Friday, December 04, 2015

Love, peace, wolves and firearms

I recently was accused to being a terrorist.  

Wolves have been brought into our area and are currently rounding up our neighbor’s cattle.   I can see it now, one of my children becoming a meal to these sweet creatures.  During this line of thought I realized I need to refresh myself on what ammunition goes to which gun and for my older children to do the same.  Obviously, that called for Family Home Evening to be centered on shotgun loading and unloading.

I shared this on Facebook:

Then received feedback:

Sitara Solowiej This energy is the same energy in Paris. Violence begets violence. I'm always so amused with those who claim to follow Jesus but then so outwardly regard his teachings. We are just one side of another. The other side is also teaching their children to use guns. It's in these choices that we choose to continue the violence and this video is a direct example of why we are still killing each other. And most ridiculously over religion. Spirit is a knowing deep within. It's all the same spirit. Jesus spike against this yet many hide behind Jesus and don't face the truth that they are what Jesus was against. Love and peace. Guns will not be in a truly evolved world of love and peace. Change comes form each one of us. We must choose and be the change lest we be disease.”

First of all where did this come from?  How do you clam a higher way of life and proceed to tear apart others and their families?  
Then I thought of all the reasons, in this person’s defense, that the Lord does not need firearms.  He created the earth.  At his word the earth was and therefore yes, he does not share the need for guns.  But love and peace is not always a picture of rainbows and unicorns either.

In the Book of Mormon when Alma the younger was going about with his friends rebelling against God, an angel of the Lord is sent to admonish him.  My attention was drawn to what even the voice of an angel can do:

“… and he spake as it were with with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood…” Mosiah 27:11

Sometimes when the Lord sends an angel it comes like a storm and an earthquake.  After the angel departs from Alma and the sons of Mosiah we read:

“And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder.”  Mosiah 27:18

I feel the Lord speaks to us on the level at which we understand best.  To Joseph Smith in the grove as a young boy, he saw Heavenly Father and Christ in awe and wonder.  Alma the younger needed to feel the earth shake him so violently he fell.  Is that how every knee shall bend?  Some on their own will and others due to quaking and trembling?  I pray to be ready and willing to listen to the word of God minus the storm.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kneel to pray and outwardly show devotion

I read from the Book of Mormon this week about Enos and his struggle to be cleansed from sin.  It seems we could all relate to his desire to feel free from the filth and poor choses we make from time to time.  As Enos shares his experience he sets a great example I would like to follow with my family.

Enos mentions his father's words on eternal life and joy which lead him to kneel down and cry unto the Lord in prayer... for an entire day.  The important part for me is where he kneels.  "Well that's not a big deal," you may think, but to me it is HUGE.

In the morning when I rise, refreshed from the quiet night, it is easier to pray kneeling.  If I find myself with no distractions, it'll happen.  As the day wears on I find silent prayers, more like open thoughts, straight to my Heavenly Father about trivial things.  When night rolls around, everyone is tired and  whining... that's when I just want the day to be over.  I want family prayers to be quick and painless and for the party to move on to sleeping.  

For years we have said family prayers casually and in whatever place we were whether it be sitting, laying down, outside and (insert gasping) not ready at all to pray.  It didn't really matter to me as I wanted to mark "family prayer" off my check list for the day.  A few months ago a 16 year old girl stood up in sacrament meeting and talked about the importance to kneel while praying.  My husband and I both agreed that was definitely an area we needed to improve on as a family, so we set a goal and went on with it.

Every night, it is a struggle to kneel down!  I do not understand why it seems like a hurdle to get down on the floor, but it is and the whole time I'm in the process of kneeling I say to myself, "whatever, the Lord hears you even if you don't kneel".  While this thinking is true, it brings with it an attitude of indifference and lack of devotion.  

Now compare this to Enos' example of prayer.  He uses the words:

pour out my whole soul
labored with all diligence

And after all Enos' effort was given to the Lord in prayer he says, "my guilt was swept away... and my faith began to be unshaken".  Enos goes through all this, and I struggle to kneel?  REALLY?!  

