Friday, April 17, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Respect and Reverence

Margaret S. Lifferth, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, was the next speaker following Elder Hales to address the conference. She appropriately gave counsel on respect and reverence.

To illustrate the need for these qualities, Sister Lifferth cited the SaviorÅ› counsel to Peter: ¨Feed my lambs. . . . Feed my sheep." She likens our love for Jesus to Peter and his devotion to the Master. To truly be able to feed His lambs and nourish His sheep with testimony and the Spirit, we must cultivate in our homes and classrooms these two qualities:
  • respect for each other
  • reverence for God.
Sister Lifferth suggests that reverence for God is strengthened as we show respect for each other. Today’s standards of decorum, dignity, and courtesy are abysmally low.

Be an example:
  • in the home
  • by the way I treat those I love
  • during a sports even
  • with a teacher, coach, or peer.
Ask -- Do I listen to both sides of a disputed issue?
Do I show respect for the property of others?
How do I respond to others with whom I disagree in matters of
  • religion
  • lifestyle
  • politics?
As parents and leaders exemplify and teach respect for others, we confirm in the hearts of our children that each of us is truly a child of God and all are brothers and sisters through eternity. We will focus on the things we have in common—on the qualities of heart that bind the family of God together, rather than on our differences.
Respect for others and reverence for God are rooted in humility and love.
President David O. McKay said that "reverence is profound respect mingled with love,"and Elder L. Tom Perry taught that "reverence flows from our admiration and respect for Deity."
Reverent behavior is a quality that is most children learn from parents and leaders through example and training. Harshness in our approach begets resentment, not reverence. We may be introducing first attempts at self-discipline, and as this process continues to build on itself, we grow in ability as well as understanding.
We bless our children and youth as we exemplify, teach, and encourage them through this process because self-mastery is not only the root of self-respect, it is essential in inviting the Spirit to teach, confirm, and testify.
Show proper respect for local priesthood and auxiliary leaders as well. These leaders are called of God and have been given sacred responsibilities.

On Sunday, chapels are places of worship where we renew covenants that will heal our souls. We learn doctrine and testimony. Missionaries bring their investigators. In an attitude of reverence the Spirit confirms the truths of the gospel.

We are a friendly people and we love each other, but reverence will increase if our socializing is done in the foyer and if sacrament meeting begins with the prelude music, not the opening prayer.

Encourage reverence by taking a crying child out of the chapel. and Find another room where we continue to listen to the meeting until the baby is calmed or a disruptive toddler is soothed. Reverence includes turning off our cell phones and BlackBerry devices. Texting or reading e-mails in a Church meeting is not only irreverent, it is distracting and signals a lack of respect for those around us. So we exemplify reverence by participating in the meeting, listening to the speakers, and singing the hymns of Zion together.

Our teachers in Primary, Sunday School, and the youth programs have unique opportunities to teach and exemplify respect and reverence.
  • love those in your class, especially the disruptive who may need love most
  • take the time to explain what reverence is and why it is important
  • display a picture of the Savior.
  • define behavior that is acceptable
  • be loving and consistent as you not only encourage it but expect it
  • prepare yourself to teach with the Spirit
  • problems with reverence can be defused with a well-prepared lesson in which the students participate
  • talk with parents of children who have disabilities
  • determine a reasonable expectation for their child
  • every child deserves a chance to progress
  • use the resources of the ward to help
  • if there is a reverence problem with children or youth, there is a reverence problem in the ward
  • take concerns to the ward council
  • ward leaders work together
  • increase respect and reverence on every level
Sister Lifferth quotes from one of President Packers great promises:
"While we may not see an immediate, miraculous transformation, as surely as the Lord lives, a quiet one will take place. The spiritual power in the lives of each member and in the Church will increase. The Lord will pour out his Spirit upon us more abundantly. We will be less troubled, less confused. We will find revealed answers to personal and family problems."

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