from the talk Choose to Believe
by Elder L. Whitney Clayton Of the Presidency of the Seventy
I have been studying the most recent conferences talks. I have been writing about a number of the ones that Inspire me ( all of them! haha). But I haven’t been posting, and of course the natural question you are thinking is, “Well if you have been studying and writing, why haven’t you been posting?”
You would be right to ask such a thing. And I wish there was a good answer. And I don’t mean good as in a good excuse, but rather a happy answer, one that was uplifting and testimony strengthening, like I have always wanted this blog to be.
But the answer sadly, isn’t those things, at least not yet. I know that my Father in Heaven always uses our struggles and tragedies to bring us closer to him and, to strengthen us. I know he will use my families current situation to do that for us.
Some of you who have read my first posts here know, my husband tried to commit suicide almost two and a half year ago. He survived and continues to struggle towards wholeness and peace. No one ever said it would be an easy struggle, and it hasn’t in any way been easy! lol But his complete psychological breakdown and subsequent suicide attempt was only the beginning. Actually it wasn’t the beginning I just wasn’t aware that a “beginning” had happened several months before.
As Elder Clayton stated in his talk from the Saturday Morning Session:
“But all of us will, at some time or another,have to traverse our own spiritual wilderness and undertake our own rugged emotional journeys. In those moments, however dark or seemingly hopeless they may be, if we search for it, there will always be a spiritual light that beckons to us, giving us the hope of rescue and relief.”
A Rugged Emotional Journey
Oh how I understand those dark moments. How I feel the pain of my own “spiritual wilderness”. I have struggled in the darkness before, I have searched for the light, hoping and believing it was there, and eventually finding it. There where times where the darkness was unbelievably thick. But nothing like this. Never like this.
In my blog post “Though We May Feel Like a Broken Vessel”, Elder Holland quotes Psalms 31,
9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a brokenvessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side
As if him being in the hospital wasn’t enough, knowing that his mind had lied to him so much, that death and leaving us his family was preferable to continuing on, it was about to get a lot worse.
While he was still lying in the hospital, alive but still in full psychosis, not knowing whether there was any Brain Damage or not, he told his Mother that he has done it because he has broken my heart and he didn’t know. It made no sense. We had been struggling, but nothing truly terrible. He hadn’t hurt me know like that so I wrote it off as part of the attempt and brain disfunction. That was until she showed up at the hospital. His friend, a person you had three young children, and was trying to make a life for herself. Someone who J helped because that is who he is. She showed up and he couldn’t have visitors so we sat down to talk.
What the conversation came down to was as we where chatting, telling her everything that had been going on, how he was doing, and that I would get here in to see him A.S.A.P. Normal conversation, but something kept nagging at my gut. I knew something was wrong. Then it hit me. I don’t know how I knew , I certainly hadn’t suspected ANYTHING, but I knew, so I looked at her straight on (which is Not something I normally do, and she, who had been looking at me square the whole time could not look at me), and I asked her how long she had been sleeping with my husband?
She couldn’t give me an answer because she couldn’t look me in the eye. She acknowledged the truth of my statement and my world fell apart. Don’t get me wrong, I have been far from a saint in my life and have fallen far from the mark of the Gospel sometimes tragically in my life. I didn’t judge either of them I was hurt and angry. I was angry at myself that I couldn’t see, I had no idea of what was going on behind my back.
I told her to forget we ever existed. As he became more aware, I let him know that I knew, and we started to rebuild.
There may be times when we have been hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, and we may feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior’s teachings and example will show us the pathway forward.
I wish I could say the hurt ended there, that like a lifetime movie, it was a struggle but we triumphed. It’s never so simple. Isn’t that why we make fun of those cheesy, to easy solution movies? We all know that it doesn’t work that way. That nothing is that simple. We had a couple of hard but good months. Honesty and hope were present again, but just as quickly anger and hurt crept in again. The light was often hard to see. The Dr.’s where not acknowledging the severity of his emotional situation. That all that had happened was not because of a poor relationship choice, but rather a long term struggle with an undiagnosed/incorrectly diagnosed chronic mental health condition, that was masked by institutionalization, a difficult growing up period, lack of stability and whatever other excuses people wanted to use, but that I had know since shortly after meeting him.
