Sunday, July 13, 2014

For Those That Are Discouraged

storm wheel

Sometimes you can do everything right and things can still go wrong.  When that happens, it is easy to get discouraged. I was feeling that way last week. I was undergoing difficult medical treatments.  Then, what was supposed to be three days of isolation (because of some radioactive treatments), turned into a week. Then they added painful injections. Then, in the midst of my isolation I received a letter from someone that brought up horrible memories. Then, I got super sick. Then a tree fell on my house. Seriously—a tree. My landlord has pictures. Can you believe that week?

You can see where I might get discouraged. That is until I came across a passage in the book of Ether.

The Jaredites were about to go on a trip—a long trip.  They had made all the preparations. (see Ether 6:4) They did everything right. They even “commended themselves unto the Lord.” Then the storm came.

“And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.” Ether 6:6

They knew the Lord brought the storm, but it doesn’t make weathering it any easier.  Storms are frightening. Storms can be painful. But, here is the helpful part. Storms have purpose.

“And it came to pass that the  wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.” Ether 6:8

When I read those words, the Spirit brought me instantaneous comfort. I was reminded that the Lord has purpose and direction for the things He’s bringing into my path.  Each storm He brings my way is designed to bring me closer to the goal.

You may be wondering what’s the goal? For me, it is conformity to Christ. I want to be like my Savior.

“And we know that all thing work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIs purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son…” Romans 8:28-29

That is the beauty of commending yourself into the hand of the Lord. Peace. At that moment, in the midst of the turmoil swirling around me, the Lord reminded me I was not forgotten. He had my back. I felt like I could do anything.

I’m grateful for a Savior who is patient with me when I grow frightened and weary. But, more than that, I’m grateful for a God who is bigger than storms.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why I’m Not “Repentant”

There is a large group of people waiting for me to renounce Mormonism.  They pray for my repentance. They occasionally mention my need for it.  I’m sure they wonder what is taking me so long.  They think of me and shake their heads. Today I’d like to explain why I’ve not “repented”.

I have found Christ.  While I did love and worship Him before, it’s deeper now because I understand Him more.  It’s like when you first meet someone and have an instant bond with. You like them. After a time, however, as you really get to know them, it’s different. You know THEM and it makes you love them even more. 

That is how I feel about my faith. I know Christ and my Heavenly Father more than I ever have. When I was a reformed protestant, I loved my Savior. I truly did. Yet, if I’m being honest, I felt something was missing. I’d read my scriptures, which I loved and felt somehow I was missing something. The only thing I can liken it to is reading a literary passage where I know there is a deeper meaning I should be grasping. I can kind of see it, but it’s blurry and just out of reach. 

Other times, the problem was more obvious. I had the distinct feeling that we, like the Pharisees during the life of the Savior, were missing the point. There were also aspects of Scripture we seemed to be ignoring.

In all my life, I’ve never felt closer to my God. I finally know what that passage means when it says “My sheep hear my voice.” I know what it means to be led by the Spirit of God. I know my God and He knows me. I know what it means to have the Savior call you friend. I know what it means to have Him beside me. Really beside me.

Here are the things Mormonism has added to my life:

  • A much deeper knowledge of the Godhead and communion with them.
  • Real peace that comes from knowing I am in His will.
  • The constant companionship of the Holy Spirit, including His whispered guidance.
  • Priesthood ordinances that do things I couldn’t even begin to delineate here.
  • The FULLNESS of the gospel.  I no longer have to read my scriptures and wonder why something is not a part of gospel living anymore, because it is a part of it. After all, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Why would I give that up?

So, that is why I am not willing to “repent”. Can those of you who think I am going to hell still pray for me? Of course! But, while you do, take a moment to sincerely pray and ask your Father in Heaven if maybe you’re  not missing the point.