Some of you may not be aware that on my FB page and Instagram Channel I’m running a series called #DailyDoctrines. I post short, quote-length doctrines daily. Whereas this blog is weekly.

I started #DailyDoctrines because it has become apparent to me that it is difficult for many people to identify and locate doctrine in the scriptures. Why does it matter? Why not just be satisfied to understand the basic story lines?

To just grasp the basic story lines of scripture stories (especially the Old Testament) defeats the purpose of scripture study. The whole point of scripture study is to come to know God, and invite the Holy Spirit into our lives. Why is actually getting to know God important? “For this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent” (St. John 17:3).

Eternal life is nothing less than life like God. And, we can’t spend an eternity with someone whom we don’t know. And we certainly can’t live like Him if we don’t know Him.

In the parable of the ten virgins, it has always impressed me that when the five foolish virgins show up at the feast that the Savior denies them entrance based on the following: “I know you not” (Matthew 25:12). I think what He is also implying is that “you don’t know me.”

Why would any of us let someone into our home whom we don’t know? We wouldn’t. We wouldn’t trust them. We would be surprised that they showed up and even wanted to come in. And we might even be slightly offended if they showed up for a party we were throwing, where they could mooch off our generosity, and we hadn’t even known they were coming. When they knocked on our door, we would say, “Um…sorry, I don’t know you.” Meaning reflexively, “Um…why are you here, you don’t know me.”

We might say that “oil in our lamps” is our relationship with and knowledge of God.

Identifying Doctrine Helps us Come to Know God

The whole purpose of identifying doctrine in the scriptures is because doctrine teaches us as much about God as we can ever come to know in this life. It teaches us two very critical things: 1) What God is like, and 2) How He works with us, His children. And, I might add that in some cases we learn 3) why He works with us in certain ways.

I seem to have a knack for finding doctrines. And, the more I practice, the more and more fundamental it becomes to who and what I am and how I live. Doctrine answers the “why” behind everything in God’s plan for us. It answers the hard questions that we struggle with each day. I haven’t come upon a question yet, in my life, that I haven’t found the answer to through clear doctrines from the scriptures. Granted, I don’t always love the answer. It may not be as specific as I like. Sometimes, it’s too specific. Sometimes the answers test my fortitude. But, more than anything else, the answers—the doctrines—give me power to keep going, to endure. The doctrines give me confidence before God. The doctrines teach me what to expect from God and how not to freak out and worry when I see Him at work.

An Invitation

I’ve only been at this for just under two years. I’m not sure who follows me and why. But, I’m issuing you a direct invitation. If you feel any of the following things (see below) would help you in your life and in your desire to follow God, please like and follow my Facebook Page: TheDoctrineLadyBlog. And please visit and follow me on Instagram: @TheDoctrineLady. As well, once you join, start with me right where I am (currently Leviticus in the Old Testament). If you use the NIV Bible or the King James, you should be great. You don’t have much to do. Just read a chapter a day and look for 1) things you learn about God, and 2) things you learn about how God deals with us, His children. Then, check out my FB Page or my IG account each day and see what I’ve come up with. See if it sits well with you. See if you found a doctrine I missed. See (and record in a journal) what it allows the Holy Spirit to teach you about your life and your relationship with God.

Do you want any of the following:

1.       Closer relationship with God

2.       Increase your belief in the existence of God

3.       Understand some of what God does better

4.       Reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament

5.       Understand better temple worship and ordinances

6.       Recognize how God is working with you in your own life

7.       Understand and recognize steps God wants you to take in your life right now

8.       Strengthen your witness and testimony of Christ

9.       Increase your capacity to live a godly life

10.   Increase your capacity to understand and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ

If you decide to join me in this journey, and feel that someone else you know would benefit, invite them! Don’t be afraid. Our role as Christians is to invite others to come to Christ. Our role is to “feed His sheep.” You aren’t responsible if people choose to come to Christ. But, you are responsible for extending the invitation. I’m extending my invitation to you. I hope you will extend the same to others.

I’m going to keep doing my #DailyDoctrines whether I have 10 followers or 10,000. When the Old Testament is through I’ll push right on to the New Testament and so forth. This is a lengthy journey. But, isn’t the effort worth it if it will help each of us to secure our eternal life with the God, and Father, of us all? Did not God, Himself, teach us that a relationship with Him, a deep knowledge and love of Him, is what will make life with Him in eternity possible? I’m doing #DailyDoctrines to help myself, and anyone who wants to join me, to increase their capacity to come to know God.

