Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gratitude Talk by Esther Hudson

Two weeks ago when Brother Palmer phoned and asked me to give a talk today

on gratitude as part of the Remembrance Day week, I was happy to do it.  I am

passionate about the principle of gratitude.  As part of my professional work, I

have thought a lot about it. At that time, however, I was unaware that, in light of

the events of the last week, namely the new policy governing same sex marriage

in the church, it would also be the key for coping with the immense personal pain

of that issue.

In my work, I design and deliver training to employees and leaders in

organizations.  I have the wonderful opportunity of teaching the principles of the

gospel as I do these workshops.  In just the last two weeks I have delivered

courses about change, conflict, relationship building and performance

management.  In all those programs I had the opportunity to teach about love

and compassion and forgiveness. The gospel principle I teach the most about,

however is gratitude.  I rarely use that term.  It is usually couched in terms like –

employee recognition, positive feedback, consequences and appreciative or

transformational leadership.

Expressing gratitude is a powerful tool in organizations. It builds employee

motivation and engagement, reduces turnover, and increases growth and

productivity.  There is a body of research called the Pygmalion studies, where

over 350 experiments were conducted to investigate one study.  A teacher was

given a group of children and told that they were exceptionally bright but

currently functioning below their potential, when in fact they had very average

scores on achievement tests.  Within a short period of time the children were

performing as if they were gifted.

In follow up studies it was found that when we have a positive view of someone

we behave differently towards them.  We notice what they do that is positive and

remember it.  If an intention is unclear we attribute a positive intention to the

behaviour.  We share more information with that person, we exhibit more

positive behaviours–we smile, pat them on the back etc. And most importantly

we get what we expect – positive behaviour and results.  They become more of

the person we think they are.

Unfortunately the opposite is also true.  When we have a negative view of

someone, we notice their mistakes and remember them, we attribute negative

intentions to their behaviour, we smile less, share less information and also


unfortunately we get what we expect – their behaviour is negative and


When we express our gratitude, about what someone has done, they are

motivated to do more and better whatever it was that we appreciated. This is

particularly important with children as they grow.  My grandfather was wise as he

said, “Don’t tell a child what they have done that is wrong, tell them how to do it

right.”  An emphasis on the positive is key.

Expressions of gratitude are positive. Gratitude is a principle with a promise.

When we express gratitude it changes both us and the other person.  We

experience joy as we see the other person succeed and grow.  Our power to

influence also  grows. They want to rise to OUR expectations.  When we receive

expressions of gratitude WE want to be better and seek to develop and grow.

There is good reason why Heavenly Father and the Saviour want us to be thankful

for our blessings and express our gratitude to them.  They want us to grow and

become like them.  They love us and want us to accept more of their love and

direction. They want to bless us more and they can’t do this if WE do not

acknowledge what they have given us already.  If we wish to become like the

Saviour we need to become more aware of the great blessings that we have been

given and acknowledge the Lord’s hand in our lives.  In doing so we will become

more motivated to change our lives and to draw closer to God.

The scriptures teach us what we need to know about gratitude

 In Philippians 4: 6  we are told HOW-  Be careful for nothing; but in everything

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known

unto God.

In Alma 34:38 we are told WHEN and WHere “take upon you the name of Christ;

that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever

place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily,

for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.


 In Mosiah 2:34  we are told ABOUT WHAT  to be grateful for: “ye are

eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have

and are.

D&C 78:19 we are told of the great blessings we will receive.  And he who

receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of

this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Brothers and Sisters I am grateful for many things that the Lord has blessed me

with especially in this time of personal trial.



I am grateful to my parents.  My mother who loved me unconditionally.  She

exemplified patience in times of great personal suffering. She demonstrated what

support and compassion in a family means on a daily basis, especially when times

are difficult. She is a model for me of patience and love.

I am grateful to my Father who above all else taught me how to think for myself.

When I came upon D&C 9: 8 “ study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it

be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;

therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”  I knew how to do the thinking that

answers to prayer require.   I have experienced great answers to prayer because

of this.

My Father also taught by both word and his actions, the importance of the

principle of integrity and its related principles of honesty, respect for others and

service. He held himself to a high standard in this regard.  He demonstrated that

integrity is active – it is standing up for what you believe with courage and

conviction especially when it is difficult – even when those who you love and

respect do and say things that you know are wrong. This is especially true when

that which is wrong hurts others who are vulnerable.  He told me that those who

are strong should take care of those who are weak and expected that I would be

one of the strong.



I am grateful for being a Canadian and for the values that are the foundation of

our culture.  As Mayor Nenshi said in a speech delivered to the 2015 Lafontaine-

Baldwin Symposium in Stratford Ontario

”When Canada works, it works better than anywhere. What we know is that

we’ve figured out a simple truth—one which evades too many in this broken

world. And that simple truth is just this: nous sommes ici ensemble. We’re in this

together. Our neighbour’s strength is our strength; the success of any one of us is

the success of every one of us. And, more important, the failure of any one of us

is the failure of every one of us.

