I’ve noticed a trend for newlyweds to have elaborate, expensive wedding receptions. Is this necessary, particularly for a temple marriage?

Elaine Holbrook, Bountiful, Utah. Wedding receptions are popular in many societies, and Latter-day Saints often celebrate their marriages in this manner. Unfortunately, receptions can be quite expensive, particularly for those who go into debt or overextend their budget in trying to “keep up” with friends and neighbors.

A number of alternatives to wedding receptions have been adopted by many people which have brought happiness to the bride and groom. One popular practice is to eliminate the expense of a wedding reception and instead provide the couple with a sum of money to help furnish their new home or cover other expenses.

Even if a reception is chosen, it need not be extravagant. In fact, elaborate wedding receptions sometimes detract from the real meaning of the day. Here are some ideas you may want to consider in planning a reception:

1. Consider a home reception. These have been longtime favorites, and they offer many advantages. Our family has hosted four wedding receptions, one in a ward cultural hall, two garden receptions at our home, and, in December, one inside our home. We did not choose home wedding receptions to economize. We found that a reception at home has a warm, personal feeling hard to achieve in a hotel, country club, or reception hall.

2. Don’t feel bound by society’s expectations. Some of the most memorable receptions I’ve attended have not followed the traditional patterns set by society. You don’t really need to have a formal reception line, for example. Even if you choose to have one, you do not necessarily need tuxedos, dressed-alike mothers, fancy bridesmaid gowns, or elaborate corsages. Dark suits and Sunday dresses have the virtue of not distracting from the focal point of a reception—the bride and groom.

3. Think of alternatives to traditional receptions. Trousseau teas, engagement parties, or wedding breakfasts can take the place of receptions. Because these events are less formal, more intimate, and give more time for visiting, many brides look back on them with warmer, more relaxed memories than they do on receptions.

4. Plan now for future memories. Photographs are a good investment, but they need not be costly. We find the ones enjoyed the most are the candid shots taken during the reception, at the wedding breakfast, and on the temple grounds. We have found that a skilled family member or friend can take meaningful pictures.

5. Choose a wedding dress that can be used later. A wedding dress can serve later as a temple dress. Or, if the dress is tea length or not so full, you can add a contrasting cumberbund and wear it to formal parties. Ecru lace dresses are beautiful in a wedding line and can be worn afterward.

6. Consider carefully where you want to spend your money. My younger sister loved engraved wedding invitations, but felt no desire to have her own wedding gown. She borrowed a cousin’s wedding dress and splurged on the invitations.

More and more families are hand-delivering wedding invitations to those who live nearby. How delightful it is to open the door to see a prospective bride or groom holding an invitation to one of the happiest occasions of life.

7. Be sure the reception or party reflects the personality and tastes of the bride, groom, and family. For her trousseau, one of my nieces displayed two quilts, her BYU diploma, and a note reading “This is Jamie’s trousseau.” As her father said, “Her trousseau may not be large, but she brings to her marriage a fine mind and a strong testimony.”

Family traditions can add distinction to the festivities. We have always enjoyed making, cutting, and wrapping the groom’s cake ourselves. Because music is such an important part of our family’s life and love, we have chosen to emphasize it as one of the focal points of the reception.

Wisdom, of course, should dictate in these matters. We should always remember the counsel of the prophets that debt, except for essentials such as a house or automobile, should not be incurred. Debt for many members of the Church may be as a millstone around their necks, something which requires great effort and time to remove.

The gospel is a gospel of salvation, both temporal and spiritual. Each Latter-day Saint couple should consider marriage in the temple as the primary source of happiness in this life and eternal joy in the world to come. Some Latter-day Saints have suggested that the time and energy spent on a wedding reception could more profitably be devoted to preparation for the temple marriage itself.

The first miracle Christ performed was at a wedding. At our own weddings, we too celebrate a miracle—the privilege the Lord gives us of making an eternal covenant with him and our beloved spouse. An appropriate reception can be a wonderful way to celebrate this miracle with our loved ones.

How can Jesus and Lucifer be spirit brothers when their characters and purposes are so utterly opposed?

Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

How could two such great spirits become so totally opposite? The answer lies in the principle of agency, which has existed from all eternity. (See D&C 93:30–31.) Of Lucifer, the scripture says that because of rebellion “he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies.” (Moses 4:4.) Note that he was not created evil, but became Satan by his own choice.

When our Father in Heaven presented his plan of salvation, Jesus sustained the plan and his part in it, giving the glory to God, to whom it properly belonged. Lucifer, on the other hand, sought power, honor, and glory only for himself. (See Isa. 14:13–14; Moses 4:1–2.) When his modification of the Father’s plan was rejected, he rebelled against God and was subsequently cast out of heaven with those who had sided with him. (See Rev. 12:7–9; D&C 29:36–37.)

