A leisurely nightly stroll with Wellington (our English bulldog) around our neighborhood in upcountry Maui came screeching to a halt when a long-distance, but very good friend took offense to something I posted on social media earlier that day. The comment, a sincere expression of my beliefs during an especially agitated time for the United States, distressed her and her family.
Despite my attempts to apologize, explain and understand, they rescinded their friendship and were suddenly gone. Shocked, I leaned against a fence and cried. I felt so sad I caused them distress on any level. That sadness turned to anger as I defiantly wondered why their point of view was more “valid” than mine and why their freedom to express their disdain precluded my freedom to express an opinion in the first place. I believed that communication leads to resolution, but there was no resolution or any further communication, and I felt vulnerably rejected. The encounter left me wounded and deeply grieved, and because I feared having a similar experience again, I buried my expressive voice.
I knew that God would be the only source of peace in this situation and I desperately wanted peace. Over the course of several years, I turned to Him in prayer when the memory of losing these people I loved scourged my soul. After time, the pain’s intensity began to lessen, and when I finally decided to stop punishing myself by carrying the burden alone on my own shoulders, I turned it over to Jesus Christ.
Basic doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who took upon Himself the pains, grief, sicknesses, and sins of mankind, in an act called the Atonement. Since He truly knows our sorrows, He can offer solace, if we let Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Continue reading →
The year is 2013. If I were superstitious, I’d look at that number thirteen and see a correlation between it and what has happened to my family since the year began. An adage says that bad things come in threes. I stopped counting after the seventh bad thing happened this year. I have asked myself—and God—What is happening to me and my family? What have we done wrong? What can we do to stop the hard things from happening?
If There Is a God, Then Why Does He Let Bad Things Happen?
My family and I are not alone in our trials. Everyone encounters hard times. Sometimes the difficulties don’t last very long. Sometimes they are prolonged, causing us to ask, “If there is a God, then why is He letting these bad things happen?” It is common for people to give up hope of relief or help from God when trials lengthen. It is especially easy for people to stop believing in Him because they see innocent people suffer. They may ask, Why would a loving God allow that? But when people look beyond the moment of difficulty, they can detect a deeper meaning to suffering.
God’s Law of Opposition
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church, are often reminded of the role of opposition in life from a passage in the Book of Mormon: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass” (2 Nephi 2:11). Continue reading →
Around the nation, graduates are hearing messages designed to get them into the world to build a career. However, graduation from college is not just the beginning of a career and it is not really just about the graduate. Graduation launches students into the world to make a difference, not just for themselves and their families, but for others as well. Having had what is a rare opportunity for many around the world, they now need to give something back. Achieving a balance between career, family, faith, and service is the real challenge facing new graduates. Religious schools are frequently the only schools that are sending out that message to new graduates.
Justify Credentials with Character
In Hawaii, graduates of the Mormon owned BYU-Hawaii were asked by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy to justify their credentials by their character. He pointed out that it is possible to cut corners in the obtaining of credentials by cheating on tests or taking other shortcuts, but it is not so easy to take shortcuts in the pursuit of character.
Elder Maynes quoted Mormon prophet Thomas S. Monson:
During the last half century, there has been in this country a gradual but continual retreat from standards of excellence in many phases of our life. We observe business without morality, science without conscience, politics without principle, wealth without works…. “Refuse to compromise with expedience. Maintain the courage to defy the consensus. Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. By so doing, you will not detour, but rather will ever remain on the way to perfection.
Elder Maynes noted that the world considers getting ahead more important than being honest and true. These graduates, educated in a spiritually rich environment, must not do that. They need to learn to put God before temporal success. He assured them that he believed it was possible to be successful and to have integrity at the same time. As proof of this he offered an example from his own career. (Mormon leaders are lay leaders chosen from among ordinary members, so they come from the professional world.) He made a decision that was expensive and therefore, might have seemed inappropriate to many, but it allowed him to keep his word. Although this decision cost the company a great deal of extra money, word got around that they had honored their commitment. Their business improved because they had proven themselves to be a company with integrity.
Make Course Corrections
Because college is so focused on a future career, it can be easy for graduates to forget they are graduating into a full life, not just a professional one. These first months and years will determine who they are and how their lives—including their eternal lives—will play out. LDS Business College commencement, Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy suggested that graduates make course corrections quickly.
