Revelation Series

Revelation Two 2015(2)

For an explanation of this series, go to the first post, here.

My second question going into  General Conference in October 2015 was

How can I be happier?

Pull up your socks, and tie your shoelaces tight because this question was answered in an overabundance. I believe this is a testament that we are living under God’s plan of happiness. He wants us to be happy!

Revelation  Two 2015(2)

How can I be happier?

  1. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Don’t give up. … Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. … It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”10 Wixom
  2. [Boyd  K Packer taught],”Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires… The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars…There are so many of us who are thrashing around … with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity…It is not the time to receive all of our blessings. And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right.”9 However, a vision of our Father’s incredible promised blessings must be the central focus before our eyes every day—as well as an awareness “of the multitude of his tender mercies”10 that we experience on a daily basis.”What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior? Reeves
  3. “Aunt Rose, why are you so happy?” Eva was silent, so Great-Aunt Rose continued: “There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy. But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know. “But,” Eva said, “you can’t just flip a switch and go from sad to happy.” “No, perhaps not,” Aunt Rose smiled gently, “but God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy!3 So if we trust Him, He will help us to notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. And sure enough, the world will become brighter. No, it doesn’t happen instantly, but honestly, how many good things do? Seems to me that the best things, like homemade bread or orange marmalade, take patience and work…“There were so many things I wished for in my life.” As she spoke, a sadness entered her voice that Eva had never heard before. “Most of them never happened. It was one heartbreak after another. One day I realized that it would never be the way I had hoped for. That was a depressing day. I was ready to give up and be miserable.” “So what did you do?” “Nothing for a time. I was just angry. I was an absolute monster to be around.” “‘It’s not fair’ was the song I sang over and over in my head. But eventually I discovered something that turned my whole life around.”

    “What was it?” “Faith,” Aunt Rose smiled. “I discovered faith. And faith led to hope. And faith and hope gave me confidence that one day everything would make sense, that because of the Savior, all the wrongs would be made right. After that, I saw that the path before me wasn’t as dreary and dusty as I had thought. I began to notice the bright blues, the verdant greens, and the fiery reds, and I decided I had a choice—I could hang my head and drag my feet on the dusty road of self-pity, or I could have a little faith, put on a bright dress, slip on my dancing shoes, and skip down the path of life, singing as I went….“It is love—the pure love of Christ,” Rose said. “You see, everything else in the gospel—all the shoulds and the musts and the thou shalts —lead to love. When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.”7 “And that is what makes us happy?” Eva asked. Great-Aunt Rose nodded and smiled, her eyes filling with tears. “Yes, my dear. That is what makes us happy.” Uchtdorf

  4. And all of us, as members of the Church, we need to make a conscientious effort to devote our energy and time to the things that truly matter, while uplifting our fellowmen and building the kingdom of God…My dear brothers and sisters, if we look at ourselves only through our mortal eyes, we may not see ourselves as good enough. But our Heavenly Father sees us as who we truly are and who we can become. He sees us as His sons and daughters, as beings of eternal light with everlasting potential and with a divine destiny Uchtdorf
  5. Now, as we ponder just these few truths that exist within the Old Ship Zion, let us stay on board and remember that, by definition, a ship is a vehicle, and the purpose of a vehicle is to take us to a destination. [My note: We have not arrived.] Ballard
  6. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ….“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”Matthew 13:44..What follows is a reflection from Sister Maynes on her experience:

    “As a young adult in my early 20s, I was at a point in my life when I knew I needed to change something in order to be a happier person. I felt like I was adrift with no real purpose and direction, and I didn’t know where to go to find it. I had always known that Heavenly Father existed and occasionally throughout my life had said prayers, feeling that He listened. As I began my search, I attended several different churches but would always fall back into the same feelings and discouragement. I feel very blessed because my prayer for direction and purpose in life was ultimately answered, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was brought into my life. For the first time I felt like I had a purpose, and the plan of happiness brought real joy into my life.”…At this point in time, some 30 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, Nephi makes a well-documented and somewhat surprising statement, especially after recording in the scriptures the many afflictions and tribulations they had faced for so long. These are his words: “And it came to pass that we [did live] after the manner of happiness.”5 Despite their hardships, they were able to live after the manner of happiness because they were centered in Christ and His gospel. Mayneskingdom of heaven

