A Thought on Patience

toilerI came across this great scripture in the Book of Mormon. It describes the Lord helping a small group of righteous people escape from bondage. It says:

“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.” Moroni 24:15-16

I just find it interesting that part of the reason God chose to free those people so soon was because they were just so darned patient and cheerful about everything, while, on the other hand, their less patient countrymen suffered a lot longer and a lot more (go read that. It’s an interesting comparison). Their situations were so similar, and they were both asking for deliverance, but their respective attitudes made all the difference in how God chose to respond to them. It rather reminds me of when I was little and my mom would refuse to give me something until after I stopped whining for it and asked nicely.

So as a terribly impatient person, I have to wonder if sometimes the Lord is just waiting for me to chill out a little and stop being so insistent all the time. Not that I’m saying we shouldn’t ask for things, or even be diligent about it, but I think there’s a difference between being persistent and whining. Maybe it’s that cheerful submission to his will that the scripture was talking about. And maybe it’s also faith:

“Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His” –Elder Neal A. Maxwell (“Patience,” Ensign, Oct. 1980, 28).

That’s all. Just something to think about next time you need help escaping from slavery.


Q. Why do you think smoking is so bad? Why is everything so bad?

skullsmokerYou sound like a struggling nicotine addict I knew, who wanted me and God and his conscience to stop pestering him to straighten up. By demanding from me an ever-better-but-never-good-enough reason to quit, he was really making for himself an excuse to keep smoking. Sound familiar?

Way deep down, though, you want peace. A quiet conscience and confident self-control. This peace will not come to you as long as you bind yourself to your cigarette master. You know it, but you also know what a terrible and difficult road it is to quit. You have probably tried several times already.

Get help. If you don’t have friends or family who want you to give up smoking, contact the local LDS missionaries. They have a highly-successful stop-smoking program that they will teach you for free, just because it’s their job to help people repent and come closer to Christ and feel the peace that only He can bring.

Don’t focus on the tough road ahead of you. Think of your destination. How wonderful will it be to put your $5 per pack into groceries or gifts for your children? You won’t feel compelled to take a five-minute break every hour. You will start tasting delicious foods again. You will have energy. Your shame and guilt will turn into confidence. Think of how nice it will be not to have to ask the question above; never having to rationalize your habits.


I finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia series yesterday. I love those books; partly because it takes me back to my childhood, and mostly because C.S. Lewis has an impressive knack for putting Christianity onto paper without being overbearing or stiff.


Anyway, I was thinking about something Polly, Digory, and Fledge (a winged horse, who could eat grass–children can’t) were discussing on their journey for the magical apple in The Magician’s Nephew:

“Well, I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” said Digory.

“I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.

“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.

“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”

This concept is a difficult one for some to grasp. God knows everything and has all power, so why doesn’t He give me what I desire, automatically? Why must I pray at all? The LDS Bible Dictionary puts it so plainly,

“The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”

Prayer also has a transformative effect on those who pray. It makes us humble and aligns our wills with God’s. Did you ever wonder why we are so emphatic about praying in the name of Christ? (see John 16:23) When we say, “…in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” it means, “This prayer is offered as if Jesus Christ were saying it. We are certain He would give it His stamp of approval.” In a public prayer, when everyone else says, “Amen.” they mean, “I agree with what has been said.”

The more you pray, the more you’ll feel the Holy Ghost silently, softly directing your prayers away from worldly desires (see 2 Nephi 32:8-9). With more effort and forethought invested in each prayer, your sights will be lifted beyond hopes and desires you thought possible. You will see that God has higher dreams for your end-goals than you ever did. You will find it easier and more intuitive to guess the mind of Christ, and knowing God means eternal life (see John 17:3).

Take a moment right now to speak to God. Go on. It isn’t like you’re in the middle of something. Tell Him who you are now and who you hope to become. Thank Him for the good circumstances you live in and the loving relationships you enjoy. Ask Him for help with a problem you face. Ask for advice. And tell Him you’ll check in again soon.

…and remember to end it in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sharing the Gospel

Q. How do you tell a non-member about the Church? It’s hard.

This is a tricky question, because every person and every situation will be different. So my main tip would be to try to be aware to the person’s situation and be especially sensitive to your relationship with them. I would try to put your relationship with them first and pray for guidance.

During college, I spent some time in New Zealand, and I ran into this question myself quite often. The way I tried to handle it was, first and foremost, to live the gospel, keep the commandments and standards. Simply by not drinking coffee or not swearing, people noticed that I was a bit different. I didn’t have to advertise that I was a ‘Mormon’.

The friends I was with in New Zealand weren’t members of the church there, but they had had encounters with members there. The non-members’ perception of the Church was negative simply because the local members would befriend the others just so that they would get baptized. When the non-members didn’t express interest in baptism right away, the members would stop trying to befriend them. My kiwi friends did not like that.

When non-members ask me about the Church, I’ve found that the most effective way to ‘proselyte’ would be simply to have a sincere conversation with them about their beliefs. I tried not to make it a one-sided conversation. As I asked them questions about what they believed, and actually listened to what they were saying, the conversation was very meaningful to both of us. Then when they would ask me a question, it was more about what I believed personally (a testimony in conversation form) than it was a prescribed discussion.

I’ve found that people don’t like to be told that they’re wrong, and they don’t like to be preached at, especially when they are receiving unsolicited information.

One of the biggest turn-offs to non-members is an attitude that we as members can ‘save’ them. I try to remember that I’m a sinner, and I need saving, and the only one that has the power to save is Jesus Christ.

This is one opinion, I welcome other comments and suggestions.