Information: October 2011 LDS General Conference

Information for October 2011 general Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This much anticipated meeting will be held in the LDS Conference Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. This is an exciting time for Mormons worldwide!  We have the opportunity to hear from our Prophet and President of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson, as well as many other prominent Church leaders.  We receive relevant counsel and direction to help strengthen us as individuals, and as a people committed to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

About General Conference:
"General conference is a semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During general conference weekend, Church members and others who are interested gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and instruction from Church leaders.

Information for viewing and listening to The 181st General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

General Conference sessions will be held Oct 1-2 at 10am and 2pm MST.    

You can also watch, online, all sessions of the LDS General Conference,  live -- HERE .  The first session of General Conference will be streamed live at 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, October 1, 2011. (excluding the 5pm MST priesthood session)

It just keeps getting better because NOW you can watch LDS General Conference on FACEBOOK and share it with all your friends!

You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #LDSConf HERE.

LDS Newsroom Blog: Thousands to Attend 181st Semiannual General Conference

Following the 2011 General Conference, you can watch, listen or read, as well as download all sessions -- HERE.

Here are some great links that will inspire and help you and your family better prepare for General Conference:

Why Conference Matter?  Watch this new video produced by the Church, where President Monson and members of the LDS Church explain the importance of General Conference.

Preparing Our Children for General Conference  You can help your children - whatever their age - learn from conference.

Conference Participation Brings Blessings, First Presidency Says
"Why is it important to participate in general conference? The First Presidency, sustained as prophets and apostles, have repeatedly given reasons why it is important to attend, listen to, or watch the broadcasts of all general conference sessions and then, following conference, to review the messages during the ensuing months and live according to the inspiration received."

Behind the Scenes of General Conference
"An extraordinary amount of work requiring the coordination of many Church departments and hundreds of people around the world goes into preparing for general conference. The five sessions of conference draw a total of about 100,000 people to the Conference Center every six months and are broadcast to millions more around the world."

General Conference Activities for Children
Fun activities from the Friend and other LDS resources. 

LDS Conference has something for you

Learning to Love General Conference
"When I was young, I did not look forward to general conference like I do now."

Conference has changed since 1911, but the message hasn't
"The world was different a century year ago. Automobiles and motion pictures were relatively new inventions. A man could buy a nicely tailored wool suit for less than $30 dollars, and a bottle of Sarsaparilla made all of a person’s aches and pains go away."

General Conference Recipes
"As the family gathers for general conference, it's a time to be prepared to be spiritually filled. But there still are three meals that a family expects to be fed. From breakfast to desserts, here are a few recipes from LDS cookbooks that can help."

Mormon Mommy Blogs: Preparing Yourself for General Conference
"Most people who know me know how I feel about General Conference. Love. It is my semi-annual recharging of the spiritual batteries. General Conference weekend makes me happy. I have found that I get so much more out of conference when I intentionally prepare for it. Here are a few quotes and ideas to help you get in the General Conference mindset."

April 2011 Conference Packet from Sugardoodle
If you have wiggle worms in your house, this is a must click!

You might also enjoy watching this video of highlights from the most recent General Conference...

Through whatever means that have available to you, make sure and share this information about our upcoming General Conference, with your family and friends.

Kathryn Skaggs

General Conference: Inside Look at What Mormons Believe...

Coming up Mormons have an opportunity to invite those outside of the faith, to take a sneak peek into what Mormons believe.   And for many, this could be an intriguing opportunity.  Today's technology allows people, in the comfort and privacy of their own home, to learn about other's beliefs, without ever having to step inside a church.  With the barrage of recent public attention about Mormonism, I think it's only fair, that at the very least, we let our friends and family know about this weekend's General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What people will learn about Mormons when they watch or listen to General Conference: 

One of the very first things that people will learn, is that we follow living prophets and apostles. Just as in the days of Moses, we believe that God still speaks to man through holy prophets.  We love our prophets and honor their sacred calling to serve, lead and counsel the membership of the Church.

