Wednesday, October 30, 2013
My husband and I were reading in 1 Nephi last night. Nephi was describing the things that his father had seen. I'm not sure if he had seen them in a dream, and vision, or what, but I know that he saw them. The spirit confirmed to me that he did indeed see these things.
As we were reading I was moved to tears. I couldn't believe that a man that lived 600 years before Christ was ever alive, had the faith to not only pray, but to then listen to the promptings of God. As I read I was touched by the faith of Lehi and his determination to do what the Lord asked of him.
Because he was faithful and did the things the Lord asked he was blessed. He was blessed so much so that he saw not only the coming of Christ, but the atonement, and then he saw our present day. He saw that there would be people scattered all over the earth and they would become so wicked once Christ left the earth, that it we would need for Christ to come down once again and save us from utter destruction.
As I read I realized that his faith isn't something that only prophets are able to have. What are we capable of doing? If we exhibit the same faith of Lehi, and listen to the Lord, and follow his promptings without hesitation, what blessings can we receive? What amazing things will happen in our lives? What things are we missing out on because we don't do all that the Lord asks of us?
Now I'm not saying that we are going to see the coming of the end of the world, or that we'll have such dramatic visions, but I'm also not saying that we're not capable of doing so. If we have the same faith in God that Lehi, and Nephi had, we can truly move mountains. We can do things that we normally we wouldn't believe possible. We will have the power to do things that by ourselves we would not be able to do.
So how do we get this incredible faith, and is it even possible? Of course it is. Faith isn't reserved for prophets and apostles. God loves each of us equally which means we are equally worthy of receiving great blessings. The way we obtain such powerful faith is by praying for it, and then acting when God speaks to us. Pray first, then action next. I promise if you will do these 2 things you will receive the kind of faith that Lehi, Nephi, Joseph Smith, and our current prophet, Thomas Monson, each have. We are just as worthy as they are because God loves us just as much as he loves each of them.
We can do amazing things. We are incredible people and God is waiting to bestow amazing gifts to us. If we will only first seek to do his will and then open the door when he comes to tell us what to do. He truly stands at the door and knocks. He wants us to open it. He wants us to talk with him and do the things he asks. He wants us to have amazing lives, and do amazing things. You just have to let him in.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
In my late teens and early 20's I wasn't a member of the Church. I wandered my way through life believing that I didn't need a religion to follow. I believed that my Savior loved me and that was enough. I knew I could pray, and a Father in Heaven would listen. I knew that if I needed some peace and comfort, I could ask for it. The one thing I never knew was the truth.
I studied many religions, and never found the answers I was looking for. I knew for me, that I needed to belong to a church. I needed that comfort in my life, but I never found what I was looking for. Then I met my husband, and he invited me to read the Book of Mormon. As I read in faith, and sincerely looking for the truth, I received the answer I needed. This was the true Church of Jesus Christ. I had found what I was looking for.
In my early years I was raised in a Mormon family. I was actually very active, and involved until a major event happened in my life. My grandmother died suddenly. She was someone who I felt understood me completely. I knew she loved me unconditionally, and I hadn't felt that from any other person in my life. When she was taken from me, I blamed my Heavenly Father. I therefore blamed his church. There and then I decided that if this God, of this church would take away my Grandmother, it was not a church that I wanted to belong to. I suddenly felt empty and hollow, and I blamed those feelings on the Church of Jesus Christ. From then on I hated the church and everything it stood for. I began some of the hardest years I have ever had, but I couldn't see that. I began a life without the restored Gospel.
People have asked me now, if the Gospel is so beautiful and wonderful as you now know it to be, why on earth would you leave? There are many reasons. Not only my reasons, but reasons that many members who have now left, have. There are so many thoughts, questions, emotions, and feelings, that go with leaving the true Church. Things that you can't begin to comprehend unless you have gone through it.
Some people leave the church because they let the actions of imperfect men and women, hurt them so much that they blame the church and leave. To these dear members, my heart breaks. I know these feelings. I know these issues that arise, that you feel like you can't possibly deal with. But let me tell you, that these feelings don't come from your Father in Heaven. These feelings of anger come from Satan. These feelings are not righteous, and have no reason to be in your life, other than you allowing them in.
In this church we have the pleasure of walking daily with our Savior. He can lead and guide every part of our life. I didn't know this until just the last year. I have recently learned the truthfulness of this. Over the last 4 years that I have been an active member of the church, questions have come that have no answers. Questions that I have to seek answers from my Father in Heaven. Even though I have these questions, I have chosen to hold strong to my faith and know that an answer will come. I never believed I could walk with my Savior daily, until my prayers started to be answered. I learned to ask my Savior to teach me when he is speaking to me, and help me to follow. I have learned that if I ask, he will answer. It will be in his time, but if I remain faithful and strong those answers will come. I'm so grateful that I now walk with my Savior daily. He truly leads every step of my life, as he can do with yours.
The church was created by our Savior, but restored by imperfect men. The Savior will never allow his true church to fail, but this doesn't mean that the men running it don't screw up occasionally. The savior is patient with us, and we need to be patient with each other. Some things that the apostles say may hurt or offend us. We must not lose faith when this happens, but we must seek to learn why we were offended. If the answer doesn't come, we must ask our Savior to soften our hearts and let us learn to accept the fact that men are not perfect. Let us allow them to make mistakes as we do, and allow ourselves to be patient with them. The Savior and his Church are perfect, but the people in the church are not. Thus the reason we must rely on our Savior for comfort, and answers.
We are a part of a church that allows personal agency. We are allowed to do as we please. It is one of the greatest blessings that God has given us. Therefore, if someone in your family or your friends, choose to leave the church, you must remain patient. You must allow them the free agency to do as they please, and you must pray for their safe return. You need to love them no matter what, even if you don't love their actions. Pray for them, love them, and one day they will see the light. Heavenly Father will answer our prayers, although it's not always in the time we would like.
For those who have left the church, I want you to know that there is a place for you here. There will always be a place for you. Every single person has doubts. Some just rely on their faith better than others. We need you. We need people with questions. We need people who doubt.
I have doubted so many times, and by holding onto my faith and relying on my father, those doubts have turned into my strengths. It didn't come overnight. It didn't come in a year. But it came, and I testify to you that your answers will come. Your doubts will become your strengths. Your hardened heart will become softened and you will be healed.
God has not forgotten about you. He loves you and will come to you. Hold onto your faith. Come, join with us. Share your unique view, and your testimony with us. We need it. We need you. We love you. We want you with us in this church. You will belong. You will be loved. You will find the truth that some of us know, but all of us search for. You are not alone. You are one of us. We love you and we want you with us as we journey together. Come and be a part of a church and a family that love and support you. We want you with us.