Saturday, November 24, 2012

December 2012 Ensign Highlights

In order to assist readers as they prepare for this season of joy and peace I would ask that they prayerfully consider the words of the Lord as given in the Christmas/December 2012 edition of the Ensign.
May we ever keep in mind that “Church magazines are an important segment of the authoritative voice of the Church through which prophetic counsel from the Lord is made available to all of our Father’s children of all ages on matters pertinent in today’s world.”
I testify that solutions to the world’s greatest problems will be found as individuals and governments heed the words of the Ensign.
Below I will quote a couple of the wonderful and faith promoting highlights from the December edition:
“If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing."
This is a wonderful message that the world needs to hear.  Why anyone would choose to feed their family and pay for water when they could be giving these sacred funds to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is completely beyond me.
Here is another very touching story……
“My wife, Lesa, and I became acquainted with a young woman soon after she came to church to attend an English class taught by the missionaries. She was outgoing, vibrant, and in control of her life, which included a good job, a longtime boyfriend, and her family….When the missionaries began teaching her the commandments, she knew she must obey.”
From the article we learn that her parents seemed worried.  Perhaps they thought she was getting involved in a cult, but she faithfully assured them this was not the case, and stopped talking to them. 
We learn that with the spirit of obedience “She broke up with her boyfriend and quit her job, which required that she work Sundays. She began observing the Word of Wisdom and accepted the law of tithing…..Within a few weeks of accepting the commandments, she found herself without a job, an apartment, or family support.”
Later when they met her while going for a walk she gleefully exclaimed “I am on my way to my new job working the graveyard shift at the drive-up window of a fast-food restaurant.”
I always encourage members to work at fast food restaurants rather than being tempted to accept careers which require them to work on Sundays.  When Doctor Murphy joined the Church he faithfully gave up his career as a heart surgeon so he could attend his Sabbath day meetings. 
The article explains that “This job represented a significant drop in pay, responsibility, and hours from her previous job. Despite significant trials and setbacks in the temporal affairs of her life, happiness exuded from her.  She then announced that her baptismal date had been set.”
What a beautiful example of righteousness. If all investigators could show such obedience and dedication to the one true Church of Christ the world would be a much better place. 
Lovingly shared by President Paternoster

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mormon Woman Ordained a Deacon

I received the following letter from Melanie Ladouceur of Paris, France this week and felt it deserved a response.  I will translate her letter and my response into English for your benefit. 

Dear President Paternoster,

I cannot for the life of me understand why it is that we the sisters of the latter days cannot serve as deacons in the church.  If the church today is literally a restored version of the early (New Testament) church, as we claim, why can women not serve as deacons? 

In Romans 16:1 we learn of the earliest Mormons (and I refer to them as Mormons because they are of the same church/religion as us) and are specifically told that Phebe, a woman, served as a deacon. 

Having served in a French speaking mission you would already be familiar with this verse President, but I will quote it anyway: “Je vous recommande Phoebé, notre soeur, qui est diaconesse de l'Église de Cenchrées….”  (
President, as you are likely aware the word "diaconesse" is the feminine version of the English word deacon.  It would be like saying deaconess in English (just as you use the word prophetess to describe a female prophet in your version of the Bible). 

This word “diaconesse” comes from a literal translation of the Greek word Diakonos, meaning deacon.  I know in some languages they have interpreted the word Diakonos to mean servant (such as in the English King James version of the Bible).  However in the New International Version (in English) it is translated as deacon, which is more accurate than servant.  (

Either way my point is clear.  There was a woman named Phebe who served as a deacon in the original church. 

And this being the case why can I not hold the Aaronic priesthood and serve as a deacon in the modern church, which church is simply a restoration of the original one?  It seems to me that the restored church has made an error, and I am very surprised that the Lord in his weekly temple visits with the prophet hasn’t corrected this.

Please let me know your thoughts on the matter,

Melanie Ladouceur

Below is my response

Dear Sister Ladouceur,

Thank you for bringing up this important point.  The main thing to keep in mind is even though the Greek word may well have been Diakonos the interpretation as servant must have been accurate because if it wasn’t Joseph Smith would have pointed this out as part of his inspiring project to correct the many errors in the Bible. 

Keep in mind that with regards to the qualifications required of a deacon we also read in the New Testament (in 1 Timothy 3:12) as follows: “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

As the only true Church upon the face of the earth we closely follow the words of the living scriptures by only ordaining 12 year old unmarried boys as deacons and having them advance to the office of teacher just two short years later. 

Please continue to find the sweet joy and peace that can only come from following your priesthood leaders and doing what they say.

