22: "Anxiously Engaged in a Good Cause" (Doctrine and Covenants 58–59)
Picture this: You have just arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, with the early Saints. You’re so excited and you just can’t wait to begin the work of building up Zion. But you have no idea where to start. Everywhere you look the land where the Savior will come again just seems like untamed American frontier. But then the prophet Joseph Smith arrives with very important instructions from the Lord. That's what this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 58–59 is all about—instructions the Lord gave, for the Saints then and for us today, about how to prepare spiritually to gather and build up Zion.
Okay, you're not going to believe this story. So Sister Polly Knight, she's the wife of Joseph Knight, Sr. And this is the couple that loaned their horse and carriage to Joseph and Emma to get the plates. So Sister Polly Knight wanted more than anything to make it to Zion. That was her goal. And at this time in Church history, her health was failing. But her anxiety to see the promised land was so great that she refused to be left behind in Ohio. So her son wrote this of her her: “Her only or her greatest desire was to set her feet upon the land of Zion, and to have her body interred in that land.” He later reported that: “the Lord gave her the desire of her heart, and she lived to stand upon that land.”
Now, here's kind of the sad part of her story. Polly died within two weeks of her arrival in the land of Zion, and she was the very first Latter-day Saint to be buried in Missouri. Today's study of Doctrine and Covenants sections 58 through 59 falls perfectly within the timeline of Polly Knight's story. She was there and I will show you where she is given the title of being, “The first church member to die in Zion.”
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the “Come, Follow Me” lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So go and follow the link in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your “Come, Follow Me” study, just like my friend Janise Barnes Richardson from Colorado, who loves to ask questions and dive deep into studying.
Okay, now here's the best thing about our study group. I love it so much. Each week, we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different. And today we've got Amy Hutchins Whitmore and Riley Jensen. And I'm just going to go ahead and offer right now a disclaimer from the start. I cannot be held responsible for what is said during this episode. Now you guys have been on before. Hi guys.
How are you?
Ah, well, I'm good. But Riley, Amy, and I, we've known each other for a very long time. Am I right?
We've spent a long time together.
These are two of my absolute favorite people. We were in the singles ward for a long time.
Well, the stories we could tell, who are we kidding? We probably will in this episode.
If we had to be single for as long as we were, it sure was nice to be around you guys.
Just so many impromptu karaoke meetings and fun things at Amy's house or at your house.
And no one can karaoke like Amy.
(sings) Memories. . .
Hey, you two. So, two chapters? How're you guys feeling about it?
Okay, so this week, I have found out some people that I love so much have left church. And it's been a rough go, because one of them is like, “What are you talking about?” So now, every time I read something in the scriptures, or as I prepared for this, I just think about those friends and realize there's probably a lot of people out there that are like, “I don't really want to go to church anymore.” So as we talk, imagine the one that is on the fence and needs this.
Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful to be with friends that are still active in the Church. I've been thinking the exact same thing because there's many of my really close friends who have left. And I just want us to all feel the peace and the joy of the gospel, right? So I'm glad you said that, Amy, because I've been feeling the exact same thing.
I can't even think of a better way to start our discussion today of sections 58 and 59. Because there's a lot of scripture to cover. And I can only cover specific verses and those verses, it's exactly what you guys have been thinking about. This is so cool. I cannot believe God is so good. That's my favorite scripture right now Nahum 1:7. God is good. It is just the best. So thank you. So with that, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. So you guys. How you doing, really?
I'm off sugar.
You have no will to live. How long you doing that for?
Well, it's been been 27 hours.
Oh, may you rest in peace. I'm so sorry.
Fun Amy, gone. Gone. Mad Amy, here.
Listen, I used to have a mission president would say that, “How you doing?” And you'd go, “I'm good.” And then he would say, “Okay, now how are you REALLY doing?” Then how do you answer that question?
I'm actually doing good. I'm fully vaccinated. I can travel. My kids are healthy. Jensen, you can't hack it, get a jacket.
I'm fully vaccinated as well. But it seems to do me no good at my job because I still have to get tested for COVID five days a week.
Oh yeah. Because of your job as a sports psychologist. Which, we're going to talk about more later in the episode.
No, my life has been a breeze.
Since the moment you were born, Amy, life has been. . .
Easy, easy, breezy. No, I loved reading these chapters because I know if I would have arrived to Missouri, I would have been like, “We're here, it's over! The suffering is over, we're in Zion, everything's gonna be great.” And that will be the witness of my faith. It was never like that. And I realized that, just as it was in this time, it is my life. It is all about the journey, and what we're learning along the way.
Oh, my gosh, Amy, that was perfect. Let's just read the verses the Lord had to say about what you talked about. Verses 3 through 7, mostly verses 4, and 4 is what I want to read right now. Because, yeah, the Saints arrived in Zion. And remember, we talked last week, some of them traveled over 900 miles to get here. And they sacrificed a ton. And so when you think about that, I mean, I know I have probably said this: “But I did what I was asked to do. I've been the good guy, you know, I've done everything you asked me to do.” So now it's finally all going to work out and we're going to build this temple and we're in Zion, and life is going to be exactly what we need it to be. And the Lord hits him with these two verses. Riley, will you read verses 3 and 4?
“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come here after and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
“For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.”
Alrighty, then, what's He basically saying in those verses?
I think we have to be careful sometimes in the Church because we get caught in this in this mindset of like, “Well, I'm gonna build my mansions in heaven. This is terrible. This is so hard. But man, I mean, I'm laying bricks in heaven, like, it's gonna be awesome after this life.” And I think we miss the mark sometimes because we are supposed to experience joy here.
I have a tendency to time travel into the future and in the past. Like, oh, if I just would have done this, or I could have done that. And then I fly into the future. And I ask the question, “What if?” and I have this ability to like, really get myself anxious about what ifs. And I just think it's so cool how He's constantly bringing us back to the moment and helping us to just recognize that we can have peace. And we can have joy even in the tribulations, and even in the difficulties that are before us.
That's beautifully said, Riley. In fact, as you were saying that it made me look at verse 5, because that's exactly what He's saying. “Remember,” we know that word is so important. Remember to remember, remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart. Let the moment sit with you, just lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.
I probably said this before, but I kind of picture God saying: “The truth, you can't handle the truth. I would tell you right now what was gonna happen to you, you would cry even harder and tell me all the reasons why you couldn't do it.” And I could think of 1,000 things that I would have guaranteed you I would say: “there's no way I could do that. There's no way I could raise somebody else's kids. There's no way I could marry someone who still loves another woman. There's no way, you know, all of these no ways.” And I would have missed my dream life. I say that, and I laughed when I said it. because it's hard. Really hard some days.
Because you're married to a widower, right?
Uh, huh. Okay. There's lots of things about it that are hard. But in reality, when I look back, I say, all of the things that I really asked God for that were important to me, every single one of them, I have. And I'm so grateful. And I'm so grateful that He didn't tell me the end before the beginning because I would have doubted and I would have cried and I wouldn't have gone. I feel like that's what He's saying there. He's like you can't understand right now. But I do want to make you stronger all along the way. I know what you can do. You're Amy.
Oh, Aim, that is perfect. In fact, that is perfect for this quote that we have. This is CS Lewis' House Analogy, and it's one of my favorite things he's ever written. So Aim, will you read this for us?
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what he is doing. He's getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on. You knew that those jobs needed doing and so you're not surprised, but presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of, throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage, but he is building a palace.” Isn't that so good?
Of course, I'm the crybaby of the three of us. I'm getting teared up just thinking about this. And I hope, I hope this is what I'm teaching my kids. I hope they know that. I hope they know that they're not just a decent little cottage. Man, that's powerful, right? We have so much good that we can do and we have so much power to do great things and to be great people and to be kind and to be considerate. And some of us are lucky to have parents that have, have treated us that way. Some of us haven't. But I feel like all of us have been lucky enough to have someone in our lives that gives us that feeling in our life, that we could be so much better than what we are and not in a condescending or a judgmental way, but in a way that just inspires and motivates. Right?
