The other day, I studied about filling my home with light and truth, a talk from the Women’s session of General Conference.
Today I hope to expound more on that topic and get more insight on how I can do this, what this means, and how I can implement this in regard to living in recovery one day at a time.
As I talked about last time, I want to try a study technique that I haven’t tried before. It goes like this:
How I Plan to Study the Talks from General Conference 2015
- On the first day, read the entire talk and copy and paste it in my post
- As I read the talk, highlight topics or keyword phrases that stick out to me
- On the second day, go back and read the talk again. As I review the areas I’ve highlighted, cross-reference those topics with scriptures that relate to them
- Summarize my cross-references at the end of the study with my thoughts and feelings
I’m not sure how effective this study method will be, but I want to study the words of the talks from conference so I’ll give it a try.
Here is the talk I studied day before yesterday with the highlights.
The concept of being filled with light2 and truth became particularly important to me because of an experience I had many years ago. I attended a meeting where members of the Young Women general board taught about creating spiritually strong families and homes. To visually demonstrate this, a Young Women leader held up two soda cans. In one hand she held a can that was empty and in the other hand a can that was unopened and full of soda. First, she squeezed the empty can; it began to bend and then collapsed under the pressure. Next, with her other hand, she squeezed the unopened can. It held firm. It didn’t bend or collapse like the empty can—because it was filled.
We likened this demonstration to our individual lives and to our homes and families. When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us. However, if we are not filled spiritually, we don’t have the inner strength to resist the outside pressures and can collapse when forces push against us.
Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth.
Many of us have been baptized and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, whose role it is to reveal and teach the truth of all things.2 With the privilege of that gift comes the responsibility to seek truth, to live the truth we know, and to share and defend the truth.
One place where we best seek to be filled with light and truth is in our own homes. The words in the chorus of the song we heard remind us, “God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be.”3 Families are the Lord’s workshop on earth to help us learn and live the gospel. We come into our families with a sacred duty to help strengthen each other spiritually.
Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen. They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part. Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference.
We are continually counseled to increase our spiritual knowledge through prayer and through studying and pondering the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. In his general conference talk about receiving a testimony of light and truth, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“The Everlasting and Almighty God … will speak to those who approach Him with a sincere heart and real intent.
“He will speak to them in dreams, visions, thoughts, and feelings.”
President Uchtdorf continued: “God cares about you. He will listen, and He will answer your personal questions. The answers to your prayers will come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice.”4
A short family history story illustrates this counsel.
Several months ago I read the testimony of my great-grandfather’s sister Elizabeth Staheli Walker. As a child, Elizabeth immigrated to America from Switzerland with her family.
After Elizabeth married, she and her husband and children lived in Utah near the Nevada border, where they ran a mail station. Their home was a stopping place for travelers. All day and all night they had to be ready to cook and serve meals for travelers. It was hard, exhausting work, and they had little rest. But the greatest thing that concerned Elizabeth was the conversation of the people they associated with.
Elizabeth said that up to this time she had always taken for granted that the Book of Mormon was true, that the Prophet Joseph Smith had been authorized of God to do what he did, and that his message was the plan of life and salvation. But the life she was experiencing was anything but what would strengthen such a belief.
Some of the travelers who stopped were well-read, educated, smart men, and always the talk around her table was that Joseph Smith was “a sly fraud” who had written the Book of Mormon himself and then distributed it to make money. They acted as if to think anything else was absurd, claiming “that Mormonism was bunk.”
All this talk made Elizabeth feel isolated and alone. There was no one to talk to, no time to even say her prayers—although she did pray as she worked. She was too frightened to say anything to those who ridiculed her religion. She said she didn’t know but what they were telling the truth, and she felt she could not have defended her belief if she had tried.
Later, Elizabeth and her family moved. Elizabeth said she had more time to think and was not so distracted all the time. She often went down in the cellar and prayed to Heavenly Father about what was troubling her—about the stories those seemingly smart men had told about the gospel being bunk and about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
One night Elizabeth had a dream. She said: “It seemed I was standing by a narrow wagon road, which led around by the foot of a low rolling hill; halfway up the hill I saw a man looking down and speaking, or seemed to be speaking, to a young man who was kneeling and leaning over a hole in the earth. His arms were stretched out, and it looked as if he was reaching for something from in the hole. I could see the lid of stone that seemed to have been taken off from the hole over which the boy was bending. On the road were many people, but none of them seemed to be at all interested in the two men on the hillside. There was something that came along with the dream that impressed me so strangely that I woke right up; … I could not tell my dream to anyone, but I seemed to be satisfied that it meant the angel Moroni [instructed] the boy Joseph at the time he got the plates.”
In the spring of 1893, Elizabeth went to Salt Lake City to the dedication of the temple. She described her experience: “In there I saw the same picture [that] I had seen in my dream; I think it was [a] colored-glass window. I feel satisfied that if I saw the Hill Cumorah itself, it would not look more real. I feel satisfied that I was shown in a dream a picture of the angel Moroni giving Joseph Smith the [gold] plates.”
