In his sacrament meeting talk, Bishop Frank Partin (another good friend to us here) focused on the ward mission plan. A key element of that plan is the (proactive) encouragement for each family to develop its own "family mission plan." Both ward and full-time missionaries are visiting the homes of members to provide tutoring on how to do this. Bishop Partin readily acknowledged that there is no cookie-cutter way of doing this. Approaches to sharing the gospel can vary as widely as do family cultures. The point, he emphasized, is that sharing the gospel in a deliberate way "must be a priority in our lives." He used D&C 4 as the foundation for most of his remarks.
President Christensen encouraged the saints to ensure their own continuing activity in the Church. Two important keys to remaining active, he said, are (1) paying a full and honest tithe, and (2) fasting with a purpose. He said he's known active members who are not full tithe payers, but he's yet to meet a full tithe-payer who is inactive. (I've known a couple of exceptions to that rule.) From the time I was baptized 52+ years ago I've been impressed by how the Church operates so effectively and with no paid clergy. In fact, especially with no paid clergy. The tithes of the members go to the support of building programs, education, temples, and all the other things so necessary for taking the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. I've also been impressed (as a bishop and stake president) to know so many good people who pay their tithing, not for the tax deduction or some other less lofty reason, but rather because they are obedient and they believe the promises that come with the commandment.
Echoes from the past: If you're troubled by much of what you see in today's news reports, click here for a transcript of a 1978 talk by Neal A. Maxwell. It was titled "The Prohibitive Costs of a Value-free Society." It's an uncanny parallel with what we're witnessing today.
Love to all. Keep those notes and emails coming in.