And it goes back to verse 3, where God's saying to us, look. You cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present time, the designs of your God concerning those things that are going to come. You can't even imagine the palace that I'm trying to make you into. When I read that quote, I kind of laughed because I was like, decent little cottage? I was perfectly happy being a tent, my bar was real low for a long time. And I'm like, wow, I'm gonna be better than that. So thinking about that palace is incredible.
So thank you, both of you for your thoughts and your impressions about these verses of scripture, they're so important to start out this whole discussion today. Now, section 58 contains some pretty great wisdom and what the Lord would not do for them. That's interesting. So I'm going to show you what that is in the next segment.
How are you guys when it comes to being bossed around? You like it?
I'm not a fan. My kids try bossing me around all the time. I don't like to be told what to do.
No, you don't. As your best friend and former roommate, I would agree.
Hey! There are times in life when I'm like, someone just tell me what to do. But for the most part, I like to think I generally know what to do. And when I don't, I ask the Lord.
I like to be controlled and manipulated and told what to do. I love it. It's one of my favorite things.
Listen, I know the question seems absurd. But when I wrote it, I was like, I kind of do. When I'm with certain groups of friends. I'm like, you know what, just choose for me. I don't wanna make any decisions. I'm so decisioned out as a mom, that sometimes I'm just like, tell me where to go. Tell me what I need to do.
I bet you're really enjoying, like, the new style of the Church where they put everything back on you right now then, right?
It's like, oh, why don't you just go ahead and pray and have some inspiration over your own little sphere? And you're like, No, no. I, I do that on everything.
I enjoyed three hours of church where you taught my kids. This is a lot of pressure.
Yeah, yeah, totally. Are you good at bossing? Maybe I should ask you that.
I'm a pretty good boss. There'd be a lot of tears, but I'm good at it.
Perfect. That is perfect.
I've recently, just with work but by my own choice got into some leadership positions, and I'm finding out I'm terrible. Everything I ever complained about with a boss. Everything I ever, ever thought was like, “Oh my gosh, this guy needs to get it together. This guy's not organized. Like he doesn't delineate, he's not clear.” And I always thought I'm a natural leader, like how come I'm not a leader? How come they haven't done this with me? Like, Oh, my goll, look at me, like I could do this. I mean, look at my resume, I could do that. And the truth is, is I'm having a tall glass of be quiet every single day right now. It's been incredibly humbling.
I bet. Okay, this is perfect, because here's what God has to say about being bossed around. And here's what God won't do for us. So in Section 58, we're just going to look at verses 26 through 29. And I specifically asked Riley to teach us about these verses. Because here's something cool about Riley. He is a sports psychologist. He travels around to sports companies, and he teaches them, and you get people ready to play sports, to get out of their head, to get into the game kind of stuff. In fact, I saw Riley on Sunday, and he came to my ward because we have a friend, a mutual friend, and he was there for a farewell. And I was playing the organ and I was messing up so much that I actually thought I should have Riley give me a little sport psychology before I play the organ because I am all in my head. All I can think about while I'm playing is how many notes I'm going to miss and I'll be danged if I don't miss them. So Riley was even there to witness how terrible it was. And so, Riley, I want you to teach us about these verses. I'm so excited.
Interestingly enough, I think the first thing that I would tell you is that we're all inside of our heads. I didn't even notice anything about the organist; I didn't even know that you were playing the organ and I didn't notice anything wrong. So, so it's really, really interesting because the latest studies in science and research shows that 77% of our thoughts, with a normal person from like a fairly normal background, 77% of our thoughts are negative or counterproductive. It's enormous. So the thing that I would tell you, if you really did want that little pep talk is you're not alone. And we all do it. And if we can just reduce it a little bit, it goes so far. And I think that's what Heavenly Father's trying to help us with, right? He's like, Oh, my gosh, you're doing great. You got this.
In D&C 58:26, it says: “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.”
If you think about the war in heaven, Christ's plan was to chose the Lord and that we would be free to chose Him. But Satan's plan, the adversary's plan was to chose him, to chose the adversary and to chose no agency, or no choice and that we would all make it back. But the thing that's deceiving about that and the thing that's hard to me about that is that, if all we do is make the decisions that somebody else tells us to do, then we're just an appendage to their body. All the glory would have been his. And so, interestingly, again, Christ shows us how much He loves us by telling us we'll have the ability to chose and we will feel the glory and the love of making that choice. And Satan wanted us to be his big toe. Satan wanted us to be part of his great and grand design.
So this is interesting: Not that many years ago we were sitting in an office, my husband and I work with a therapist who happened to be LDS. I was telling him how difficult it was with this child and how worried I was that they could actually be in great danger. And I was just pouring out my heart to this therapist, and he stopped me and he said, “Amy, how does Heavenly Father parent you?” It was the first time he'd ever brought up Heavenly Father. How does Heavenly Father parent you? And I'm like, right now he isn’t and I don't even hear Him at all. He was completely absent because I was so worked up over everything that was so hard in my life. And he says, “No, honestly, how does Heavenly Father parent us? He lays it all before us. And then we choose.” And I said, “But this child's only, you know, 17 years old, and she could die.” And he's like, “You're right, she could die. And you could die too. We get to choose for ourselves, and you need to learn to let your children choose for themselves.” That was hard. And I never thought I wasn't letting them chose, but I was freaking out when they weren't chosing what I would wish they would chose.
Aim, I appreciate you sharing that experience, because you know what, as you were saying it, it's something that I need right now, with a specific child. These verses are more applicable to me than I actually even thought. So thank you for sharing that. And your comparison, Riley was interesting, because I'd never considered if we had chosen Satan's plan, we would have been slothful; we wouldn't have had any agency, would have gone through the motions in this body. Yeah, not a wise servant at all, because we wouldn't have been able to come and learn and grow. And it's the tribulations that help us receive the reward. And so, I've never considered that verse for a war in heaven that's awesome!
And the war goes on. And I still have a tendency to want to say no. Somebody told me what the right thing to do is and let's just chose it, and I'll just go with that. Truthfully, it's an easier plan, and that's why it's deceiving. But more loving and the more caring and the more encompassing plan is Christ's love for us.
Now, we're going to help you to learn how to chose and you're going to love it and it's going to make you feel so much better about yourself and so much more confident. You'll be the measure of your creation, not just a cottage like we were talking about earlier, right? So D&C 58:27 “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”
Okay, so love this! This is just like Positivity 101, right? Be anxiously engaged. Go and do, you know, I mean, Nephi could have wrote this right. Mr. Go and Do, simply went and did. When he couldn't find a wife he just went back to Jerusalem. He's like, oh, the daughters of Ishmael will marry us. Sometimes I don't really relate to him. I think he's amazing. And I love the scriptures and I love Nephi. But I'm like, Peter: I will never deny you, Christ. Three times later, he's like, I'm really sorry that I did that.
I keep making mistakes like Peter, and this scripture is anxiously engaged in a good cause. And when I looked up anxiously engaged, wherever I went on the internet, and my six-year-old son told me the other day is like, “Not everything you read on the internet's true, Dad,” so that this might not be true. So it says: “You very much want to do.” That really reminded me of the word enthusiasm.
Do you guys know what the base or the root word of enthusiasm is? It's Entheos. Entheos is the root. And it actually means God or divinity within. The great people in your community, at your church, on your teams growing up at your businesses, do they not have a unique enthusiasm? Do they not have a unique spirit within them.
