Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Parable and An Answer

MANY years ago, I was a foreign exchange student. I lived in Spain for a summer with a host family. I went through a training program before embarking on this adventure. I was not taught Spanish (that might have been helpful), but rather I was prepared for living in a new culture.

In this training, the following story was shared:

A young American woman was invited to visit a distant country. She did not know the language and was given no instruction before arriving. She was to make the trip alone. Upon her arrival, she was taken by a native of this foreign land to a dinner to welcome her. 

She was escorted into a large room with dirt floor but pathways built up off the ground leading to tables and chairs. Her female escort took her over to a spot on the dirt and motioned for her to sit. She noticed that many other women were also seated on the ground while the tables and chairs remained empty.

After every woman was seated each pulled a veil over her head. The American was also handed a veil. She put it over her head but it was thin enough that she could see through it. She watched as a few moments later men began entering the room on the pathways. They walked on the pathways to the tables and chairs. Once seated they kept their feet on foot rests that were part of their chairs.

When the food was served, the men were all served first in double portions. The men began to eat. They ate some of everything they were served and then handed one of their two plates to the servers who then took the plate to one of the women. The women then ate what was left on the plate.

At the end of the ceremony the men left, their feet never touching the ground. Afterwards, the women removed their veils and exited.

The American woman was highly offended by the way women were treated in this society and promptly wanted to cut her visit short and go home. She called to make arrangements with the person who had arranged the visit. This person was surprised by her call. He was native to the foreign land.

She explained how she did not feel comfortable being in a society where women were treated so poorly. The man was shocked. After the woman explained her experience, the man explained his culture. 

In our culture woman is the highest form of life. She is worshiped second only to the mother earth. No man is ever allowed to touch the mother earth with his skin. It is too sacred. Women on the other hand, eat all their meals on the earth and are allowed to touch the earth any time they want. 

Because the woman is so sacred, men are not allowed to look upon any woman except his wife and children. Thus when in groups, women wear veils through which they can seen but not be seen. As a sign of respect, men are to taste everything a woman would like to eat before she eats it to ensure it is worthy of her palate and not poisoned. In all the man was shocked that in someone could so totally misjudge his people due to these cultural differences.

So that is the end of the story. Now -- why I am sharing it. First off, because I want to remind all my readers and commenters that we are all human with our own shortcomings. We don't always understand what others mean with their words or the background behind their comments. We all are often too quick to judge things or people we don't fully understand. I appreciate how protective so many are of me. And I appreciate others concerns, however misplaced, for my healthy healing. Luckily, I have been blessed with rather thick skin in some regards and I am doing very well and healing in the right way and at the right pace for me. Let's spread a little more love around for all shall we? ;) Even to those with whom or with whose comments we don't agree.

Additionally, I think this fictional analogy gives a nice lead in to how I view some of the questions asked about my church. I have learned over the years and from experience like my time in Spain that it is important to realize we just don't understand everything. 

The world is filled with many different sets of cultures and values. Heaven has its own culture and its own values. We on Earth get glimpses of the values and some of the culture in heaven through reading the scriptures and listening to the prophets. Some of these values have become part of the values of our societies. But not being residents in heaven, and not remembering our life there before we were born, we are not experts in all of heaven's ways.

Taking that into consideration, I want to highlight my acute awareness that God is God -- all knowing, completely holy, all powerful -- and I am just Stephanie -- made of the dust of the Earth. I do consider myself a reasonably smart human, but I do not pretend to understand the tiniest fraction of what the Lord understands.

So, when the Lord speaks, I listen, believe, and try my best to obey. LOTS of times, I do not understand his direction. He doesn't always tell us the WHY. Actually, it seems most of the time He holds the Why to Himself. It seems He wants to see if we will be humble enough, even child like enough, to obey without having to know the why. 

The point is -- who am I to question or challenge God's wisdom? Nobody. So I don't do it. If He is the author of it, I don't question it.  Are you with me? 

Okay, now is where it gets a little more tricky. How do we know when God is the author? He doesn't often appear to man or to us personally to give us direction. Heck, even having heavenly messengers or angels are rare events, at least for me seeing as I have never had one of those.

So how do we know? The answer is personal revelation, experimentation, and peace. This process is very personal. But God will let us know when He is giving direction to us through the peace of the Spirit. We can experiment with the direction and try it out. This shows faith. This faith is often rewarded with greater understanding of the direction and more surety of its source. 

