Everyone loves windfalls. When someone pays my rent, bails me out of debt or saves my pet from getting run over in the street, I am very grateful. Life is punctuated by grand gestures where gaps in our ability are bridged by someone more capable and able to help. These are the stories we read in the news — the rescue of a drowning child, the deliverance from the burning building, or the miraculous save in a medical emergency. They are life-changing, but they are rare and precious.
I was thinking about the grand saves that have mattered most in my own life, when it dawned on me that I was focusing on the wrong things. What do I love most about my mother? My Mom hasn’t saved me from a burning building, though she may have paid my rent. But that is not why I love my Mom. I love her because of the little things she has always done for me. When I worked in the yard, there was almost always a cold glass of water or milk and cookies waiting for me when I went inside for a break. When I was doing the dishes, she would come up behind me, bump me aside and tell me to go read a certain article while she did my dishes for me. When I finished, we would have a long talk about all the neat things I had read. Turns out that small kindnesses have changed my life as much, if not more, than the windfalls I’ve been blessed with.
If you really want to make a difference in someone’s day, try practicing the following three kindnesses.
A Kind Word – Try to have something supportive to say to everyone you meet. Give genuine compliments freely and specifically, and try never to criticize or put down a person or their work. A kind word might not only brighten someone’s day, but change a life, giving someone the insight or confidence to attempt something new or seemingly out of reach.
A Genuine Smile – I once saw a big, rough-looking Polynesian walking down the street. He looked scary. As he got closer to me he looked me squarely in the eye and his face lit up in a huge smile as he warmly greeted me. He looked positively radiant. I went home and penned this line:
“The light of the soul is released through the teeth of a bright and happy smile.”
After that interchange I found myself smiling the rest of the day.
A Thoughtful Gesture – We may not have the opportunities the Savior had to heal the sick, the lame, or the blind, but we can spread the love of God through our actions all day, every day. Open a door for someone, pick up a dropped pen, give directions to someone who looks lost, help someone carry their things. The number of things we can do to show kindness are limited only by our own imaginations.
We don’t need to save someone from a burning building or perform some heroic act to help God succor His children. The Lord did little acts of kindness everywhere He went, and we can do the same. Fortunately for us, the rewards are great, and being kind to others makes us happy in return.
This article was written by Kelly Merrill at Mormonbasics.comRead More
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Similar to Microsoft’s I’m a PC Campaign, 24 Hour Fitness has a website for the sharing of fitness and health stories:
There are stories of people losing weight, rehabilitating after a car accident, recovering from knee surgery, and beating depression. Think of a website like this for Mormons to share what the Gospel has done for their lives. (Stories about the Word of Wisdom would dovetail.)
I invite each of you, young or old, to dedicate a small notebook to this theme. Write at the top of the first page the words “What my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means to me.” Then briefly list those things that come to mind. Over time, additional thoughts will come, which you can add to your list. Soon you will have a growing booklet that will fill you with gratitude and appreciation for your membership in the Lord’s Church. (Repentance, a Blessing of Membership)
Perhaps you’ll feel comfortable sharing some of the items in your notebook publicly. If so, why not start a blog or create a YouTube video? Make it real. Be yourself.
I’m not sure why 24 Hour Fitness chose “12 million”, but, coincidentally, that’s roughly the number of Mormons in the world.Read More
Our own Heather Newell has an article in Mormon Times about usage of the word “Mormon”. As the head moderator at LDS.net, she occasionally receives emails from Church members concerned with our usage of words that persons of other faith use:
I receive emails expressing concern about using the word Mormon, especially using the term Mormon Church. As members of the church, we all know who we are, what we believe, and that this is Jesus Christ’s Church. Many of us understand the style guide set forth by the church to the media. But not everyone else does.
Even though I’m an active, daily participant in online conversation about the church, in the past I too have struggled with embracing the word Mormon. I want to share the insights I have gathered which have helped me respectfully say, “I am a Mormon.”
Read more: We Are Mormon at MormonTimes.comRead More
Last week we attended the FAIR Conference. Among my favorite talks were the conference opener by Mike Ash and the conference closer by Dan Peterson.
Mike Ash presented concepts from his new book, Shaken Faith Syndrome. He explained the idea of “inoculation” — introducing members to doctrinal or historical points that might be unsettling if received from unfaithful sources which intend to shock or confuse. For example, we might better inoculate Church members by linking to the relevant FAIR Wiki article on Joseph Smith and polygamy when discussing Joseph Smith or polygamy.
Dan Peterson spoke of softening and broadening the field of apologetics. Apologetics is meant to provide plausibility for faith, not prove anything. We need not debate. If our faith is rational, or based in things we consider plausible, the Spirit can testify of truths. Apologetics can help provide this plausibility, for those who want it, by clearing the thorns so the seeds of faith can grow.
Dan’s vision for broadened apologetics is making the Gospel more “attractive” (or more remarkable) by sharing our experiences, telling our stories, and encouraging others to experiment for themselves. This kind of sharing of beliefs is central to the mission of the More Good Foundation and seems to be what Elder Ballard has asked for.
Earlier this year, Dave Keller suggested that Church members who participate on the Internet should engage in a “vigorous self study program” so they’re prepared to discuss any issue that might arise online. Here I see an interesting convergence: Dan and Dave seem to be implying, respectively, that the apologist and the online member missionary ought to be more like each other.
See also: Dan Peterson on Humble Apologetics at MormonTimes.com.Read More
Today Elder Ballard spoke at the BYU-Hawaii graduation and urged graduates to use the Internet to share the Gospel. He mentioned blogging, podcasts, Facebook, video-sharing sites, and “people using … search engines to hunt for topics about the Church.” Here are selected portions:
The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate.
Conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches.
The challenge is that there are too many people participating in conversation about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually. We cannot answer every question, satisfy every inquiry, and respond to every inaccuracy that exists. …some who seek answers want them to come directly from a member of the Church, like each one of you.
May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at LDS.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports.
Others have recorded and posted their testimonies of the Restoration, the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and other gospel subjects on popular video-sharing sites. You, too, can tell your story to nonmembers in this way.
Use stories and words that they will understand.
Elder Ballard also cited the Indy Books blog, where Bookslinger chronicles his daily missionary work.
I think this will prove to be a landmark talk.
Full transcript: Using New Media to Support the Work of the Church
Press release: Apostle Urges Students to Use New Media
(Thanks to several people who sent me this.)Read More