My goal for the rest of my life is to have prayers be constantly on my knees.  To plead with the Lord on my knees for things I "cannot do in [my] own strength alone" as Elder Bednar put it.  

*Here's a sweet little video of Kimber enjoying Elder Bednar's words and counsel on prayer.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Isaiah, he saw it all over your face

I am really enjoying my read through the Book of Mormon student manual.  It has so many great snippets of conference talks both current and old, and through those talks and the scripture references themselves I feel a whole new level of understanding washing over me.  This week it has been especially helpful as we are getting into 2 Nephi where Nephi quotes Isaiah.

When I started reading the Book of Mormon as a young adult, I was determined to get through the whole book.  I began and found myself strolling along nicely for quite a while until one day I had an out of body experience where I knew I was reading the same book (and that it was in English), but I could NOT understand any of it.  What was going on?!  It was Isaiah.  

I wish to understand all his words one day.  As for this week, I will settle for bits and pieces of understanding.  One of my favorites I learned about was how we cannot hide our sins or our good deeds.  2 Nephi 13:9 He says:

"The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!"

I look at people and a lot of times I can tell just through pictures that they don't look happy.  I call it happy, but it really just looks like something is off.  I've noticed it in people who are trying so desperately to take happiness in sin.  The Lord has been very clear on the subject of wickedness and in the Book of Mormon his prophet Alma says, "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10)

I love the student manual commentary that accompanies the Isaiah verse in regards to our countenances when we sin.  It says:

Righteousness and wickedness affect both attitude and appearance. Brigham Young said, “Those who have got the forgiveness of their sins have countenances that look bright, and they will shine with the intelligence of heaven” (“Speech,” Times and Seasons, July 1, 1845, 956).
David O. McKay taught: “No man can disobey the word of God and not suffer for so doing. No sin, however secret, can escape retribution. True, you may lie and not be detected; you may violate virtue without it being known by
any who would scandalize you; yet you cannot escape the judgment that follows such transgression. The lie is lodged in the recesses of your mind, an impairment of your character that will reflect sometime, somehow in your countenance or bearing” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1951, 8).

How's that for trying to lie, cheat or steal from here on out?  Any form of wickedness and it'll show up all over your face.  Isaiah saw it, and sometimes the rest of us can see it too.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Lehi, Nephi and Hangry

Hangry, anger induced from being hungry.  Pregnant women and mom's of small children understand this emotion all too well.  I can't tell you how many times I've forced my husband through fast food  restaurants because I was "starving" and would eat him if he didn't pull over.  My children throw massive fits out of hanger and even my husband has been known to change his attitude 180˚ after eating a hearty meal.  Food.  It's so powerful.

The opposite of being hangry is fasting.  Fasting is going without food or drink for a certain period of time.  When I fast it is for religious purposes and I begin my fast with a prayer addressing a specific reason for the fast.  I then begin NOT eating or drinking for 24 hours, but in this scenario every time I hear my stomach growl I remember what I'm fasting for and say another prayer pleading with and giving thanks to the Lord.  Somehow I have managed to make it through many fasts in my lifetime and be happy about it.  The prayer and purpose make the hunger a challenge to be overcome. 100% of the time I receive the answers I was looking for at the beginning of the fast.  Amazing!

This week while reading in the Book of Mormon, I read how Lehi, the PROPHET, has hangry issues too. What?!  It all starts when Nephi breaks his bow while hunting and his family suffers "much for the want of food", 1 Nephi 16:19.  Lehi wasn't fasting, he was suffering!  He was asking his children, "Please, for the love, can we stop anywhere for something to eat?"  Only there were no Carl's Jrs, In-N-Out or even a McDonald's.  So what would you do without a drive through?  Cry.  I would cry.  And probably be sad that grass and dirt don't taste like cheeseburgers.

Lehi is brought "down into the depths of sorrow" over lack of food and was driven to murmuring.  Nephi saves the day, but I was comforted this week to know I am not alone in my struggles of being hangry.  It knows no boundaries and has been happening for thousands of years.