Now for my personal perspective and experience -- As a 14 year old girl, I spent a year studying the scriptures on my own. I had been raised in an LDS family and never really had huge doubts about what my parents taught me, still I couldn't say I knew the church was true. I wanted to know for myself. So I began praying during this period of study, that the Lord would let me know if it was true. 

During this year, I realized I had made lots of mistakes in my life. I repented of those and had an incredible and powerful experience one night where I felt the full effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ in paying for my sins. I physically felt the burden of my sins lifted off my shoulders and knew without a doubt that I had been forgiven (that is another story for another time).

Later that year I took a trip to visit places of interest in my church's history. One of the last stops was at the Sacred Grove. This is the grove of trees where Joseph Smith first vocally prayed and where he was answered with a personal appearance by our Heavenly Father and the Savior giving instruction to him. 

I spent a little time praying there myself. Honestly, I was too concerned about the mosquitos and mud to feel much. :) But directly afterward I went with our group to a meeting where we were invited to share our feelings about the place and our experience. Sitting there in the group I thought about how much I wanted to know for myself about whether or not all of this really happened and whether Joseph Smith really did have that experience, whether he was a true prophet, whether the Book of Mormon was truly scripture. 

Suddenly, as if a veil were lifted off of my understanding, I realized that my heart felt like it was on fire. I felt a physical sensation of warmth inside of me that permeated my being. This was nothing like heartburn. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before or since. It felt so wonderful. I also realized that it had not just begun when I noticed it, but it had been burning there for who knows how long, and I had just now realized it. 

I knew at that moment that this was my answer. There was question or doubt in my mind as to the source of this feeling. It felt so good and so happy and so loving. I just KNEW that this was the Lord telling me 1) Joseph Smith was a true prophet, 2) He did indeed have that vision in that grove, and 3) the Book of Mormon he translated was indeed true scripture.

What is more, I knew that God was very aware of my realization. I knew it. I knew God knew I knew it. And I could never deny it. A few minutes later I walked into the foyer of the visitor's center where we were and grabbed some paper comment cards. I wrote down on several of those cards a message to myself. I wrote down how I felt. I wrote what I knew. I committed myself to live all my life according to this knowledge. I still have those cards. They are in a closet 5 feet from me right now. 

Now, I am a logical thinker. For me knowing those 3 truths also proved MANY other things true without me having to have a specific answer to each one. For example, if Joseph Smith is a true prophet, then logically, his prophetic teachings must also be truly from God, whether I understand them or not.

Additionally, I have since then gained a strong testimony of the prophetic callings of each of the prophets since Joseph Smith. I believe fully that each of them were prophets of the Lord. They were also men. They were not perfect men. Sometimes, in day to day life, they may have said or done things that were not "prophetic." But in their official capacity, when they gave direction to the church, I believe that was of God. 

This brings me to one of the questions asked: "I do, however, wonder how Joseph Smith's beliefs concerning polygamy were abandoned while keeping his other beliefs." I should note that the question, in my view, should ask "why are some of the doctrines taught by Joseph Smith still followed while others like polygamy have been abandoned." A small difference but polygamy was not a "belief" of the prophet's. Joseph Smith testified that it was a direct commandment of the Lord that, according to his own account, was one he did not want to follow. 

I do not believe there has ever been a doctrine of this church that has not been given us of God. I don't pretend to understand all of the directions or WHYs but I believe they are of God. Some of these doctrines have been very difficult for the members to live or understand. In changing times, God's directions have often changed. This does not make God a changing being. It makes Him a pragmatic Father to a very changing people with changing problems and changing needs.

It would have been a sin for Noah not to build the arc. For us, arc building is not in the list of commandments. God had never given direction about what we should watch on TV and in movies until our day and age. Joseph of old in Egypt was given direction to store wheat for the 7 years of famine. Moses was directed to lead the Israelites around in the wilderness for 40 years. God only gave those Israelites the amount of truth and law they were ready for -- the 10 commandments -- and did not give them the higher law at that time. When Jesus came, He gave the higher law and through His sacrifice ended the need for animal sacrifice. 

