Here I am back at a Sunday Blog Post. We’ve both been busy, but me in less observable ways. We had two treasured experiences with Patriarch Bonnett and his sweet wife, Darlene this week. They spoke in Sacrament meeting last Sunday. The temple is an important part of their lives, and they carry a portion of that Spirit with them.
Sister Bonnett shared a poem about temple work that enhanced our visit this week. Here’s a brief excerpt. “I dressed in white for you today. I sit in a beautiful chapel and look once again at your name and wonder what you look like…How I hope we will bond for eternity…as my hands and words act for you…Finally, I walk to the veil…I step through for you and walk into the Celestial Room…Later you and I will meet, and I will know you. Your name will be familiar.”
Elder Bonnett spoke of his responsibility as a sailor at the north pole to keep the DEW of the ship open and functioning at all times. This Direct Early Warning system was designed to protect the ship and its men from surprise enemy attack. He suggested we need the same in our lives. Our DEW system is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is our responsibility to keep it operational and that requires focused daily effort. This preparation requires more than casual membership. It requires sufficient oil in our lamps to keep them burning when the night is long and dark. There is no question that the oil referred to in the parable of the Ten Virgins is symbolic of the Holy Spirit which lights our way. Oil reserves required in our day provide spiritual strength “which diligence and devotion in God’s service alone can insure.” Bruce R. McConkie (See D&C 45:56-57)
My takeaway from scripture study this week included steps we can take to insure the oil in our lamps will be sufficient in the dark days ahead. President Nelson referred to this process as spiritual momentum. He suggested five ways to promote this.
- Get on the covenant path and stay there.
- Discover the joy of daily repentance.
- Learn about God and how He works.
- Seek and expect miracles.
- End conflict in your personal life.
It occurred to me that it mattered little which area I chose to begin with. Without doubt a sincere effort in any will naturally raise the level of the others in the process. Miracles are so much a part of life here, that I felt another choice would be best for me to focus. I know how to repent, but discovering the “joy of daily repentance” is still a work in progress. However, I’ve discovered that using a few minutes before falling asleep at the end of the day helps me identify areas I could have and should have done better. A firm resolve to do better the next day in similar areas requires making a plan. Often I identify initial thoughts rather than actual acts. I believe they are more easily repented of, so I assume paced progress will be the result.
I have found what C. S. Lewis expressed so well. “When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. The excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected that I was caught off my guard. I had not time to collect myself… They would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth! If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.” My focus has been to identify the “rats” while they are small and less likely to multiply!
We also had the opportunity this week to have dinner with the Bonnetts and receive some additional instruction after our day in the Kansas City Temple. The most powerful takeaway from that evening was Elder Bonnett’s sharing his training as a printer early in life and the unresolved miracles that accompanied the printing of the Book of Mormon. From the perspective of a printer the amount of paper and ink needed was beyond the reach of those involved. It fosters question which has never been addressed. “Where did they come from? Who paid for them? Why are there no journals that recorded seeing the massive shipments come into town and be unloaded?
Likewise, the print set up process resulted in unavoidable errors even with master typesetters. Mr. Grandin was young and very experienced, yet for this massive project, very few type-set mistakes happened. Who were the reviewers who corrected any errors prior to printing? The time frame needed for completion was beyond what a small shop with few workers should have been able to accomplish. Yet, 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon were available prior to the organization of the Church on April 6, 1830. Between August 24, 1829, and March 26, 1830, a miracle happened. It was a miracle I had not considered before, and I found it faith promoting. (See “Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street” by Gordon L. Weight)
Much of my week has been spend making arrangements for our trip to Winter Quarter’s in October, taking care of last-minute details for our visit to Fort Leavenworth tomorrow, and moving towards production of the year end video for Adam-ondi-Ahman. I’ve easily found some tender mercies in each of those efforts.
I’ve loved studying the Psalms this month is a way I never have before. Our instructors challenged us to write an original psalm. Mine definitely has neither the words nor feelings of those recorded in the Bible, but it expressed feelings I’ve had as the end of our mission approaches. How will our time in this “outdoor temple” influence what awaits in the world we must return to?
Ode to Adam-ondi-Ahman (by Karen Kenison) To: Sandra, a teacher, musician, friend
Should darkness gather round me, storms flash or fierce winds blow,
My soul knows refuge in a land where Father Adam’s family dwelt.
Where angels came and God, Himself, to noble ones long ago—
With a promise to return again and greet His righteous, fold.
Saints through millennia made pilgrimage there to worship God, And connecting past with present found renewed hope in their promised future. Fond thoughts will return me to this place I’ll ever love— For my eyes have seen its splendor, spring hues and autumn’s glory, Fruitful fields, misty valleys, flowing river, sunset’s glow.
My feet have trod the winding paths, my heart learned the solace that they hold. Their stories untold inspired me! They whispered hold on! See it through!
In God’s Spirit of peace and grace, my soul found consolation there. And I glimpsed a slice of Zion with beloved friends celestial bound.
Light gathered there still flickers, it’s tranquility beckons with each thought. These will ever dispel darkness, calm encircling storms, those flashing from within. For I once lived at Adam-ondi-Ahman. It’s a part of me! It is my home!
God is good! Life is good! The Savior lives! The Gospel is true! Knowing that is not everything, but for me it is enough! Love from Adam-ondi-Ahman!
Elder and Sister Kenison