  7. Our family motto doesn’t say, “It will all work out now.” It speaks of our hope in the eternal outcome—not necessarily of present results. Scripture says, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.”5 This doesn’t mean all things are good, but for the meek and faithful, things—both positive and negative—work together for good, and the timing is the Lord’s. We wait on Him, sometimes like Job in his suffering, knowing that God “maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.”6 A meek heart accepts the trial and the waiting for that time of healing and wholeness to come. Marriottjob
  8. Through our experience in life, we learn that joy in this world is not full, but in Jesus Christ our joy is full (see D&C 101:36). He will give us strength so we will not have to suffer any manner of afflictions save they are swallowed up in His joy (see Alma 31:38). President Marion G. Romney taught: “The suffering and distress endured by people of this earth is the result of unrepented and unremitted sin. … Just as suffering and sorrow attend sin, so happiness and joy attend forgiveness of sins”..With the influence of the Holy Ghost, we will not be offended, nor will we offend others; we will feel happier, and our minds will be cleaner. Vinas
  9. The adversary has been successful in planting a great myth in the minds of many people. He and his emissaries declare that the real choice we have is between happiness and pleasure now in this life and happiness in a life to come (which the adversary asserts may not exist). This myth is a false choice, but it is very seductive.2 The ultimate noble purpose of God’s plan of happiness is for righteous disciples and covenant families to be united in love, harmony, and peace in this life3 and attain celestial glory in the eternities with God the Father, our Creator; and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior…and from Ezekiel, that the Sabbath “shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.”24 For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness.  Cook

  10. Recently, a young filmmaker said he felt he was part of a “generation of prodigals”—a generation “looking for hope and joy and fulfillment, but looking in all the wrong places and in the wrong ways.18 Hales
  11. A few days after this trip, I visited this stake and asked the president if I could talk with some of the members who were unable to attend the temple that day. One of the brothers I visited told me: “Elder, do not worry. I was at the house of the Lord. I sat on a bench in the garden and pondered in my mind the ordinances. Then I was given the opportunity to enter, but instead I allowed another brother, who had come to the temple for the first time to be sealed to his wife, to take my place. They then had the opportunity to attend two sessions that day. The Lord knows me, and He has blessed me, and we are fine.”…Smile. This small action can help those who are overwhelmed or burdened.  Montoya
  12. Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to say: Thou shalt not lie; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; and so on.2We know the commandments. He understands that when we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive His promised blessings. But while He gives us laws and commandments, He also allows us to choose whether to accept them or to reject them. Our decisions in this regard will determine our destiny.  Monson
  13. The path of happiness is through the basic family unit as originally organized and revealed by our Heavenly Father. This is the familiar melody of the message that many can recognize because they have heard it from their premortal life. It is time for us, as Latter-day Saints, to stand up and testify. It is time for the notes of the melody of the gospel to rise above the noise of the world. I add my testimony to the message of the Savior and Redeemer of this world. He lives! His gospel is restored, and the blessings of happiness and peace can be secured in this life by living His commandments and walking in His path. Schwitzer

  14. While a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, George Q. Cannon urged that we make a constant quest for the Spirit to be with us. He promised, and I promise it as well, that if we pursue that course, we “will never lack for knowledge” of the truth, “never be in doubt or in darkness,” and our “faith will be strong, [our] joy … full.2 Eyring
  15. provide an uplifting place for your thoughts to go—a place that keeps you close to the Spirit of the Lord. Durant
  16. As we submit ourselves to His will, we increase in peace and happiness. King Benjamin taught that those who keep the commands of God are “blessed and happy … in all things, both temporal and spiritual.”6 God wants us to have joy. He wants us to have peace. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to be safe and to be protected from the worldly influences all around us. Keetch
  17. I testify that as we trust God, our Eternal Father; trust His Son, Jesus Christ, and exercise faith in His Atonement; trust the whisperings of the Spirit; and trust the counsel of living prophets, we will find our way off the edge of the road and continue safely—not just enduring but finding joy in our journey home. Stephens

