|Oct. 9th, 2007 11:41 am Some Thoughts and Beginnings of Plans|
I said my prayers this morning. Not only does saying my prayers in the morning when I wake up make my day much better and brighter and easier to deal with, but they help me wake up in the morning. Which is funny because they help me sleep better and deeper when I say my prayers before going to bed. How weird is that? But it makes sense, all the same. (FVE #1-D)
I’ve emailed my mother, my grandmother, and my Aunt Mary (she’s not really my Aunt, but one of my mom’s best friends that she went through college with) about what they think are important attributes for being a mother. I've also emailed my sister and my cousin, my Aunt Joanne, and my choir and math teachers because they are two of my favorite female teachers (and my choir teacher is just my favorite teacher, period) and they have wonderful kids.
Being a mother is very important to me, and should be to others. Children are wonderful, and I absolutely love them. I want lots of them, and it’s my responsibility and duty as a woman, a mother-to-be, and a daughter of Heavenly Father to prepare as well as I can for motherhood. Besides, doing so would be fun and like I said, I know I’ll need all the help and advice and I can get, and I’ll take advice from women I trust on how to deal with children, especially babies. I’m not as good with babies as will older children. School age children, I mean. (DVE #2)
Right now I’m watching a video called “A Voice From the Dust” that I got from my Elf Queen Duckie. It’s set back in the early 1800s, way before the Civil War, and seeing it almost makes me wish I lived back then. There are many things that I could’ve done back then that I can’t do now because it doesn’t need to be done. Old things girl did in those times, like churn butter, card wool, spin thread, make my own clothes, milk cows, draw water from wells and pump water by hand… I probably wouldn’t enjoy it for more than a little while, a few weeks at most, but I certainly would like to try it. But I’m needed in this time, so no dice. It’s alright though, I can think of several things that I’d miss in that time. Electricity, running water, showers, Burger King.… =D
Toodles. I gots reading to do.
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|Oct. 9th, 2007 10:27 am Wedding Plans|
So, I was thinking about my wedding (you know, the one that hasn’t happened yet) and I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days because my Mom and I were talking about her wedding. My grandfather didn’t go to my Mom’s wedding, but my mom forgave him. And I was watching the last few episodes of Bam’s Unholy Union, which is about him getting married. So I’ve had marriage on the brain for a little bit.
Anyway, and I was thinking about everything, like where I wanted to get married and when. I’ve decided I want to get married in March. Not this March, just a March. That way, everything is in order. My brother’s birthday is in January, my parents’ anniversary is in February, I’ll be married in March so that will be my anniversary and my brother Blake’s birthday, my birthday and my sister’s birthday are in April, Mother’s day and my mom’s birthday are in May, and Father’s day and my boyfriend’s birthday are in June. Now if only my dad was born in July instead of August. But maybe I can time it so my first child is born in July, the second one in September. I refuse to have children in October or December because I don’t want my children having to compete for birthday presents with Christmas presents or have their birthday parties compete with Halloween parties. Anyway….
I want to get married in Florida. Why? I want my grandparents to be able to come, and my Grandma Barbara and my Grandpa Marvin can’t travel anymore, so I’d be getting married in Jacksonville. Maybe at my cousin Barbie’s house, where my Aunt Kay used to live (her mother). They have a big backyard. Or somewhere. I don’t know. The exact location isn’t that important, it’s not going to happen for at least 2-3 years.
I can’t believe it, though. By the time I get married, my five new cousins will be old enough to be in the ceremony. Wow, Dade will be almost eight and Bubba will have started school. Jeffie Number Two will be walking and talking, and so will my cousin Mary’s baby, and so will Kayli, the Baby-Who-Bites. =D
I even know who my bridesmaids will be- Sara, Lorien, Sammy, Megan, Julie, Belicia, Shannon, Mary, Brittany McGee, and Lindsey. I’ll have a bride’s man, too, Belicia’s brother Colter, the only boy in the entire group. And my Matron of Honor will be my sister, and my Maid of Honor will be my neice, Hailey.
That’s really all I’ve thought about, except that I’m going to be wearing black and white striped stockings under my wedding dress. And if I get married in white, there will be splashes of color throughout the outfit. I hate wearing all white. And if I can get away with it, I’d love to wear Buttercup’s dress that she wears at the end of the Princess Bride, including the crown. We can attach the veil to it.
You know what I would absolutely love? I would just love to have the reverse of my prom dress from this year. Instead of a black dress with red sleeves (interchangeable with white or blue sleeves), I want a white dress of that style with maybe pale blue sleeves. And an extended skirt of pale blue, like, the soft, pale blue of ice, you know. And on the white dress I want gold beading or embroidery. Yellow gold, not white gold.
And I have to wonder what I’m going to do about that old rhyme. You know the one. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
For the old thing, I guess there’s something one of the women in my family has that they’ll give me. Maybe Matt’s mom has something. Who knows? The blue thing will be my class ring- the stones are blue. Something new would be whatever jewelry I get to match the embroidery on my dress and those too will have blue stones. Or maybe I’ll get white gold and blue jewelry and forget the class ring. I still want blue stones, though. In which case I’ll need a new something new, and that can be… my makeup. All new makeup just for my wedding. Maybe. I don’t know. And something borrowed… hahaha, Lorien’s bobby pins. =D
I even know exactly how I want my wedding ring to look, and my engagement ring. My engagement ring should be yellow gold, with blue stones and one pear-shaped diamond. But my wedding ring, I want it to be the exact reverse of my Class Ring. Instead of yellow gold, I want it to be white gold, and where the blue stones are on my class ring, I want diamonds, and where the diamonds are, I want blue stones.