This means that our success is in that tolerance, that respect for pluralism, that

generous sharing of opportunity with everyone, that innate sense that every

single one of us, regardless of where we come from, regardless of what we look

like, regardless of how we worship, regardless of whom we love, that every single

one us deserves the chance right here, right now, to live a great Canadian life.

I love what the Mayor said  and what we as Canadians aspire to be. It is what we

have gone to war to defend.

We are the country that leads the world in human rights legislation with our

Charter of Rights and Freedom. This great document is great, I believe, because it

reflects Christ’s principle of “no respecter of persons.  We are all equal; in the

household of God.”

I am grateful that this has shaped other legislation in ways very different than

other countries, specifically the U.S. and we have less to fear as a result.  It

shaped our Civil Marriage Act that outlines the legal basis for same sex marriage,

the importance of religious freedom and our nation’s commitment to stable

marriages and families.

 A portion of the preamble explains these important tenants

WHEREAS nothing in this Act affects the guarantee of freedom of conscience

and religion and, in particular, the freedom of members of religious groups to

hold and declare their religious beliefs and the freedom of officials of religious

groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their

religious beliefs;


WHEREAS marriage is a fundamental institution in Canadian society and

the Parliament of Canada has a responsibility to support that institution

because it strengthens commitment in relationships and represents the

foundation of family life for many Canadians;

AND WHEREAS, in order to reflect values of tolerance, respect and

equality consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, access

to marriage for civil purposes should be extended by legislation to couples of

the same sex;


I am grateful for my family. My sweetheart and husband of 43 years is my best,

dearest and closest friend.  He shares my life, my loves, my sorrows and my

values.  We have grown closer through our individual and shared trials over the

years.  He blesses my life daily and I am not sure how I will ever be able to live

happily without him.

I am grateful for my six children and their considerable talents, intelligence and

compassion. I am especially grateful for our youngest daughter Anne who is gay.

When she was born 20 years after Erin, our oldest and 11 years after Greg, Gillian

wondered why she came so much after the others. We now know why.

The legal and cultural landscape of Canada has changed in the last 30 years.  Anne

is a now able as a gay person in Canada to experience in this country the

opportunity to love freely and marry without persecution whomever she wants.

This will allow her to be true to the spiritual identity that Heavenly Father blessed

her with.  In her, the Lord saved the best for the last.  She is the whole package.

As her sister wrote this week to us and her siblings “Anne is the smartest and

nicest of all us (sorry guys).”  And Mere was right. Anne is an example of courage

and compassion in all that she does. Whether it is being captain of her high school

rugby team or speaking to classes at BYU about being gay, she displays courage

and what her patriarchal blessing describes her “great intellect and great insight

into life” and as such the Lord commissions her to use these gifts to bring

happiness to God’s children to comfort others and to lighten the burdens of

mortal life.” Her plan to become a Human Rights lawyer is consistent with the

Lord’s charge.


In her letter to the family about the recent church policy she said that her first

thought was for us and how much this policy would hurt us.  She writes ”I know

that the church's position puts some of you in a seemingly impossible position,

and I wish I could make that go away. I wish more than anything that I could take

away the struggle”. Her next thought was for her LGBT friends.  She “What most

concerned me when reading my friends' reactions to the change was that more

families won't accept their gay children. I am so worried about my dear, dear

friends. There is so much hurt in a community that I love dearly.”

Always her thoughts are for others.   This despite the fact that the church will for

her choice to build a happy life of love, learning and family for herself will brand

her an apostate, revoke her baptism, take away from her the freedom to fully

worship and serve in the church and deny her the blessings of the temple. I am

grateful for her and her example of love and her “Ability to mourn with those who

mourn and to comfort those who stand in need of comfort”.  She will continue to

keep her baptismal covenants even as the church takes her membership away.

At this time I am most grateful for the example and love of the Saviour. His

courage in cleansing the temple and chastising those in power at the time– the

Pharisees and lawyers, encourages me to show courage in righting wrongs. His

example of compassion and love for all people - the least in the society in which

he lived – the lepers, the Samaritans and of course women instructs me in my

responsibilities as his disciple .  I must be one of the strong that cares for the

weak.  More than anything else, I am grateful for his personal sacrifice and

atonement for me and my sins.  I owe everything to him – who I am and will be,

what I have and will have.  He is my Exemplar, my God, my Saviour and my friend.

I know he knows, understands and loves me.

4 ¶Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem

him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:

the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Brothers and Sisters,  Let me quote from President Monson’s talk “Joy in the

Journey”.   Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word.

By so doing, give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.


I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Facebook Friday

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


We just got back from California where we went to Disneyland, saw Ben and Sarah and squished Lucas' cheeks. We said goodbye to Cory's grandpa Karl and played on the beach. It was pretty much heaven.

D from Cory LeSueur on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

FMH Guest Post

Hey y'all. I was asked to guest post at Feminist Mormon Housewives this week and my first post is dear to my heart. Take a peak