Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family Scriptures

So I was feeling a little sorry for myself this week.

Maybe A LOT sorry.

I was Pathetic.  Yes, with a capital P!

Got myself all riled up over things I can’t control.

Made a list of This and That and Those and These.

And then, for family scriptures, it was decided (by the Spirit, mind you) to read a 1989 Conference Talk by then, Bishop Henry B. Eyring.

I thought FOR SURE the message was for the children.

After all, aren’t they always wanting what others have and they don’t?

So here is what we read together  (CLICK HERE to read Bishop Eyring's entire talk):

You and I would like to know how to control our wants and increase our gratitude and generosity. We are going to need that change. Someday, in our families and as a people, we will live as one, seeking each other’s good.

You know from studying Church history that we have tried to live as one in a variety of settings. A story from one of those tries, in Orderville, Utah, gives us a clue as to why it is so hard.

Orderville was founded in 1870 and 1871 by people who wanted to live the united order; in 1875, they began the order. They built housing units in a square, with a common dining hall. They built a storehouse, shoe shop, bakery, blacksmith shop, tannery, schoolhouse, sheep shed, and woolen factory. They grew and made nearly everything they needed, from soap to trousers. They had carpenters, midwives, teachers, artists, and musicians. They produced enough surplus that they could sell it in neighboring towns for cash: with that they built up a capital fund to buy more land and equipment.

The population rose to seven hundred people. One hundred and fifty of them gave Orderville a special advantage: they had come to Orderville from the mission on the Muddy River, where they had nearly starved. When those who had been called to the Muddy were released, they were in near destitution. Twenty-four of those families went to Long Valley, founded Orderville, and pledged all they had to the Lord. They didn’t have much, but their poverty may have been their greatest contribution. Their having almost nothing provided a basis for future comparison that might have guaranteed gratitude: any food or clothing or housing that came to them in Orderville would be treasure compared to their privation on the Muddy mission.

But time passed, the railroad came, and a mining boom put cash in the hands of people in the neighboring towns. They could buy imported clothes, and they did. The people in Orderville were living better than they had in years, but the memory of poverty on the Muddy had faded. They now focused on what was in the next town. And so they felt old-fashioned and deprived.

One ingenious boy acted on the discontent he felt when he was denied a new pair of pants from the Orderville factory because his were not worn out yet. He secretly gathered the docked lambs’ tails from the spring crop. He sheared the wool from them and stored it in sacks. Then, when he was sent with a load of wool to sell in Nephi, he took his sacks along and exchanged them for a pair of store pants. He created a sensation when he wore the new-style pants to the next dance.

The president of the order asked him what he had done. The boy gave an honest answer. So they called him into a meeting and told him to bring the pants. They commended him for his initiative, pointed out that the pants really belonged to the order, and took them. But they told him this: the pants would be taken apart, used as a pattern, and henceforth Orderville pants would have the new store-bought style. And he would get the first pair.

That did not quite end the pants rebellion. Orders for new pants soon swamped the tailoring department. When the orders were denied because pants weren’t yet worn out, boys began slipping into the shed where the grinding wheel was housed. Soon, pants began to wear out quickly. The elders gave in, sent a load of wool out to trade for cloth, and the new-style pants were produced for everyone.

You know that isn’t a happy ending. There were many challenges Orderville faced in the ten years they lived the order there. One of them they never really conquered. It was the problem of not remembering. That is a problem we must solve, too.

Just as they forgot poverty on the Muddy, we so easily forget that we came into life with nothing. Whatever we get soon seems our natural right, not a gift. And we forget the giver. Then our gaze shifts from what we have been given to what we don’t have yet. . .

You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings, and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude.

And when Family Scriptures was over, I realized how I had been the one forgetting.

How I was the one who needed to remember.

Oh how grateful I am to my Giver. . . and for family scriptures!


  1. Hermana Castidad, you got me again. Your blogs never fail to make me challenge myself and my standing with the Lord. Plus, teaching moment for the kiddos so kudos to you.

  2. Thanks, Darla. This post is so terribly applicable to me in my life. "Remember" has been a favorite word I have sought for and cherished over the past few years, but still have not mastered. I even wrote a song about it, but singing the song and living the word are two different things. Here's to patience and determination. How grateful I am to you for sharing!