Challenge and invitation issued. I hope you will join me.

BT

There is something for everyone in this blog. From short easy ways to study the scriptures to long and in-depth pondering. Sit tight, and look for what speaks to you.

When I was younger I was taught to read my scriptures daily. That includes the whole Standard Works: Bible (OT and NT), The Book of Mormon-Another Testament of Jesus Christ, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price, along with modern General Conference Talks by Prophets, Apostles, and General Church Authorities.

So, I began reading and studying my scriptures at the age of 13 to 14, thanks to the example of my older sister, Kalley, who read her scriptures every night. Since I shared a room with her we couldn’t go to sleep until she was done. One night, feeling frustrated that I had to wait for her, I gave her a hard time. She said to me, “You should read your scriptures too.” After a few moments of feeling angry, upset, and resentful, my conscience spoke very clearly to me and it was emphasized by the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I should read my scriptures. I could have ignored it. But, I chose to listen to the still, small voice.

At that time, I assumed a front-to-back reading of the Standard Works. You know, start at page one and read, in order, to the end. And, as a young teenager, that worked for me. I was still at that age where during family scripture study, if my mom dared try and stop and have a cool doctrinal discussion, I would grunt, groan, and urge her to move on so we could “wrap it up.” (Sorry Mom!)

But, very soon, as a high school freshman, I started early morning Seminary. This is a 40-50 minute early morning scripture study course, which is free, and which is open to all (members and non-members alike) IF you are willing to get up before 6:00 a.m. and get there on time prepared to hasten off to high school immediately after.

In Seminary, I was led through the scriptures almost chapter by chapter. My mother happened to be my Seminary teacher for my first three years, and she taught me with her passion and her own deep study, how to look a lot deeper at what at the time had still been a lot of black-and-white pages. I began to see from Seminary how the scriptures fit into God’s plan. I saw how the stories taught me about how God works with His children. I saw covenants that I was making as a young member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being made by people from a time in the world I didn’t think I could relate to. Suddenly, I could relate.

Light bulbs began to go off in my mind and in my heart (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3). The Holy Ghost began to work with me. He began to teach me then how to study my scriptures. And, He’s still teaching me. I learn more about how to study God’s word every single day.

And, that’s the key. It’s the Holy Ghost that instructs each of us how best to study for our lives and our needs. You need Him to guide you in what’s most effective for you. My mom didn’t actually ever teach me how to study my scriptures. People at church didn’t teach me how. No mortal actually can. It takes your desire and your efforts PLUS the Holy Ghost to learn how to study the scriptures in a way that will change you into something better. That’s how you get the most out of it, by getting a personalized guidebook from a member of the godhead.

However, suggestions help. You can try them and then the Holy Ghost can help you tweak them just for you.

But, before you study the scriptures you have to have a strong motive. I mean, after all, what’s the point? Why read when you can watch videos or pick up a host of other much more easy to read and interesting books? You have to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” If you don’t know, then you need to figure it out, otherwise, there simply isn’t sufficient motivation.

Some people read because it’s a commandment from God (D&C 1:37-38). Some people read because they are list checkers. They feel better about themselves for being able to check off something good. Some people read because they see it as a way to earn blessings or grace, or to avoid consequences and condemnation.

While none of these are bad reasons, they aren’t going to keep you going for long, or they certainly won’t help you be consistent; and they certainly will not magically create effective study. If you want to get a lot out of reading God’s word, you’ve got to establish a sincere, heartfelt desire as your motivation.

For me, reading my scriptures is about three very important things:

  • Getting to know God so that I can have eternal life (John 17:3)
  • and by consequence coming to truly know myself
  • Understanding how He works, how His plan works, and where I am in that plan

These are my motivators. I can’t come to know God without learning how He speaks, directs His people, shows mercy, blesses, curses, guides, etc. Sure, I can pray and stuff, but He isn’t going to reproduce answers for me about Him and His plan that He’s already put at my fingertips.

The more I come to understand God, the more I recognize about myself. It’s amazing all the things you can discover about yourself as you come to know God. He reveals them to you as fast as you are willing and able to stomach them. It leads to deep peace. It leads to firm faith. It leads to joy.

