Friday, March 18, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 9

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 9: A Call to Action

Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, quoted Edmond Burke when he said, ““All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [or women] do nothing.”

The family proclamation is a blatant call to action.  We are encouraged to fight this fight in any way we feel prompted by the spirit.  Apostles have recently encouraged us to get involved in social media, to create blogs, to write letters to our political leaders, to volunteer on committees, to run for office, among a host of other options to choose from.  In this war for the Family, they do not expect us to do everything, but they do expect us to be doing something.  Will you be a Lion or a Lamb?

In closing, allow me to read from the chorus of one of our greatest Battle Hymns…
“Fear not, though the enemy deride
Courage, for the Lord is on our side
We will heed not what the wicked may say
But the Lord, alone we will obey.”

in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 8

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 8: We are to be Warriors in this Battle

There are countless talks about our role as warriors in this battle.  Durrel Woolsey of the seventy gave a talk titled “A Strategy for War” wherein he said, “Some of you may say, “I don’t have the time.” Then he said very seriously, “Brothers and Sisters, you simply cannot afford not to take the time.”   

The timing of my talk today is no coincidence.  I read in the church news yesterday that this very Sunday, across Utah, as has been done in other election years, Bishops are reading a letter over the pulpit from the first presidency encouraging the saints to get active and participate in the political process.   This particular first presidency letter is dated Feb 17 and one paragraph says…

“We are concerned that citizen participation rates in Utah are among the lowest in the nation, and we urge greater involvement by members of the church in the 2016 election cycle.”  Bishops and Stake Leaders have been asked to not plan any church related meetings or activities on the day that Utah will hold its party caucus meetings.  Obviously the church isn’t directing the saints on which party to support, only that they should get involved and make their voice heard. 

What I find interesting in their letter is that they point out that Utah currently has some of the lowest political participation in the United States.  Having lived there I can assure you that this hasn’t always been the case.  Utah has been known historically for its high voter turnout and impressive citizen involvement.  Why is participation diminishing?  I have many good and faithful friends that are getting tired in this battle.  Even though they know who wins in the end, they are sensing that the battle is not going well.  Consequently they are swinging the sword of truth less and less.  Perhaps they are sitting back, and waiting for the Lord to come and fix things.

The brethren have been very clear about whether we should just sit around and wait for the Lord to fix all our problems, or wait to be commanded in all things what we should do.  They recently released a series of talks about Getting Politically Informed and Involved.   To read them simply go to and search for the words informed and involved.  The talk answers questions such as, How to Stay Informed? Why Should I Care? And most importantly, What Can I Do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 7

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 7: Defenders of the Family Proclamation

As I mentioned earlier, the tools of this war are words and these days, not a general conference goes by without at least one talk covering our duties and responsibilities as warriors in this battle.  Back in 2012, Jeffrey R. Holland gave an incredible talk entitled “Israel Israel God is calling” where he referenced how in every previous dispensation, “when things got too sinful, or there was too much secularization in society, or life with the Gentiles was destroying the moral code and commandments God had given, the children of the covenant would be sent fleeing into the wilderness to re-establish Zion and start all over.”

He mentioned Abraham fleeing Babylon to seek Canaan.  Moses bringing Isreal out of Egypt.  Lehi leaving the wicked Jerusalem, and only a few years later, Nephi having to flee with the righteous members of his family, separating themselves from those who wouldn’t hearken to the counsel of God.  The brother of Jared fleeing Babylon.  He made special mention of the pilgrims who fled the spiritual tyranny of Europe and colonized early America in order to worship as they wished.  Then the early saints were hounded through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and finally Illinois until they were eventually forced to flee the borders of the United States into the mountains of Utah.  When the United States territory eventually caught up with them there, some fled again settling communities outside US borders which includes the unique and special history of Cardston, founded because of a government’s attack on the family.

Elder Holland pointed out that “for more than 4,000 years of covenantal history, this has been the pattern of the righteous: Flee and seek. Run and settle. Escape Babylon. Build Zion’s protective walls.”  But he went on to declare that we will run no longer.  We are done running.  Today, we will stay and fight. In that talk he encourages us to “Never Check Our Religion at the Door” and later he teaches how we are to “Use Gospel Values to Benefit our Communities and Countries.”