That brothers would make dramatically different choices is not unusual. It has happened time and again, as the scriptures attest: Cain chose to serve Satan; Abel chose to serve God. (See Moses 5:16–18.) Esau “despised his birthright”; Jacob wanted to honor it. (Gen. 25:29–34.) Joseph’s brothers sought to kill him; he sought to preserve them. (Gen. 37:12–24; Gen. 45:3–11.)

It is ironic that the agency with which Lucifer rebelled is the very gift he tried to take from man. His proposal was that all be forced back into God’s presence. (See Moses 4:1, 3.) But the principle of agency is fundamental to the existence and progression of intelligent beings: as we make wise choices, we grow in light and truth. On the other hand, wrong choices—such as the one Satan made—stop progress and can even deny us blessings that we already have. (See D&C 93:30–36.)

In order for us to progress, therefore, we must have the opportunity to choose good or evil. Interestingly, Satan and his angels—those who opposed agency—have become that opposition. As the prophet Lehi taught, “Men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27.)

Although the Father has allowed Satan and his angels to tempt mankind, he has given each of us the ability to rise above temptation. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.) He has also given us the great gift of the Atonement.

When the Lord placed enmity between Eve’s children and the devil, Satan was told that he would bruise the heel of Eve’s seed, but her seed would bruise his head. (See Moses 4:21.) President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “the ‘God of peace,’ who according to the scriptures is to bruise Satan, is Jesus Christ.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957, 1:3.) Satan would bruise the Savior’s heel by leading men to crucify Him. But through his death and resurrection, Christ overcame death for all of us; and through his atonement, he offers each of us a way to escape the eternal ramifications of sin. Thus, Satan’s machinations have been frustrated and eventually he will be judged, bound, and cast into hell forever. (See Rev. 20:1–10; D&C 29:26–29.)

In Hebrew, the word bruise means “to crush or grind.” Therefore, the very heel that was bruised will crush Satan and will help us overcome the world and return to our Father. As we use our agency to choose good over evil, the atonement of Christ prepares the way for us to return to our Father in Heaven.

We can only imagine the sorrow of our Heavenly Father as he watched a loved son incite and lead a rebellion and lose his opportunity for exaltation. But we can also imagine the Father’s love and rejoicing as he welcomed back the beloved son who had valiantly and perfectly fought the battles of life and brought about the great Atonement through his suffering and death.

The Primary lessons in the manual never seem long enough. As a teacher, I always finish before class time ends. What is appropriate for me to do?

Kathryn Christensen Harris, former member of the Primary General Board, now on a mission in Kentucky. The purpose of the Primary lessons is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and to help them learn to live it. Since classes vary in size, background, and interest, the time it takes to present the prepared lessons will vary.

Each lesson has a stated purpose; everything in the lesson should help teach that gospel principle. Since we as teachers are encouraged to present the lessons as outlined in the manual, I recommend that we expand the existing lesson, rather than bringing in a lot of extra material to fill up the class time. Following are ways to make the entire class time meaningful for the children:

1. Discuss their activities and interests. It is important for you to know your class members—their backgrounds, interests, abilities, and the current happenings affecting their lives. This information is basic to modifying and expanding lesson materials. During the first few minutes of class time, ask the children to share important things happening in their lives. Invite them to discuss their concerns and questions.

2. Use questions effectively. Since nearly all lessons involve discussion, your skill and effectiveness in asking good questions and involving class members in the discussion can make a great difference in the success of the lesson. Use questions that require thought and discussion, rather than yes/no or simple answers. Ask such questions as “What do you think … ?” “Would you please explain … ?” “Why do you think … ?” Children will respond best if you recognize and value their answers.

3. Repeat learning activities and stories. Children will repeat the things they enjoy doing. By repeating some of the learning activities in the lesson, you will be reinforcing the gospel principle as well as expanding the lesson.

A good story, too, is worth repeating. Following the first telling, have a class member retell it, or have one class member begin, and others continue one by one until it is finished. Make some stories open-ended (stop before the story is completed) and take time for several class members to tell how they think it should end. Have the children role play a story or a situation. Role playing is most successful when the children are very familiar with the story and you have reviewed the sequence of events, the character traits of the people in the story, and the reasons things happened. If your class is small, you could be one of the characters or the narrator, and class members could take more than one part. Most important, follow up the role playing with a discussion about reactions and feelings.

4. Help class members identify with the people in the story. Ask such questions as “What kind of person would you be if you were like _______? or “Why would you like to be like ______? or “What would happen in your life if you did the same thing?”