God’s plan for His children is everywhere in the scriptures. If you don’t understand it, you will never understand life. That’s because “life is the plan.”

So, if you need a boost to get going, here are some ways you can practice, or try out, studying your scriptures. If you try them prayerfully, you will figure out which ways the Spirit is best able to communicate to you. Then, He will instruct you further on how to get the most out of reading your scriptures.

latter-day_saint_scripture_quadruple_combination

Suggestions for Studying Your Scriptures

  1. Try to read all of the Standard Works front-to-back at least once. If you’ve not read them all at least once, do it. Context is important.
  2. Don’t commit yourself to a certain number of pages per day. Instead, commit yourself to read until something stands out to you. Then stop, and ponder what stood out to you.
  3. Read the scriptures with a narrow focus and choose only one focus at a time:
    1. Look for only those verses that talk about covenants
    2. Look for only those verses that talk about God’s love for His children
    3. Look for only those verses that talk about grace (whether using the actual word grace or whether it’s there when you see between the lines)
    4. Look for only those verses that talk about women
    5. Look for only statements of truth/doctrine
    6. Look for how God deals/works with/instructs/ His children, etc.
      1. When you find these focused verses, STOP and ponder what they mean and apply them to your life
      2. Write down what you learn (or else you will forget)
  4. Memorize. Read each day until you find a verse you want to commit to memory (at least for that day/night).
    1. Keep a journal of them. Write down the verse.
    2. After you commit it to basic memory, write down how you feel about the verse and why you chose it.
  5. Are you a music person? Then start at the front of the hymnbook. Each and every hymn has scriptures at the bottom. Use both the words of the hymn and the accompany scriptures to learn more about the power and truth behind that hymn.
    1. Sing it to yourself
    2. Read it to yourself
    3. Write down what lines from the hymn stick out to you and why
    4. Teach yourself how to lead it, as if you were leading a choir.
      1. What words would you have them sing loud? Soft? Intense? Joyful?
      2. Record why you would have them sing certain lines certain ways.
  6. Study to assist you in your own life. Do you have an illness? Are you depressed? Are you without work? Do you struggle to find the money to buy food? Do you have temptations and desires you simply can’t seem to fight another day?
  7. Read the Standard Works looking for others who share your same struggles.
    1. Record who they are and what their issues are, how they dealt with it, how they were blessed or cursed based on their choices
    2. Record how you saw God work with them
    3. What was He trying to teach them?
    4. How was He trying to bless them? What help did He offer?
    5. Was His help accepted and recognized? Or rejected and resented?
  8. Study with a need for a blessing, trait, or power. STOP reading when you come upon verses that speak to you about this need. Write down the inspiration and guidance you receive for that need. Then, MAKE PLAN and PRAY FOR UNDERSTANDING on how to act on and implement this inspiration in your time of need.
    1. You want to have more faith
    2. You want to have more patience
    3. You want to be prepared and able to make and keep temple covenants
    4. You want to strengthen your marriage
    5. You want to understand how to better teach your children
  9. Read a chapter or story as if you have to teach it to others (see a video on this here)
  10. Read to find a daily quote. Then, STOP, and write that sentence or phrase down. Write it in your own words!
    1. Hang the quote on your fridge or front door
    2. Find a way to share it with at least a few other people during that day (or the next if you read at night)
    3. Share it on social media testifying why you know it’s true and how you plan to make it a part of your life that day (application is important)
  11. Read to serve. Immersing yourself in God’s word is a great way to open your mind up to personal revelation.
    1. Say a prayer to ask God to reveal to you who you need to serve to today and how
    2. Open your scriptures to anywhere, or where you’re currently reading
    3. Read until you understand how God wants you to serve that day
  12. Read to eat/feast. Read your scriptures until you find a quote that talks about eating (spiritually or temporally). Type the quote/verse up and put it by everyone’s plate in your family for dinner that night. Have a family discussion about it before eating dinner (or during dinner).
  13. Read to Read. I’m sure that sounds funny. But, if you’re a story person. Read until you come upon a really good story in the scriptures.
    1. Focus on the story
    2. Who are the characters?
    3. What problem are they struggling with?
    4. What do they do?
    5. How is God a part of the story? What role does He play?

I could go on and on. The scriptures are so rich and wonderful. Read to find psychological advice. Read to find what you like! Big on battles? The scriptures are full of them. Just take note of why they were fought, who the opposing parties were, what their political platforms are, and which side trusted in God.

