Monday, November 17, 2014

Supporting Children with Invisible Special Needs at Church

“The body [of the Church] hath need of every member, that all may be edified together.”
Doctrine and Covenants 84:110

I think it’s safe to say that most people want to be tolerant and loving towards people with disabilities. We wouldn’t hesitate to make accommodations for a person with physical limitations or to someone who is deaf or has a visual impairment. However, there has been a significant rise in the number of young children diagnosed with what can be classified into a group called invisible special needs. Society in general is lagging behind when it comes to supporting these children and their families. What’s worse is that many families are being pushed out of their own churches, the very places that should be the most compassionate and accepting.

What is an “invisible” special need? Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder), Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental delays, mental and emotional difficulties, anxiety, and giftedness are some of the most common special needs that would fall into this category. Kelly Priest (a school counselor and mother to a son with Asperger’s) gave the following definition:
“Kids who seem pretty typical much of the time, but have significant trouble, of neurodevelopmental origin, with self-regulation, social interaction, friendships, flexibility, abstract thinking, sensory management, attention, language and communication, and self-advocacy. Special, yes, in some ways … but ordinary kids in some ways too.”
It is likely that in a large church congregation of 200-300 people there are probably at least 5-10 children and teenagers who have invisible special needs. It’s also important to note that not every child with challenges will have an official diagnosis, but they still might need extra support at church just as they would at home or at school. For church leaders, teachers, and church attendees, here are 12 ways you can support children with invisible special needs and their families at church:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Four Ways Motherhood Has Changed Me

Mom: one of the most beautiful words in the English language. Each language throughout the world has some term designated for motherhood. For me, the word is accompanied by feelings of safety, warmth, comfort, work, tenderness, and love. When I first became a mother, trying to live up to the title was overwhelming. It still is! Every day, I strive to be the best mom I can be, and as I do that, I am changing into who the Lord would have me be. How has motherhood changed me? Here are four of the ways:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3 Lessons Fatherhood Has Taught Me About God

Every once in a while an event occurs in our lives that teaches us something about the true meaning of life and offers us a glimpse into the eternities. For my wife and me, one of those events occurred earlier this year when, after more than three years of trying unsuccessfully to have children on our own, we were able to adopt our sweet baby girl. More than anything else, becoming a father has helped me gain a better understanding of the nature of our relationship with God. So, while I certainly realize that I am only at the beginning of this great adventure called parenthood (and have a LOT more to learn), here are just three of the lessons I have found most meaningful during my short time as a father. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

20 interesting facts about LDS temples you may not know

There are over 15 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world and temples are a central part of the Church's teachings.

Here are some interesting facts about LDS temples found across the world.

1. There are currently 143 operating temples in 47 countries. Three are under renovation, 13 more temples are under construction and 14 have been announced.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Book of Mormon: 5 Simple Reasons I Believe

One of the most distinguishing features of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints is our acceptance of the Book of Mormon as a companion volume of scripture alongside the Bible. For millions of Latter-day Saints around the world, we revere the Book of Mormon as the word of God, a sacred scriptural text recorded by ancient prophets in the Western Hemisphere and preserved for our day as a second powerful witness to the Bible that Jesus is the Christ.

How the Book of Mormon came into existence is an incredible story: an uneducated farm boy in upstate New York, visitations from heavenly messengers, and plates of gold with engravings in an ancient language. Yet nearly 185 years after the first copies of the Book of Mormon rolled off the printing press in New York in 1830, no credible alternative explanation for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon has ever been offered. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once said, "The only thing more miraculous than an angel providing [Joseph Smith] with those plates and him translating them by divine inspiration would be that he sat down and wrote it with a ballpoint pen and a spiral notebook.”[1]

In pondering my own personal reasons for believing and defending the Book of Mormon as ancient scripture and a new witness for Christ, I have come up with 5 simple reasons I believe it with all my heart, mind, and soul.