So when I talk to athletes, and I'm working with professional athletes and high school athletes and college athletes. Dude, sometimes you don't need to do more. It's about doing it and being anxiously engaged, or having an enthusiasm, or the gods within us. Or knowing that I'm Heavenly Father's boy. And then it's possible for me to do this. And all the great people that I know have a unique enthusiasm about them and are anxiously engaged, whether it's sports, whether it's at the church, whether it's in my community, those people have a unique enthusiasm, and I love it. So when I think about being anxiously engaged, if I can learn to love the lonely work, if I can learn to love the mundane, you know, the getting up and consistently reading my scriptures, consistently doing things, then I'll be more anxiously engaged when it comes to something that's even just a little bit rewarding.
I love this verse. For some reason a bishop before my mission had me memorize it. And so it's always kind of at the forefront of my mind. I'm glad he did, because, like how it says do many things of your own free will. I think sometimes I wait to be told what to do in service assignments, whether it's ministering or a volunteer assignment in the school. But I think what it's saying to me is there are things all around you. Find them and do them. I don't need to tell you what to do you know what hungry looks like, you know what tired looks like you know what stressed out looks like. Do it of your own free will.
Well, let's just be clear. Amy is verse 27. Her name is next to that verse in my scriptures. Because Amy's the first person to just do. You've been anxiously engaged ever since you've memorized that scripture, and I've seen it in your life for sure.
I know that you to know this. But for those listening to the podcast, I had a premature baby at 25 weeks. She weighed one pound, one ounce, and she was literally the size of my palm and my fingers. That's how big she was. We had a wonderful stake president who came over to visit us whose wife at the time had stage 4 brain cancer, and within a few months had passed away. He came over to us and he said, “I want you to know how much the stake loves you and is praying for you. I feel inspired to tell you that the one thing that I think would be really important for you to do is when people try to help you or ask if they can help, let them.”
And it was so inspired because me and Georgeana just had this big pep talk. Look, we don't need anybody's help, we're okay. Like, we can do this on our own. We'd gone like seven days in the NICU and we're, oh, we got this. And we're like, Huh, okay. But you know, the thing that was amazing is all the people that showed up and just did.
I remember driving home one time and I started bawling. And you guys know I'm a crybaby, but somebody was mowing my lawn when I came home from the NICU. You have no idea how what a relief that was to me. And then you walk into our house and the Relief Society had taken our key and filled our house with lunch meats, and really, really easy ways to, just make a quick meal so that we could sleep and then get back to the NICU, right? It seems so small. But nobody asked. Georgeana and I have tried to return the favor. And we still don't do it the way that we should. But to be anxiously engaged is to not ask, just go do it. Just took the load off of us.
Riley, thank you for sharing that. That's a perfect application to that verse. That is Amy. And that is what you just described. And so tell us how it connects to verse 28. Talk to me about a free agent like why, what does this have to do with God. Tell me about this verse.
So the first thing when we read 28 it says, “For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And in as much as men do good they shall in no wise lose their reward.” The first thing I thought of is, I say this all the time and you guys know my sarcastic attitude. But like, look, we all need to stop crying about the fact that we're not first round, second round or seventh round draft picks. All of us are free agents. And it's what we do with our opportunity that matters, right? Why do we get caught up in the ego with all these things about when we were drafted. We were drafted; we're on the team. Let's step up and let's take advantage of that opportunity. So we're agents very few times does the Lord come in and interfere with our agency. I think it's something that's almost sacred.
So let's take it in this context. To me, this is where I see the beauty of this agency that we have. And I stole it from Viktor Frankl from Man's Search for Meaning. And I use it, it's such a good book, but he talks about in between stimulus and our response to that stimulus. So what happens to us and how we respond? He said, there's always a moment. And I really feel like that's a sacred moment for us. And he says, it's the only thing that nobody can take away from you on this world. And this is a man who was in Auschwitz, right? Maybe the worst place ever in the history of this earth. But he said they could not steal my choice to react the way I wanted to. And I love that thought that in between stimulus and response or in between the event that happens to us and our chosen response, we get to chose, whether it's .5 seconds, whether it's five minutes, whether it's five days, we get to choose, and we need to choose wisely. And we need to chose him.
I loved that.
I also liked that, it was so perfect.
Here's what I loved about it too. And I'm thinking going back to how verse 28 begins, the power is in them. And what power is that, other than God's power. And then it makes me think of enthusiasm like, all of it connects, Riley. It's so good, see, I could never have taught those verses. We needed your expertise and what you knew about these verses, because you just changed the way I have read those, and taught those for years. And I will never be the same from this moment on. So thank you, that was such a great way to understand that. So with that, then we're just going to read this really cool quote by Brigham Young, because it ties it all together with tribulations and the house that we're being built, and how we're agents and that the power is within us. And I just love this Aim, we read this quote, please:
“We talk about our trials and troubles here in this life. But suppose that you could see yourselves thousands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation, a crown of glory, and the presence of God. Then look back upon your lives here and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments. You would be constrained to explain, what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are here now; we have been faithful during a few moments in our mortality. And now we enjoy eternal life and glory.”
Aim, tell me how that applies to the people you first talked about when we started at the beginning, your friends who've since left.
I just recently have heard of a couple friends who said that they aren't going to church anymore. It surprised me how jolted I was. I just wanted to say, just keep going. Just keep swimming. My kids and I were just talking about this about how short this life is. And my daughter, who's a sophomore at BYU Idaho said to my little girls, “You know, girls, this life is a twinkle of an eye.” And my 10-year-old daughter said, “What does that mean?” And my older daughter said, “Like when we blink, that's what it is to God.” It's so fast. Sometimes the day seems so long, and we're so tired. And we've been doing what we thought we were supposed to do for so many years. And we're not seeing the fruits, because maybe the fruits, the kind of fruits, we're thinking of weren't what was promised. We're not seeing it, because it's not what we asked for. But it's exactly what we need, probably. I know that continues to be the case in my life.
Thank you. Thank you both of you. Those were some awesome, incredible thoughts that will stay with all of us who heard them. So thank you for sharing that. I love that idea, Amy. Just keep swimming, and that the power is in us. I want to show you in the next segment, a doctrine that the Lord's going to teach us that is going to be hard and you're not going to probably want to swim through it. And you're not going to want to believe that you can do it. But the Lord is going to show you that you can.
In total transparency here with my two friends, when I asked them to be on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, the text exchange was hilarious. Can I please share it, because it was so funny. So Amy says, “Will this require a visit to the bishop's office after we do this, asking for a friend?” And Riley wrote, “Yeah, he was much more forgiving as he aged. I'm just saying.” This is the bishop in our singles ward. And he said, “Oh, good, because I practically counted the number of rings on the tree that was used to make his desk.” And Riley said, “You were supposed to be listening to his counsel.” And he said, “I know but all I could think about was breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for something that I had done wrong.” And I laughed so hard because I thought, we have all counted the rings in that desk. Am I right? We have all sat at that office, and looked at the desk while we were getting talks to thinking, this is the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life.
Counting was not my strong suit. But I did notice the ring.
And finding faces in the rings: that guy has a big nose.
It looks like a witch or does that look like a young lady? I don't know.
Totally. So we all have the same Bishop in the singles word who's a gem of a man, we love him so much. But I was dying at that text exchange because of the gospel principle that this section contains, that we are going to talk about. And so - it is repentance.
And we didn't even know what we were going to be talking about.
I know you didn't. I didn't even tell you the sections yet. And so we were talking about that. So here's what the title for this section is: Agency and Confession. That's what you have to title it: Agency and Confession. And these are the quintessential repentance verses in scripture. I shared them before, but I'm not going to share it again this way, What we're going to do is we are going to have one of the most open, real discussions about repentance that we could possibly have. And I've talked to my guests. So you guys know this, like we're just going to talk about this. We're just going to read verses 39 through 43. But I mean, skip verse 40, I don't really know if we need that. So, Riley, you start with verse 39.