Well, that’s about it on the wedding plans. Those are just basics that I thought of while watching the show and listening to my mom. I’m out for now.
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|Oct. 8th, 2007 03:47 pm Good Works Value Experience #3|
I’m supposed to list 3 ways that I can help others, cheer them up and make them feel better, or help them bear their burdens.
Well, I’ve been told by a lot of my friends that no matter what mood they’re in before I talk to them, I always make them feel better. I’m not sure what it is about me that does it, but I’m glad I can help.
One thing I do for my boyfriend that one of my friends said counted. I was surprised because I thought you had to start the “good work” with intention of doing it for YW but she said that what I did for Matt counted because I did it to make him feel better. Almost every morning I send him an email because he hates school and so I do it to make him feel better before he goes out every day. It’s just random tidbits about my life and what’s going on with me, and it’s no big deal, really, but he said it made him feel better and helped him deal with stress during the school day. So that’s one thing I do to help him- send him encouraging emails before he goes out to school.
Another thing I used to do when I was in school was leave goodbye notes for my Dad in the morning. I had 0 hour, so when it was light enough out I’d get up before him and leave before he got up, so I always left him a little note telling him that I made it out and that I hoped he had a good day and stuff. Although I do suppose that counts as the written version of what I do for Matt.
So for the second thing I do, is hug people. Not random people, but my friends. That’s something a friend of mine, Raphael, once told me. No one has ever been so glad to see him as I have been, and I saw him 3 times a week every morning in English class. He said that, as annoying as it sometimes was, he always knew how glad I was to see him and it made him feel appreciated. But I do that for everyone, hug them and get all excited when they’re around. So that’s a second thing.
Thirdly, when I know a friend of mine is upset or sad, I write them poetry. I know that sounds dumb, but like once, my friend D was upset because someone had been mean to her, so I wrote her a silly poem that cheered her up and made her smile, about how cool she was and telling her cool things about herself. I’ve done that for more than D, I’ve done that for a lot of my chick friends.
Well, there’s my write-up for that. I’ll add to it as I think of things.
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|Oct. 8th, 2007 03:25 pm Faith Value Experience #1-C|
So, I said my goodnight prayers, my wake up prayers, and said grace for breakfast. This isn’t just a record of those things, though. I’ve just had an epiphany that, in the same way our prayers must be sincere and heartfelt, and not merely mindless repetitions, invocations, and benedictions, our journal recordings should not be simply a spiritless record of facts. This is not a ledger or a Spiritual budget or something like that, it’s not a textbook or a tally chart. This is supposed to be something I put thought and prayerful time and spirit and effort into. So I’m also going to reflect a little. I will do a thrice weekly reflection on how prayer has affected my life so far.
You know I don’t just pray when I get up and when I go to bed. I pray when I need things, but I also pray when I am grateful for things. Has anyone ever had the experience where they’ve had a purely awful, hideous day, and then you go outside and the weather is just so breathtakingly fine and the view that you see, even if it’s only a simple city block, is so precious and beautiful that you know that your Father in Heaven caused you to see it at that exact point in time so that you would see that sight and be comforted? I have. It is at a time like that, that I bow my head in prayer and thank my Heavenly Father, just thank Him, for that comforting experience.
So many times I have prayed for comfort and have found it. Since I’ve been baptized, I cannot remember a time when I asked for comfort and it was not given. I can even think of a few occasions when I did not think to pray for comfort, at times of great pain and trial, and it was given to me because God is mindful of me and all His children.
Once, within the first few weeks of the Breakup, the absence of my wonderful boyfriend in my life was a great burden, and I missed him and longed for him very much. I had been in quite a bit of trouble at that point. I had been suspended from school for wrong reasons, and could do nothing about it because my parents did not stand by me at that time. I couldn’t be with my two best friends, Lili and Gir, or with my other best friend, my Elf Queen Duckie, because I was grounded. My mother had come down to visit that weekend and I was in quite a bit of trouble with her. My parents had already ripped me apart for my current grades and my suspension, and I had had a conversation on the phone with my at the time ex-boyfriend which had left me worse than heartbroken. I was getting over a bout of sobbing in my room on my bed after having been on the phone with Lili for a few minutes when the phone rang.
Imagine my incredible surprise when I discovered that the person on the other end was Elder Jensen, the Senior Missionary who had guided me through the process of investigating the Church and getting baptized. I had already been baptized for a few weeks- why was he calling?
“Hi, Ravyn,” he said. “I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
I nearly broke down and began to cry again. Here was someone who, past his obligations, was concerned about me and my well being outside of Church functions, and when I told him what had happened, instead of being angry with me for my mistakes or dismissive of my regrets for my actions or the actions of the people involved in my problems, was concerned only for the fact that I was so upset that I, the Ice Queen, was crying to someone I hadn’t known for more than a year- the only other person I’ve ever trusted so soon with my tears was my boyfriend, and I don’t know if that technically counts, we’d technically known each other for 2 years at the time- and he was only concerned for what I was feeling.
