Strengthened for a Heavy Burden

by Marisa Sharpe 

On a recent family reunion, the last morning was spent riding motorcycles. There were many people and only four motorcycles, so we were taking turns. When it was my turn, I rode off in the direction of an old railroad line. Similar to the Rails to Trails trail, the rails had been removed, and there was a gentle slope on either side of the long, straight track. On the top, there was some fine-grade gravel. 

After I had ridden about 2.5 miles, I decided my turn was probably over and I should head back. However, there was no real place for me to turn around, and the track was narrow. I would have to go down the slope to have enough space to turn around and then get back up on top of the track.

After I turned around and as I was getting back on top of the track, my front wheel caught in the gravel, and I tipped the motorcycle over. Fortunately, the bike didn't land on me, and I thought it would be as simple as lifting the bike up and getting back on. I bent down and grabbed the motorcycle and pulled. It. was. so. heavy. I took a deep breath and thought strong thoughts and pulled again. It was so heavy! I couldn't even move it a centimeter.

I began to consider my options. I could wait for someone to realize I had been gone for a long time and come looking for me, but no one knew which direction I had gone. I could walk back and get help, but that would take a long time, and I knew others were waiting for a turn.

I was completely alone in a remote part of Idaho. I felt I had no choice but to try again and somehow dig in my heels more. The third time I attempted to lift the motorcycle, I actually felt the motorcycle become lighter! It was still very heavy and I still had to pull with all my strength, but it was possible! I did it. I got back on, started the engine, and rode back to my family.

I know this is how the Atonement of Jesus Christ works in our lives. Our burdens are heavy to bear, and sometimes we can't lift them on our own. Some burdens come from choices we have made, and we have to suffer the consequences. Some burdens are from choices others have made, and we are affected by their behavior and choices.

If we work with all our might, the Lord can make the burden lighter. It may still be heavy, but we will be able to bear it. Maybe we will get stronger, or maybe the burden will become lighter, but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be able to do it!

I'm grateful to have experienced this miracle, and I love my Savior and need His help so much to lift the motorcycles in my life. I'm grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what it means to me.

What Does Christ Offer Me?

Several women in our stake share their testimonies of what Jesus Christ means to them. (This video was shown at the 2018 stake women's conference.)

Serving Like the Savior

Families and individuals in our stake are jumping in to #LightThe World with acts of service.

Miriam Franson:
Used by permission.
I can hardly believe it's December 1st!! We've been excited to start the #LightTheWorld month of service...doing what we can to serve like the Savior. In my ideal world (and a different season of life) I'd have printed out super cute printables, and have a great plan for what we'd do already outlined. But we hit this morning with none of that in queue! But as we read about "freely giving" like Christ did, I remembered we had some candy canes in the trunk left from something else and the kids are headed off to school ready to "give" to someone they thought could use it. One thing I'm learning more and more is that if we wait to serve until it can be in a perfectly cleaned house, or a perfectly planned moment, or a perfectly created package it will rarely (for me anyway) happen. But the Savior just asks us to give with our heart from whatever we have and wherever we are. And like with the loaves and the fishes, He will multiply our efforts.





Women Who Know

"Ye shall meet together oft." (3 Nephi 18:22) What a blessing it is to meet together each Sunday to partake of the sacrament and strengthen our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 As a stake relief society presidency, we attend the meetings where the young sister missionaries in our stake speak before they leave and when they return from their missions. Today we were uplifted by the testimony of a beautiful daughter of God who will leave her family in three days, five days before Christmas, to serve the Lord in Atlanta, Georgia. We were touched by how articulate she was and her beautiful testimony of Jesus Christ.

President Russell M. Nelson said, "We need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly."

Time after time we witness young women who are strong and are fulfilling this call from a prophet of God. They choose to venture far from the comforts of home and carry the light of Jesus Christ to the world. It is truly inspiring and a blessing to get to know and listen to these young sister missionaries from our stake. #LightTheWorld

Light the World: Scripture Calendar

Each Christmas, we celebrate the life of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. By following His teachings, we let his light shine—in our lives and in the lives of others. This year, use this calendar for inspiration as you plan your Christmas activities to help #LightTheWorld by serving those in need.
  • Click here to see and download the full scripture calendar (image thumbnail below).
  • Click here to see a different version of the calendar with specific service ideas, created for youth and published in the December 2017 New Era magazine.
  • Click here to get more service ideas from—and be inspired by—daily videos.

Light the World with Acts of Service This Christmas

This Christmas season, how will you #LightTheWorld? Start today at mormon.org to learn how you can be like the Savior, Jesus Christ. Serve as He did helping light the way for others. And share your experiences to inspire other sisters in the stake! Email us at DaughtersInHisKingdom@live.com.


