Plan of Salvation

One of my online groups is LDS based. About two weeks ago someone started the thread, “Where’s the conference gossip?” And every one went crazy with weird theories of the Word of Wisdom being changed either to include exercise or take out tea and coffee. That last one didn’t sit right with me, but if it did happen I don’t think I would start drinking tea or coffee anyway. On this same page, people were excited to start drinking coffee if the Word of Wisdom changed were also the same individuals who mentioned they were struggling with believing the Lord’s church was led by divine guidance due to the first policy on LGQTB’s children and then being revoked. I found it interesting that they rejoiced when it was revoked, then questioned, if it was revoked, then are these men really inspired to begin with? But yet, when the idea of the word of wisdom being changed is mentioned, these same individuals had no qualms with that. (Just to be clear, it didn’t and probably won’t). Here’s my two cents on the matter. Not because any of you need to know my opinion, but because I need to write it out. I don’t in anyway mean this to come across judgmental. I know that everyone is on a different path on the journey. I want to be clear, though, that the prophet is inspired. He is directly guided by our Savior Jesus Christ. What an important role. What a weighing role. But he and many before him, despite their weaknesses have done it to the best of their ability and continue to press forward despite persecution, resistance, and physical limitations. When they came out with the original statement that homosexuality is an act of apostasy, that children of same-sex marriage cannot be baptized I was confused. God is a God of love (granted the Old Testament gives conflicting messages on that fact). I thought to myself, it isn’t the fault of the children that their parents have chosen the path that they have chosen, but almost instantly the spirit answered my concern (this doesn’t always happen, believe me). These thoughts flooded my mind: 1) God is a God of love. He loves both the parents and the children. Imagine a home where a child is baptized and taught that homosexuality is a sin, then they return home to their homosexual parents and are deeply conflicted and concerned about their own parents’ salvation. This could lead to contention and depression. I truly believe the brethren were trying to protect the happiness of both the parents and their children in this instance. 2) what about those children? Can’t they have access to salvation too? Yes, yes they can. That is what is so beautiful about the Lord’s gospel. As soon as he gave up his mortal body, he went to preach the gospel to the dead. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. We have such a finite understanding of the gospel, of life really. This mortal life is SO incredibly small in the eternal scheme of things. YES a lot rides on us living up to what we do know, but to those who do not understand, they are only accountable to what they were given, or how they respond when they are given the truth.  I know that the Lord inspired the leaders then. I don’t understand everything, but I do not presume to know what God knows. And about the apostasy part. Aren’t words funny? Each word can be interpreted in so many ways depending on context. But ultimately, aren’t we all in apostasy when we oppose the commandments of God—any commandment of God? When the brethren “revoked” the original statement this last week. Here were some of Elder Oak’s comments: The very positive policies announced this morning should help affected families. In addition, our members’ efforts to show more understanding, compassion and love should increase respect and understanding among all people of goodwill. We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today. We are optimistic that a majority of people — whatever their beliefs and orientations — long for better understanding and less contentious communications. That is surely our desire, and we seek the help of our members and others to attain it. These new policies are being sent to priesthood leaders worldwide and will be included in online updates to our Church handbook for leaders. These changes do not represent a shift in Church doctrine related to marriage or the commandments of God in regard to chastity and morality. The doctrine of the plan of salvation [] and the importance of chastity will not change. These policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord on these matters. To me, I felt love, appreciation for the amount of spiritual strength this must’ve taken. Imagine the humility they must’ve had. Why did they have it to begin with only to take it away a couple of years later? So many lost their faith over that. Was that part of the plan? Are we being tested? Isn’t that the purpose of this life? To be faithful even if we don’t understand? Some people were enraged that an apology wasn’t included with this latest change. That made me sad. Why should the Lord apologize? Do you really think he was trying to hurt anyone? No. His commandments are His and it is up to us to follow them. If we don’t like it, if they seem uncomfortable to us, that is our