He outlined the importance of monitoring their choices in life and fixing them while the mistakes were still small. The longer we wait to make changes the harder they are to make. He reminded them that even the very smallest choice in the wrong direction can be catastrophic because it makes the next wrong turn easier. Eventually, there are so many bad choices it becomes very hard to straighten them out.
Design Your Life
A new graduate has an amazing opportunity to design a life. Choosing a career that will allow him to maintain his integrity can be an important first step. Although Mitt Romney was mocked by one commentator for including marriage and parenthood in life’s plans, these are actually valuable choices, since studies show that those who are married earn more and are happier. However, that choice will impact most future choices, too. We must choose our spouses wisely and then use wisdom and love in planning and carrying out our family lives.
Many responsible graduates search for an area of service as soon as they are settled into their new careers. Doing so early on allows them to place that service in their lives before it becomes too filled with less important things. No one gets to the moment of graduation without help from others and so it is important to give something back. There is a world of need out there and when everyone steps in to help with part of it, everything can get done efficiently and lovingly. Often, there are service opportunities available that connect with a person’s employment. Others want something entirely different to provide meaningful variety in life. Whether they are giving free medical care, teaching an adult to read, or mentoring a teenager in the inner-city, service takes us outside ourselves and reminds us that we all have much to be thankful for.
Of course, the most important thing to put into our new lives is the gospel. We owe our fancy new careers to God and we need to be sure we aren’t using his gift as an excuse to be too busy for Him. Attending church is important, but we can’t just be Christians for a few hours on Sunday. We need to be Christian every moment of every day. Following the other steps listed above and making wise choices about how to live our lives, remembering to pray and to study the scriptures…all those things will give us the well-rounded Christian life that gives meaning to that piece of paper hanging on our new office wall.
The December 2012 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school hit really close to home for me. Not because I knew anyone involved, but because I have a 5-year-old son who will go to kindergarten in the fall. I can’t imagine sending him to school and then finding out that he has been shot and killed. The very thought terrifies me. I can only imagine the grief of those who have lost their little ones, and my heart aches for them. And then I wonder, how can you forgive an act of pure evil—taking the lives of innocent children and the adults trying to protect them?
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church, I have been taught my entire life that I need to forgive others. The Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture in The Church of Jesus Christ containing modern revelation, explains the necessity of forgiveness. Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10 reads:
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
Forgiveness is Freeing
Christians have long touted the virtue of forgiveness, and now scientists are in agreement, according to a recent Deseret News article titled “Forgiveness is an important part of a full and healthy life,” by Lois Collins. Both science and religion say that forgiveness is less for the one who has done us wrong and more for us in our own lives.
In an April 2003 address titled “Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” David E. Sorensen, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy (Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church and work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency, the governing body of the Latter-day Saint Church), said: Continue reading →
William Wordsworth, the great Romantic poet, said,
I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man. (Norton 2, p. 154)
Rather than seeing nature as an unfeeling, hostile entity, Wordsworth found comfort in nature and saw in it the hand of God. In many ways, communing with nature was Wordsworth’s pew in the cathedral. But he also felt by the Holy Spirit that we are eternal beings, and that we come from, and return to, God:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come,
from God, who is our home…
–(Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood).
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church) believe that God has placed them here upon this earth to learn the basic elements of happiness that He has to offer to them.
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.” Joseph Smith Jr. [Teachings, 255–56]
The first basic element of happiness is faith that God has placed you on Earth, that you may become eternally happy. God wants us to remember that happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have. It depends solely upon what you think. Faith in God is a key element of being happy on earth.
Second: Happiness does not always require success, prosperity or attainment. It is often the joy of hopeful struggle, consecration of purpose, and energy to some good end. Real happiness ever has its root in unselfishness–its blossom in love of some kind. [William George Jordan, The Crown of Individuality (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1909), 78–79]
Third: “Of all the people in the world, we [members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] have reason to be the most happy and to have the greatest measure of peace in our lives because of the hope within us. We know the Lord and understand His example–an example of happiness. He was not steeped in pleasure for, as noted by Isaiah, He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). True happiness is born of our understanding that in the midst of joy or trial He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). It is possible, because of Him, to have peace deep within our souls when all about there is confusion, tumult, and temptation. It is possible because of Him to be truly happy.” Elements of Happiness, by Donald N. Wright on 6 June 2000.
