Oct. 30, 2016
Today I’m going to write a little bit of a different letter. There are many things I’ve been saving to include in my letter lately so instead of writing down a log of what we did this week I’ll share the things that I’ve been saving or thinking about.
First, when I was in Kayla’s ward two weeks ago, a lady shared that when we go to our classes at church, we need to be proactive as we go into the class. Instead of sitting down and bemoaning the fact that no once sits by you, actively look for who you can sit by as you walk in the door.
Second, here is a spotlight that was written about me in our RS email. MINDY SANDERS - Mindy serves as our Cub Committee Chairperson in the ward. She was the only sibling out of 13 that wasn't born in a hospital. Instead she was born in a doctor’s office in Snowflake. She played basketball and volleyball in high school and her teams were the 3A AZ Champions her senior year. She also played the viola and sang in choir. Her all time dream is to have all her kids happily married in the temple and to grow old with her husband Chad (who serves as the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric). They met in college and were in the same Family Home Evening Group. She was about to leave for her mission when he proposed. Mindy's favorite book is Pride & Prejudice. She loves summer because she can go swimming, hiking, floating down down the river and any other fun outdoor activity. Costa Rica is her vacation spot and Mexican food is her favorite food. Mindy loves serving! It is in her nature to help others. Her favorite quote is from her Aunt Nertia, "Assume the best. Look for the good"
Third, this quote I read this week. "Excuses are easy to find; they spring up as readily and plentifully as weeds by the wayside" (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pg. 401).
Fourth, this thought written by my niece Jewel.
A few years ago, I had my first "wall of faith" experience--one where I was truly led to doubt what I had always taken for granted as true. I had been reading news articles and heard stories about a few different movements that I originally dismissed as hogwash--complete apostasy, stirred up by angry ex-members who just wanted to drag others down with them. I was prepared to give these movements no further thought, until some friends of mine whose opinions (and testimonies) I trusted implicitly started posting about these movements on Facebook.
Feeling curious, knowing these friends as active members (some of whom had served missions), and wanting to have a truly open mind, I started reading these blog posts, forums, and discussions. I spent a few weeks diving down this rabbit hole until I realized that every time I left my computer or my phone screen, I was feeling sick, anxious, and confused. I started mentally criticizing things at church and in the temple that had never bothered me before (many things that I had actually previously enjoyed and found comforting). I realized that I was spending a disproportionate amount of time reading these dissenting and angry voices, rather than on my typical scripture study habits. …
During this time, I had the opportunity to attend a General Women's Conference Session with some dear friends of mine. It was my first time in the conference center, and as I felt the strength and power of all of these righteous women, united in love and compassion for the Savior and for each other, I was overwhelmed with joy. I remember crying through the entire two-hour meeting and feeling peaceful and content when it was over. The entire time, the thought kept coming into my mind of what a contrast this was to the feelings I got from other things I had been reading, discussing, and listening to. It was literally the contrast of truth versus error. …
The significant contrast of that memory helped me to realize that the distress these articles were bringing me meant something, and I decided to lean more towards the peace of the principles I needed to focus on at the time. I learned to trust my instinct when clicking on a link, comment, or article, and have found that usually within the first few lines of an article, I can tell whether something will be good for me to read or not.
I was grateful for this lesson, but thought little more of it until quite some time later, when I was reading a verse in the Book of Mormon that struck me in a way I'd never thought about before.
Moroni was a war captain, chosen for his valor and integrity to lead his people (the Nephites) against their enemies (the Lamanites). While I had always enjoyed the chapters describing the victories and losses of this time period in previous perusals, this time reading through, I found a significant amount of symbolism (that had previously been entirely lost on me) by now reading it as a person who sees herself currently at war with a powerful and tireless adversary.
One part that especially struck me was in Alma 55:31-32. At this point in the story, the Nephites currently have a tenuous advantage, and the Lamanites are trying to find ways to attack them that are a bit more subtle than previous attempts, one of which is trying to poison their wine.
Moroni employs what I always saw as a rather obvious bit of logic here--Mormon records that "they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners. (32) And they were thus cautious that no poison should be administered among them; for if their wine would poison a Lamanite it would also poison a Nephite; and thus they did try all their liquors." (emphasis added)
Well, duh. I remember always laughing about that little line there before (I mean, it is rather obvious), but this time the principle hit me powerfully and personally.
It doesn't matter whether I see myself as a Lamanite or as a Nephite; poison is poison. No matter how strong I think my testimony is, or how secure I feel in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, if the Spirit is warning me not to ingest some message of contention or some dissenting voice, I had better listen to it, because I AM NOT IMMUNE. I am not infallible. It is possible for my testimony to become weakened and corroded by the voices I read out of sheer curiosity or the desire to appear "open-minded." I am affected (probably more deeply than I know) by the messages I choose to take in, and therefore I should take care in discerning what to allow into my mind and heart” (http://jewelbusch.blogspot.com/2016/10/why-i-stay.html).
The last thing I’ll share today is part of a discussion we had during our 5th Sunday lesson, about what we learned in Stake Conference last weekend. We talked about how not many young men in our stake are serving missions. Ninety one percent of the adults in our stake have temple recommends, but only twenty to forty percent of the young men in our stake are serving missions. And most of those 18-25 year old young men who don’t serve are going inactive. I asked, how can we help our young men get out on missions and/or stay active? We discussed it for a long time, but came back to a thought that was given by President Derrick at stake conference, which was also something that was discussed in ward counsel back when I was on the ward counsel and that is this: they aren’t going on missions and aren’t staying active because of weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home. The place where most members are lost from the covenant path and the cycle of being born, getting baptized, getting endowed, getting married, having children is between age 8 and the time they should be getting endowed. Elder Bednar said that people are lost at that stage because of weak gospel teaching and modeling in the home. I know that there are cases where parents have taught their children well, but their children use their agency to leave the church and its teachings. However, I agree that as parents we have a responsibility to take what we learn and church and implement it in our homes. When we don’t do that our children know it and their testimonies are damaged. We are in danger when we pick and choose which things we will be obedient to and which ones we will ignore. Especially when our children know what is taught and see us ignore it. Anyway, it was a great discussion and I hope I can have strong gospel teachings and modeling in my home.
What are your thoughts on how to help get young men out on a mission?