He came over to my house with Elder Higley, the Junior Missionary, and they listened to me cry some more while I hugged the bear my boyfriend had gotten me for Christmas and offered me advice and guidance, as well as friendly listener. Then they gave me a blessing, something only the Melchezidek Priesthood can give, and suddenly I knew no pain. For the moments following that blessing, the only blessing I’ve ever had (I don’t think my Confirmation counts), I felt that same peace and contentment I felt when I was submerged in the waters of the Baptismal Font. At that moment I felt the power of the Priesthood and through them the power of my Heavenly Father, and I knew that my Father was mindful of me and knew that I needed comfort.
The very act of praying is its own comfort, but how much more so is it when our Father in Heaven answers our prayers? At that point we know, we do not just know in faith but in fact, that He hears us, and listens, and is watching over us and answering our prayers. What a comfort that is.
Someone I love very much once said that prayer, though psychologically a comfort, may not be beneficial because, according to him, there is no one listening and no one will answer your prayers. He was wrong, and I know that he was wrong. I know it. When you pray, your Holy Father listens. He hears you, and He answers. He will always answer your prayers. He has always answered mine. If anyone tells you that prayer does nothing, they are wrong. It is Satan acting through them, though they do not know it, to fill your head with lies to distance you from your Heavenly Father. Prayer works, it always works.
My biggest prayer that was answered by God was this. For a year, I prayed for a kitten. Ever since I was a little girl of five, I wanted a cat. When I turned nine, and my birthday passed and I didn’t get one, I finally decided that I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own and I needed to bring in the big guns. Every night for a year, I prayed to God for a cat. The reason I wasn’t getting a cat on my own by asking my parents was because my father is very allergic to animal hair. He even had trouble with the guinea pig I had when I was in first grade. But I knew that if I prayed, eventually I’d get that cat. I was even sure I’d get it before I got out of elementary school. Every night for exactly 364 days I prayed before bed for a cat, and on the 365th day, the day before my 10th birthday, my father surprised me by taking me to the Animal Shelter on my way home from school and we picked out my cat, Fa-Ying. We’ve had her ever since, and now she’s almost 9 years old. Big example right there- my dumb-dumb fuzzy cat. =D
So that’s my reflection on prayer for the day, and part of my Faith Value #1. Expect the next one on Wednesday.
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|Oct. 7th, 2007 12:09 pm Life Update As of Today|
Well, today is the second half of General Conference. This is the second Conference I’ve been privileged to watch since I was baptized into the Church back in January. I have, I must say, never felt so struck by the things that I saw on BYU-TV than I was today. Many of the things I heard either made me feel better about small individual problems that I have had, or have given me guidance or reminded me of things that I needed to do or to think about. I don’t know if others have the same experiences that I often do when watching Conference sessions, but I have to say that it seems a lot of the time as if the talks are being spoken just for me.
I also must compliment our current Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, on his sense of humor. He is so adorably funny. “When choirs and orchestras play music, they play the same music over and over again. But when a speaker comes up to speak, he is expected to say something different every time.” He said that this morning during his closing talk for the morning session of today’s half of Conference.
One of the talks I enjoyed the most on this morning’s Conference was the talk given by the General Relief Society President on motherhood. For those of you who don’t know, I think- and have always thought- that being a mother is the highest calling a woman can know, and any advice anyone that I can trust has to offer on being a mother, I will most definitely take and enjoy, and store away for when I have my own dear children.
I absolutely adore children and can’t wait to get married and have my own. My boyfriend is probably a little iffy on the subject of little ones running around everywhere- children make him nervous, especially babies- but he loves me, and when the time comes I know he’ll be all right.
I also got to dress up- my friend was in her pajamas because it’s a televised broadcast, but my mom made me dress up and really, I don’t mind much. I got to wear my favorite home-made outfit- kimono inspired, with a kimono-style over-robe and pants with contrasting flare-outs of the same fabric as the robe, covered by my black Shakira skirt because Sunday dress requires skirts. I felt very pretty. I need a matching scrunchie. I wonder if I have enough of the material left to make one…..
Oh! My Elf Queen Duckie and I finally got around to scheduling an interview with the Patriarch! Yay! She and I had our Patriarchal Blessing Recommend Interviews back in March (almost a full 7 months ago) and we’ve had our actual Recommends since then, too- Bishop Slade wrote them up for us because we are good Mormon girls, though thankfully not Molly Mormons (Mormon girl stereotype)- and we finally managed to get around to calling up the Patriarch because she and I wanted to do it together.
While we were watching Conference- speaking of things she and I do together- we helped her Mommy (my “Mummy”) cut up flash cards to teach her students how to read. Her mom teaches kindergarten. And we had breakfast, a real sit-down breakfast like I haven’t had at home in a long time. We had toast, bacon, eggs, orange juice, and my EQD and her family- minus Rohan, who tried to kill himself with cholesterol by stuffing his face with mounds of scrambled eggs and lots of bacon strips- had hash browns but I’m not a fan of hash browns except with ketchup and I didn’t want my best friend getting sick. She hates ketchup- which is odd because it’s my favorite food group. =D
We also talked about our respective boyfriends, and our cats. She and I have the randomest conversations when we’re together. Unfortunately, I could only stay over for about 3 hours- just for the ride to her house, the Conference session which is 2 hours, and the ride back to my house- so we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would’ve liked. But that’s all right, she and I will get a chance to hang out later this week, I’m sure.