“And let them repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world.”
“And also he hath need to repent, for I, the LORD, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.”
“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the LORD, remember them no more.”
“By this, he may know if a man repented of his sins-- behold, he will confess them and forsake them.”
Thank You. First of all, when you read those, what does your heart do? What do you think? What are you feeling?
Well, I'll start by saying, I never really fully understood repentance as a teenager. Because I did have that attitude where like, no way. I can't tell my friend's dad, what I did. Repentance was an event, and I wasn't ready to go to that event yet. As I prepared for a mission, I started to learn what repentance really is. I came home from my mission, vowing to never make another mistake in my life.
You have not done.
No, no, you're still clean.
And there I was in my office, embarrassed and humiliated, like, I can't believe I have to do this. And then another week later, I'm back in his office again, telling him basically the same thing. And probably the third time, he's like, “Amy, do you understand what repentance is?” Poor bishops. I mean, they don't have any formal training. “Do you understand what repentance is? When you repent, you confess it like you've done and then you don't do it anymore.” And I was like, I could hardly breathe. Like, “I know. I taught that. I know. But you know what, bishop? In the day that I don't come to you, in the day that I don't make that phone call, that's the day I'm scared. I need help. I need to verbally say it out loud to you that I need help.”
And then he started crying so hard. He's like, “I'm so sorry. You know what, most people aren't coming to my office saying this to me, as you're saying. So, I'm sorry. I misspoke. Go on.” But that was a hard thing to hear. And he's right. According to these scriptures, forgiveness is forsaking and then not continuing to do that thing. But there's a part there that where we have to decide that, you know what? I'm going to keep repenting. I'm going to repent as long as I need to repent, I don't want to keep making the same mistakes, I just put myself in the same situations and wala, the perfect storm. But when I really finally felt forgiven, it was so freeing. That same biishop helped me feel that way. And I think we helped each other through that time.
That's a beautiful story, Aim.
I'm so glad that you had the courage to say that to him, so that he could feel the spirit. For me I read these and I was like, oh, they're tapping into my negative self talk. Yeah, right. He has need to repent; the Lord's not pleased with him, right? And being in full disclosure, I was 37 years old when I got married for the first time. And the only time so far. I've had plenty of scrapes with the law. It's in the nicest way that I can say it. And when I think about repentance, there was two really, really good things that were taught to me over the years.
Number one is as I was getting ready to go away to college, there was a random person, not somebody that I would normally like take advice from and he said to me, “Hey Riley, I don't usually have a lot of advice. But one bit of advice before you go away to college is make the bishop, your friend, not your bishop. I just want you to make sure that you have a relationship with him long before you have to go into him and it'll be better.” It was interesting as I was listening to you, Amy, because you're like, I don't want to go to my friend's dad and confess. My experience was, I don't want to go to a complete stranger and confess; I don't even know this guy.
Oh, I actually had that situation.
So that was a really, really cool thing. And I took that advice to heart. And I feel like every single one of my bishops from that time has become my friend and has been a beautiful thing. And they followed up with me long after their callings, and they've been my friends, and my spiritual confidants and my mentors forever. So that was beautiful. advice for me.
The next thing that happened to me and I think this was inspiration from the spirit, but I was listening to something about J. Golden Kimball, the swearing apostle, right? And they said, “Well, do you ever feel bad about swearing?” And he goes, “No, I repent too bleeping fast,” right. Like, if you want to bleep that out, I didn't say the curse word. But I think that was interesting. And for some reason, the Lord said to me, you know, “Riley, you've been single for a while. You should be the repenting saint.”
A beautiful process happened in my life where, like you, Amy, I committed to no matter what happened during that week, if it was bad enough, I was going in to the bishop, and we went through the processes that needed to take place. And he was very, very nice to me. And I came back the next week. And he was very kind and he was very patient. And he was working with me, and I came back the next week. And he goes, almost similar to you. And he's like, “So, what are we trying to get out of this? Is this what we're gonna do every week?” And I told him about my example, or the thought that I had about the swearing apostle and about how I wanted to be the repenting saint. He goes, “Oh, my gosh, I just love that.” And he goes, “You know what the greatest thing is about repentance Riley, is that I get to dust you off. And I get to help you to have the spirit with you again, so that you can fight it off.” And I just really appreciated it. It was such a beautiful experience for me. Well, it was three weeks later that I went in to see him and then it was four months later, and then it was six months. And then I don't know that I had to go in again and Elder Anderson, he said, “Repentance isn't the backup plan. It is the plan.” When I think about repentance in that way, it's so relieving. For all of us perfectionists out there, it's just so relieving. Right? Okay, no, this is the plan. This is how it works. And this is how I can feel the spirit again. And this is how I can feel his promptings and His love and His encouragement.
Can we put that in vinyl? Repentance isn't the backup plan; it IS the plan. Because every time I have the chance to speak to teenagers, I say that. Not those words, cuz I'm gonna say those words now. But I always say if you read 2 Nephi, chapter 31, it clearly states: “The doctrine of Christ is faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost.” It's part of the plan. And so the problem isn't that you did something wrong. That's not what we're worried about. It's not repenting that Satan has the power. It's keeping you from repenting, it's keeping you from getting on your knees or going to see your bishop. That's when he's won. It's not when you've done this, then; that was just part of the plan, we knew that. We all knew that that was going to be part of having this life. And going back to the verses is that you described to us, how we were not slothful! Not at all; we are becoming wise servants by repenting and experiencing life and the power is in us to repent.
It makes me think about what we talked about earlier, right? Like our reaction to the event that happens to us. Our reaction to sin is more important than maybe even the sin itself, like how do we react? Do we take that courageous and vulnerable and scary step, which for those of you that are thinking about it, I felt the exact same way and I can't tell you how many blessings came into my life from repenting. It's been so beautiful.
I had, as a teenager, some ideas that I was this vile sinner. I had talked a lot in my mind. I will go to the grave with this secret, I'll never tell anybody. If I go to hell, so be it but I'm not telling anybody. This little, I'm calling a secret, but the sin that I perceived as sin ate away at me. It went with me on my mission and after my mission, and I was on a business trip one day, I was in Philadelphia, I'll never forget. I was in a hotel room and I was just saying my regular prayers and the whole hotel room filled with pink light. It was sunset and it was like the pinkest light and the thought came to me: “It's time. It's time to unload. You don't have to hold on to this anymore.” I didn't know what I was going to say; I didn't know how I would find the words. And I just went home and dialed my bishop and said, “I need to talk.” And I honestly don't know how I'm going to get the words out. And he said, “Come on in.”
I asked, I said, I think I need a blessing to get these words out. And he said, “Okay.” So he gave me a blessing and in the blessing, he said, “Heavenly Father wants you know you are forgiving of all of your sins. And you don't need to think about this anymore.” I remember being so overwhelmed, like nope, I still got to tell you, because you got to make sure I don't miss any steps like, you can but you don't have to. The burden that was lifted from me that day.
Ah, I think about how heavy it would be if I was still carrying it, and I would still worry and wonder. Heavenly Father hadn't thought about it like I had. He loved me so much, it probably killed him, knowing that I was holding on to it. He wanted me to let it go. And it was so free. And now I talk to my kids differently. I never want them to hold on to what they perceive is terrible sin.
Amy, that was a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that. Both of you. I mean, I just think, in fact, I know for a fact that there are people who are listening right now. Go. Just make an appointment and go see your bishop. Just do it. There is so much beauty in repenting; and you have witnessed that and you have felt that. There are people who are feeling the spirit right now, I know I am. The Spirit is confirming that what you both have shared is true. So thank you so much. That was a beautiful, candid discussion.
