Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Scottsdale North Stake LDS Family Services Agent Representative

This is the presentation I have been presenting in the wards in our stake:
I am serving as the Agency Representative for the Phoenix office of LDS Family Services for our Stake,  I am here today to share with you all of the wonderful services that are available through LDS Family Services. 

It is my prayer that the spirit is with me as I speak with you - and with you, as you listen,  so that we will both be edified and learn.

 In April 2010, President Uchdorf talked to us about the wonder of fairy tales. There are two famous lines in most fairy tales.  "Once upon a time and they lived happily ever after"..  Sandwiched between those two lines is great adversity.  Cinderella, after the death of her father, had to endure much hardship from her wicked step mother and evil step sisters.  Belle in the "Beauty and the Beast", became a captive to an ugly frightful-looking beast in order to save her home, family and father. . . . . .
None of us are immune to challenges in our lives, and if we don't know what's available, or where we can get help, then we may not like the consequences of our choices.  Some of us may need one of the programs offered by LDS-FS before we can reach our own. . . "Happily Ever After"

A couple saved for a long time so they could come to America from Liverpool, England.  The appointed day arrived for the ship to depart and they realized they had enough to pay for the passage to America, but there was little left.  How would they live for the two weeks at sea?  They decided to buy a case of saltine crackers; they could at least eat those on their journey.  Each day they would smell the delicious meals being prepared, but would go to their stateroom and eat their crackers.  The last night before coming into New York harbor, they talked and decided that even though they had very little money left, they would buy one meal.  When they went to the purser to find out  the cost, he informed them that all their meals were included in the price of their tickets. Can you imagine how they felt? 

 By not finding out all the information before they boarded, they made some unwise choices. And the consequence was a miserable two weeks at sea!

 Each of us have to go through our own dark valley of temptations, trials, sorrows or consequences of poor choices.

So let's take a look at what help is available:

* First: LDS Family Services is under the direction of the First Presidency of the church, and they want each of us to know that - HELP IS AVAILABLE!

This treatment is for men, ages 18 and older, who struggle with sexual and pornography addictions.  It is a workshop facilitated by professional counselors trained in these specific addictions.

The First Presidency is working on guidelines for youth Pornography Workshops.  When this program is available the information will be released to the Stakes.

These workshops are set up for women who have suffered from co-dependency, abuse, trauma or have issues with spouses or children who are struggling with addictions.

 Isaiah 54:4  "Surely he has borne our grief's and carried our sorrows".

 Elder Bednar, in April Conference 2005 said, " The tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us".

These workshops that I have talked about are - 8 weeks, 2 hours each.. thru LDS Family Services

President Harold B. Lee said, "Members may need counseling more than clothing and members who go to Family Services should feel NO MORE hesitancy in asking for help of this kind, than they should in requesting any help through the priesthood. 


         * Before they leave on their missions

         * During their missions

         * After an early release - 3 months free counseling

 * After a full term mission.. if the missionary is struggling, they may receive counseling     from Family Services with a recommendation from their Bishop.


ANY LDS woman, facing an unplanned pregnancy is eligible to receive free counseling, to educate and empower the birth parents to make their own choices ( not connected to adoption)  The birth parents "free agency" is most important.. Family Services and the Priesthood leaders want them to have the best skills for their choice." Family Services are no longer "adoption driven",

The birth mother, father and parents of both young people are encouraged to be involved...... Everyone needs to know all the choices and options that are available

LDS Family Services announced on June 17, 2014 that it will no longer operate as a full adoption agency, instead shifting all of its adoption related resources to counseling for birth parents and prospective adoptive parents:
The adoption program of LDS Family Services is changing.  Their goal is to provide more opportunities for LDS families to adopt.  Their goal also is to provide a broader array of services, more services to single parents & unwed-parents, that are in the church primarily". 
For decades, Family Services has been operating one of the worlds largest, private, non-profit adoption agencies.

Family Services will now partner with local community resources, including adoption agencies, that will do licensed regulatory work like home studies.
Changes in adoption trends prompted the change. The largest pressure in domestic adoption has been the reduction in children available for adoption.

