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The dog ate my scriptures

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In this talk on CD, youth speaker John Hilton III invites teenagers to stop making excuses and start accepting responsibility for their actions. 'While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not …

In this talk on CD, youth speaker John Hilton III invites teenagers to stop making excuses and start accepting responsibility for their actions. 'While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions,' says Brother Hilton. He teaches listeners the language of responsibility to prepare our hearts to feel the Spirit. In a fun and engaging way, he debunks the myth of 'he made me so mad,' teaching the principle that we are responsible for how we feel. Listeners will learn that they can achieve great things when they accept accountability for their choices.

To hear an audio sample of this talk, please visit http://johnhiltoniii.com

Published in: Spiritual

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  • It would be good to listen to your CD and reread the text of the talk.
  • The Savior sacrificed His life so that we could have the power to choose and still return to our Heavenly Father. Now, here is the key: when we make excuses, we deny our power to choose. We deny our power to choose because by making an excuse we say that we don’t have a choice in the thing we are making an excuse for. For example, at a stake dance a boy asks a girl to dance—“Will you dance with me?” And she says, “I’d love to dance with you but I can’t. I have to talk to my friend about something.” Can you see how by making an excuse this girl is denying her agency? She is saying, “I don’t have a choice, I HAVE to talk to my friend. I’d love to dance with you if I could but I CAN’T.” That just isn’t true. She doesn’t HAVE to talk to her friend. She CHOOSES to talk to her friend. By making an excuse, she denies her power to choose. Here’s another example: Let’s say you’re my Bishop and you notice that I don’t come to church on Sunday. You call me and ask, “Hey, why weren’t you at church?” I say, “Well, I wanted to go to church, but I have this big assignment that’s due tomorrow, and so I HAD to stay home and do it.” Do you hear how by making an excuse I say that I don’t have the power to choose? “Sorry Bishop, if it were my choice, I would have come to church, but I HAD to do my homework.” That isn’t true. I did have a choice. I didn’t HAVE to do my homework, I CHOSE to do my homework. Making excuses weakens our agency. This may seem like a minor point, but it’s not. In Moses 4:3 we learn why Lucifer, a son of the morning, became the devil. In this verse the Lord says, (listen carefully), “Because…Satan…sought to destroy the agency of man…I caused that he should be cast down.” One of the reasons Satan was cast out of heaven was because he tried to destroy our agency. Our power to choose is that important—it’s what the war in heaven was all about—and that war continues today on earth. Satan still wants to take away our agency. One way that he tries to do this is to addict us to things. He tries to addict us to tobacco, drugs, alcohol or pornography. If he can do this, he hopes to strip away our power to choose not do those things. A more subtle way that Satan tries to weaken our agency is to trick us into making excuses for our actions. If we always make excuses we will eventually come to believe that we don’t have the power to make decisions, that we are not free to choose. For example, I recently heard somebody say, “I can’t go to church. I have to work on Sundays.” This person has been subtly deceived into thinking that he does not have the power to choose whether or not he works on Sunday. Often when we make excuses, it’s because we don’t want to accept responsibility for our decisions. For example, what if the guy asks the girl to dance: “Will you dance with me?” And the girl says, “No, I choose not to dance with you!” Can you hear how rude that sounds? Nobody would say that! The girl who is asked to dance but says no gives an excuse because she doesn’t want to look mean. If the Bishop calls to see why I wasn’t at church, I don’t want him to think that I’m a bad person. So I make an excuse. Since I HAD to work on my assignment I’m not the bad guy—the assignment is. People who say, “I have to work on Sunday” may not want to face the fact that they choose whether or not they keep the Sabbath day holy. I used to think it was fine to make excuses. That changed when a General Authority, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Quorum of the Seventy visited my mission. At a mission conference he taught us something I will never forget. He said, “Any time you blame [or] point a finger it will hurt you.” I’m going to say that again. “ Any time you blame [or] point a finger it will hurt you .” He went on to teach, “Even if you’re right it will hurt you to make an excuse.” I love that phrase. “Even if you’re right it will hurt you to make an excuse.” Even though it may seem that by making an excuse I’m saving face, or look better, I lose. When you make an excuse, you lose. Always. Here’s a case study. Suppose you’ve done something bad, and your mom grounds you for the weekend. It’s Friday night and a friend calls you up and says, “Can you come over to my house?” You say, “I can’t. I’m grounded.” Is that legit? [Get crowd response.] Is it really true to say, “I can’t come over”? Couldn’t you run away from home? Would that be a wise choice? I’m not recommending you make that choice, only pointing out that you are free to choose.