Stake News: Women's Summer Sports

The stake sports ladies have created a summer schedule of weekly activities for women and young women in our stake. Please come join us, and help spread the word to your neighbors and invite them to come. We are just playing for fun! For questions, call (801) 643‐5707 or email laytonsostakesports@gmail.com.

All activities will take place in the stake center gym, 505 S. 1000 W., Layton, on Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m.
Image from maxpixel.com. Used by permission.

June 8th – Volleyball
June 15th – Basketball
June 22nd – Dodgeball
June 29th – Kickball
July 6th – Volleyball
July 13th – Basketball
July 20th – Futsol
July 27th – Dodgeball
August 3rd – Volleyball
August 10th – Basketball
August 17th – Kickball
August 24th – Dodgeball
August 31st – Futsol

The Purpose of Relief Society

On May 9, Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, announced that she and her counselors have updated the Relief Society purpose.
Photo from LDS.org. Used with permission.

She said in a post on Facebook:
"When we were newly called as the Relief Society General Presidency, we sought the Lord earnestly to know what essential things He would have us focus on to continue moving His work forward. We were impressed that He would first have us help His beloved daughters understand the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that their faith and righteousness might increase. Second, we considered the critical need to strengthen families and homes and felt that the Lord would have us encourage His beloved daughters to cheerfully cleave to their covenants. When covenants are kept, families are strengthened. Finally, we felt He would have us work in unity with the other auxiliaries and with our priesthood leaders, striving to seek out and help those in need to progress along the path. Focusing on these things helps prepare us for the blessings of eternal life.

"Recently, we have updated the Relief Society purpose wording to reflect the additional insights the Lord blessed us with.

"'Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life (see Moses 1:39) as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need.'"

"We hope you will study and focus on the purpose of Relief Society and come to understand the divine identity and eternal work and purpose that each sister in Relief Society has. How does understanding this purpose bring hope and meaning into your daily life and actions?

"The updated Relief Society purpose poster and bookmark are now available online and through Distribution." Sister Burton noted that further information and resources can be found in Handbook 2, the talk "Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?" and the updated materials.

My Best Christmas Gift Was Love

by Marci Hall

It was  Christmas  Eve, and I was not feeling the  Christmas  spirit.  This particular year,  the holiday  fell on a Tuesday, putting  Christmas  Eve on Monday.  As a mother of five young children, my Mondays were generally exhausting.  Having the sabbath on the day before meant the next day was spent making up for missed naps, meals out of order or skipped, and sickness picked up from church. 
Image from LDS.org. Used by permission.

Our extended family party and present-opening at my parents' house had been on Sunday night as well.  And to top it all off, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and his birthday all within the last week.  We were all worn out, and it showed.

On  Christmas  Eve, after all the children were in bed, I pondered about what had gone on that evening.  Not only did I feel exhausted physically and emotionally, but I felt like the magic of  Christmas  got sucked out of our family.

The usual nativity reenactment was interrupted by one child wailing and running to her room because things weren't just right, while another was upset with her costume that kept falling off her head. My six-year-old was acting silly and crazy because of strange schedules and  Christmas  excitement. And my oldest child (seven years old) had an earache.

There were a few moments that evening that I felt the peace of the Holy Ghost, like when we sang "Joy to the World" together as I played the piano, and when my four-year-old was playing the part of the angel and recited her whole part from the scriptures, almost without help. But the moments were fleeting.

As I was finishing helping one child calm down to go to sleep, I realized we had never set out stockings.  When I asked her if she wanted to, she said no. What happened to the magic and excitement?  I just felt deflated.

My husband and I set out the stockings anyway, and then he put on a light-hearted  Christmas  show for us. I watched it with him but was not in the mood. I felt like I should have been watching something that would remind me about the Savior, not something silly.

Local Refugee Service Opportunities

At this time of year especially, many people are looking for opportunities to serve, so we came up with this list of some local service opportunities and organizations aimed at assisting refugees. There are so many ways to help refugees locally, from one-time events, to donating handcrafted items, to just being a friend or helping a family learn their way around their new town. The easiest way to start is by downloading the apps Just Serve or Serve Refugees or visiting the websites in the top left box below. If you have any questions about how you can help refugees in the area, feel free to email daughtersinhiskingdom(at)live(dot)com and we'll do our best to find an answer!

The Importance of Fathers

Photo from LDS.org.
Used by permission.
Enjoy these testimonies of the importance of fathers, by women in our stake.

