My adventure in becoming a [Good] Mormon

Posts tagged ‘testimony’

How God saved the day

This is for someone in particular, because they were curious, but I’m a toad. I have issues still sharing my personal beliefs on an individual basis, I’ll get over it eventually. But I guess it’s for everyone else too.

Anyways, if you haven’t yet, go read ‘Sex God’ by Rob Bell. I know, sounds much worse than it actually is though. It’s more so about love and relationships and how you can find and learn about God through them, no matter what.

I think it was…yesterday. Absolutely crap day. Not only am I being a regular swirling tornado of emotions, with the end of the year fast approaching I’m freaking out. As well, I’m being a total girl and joining in with the angst of ‘Do not have boyfriend *whine whine whine*’ and some of my friends right now make me upset…Mainly cause I overthink, but meh.

Anywho, I had extra time, so I sat down to read. The chapter was called ‘She ran into the girl’s bathroom’ and was about how, by confronting people, you give them an awful big choice; ‘yes or no’. Basically, expressing your love in any form to others is the ultimate…I want to say ‘humbling experience’. Because you give them all the power. If they say yes and accept your love, however it may be, they have to leave all that they know and trust to try something completely unknown. Then Bell goes onto say something along the lines of  ‘Why is heartbreak universal? Because it’s something God feels’ and that when we were created, we were given the freedom of choice to love who we please. God loves us, but he is the one giving the invitation out, whether or not we say yes and accept it is up to us. And when we reject it, he knows heartache and pain too…And maybe he too stays up at night pondering how to convince us to love him back like he loves us. So he, like every one who’s ever loved, breaks out all manner of resourcefulness in His power (which would b a lot 😉 ). His problem however, is that He’s so great…He scares us…So he distills his love into one somewhat smaller being; Jesus.

So Jesus’ entire life is about love, not power, so he doesn’t appear intimidating, like God. Even though he is greater than all of us, he acts like one of the lowly citizens, to demonstrate His love. He never does anything to fight back, or exert power. He is always calm, forgiving and loving.

This is my favourite part: Jesus demonstrated strength by appearing weak. Strength is not the ability to one-up someone or beat them, it’s in the restraint of that natural response to exert the power we have. Jesus was the ultimate example. He could have wiped all those who mocked and tortured him from the face of the Earth, but He didn’t. Why? Because he was the one extending the invitation of love and everyone else were the ones with the power to reject of accept it. And instead of exerting his power to make them love and fear him, He just kept taking it, hoping they’d finally say yes.

“If you have ever given yourself to someone and found yourself waiting for their response, exposed and vulnerable, left hanging in the balance, you know how God feels.”

“…Where we find the strength to go on. Not a strength that comes from within ourselves but a strength that comes from God. The God who keeps going. Who keeps offering. Who keeps loving. Who keeps risking. A God who knows what it’s like.”

“If God can continue to risk, then maybe we can too. Perhaps you have had your heart broken by somebody. You risked and extended and offered yourself, and they rejected and turned away and didn’t return your love. There is something divine in your suffering. Somebody divine in your pain. You know how God feels…The danger is that you will decide it isn’t worth it. Why risk it if it’s going to hurt like this? The tragedy would be for you to shut down, to allow a wall to be built around your heart, and for something within you to die.”

I always hear ‘God is love’…This just gave it a ton of more meaning. And it made all my fears of losing friends after grad kind of dissipate.

All I can do is love them all as fiercely as I do. If they return that love and friendship; wonderful. It will make everything beautiful. If they don’t ; all I need to do is keep loving them, maybe one day they’ll come back. But if not, I know that I loved them as I should.

There is always that drive, that ‘stay-up-late-into-the-night-plotting’, trying to convince them to not only accept your love, but return it. The ‘what can I do to make you love me?’ The answer is nothing. Because by giving love, you give up all power to sway their opinion, you give all power to them. You are vulnerable,  but restraining that desire to force their love is the greatest strength. And even though stuff like this may be world-shatteringly difficult, God knows all about it.

I hope this made up for my lack of posts….Nighty night dearies <3.

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Most terrifying moment of my life

It hit me when I got up to the pulpit that last time I tried to speak in front of a crowd I ended up freaking out and having to get someone else to do it. Not a good time to remember you don’t like public speaking.

Overall, it went good. Besides the points when my knees were shaking so much that I felt like I was gonna fall and I think I was speaking to fast. And my loverly seesters showed up as a surprise, which was very nice!

As promised, my talk:

Good morning my brothers and sisters,

About 5 weeks back, Brother Hernandez came up to me and asked me if I could do a talk next Sunday. I told him that after church that day, I was leaving for Saskatchewan and wouldn’t be back for 5 or 6 weeks. I asked if I could get my topic so I could start early. Well, he hadn’t even figured out the topics for that far ahead but told me he would let me know when I got back. I thought to myself ‘Aha! I’ve gotten out of it!’ like some people say they’ve been able to do….Yeah…As you can see; I didn’t get out of it.

I’ve been given the topic ‘Blessing the sick and needy’. As I’ve come to understand it, there are a couple ways this can be done. There are blessings that can be given by those who hold the Priesthood, such as the laying on of the hands and using consecrated oil, as well as blessings that come from charity given to those who need it and also through prayer. I was slightly confused as to which specifically I was to cover, but I decided to talk about blessings from charity and prayer because those are blessings we are all able to give.