The fundamental responsibility of prophets, seers, and revelators, all of whom bear apostolic authority, is to bear certain testimony of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world. This basic call to be a special witness of His name has remained constant whenever Apostles have been on the earth. This testimony, borne of the Holy Ghost through revelation, was the heart of the New Testament Church and is the heart of the Church today. On the day of Pentecost, Peter bore pure testimony that Jesus of Nazareth was “taken, … crucified and slain” and that He was “raised up, having loosed the pains of death,” of which they, the Apostles, were all witnesses. So powerful was this testimony of Jesus Christ, spoken by a living Apostle, that hearts were changed and about 3,000 people were baptized for the remission of their sins. We read that these new converts “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  This account in the book of Acts gives deep spiritual meaning to the words Paul later wrote to the Ephesians, that those who embrace the gospel become the household of God “and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

Sacred music invites the Spirit of God.  In every session of General Conference, music is presented by a choir, and hymns are sung by the entire congregation.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir usually presents the music during the Sunday morning session of the conference.

“Inspirational music is an essential part of our church meetings. The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord. 
“Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end”.  The First Presidency

Prayer is an essential part of our lives.  We pray to God, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.  

"Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. Actually, because He knows how desperately we need His guidance, He commands, “Thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.”" Richard G. Scott

We are a mindful people who care about the welfare of all of God's children -- whom we consider our brothers and sisters.  Service is at the very heart of our discipleship.

It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today. 
When this pure love of Christ—or charity—envelops us, we think, feel, and act more like Heavenly Father and Jesus would think, feel, and act. Our motivation and heartfelt desire are like unto that of the Savior. M. Russel Ballard

We are a happy people that love being together.  We gather to strengthen our faith, and be encouraged to better live the teachings of Jesus Christ.  As members of Christ's Church in the last days, we consider ourselves Latter-day Saints -- thus the formal name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The roadmap to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ is outlined in the restored gospel and taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It starts with being baptized into Christ’s fold and participating in His sacred ordinances and the fellowship of His Church. The journey continues with a loving congregation whose purpose is to lift and be lifted—and ultimately be saved in the Kingdom of God.  Learn More at

Jesus Christ is at the very center of our lives and religious beliefs.  He is our Savior and Redeemer.  The power of the atonement is what saves us, and will heal and make right the afflictions of mortality. We have a deep desire to follow Him, and emulate His work in these latter-days.

An Apostle of the Lord, Robert D. Hales, shares his testimony of Jesus Christ:

I testify that our Savior lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and He will come again on this earth to reign. He is Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel, “full of grace, and mercy, and truth. … It is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.” He is the literal Son of God, who rose from the dead on the third day, bringing the reality of resurrection to all who will come to earth. I also testify that God our Eternal Father lives and loves each of us, for we are His children. So great is His love that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Mormons believe that the family is ordained of God, and its purpose is eternal.   Through family relationships, we are better able to learn how to love as God loves us.  Learning how to better love and minister to our families, brings us closer to Jesus Christ.

"Individual progression is fostered in the family, which is “central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” The home is to be God’s laboratory of love and service. There a husband is to love his wife, a wife is to love her husband, and parents and children are to love one another. 
Throughout the world, the family is increasingly under attack. If families fail, many of our political, economic, and social systems will also fail. And if families fail, their glorious eternal potential cannot be realized. 
Our Heavenly Father wants husbands and wives to be faithful to each other and to esteem and treat their children as an heritage from the Lord.  In such a family we study the scriptures and pray together. And we fix our focus on the temple. There we receive the highest blessings that God has in store for His faithful children."  Russell M. Nelson

Learn more about the importance of the family, in this official statementThe Family: A Proclamation to the World

Now, this next one might comes as a huge surprise, but Mormons love to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and what we believe!  Okay, it's not a surprise.  In fact, the missionary efforts of the Mormon Church are active around the globe, with over 50,000 fulltime missionaries currently serving.  You've also, no doubt, noticed the social media efforts of the LDS Church, to better help the public understand the Mormon faith, and its members.

"Imagine you found a cure for cancer. How urgently would you spread the news of your discovery? Who would you tell? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the cure for so many of life's ills that Mormons want to share the good news of eternal life with the same urgency.  
The Lord's Church has always been a missionary church. Jesus Christ's life was the perfect example of missionary work. During His ministry on earth, he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all kinds of people. Jesus taught the educated men in the temple, the sinners, the faithful and the unbelieving. He also called apostles and other disciples to preach the gospel so more people could hear about the blessings of His gospel. Most of their preaching during Christ's life was to their own people, the Jews. After Jesus was resurrected, He visited His apostles and sent them to preach to the gentiles. He commanded them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)."

These are just a few of the things that people will learn about Mormons, when they tune in to a  General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  If you're thinking that you'd like to invite someone you know to check things out this weekend, here are a few great links that you could share...

