christ and his mission, would be shirking their greatest responsibility by selfishly keeping this knowledge to themselves. I understand that whether I have my own children or not, my responsibility would still be to help others in my sphere of influence, to learn these eternal truths, because everyone should have the same opportunities to learn them if possible.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) My heart yearns to tell the world as Alma’s of old. “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.” (Alma 29:1-2) In no other place does this mean more to me, then in my home. Jesus Christ, who’s birth we celebrate at this special time of the year, is the way.

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

In this portion of the sermons given by Moses, to the Israelites, he was teaching some of the specific commandments from what we call the law of Moses. There were hundreds of rules to the law of Moses, and He needed to review them before leaving the people to settle the land without him there. In the last couple of chapters, he already explained the difference between murder and manslaughter, how each should be punished differently, the law of witnesses, treatment for false witnesses, and some laws for the Israelite army. He continued in this chapter, with more regarding laws having to do with murder.

1 If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:
2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:
3 And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;
4 And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley:
5 And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:
6 And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
8 Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.
9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

In the case of a murder where there are no witnesses to say who had killed the person, the judges and elders were to determine which city was closest in proximity, to the death. An unused or unworked heifer (young female calf) from that nearest city, was to be taken to a rough valley without fields, and break it’s neck. The Levite priests were to solve the controversy, and make an atonement for the people, by having the elders near the heifer, wash their hands over it as a witness that they had not committed the murder or witnessed it. The elders were also to ask that Israel not be held accountable for the murder. When they did this, the elders would make the necessary amends for the murder, and having done their part, the Lord would forgive Israel of it. This was important, because it had already been established in the law, that those who knew of a murderer and did not hold that person accountable, would be held accountable by the Lord.

10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Men who wanted to marry a woman taken captive from an enemy nation, were to have her go through a month-long ritual first. After he took her to his home, she was to shave her head, cut her nails and change her clothes. Then, after waiting a month while she mourned for the separation from her family, he could marry her. If he decided then, that this was not what he wanted, he could not sell or treat her badly, but was to let her go free.

15 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

The laws regarding the inheritance of the firstborn, were to remain in place, even if that child was not from the beloved wife of a man. This meant that no matter what, the literal first-born son of a man, was to receive a double-portion of the inheritance. Children were not to be treated unfairly, just because the were from an unloved or less liked wife.

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

A stubborn or rebellious child was to be taken to the elders of the city for disobedience to the parents. The charge of disobedience from a child, was to be punished by being put to death by stoning. We live in a time, when this would not be an acceptable way to deal with a child, but as I get older, I can see the great importance of obedience to parents. I believe that one of the signs of the times, meaning one of the things that shows us we are drawing nearer to the second coming of Christ, is that children will stop listening to their elders and turn to their own wisdom. I cannot remember where I learned this, so I have no scripture reference for it. It does make sense as to a great falling away of the youth of the last generation. As I watch my friends and family, who have children just entering adulthood, I am seeing the fulfillment of this. It is heartbreaking to see them begin to ignore the rules and counsel of their parents while still in their youth. It is as if, many of the youth these days, think that having agency means that they do not owe respect and reverence to anyone, especially not to their parents and grandparents. This is part of the breaking down of the family, which does not end when one becomes an adult, but is designed to continue forever. When children turn from their parents, they become easier prey for the adversary. Since, they are the leaders of the future here in mortality, their falling away from obedience, and therefore, righteousness, will lead to apostasy of great numbers of the children of God.

