Sunday, April 13, 2014

What do you do when you need a miracle or divine intervention?

"What do you do when you're in need of a miracle or divine intervention?" To me, this question had several elements including--need vs. want, personal will vs. the will of God and, of course, faith. I don't expect my study will "answer" your question, but I hope it will help. I invite you to look up these references: Daniel 3:17-18, Hebrews 10:36, 2 Kings 20:2-6 (really liked this story), Matthew 18:14, John 6:38-39, 1 Corinthians 9:17, 2 Nephi 2:21 (Book of Mormon, for anyone unfamiliar) and Helaman 10:5 (also Book of Mormon). Again, the lesson I felt was most compelling came from Christ Himself. INSERT BECCA's INTERPRETATION--In Matthew 26:39, Christ is essentially asking for a miracle, but in full respect to God's will. "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Christ has the faith, and the humility, but it was not within the will of God, and Christ was perfectly accepting of that will. I think this can bring peace because sometimes when the miracle doesn't come, we think to ourselves, maybe I don't have enough faith, maybe if I were humble enough...etc. Christ was these things, but removing the bitter cup was not in keeping with God's will. But what if Christ's prayer had been answered? What if Heavenly Father had let Christ's suffering end? Where would that leave us? Which is, or would have been, the greater miracle? Heavenly Father answering Christ's prayer, or Christ completing the Atonement of mankind? Which the greater tragedy? I hope those Scriptural references offer some comfort.

How do the Scriptures provide physical healing as discussed in General Conference recently?

"How do the Scriptures provide physical healing?" First, I wanted to go back to the General Conference address you were referencing. For anyone interested, it comes from Elder Richard G. Scott's, "The Power of Scripture" from the October 2011 General Conference. This is the paragraph where this thought is referenced: "Pondering a passage of scripture can be a key to unlock revelation and the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one’s ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior. They can accelerate physical healing." I'm not sure if your question was like Mary's, "How shall this be?" or like Zacaharias', "Whereby shall I know this?" My hope is the first--because that's how I went about answering it, trusting that Elder Scott's words were true, and then finding supporting evidence for it in the Scriptures. Start with Doctrine and Covenants 88:15, "The spirit and the body are the soul of man." Based on THAT definition of what is the soul, this is what I found: 2 Nephi 4:15-16 15 And upon athese I bwrite the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul cdelighteth in the scriptures, and my heart dpondereththem, and writeth them for the elearning and the profit of my children. Jacob 2:8 (word of God heals the soul--really like this one), Omni 1:26, and then I also really like Matthew 8:8 in connection with John 1:1. If the "Word" is Christ--which it is--and Christ can heal--which He can--then the WORD, or His Holy Scriptures--can also heal. In Matt 8:8, the word brings the physical healing. This power created the worlds and the people in it. It stands to reason it could also heal them. I hope that helps with your question. Thank you for asking it! I enjoyed researching it out and appreciated the opportunity.

Why did the Lord institute polygamy? Anciently and in modern day?

Such a touchy topic, but one that every Mormon woman, or considering the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs to come to some sort of terms with. My friend Lora submitted this question, and I am grateful for the insights received in researching it out for myself.

"Why did the Lord institute polygamy?" I thought a lot about this question before going directly the Scriptures. I pondered it at home and in the temple, and perhaps that helped, but when I found the answer, to me, it felt like truth--that THIS is the real answer. First, I thought of other times the Lord had instituted polygamy. One of the most notable times of its practice, I think, is among Jacob and the daughters of Laban--Leah, Rachel and their handmaidens. Jacob's brother Esau married among the Hittites, to the great dismay of his parents. They were not covenant keepers. Isaac forbade Jacob from marrying among the Canaanites. Instead, he told him to go to his uncle's house and marry his out of his cousins. Isn't it looking like there aren't too many worthy, covenant keeping families to choose from? Then Jacob was promised in a dream, "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 28:14) It is after this that he works for Rachel, and weds Leah, then works for Rachel again and weds Rachel, and then both their handmaidens. BUT, from these unions comes the entirety of the 12 tribes of Israel and all of their posterity--think BIG.
THEN, I was pondering your question again in the temple and the thought came to me--Nobody is bothered by the fact that Adam and Eve's children would have HAD to intermarry. Really. There are no other options. Brothers and sisters would have wed and conceived. Today, this is gross to even think about it. BUT, it was necessary. WHAT were their options? It had to be done to raise up a posterity. Likewise, polygamy served a purpose to quickly build a base foundation for the early Church. Like Jacob and Adam and Eve's family before him, there weren't very many people, or RIGHTEOUS, covenant keeping people to choose from, and in order to quickly raise a base from which thousands, maybe millions of future covenant keepers, polygamy was instituted for a specific, limited period of time. Okay. With all of that in mind, I went to to ask your question. I went to their FAQ section, followed by the topic of Polygamy and then the question, "Why did your Church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?" I invite you to look up the scriptures, Jacob 2:30 and Doctrine and Covenants 132:63. Both talk about raising up seed or replenishing the earth (with kiddos). Just as there was a specific time and reason that Adam and Eve's children would have wed and conceived children, and as Jacob would have been authorized to have multiple wives, polygamy was practiced in the early days of the Church to build up a righteous posterity that was needed to build the Kingdom of God. When this purpose was fulfilled, the practice was stopped. As a practical woman, this make sense to me, and even brings me peace that at 15 million strong, we probably won't be asked to participate in this practice again. Hope it helps you, too.