5. Use pictures to involve class members. Pictures help children identify individuals, stories, and scenes. But they can also be used as springboards into further discussion. Occasionally ask the children to tell what happened just before and what is likely to happen right after what is shown in the picture.

6. Encourage the children in their artwork. When young children draw or color, encourage them to take time to do their best. Know what the age-group is capable of and call attention to simple skills which will help them improve their work. Have extra paper or copies handy in case some want to do another one; then give a positive challenge to do it “even better” this time. When they have completed their work, have each child show and tell about his or her work.

7. Extend the use of music in the lesson. Sing songs or hymns more than once, memorize the words, and discuss the meaning of words and the messages of the text.

8. Extend the use of the scriptures. By using the scriptures suggested in the lesson in ways that are appropriate to the age-group, you can help the children be excited and comfortable using them. For example: (a) before reading quotations directly from the scriptures, identify the book, chapter, and verse, and show where it is located; (b) have the children practice locating the scripture; (c) help them understand the background of the scripture being used; (d) have a scripture chase using references from the lesson.

9. Encourage memorization. Take time to help the children memorize important things from the lesson or items related to the lesson, such as names of the books in the scripture being used, the Presidents of the Church, quotations from Church leaders, and Articles of Faith. Simple games can make this learning more exciting. Review frequently the things they have memorized in the past.

10. Use games. Adapt a game or activity from a previous lesson to the content of the current lesson.

Every person who is called as a teacher has much to bring personally to his or her assignment—experience, awareness, personality traits, testimony, faith. All of these attributes can contribute greatly to the printed words in the lesson manual. As you are faithful in your calling, and as you prayerfully seek help from the Lord, you will be strengthened in your ability to use class time effectively and to influence for good those you teach.

Why does D&C 104:1 say that the united order was an everlasting order until the Lord comes, yet it is not practiced today?

Stephen K. Iba, instructor at the Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. Whenever a covenant or commandment is entered into between God and his children, it should be understood in terms of larger, eternal laws and principles. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated that “we are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity. God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as we do.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 356.) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8–9.)

These statements suggest that God may have something else in mind when he uses words like everlasting, eternal, Endless, or forever. “Endless torment” and “eternal damnation,” for example, do not mean there is no end to punishment, only that such punishment is God’s punishment. “The punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name.” (D&C 19:10.)

A number of scriptures in the Bible sustain this principle.

For example, during the Mosaic dispensation, the Lord commanded Israel to celebrate Passover: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Ex. 12:14.)

Similarly, the Day of Atonement, where the high priest would execute a sacrificial offering for all the people yearly, was sanctioned and sealed by Jehovah as “an everlasting statute unto you.” (Lev. 16:34.)

Today, we celebrate neither the Passover nor the Day of Atonement. We understand that both were in similitude of the everlasting release of God’s children from the bondage of sin and death through our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. (See Heb. 6:20.) With the Savior’s advent on earth, those ordinances were superseded by the ordinances of the gospel. (See Heb. 8.)

This is also true of the “everlasting covenant” of circumcision revealed to Abraham. (See Gen. 17:9–14.) In the first century A.D., this practice created problems when gentiles were converted to Christianity. Consequently, an apostolic council pronounced that this “everlasting” rite ended when Christ restored the fulness of the gospel. (See Acts 15:6–31.)

Early in the Restoration, the Lord revealed the law of consecration and commanded the Saints to be united in all things—doctrinally, spiritually, socially, and economically. This law, they were told, would help them establish Zion upon the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom. The united order was instituted to help implement the principles of the law of consecration.

Within three years, however, the Lord chastened the Church for transgression and withdrew the practice of the united order from the Saints. (See D&C 105:2–6, 9–13, 27–37.) Although the united order was suspended, some aspects of the law of consecration remained.

Aspects of the law of consecration that are active today were mentioned by President Marion G. Romney in general conference: “Full implementation of the united order must, according to the revelation, await the redemption of Zion. (See D&C 105:34.) In the meantime—while we are being more perfectly taught and are gaining experience—we should be strictly living the principles of the united order insofar as they are embodied in present Church requirements, such as tithing, fast offerings, welfare projects, storehouses, and other principles and practices. Through these programs we should, as individuals, implement in our own lives the bases of the united order.” (Ensign, May 1977, pp. 94–95.)

Although the united order was placed in abeyance, it is part of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. The principle is clear in the scriptures: The Lord is everlasting and eternal; hence, everything he commands is everlasting and eternal, although a particular commandment may not be practiced all the time, but only for the period the Lord wills. So it is with the united order—it will be lived in full when the Lord commands. It is his law, which is everlasting.