I will freely admit that when I read the Course Notes, with the warnings about doubling up on the assignments because we would be doing a full semester’s worth of work in just seven weeks, I almost bailed. I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m back in school, even if it’s online, from home. I graduated from Ricks in 1979. took three quarters at Utah State and then settled in to raise my family. I’ve been a life-long learner, but not with weekly deadlines, and specific readings and assigned writings. This course has reminded me that I love to learn, and I love to study the scriptures. Each week, finding the doctrines was such a joy. I had forgotten how to constantly look for principles as I read through the scriptures. These findings can change from one reading to the next, depending on our needs. I also came to see Paul in a completely different light. I had thought of him as kind of a cranky fellow, who thought women should not cut their hair, should be subject to their husbands, and shouldn’t make a peep in church. Not so!
A second principle, taken from a doctrine that I found in 2 Thessalonians, is the concept that we are counseled to watch over and care for one another. As I was reading back through my notes, preparing for this essay, I was surprised to see that a verse that I used this final week as one of my Teaching Truth verses, was also a verse that I used as a cross-reference in Lesson 2. It must be a scripture that I need to internalize right now. The original doctrine is “There is a difference between being our brother's keeper and being a busy body! (2 Thes 3:11, 12). I’ve recently been called to serve in our ward’s relief society presidency. I freely admit that I prefer to think that “all is well in Zion. I like to sit at my perch at the organ (which is still my calling) and look out over the congregation, and just figure that everyone is happy. Now, I’m in a position where I have to know some things. This scripture—For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.—has been just what I needed. It was cross-referenced with “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” (Jude 1:22). Compassion isn’t always my strong suit, I tend to figure that people simply bring consequences on themselves. Now I am in a position where compassion comes first. I while back, a friend, who had recently been called as RS president showed me what she had learned about compassion from King Benjamin: And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you…I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. (Mos 4:26) Compassion doesn’t necessarily differentiate between wants and needs. This has helped me accept that I will find out about welfare needs and such, but I can quietly serve, and support the RS president, give encouragement, and tend to my own responsibilities.
The third principle, which I am constantly reminding myself of, is the fact that we are dependent on the Lord's mercy for forgiveness of our own sins; we have no business, right, or time, to be concerned about whether or not someone else deserves our forgiveness. We are commanded to forgive others and then leave it up to the Lord to decide whether or not repentance has really taken place. If we choose not to forgive, we are under greater condemnation. (D&C 64:9,10) What a relief this is, if you think about it. I have enough in my life to keep track of. On the list of all my things to do on any given day, deciding whether or not someone, deserves my forgiveness is NOT on that list of things with which I must be concerned! Sadly, that is easier said than done sometimes, but it certainly comes with a great promise-- and I am in constant need of being forgiven by the Lord of my trespasses. As our group discussed this on our group discussion board, I found these two thoughts by Elder Samuelson, given in a Womens’ Conference address, May 2009, at BYU. He is speaking of Nephi’s lament found in 2 Ne 4:28, and then Nephi’s words of self-encouragement—“Awake, my soul! No linger droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. … O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and will trust in thee forever” (2 Ne 4:34) Nephi still had plenty of problems, and wasn’t always sure about why certain things were happening to him. Earlier in the book, he told the angel—“I know that [God} loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things”. (1 Ne 11:17) I won’t always know the meaning of all things, but we must trust that the Lord loves us and that I can trust in the Atonement and in His grace as we endure trials and struggles. I can’t allow discouragement to enter our heart during the hard times. I need to be grateful that the Savior knows me better than I know ourself and that He gave us covenants that I can renew when I regularly partake of the Sacrament and when I return to the temple often to perform ordinances for others. I can “follow the pattern that allows us to ‘live after the manner of happiness’.”