Times When We Cannot See Any Light On The Horizon
They continued to over and miss medicate him, to he was more on edge than before all of this began. Overworked county mental health workers, indifferent Dr.’s,, terrible side effects and a host of other problems eventually lead to him leaving the home again, returning to her, and he becoming pregnant. She had their daughter in Feb. of 2014. And 66 days later that beautiful little girl died. We still have no answers. Everything is inconclusive. The autopsy gave not solice, not that ANY answer could have mitigated the loss of this precious girl. By that point we had begun once again to try and work things out, try and figure out where we had gone wrong and get back on track.
There was no light to be seen anywhere for any of us. Our son was in pain because of the loss of his sister. My husband inconsolable, grief stricken not even close to describe the horror of those first weeks and months. Stumbling through our dark night, anger replaced with abject sorrow replaced with anger and each other, God, the Universe, inanimate objects simply because they stayed in one spot while being abused.
The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make. It shapes all our other decisions.
Over a year later there is still more times of no light than light. My husband is not a member, and so often his anger is directed towards my choice because there is nothing else for him to be angry at that day. My choice to believe in the light even when unseen has in fact shaped almost all of my decisions as he and many others have questioned most if not all of my choices over the last two years. That belief stretches to cover, personal revelation, trips to the temple, priesthood blessings, marathon prayer sessions, and countless other experiences where fro brief moments the light has shinned through so brightly I was nearly blinded after long stretches of darkness. We ALL have continued to fight, continued to believe in our own ways member or not. And continued to walk towards that light hidden behind the next obstacle. While I have not made all the rigth descisons and those choices have been, at times, shot through with anger and self centeredness, my heart has always been directed towards the Savior and the Light of His atonement . I answer to no one expect Him.
I Have Fallen Short of the Glory of God
I have not been perfectly spiritual and strong the entire time. In fact quite the opposite. I have yelled an screamed at him and God, work became harder and harder to do. More payday loans and poor financial choices where made. All of those being on me because I was the only one working and I have always been responsible for the money and accounting. Now I don’t want you to panic either I wasn’t going and buying new cars, or going on insane shopping sprees. It was spending $30 on pizza one night because my body and spirit hung to heavy to feed my family after a day of hurt and pain that was to great for my weak soul to overcome. It was not being able to go to a three hour meeting that would have given us the funds to pay the balance on a significant, but not going because I had spend gas money several days before finding out about the meeting on J’s favorite kind of Little Debbie’s snacks because they made him feel good, or giving him a little extra cash go he could purchase the “right” container for his daughter’s cremains. I regret non of those decisions. The where right and correct at the time. But as my depression grew, as things became more and more overwhelming for me personally, feeling that i had failed all of those that I love most, we finally reached the point where I could not pay the rent, and my management company being unwilling to accept anything short of full payment opted for eviction proceeding rather than allow us to make payments. We moved out, putting all of our things in storage, having lost our vehicle several months before, we where invited to move in with a friend, though that situation was going to be tenuous at best and could end at anytime.
Shortly after moving out of her home, I was informed that my work contract was being terminated, and so for a couple of months, since I am self employed and don’t pay into unemployment insurance, we lived of of the money received from income tax, that we had planned to use for deposits. I was able to find a new contract relatively quickly but it take s a few weeks to build up a regular income, and in the end the new job was a blessing because I am making considerably more than I was even before MY break down, but we also had to move out of our friends and into a motel which costs over $300 a week.
I’ll tell you the light is getting stronger. I see it more often. Making more money being able to afford a nicer place than we had previously had, paying off debt and working actively on our relationship. The last hill to climb is securing the money for a deposit on a new place. My parents who are also struggling, reached out to a crowdfunding site and set a campaign (please check it out if you would like) that just opened a couple of days ago. I don’t know if this is the solution we are looking for or not. But I hope, I hope and I choose. One more hurdle and I think I may finally be able to walk into the full light after so long. While I don’t expect my husband to feel it as fully as I, because of the magnitude of his loss, and ongoing struggles. But I hope that he feels it’s comfort and peace when it comes even if he can’t see yet.
I choose to believe that the scales will yet fall from his eyes, and that he will have peace again someday.
