The Atonement or what does it all really mean?

I had the opportunity to teach a lesson this last Sunday about the Atonement to my 12-14 year old class. We had to start out with the basics and I feel it is too good to not share some of it.

First of all, what is it?

Well, we all sin. Either we have in the past or will in the future. It is because we are not perfect and mistakes happen. We are not perfect. We are here to learn that.

We are not able to return to Heavenly Father because of those sins because he cannot be in the presence of sinners.

Therefore, we need someone to atone for our sins. To pay for them so that we can return to Heavenly Father when the time comes.

What kind of person should that be? Well, I found the best description here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/he-lives-all-glory-to-his-name?lang=eng

Richard D. Scott said this of Jesus Christ’s challenges:

First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.

Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart, He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.

Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with only His own strength and capacity.

Wow! Now that we put it this way,  Jesus did do something amazing for us!

Now, can we still sin and be able to enter in the presence of Heavenly Father? No.

So what can we do and how do we learn about it?

We are to repent (see the sin within ourselves and never do it again, doing all within ourselves to repay what we did). That is simple-even the worst sins can be let go.

We learn in going to church, reading our scriptures, listening to Apostles who will teach us, and praying for understanding.

With what Jesus did for us,  is it important for us to do all we can to keep from being part of the pain that he suffered?

Look within ourselves and see what we can do to become better. In doing so, we will be greatly blessed!

Aside

I have the opportunity to grow, heal, ask questions and teach others what I have learned. Today for example, there was a talk on adversity, I taught a lesson on how to become a leader using the spirit of God and had a lesson taught to me concerning food storage and how it affects us now. My husband also had a lesson on ideas on how to improve finances in our home.

I am thankful that what we learn we can take with us home and take action on during the week.

I see myself like a pitcher. All week, it is drained a little at a time by dealing with daily “worldly things”. On Sundays, it is refilled to the top. If I am lucky, I go to the Temple during the week and give the pitcher a chance for a quick refill that can then be a blessing to others around me as well.

Church can tire me out, and I find that a nap is beneficial, but if I do not go, the pitcher is drained and I have no shield or strength to stand up to the daily things I have to deal with through the week. I am not as strong to stand up to the wickedness that is around me as I want to be. With this as my incentive, I find that there is nothing more valuable as taking time to go to church.

May you find ways to fill your pitcher and stay strong against the adversary.

I love to go to church on Sundays.

Aside

I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. That means that I am a Mormon. I am a Mormon because I choose to be. I have been introduced to other religions, beliefs and ideas and I found that this form of teaching about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is right for me.

But what about all of the rules taught in the church? I find that the rules that are taught are to help me to learn to love myself unconditionally and to love others unconditionally as well.

I learn that there is an order to life instead of chaos.

I learn that we have the right to make good and bad decisions and we have to live with the consequences with whichever choice we make.

We are not alone in our choices. They do affect those around us. It is because of the many choices we have before us that it is a wonderful gift to have an organization that will teach us what is good and bad as well as why.

Yes, I do ask a lot of why questions. But, I find that those are answered as I am asking them.

I believe in the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I am willing to do everything I can to learn about it and to teach others what I have learned.

I have a testimony of the Gospel. I believe in it. I can have hope in my life knowing that I will be able to live after death. I know that this church and it’s organizations are right for me.  I also understand that it may not be the perfect answer for others in whom I love-both family and friends. The only thing I ask is that if you have questions, ask them. If you do not understand something, find the answer from a correct source. When you find out, take action in what is correct.

I am a Mormon because I choose to be

My response to incorrect concepts

SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MORMONISM AND CHRISTIANITY

1. Mormon scripture teaches that all the various Christian denominations, particularly the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, are all considered by Jesus Christ to be “wrong.”

2. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that there is more than one god who created this world, that there are many gods who rule over other worlds, and that worthy Mormons may one day become gods themselves. Even though Mormons claim there is only one God for them, they still believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate gods who are only one in their purpose rather than in a personal being that they share eternally.

3. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that God the Father is an exalted man with flesh and bones.

4. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father has at least one wife by which we were all literally born from as spirit children prior to coming to this earth. Some of these prophets and apostles have even taught that Jesus had wives and children.

5. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father had a Father whom He followed as Jesus had followed Him. This follows from the preceding points.

6. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that there are many things that Jesus did not create. For example, He did not create our spirits, nor did He create Lucifer, nor did He even create the planet that He was born on as a spirit. The reason for this is because Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer are literally brothers, and we as humans are all the younger brothers and sisters of them. We were all born of heavenly parents, who did the creating work of their world (not all worlds whatsoever) before we arrived spiritually in heaven.

7. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that we should not pray directly to Jesus. Rather, they can only pray directly to the Father in the name of Jesus.

 

My response to this: The title is incorrect. Mormons are Christians. Check out the title on the church buildings “The church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.

1. We are not taught that all other denominations are wrong, but that they were correct at their beginnings as much as they could be, but that through the years, many of the things that were correct became incorrect by dictations of the congregations or their leaders. I knew someone back in the 80’s by the name of Rex who mapped out the differences between all religions and he had done his research personally and had each of the leaders review his data before he published it.

2. We do not believe that the Holy Ghost is a god. We believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose-which is to teach us (Heavenly Father’s children) how to become like him. They are separate beings-not in one body. If this is so, why was Jesus talking to the Father while on the cross. Was he talking to himself or to another being? When he was baptized, in Matthew chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 it quotes: 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

This shows that there are 3 beings and not just one because if there was only one, who spoke?

3. Is it hard to imagine that we were created in the image of our father? In Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27, it quotes: 26 ¶And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

What is the image? A mirror or something more substantial such as a body of flesh and bone? It is comforting that when I die, I will be able to reach out and touch Heavenly Father and be able to hug him and not some puff of air.

4. Is it so difficult to think that Heavenly Father has a wife? That she is so sacred to him that he protects her and her name so that it does not become a swear word such as we have treated his and his son’s names in this world? If it is common sense that it takes a male and a female to create a baby, would there be an example somewhere that was determined before we were put on this earth? Yes, it is possible that Jesus had a wife and maybe even children. We do not discuss this because it is not important to our personal growth. There are other religions that consider this possibility or there would not have been a book created called “The DaVinci Code” which discusses this and other religions’ beliefs. I have read it and found it fascinating, but if Jesus had children, what would we do about it? Let them live their lives as he would have wanted them to do or worship them because they have his blood? I am sure that he would not have wanted us to do the latter for that would defeat the purpose of them being here.

5. It is possible that Heavenly Father had a father. It would make sense as well. But, why not? Why believe there is only one possibility? We are told that all will unfold and we will understand after the second coming of Jesus. So why dwell on this?

6. Is it so hard to believe that we were all brothers and sisters and that we are children of Heavenly Father and that some of us chose to not follow the plan of salvation as much as others? That as family, this would mean that Jesus and Lucifer are related? Personally, I have sometimes wondered what Lucifer may look like. The answer that fits the most would be that he looks like us. Not with horns and a tail, not with a pointed face, but like someone who may live next door. The difference between these 2 people that are mentioned are the fact that they personally choose to follow different pathways. Which pathway do we want to be on?

7. In our bible dictionary, this is what we are taught about prayer: As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings. Jesus teaches us at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 verses 6-13: 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

If Jesus is telling us to pray to the Father, why should we do anything else? Please note that I used the quotes from the King James Version of the Bible only. This is easily found and easily referenced.

I truly believe that we are here to learn to love ourselves unconditionally and to love others unconditionally as well. That if we do so, we would do our best to not hurt those we love and if we teach others to do this as well, that it would make this a better world. To me, the “Mormon” church teaches how to do this with all of their “rules” and I am glad that I have a goal to reach throughout my life, that I am not alone and that there is a way to do this.

Now, about THE KISS

There are many types of kisses. There are the innocent kiss of the child who expresses their love to their parent, the friendship cheek kiss, the movie on screen kiss, the passionate kiss, the French kiss and the kiss of love between a man and a woman.

President Kimball condemned the French kiss as “An abomination that stirs passions to the eventual loss of virtue. Even if timely courtship justifies the kiss it should be a clean, decent, sexless one.” Also, “Kissing has been prostituted and has degenerated to develop and express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble. What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels and robbed of sacredness?”

To me, the kiss is the expression of the soul. Therefore, I do my best to be careful as to who I share that with. If a kiss becomes deeper than just a gentle kiss, then somehow, hands begin to move into areas that they should not be. That is where we become burned by crossing lines that we should be careful of.

Think about this: If you kiss someone and your mind goes blank and all you are focused on is the kiss and the next one and the next one, and the feelings that they are bringing to light, how can you stop? I admit, I know this well. Yes, there are times that my mind goes blank and all that I have done my best to do-to stay good-begins to fly out the window. I have trusted the other person who is participating in the kiss to stay sane enough to stop. This is where, for all of us, hearts are open and trust is being challenged.

Instant physical gratification becomes a drive. We need to decide who is driving? Are our souls important enough to put on the breaks? Are we strong enough in ourselves to be able to kindly help our companion put on their breaks as well?