And so now I’m going to call my boyfriend to see if he’ll keep me company while I do yard work. He doesn’t have to do any, I don’t mind, because really he probably doesn’t know how at any rate, not what I need to do, anyway.
My mother and father were going to help, but my dad has school work he needs to get done- he’s a teacher- and he did so much yesterday, digging up roots and pulling weeds and fishing dead mice out of our swimming pool. Yuck. And his knees have been bothering him. My mother can’t help because her back and her hip are really bothering her, so I’m stuck for it on my own today. That’s why I want my boyfriend there, so I’ll have someone to talk to.
But really, I don’t mind that my parents aren’t going to be able to help. I’m grateful, actually, for a chance to do something for them. By helping them out, I’m making their lives easier and improving my home life, not to mention helping out around my home, getting a chance to joyfully work out of doors in nature, and have fun because I do enjoy pruning the yellow lantana, and they do need it. They’re starting to overrun our driveway. =)
My family life is going very well. I haven't fought with my parents, there has been no yelling or snide comments or dismissals. I'm feeling very confident at this point. I must remember to point this out to my dear friend who prayed for such an occurrence and remind him that the Lord and our Heavenly Father does hear our prayers and does answer them. Because that is what this current situation most certainly is- an answer to my prayers, and my friend's.
Well, I’m going to call my love, now, and see when he’s going to arrive, and then I’ll do some of my Young Women’s Personal Progress while I wait for him, and then we’ll get started on the yard. For now, I’m out. I’ll be back later.
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|Oct. 5th, 2007 11:15 pm The Second Part of the Answer To a Question|
I entered into a conversation once with someone I love very much, about the Book of Mormon, and why it was or was not true. I said, of course, being Mormon myself, that it was true. The person I had the conversation with said it was not true, and gave me two reasons that I could, at the time, not refute, and thus the conversation was at a standstill.
The first reason this person gave me was the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated, the language used. You know what I mean, the Biblical stuff. Thee and thou and words like seeketh and findeth. I mean, who talks like that nowadays? Nobody, right?
People didn’t talk like that when the Book of Mormon was translated into English (began in 1823 and published in 1830), either, especially not in post-Regency New York City. To him, this was proof enough that the Book of Mormon was a piece of garbage, and what frightened me was the fact that I didn’t know how to respond to him because he was right. People didn’t talk like that, so why would anyone translating anything into what was then modern English instead translate it into Elizabethan English? I knew that it was not Joseph Smith who physically wrote the Book of Mormon down (I think Oliver Cowdery was the one who did the actual writing- if you look, it says the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith) and so I thought perhaps it was the artistic license of the man who did the actual writing.
I wasn’t sure, however, and my response wasn’t good enough for the person I had been speaking to. You can imagine how foolish and stupid I felt at that point, when I couldn’t defend something that I knew in my heart to be the utmost truth. At first, I thought I had done something wrong, because the answer did not come to me when I asked silently for help from God. I did not know what to say, and this was an extremely important conversation for me because of who I was talking to, someone dearer to me than almost anyone on this earth. I thought perhaps I had said something the Holy Spirit found offensive, or I was not meant to speak the words I had spoken and so I had caused the Spirit to leave. I even started to cry because I was botching the thing so badly.
This happened about a week ago. And the sad thing is, I realized later that if I’d paid closer attention to something the Spirit had been nudging me with for several months, I would’ve had something to tell him, something that was true, and right, and made perfect sense.
Once, a few months ago, while I was in Sacrament Meeting (the first hour and ten minutes of Church on Sunday), a man not from our Ward came as one the speakers. I don’t remember where he was from the Stake Presidency or what, but he was a very nice man. He read the Lord’s Prayer to us, from two different versions of the Bible: the New International Version and the King James Version. In the first version, from the NIV, it read like this: Our Father in heaven, awesome be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
No offense to whomever came up with the New International Version, but that sounds very irreverent. I am speaking as delicately as I can. Irreverent is not the word I thought of when he first read it to us.
And the reason the Spirit had been poking at me about this particular thing was because in my personal prayers, I had a hard time remembering to say thee and thou instead of you. Remember when I asked, who talks like Shakespeare nowadays? The Mormons do when they pray. I don’t know about other denominations of Christianity, but the members of the LDS Church speak to our gracious Heavenly Father with respect and love.
It’s a small thing to remember and worry about, to be sure, and it was only a small little poking, somewhat like the brush of a cat’s tail against your leg when you’re wearing a skirt or blue jeans- hard to pick up unless you’re looking for it. I was looking for it when I prayed, but not when I was engaged in this particular conversation. As my mother says, I let my fear and nerves overwhelm me to the point where my situational awareness- or rather, my Spiritual awareness- was not as acute as it needed to be.
Now, you’re probably wondering what in the world that has to do with my response to the point brought up in the original conversation. I’ll tell you. When you speak of holy things, when you talk about Heavenly Father and the Lord and Spirit, there should be a spirit of reverence and awe to it. That is not to say that God is a great dictator playing chess with all of us as the pieces, and there is no distance (and I mean literally no distance) between you and Heavenly Father save what you put there yourself. It is not that you should distance yourself from the Almighty and the Lord. But in the same way that you should treat your parents with love, reverence, and respect, and speak to and of them with love, reverence, and respect (I am full of it, aren’t I? I do try to practice what I preach, so it’s not that I’m telling you to do that which I will not do. I am telling you to try to do that I which I also try to do), you should treat Heavenly Father and the Lord with love, reverence, and respect, and speak to and of them with love, reverence, and respect.