So, to summarize:

Keep trying, there is happiness ahead. They lived happily ever after is reserved for the third act. As Aunt Rose taught, happiness is a decision. A decision to love.   We are beings of eternal light. The church is a vehicle that will get us to our  final destination. “The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”  Believe that the good and bad will work together for our good. We will  be more happy as we are forgiven for our sins. Satan plants the lie that we have to choose  between happiness now or happiness later – we have a generation of prodigals looking for joy and fulfillment in all the wrong places. “The Lord  knows me, He  has blessed me, and we are fine.” When we keep the commandments our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. The path of happiness is through the basic family unit. If we make a constant quest for the spirit to be with us, our joy will be full. Provide an uplifting place for our thoughts to go. (That is opposite of what I’ve wished. My mind provides the place, not the words changing my mind.) Submitting  myself to His will will increase my happiness.  We can get off the side of the road and find joy in our journey home. (Remember this life is just a journey home –  as long as I am headed home, I’m okay.)

Note:

This series will be an undertaking of love. This post has taken over an hour to compile. I know it is too lengthy for a blog post, and I am pretty sure no one  will ever read this, but this morning, happiness, my desire for it, and how to get there have been solidified in my mind again.  And, isn’t that the main point of writing this all down?

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Revelation One 2015(2)

This is my first installment. I hope to keep it up.

I plan to start a series here called Revelation. You don’t have to read it. It’s more for myself than anyone, but I love having one place to put all my stuff. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. This is my blog, and I will do what I want with it. Oh, the power. I think this little blog is the only thing I actually have control over.

As many of you know, I am a believer. Specific to this series is the fact that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of you will now automatically think you should stop reading because I belong to a cult. Some of you will think you should stop reading because I am not Christian. Some of you might stop reading because you’ve already “been there, done that”, and you don’t believe anymore. That’s fine. Once again, this is for myself.

As a member of my religion, I believe strongly in personal revelation. In fact, I shape my life and all of my decisions around it. Personal revelation is when you believe God talks to you. I think God talks to all of his children. I also think we have to believe He talks to us to hear his voice, and we have to listen to what He says or He will stop talking.

He communicates with us, as described here:

So, I seek revelation through prayer, scripture study, meditation, communing with nature, going to church, and attending the temple. One way I find the most success in receiving revelation in my own life is through something called General Conference. In the gospel of Jesus Christ we believe in a living prophet (like Moses) and twelve living apostles (like Peter, James,and John.) These mouthpieces for God speak to the world twice a year in an eight hour breakout meeting. It’s my favorite two weekends of the year. The spirit I feel during these meetings fills me with fire, gives me perspective, and brings me peace like I cannot feel anywhere else.

I started a pattern in my life many years back. Before conference weekend I write down questions for which I need answers. My techniques in capturing answers have evolved, and for the last several sessions I have dedicated a whole composition book to taking notes, cross-referencing, re-reading, and digging deeper. I index the question numbers at the front of the book, and annotate in reference to each numbered question as I go. It sounds complicated, but it is actually simple, and it provides amazing results. The results are what I plan to share here in this series.

So, sorry for the long explanation. In this post I will address question number one that I had before the October 2015 session. As referenced in the post title. Revelation One (referring to question 1) 2015 (correlating to the year of conference) and then (2) meaning the second session of October as opposed to (1) which I will use for April session.

Right now, my front page looks  like this:

IMG_20160428_104721

Thus, the reason for transferring it all to this here blog. I want to take all the indexed page numbered answers to each question and write them all in one place.

This may seem silly and even a little OCD, but I can’t wait to have one place to mull over the collective revelations I received for one topic. It is quite astounding what kind of very specific messages one can receive from God by listening to general talks from complete strangers. If you are still reading, and continue to do so, you might be really surprised as well.