I heard of a couple who cherished the kiss so much that they did not kiss until they were across the altar in the Temple being sealed together. I have a friend who cherished the kiss enough to wait 40 years before she allowed a kiss on her lips. Yes, she dated before that time. She even was kissed, but she would always turn her head so that the kiss she received was on her cheek.

Ok, I will admit that I was not been strong enough to be like either the couple or my friend, but I find that I can forgive myself for my weakness and each day try to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger.

I am now able to be with someone who will share with me the gentle kiss of love and I wish that you may have the same desire and opportunity.

Friendship before love

This is an interesting concept, but very true. Take the time to become friends before getting married. Get to know each other, laugh together, work out problems together.

If the only thing that is making the relationship happen is the excitement of what will happen in the bedroom, what will happen when the activity decreases? What will we have to talk about with each other? Will we care? Will we go out and have interests that are the same? Will he be focused on sports and I will be focused on hobbies? What about agreeing on what color to paint our home? Can we agree on that? Will we be able to agree on where we want to go on vacation? Will he want to go skiing and I want to go to a beach? Will we be able to compromise?

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “While one is young and well and strong and beautiful or handsome and attractive, he or she can (for the moment) almost name the price and write the ticket; but the time comes when these temporary things have had their day; when wrinkles come and aching joints; when hair is thin and bodies bulge; when nerves are frayed and tempers are taut; when wealth is dissipated…”

There comes a time when those who flattered us and those who’s wit and charm deceived us may leave us to our fate. Those are times when we want friends, good friends, and common friends, loved ones, tied with immortal bonds-people who will nurse our illnesses, tolerate our eccentricities, and love us with pure, undefiled affection.

Then we need an unspoiled companion who will not count our wrinkles, remember our stupidities nor remember our weaknesses; then is when we need a loving companion with whom we have suffered and wept and prayed and worshipped; one with whom we have suffered sorrow and disappointments, one who loves us for what we are or intend to be rather than what we appear to be in our gilded shell.”

Right now, our world is focused on physical attraction. If we look good, our companion will love us. This may be why there are so many programs and ways to keep us looking young. We can have our bodies cut to look smaller, we can replace hair in the right places, remove hair from the wrong places, and we can dye our hair, remove wrinkles and plump ourselves in places that may begin to droop.

I am not saying that we should not be physically attractive; I believe that we should do that for ourselves and not for someone else. It is acceptable to be physically attracted and attractive to our companion, but remember, there is so much more than that to make a marriage last. When we are looking for a companion, looking inside the heart is just as important as looking at the appearance of that person.

Yes, I admit, I know what it is that I am attracted to. I even have another friend who told me what he is attracted to-he is drawn to the “Miss America” types because that is what was typical in his family. No, I am not one of those, but we find that we still can be friends, we laugh together, and we dance together. We share hopes with each other because we are friends. We encourage each other and I am finding that our friendship has lasted longer than a couple of his relationships. No, we know we are not to be together and we are fine with that.

It is good to have a friend. I have a female friend who has watched me through my last 2 marriages. She has stood by me through both of them and we still take time out to talk and to support each other. Now, I found a guy who will be my friend and be my companion and want to be with me for eternity… Oh yes, is that not what we are trying to do? Finding our eternal friends and companions?

We have been married to each other now for 2.5 years and it still feels like we are eternal companions. We have taken the time to become friends before we married. He has supported me through the tough times as well as being there for the good. We have goals from daily to eternal. We never look for the negative about each other and we try to encourage each other in our desires.

My hope is that when we are dating, we take the time to become friends before we step into a deeper relationship.

“Where there is honesty, other virtues will follow.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “Where there is honesty, other virtues will follow.”

Honesty shows through the eyes. Especially can be seen in the eyes of the one that we love. When they become dishonest, there is darkness in their eyes mixed with hurt. Because we love them, we begin to hurt with them, not knowing how to help them heal.

Understanding this, if we become dishonest, it can be seen by the ones who love us and they want to help us to stop, but they do not know how.

President David O. McKay said, “Honesty and sincerity are the basic virtues of a noble character. Honesty… is the first virtue mentioned in the 13th Article of Faith. It is founded on the first principles of human society and is the foundation principle of moral manhood. It is impossible to associate manhood with dishonesty. To be just with one’s self and to others, one must be honest with himself and with others. This means honesty in speech as well as in actions. It means to avoid telling half truths as well as untruths.”

 

What is “Totally Honest”? Does this mean that people accept being partially dishonest? That partly honest is a good thing?

