Sunday, June 26, 2011

Unbinding our Tongues

This weekend is Stake Conference here, one of the visiting speakers talked about one of Satan's biggest tools in thwarting the Lord's plan. He reminded us that when the Prophet Joseph Smith wanted to know truth he asked in faith that he would receive an answer. Later when he put that faith into practice in the Sacred Grove, before he got received the First Vision which would change the world as he knew it, Satan attacked him full force. Lucifer's method of attack is one that he commonly uses on us today. What he did to the young boy was what he often does to many of us. He attacked him which such fear so as to bind his tongue and prevent him from speaking.

How many times have I been in a similar situation? Where I allowed fear to "bind my tongue" and prevent me from speaking? How many times have I been in a situation where I knew what was true but out of fear of sounding politically incorrect or bigoted or intolerant because the world has made those of us that do have standards based on the gospel and not the world out to be? Isn't it ironic how when we attack wickedness we are labeled wrong, while when they promote wickedness they are politically correct? He added that one of the Brethern's greatest concerns for the youth isn't so much to isolate them from the world but to protect them.

I thought about that in view of recent events. I honestly don't think the Lord wants passive aggressive saints. While it is true that we can't allow pride to fuel our efforts, we can be confident and in fact we need to be bold in doing so, The fact that as the boy prophet was told not to join any of the other churches because they were incorrect, didn't make him any better then any other Christian at the time. But that doesn't change the fact that they were wrong and the Lord gave him clear directions to follow. When we follow the prophet we have the Lord's endorsement behind our efforts as well. Just like Joseph faced ridicule and persecution because he refused to deny his testimony of the truth even when it pitted him against the people in his town, state and in some cases family, while it estranged him from even his in-laws and eventually lead to his martyrdom, he didn't back down under pressure from other church denominations, civic leaders, and mobs. He stood for what was right and even at his death he stood for what was the will of the Lord. He sealed his testimony wit his blood. He did this with love, tolerance and even forgiveness for those who disagreed with him, but he never wavered in his conviction to the truth.

Brothers and Sisters, we can't be ashamed or apologize for the gospel, and again we can't be prideful or puffed up, but at the same time just because the world or Hollywood or those who claim to be more "tolerant" or "socially open minded and progressive" think we are closed minded because we do follow Christ and not market research. We know we are right! Does the Pres Monson go around apologizing for the truth? We don't have to go about this with at martyr type attitude either. We have nothing to be ashamed of or need to apologize for, we have the greatest gift the world can ever have, we have what most of the world is searching for in desperation. What more we aren't being selfish with it, we want to give it to everyone. We know the truth, we can be happy about it. We should find comfort in it. We need to share it. We need to let that light reflect in us. Honestly our testimonies are least effective if we confine them to testimony meetings, while its a good thing to share them there, they can only really be effective in sharing the gospel once we leave the chapel doors.

For those of you who like Christian music there is a song that I've always kept as a personal statement of faith. I'd like to share the lyrics at the close of this post. It's called "I'm Not Ashamed." by The Newsboys.

I'm not ashamed to let you know
I want this light in me to show
I'm not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

What are we sneaking around for?
Who are we trying to please?
Shrugging off sin, apologizing
Like we're spreading some kind of disease
I'm saying "No way. No Way."

I'm not ashamed to let you know
I want this light in me to show
I'm not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

This one (said) it's a lost cause
Save your testimonies for churchtime.
Other ones state you'd better wait
Until you do a little market research
I'm saying "No way. No way."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Detox and Diet for the Soul

I've been on a diet/cleanse deal, not so much to lose weight to "look good" but more because I've realized that I'm not healthy. I found myself getting winded doing things that shouldn’t wind me and there are other family health issues that I want to avoid. I also discovered that in holding my friends kids at church I was rapidly losing my lap. So it was time for a change.

I think that its a big mistake to allow how the world perceives us or defines us to shade how we define ourselves if that isn't really what we are. But too often I think that's the case.

A few months ago my brother got onto facebook and went photo wild, he started to post pics that were decades old of me when I was in college and post mission. The funny thing was that at the time I really thought I was huge, like really fat. Now looking at the pics I'm shocked at how sickenly thin and gaunt I looked. Growing up I was made fun of because I was the fat kid in school, I wore glasses and I was the only Mormon. So yes, this opened me up to all kinds of persecution. Because I didn't participate in all the partying and sex talk in high school I was defined as a fag. Looking at those pictures now and seeing that I wasn't anywhere fat makes me wonder if I've also allowed those people to influence my SSA, because honestly I don't remember a time before school when I felt that way.

I have a good friend who is pretty into the whole gay scene and who is for lack of a better word what a lot of us would define as hot. However while there isn't an ounce of body fat anywhere on him, he is constantly on one fad diet after another to lose weight. I know that it’s because he has immersed himself in a club culture that does put more value on age and body appearance then what is really important. I know that he is covering up real issues with these body issues. Part of it comes with having people around that love you for who you are not what you are. I feel so bad for him because he says he's happy but I can tell he isn't.

I think that part of our mortal struggle is to balance who we are with what we want against what we believe. I think at times when what we want is over shadowed by what we want at the moment we run into trouble. Again my doctor explained to me that appetite is of the mind and is an emotional need but real hunger is of the body. We need to feed the body to nourish it. When I started the cleanse I went cold turkey and stopped eating surgery, refined and processed foods and other things like that. Almost immediately my body rebelled and I went through four days of the worst headaches ever. After that though, I felt a lot more energy. But those four days were horrible.

Isn't it funny how the things we crave can attack us if we don't bend to them? I think there is a moral lessen there. I know that the natural man is the enemy of God and that we need to strive towards the eternal and put away the natural man. But it’s not always easy when on one hand you really want to be faithful but on the other the sugary stuff really is good and will satisfy us for a short time. But in the end look at what it does to us. In the end it’s the stuff that provides the real nourishment, not the empty calories or the sugar rush that makes us healthy.