Fourth: Happiness is service to others. As the prophetJoseph Fielding Smith once said, “There is no genuine happiness without service.” We can all serve someone else who is need of cheer, a prayer, kindness or love. ”There is no greater blessing, no greater joy and happiness than comes to us from relieving the distress of others.”, said President J. Reuben Clark. Happiness comes most effectively through service to our fellowman.
True and lasting happiness comes through an understanding of and living of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This understanding will motivate us to serve others, to pray for them and to comfort them. Happiness comes as we realize that God sees us as we may become and not as we are now. Lasting happiness comes as we continue to have Hope that we may become as God is now.
This article was written by Mike, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Understanding the Plan of Salvation means understanding our purpose and direction. It answers the classic questions: “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where did I come from?”, and “Where am I going?”
The Plan of Salvation- also called the Plan of Happiness, Redemption, Forgiveness, Exaltation and of Mercy- is our Heavenly Father’s design for our progression. As can be seen from its various titles, the goal of this plan is to bring about our eternal happiness, salvation, and exaltation through the tenants of mercy, redemption and forgiveness. Every piece of this plan was and is critically necessary, but the most important piece around which the entire plan is centralized is the need for a Savior. This is why our gospel is a gospel of Christ, for “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)
Without Christ, our Father’s plan would be for naught. It would be impossible for us to obtain the perfection He desires for us without this helping hand and guiding light. We agreed to partake in this plan and even facilitate it, knowing that it would require us to humble ourselves so that our weaknesses, shortcomings, and failings could be revealed to us through the trials of mortality and made strong through His Atonement (Ether 12:27). This plan, is a plan designed to shape and mold us into brighter, stronger, glorified beings, even as a diamond is shaped in time under pressure and heat. Our “refiners fire” is this very earth and state of mortality which is a state of opposition.
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.” (2 Nephi 2:11-13)
We are all beings of spirit and flesh, literal children of our Father in Heaven, and we are here so that we may learn, grow, and develop from an adolescent state into spiritual adulthood. This plan is simple. It is straight forward. And when we pull away from all the details and confusing twists and turns we always tend to throw into our own paths, it is quite easy to understand. It is perfect in its entirety, and the following of this plan is the only way through which we can obtain the blessings of eternal life. The Savior Himself has taught us, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39.)
This article was written by Melissa, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In America we have prided ourselves in offering all who find themselves upon our shores the opportunity of attaining the “abundant life.” Historically, this promise has been dependent upon America’s democracy and capitalistic economic system. It has been the promise of the possibility of working one’s way from poverty to prosperity. Upon America’s founding, she promised “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It was always implied that the “pursuit of happiness” is equivalent to the pursuit of prosperity.
At the current time I am serving a Mormon mission. I’m sixty-six, and my husband is seventy-one. So far, we have lived an abundant life. For about ten years of our forty-four year marriage, we were very prosperous. For the other 34 we have scraped by and even almost financially desperate. So what is an abundant life?
At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings.
President Monson then went on to explain how this is done. He began by talking about the importance of attitude:
So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.
Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”2
We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.
President Monson then talked about believing in ourselves. Believing in ourselves has everything to do with faith and hope. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church,” learn that they are eternal beings and spirit sons and daughters of God. They learn that they are loved deeply and unconditionally, and that in the most desperate and lonely circumstances, they have a friend in Christ.
You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.
President Monson then talked about facing challenges with courage. A person with a terminal illness can have an abundant life as he seeks the companionship, comfort and assurance of the Savior through the Holy Ghost. A person who is alone can live an abundant life through serving others.
Said the American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”5
Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”6
Again, I reflect upon what I am learning during my Mormon mission to Malaysia. Most conversions to the Church of Jesus Christ occur in “East Malaysia” on the island of Borneo. Most of the people there live in abject poverty. When they find the gospel of Jesus Christ, are baptized, and begin to harvest the fruits of the gospel, they begin to enjoy a life of abundance, even if their financial prospects do not change at all. They begin to experience the richness of the spirit, of communing with others who share their testimony of the Savior.
I invite you to enjoy a life of abundance in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who says,
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the “Mormon Church” to friends of other faiths) holds a General Conference twice a year. It is a two-day event where we hear from a modern day prophet and apostles. A central message that I collected from this last conference two weeks ago was focused on the change of heart that must take place within us to point us closer to Jesus Christ. Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a talked entitled “Can Ye Feel So Now?” that emphasized the need to feel the enduring power of the Spirit. He focused on a verse from Alma in the Book of Mormon, chapter 5 verse 26:“If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” Elder Cook then goes on to address how important it is to “feel so now.” He describes the current situation of society as a spiritual deterioration, resulting in a spiritual drought:
Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.
