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- Exercise faith in Jesus Christ, have a broken heart, repent and be: cleansed, changed and strengthened through the Lord’s atonement.
- Harder to do so, than to exercise faith early in your life.
- Assigned to help and rescue, strengthen and lead those who have been lead away, back to safety.
- Family has an opportunity at the start of a child’s life to lead and guide them.
- Primary workers help strengthen the children.
- Aaronic Priesthood, during sacrament prayer hears the promise of the holy ghost they will receive one day.
- We can all help, formal callings are not necessary.
At times I questioned myself if I can answer those temple recommend interview questions with no issues. I remember the last time I went for a temporary temple recommend interview back in March for Baptisms for the Dead. I caught myself being harsh when asked questions. I attribute it to judging ourselves and we are our own worse judge. My Bishop agreed.
I often find myself self-interviewing on one particular question:
Are you kind to your family members?
Am I? What does that mean? It means, do I treat them as Christ would during the good times and the bad times? Do I display patience with my family at all times? Am I a good Father and Husband?
For a while, I was in a cycle of confusion and this is how it went:
I feel like I am in a deep hole, looking upwards at the sky and that I can’t make it out.I feel that my family deserves better than I have given in the past. I have only been at it for over 18 months and I thought I was changing. I’m not sure sometimes. At times I feel like I really have changed.I am not always patient or soft spoken in stressful situations. I seem to let the worst come out of me only in front of my spouse and children. In my early twenties, I picked up the bad habbit of swearing. My language has cleaned up over the past 18 months but I have those moments of relapse.
I expect so much from my family (from expecting the same strictness that I had to follow when I was younger) at times that it only leads me to anger and fits of yelling when things aren’t going well.
I’ve been taught that true conversion happens over time. Am I converted? Am I converted enough?
Could I stand tall with my fellow brethren who are temple recommend holders?
Every Sunday, I feel energized and I believe that I can climb my way out of this deep hole.I realize to myself that I cannot be perfect and Christ-like at all times. That is why we have the atonement.I am thankful for the atonement and the fact that Jesus Christ took upon himself my sins, my sadness and my pain. I am thankful for the ordinance of Sacrament where I can renew my baptismal covenants and be forgiven for my short comings. During Sacrament, I feel true sorrow and pain. I then feel forgiven and my burdens lifted away.
I love the feeling of being clean and renewed for another week.
I pray for long suffering, patience, being a good example for my children and to be a better Father and Husband.
I love feeling I can start over with myself and my family.
I feel like the moment that I slip, no matter how high I have made it I fall to the bottom of that deep hole and I have to start over. Maybe I’ve raised my voice to my kids or handle a stressful situation very poorly. When growing up, my parents were very strict and always yelled. I see myself doing that sometimes. I see my oldest son yelling at his brothers sometimes and I see myself in him and I become deeply saddened.With the atonement comes repentance. I truly feel sorry for the mistakes and actions that make me feel like I am not kind enough to my family. But true repentance means taking steps to not do it again and then, not do it!
But when I falter I feel like I have failed at repentance. I take my prior transgressions from the week before and add it on to this week as well. That deep hole is getting even deeper.
What if it has been months that I feel I’ve been doing a good job and then I mess up by losing my temper and swear up a storm and scream and yell?
When do I become better? How long do I go without slipping before I can answer “Yes” to the question “Are you kind to your family members?” It can’t be one week. A Month? Two Months?
How can I live higher laws if I cannot live these lower laws?
Am I ever going to make it to the Temple?
Go to back to Despair
I feel like I have finally broken out of this confusing cycle by realizing that during this journey of life every day we build ourselves up to be much more righteous and when we falter we have the atonement and repentance to lift ourselves up and try again. As long as we are on the upward climb we are doing well.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times that by doing in faith the following: Daily prayer, scripture reading, and keeping our minds constantly on the Savior Jesus Christ and the Savior make a very, very large difference.
…that came over Sunday to administer the Sacrament to me while I was home sick with what the doctor thinks is rheumatic fever…
I really appreciate everything my ward has done for me.
Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.
I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.
It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.
There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.
The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.
Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!
Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.
After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.
I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.
I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.
My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.
After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.
My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.
What can I do for you?
Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.
I told him about my problems and he counseled me.
My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.
“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”
My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.
He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.