So that's what those verses that are about: repenting and turning to the Lord. And we've talked about this in Hebrew before, the meaning of repentance, and the meaning of the atonement is to be covered by him. And that's what this life is all about. It's being covered and protected and comforted by him.
You know, I can remember three years ago, I heard Elder Devin Durrant, he was the Sunday School General President at the time, and he said, “The only thing that I want my missionaries to bring to the mission field is a testimony of Jesus Christ's Atonement.” I wish I had known that. I think the cool thing about what he said is that the whole purpose of having an Atonement of Jesus Christ is going to help gather people. And we're going to show you where that says it in Doctrine and Covenants section 58. In the next segment.
Amy and I have known each other for a very long time, right?
The best of times.
Yeah, it's kind of like that book. But there wasn't a worst of times, the best of times. Now, listen, when we first met, and we formed our friendship. You know, I have to tell you don't know this story, Amy, this is a true story. It makes me emotional. I had just moved into my grandparents’ basement. I had no friends and I had met you. And I also started grad school at the time, and I knew I was going to be busy. And I was getting out of my car. And you had texted me if I wanted to go do something that night. And this is so weird, cuz I'm 28 years old. And for anybody who has been in the singles ward, you guys can relate to this. It's like the first day of Kindergarten every time you go to a new singles ward, because you gotta find your people. You gotta find your friends and who you're going to sit with at lunchtime. And so it's just so overwhelming and scary. And I met Amy. And when I got out of the car, the thought came: “Be Amy's friend.” And I was not in the business of looking for friends. I was like, no, I'll just be single forever. I'll be by myself. I'll live in my grandparents’ basement, go to grad school. Yeah, things are going really swimmingly. And I will never forget the Spirit said, “Be Amy's friend,” and I was like, all right, and then went and hung out that night. And ever since my life has never been the same. I have often said of people, “They just need an Amy in their life.” Oh, my daughter needs an Amy. I was talking to somebody else. I'm like, “Oh, yeah, he just needs an Amy.” And then I explained what Amy has done for me. Because let me tell you about this Amy here.
Amy's a gatherer. In fact, we have a lot of people in our group of friends, and you are the designated connector. There's so many of us that are friends and we're all like, how did you guys meet? Oh, Amy. So I want to know, Amy, why is that important to you? Why are you a connector or a gatherer?
I truly believe there's something in me that longs to connect. And in my brain, I don't really want to but I'm like I don't know. I have too much to do, I don't need to connect. But it just happens; I meet people and I want to know where they're from. And I want to know who we're related to. And it doesn't matter if they're members of the church or not or who they know that I might know so that we can connect on some level. And the first time I met you was at the Senior Living Center that you were living in.
I was living in the ethnic senior citizens.
Multi-Ethnic Senior Living center.
For free, as a day aid.
She looks and me, and she said, “Oh, my friend Tammy, she works here. You're gonna love her. Let's go meet her.” And I was like, all right. And I had this feeling come over me. And it was like, “Oh, you two are friends.” And it was instant; it was just that we were going to be friends. And it took a while to get ya.
Cuz I didn't want any friends; I just wanted to be single, go to grad school, live in my grandparents basement. So true. It's so true.
So for all of you connectors out there, we have a great verse of scripture. And now if you're thinking you're not a connector, well, here's some good news. We've been asked to be connectors. Our prophet has encouraged us to start connecting, to start gathering. That's what this is all about. Every one of his talk. It's just so cool. So let's go to section 58. And I want us to look at verse 45. Riley, will you read it for us?
“For behold, they shall push the people together from the ends of the earth.”
There it is. What are we going to do?
Push 'em together.
To the outside, put Deuteronomy chapter 33, verse 17. That's where this phrase comes from, Deuteronomy chapter 33, verse 17. If you wonder where Deuteronomy is, you can just go, (singing) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Deuteronomy. Did you just sing it, Aim?
I said Deuteronomy, Joshua Judges, Ruth.
Perfect. Okay, Aim. Read Deuteronomy, chapter 33, verse 17. This is a fun verse.
“His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
Okay, now, let me just give you a little background for this. So his glory. God's glory is like the first thing of the bullock. So that's important. That's the thing you're going to sacrifice. It's the most prized animal. And then he says, and his horns. Anytime you read about horns in scripture, it's a symbol or sign of power. So his horns are like the horns of unicorns. But in Hebrew, that word unicorn is actually a wild ox, which has so much power. So, God has the most power, and then it says with them, he shall push the people together. And then that word push is so cool, because the idea behind that word push is, it is so powerful that nothing else will prevail against it. The word push in Hebrew means to thrust or gore. These bulls, these wild oxen are going to use their horns to thrust or gore the wicked so that no one can prevail over God's plan to push these people together. And that's what it will be like as the Lord is gathering today. Nothing will prevail over God's ability to push us together.
So now go back to Section 58, because there's three specific verses about how we're going to push people together. And we're going to put those next to verse 45. The verses are: verse 47, verse 55, and 56, and then verse 64. These are the four verses that the Lord is teaching us. Here's how we're going to push people together. Again, that's verse 47, then verses 55 and 56, and then verse 64. So, Amy, will you read verse 47?
“Let them preach by the way, and bear testimony of the truth in all places, and call upon the rich, the high and the low, and the poor to repent.”
Okay, and Riley, will you read 55 and 56?
“Let all these things be done in order; and let the privileges of the lands be made known from time to time, by the bishop or the agent of the church.”
“And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done, as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time.”
Then Amy, verse 64.
“For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth - the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.”
Did anything stand out to you, especially when you think of like your mission, or what you're doing now, pushing people and helping to gather?
When we first started talking about it, and you said the word push and like, I don't want to be pushy, so I was like, oh, I hope it says something about a different kind of push. And I think it did. I love that it starts out in 47. It says and let them preach by the way. So to me, that means along the way, along the journey. We preach by how we live our lives. You know, we may go out and preach a sermon, but I think a stronger sermon is how we live.
That takes the pressure off, because that's what I get. I get so nervous, right? Like I went on my mission to France, there wasn't a lot of success. I've been a ward Missionary Leader a couple times and like, man, it's hard work for me. And so I'm hoping that you're right, that by the way I live that it helps people to feel pushed or prompted, I guess would be a good work.
You know, what's interesting is with the three of us, Riley, when you were sharing your story about going to the bishop's office. We were there. We were sitting next to you on the bench. And we remember some of that, as you were sharing, mine was strengthened, and it was a sign to me of God's love for us. And that we're still here, in this work, and we still love it. We're still pushing forward and it's still hard; it's just a different hard. But I'm so glad for the stories and testimonies I've heard today. It's brought back so many memories. And you know what? Friendship has made it so much easier to get through all these hard times.
Before you said that, in my mind, I was going to ask the question, “When is the time that you have felt pushed?” Because we talk about how we're going to push other people, and then you just answered it. It's sitting on the pew next to each other at church. It's baring our testimonies, its remaining friends. The pushing can be so beautiful and easy and subtle. Because sometimes in my mind, when I think of push, I'm like, pushing so hard.
Who are you, Atlas?
I'm pushing the world above my head. I'm like, it's so hard. And sometimes it's just a lovely little push, you know, it's when you sit by someone at church or invite someone to something or whatever it is. It's just so cool how this idea of pushing which will prevail, it will prevail, because of the horns because of the power behind it, which is Christ, because of Jesus. It'll work. It'll absolutely work. We just have to be willing, on our end to do our part of pushing. There's a great cross-reference for verse 56. I want you to look at this real quick, when it says “And let the work of the gathering be not in haste.” Circle the word haste. The cross-reference for that is Isaiah chapter 52 verse 12. And I just think this is a great way to sum up everything we've discussed, Isaiah chapter 52, verse 12, talking about the work, and having it not be in haste. Riley, will you read that when you get there, Isaiah 52, verse 12?