  • I first learned the doctrinal concept of not making excuses from Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 70…Mission story
  • M Story, etc.
  • I first learned the doctrinal concept of not making excuses from Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 70…Mission story
  • Have the youth come up and read the slips of paper. Pair share on “why were you home so late?”
  • Mark story,
  • Laurel president not wanting to talk to a Bishop, crab story.
  • M Story, etc.
  • Have a real egg and carrot for this object lesson.
  • M Story, etc.
  • M Story, etc.
  • Focus on “if you enter a meeting…” and ask students to write down things they could do to enter a meeting with their heart prepared to written on it by the Lord (let them have some time to silently write).
  • M Story, etc.
  • M Story, etc.
  • Time to ponder on what they will do to accept responsibility for these things.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Dog Ate my Scriptures Excuses, Agency, Responsibility http://johnhiltoniii.com Buy the Talk on CD at: http://deseretbook.com/item/4940509/The_Dog_Ate_My_Scriptures_Excuses_Agency_and_Responsibility
    • 2. Little Kids say Funny Things
      • Kids’ thoughts on love and why it happens between two particular people:
      • • “ No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” (Jan, 9)
      • • “ I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” (Harlen, 8)
    • 3. Little Kids say Funny Things
      • Kids’ thoughts on what people do on dates
      • • “ Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” (Jane age 8)
      • • “ On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” (Martin, age 10)
    • 4. Little Kids say Funny Things
      • Kids’ thoughts on “What’s falling in love like?”
      • • “ Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” (Roger, 9)
      • • “ If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” (Leo, 7)
    • 5. Doctrine and Covenants 1:38
    • 6. 2 Nephi 2:27 (Page 59)
      • “ Men are free…to choose”
    • 7. Moses 4:3 (Page 9) “ Because…Satan…sought to destroy the agency of man…I caused that he should be cast down” Why do you think that making excuses weakens our agency?
    • 8. Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70
      • “ Any time you blame, point a finger or self justify it will hurt you.”
      • “ Even if you’re right it will hurt you to blame, to make an excuse, to justify.”
    • 9. For the Strength of Youth, 5
      • “ You are responsible for the choices you make. You should not blame your circumstances, your family or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments. You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness no matter what your circumstances.”
    • 10. Excuse: It’s just a little thing Read Alma 57:21 and look for how it relates to this excuse
    • 11. President Thomas S. Monson Ensign , Dec. 1990, 4
      • “ Before we can successfully undertake a personal search for Jesus, we must first prepare time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts. In these busy days there are many who have time for golf, time for shopping, time for work, time for play—but no time for Christ. ”
      Excuse: I don’t have time
    • 12. Excuse: Everyone else is doing it Read Alma 39:4 and fill in the blanks: “Yea, she did steal away ____ _____ _____ _____, but this was no excuse for thee, my son.”
    • 13. Alma 42:30 (Page 313) “ Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point.”
    • 14. Alma 39:13 (Page 306) “ Acknowledge thy faults and that wrong thou hast done.”
    • 15. The Language of Responsibility “You are responsible for the choices you make” (FSY, 5)
      • I will do it.
      • I choose not to…
      • I won’t work on Sundays .
      Language that accepts responsibility states that YOU are in control. Examples:
    • 16. The Language of Excuses
      • The language blames the problem on someone or something else. Examples :
      • I can ’t.
      • I have to.
      • He made me .
      • I don’t have time.
    • 17.
      • “ When people understand [responsibility] and make no more excuses is the day they’re on the top and achieve things they’ve never done.”
      Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70
    • 18.
      • Moses 6:27
      • Moses 6:31
      • Moses 6:32
      • Moses 6:37-39
      Enoch
    • 19. Elder Henry B. Eyring CES Address, Aug. 2004