With loving concern,

President Paternoster

Sunday, November 4, 2012

President Paternoster Speaks to the Sister Missionaries

Last week I was visiting Utah to meet with and provide direction to the public relations department of the Church in preparation for the possibility of Mitt Romney becoming President of the United States and the influx of new members this will cause.  I was absolutely delighted when Elder Nelson explained that an opening had come up and that he would be honoured if I were to address the sisters at the MTC. 
Below is an excerpt of my address (for the full address I understand that some of the sisters may be uploading my talk to YouTube):
Thank you Elder Nelson for that long and wonderful introduction.  Surely the spirit of the Lord is pleased when at such events we highlight each other’s academic and business achievements.  While the early apostles were nothing but fishermen and young Joseph was a poor farmer we the modern day leaders of the Lord’s kingdom, yea, we who will be present to usher in the millennial reign of our Lord and Saviour, rarely miss an opportunity to let the members know just how highly educated, successful and humble we are.  This is most pleasing unto our father in heaven.
Elder Nelson I am glad that you and the rest of The Twelve have also noticed the strong correlation between my blog posts and Church attendance.  I trust in the Lord that this trend will continue. While those who oppose this work may gain small victories (such as getting me banned from Facebook) my blog is still alive and well and is influencing many to come unto Christ and be saved. 
My dear sister missionaries, it is wonderful to be amongst you today.    
My thoughts and counsel today will be based on a wonderful article found at that was specifically written for you.
As I look upon you today I feel impressed to discuss the important and delicate issue of physical appearance.  As representatives of the Lord you must always look your best, for the Holy Ghost works at its greatest strength through a person who is in all things pure and clean. 
As you work alongside the elders please carefully consider their feelings.  The article brings up an important issue that should concern you each and every day of your mission.  It points out that “Elders’ most frequent complaints are about sisters’ hair .“  Please follow the counsel to “Have a neat and easy style—not too short or it will look like the elders’, and long enough so that it can be curled on Sundays.”
Be sure to “Sleep on a satin pillowcase” to preserve not only your hair style but also your divine femininity.
In my Stake I labour constantly to get the sisters to wear make-up when they are out in public.  The article on confirms this requirement for sister missionaries.  I have observed that some in this very room could use a little more.  Please seek out and follow the counsel of your wise and loving district leader in this matter. 
Remember always that as sisters you have pledged to “honor and support the priesthood authority over you (even though this authority be administered by an elder who is younger and less experienced). This is an important lesson to learn, for the line of authority is an eternal principle of the gospel and of the home.”
Sisters, always make sure that you are on a diet.  No elder wants to have to work with sisters who are overweight.  The article counsels that sisters should exercise and warns that at dinner appointments they should “take small helpings, no seconds, and cut down the next day”. 
A word of caution is given to, “Never, never eat late at night! When you come home late after a discussion and you have not had time for dinner, eat a little salad or fruit and then go straight to bed and think how much skinnier you will be by not eating a large meal until morning.”
The article confirms what I have been saying to Sister Paternoster for years in our weekly Personal Priesthood Interviews that, “If you are one pound overweight, it is too much. Take it off”
One suggestion that I hope you will all implement in your various missions is that of having a “BNTE Week (Be Nice to Elders Week) where you either cook something good or do something nice for the elders in your district. If you do this, remember that this week especially you must work like a whirlwind so no one can say that you borrowed the Lord’s time. Make it a top week in service and in work also.”
Something that sisters often forget is that rather than going shopping they should “Always participate with the elders on preparation day. If it is something you cannot do (for example if the elders are playing soccer or cricket), then at least be there to watch or cheer. This does wonders for mutual respect between elders and sisters.” Honestly I can’t think of a better activity for Sisters on P-day than watching and cheering the elders on as they play sports.  You may consider going the extra mile by supplying the food and cleaning up after them too. 
Now as a word of warning; As Brethren we understand that Sisters often like to get worked up and depressed about things.  When you get depressed, as I’m sure you will, set aside a little time that day to do something that raises your spirits. The article gives a great suggestion of “spending extra time on your hair and then praying earnestly for help from the Lord.”  
Sisters I know that as you do these things, you will find emerging within yourself a strength that will help you bear up under many hardships. You will gain an insight into the gospel that will bring peace to your heart.  And as the article confirms “you will have an aura of femininity and a serenity about you that no time spent before the mirror could ever produce”.  All this because you will be acquiring qualities that will help you to fulfill your mission in this life as well as in the eternities.
May the Lord bless you as you embark on your missions, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.