Ideas for LDS Sacrament Meeting Talks

A friend posted: “I need some good topics for Sunday speakers. Hit me up with topics you have liked or would like to hear about.” Without any hesitation I banged out this list of ideas for LDS sacrament meeting talks.

A few of the immediate reactions:

Reaction to my ideas for LDS sacrament meeting talks

“If I ever write a book, you’re picking the title.”

“Holy cow! Where did all these come from? Seriously the titles alone speak a sermon.”

“Nat holy cow. If you just came up with those that is mind blowing.”

Spice up your Sunday meetings with these starting points off the beaten path.

If you write a sacrament talk or ask someone to speak from one of these titles, send me a copy or comment.

34 Ideas for LDS Sacrament Meeting Talks

When People Don’t Apologize: Forgiving and finding reconciliation with God

Would borrow from Forgiveness + Tribulation, a talk I gave fall 2019.

Honoring Fallen Parents: The Fifth Commandment and Romans 3:23

The Fifth Commandment enjoins: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

How can we, how do we, honor parents … when they have ALL fallen short—at best—and done real harm, at worst?

Mediating Identities: Being an independent agent AND part of a family, part of a ward, part of a Church at the same time

… for there is a God, and he hath created all things … both things to act and things to be acted upon … Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.

2 Nephi 2:14-16

[M]en should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will … For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.

D&C 58:26-27


And let every man esteem his brother as himself … And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

D&C 38:24-27

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.

John 17:22-23

Forgiving Ourselves: Letting go of shame, expectation, guilt and perfectionism

The Appeal of Hakuna Matata, and Gospel Prompts for Finding + Making Meaning in Shouldering Responsibility

“Time Isn’t Found, It Is Made” — and other pedestrian truisms the gospel turns upside down

I believe “time isn’t found, it is made” is a Henry B Eyring line. Need to verify.

We’re All Wart: How The Sword and the Stone helped me rediscover what it means to be a child of God

There’s so much to unpack from these opening 8 lines.

Heavenly Mother & The Tree of Life: Symbols of Divine Femininity

7 Years of Plenty and 7 Years of Famine: What I am really learning to lay up in store for my family

The Good Samaritan: Seeing myself in every character

I Am Alma Too: Conversations with my present-day children of varying degrees of faith

(I don’t have kids. To someone who does, go for it.)

From Obedience to Integrity: The personal transformation to leader from follower

Skeletons in Our Closet: What to do when family history uncovers unsavory characters

The Prodigal’s Sibling: Learning to love as my father did

Cardinal Truth: Spiritual directions intimated by North, East, South and West

Seeing Thru a Glass Darkly: The beams that got in the way of knowing my parents, siblings and spouse

The Kingdom of God is Within Me … so why do I place so much stock in others’ accusations?

The Tarnished Rule: Consequences of misapplying The Golden Rule, and how I finally buffed out the error

Why Hope When You Can Ask … and Act?

Being Nice and Cowardice: Which, really, am I being?

Being Even As He Is: A Chapter on Courage

Every Day is a New World: Living with Creative Force in Every Moment

Clinging to Dregs: The unseen upside to keeping ourselves dirty and why we make that horrible tradeoff

Embracing Possibility: The absolute terror of becoming the best possible versions of ourselves

Letting Others Grow: The petty ways I’ve kept my friends & family small

No One is Coming: Stand Up and Lead Your Own **** Life

Taking Responsibility: Voluntarily shouldering the burdens of mortality and climbing upward to The City on a Hill

Empty Handed at the Pearly Gates: Coming to grips with my own vapidness from a life of ease

Oh, So You Think YOU Could Be a Prophet?

Admitting Laman and Lemuel are there to Mirror Me

Lehi and Alma: Grace for parents who “failed”

Ether 12:27: Weaknesses and Epic Fails which only now, a decade later, I can appreciate and be grateful for

Leaning on The Atonement to Overcome Humiliation

The Sound of Silence: Answering my own prayers

There you go. What ideas for LDS sacrament meeting talks do you have now?

By |2021-12-22T17:15:01-07:00April 27th, 2021|Faith|5 Comments

How Do I Write a Good Essay?

Kurt Vonnegut will tell you a good essay has to start with good ideas. It doesn’t matter if you can craft a paper with excellent construction and form. Your ideas have to be interesting, new, deep and worthwhile in some way. Why is what you are writing about important? You may not know exactly what your whole paper is going to be about when you start writing. I have started papers and just written to see where I end up. However, you should have a good idea of where you may be headed. After you have good ideas, then use all the standard writing techniques to effectively communicate your thoughts. Just as great construction is no good without good ideas, great ideas aren’t worth much when presented ineffectively.

So how do I come up with good ideas for a good essay?

One method I have picked up this year, though it is more time consuming, is to thoroughly look over the material that I am writing about. This is easier when I mark up whatever I am reading the first time I read it. Go ahead, whip out the pens and highlighters and mark up your book. I used to think it would be rude to mark up a book and ruin the experience for the next reader. So I tried post-it notes. Those were messy. I quickly got over it and decided to have at it with my books (or make photocopies if it’s from someone else’s book). Marking the text has helped me tremendously. So when I read, I think ahead about the fact that I will be writing a paper and revisiting the words, and I therefore read carefully and mark things that are important or could be useful.

After picking a topic for my essay, I go back through my markings and jot notes (with page numbers) of everything related to the topic. I re-read those passages carefully and pay closer attention to the words and their meanings. That way, my mind is refreshed as to what exactly each work says about my chosen topic. This way, what I think, and end up writing, will be accurate. I will be writing about the text and not bringing new things to it that may not really be as applicable. It’s better to be based on what is actually there, and not what I am bringing to the work and mistakenly attributing to the author.

As I write, I cite the text frequently. Even if it is just a single word. Using the author’s words (and then expanding or following with my own connecting analysis) demonstrates two things: 1) that I read carefully, and 2) that my thoughts derive from the text. Now, I won’t go overboard and have more citations than my own words, but backing myself up with material from my sources (not just further explanations by myself) is always a good idea. It keeps me grounded in the experience other people can actually have with the work, since I am sticking to what is there.

Lastly, it takes time to write a good essay or a good paper. A first draft is never good enough. The papers that I have done the best with are the ones where I have taken the time to re-write and re-think whole paragraphs or sections. It is annoying to delete a great paragraph and re-write another, but that’s just how to make my work better. The easiest way to accomplish this is to write a draft as soon as I can. Preferably, five or more days before deadline. After I have a draft, I take it to a professor or another qualified individual and discuss it with them. I choose people who can help me with my ideas, not just proofread for errors. Once I started caring about writing good essays and showing that to the people I asked for help, they started earnestly wanting help me improve my words. I find the reviewers who know that I care are more willing to give additional advice and suggest better ideas than those who perceive I just want to get it done.

My papers and essays have been as good as the thoughts I came up with (my thoughts, not thoughts borrowed from another critic or source) and the time I spent making it better.

I know it’s tough to crank out a good essay, but I hope this helps.

Happy writing.

By |2021-03-15T13:07:50-06:00March 4th, 2004|General Life|0 Comments