“This is easy” he said.
“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”
He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.
My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.
My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.
I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.
What else good can come from doing home teaching?
Having a home teacher!
At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.
I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.
“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”
When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.
When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.
I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.
I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.
Thank you, Heavenly Father.
Just a little observation that I’d like to point out in fun.
Is it safe to say that Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers is the official unofficial snack of LDS Families?
- At every LDS Family’s house I’ve visited, they have Goldfish Crackers.
- For almost every sacrament meeting that I’ve been to, I see little children sitting quietly with their plastic zip lock baggy of Goldfish Crackers. I’ve tried it on my little boys this Sunday and it seems to have worked very well at keeping them quiet!
- The Cheddar Goldfish Crackers are so, so good.
I admit, when I first started going to Church I wanted to call the Bishop the Warden instead. I wanted to do so only because the Church was called a Ward. It seemed fit that the Warden would be in charge of the Ward. It took me two months to get that out of my system and I’m happy to report that I never once slipped up…at least I don’t think I did.
I don’t know if my Bishop will ever know how much I admire and appreciate him. Not because he holds a prestigious title, that he presides over Sacrament or is in the highest office of the Aaronic priesthood. The reason why I appreciate him is because he is just a man. He is a man who is kind, caring, humble, sincere and the first one to admit his faults.
If I did not know him and saw him walking down the street, I would know he was a righteous man, obedient to the Lord. He is a man that has the Spirit with him, always.
I know how hard his calling can be and he does it with a smile and with all his heart. He is one of the many men in my ward that I look up to as an example of what I want to become. He is a man that has his spiritual affairs in order.
Last Sunday for Church, I caught him in his office and met with him briefly about arranging to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood since I was Sustained in the last Stake conference. When he saw me, he smiled. He shook my hand and was genuinely happy to see me. We sat in his office for a second and I told him of my plans and how I wanted my best friend to ordain me.
Afterwards, he told me how he was proud of me and put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m trying as best as I can.” I replied. “The best you can is good enough and that is between you and the Lord.” Like many times before, he spoke about how he is not perfect, has his faults and he tries his best as well. He also spoke of the wonderful gift of the atonement and how he relies on it in his life. At that moment I felt the Spirit bring me Peace and Comfort. It washed away my feelings of inadequacies.
His kindness and humble attitude strengthened my testimony. He made my day. He made my week. Even though I thought something horrible happend less than three hours ago when a Deacon forgot to pass us the bread for Sacrament, I felt safe and set for another week.
He is just a man, but he is my Bishop. And I wish I could find a way to thank him for that.
I was a little disappointed on Sunday as I sat out in the lobby during Sacrament. I sat there with my family and waited with others as the bread was blessed. Afterwards, I expected a Deacon to come out the Church doors to pass Sacrament to us.
It never happened!
Usually when I am waiting for Sacrament, I have a feeling of peace and relief. It turned to horror as they began to bless the water. They forgot us! My family and three others. Even worse, a Deacon finally came out with the water tray. Everyone just took the water, except one or two people the Deacon missed again. I am just disappointed. It seemed that no one wanted to say anything for the sake of reverence. For the rest of the hour I was sad and disappointed…and little angry that I things were overlooked.
When I was passing sacrament over a month ago, I was taught how important the Sacrament Ordinance is and how we should make sure everyone has a chance take it and to be mindful and observant. I wasn’t sure what to do, to let the Bishop know we were missed or to seek out the President of the Deacons or the President of the Priests? To the readers – what are your opinions on this?
When the Deacon came around with the water tray, we took from him. My wife asked me “Does it still count?” My answer. “Yes.” But I am really not sure – I know that Sacrament is supposed to be done a certain way and we did not partake of the bread, but our intentions in being there would have to be enough. I finally found peace when a thought came to my mind – I can wait until next week. It will actually be three weeks without Sacrament since there was a Stake Conference last Sunday. It will be a very, very long week.
On another note, since I have children my wife is very helpful for tending to them during Sacrament meeting, sometimes I am guilty of letting her bear the entire burden of them. I don’t know what I would do without her, she makes things run much easier in the family. I feel I need to do better in helping and taking turns with the kids so she can get more out of Church. Maybe I am a little selfish, but I look forward to the three hours on Sunday and try to learn as much as I can in that time period.
