Third Hour

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  1. afterI have it on good authority that my brother was named after one of the Beatles. My great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Jane Standley My name, Jane, on the other hand, comes from my great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Jane. I grew up hearing stories about Sarah Jane from my mom. How she was born in a log cabin and how she cooked for a railroad gang in Idaho and Montana. Her mother, Sarah Ann, had crossed the plains in the Martin Handcart Company and had lost her toes to frostbite. Sarah Jane saw electric lights for the first time on her wedding day in April 1883. She had 11 kids, all in her home. She was friendly and always doing laundry. My grandmother, Patricia My middle name is Patrica. I knew my grandmother, Patricia. She was bright and giggly. She traveled to Africa after graduating from nursing school. Her birthday was on July 3 and, as a kid, she thought the Independence-day fireworks were for her. She wouldn't let my dad buy a rock-and-roll record until he... View the full article
  2. Two Latter-day Saint couples hang out for the evening. The Netflix movie ends, we're breaking out the ice cream and brownies. And then the brethren start telling mission stories while we sisters compare pregnancies. If you are not to this stage of life yet, I warn you, it will come. Of course, the sisters have great mission adventures, too, but maternity stories tend to trump those big time. Here are some things most pregnancies have in common with the classic mission experience: 1. Tell and retell Over and over these tales never get old. We love to one-up each other with their uniqueness and the many surprises we experienced. OK, so a missionary in Norway slid off an icy front porch into the coal cellar of a house he was tracting. But a friend of my mom's had a baby in a taxi, a baby on the hospital lawn, and a baby in the hospital elevator. 2. We need support Neither missionaries nor expectant moms can make it through without help. Encouragement is... View the full article
  3. I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty; I've got whose-its and whats-its galore.... But the thing I've never had a lot of? Confidence — especially when it comes to my appearance. Okay, that was the cheesiest intro to an article I've ever written. Don't judge me. I know I've talked about it before, but self-esteem has been a big enough struggle in my life that I think it deserves more than a single article or two. Growing up, I was never satisfied with my appearance, partially because being skinny has never come naturally to me — and if I wasn't skinny, was I even worth anything? The memory of stepping on a scale in the fifth grade is forever burned in my memory. I got sick at school, so the school nurse did a quick checkup on me that involved weighing me. When my sister came to pick me up, the nurse loudly informed her that I was overweight. She made it, and me by extension, sound so repulsive that as soon as... View the full article
  4. Dear Reader, I have a confession: I wear pants to church. Sorry, I should clarify why this is a confession: I'm a woman and I wear pants to church. If we're just talking about style choices, I also like horizontal stripes, dangling earrings, and natural, wavy, hair. But this particular style choice is much more important than that. Sure, you may be thinking what you wear to church is not important. We go to church to renew covenants. I agree! However, if what we wear is so insignificant, why does the sight of women wearing pants cause such a fuss in the first place? Believe me, it does. In December of 2012, some Latter-day Saints staged "Wear Pants to Church Day". One participant, Jamie Baydd, remarked in this article that it was designed to tell church members that "If you think you're different...or if you feel there isn't a place for you here, there is." Saints within and beyond the continental U.S. and Europe participated to raise cultural awareness. Women and men wore pants... View the full article
  5. Today is Tuesday and I have already taken my garbage out twice this week. In the United States, the average person generates approximately 4.6 pounds of trash daily. So it's not just me. How can we create less waste? By replacing our current over-consumption habits with sustainable practices, we can make a lasting impact for good. Heavenly Father instructs his children to care for the earth that he has given us. In Doctrine and Covenants 104:13-14 we read, "For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures." Here is a list of 7 things you can start doing today to create less waste and become a better steward of the earth. 1. Bring your own to-go box and utensil kit Humans produce more than 14 million US tons of plastic foam yearly. It might feel odd at first, but bring your own to-go container (a Tupperware or jar) to restaurants helps to make an immediate impact.... View the full article
  6. Parley P. Pratt is sometimes called "the Apostle Paul of Mormonism." Oliver Cowdery baptized Parley in September 1830 and by 1835 Parley had been ordained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. But our story takes place not long after Parley's baptism, around October 1830. The story starts with a revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith, which is now known as Doctrine and Covenants Section 32. The call to serve The revelation reads as follows: And now concerning my servant Parley P. Pratt, behold, I say unto him that as I live I will that he shall declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart. And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites. And Ziba Peterson also shall go with them; and I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them. And they shall give heed to that which is written, and pretend to no... View the full article