I have always appreciated the emphasis my Dad has put on the value of education. Along with that, I know he always believed in me and wanted me to succeed in being able to do hard things and have great experiences.
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My dad is the best example to me of scripture reading. He never misses a day. He said it has just become a habit because he makes time for it every day. Someday I hope to be more like him.
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My old bishop stops by now and again to check on me and my kids. He always gives all of us priesthood blessings.
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My father-in-law was very honest and humble. He found a dime in a phone booth and returned it to the phone company. He also gave much to others.
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My husband did not always have a father in his home and today doesn't have a father in his life. Yet you would think that he had the greatest father because of the kind of father he is. He never wants his kids to go without and is always anxious to support them in all they do.

An Unshakable Testimony of the Prophet Joseph

by Heather Hughes 
From a talk given to the Stone Creek Ward on June 12, 2016

Seven and a half years ago, my youngest son and I flew to California in October. We were flying out to attend the birthday and baptism of my nephew Tyler. It didn't hurt that we discovered that if we went to California for Tyler's birthday, we could trick or treat in shorts instead of coats. I was looking forward to relaxing from teaching school and from the preparations of getting our oldest daughter ready to serve a mission. She would leave about two weeks after our visit.

The morning after our arrival, Stacy, my sister-in-law, said that we would need to mix in some church service with our play time. I thought, "Even better, I can feel good about my getaway."  That weekend was the week prior to the voting in California on Prop 8, a controversial law that would decide whether or not same-sex marriage would be allowed in California, and local church leaders had asked the members to help support efforts to maintain marriage between a man and a woman. When I found out what we were doing, I was a little anxious. I hate confrontation. I don't like people to be upset with me, even strangers, but I knew that if the local leaders had asked for these activities to be done, it was what needed doing.

Saturday morning, we left bright and early to hang pamphlets supporting marriage between a man and a woman on doors. We had two people ask us to remove them and get off their driveways, but no truly angry experiences. As we reported our section back to the elders quorum president in my sister's ward, I felt like all was well. We left and attended a soccer game for me nephew. As we returned, Mark and Stacy said, "Now for the fun part!" Their tone left no doubt that fun was not coming.

Each family had been asked to have an adult hold signs on different corners around town. The signs simply said: "Vote Against Prop 8, Vote for Families." As we stood on our corner, I quickly discovered that their beautiful little community had a lot of people with different views than mine. For two hours I was repeatedly called names, honked at, and had a few more choice experiences.

Visiting Teaching: I Feel God's Love for Me

Some women in the stake were asked: How has your life been touched by visiting teaching or a visiting teacher? This is the final installment in the series of posts.

I have a visiting teacher that found out I was sick when my husband was out of town. She came over and shoveled the snow from my driveway and sidewalks and then brought me dinner that night. It meant so much to know that someone cared about me and wanted to help me.
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Photo from LDS.org, used with permission
When I moved into the ward, my visiting teachers were my first friends in the area. They made me feel welcomed and loved. When I had my baby, my visiting teachers were so great, and I knew I could call them if I needed anything.
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I was a young mother with no family near. My visiting teacher took me under her wing and taught me lots about being a mom.
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Visiting teaching blesses me by letting me feel of God’s love for me. It strengthens my testimony of the gospel and helps me see my purpose.
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My visiting teacher gives me friendship. I appreciated her cleaning my house!

Stake RS Newsletter, June 2016

Dear Sisters,
Hooray for summer! “Some old fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

In Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk during General Conference “Whoso Receiveth Them, Receiveth Me” he talked  about the diverse family circumstances of children and youth in the church today. He quoted from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. He said, “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity…Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs and to teach them to love and
serve one another and observe the commandments of God.” He said that even though this is the ideal pattern of the Lord, there are many children who do not belong to “picture perfect” families and that we need to be “thoughtful and sensitive” to individual circumstances. He quoted President Monson who said: “Help God’s children understand what is genuine and important in this life. Help them develop the strength to choose paths that will keep them safely on the way to eternal life.” He then challenged us to “open our arms and our hearts a little wider….these youth need our time and our testimonies.”

As I recently listened to this talk it made me think about how grateful I am for the many women in our stake who faithfully accept callings to serve in Primary and Young Women. Those of you who have a weekly opportunity to “lead, guide and walk beside” the precious children of our Heavenly Father may never know the impact of your love, concern and prayers for them. Your testimony and righteous example as you teach gospel principles will influence the decisions they have to make in a world that is in chaos. We recognize and appreciate your service.

It is my prayer that each sister in our stake can be that teacher, friend, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother that will reach out to the children and youth in your ward and in your families. In closing Elder Andersen said, “Let us think about them, welcome them, embrace them and do  everything we can to strengthen their love for the Savior.” Jesus said, “Whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me.”

We love you and hope you have a wonderful summer!
Nancy Nilsson, Heidi Fitzgerald, Jennifer Erickson and Katy Mansfield