In Last April’s conference, Sister Oscarson gave a talk titled, Defenders of the Family Proclamation.  In it she concludes, “Let us help build the kingdom of God by standing up boldly and being defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home. The Lord needs us to be brave, steadfast, and immovable warriors who will defend His plan and teach the upcoming generations His truths.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 6

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 6: The Family Proclamation Continued

But have you read the proclamation lately?  This document is over 20 years old and it is more relevant today than it has ever been.  Have you ever stopped to wonder what this document really is?  Most people would say it is simply an explanation of our beliefs about the importance of the family.  But I reread the whole thing this week and I now believe it is much more than that.  

Why did they call it a Proclamation to the World?  I looked up the definition… a proclamation is a public and official announcement dealing with a matter of great importance.  Synonyms include announcement, declaration and notification.  So what are we declaring to the world, who are we notifying?  Brothers and Sisters this document is simultaneously a declaration of war and a call to arms for those willing to fight in it.  It is filled with bold and strong language that many people today are finding more and more offensive.  Each powerful sentence drops a bomb on the heresy of Babylon.  In fact, people are now leaving the church over these “controversial” doctrines.

With this declaration, our generals have drawn a very clear line in the sand and then have asked, like Joshua of old, Who will stand on the Lord’s side?  The true intent of this proclamation is summarized in its last two sentences which I have felt prompted to focus on this morning.  Please let me read them to you…

WE WARN (notice that those 2 words are purposely written in ALL CAPS I would argue that that was intentional and strategic).  WE WARN that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.  WE CALL UPON (again those 3 words are written in ALL CAPS, they are calling upon someone, I would argue that they are calling upon you and I).  WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. They don’t hide the fact that this is a very political document. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 5

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 5: The Family Proclamation:

So by now you are probably wondering, what does all this have to do with the Family Proclamation? 

Brothers and Sisters we are at war.  There is currently a very real spiritual and political war being waged against the family.  The tools of this war are words.  We have all lived long enough to see the adversary successfully take the definition of marriage and turn it completely upside down. 

Our children are being targeted and indoctrinated with the philosophies of men and anyone who speaks in opposition are quickly and venomously labeled as bigoted, homophobic or any number of other words used by today’s clever media to discredit truth.  There are court cases going on right now where same-gender couples are fighting for, not just equal rights to adopt, but for preferential treatment similar to affirmative action, because their adoption requests have been overlooked for so long.  A couple of years ago, the country of France banned the words Mother and Father from all future legal documents, including birth certificates, because those words are now considered offensive.  This past September, the Province of Ontario voted to do the same thing stating, and I quote “the words mother and father are no longer a proper reflection of today’s Ontario families and more appropriate terminology ought to be used.” 

Brothers and Sisters, please don’t mistake me as being partisan from the pulpit.  This has nothing to do with political parties.  When Ontario voted to ban the words Mother and Father, the vote in the legislature was unanimous.  Unbelievably it was supported by every member of every party holding a seat.  Make no mistake about it, we are at war and in some ways it is easy to believe that we are losing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 4

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 4: We should be a paradox too

Admittedly, this paradox is difficult to fully understand, but it is critical that we do, because we are commanded to be like Him.  The scriptures are full of references that we are to be peaceful, “blessed are the peacemakers,” “blessed are the meek,” we are supposed to be full of patience, humility, gentleness and charity.  We are supposed to be soft spoken, loving, kind and forgiving.

But there are also references that we are to be warriors.  We are to fight against wickedness as defenders of the gospel.  The scriptures don’t refer to wielding the rose pedals of truth, but rather we are to put on the whole Armor of God, fearlessly brandishing truth as a sword.  We are to boldly open our mouths and cry repentance with courage and a loud voice.  There is enough evidence in the scriptures for us to conclude that, like the Savior we strive to emulate, we also are to be both a Lion and a Lamb.    

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 3

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 3: The Paradox of Jesus Continued

Within hours Jesus was dead.  Offered as a sacrifice like a Lamb.  And what about the Mighty Kingdom?  What about the utter destruction of all the wicked?  Where was the prophesied wrath and vengeance?

