Monthly Archives: February 2013

Which Presidents’ Day?

February 16, 2013

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s of course!

We used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and Washington’s on February 22. In my childhood, way long ago, decorations were in every home and elementary schoolroom. The “5-and-10 cent” stores, affectionately called the “5 and 10”, had a nice variety of knickknacks and flags and pictures. Silhouettes were popular. The holiday was important to Americans. 

There was no question then that Washington and Lincoln were our greatest presidents. I knew their faces well from my childhood, but until recently I never knew about the covenants they made with God.

I learned this from Timothy Ballard, who teaches that both of these men understood that America was a Promised Land.  Both understood the covenants made between God and ancient Israel.  Both made covenants with God.

Abraham Lincoln:  You can read Tim Ballard’s fascinating article, “Joseph Smith, Abraham Lincoln, and the Call for Repentance” in Meridian Magazine.  You will learn of the religious struggle Lincoln had and the covenant he made that led to the call for emancipation.  It’s an inspiring and amazing article!

George Washington: You can purchase the video of Tim Ballard’s presentation “The Covenant” about Washington’s miraculous experiences and his walk with God.  The presentation was given at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Love event.  I wasn’t there, but I love, love, love this video. 

Order the video this week:  Tim’s publisher has agreed to give us a special price of $10 for the video (regular price $17.76) just for the coming week. I am not making any money on this and neither is the publisher; we just want to make this year a special celebration for two former Presidents whose stories need to be told. 

We will do this special “group buy” offer through PayPal.  Just send me an email at joyce@ldshea.org by Saturday, Feb 23, at noon.   Tell me how many copies you want and I will send you a bill which you can pay on your credit card.  A PayPal account is not necessary.  Postage will be $3.95 (unless you want more than two copies), and there is tax if you live in Utah.  I will do the work — I’ll go into Salt Lake on Monday the 24th to pick the videos up, and I’ll have them in the mail in padded envelopes that day or the next.  Obviously you’ll have to celebrate Washington’s birthday a bit late, but I promise it will be worth it.  (I have two copies of the video, one for myself and one that I am passing around the neighborhood.  I’m also having a family party on Feb 22, projecting the video on the wall, and serving cherry cake.)

Tim Ballard has researched and written two wonderful books, one about Washington and the newest one about Lincoln.  If this group buy is successful, I will ask if we can do one for the books in March or April.

Remember, the Lincoln article is free, and the Washington video is only $10 until noon on Saturday.  Send your order and address by Saturday at noon to joyce@ldshea.org.  (I’ll buy envelopes Saturday afternoon and get them addressed.)

Was the founding of the United States of America a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?  Did George Washington defeat the greatest military power of his day by making a covenant with God? Was the Civil War a holy war?

Timothy Ballard has brought together a narrative of America that has never been told before. He has searched the depth and breadth of American history, revealing for sure about America what some Americans already knew, and many hoped to be true…. that God is the author of this nation.

Have a wonderful, extended Presidents’ Day,

Joyce

Videos that Make Me Smile

February 9, 2013

VIDEOS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

If you have read our previous article you know that BYUI is the Church university in which innovative learning methods have been developed and implemented. This began when Elder Bednar was the President there and continues today.  It would seem that the new church-wide program of active learning that has been given to 12-18 year old youth this year is part of the same movement in the Church.  Don’t we want to incorporate these principles into the teaching in our homes?

BYUI’s teaching method is called the “Learning Model.”  The off-campus, Institute-managed college program is called “Pathway.” There are also interactive on-line courses. Following is one of many short videos on the Learning Model. It doesn’t give any details, but it shows the spirit of the program and how it affects the students. There are many more like it on the BYUI website.

VIdeo #1: BYU-Idaho: The Learning Model 1:55

I recently came across some video snippets from a roundtable discussion entitled “A Look Into the Future.” I was ecstatic! The moderator of the panel is University President Kim Clark. The lady sitting next to him is Betty and I love her! The man to his left looks a lot like President Eyring, for a good reason. His name is Henry, and he co-authored the book The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out with Clayton Christensen, about whom I have written before.

Here are two video clipss from the roundtable:

Video #2: BYU-Idaho: Online Learning 11:45

When I heard Brother Eyring’s comment “they come up through the high schools,” I thought, “Not all of them!  We can send them students who haven’t sat in rows of desks.”  It seemed we were one step closer to connecting with the Lord’s program.  I couldn’t stop smiling!  Maybe we can even encourage our teens to upgrade their use of social media toward, as President Clark put it, “talking about important things in inspired ways.” Certainly we can incorporate “teach each other” methods into our homeschool programs. 

In the next video from the roundtable you’ll see why I love Betty.

Video #3: BYU-Idaho: Pathway Program 5:46

Retention?  Can you see a stronger church emerging?  Do you feel, as I do, that if our youth really catch the vision of active learning through the Holy Ghost, they not be willing to tolerate acted-upon classrooms. Will BYUI be ready with alternatives?  Please hurry, Betty!  She left me ginning from ear to ear, and I’m still smiling.

And finally, lest anyone fear there is too much Harvard in this work, here is a clip from a press conference a few years ago.