choice to accept or reject them. The Lord’s church will not bend to popular demands. The revoked message was as inspired as was the first one. They didn’t act like it never happened. They just saw that the purposes that it intended were not happening. What about the law of consecration? They used to do that, but the saints weren’t ready for it, so they took it away to save it for when we have the spiritual strength to follow it. And polygamy (here’s me hoping that isn’t something we have to spiritual be ready for), but it was here and then taken away. The Lord has a big picture of all of the fine details. Let’s trust Him and it will all work out. So what about the new changes this conference? Were you changed? I was. I felt deeply repentant as I prayed last night. I hope that I have the spiritual strength to press forward in my process of true change and repentance. But I do have to laugh, because though there weren’t any huge “revelations” or changes in conference, there have been SOOO many since last general conference. Please list some in the comments if I’ve forgotten any, but here are the ones I remember: 1)      Temple changes 2)      Age of youth going into the youth programs 3)      The changing of the Church’s internet, choir, etc names to reflect that we are indeed the Lord’s church 4)      Seminary to reflect Come Follow me 5)      New safety videos for missionaries 6)      Temples opening up all over 7)      Church donating to the African American Museum to increase Family History work 8)      Missionaries having the option to talk to their families weekly 9)      New planning tools for prosepective missionaries 10)   Dress standards for sister missionaries (slacks!) 11)  President Nelson visited 6 continents! If any of these don’t seem like “revelations” then we dearly need to relearn what it is to listen and follow the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for the gentle day to day decisions I make using the Holy Ghost and can’t imagine the faith and work that went into each of the things I’ve listed. I believe we may see less “revelations” revealed at General Conference because of the words of President Nelson concerning reverence. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, watch the last talk in the last session. The reverence that was there, the spirit that I felt was incalculable. I left that conference with increased faith and spiritual strength and resolve to be better and do better. I hope y’all enjoyed it as well.
2019-04-09 01:52:22 I found myself struggling to get as much as I could from conference. Andy was in Idaho attending his grandpa’s funeral. I am so glad he got to go, and I had tears in my eyes when my mother-in-law sent me these pictures. Since we put our house on the market Thursday we have had two showings Thursday evening, two Friday evening, six scheduled for Saturday (then three canceled at the last second), four on Sunday, and another one today. We already have two scheduled for tomorrow, so I am certain we will sell the house in no time. I am excited for that because keeping the house a house of peace is hard to do when I’m stressed about every spill and mess. I was sitting there, in the Burke’s home (thanks again for letting us stay in your house this weekend!) struggling to listen to conference because Bev is getting her molars and the boys were playing a very loud and imaginative narrative with their legos. It’s very hard to find a balance between getting your kids to be quiet and feel the loving presence of the Holy Ghost. I thought legos would be a nice quiet activity, but alas they are boys and get restless pretty easy. We headed home after the last showing on Sunday because Bevy was in a desperate need of a nap (and I was desperate for her to take one). Mav fell asleep on the way home and Bev went down pretty easily once we had all migrated inside. I went to hide in my bedroom to watch the last session and told Max he could play minecraft. I thought, at last I can watch one session in peace. Well Max surprised me and came back with his dad’s laptop. “I want to watch church while playing minecraft.” This warmed my frustrated, exhausted heart and I only had to remind him a couple of times to be quiet if he had to be in the same room as me (not as gently as I would’ve liked– I was pretty spent). So, anyway, I am excited to reread the conference articles or listen to them again. President Eyring’s talk was written for me. I need to really sit and ponder his, but I noticed each talk had something profound that I needed to hear. I started to doze during Elder Bednar’s talk and then suddenly I was wide awake as he instructed us on how to talk about the temple. It was something I needed to hear. I feel like that’s how I had talked about it before, but I had suddenly grown timid about it and wasn’t sure if I had overshared before. I realized from his talk that there are definitely certain things you can’t share (which I already knew), but the other things can be shared depend upon the who and where and why. Share your favorite parts below in the comments section 🙂