How to watch or listen to General Conference

On Faith Blog -- Why Do Mormons Hold General Conference

Ways you and your family can better prepare to watch and experience General Conference:

General Conference -- No Ordinary Blessing

Thomas S. Monson -- Why Conference Matters

General Conference Has Something For You

Kathryn Skaggs


Video: The Gift of Daughters in My Kingdom

I'm not sure why this video wasn't presented in the recent general Relief Society meeting, nevertheless Daughters in My Kingdom truly is a gift!  And that's exactly how I described it, weeks ago, when I received my own personal copy!

For me, Daughters in My Kingdom is many things...  It is a resource first and foremost, an introduction to Relief Society, a compilation of personal accounts/stories, a testimony, a lesson manual (although I know we're not supposed to refer to it as such) -- it's magazine-like in parts, historical at times, inspirational, as well as instructive.  I could go on....  Ultimately, to me, it is truly a gift!

You can read my entire post here: Initial Impressions of Daughters in My Kingdom.

By now, sisters in the Mormon Church either have a copy, or have the ability to read it, online, at the new Daughters in My Kingdom website HERE.

"Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society has been written for you.  We hope you unwrap it, we hope you open it, we hope you read it.  This gift is a record of the legacy of women in the Church.  It also tells about how Relief Society is truly the restoration of an eternal pattern of discipleship.  It is a witness of the divine identity of our Heavenly Father's daughters.  Daughters in My Kingdom contains inspiring examples and timeless truths, and we hope you have a profound personal experience with it." ~ Julie B. Beck

Open the Gift: Daughters in My Kingdom

Kathryn Skaggs

Highlights: General Relief Society Broadcast 2011

I was pleasantly surprised to find that immediately after tweeting the general Relief Society meeting last night, LDS Church News already had up summaries from each of the members of the general presidency:  Julie B. Beck, Sylvia H. Allred and Barbara Thompson.  Each of these faithful LDS leaders gave inspired and uplifting talks to the women of the Mormon Church.   Also a summary of President Uchtdorf's sweet forget-me-not address, that seemed to be a favorite among many.  He definitely hit one out of the park with his very pertinent message to the sisters.  He truly has a special gift for speaking to women.  I mean come on, forget-me-nots and the five petals!  I love that man!

Each talk resonated with me in different and very personal ways.  I felt inspired, uplifted, lovingly chastised... but above all, I felt the love of my Father in Heaven.  I hope you did, too.  I feel a deeper desire to love others better.  Too many are hurting.  I know I'm not alone in my feelings, but I can't deny how short I fall when it comes to being charitable, not only toward myself, but also to others.  I think that's what has struck me the most, as I've studies Daughters in my Kingdom.  Our ability to develop charity is at the very heart of Relief Society.  It has everything to do with making and keeping covenants.  As we keep our covenants, we become more like Jesus Christ, and others are blessed as He would bless them.  In this manner, we ultimately come unto Him.

UPDATE:  Complete video and audio from the general Relief Society broadcast is now available HERE.

From LDS Church News:

Sister Julie B. Beck:

Sister Julie B. Beck hopes her granddaughters will become "strong, faithful women who apply the principles and patterns of Relief Society in their lives." 
"As Relief Society is a way of life for them, they will serve with unity and with others to fulfill its divine purposes," she said. 
Speaking at the General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 24, Sister Beck called Relief Society a spiritual legacy and a way of life. 
"I have titled this message 'What I Hope My Granddaughters Will Understand about Relief Society,' " said Sister Beck, Relief Society general president. "I hope what I say in this message will give them and all who hear or read it a clear understanding of what the Lord had in mind for His daughters when He organized the Relief Society." 
Sister Beck said she hopes her granddaughters will understand that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the Church in ancient times. "When the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, women were vital participants in His ministry."

Real full summary of Sister Beck's general Relief Society talk HERE.

Sister Sylvia H. Allred:

""Charity is not a single act, or something we give away, but a state of being, a state of the heart, kind feelings that engender loving actions," said Sister Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. 
The Lord has asked individuals to "clothe ourselves with the bond of charity," Sister Allred said. To do so, they must develop the qualities that lead to charity. 
First, individuals must have the desire to increase in charity and to be more Christ-like. Then, they must pray to be filled with love. 
"Reading scriptures daily can bring our minds to the Savior and to desire to be more like Him," she said. "The Savior is the perfect example of how to extend charity. During His mortal ministry He showed compassion for the hungry, for the sinner, for the afflicted and for the sick. He ministered to the poor and to the rich; to women, children and men; to family, friends and strangers. He forgave His accusers, and He suffered and died for all mankind." 
Other examples of charity include the Prophet Joseph Smith's constant kindness, concern and respect of others. President Thomas S. Monson is also a great example of charity, said Sister Allred."

