Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Modern Day King Noah #SupremeCourtRuling

I had the opportunity to teach Sunday school last week which gave me the opportunity to study and pray about the Family A Proclamation to the World. And I just have to say that I have a testimony of it. 

For those of you who don't know, the Family: A Proclamation the the World was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held on September 23rd, 1995.

With the recent events in the Supreme Court, I've had to dig deeper and really find out for myself what I believe. 

Do I believe that this document written the year before I was born still stands as the standard set by God today? If I do believe it, what should I do about it? What about my friends and family that believe differently than me?

I believe the words the brethren spoke to be true and I have seen the effects of it's teachings. I believe the family is the most sacred unit on this earth and that everyone deserves a chance to have a loving home. I do believe in kindness and acceptance of everybody's opinions and choices even if they differ from my own and I respect those that stand up for them. To all my friends and family out there with differing opinions, I must say that I really do love you all more than you will ever know, many of my very closest friends have expressed differing opinions from me. That's life and I still hold each of you to the highest respect; that's why I call you my friends, however I do believe that those who post their opinion should allow others to do the same even if they are different. And that while all deserve to be equal, that includes an equal opportunity to have a freedom of religion. 

I believe in love, and I believe in God, and I believe in an eternal perspective. This is what I believe.

I know the brethren had it right in 1995, and I know they have it right now. In fact, I know that it doesn't matter weather they have it right or not because it is essentially God's law and not anybody on earths place to decide.

In an article written by Scot Facer Proctor, he said that "There is a SUPREME COURT that always trumps this earthly supreme court and we must never forget that."

I know that those words are very true.

When we look at God's plan with an eternal perspective we see the reasoning behind his commandments. God's work and his glory is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life of everyone that will follow him. Immortality means living forever; eternal life means living forever in the presence of God AND our families. Families are central to God's plan of happiness. Living forever with our families is only possible through the sealing power that comes from righteous living and through the ordinances and blessings that come from a temple marriage. Without it there is no way we can receive eternal life.

This being said I do believe that the world should be governed with love. We all have people that are close to us that experience same-gender attraction. Each of those people are great in the eyes of God and I don't believe God would ever condone the act of bullying, name calling, or being mean to any of his children. Jesus said love everyone. He said to love your neighbor as yourself. And in the words of every "Gay Pride" activist; #LoveWins.

So what does that mean for us?

We should love everyone and treat everyone with respect. There is no room for us to be mean. We are all God's children and we should treat each other that way.

At the same time we should stand up for what we believe in. Even if the task seems daunting and that we seem to be out-numbered.

All I can think about is the story of Abinadi teaching King Noah and his priests.

Noah was a wicked ruler that did not obey God's commandments. He and his priests taught people to sin. 

Abinadi was a prophet of God that was sent to King Noah. Abinadi was teaching of the wickedness of King Noah and was teaching that all people needed to repent and follow Christ. When King Noah heard the words of Abinadi he was angry as are most people when they are told they are doing something wrong. Abinadi was brought to the palace by King Noah's guards so that he could be killed. 

King Noah and his priests interrogated Abinadi in what I imagine to be one very terrifying encounter. Most people feel their heart pound out of their chest and sweat form on their palms when they bear testimony of what they believe in front of a congregation of people with the same beliefs that they call neighbors and friends. Can you imagine standing before someone with the power to have you killed and bearing your testimony?

Abinadi was firm in his testimony and he answered all of their questions. God helped Abinadi as he bore truth of God's words. As will he help all of us in times of need.

King Noah was angry with the words of Abinadi and refused to believe his words. As did all but one of his priests. The only priest that believed him was named Alma (remember him?) Alma tried to stand up to King Noah, but was thrown out of the palace. Abinadi was brought back to the King Noah after three days in prison and told that if he didn't take back what he said he would be killed. 

Abinadi knew that needed to stand up for his beliefs and he did. Abinadi was killed because of what he believed. While we may not be asked to die for our religion today, we are asked to live for it. Do we have the conviction enough that we can stand up to modern day "King Noahs" and fight for our religion?

What I also love about this story is the fact that Abinadi probably didn't know that Alma had been converted by his words. He defiantly didn't know about all the people that would become followers of Christ because of Alma. Abinadi probably thought as he was going to be killed that he wasn't making even the slightest difference. But in reality the fact that he had stood up for his beliefs brought one soul to the truth, which would in turn bless generations to come.  

You may not realize the effect you can have on the world by you standing up for your beliefs. But I promise you that you do make a difference. 

May we all be like Abinadi and have courage to stand up for eternal families and for our religion. May we know that God is bigger than anything else and that he is in charge. May we not fear man more than God. While we stand up for our beliefs may we have the courage and ability to love everyone and to remember that everybody we come in contact with is a child of God and that he loves each of his children. May we bring peace to this debate and may we love God forever.

I just want to end this post by saying that I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon (which this story about Abinadi and King Noah is found in.) I know without a doubt that it is true. I know it was indeed translated by Joseph Smith and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he really did restore God's church on the earth. I know that Gordon B. Hinckley was a true prophet before he passed away and that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth today and that the words that he, and the quorum of the 12 apostles do speak for God. I believe in their words and I believe in the hope and happiness that can come from following their words.

