Monday, August 26, 2013

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 04]

I saw this little image and thought it might look nice on my blog:

If you can't read it because it's in cursive, it says, "Many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today" -- President Uchtdorf (from this talk)

I've been pondering that quote for a little while. I believe it's true, but I've been wondering if there are any examples from my own life where it applies.

Most of my biggest regrets to this point are not being a little bit kinder, of stepping outside my comfort zone to make someone comfortable. That's what the Savior would've done, so yes, it applies.

Then I thought for a few minutes about decisions ahead I might regret -- dating someone, not dating someone, marrying someone (or not marrying someone), moving to the right place, doing the right
things with my life -- Am I nervous about these things? Yes!

But what President Uchtdorf suggests is that if I follow the Savior, my regrets will be less than otherwise.

In my Book of Mormon reading this week I came across 1 Nephi 20:18 that I thought went well with this topic:

18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.

If we follow the Savior we can have peace, knowing that we made, if not all the right decisions, at least mostly the best ones we could. And I know I much prefer peace to the stress of regret.

Monday, August 19, 2013

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 03]

This week I'm going to quote extensively from Sister Dalton's CES Fireside "Zion is the Pure in Heart." She knows her stuff (well, and while I can paraphrase lists just fine, I like the way she expounded). This post is somewhat a continuation of last week's.

Sister Dalton has suggestions on how we can remain virtuous in a toxic world:

1. Repent. Return to virtue.
I am so grateful for this doctrine and for the principle of repentance. Without it, none of us could ever return to our heavenly home pure and worthy to dwell in the presence of God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the restoration of priesthood power on the earth in these latter days that enables us to receive the help we need to return to virtue. This power also enables us to remain “unspotted from the world” (D&C 59:9) as we partake of the sacrament worthily. Each week as we renew our covenants, we promise to keep His commandments, to take His name upon us, and to always remember Him. And He, in turn, promises that we can always have His Spirit to be with us. (See D&C 20:77, 79.) In a world that is so enticing and so appealing, it is imperative for each of us to receive, recognize, and rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost. This wondrous gift will show each of us “all things [that we] should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). That is an absolute promise because the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. Some of His roles are to teach, testify, comfort, and warn. This precious gift also purifies and sanctifies. Thus the Holy Ghost and virtue are inextricably connected. We can be purified “by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31:17). When this occurs, “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). 
2. Be careful in your choice of friends.
In today’s technological society, we may spend more time with nonhuman companions than we do with our peers. While we may be very careful about our human companions, sometimes we give little thought to the other companions that we allow to influence us. Media of any kind can be a very powerful social influencer. We have all been given three precious gifts for our mortal experience. These include our body, our agency, and our time. If Satan can entice us to use our time in unfocused or unproductive or, even worse, nonvirtuous pursuits and then deceive us into believing that if we do this in private our actions don’t affect anyone, he is victorious. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we [must] seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13). Seek the companionship of virtuous friends, not virtual friends.
3. Enter a program of strict training.
We are in the run of our life, and there must be a strict training plan. The success components of this plan include things we will do every single day, without fail, in order to invite the Spirit’s companionship into our life. They will be different for each of us but will always include daily prayer. Our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and He will answer them. I testify that that is true. Our challenge is to be in a place where we can hear and recognize the answers. Strict training will also include daily reading of the Book of Mormon.
4. Smile.
You are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. He knows you. He knows your name. He trusts you, and He loves you. So, smile! This is just basic training, but it must be strictly done every single day.

5. Press forward.
As I have studied the scriptures, it has become increasingly clear to me that the Lord takes His chosen people out of comfort zones again and again and tutors them on the things that really matter. For example, on the first leg of the Jaredites’ journey, they landed on a beach, and they stayed there for four years. They were really in a comfort zone! In fact, they became so comfortable that they forgot to call upon the Lord. But the Lord had a different experience in mind for them. He chastened the brother of Jared for three hours. He told him in advance that the next leg of the journey would be difficult—that he would be submerged in the depths of the sea and driven by the winds. But He also reassured him with six beautiful words: “I prepare you against these things” (Ether 2:25). The Lord will prepare you, and He will prepare a way for you! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 02]

You know what, I really like our Church leaders. I especially admire and desire to emulate the women that hold leadership positions -- the General Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary Presidencies. I love the way they talk about their husbands and families. I like the way they present on doctrines and principles unflinchingly.

This past week I had the opportunity to attend/participate in the Seminaries & Institutes of Religion August Broadcast. Sister Linda K. Burton was one of the speakers and I really, really loved her talk. I would use it for this week's Mormon Monday, but I feel like I should wait until the transcript comes out. If you want, you can listen to it here (her talk begins around 1h10. If you want to hear me participating, start at like 1h07).