Sometimes progress in spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best efforts to find the Savior are not working…In those moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the Savior’s love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome your doubt…. Our actions are the evidence of our belief and become the substance of our faith. We are choosing to believe when we pray and when we read the scriptures. We are choosing to believe when we fast,when we keep the Sabbath day holy, and when we worship in the temple. We are choosing to believe when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament. We are choosing to believe when we repent and seek divine forgiveness and healing love.
Love is what leads us as a family. Love is what we are striving to find and give each day. And I choose to believe that they love of the savior is what will win on that great and glorious day when my family finally burst into the light after a long night of darkness.
Do I really need a “Conference Notebook”?
Your asking yourself “is it really that important that I have a specific notebook for conference?” The Short answer?
Then you think “Maybe I’ll grab a few sheets of paper and write what I need to. Won’t that be enough.” Again the short answer?
My suggestions and the reasons why are based on my personal experience with this process, which means there is and should be tons of personalization, and variation. The guidelines I have for what make a good note book are specific but simple and so can encompass many different styles. So we will look at what a good note book should be, What it shouldn’t be, with some ideas for individualization sprinkled thoughout. Now, please don’t think that I am telling you that you have to go out and buy some super fancying bound book, with gold leaf on the front that sits in some honored space on the mantel.Not at all. This book is supposed to be practical. You are supposed to use it, not just during conference but the entire time between conference.
For me my conference notebook sits right along side my scriptures, in many ways scripture itself, it doesn’t lay out the plans of God for men, and the revelations received by Prophets for all people, it shows me God’s plans for Me, it is a record of my personal revelations from Him. It is personal scripture. President Benson said in a BYU address in 1980,
“God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is …any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.” Ezra Taft Benson (emphasis added)
What Your Notebook Should Be
- It should be solid. This isn’t something that you will use for one conference and then put away, it’s not even something brought out every conference then tucked away for six months. This book is meant to be used. Opened up repeatedly, added to drawn from. It can be a bound blank journal, a study three ring binder with lose leaf paper in it, even a composition book, or a spiral bound note book. I would not suggest the kind were the pages are perforated, they fall out to easily
- It should be have lots of pages. Something with only 20 pages just will not do, probably not for even the first 6 months. Unless you have writing the size of a Tom Thumb your going to need some space. Again this isn’t one time and put it down. I personally get lined paper, and while taking notes either double space it, or however much space a talk took up, leave at least that much blank space before taking notes on the next talk. We are supposed to study the talks. You will see new things upon reading them or watching them again that you will want to take not of. Because I do this blog as well, I usually leave 2x the amount, so if a talk takes half a page I will leave the rest of that page and one full blank page open before starting the next talks notes.
- It should speak to YOU. Do you want something pretty, or something practical? Do you like Denium or Satin? Plain is fine as long as that is something YOU like. For me a blank page does it regardless of the wrapping (hey I’m a writer, what do you expect 🙂 ) If you have ever had a nice set of scripture covers, think along those lines. What did you want to get, go for a book with the same kind of feeling. This is one of the great parts of a three ring binder.It is forever expandable. As it fills up remove pages from the front placing those in something permanent while still adding more pages at the back. And because of the blank nature of the outside, you can make it be whatever you want it to be. Pictures, stickers, permanent marker quotes, an ever growing piece of art that .shows you journey of growth in the gospel.
- It should be flexible. If you start off with one kind of book and you find it isn’t working for you, try something else. Experiment with things throughout the six months, there are any number of opportunities to create “notebooks” so that you can find what works for you. A Sacrament notebook, a Relief Society/Priesthood book. A personal study note book. Even practical books like home decoration, or budget books. I have kept/keep books recording personal prayer what I am asking for and what my answers are, priesthood blessing book, detailing what was said and my impressions, Some books are 1/4 sheet spiral note pads, others are three inch solid board ring binders. Each one may be different but they will all have common points that work for you.
- It should be portable What if you are traveling during conference, or you get to actually go see a session live. You might go to another family’s house for a session, or be in the hospital for some reason. Something with a hard back (composition book, binder) so that your lap can be your table, and not so big that you can’t easily carry it if not put it in your bag or backpack.