This spiritual drought has spread across the globe as people feel that they are not able to discontinue those things that are keeping them from living a holy life. Our choices affect all that we do, and many times we feel bound by the choices that we make; we feel trapped in a world where our hearts are set upon things of lesser value or which have even become addictions. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there is a plan and purpose for life. All of these less-than-valuable choices can be rectified and wiped out through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His power can leave a lasting impression on our hearts that will leave us changed forever.
In the online Meridian Magazine, Ron McMillan recently wrote an article entitled 6 Sources to a Mighty Change of Heart and Behavior. In it, he described six sources he had researched that helped change behavior. He illustrated it through a story of a man who overcame a terrible drug and alcohol addiction. His article is central to the theme of Alma chapter 5, which discusses the necessary measures to obtain a mighty change of heart. These six sources link to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His atonement.
Source 1: Personal Motivation
Through a myriad of different experiences, God is always giving us opportunities to come unto Him. We may not recognize them, but they are a part of His plan. He wants to give us opportunities to change. When we grab hold of these experiences, we have a desire to be different – a desire to be closer to God and His Spirit. God grants us our righteous desires and then blesses us with the resolve to achieve those desires. Most times these blessings come through spiritual experiences that motivate us to want to continue to feel that spirit. The endeavor for change then becomes tasteful and worthwhile. However, change cannot rest on desire alone. Change requires action, which leads to source two.
Source 2: Personal Ability
Do we feel like we can make the necessary changes in our life? Do we have the knowledge and ability to do so? Each of us has been given the divine gift of agency from our Heavenly Father. He has blessed us with the freedom to choose. Not only has He blessed us to choose right from wrong, but He has also blessed us with the ability to make every day choices to change what we are doing. We can choose to remain stagnant, or we can choose to be proactive. The ability we have to change is not inherently one way or the other. We are not simply creatures that either can or cannot change. We lie on neutral ground until we decide to remain or move forward. Through our agency, we make the choice to have the ability to act on our personal desire and motivation. We control our own outcome and as we exercise our agency for good, Christ too will be involved in the process.
Source 3: Social Motivation
As soon as we have made the choice that we can and we will change – that we have the ability to – that is when action must begin. McMillan believes that social atmosphere is a huge factor in the problems and habits that arise in our lives. The first thing to change is where we are and when. It is crucial to take a look at your life and reflect on those who influence you for good and those that do not. It is important to recognize places that invite the Spirit, as those are where the most learning and strengthening will take place. It starts with disconnecting yourself from those places that associate you with old habits. The Spirit of the Lord brings feelings of peace and happiness. The more that we experience those feelings in positive atmospheres, the more we yearn to continue to be there. With our desire and motivation, we can make the changes in our social atmosphere that invite the Spirit and allow for Christ to change our hearts.
Source 4: Social Ability
Like personal motivation and ability, social motivation rests on the ability to change your social life. It comes back to the principle of acting. Sometimes it requires great sacrifice to make the changes necessary for a converted and changed heart. But these changes do bring about happiness. I testify that when you remove yourself from the vain and degrading things of this world, you will find peace and happiness. There will be a spirit that endures you through what is hard. And each day that you remove yourself from the world and closer to Christ, you will gain strength and become more converted. Your heart will be progressively changed.
Source 5: Structural Motivation
This change in atmosphere that invites the Spirit of Jesus Christ will motivate us to then change the structure of our lives. With a change of heart comes a complete change of culture and lifestyle. It is truly embracing the truthfulness of Jesus Christ and living in harmony with what He would do. To truly be converted, one must convert their lifestyle in a manner that will always bring the Spirit. I testify that when our lives are structured around our Savior, the purpose of our life broadens. Each day can be outlined with activities and opportunities for righteousness. Daily scripture study, personal prayer, church attendance, service – all of these benefit to living structurally around Christ. And when we feel of His Spirit always throughout the day, the motivation to maintain that spirit will be there.
Source 6: Structural Ability
At the end of the day, we must be able to look at our life and ask the questions: “Is my environment and life structured in a way that enables me to make the change? Does my environment make it hard to do the bad things and easy to do the good things?” These questions are a good gauge for knowing the kind of life we live and if it is aligned with our Father in Heaven. We have been given the desire and motivation to choose the right and well as the precious gift of agency. We are in control of the outcome of our life. We can choose to be changed and we can make it happen. McMillan said:
We must put our trust in God and ask Him to show us how to control the things that influence us and we must learn how to create a life that makes it easier to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and walk blameless before God. We must adopt the routines, like daily scripture study, prayer and regular temple attendance that help us to keep God always in remembrance and help us hold on to our change of heart.
