Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Amy" is only 3 Letters. Geez!

I am a sinner. Worse than I knew. These chapters of the Book of Mormon start with the Sermon on the Mount. We compare 3 Nephi 12-14 with Matthew 5-7. The Lord is sharing his direction with the Nephites.  There is a lot in the Sermon on the Mount. A lot to learn from to interpret and discuss.  One thing jumped out at me this week. One sin I am guilty of. That I see the consequence of sometimes right away, but I just learned that unless I change my prideful sinning ways I am going to have a harder time bypassing the repercussions of this particular sin on Judgement Day.

I will illustrate the knowledge I have of the earthy consequences I have had from this sin along with a story of some of my earliest memories of doing this.  It was even before the age of accountability. I was in my first day of kindergarten.  The other children and I were sitting on our squares on the floor in the room. The ceiling seemed so high up. The walls were decorated for a typical kindergarten room. I loved the big color squares that seemed to my young self to be higher up on the wall than the roof of our house would be.  On the other side of the room up so high were individual squares with each child’s name on them. We were asked to find our names and indicate when we found them. I found mine right away. I knew how to spell my name and even write it. I was very familiar with my name. The girl next to me was named Amy. She could not find her name. She didn’t know how to spell it.  I found her name.  Then I sinned.  As I tell you what happened next see if you can determine why 33 years after the fact I still think sweet little 5 year old Shawndel was a sinner.

I found my name, then Amy’s name, and I thought to myself, “Wow, her name is Amy it is only 3 letters and she can’t even find it. My name is Shawndel and it is 8 letters and I found it right away. Mine is the longest in the class and hers is the shortest.” I might have even thought her dumb at the time.  I might have gone on to point her name out to her or to the teacher when she could find it when she was asked. I am not sure. However, I do know that I knew then (or maybe later that day after talking to my mom about my day) that I did something wrong. 

In second grade at about 8 years old I was made to sit in the front seat of the school bus. I hated it. I could not stand sitting being the bus driver because I could not look away from her terrible huge gross disgusting neck mole, with long black hairs protruding out of it. It grossed me out. My brother knew it and would tease about it. Moley moley moley, you had to sit by moley.   All I knew about Moley was that she had a mole and I did not like her for it. Flash forward 5 years or so and guess who has a mole on their neck.  Yep, me. Eww. But not eww, it is karma for my sin. Or just a part of me.

I always feel as I superficially judge other people the Lord finds a way to work that particular thing back into my life and gives it to me as a direct punishment or maybe more accurately as a lesson for me.  3 Nephi 14:1-5 tells me that my punishment will be far greater than the consequences I am seeing now. It is repeated all throughout the scriptures In Moroni 7:18, Matthew 7, Luke 6:37, the Doctrine and Covenants, and on and on.

We are admonished to not judge others. We are further informed that as we judge we will be more harshly judged less we repent.  We are also counselled to judge not superficially but righteously. (Some types of judging can help us and keep us and our children out of harm’s way.)  The kind of judging I am guilty of is the sin the Lord is counselling me of in 3 Nephi and all of these other places. 

I judge all-the-time. I am a harsh judge of myself as well. I know I am a hot mess. I know that I am fat. I know I am not the prettiest face in the room ever. I know I have crazy man hairs that try to spring out of my gross neck mole.  I know I should not judge but try to better myself.  The Lord has counselled us to not do this.

What steps do you take to avoid judging others? How do I change a 35 year old habit?  (Yes, 2 years earlier than my kindergarten story I judge my Sunbeam teacher.)  I pray.  All the time. And I just found a great resource to help me overcome this sin and realize that I need to let it go and not be prideful. I need to get the beam out of my own eye.  The Scriptures are a guide. They can help me. And you. 

But, seriously what other advice do you have?  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Power to Move Mountains

Helaman 10-16, That was the chapters of the Book of Mormon we studied this week. 

If you've read my blog in the past (or know me) you have probably gained some insight to who I am or at least some of m y past and what I have been through.  You also might know that this time as I am studying the Book of Mormon I am looking to make it personal to me. It was written in a "simpler" time for us now in these latter days.  Just like the savior sacrificed and died for each of us personally, this Book was written for us. So as I think about what I read and discussed this week the faith of Nephi and Samuel the Lamanite stood out to me.  
Both of these men believed in the Lord and had prayers answered and their lives guided by the Lord. It seems to me that they did not hear Him in a still small voice. They heard him speak to them in a way I have never heard for myself.  They knew without one bit of doubt the word they were speaking were true. They believed in them with all of their being. They were blessed for their unwavering faith. 

 Helaman 10:15-16 The Nephites try to take Nephi and put him into   prison but they can't. "…for he was taken by the Spirit and conveyed away out of the midst of them.”   Chapter 16 vs 11 talks about the arrows that could not hit Samuel because he was protected by the Lord.  2 thoughts - 1. Could you imagine this day and age people literally trying to shoot arrows at someone they disagree with who is preaching or teaching something? Probably not, but we have all sorts of relatable, figurative arrows that we see being shot when people take a stand for righteousness or their beliefs.
2. Why are we told this? What do these things mean to me? I know I will never be given the power to flatten a mountain as this Nephi was in these chapters. At least not in this earthly life.  I know there will most likely never be a time when a Godly force field will be around me to protect me from weapons of war being fired upon me. I also know that there is something that is speaking to me about these 2 men and these moments.
 I have faith. I think. I know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and wants me to return to him. I know there is a way we can return to live with Him again. I know there is joy and peace this knowledge. I know there is life after I leave this Earth. I know I will see my son Abraham who was born too soon and died within minutes of being born. I know my sister Jeaniece who died 2 ½ years ago is going to laugh with my again one day.  

Then, I read about these men and the faith they had that was so much more than faith. It wasn’t a hope or belief in something unseen. It was knowledge of the truth they were teaching and spreading.  I know the things I just mentioned are true. I just know. I also know I come short. My knowledge in these things does not help me move a mountain or have me stand on a city wall and shout for all to hear the teaching of the Lord. I hesitate to even share these things out loud. They are precious truths to me and I don’t want others to hurt them. I don’t want to feel bad about these things I know. I don’t want to have a Google search done and sent to me disproving what I know.

So, maybe, maybe this time in this reading of these chapters and pondering these verse what I am learning is to not be afraid. Know my truth. Others have the right to believe how, where or what they may, but I can talk about what I know and have faith that the Lord will protect me and not let my wall of truth be broken. Both of these prophets prayed or conversed with the Lord prior to these experiences. That tells me something else. Pray. I need to always pray.

 I didn’t know quite where I was going when I started writing this post. Thank you for reading it. I hope it made a little sense.