See, you can do it with anything.

Finally, study in faith. The things of the Spirit can only be understood by those who are spiritual, or seeking to be so (1 Corinthians 2:10-11, 14).

I can say, with absolute certainty, that there is no greater power in my life than scripture study. Since I began (thanks to my sister, Kalley) all those years ago I have never been able to put them down. They are a daily companion. I tried to set them aside one night, at the age of 15, and the Spirit whispered, “If you set them aside, what does that say about your life right now? Why would you want to set them aside?” I knew the answers to those questions and though that night I didn’t feel spiritual, I read. Reading changed the actions I took the next day. Those actions made a very clear fork in the road my life took—one that I’m forever grateful for.

May each of you seek to get the most out of reading your scriptures. It will change you—forever.

BT

Doctrine: Teaching BY the Spirit is not the same thing has having the Spirit WITH us. They are two different things. Most people think all they need is to have the Spirit WITH them. Then, they fail to learn how to teach, preach, discuss, encourage, or discipline BY the Spirit; and they end up doing these things “some other way.”

Like all gifts of the Spirit, some people are born with an innate ability to “teach by the Spirit” while the rest have to seek for the gift. It’s not too much different from someone who is born with a natural knack for music or computer programming. Learning it for them is more like being reminded how. While, the rest of us must struggle through step-by-step, principle-by-principle until we master it.

Now, I’ve met many people who are naturally gifted at something who never rose to their potential because it was “too easy” for them. This is because they took for granted their talent. And, I’ve met others who were not naturally gifted at something who worked hard and went on to become great and renowned in their sought-out gift/talent. It is similar with teaching, except that in teaching some are born to it, but God intends all of us to master it. It is a command, not a passing suggestion. This makes it a big deal.

Now, when I say “teach by the Spirit,” I mean giving a talk at church, teaching a lesson at church, having a gospel discussion with a friend, being a full-time missionary, giving Family Home Evening lessons, giving devotionals or spiritual thoughts, being a parent or regular person and teaching every moment of every day, and so forth. There isn’t a person on this earth that is exempt from learning to teach by the Spirit. Not one. Why? Because it is something we should be doing every moment of every day.

Teaching, talking, discussing, encouraging, or disciplining, etc…by the Spirit can greatly DECREASE our chances of giving offense, teaching false doctrine (or our own philosophies mingled with scripture), or exercising unrighteous dominion. Teaching by the Spirit can help us all to treat others as moral agents and avoid infringing on personal agency while still inviting them to do good. Teaching by the Spirit can give authority to our testimonies and help prevent us from giving stifling ultimatums when we intended to give powerful encouragement.

One of the biggest misconceptions I have found in “teaching by the Spirit” is that a large amount of Latter-day Saints believe it is a once-in-a-while thing at church. Therefore, because of this incorrect belief they never trouble themselves or take the time to figure out exactly how one “teaches by the Spirit,” nor do they ever practice and improve. It’s something they fear or mess with when they have a partial teaching responsibility. While not commonly “on purpose,” most people completely ignore the whole concept and prefer rather to pray extra hard and hope for the best. In so doing they end up NOT teaching by the Spirit but in “some other way.”

Doctrine and Covenants 50:13-22 we read (and I will annotate to enhance possible ways to interpret, though it is not the only way to interpret these passages):

13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained?

14 To preach my gospel BY the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.

Note here that we preach BY the Spirit, not WITH the Spirit. Having the Spirit with us is not the same thing as preaching BY His required methods. So, while we most certainly need the companionship of the Holy Ghost, to preach BY the Spirit requires also becoming familiar with the methods and techniques that the Holy Ghost uses that He may fulfill His role as the teacher. Because you’ll note that God says that the teacher is the Comforter, NOT US. We are the preacher, or the instrument which facilitates the teaching

So, what does that really mean? Well, the Holy Ghost, as the Teacher is the one who gives power to, and uses things we say or do to impress the minds of those we are teaching with the things God wants them to know. But, no matter how cool, true, or wonderful something is that we say or do, IF the Holy Ghost doesn’t choose to use it, our words and actions will accomplish nothing. They will not be remembered nor have any lasting impact.

15 And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God and in this are ye justified?

Note that “spirits” is the term God used to describe the BY methods people are using. He isn’t saying people are possessed WITH evil spirits. He says people are entertaining, receiving, and utilizing methods and techniques which are incorrect. To me it is more of “the spirit in which we approach teaching situations.”

