As I was talking with a work associate today, and listening to him tell about the second coming being so near, I had a powerful feeling come over me that these truly are the last days. I thought of what I was doing in my life, and knew suddenly and with great conviction that I needed to focus completely on preparing myself for the days to come. I thought of the fantasy book I had in my hand and knew that it was not the one I should be reading. I thanked my friend for what he had said, excused myself, and went down into the office to pray. When I walked in, I hesitated for a moment, and then threw my Shannara book away. In that moment I saw that book to be the same as what video games have always been for me. They are a distraction, an escape into a world other than this one, and as such, pull me away from my responsibilities as a bearer of the priesthood. I can’t afford to spend my time on adventures and stories of magic and faerie worlds. The power of God is real, and the scriptures are what I need to employ to learn how to call upon that power, to fortify myself and become who I need to be. I knelt and prayed for guidance, for understanding, and for the determination to move forward in what the Lord was calling me to do. It was clear to me that this was one of the moments of great decision in my life. This was a moment when I needed to put my foot on the edge and move decisively forward.
I opened the scriptures and prayed again for guidance, unsure of where I should begin. I sat for a moment and then looked down and began to read:
Alma 17:2-3 …yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
I felt the power of what I was reading, and I read it over and over again. My plea for guidance was being answered in a very direct way, and I saw very clearly what I needed to know.
Characteristics of the sons of Mosiah:
– Strong in the knowledge of truth
– Men of a sound understanding
– Had the spirit of prophecy
– Had the spirit of revelation
– Taught with power and authority of God
What led them to be so?
– They had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
– They had given themselves to much prayer and fasting.
I followed the footnote at “searched the scriptures diligently” to the topical guide, to the heading “Scriptures, Study of”, and there I found:
Joshua 1:8 …thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 …he shall write him a copy of this law out of that which is before the priests and the Levites:
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment…
– Meditate in the scriptures day and night
– Observe to do according to all that is written
– Read therein all the days of my life
– Learn to fear the Lord my God
– Learn to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them
– I will make my way prosperous
– I will have good success
– My heart will not be lifted up above my brethren (humility)
– I will not turn aside from the commandments
I am so deeply grateful for this experience I’ve had today. I know the direction I need to head now, and I finally have the conviction to do so. I remember a long time ago reading or hearing of a church leader who made the decision to turn his life over to the Lord—to do what the Lord would have him do and that alone. I have often thought back to that, and considered how difficult it would be for me to do so. Now that I think of it rationally, it isn’t difficult at all. You simply do, there is no question about it. I pray I will continue to look forward, and never look back beyond this point again. Most important in my life are study, prayer, and fasting; learning the will of the Lord, and then doing it.
There is a final point that keeps coming to me as I think over what I have learned. I consider the way that I have always seen missionary work and service as the most important thing for me to do, and my thoughts keep turning to the Doctrine and Covenants, in which the Lord tells Hyrum Smith:
D&C 11:21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
26 Therefore, treasure up in your heart until the time which is in my wisdom that you shall go forth.
27 Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickle to reap.