Whew! May is such a busy month! I am happy to report, though, that I was able to do my own intensive study of General Conference last week, gleaning the messages that were meant just for me, taking careful notes, and am beginning to formulate a plan for our family moving forward. I feel the urgency of following the prophets. I am also starting to sense the hope and the vision that they have for us...if we would all just catch their vision as well, we'd be good to go!
Last night, as I listened to Elder Ballard's CES Devotional, I was deeply touched by one thing that he said, and I recognized the wisdom in everything else that he shared.
The personal account that he shared near the end of his remarks about how when he served a mission in the England, Mormon missionaries were a "hiss and a byword." He said they were laughed at, spit upon, people threw things at them...yet, like the Savior, they did not shrink from their duties of proclaiming the gospel. And this was the part that touched me. He said, "At the time, we could not have imagined the impact of our labors."
I have experienced a feeling of sadness and frustration lately at not seeing fruits of my labors in the field of missionary work and in other areas. It is a feeling that I know is unwarranted, but undeniable still. The wickedness in the world in general has also gotten me down.
When Elder Ballard said that they could not have imagined the impact of their labors, I thought of my own feelings and "lack of vision"!
I started to sense the vision that the prophets and our Savior Jesus Christ want us to catch. They want us to increase our faith because faith moves us to act. And as we act, we will be sowing the seeds of labors that will lead to a future which is incomprehensible to us at the moment. But they want us to know that it is great. It takes faith to follow the prophet. It takes faith to hasten the work. It takes faith to be obedient and to defend our faith...but we cannot imagine the impact that these things will have on us, our families, friends, and communities, and the glorious outcome that awaits.
Satan would like us to become frustrated, distracted, skeptical, or complacent, but we must not. We must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and be, as Elder Ballard suggests, "modern-day Stripling Warriors."
We are all enlisted till the conflict is over. Happy are we, happy are we.
Be happy and be on the Lord's side.
Here are the rest of the key points that I picked up from Elder Ballard's remarks last night.
1. We (the Brethren) might be old, but we are not out of touch with your lives. You can trust that when we come to a united decision about something, it is for your good.
2. Smart phones are truly smart, but they need to be our servants, not our masters.
3. You too can scroll, but do not scroll during the presentation of the sacrament. Focus on the Atonement of the Savior. Consider putting your phone in airplane mode during the entire Sunday block (of meetings). You will still have access to your manuals.
4. We all need time to ask ourselves questions and to have a regular personal interview with ourselves. That time came come in the temple or our homes or anywhere that we choose to unplug.
5. He compared the ban on tobacco use to the ban on pornography viewing. Church leaders warned against tobacco use way before it's health risks were known to science. We don't have to wait for 100 or 80 or 10 years to discover the devastating effects of pornography, because current research tells us that it hurts our most important relationships, leads to excessive behaviors, leads to addiction. re-wires the brain, creates unrealistic expectations of intimate relationships, and to see people as objects that you can disregard and disrespect.
6. Speaking of our stand in support of marriage between a man and a woman. Same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is. The church does NOT teach shunning or any unchristian-like actions. We can find a way to support our friends and relatives who have SSA while still upholding God's plan of happiness. No one should ignore or discount the commandments of God.
7. Through your favorite social media sites, share the gospel and stand as sons or daughters of Helaman in the great battles of the last days. Be modern-day Stripling Warriors.
8. I know some one you worry about being accused or harassed. During my mission, Mormons were a hiss and a byword. Missionaries were laughed at, ridiculed, spit at, and had things thrown at us. We did not shrink. At that time, we could not have imagined the impact of our labors. There were 14 districts, today 46 stakes of Zion are found in the British Isles.
9. Do not worry about those in the great and spacious building that Nephi saw. Don't be like those who after they had tasted of the fruit were ashamed, because of those who were mocking them, who fell away and were lost.
10. This is a great time to be alive. Say to yourself, "I am helping the Lord, as I reach out and share the gospel in these last days." We are in this battle and we must stand together, young and old.