Recent statistics also show that 41% of births in the US are to single birth mothers and  just 1 percent of these births result in adoption. That's down from 9 percent in 1973.
LDS Family Services hopes to provide more counseling and information to birth parents who choose to raise their child about the options and help them connect with outside resources.

The counseling provided by LDS  Family Services will be free.
Family Services supports, educates and is an advocate for a positive view of all families undergoing this process.

Adoptions today have openness:
Openness for both sides; birth parents, grandparents and the adoptive families. They are not the closed door, "never know or be involved again policy" of years past. 

One birth parent said, " counseling helped us deal with the many emotions we felt - with no pressure -  and the help we needed to know how to proceed."

This is a very hard decision, no matter which way they decide to go and a heavy burden to carry alone. 

 Family Services  & our Stake Presidencies goal -  is to keep these birth parents active in the gospel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 These are two courses that have been developed to help couples enrich their marriage relationship & Parents to enhance their parenting skills.

The purpose of the strengthening marriage course is to foster a harmonious and loving relationship between husband and wife. 

The Strengthening Families course is designed to help us understand the principles of effective parenting. 

This  program was developed by a professor at the University of Washington in conjunction with  gospel principles under the guidance of the First Presidency.

Our Stake Presidency is calling a set of leaders for each church building in the stake These couples will be the instructors for these classes. Once they are called and trained by Family Services, the information on class schedules will be made available to every ward.  The First Presidency encourages everyone to participate in these classes.. 


An addiction is any compulsive behavior or something you are so dependent upon that you can no longer see how to withdraw from it;
This can include,
  • tobacco
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • tea
  • credit cards
  • gambling
  • co-dependency
  • drugs (street or prescription)
  • shopping
  • eating disorders
  • pornography
  • video and internet games
These support groups are for men, women and family or supportive friends.

 All addictions diminish the ability to feel the spirit. . . .
In each of these support groups a confidentiality contract or agreement is made.  That means that whoever attends, agrees not to tell who is in the group or what is said.

 Boyd K. Packer said, "no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense is exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness".

 In Matthew 11:28 the Savior said, "come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Can we imagine anyone who is more heavy laden than one who is under the influence of some compulsive behavior?
There are many support groups in the valley and they meet as early as 6:30 a.m. or as late as 8:00 p.m.  There is no cost for support groups and all are welcome.  They are led my members of the church who have been trained by LDS Family Services.  You can find out locations and times on the internet at arp.lds.org

 Isaiah 1:18 tells us "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,

Brother Stephen Robinson explains this scripture in his book "Believing Christ".  He says, "It doesn't matter what you did. Whatever it was, no matter how horrible or vile is not the issue.  The issue is that Christ can erase it. That's what the atonement is all about.. . . Jesus Christ died for our sins, but also for our mistakes..

Brothers and Sisters, we need to believe that "Christ can do what he says he can do.  And of course we need to do our part. 

First - We need to choose to BEGIN; (sometimes the hardest step).
1st Choose to acknowledge our errors and decide to repent, NOW..

President Monson has pleaded, "We love you, we need you, we miss you. Please come back".

Brother Robinson said, "We all fail, we may fail by differing degrees, but we all fail.  That's why we all need help.  Why we all need our Savior and why needing help and needing a Savior are no disgrace". 
2nd Choose the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it's teachings
3rd Choose to study the scriptures and follow the words of the prophet
4th Choose to forgive, ourselves and others. . . welcome back those returning with open arms and love. 

If you fell and broke your hip or arm you wouldn't try to repair it yourself, and sometimes, to help us come back, it takes professionals.  Let us take advantage of all that's offered at LDS Family Services..

None of us, are immune to challenges in our lives, and if we don't know what's available, or where we can get help, then we may not like the consequences of our choices. 

 Let's not let Satan convince any of us, that we are beyond that help.

 I'll close with a quote from President Thomas S. Monson, "As member shepherds of our Father in Heaven's flock, we should not judge why some have strayed, but rather should try to unceasingly to bring them back again unto the fold, knowing Jesus can heal them, when none other can.  we must offer opening arms and a loving invitation to those in our families who may have strayed from the path of truth". 

 Because of Jesus Christ
Peace can replace guilt
Healthy relations can be restored
Addictions can be overcome

 Love truly is the key. . . . may we all choose to love is my humble prayer.