“For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight : for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.”
Thank you. And I wanted to bring that up, because we talked about it a couple of weeks ago. The beauty of that when it says that the Lord will go before you, He'll be in the front. Rereward means He'll also be in the back. So He will be with you on your journey in the front, in the back along that hike or that trail that you're on, wherever you are in your journey. Wherever it is, He's in both places, helping you. Don't do it by haste. Just take the time, you know, lay it upon your heart, let it sit with you, enjoy the journey. Don't make it go by so fast, because there's purpose to all of it.
Alright, so my challenge to us is that push this movement forward; let's find ways to help push people together, knowing that the Lord is at the back. He is there to help us, and if we fall he's gonna catch the group. He'll help push, He's got our backs.
So, we just studied section 58. Now the next section, section 59 is going to come six days later. And Polly night sweet Polly night that I talked about the beginning, she died Saturday. And her funeral will be the next day on Sunday, August 6th, 1831. And at her funeral, Joseph Smith attended the funeral. And while he was there, he received this revelation, which enlightened the saints on a very important commandment. I'm going to show you what that commandment is and what he said in the next segment.
Tell me, you guys in your career in your life as a mom or dad, whatever. Tell me about some of the things you create each week. What are the things you do or make?
Well, right now I work in real estate. And I'm working to create systems that will allow the brokerage I work for to grow. And so there's a lot of new platforms and pieces that are coming together. In fact, tomorrow's the big day that we roll it out.
Good luck, Aim. That's huge, huge. I'll pray for you tonight.
I'm really lucky in my job, I get paid to serve other people. And the creation part of my job is that I'm creating unique and innovative ways to build confidence, to lower stress, and to help people to live their dreams. And I have the unique privilege to help people to live their dreams.
Well, the reason that I asked you about creating is because we as human beings create in our own individual ways all week long. But on Sunday, we are asked to take a break from creating and remember who it is that created us, and I've never considered that that's what the Sabbath is about. I read that in an article one time, and I thought, “Huh. Now that is a great idea.” And that's what section 59 is all about.
Here is the prophet at Polly Knight's funeral. And he receives a revelation. And the revelation is solely about how to keep the Sabbath Day holy and what that looks like for these new members of the church who have come from so many different religious backgrounds. And now he's going to set the stage for what it means for us today. And I just love how it's applicable to us. So go into section 59, and next to verses 1-3 just write, “Polly Knight.” Those verses are specific for her. So you need to know that when you're reading it. And then he comes into verses 4-8, and he reminds us of some commandments. And we're not going to go over those, you can just read those. But then he jumps right in with verse 9. And from verses 9 until 24, he's going to talk to us about what it means to keep the Sabbath Day holy and the blessings for doing that.
So in this segment, we're just going to talk about what it means to keep the Sabbath Day holy. And before we even get into that we have to read this quote by President Nelson on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, cuz I love what he said about this. This was in April 2015 General Conference, and Riley, we're at you. Will you please read this quote?
“In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn't until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding I no longer needed a list of do's and don'ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, What sign do I want to give to God? That question made my choices about the Sabbath Day crystal clear.”
Thank You. Keep that in mind as we discuss these verses of scripture. And we are not going to give you a list of do's or don'ts. Not at all, we're not going to talk about what we do and don't do on the Sabbath, because it is specific to everyone. And right now, we're just gonna look at verses 9 through 12.
And I asked my guests to read these verses and just kind of mark what are some of the things about keeping the Sabbath day that you notice that the Lord is encouraging us to do? I'll start, the first thing right out of the gates is verse 9. Here's what he wants us to do on the Sabbath Day. “That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.” I like that idea of keeping myself unspotted from the world. I thought about this a couple of months ago when we were partaking of the sacrament. And it was so cool, because I thought, there's some symbolism and how we drink the water, and we give back an empty cup. And then we give that empty cup back to Christ. And we're whole again, we're filled, we're cleaned. I feel like my spots have been removed and I can start my week. I loved that, keeping myself unspotted from the world. What stood out to you guys?
For me, it's verse 10, when he talks about this being a day of rest. I think back to when I was young, and all I wanted to do was go, go, go, and why can't I play with my friends? And why can't I do this? And I just seek Sunday, every week, so urgently. And I can't wait for the peace and the relaxation that comes from reflecting upon our Heavenly Father. Upon Christ's sacrifice, and then being with my kids. It's the best.
I love that.
When I hear about people so shocked that, you know, we don't do things as we normally would, on a Sunday. To a lot of people, it feels like a waste of a day. Like, oh, it's like you only get six days a week. I think, “Oh my gosh, what a gift that we have this day, set apart to just rest day.” I'm not great at the Sabbath Day. I can be honest. I mean, I was pretty good last Sunday, I did “Come, Follow Me” early because I knew we were gonna talk about stuff. But I know I could do so much better.
My daughter the other day said, “Mom, my friends are riding a bike, can we just go ride bikes?” And I'm like, “No, we don't ride bikes on Sunday.” I had this thought: “Come on, think about this. Why don't we ride bikes on Sunday? Do we ride bikes as a family on Sunday? Do we ride bikes with our friends on Sunday?” It stopped me to think, why do I think that way and what really is right for our family? What's right for one family isn't right for another.
You know, Aim. I love that you just said, I'm not the best at it. Because I think everybody can agree. We all are just trying to do our best on a Sabbath Day, whatever that looks like. But it's interesting because when you said that, it made me think of Exodus, chapter 20, verse 8. That's where the 10 Commandments are. And verse 8 is where the Lord introduces keeping the Sabbath Day holy commandment. And you know what's so interesting about it? It's one of the only commandments that doesn't begin with a “Thou shalt” and I didn't notice this: It begins with the word “Remember.” Remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I think there's a powerful message the Lord is sending us there. Just remember to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Not a Thou shalt, you have to even though we do, but I just love how He introduces the concept remember. It's something you're going to have to remember all the time and reframe because here's my guidance. Here's how I want you to do it. And then you decide what that looks like.
There's a couple of words that you might want to mark in these verses. For instance, in verse 10, Riley when you brought that up, the word devotions highlight that. When it says “and to pay by devotions to the Most High God.” Devotions is a demonstration of our love and loyalty. So pay a demonstration of your love and loyalties of most high God, whatever that looks like for you. Then verse 12, “but remember that on this, the Lord's day thou shalt offer thine oblations.” Highlight the word oblations. And I love the footnote down below. It says offerings, whether of time talents or means in service of God and fellow man. Boy, do you ever feel like sometimes your Sundays are busier than weekdays when it comes to your oblations?
Are oblations like obligations?
Kind of but they're spiritual.
A spiritual oblation. Yeah, your time, your mean, your service. That's what a lot of us are doing that on Sunday, for sure! So there's the word oblations. And now let's look and see what the Lord has to say about our Sabbath Day cuisine in verse 13. Aim, will you read that for us?
“And on this day they also do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that they fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”
Awesome, thank you. Whatever that looks like, preparing your food with the singleness of heart. We're not going to tell you how to do that.
I make popcorn or nachos. You bet.
Not a bad idea.
My singleness of heart has to do with the microwave and nachos on Sunday.
You bet it does! I love these ideas. And as you're listening to them, here's the only thing you should be thinking of is, what sign does my Sabbath observance give to God. That's it. And it's your thing; it's not anybody else's. And we've had this discussion before on the podcast, because I think back to several years ago, where we were issued a challenge to keep the Sabbath Day holy. And I remember that thinking, we're not doing a good enough job? Like how come the church has all of a sudden been focusing on this? This seems kind of crazy to me. And then all of a sudden, we have a pandemic, where you really had to think about how are you going to keep your Sabbath Day holy? What does that look like for your family? And a lot of us had to kind of shift mentally, like, what does it look like? How are you going to keep our Sabbath day holy, and it's different for everyone. But it's been so fun to sort of reinvent your Sunday.
