This topic was recently brought up again among some of the sisters and I find it exciting in a way. For those who have been watching you may have noticed a shift of responsibility somewhat in many of our functions. The detailed yearly family home evening manuals were dispensed with many years ago, and the current Family Home Evening Resource Manual hasn't been updated for a long time. The wards have been given back the charge of maintaining their own buildings. Enrichment nights have been changed and become much fewer, while individual members have been asked to use their talents to bless the sisters with classes and training specific to their wards. The missionary program has been changed from memorized discussions to spirit lead discussions. In all of these things the responsibilities are shifting more to the individual. It is as if the Brethren were slowly training us to be spiritual leaders in our families, wards and neighborhoods.
As I have been thinking about this, I have been thinking about how I can be better prepared. The foundation of it is having a personal testimony, knowing what has been asked of us to do and then being willing to do what He needs done to accomplish His purposes. Deep scripture study, along with thorough study of the words of our modern day leaders is where I start. I love to do this. I love taking a topic that applies to my life and searching for all the words of the brethren I can about it. I also like to pray, and receive the revelation that follows-though I admit I need to concentrate a lot more at prayer time. I have been contemplating staring a prayer journal, recorded all the things I would like to pray about, and then recording the ways that God answers those prayers. I did this inconsistantly for a couple of months last year and it was a real testimony builder to see how many prayers God had answered and the wonderful ways they came about.
I hope that I also will be willing to give my all when I am prompted to do so by the spirit. I think I can say that I try to do the things I am specifically asked to do, but I think there is something more that we need to do. We need to step forth to be of service when prompted by the Holy Ghost and without being specifically asked. This is harder. I am reading Fire of the Covenant and thinking about the commitment of these people. Many of them gave up everything to come to Zion, favorite treasures, money, warmth, comfort and even the lives of loved ones. They were encouraged along the way, but few were directly told when to go, they had to pray and receive their own direction from the spirit about what they should do. But when they had made the decision most were unflinching. Am I as prepared to give up everything to help God's plan progress? Am I willing to give up my privacy and risk rejection to tell my neighbors about the gospel? Am I willing to tell others that I am LDS when I am asked to described myself? Am I willing to walk out in public visible pregnant with four children in tow, what about five or six or seven? Am I willing to be that testimony, a visible commitment to those around me? Can I give up my right for me time to create family time and use it as His time? Am I willing to watch another sisters children even after a hard day fulfilling my commitments? Am I willing to grow, to become the woman He would have me be? I hope I am, I hope that when I die I can say I have lived by the spirit and I have truly followed His path.
Their are many women joining the church who did not grow up in it and many of the false beliefs of the world are carried with them. The idea of family planning, that teenage rebellion is to be expected, that we should be mass consumers, that we need a lot of time away from our children, that our spouses are not that important. A lot of active members believe these things. But from what I can tell none of them are part of God's plan. Not even family planning in the world's way which seems to be so openly embraced nowadays. If you would like to see an evil organization, go and visit the Planned Parenthood site and ecspecially read their mothers day post if it is still there, I guarantee the spirit will not stay with you for long while you search that site, except maybe to warn you of the evil of these things. The people who participate in this idea of controlling when and how many of God's children they will let in their families can hardly be condemned by any of us though, ecspecially those who are new to the church. The idea is so prevelant in the world that few think twice about it and those that have never been taught the words of the prophets on this matter can hardly be at fault. But I think and feel that more people ought to be gently taught the truth of this matter. Spiritually led mentors and examples are needed to help others know that gospel truths are often not found in the common practises of the world, but can be found through study and prayer and personal revelation.
So as the policies changed to train us in more individual and local revelation, I think the need for in depth study and prayer is only growing. We need constant help from above, because frankly we are different from the world and we ought to feel it, no matter how hard that is. Okay, the Utah people may not feel it as much as those of us plunked down in the other parts of the world. And I'm sure many feel it even more than I do, but I do feel it. But as long as I can still study and God continues to answer me when I pray I will embrace it and smile at those who look at me like I am nuts. After all many of the people that watched the pioneers cross the plains thought they were nuts too. God will be with us as we say good-bye to the comfort of the scripts and hello to a more intense relationship with him that includes a very good dose of personal revelation. He has a hand in this work people, can't you feel it?