What It Shouldn’t Be
- It shouldn’t be neat. Neat is different than tidy. Organized so that it makes sense to you sure, but I promise you if you are using it to it’s full extent there will be writing in the margins, you may even end up taping pages into the book just to have more space (another advantage of the three ring binder style). I sometimes end up drawing things if I can’t find the words to express what I am thinking. I make mind maps (ideas written in bubbles connected by lines to similar ideas or themes in a overall descending pattern similar to an outline. Great for visual no linear learners check out this here, here and here for a couple of free apps and tutorials,). Try different techniques for different talks, experiment. If you are a person who needs order and you love neat organized outlines with Roman Numerals and the whole deal, you may want to try some of the new quick entry outlining apps for tablets or phone, it’s something I have wanted to experiment with, but don’t want to take the chance of missing something while messing with unfamiliar tech. But if you do try it let me know how it works for you. I don’t imagine many propehts of the past first drafts where all that composed. I encourage you to take the real gems you find and put them into a book or your journal to preserve. This is a working book treat it as such.
- It shouldn’t be what others think it should be, meaning this is yours. A lot of people take notes during conference, but how many continue to use those note through out the year? Our goal is for this to be something you use, so just because they do it this or that way, or have this great idea (including me) if you won’t use it what is the point? Find what works for you.
- It shouldn’t be static. It will grow and change, it won’t look the same two years from now as it does today. And it shouldn’t. you are growing and changing in your path of Disciple ship, so will the record of that path, have fund with it, but most of all use it. Personal study Church classes, Sacrament meeting talks. You will have the most amazing talk resource on this planet, because it is yours it make sense to you, and you will find stories and deep personal meaning here unlike any other mass market “quotes
book or Conference talks commentary.
Okay This Is Great, But Why?
at this point I am going to veer off from what has been largely opinion (though well founded I might add haha jk/njk) and go to the opinion that matters most….Prophets…..during Conference talks……
“(a) neighbor asked, ‘You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year in a worldwide conference they reveal the word of God?’
‘Absolutely,’ the member replied with confidence.
The neighbor thought about that for a moment. He seemed genuinely interested and then asked, ‘What did they say in the last general conference?’
At this point the good member of the Church went from feeling excited about sharing the gospel to feeling embarrassed. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of the details of a single talk.
His friend found this troubling and said, ‘You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?'”President Uchtodorf
“Satan wants us to be slow to remember what we have received and heard. He wants us to minimize and even forget the quiet witnesses of the Spirit that have told us who we really are.” Susan L. Warner April 1996
“In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us. One member testified: ‘As I listened to your address, I was astounded. … Your talk was personal revelation directly from the Lord to my family. I have never experienced such a strong manifestation of the Spirit in my life as those minutes when the Holy Ghost spoke directly to me’…..When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.’ Elder Hales Oct 2013
“We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.” Elder Hales Oct 2013 (emphasis added)
“Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good.” Paul V. Johnson Of the First Quorum of the Seventy October 2005
I think that pretty much says it all. In Jesus Christs Name Amen.
Tomorrow: How to Help Our Kids Prepare for Conference
It’s time for General Conference!
Are you excited? I know I am. The 185th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is about to begin. Saturday at 6 pm MST the first session of Conference, the General Womens will begin. All women ages 8 and up are invited.
Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. Elder Hales
Conference is an exciting time for most of us. Most of the people that I associate with look forward to the messages and the feeling of spirit, as we listen to living prophets. But for, us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are so aware that there are modern day prophets, that Christs Church has been restored, that listening to a Prophet while not common place, is…….normal. We are used to it. I see it when a relatively new convert watches Conference for the first time. It’s like watching a child “discover” things, like their toes, or when the take their first steps, it is so miraculous to them. It is truly new and wondrous. I see that wonder in the new convert. We get to listen to a Prophet of God speak!
Not to point a finger, but would you have such a casual attitude towards the next 2 weeks if you where told That Moses or Alma the Younger was going to be speaking? What would you do differently if somehow you could travel back in time and be present when King Benjamin spoke? Or even if Joseph Smith where to be the closing speaker next week? Would you live this week the same? I want to find/keep/maintain that same wonder. Messengers of God will be standing before us, delivering messages that GOD wants you to hear. I believe that a key to maintaining the sense of awe that can be connected to conference is preparation.
We all have questions, we all need answers. We all have struggles that we need strength to get through and we all have pain that needs to be healed. Is it possible to truly get the answers to the questions that we need to know if we have not pondered the questions themselves? Maybe the questions that we are asking aren’t the right ones to begin with and so even if we receive the answers they will do little to truly help us.
