Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Honesty: You Better Believe It!

It is not always easy but it is always right!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm Just a Little Girl

When I was young my favorite Disney movie was Alice in Wonderland I loved the story of this little girl transported into a fantastical world of adventure, unique animals and eccentric characters. I always imagined myself as Alice going about on her quest and some how always getting herself into trouble. In fact that was me as a kid! So I felt very connected with Alice and her situation. However, there was one scene in the movie that always confused me. Alice is told by the caterpillar that one side of the mushroom will make her grow and the other-side will make her shrink. In a lack of proper instruction Alice takes a big bite of the one that will make her grow and shoots into the air. A bird that is nesting in the tree above is disturbed by Alice's sudden growth and starts shouting "Serpent, Serpent, Serpeeeeeeeent." In response Alice tells the bird "I'm not a serpent . . . I'm just a little girl." The bird does not believe her and begins attacking her. Was Alice a serpent? Obviously not! But this bird had in her mind that she was and wouldn't let go of that idea.
 Do we ever have the wrong idea of a person and cannot let it go?  "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged" (Matt 7:1-2). As we judge others we are placing that same judgement on our own heads. We have no understanding of where others are coming from. We have not seen the events that have led up to this moment. Only Christ can judge only he has seen all things. The bird had no idea how hard Alice's day had already been or would continue to be. Let us therefore judge not but instead love one another. "None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. we make judgements concerning their actions or inactions . . . Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for out fellow travelers in this journey through life" (President Thomas S. Monson)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Which Way Do I Go?

 When I was younger I can remember going to my father and talking to him about decisions that I felt I didn't know how to make on my own. He being the wise man that he is would have me do something like a pro/con list or would talk to me about the benefits of each choice. What I remember most however, is the poem that would always be recited at the end of these conversations. It is a simple poem be Robert Frost about two roads and the choice that is needing to be made.

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The man in Frosts poem had to make a decision. If he were to never choose he would be standing there forever with no progression or progress. However, both roads were good and perhaps another day he would come back and walk the first. I can still hear my dad quoting those last three lines to me each time I came to him. There are so many decisions to make and sometimes we need to choose the road less traveled.  We need to choose the path that our Savior traveled; we need to walk in his foot steps! Just as I turned to my earthly father for help in making decisions so can we each turn to our heavenly father in the life choices that we make. Choices can be overwhelming but if we remember the teachings of the prophet Moroni "that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God" we will be led to do the will of the Lord.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why Do The Good Have To Suffer?

Sometimes we wonder— why do the good suffer so much? Why do we who are living our lives to the best of our ability, doing all that the Lord has set forth for us to do, need to suffer? Are we not good? Well the answer to that is yes, we are good but we can always be better. There are a few examples in the scriptures of men that went through trials more than we can imagine and did all that the Lord asked of them for the benefit of others to the detriment of themselves. Paul is one of these men. In 2 Corinthians 11 he talks about the struggles that he has been though. "I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten
with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." In Chapter 12 the Lord responds "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Pauls response to the Lords simple word is, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul is not the only one that suffered for his faith. Joseph Smith a Modern Prophet went though many trials. He was poisoned, beaten, tarred & feathered, unjustly imprisoned, and once sentenced to die by firing squad. He and Emma seldom had a home of their own, and six of their children died in infancy. But he would not deny his faith. He said "I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God
knew it, and I could not deny it," (JS-H 1:25) However, in a moment of trial recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants  Joseph asks "O God, where art thou? . . . How long shall thy hand be stayed? . . . let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion." In response the Lord Counsels "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (D&C 121:7-8) Joseph later recorded this statement "As for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all." (D&C 127:2)

Both of these men later suffered the martyrdom. But with their death was probably the only relief from the pain and torture that this life had to bare for them. They had lived to the best of their ability and yet had suffered. We also have struggles and sorrows that way heavily upon our hearts. Let me give one more example of a man that suffered even unto death. This man is our savior and redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered most abundantly in the Garden
of Gethsemane. He plead with the father "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt 26:39) He bled from every pore, He was beaten, imprisoned and tried unjustly and finally He was crucified. But He did not have any comfort as these others did instead he cried "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46). "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path" (Elder Holland).
This path that we are on is not always an easy one but I know that it is a necessity Our Father is perfecting us through our trials. He knows what He wants us to become and is working to get us there. As we go though our trials remember that there is always one there to uplift. Christ understands us perfectly and is always willing to help.