So, with no further ado.

Revelation One 2015(2)

English Education or English major?

  1. Rose had been a schoolteacher, and it wasn’t uncommon for former students—now grown up with children of their own—to stop and chat. They thanked her for being a good influence in their lives…’I went to school. I got an education. That led me to a career that I loved.’ Ucthdorf
  2. Ask yourself, ‘If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?’ Your righteous choices will keep you from getting off course… Education prepares you for better employment opportunities. It puts you in a better position to serve and to bless those around you. It will set you on a path of lifelong learning. It will strengthen you to fight against ignorance and error. As Joseph Smith taught: ‘Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. … In knowledge there is power.’9 ‘To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.’…’I didn’t raise my children on money; I raised them on faith.’ There is a great truth to that. Begin exercising your faith in every area of your life…Prayerfully select mentors who have your spiritual well-being at heart. Be careful about taking advice from your peers. If you want more than you now have, reach up,not across!…Ask yourself: “What areas of my life do I want to strengthen so that I can strengthen others?Where do I want to be a year from now? two years from now? What choices do I need to make to get there?…As you follow Him, He will strengthen and uphold you. He will bring you up to your highest home. Hales
  3. I can’t think of a better example of helping someone gain understanding than the story of Helen Keller. She was blind and deaf and lived in a world that was dark and quiet. A teacher named Anne Sullivan came to help her. How would you teach a child who can’t even see or hear you?… Helen Keller went on to earn a college degree and helped change the world for people who couldn’t see or hear.9 It was a miracle, and her teacher was the miracle worker, just like you will be Foster
  4. I cheerfully accepted, feeling at the same time my great weakness and lack of experience…You can pray to know His will, and with the honest desire to do whatever He asks you to do, you will receive an answer Eyring
  5. When firmly planted, our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do. Monson
  6. As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel. Stevenson
  7. Many of the personal rewards I have received in life have come as a result of someone inviting me to do a difficult task. Durranttrue disciples
  8. True disciples desire to inspire the hearts of men, not just impress them. Schwitzer
  9. Whatever level of spirituality or faith or obedience we now have, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead. We need greater spiritual light and power. We need eyes to see more clearly the Savior working in our lives and ears to hear His voice more deeply in our hearts.  Clark
  10. Show faith to reconcile your wishes with the will of God. Eyring

These last two are from studying The Book of Mormon along with Conference Talks:

  1. 2 Nephi 29:11  For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
  2. 2  Nephi 26: 30-31 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.

So, to summarize:

Going to school to “lead to a career that you love,” is a good thing. Education is awesome, will give me greater opportunity to serve, and will ultimately bring me to my “highest home.” I  shouldn’t raise my kids or my writing or my teaching on money but “on faith.” I don’t need advice from my peers, and I should carefully select mentors. (This is really important when you are studying the liberal arts at a liberal institution.) Because of Helen Keller’s teacher she went on to be a teacher and help many people. It boils down to what “He wants me to do,” and I should seek his “influence.” “Focus not on what I can’t do, but what I can,” especially when plagued with my own inadequacies. Succeeding at a difficult task will lead to personal reward. “True disciples desire to inspire the hearts of men, not just impress them”: this can be achieved through writing and teaching or in just teaching or in just writing. I need greater faith for whatever lies ahead, either choice. I need to reconcile my wishes to God. I need to write the books of the world, and if I labor for money I will perish.

Pretty amazing, eh? I still haven’t decided if English Education is a “have to” in my life. I can teach with just a plain English degree with additional  licencing work after I graduate. I will write either way. I would LOVE to teach. I would LOVE it. I will be good at it. It will give  me an awesome opportunity to inspire the next generation. It will also fulfill a lifelong  dream that I would enjoy achieving immensely. But, it may not be God’s ultimate goal for me. Either way  I just need to seek Him out and He will direct me. For now, I am certain of two things. I will graduate, and I will write and teach. In what capacity may be answered in a following conference.