Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sub-Atomic Healing


Life-- my life-- isn't perfect, and I'm guessing yours isn't either.  There have been hard times, sad times, and times when I wonder what the point of it all is, and I want to just stay in bed and never get out again. 

But when those times come, I remember a gift that was given to me long ago.  A gift that has given me courage to get out of bed, to think beyond the gray clouds of shock and hurt. 

And then I start to think-- to remember. 

I remember that life isn't about getting what we want, it's about giving what we want.  What do we want this world to be?  Do we want to fill it up with love and laughter and compassion and heart-felt kindness? Then we need to give this to others.  Do we want to see the world come to peace with all it's people?  Then we need to offer peace. 

But how is this possible?  Especially after such down-to-the-core soul anguish? Especially if the we know other person doesn't deserve it?  Is it even possible?

It isn't enough to say, 'forget it'. That doesn't work.  That will only get us on our feet and moving for a mind-numbing season, and then we re-glimpse at reality, and we get hurt all over again.  We need a deep healing-- one that goes past the hurt, and heals us. 

We need Sub-Atomic Healing.

It is healing from the inside out.  It is changing the substance of our hearts-- our souls-- to transform into something that lets the hurt be healed.  We can't do this on our own. Not even Ant Man can get this deep.  We need a Healer.

But who would this Healer be? 

Jesus is the Savior.  He is the Savior that was given as a gift to all humankind.  He didn't come and just take upon himself the sins of the world-- that was only part of it.  He fulfilled the Atonement-- which means that the hurt and sadness we feel when we, or our loved ones, or anyone who has been, or ever will be,  the injured ones-- we can heal from that hurt.  He has felt what we feel, whether it be sickness or sadness, pain or regret....He knows.  He knows the pain intimately. He knows sorrow and sickness-- but most importantly, He knows how to heal

He works from the inside out.  He changes our hearts to feel like we can do anything-- because with His help, we can.  We can do anything and everything when we partner up with the Lord.  He has infinite power and grace-- sufficient to heal all hurts, completely.

But here is the wondrous part: He always leaves us better than we can even imagine.  He does this because He fills us up with Light.  The Light of Hope and Life is a beautiful thing.  It is feeling peace and joy and an unconquerable spirit of hope--  a feeling so strong, that you have to wonder if you are ever going to be the same again.

This Light will change you.  It will drive you to make changes in your life, to do what you have to do to feel this peace and love inside you always.  It means that your heart will soften, your hurts will heal, and the love-- the unstoppable love-- will come forth, and spread to others.

It is a healing so complete, so profound, it is what can change our world, and heal it.

"And again I say unto you, sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people; And lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation of peace unto the ends of the earth; And make proposals for peace unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good...That you may be the children of light..."    Doctrine and Covenants 105:38-40, Doctrine and Covenants 106:5

Light Enters In, by J. Wester

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Classical Trash

Society has been observing a cataclysmic event: the acceptance and universal approval of ‘classical trash’.  For too long have school children been assaulted with the responsibility of reading, analyzing, and even quoting doubtful works of merit to comply with scholastic expectations.  Quality, has been punctured with trashy additives, yet we are told by the expert few, that those works are still a valuable resource for the collective knowledge. 

Should schools claiming a religious focus subject their students to this literary criteria?  No.  As an institute representing a particular religion, these schools have a responsibility to maintain high moral values that accurately reflect their beliefs. To squander an opportunity to share works of high moral merit with the students who have chosen that particular learning environment, is to throw away individuality in favor of identical conformity. 

Students who have made the choice between a religious school and a secular one, deserve a high level of education.  There may be some works, such as Much Ado About Nothing that are utilized in literary courses.  The schools may fear excluding such literary giants as Shakespeare, and rightly so.  However, the argument stands that schools that offer a high caliber of moral expectancy, also have the chance to reveal the value of moral absolutes—something that secular schools may skip over.  To include works that offer behavioral acceptance of moral depreciation can be a strength if at the same time, it incorporates a discussion as to why the behavior, words, etc. are excluded from acceptance within the particular religious environment. 