It is through living close to God that we experience a mighty change of heart. When we structure our life after the pattern of the Savior Jesus Christ, miracles do happen. I testify that you will look back on your life and see the Spirit working within you. You will be happy and grateful for all that God has done for you. I encourage you to read Alma chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon to understand the qualifications for a mighty change of heart. Jesus Christ is at the center. He will bring you to Him.
This article was written by Mady Clawson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mady Clawson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ single adult), with a zest for the gospel. She currently studies English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing and Communications at BYU-Idaho.
The Book of Mormon teaches us of the peace that we can have through our Savior Jesus Christ. Helaman chapter 5, verse 12 states:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
When we are grounded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not fear. It is through Him that we can add meaning to our life amidst the trials that come. Christ will endow us with power that replaces fear with comfort and peace. Deen Kemsley in his book Trust in the Lord recounts an experience he had with his wife that ties in with the above scripture:
In mid-August, 2005, my wife and I took a short retreat to Camden, Maine. My teaching semester at Tulane University was about to begin, and we wanted to spend some time together before I started the rigorous commute from Connecticut down to Louisiana. After settling into a bed and breakfast inn, we hiked down to the boardwalk to see the harbor. We found a schooner named Surprise and took it for a ride. The crew gave us safety instructions as we taxied out of the harbor and the captain unfurled the sails. We sailed along the shore with ever-increasing speed. In the distance, we could see Victory Chimes, one of Maine’s most commemorated sailboats. We quickly outpaced her, catching an especially strong wind along the shore.
After a while we gained so much speed that the captain’s wife remarked they had never had a run like this before, not in all of their nineteen years of sailing the Surprise together. At that point, the boat leaned so far over onto its side that water came pouring onto the deck. I held on to the railing as tightly as I could, trying to stay above the flood. I became alarmed and wanted to know how the captain was going to right the ship, but when I looked at him he was calm and at ease. Still uneasy myself, I asked him what we should do. He simply answered, “There is no way this wind will knock over the ship—there are fifteen thousand pounds of ballast down at the keel—so you can relax and enjoy the ride.” He spoke with confidence, enough confidence that I began to trust in him, even though my senses didn’t agree. As I trusted him I felt peace. In the end, we arrived back in the harbor safe and sound.
…As I watch the events that are unfolding in the world, it’s evident we all will need this strength from our eternal Captain during upcoming years, perhaps like never before. Natural disasters and deadly diseases abound, and Satan is pushing forward a great tide of terror and wickedness upon the entire earth. All of us need an anchor of strength and security, a foundation so strong it will endure through all opposition and grief. We need a foundation forged in eternity—Jesus Christ.
I am emphasizing [that] each of us knows deep down in our hearts—we will all face tough times, and in these times we need the seal and protection of Christ upon us. With this seal we will not be alone. When waves crash down upon us, waves so strong that it will be hard to hold on, Christ will be standing there next to us in the surf. He will be ready to reach into the waves to pull us out. No matter how deep our pain, he will be there to find us in the surf and to command the waves to be at peace and to be still. When he does, he will pull us up into his arms, where his power to heal is deeper than our deepest pain. In these arms, it will not matter how hard the wind may blow during upcoming years, for ever before us we will have the image of our eternal Captain of Peace—Jesus Christ. We will feel his love and know his strength, and he will bring us back to the harbor safe and sound, back to our eternal home.God is there, he hears your prayers, and he loves you.
Jesus Christ is my foundation. He is the source of my strength. I know that it is through Him that we can find peace in this world. He has descended below us all so that He can relieve our pain and suffering. I know that He loves each and every one of us. I know that this life can be empowering as we cleave unto the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can meet with the Mormon missionaries and request a copy of the Book of Mormon.
Excerpts in this article are from Trust in the Lord: Reflections of Jesus Christ, by Deen Kemsley, 2008, Sweetwater Books (a subsidiary of Cedar Fort, Inc).
This article was written by Mady Clawson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mady Clawson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ single adult), with a zest for the gospel. She currently studies English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing and Communications at BYU-Idaho.
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