Is it OK for Canadian members to get Conference illegally?

Found on Banner, Sword and Shield.

In Southern Alberta a number of Mormons have gotten subscriptions to Dish Network and Directv.  They got them in the early 20oo with the help of people who could cross the border easily and pick up a subscription in Utah and wham bam they were up and running.

The main reason for this is that many want access to conference though KSL and BYUTV, both of which are only seen in the USA. These people usually live out in the country where they would not see conference normally.

. . .

Now here is where the morality of the situation comes in.   Directv and Dish Network are illegal in Canada.  You must by law use a Canadian owned company for your television provider.   Even though you may not like what is offered you must watch it the way our CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Commission) wants you.

Is it OK for Canadian members to get Conference illegally?

GD Lesson 33 Planning

This guest post is provided to you by Bill Atkinson from Gospel Doctrine class for Youth. If you’d like to be a guest poster on Our Thoughts, email us at

Since I tend to organize my lessons with the youth around reading and discussing the scriptures as much as possible this turns out to be a very difficult lesson to approach. We have one scriptural notation: D&C 107:22-24, which outlines the quorum of the First Presidency and quorum of the 12 and that they have equal authority. Not much to work with even with only 40 minutes.

I think the lesson will be developed around these three ideas:

  1. What was involved in the succession crisis
  2. The Nauvoo Temple experience.
  3. The ongoing persecution, driving out into the snow AGAIN, and the need to gather and get ready for the trek west.

What was involved in the succession crisis

The main contenders were Sidney Rigdon (guardian), Emma who felt the 12 had no authority in the Stake of Nauvoo, the Quorum of the 12, the Council of 50, and then the long stretches like Strang, and Lyman Wight, Cutler. I think we will do a few what if questions and see where they take us, for example “What if Sidney Rigdon had become guardian what would have happened.

The Nauvoo Temple experience

This is perhaps the strangest element of the whole episode and no one calls attention to it. Here their prophet has been killed, they are directly threatened by mob violence on all sides, and what do they do? Well, of course, the only logical thing to do they finish building the temple! It seems like an insane waste of resources at a point in time when they were planning how to move tens of thousands of people west the next year. What were they thinking? How did the Quorum of the 12 manage to get them working on it? What was the reward, the goal, the purpose of building something that would be abandoned within months of completion?

It think this may well be the core of the lesson but how to make it engaging will be the issue. In those few months that the Nauvoo temple was open something like 5000 people completed their own endowments. The temple ran 24 hours per day near the end of the time and people still didn’t want to stop going and start the trek even though the mob violence was now more than just a threat.

So I am going to have build up some resources. This testimony of the importance of the temple ordinances is outstanding. It deserves to be known and celebrated.

Thinking about Gospel Doctrine Lesson 32

This guest post is provided to you by Bill Atkinson from Gospel Doctrine class for Youth. If you’d like to be a guest poster on Our Thoughts, email us at

“To Seal the Testimony”

As I begin to prepare for this lesson, I am in a bit of a quandary. Clearly the martyrdom of Hyrum and Joseph is one of the key events of this dispensation and very important for the Saints to understand and appreciate. The lesson manual’s purpose—To teach class members about the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and to strengthen their testimonies of his calling as a prophet of God—needs to be the guiding principle for preparation.

I teach a youth Gospel Doctrine class, and I find the lesson manual is generally inappropriate for this age group. It tends to lead to “teaching” rather than focusing on the students “learning”. So I have a few principles I follow in preparing:

  1. Never attempt to cover the entire lesson. Prayerfully pick the key ideas you think your students need at that point in time. In this case—as I have found since teaching them this summer—they need the historical context, the real sense of why things happened.
  2. Focus on what the students need to learn not on the performance of the teacher. If possible every student should participate actively.

So I am considering focusing the lesson around verse 3 of D&C 135:

Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

We will look at and read the scripture with the idea that each person will think about what they consider to be Joseph’s most important contribution and express their ideas as to why that is so.