  7. Delving into the Church’s history on the topic of birth control can get sticky. With just a quick internet search, it is clear that the issue leaves room for varying opinions among church members. So is using birth control a sin? Let’s talk. Be fruitful and multiply Adam and Eve Teaching Their Children by Dale Parsons As Latter-day Saints, we believe that the family is central to God’s plan, so naturally, having children to raise in righteousness has been encouraged throughout church history by apostles and prophets. In Genesis 1:28, we read that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were commanded to “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Members of the Church today have been commanded to do the same. Brigham Young teaches that “there are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?— to prepare tabernacles for them… it is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can." Elder Christofferson teaches that “God ordained that men... View the full article
  8. Remember a while back when those cute little free community library boxes started springing up all over the place? Those are cool. They're a novel idea (see what I did there?), and have become fairly popular. There's one just a block south of where I live. But the "little free pantry" initiative is some next level stuff. Instead of lending books to the community for free, these pantries offer free food to those in need. On many of the posts you'll read a heartwarming message: "Take what you need. Give when you can." And that's as simple as it needs to be. According to, Jessica McClard of Fayetteville, Arkansas, is behind the grassroots effort. And sure enough, she was inspired by the community library boxes project. You can learn more about the initiative on But in the meantime, take a look at some of the pantries people have been putting together and posting online under the hashtag #littlefreepantry. 1. In Mableton, Georgia 2. In Tacoma, Washington 3. In Rogers, Arkansas 4.... View the full article
  9. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unveiling abuse prevention training for all leaders of children and youth. Every adult working with children must complete the 30-minute training by September 22, 2019, and again every three years. The course is available online and deals with both prevention and responding to abuse. The audiovisual training is available at and consists of an illustrated slideshow that includes scenarios that require responses. The Church consulted with child protection groups, therapists and other professionals to create the training. Church policy now requires two adults to be present at all times with children and youth. The training course directs North American bishops and stake presidents to contact the Church’s abuse helpline about every situation in which a person may have been abused or neglected. The course instructs leaders of children and youth to contact legal authorities as well as the bishops of their congregations. The training is recorded and associated with the membership numbers of leaders. The requirement applies to every adult who serves in youth Sunday School and seminary... View the full article
  10. With such energetic, loving, well-intentioned characters, it's hard not to see parallels between Parks and Rec and every ward you've ever been in. Through crafts, close friendships, a love of nature, strong couples, and hard work, the hallmarks of Parks and Recreation share a lot of similarities with life as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1. When you get a calling you feel completely unqualified for but it goes ok: NBC The Lord doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called...especially the shoeshinists. 2. When the Young Women get an opportunity to play volleyball with the Young Men: NBC 3. When you go on Trek and realize you were definitely not meant to live in the 1850's: NBC 4. When you want your first date outfit to be equal parts modest and irresistible: NBC 5. The college couples with the cheapest, cheesiest (and most adorable) love stories: NBC 6. When your Relief Society is truly all it's cracked up to be: NBC 7. When you're three months from returning home from your mission and in complete denial: NBC Put... View the full article
  11. On August 15, 1840, Joseph Smith revealed a doctrine that is so fundamental to our beliefs that we hardly think twice about it — but to the brand-new Saints, it was life-changing: baptisms for the dead. The Church's website explains: "On August 15, 1840, shortly after the Saints moved to the future site of Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith preached a sermon at the funeral of Church member Seymour Brunson. Noticing a woman in attendance who had lost her son before he could be baptized, Joseph revealed that the Saints 'could now act for their friends who had departed this life' by being baptized in their behalf. He cited the ancient Apostle Paul’s teachings regarding baptism for the dead and encouraged the Saints to rejoice 'that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God.'" The Saints were, of course, elated. While so many of us have had this knowledge our whole lives or since we were introduced to the Church,... View the full article
  12. I got an unexpected couple of text messages from my mother today. She sent me a story about President Spencer W. Kimball you've probably never heard of, from a book you've probably never heard of. The book is A Heritage of Faith: A History of the Wards of the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. According to my mother, this book was only sold to members of that particular stake (but lucky for everyone else, I just found it in PDF form online). It covers the history of the stake from 1976 through 2014 and contains some wonderful stories relevant to our family (my grandmother belongs to this stake, hence the original access to the book). And, as it so happened, this was the stake President Spencer W. Kimball belonged to (yes, even the prophet has a home ward, stake, bishop, etc.). But enough with the details! Let's get to the story. Here's what the book says about a 1982 visit from President Kimball... View the full article