As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. There are messages in each General Conference given as a gift and a blessing from Heaven specifically for our personal life situations. Dieter F Uchtdorf
We all have questions, we all need answers. We all have struggles that we need strength to get through and we all have pain that needs to be healed. Is it possible to truly get the answers to the questions that we need to know if we have not pondered the questions themselves? Maybe the questions that we are asking aren’t the right ones to begin with and so even if we receive the answers they will do little to truly help us.
I think of it like a garden. If you do nothing to prepare the soil or seeds, will you get a harvest. Sure you’ll get something. Just like if in getting ready for conference you wake up, rub you eyes, and then in your jammies plop in front of BYU tv just as the choir begins to sing, you will get something. But is that all you want to get, just something? What happens to your garden if you till the soil, add fertilizer, water it and pull any weeds out before you plant? What you get in return will be a hundred fold. Conference is the same.
How to Prepare?
We prepare for missions. We prepare for lessons. We prepare to attend the Temple. Preparation can be both temporal and physical, and is often a combination of the two. In getting ready for a mission, a person prepares though scripture study, prayer, working to gain a testimony, but if this was all that was done our missionary would be badly prepared. Clothes must be bought, paperwork filled out, money saved, and visas, shots and health checkups must all be check off. Without physical preparation the spiritual preparation can only do so much.
Most things are simple, and easy, part of what we do everyday, like pray. But in preparing for Conference (or anything else for that matter) it how we do what we are doing not just the act itself. We can pray for:
- The spirit to help us know which questions we should be asking
- That you home and family feel the spirit in the days leading up to conference so that there is a peaceful atmosphere that day.
- Pray that you hear, and more importantly feel the messages that are delivered those days.
Other ways to prepare are to:
- Write down personal struggles you are having, questions you would like answered, uncertainties, decisions you have coming up, or really anything that you are dealing with. So that during as answers come through talks and impressions you can pay extra attention and write more notes.
- Get a special “Conference Notebook” that you write notes, thoughts and impressions in. *
- Have a list of the names of members of the First Presidency, the 12 Apostles, and include the various Auxiliaries, and Quorums (names not needed since they won’t all speak) so that you can use that to enhance your notes*
- Print activity pages for younger children that help them learn the names of the speakers, and involve them in listening so that they are not as disruptive, and actually become interested in what is happening. *
- Clean your house in the days before conference so you have one less worry that day.
- Find some easy to cook crock pot meals or prepare snacks before hand so that someone getting hungry in the middle of a session, or a complicated meal doesn’t disrupt anyone’s ability to watch the full session.
- indicates things that I will be writing about or providing links and print outs for over the next week and a half.
You could probably think of dozens of other ways to prepare, and the spirit will give inspiration as to what is important for you. As is often the case as we try to come closer to Heavenly Father and gain a greater understanding of the Savior, we find that it is easier than we thought, and that there are many more ways that we can do it. If you would like to share any of your ideas please do so in the comments.
For today I would like to suggest that you begin praying about, and pondering questions that you have that you need or would like answers to. Begin to write them down. And keep them together, a spiral bound notebook, three ring binder, or anything that will keep paper together will work.
Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Elder Paul V. Johnson
Tomorrow: What is a Conference Notebook and how to use it.
#WomensMeeting or #LDSConf.
When Differences Occur
If you love someone of course you are going to be kind even when your angry, or at least that is what I think most of us try and do. We all make mistakes and the hope of the Gospel is that through the power of the atonement we are forgiven, and so we forgive others. But what about when your husband did it on purpose and and your really mad? We all know that anger and wrath are never justified, especially in the home because of the eternal nature of the family. Plus the last thing I would want is him to bring up “that” moment for eternity. jk…..but not really. It can be hard in a relationship to be loving even when your partner, friend, or family member has wronged you, but you try to maintain that eternal perspective. Especially when you know that there is a huge difference between loving someone, and being loving.
