Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Waters of Mormon
My Becoming More journey for this month has been amazing and eye opening as I am constantly remembering moments long past that I have been blessed by the grace and love of my Heavenly Father. This week I was reading about Alma, who had just heard the words of Abinadi and believed what he had spoken. He tried to plead with King Noah to spare Abinadi, but was cast out. He fled and hid from the servants of the king who had been sent to kill him. He repents and begins going about privately preaching to the people about the words of Abinadi. The people who believed his words followed his path and came to know the Lord. Their hearts changed and they entered into the covenant of baptism. In verse 30 it tells us, "...all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters Mormon, in the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer." It wasn't really the scenery that made the place beautiful, it was that it was the place they came to know the Lord personally.
In the book Becoming His, The author talks about hot this is common in scripture stories. It made me start thinking more about my own waters of Mormon experiences. I've already share many of them with you here on Soulful Brilliance, but there are so many more! Many of them very sacred to me. There was the time as a teenager when I knelt in my room and prayed to know once again of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I was filled with peace and comfort. I felt the Spirit so strongly that night.
There was a time standing on a bustling city street in China. I realized how many people there truly are in the world, and I felt the love Heavenly Father has for each and every one of those people individually, especially the love He feels for me. I knew more deeply of His love and acceptance of me that night on a crowded street in a foreign country than I ever had before.
Most of my other experiences happen in on of my favorite places--the temple. Honestly when I think of most experiences that are important spiritual experiences wherever we are at the time really is a temple. Alma and the people of King Noah had a temple at the waters of Mormon. I had a temple in the busy Chinese street. I've had a temple in my bedroom. I've had a temple when I was out in nature enjoying God's creations. On my rock. Sitting at the bedside of my Great Grandmother at the end of her life. In my car. Our waters of Mormon experiences can happen anywhere! They are exactly what we need. When we need it in our life. Giving us answers. Giving us comfort. Giving us the knowledge that the Lord is mindful of us and will help us if we let him in!
As I type this I'm reminded of an article from the Sept. 2009 Ensign by Jeffery R. Holland called "Lessons from Liberty Jail." In it Elder Holland talks about how "Until his martyrdom five and a half years later, there was no more burdensome time in Joseph's life than this cruel, illegal, and unjustified incarceration." Joseph and the other brethren were kept in the dungeon that was barely six feet tall, and because most of them were over six feet tall, they couldn't stand up straight and were constantly in a stooped position. They were given contaminated and sometimes poisoned food. Joseph spoke in letters of the jail being a "hell, surrounded with demons...where we are compelled to hear nothing but blasphemous oaths, and witness a scene of blasphemy, and drunkenness and hypocrisy, and debaucheries of every description." And yet, this prison has been called by general authorities a "prison-temple."
About this Elder Holland says, "So in what sense could Liberty Jail be called a 'temple,' and what does such a title tell us about God's love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest? In precisely this sense: that you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life--in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced....every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it. These difficult lessons teach us that man's extremity is God's opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples--or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."
He loves us! I know He does! He wants to help us! We get to hold on and have faith! We get to learn and grow in the hard times and in the good times. We can find comfort. We can find peace. We can find answers. All we have to do is have faith and look for "waters of Mormon" experiences in our lives. They are there if we look for them and recognize them.