A couple months ago we had a tri-ward campout over in Huntsville. Sister Dalton came and spoke to us at the historic McKay home. I unfortunately don't have any notes from that talk either, but I can tell you this: She loves her Savior, and she has trusted Him throughout her life.

But there is a favorite message of Sister Dalton's that I will share with you now: her CES Devotional from September 2009. I have watched, listened, and read this message multiple times throughout the years. I should be more consistent, though, because I always need a reminder of these principles.

It's called "Zion is the Pure in Heart".

She says,
 When Peter wrote his epistle to the early Saints, he told them to “add to [their] faith virtue” (2 Peter 1:5). Faith without virtue would soon languish and die because without virtue there is no purity. Without virtue there is no strength. And without virtue there is no spirituality. It is clear that once you really understand who you are, you must be pure because purity precedes spiritual power.10 The power of which I am speaking is not the kind of power we see in the world. It has nothing to do with fame, position, good looks, celebrity, or wealth. The power and strength of which I am speaking has everything to do with virtue, which is chastity and sexual purity.

I want that power in my life. Not only that, but I think I need it to survive in this world-- I think we all need it. It's easy for me to see that virtue is declining in society but I can also see that there are many strong and powerful youth and adults that are adhering to their virtue with all their might.

I believe virtue is not only the key to power, but a secret to revelation. Am I getting enough revelation in my life? If not, am I going through the steps (I'll probably post on that later)? Is there any pattern in my thought or behavior that is not virtuous? The Lord wants to speak to us but sometimes certain aspects of our lives make it difficult to hear.

Next week I'll discuss Sister Dalton's suggestions to remain virtuous in a toxic world.

Monday, August 5, 2013

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 01]

I like to quote movies sometimes. (Every single time I pass by Saltaire, for example, I must give the famous paraphrase: "Saltaire, hair. Personally, I'd like to learn about Saltaire.") One thing I say on a regular basis is "That's my motto!"

That's from Matilda. Miss Trunchbull says it. I declare it whenever I've delivered an exceptionally pithy statement like "Eating candy is fun and awful." Then when my audience doesn't give the feedback I'm expecting I follow up boldly, "That's my motto!"

(I made up that motto just now. I can't remember any of my exceptionally pithy statements, which I guess leads to a suggested motto of "Write these things down!" Classic.)

But, see, I don't have a real motto. I don't have a statement I live my life by, or try to emulate. On the one hand it means I don't bother people with my repetition of one sentence over and over, but on the other it means that I can't make a cross-stitch, or pin it on Pinterest, or comfort myself by repeating it in times of trouble.

In reading the 2011 BYU Women's Conference selected talks, I've come across a few mottoes that certainly couldn't hurt to live by.

One of them is "I can do hard things." But I can't use that one. My sister used that one when she had to clean out the puke tank at Taco Maker. Every time I think about that phrase I think about my sister's awful job. I don't need those kind of associations.

Sister Susan W. Tanner's talk "Legacy of Relief Society" had a surprising number of mottoes. (She specifically pointed out two -- so many!). She wrote Daughters in my Kingdom and so delved into a lot of Relief Society history. She shared a few stories about women she studied (and from which the following mottoes come). I'll paraphrase so you don't have to read the talk yourself.

Lucy Meserve Smith was one of those who immediately gave of the clothes off her back when hearing about the stranded and destitute handcart companies in October 1856. She worked very hard to be of service, and then her journal states, "What comes next for willing hands to do?"

Louise Yates Robison was an ordinary pioneer woman who, when she was called as a counselor to the General Relief Society Presidency, sustained herself in the conference without realizing it was she who had been sustained. She later was the General Relief Society President through the Great Depression. Her motto was: "Welcome the task that takes you beyond yourself."

These mottoes have in common that they make me feel tired. But I know if I took them to heart my life would be blessed. Even better would be a scripture (I know there are very good ones out there). So I'm pondering that this week.

Here is where I could open it up to discussion and ask what your mottoes are, but I'm not running that kind of blog.

Well, that marks the end of my very first Motto Mormon Monday!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I am a constant satellite of your blazing sun

I've decided it's time to readjust this blog's orbit.

I'll still make all the posts I used to (that is kind of a joke because I post rarely), but I am determined to add a recurring motif. I doubt I will lose many readers over this, because the vast, vast majority of my readership holds the same beliefs I do (and those that don't are unlikely to be bothered, I hope). I may even gain some (though that is not my primary goal).

Anyway, starting tomorrow I'll be beginning Mormon Monday (I came up with that all by myself and I'm positive no one else has ever come up with the same idea). Not sure yet what all Mormon Monday will entail. I'm pretty sure the posts will be short. I'm also pretty sure that it won't happen every Monday. But it's going to happen.

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is such a huge part of my life. I should talk more about it. So I will.

And now maybe my blog url will make more sense. Because I am a constant satellite of the Son.

[Title text: "Gravity" ~ Vienna Teng]