Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Lord’s Way

Intro: This comes from a talk by Elder Uchtdorf called Providing in the Lord's Way from the Priesthood Session of the October 2011 General Conference. As I was rereading it, I was surprised at how much of the talk could be applied to my own situation. While I don't want to put words into Elder Uchtdorf's mouth, I believe in the invitation to liken the scriptures unto ourselves. Here is my edited version with omissions marked by . . .; and changes indicated by [brackets] .

There are many good people and organizations in the world that are trying to meet the pressing needs of [SSA Members]. We are grateful for this, but the Lord’s way of caring . . . is different from the world’s way. The Lord has said, “It must needs be done in mine own way.” He is not only interested in our immediate needs; He is also concerned about our eternal progression
Too often we notice [our own] needs . . ., hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. Perhaps we wait for experts with specialized knowledge to solve specific problems.

The Lord’s way is not to sit at the side of the stream and wait for the water to pass before we cross. It is to come together, roll up our sleeves, go to work, and build a bridge or a boat to cross the waters of our challenges. You men of Zion, you priesthood holders, are the ones who can lead out and bring relief to the Saints by applying the inspired principles of the [Gospel]! It is your mission to open your eyes, use your priesthood, and go to work in the Lord’s way.

The place to begin is to familiarize ourselves with what the Lord has already revealed. We should not assume that we know. We need to approach the subject with the humility of a child. Every generation must learn anew the doctrines that undergird the Lord’s way. . . Brethren, study the revealed principles and doctrines first. Read the handbooks; take advantage of the Internet website;

Once you have studied the doctrines and principles . . ., seek to apply what you have learned to the needs of those within your stewardship. What this means is that, in large measure, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself. [Every individual, e]very family, every congregation, every area of the world is different. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. . . It is a self-help program where individuals are responsible for personal self-reliance. Our resources include personal prayer, our own God-given talents and abilities, the assets available to us through our own families and extended family members, various community resources, and of course the caring support of priesthood quorums and the Relief Society. This will lead us through the inspired pattern of self-reliance.

You’re going to have to chart a course that is consistent with the Lord’s doctrine and matches the circumstances of your [personal life]. To implement divine [gospel] principles, you need not look always to Salt Lake City. Instead you need to look into the handbooks, into your heart, and into heaven. Trust the Lord’s inspiration and follow His way.

In the end you must do in your area what disciples of Christ have done in every dispensation: counsel together, use all resources available, seek the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, ask the Lord for His confirmation, and then roll up your sleeves and go to work.

I give you a promise: if you will follow this pattern, you will receive specific guidance as to the who, what, when, and where of [living the gospel]. The temporal is intertwined with the spiritual. God has given us this mortal experience and the temporal challenges that attend it as a laboratory where we can grow into the beings Heavenly Father wants us to become.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Always Love You

It's no secret that I believe God speaks to me. I've experienced messages conveyed through many means. Dreams, conference talks, personal meetings with my Bishop, insight from me therapist, both gospel and secular scholarly talks and books, and even movies like Gladiator. But one of the most common and powerful ways God speaks to me is through music. Sometimes it's a melody or harmony that touches me. Often it's a word or phrase in the lyrics. Once in a while, I know that an entire song is speaking directly to me.

So, five years ago my wife introduced me to Ryanhood. They are a fun musical duo from Tuscon. We've been following them ever since. They released a new album today. We got an advanced copy a couple of weeks ago and since then I've been dying to share this song.

Ashley and I were lying in bed listening to the new album which we had just downloaded. We'd heard most of the songs at concerts, though it was nice to hear them polished for recording. There were a couple of fun new songs that were very much Ryanhood's style. Then we got to this song. I think both of us were expecting a cute, possibly sappy, little love song. It didn't take long before we both just stopped and looked at each other and started tearing up. At least I did. I was stunned.

Always Love You can be taken as a song about a man who is deeply in love regardless of whether or not he's loved in return. But I heard my Savior's voice. I heard my Heavenly Father talking about His love for me. I don't know if this song will be meaningful for anyone else, but that possibility is part of the reason I am posting it. The other reason is that I just need to testify of God's love for me. I know He cares deeply about me. He has a plan for me and wants me to be happy. I'm grateful for that knowledge.

You can listen or download at