"Remember is the most often used word in Scripture. Why?"

"The most repeated word in Scripture is remember. Why?" Wow. Remembering is so important. We tell our children "Remember who you are" (or something similar) often because we know if they will only REMEMBER where they come from, they will want to keep going where they are headed. If we remember our covenants made at baptism to always remember Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, we will be blessed to have His Spirit with us. When we remember to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort," (Mosiah 18:9) not only will that bring the Spirit, but be a blessing to someone else--maybe even an answer to their prayer. BUT, as for a scriptural answer, the one that came to mind is from Alma 5:26, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" If we have let our lives be changed by our Savior Jesus Christ, but fail to remember Him, what good does that do our lives now? When we remember Him, we are ever renewed by His power and changed by His love.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Question: Doctrinal Comfort for mothers of stillborn children or who have had miscarriages

My friend Juliet asked that I look up within the Scriptures and words of modern prophets words of comfort for those mothers who have lost children.  These are my findings:

 My first thought came from 1 Nephi 19:23...."for I did liken all scripture unto us that it might be for our profit and learning." While I didn't remember any stories in scripture about miscarriages or stillborn children, I do know there are plenty of occasions of grief--that is a universal experience. So, I wanted to learn what we can gain from scriptural accounts of grief and suffering, and how that could bring doctrinal comfort and insight into the grief and suffering that comes from losing a precious little one. Here are the scriptures I found from that search and I invite you to look them up as well. 1 Peter 2:19-23 which talks about the reward for suffering in righteousness, Proverbs 15:13 says, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Don't think of broken as in un-fixable, but broken the way a horse is broken--teachable, willing to submit to the Master, faithful. Psalms 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." MY THOUGHTS--I believe God views death differently than we do. If it comes about "on its own" not through murder, etc., then death is not a tragedy to Him--death is perhaps joyful to Him because it means His children are finished here and can return home to Him. I don't think it's all that big of a deal to Him, because He sees through an eternal lens and death is only another step into eternity. From there, I looked up your question on to find out if there is any specific information regarding miscarriages or stillborn children. I found a great article, which I will also post that answers some of the aching questions. It also differentiates between children who are stillborn, and miscarriages. It suggests that stillborn babies--babies that would have been viable outside of the womb given their gestational age--may be recorded on family history records, etc. Joseph Fielding Smith said, "We should have a hope that these little ones will receive a resurrection and then belong to us." It is MY interpretation based on my readings of that article, "I have a question", is that in most (if not all) cases of stillbirth, the child will be restored to you in the resurrection, and in Heaven will be as much a part of your family as any other child. Miscarriage is a little less certain, but I don't see anything that necessarily closes the door on it. So, I kept looking. I read John 6:39, and I hope you will too. It discusses an important principle that I remembered Elder Wirthlin mentioning in his wonderful talk, "Come What May and Love it."  He discusses the principle of compensation. He said,

"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.

"One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father."

MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS--Reading this information all together leads me to one conclusion. I believe, the hope that follows a miscarriage or stillbirth comes in this: Either, that child will be restored to us in Heaven as one of our own children and the glory of being his or her mother remains and our tears of sorrow will be replaced with tears of joy at reuniting, OR, we will be compensated a hundredfold in the Lord's own way with tears of rejoicing and gratitude for our loss. The Lord will not let us down and He will not leave us to our suffering. I hope you will read the scriptures and talks/articles and I pray they will bring you comfort and strength. Thank you for sharing your question.

The Search for Truth

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Much of the foundation of my testimony of this Church's truthfulness, is that I know that if I have a doctrinal question or doubt, there IS an answer. Many of the questions I have had have been answered through the Scriptures--the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Other questions have been answered through answers to prayer or to the words of the prophets and apostles since the Restoration of Christ's Church. BUT, there are always answers. It was life-changing for me when once in high school, I had a doctrinal question; I searched the Scriptures and studied and I thoughtfully prayed. After much prayer, the answer that came to me was something like this: "Rebecca, there IS an answer. You don't need to know it now. But trust in ME that there is an answer." I think from then on, I have known that Christ's TRUE Church has the answer to our questions. Many of them can be given to us if we seek diligently and study in faith. Some will be withheld because we don't really need to know them right now. BUT, there are ALWAYS answers. I am starting this blog because I have felt inspired by the answers I have found in the Scriptures and the words of the prophets. My intent is not to be controversial, but to seek God's answers and His perfect truth. I believe wholeheartedly that there is one truth. We can choose to get with the program or not, but only through HIM do we find truth--not because it seems good or it's a popular notion, but because it came from God. I am not in any way an official spokesperson for the Church and I will try my hardest to always share my own thoughts and feelings as such and not claim them to be official doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and certainly not God's. We're all in this journey together--trying to come closer to our Lord. SO, with that, I invite you to join with me in the search for answers. When I receive a doctrinal question, or doubt about my own Church, religion in general, etc., I will post it here with my findings/thoughts/feelings. This is a safe place--at least from me. I will not judge your questions, but invite all who wish to know more to search with me, for Christ Himself promised that if we seek, so also we shall find.