22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

When a guilty person was punished by hanging on a tree, they were to remove his body that same day so that the land would not be defiled. This is an interesting thing to learn. In my study of the ancient lands in that area, I have learned that it was a common thing for the guilty to be left hanging for a long time, so that others would know and fear the consequences for their wrong choices. In the footnote to verse 23, it reads, “According to Rabbinical commentaries, to leave a body hanging was a degradation of the human body and therefore an affront to God, in whose image man’s body was made.” The Israelites were not to do anything that would defile the holiness of the land of promise and they were not to disrespect the body of the dead in this way. This standard was applied, when the Savior was crucified. His body was not to be left on the tree, or on the cross, and so the soldiers checked to see if He was dead. Those that were hung on a tree, were considered cursed by God. In Galatians 3:13 it reads, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The curse must have been a part of the law of Moses, which was then fulfilled by the sacrifice of the Savior. Just another thing that was there to continually draw the Israelites to Christ. I am glad that I can live in a day to be able to look back and see how much of the scriptures testify of Christ and witness of Him. I hope that I am able to find those things in my life, that are meant to draw my attention and desires to the Lord as well.

Deuteronomy Chapter 4

The Law of Moses was given to the children of Israel, through the prophet, Moses, while they were in the area of Mount Sinai. Within that law, there were commandments and statutes, which they were to keep in order to turn their hearts more fully to the Lord and to live with one another in peace and happiness. At this point in the narrative of the Israelites, Moses was preparing them to have a new leader and to finally gain the promised land and rest from their journeys. He continues to instruct them in this chapter.

1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
4 But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

Moses instructed the people, that they were not to alter the laws and ordinances of the Lord, whether to add or take away from them. In the book of Revelation we read a similar verse, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” (Revelation 22:18). No man has the right to alter the words of the Lord, found in any book of scripture. If they do, it is only done to mislead others into apathy and sin.

Moses reminded them that there were consequences if they turned to other gods, as some of the people had done previously. In the case of those who sinned by following Baal-peor, they were all killed by the Israelites, plus a plague was brought among the people. The law of Moses, was the law they were to live in the land of promise. When they lived this law, they would be seen by others, as a great nation, with wisdom, and understanding, because God would be with them. He told the Israelites to remember the things which they had witnessed, and to teach them to their children, especially those things they witnessed in Sinai, when the Lord spoke to the people from the mount. He told them to remember when the ten commandments had been given to them. In modern times, we have also been told to watch ourselves and remember those things we have in the scriptures and the words of our prophets. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read:

43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

When the word of the Lord is given to us, in scripture or by the prophets, we are going to be held accountable to our understanding of those things, and for how much we teach them to our children, just as the Israelites were held accountable in their day. We might think that we’ll never forget the feelings we have at one time, or the things that we have witnessed at another. But, it is easy to forget if we are not living and teaching those things that we have learned. In addition, our children will never know, if we do not teach them. When I think of how important this is, I am reminded that many in the world today do not know of the gospel of Christ. Many do not know that we have living prophets today, just as they had Moses of old. Many do not know that revelation continues today and that we can each receive personal revelation for ourselves. Many do not know that we can make sacred ordinances and covenants with God, which can bring us eternal blessings. There is great importance in the missionary work going forward in our day.

14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
20 But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:
22 But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Moses had been commanded by the Lord, to teach the laws (the law of Moses), which would be the laws of the land of inheritance. These laws would bring them peace and happiness as a people, just as the laws of God can do for us today. Moses told them to notice that there was no idol being worshipped on the day when they witnessed the voice of the Lord speaking to them. Moses taught them that they were not to make any images, like man or animal, or they might fall prey to worshipping that idol. They were the people of the Lord, chosen and delivered from Egypt. Because of the choices to fall away to worshipping other things, the Lord had not allowed Moses to enter the promised land. Moses pleads with the Israelites, to remember their covenants not to make false idols, because the Lord would be able to consume them with His fire.

25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.
36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Moses taught the children of Israel, that if they should turn to worshipping idols after the generations have passed, judgement would be upon them and they would shortly be removed from the promise land and the nation of Israel would be destroyed. He promised them that they would be scattered among gentile nations. Those nations would lead them throughout the lands, serving their gods and idols, which are not real, but are made of wood and stone. He teaches us here, that the living God sees, hears, eats and smells. Moses also taught them, that if they would, instead, continue to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul, they would be blessed. He promised them that they would find the Lord and if they repented and were obedient through difficult times. The Lord would be merciful and remember the covenants of their fathers. Moses reminded them, that in all the time of the world, there had been nothing quite like the miracles and manifestations that they had witnessed. Never before had a people witnessed the glory of the Lord among them, as they had in the fire, or heard His voice speaking to them. Never before had a people been delivered from another nation, by such miracles and wonders. These things were a part of their lives, so that they would know the Lord was their God. They had been blessed and protected, because the Lord loved their fathers and had made promises to them. The Lord had made them a mighty nation, giving them the strength to drive the nations from before them, and giving them the promised land to inherit. Moses told the people to recognize that this had been the work of the only true God. They needed to be obedient to the commandments, in order to continue to receive the blessings of God and live a long life.