The Book of Mormon was rewritten in the language style of the 17th century 200 years after people stopped talking that way because of the subject matter addressed in the Book of Mormon, as well as the Pearl of Great Price and the book called Doctrine and Covenants. Because these are sacred testaments of the Lord Jesus Christ and His (and our) Heavenly Father, they are rewritten in a manner that is reverent and respectful, as well as loving. Using the previous example of the Lord’s Prayer, the way something is written or spoken makes quite a bit of difference as to how it is taken. As my own father has often said, “It isn’t what you say, but how you say it.” Or in this case, it is not what is written, but how it is written. Which sounds more formal to you, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, or Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare?
The Book of Mormon was deliberately written in a style that would convey its formality and reverence for its subject matter. Rather than being characteristic of a falsehood or an epic charade, it is in fact characteristic of what the Book of Mormon claims to be: another testament of Jesus Christ, and thus written in such a way as to show the proper respect and reverent attitude reserved for things of a holy and sacred nature.
I leave you with that thought. If the person who offered up this point to me happens to read this entry, I hope you take what I have said under consideration. I am always a much better writer than I am a speaker, and what I write are conclusions I have come to under my own powers of thought, deduction, and reasoning.
-Rave (written at 8:00 AM)
PS- I called Lorien and brought up my friend's point posed as a question, and her response was nearly identical to mine- because that is the way you should speak of/write of Heavenly Father and holy matters in the Scriptures. I called her around my lunch break. (Written at 1:47 PM)
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|Oct. 5th, 2007 11:14 pm The First Part of the Answer To a Question|
This is a brief update on my Young Women’s Personal Progress Value Experiences, as well a conversation point rebuttal.
In a conversation I had with someone very dear to me whom I love very much, he told me that the Book of Mormon was a lie and was a false document, and he brought up a couple points which at the time I was too flustered- in one instance too unsure- to reply to in a manner that would’ve explained away those particular doubts. One of the things this person said to me was that there were no Christians in South America before the Spanish came and converted everyone. He also said that the Jews didn’t know anything about the Americas, there was no way Jesus could’ve ever known to come here- one of the basic truths of the Church- and that there was no way the ancient Southern American peoples were monotheistic Christians.
I’m sure most of you are saying, “Hey! Yeah! Duh! Who didn’t know all that stuff?”
How easily, however, are those points to explain away. Although he was not entirely right about the first point, for example, he was not entirely wrong, either. When the Spanish came to the Americas, there were indeed no Christians among the American peoples. It is documented fact that as a society they were polytheistic, believing in many gods. And for those of you who have read the entire Book of Mormon- or goodness, even a summary of what it’s about- the Book of Mormon is, among other things, a history of the peoples called the Nephites and the Lamanites, and how the Nephites, who were as a people Christian, were wiped out down to a man by the idolatrous, polytheistic Lamanites long before the Spanish came to the “New World.” This is written in the Book of Mormon, I’m not just pulling this out of hat.
As for the Jews not knowing anything about the Americas, that’s not true. It’s documented history that ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia all had trade dealings with the ancient civilization centered in Peru more than 1000 years BC, long before the family of Lehi sailed across the Atlantic to South America (which occurred around 600 BC before the fall of the Judaic kingdom to the Babylonians- which is forewarned in the beginning of the Book of Mormon- and how would Joseph Smith know about that? A poor, working class farmer who I doubt ever went to college….). This I learned not from the Mormons, but from my Western Civilizations class in college that I’m currently taking.
Finally, as for Jesus not knowing to come to the Americas even if (to my dear one’s skeptic mind) the Nephites and them were in South America at the time… think about what you’re saying. You’re saying the Son of God, the only perfect being ever to be born, the Lord Jehovah, the Messiah, the Redeemer of the World, the man who created EVERYTHING, He who is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last… you’re saying he doesn’t know that there are people waiting for Him among the Nephites and Lamanites? That is such a heap of rubbish that I can’t understand where anyone would get the idea. You’re talking about the Lord Almighty. He’s Almighty. He knows everything.
Well, that’s that. Here’s this.
Firstly, for my Faith Value Experience #1-B.
I am starting over on my FVE #1, because I have slipped up. What the Value Experience says is that for 3 weeks, establish a habit of prayer in my life and begin by saying my evening and morning prayers every day. Well, last night (afternoon, rather- 2:30) I forgot to say my “nightly” prayers. Although this may seem like a small thing, I am striving for the utmost excellence in my YWPP, and I want to be able to go 3 weeks without missing saying grace, saying my morning prayers, or saying my evening prayers. I don’t have to start over. I am choosing to, in my pursuit of excellence in myself.
That sounded more arrogant than I intended. *sigh*
On the bright side, I did say grace when I had dinner (2 + 2 = pizza… mmmmm, pizza….), I did say my wake up prayers last night when I got up at 10:00pm (I haven’t been back to bed yet except for a 45 minute nap around 5), and I’m about to say my evening prayers once my 2-3 little blurbs are posted for the evening.
Onto my Divine Nature Value Experience #7-B.
One of the things we’re supposed to do is learn the definition of the word peacemaker and find five scriptures about peacemakers. I think I defined peacemaker in a previous entry, but if I didn’t I’ll go back and fix it later. I’ve been up almost 25 hours at this point and I’m tired. Anyway, I found the 5 verses, and here they are:
“These are the things that ye shall do; speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor,; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
“Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children.”