This is what I believe.

feel my sunlight

p.s. I leave for Orlando in T-87 days! Not that I'm counting. But Oh my goodness I'm so excited to serve a mission!
p.s.s. For those of you that are interested you can read the actual story of Abinadi in Mosiah Chapters 11-14. You can also watch this cheesy video about it!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dear Brethren, I accept.

We have a big hype in the church when it comes to mission calls. A "mission call" is probably one of the most important letters you will ever receive in your life. It is a letter from the prophet telling you where the Lord wants you to serve for eighteen months. You can read my mission call here. 
But what we talk about less is one of the most important letters you will ever send. 
After you receive your letter signed by the Prophet, you are given an opportunity to send a letter back to the "Brethren" or the leaders of the church in which you accept your call to serve.
I thought it would be fun to share my acceptance letter with you guys so here it is!

Dear Brethren,

I accept my call to serve in the Florida Orlando Mission. I feel lo blessed to be given this opportunity to teach people in the sunshine state about the light and happiness that comes from living and loving the gospel. There are a lot of things in my life that have bought me happiness, but nothing compares to the true happiness that comes from this church and from loving and serving God's children. I am humbled by the knowledge of Christ's sacrifice for me and I recognize that He did more for me than I am able to even comprehend. Everyday I learn more about His love for his children and His effort in following His Father's plan. I hope to be able to do as He did and to learn to love the people I serve. I hope to be able to follow in His footsteps as an example of service in helping assist my fellow brothers and sisters return home to meet their Father in Heaven and receive the blessings of exhalation. I recognize that He has given me everything, and that it would be easy for me to take that love that he has given me for granted, but I feel that eighteen months is something small that I can give to the one who gave me life. I am willing to set side my life to serve Him. I know that it will be the hardest thing I will have ever done, but I also know that if I give it my all, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Thank you so much for this opportunity to love and serve the people in Orlando. Although I have not met them yet, I can already feel God's love for them and I pray that they will be prepared to hear the gospel when we meet each other. I cannot wait to meet them. I hope to be able to be a strong missionary in the sense that I recognize that alone I am nothing, but with the help of my Father, anything is possible. Because I am only a tool in His hands. And I promise to strive to best serve Him, His Children, and the world to the best of my abilities. I have a testimony of this divine gospel. I know that God sent His only Son to Atone for me in the Garden of Gethsemane. I know that this is, in fact, His restored gospel and that He is the head of this church today. I know that God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Did visit Joseph in the Sacred Grove that morning, and that Joseph was a true prophet. I know with every fiber of my being that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and my desire is for everyone to come to love this book and its teachings. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the only person on this earth today with the keys to govern and direct the Lord's work and the entire Church today. I sustain and uphold his teachings, as well as the teachings of the rest of the first presidency, the quorum of the 12 apostles, and all other church leaders and officers in position to direct and lead the church. I know that my call to serve the people in Orlando was divine revelation and that it is where God wants me to serve. And I can't wait to accept this great opportunity. Brethren, I am thrilled to accept this call to serve.

Sister Whitney Reid

feel my sunlight

p.s. SHOUT OUT TO DALLIN AND CHANDLER WHO GAVE AMAZING FAREWELL TALKS TODAY! Dallin will be serving in Peru and Chandler will be serving in Boston and both are going to be INCREDIBLE missionaries. Thank you both so much for the example you have set for me in my life. I look up to both of you a lot. Good luck! See you in two!

p.s.s. This blog is is going to slowly be transitioned into a mission blog hence the new blog header. Let me know what you guys think!

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dear Sister Reid...

Dear Sister Reid:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
You are assigned to labor in the Florida Orlando Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest Standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leave behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in his labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you as you pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.

You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president. Please go the promptly to acknowledge your acceptance of this call.

Thomas S. Monson

This was my last time seeing Teri until 2017. She will be serving in the Maryland Baltimore Mission and she leaves next Wednesday. Good Luck Teri! I love you to pieces!

Adam will be serving in Orlando too!!! (note the hat) He leaves July 15th.

Sister Hartvigsen served her mission in Florida!

Thanks so much to everyone that came! I am definitely blessed with the best. Thanks for all of your love and support over the last 18.5 years. I wouldn't be where I am today without you guys. So thanks for your good examples and your loving smiles. I love you guys!

I feel so honored to be blessed with the opportunity to serve The Lord and his Children in Orlando. I pray that I will be able to be His hands in doing good in peoples lives. It's been a crazy week with graduation and a mission call within two days of each other. But I'm so happy about it. And as for September 23rd... I can't wait.

feel my sunlight

p.s. As soon as I got my call I posted on Instagram and Facebook the words "I GOT MY HOGWARTS LETTER!! (Aka my mission call!)" Little did I know Harry Potter World would actually be in my mission. The Lord has a sense of humor. I'm sure of it.
p.s.s. Can you tell I'm a little excited?!
p.s.s.s. Here are a few pictures from graduation last Wednesday. And you'd better know we nailed a high school musical jump. Because can you really graduate if you didn't take a HSM picture?