16 Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.

If we are teaching BY these incorrect spirits, God understands that our intent is good. He says He will be merciful.

17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?

18 And if it be some other way it is not of God.

Again, note that God says BY not WITH. He’s not convicting them of being possessed with incorrect spirits, He’s convicting them of teach BY incorrect spirits.

21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?

22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

One of the biggest things most of us fail to recognize is that when we are teaching, discussing, encouraging, disciplining, etc. BY the Spirit, that both us and the other parties walk away feeling, or having been uplifted, inspired, and taught something BY the Holy Ghost that is beyond what was actually said or done. Meaning, we are enlightened as much by the teaching/preaching experience as our students, friends, acquaintances, children, and class.

Now, this blog article will not turn anyone into a great teacher. But, it contains some doctrines, that if understood, can help those who truly desire to begin the journey of learning to teach BY the Spirit.

Also, there is no way for me to list everything here that is needed for you to conquer “teaching by the Spirit.” But, for the sake of wetting your appetite, let me address two main things that I have found are the most critical to beginning the journey of seeking the spiritual gift/talent of “teaching BY the Spirit.”

#1 Let go of the idea that anything you say or do will convert someone.

In every teaching/preaching situation, whether at home, with friends and children, or at church, almost always people think, “What can I say or do to make <blank> do /believe what I want him to do/believe?” “What can I say or do to make my friend do/believe what I want her to do/believe?” or “What can I do to make my child do/believe what I want him/her to do/believe?”

Hopefully, you’ll note that the problem with all of these is questions is WHAT CAN I SAY OR DO TO MAKE…. This question is incredibly flawed. It usurps the Holy Ghost’s role as the true teacher. It ignores agency because we want to make people comply. And, it implies that what WE want is what God wants. All three are major flaws which will leave the Holy Ghost silent on our behalf.

It is so important to understand that nothing any of us says or does is of any value unless the Holy Ghost can make use of it. It’s that’s simple. So, the questions should be (and note the major changes), “What can I say or do to help the Holy Ghost invite <blank> to do/believe what God wants them to do/believe?”

With this correctly focused question, all the accountability to convert or save has been put in proper perspective and in the hands of the Holy Ghost, not us. We do not make people change, the Holy Ghost invites them to change. We do not identify what they need to do or change, God identifies what they need to do or change and communicates it to them completely separate from us. We don’t get to know what He says to them, because He communicates it to their mind and heart (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3).

#2 Possible “some other way” spirits that we teach BY

Figuring out what you do in your teaching moments that is “some other way” is between you and the Lord. But, if you study the Church’s current teaching manual Teaching in the Savior’s Way (https://www.lds.org/manual/teaching-in-the-saviors-way?lang=eng), you will be able to identify—with diligent study and prayer—the ways in which Christ taught BY the Spirit. Then, you can go to the Lord and ask Him what things you do that are “some other way” and that get in the way of the methods and techniques that are BY the Spirit. I can testify to you with certainty that He will let you know what those things are if you have 1) educated yourself and 2) sincerely asked.

Christ taught with simple parables, short object lessons, pointed questions, open-ended questions, inviting questions, etc. In other words, He put everyone around Him into constant moments where they had to ponder, reflect, self-analyze, visualize, and use their agency to receive light and truth. Christ never gave them answers. He always sent them to find the answers themselves. He never told them how to “apply” the doctrine; He gave them the doctrine and invited them to find out for themselves.

So, if you find yourself doing the opposite of these general Christlike teaching methods, you can be certain you are teaching in “some other way.” If you do not provide moments where those you interact with can ponder, reflect, self-analyze, visualize, and use their agency to receive light and truth, this is “some other way.” If you are always trying to give your own answers and how-to’s and telling people how to do things your way—no matter how good or correct you believe your way is—then you are in a spirit of “some other way.” If you insist upon always making sure you get to tell people what to think instead of sending them on a journey to find out what God wants them to think, you are in a spirit of “some other way.” And so forth.