-Doctrine and Covenants 98:16
I’ll talk about these later. Now it’s time for my Integrity Value Experience #4.
One of the things I’m supposed to do for this Experience is talk to my mother about her take on integrity. Oddly enough, we had pretty much the same idea. You know, integrity is doing what’s right for its own sake rather than because someone’s watching, it’s doing the right thing when no one’s there to judge, etc. But here’s the interesting thing about that. She also said that eventually, if you live with integrity long enough, it becomes so much a part of you that it is no longer a conscious decision or really even a choice. Your spirit recognizes the path of righteousness, and you are compelled to follow it, no matter what. That’s what my Mom said. I’m not sure I agree with that, but that could just be because I’m falling asleep.
I'm falling asleep. I'm almost out.
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|Oct. 3rd, 2007 09:07 pm Integrity Value Experience #4|
This is for my Integrity Value Experience 4. I’m supposed to look up the word integrity in the dictionary, and record what it means to me to have integrity. That’s not all, but that’s what I’m going to do here.
According to Dictionary.com, integrity is:
“Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
And as for what it means to me to have integrity… it’s doing what’s right, when it’s right, no matter what. But it’s more, I think. I mean, it doesn’t really count for much if you do it because you have to, or because your parents make you do it. That’s not integrity so much as obedience or necessity. It’s not the same thing. You have to do it of your own free will. You have to choose the right, choose to keep yourself from the things which are bad, things which are detrimental to the soul and against the Holy Spirit. You then have to have the strength and in some instances the courage to do what’s right, to maintain your integrity and your standards, to stay away from that which you know is wrong.
Integrity is being honest. It’s being honest to others, but it’s also being honest to Heavenly Father, to the Holy Spirit. And you also have to be honest with yourself. A lot of people forget that part. See, people lie to themselves all the time. It takes strength of character to acknowledge and admit when one has done or is doing or is around something wrong. Sometimes you’ll be around something bad, and you’ll try to rationalize it and basically lie to yourself about whether it‘s really as bad as you know it is in your heart. It takes strength to be able to say, “No, this is wrong, I’m not going to be around this or do this,” and then keep to that commitment. That’s self-integrity.
And even harder than that is to, once committed, do your best not to slip up again. It is so easy to justify it and say, “Oh, just this once.” That’s another part of integrity. Doing what you promise to do when no one is looking simply because you promised to do it. So I guess, keeping a promise- or a covenant, as it were- is also part of integrity.
Some people are like, “What the crud? How are we supposed to do that all on our own? Everyone makes mistakes!” Well, yes, that’s true. Everyone makes mistakes. We are human, after all. We’re not perfect. But if you try your hardest, the Lord will make up the difference between you and Heavenly Father’s standards. That’s the way it works. That’s the way God works.
I’ll leave you with that little thought. Time for me to watch the old 80s version of Prince Caspian. I love the Chronicles of Narnia!
PS- for the record (I’m supposed to be keeping a record), I said my evening and morning prayers today (although backwards because I went to bed at 6:30 in the morning and got up at 7pm). But still. Part of my faith value experience #1- must keep a record of such things for YW Personal Progress. And I have to say, I tend to sleep much better when I say my prayers before bed, and I have an easier, more relaxed day when I say my prayers getting up.
PPS- there are 7 YW values I will be working in, and each one will henceforth be color-coded as follows: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity.
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|Oct. 3rd, 2007 05:09 am Faith Value Experience #1-A|
So, I’m supposed to write about my feelings about prayer. This is for the Faith Value Experience #1 of my Young Women's progress. Eventually there will be Value #1-A all the way to Value #1-U. Anyway....
My boyfriend and I had a talk about prayer about a week ago. A week? Half a week. Anyway, he told me that prayer doesn’t work because when he prayed he never got what he wanted. I find that interesting because when I pray, I almost always get what I want. Well, okay, no, I don’t. But I always get what it is I need.
I’ll give three examples- one where I prayed for one thing and got not what I wanted but what I needed, one where I got exactly what I prayed for because it was what I needed, and one where someone I know prayed for something they "didn’t get," and why I think they "didn’t get it."
First example. I’m just learning how to drive. Well not JUST learning but I’m a new driver and I’m nowhere near as good as, say, my friends Sammirra, Shanie, Gir, and Rohan. These are of course nicknames.
So it used to be that before I’d get in my car to go driving, I would say, “Dear Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for this day and for (insert what I was thankful for). I ask that Thou would bless me so that I don’t mess up while I’m driving.” Well I can tell you, God probably has better things to do than nitnoid my driving skills. He’s not watching me with a figurative magnifying glass and poking me with divine intervention every time I get too close to the curb.
But Heavenly Father always listens to the prayers of His children. And what we had, basically, was a little kid at a swimming pool afraid to get in the water even though they were wearing those floaty things, and calling for their mommy or daddy to carry them into the water and hold onto them the ENTIRE time. No parent is going to do that more than a couple times. That’s bad parenting. The kid has to learn they can do it on their own or they’ll need parental assistance for everything. Back to me.
One Saturday before I get in the car, I ask the Almighty, “Please bless me so that I won’t mess up while I’m driving.” This very same day, this same ride in the car, I almost get into a car accident. This is that event described previously where I’m driving my mom and dad to the deli on Broadway and I turn too sharply and almost drive into oncoming traffic.
