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The title of our Sunday School lesson this week was “How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?” We read in the Book of Mormon of the Nephites and their “pride cycle.” It is easy for us to look at the Nephites and say to ourselves, “How could they be so foolish?” But, do we also forget God and get trapped in the pride cycle? How can we be better at “remembering” as we are counseled so frequently in the scriptures?
It struck me that the falling away of the Nephites was not just because of their wickedness but the consequences of their wickedness- because of their sins, the Holy Ghost could not be with them, and without the Holy Ghost, they dwindled in unbelief.
One role of the Holy Ghost is to help us remember (see John 14:26). He helps us remember the source of our blessings. He helps us remember previous spiritual experiences that have formed the basis of our beliefs- that God lives, that we are His children, that He has a plan for our salvation, that He calls and speaks with prophets that teach His children the plan, etc. The Holy Ghost helps us remember The Way and prompts us to love others, to be humble, and to keep the commandments. By remembering these truths and following these promptings, we remain worthy of continued guidance, strength, and revelation.
In our class, we discussed the need to pray, to read the scriptures, to attend the temple, etc. And while all of these things are good and are important, without the right intent, they will be of little avail to us. If we merely read the scriptures, say prayers, and attend the temple for the sole purpose of completing some task that we know we should do, we are at least being obedient and some blessings will result, but I think much greater blessings await when we hunger and thirst after righteousness, when we feast upon the word, when we pray mightily and truly commune with our Father, etc. In these cases, the Holy Ghost teaches us, comforts us, strengthens us, and reminds us that God is the source of all of our blessings. I believe what we do is much less important than why we do. What are our intentions? What really are the desires of our hearts?
What a blessing to be able to partake of the sacrament each week! By re-covenanting each week to keep the commandments and by striving to keep these covenants, Heavenly Father promises to give us the very thing that we need to be successful- that the Holy Ghost will always be with us.
There are many conference talks regarding the Holy Ghost, but here are two of my favorites:
Elder Bednar, April 2006: “That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us”
Elder Wirthling, April 2003: “The Unspeakable Gift”
I had also wanted to explore some thoughts on the important role that the Holy Ghost plays in sanctifying and unifying us, but I will save that for a future post….
It is hard to believe that 7 years have passed since the infamous 9/11 tragedy occurred. I remember watching the earliest reports on the news, when it seemed to be a single, small plan that had crashed into Tower 1. As the events quickly unfolded, we learned the horror of what had actually happened. For those of us that were fairly removed from the incident, I think it seemed unimaginable that such a thing could happen, but it remained somewhat distant and unreal.
Still, even though thousands lost their lives, I think some good came from the tragedy. I was amazed by stories of heroism. I think the country came together in ways I had never before seen. Flags were proudly displayed everywhere. Prayers were constantly offered for the victims and their families. There seemed to be great patriotism and unity in the country, and we obviously made many security advancements as a result of these attacks.
I am intrigued by this concept that we often wait for something tragic to bring us to a higher level. For example, I think it is fairly common for folks to live unhealthy lifestyles of poor diet, inadequate exercise, etc. until serious illness sets in, then we attempt to adjust to a more healthy way of life. I think this happens too in relationships- we tend to take others for granted until a tragedy strikes, then we become more caring, loving, and interested in improving the relationship (assuming that it isn’t too late).
Why do we do this? Is it simply complacency? Why don’t we more often choose to live a healthy lifestyle and cherish our relationships without being compelled to do so by some tragic event? It is no wonder to me that we are frequently admonished in the scriptures to “remember” when we seem so prone to forget the things that should be most important to us.
We had stake conference this weekend, along with 134 other stakes in Utah and Wasatch counties. I really enjoyed the live broadcast today and will probably have a future post regarding some of the highlights for me from today’s meeting.
For now, I just wanted to comment on how marvelous and miraculous the the technology that is available to us today. With the growth of the church, it simply isn’t practical for the first presidency and the apostles to meet in person with each stake as they did many years ago. Today we saw and heard Elder Marlin K. Jensen, Sister Dibbs, President Packer, and President Uchtdorf. It was a wonderful meeting and was just as good for me as if the speakers had been in our own building just for us. How much more effective that these meetings can now be broadcast to over 100 stake centers and many thousands of members.
In addition. President Packer spoke of how they can use video conferencing to speak personally with potential mission presidents, how they weekly hold meetings via satellite with leaders throughout the world, etc. The technology we have today is truly a blessing.
More within the next few days….