I just wanted to add real quick, not only is it different for everyone, but it's gonna be different to you at different times in your life. And that's okay.
Oh, so good. Riley, you are totally right. I really like what you just said.
Great discussion, you guys.
Okay, so in the next segment, we're going to continue our discussion and then we're going to talk about the Sabbath Day and learn the blessings that we get from keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
Okay, so for this part, I sent a package to Amy and Riley in the mail. And I told them not to open it until right now. So go get your package you guys.
Did you already open it?
You opened it and resealed it didn't you?
It didn't say, “Don't open.”
Okay. I'll allow.
I don't know what's in here. But I'm so excited because I actually didn't look.
Okay, Riley, do you have yours? Riley's story's a little different.
I opened it on the 15th. I had no idea what it was. I had no idea why there was Hebrew writing on a package that had my name on it. And I was like, “What in the world? Was I like tired? Do I stay up late? Was I ordering a knife that cuts through a shoe really clean and accidentally ordered this? Like, I have no idea what this is.”
It's an Ambien purchase.
I'm just so glad I didn't throw it away. I'm like, listen, the Amazon man knows my wife personally. That's how bad it is around here. So like when I got a package, and I didn't know what it was, she's like, “How in the world do you not know what it is?”
Well, this is so fun. Okay, surprise, open your package. Take it out of the bag.
Okay, here's why I sent you guys the spice bags. It's because it's a Jewish tradition, which I thought was so fascinating. At the end of every Sabbath, the very end of their Sabbath observance, they get together—family and friends and they have a ceremony that's called ha vdalah. And it's two words, it's separate. It's ha vdal. Those are the two words they combine and ha means the, and vdal in Hebrew means to separate. And it's kind of cool because what they do is at the very end of their Sabbath observance, they all gather around and they breathe in this incense. And the reason why they do that is because in their practice, they're breathing in the sweet savor of the Sabbath day to take with them into the week so that they can remember the beautiful smell and beautiful sign they gave to God on their Sabbath observance. And then they want to carry that feeling with them throughout the week. Isn't that the coolest idea?
I love that!
I mean, I'm not about to do it, but I love this.
Tell me why.
So interestingly enough, one of the ways that you can recreate or that you can build neural pathways that help you to be successful in sport is by involving all of your senses, imagery, so not just your eyes, but your ears, your nose, your taste, and what you can feel. And it's so powerful. Our senses are so powerful, in fact, to help people to memorize things, to help people to replicate things and to do things, we really try and involve all the senses which one of the cool things about going back to school later in life is just how much all of this was like created by the Lord. I'm like, “Well, of course for psychology concepts are like invented by the Lord. He invented everything.” Like, he knew all of this stuff, right? And ah, man, it's just that's really cool to me.
They do all four senses, then. So here's what it is. They see a braided candle and they light it. They sing songs, they drink wine, and then they breathe in the spices at the end of the Sabbath, to welcome into the new week and take the spirit of the Sabbath with them throughout the week, the sweetness of the Sabbath.
Okay, now, here's what I love about this, though, as part of the ceremony, they've read several scriptures. One of the scriptures they read comes from the book of Esther. Esther, chapter 8, verses 16 and 17. And the reason why I want to read these is because 17 is here in Doctrine and Covenants section 59. So let's turn to Esther. This is after all of the Jews have been saved by Esther's bravery. Oh, I cannot wait to study this in the Old Testament! And so they were so happy that they were alive. And I love verse 16. It says, “The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.” But now look at verse 17, “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the King's commandment and his decree came, (here it is), the Jews had joy and gladness, and feast and a good day.” And that is what Sabbath observance is, and that's why the Jews read it at the end of their Sabbath observance.
And then the Lord tells us to have the same feelings here in Doctrine and Covenants section 59. We have to read this verse now. Riley, will you read verse 14 for us?
“Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing in prayer.”
Yes, and oh, read verse 15, too.
“And inasmuch as you do these things, with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.”
What a great way to celebrate Sabbath, huh?
Joy, happy, cheerful, all of those things. Let's just talk about the laughter thing. It actually is laughter that doesn't cross the line and doesn't make fun of sacred things. You can still laugh on Sunday. You just can't mock things.
So glad, because you guys have ruined my Sabbath like, thousands of Sundays in a row when we were together, that's true.
That's a true statement. 100%
All I did was laugh with you on Sunday. It was like, you guys were my family. It was my favorite thing to do.
Laughing and repent.
I repent too dang fast. Anyway, so it doesn't matter.
There you go.
Tammy, you know what I love about the sense? Is that anytime I make what I call like a mom dinner, so a roast. I make a roast on Sunday and rolls. And I smell that I think of my childhood. And all of the times that Nan, my mom that set that day apart as something special for us to remember. So I think that's so true about the power of smell and remembering.
Aim, I totally agree. That's my same childhood. Oh my gosh, we've talked about this. But yeah, we had a big fancy Sunday roast on Sunday. And when I smell that roast, I do, I think of Sundays as a kid. I feel bad for my own children, because now every time they smell nachos, they'll think of Sunday. But here's what I want to ask you about all of this. What are the blessings that come from keeping the Sabbath day holy?
Well, I wrote an abundant life is what comes from doing these things. Thanksgiving, triple hearts, the fullness of the Earth is yours.
I don't know that I always feel the spirit in the traditional way. Like I'm not traditionally a person that like goes to the temple and I feel this opening of the heavens and it like comes down to me like right in the temple. Or I don't feel like I always get this opening of the heavens and revelation when I keep the Sabbath day holy. What happens to me though, where I've really noticed the benefit of keeping the Sabbath day holy or going to the temple regularly or those sorts of things, is how many times He gives me touches during the week, when I'm doing those things, and how much I feel the spirit on other days besides Sunday, when I'm keeping the Sabbath day holy, when I'm trying to make temple attendance something that's special or consistent.
Riley, I love that you picked that out because that's what I picked out too. And this quote couldn't sum it up more perfectly. So let's just read this quote and end with this because this is what keeping the Sabbath day is all about. It's about feeling peace, and the idea of you know, smelling these cloves, and taking that peace with you into your week, Amy, will you read this quote for us?
“Peace is the gift of God. Do you want peace? Go to God. You want peace in your family? Go to God. Do you want peace to brood over your families? Go to God. If you do, live your religion, and the very peace of God will dwell and abide with you, for that is where the peace comes from. And it's, don't dwell anywhere else.”
I just love that quote. John Taylor said that, and I just love how he said, “and it don't dwell anywhere else.” When I read that, quote, I can't tell you many times the thought has come to me, “Go to God.” That's the answer. Just go to God. And peace comes. And when we keep the Sabbath day holy, we are going to God. I believe that, we're going towards him. So that's it. That's our lesson. That's the idea of just sections 58 and 59. There are so many good things in there. Oh, my gosh, I have a lot of takeaways. So I just want you to take a minute and think about what is your takeaway?
I'm so grateful to be your friends. And I'm so grateful to be part of this wonderful church. And to be Heavenly Father's boy. It means a lot to me.
Well, thank you, Riley. And you are His boy, His number one boy. I believe that. So thanks for joining us. Thank you for sharing your takeaway Riley.
Well, I just keep thinking about that something you said, the push will prevail because of the horns and the horns are the power. So the work that we're doing will prevail, not because of anything we do, but because of how the Lord will always have our backs. He's behind it.
So good Aim. So good. I really liked your takeaway.
