Father’s Day Move

There is a woman in our ward whose husband died a few months ago, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters. The family had additional changes in circumstances after the death of the father that necessitated a move to another state. Unfortunately, the only day on which they could move was a Sunday and not just any Sunday, but Father’s Day.

I will always remember the first counselor in our bishopric standing up in priesthood meeting and saying that there was nothing better we could be doing on Father’s Day than helping a family who has just lost their father. These inspired words touched the hearts of the men in our ward. The evening of Father’s Day found 21 of us at the home of this dear family who were still grieving for their father. There were so many of us that we formed an assembly line and routed boxes and furniture out of the house and into the truck, filling the moving truck in less than a half hour.

Isaiah 1:17 -> “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

I pray that the Lord will bless and comfort this family.

Father and Sons Campout – Priesthood Fireside

This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.

I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen.  It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.

There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!

The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service.   There was a great lesson presented.  In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.

They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.

This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.

My Family
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.

My Friends
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.

My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.

The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion.  I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry.  I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.

I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.

Back To School Father’s Blessing

At the end of the Summer I read a talk from the 173rd Semiannual General Conference, October 2003 in the November 2003 Ensign by Elder Merrill J. Bateman, Of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Elder Bateman says:

It is expected that worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood will use the power delegated to them to bless others, starting with their own families.

I remember over a year ago when my Bishop urged fathers to give back to school blessings to their children before the beginning of school.  My heart filled with joy concerning the blessings that were available to my family.  I shortly learned afterwards that it was something a Melchezidek Priestholder would have to do.

That Sunday, my home teacher was coming over to visit our family.  As he gave his lesson, it came to me that he could bless my children.  He agreed to and then each of my sons at school age were blessed.  The blessings he gave were exactly what my children needed and I was grateful for his willingness to serve.

I am also grateful that he was able to give a blessing, as he was a worthy priesthood holder.  Even though he has moved to another state, I still think of him as an example of who to be – A Worthy Priesthood holder.  You never know when you will have to exercise your priesthood and this gives a great incentive to stay pure, clean and worthy.

How do you give a Blessing?  What do you say?

As a worthy holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood, you lightly place your hands on the person receiving the blessing and do the following:

  1. Calls the person by his or her full name.
  2. States that he is giving the blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  3. Gives a blessing as the Spirit directs.
  4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

During our last Summer FHE (Family Home Evenings) I gave my children blessings.  I had read an article on lds.org titled “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen in the January 2005 New Era issue and received from good advice from it.  Brad Larsen says:

I remembered my dad. Whenever he had to give a blessing, he went quietly into another room and prayed first.

Before I gave the blessings, I went into another room and prayed to our Heavenly Father.  It really did help.

We pulled a dining room chair into the living room and one by one I placed my hands on their head and gave them a blessing as the Spirit had directed me to.  After I did my two oldest school-aged boys, the youngest happily hopped into the chair for a blessing as well.  We all smiled at his eagerness and I gave him one as well.

After looking back at that night, I now feel stronger about utilizing the Priesthood often and making it a regular occurrence and readily available to my family.  I am grateful for the priesthood which I hold and the blessings it can bring to peoples lives.

To read Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s talk, click here.

To read “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen, click here.

Fathers and Sons Camp Out – Priesthood Anniversary

Over a month ago, our ward had a fathers and sons camp out. This is an annual event which brings the men of the Church together to celebrate the restoration of the priesthood.

I was excited – it was my first time taking my boys camping. I would be bringing my 7 year old and 5 year old with me. Not knowing what to expect and wanting to be prepared, I had a shopping spree at Wal-Mart! I purchased a huge tent, some sleeping bags, camping lights, flashlights, backpack, first aid kit and other miscellaneous items. Provisions included: pringles chips, trail bars, beef jerky and water.

We drove out to an area 1.5 hours from the city on a Friday afternoon and found the camp almost on blind faith since the directions were vague. The tent was setup with the help of our Bishop and we were ready well before Sun down.

For the fireside, I was asked to say the invocation prayer and then our Bishop began to speak about why we were out there.

He called for young volunteers and then began to hand out signs which had names on it and it turned out to be his line of authority. He spoke of how his line of authority can be traced back to the even on earth that restored the priesthood in these latter days.

Here’s how the story goes:

Joseph Smith, while translating the Book of Mormon from the Gold Plates read about the need for baptism by water and felt he should pray to God about the necessary authority to baptize. And in response to their prayer appeared John the Baptist who laid his resurrected hands on the head of Joseph and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood that has the authority to baptize by water, to administer the sacrament, and the blessing of the ministering of angels. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other members of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Last Days, in the Susquehanna River. When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, they were promised they would later receive the Melchizedek Priesthood

At a later date, they were visited by a resurrected Peter, James, and John and conferred the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood by laying their hands on Joseph and Oliver’s head. The Melchizedek Priesthood has the authority to baptize with fire or, in other words, give the gift of the Holy Ghost; to give blessings to the sick; and to administer in the ordinances and covenants of the Temple.

We learned that the priesthood authority restored to Earth after the keys were lost with the death of Jesus Christ’s Apostles and after long years of a spiritual and temporal dark age; Joseph was commanded to reorganize and restore the Church of Jesus Christ. The priesthood gives us an opportunity to serve others

It was a fun day. I had a lot of fun with my boys as did they with me. The food was terrific, especially the peach and apple cobbler! Of course with all the camping equipment we now have, I hope to take the family camping every few months! The tent I bought should last us a very long time. It was very empty even with myself and my two sons. Mom and our youngest would fit with no problem at all.

The week after father and son’s camp out, my friend at work was talking about how he received his line of authority a few days earlier by requesting it online. To request your line of authority at no charge, simply email [email protected] and you will receive instructions on how to continue. Some of the questions you will need to answer are:

  • Full name of the priesthood holder (You)
  • Date of birth
  • Current ward and stake
  • Elder ordination date
  • Who performed the Elder ordination
  • High Priest ordination date if applicable
  • Who performed the High Priest ordination
  • Address and ZIP Code

Another interesting note that I learned: The line of authority for the Aaronic Priesthood gets replaced when receiving the higher priesthood – the Melchizedek Priesthood.