41 Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
42 That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:
43 Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.

The cities of refuge were then created (Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan), for those who might kill another without intention to do so.

44 And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
45 These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt,
46 On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
47 And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
48 From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,
49 And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.

Moses had concluded his teaching of the commandments and statutes of God, by bearing his testimony of the consequences of disobedience and repentance. Moses taught them of the causes for the eventual scattering of the Israelites, specifically the worship of false gods. Then he taught them of the gathering of Israel in the last days, when they would turn again to the Lord. He witnessed to them, of the goodness and mercy of the Lord and promised they would be blessed if they would remember the Lord.

We have the blessing of being able to look at these words in hindsight. The scriptures teach us, that the people inherited the land of promise, and then over time, they fell away to the worship of other things. Then, just as Moses said, they were scattered throughout all the nations of the world. It seems to me that today, there has got to be a bit of Israelite blood in all the nations. As the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, reaches all the nations of the world, there are some who are being drawn back into the house of Israel. The gathering is happening now, just as Moses promised them so long ago. This is not so much a physical moving back to Israel, but a spiritual gathering of hearts to the Lord. This is only possible through the goodness and mercy of the Lord. He made repentance possible to all people and His power is what moves the gospel forward now. We can all turn and find Him, if we will seek with all our heart and soul. The commandments are provided for us today, so that we may have the opportunity to obey and be blessed. The same great blessings that were given to the fathers of the Israelites, can be ours now, if we will turn away from the false gods of our day, and turn to the Lord.

Genesis Chapter 38

Judah is the son of Jacob (Israel) and Leah, his first wife. Judah was the one who had suggested to his brothers, that they sell their brother Joseph into slavery. This chapter focuses on Judah and it begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.
8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.
11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

Judah left his family and had three sons with a Canaanite, the daughter of a man named Shuah. I believe that they were married, because she is called his wife later in this chapter and the footnote references interfaith marriage. (Judah did not marry in the covenant.) The sons were named Er, Onan and Shelah. Years later, Judah gave his son Er a wife named Tamar. Er was slain by the Lord because of his wickedness. So, Judah told his next son Onan, to marry Tamar. Onan did not want to have children for his brother, so he did not go along with things as was expected. Instead, he displeased the Lord and he was slain by the Lord as well. Judah wanted his daughter-in-law to remain a widow until his third son was old enough to marry her, so she went to live with her father as a widow. With this decision, Judah believed that Shelah would not die as well.

12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
14 And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

Shuah’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. He decided to go to Timnath where his sheep shearers were. Tamar was told that he was leaving and even though he was of age, she had not been given to Judah’s third son as she had been told. So, she dressed herself as a harlot and put herself in the path of Judah as he traveled. Judah was interested in being with her, because he did not recognize her as his daughter-in-law. She asked him for a gift for being with her, and he offered her one of his flock. Until it would be received he would give her his signet (usually in a ring), bracelets and staff. So she accepted his offer and was with him. She conceived, left him and returned to wearing the clothes of a widow. When Judah sent the gift from his flock with his friend, expecting to get his signet, bracelets and staff in return. He did not find her. He went back to Judah to say that he could not find her, and Judah was worried that he would be shamed by her.

24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

After three months, Judah learned that Tamar had pretended to be a harlot. He learned that she was with child and he asked for her, in order to punish her by burning her. This was a standard tradition for women who had committed whoredoms, such as this. She showed the gifts that had been given to her by Judah and said that he was the father of her unborn child. Judah recognized his things and also that even though she had deceived him, he was at more fault for not giving her to his youngest son to marry and being with her outside of marriage. He did not cause her to be burned because of this.