Today, most Christians on the earth teach that Jesus is exclusively a God of love and peace and forgiveness.  Many who anticipate his second coming will be looking for the gentle Jesus. Someone who will come to them with a warm embrace and full acceptance and tolerance and they will likely expect him to be very politically correct and understanding.  They may be surprised, because when he comes this next time he will come not as the Lamb, but as the Lion.  The wicked will run away from him in terror and the whole earth will be burned in his righteous wrath as foretold.

Brothers and Sisters, like our Hymn book, Jesus is a powerful paradox.  He is both the Humble Servant and the Warrior King.  He is both the Lamb and the Lion.  At the judgment bar of God, He will be our advocate and defense attorney, but he will also be our prosecutor, our judge and our punisher.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 2

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016 by
Bill Peavoy

Part 2: The Paradox of Jesus

This confusion is nothing new.  The Old Testament is filled with warrior prophets who held the scriptures in one hand and a sword in the other.  The mighty Jehovah Himself is recorded as a powerful God that would destroy entire armies with fire from heaven and the ancient Jews fully expected their Messiah, when he finally arrived, to free them from their political bondage and lead their armies to victory against all who opposed His Mighty Kingdom.  They were expecting a King, a Warrior, a Lion.  

When Christ was finally living among them, many of them couldn’t believe he was the Messiah because he more closely personified the attributes of a Lamb.  He was gentle and meek and his gospel was one of peace and forgiveness.  Although he spent most of his days teaching His gospel of peace, there were occasional signs that he might just be the Messiah they were waiting for.  

He healed people and even raised the dead.  I’m sure not a few of his followers recognized that such power would come in handy on the battle field.  Imagine following a general who could heal you if you got wounded on the battlefield or bring you back to life if you got killed in the glorious cause.  Jesus also proved that he could feed 1000 men with a single loaf of bread.  That would be an incredible asset in a military campaign, not having to worry about defending supply lines which is a major concern in warfare.  There were even a couple of times he fashioned a whip and let loose on the wicked sinners at the temple or sharply put hypocrites in their place with strong language.

When the Roman Army eventually showed up to arrest Jesus, I’m sure Peter wasn’t the only one ready to fight alongside the Master to reclaim the glory of Israel and liberate the Jews from the oppressive Gentile government.  As Peter drew his sword to commence what I’m sure he believed would be the beginning of a glorious war they would undoubtedly win, he was surprised to be immediately commanded by Jesus to put his sword away.

 This was very confusing.  Was Christ to be the Lion of the Old Testament or the Lamb of the New Testament?  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Warriors of Peace: Part 1

Warriors of Peace
Talk given on Feb. 28, 2016
by Bill Peavoy

Part 1: The Hymn Book Paradox

It should be no secret that I love the hymns of the gospel.  Not just because I love to sing, but rather for the richness and depth of the doctrines found in our hymnal.  Our hymns have been likened to scripture and also to prayers.  It is often through song that our children first learn gospel truths.  However I find an interesting paradox within our hymnal.  Almost as though there are two competing themes.

On the one hand you have very gentle and reverent songs like, Where Can I Turn For Peace, or Nearer My God To Thee.  On the other hand you have stirring battle anthems like, We Are All Enlisted and Onward Christian Soldiers.  In one battle hymn there is reference to His terrible swift sword and the grapes of his wrath.  I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it before, but it raises an interesting question.  Are we to be courageous warriors or meek peacemakers?

I believe the paradox is that; the best way to be a meek peacemaker is to be a courageous warrior in God’s Army.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #12

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #12

President Eyring said, “The family unit is not only fundamental to society and to the Church but to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world and what then will be what we practice in families bound together forever by covenants and faithfulness. We can start now to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family.”

It is my personal goal to build strong family relationships in this life so that my family will want to spend eternity with me. In closing I would like to challenge you to pick an area that I covered and try to become even better in it.

The Proclamation to the World has a lot of valuable information in it and I feel so blessed to have this document so readily available to remind me of the important things in life. I am grateful to my Savior for His atonement that makes it possible for my family to be together forever. I am grateful for the temple and the sacred things that happen inside it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World: Post #11

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #11

10. Wholesome Recreational Activities

Some of the best memories I have as a kid are those that I spent during summer vacation with my parents and my siblings. Why? Because that is when we got to spend the most time together. While work is definitely important and worthwhile it is also important to play! Play with your kids! Play with your spouse! Play with your siblings! Kids, teach your parents how to play! Sometimes we forget.