2019-04-15 01:38:46 Brad Wilcox Brad shared a story where his children were playing hide and go seek. I’m pretty sure this first part happened to me when I was little.  His younger daughter found a sweet hiding spot, so sweet that her brothers never found her and she managed to be comfortable enough to fall asleep. Well the brothers got bored trying to find her and so they went on their merry way. Pretty sure that part happened to me, but this latter part was what made his story important and unique. Brad, thinking his kids were all playing together outside went to check on them, when he noticed their little sister was missing, he asked them where she was. They shrugged and instant panic set in. Brad and his kids searched everywhere outside, but without any success they began to be more panicked. They began asking for additional help to find this lost child. Pretty soon the entire household and neighbors were out looking for the little girl. Just as they were about to call the cops, the brother had the idea to go look for her inside. As they moved inside they soon found her, still safe and sound (and asleep) in the cupboard. He said that this experience made him think of Heavenly Father’s lost sheep and listed some of the excuses he’s heard for inactivity. “It’s just too hard.” “It’s not for me.” “I’m too busy.” And a few others. Then he said, What if I asked someone to come help me find their lost child and those were their responses? You would never hear that because everyone values the life and safety of children. However, the safety of our souls is not as often valued, though maybe even more important. Being a part of the Lord’s church is as important as finding a lost child. We are His lost children. Brad also touched on the principle that if we put God first and everything will fall into place— this doesn’t mean everything will be perfect and sunshine and roses, but God will be the one directing, so what happens will be for your good. He did some research and the most quoted scripture of General conference from the last 50 years was Mosiah 3:19 which goes something like, “The natural man is an enemy to God.” He expanded saying, sometimes we imagine the natural man to be like the incredible Hulk. But in fact, the inner most part of us is actually a spirit son or daughter of God, the natural part is the unrepentant part. Because we are spirit children of Heavenly Father, we all have the natural ability to listen to the Holy Ghost. I believe this has to do with the light of Christ which is given to all of Heavenly Father’s children on this earth to distinguish truth. One of the most asked questions is, “How do I know if I’m following the spirit or my own voice?” He gave an analogy that really puts things into perspective. He compared following the Holy Ghost like following traffic lights. If it is green we go, if it is yellow we proceed with caution and if it is red we stop. We must press forward and we can continue to press forward unless we get a red light from the Lord— a stupor of thought. Sometimes Satan tries to confuse me with fear. The spirit doesn’t work with fear. Sometimes I think I’m afraid of doing _ so it must not be right. But that is Satan. Fear is the absence of faith. I must rely on that stupor of thought and really learn to distinguish it from fear. If we get an overwhelming answer to a question- then that’s the green light, if we don’t hear anything, then that’s the yellow— move forward with faith and caution and the Lord will let you know if you need to stop.  I really loved this thought, and honestly not sure if it was a spin of something he said, or a thought I had and wrote down, but “He trusts us, let us trust ourselves.” God protects our Agency almost more than anything. He considers sins that affect other’s agencies to be some of the most grievous. He indeed trusts us. He wants us to choose him and set up this earth life to provide the most opportunity for us to grow to become like him. Brad encouraged us to seek for revelation regularly. I can’t remember where I heard this, maybe TOFW, but President Nelson prays for revelation daily. He also reminded us that usually revelation is not a quick process. I find the brother of Jared’s story a good example of that. The Lord didn’t give him all the tools and floor plans of their boat, but bit by bit lead the way to how their people would travel the waters. When Jared came across an issue he went to the Lord to resolve it, just like Joseph Smith. I am pretty sure (and I need to do more studying for my own benefit of knowing) that most of Joseph Smith’s revelations stemmed from a question he had. I believe that continues to be a pattern for our prophet today. And I must say, President Nelson must have a lot of questions! Brad also asked us to think of the plan of salvation—-our personal plan of Salvation. Why are we here in this family, in this area, in this day? God really does have a plan for each of us and God is in the details. I know this is true, because who am I? No one significant, but simple seeming coincidences have lead to great blessings. The Orton family said, pray to see God’s great vision for you. Sometimes we have one idea of what is possible, but God can see so much more. Turns out, Marni’s mom used to babysit Brad and their grandma’s were best friends.

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