Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who'd have thought?

Many of you have heard some of my sarcastic remarks about living in Missouri. I will honestly admit that it has taken me a bit of time to learn to love that place that we now call home. Each time I return to California, I love it less and less, and miss Jackson more and more. I have always considered this place, here in California where I grew up, where my mother lives, where my father is buried, and where my family gathers together as my home. I have never felt really connected to any other place in the same way.

As I sat in fast and testimony meeting today in a big, full southern California chapel with people I have know for years, I looked around and realized how much I missed you all. I thought of how I wished I'd been there with you today. We may be part of just one small little (I say that in all the best ways) branch in Missouri, but I know that we have large testimonies, a great willingness to serve and love, and a sense of sisterhood and family that is much larger than our numbers. I am grateful for the simple way that we share our faith, and for the way that you all share your love without judgment or criticism. I felt your love today and realized that my heart and my home are there with all of you.

With that said, I wanted to post this picture of King Benjamin, speaking to his people. I love that it shows the people all facing him, intently focused on him and his message. If we were all so focused! What a difference we'd see in our lives if we could stop what we were doing and sit still long enough to listen to our leaders and the prophets. If we make increasing our personal faith a priority, our lives will be blessed. If we follow the commandment to read the scriptures, our lives will be blessed. 
READ the Book of Mosiah with us. Listen to the words of King Benjamin and remember the story of the conversion of Alma, and the story of Abinadi. For those of you who missed our meeting today, we have challenged each of you to ready the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon between now and our Home, Family and Personal Enrichment Meeting on Tuesday, December 2nd.

Being in California right now, just two days from the election, is eye-opening, Proposition 8 is a heated debate in which members of the church have been asked to take an active and controversial role. Just since I have been here many members have had signs and other property stolen out of their yards, and cars and homes vandalized. As I heard the stories of what some have had to deal with, I cannot help but think of some of the persecution that the saints faced in the early days of the church. Some members have also been asked to donate thousands (some tens of thousands) of dollars to oppose gay marriage. The division between the righteous and unrighteous is becoming more and more clear. We must be prepared and willing to be and do what the Lord needs us to do. Now is the time to take a firm stand. If your "tent" is not already facing the temple, get it turned around. I love the verse of this song that says "We're anchored to God in perilous times." As Relief Society women, that is where we all should be-- ready and strong to face whatever comes with strength, faith, and hope.

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