Julia, I read half the talk and want to get back to it before I write anything. Definitely worth discussing.
I'm currently working on a talk for Stake Conference. No, I have not been assigned a talk in the traditional sense of the word; however, the Presiding Bishopric asked all the members of our stake to prepare a ten minute (adults, 7 min youth, 3 min primary) talk and then all our speakers are going to be called up out of the congregation. Is this happening anywhere else?? Random. My talk is about worshipping in the temple and I'll post it in its entirety later because Kami asked me to but for now--I just wanted to mention that "refinement" is popping up all over the place now that I'm looking for it, or more aware of it.
For example, for my talk I drew heavily from the David O. McKay: Teachings of Presidents of the Church book--the chapter called "Elements of Worship." In it he spends a lot of time talking about reverence and meditation. And I quote: "Reverence embraces regard, deference, honor, and esteem. Without some degree of it, therefore, there would be no courtesy, no gentility, no consideration of others' feelings, or of others' rights."
Later he said, "Reverence indicates high culture, and true faith in deity and in his righteousness."
This is the most thought-provoking line in the whole chapter. "I am prompted to place reverence next to love. Jesus mentioned it first in the Lord's prayer. 'Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . .." Hallow--to make holy--to hold in reverence. So if we increase the reverence in our home we are making our home increasingly holy and we do that through showing courtesy and and consideration for the other people in our home. We also do that by creating an atmosphere of gentility and high culture. Interesting.
In case you're interested, President McKay gave us three ways to "awaken reverence in children and contribute to its development in their souls. These are: first, firm but Gentle Guidance, second, Courtesy shown by parents to each other, and to children; and third, Prayer in which children participate. In every home in this Church parents should strive to act intelligently in impressing children with those three fundamentals.
Reverence directs thought toward God. Without it there is no religion (his italics and capitalizing)."
You should all read this. It is pretty much one of my favorite talks ever. Elder McConkie is very straight-forward. I like that.