Later today, as a worldwide church, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be tuning in to the first session of our bi-annual General Conference. For two weekends a year, we gather together as a body of believers to listen to our leaders speak to us. You don't have to be a member of the church to get something out of it. There is spiritual nourishment and encouragement to be found for all God's children in their words. You can access their messages beginning at 10:00 am MST today (5 PM here in the UK) right here.
Last weekend, as sisters in the church, we were priviledged to be able to hear special talks that had been prepared just for us, and they were wonderful. I always love the Women's General Conference. You can access those talks on that same page now! The first speaker was Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency. Her talk was powerful and beautiful. In it she challenged us as Sisters to do as the prophets have counseled us . . . to turn on our lights, to be righteous, and to articulate our faith.
When she spoke about being able to articulate our faith, I felt challenged and that it was something which I really needed to be able to do. It is not enough to just blindly believe something, we also need to be able to express to others why we believe. Today I will attempt to do just that!
How do you feel about Jesus Christ?
I love the Saviour with all my heart. I have loved Him since I was a small child and my mother first taught me to pray. He is my exemplar in all things and my older brother, the first born of our Heavenly Father. He has done for me what I could not do for myself. Because of Him, I will live again and can do so in the presence of my Heavenly Father if I so choose. I know He is always there. I feel Him walking beside me daily. Since I have made the effort to walk closer by His side, I have felt his presence in my life daily, in profound and meaningful ways. He is the best listener, and I know that no matter what I confide in him about, He will always love me, forever and no matter what. His light carries me and helps me to rise above the flotsam of the world around me. He is my guide and my redeemer. I know this to be true, not because of anything I have been told, but because I have studied Him, I have conversed with Him, and I have felt His presence in my life, in a meaningful and profound way . . . I have felt the wonder of the change that comes about because of His presence. His Gospel gives me direction and purpose.
Why do you stay in the Church?
From the moment I first stepped into one of our chapels, way, way back, I felt as if I had found my spiritual home . . . the place that my soul had been searching for. The place where I felt comfortable in worshipping my Heavenly Father and comfortably at home with like-minded and like-feeling people. But it is much deeper than that. I could have that same feeling in many churches I suppose, that I was with like-minded and like-feeling people. This church, however, sings the song of my heart and has answered all of my questions in very deep and meaningful ways. The church is not a building, but a family, a family of believers that truly love and care for our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and for each other, but more importantly for the whole world and everyone in it. I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be, and I have been to many, many churches. This one is my home. I am not a square peg trying to fit into a round hole anymore. I fit in right here.
Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture?
I had been taught in the past that the Book of Mormon was an evil book, inspired by the Devil. That I should not even touch it, or dare to look inside it because that is how "They get you." This evil cult. For years I believed this and was afraid to look inside its pages. But then I got brave and I decided that I was't just going to take someone else's word for it, that I would see for myself if the horrible things I had been taught about it were true. There was nothing inherently evil in it, nothing. If anything, it helped to expound and make the Bible clearer. Everything in it pointed towards Jesus Christ, inspired me to want to have a closer relationship with Him and with my Heavenly Father, to be a better person, and to help my fellow man. It is filled with beautiful and meaningful passages and thoughts.
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”
~1 Nephi 1:20
That is just one of them, and there are a bazillion more. I find comfort on its pages. No evil man could or would write this book. Satan would not inspire a book whose sole purpose is to bring its readers into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon works hand in hand with the Bible to bring God's children into a closer relationship with Him. I believe this. I know this.
Where do you get your peace?
No matter what happens in the world around me, I am at peace. I may not like what I see happening in the world, but ultimately I know in my heart . . . . that good will prevail. I know God has a plan for all His children and this is all a part of it. The Gospel brings me peace. Knowing who I am. Knowing my purpose, and why I am here. Knowing where I am headed. There is a special comfort that comes with finding the answers to these questions, and knowing the answers I find to be true. I feel daily the peace that comes from walking hand in hand with the Saviour, and knowing that He will never lead me astray. I know that no matter what life throws at me, I can rise above it, and death does not scare me. I will miss my loved ones, but ultimately I know we can and will be together again one day, and it will seem as if no time has passed in between. Having a purpose brings me peace. Knowing I am a child of God brings me peace. It is impossible to sink lower than the light of Christ can reach. I know this to be true because I have been there and He has lifted me up.
Why does it matter that the prophet has something to say in 2017?
Look around you, at the things which are happening in the world. Have we ever been in more need of a Prophet's voice than we are now? And if you are a scriptorian, you know that they will only continue to get worse. We are living in the last days, the latter days. The signs are all around us. We need to heed a Prophet's voice now more than ever. He will not, no never, ever lead us astray.
How do you know he is a real prophet?
I have prayed and my heart has felt a special peace in the answers I have gotten about this. For thousands of years when God wanted to speak to His people, He raised up Prophets to bring them His words, His warnings, His inspiration. Does He love us in these modern days any less than He loved His children of old? I say not. I know not. He loves us every bit as much. He has not stopped speaking to His children, and the way that He does so is through the words of His prophets. In listening to conference talks and reading conference talks through the years, I have gained much from their words. Guidance. Inspiration. Answers. Advice on how to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, sister . . . neighbor. I have been inspired to be better, do better, live better. I have found peace and contentment for living, and for dying . . . and help for my soul.
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.” ~Ether 12:4
And there you have it, however inadequate or verbose! My answers to those questions. I believe because I cannot "not" believe. It is as simple and as complicated as that, and why I will be tuning into the General Conference later today, and tomorrow, and any other time I feel the need to be inspired.
That is the key. What have you got to lose?
Not a lot planned for today. I am going to cut out some more bits of felt to continue with making the ornaments for my Grands and do a bit of cleaning, baking and cooking. Then tonight we will sit down and listen/watch the first session of conference. I think its pretty amazing that we no longer have to travel outside our homes to do so. We can invite that special spirit which attends it right here into our own homes. We are supposed to get some pretty nasty weather over these next few days, with wind and rain, etc. The ends of those hurricanes. I am happy that I won't have to go out into it. That's September weather in the UK. Wind and rain, interspersed with lovely, beautiful sunny days that warm our hearts and make us smile all the more for the preciousness of them!
I used up some of our pears making this delicious Spiced Pear Loaf yesterday. Mmm . . . moist and delicious. It is filled with cinnamon and cardamom and chopped toasted nuts. And its made with a mix of white and whole wheat flours.
I like it thinly sliced and spread with softened butter. It's sooooo good. Get the recipe here.
Have a great Saturday, no matter what you get up to. Don't forget!
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And I do too!