Read full summary of Sister Allred's general Relief Society talk HERE.

Sister Barbara Thompson:

""In the scriptures, we learn of men and women who have made covenants with God," Sister Thompson said. "God has given instructions on what to do to honor those covenants, and then as those covenants have been kept, the promised blessings have followed." 
Using the examples of her own family, from the scriptures and from stories of women in the new "Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" book, Sister Thompson spoke of the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants and the blessings that come as individuals live worthy of their covenants. 
"Our covenants sustain us whether in good times or in difficult times," she said. "Great are the blessings we receive as we cleave unto our covenants.""

Read full summary of Sister Thompson's general Relief Society talk HERE.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"There is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower, said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf during the Church's General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 24. 
"I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet," he said. 
Speaking to a capacity congregation in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, President Uchtdorf — second counselor in the First Presidency — used the forget-me-not flower, which has five petals, as a metaphor to illustrate five things he would like the women in the Church to remember. 
During his remarks, President Uchtdorf asked Latter-day Saint women worldwide to not forget five things: 
First, forget not to be patient with yourself. 
Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. 
Third, forget not to be happy now. 
Fourth, forget not the 'why' of the gospel. 
Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you. 
"My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven that you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church. Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society. Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord's help.""

Read complete summary of President Uchdorf's general Relief Society address HERE.

To find out when the general Relief Society meeting will be available go HERE.

You can also find information about where to watch online, listen, etc... in my post covering the Relief Society broadcast HERE.

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts and impressions about the general Relief Society meeting...  Please, share!

Kathryn Skaggs
 General Relief Society Meeting Highlights
Watch and read excerpts from President Dieter F. Uchtorf and the general Relief Society presidency from September 2011 meeting.

Make sure and check out Jocelyn's great blog: We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ. Don't you just love this visual that she had to create immediately following the meeting tonight?

 Forget Not...  It's beautiful!  

Top Photo Credit:  Tom Smart Deseret News

Mormons On Twitter and What We Do!

Some very cool Mormons on Twitterknown as the #TwitterStake, are getting a bit of attention from Deseret News.  Why you may ask, is this particular group so cool?  Well, because these Mormons are using social media to share the gospel, online.  That's why!  And they're doing it in a big enough way, to get noticed!  For those of you who know how I feel about sharing the gospel online, this is beyond COOL!  

It's no secret to anyone here, that I'm on Twitter as @LDSNana.  In fact, following the last General ConferenceTrent Toone over on Deseret News, tracked me down for an interview, to find out about my use of the Twitter hashtag, #LDSConf.  And here's why...

"During the Sunday morning session, the hashtag #LDSconf was trending on Twitter. (A hashtag is a tag or keyword prefixed by a has (#) symbol that accompanies a Twitter post or tweet.  The posts containing a relevant hashtag can be searched and indexed efficiently.)  At one point, #ldsconf accounted for .14 percent of the total tweets on Twitter (70 million per day), according to 
"I haven't see the statistics yet… but most conferences, it does trend pretty heavily," said Larry Richman, director of product awareness for the church.  "A lot of members like to talk about what they heard, quotes, impressions. They tend to make quite a few comments about it." 
At home in Murrieta, Calif., Kathryn Skaggs, a.k.a. "LDSNana," sat with her laptop and watched conference with her family. Skaggs, who serves on a church public affairs council, began tweeting three years ago and now has more than 5,100 followers.  She came up with the term "TwitterStake,"  a humorous title for a virtual LDS congregation online.  She use the name "LDSNana" so people know what she is all about, and her purpose "is to be a positive conveyor of LDS information, thoughts, teachings and principles."  She signs her blog off withe letters 'tDMg'.  It stands for "to DO MORE good".  For her, it's like  taking notes and sharing them. 
"For me, tweeting #ldsconf is an opportunity to share my testimony with those who follow me, she wrote in her blog at

I say quite a bit more, so if you'd like to read the entire interview, Social Media Trends and LDS General Conference, go HERE

Here's what Shawn Cannon, at Deseret News, had to say today…

"Meet the self-proclaimed "Twitter Stake" -- a large group of online Mormons who do just that. During October 2010 general conference the group tweeted 24,600 times during the five weekend sessions. They group their comments and quotes together by inserting the hashtag #ldsconf somewhere in the tweet.  A hash allows anyone to search Twitter for all tweets relating to a specific topic and group them together on the screen. 
Many who participate rave about social networking and their conference experience."

