Monday, November 9, 2015

November 8 - How Can I Find Answers to My Own Gospel Questions (Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance)

Wow, it was a rather energetic class this Sunday.

But, better too much energy than too little ... As long as you're involved, I'm a happy instructor!
(And a happy instructor = an instructor who's happy to bring treats! Just sayin'!)

So, we discussed ... lots, really.

First, you all are pretty dang amazing. You do know more than you give yourself credit for. Keep up that great work ... and never stop learning. ^_^

You already knew that you can look up answers in the Bible Dictionary and Topical Guide.
(I was impressed!)

You also knew that you are always able to request answers from our Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study.

Please allow me to stress that daily scripture study is a very important habit (One that I'm still working on!). You will be very blessed if you establish that habit NOW (Let me tell you, once you have a career, higher education, and/or a family, it just gets that much more difficult for you to prioritize your personal relationship with God amid all these other very important things).

Please be aware that you can always search for answers on the Church website (www.lds.org).
There are TONS of great resources there.

You can ask people you trust: your parents or grandparents or a friend's parents, your bishop, your Stake president, your teachers/instructors/leaders ... You can even ask some of your friends. There are bunches of people out there who'd love to have the opportunity to help you.
(You could also ask other members of your ward family ... I'm sure that most would be pleased and rather flattered that you respect them enough to request their opinion/knowledge.)

When you joined Young Women's or Young Men's, you should have received a copy of the manual, True to the Faith. If you don't have it, let me know. If you can't find it, remember that it's available online.
It's an awesome resource ... which you'll probably remember me reading STRAIGHT from it to you.

(Really, it's a wonderful little manual that will help you, as you study it ... or even just use it as a reference guide, to better understand the gospel. I'm always very impressed with how GOOD and useful it is, even though it's so small.)

Here's a bit of what we talked about from True to the Faith - Revelation:
Revelation is communication from God to His children. This guidance comes through various channels according to the needs and circumstances of individuals, families, and the Church as a whole. 
When the Lord reveals His will to the Church, He speaks through His prophet. The scriptures contain many such revelations—the word of the Lord through ancient and latter-day prophets. Today the Lord continues to guide the Church by revealing His will to His chosen servants. 
Prophets are not the only people who can receive revelation. According to your faithfulness, you can receive revelation to help you with your specific needs, responsibilities, and questions and to help you strengthen your testimony.
YOU can receive revelation.
Unlike the prophet who is granted the right to receive revelation for the whole world (and the whole church), the revelation you will receive (if you seek it) will be for yourself and those you have stewardship over.
  • Yourself
  • When you are married and have children, you can receive revelations to help your family.
  • You can receive revelation for those you Home or Visit Teach
  • If you teach a class or are in a leadership position, you can receive revelation that will help you serve.
  • If you serve a mission ... or if you are being a member-missionary, you can receive revelation to help you and those that you're ministering to
  • And more, I'm sure ... but those are just the first examples that come to my mind.
In True to the Faith, it also outlines ways that we can prepare to receive revelation:
  • Pray for guidance.
    Seriously, just ask. Have a desire to know. 
  • Be reverent.
    TttF defines "reverence" as profound respect and love. It's what's being referred to when we talk of fearing the Lord. We're reverent during our Church meetings to show honor, respect, and love to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and even to those who are around us (whether they're teaching, giving a talk, or listening to the speakers/teachers.
    If we are reverent, even if everything's crazy all around us, we can be ready to receive and recognize promptings.
  • Be humble.
    We need to be mindful that we're not perfect. We don't know everything yet. We rely on Heavenly Father and the blessings that He lovingly gives us. Being humble helps us to be open to these promptings.
  • Keep the commandments.
    This one is pretty simple, right? If we're sinning, the Holy Ghost won't be able to be with us. We will chase him off. Bummer. Don't do that.
    And, when you do (since we're not perfect)? Repent! 
  • Partake of the Sacrament worthily.
    When we partake of the Sacrament, we're reminded of our baptismal covenants.
    It's pretty dang important.
  • Study the Scriptures every day.
    I already talked about this above. And I'll talk about it a lot. But I think you've got the gist. Especially since this post is getting crazy-long already.
  • Take time to ponder.
    Direct quote from TttF: "Pondering takes your thoughts from the trivial things of the world and brings you closer to the Spirit."
  • When seeking specific guidance, study the matter out in your mind.
    Read Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8
    Really, give yourself time to think and meditate ... when your mind is quiet and you're not distracted by ... everything else in the world, you help to open your mind and heart to promptings.
  • Patiently seek God's will.
    Remember, there may be times when you DO receive an instant answer.
    More often than that, though, you probably won't. That doesn't mean that you aren't going to get that answer. It just means that it's not now.
    Trust the Lord. Trust His timing ... He does know more and better than us, right?
Now, we weren't able to discuss (yet) the next, VERY IMPORTANT bit ...
Recognizing the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Because, really, it's not going to do you a terrible amount of good if you're searching and striving to find answers ... and you don't realize when you've received one. Or THAT you HAVE received an answer.

Here's the list of things to remember that's given in True to the Faith:
  • The Holy Ghost speaks to the mind and heart in a still small voice.
  • He prompts us through our feelings.
  • He brings peace.
The more you seek for revelation, the more opportunities you have to receive it.
Think of how many times in our last General Conference that our leaders beseeched us to live in a way where we can have the CONSTANT companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide and direct us, to protect us. That is an awesome gift that they want for all of us to be able to have.

That's yet another reason I know that our leaders (from President Thomas S. Monson down to our local leaders) love us. They want us to choose, for ourselves -- not be forced to do it, good things. They have our best interests at heart.

And, if we ever doubt that, we can pray about it. We can study our scriptures. We can ask others for help. And, even if you're alone, without your scriptures or any way of accessing them, in the noisiest, craziest place ... you always can have the Holy Ghost there with you.

And, please, always be aware that your Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ love you more than any words could describe. They are rooting for you. Your ancestors are cheering you on. Your leaders love you. You are important. You are valued. You can change the world for the better.

Make good choices and be kind to each other!
    Sister Cox

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