  13. PSA, y'all: Being offended is a choice — but, contrary to what some people seem to believe, that doesn't mean we can say whatever mean thing we want, then accuse other people of being too sensitive. Elder David A. Bednar gave a fabulous talk in October 2006 called "And Nothing Shall Offend Them." In it, he explains that we have free agency and thus, no one can force us to be offended. If someone does something offensive, we certainly choose what to do with the hurt we feel. (For example, Elder Bednar talks about some people who hadn't attended church for years because they were offended by something someone at church had said — so essentially, they were letting someone else's actions control their lives rather than choosing to control their own lives.) But here's the rub: never getting your feelings hurt is really hard, and I honestly don't think Elder Bednar meant to say that if we are upset by someone else's actions or words, we're an out-of-line snowflake. I think what he... View the full article
  14. "We truly are in a battle. The war is real." These were some of Elder Craig C. Christensen's opening lines as he addressed hundreds of Latter-day Saints at the most recent, annual FairMormon conference held in Provo, Utah. Indeed, one need only look online to discover the seemingly numberless company of voices which seek to tear down The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its members. Considering Satan's incessant attacks against the Church, Elder Christensen offered both encouragement and further suggestions as to how we can stand firm in our faith and diminish his efforts. "Fiery Darts of the Adversary" The Church and its leaders are well aware of the battlefield which exists online, Christensen explained. This is why they work closely with nonauthoritative entities such as FairMormon, Book of Mormon Central, and the More Good Foundation, in an effort to combat the "fiery darts" coming towards us. Websites such as Fair exist not only as apologetics geared towards nonmembers but as a place where faithful members can go when they have sincere... View the full article
  15. Taylor Schumann was shot in the New River Community College shooting in Virginia on April 12th, 2013. In an article for Christianity Today, Schumann states that her relationship with the phrase "thoughts and prayers" is complicated. After her experience, she believes in action after these tragedies. However, she also acknowledges the power of prayer. Often, it is all the average person can do. In this article, she lists specific ways to pray as "one part of our response to gun violence". In the article, Schumann instructs us to pray for all wounds. Bullet wounds affect the mind too, and healing is slow. We should ask the Lord for successful rehabilitation and scientific developments in medicine. Additionally, she instructs us to pray that the shooter's information will not spread and re-traumatize survivors. Related on Third Hour: 25 Ways to Pray To a survivor, the years after a shooting pose many obstacles. These include court cases, physical and emotional setbacks, and financial burdens. Schumann asks us to pray for the survivors to access financial,... View the full article
  16. You may be a father planning a simple and spiritual Family Home Evening for toddlers. You may be an FHE co-chair in a Young Single Adult ward, trying to find the perfect activity to boost attendance and promote ward friendships. You may be young, married and cultivating a healthy, happy relationship. Take this quiz to find out what activities best suit your family, your home, and your evening! View the full article
  17. Right now in Come Follow Me, we are reading Romans, a Pauline epistle (formal letter) to the Christians in Rome. Paul had received revelations while he was in Greece, Asia, and Corinth that he would preach in Rome but would first need to go to Jerusalem. Paul could sense that the end of his mission was near. He appealed to Caesar after facing certain death in Jerusalem. He was imprisoned in Caesarea in Israel and then put under house arrest in Rome. Christian persecution in Rome During his travels, Paul had met Aquila and Priscilla who were dedicated to the faith but who had been expelled from Rome. They weren't expelled because they were Christians, but because they were Jews. Although Jews had been expelled twice before for proselyting to the pagan Romans, this time it was because they were causing unrest, probably rebelling against the growing sect that followed Jesus. They were expelled by Claudius Caesar, one of Rome's wisest leaders to that point. After Claudius, however, Nero became emperor. Nero... View the full article
  18. "I EXORCISE THEE, UNCLEAN SPIRIT, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THAT THOU GOEST OUT AND DEPART FROM THIS SERVANT OF GOD..." It's not something you'd normally expect at a baptism, but prayers of exorcism were just one of many changes that the ordinance of baptism underwent throughout the Great Apostasy. This article explores, somewhat chronologically, these changes. You're probably familiar with some (infant baptism, baptism by sprinkling), but there's much more to the story of how baptism has evolved over the centuries. James E. Talmage, in his book The Great Apostasy sheds some light on the changes we'll look at in this article. Baptisms to occur twice a year, after a long course of preparation Baptisms throughout the New Testament are performed quite regularly. It was a fairly simple ordinance aimed at the remission of sin. It also served as symbolic of death and a new birth, or resurrection, in Christ. They were always performed by immersion, by someone holding authority to... View the full article
  19. It's a fairly common question for non-Latter-day Saints first learning about the apostasy of the early church. And it's a valid one. Surely, one of the purposes of Christ's ministry was to establish His church on the earth. But we Latter-day Saints believe that after Christ's death and the martyrdom of the apostles, that church shattered. Was it all for nothing, then? Doesn't it just make more sense for Jesus to enter stage right as the unconquerable hero? He arrives, upstages Satan, establishes His church and voila! everything is just butterflies and rainbows after that, right? Well, consider the following. Christ never was quite what people expected The Savior has always had a way of doing (or being) the unexpected. The Jews expected a military leader who would literally save them from Roman rule. But Christ was a humble carpenter determined to provide an escape from sin. One might assume that in order to be truly free, one must not be restricted by a sense of obedience towards anything or anyone. But Christ... View the full article