Cannon goes on to report:

"The trend for social media and its unique style of sharing the gospel is on the rise.  During the April 2011 conference, the #ldsconf hash tag rose to the number four spot for most tweets worldwide.  This is the first time the number of LDS tweets ranked in any of the Top 10 spots on a worldwide basis."

Not bad, eh?  You can read the entire article, Tweeting about General Conference, HERE!

Now, If you'd like to hear what I had to say about MY beloved #TwitterStake, following our last General Conference, check that out HERE!  

I have come to love so many of my online LDS friends, that I've gotten to know over the last few years.   These Mormon brothers and sisters consistently join me on Twitter, every six months, to help share the gospel, online!  These are some really amazing Latter-day Saints who love the gospel, and don't mind letting others know about it.  I wish I had the ability to post each one of their names right here, and introduce them to all of you.  But really, if you want to get to know who these amazing people are, join the #TwitterStake, once again, as we gather next weekend for General Conference, on Twitter!

If you're not on Twitter yet, head on over and sign-up, then check out these two list that I've put together, of Mormons on Twitter.  Follow these people and be part of the best doggonegroup on online missionaries to be found in one place!  And I can promise you this, you will have a blast!  Tweeting General Conference is both uplifting and fun!  So come on, what are you waiting for?

(If you'd like to be on one of my list, tweet me, or leave a comment here and I'll find and add you.)

Learn more about how the #TwitterStake gathers to tweet #LDSConf:

This General Conference will no doubt be the best one yet.  Not only will we be tweeting on Twitter, but many of us will now branch out to see what we can accomplish over on the new social networking site, Google Plus -- (I'll tell you more about that later this week...) and yes, using the hashtag #LDSConf.   But I will let you in on a little something, currently the G+ Stake is being organized.  So, watch out!

Kathryn Skaggs

The Book of Mormon: A Very Specific Mission...

The month of October is just around the corner, and for those who are Mormonthat means General Conference!  For me, it's a time to put away summer, with all of its frivolous activity, and refocus on home.  Home is truly where our hearts are centered on the things of eternity, creating our most memorable family experiences, teaching eternal truths, and contemplating the things that matter most.

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, everything in our lives centers on Jesus Christ, and that is why our homes and what happens within its walls, becomes a manifestation of our love and commitment to follow the Savior.

At the center of many LDS families, is the daily gathering to read the scriptures.  The October 2011 Ensign is a very special edition, that is completely dedicated to the Book of Mormon.  Some of you may have already received a copy, and if not you can either download the PDF, or read it online, HERE.

Most outside of our faith, are perplexed by the emphasis that members of the LDS Church place upon the Book of Mormon.  Many feel that this is done to the exclusion of the Bible.   As Latter-day Saints, we know that these two volumes of sacred scripture, both testify of Jesus Christ, and witness the divinity of the other.  The subtitle to the Book of Mormon reads: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Jesus Christ and brings its readers to Him. The Book of Mormon and the Bible, together, are a powerful witness that Jesus Christ Lives!  However, the Book of Mormon also has a very specific mission in the restoration of the gospel.  It is the keystone of our religion, and contains a very important promise for those seeking to know the truthfulness of the Church.  Therefore, it is imperative that it is shared with others.

President Gordon B. Hinckley on the Book of Mormon:

"The Bible had stood for centuries. It is a precious and wonderful book. Now there was a second witness declaring the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true." The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain

I've already spent some time reading the October Ensign, and am very excited about it.  Not only is this issue an excellent resource for LDS families, but also a great way to share with others, who might be interested, a basic introduction to the Book of Mormon.  As you know, interest in the LDS Church is high right now, and that's a good thing.  It gives us a unique opportunity to share.  Most won't ask us directly what we believe.  Most will use Google to search themselves.  The problem with that is, unfortunately, Google does not always return the kindest of results.  Too often, the results when searching for information about the Book of Mormon, or Mormon Church, are from less than credible sources.  That means, that you and I need to be better at putting the good stuff out there to be found. And really, the best way to make that happen is for us to use our social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc...  Or you can blog, like me!

