A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Take This Sabbath Day

I'd like to start with a small story - we'll call it "The Parable of the Primary Manual."  Long ago, when I was a wee one in Primary (the Mormon equivalent of Sunday School for kids ages 3-12), we had a series of lessons that I had heard before.  In the LDS church, lesson manuals are standardized across the church - so a kid in Guatemala and a kid in Georgia would, in theory, have the same lesson on the same Sunday.  For whatever reason, whether travel, a blip in the schedules, or teacher error, we spent several weeks (or perhaps months) repeating lessons that our class had already been taught.  I remember thinking: "AWESOME!  I know ALL the answers!"  (Yes, I was a goody-two-shoes extraordinaire)  I was literally excited by the prospect that I would know the "right" answer to give because we had already heard the lesson.  I was probably only 7 or 8 years old, but I already thought I had the gospel nailed down - I knew the answers to the questions that would arise.  I think of this experience as a time when I knew the "right" answers without necessarily understanding them or applying them in my life.

Jesus with little children - one of my favorite Primary pictures!
Fast forward to yesterday when my brother was telling me that he was teaching a lesson on Sunday about Elder Scott's conference talk, "How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life."  He asked me "how do you receive revelation in your personal life?"  I quickly responded "I don't" (Upon rereading Elder Scott's talk and finding that he condemned loud laughter as something that drives the Spirit away, I probably shouldn't have been so flippant about something so sacred).  But the whole question feeds into one of my constant worries about the gospel - do I know the "right" answers in theory without actually acting on them?

If you read my blog earlier this year, you'll know that one of my three goals for the year was to pray every day, both morning and night.  It's something that I know, in theory, is a good and desirable thing.  I have a testimony of prayer, that it can be an important source of inspiration, an outlet for thankfulness to God and a moment of meditation in an otherwise crazy busy life.  Yet I have trouble implementing it on a day-to-day basis.  I forget to pray in the mornings, and I often find my prayers are rote and repeating the same pleas every night, when I do remember to pray.  So I found myself in the temple celestial room on Friday night, asking in prayer for forgiveness.  Forgiveness for my forgetfulness and frailty.  It's been a week when I have felt acutely aware of the gap between my knowledge and actions.

The truth is, that I feel that my moments of inspiration and revelation are few and far between.  When I do have revelation, it is not the showy BIG kind that leads to any major flashes - it is a quiet thought or feeling that leads me in a good general direction without giving me specific step-by-step guidance.  I do wish it was more specific - that God would tell me where to work, where to be, who needed service.  But my life has just had a few times where I have felt truly at peace and 100% sure of something - most of the time I'm worried, stressed, tired, impatient, or some combination of these characteristics.  Still, the moments of peace come, and tell me I'm on the right path.

Picture of me and my Dad on my baptismal day
One of those peaceful moments was my baptismal day - now more than 20 years ago!  I remember being baptized, and then I remember as my father and other priesthood holders laid their hands on my head to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I felt such a surge of peace and love.  Similarly, when I left on my mission and was given a blessing on being set apart as a missionary, my Stake President blessed me to know that I was in the right place - something I had been worrying about and was a small bit of personal revelation.  I hope I am always able to remember those moments, and I will re-commit to try to have more of them.

However, I think I will always struggle with the tension between "knowing" the right answer and "doing" it.


  1. This is awesome, and actually ties into my approach to the lesson: my theme is going to be "Why is it so hard to get revelation/inspiration?" and the lesson will be about thoughts on how to fix that and/or come to peace with it. I might use some of your insights in the lesson, because they are beautiful!

  2. I love your baptismal picture! And your brother is right- your insights are beautiful.

  3. You're so cute Diana, I love the pic. I just read through about 6 of your posts and I really appreciate reading through them because they are so well thought out. I appreciated the lay man's terms for the tax platform summary (I actually understood it! ;). Thanks for writing!!