  20. Mormons no more. It’s been almost a year since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put out an official statement "regarding the name of the Church." This was followed by a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson in general conference which made waves in and outside the Church. He called for a renewed emphasis in correctly using the full name of the Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are a few key quotes from his address: ...the name of the Church is not negotiable. When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be and even precedes His declaration with, “Thus shall my church be called,” He is serious. And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He is offended... ...To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement... ...When we omit His name from His Church,... View the full article
  21. If you were to take a quiz with 15 questions about other major U.S. religions, how many do you think you'd get right? I got 10. Okay, so obviously that's not great — but sadly, I fared a little better than other Church members. On average, we scored less than 7 out of 15. To say that the majority of us know little about other religions is, unfortunately, totally accurate. But how can we fix it? And honestly, does it even matter if we don't know things about religions other than our own? Yes, it matters — and it can be fixed. Pretty easily, in fact. Pew Research Quiz Results Pew Research Religious Knowledge Results Last month, Pew Research published an article entitled "What Americans Know About Religion" that included results from a religious knowledge quiz/survey conducted in February. The quiz had over 10,000 participants, among whom were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The results concluded: "On average, Jews, atheists, agnostics, and evangelical Protestants score highest on the new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming... View the full article
  22. OK to be perfectly clear, I do not mean these photo edits to be disrespectful AT ALL. I absolutely love and sustain each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency. That said... In recent weeks you've probably seen your friends using a popular (and slightly controversial) new app called FaceApp. People have been using the app to digitally age pictures of themselves, and the results are usually extraordinarily realistic. And then I started wondering ... what might our beloved church leaders look like with a few years added onto their portraits? What you are about to see is the result of that curiosity. And I've just gotta say, each of them looks like the loving grandpa everyone wants to have. Take a gander: The First Presidency President Russell M. Nelson President Dallin H. Oaks Full transparency: Because President Oaks' portrait portrays him as particularly young, I ran it through the generator twice in order to get a significantly older look. President Henry B. Eyring The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles President... View the full article
  23. I get it. If your scripture study is anything like mine, there's a good chance you spend little to no time checking out the seemingly countless number of footnotes found within each chapter of the standard works. But, believe it or not, they were created for an inspired purpose. In fact, dozens of brilliant Latter-day Saints—including Bruce R. McConkie, Thomas S. Monson, and Boyd K. Packer spent thousands of hours compiling them. Elder Boyd K. Packer commented that the completion of the footnotes, cross-references, etc., was further fulfillment of the prophecy made in the Old Testament that the stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Ephraim (the Book of Mormon) would become one. They help link scriptures together and provide important clarifications and insights on many scriptures. Also, Elder Packer emphasized that each of these books tied together represent a significant database of the Savior's life and teachings. "These references constitute the most comprehensive compilation of scripture information on the mission and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that has ever... View the full article
  24. I'll never forget a conversation I had with one of my friends right before I got married: "Seriously, you guys haven't had sex yet?" she asked. "No, we're waiting until we're married," I told her. "But like, how far have you gotten?" "We just kiss." "No, but like, what base have you gotten to?" Growing up on the East Coast, most of my friends weren't members of the Church — so when I told them I was going to wait until marriage to have sex, they were shocked. This particular friend's questions weren't ill-intentioned and, since she and I had always been so close, she was just curious — and truthfully, it made me laugh. It was so hard for her to understand that my fiancé and I wanted to wait until marriage to have sex, let alone any kind of sexual relationship outside of kissing. While this friend was supportive and loving regarding my decision, most people weren't so understanding. I vividly remember being called a prude, being labeled as uptight, and hearing that I needed... View the full article
  25. I've had a painting depicting Nephi in my room since I was a wee lad. The reason? Nephi was a boss. He conquered fear, doubt, and even Lamanitish armies through his faith. The painting that I have represents how I feel about Nephi; he was a mighty leader as to things temporal and spiritual. This means he was ripped six foot six inches and just over 230 pounds right? It wasn't until recently that I begin to consider that given his circumstances, Nephi was probably not exactly how the painting in question portrays him. Such a realization spurred on questions about other (if not all) classic church art paintings. How was I supposed to feel? I wondered if my strong feelings toward characters such as Nephi, Joseph Smith, or even the Savior were affected by the perception I had developed over years of looking at and admiring certain works of art. A Few Problems Perfect accuracy is not something that Latter-day Saint artwork is known for. Let's look at just one example. This is... View the full article