If I had all the time in the world and could do anything that I wanted with my spare time I would sit down with my kids and play with them, for hours, day in and day out. But alas, as a mother I have duties, responsibilities, someone has to cook. Someone has to change diapers. Those things are important, but don’t forget that a family who plays together, stays together!

I would like to share with you a list of the fun things that our family has done and still does together. For your convenience I will only include the things that don’t cost a lot of money:
  • We are so blessed to live close to the House of the Lord. Our family and many other families in our community love to walk around the temple.
  • Have a picnic on the temple lawn. This is something that my kids asks for all the time, even in the winter. 
  • Go sit down at the creek and let your kids splash around.
  • Find someone who needs some yard work and help get it done.
  • Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor or friend. Warning, it’s a good idea to make extras, especially when you have seven hungry kids staring at you!
  • Sing at the nursing and retirement homes.
  • Do a family trash clean up at the park.
  • Visit a family member you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Go Christmas Caroling.
  • Play baseball at the park, teach your kids how to play and then let them teach you the way they think the rules should be!
  • Play a board game
  • Invite other families over for dinner and/or games.
  • And don’t forget Family Home Evening!
The list is endless and with a little imagination you can think of fun activities that you can do in your own home or backyard.

Kids, you can help you parents think up ideas, and don’t forget to include your extended family, friends, and neighbors sometimes.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World: Post #10

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #10

9. Work

J. Richard Clarke said, “Work is a blessing from God. It is a fundamental principle of salvation, both spiritual and temporal. When Adam was driven from his garden home, he was told that his bread must be produced by his physical toil, by the sweat of his brow. Note carefully the words: “Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” (Moses 4:23; italics added), that is, for his good or benefit. It would not be easy to master the earth; but that was his challenge and his blessing, as it is ours.

We are co-creators with God. He gave us the capacity to do the work he left undone, to harness the energy, mine the ore, transform the treasures of the earth for our good. But most important, the Lord knew that from the crucible of work emerges the hard core of character.”

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Teach [your children] a love for work and the value of a good education, show them the value of working toward a worthy goal.”

When I was a kid I had chores that had to be done every day, I had to do my homework before playing or watching television. Today kids have it easy. If you’ve ever been in my living room you’ve seen how easy my kids have it, but work is something we are working on as a family.

Kids, try to help your family out around the house. Maybe you could do some secret service to show your parents your willingness to be a helper.

Obi Sings Row Row Row Your Boat with his Ukulele

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #9

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #9

8. Compassion

We are taught to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. This doesn’t just go for those outside our home, sometimes those right in our own homes need angels to bear burdens, comfort and mourn with them. Sometimes we feel down and we don’t even know why, in those times it is helpful to have someone to chat with. Be that someone for your family members. 

If we are able to have empathy for our kids when they are young, and can be there for them when they need a good cry without forcing them to be happy right away, they will feel more comfortable coming to us later on when the saddest thing isn’t losing that Lego piece in the couch cushions or having one of their teddy bears eyes fall off.

It’s okay to give your brother or sister a squeeze when they are feeling down and say something like, “Oh dude, that’s a big bummer.” And then just be there for them.

Rosie sings ABC's with her Ukulele

Prepare for cuteness overload. I love this little girl.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #8

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #8

7. Love

Our family says “I love you” a lot. A lot. If any of you have spent more than thirty minutes with us you may have seen sweet little Hyrum, who is five years old urgently approach Bill or I and shake our arms or do the “mom, mom, mom, momomomomomomomomom” thing until we respond. He then says “I love you.” To Hyrum it is very important that we know that he really does love us. It is not only important to tell your family that you love them, but it is a great idea to tell them why as well. Something as simple as, “Liam. I love you! One of the reasons I love you so much is that you are so kind and loving to your baby sister. She looks up to you and it’s because you are willing to play with her and treat her like a princess.”

It is also fun to teach your kids this, especially if you need a laugh or a pick me up. Sit down with your kids and tell them that you love them and give them a reason. After you tell them you can ask them why they love you, but beware you might get answers like,

“Because your eyelashes look like spider legs,” or

“Because you waddle when you run,” or even

“Because you don’t smell bad all of the time.”

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #7

10 Steps to Family Happiness
Post #7

6. Respect

As a child I always thought that respect was something that children were supposed to give adults. As a parent I’ve realized that respect also needs to be given to children. When we give respect we become respectable.

