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FHE: Virtue

Shauna Gibby - May 10, 2009

Conference Talk:

For more information on this topic read "A Return to Virtue," by Elaine S. Dalton, Ensign, Nov. 2008, 78-80.

Thought:

Virtue begins in the heart and in the mind. It is nurtured in the home. It is the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions.

(Elaine S. Dalton, "A Return to Virtue," Ensign, Nov 2008, 78-80)

Song:

"Hum Your Favorite Hymn," Children's Songbook, p. 152.

Scripture:

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

(Doctrine and Covenants 121:45)

Object Lesson:

Materials needed: A beat-up, dirty, rusty hanger; a new unused hanger; and a beautiful delicate article of clothing.

Procedure: Display the hangers and the clothing. Ask on which hanger you should hang the clothing. Discuss why.

Explain that when we allow our bodies or minds to be used in an unrighteous or worldly way our spirituality becomes dirty and rusty. Just as we would not want to hang our best and most delicate clothing on this hanger (hold up the dirty hanger), the Lord does not wish to cloak us with some very sacred, beautiful experiences (temple, priesthood) until our lives are in order and we are ready to receive them. (You may wish to discuss repentance and what could be done to make the hanger ready to be used again.)

(Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, More Power Tools for Teaching, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], p.8.)

Story:

When I was about ten years old, we lived in a home surrounded by an orchard. There never seemed to be enough water for the trees. The ditches were always fresh-plowed in the spring, but after the first few irrigating turns, the weeds would spring up in the ditch bottoms and soon they were choked with water grass, June grass, and redroot. One day, in charge of the irrigating turn, I found myself in trouble. As the water moved down the rows choked with weeds, it carried enough leaves and grass and debris to lodge against the weed stocks and flood the water from the ditch. I raced through the puddles, trying to build the banks up a little higher, to keep the water in the channel. As soon as I had one break patched up there would be another one flooding over in another spot.

About that time an older brother came through the lot with a friend of his who was majoring in agriculture. He watched me for a moment, then with a few vigorous strokes of the shovel he cleared the weeds from the dampened ditch bottom and allowed the water to course through the channel he had dug.

"You will waste the whole irrigating turn patching up the banks," he said. "If you want the water to stay on its course, you have to make a place for it to go."

I have learned that thoughts, like water, will follow the course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, we may spend all our time frantically patching up the banks and may find that our "turn" is over and that we have wasted the day of our probation.

I want to tell you of one way you can control your thoughts. It is simple. It may seem so elementary that you will think it unimportant. But, if you will, it may help you. . . .

Let me suggest that you choose from among the sacred music of the Church one favorite hymn, one with lyrics that are uplifting and the music reverent. Select one that, when it is properly rendered, makes you feel something akin to inspiration.

Now, go over it in your mind very thoughtfully a few times. Memorize the words and the music. Even though you have had no musical training, even though you do not play an instrument, and even though your voice may leave something to be desired, you can think through a hymn. I suspect you already have a favorite. I have stressed how important it is to know that you can only think of one thing at a time. Use this hymn as your emergency channel. Use this as the place for your thoughts to go. Anytime you find that these shady actors have slipped in from the sideline of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, think through this hymn. "Put the record on," as it were, and then you will begin to know something about controlling your thoughts. "Music is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind and spirit of man" (William F. Gladstone). It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is clean and uplifting and reverent, the baser thoughts will leave.

Virtue will not associate with filth, while evil cannot tolerate the presence of good.

At first this simple little procedure may seem to you so trivial as to be unimportant and ineffective. With a little experimenting, you will learn that it is not easy, but it is powerfully effective.

(Boyd K. Packer, Memorable Stories and Parables, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], p.78.)

Activity:

Print the following on wordstrips:

  • Dating
  • Dress/Appearance
  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Language
  • Movies/Books
  • Music/Dancing
  • Sexual Purity
  • Sabbath Day
Place all wordstrips face down on a display area. Have a family member choose one wordstrip and read it to the family. Talk about choices that must be made in each area and discuss way that each of us can be a righteous example. Repeat for every wordstrip. If questions arise, use For the Strength of Youth as a resource.

(Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, Building Blocks for Better Lessons, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], p. 63.)

Refreshment

Yvoni's Pineapple Cake

  • 1 yellow pudding-in-the-mix cake mix
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan.* Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except crushed pineapple. Blend well, then fold in pineapple. Place in prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Makes about 15 servings. Good topped with whipped cream and pineapple.

*Cake may be baked in any shape pan, such as a bundt cake pan or an angel food cake pan.

(Lion House Entertaining, [Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2001], p. 115.)

Click here to download the pdf version of this lesson.

© Photo by Nicolas Raymond