Historical evidence suggests that civilization is built upon strong protective and freedom enhancing regulations.  If we, as a nation, and as a world, refuse to create, foster, and support varying ways of approaching learning environments, then we are doomed to create a society of imitation and lack of ingenuity.  To foster the growth of a nation, we must foster our individual strengths.  We must not only claim, but we must expect, a rich and vibrant diversity within our culture.  This allows our collective strengths to provide a rich tapestry of literary and scholastic variety—with each subset of educational values providing enhanced focus upon the values they claim to hold to. 

Strong, diversified education enables the students to achieve and succeed within the world, and yet hold true to the values they are learning and strengthening.  To succeed, there must first be belief.  Individuals must believe that it is possible to create great works without vulgarity and violence. To step into that possibility, we must cherish our beliefs, and promote those who adhered and kept their moral fiber, while in the midst of creativity.  If the academic world chooses to ignore those who are lesser known in favor of wildly popular, yet morally weak works, then the world suffers in a lack of diversity. 

To create a world of diversity, we must protect it.  No single entity can become the expert of all.  Thus a voluntary division of what is taught can be a marketable and reasonable way to insure the survival of many types of works.  Each school has the right to create a focus and create marketing priorities to win prospective students into their schools.  Schools such as Andrews University, California Baptist University, Brigham Young University, and others have the unique ability to achieve what secular schools cannot. 

Many prospective students find a religious environment both supportive and freeing.  In Doctrine and Covenants chapter 88, verse 118, it states, “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith,” are words that promote great learning.   If we as a nation defend our values, and seek learning by diversification, we strengthen our collective knowledge and have a greater chance to make valuable contributions to society at large. 











Friday, March 25, 2016

That We May Have Light

Have you ever had 'one of those days'? Days when everything seems to be breaking down, days when the doctor appointment doesn't go as planned, and days when the world is in chaos and hope seems like a lost daydream from a forgotten era.  On those days, I often feel as if I'm drowning in the sea, barely able to bring myself up to the surface for a moment's break. I don't like those days.

Those are the days when I feel buried beneath the weight of it all, gasping for breath.

But, when those days come, I have a plan.  My plan is simply this: To remember I am not alone. 

When I remember I am not alone in my struggles, and not alone on my journey in the depths of the sea, it places in my heart a Seed of Peace.  This seed brings a calm assurance that order can grow from out of the chaos, and happiness can exist and outweigh despair. 

Sometimes what we need in life is a light-- a light that shines so bright it pushes the darkness away from us.  But where do we find that light?  And how do we make sure it is a light that can 'push the darkness away from us'?

In today's modern world we have tons of science and tech--  we have electricity to light our homes, and we have the internet to light up our intellect and curiosity.  But what can light up our insides?  Which of those things can reach into our very core, our souls, and bring such an overwhelming feeling of light into us?

"And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man...that we may have light while we cross the sea."  Ether 3:4

The answer is God. 

There are many times when life is going to be difficult.  There are going to be times in our lives when we fear the uncertain future--the sinking of ships, the bombs of the unkind, the accidents that scare and scar.  Those are the times when we are tossed in the sea, when our fears generate a power that intimate our souls.

Where can we turn?  Where do we go?

The answer is God. 

God can bring peace and healing to our souls. God can give light to the dark places in the world. When we invite God into our lives, we fill up with light.  And light loves to travel-- so much so, that when we feel ourselves filling up with light, we share it.  We reach out in kindness, we forgive, we help, we aid, we know...... We know how much of a difference it can make, and so we want to share-- because light is love. 

God's love. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What's In A Name?

Seventeen years ago (and two days to be exact) I was laying in a hospital room wondering: what were we going to name our son?  My husband and I had gone back and forth over a hundred names, and nothing seemed to fit.  We had had late night and early morning discussions, and still seemed unable to come to some sort of an agreement. 