The world can be a mean place, in our school systems and even out in the work force bullying seems to become even more prevalent than ever before. Our homes should be safe places for our families, free of bullying and full of respect.

It is not respectful for a wife to call her mother and complain about her Husband. I was given some advice as a newlywed that has stuck with me throughout all the years. The advice was that one should never talk to their friends or family about the petty things their spouse does because it can cause those people to disrespect the spouse. It also causes the complainer to dwell on the negative attributes of their spouse. If you want your friends and family to love your spouse, and if you want to love your spouse to the fullest, it does not help to tell others about how annoying it is when they chew with their mouth open or leave Kleenex’s all over the house. (By the way, these are things my own spouse might found annoying about me, not the other way around!)

The same goes with your children. They are pounded by the ills of the world on a daily basis and need someone on their side. Who better to be on your kid’s side than you? Don’t tell Grandma about the time Jimmy wet his bed last week, or how he got a D on another test. And when we talk to our own kids about these things we should do it in the spirit of building them up and helping them. “Oh my goodness Jimmy I cannot believe you got a D on that test! You are clearly not studying!” does not build Jimmy up. Instead of tearing him down we should think of ways to help. “Wow Jimmy, it looks like that test was really hard. I think if we work over the things you had a hard time remembering we can master it!”

Everybody wants and needs respect. It goes back to the golden rule,

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #6

10 Steps to Happiness
Post #6

5. Forgiveness

Sometimes it is hard to forgive. Sometimes we have what seems like every reason not to forgive someone, but the Lord still commands us to forgive those who have wronged us. Recently I was reviewing the Lord’s prayer in one of my Religion classes. We went over the passage that says “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” which I always thought meant “please forgive me, and I will forgive others”. My instructor pointed out however, that it can also be interpreted to mean that when we forgive our debtors, our debts too will be forgiven. The hardest time to forgive is when no apology has been offered, but holding grudges can eat us up inside, just like guilt, and that is why it is just as important to forgive those who have wronged us as it is to repent of our sins.

Kids, don’t forget to forgive your siblings, just like you want them to forgive you. And sometimes, you have to forgive your parents too, because adults are not perfect, even though sometimes we might act like we are.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #5

10 Steps to Happiness
Post #5

4. Repentance

Everybody makes mistakes. We have been given the Atonement gracefully by our Savior, Jesus Christ. He literally gave His life so that we could live with Him and our Father in Heaven after this earthly life. He doesn’t want us to live our lives out in guilt and suffering. When I have done something that I know isn’t quite right I can be known to dwell on that thing. Wondering what I should or could have done better. I beat myself up. This does not help me be a good parent. This makes me grumpy and sometimes angry.

Repenting frees us from our guilt, our burdens are lifted when we give them to the Lord. Repenting also frees our families from our burdensome behavior.

We also need to remember to apologize to those we have hurt. This is especially important in family relationships. Things can be tough when we share a space with someone every day. Keeping our family relationships peaceful through repentance and forgiveness can eliminate a lot of the drama we can all experience.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Family: A Proclamation to the World - Post #4

10 Steps to Happiness
Post #4

3. Prayer – President Hinkley said, “If life gets too hard to stand, kneel.”

We need to teach our kids the power of prayer. When we teach our kids to pray we are teaching them to access divine power. I was taught the power of prayer at a very young age and have always believed in it. My kids have had the same blessing. Countless times we have knelt in prayer when we needed extra help, when we have lost something, when we have been worried for a family member, really the list is endless. We also need to remember to thank Heavenly Father for our blessings.

One Sunday two of my boys ran ahead of our family down the sidewalk towards the church. Hyrum was four at the time and was not so great at looking for cars coming out of parking lots, unfortunately the car did not see him either. As I screamed “Stop!” both Hyrum and the car skidded to a halt. The car was centimeters away from hitting Hyrum. The rest of the kids and I ran to catch up. As soon as we did we walked to safety, joined hands right there on the sidewalk, and thanked the Lord for keeping Hyrum safe.

It is also important to pray for family members; moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings... you get the idea. We all need prayers!

Kids, don't forget to say your personal prayers! They will connect you with your Heavenly Father and He will help you become strong!