I was given the assignment to speak in Church on August 16, 2009.
I have gone through to modify this from the original to reflect some of the changes I made As I spoke.
As I was sitting on the stand I realized I have been studying for this talk for over 7 years.
As I was reading over Elder Snow’s talk “Get on with your life” I noticed a difference with this talk. I know it is about adversity. While there are many talks on adversity this one takes a different approach to the topic. It speaks more about getting ready prepared and pushing forward into adversity, than the usual how to endure and triumph over adversity.
I realized from a young age there must be opposition in all things. I learned that gravity is the opposition that keeps us alive, but is also what makes our mortal bodies get old, our hearts weaken, makes our skin sag and eventually kills us. Strangely I discovered that without the constant opposition of gravity we would die much sooner. This was discovered, as astronauts went into space, in only a few days the heart stops working as hard and pumps 20% less blood and Muscle mass loses about 5% a week. In less than two years the human body would atrophy and die. I think that is amazing that is the constant opposition of gravity is keeping us alive. There is great lesson to be learned from this and I think is the essence of what the talk it about. We need to get ready and be willing to meet adversity head and Get on with our lives.
Elder snow speaks in his talk about trials we know are in our future and we try to prepare for these trials. Missions, Marriage, School and Children. While we can prepare there always seems to be things we have never anticipated. I remember after a hard week on my mission, having to deal with not knowing the language, the hot humid weather, no running water and no electricity. I remember reading a the church magazine “The friend” in the Zone Leaders apartment. It showed a picture of a group of young men 10 or 12 years old with the caption below “Preparing for a mission” They were all smiling. I said out loud to my companion. They have no idea what they are in for. Being able to prepare for adversity you know is coming always helps us to endure the trial, especially by ourselves. However, the adversity that hits us in the face at some random Tuesday afternoon are, at least in my life, the most difficult to deal with. These are things like, sickness, accident, unemployment, disaster and church callings. I see a significant difference between these two. In the preparable adversity. Many times you can manage by yourself because of preparation, but the Random Tuesday Afternoon adversity is usually less likely to be handled personally and many times requires others to help. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we should be willing to help. In a talk given by Elder Henry B. Eyring in April 2004, he quoted a his district president as saying ”When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half of the time.” Elder Eyring thought that was pessimistic, however looking back he can see how well that district president understood the world and life. There was a great talk given by Bishop Edgely in the priesthood session of the last conference on how we need to give extra effort to helping our members who are out of work find jobs in this tough economy.
I doesn’t matter what trial we are called to bear there are things we can do to prepare. There are all the Sunday school answers, fast, pray, read your scriptures, and Attend your meetings. I think one of the most important things in helping to deal with adversity is being able to recognize the influence of the holy ghost in our lives. In my teen years I would hear people talk about feeling the spirit but I wasn’t really sure what is was. It wasn’t until I was in the MTC where one of the teachers told us how to know when we were feeling the spirit. He said the MTC is like the temple the spirit is always here. He said it is quiet and subtle. He I can feel the spirit it is here right now. He then said we are just going to sit here for a few minutes and feel it. It was there that day and I realized I had felt it many times before. I had felt it the day was baptized. I had felt it when I had attended the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I had felt it as a priest when I blessed the sacrament. Though out my life since then I have learned to identify the spirit. I have learned when I am making a decision that is the way I need to feel about what I am doing. I have also made decisions where I have made choices where the spirit had pulled away letting me know it was not the right choice and I have suffered because of the bad decisions. I have learned when I feel the spirit I feel good I know things will out well I feel like I can accomplish anything. When I make bad decisions I feel the spirit withdraw, I also feel, fear, hopelessness and despair.
I also want to talk briefly on the reasons why we face trials. I think Elder Faust quoting Dr Authur Wentworth Hewitt in the Oct 2004 states it best “First I don’t know, Second we may not be as innocent as we think. Third: .. I believe it is because [God] he loves us so much more than he loves our Happiness.” Either we are suffering because we did something wrong or God believes we are prepared to grow. In any case it’s our fault, but God Loves us and wants us to come closer to Christ. I believe the most dangerous situation we can be in is to have no trials; we get weak and our testimony atrophies. Because of the trials I have experienced over the last several years I feel I am much better equipped to identify and help people in need. However, I would also like to add these difficulties have tested my faith and will to keep going. I am seeing why we need to be prepared to have the oil in the lamps of our testimony full. I just hope the Lord will bless me and I will be receptive.
While reading the Book of Mormon over the past couple of years I have attempted to study how people deal with trials and how God helps during the trials. I try to see if there are parallels in my life. One of the most interesting trial stories is the one with Zeniff, Noah, Abinadi, Alma and Limhi. I see a couple of trial stories. The first one is Noah as a wicked king. The people were bad sinned against god and were put into bondage. There are other types of bondage in our day and age. But nevertheless bondage. Many times we caused the bondage to come upon us? God is eventually merciful, after the people suffer, get humble and repent. This story should give us all hope. If we do things wrong God may pull away blessings but he will not withhold blessings forever, if we repent and seek to come closer to our Savior. Second is the trial of Abinadi, He did what the lord commanded him and he was killed. This brings to mind the part of the hymn “Come Come ye saints” “And should we die before our journey’s through happy day all is well.” Then the third story is Alma and the people that followed him. These people were the most righteous of all the groups, however they were the most tormented. At first they organized themselves into the Church of Christ and then were warned to leave the land of Nephi. So they left and were doing all that was right. Then the Lamanites found them. It is interesting to note the Lamanite army found them as a result of the army chasing the people of Limhi after they had been delivered from Their bondage. From my perspective this doesn’t sound fair. The less righteous get delivered first and then those that were righteous were made to suffer worse persecutions than the less obedient. I have studied that story several times mostly to see how I may be treated. I am not dead yet so I don’t believe I am super righteous. I know I have made some mistakes, however none of them are as serious as the people of king Noah. I hope I am like the people of Alma that are trying to do what’s right and just have to endure the trial. One thing I have also learned from this. That The Lord will end trials pretty quickly. It took about a week to free the people of Limhi an then for Alma it was over in one night. Through all of these trials the Lord is just trying to get the people closer to Jesus Christ.
I believe our attitude in getting prepared to deal with trials is important. Too often when I am thrust into a trial situation I have a bad attitude. I am more quickly realizing I am having the bad attitude and realize I need to push forward with faith.
In the talk by Elder Snow he talks about Robert Gardner Jr. He is not a ancestor of mine, however I think he is a ancestor of Elder Snow. He had some trials in his life and when he thought he had over come his trials he was talking with his friends and they were saying it is good that you have been able to overcome your trial of being broke. He then said he was afraid he would have to endure more. Sure enough, within a couple hour people coming from a conference in Salt Lake told him he had been called to settle Southern Utah. I like the quote “I looked and spit, took off my hat and scratched [my head] and thought ‘All Right’
It is interesting to notice the difference in the situations for Joseph Smith the Prophet
In 1838 in the Liberty Jail he petitions the Lord for help. “Where is the Pavilion that covereth thy hiding place.” Help us out here
In 1842 he writes to the saints in Nauvoo. In D&C 127 “…But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in etribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it. “
I invite everyone to prepare for you trials and “get on with your lives.” Learn to recognize the spirit and help those that are struggling.
(as an addendum, I actually recieved more feed back about this talk than any other I have given. I don’t know if it is because I have been in the ward awhile or if I just was able to be more in tune and deliver a better talk? This is actually the second time I have spoken in this ward and someone reminded me I spoke on adversity then too. I am wishing in vain, but maybe I have learned all I need to learn about trials and I can get on with my life. 🙂