August 22, 2021
First, a quick addition to last week. Sunday evening Elder Kenison and I took a drive to see the 10-acre sunflower field near Richmond, Missouri. We’ve heard that the flowers are not as tall and spectacular as last year, but we found it was well worth the drive for us. It was thrilling.
This week was much less structured, but enjoyable none the less. We went to a small animal auction sponsored by the Amish just for fun. Darrel helped find a lost, but very important water line. It took a couple of days, but they were successful. He mowed for a day, spend two days replacing fence posts and doing some fence mending, and a half day cleaning up trees cut down in preparation for drilling a well.
A month or two ago the sisters at AOA exchanged nine-patch quilt blocks three different times. The idea was that each of us would put them together in our own way. I had not started unless thinking about it counts. This week I was able to get mine under way. I admit I am among those who have thought, “Why would anyone cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together again?”
Being here with two avid quilters and the exposure that has offered has begun to change my thinking. Although I have never liked puzzles and a quilt seems like the ultimate puzzle, I am finding some joy in this journey.
This week has been one of preparation. We have a General Authority coming next week! We are responsible for the dinner, along with our mentors, Elder and Sister Bastian. We’ve done some extra planning, shopping, and baking for that event. We brought two roasts from home to share at some point while serving and that day will be next Tuesday.
The book I am compiling is in the final stages of revision and editing. The time available this week has pushed that project nearly to the final printing stage. I’m super excited about how it is coming together because it started out as a dream and has taken at least 100 hours to put it together. There have been some small miracles along the way, so I believe Heaven is pleased with my efforts.
Late in the day on Saturday I felt impressed to take a small plate of cookies to our patriarch and talk to him about my book because of his vast knowledge of AOA, its history and future. We definitely got more than we bargained for. The Bonnets and two other couples, who are temple ordinance workers, had gathered for a study session. We showed up just as they were beginning. They graciously invited us in and included us in their amazing discussion. The Spirit in the Bonnet’s home is tangible. We felt beyond privileged to be a part of their evening. Elder Bonnet was in the St. Lewis Missouri Temple Presidency in 2003. He serves as the patriarch in our stake and is the only one authorized to give tours of AOA. It is a privilege to know Elder and Sister Bonnet.
Our sacrament meeting today was an answer to prayer. Forgive the following confession. I have struggled with the recent First Presidency’s message regarding Covid. I’ve read a few things to help me reconcile the issues that made that message difficult for me. None really helped. I have observed too much hypocrisy and dishonesty in connection with unfolding events to just set them aside and pretend that all is well in Zion. I feel that righteous principles and personal liberty have been compromised, using the pandemic to promote agendas I did not agree with. Suggesting compliance is evidence of faithfulness or charity does little to quiet my “don’t tread on me” flag.
Our first speaker talked about the anchor points of our testimony. He used repelling equipment to help us visualize the essential nature of using pitons. They are the metal spikes that are hammered into a rocky vertical surface, to which a carabiner and rope can be clipped, creating a solid anchor point. A climber risks death without them. Such anchor points in our testimonies have a spiritual counterpart.
One of the anchor points of my testimony is that the united voice of the First Presidency can only lead us the right direction. But finding peace, and understanding the recent counsel within the framework of current corruption in high places, had eluded me.
The second speaker today was our director. He pointed out that all Church decisions have pros and cons. With a principle as central as agency, if we only focus on the downside possibilities, we could find ourselves siding with those who rejected it in the pre-existence. Yet, there is an equally compelling upside because it is agency that provides the opportunities necessary to become as God. All Church decisions have to consider the full gamut of pros and cons and then align with what is right presently “all things considered.”
Comparing my wisdom, knowledge, and perspective with that of God, I should expect some surprises along the way because His ways are so much higher than mine. (How could I forget that?) His Church in all ages has had to exist within societies that are not Zion. Yet the Lord has honored and worked within those imperfect and often wicked societies to move His work and kingdom forward. It has required some give and take when all things were considered. Because God knows the future, He is the only one in a position to make a balanced decision. He is the only one who is capable of seeing all the things that must be considered.
We were reminded that one of the main reasons polygamy was discontinued was that tension between The Church and the U.S. Government had reached such a pitch that a threat to seize all Church assets and property, including our temples, had been made. One needn’t have a great imagination to see where resisting at that time would have led the Church and saints. We needed time to grow and mature. We needed our temples to complete the work of our dispensation.
President Nelson has said there is no work more important than gathering Israel on both sides of the veil. Suddenly I could see that resisting current regulations may not be the best course to take during a time when religious freedom is being openly attacked on every side. Perhaps God can see things happening in secret chambers that I know nothing of. Perhaps God can see things in the future that I cannot see. Only He can decide whether resistance against overreach and oppression is best “all things considered.” That felt much better than pretending such doesn’t exist.
For the first time I felt a sense of peace. I was reminded that Christ has overcome the world and in time any resistance against wicked organizations of great power will be provided.
Speaking of the great council to be held at Adam-ondi-man, Joseph Fielding Smith taught, “In this council Christ will take over the reins of government, officially on this earth…Until this grand council is held, Satan shall hold rule in the nations of the earth; but at that time thrones are to be cast down and man’s rule shall come to an end — for it is decreed that the Lord shall make an end of all nations. (Doctrine and Covenants 87:6)
Elder Hobley referred me to the site below. It presents the points I made much better and makes sense to me. It has offered a measure of insight, perspective, and peace.
We’re heading into what we expect to be another amazing week. We can’t wait to share it with you! Thanks for your love, prayers, and support!
Elder and Sister K.