Most people- I was too for a bit after I got relatively calm- are probably wondering, “Well, shucks, if God exists and your prayers always get answered, what just happened? A glitch in the divine email retrieval system?”
What just happened was, I got the answer I needed. Every time I’d gotten into the car, I’d been relying on Heavenly Father to basically take me over and make me drive wherever. I wanted to be the perfect driver. I was the little kid with the floaties (the floaties being the fact that I do have some skill as a driver and can make basic stops except on very sheer drop-offs and freeway traffic) who freaked out at the thought of being in the water by myself.
You’re probably going, “WHAT?!” At this point.
The reason I nearly got into that accident is this. Basically, God was smacking me gently in the back of the head and saying, “Rave, you don’t need me to make you the perfect driver! Stop trying to be perfect, it’s okay to make mistakes because look! You are a good enough driver that you can fix any mistake you make, because you’re good enough you’re not going to make the big mistakes that I would need to help you with. And you gotta make mistakes in order to learn. So stop squeaking at me to make you perfect! Calm down and drive, kid!”
That is the answer I got to my constant prayer, “Bless me so that I don’t mess up while driving.” Because I had faith, and believed I would be taken care of, I was, and Heavenly Father showed me that when it comes to driving, I can rely on my own strength because I’m doing okay and there’s no reason to freak out.
Then there’s my second example. My parents and I fight a lot. I mean, like, a lot. Cats and dogs, 2 king cobras, King Morpheus and the Nightmare King. Name it, and it’s probably very apt. Well, in a previous entry I talked about being a peacemaker, and how backing down even when you know you’re right is sometimes the only answer. Well, one thing that referred to is the apology I gave my mother for being a brat- and I was being a brat, I don’t doubt. Being right doesn’t excuse that.
Well, my father told me yesterday night that I owed him an apology as well for speaking to “his wife” the way that I had. I told him I didn’t see how he came up with that and how I’d already apologized to my mother so it was settled. He insisted it was not. He even gave me an example of how when someone disrespects your mother, you take that person to task and how your mother should get an apology but how you deserve an apology from the person as well. I told him it was not the same thing, and he told me that until I changed my mind I “could get out of his face.”
When I went back into my room, I realized that this was a test on what I had said before about “it is better to be one than to be right.” When the thought struck me, the Holy Spirit told me the best thing to do would be to go and apologize to my father. Everything in me rebelled because apologies to my dad usually ended up with him snubbing me and saying I didn’t mean it and me getting angry and locking myself in my room like an angsty panda. No, I said to myself, no, there’s not point in apologizing now, he’ll just be a jerk.
When the Spirit didn’t let up, at first I made excuses. I was afraid to go because I was afraid that it wouldn’t work and that the promptings of the Holy Ghost would get me nowhere- which would’ve given some of my boyfriend’s arguments against the Church some merit. So I said, “I’ll do it later. Five more minutes. Oh, he’s asleep by now, probably. Oh, he needs time to cool off. Maybe in an hour.”
Finally, I prayed, because the Spirit wouldn’t stop poking at me- that is Its job, after all. And I said, “Heavenly Father, would it really work? I don’t want to do it if he’s just going to bite me.” And I remembered that when one prays, you have to ask for the right thing. So I said, “I ask that Thou would bless me, so that I may say the words that need to be said, and so that I may have the spirit with which to say them. And bless my father, that he may hear with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart.”
And I went to my Father and apologized, both for the way I spoke to my mother and for not realizing that I owed him an apology as well. For the first time since the early fall of my Sophomore Year of High School, he did not yell, he did not snap, he did not ridicule or dismiss. He accepted my apology, and gave me constructive criticism, and reminded me that I must respect my mother- and he was right, I must. And then I went to my room, and it was done.
One must always pray for the right thing. Heavenly Father probably doesn’t care if you get a Honda or a Toyota. I doubt he worries about your baseball team winning the World Series. Do not ask for petty things and do not ask to get off with no labor. And when it seems like God isn’t listening to you, think about the big picture. This leads me to my final example.
Someone very dear to me who admits that he doesn’t believe in the existence of God has nevertheless prayed for me, prayed for a betterment in my relationship with my father. According to him, it hasn’t happened yet. According to him, it’s just getting worse. His prayers, he says, have not been answered. But I say that in some ways they have.
Asking for a better relationship with my father is a kind thing to ask for, but there are many factors that affect our relationship. I am working to ease the tension in my house, to make my father less quick to anger, and make him happier with me. And it’s working. For example, the apology I just mentioned. That’s the first time in several years my father has just accepted my apology and not belittled me for it by saying I’m just “mouthing the words.” There is the faintest tip to the iceberg of the answer to my friend’s prayers.
The answers to one's prayers take time. In this instance, if my friend's prayers had been answered at the beginning (some months ago), I wouldn't have gained the learning experience of being a peace maker, and wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to apply the precept "it is better to be one than to be right" and I wouldn't have been able to be tested on my faith and committment to that precept. Hence a possible reason why my friend's prayers weren't "answered."
The answers to one’s prayers take time. In this example, a night of praying, a week, a month, several months, are not going to change a relationship founded on 18 years of past encounters. The answer to a prayer is often not immediate, and often times comes in a form we aren't expecting. That leads me to faith.
