Mar 21, 2004

I just got done spending an hour and a half with my wonderful hometeacher and friend, Keith. We talked about March's home teaching message, one of which touched me greatly when I had read it after receiving my Ensign.

I just finished reading this month's message, "To Receive a Crown of Glory." I also read a few other articles. This month is focusing on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Which makes sense, Easter as we celebrate it is fast coming upon us. But I am so grateful for this extra nourishment that my soul needs. I have been craving knowledge and wisdom and the understanding that comes from the prophet and his counselors, and also from the scriptures.

Will anyone ever completely understand truly what the Lord has done for us? I do not know the answer to that. I have so far to go, yet I know I am learning more each time I read the scriptures, each time I get down on my knees to pray, each time I listen to the words of our prophet.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: "When all is said and done, when all of history is examined, when the deepest depths of the human mind have been explored, nothing is so wonderful, so majestic, so tremendous as this act of grace when the Son of the Almighty...gave His life in ignominy and pain so that all of the sons and daughters of God of all generations of time, every one of whom must die, might walk again and live eternally. He did for us what none of us could do for ourselves."

I am so grateful for my Redeemer. I keep a picture of Him close at hand wherever I am; I have a postcard of one of my favorite paintings, where Christ is looking over Jerusalem, and I have hung that above my computer at work. I have the beautiful painting of Christ in Gethsamanee in my living room. I also have a beautiful portrait of him in my room. I am so grateful to feel His love, and to know how much He truly loves me and what He has done for me.

I am so grateful for the gospel. It is the most correct roadmap on earth that will lead the sons and daughters of God back home to Him. There are such exquisite truths to be found in the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith deemed as "the most correct book on the earth". I love this gospel. I truly love the Lord. As I humble myself and commit myself to the sacred convenants I have made with the Lord, and I recognize the err in my ways and seek repentance for those, I feel the love of my Redeemer fill my heart with sweet peace and love. I might not be the happiest person on this earth, but it is only because I am so weary of trial and tribulation, yet I know there is a reason for it and that the Lord is preparing me to be the woman he needs me to be, so that I can accompany my husband and my family back home to the celestial kingdom, to live in glory and love with our Father in Heaven and our Elder Brother. One can find joy in trial when looking upon it with the correct perspective.

Oh how I wish I could be held in His arms! My dear Father in Heaven, whom I long to return home to. Oh how I wish I could bow before my Redeemer, and thank him for the priceless gift he has given me! How I wish I could serve them on this earth in more capacity than I am now! I want to share this beautiful blessing in my life with others, and I am seeking every opportunity that comes my way. My fears are gradually subsiding. I am more open about my beliefs at work; everyone knew I was Mormon, but now I will talk about it. I truly feel so blessed and enriched by the beautiful gift that the Lord felt I deserved to have, and because of my love for people, I really and truly want them to have the same thing! I still get scared, I am afraid of offending, but I am growing bolder each day. My office is now in the middle of the main room, rather than being hidden upstairs, and I have a set of scriptures, some pass-along cards, a few Joy to the World VHS tapes, and my postcard of Christ there with me at all times. I have learned that even in this extremely left-wing city of Madison, there are a few people who are still religious. I have met them now at work, and I never would have realized there were such people in my workplace if I hadn't started being more open about my own beliefs. I find joy in speaking about faith and my beliefs with others, and listening to their own. It is such a marvelous experience!

I love the Lord. I have a testimony of his church. I know He is at the head of it. I know there is no way man can be saved except through His intercession. As I said earlier, I can only slightly understand what the Lord truly did for us, but that understanding will eventually grow as I continue to learn about Him, to feel His love and His mercy, and to do as suggested in March's message: 1)Look inward, 2)Look outward, and 3)Look heavenward.

This is the true church of Jesus the Christ. I know it. I would fiercely defend it to my death. I might not always be happy with the members, but it is the only church who has Christ at the head of it, and He is perfect. We truly DO have living prophets on the earth today. God still DOES speak to his children as he did in days of old. Every human being has been blessed with the light of Christ, and there IS an avenue to understanding it. It is called the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

I am so grateful for the prophets of old. I am grateful for their examples and their love of Christ AND of mankind. I am grateful for Joseph Smith, and for his enduring strength. His life was never easy, and he died without receiving rest during it. Yet that man was one remarkable man. I love him, and I know what he experienced in that grove truly happened. I have been to that grove, and I have felt the Spirit's presence. There are just some things that are undeniable, that I know deep down, those things that are at the center of my very existence, and Joseph Smith's vision is one of them. A living prophet is another. And Jesus Christ and his gift to mankind is perhaps the most prominent, and most cherished, knowledge that I have, and I am so utterly grateful for it.

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