With the October emphasis on the Book of Mormon, many online have created various opportunities and resources to help you share the gospel online, by sharing the Book of Mormon.   I would really encourage you to find one, or several, and participate -- including sharing the link to the October Ensign.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful video, created by Seth Adam Smith.  Seth has a special gift for creating LDS videos, and is always so good about using this talent to bring others to Jesus Christ.  Sharing this video is a good way to share your feelings about the Book of Mormon -- by making a brief statement when you post.   Recently, on this blog, I shared my personal testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Jeffrey R. Holland Testifies:  The Book of Mormon

I really hope that this is a post you will take the time to share with others...

Kathryn Skaggs

I've been collecting various links to resources, articles and posts, about the Book of Mormon, over the last month, that I'd like to share with you...

LDS Newsroom: Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

On Faith: From the Bible to the Book of Mormon: How do Latter-day Saints interpret Scripture?

Mormons Invited by Church to Help With Global Social Media Campaign

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is putting out an "official" shout-out, via Social Media, to invite members to assist in developing a new online campaign Come Listen!  Mormons are being encouraged to document their experiences during this upcoming October General Conference, by shooting short video clips of how they hear the word of the Lord from living prophets and apostles.  

Now, you might be wondering just how the Church is planning on using these video clips, and exactly how you sharing your General Conference experiences, with the Church, can help to assist in sharing the gospel online?  Well, it's really pretty cool.  First, you should know, that submitted videos will become part of Church history.  And if that's not cool enough, your clip will be considered to become part of a short film titled: Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice that will then serve as a digital invitation to all the world to do just that!

Heading up the Come Listen campaign, is Jim Anderson, a digital media producer in the Media Services department of the Church.  Here is what he had to say about the project...  "This film will allow everyone to see the stuggles members overcome and the sacrifices they make to hear the living prophets.  There are so many ways the word of the Lord is being sent around the world, and that is what this faith-promoting film is going to capture."

This could not come at a better time!  With a heightened public interest about what Mormons believe, the Church continues to invite members to use social media on the Internet.  And as far as I know, this is the first major collaborative effort between the Mormon Church and its members to create and participate in a campaign that will extend globally!

For members who have been holding back sharing the gospel online, via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, email, etc...  this "official" social media project, by the LDS Church, should it make it very clear that doing so is considered a very good thing!  And if you need a little reminder of this, here you go...

"With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before, " said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, in his April 2011 conference address.  "With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God's great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world."

And now, enjoy this exclusive video invitation...

This October Show Us What General Conference 
Means to YOU!

Learn more about how you can participate in the Come Listen campaign:

Church News and Events:  Members Invited to Submit Video of General Conference Experiences

How to submit videos

Kathryn Skaggs

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How to Know... Is There A God?

With so much adversity in the world today, and very little apparent reason to explain why, many ask the age old question...  Is there a God?  And if there is a God, then why would He let such awful things happen to His own children?  Modern technology allows us to know, increasingly, what is happening around the globe, literally, in seconds!  For many, this barrage of information, when specifically focused on everything that is negative in the world, can be both depressing and frightening.

When I was a child, I detested the evening news.  Inevitably, I would hear reports of earthquakes, war, and violence.  I have a vivid memory of laying in my bed late at night, while my parents had the television on in the next room.  I'm pretty sure it was during the Vietnam War.   Hearing those nightly reports seriously frightened me -- and I would put my pillow over my head to drown out the things I was hearing.   The thinking was, that if I couldn't hear about bad things, they didn't exist.

As an adult, that doesn't work.  Heck, it didn't really work then either.  Life with all of its joy, in opposition, is filled with adversity and suffering.  And for most people, it is during these adverse times of our lives, that we tend to think more deeply about the existence of God.  The death of a loved one, is for most people, a time to consider if there really is life after death.  If there is, and life continues, then there must be a purpose to this life. And if there is a purpose to this life, who's plan is it?  These questions are intended to bring us, ultimately, to the reality that there is indeed a God.

Mormonism teaches that God has a plan for His children.  We believe that the adversity we encounter here upon this earth, is specifically designed to give us experiences, that will ultimately teach us to become like God.  Life here on earth, is like a refiners fire.  If we turn to God in our trials, He will strengthen us, and ultimately through the atonement, purify us.

