Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I’m not telling you all this so you’ll feel sorry for me or my mom. I’m telling you this because sometimes people think that it is so easy for me in my perfect, ideal life to talk about Living in Truth. So I want you to know that my life is far from ideal.This is just one problem I am dealing with right now. What I want you to know is that the Living in Truth principles I talk about on Good News! aren’t coming from someone who hasn’t experienced problems but from someone who is living a normal telestial life and has found some things that make telestial life not only more bearable but that bring peace and joy despite the pain.
I’ve sunk into the Pit of Illusion big time on occasion the last few weeks, but I am grateful for the Tools I’ve learned that help me get out of the Pit and back into Truth. I'm especially grateful to know that the pain of the Pit isn't necessary and that I have options. I can climb out of the Pit! I know, not from intellectual theorizing but from actual living, that Living in Truth means living in peace and love despite the darkest adversity life hands us. I also know that understanding how to Live in Truth is a gift from God. I am so grateful for that amazing gift.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
One of the things I do when I teach gospel concepts is ask my students who speak foreign languages to explain the word for the concept in their language. For example the English word repentance comes from Old French words which mean “to be sorry again.” And the Old French comes from the Latin poena which means “punishment.” This means that the original meaning of the English word repentance is to suffer the punishment of being sorry.
In Hebrew the word for repentance is shoob which mean “to turn back or return to recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, rescue, restore.” And the Greek word for repentance is metanoieo which means “to think differently.” Each of these meaning is part of the concept of repentance, but each language focuses on a different aspect of the concept for their word that identifies the concept.
This illustrates the point that sometimes we think of words as concrete objects, but what these differences teach us is that words are only symbols. Every act of communication is also an act of translation. When I say repentance to you (I try to communicate) the immediate thought that comes to your mind (your translation of what I am saying) may be like anyone of the above definitions or it could be something entirely different.
So what am I getting at? When we communicate with others we need to be aware that they are translating what we say into their own language (like you are doing right now!), and when we are aware of the imprecise nature of words it can help us to communicate more effectively.
Monday, February 27, 2012
If you are like me, the feelings after the first exercise are depressing. I feel deflated, helpless, victimized, fearful, and just plain low. But just by changing the words the feelings change to hope, encouragement, empowerment and excitement. Did you feel a difference? Let me know what happened when you did this. I’d really like to know.
I think I’m going to go around all day today just saying, “I can do it!” Whatever “it” is, I know it will be done better and with more enjoyment accompanied by those words. Words do have power!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
In conjunction with this, D3 called me the other day to tell me about a sign she had read. She couldn’t remember the exact words and I can’t remember her exact words but the gist of the sign (in my own words) was:
“If you want to be miserable, fret about the past.
If you want to be vexed, worry about the future.
If you want peace, live now.”
That works with little problems and big ones. So look around you. See, feel, touch, taste and listen to the present moment. Enjoy what is now!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Stopping the negative thinking is the first step to Living in Truth. At the first intimation that negative feelings (vexation!) are swelling inside you, use one of the Truth Tools to stop the anger, jealousy, stress, worry, fear, discouragement, or whatever the bad feeling. At that point don’t try to make it positive, just concentrate on going into neutral. Once you are in neutral you will be able to feel what you should do next. Follow those feelings and they will lead you out of the Pit of Illusion and into the Realm of Truth.
The problem comes when we give in to the negative feelings. Those negative feelings are always so overpowering, loud, and contagious that it becomes almost impossible to hear our own conscience or the Spirit while they are creating their noise. But when we quiet the negative feelings, we can hear and feel the Spirit and that Spirit will guide us true and lead us to peace and joy.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The next thing God does is tell Moses who he is, “Behold, thou art my son.” God then tells Moses that he has a work to do and proceeds to show Moses the history of the world. After this marvelous revelation, God’s glory withdraws and Moses is left overwhelmed and physically weakened from his encounter with God.
While in this weakened state, Satan appears to Moses and tries to tempt him by saying, “Moses, son of man, worship me.”
It is very interesting to me that the first and most important things God wants Moses to know is who He is and that Moses is His son. It is equally as interesting that the first thing Satan tries to do is demean Moses’ understanding of his divine origin. Satan wants Moses to think he is just a mortal, human being.