So my takeaway was Riley, when you told us what the word enthusiasm means. And in Greek, it's Entheos, which means literally, in God. I love that; it is going to change the way that I view that word. And so it just it was so powerful to me at that moment, entheos, in God, and that is what the scriptures were teaching us in that section. So that was really cool. And then of course, your story, I'd never heard that repentant story, Aim. And that, that had me. I was bawling. So thank you for sharing that because the spirit manifested several times today, that what we were talking about was true. So thank you, both of you for being prepared and for sharing what you shared. I just love you guys. I love you Aim.
I love you, Tam.
Okay, so of course, I am dying to know what your takeaway was from today. So if you have not already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go join them, go follow us. It's so much fun. We have really great questions that people ask throughout the week. And I try to answer some of those questions. Every week at the end of the week, then on Sundays we always have a post asking for what your big takeaway was. So wait until Sunday if you want and leave a comment in the post that relates to this lesson, and let me know what you've learned. I read all of them. And I encourage everyone to read them because it's really empowering. I think it's a great way for us to remember what we're all doing.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDS Living.com/Sundayon Monday. It's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have the links to the references, the really cool references we used today, as well as a transcript of this entire discussion. So go check that out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our so fun, fabulous study group participants were Riley Jensen and Amy Hutchins Whitmore. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS Living.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katy Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at 6 Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week, and please remember, I like how Riley said this: You are His boy, you are His daughter, and you are His favorite.
Yeah, I was just gonna say adding on to this: if there's anybody that does not believe that Amy is a connector, it must have been two years ago, Amy's in the mall of all places where you want to like an exercise bike and an advertising....
I was in a massage chair at the mall on my birthday.
Okay, in a massage chair at the mall on her birthday. And she sees this guy and she goes, “I feel like I should know this guy, this dentist, right?” It's like on a billboard. She goes, “I'm pretty sure that he's a member of the church.” And I was like, “Okay, what does this have to do with me, Amy?” And she goes, “Well, I looked him up on Facebook, and he's connected to you.” You know, she's like, you know, so and so. You know, I don't want to include him in case he doesn't want to be included. But it was my Greenie on my mission. Right? So I quickly text my Greenie and say, “Hey, how funny is this? My friend Amy blah, blah blah. She said that you know she had a feeling that you're a member of the church, she looked you up.”
Anyway, he ends up going over to the Cheesecake Factory and paying for a pie for her. Yeah, that's how Amy is like, she's just the connector. He happened to be in the mall. Like it's I mean, it's just that's what Amy does and I can't even tell you how many stories with Amy that this has happened where she's like, “Oh, I really think you should meet so and so because I think you guys are like really get along.” And yeah, whatever Amy. And then like the next thing you know, like I'm hanging out with them for like the next six to eight months. And having the time of my life, like because she connected me, right?
"A revelation was also given concerning the gathering, on the receipt of which we, who constituted the Colesville branch, immediately set to preparing for our journey, and on the third day of June, I took passage with the Colesville company at Wellsville, Ohio, and arrived at St. Louis, Mo., on the 13th. On the 18th we took passage on the steamer Chieftain for Independence.
"My mother's health was very poor and had been for a considerable time, yet she would not consent to stop traveling; her only, or her greatest desire, was to set her feet upon the land of Zion, and to have her body interred in that land. I went on shore and bought lumber to make a coffin in case she should die before we arrived at our place of destination—so fast did she fail. But the Lord gave her the desire of her heart, and she lived to stand upon that land; where we arrived on the 25th of June" [Scraps of Biography: Tenth Book of the Faith-Promoting Series (1883), 70; see also History of the Church, 1:199].
"On the 7th, I attended the funeral of Sister Polly Knight, the wife of Joseph Knight, Sen. This was the first death in the Church in this land, and I can say, a worthy member sleeps in Jesus till the resurrection" (History of the Church 1:199, byustudies.byu.edu ).
The Lord to the Saints:
Quote: “‘Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. …’ (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952, p. 160.)”
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them (1 Nephi 3:7).
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
Anxiously engaged: You very much want something to happen (see dictionary.reverso.net ).
Enthusiasm: "It may come as a surprise to many people, when they first look up the word enthusiasm, to see that its original meaning has to do with passion for religion, rather than passionate or eager interest in general. A brief explanation of the word’s etymology should clear this up. Enthusiasm entered the English language around the beginning of the 17th century. It was borrowed from the Greek enthousiasmos, meaning 'inspiration or possession by a god.' For the first two hundred or so years that it was used in English, enthusiasm was primarily employed to refer to beliefs or passions that related to religion. By the beginning of the 18th century, however, the word began to be used to describe having strong feelings or interest in secular matters" ("What is the history of enthusiasm?" Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom" (Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning).
Quote: “We talk about our trials and troubles here in this life; but suppose that you could see yourselves thousands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation and a crown of glory in the presence of God? Then look back upon your lives here, and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments; … you would be constrained to exclaim, ‘but what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here. We have been faithful during a few moments in our mortality, and now we enjoy eternal life and glory’” (“Remarks,” Deseret News, Nov. 9, 1859, 1). (See also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 119–20.)
Title for Section 58: "Agency; Confession"
Quote: “Repentance is not the backup plan; it is the plan" (Elder Neil L. Andersen, "Repentance is not the backup plan; it is the plan, Says Elder Andersen," Church News).
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and abaptism by water; and then cometh a bremission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this astrait and narrow bpath which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which cwitnesses of the dFather and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow apath, I would ask if all is bdone? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken cfaith in him, drelying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to esave.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life (2 Nephi 31:17–20).
17 His aglory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of bunicorns: with them he shall cpush the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of dEphraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
- Bullock = used for sacrifice
- Unicorns = wild ox
- Horns = power or strength
- Hebrew: Push = To thrust or gore
How God will bring us together:
56 And let the work of the agathering be not in bhaste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be ccounseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time (Doctrine and Covenants 58:55–56).
- Cross reference: Isaiah 52:12
- 12 For ye shall not go out with ahaste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your brearward.
64 For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be apreached unto every creature, with bsigns following them that believe (Doctrine and Covenants 58:64).
Title for Section 59: "Blessings and Commandments; Sabbath Day"
"Polly Knight died on 6 August 1831, the first Latter-day Saint to die in Jackson County. Her funeral was held the next day, which was also a Sabbath day. Joseph Smith attended Sister Knight's funeral and afterward received this revelation on what was expected of Saints in Zion, including their enlightened observance of the Sabbath day" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 59," Deseret Book).
Verses 1–3: Polly Knight
Verses 4–8: Commandments
Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy:
Quote: "In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, 'What sign do I want to give to God?' That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear” (President Russell M. Nelson, "The Sabbath Is a Delight," April 2015 conference).
- Devotions: A demonstration of love and loyalty
12 But remember that on this, the aLord’s day, thou shalt offer thine boblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, cconfessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–12).
- Oblations: Footnote b "IE offerings, whether of time, talents, or means, in service of God and fellowman."
13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy afasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy bjoy may be full (Doctrine and Covenants 59:13).
Amy and Riley opening up their Sabbath spice bags:
Smell and Memories:
"The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Those with full olfactory function may be able to think of smells that evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example. This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience. Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday" ("Psychology and Smell," www.fifthsense.org.uk).
Scripture read by the Jews at the end of the Sabbath:
16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.
17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good aday. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the bfear of the Jews fell upon them (Esther 8:16–17).
Sabbath day observance and blessings:
14 Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.
16 Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the afulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; (Doctrine and Covenants 59:14–16).
Quote: “Peace is the gift of God. Do you want peace? Go to God. Do you want peace in your families? Go to God. Do you want peace to brood over your families? Go to God. If you do, live your religion, and the very peace of God will dwell and abide with you, for that is where the peace comes from, and it don’t dwell anywhere else.” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 10:56)