27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Tamar had twins who were named Pharez and Zarah. I would guess that even though these were the sons of Judah, tradition would have made these sons unto Er and possibly Judah’s grandson’s by the law. However, later in the book of Genesis, they are both listed as the sons of Judah. Through the line of Pharez, eventually the Savior would be born and raised.

This is a chapter that teaches us of some of the traditions of the families in these biblical times. It was standard then, that once a woman married into a family, she remained with that family even after her husband would die. I don’t quite understand why it is that we read the stories of so much deceit when it comes to intimacy and how women conceived children. I am sure this wasn’t typical in the lives of the people of that time, but I wonder what it is we should learn from them. In this case, I feel that we should recognize just how a woman’s life was not considered valuable without children. Here, the woman was a widow, who had no children from her first husband and who would not be given children by her second before he died. Then she waits for the opportunity to bear children with the third and is not given to him in marriage as she was expecting. So, in order to fufill her responsibility to have children, she turns to deceit. She must have known that this could have brought death upon her, which is why she insisted on a gift from Judah to have some kind of leverage when he learned what she had done. She has two sons and in this I am sure felt that she had done what she needed to do in life. In doing this thing, she brought about some of the fulfillment of prophecies that the Savior would be the son of David. This shows me even more, that the Bible is a book about families and how they are connected. It shows me that we are who we are because of the choices of our mortal ancestors and we really should do what we can to find out about them and learn how it is we came to be in this life.

Are we Dedicated to Strengthening Families?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.

Every person is part of both a spiritual family and an earthly family. I believe that families are the most important unit of anything that God has created on this earth. Earthly families have the great potential of being together forever, whether they are just a husband and wife or parents with several children. In respect to the time after the Savior comes again, Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 reads, “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” Because families are so important, it is vital that we work to keep the bonds and relationships strong.

How do we strengthen our family? When I think of examples of strong families, I think of how they look happy to be together. I believe that when love is tenderly nurtured in the home, joy and happiness are there. In Ecclesiastes 9:9 it says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.” The reward or portion of the reward we receive in this life, is our family. They are the reason for the work we do and when we love them, we will find true joy. I think love is the key tool to strengthening our families.

Additionally, one of the greatest sources of strength that we can have in this life, is prayer. Through prayer, the Lord can bless our families to be able to get through any difficulty and to stay strong when times are good as well. Prayer together builds a unity that will be lasting. In 3 Nephi 18:21 we read, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” My family has been greatly blessed for praying together. Hearing my husband pray on my behalf, gives me support in such a personal way that it shows just how much he cares for me. I believe our children will benefit from hearing us pray for them and all the things they are dealing with in their days. I know it may sound silly, but I truly believe that the ‘family that prays together, stays together’.

Mark 9:37 says, “Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.” Children are a gift from God. Part of strengthening our families is taking on the responsibility to have them if we are able. I understand that this decision really is between couples and Heavenly Father, but there are so many people in the world today, who are choosing to have careers and focus on worldly things, instead of receiving one of these beautiful spirits into their families. Having children is challenging and difficult, but the life lessons we learn and the growth that we attain will strengthen our families greatly. The earth was created for this purpose. In Isaiah 45:18 we read, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” The earth serves its purpose when we bring children into the world. I know that having children when we are capable, is one of the greatest ways that we can be strengthened as married couples.

In a family, strength comes from teaching and learning together. Parents should always be looking for ways to teach their children things that are both spiritual and secular. Learning from one another, sharing understandings, and seeking for answers together, will bring families closer together. In Moses 5:12 it says, “And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.” Our first parents were the first example of teaching all that they knew to their sons and daughters. When we work to teach one another, I believe the Lord will bless us all with greater knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Proverbs 24:5 reads, “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.” I know that this also applies to families as a whole. We should seek for wisdom and knowledge as a family so that we can nourish one another and become stronger as a whole.