I imagine that those who understand the power that comes with a name, understand the dilemma-- whatever you choose, it will have a lasting impression-- hopefully for the good. It needs to be just right-- and if more than one person is in charge of the naming..... well, things can get pretty interesting.

A long time ago a group of people had a naming problem.  For them, it wasn't a child they were naming, it was a church.  A church based on the teachings of Christ, one that was founded on His gospel, and they wanted to give it just the right name. 

But what do you name a church?  Like a child, a church is a living entity-- not as an individual, but as a collective of living souls, so it too has life and meaning.  A church name needs to communicate to the non-members and members alike what the beliefs of the members are.  It needs to convey a sense of purpose. 

In 3 Nephi 27:6-8 it reads, 'And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall to, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.

 And how be it my church save it be called in my name?  For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are build upon my gospel.'

Names are important things.  They can convey meaning and purpose and identity all in a few, short syllables.  It is important to know the purpose and the identity of individuals by name-- just a 'Hey, you!' won't do, and for churches, 'That nice place' won't do either.  

As for my son, just shortly after he was born I knew what his name was.  I felt at peace at once, and knew that this was going to work.  For the people naming their church, they soon had it resolved-- after all, it was Christ's church, and now they knew what to do.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Making Roadblocks vs. Building Bridges [my attempt at a chiasm of sorts]

Sometimes life presents challenges that we may not feel ready for.  When those moments strike, there are things we can depend upon when those moments happen:

Heavenly Father loves us.   
And he certainly didn't send us here to fail.
He placed us in certain times and in certain places that we may have the support we need.  
Because those moments often mean making a choice. 
"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon"  
Agency means choosing.  It means we get to choose which socks to wear (if any), we get to choose to eat healthy or not, whether or not to be happy and to be at peace with God.  The whole spectrum of choice is ours-- that's agency. 
Satan would have us believe that we are alone when we make our choices.  He would have us believe that our choices only affect ourselves.  He is hoping that we choose to serve ourselves--  live our lives as if we are the only ones involved-- and make roadblocks that isolate us from those who are ready to help.   He would also have us believe that it is diminishing to ourselves to depend on, or work with others.
Satan's best tool is isolation-- because let's face it, life is too busy, too stressful, too crazy to do it all on our own-- but when we try to do it all, that's when stress builds up, depression sets in, and sin starts to look like an enticing 'escape'. And then he wins.

Nevertheless, Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost are ready to strengthen, support, and encourage us-- always.
We are not meant to be alone.  We are meant to reach out our hands, our hearts, and our minds-- work together with each other to bring us closer.  By doing so, we build bridges-- bridges of hope, of compassion, and of healing.   All these things are selfless.  They serve God.  Heavenly Father wants us to build.
The Plan of Agency itself means that we are not alone.  It means we can work in a partnership with our Savior.  The Plan of Agency itself is dependent upon a partnership.  Our realization, and acceptance of that fact means the difference between success and failure of that Plan in our own lives. 
Our Savior has shown us how to choose wisely-- how to depend on our Heavenly Father so that we can learn faster, grow stronger, and live again with Him.  We can choose.  We can choose to serve God--  to focus on building a partnership-- a 'bridge' if you will-- to eternal life.  
"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."  3 Nephi 13:24
We have family and friends who love us, and are ready to help, if we are willing to work together.
He placed us in certain times, and in certain places, that we may reach out and receive the help we need. 
He did not send us here to fail.
He did not send us here to be alone.
Our Father in Heaven loves all of us.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Prodigal's Path

It's been said that Jesus was never specific as to who the prodigal was in the Parable.  For much of my life, I'd always assumed it was the son that took the inheritance money early, spent it on riotous living, became so broke and poor that he considered eating the pig's food, and went home to beg to be a servant in his father's house.