Many years after having this dream and several months before she died at nearly age 88, Elizabeth received a powerful impression. She said, “The thought came to me as plain … as if someone had said to me, … ‘Do not bury your testimony in the ground.’”5
Generations later, Elizabeth’s posterity continues to draw strength from her testimony. Like Elizabeth, we live in a world of many doubters and critics who ridicule and oppose the truths we hold dear. We may hear confusing stories and conflicting messages. Also like Elizabeth, we will have to do our best to hold on to whatever light and truth we currently have, especially in difficult circumstances. The answers to our prayers may not come dramatically, but we must find quiet moments to seek greater light and truth. And when we receive it, it is our responsibility to live it, to share it, and to defend it.
I leave you with my testimony that I know as we fill our hearts and homes with the Savior’s light and truth, we will have the inner strength to withstand in every circumstance. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
This is a great talk. As I read it again, it reminded me of the talk Beck and I had last night about her brother Josh and his current struggles with the gospel, especially with Joseph Smith and some of his decisions.
Was Joseph Smith a perfect person? Probably not. In fact, I know he made mistakes. But I also know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that it is one of his “fruits,” and I know that as I live the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I find in His Church, I’m happy and free. When I opt to “do my own thing” or disregard the teachings of the Church, my life is miserable and my heart seems hardened.
I’m grateful for this light.
Now to my cross referencing…
- Inspiring Music – https://www.lds.org/topics/music?lang=eng&query=music
- Light– https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/18.24?lang=eng#23
- spiritually strong families and homes – who are some of the most spiritually strong families in the scriptures?
- Adam and Eve,
- Moses 5:12: And Adam and aEve blessed the name of God, and they made all things bknown unto their sons and their daughters. – I like this – Adam and Eve prayed, the asked for God’s help, and they shared their experiences with their children.
- Moses 5:4-5:
4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, acalled upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of bEden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his cpresence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should aworship the Lord their God, and should offer the bfirstlings of their cflocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was dobedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
Adam and Eve called upon the name of the Lord, they heard the voice of the Lord. God gave them commandments to offer sacrifices as a way they could submit their will to Him. Adam was obedient to these commandments.
I like what this scripture says, too, about Adam and what he was instructed to do:
This is submitting my will to God. Do everything I do in the name of the Son, repent, and ask God for help in the name of the Son forever (I’m never out of the woods in recovery.)
One other interesting thing it says in Moses:
13 And aSatan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: bBelieve it not; and they believed it not, and they cloved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be dcarnal, sensual, and devilish.
So, after they’d had these great experiences, felt the Spirit, and had been submitting their will to God, then Satan came and tempted them and some of them, well, all of them to one degree or another, believed Satan and followed his deceptions. “And they loved Satan more than God…”
What does this mean?
It reminds me of the talk “Beware of Pride” – loving Satan more than God is enmity towards God, relying more on the arm of the flesh than on submitting to God’s will. There are really just two ways I can face – towards God or towards Satan. I can’t serve two masters.
- Joseph and Mary (Christ’s earthly parents),
- Lehi’s family,
- Nephi’s family,
- Mosiah’s family,
- Alma the Elder’s family,
- Alma the Younger’s family,
- Mormon’s family
- Adam and Eve,
- power to withstand the outside forces – outside forces are Satan and his armies.
- Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
- Romans 8:6: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- 1 Cor. 2:14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- not filled spiritually – 1 Cor. 2:14 says it best – “…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
As the “carnal Nate” I can’t be filled spiritually: I’ve put a closed door on that. But if I open my heart to the things of the Spirit, if I ask God for His help, he will be there to lift me up.
There are so many scriptures, both in the Bible and Book of Mormon, about the natural man.
That’s all about addiction! Justification is a key ingredient of addiction. “That which is highly esteemed among men” – pornography and lust, for example, “is abomination in the sight of God.” It’s no wonder that the porn industry is such a thriving industry in the world. It’s no wonder that they make so much money – because they are “highly esteemed among men…”
To be carnally minded means sin and death. If I give in to the natural man, spiritual death (sin) is just going to happen.
To be spiritually minded is life and peace.
I know I’m feeling the Spirit if I’m full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. This reminds me so much of how I deal with the kids: if I’m patient, slow to anger, and gentle with them, that is a manifestation that I have the Spirit with me and am trying to follow God and His ways. But if I’m the opposite: angry, contentious, hostile, quick to anger, impatient, hard, critical or fearful, I’m obviously choosing to look to Satan and how he wants me to “discipline” the kids, especially Caleb.
This is all really eye opening, especially as I think back to where I’ve been in the past.
This has been a great study. I’m finding that there is so much I can study and cross-reference. As I look below at the additional cross-references, I realize that this study technique will be really helpful.
I also realize that I don’t want to just copy and paste things. I want to STUDY: read, think about, reflect on, dig deeper, and find answers to my questions, worries, and what I need from my Heavenly Father. I want to always be thinking about how these scriptures and stories apply to ME – not to my in-laws, not to someone else who has problems, but to ME.
For I am a natural man, and my actions in the past have manifest my own nothingness.
I’m grateful for this study today and look forward to continuing it tomorrow!
Additional Cross References from Today
- collapse when forces push against us –
- dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel –
- separated from that truth –
- the gift of the Holy Ghost –
- seek the truth –
One other thing I came up with as I’ve started the cross-refencing is that I will only work on up to 10 topics in one study. If it takes me a few days to cross-reference, so be it: I have 6 months to study all the talks.