Monday, March 21, 2016

Hindrance or Help

Hello Everyone!

Well this week has been one for the books.  We had some amazing things happen, but one that stands out in bright contrast.  We had a teaching appointment this week centered on the Book of Mormon.  We focused on its purpose, meaning, blessings, and the living witnesses that my companion and I bear of it.  The person who invited us in is what I would refer to as worthy of honorary degrees in Religious Studies.  Never in a persons home have I seen more books on religion and science.  But what was more was the fact that they understood them.  They had studied and thought out the scriptures alongside the world around them and had come to amazing and accurate conclusions about the way God works.  Needless to say that if we were to do a side-by-side comparison of pure knowledge and intellect I was far out-classed.  

But this brings me to the point that stuck out to me as I sat on an extremely comfy sofa in a small apartment in Cicero, New York.  The point is thus: no intellectual understanding and comprehension in any number of various fields can compensate for a field you don't care about.  Our desires dictate our actions, and if we don't desire to know more on a subject, we never will, despite our amazing intellect in any other field.  

As I sat in the room of someone who could quote and cross reference scripture upon scripture from the Bible, this thought came to mind as we discussed a subject upon which she lacked understanding, and we had the expertise: The Book of Mormon.  As we discussed we reiterated the point we had begun with, that a testimony of the Book of Mormon only comes if we will humble ourselves enough to read it and pray about it with a sincere heart and real intent.  Again and again we found ourselves led back to this point of all points.  If we were to base our beliefs on pure doctrine we were on a level playing field.  Our beliefs about Christ and his divine nature, the Atonement, faith and works, and the need for authority were seeing eye to eye.  After some discussion our fellow follower of Christ noted what my companion and I had felt before, that the only things we disagree on are Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  I don't think I've stated more clearly and boldly the point that I had made at least a half dozen other times in various ways with this individual that there is but one appointed means to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of Almighty God and that the Book of Mormon has divine origins and the power to change lives.  The Spirit was present and I knew that those present could feel it.  

So when my companion voiced the simple question of: knowing all of this, will you read the Book of Mormon?  My heart sunk with righteous sorrow as the response was what fell on my ears as a capitalized and well punctuated 'No.'  My companion and I were saddened by this answer, but respected the answerer and after a closing prayer of gratitude for the occasion to meet, we left.  

After all of this it brings me back to the subject of our desires.  What do we desire, and why?  Do we truly desire to live with our Father in Heaven once more?  Do we truly desire answers to our questions of the soul?  Simply put, do we desire what we say we want?  In this scenario our questioner was wanting to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, but lacked the true desire to act.  As Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it "what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become".  If our desires are 'lukewarm', or as Revelation 3:15 puts it, if we are "neither cold nor hot" we cannot gain our desires, we will simply lack the motivation to act consistently. 

If we do truly desire the good, God has promised us blessings unknown.  And that we will be able to achieve our righteous desires if it be in line with God's will.  Our righteous desires, that we consistently work towards, will be a great boon to us and to the world we live in.  

This experience has caused me to question my desires deeply, mostly focusing on the question "Do I love ____ more than ____".  I have to ask myself frequently if I love God more than I love a comfy bed at 6:30 AM.  I have to ask if I love the people around me more than I love getting lost in thought and contemplation while those around me need my words and actions, not my thoughts.  Our desires are ours "It is up to us. God will facilitate, but He will not force" (Neal. A Maxwell "According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts).  I hope that each of you truly desire what is right, and more importantly what is right in the sight of the Lord.  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Gailey

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