No, we need to be honest in everything.Yes, it is a hard thing to be. It is a hard thing to do. Being honest can hurt. Remember, though, that with being honest, we can be kind. We can speak and act with love. That is one of the things that we are here to learn and to be. Watch what happens when we are honest. If you can see your whole life without feeling guilty about anything, then you are a truly honest person. Life improves, people trust us with all of their hearts, and we become strong.

Other virtues, such as consideration, excellence, faithfulness, generosity, hope, goodness, righteousness, purity and incorruptibility become easier to attain when we are honest with ourselves and others around us.

Trust Heavenly Father to guide us in our endeavors to being honest.

It is much easier to make changes in yourself before marriage than after marriage.

1. The motivation to change after marriage is not as strong because the couple is involved in everyday matters and will not take the time to make the changes.

2. A couple is trying to impress each other, so they are on their best behavior at all times until the wedding day. After that, they are able to let their hair down and show their true selves. Also, when this happens, they are able to take each other for granted.

3. After marriage we can be hurt more easily. We give our trust to the person we thought that we married and now, they see us when we are more vulnerable and they have a chance to criticize instead of encourage.

This leads to the word “Pride” which halts all progression.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from President David O. McKay, “During courtship keep your eyes wide open, but after marriage keep them half shut!”I was married to my first husband over 25 years ago. I felt very old because of looking back and finding that instead of encouraging changes within myself during that marriage and to encourage it within him; we did fail through each of the 3 steps listed. In doing so, instead of finding the good in each other and encouraging each other, we sharpened #3.

Pride was a downfall. Pain is all I can remember of the last part of our marriage before I had to stand up and make the change in our lives. I found that after our divorce, I had to re-create myself and to allow myself to grow.

Now, I encourage the best in each person that I know and meet. I weep for the pain in my friends. I shout for joy when life is good. I have changed who I was to who I am now.

I believe that each day we have the opportunity to make changes within ourselves. Not only before marriage, but after. When I am sad, I know that I have friends who share my sadness, but also want me to feel happy. They are there for me and I appreciate all of them. When I change who I am, I try to be better.

I have a saying that I started a while ago that gives me hope. “I am as perfect as I can be today.”

Each day I wake up and I find that I have a clean slate. I am to decide what I am going to do with that day. If I make a mistake, I try to address it immediately so that I can say that quote in the evening. There are many times that I have not been able to say it, but then I have another day to work on it.

When we are in a relationship, I hope that each of us realizes that we are connected with someone who is also trying their best to be perfect. Encourage each other, find the good in each other, and shout for joy when your partner achieves what they are trying to do.

Communication and kindness are the keys to a good relationship!

Communication and kindness have an important role in any relationship.

This is not only for the Husband and Wife relationship, but will work in all forms-work, children, parents, siblings, etc.

I found that this is a big reason that my first marriage did not work. We forgot to really communicate. I do not even remember when he kissed me with the feelings of love behind the kiss. We only talked with each other to just get the day taken care of. Planning where the kids were to be, what responsibilities we had to take care of in church, house responsibilities, etc. I found that all I did was do my best to keep the world looking normal for the kids. I was so focused on working on this, that I avoided him when he was talking bad about me to anyone who would listen. I felt hurt, but I would not say anything in my defense because I believed that my problems were to stay in the home and not to be aired out on a weekly basis. When I did talk to anyone, I was trying to figure out how to fix things in my life and wanted a second opinion to give me options that I was not seeing.

The thing that I did wrong was that I did not talk to him about what he was doing. I did not confide in him anymore because I felt he would tell people-again. Communication broke down. I became his mother and told him what to do instead of being his wife. When this happened, there was no such thing as kindness. I became sharp. He was a sick man(which happened during our life together), and I lost patience with him after doing everything that I could to help him fix the problem-which was unfixable.

This is the example of when we lose sight of communicating with love and being kind to each other.

I can say that my next marriage had a lot more communication. It just was not spiritually-based. We did not have the 3-way communication we should have had. We did not include Heavenly Father in our lives like I wanted and we should have done.

What was wrong with both of these examples? We did not communicate with kind and tender hearts. Anger and Pride have a way of jumping in when we are not looking. President David O. McKay said, “I’m going to tell you the most important secret of human life. The most critical need of the human soul is to be kind.”

We need to be quick to forgive and let go. I have many friends who are currently having to learn this part.

It is hard, but to forgive without being asked is the greatest gift a person can do for their loved one. It heals and improves a relationship when we use the gifts that we have been taught,such as; kindness, compassion, truth and forgiveness.

