“A stake has at least four purposes:
“1. Each stake, presided over by three high priests, and supported by twelve men known as a high council, becomes a miniature church to the Saints in a specific geographic area. The purpose is to unify and perfect the members who live in those boundaries by extending to them the Church programs, ordinances, and gospel instruction.
“2. Members of stakes are to be models or standards of righteousness.
“3. Stakes are to be a defense. The members do this as they unify under their local priesthood officers and consecrate themselves to do their duty and keep their covenants. Those covenants, if kept, become a protection from error, evil, or calamity.
We build temples only where we have stakes. The blessings and ordinances of the temple prepare one for exaltation. Of course, it is not possible for every stake to have a temple, but we are presently witnessing some remarkable, yes, miraculous developments, in the building of temples in different parts of the world. Such a program permits members of the Church to receive the full blessings of the Lord.
“4. Stakes are a refuge from the storm to be poured out over the earth.11”
Should Christmas really be that much different than the rest of our days of the year? Shouldn’t we be as charitable every day as we are at Christmas time.
I gave a Sunday school lesson last week on being more effective church members. I drew on material from that and two lessons I had heard my Sunday school teaching partner give. One on setting goals and one that talked about strengthening ourselves, then strengthening our families and growing out to strengthen neighbors, ward, stake, church, and the world.