Video #4: Henry B. Eyring: “Forget Harvard and Stanford. We’re in another kind of thing here.” 5:25

How inspired are our leaders! How exciting is the Lord’s work in our day! I may never stop smiling!

more videos on BYUI YouTube page

Learning in the Lord’s Way: At the Start of a New Year

February 9, 2013

LEARNING IN THE LORD’S WAY:  At the Start of a New Year . . .

A new year has begun. The number itself – 2013 – feels unlucky. No surprise in a superstitious culture that builds hotels without 13th floors (a feat magically accomplished by numbering the floor above the 12th as 14 and pretending it is so).

In the Kingdom of God, 2013 is already a good year. It is the Year of the Youth. For a decade or more we have been watching our youth falling away in droves – not just in our church but in all churches. We were warned years ago that what we were then doing in our homes would not be sufficient. We tried, and some tried very hard, but the enemy got above us. This is the year things change as our youth “become converted to the gospel through learning and teaching in the Savior’s way.” This is the year they learn to exercise faith and do the hard mental work of being hungry, active, self-directed learners. This is the year the gospel moves from their heads to their hearts. This is the year they become mission oriented and step forward as an army of righteousness.

Of course these changes will require good training in the wards and stakes as well as teachers who are willing to change old thinking and old methods for new, inspired approaches. And of course there will be wonderful successes in some places and less success in others. Homeschoolers have an opportunity and a responsibility here. We have already experimented with force and freedom methods of learning. We already know how to do hard things, be self-directed, think outside the box, take risks, fail and try again; and we already know the pure joy of being in the presence of a child when the light of new learning fills his mind.

If you have a calling to work in the youth program, bless you! If not, remember in your prayers the of adults who have only known “acted upon” methods and now have to change their thinking.  Those of us who are blessed to attend Sunday School and Relief Society or Priesthood meetings can support the teachers as they learn to become facilitators. We do this by studying the lesson ahead, pondering the questions, bringing our manuals to class, and being prepared to help the Holy Ghost be the teacher.

The new program will invite positive changes in our church and family cultures. Are we willing to make those changes, whatever they may turn out to be? Will the adults be able to keep up with the youth? As homeschoolers, we know what joy awaits as every home becomes a school.

The History

Here is a very brief, and probably inaccurate, peek at recent history from my perspective:

In 1997 Elder Bednar, whose educational and professional background was in organizational communication and behavior, became the President of Rick’s College. In 2000 the college became BYUI. New buildings and a temple have been built, the student population has greatly increased, and a new Learning Model has been introduced.

In 2004 President Bednar said, “It should be obvious to all of us that something spiritually significant is taking place in Rexburg, Idaho.”  He also spoke of BYUI as a “Disciple Preparation Center.” Then he said, “Ultimately, the best Disciple Preparation Center is located within the walls of our own homes.” That concept made me feel that homeschoolers should connect our homeschooling efforts with BYUI in some way, that we should steer our own course toward their light. We couldn’t yet see that light; we just knew it was there.

Then last Christmas and again this Christmas, Elder Bednar published his wonderful books, Increase in Learning and Act In Doctrine. and the light became more visible to the whole church.

BYUI has also developed a program called Pathway in which students not on campus can attend two years of college at home, through their local Institute. A missionary couple is called to direct the program and the students meet together once a week. Pathway is now available in over 75 locations around the world. My daughter is in the only “Over Thirty” group in Utah, and she loves it.

In 2003 the Church held the first worldwide Leardership Training. In 2007 President Packer and Elder Holland presented the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Teaching andLearning. The video doesn’t seem to be on the church website anymore, but the text was published in the June 2007 Ensign as “Teaching and Learning in the Church.”

In 2004 changes were made in the General Sunday School. The Teacher Development position, which was disconnected and ineffective (I know; I once held that calling) was eliminated and the Sunday School Presidencies were given the responsibility of teacher training — and they’ve done a wonderful job.  In my stake the Sunday School Presidency is strong and effective and things are happening.

In 2004 the Missionary Department presented Preach My Gospel, a book and a program that revolutionized the mission field and probably made the lowering of the missionary age requirement possible.

A few years ago changes were made in how Seminary is taught.

Watching all these changes has been exciting, even though we see just the small pictures and have no real idea of the back-stories or what our Apostles do with the other 99% of their time.  And now we are making a giant move forward with the new youth program, “Come, Follow Me.” How blessed we are to be members of this church. Or, as an Institute teacher put it, what a Majestic God we have!

One Final Thought

I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of days ago and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to work on this article. As I typed “Come, Follow Me” something happened — my attention was drawn to the comma. The comma matters! A comma is a separator, a signal to pause. “Come Follow Me” without the comma is a simple command that can easily be said harshly or without feeling. If we respect the comma we must pause after “Come.” That forces us to say the title slowly and gently. “Come, . . . . Follow Me.” We hear the Savior’s voice!  It is an invitation.  We are commanded, but He will not force.  Lord, How is it that thou canst weep?  I gave unto them agency. All I want is that they love one another and choose me.  (see Moses 7:29,32-3)

His invitation is to our youth. They are His. Our job is to love and teach each other in His way in our callings and in our families. A little comma, the size of a mustard seed, perfectly explains how His Way feels.