Hey everyone, It is so awesome to see you all peeking in when you get a chance and checking out the new stuff. There is even more new things happening in the very near future. I am actually going to be changing the name of the blog to, “Our Marching Orders: from this conference to the next” It refers to a talk at BYU, given by Ezra Taft Benson, in February of 1980 when he was still an apostle. The speech is called “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” and you can find it here. He stated that:
“The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean “Today’s News Today.” God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each week in the Church Section of the Deseret News and any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.”(emphasis added)
To make that as easy as possible, so that the web address matches the name of the blog (http://ourmarchingorders.wordpress.com) and because of time constraints in my life, it is actually going to be a “new” blog. Eventually this blog will become my business site Kustom Karin. I have been creating a new career in the tech filed as a web developer, because my name is the website, it works well for that.
The new site is so exciting because I am being able to build it from the ground up with all of the information I have learned over the last couple of years about setting up a site, and running a blog. It is already looking exactly like I wanted it to when I started this a couple of years ago. There are a lot of new feature pages, new organizational tools so that anyone visiting the sight can find exactly what they need and want, and I must say it is coming along nicely. I am hoping to have everything completed by the week of March 23 in time for Conference.
This site is in the process of getting an upgrade so that it can become a professional portfolio.
“As followers of Christ we should live peacefully with others who do not share our values or accept the teachings upon which they are based.” Dallin H. Oaks Quorum of the 12 Apostles
This is the one I will be talking about for the next couple of days. While I will try to stay away from the touchy subjects I hit on with my last post, this talk definitively hits on some of the points that are an issue with me, and more importantly the things that I need to do better.
I’ve been trying to write all night.
Since the new March Issue of the Ensign came out online last night and broke the Internet, (at least the LDS corner of it), The article in question, titled “When Doubts and Questions Arise” wasn’t that bad. I got what he was trying to say…. I just don’t wish he had said something other than “doubts”. “Questioning is fine,” he said, but if a person has doubts that means they refuse to even try the Lords’s way just like Korihor in the book of Mormon. Yup he went there. He compared good members of the Church who maybe have had their testimony rocked a little. Sure they may have doubts about the Gospel, they probably have doubts about themselves, and he compared them to an Antichrist. I somehow don’t think that is going to give a lot of comfort to anyone who is uncertain. Maybe the author’s only intent was to comfort those who haven’t ever had doubts? “Look at us we are being so kind and forgiving to let you have questions, just as long as you don’t ever doubt…oh no don’t do that, because once you doubt you are a son of perdition. Yea I think he could have worded it better. Sooo….
I have sat in front of my computer fighting to write this article. I don’t honestly know how many of you are deep into the Bloggernacle, and in truth it doesn’t matter to me, because I am grateful that you like to come visit my little corner of it sometimes and keep me company. I, personally remember a time before we started calling it the Bloggernacle. I wasn’t an active participant at that time. I was afraid of including my voice, even in comments, because I didn’t think that anyone would be interested in my voice. I still don’t I’ve just gotten old enough at this point to not care.
As I have read and studied President Eyring’s talk, Continuing Revelation from the October 2014 General Conference, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there has been one idea that keeps playing in my mind. What is the difference between being called of God and being called by God. So no one gets lost let me explain quickly how on got on this thought train as I this particular talk.
Since the talk is about revelation a lot of references came up about the 5th article of faith:
5.We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. (Articles of Faith) (Emphasis added)
I know that this sound like some trivial thing to ponder over for an extended period, but hopefully you will stick with me on this one for a minute. 🙂 Of course nothing happens in a vacuum and as I was working on preparation for writing about this talk I was reading though some other blogs and came across a comment about how that not all calling in the Church are from God. That especially when talking about the local Bishop, or the Primary Chorister, or just all those everyday callings that we all do at one time or another, that the Bishop or the Relief Society President or whoever is in that position at the time, is doing exactly just that. Filling a empty spot. They know Brother so-and-so plays the piano, so we can ask him to play for Primary, and you know what Sister Really Happy Smile, got her degree in communication so we will call her to be the ward (or even Stake) public affairs chair. Now the commenter did say that she believed that the Bishop or whoever would seek confirmation from the Lord and the Lord would give it or not depending on the situation. But her basic feeling was that most calling come from Inspiration rather than revelation. *
I am not going to say that I completely disagree with her. But here is the thing, why do we draw a line between the two? I know that the Holy Spirit can and does speak to my heart and mind in many ways. In a BYU Devotional, Brother Gordon Limb, Director of BYU School of Social Work said, “when Heavenly Father speaks to us through the Spirit in its most familiar form, it most often comes to us through our thoughts and feelings.” (BYU Speeches emphasis added) The Holy Spirit is no more limited in how he can speak to us, than Christ was, in what kind of Miracles he was capable of performing.
