Saturday, September 18, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
I’ve been teaching early morning seminary this year. What a wonderful blessing this calling is! In fact, when I was in high school I wanted to be a seminary teacher, until I learned that women can’t be full-time seminary teachers unless they are single or their kids are all out of the house. So now I get to fulfill that little dream of mine.
We are studying the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History this year. I am so grateful for this calling because it has really kicked me in to gear with my scripture studies. I needed it. My scripture study was okay, but now it’s so much better! I feel the Spirit so much more richly in my life as I truly study and ponder the scriptures every day. Now I just need to keep up the habit for the rest of my life, right? (Easier said than done, but that’s what enduring to the end is all about I suppose.) I have learned so much already and it’s only been a couple weeks. But one of the greatest blessings has been the opportunity to bear testimony every day to these 22 students. It’s amazing how our testimonies grow every time we bear them.
This past week we studied the Apostasy and Joseph Smith History, particularly the First Vision. I have a testimony of Joseph Smith. It’s a miraculous story, that sometimes I’m afraid we are shy about sharing because it is so miraculous. But we should never be shy or embarrassed or afraid of what someone will think when we share the story of the First Vision because it is true. Our entire church and, as a result, nearly everything we do from day to day – the music we listen to, the habits we instill in our families, the shows we watch, the time we put in to callings, the money we give as tithing, the prophet that we follow – all of these things are founded on whether or not the First Vision really occurred. And. It. Did. It really did. The Spirit will bear witness of it’s veracity.
As I studied and prepared to teach, I felt the Spirit reconfirm the truthfulness of that beautiful vision. But then as I bore my testimony of those sacred events to these kids, the Spirit burned within me.
That’s one of the great things I learned this week: There is power in bearing testimony. Find opportunities to bear testimony, in your homes, family home evening, in Relief Society and Priesthood classes, to friends, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be formal, in fact, it’s often better if it’s not. The people who hear your testimony will be strengthened, but your testimony will probably be the one that grows the most.
Joseph Smith History 1:22-24
21 Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.
22 I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.
23 It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote: “Why should so many religionists unite against an unknown youth of no renown or standing in the community? Would the whole sectarian world shiver and shake and call for a sword if some other unknown fourteen-year-old youth in an obscure frontier village should claim that he was visited by angels and that he saw the Lord? The problem when Joseph Smith announced such a claim was that it was true and that Lucifer knew of its verity” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 8-10).