Without faith, prayers are meaningless. One must believe that Heavenly Father will answer your prayer. I can give you an example of why this is so. I have a friend, Lili, who almost always prefaces a request with the phrase, “You’re probably going to say no, but….” And then she proceeds to ask me something so simple that it almost makes me angry to think she would think I wouldn’t grant her request. Perhaps it is so with Heavenly Father. I know that I personally would get annoyed if my children always asked for things the way Lili does, believing I would not give them that which I have already promised to give. I would hope they would have faith enough in me to trust my promises and believe that I would grant their requests.
One must also know what to look for. Any little thing can be an answer to a prayer, or a piece of an answer. The complete answer to my prayer in my second example is part of the answer to my friend’s prayer in example number 3. Sometimes our prayers get answered and we don’t even know it, and we think God hasn’t listened. But I tell you, He listens, and He answers. You just have to be prepared to accept His answer, and know it when you find it.
I leave you with my testimony, that I know what I say is true, that God is a Heavenly Father to each of us and He hears our prayers and answers them in ways that benefit us, even if we can’t understand how at the time. I know this the way I know that my hair is curly and brown, my boyfriend is taller than I could ever hope to be, ketchup can go on almost anything, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world and all the worlds.
I’m getting teary eyed, I better stop before I short-circuit my laptop. I have to write my boyfriend a poem.
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|Oct. 2nd, 2007 04:57 pm My Solution To the Sunday Situation|
Okay, so for those of you who actually read my LiveJournal, you know how I was angry with my dad and angry with my mom because of things they said and did. Well, I get little enough sleep as it is, I can’t afford to waste energy being ticked off at my parents all the time. Besides, family unity is important. Your family will always be your family, so you have to treat them nicely. Even when they say mean things to you, even when they do things that are wrong or unfair.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean rape, incest, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or abuse of any kind. Just so we’re clear. I just mean those little irritants that everyone does that make us angry and cause fights.
Now, you people are probably wondering where on earth I’m coming from since just Sunday I was raging against my parents and jumping and down hollering and being all ticked off and crying. Well, I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. I remembered a few things about myself. I remembered some of what I’ve learned in and from the Church, and I remembered that, much as I like to say it, the world does not revolve around me. I am, however, still Queen of the Universe, but there are greater wrongs in this world than the things my parents have done or even the bad things I’ve done in the past.
I learned a few things in the Church that have helped me to handle this situation with more skill and style than I think I would’ve been able to otherwise. For those who don’t know, I’m Mormon. And to the Mormon faith, family is incredibly important. One of the things they talk about a lot is family unity.
Elder Lowell M. Snow of the Quorum of the Seventy has said, “It is better to be one than to be right (1).” Even though many times I feel in my heart that I am in the right and my parents in the wrong, my parents are not going to change their minds just because I say so. Often times, nothing I say or do will change their stance on an issue, even when I am certain that I myself am right. But it is stupid to fight about something that, compared to so many other things going on, is petty and insignificant. Was it important to me, what happened? Yes it was. Was I very frightened and hurt, not to mention angry, about the things my parents did and said? Yes, I was, and still am.
And just because I’m not fighting with them anymore, doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven them. But I have apologized to my parents (specifically my mother) and promised to do better that which I have not been doing well enough in their eyes. The common phrase is, “actions speak louder than words.” No matter how I may protest what my parents may say, it will not change anything. I must show them that I am serious and sincere in what I say by doing what I tell them I will do and doing what they tell me to do. I must measure up to their expectations, or at least try my hardest. And when my parents do not measure up to my expectations of how parents should be, I must forgive them.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “How difficult it is for any of us to forgive those who have injured us. We are all prone to brood on the evil done us. That brooding becomes as a gnawing and destructive canker (2).” To dwell on the hurt that others have done you does nothing. When I am angry at my parents, I doubt they care. It’s not doing anything to them. All I am doing is exhausting and upsetting myself to no purpose. By backing down, by apologizing, by trying to forgive and forget, I am making myself a better person and doing what I can to make the situation a better one. Having done so, the bitter and angry feelings are greatly lessened, and I feel at peace, and feel good about and confident in myself. Forgiveness brings peace because it is a divine quality encouraged by Heavenly Father and His Son.. For Who was it that, as He was dying, said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (3)?” Rarely do those who trespass against us know just what they are doing, just as when we trespass against others, we rarely know how hurtful we are being.
Finally, an obligation of every human being is to be a peacemaker. To try to stop fighting, not start or continue it. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God (4).” To be a peacemaker is a divine quality, a Christ-like quality. Every Christian should try to exemplify that quality. There will obviously be slips and mistakes, but I personally have tried, and will continue to try, to be a peacemaker. Even when I am angry and hurt, even when I know that my way is the right way, if it must come to compromise or backing down, then I shall strive to do it.
I’m getting down off the soap box now. But since I wrote such a long-winded angsty-emo rant on Sunday about my life sucking, I decided to write a not-so-long-winded piece about what exactly I’m going to do about it. I'll let you know if it works.
I’m out. I have laundry to do.
1- Elder Lowell M. Snow of the Quorum of the Seventy
“To Be Together,” New Era, July 2007 issue, 42
2- President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the First Presidency
“Of You It Is Required To Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, 3
(written when he was First Counselor to the First Presidency)
3- The Holy Bible: King James Version
The New Testament- Luke 23:24
4- The Holy Bible: King James Version
The New Testament- Matthew 5:9
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