Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Safety for the Soul

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Safety for the Soul, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Shortly after going to bed last night, our eldest awoke, frightened because he had seen "a ghost." As I put him back to bed and calmed him, he said, "That's okay, Daddy; I know there's no such thing as ghosts."

However, my reply may either classify me as a good parent or a bad parent. I said, "Why do you think ghosts aren't real? What about the Holy Ghost?" After he asked if anyone can see the Holy Ghost, I told him that the Holy Ghost gave Nephi a tour of the dream his father had originally had.

I was happy that this helped him to calm down, and he quietly went right back to sleep. Now, I realize that saying, "Ghosts are real," to a frightened child may not be the wisest idea, but backed with scriptural evidences (and referring to the favorite of ghosts), it turned out fine.

After this experience, I did some thinking on Lehi's dream (see 1 Nephi 8), and then, on my morning commute, I listened to Elder Holland's talk where he revisited aspects of the dream again.

Interestingly, I was riding at 5am, against a stiff wind, in the dark, through palpable mists (that left me quite wet) as Elder Holland reminded that in the dream, "an already difficult journey gets more difficult when a mist of darkness arises," obscuring the view of safety. This was fitting as my glasses, fogged and marked by countless water droplets, did nothing to aid my vision, but rather hindered it!

Putting my commute experiences aside, Elder Holland reminded of the universality of opposition, as well as the way to overcome it:

It is imperative to note that this mist of darkness descends on all the travelers—the faithful and the determined ones . . . as well as the weaker and ungrounded ones. The principal point of the story is that the successful travelers resist all distractions.

I had a missionary companion who had as his motto a phrase from Lehi's account of his dream: "But we heeded them not" (see 1 Nephi 8:33). Come what may, he was determined to not be discouraged or distracted from his ultimate goals.

This tenacity has been evidenced by countless individuals who face persecution, even staunch religious oppressive persecution. Elder Holland poetically reminds of two people who did this beautifully: Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum. They maintained their testimonies of the truthfulness of the work they helped to usher in (including the veracity of the Book of Mormon) to the very end, staring death in the very face.

I agree with Elder Holland that this is an evidence of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. In addition, if I may, I would like to add my name to the list of those who testify of its truth:

Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it” (see The Testimony of Eight Witnesses).

My wife finished reading the Book of Mormon yesterday for the who-knows-how-many-times. I love each instance of completion and the return to my knees to pray of its truthfulness (as Moroni directs, link). And even though I know I don't need to pray anew (because I feel the witness of truth each time I read its pages), it's still wonderful to experience, again, what I felt the first time I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

I know that the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the word of God.

I'm grateful that I can find safety for the soul amidst mists of darkness.

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