Now, one last thing, reverting back to Doctrine and Covenants 50:22: If you walk away from interactions with your church classes, talks, visiting and home teaching people, family, friends, and loved ones and you have not been inspired, you have not been uplifted, or you have not felt an increase of peace or joy, then it is likely those interactions took place in “some other way.” Only you can go to the Lord and find out how or why the “some other way” got in there.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you were evil. It may mean that others were in a spirit of “some other way,” also. But, when you have the role to teach BY the Spirit and you have not been uplifted and edified yourself, then you should ponder back on those moments and re-orient your viewpoint. Perhaps, it’s time you took seriously the call to learn to “teach BY the Spirit.”

BT

Doctrine: #5) We have to understand and know God from personal study and faith in order to be able to withstand and reason through struggles, issues, and doubts.

This is continued from PART ONE, PART TWO, and PART THREE

Not the last reason I don’t leave the church, but the final one I will share, and that reason is “I know the God whom I worship” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:19). I don’t mean to laugh, because I do care, but sometimes I shake my head or laugh when people I know and people I don’t know get caught up in church policy and the actions (past and present) of church leaders, local leadership, or indeed even of church organization and many other things they don’t take the time to understand.

Why do I laugh? Because these people get all in an uproar about how “God wouldn’t do this,” or “God wouldn’t do that,” and I’m incredulous because I know, for a fact, they haven’t studied the scriptures. Not really. They haven’t gone to the Bible or other Standard Works to research what God would really do! Because He would do exactly what they’re saying He wouldn’t… He has done it before in many different ways and for very specific reasons.

Who God is and how He deals with His people is wide open for all to see in every page of scripture available—for those who study them. A knowledge of God and a close relationship with Him is the most important things each of us can ever gain from a study of the scriptures. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God who led Moses and the Israelites, the God who came down to earth and gave His life as a ransom for ours; the God who organized His church with Peter, James, and John; the God who appeared to Joseph Smith and restored His gospel and church back to the earth, is a god who:

  • Upholds justice and law

  • Allows all His children to learn and seek for answers whether they are in leadership positions, politics, the middle class, living on the streets, or not. He gives out freebie revelations in rare instances.

  • Offers mercy and salvation in exchange for repentance and a change in who we are becoming

  • Asks His people to do things that do not always make sense, but that do make sense in principle for those who seek to understand it (Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened…)

  • Wants His people to be different from the rest of the world

  • Requires sacrifice of personal possessions, beliefs, traditions, time, goals, professions, and even family and friends (in some circumstances), and seeks to help us accomplish this with commandments we do not always like or want

  • Blesses us all in many ways even though we don’t deserve it but is bound to bless us when we keep His commandments and He takes joy in being free to do so

  • Reveals much to us concerning His will but only line upon line as we are able to accept it or live it by faith

  • Is capable of doing what is best for all mankind and for each individual at the same time

  • Will command us to do things that previously He has forbidden if it serves His current perfectly-intentioned purposes

  • Is long-suffering and will continue to offer blessings and repentance to us until our last mortal breath no matter who we are or what we’ve done

  • Can heal any injury or suffering whether spiritual, psychological, emotional, or physical in this life or in the resurrection

  • Will give us exactly what we want if we are determined to have it whether to our glory or condemnation

I could go on. But, put simply, I don’t leave the church because I have worked long and hard to know who God is (and I continue to do so) and I trust Him. I know how He works and so many of the things that throw other people off their groove I find I can easily take in stride because I have seen the precedence of it in the scriptures, in my life, in the lives of others, and I recognize it in its modern version. I know that He truly is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

In the Book of Mormon, Laman and Lemuel murmured, “because they knew NOT the dealings of that God who created them” (1 Nephi 2:12). As well, in the Joseph Smith Translation of Mathew 24 found in The Pearl of Great Price we read, “And whoso treasureth up my word shall not be deceived…” (JST-Matthew 1:37). In the parable of the ten virgins Christ doesn’t keep them out of the feast because they’re bad people. They were obviously fairly decent. They knew about Him and they believed in Him or they wouldn’t have tried to attend the wedding feast. But, what He clearly says is, “I know you not,” meaning, in other words, you don’t know me. (John 17:3) Ouch!

So for those whose path to joy takes them away from the church, I know it is a path they must take. I hope they will find their joy. And, I know that ultimately they will find where they are meant to go, who they are meant to be, and will be able to accomplish what they need to accomplish. This is one of the blessings of the grace of Christ. However, for myself, the reasons I have shared in these blogs are why I stay. And, if others are uncertain about whether to stay or go, or even to come back, I hope this blog is helpful.

BT

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