Directions from God change according to the needs of His children in their current day and age. So on the question of why we LDS people follow some of Joseph Smith's teachings but not others, like polygamy -- it is because a latter prophet received direction from the Lord (in 1890) that no further plural marriages were to be performed. Whatever purpose the Lord had in commanding its commencement, had been fulfilled. 

Now, I did not live in the days of polygamy. I am not asked to live it. It is not important that I understand the why. Personally, I am more concerned with following the directions the Lord has given to the people of my day. I want to be prepared with my 72 hour kits for my family and have a storage of food and water for my family in case of times of need or some disaster. I want to keep the influence of Satan that is rampant on the internet and on TV out of my home as much as possible. These are just a few of the directions specific to my day. People in the 1800s didn't have my worries and I don't have theirs.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matt 6:24.)

41 comments:

Annalee Kelly said...

That was an excellent 'mini discourse.' I love your articulate insights that give me things to ponder. Thank you and happy thanksgiving!

Jill said...

AWESOME. Thank you! That was worth all the time it must have taken you to write. You really do have a gift.

Mark and Katie said...

A freind recommended your blog to me. I just wanted to let you know how much I have gained from your thoughts. I loved the story that you shared at the beginning of this post. So great. Thank you for letting all of us in on something very personal in your life. I know this blog is really for you, but it also inspires and seems to be helping so many other people. I love that you are able to create an environment where people have been able to ask questions regarding the church, and get amazing and insightful answers to them. So, I guess I just wanted to say thanks. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kelli said...

Stephanie, thank you once again for your insight. I have a strong testimony of the gospel, and I have always wondered about the reasons why with regard to polygamy, and have always felt like the answers to my questions have been more personal opinion than truth, so I have just accepted it as something I don't understand and therefore I just leave it alone, but it is something that always comes up when sharing the gospel and I never know what to say You, however, have verbalized it so perfectly that I feel confident now that I can answer questions about it. Thank you. - Kelli

Kathryn_m said...

Hi Stephanie:

Thanks for this post which I found to be very edifying.

The parable indeed gave me pause for thought. How quickly my impressions did a "one-eigthy" when the truth/facts were added. I guess one good lesson is that not all interpretations & traditions are universal. This is such a useful tool that we can apply in so many situations.

I pray that I too will be shown the truth and *know* it to be HIS TRUTH.

Have you ever felt "prompted" in what feels like a life-altering way? It's kind of like feeling hungry but not knowing what you want to eat -- just that there's something special that will sate the craving but don't know where to find it.

For now, I [figuratively] walk half-blindly with an abiding faith that I will see clearer in the days before me.

love 'n hugs,
kathryn_m

Jill said...

Stephanie,
I've been reading your blog for several months now, but this post just felt personal. I'm 24 but in the same position as your 14 year old self. Thank you!


'Blessedness is defined as being higher than happiness. Happiness comes from without and is dependent on circumstances; blessedness is an inward fountain of joy in the soul itself, which no outward circumstances can seriously affect.'
-Harold B. Lee

I saw this is the Book of Mormon (for Latter-day Saint Families version), after Christ teaches the Beatitudes to the righteous Nephites. (3 Ne, 12: 1-11) When I read this I thought of you, and thought that is how I want to be. Thank you for helping me strive to be a better wife, mother, and woman!

PS. I SO admire your grace and the way you handle life with it!

Stephanie said...

Good insight into the Why was there polygamy question can be found in the Book of Mormon Book of Jacob Chapter 2. Start in verse 23. The answer to why the Lord does at times command plural marriage is found in verse 30. These scriptures can be found at www.lds.org. Search Jacob 2:23 and filter by scriptures.

Stephanie said...

Dear Kathryn M,

Your description of your feelings makes me wonder if that hunger could not be satisfied by looking more seriously into the LDS church.

I do not have that hunger you speak of. I feel fed daily by the Spirit of the Lord.

I would be curious to see if this hunger of yours is sated by meeting with missionaries from my church and listening to and praying about the messages they teach.

I love you whether you are baptist, muslim, catholic, etc. It makes no difference to me. But would you consider talking to missionaries to see if they can provide the answer or the clarity you are seeking?

Much Love,
Stephanie

GG said...

Stephanie,
I was introduced to your blog a couple of months ago. And although I read your posts, I never thought I would actually comment. However, I felt that it was very important to let you know how much this post touched me.
Thank you.