Strengthening our families is helped when we honor one another. In Exodus 20:12, we read the following commandment, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Our parents deserve our honor and respect. Likewise, children need to be respected also. If we say or do anything to tear one another down, instead of saying things to encourage, compliment and uplift each other, we are not adding the strength that our families need. The things we choose to do will reflect greatly on our family name. Moreover, a strong family is one where the individuals live in a way to make the whole family proud. Proverbs 10:1 reads, “. . . A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” I know this goes both ways and as parents we need to remember that we do not want to do anything to shame our children either.

We strengthen our families by being a good example of righteous principles. Likewise, a bad example can weaken a family. Jacob 2:35 reads, “. . . Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.” Applying the principles of the gospel to our lives makes us stronger as individuals and in turn builds our family up as well. Job 17:9 says, “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.” The Lord blessed the righteous and faithful. When we live righteously, we gain the strength to be more capable of enduring through the difficulties of every day life. As part of the learning process to gain this strength, the Lord will show our families where we need to improve. We learn this in Ether 12:27, which reads, “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.” When we humble ourselves as families, we make the decisions to change things we do as a group. For example, our family recognized, through inspiration of the spirit, that we had a weakness when it came to the things we chose to watch on tv. When we faithfully humbled ourselves and removed those shows that were not good for us, we grew together as a family. The Lord has promised us that “. . . he that is faithful shall be made strong in every place . . .” (see D&C 66:8).

Our family will be strengthened when we are actively in defense against Satan and his influence. We are in defense mode when we live the things that the Savior has taught. In Ephesians 6 we read the following:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

We need to be vigilant in not allowing Satan’s influence into our families. There is so much in the world today that is working to break the family unit down. Our attitudes, the things we choose to be entertained by, and the worldly things we seek after can break down our family relationships without us even realizing it. Doing things together such as family home evening, scripture study, prayer, attending church, serving others, and wholesome activities, will bring our families closer together and keep Satan’s influences from so easily breaking us down.

Greater still, our families will be strengthened when we make the choice to be sealed for time and all eternity. As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that God has given us the ability to become forever families. Authorized priesthood holders, in temples of the Lord, are able to bind worthy families eternally to one another and to God. This is a greater commitment than anything we can be a part of in this life. Because my own family is sealed, I am more aware of how the things I choose to do will affect us as a group both in this life and after it. In Malachi 4:6 we read, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” I believe the greater version of this promise can be found in Joseph Smith-History 1:39, which says, “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” These promises can only be realized through the amazing blessings of being sealed as a family. I don’t know what greater source of strength there can be in a family, than to know that they are able to be with each other forever.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should strive to help other families to be strengthened as well. We need to stand up for families in the world today. We should support those things that lead to building families and fight against the evils that seek to drive families apart. Making our families a priority over careers and other extra-curricular activities, shows others the true value of family. We should live as examples of happy families and show others how our families can bring us the most joy and fulfillment in life. Being consistent with our family traditions and such (i.e. family holidays, prayer, game nights, scripture study, dinners, etc.) will stand as a bright example to others. Doing things together like playing, learning, and simply being together, will show others that we care about our family relationships. We need to help others to see that it is never okay to disrespect or dishonor our family members. We should never talk bad about our family members, gossip even if it may be true, or say or do anything that would make them feel bad. Being an example of love towards our family, in our words and actions, will go a long way in building other families up. Moreover, remember that even though we are part of separate earthly families, we are all part of the same spiritual family. The more we can share this gospel principle and that we really can be part of an eternal family, the stronger our spiritual family will be.

I cannot truly express in words, just how grateful I am for my family. I love my husband and children with all my heart. I am so grateful for my parents and siblings and all that I have learned and continue to learn from them. I rejoice in the hope of being with all of them forever. I am grateful for the things I learn from the Relief Society, and the church and gospel, which help to build and strengthen my family more each day. I hope that others can recognize just how important it is for us to work on strengthening our families and also helping others to have strong families as well.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

I'm a Mormon

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: