Doctrine & Covenants Lesson 17 – that could have been…

Good morning Brothers and Sisters, welcome to Sunday School. Today our lesson is on Tithing and Fast Offerings, an important part of our oft repeated “Pay, Pray, and Obey” mantra. Before we get started, Brother Allred, would you please give us and opening prayer? Thank you.Thank you for the prayer Brother Allred. I especially wanted to thank you for asking a blessing on me that I wouldn’t be as boring as last time I taught.

Tithing and Fast Offerings, what a wonderful topic! I have been looking forward to this lesson for weeks. As a boy I remember watching a movie of Lorenzo Snow receiving a revelation about the drought in the St. George area. It was so touching. The revelation was focused on the inadequacy of the Saints in paying their tithing. It was so moving, but even as a child, I wondered why it didn’t address the probability of a drought of that severity happening randomly in that particular geography… Oh, where was I?

Hey, Tom! Would you please take a peek into the foyer and see if the bishop has gone into his office? He has? Great, thanks.

Okay, you know, we hear enough about these two topics all year long at sacrament meeting, tithing settlement, other Sunday school lessons, relief society, and priesthood meeting. Today is Mother’s Day, and I wanted to change the topic from the regularly scheduled plan to honor the women in our lives. I wanted to honor mothers of all stripes, women who are not mothers, women who may be mothers some day, women who will never be mothers, women who work, women who stay at home with children, women who are CEOs, women who volunteer, women who are ill, women who are healthy. In short, I would like to honor women.

To start, I have arranged to have a trumpet quartet come in and play Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto in E Flat.” Why this song? What does this have to do with Mother’s Day? Well nothing directly. It was just one of my mother’s favorite songs and I find it to be very uplifting… I hope you do too…

Thank you Tom, Sara, Linda, and Nigel for that inspirational rendition.

As a member of the music committee, we are discussing whether or not to allow clapping after musical performances to show our gratitude and appreciation for a well done performance. We know it’s a little heretical, but in our ward, that’s probably just fine.

Back to the topic of Mother’s Day. Following the brilliant lead of Sister Beijing, I would like to read “When God Created Mother’s,” by Erma Bombeck.

When God Created Mothers by Erma Bombeck

When the good Lord was creating mothers He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; Have 180 moveable parts… all replaceable; Run on black coffee and leftovers; Have a lap that disappears when she stands up; A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, “I understand and I Love You” without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord”, said the angel, toughing His sleeve gently, “Come to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick… can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You. You were trying to put too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “it’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride.”

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there.”

We are done about ten minutes early today, that’s okay. Please mingle, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate the women in our lives. Today we will dispense with the closing prayer.

Oh, also remember, next week’s lesson is Lesson 18 on Temples. That ought to be a fun one…