In Moroni 7:45 it says   “And  charity suffereth long, and is  kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Jesus is the perfect example of charity because along with all the good works he did in his life, like showing compassion for the poor and healing the sick, he blessed us, the needy, with his gift of the Atonement. We should strive to follow his example and help to lighten one another’s burdens through love, kindness and understanding. Not only do we bless others’ lives when we perform acts of charity, but we are blessed too. As you continue to be charitable to your fellow man, the ‘True to the Faith’ book says “You will find that your love increases. You will experience the joy of being in the Lord’s service. The Holy Ghost will be your constant companion…You will be prepared to meet the Lord at the Judgment, when he will reward you according to the dedication to His work.”

A wonderful story of charity and blessing the needy was told by Thomas S. Monson, in the January 2006 issue of the Liahona. President Monson says:

Be an example in charity. From Corinthians comes the beautiful truth, “Charity never faileth.” 17

Satisfying to the soul is the ready response the Church has made to disasters of nature in so many locations. Frequently we have arrived first on the scene following such disasters and with the most help. There are other organizations which likewise respond in a generous fashion.

What is charity? Moroni, in writing a few of the words of his father, Mormon, recorded, “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” 18

One who exemplified charity in his life was President George Albert Smith. Immediately following World War II, the Church had a drive to amass warm clothing to ship to suffering Saints in Europe. Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Marion G. Romney, an Assistant to the Twelve, took President George Albert Smith to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City to view the results. They were impressed by the generous response of the membership of the Church. They watched President Smith observing the workers as they packaged this great volume of donated clothing and shoes. They saw tears running down his face. After a few moments, President Smith removed his own new overcoat and said, “Please ship this also.”

The Brethren said to him, “No, President, no; don’t send that; it’s cold and you need your coat.”

But President Smith would not take it back; and so his coat, with all the others, was sent to Europe, where the nights were long and dark and food and clothing were scarce. Then the shipments arrived. Joy and thanksgiving were expressed aloud, as well as in secret prayer.

Again, that’s from the January 2006 issue of the Liahona

After witnessing the charity of others towards those suffering in post World War II Germany, President Smith was so moved that he gave the coat off his back to those who needed it. By doing this, he demonstrated how even just witnessing great acts of charity, you can, as the ‘True to the Faith’ book said  ‘find that your love increases’.

From Gospel principals, it says “We should not try to decide whether someone really deserves our help or not. If we have taken care of our own family’s needs first, then we should help all who need help. In this way, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who causes rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.”

As we find our love increasing, we will find we are more accepting of others and less ready to judge those who require our assistance, which enables us to help more people without much hesitation.

The second part that I felt I should talk about is prayer. On LDS.org, from the Gospel library, it says “Remember the needs of others as we pray. We should offer prayers “for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]” (Alma 34:27). We should ask our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort those in need.”

Also from the gospel library: When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings…Our prayers for our own welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if we “turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need” (Alma 34:28).

If we pray for our own wellbeing, we must also remember to pray for the wellbeing of others, otherwise it will be futile. However, when we pray for blessings for those in need, we must also try to act on it, to the best of our ability, and do all we can to help it to happen. Prayer goes hand in hand with charity. Without one, it is unlikely the other will be as effective when we strive to assist others.

I would just like to finish off with a brief excerpt from the Nov 2001 edition of Ensign, where President Monson was quoted: “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.”

I would like to close with my testimony. I know that through charity, one can find a greater love for humanity and a willingness to help bear others’ burdens with them. I also know that when you give without judgment, good things will come back to you, especially when you’re not expecting it. I am grateful to those who have given to me without judgment, expecting nothing in return, those of you who have generously given your time to me and helped guide me as I joined the Church. I am also grateful to all of you who extended the hand of friendship to me as I was joining; it was wonderful to be welcomed so openly. I am grateful to all those who put up with all my questions, to my family who accepted my decision as best they could and I am very grateful to have received a calling so soon after my conversion.

I have witnessed the power and effectiveness of prayer and know that, when you pray with your heart, you will receive answers and blessings. One of the first answers I received, just before I joined the Church, was to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is true. Through prayer, I have also come from having somewhat of a belief in the Atonement to being blessed to know that our Heavenly Father loves us immeasurably, so much so that he has blessed us with the gift of the Atonement. I have also been blessed with many friends who have helped me build my testimony, and with your help, and A LOT of prayer and scripture study, I have come to know this Church to be true.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen.

I think I can do it now

Today was Stake conference. Besides just generally being awesome, a few things stuck out to me, mainly the testimonies of newer members because I find it so hard to put into words all the big thoughts crashing around in my head of what I now know to be true without just using a cookie-cutter testimony. Between the two (or was it three?) newer members who spoke and gave their testimonies, I think I found enough ideas and inspiration, as well as enough to evaluate personally, to begin putting it all into words.

However, I have found one thing that kinda brings me down (not to be negative or anything). Family sealings. It’s a marvelous thing, yes…If your family is Mormon. If they aren’t and are not open to joining it in any way (3/4 of them won’t even come to Church with me, even just to stay for my talk. Again, not being negative, just giving you the idea that it’s not really possible…Yes yes, I’m still hopeful :P), no sealings for you. Which kinda makes me sad that I won’t be with them for eternity. But there’s, as usual, this nagging sense of positivity that something better is bound to happen ;D. However, what that might be, I can’t exactly imagine.

Live long & Prosper!!♥