A few years ago I attended an early morning talk given by John Bytheway.  Ok, really I sneeked in on the basis it was for the youth, and I had driven my two teens over-- and did I mention it was John Bytheway?!  Yup, there was an empty chair, and I was happy to keep it filled.

In his talk, he shared a whole new perspective on The Prodigal.  Yes, the money-wasting son is easy to identify-- but in reality, both sons exemplified the prodigal son.  The first for his outward sins, and the second for his inner sins.

Jesus has asked us to forgive, but sometimes that is a really, really, REALLY hard thing to do.

I have had an opportunity to experience a prodigal path of my own.

I have always identified with the hard working son, and this time has been no different.  I understand his feelings-- the tired resentment of having extra work put upon his shoulders, the feelings of being overlooked for being the quiet one, or for being the dependable one, and any number of little and big things.

Why is it so hard to forgive someone who has wronged us?

I can tell you, but I'm guessing you may already have had this discussion in your own head. We all have.  Sometimes even multiple times-- and until we figure it out, we are destined to repeat it over, and over again.

The Prodigal's Path is going to be a post about something small...... and about everything big.

It's about forgiving those who have hurt us, and living a life of love.  Love is a gift that our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us.  The sacrifice of the Savior is proof of that.  His sacrifice is the reason why we are able to forgive others-- because He has suffered and paid the price for everyone's sins.  It was an infinite Atonement, so it covers it all.  All the way up, and all the way down.

When we can fully realize what that means for us-- that everyone's sins, big or small, have been paid for, then it gives us the freedom our hearts and souls long to have-- the freedom to love. To connect with one another and to stitch together the human race.

Together..... or perhaps another way to say it would be: To Gather.  To bring close, to add strength one to another, to hope and to pray that as we are all in our own ways learning and growing-- and often by our mistakes we learn the most-- we have the opportunity to put things more aright if we are willing to allow the completeness of the atonement to work within us as well as without.

'And again I say unto you,ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God'  3 Nephi 11: 38.

Why a child? Because a child is so very quick to forgive.  Somehow that becomes harder as we 'grow up'.

But as we allow the healing aspect of the Atonement to work within us-- to be the salve that heals-- we can change our hearts and minds to be more like the Savior's, and to grow closer to what He would have us become.

 I see that for all of us-- with our differing opinions, our different pasts and futures, that we all may have many chances to greet a 'prodigal son' as they return to their Father's house, with little expectations of a warm greeting. We can all change that. We have the opportunity-- as people seek to change for the better-- to be the one hoping, and cheering for a soul reclaimed from the darkness.


This semester for Pathway I have chosen 'Enduring Charity', with a special emphasis this last week or two on 'Love'.  What this means is that for a space of time, I am trying to learn, to grow, and to show my chosen attribute of the Savior-- so that my testimony may grow, and that I can become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.   This week-- today actually-- I offered a hug to someone who had caused great pain and sorrow to me.  The 'Prodigal Path' is a journey of healing-- something that I believe can be a testament to the wondrous power of the Atonement.  It can be done. Healing and change is all possible--  if one is willing to reach out to claim the gift that has already been given.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Change of Heart

Preparing a talk: A Change of Heart

When I lived in Lancaster-- a city most would consider a desert city, there were many times I packed water in my bag-- even if I only thought I was going to be gone for 15 minutes.  As anyone who has visited or lived in the desert knows, water is the most important thing to bring with-- no matter how long you think you are going to be.

One hot July day, after drinking my water, there was a long space of time before I could get more.  With the desert heat surrounding me, I could feel myself drying out. I knew that if I ignored the situation, I would become seriously dehydrated, and in danger of heat stroke.  I decided to leave what I was doing and drive to the nearest store and grab more water.  I drove to the local grocery store, pulled a couple of chilled water bottles out of the mini fridge, and paid the requested amount.  As soon as I had paid for the water, I twisted a cap off, and drank.