Later, as the temptation from the adversary becomes more intense Moses resists by saying, “God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.” In other words, the reason Moses is able to resist is because he is not fooled by Satan. Moses remembers who and what he is and instead of questioning his divine origin, he questions Satan’s lies.
Knowing that we are the spirit children of our Heavenly Father is empowering. When we cling to the fact that we, too, are of divine origin—we are the children of God—we will also be able to resist the temptations of the adversary and live the way our Father wants us to live.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
As I began to review my Church history classes and what I’d learned I realized that most of the persecution was glossed over quickly. The only time I remember details was in the story of the Haun’s Mill Massacre and most of that story centered on the mother who packed her sons blown away hip with ash and how the hip grew back. In other words, even that story was centered on the positive instead of the atrocities that occurred.
Critics of the Church often criticize the Church for not dwelling more on the negative things the Church has done in the past, but as I learned from reading those journals the Church doesn’t just downplay the bad things members have done, they downplay the bad things that have been done to them. Sometimes historians or individual members will dig up the past and try to dwell on it, but the Church mostly downplays anything negative and concentrates on everything positive.
That taught me something. Critics might say we are “sweeping things under the rug” and trying to keep things quiet, but when we compare this behavior to what the Savior teaches we realize that there must be power and strength in concentrating on the good and not dwelling on the bad. Every family, every individual has good and bad within it. But if we follow the example of the Savior and the Church we realize that we can dwell on the negative things that happen to us and cause ourselves unnecessary pain and grief or we can move on and concentrate on the positive things and enjoy peace and happiness. The choice is ours!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
But lately I’ve realized that there are miracles far greater than blind eyes seeing that while being greater are at the same time more possible. Those are the miracles of the heart, the miracles that change carnal people into saints, the miracles that make mortal beings into righteous Christ-like beings. Those are the most important and the greatest miracles of all and those are the miracles that every one of us need. But most important, those are the kind of miracles the Savior most often offers. Not all the blind who want to see will be made to see in this life, but ALL the carnal who want to be righteous will receive the miracle of change and be made saints.
A change of heart is a miracle that everyone who wants it and seeks after it will obtain. So why do I sometimes doubt that I can change? Why do I sometimes think others can't change? That is faulty thinking. We can change because there is someone who has the power to change us, if we seek after Him.
Monday, February 20, 2012
It is especially nice that the sun is shining on the beautiful white snow that fell this weekend, and the world is beautiful. What a gift! I'm enjoying every minute of it and hope you are too!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
In Helaman 3 we are told that the problems of the people that lead to war and destruction begin with contention. And when the Savior appears to the Nephites He tells them three times in his first instruction to them not to let any contention occur. Usually when we hear that word contention we think of arguing or fighting with other people, but the first definition of the word contend in my dictionary is “To strive or vie in rivalry against difficulties.” The second definition is, “To strive in debate.” And the third is, “To struggle for.”
The first definitions in dictionaries are the primary definitions, so what we discover here is that the primary definition of contend is to “strive against difficulties” which is what we do when we create unnecessary pain. It is no wonder the Savior admonishes us so many times to avoid contention. He isn’t just talking about arguing with others, or struggling against others, He is talking about creating unnecessary pain for ourselves.
Contention throws us into the Pit of Illusion and makes life miserable. By refusing to contend, we stay in Truth and enjoy peace.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This newer approach to psychology is consistent with what we learn in the scriptures. Never in scripture does the Lord instruct us to dig into the past. Healing the past is part of what the Atonement is all about. He knows we have no power or ability to change the past. What happened, happened, and no matter how much we fret over, worry about, or strain to remember the past it will not change anything. That is our Savior’s job. All concentrating on the past will do is distract us and keep us from doing our job which is to move forward in the present moment doing the very best we can today.
This is illustrated beautifully in the story of the adulterous woman who is brought to the Savior by a band of men determined to have her stoned. Instead of responding to the men’s demands, the Savior stoops down and writes in the dust of the pavement. Finally he stands and says that if any of them is without sin, he should cast the first stone. (John 8:1-11). Condemned by their own hearts, the men depart one by one. At this point the Savior approaches the woman and asks if anyone condemns her. When she answers that no man does, He says to her, “Neither do I. Go thy way, and sin no more.”