The talks today were on repentance and I tried my best to listen to it. I couldn’t hear half the time. There were about six children in the lobby, not including my three, and some other members and the place sounded like a cafeteria with all the screaming, singing and chattering going on. The single speaker in the lobby ceiling was easily overpowered. I was annoyed at this. I try to keep it mellow when I have my kids in the lobby, if the baby starts to act up, I will actually leave the building until he calms down – as to not disturb anyone else in the lobby. It seemed no one was going to do this today.
A few months ago the Bishop talked to us about reverence and the importance of it and even more I now realize the magnitude of it. We should stay respectful of the people at Church. Sometimes people need Church more than others. At times I feel like I need Church more than another week. This time I felt I needed it more than ever. I needed time for self-reflection, learning, comfort and peace. The first hour made me feel like I was robbed from it between having half a sacrament and missing the talks.
I realize people aren’t perfect and things go wrong sometimes and forgiveness is all I can do. I did forget first hour and enjoy the second and third. I am looking forward to next week to start anew: renew that covenant, listen to those talks and avoid the lobby if I can help it.
This weekend was an amazingly spiritual one. Having the Aaronic Priesthood, I was blessed to participate in the sacrament ordinance and perform the blessing of the bread.
What is said during baptism, blessing of bread, blessing of water are the only three ordinances that must be said word for word in the church. Anticipating this day, I have been studying the sacrament bread blessing prayer and sacrament water blessing prayer for over two months and had it down to a science.
Of course when I was driving to church and walking down the hall to the Bishop’s office for a quick meeting, I ACTUALLY FORGOT THE WORDS! “It figures” I thought. However, having faith that I would be able to perform this ordinance by the grace of Heavenly Father, I did not fear.
Before discussing what is done for the blessing of the bread with the Bishop, we knelt down and he said a wonderful prayer: That I may be able to officiate successfully, have clear thought and speak clearly and precisely. This eased my tensions further.
After the meeting, I must’ve drank from the water fountain at least ten times, trying to thwart off a dry mouth. When my mouth is dry, my speech suffers. It didn’t work. I had a card that the ward mission leader gave me when I was conferred to the Aaronic Priesthood. It was titled “Suggestions for ordinance work” and it had the list of blessings and prayers in it. I read off the bread prayer over and over. It made me feel a little bit better.
Sitting up in the stand during sacrament meeting was going fine. The church was unusually crowded that day. The entire church was filled. So much that I could not see my family anywhere; they were in the lobby. “More people to witness me messing up and saying the prayer twice” I thought.
And then I found out why it was so crowded-there was a baby being blessed and there were a lot of people in town visiting. When the Bishop asked that the people participating in the blessing to come forward, two full middle rows stood up! It was revealed to me later that day that 320 people attended sacrament meeting.
The second hymn started and my heart started to beat faster. Nervousness set in. We all stood up in unison. We approached the table and uncovered the bread. I began breaking the bread…I got the end piece again! Those things are harder to break apart. While breaking the bread, I had the epiphany to make it the pieces slightly smaller so we could have enough for the entire congregation and so I would not have to prepare and bless the bread TWICE. I successfully got two trays done, the other three priest handled the rest.
I finished first and stood there reverently. The other priest continued breaking the bread until they were done. The hymn was finished and the sister playing the organ concluded the song. Panic set in!
Having been on the end of the line and wanting to avoid running into the priest next to me, I carefully moved back until I was clear and then proceeded forward and to the middle of the line. They raised the cloth up and held it for me. I proceeded to kneel down on my left knee and slide out the microphone tray.
The little light turned red-the mic was hot! “Here we go, you’ll do fine.” I said to myself. Now the microphone tray has a tiny microphone in it and has the bread prayer and water prayer so you can read it while speaking. In my opinion, it wasn’t designed very well. Having to put your mouth right at the microphone, you cannot really read the prayer very well. The words are too close.
All of the sudden, peace and calm came over me. I began to speak:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)
It was a miracle! I made it through and I think I didn’t mess up. I looked to my right at the Bishop for approval that I said it correctly.
He nodded his head “yes.” I had made it. I was even more relieved when I found out there was enough bread and the Teachers and Deacons began their way back to the sacrament table.
Later that afternoon, I was interviewed by my Bishop for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was an amazing Sabbath Day.