The tingling that came about was marvelous.  It was a physical hydration reaction.

A Change of Heart can be the same thing-- but what is a 'change of heart'?

In his talk, 'Putting off the Natural Man' David Hellem stated:

"Spiritual rebirth as separate experience 
that does not necessarily occur at the   time of water baptism or the laying on the hands, the changes that occur when   this rebirth takes place, and the necessary conditions that bring  about this transformation.
We recall that Nicodemus approached the Savior inquiring how one  might enter the kingdom of God. Although the Apostle John did not  record Nicodemus’s specific questions, he did record the Savior’s  response: “Verily, verily, say unto thee, Except man be born  again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3.)Moments later, the Savior clarified what he meant: “Except man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5italics added.) After Alma had been“born of the Spirit,” he announced that all mankind must be similarly “born again” or they can  “in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (Mosiah 27:24–26.) Clearly, the rebirth experience is necessary prerequisite to enter the kingdom of God."

There are many times where we 'dry out'.  One of the most recognizable is when we sin.

As humans, we all sin.  We learn, we grow, but the process can be messy.  And-- as humans-- we are bound to make mistakes along the way.

In President Benson's talk, ' A Mighty Change of Heart', given in 1989, we can learn some enduring principles.

of the laws of God brings only misery,bondage, and darkness." 

Or, in other words, we 'dry out' when we don't obey God's commandments. 

 Iwe would be true members of the Church is that repentance involves not just change of actions, but change of heart.  

President Benson states:  "When King Benjamin finished his remarkable address in the land of Zarahemla, the  people all cried with one voice that they believed his words. They knew of surety that  his promises of redemption were true, because, said they, “the Spirit of the Lord  Omnipotent … has wrought mighty change in us, or in our hearts, [and note this] that  we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2.)
"When we have undergone this mighty change, which is brought about only through faith in Jesus Christ and through the operation of the Spirit upon us, it is as though we have   become new person. Thus, the change is likened to new birth.Thousands of you have experienced this change. You have forsaken lives of sin, sometimes deep and offensive   sin, and through applying the blood of Christ in your lives, have become clean. You have no more disposition to return to your old ways.You are in reality new person. This is   what is meant by change of heart."
Sometimes, if we are careful, we can 'stay hydrated', but it is a challenge.  

Elder Wilford W. Andersen stated: 

"Those who exercise faith in Christ by obeying His commandments, repenting of their sins, earnestly entering into the covenant of baptism, and then renewing that covenant weekly will experience the purifying power of the Holy Ghost unto the remission of their sins. They will receive and retain a mighty change of heart.... 
Alma taught that God grants unto men according to their  desires, whether they be good or evil see Alma 29:4).Our hope,then is not just to refrain from sinning but also to turn to the Lord,  who has the power to grant remission of our sins, to purify our  desires, and to change our very natures (see Mosiah 5:2)."
There is an additional step, however, in the miraculous process of  the remission of sins. Nephi taught that after we receive the gift  of the Holy Ghost, we must endure to the end. When we exercise our   faith unto repentance, are baptized, and receive the gift of the   Holy Ghost, the miracle begins. But the cleansing power and   reassuring influence of the Holy Ghost will remain with us only if we “press forward with steadfastness in Christ”(see 2 Nephi 31:19–20).
"Alma understood this principle, asking his people, “And now behold, say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced change of   heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I   would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26)."
"If after baptism we commit sin and lose the Spirit’s influence,what are we to do? The Savior has provided the answer. He has given us  the sacred ordinance of the sacrament."
The sacrament-- a time of bread and water. Hydration-- but for the spirit.  As we strive for that mighty change of heart, and to keep it, and endure to the end, we are not alone.  We can work towards this mighty change with the partnership of our Savior.
In Helamen 15:7, it states: And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth...and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the hol prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them---
 I know that change is possible.  I believe that this can be ours-- a new birth, a new heart.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.