The best way I can relate to this, is through my experience as a parent.  Raising five children was/is really hard work.  There were times that I didn't think I would make it through to this side of it -- meaning they are not living in my home any longer.  There was a lot of joy, but there was also a lot of deep emotional pain.  Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle of the Lord said, that parents will learn much more from their children, than their children will ever learn from them.  (paraphrasing)  I can testify of this truth.  As difficult as it is to be a parent, I am a much better person now, than I would have been without this experience. For me, being a parent is an important part of the process that I need, to become more like my Heavenly Father.

In Genesis 1:1 we learn that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".  This is the foundation and basis for us to believe that there is a God, that He is omnipotent, loving and the reason for man's existence in this mortal state.  We learn further how the earth was organized and then ultimately that "God created man in his own image... male and female created he them" (Gen. 1-27).

For me, prayer is how I've truly come to know that there is a loving God -- and that God, is literally my Father in Heaven.  Prayer is the vehicle by which a loving God enables communication from His Children.  I know that He hears my prayers and that He also answers those prayers in very personal ways.  I know He is there, and that He understands everything I am going through in my life -- and is in every detail that I will allow.   I am profoundly grateful for His son, Jesus Christ.  I have a firm testimony of this promise found in John 14:27:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  

This peace comes through continual personal prayer.  It is His peace that comforts me, when things in this world don't seem to make sense.  And it is His peace that I have come to trust.

How has prayer helped you, to know that there is a God?

Kathryn Skaggs

Things that tell me that tell me there is a God...

A Basis For Faith in the Living God - N. Eldon Tanner

A Good Husband:  Is There A God?

LDS Friends:  Is There a God? Does God Exist? Where Can One Find Evidence?

Info: General Relief Society Meeting 2011

This Saturday, September 24, 2011, Mormon women around the globe will gather in various places for the general Relief Society meeting, broadcast live from the LDS Conference Center, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Mormon women are encouraged to participate in this meeting from wherever they are.  Information about about how to watch or listen can be found at - HERE.

I'm not sure that I've ever missed the general Relief Society broadcast.  And this year, with the release of the new book, Daughters in My Kingdom:  The History and Work of Relief Society,  I'm more excited that ever to hear what these inspired leaders have to say to LDS women.  And yet, I believe that the messages delivered in this meeting are important to all women!  And that's why I'd like to extend an invitation to you, to help share this information.  With modern technology, we have the ability to share these types of events via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc...  All that's required, are links -- and women can watch or listen, online, to these messages in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.  And we don't even have to know about it!   But, we do need to make sure that the options to listen or watch are made available.

On the day of the broadcast, you could share how to listen, or how to watch -- links below.  In that way, anyone interested could join you, live.  Shortly following the broadcast, video and audio will be made available, online -- and text will follow within a few days.  

Perhaps you could pick a particular talk that you enjoyed from the meeting and share that, with a few personal comments.  For those of you with blogs, you could consider sharing this same information with your readers.   I'm not concerned with duplicate content, so copy  this post away!

UPDATE:  Highlights: General Relief Society Broadcast 2011

Here are a few options for you:

Watch general Relief Society meeting live on  HERE.  

Listen to general Relief Society broadcast live at  HERE.

My favorite way to watch is via BYU TV, right from the comfort of my own home.  In this way, I can tweet and blog while I watch!  You can check schedule HERE!  The conference will be broadcast live at 6pm MST.  FYI: You can download BYUtv app for your iPad, iPod or iPod touch HERE.  I love it!

You can also watch BYUtv online and view conference live HERE! (you will have to register and sign-in to access)

You can also listen to the live broadcast, in English, on the Mormon Channel

To watch using Roku go HERE!  

Watch on TV go to Bonneville and find broadcast information for your area HERE!

To find out exactly when video, audio and text will become available online, following the broadcast, you can go HERE.  

When I consider the great influence that the women of the LDS Church can have on other women, I think of these prophetic words...

"Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different -- in happy ways -- from the women of the world."  Spencer W. Kimball

There's no question in my mind, that modern technology is intended to help us share these inspired general Relief Society meetings, with other women, outside of our faith.  May each one of us, in our own very personal way, do our part to bring these prophetic words to pass...

Kathryn Skaggs

Not Anti Gay? Prove it!

