Prepare yourselves. It’s gonna be a long post for this week. There’s a lot that we did this week, and a lot of thoughts that I have. Haha. Before I start, I know this is probably the most out of context quote I could pick for my title this week, but can anyone guess where it’s from? It’s not the full quote.
Alright. This week we had our area general authority, Randall K. Bennett, and his wife join us for a mission tour. There’s so much to write about and so little time. One of the biggest themes throughout the conference was that “you are good enough.” They talked about how they felt impressed to talk to us about it and how they felt many of us did not think we were adequate enough. That was at least true for me. I often judge myself harshly because I’m not a perfect missionary. I’m not perfectly obedient, though I strive for obedience. I’m not a perfect teacher, though I study to become more knowledgeable in the simplicity of the gospel. I’m not a perfect roommate and at times drive my companions crazy, though I strive to practice patience and charity. I don’t strive for these things simply because I am told to, but because I want the blessings obedience, study, and love for others brings. These are just a few examples of the things I beat myself up over.
The Bennetts shared something that really stood out to me. They said, “you are beating yourself up. That is not coming from God.” It reminds me of a talk my dear trainer shared with me about following the promptings of the Spirit. One specific thing that talk spoke of was that Satan wants to put negative thoughts in our heads and often makes it sound like it is coming from us. (eg. “I’m not good enough” / “Why do they even want to hang out with me” / “I’m not good at this. I should just give up”) Satan wants us to believe that those negative thoughts are coming from us and hides behind them to try and bring us down.
On the other hand, the Holy Ghost wants us to know that the promptings offered by him come from God. There’s a scripture in Moroni 7:12 that states this beautifully:
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil…
All good thoughts, inspiration, promptings, etc., come from God. It doesn’t mean those promptings aren’t going to be hard sometimes, but they reap great rewards whether now, in the future, or over the course of time. Then there is what Satan tries to bring. Moroni 7:12 continues:
…for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
Something I’ve learned throughout my life is that Satan isn’t going to be so obvious. He knows how to put just a little bit of lie and misery in the temptations of this life. Just enough so that we don’t see it. One more scripture (2 Nephi 2:27) before I continue.
…they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
What I get from this verse is that anything that comes from Satan is going to eventually lead to captivity, spiritual death, and misery. He hates us so much and wants us to hate ourselves. He wants us to believe we aren’t worth it. That we aren’t good enough. That we aren’t worthy of love. But we have a choice. It’s not often an easy choice, but it is always there. It’s the choice of the reality that we are worthy of love. We are loved by our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ didn’t perform the Atonement for everyone except the sinners. He performed it for every single one of us past, present, and future. You are enough. You don’t have to choose everything someone else chooses. Heavenly Father accepts you as you are. He wants you to be happy. That’s what the Plan of Happiness teaches. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to study God’s plan so much. Especially about the three kingdoms of glory (1 Corinthians 15:39-42, D&C 76:89-98). I used to think that everyone needed to reach the highest kingdom of glory, the Celestial kingdom. But that’s not true. I believe that’s where we can receive the most blessings, but not everyone is going to be comfortable there. Some of our STLs gave a wonderful analogy as far as the three kingdoms are concerned. They asked a friend to imagine themselves covered head to toe in mud, and then to walk into a clean room. They asked, “are you comfortable?” Of course the answer was no. They said the same thing but you are clean and you walk into a muddy room. Of course, we are still not comfortable in that situation. God loves us enough to have created a plan that allows every person to be comfortable after death. He also gives us an opportunity to accept the gospel of His Son. But the choice is always ours. Studying the Plan of Happiness has brought me greater joy and has helped me have more love for people despite our differences whether that’s beliefs, choices, etc.
A quote I like in Preach My Gospel when it talks about Salvation and Exaltation is this:
Through the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection all people with be saved, or gain salvation from physical death…they will live forever. Immortality is a free, or unconditional, gift to all people, whether they are righteous or wicked.
People may also be saved, or gain salvation, from individual spiritual death through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, by their faith in Him, by living in obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel, and by serving Him.
Eternal life and exaltation are not the same as immortality.Preach My Gospel, pg 53
I guess my train of thought in sharing all of this is that you are enough. Heavenly Father has given everyone, including you, this plan of happiness. You are doing better than you think you are is another thing we talked about in zone conference.
I’ll close up with this, though I have much more to talk about that I was planning on writing about. There is a war going on right now. Satan wants us to be as miserable as he is and will do anything to drag us down as far as he can. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are working for our happiness, and joy. One more thing the Bennetts shared with us is that there is a choice that we need to make today, right now.
“When you don’t make a choice, you are making a choice.” We have to be actively engaged in inviting light into our lives or we are allowing darkness to creep in. It comes back to that choice that we have. Heavenly Father is not going to force us to do anything. But by force was Satan’s plan. Satan will do everything he can to creep in. But if we invite light into our lives, the darkness cannot overcome the light. The Bennetts extended an invitation to us to “choose this day.” I can’t help but be reminded of the cultural celebration for the Gilbert, AZ Temple. “I Choose This Day” is what we sang. “Live True” was our theme.
I have a testimony that each of us is worthy of love, and are loved by our Heavenly Father. I know if we choose light today, we will choose happiness, joy, and love. We are loved, whether it’s hard for us to see or not. I believe the choice to see that love is yours.
I have a lot I’ll be writing about the next couple of weeks about what we talked about in zone conference, but I want you guys to know that my mission still isn’t easy. I want you to know that this is what I am learning and I am not suggesting that everything I wrote about this week is all doctrine. These are the principles I am learning, and my understanding of the scriptures and the words spoken by God’s modern day prophets and disciples. I want you to know that I would not be serving a mission away from my family if I did not have a personal witness from the Holy Ghost that this is where I need to be, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s restored church on the Earth. I’m not here to convince anyone, but to share what I’ve learned. Conversion comes by the Spirit and it’s a personal matter.
I love you all and you guys can hear from me next week. For now, I’ve got to head out!
-Sister (Katie) Malan