We need to have common interests so that we have something to talk about. Yes, sometimes it is good to have someone who is your complete opposite in your life. They encourage you to grow and to learn new things. But, it is someone that we have things in common with that become our best friends.

What are common interests? Hobbies, sports, music, church, family, politics, even types of dating would be a common interest. When I went to dances, I try to ask odd questions to throw off the guy that I was talking with. In doing so, they found that they begin to talk with me for much longer than the end of the song.

My goal was to learn about the person I am with instead of just thinking that he was cute or what he may be thinking of me. I try to take the time to actually have a real conversation. In doing so, I found that I have been creating a large circle of friends that endure even to today.

My marriage is a great example of this! Communication was a hard part of my husband’s life before we were married. In his vows to me, he promised to make an effort to communicate with me even when it was hard. I do my best to listen and not shut him out. Instead of pointing fingers when a difficulty happens, we keep each other’s hearts as a primary focus. We work hard to make this happen.

This does not happen overnight and it has to be worked on continually. But, with our making effort for each other, it has really created a wonderful relationship!

What is a testimony?

My definition is that it is a true belief in an idea that should be shared to strengthen it. You can have a Testimony in anything and anyone.

But the one focus that all are concerned with is this:
Who is Heavenly Father?
Who is Jesus Christ?
Who is Joseph Smith?
Do I believe in these people and what they have done for me?
What is the Gospel?
If questioned, can I stand up for these beliefs?
Do I have experiences that will enhance these beliefs and do I have the ability to share these experiences?
When you have the ability to answer these questions to the deepest part of your soul, you have developed a Testimony. If you only have a little bit of a belief, it is still a Testimony. This is when you are to share it with others. Listen to others share their beliefs. Each person has the ability to help strengthen each other and support each other in the time that is used to grow.  If you have a testimony and do nothing with it, it will shrink and die. Treat it like a living object, for that is what a testimony is. If you share it and do everything that you can to help it grow by praying, reading scriptures, and all other experiences that you encourage to come into your life, it will grow.
It is good for a child to listen to their parent’s testimonies. It helps them to know what one is and how to nurture it.

I do remember a time when I was in Alaska and my family was the only ones in our branch. We would have a testimony meeting each first Sunday of the month and we were to share our beliefs. Because there were normally only 4 or 5 of us, we would each have the opportunity to share each time. As a teenager, there were times that I did not want to share. But the hard part was; if I was the last one to speak, all of the others would sit there and stare at me until I said something.
Now, speaking is not the only way to share your testimony. Living it is also a really good way to help it grow. During the same time that I was there in Alaska and this was my experience, I found that I had many opportunities to stray away from the church. I had the opportunities to smoke, drink, have sex, and all other temptations that were available to me at the time. Instead, with the strength of my parent’s testimonies, I found that I was happier if I stood my ground. I found that it was easier to stick to what I believed. I learned that I valued myself too high to give in to these temptations, though some of them were hard to resist because then I would fit in instead of being alone.  Throughout the years afterwards, I found that the experiences that I had up there, I carried with me through the hard-times and the better times. They taught me what I really believed.
Now, I find that many of the youth have been experiencing a small part of what I experienced at their age. This is through an experience called the “Trek”. I have sent 2 of my 3 children through this experience and have found that they found out a lot about themselves through this. For those of my readers who do not know what the “Trek” is, it is an experience that is created for a group of teenagers and leaders. They are to dress up in the pioneer clothing and push a handcart for a number of days. They are split up in families and they are given food to eat. They are not allowed anything that is more than 13 pounds each and they have a strict list of items that they are allowed to carry with them. This means no electronics! At the beginning of the experience, they have adults go through all of their items. If there are any items that are not to be taken with them for the next few days, the items are taken away. I found that there is quite a large pile of items that is left behind with each Trek. After all of the walking and the time spent together, these children have the opportunity to reflect on their lives and what they do have.
When I moved to Alaska, I was the last one packed, so I left quite a lot of my things behind and took very little with me-mostly clothing. All of my other things-things that would have been perfect for a girl, were left behind.  When all possessions are left behind, what do you have left? Your scriptures, your journal, and some clothes to keep you warm.

With this type of experience, you can either turn against the church, or support it. There is no fence-sitting. There is no complacency. You have to choose.
I am truly grateful for these experiences because I know who I am. I know what I believe and I do not waste my years trying to decide what I want to do.  I love the church. I love the gospel and what it means to me. I love Heavenly Father. I love our Savior. I am truly grateful for Joseph Smith and what he had to do to bring the gospel back for each of us.