As class members share these insights, as appropriate, I am going to fold into the discussion the basic historical context of why the martyrdom happened, which the lesson really doesn’t consider:

  1. The simple gathering of the Saints to one place in such numbers giving both economic and political influence
  2. Plural marriage capping the sense that the Mormons were too strange to tolerate
  3. The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor
  4. Joseph’s presidential campaign
  5. Continued Missouri attempts to get at Joseph
  6. Apostates stirring up people with newspaper articles, particularly John C. Bennett

So that is the starting point for thinking. I think I might dig up an excerpt from the Nauvoo Expositor, so class members can see the kind of thing that was being written by William Law, and see if I can find one of John C. Bennett’s articles that were appearing in various papers at the time.

I started the blog Youth Gospel Doctrine Class, which has some of the lessons from June to August since I have been working as the main substitute teacher. I was, in fact, finally called to teach the class this past Sunday.

So what do you think? Any ideas on what directions to go with adult classes? How many of you are teaching Gospel Doctrine right now?

Boys and girls

We just had our home teachers switch this past week and now have a 16 year old as one of them. Keith (hubby) is a High Priest. Our children are gone, married with their own children. Our other home teacher is the same age as our children with very young kids and is only a High Priest because he is a councilor in the bishopric. I don’t have a problem with a young man home teaching us although he sat very quiet and non communicative the whole time through the lesson. Keith did say it was because I never stop talking enough to let others have a turn.. ha ha to him.

But my concern or question is why are young men allowed to go home teaching? If I was having marital problems I certainly would not be discussing it with my home teachers when one of them is a child. You could say that they need them as there are not enough Priesthood holders. Well we don’t have enough sisters but the young women never go out visiting teaching. I tried looking for reasons on the church website but I didn’t see anything there that answered my question so either there is no reason or I was looking in the wrong place.

I have heard others say it is because they hold the priesthood and it is one of their responsibilities. I don’t buy that. I worry about the levels of confidentiality telling a young teenager about something serious only to have them turn around to their friends and say hey you should hear what I just heard.

I would be very interested in hearing some feedback on this. The way I see it is if the boys are allowed to do so then the young women should as well.

How are you going to teach lesson 31 for Gospel Doctrine?

I am directing this question to all the Gospel Doctrine instructors out there. How are you planning to discuss lesson 31 on celestial marriage?

I’ve gone through the manual several times, but it seems pretty empty scripturally, especially considering much of D&C 132 seems to be about plural marriage. I prefer using exclusively scriptures in my lesson and try to get away from using too many quotes.

In addition, I like to make my lesson practical and personally applicable. I’m not sure how discussing the post-mortal rewards of celestial marriage has any real benefit to people, especially when most of the class members already know it.

I’m considering using the first four verses of D&C 131 as a jumping point to other scriptures that discuss how we should conduct ourselves in marriage.

How about you?

From the archives: Commandments

Our church seems to be focused on commandments and rules. It would seem—though perhaps scientifically unconfirmed—that of all the Christian sects, ours has the most commandments, rules, guidelines, suggestions and the like. This is odd, in a way, considering how we profess to be a church closer to Christ in its teachings than any other.

I was pondering on this thought yesterday and was left wondering if perhaps we miss the point. Sometimes I wonder if we focus so much on the edges of the strait and narrow path that we forget the path is actually taking us somewhere; that we focus on the commandment as commandments rather than the purpose for which they have been given.

The natural human is an enemy to God. It is within our nature to have qualities that are antithetical to God’s qualities. He is merciful; we are vengeful. He is kind; we are self-serving. And so forth.

It is my opinion then that the commandments have been issued to us in a way for us to overcome the natural being and become a spiritual being. In other words, the commandments are to guide us in becoming the type of person Christ (and ultimately God) is.

Keeping the Sabbath holy helps us develop a reverence for God. Not stealing helps us develop a respect for the property of others. Not lying helps us to be develop integrity. and so on.

Despite this, however, we seem to focus so much on keeping the commandments that many of us are simply going through the motions of keeping the commandments that we never become the type of person to enter the Life of God. Or worse yet, we rebel at the rigidity and pharisaic nature of the commandments and stop keeping them altogether.

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