Boyd K Packer speaking in General Conference in October of 2009 and 9 stated, “That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes. “
And even beyond the fact that I am sure there are times that a calling needs a warm, preferably breathing body, and the person whose job it is to extend that calling knows someone who has the skills and time and whatever to do it, whether it is playing the organ, infinite patience with 3-year-old sunbeams, a really large house that can actually fit a joint Mutual activity or whatever the need is, are you comfortable with simply saying, “Well wasn’t that lucky that person was in our ward.” Was it luck? Or was it a loving, kind Heavenly Father who, even when, “five sparrows (are) sold for two farthings… not one of them is forgotten before God?” And yet we will still tell ourselves that those “small” callings that are given by a servant of The Lord, are something less than revelation.
And every person who receives a calling, NOT MATTER WHAT THAT CALLING IS called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, from the building maintenance person to the Nursery leader, our visiting and home teachers, to the 3rd Sunday Relief Society Teacher, all the way to the Stake President, Seventies, and the Prophet himself. And once that calling has been given and the person set apart they are then entitled to receive every last piece of revelation required to care for those in their stewardship, and to fulfill that calling in the way the Lord needs it done. One of the most amazing parts of the restored gospel is that:
“Revelation continues in the Church: the prophet receiving it for the Church;the president for his stake, his mission, or his quorum;the bishop for his ward; the father for his family; the individual for himself.” (President Eyring)
So back to the original thought, that brought me down this path. What is the difference between being called of God and being called by God. My first thought was that “by” implied that the Lord himself did it. When Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was correct, God himself call that young man to the work, face to face as with every Prophet I can think of from scripture. But even when the calling is not a face to face communication with The Father, it carries no less weight when it comes from one of His ordained servants. In the April, 1970 Conference Report President Spencer W. Kimball said, “A prophet needs to be more than a priest or a minister or an elder. His voice becomes the voice of God,” and while the Prophet is the only man who may receive revelation for the Church, if you receive a calling as the Young Women’s President, you have no less authority over those people you have been called to be lead than does the President of the Church over who he has been called to preside. They both have Stewardship over a specific group of people.
Under the topics section of lds.org, stewardship is defined as the, “Responsibility to administer or attend to the assignments one receives in a Church calling, or to take care of those things with which we are blessed from God, including families, neighbors, and even temporal blessings. “(lds.org topics) This includes receiving revelation as the caretaker of those people.
So tomorrow in part II I will talk about my original preconception about the word “of” as well as what I discovered upon studying just a bit more, as well as how revelation not being received by the leadership of the Church about their callings benefits all members of the Church. (You may want to read 1st Nephi 3 to get an idea of what I might mean) Have a blessed day.
In the name is Jesus Christ, Amen
I was supposed to release the next post the talk, “Continuing Revelation” by President Henry B. Eyring, this morning, but a couple of unforeseen situations came up. I had wanted to link to another blog and was seeking permission to do so and quote some of the things said there. I wasn’t able to get a hold of the author (and even though we “can” I won’t directly quote without permission). So I had to change up some stuff at the last minute.
The other thing is no one’s fault but my own. I stayed up late last night so that I could finish by this morning, but I have also been trying to improve the site and add some extra widgets, and organize everything better, because I do plan on being here for a long time. Well as you can see I changed everything about the way the blog is laid out ( I really like it, but let me know what you think) and was working on creating a link list….well time got away and before I knew it was 3 in the morning, and I was still stuck on Google, three hours and counting, trying to improve my reach and information about who visits the blog and how to improve my search functions…..sigh. Yes I was being a crack head last night lol.
So please forgive me, I will have it released in the next couple of hours. Right now I actually think I am going to break it into two parts. Which, I swear, part 2 will completed by tomorrow morning 😉 . No more all night blog tweak sessions for this mommy. haha
I also want to let you all know that I am working on a plan to blog live throughout Conference, starting with the Women’s Session on March 28, 2015. I will be announcing more about that in the next couple of weeks. That info will come out during either the week of March 16th or the 23rd as I will be doing a week-long special “Preparing for Conference”.
As always thank you all for showing up and supporting me. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please feel free to let me know!