Robin said...

Stephanie you know that story about the starfish on the beach and the man who was throwing them back into the ocean? Remember he was told that there were a million starfish and that the few he threw back into ocean wouldn't make a difference? Now remember the final line in that story - the man threw one starfish back into the ocean and he said, "made a difference to that one".
Well, I want to say something with regards to your blog and my life - "made a difference to that one".

Beth said...

You are certainly more than a "reasonably smart human." Thank you for enlightening and inspiring so many each day.

Jonathan Waite said...

Kathryn_m,
Your comments remind me of a prophecy in the Old Testament: Amos 8:11-12. This prophecy has been fulfilled many times since that book was written but we can still see it today. I think the Holy Ghost instills on many the desire to be satiated by the good word of the Lord -- and no earthly substitute will do.

Angie said...

You have an AMAZING gift of beong able to communicate and explain things. I could never get my words to come across the way you do. Great job!

Carolyn said...

Stephanie, I am so grateful for your boldness in sharing your testimony and your honesty. I felt the spirit as I read this post. It was nice to be reminded of the truth I am grateful to know. I love you Stephanie.

Momza said...

Well Done! As a convert to the Church, I appreciate your very eloquent but plain expressions of your understanding and testimony.
It's True!

Erin said...

You explain your views well. While I don't agree with you concerning the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, I enjoy reading why you believe what you do. I belive strictly in what the Bible teaches me. Not what Joseph Smith has to say. Do you feel that people have put Joseph Smith to equal Jesus Christ? I am not being rude, I am really asking that as a question. I think that other religions do this as well, with Mary or different prophets in the Bible, so I was just curious. This isn't an attack, just my own views and questions.

Jonathan Waite said...

Erin,
Good question. Joseph Smith is a prophet, similar to Moses, Noah and others. There is only one Savior in our religion, Jesus Christ, and we believe Him to be the literal Son of God. No human or accomplishment can compare to what He has done. The reason why it might seem that Mormons talk more about Joseph Smith than other prophets is that we believe he "restored" the original gospel of Jesus Christ. By believing him to be a prophet, one can logically believe his teachings about the gospel and the Book of Mormon. Now, note the name of the church and if you go to one of our churches, you will note that the PRINCIPAL, OVERRIDING teaching in our religion is Jesus Christ. In the words of Joseph Smith himself, "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it"

Jennie said...

Stephanie- Thank you for this post. I am continually amazed by your eloquent and heartfelt words. Your spirit shines through each post. I must say- I am so impressed by your grace. Not only in the way that you have dealt with the loss of Camille, but the way you respond to others comments. Thank you for your example. You truly are shining your light for the world to see.

Jessica Marie said...

You are a really talented teacher. Excellent post!

Stephanie said...

I concur with my husband on this. I already had a testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ first. It is the Savior we worship and we believe the Bible to be the word of God in so far as it is translated correctly.

Additionally, Erin, I appreciate your ability to see my perspective even when you don't agree with it. It helps us better understand the world and its people when we can step outside our own beliefs for a moment and look through the lenses of another's beliefs to better understand them and the way they live. It helps us to accept an love each other despite our differences of opinion and belief.

Thanks.
Stephanie

Em said...

I think you articulated that perfectly. You said what I have been trying to tell people when asked the same question. I love how pure and simple your answers and responses are. You really are an example to so many people and I think you make many people want to strive and live their life more inlined with our Father in Heaven's.

kathryn_m said...

Bonjour M. & Mme Waite:

I so appreciate your comments. Merci.

Jon: Below are the 2 verses you mentioned from the Book of Amos (King James Version)

8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.


Taken in context, this appears to be a warning that we must repent and humble ourselves before THE WORD OF GOD to actually find the truth -- and also know where to actually find the truth. What do you make of it?

Stephanie: I live on an island in the North Atlantic. We have no Mormon population in our area. A few years back, 2 young missionaries travelled through and we spoke to them at some length. I have been reading a lot from the site you have referenced.

The past week or so, I have noticed that the word varification needed to post to this blog has been kind of "linked" to the topic being discussed. I just looked down now and noted that I must type the word "bless" to varify this post. Do you somehow control the word varification list used on your blog or it is just a coincidence?

love 'n hugs,
kathryn_m

Jennie said...

