“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Perspective of Conversion

Helaman 6 :1-6
Yesterday when I was driving my GuitarGuy home from his camp we enjoyed hot temperatures and a clear blue sky. But as we drove farther south, we saw looming before us a deep-dark-purple horizon. The contrast of the sun soaked sky against the black clouds made the ensuing storm appear wickedly ominous. I decided to wait it out at my nearby mother's house until it passed. After waiting a bit for the big storm to "hit", we decided to go out and check it out. What I found astounded me.
Within the grey walls of the storm clouds, the storm did not appear to be so dark and fearful. In fact the pelts of rain that I had braced myself for never came.(while at my mother's) In stead, a puffy breeze gusted, and a gentle drizzle fell lightly before blowing itself away. What happened to the excitement that the dark clouds had promised? Why did it not hit with the force that I believed it would?
Perspective. Life is often about where we are, what we see, and where we have been. My perspective on the storm changed because I drove into it. After I drove past the line of clouds that marked the weather front, the contrast faded. The excitement had been caused by the contrast of light and dark that I had seen so clearly as I drove into the changing scene. When I could no longer see the distinct lines of light and dark, my fear's eased.

Why is perspective so important when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ? How does perspective affect our faith, our actions, and our fellowship with other members of the church? Which perspective was right, the one from outside of the clouds (that provided contrast) or the one from within the grey clouds (that led to complacency)?
I noted that when I saw contrast of light and dark, I was motivated to action. I wanted to move quickly to a place of safety. When I saw no contrast, my fears subsided and I accepted the danger as non-threatening. Later as we drove home, the clouds did follow through with their promise and opened upon us. So great was the deluge, I had to slow the car to a snail's pace.

The gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a living vessel. It depends upon the perspective of long standing members as well as the excitement and words of warning of new converts. Each perspective keeps the church alive with truth. In my experience with the storm, it is not that the storm did not come. It came. The excitement that the contrasted scenario helped me to prepare for the rain, led me to take cover, and warned me of a promised downpour. But the perspective of being within the rainstorm (as opposed to being outside of it) also had its place. Inside of the cloud cover, the storm did not appear to be so terrible. Inside of the storm I became complacent until at last the wave of clouds poured their fury.

I believe perspective is important in helping keep our testimonies alive and vibrant. We may not have the opportunity to position ourselves in the many different vantage points necessary to see life as we need, but we can depend on the testimony and perspective of new converts.

New converts are often fresh from the front lines where the contrasts of life are distinct and clear. Sometimes when we have experienced many different vantage points in relation to life and all of her storms and blessings, we might tend to forget about the contrasts and the lessons they provide.
As I read these short few verses, I was reminded of how the Lamanites lives had been one of contrasts. In comparison to the Nephites who had grown complacent to life and it's blessings, the Lamanites brought a new zeal and fervor to the church during this time. Their lives had been lived on different sides of the front line. The lives of the Lamanites had seen contrasts while many of the Nephites had seen complacency. The storms of life still came, but which were spiritually prepared?

Words and Phrases

vs 1 their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites - Why? I think perspective? I think that when they were converted by the angels who came down and conversed with them, they realized the contrast of blessings in their lives and truly converted with a "firmness and steadiness of faith".
Vs 2 hardened and impenitent and grossly wicked - sometimes when we are without contrast in our lives, we begin to feel entitled, proud, and a bit prideful. The cycle of pride leads to the leaning upon our own strength. When we lean only upon our own strength, we reject the truths of God. The real catch here is that we don't believe we are doing anything wrong because we have become so accustomed to being classified as the righteous people. We entitle ourselves and forget to listen to perspective.
vs 3. a great joy because of the conversion of the Lamanites - fellowship one with another. ... no social class, no boundaries because of birth, money, or belief, only because of faith. Faith brings great joy. Faith brings perspective.
vs 4. declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion -
they gave their testimony of how they were converted by the angels, and by Lehi and Nephi. They helped them see the contrast of their lives. They helped them find perspective.
vs5 great power and authority - experience is the mother of all knowledge. It comes with power and authority. It helps them understand why Jesus Christ's atonement is the perfect gift.
vs 6. the land northward - what a shift we have in who the missionaries are? What a shift we have in who is teaching with testimony. This is what I said before, it does not matter who teaches as long as they teach words of truth and help others discover the power of the Holy Ghost that comes when we speak truth.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful picture to give purpose and prospective to your comments. You have an unique ability to association the nature of things about you with the gospel message, and you are getting better at it. I am about ready to begin my blog.
    Love Dad


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