      • “ In the days ahead, the Lord will raise the spiritual bar again and again. And our youth will rise higher and higher to more than clear that rising expectation. They will make the choices to receive the promised spiritual outpouring deep in their hearts.”
    • 20. Accepting Responsibility for the Consequences of our Actions
    • 21. For the Strength of Youth, 4
      • “ While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. When you make a choice, you will receive the consequences of that choice. The consequences may not be immediate, but they will always follow, for good or bad. Wrong choices delay your progression and lead to heartache and misery. Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life. That is why it is so important for you to choose what is right throughout your life.”
    • 22. Accepting Responsibility for our Gospel Learning
    • 23. Alma 62:41 (Page 366)
    • 24. What would you do if you were in a boring Sacrament Meeting?
    • 25. What would you do if you were in a boring Sacrament Meeting?
      • “ I don't know.
      • I've never been
      • in one.”
      President Spencer W. Kimball (12 th President of the Church)
    • 26. Elder Gene R. Cook, Church News , 24 Mar. 1990, 10
      • “ That's interesting, isn't it? That tells me that the real meeting was really between President Kimball and the Lord, in addition to what was happening in sacrament meeting…
      • If you enter a meeting with your heart prepared to be written upon by the Lord, then that will happen.”
    • 27. Elder Henry B. Eyring To Draw Closer to God , 11
      • You may not know who your Sunday School teacher…will be next week, but you can…pray specifically that the Holy Ghost will come to them as they prepare to teach, and then come again as you sit at their feet to listen next week. I am not sure I understand how this works, but I know it works. I think you can have faith and confidence that you will never need to hear an unprofitable sermon or live in a ward where you are not fed spiritually.
    • 28. Make Your Scripture Classes POWERFUL
      • P ray for yourself & the speaker
      • O pen your scriptures
      • W rite what you learn
      • be E arly
      • R aise your hand to participate
      • sit towards the F ront
      • be U nselfish
      • L ook for application
    • 29. Accepting Responsibility for our Emotions
    • 30.
      •   A cunning part of [Satan’s] strategy is to dissociate anger from agency, making us believe that we are victims of an emotion that we cannot control. [The phrase]
      • ‘ He made me mad’…
      • is a myth that must be debunked.
      Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70, ( Ensign , May 1998, 81)
    • 31.
      • No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!
      Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70, ( Ensign , May 1998, 81)
    • 32.
      • We can choose not to become angry. And we can make that choice today, right now: ‘I will never become angry again.’
      • Ponder this resolution”
      Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70, ( Ensign , May 1998, 81)
    • 33. For the Strength of Youth, 5
      • “ You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness no matter what your circumstances.”
    • 34. 1 Nephi 17:1-3, 20-21
      • So great were the blessings of the Lord
      • The commandments of God must be fulfilled
      • Our women…were strong
      • These many years we have suffered.
      • It would have been better that [we] had died.
      • We might have been happy.
      Nephi Laman
    • 35. Could you be happy living in a concentration camp?
      • We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning , 98).
    • 36. President Harold B. Lee Ensign , Feb. 1974, 78.
      • “ Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.”
    • 37. Three Steps from Complaining to Accepting Responsibility
      • Identify the complaint
      • Turn the complaint into a statement of what you want.
      • Take responsibility for making it happen.
      • **For Example**
      • My parents make me so mad!
      • I want a good relationship with my parents.
      • Find things that you could do with your parents, do service for them, etc.
    • 38. Accepting Responsibility For 1. Our choices. 2. The consequences of our choices. 3. Our gospel learning. 4. Our emotions.
    • 39. We Learn By Doing: Invitations
      • Review notes and scriptures.
      • Teach what you have learned to someone.
      • Listen to others’ language.
      • Get a “responsibility partner.”
      • Scripture search—excuse.
      • A week taking notes and praying for the speaker.
      • How long can you go without getting angry?
      • Practice “3-step approach.”
      • Pray and ponder on what we have discussed. What would Heavenly Father have you do because of what you have learned?
    • 40.
      • “ When people understand [responsibility] and make no more excuses is the day they’re on the top and achieve things they’ve never done.”
      Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Quorum of 70
    • 41. No Excuses! I will never make Another excuse Again