What a wonderful post. I can't imagine the diverse comments you must receive both from members of the church and from those not of our faith. You are a wonderful missionary through this blog and I read you daily. ...just wanted to say thanks for the time, energy, and thought you put your posts. It is appreciated and we are better off because of your example.

Stephanie said...

Kathryn M,

Did you know that through the miracle of the internet, you can chat directly with missionaries online? I wonder if they would teach your their message online? If you are going to mormon.org you can click on the "chat with missionaries" button and ask if there are missionaries assigned to your island. Sometimes there are missionaries assigned to islands but they don't live on the island and don't go out to the island unless asked.

For example, when we lived in California, the island of Catalina just off the coast was within our ward boundaries. There was one couple on the island who were LDS. It is $60 and 45 minute trip each way to the island. It was not practical for them to come to church with us. Instead they held church themselves every Sunday. They were given permission to conduct meetings and bless the sacrament each week. Each Sunday they took turns preparing talks. When they had occasion to be on the mainland they came to church with us. Once in a while (maybe every quarter) the ward would pay to have some couple go over and be their sacrament speakers. Jon and I did that once as a newly married couple. We were very impressed by the faithful manner in which this couple held church even when they were the only ones there.

It showed me how true the scripture is that says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you." That is found in a book of scripture we call the Doctrine and Covenants.

Lastly, no, I have no control or influence on the word verification. I also don't believe there are many coincidences in life. :) Actually I have RARELY ever had the letters I have to type in actually form any kind of real word.

Sending love,
Stephanie

Jonathan Waite said...

kathryn_m,
I have always understood humility to mean being teachable. So I agree. But first let me say that I didn't cite this scripture with some ulterior motive in mind for you personally. I don't know your personal situation. Your comment just reminded me of the scripture. Only you can make that assessment of how much your thirst/hunger for gospel knowledge has been statiated.

This verse has multiple realizations through various times when the Lord's people have turned their collective backs on Him. The first happened shortly after Amos, from 400 B.C. until the ministry of John the Baptist when few to no prophets were around to provide guidance to Israel. Also, at a later date, we believe this occurred with the Dark Ages when Christ's apostles had long left the earth. For me, I am satiated through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
On another level, this can happen when people look beyond the mark and look to obscure places for truth and guidance (i.e. men's philosophies, etc.) and many times are left unsatiated. As a side note, I recently read an article in the paper that cited a recent study showing that atheists tend to be more superstitious and believe in ghosts, ghouls, etc. moreso than regular church going Christians. I was surprised and thought most atheists relied entirely on science to supplant God. Instead, we all have a soul that yearns to have answers of who we are, where we came from and where are we going after death. I think without proper guidance from God and without humility to be teachable, we might miss out on it.

Jonathan Waite said...

Stephanie's scripture above can be cross referenced to Matthew 18:20

kathryn_m said...

I only have a moment now but wanted to mention that after I typed in "bless" to log my last post, the program defaulted back to me - I guess because too much time had passed -- I tend to mull over what I post. The new word I had to type was "suplant" (only 1 "p") -- supplant is not a common word so I was suprised to just read it in Jon's post. I wish I have jotted down some of the words from the past week or so - they certainly drew my attention.

Now I must type foomm - ha ha! Guess the real words have run out.

I am going to seek out a missionary to speak with on-line. Thnx for that info!

love 'n hugs
kathryn_m

Julie said...

steph, hi!

i was wondering... can you tell me why you have a 72 hour disaster kit on h and in your home?

i went to bed last night wondering and also said to my husband, "now why do you think they have disaster kits on hand?"

as a family of 5 we DEFINITELY want to be prepared for anything! it helps that greg is a md but his md isn't going to feed us!

thanks for sharing, this post was lovely. i would love to hear your answer.

love, julie

Erin said...

I came on here again to check out the comments. I was worried you would be offended by my question. Thank you for answering it Jonathan, that helped me understand your belief system better. I rejoice in your complete belief in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

I hope your family has a Happy Thanksgiving!

MaryClaire said...

Wow Stephanie...Thank you for putting all of that so clearly and eloquently. I'm sure you like me have read and written and said this kind of things to many people throughout your life as one growing up in the LDS church. But, I have never been so inspired or heard it written so well. Thank you for that, and I will be using it as I talk to others as well.