She is accused of a terrible sin which usually means she has a past that includes hurt and pain and sorrow. This is most likely not the first time something bad like this has happened to her. But instead of saying, examine your past and see what has pained you or you won’t be able to get better, the Savior simply instructs her to go forward and not sin any more. The adversary wants to hold us prisoners to our past. Jesus Christ knows that He is the only one that can heal the past, and that if the adulterous woman or you and I will move forward and take care of each present moment, He can heal even the past. That is one of the great promises of Jesus Christ; a promise that delivers great hope to each one of us.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Way back in 1985 I wrote an article for the Ensign entitled “A Difficult Kind of Forgiveness.” After it appeared the editors told me that it had generated more mail than most of their articles do. My experience has also been that any lesson on forgiveness generates more questions and comments than most other subjects because forgiveness is difficult and at the same time something we need to do almost every day of our lives.
Today I taught on forgiveness and used this quote from Joseph Smith which I wanted to share. “One of the most pleasing scenes that can transpire on earth, is, when a sin has been committed by one person against another, to forgive that sin: and then, according to the sublime and perfect pattern of the Savior, pray to our Father in heaven to forgive also.” (“A Friendly Hint to Missouri” Times and Seasons, March 15, 1844, p. 473. TLDP: 206).
There are two things that strike me about this quote. First, is that we not only need to forgive, but that we need to pray that God will forgive the person. Second, when you notice when and where this statement was first published you realize that it came during the Missouri persecution of the saints. If Joseph is asking the saints to forgive and pray for their enemies for the atrocious crimes being perpetrated then, certainly we can do the same with those who have trespassed against us.
Monday, February 13, 2012
I’ve been very busy the last few days and I’ve missed you.
On Friday and Saturday I attended a wonderful conference
that lasted all day both days, and I learned so much.
It was wonderful.
It is delightfully surprising to me that when I learn anything new
I suddenly find that thing every place I turn.
For example, I learn a new vocabulary word and for the next few days
I hear it or read it all over the place.
Well in this conference that had nothing to do with Living in Truth
I found several things that I loved about Living in Truth.
In one of the breakout sessions a man was talking about a woman
who had influenced his life
and he said that she once told him that whatever you encounter in life
you need to listen to it to make sure you understand,
learn all you can from it,
laugh at yourself in it,
and love it.
That pretty well sums up what it takes to Live in Truth!
So I’m sharing today the Four Ls:
Listen. Learn. Laugh. Love.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Years ago I was pregnant with twins, but about midway through the pregnancy one of the twins died which signaled my body to end the pregnancy and I began to hemorrhage. For the next two months I was on bed rest trying to save my baby, but on January 31st, 1983, I went into labor and despite efforts made to stop labor, the baby continued to come. She was early, but babies her size had lived so I wasn’t too worried until suddenly my heart rate shot to 300, every muscle in my body began to shake uncontrollably, my temperature hit 106 degrees, and my white blood count 25,000. While all this was happening to me, my baby’s heart stopped beating.
My husband was sitting in a chair next to my bed–only inches away from me, his head in his hands. As I looked at him in that distressed pose the thought came to me that I was also going to die. Immediately I thought, "There’s no way he can raise eight daughters alone!" and I began fighting to stay alive. There are no words to describe what happened to me in the next few moments, but while I fought they delivered Sonoma stillborn, and whisked me to another floor of the hospital where I wouldn’t hear other babies crying and mothers cooing over their babies. More doctors came, hooking me to machines, injecting me with four different antibiotics that clanged against an IV pole near my bed and whispering about what to do next. For the next twenty-four hours, a nurse came in every fifteen minutes to check my vital signs and make sure everything was all right. At about the two o’clock checking time the nurse pulled back the covers over me and discovered that the entire white sheet was soaked in blood, turning it red without a single spot of white left showing anywhere. Quickly doctors were recalled and packets of blood replaced the bottles of antibiotics on the pole. I was vaguely aware of what was going on but too sick to really comprehend. However, with the transfusion and the antibiotics I began to pull out of danger , stabilized, and ten days later returned home.
As we just past the 29th anniversary of that experience, I’ve thought a lot about it. I wrote once before about how that experience taught me that like the nurse monitored me we need to monitor our lives, stopping to evaluate how we are doing and what we need to do more. But I’ve also come to realize that little things can make a huge difference in our lives. The cause of Sonoma’s death was microscopic bacteria that passed through the uterine wall and killed her and then began to attack me.