Living in a liberal state, such as I do here in California, often puts me at the forefront of some of the most controversial and hot button issues of the day.  Take for instance, same-sex marriage.  California continues to battle it out in court, the future of marriage.  It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog, that I'm a strong advocate for preserving and defending traditional marriage.  For me, that passion derives from both personal and religious convictions.  It's both moral and emotional for me -- a child of divorce.  Because I'm a Mormon, I've been accused, more times than I can count, of being anti-gay.  I've passionately declared, that I am not.

As dedicated as I was, and am, to have and still have stand, what many homosexuals refer to as a ban on gay marriage, via Prop 8, I am not interested in keeping the gay community from having true equal rights in society. (I do not consider SSM an equal rights issue) I want to see traditional or natural marriage, between one man and one woman, preserved.  I'm always saddened when anyone feels that a desire to preserve one thing, then automatically makes that person anti, to what another values or desires.   And yet, I can understand why they might perceive it to be so...

I've always believed that actions speak louder than words.  Living in today's pluralistic society has its challenges, particularly for those of religious faith.  Freedom of religion is precious, and enables us to feel confident that our moral values can safely be expressed, and help to create a moral society -- which then allows us to exercise our religion.   Religious freedom is at the very foundation of the United States Constitution.  From the perspective of those who do not value religion, nor have a desire to see such expression preserved, perhaps we can begin to understand how a misguided attempt to exercise that freedom, could be seen as hostile.

Mormons believe that following the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, during the period referred to as the Millenium, everything that opposes God's plan, will have been removed from the earth.  We believe that those willing to live a higher law, will be those left upon the earth.   During that time, we believe that Jesus Christ will reign sovereign, over all men.  But, now is not that time.  And until then, we need to understand that we are living in a 'telestial' or fallen world, where it has been given to all men, the right to exercise individual agency as they see fit -- to then experience the consequences of those choices.  As a society, all either benefit from those choices or experience the negative fall out.   In other words, this is the time that we have all been given a place to choose either righteousness or wickedness.  And in this situation, we must show a level of mutual respect and love for one another, and honor the gift that God has granted to all mankind.  Although this doesn't mean that we have to like or condone the actions of others.  And in fact, often times we will not.

So, what should this mean in the case of homosexuality in society?  Well, we can't deny, or ignore, that some who consider themselves gay, openly exist in our communities.  Clearly, God teaches that homosexual activity is a sin.  However, the world is now extremely liberal as compared to generations past, and many gays feel that their homosexuality is their identity.  Based on this belief, they feel that they have a 'right' to marriage.  Certainly the Mormon Church does not agree.  Just read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, to understand the doctrine on gender, marriage and birthright, as taught in Mormonism.   And it is precisely these specific doctrines that we should do all that we can to preserve in society.

Now, if we begin to try and wield religious freedom to keep the gay community from having their identity acknowledged, legal unions formed, partner benefits, etc...  then I submit to you, that we are abusing such power.  No wonder we would be perceived as an enemy to those who do not believe as we do.  In states across this nation, a rightful battle is taking place to preserve marriage as only between one man and one woman.  But let us be careful as to other potential legislation that may arise, which does not fall into the category of preventing immoral actions in society.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, set an excellent example of this principle within that community, when they officially came out and endorsed two Non-Discrimination Ordinances.  

Also of great interest, is the LDS Newsroom's report of a recent address, given by Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to Mormon single adults, entitled "Truth and Tolerance".

"Knowing how to communicate respectively and truthfully in the public square is critical, Elder Oaks said, because "living together with mutual respect for one another's differences is a challenge in today's world."  Elder Oaks emphasized that in religious and public life truth and tolerance go hand in hand.  "We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.""

You can read then entire report HERE, which I strongly recommend.

LDS parents are called to teach their children righteousness, by covenant, in a wicked world.  This is part of God's plan.  He has given us doctrines that if we live and teach by, our children will ultimately embrace -- and learn to discern truth from error.   Our children were preserved to come forth during this time -- a time which God and His prophets foresaw.   The greatest lesson we can teach our children, is the love that God has for all of His children -- and the plan that He has presented for our salvation.

As people of faith, it can seem harsh to our gay brothers and sisters, who oppose God -- when we stand to defend His Plan.  And this is why, that when doing so, we must be selective and show an increase of love.

Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants instructs:
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
This faithfulness that is spoken of, is surely the love of God that He has for all of His children, and that He expects US to show forth among one another... 
Kathryn Skaggs