Kathryn m: I am truly inspired by you and your hunger for the spirit in your life. As Stephanie said to you, it is something I too have had to one degree or another in my life always, but I have not always appreciated or cultivated it as I should, and you inspire me to continue to do just that. Keep seeking it out, and you will find the peace you are in search of.

kathryn_m said...

Thank you, MaryClaire.

I am feeling really bouyed today and know that what I seek is within my grasp.

A while back, Stephanie mentioned that once she spoke, she knew at once whether or not it was the truth. I am feeling well on the right road with the Spirit guiding me.

Oh, what a feeling!

Warm wishes from the frosty North Atlantic,
kathryn_m

Julie said...

I just wanted to say what a lovely group of people you all are, I really enjoy reading your comments. You all seem so nice and caring, genuinely concerned.

Kathryn M, I hope you find the food for your soul--- I love the Scripture "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Psalm 51:10-12

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Julie

kathryn_m said...

Hi Julie:

Thanks for the beautiful verse. It reminded me of one of my favorite hymns - "Just As I Am". When I was about 11 years old, my friend's sister died in a fire. I sang that song solo for her service. I still remember how protected it made me feel.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, one and all!

As a Canuck, my goose has long been cooked:) [groan!]

kathryn_m

Stephanie said...

Julie,
72 hour kits -- Our last several prophets have encouraged us to have a year's supply storage of food and water and a 72 hour emergency kit in our homes. This counsel has come in handy for many families in various situations.

First, the food storage can be used in tight times when life deals us a job loss or other financial upset.

Second, these resources come in handy for those who are in areas of natural disaster. My cousin just weathered Hurricane Ike in Houston. She found that although the stores were full of food, no one could buy it. They had no electricity. No one had cash. The store couldn't take credit cards or scan checks. Having cash in your 72 hour kit is not a bad idea.

The idea is that we live in an uncertain world. In the case that we should need to get up and out of our homes quickly due to a disaster of some sort, we want a kit ready to go so we can get out prepared.

Or if some disaster hit that made there be a food shortage of some kind we would be able to provide for our families for an extended period of time.

Note, I know a year's supply of food sounds like SOOO much. But it is generally bins of wheat, rice, beans, and other goods that store well and can be lived off of for a long time if it became necessary.

I am sure you can find more information about this on www.lds.org if you search food storage or emergency preparedness.

Jonathan Waite said...

Actually the better site would be www.providentliving.org

Julie said...

what a WONDERFUL site! that was very helpful, i printed out the brochure and will be slowly stocking up. it doesn't make sense not to. (double negative? oops!)

i have to tell you, as a kid, we always knew all of our neighbors had some serious stockpiling in their pantries and now as a mom, i completely understand why.

i also liked the info on family home evening-- this is something for everyone to consider regardless of faith.

thank you both!!!!!

Ashley said...

Again, YOU are a powerful missionary. I have goose bumps all over my body reading your post and all of these comments. I'm sure your companion is so proud of you. Thank you for being such an incredible example to me. By the way, my husband and I are doing a stocking for Camille this Christmas. I hope you don't mind. We're putting pieces of paper in it every time we do something to serve someone else. Thank you for blessing my life :)

Allred Mom said...

I loved the parable!
I also loved the way you explained gaining your testimony of the gospel and wanting to know for yourself. You definately are sharing the blessings you have in your life with others. I have appreciated reading your comments many times. It has strengthened my testimony, also!

DEANNA said...

There must have been something in a comment I did not read to get this blog up today. I wish people would be more understanding of your faith.

I live in a community that is almost all Mormon. I am not. I was born and raised Catholic and there are times when I get that feeling of "Get me out of this culture" like your story. It is then that I stop and explain to my three little ones that just because I don't agree with or believe in the same things, it does not make them wrong. I will be the first to admit that there are times that I am very wrong with an initial assumption and I regret that first feeling, but I never want people to be rude or hurtful about the differences we have.

I wish you and your family a Happy and Peaceful Thanksgiving. While I know you are healing, I am sure today will be tough for you!

Rebecca said...

I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Even though there is sadness and you are missing Camille, you have so much to be thankful for! You are truly an inspiration to me. Thanks for being you!

Curious said...

Just curious... have you read the book titled, Under the Banner of Heaven? If so, what are you thoughts?