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  • The best is yet to come ... we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Jeffery R Holland Jan 2010

Monday, April 8, 2013

TRIAL: KNOWING SELF

Now and again, as I study, I learn something.
Some little thing that forever alters my views.
Or answers some nagging doubt or question.
(I have those sometimes - especially during trials.)

 Such an answer was in  Lesson 22 from John Taylor:
(Teachings of the Presidents of the Church.)
Being Perfected Through Trials.

Prophets declare we all WILL face trials.

John Taylor taught, "You and I cannot be made perfect except through suffering: Jesus could not (Hebrews 2:10). ... there is no other way .... It is the process by which knowledge is increased and peace will ultimately be established universally. ...(page 111)."

Such declarations leave my heart cold.

I waffle there - must I really?

Thankfully prophets also declare solutions and concise instructions. They tell us to "Cease to fear" (Richard G. Scott 7 April 2013).

Such were also the teachings of Elder Jefferey R. Holland on 7 April 2013. He told the classic story of a troubled child and a parent's agony from Mark Ch. 9. "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:23-24)."  

Elder Holland taught, " The father asserts his strength first and only then acknowledges his limitations. His initial declaration is affirmative and without hesitation." He encouraged us that we have more faith than we think and we can start where we are.

"In moments of fear, or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won," he said, "even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality the spiritual equivalent of this boy's affliction or this parent's desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know until additional knowledge comes."

I experience such moments.

Moments, and longer, of testing.

I have learned to pray.

I have learned to sing.

Sometimes a song is a prayer.

President Taylor taught, "We complain sometimes about our trials. We need not do that. These are things that are necessary for our perfection. We think sometimes that we are not rightly treated, and I think we think correctly about some of these things. We think there are plots set on foot to entrap us; and I think we think so very correctly. At the same time we need not be astonished at these things. We need not be amazed at a feeling of hatred and animosity. Why? Because we are living in a peculiar day and age of the world; which is distinctively called the latter days.

I know that as other men we have our trials, afflictions, sorrows, and privations. We meet with difficulties; we have to contend with the world, with the powers of darkness, with the corruptions of men, and a variety of evils; yet at the same time through these things we have to be made perfect. It is necessary that we should have a knowledge of ourselves, of our true position and standing before God, and comprehend our strength and weakness; our ignorance and intelligence, our wisdom and our folly, that we may know how to appreciate true principles, and comprehend and put a proper value upon all things as they present themselves before our minds.

It is necessary that we should know our own weaknesses, and the weaknesses of our fellow men; our own strength as well as the strength of others; and comprehend our true position before God, angels, and men; that we may be inclined to treat all with due respect, and not to over value our own wisdom or strength, nor depreciate it, nor that of others; but put our trust in the living God, and follow after him, and realize that we are his children, and that he is our Father, and that our dependence is upon him, and that every blessing we receive flows from his beneficent hand (page 203)."


Thank you President Taylor.

Perhaps I can accept my life with more grace.
I have experienced learning about myself as you say.
I do know myself better because of trials.
I do comprehend my own "strength and weakness" better.

I am willing to learn my "true position before God".
I want to "appreciate true principles".
I accept that all "flows from his beneficent hand".

I testify that the additional knowledge and help promised by the prophets, like Elder Holland, does come. God is omnipotent and loving. He is mindful of us and does help and bless us, even if only to strengthen us like Alma's people (Mosiah 24).

I am nearing the end of my Book of Mormon classes. This past week I read:“And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me … for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men … (Moroni 7:33).”

My student manual, page 391, quoted Elder Holland teaching, “that one of the profound themes of the Book of Mormon is the role and prevalence and central participation of angels in the gospel story ….” Elder Holland's teachings then expanded my understanding about “those more personal ministering angels who are with us and around us, empowered to help us and who do exactly that (Ensign Jan 1996, 16-17).” Why am I so surprised? I have read and heard such promises many times. General Conference talks in 2011 were peppered with such references but this time I heard so much more and felt powerful comfort and hope from the promises for such help.

In General Conference Elder Holland encouraged us to "hope on, journey on .... even if you can no more than desire to believe." He promised, on Sunday afternoon, "God will send help from both sides of the veil."

I am so grateful for scriptures and prophets. I feel so weak and foolish. Why am I troubled by the simple things of this life? With the father of the possessed son I too cry “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:24).”