Brain Change

Focus on life through a simplified mind

Preparing for Eternity

Greetings all,  I know I have not posted for a while and I must admit I began to get stuck coming up with content to post.  I began to freeze up thinking it all has to be perfect content every time I post something.  I have come to realize that the content will never be perfect.  However while I was out on blog sabbatical, I have made some changes in my life.  Changes that have eternal significance.  If you are a member of the LDS religion you will understand what I have been preparing for.  If you are not it will be a really good story that I am about to tell.  The following is a talk I gave to my ward/congregation last weekend.  It explains a bit of what I have been up too.   Some is very personal and may only be understood by those around the area I live.  But here it is.

 

 

Preparing for the Holy Temple

Good morning brothers and sisters.

 (icebreaker)

I told my wife that I may be the first person to be Boo-ed off of the podium in sacrament meeting….

I cannot tell you how proud of my family I am today. They have all stepped up with no complaint and did something amazing.

Presenting talks here in church to the third ward. I am especially proud of my wife, as she has a self professed allergy to people.

 I know how anxious she is around crowds and how nervous she has been to speak in front of you all and I could not be prouder of the job she has done.

I was asked to speak on Preparing for the Temple…   Bishop gave me a talk by Elder Russel M. Nelson entitled personal preparation for temple blessings. He said to use the talk as a guidepost for preparing mine. I read through the talk, and it is a good…. well written talk, I would recomend that any of you read it. I just didnt get the inspiration to derive my own talk from it. Which actually kinda sucks because it forced me to write more of my own.

I kept getting the impression to speak of some of my own experience of preparation for the temple.

On Dec 26 of last year my wife and I were anxiously attending the stake center where they were making ward realignment changes, As many of you were as well…

As we watched President Miles with the projector screen announce that 2nd ward was going to annex the few blocks of 1st ward we were so excited. Some very good friends of ours live there and we were so happy to have them moving into our ward.

Then President miles clicked onto the next screen and it looked kinda funny…. it showed the few blocks on the lower side of main street, including the one my house was located in was going to be leaving 2nd and being pushed to 3rd ward.

Later that evening they had asked the new 3rd ward members to stand and sustain some of our new leaders. I looked around and did not recognize anyone. I had such a sick feeling of being separated from our ward family. Didn’t the stake presidency know we were in the middle of our preparation for the temple? Didn’t they know a move to a different ward could possibly damage our fragile activity we have always had? I cannot tell you how discouraged we were driving home that night.

Well…. I can tell you that after my interview with President Taylor that yes, the stake presidency was very concerned with our progress and knew of it…and still they felt the promptings to make the changes they did.

I can testify that Gods hand has been in the changes of the ward boundaries.

When I walked through the doors of this building that next sunday. I was filled with the spirit… testifying that this was my home… that this ward was where I needed to be and where I was needed.

I am so grateful to be able to share this with you all today. I probably would not be able to share with all of you individually how blessed we are to have become a part of 3rd ward. So today while I have you as a captive audience I can make that declaration. It is my hope that you get to know us a little better and become aware of our journey we have made to be ready for the temple.

As my wife mentioned since we started on the path to the temple we have switched wards and have had to sit before three different bishops. After having to sit in front of a judge of israel 3 different times I began to think the lord just wanted to make sure I was really…. really…. really…. ready to attend the temple.

 And here is why;

Shortly before my baptism when I was 8 years old i began attending church. My parents were adamant that I needed the gospel to get some good morals. So I attended long enough that I was able to be baptized shortly after my birthday in May. I can remember stepping into the river, yes I was baptized in a river and confirmed on the dirt road right beside it. After baptism my attendance slacked off an I quit going to church.

Shortly before I turned 12 my parents decided I needed morals again an i began attending just long enough so that I could become ordained as a deacon. I passed the sacrament in the auburn ward and after a while became inactive again. I never really went back to church after that.

Hillary and I were married March 18, 1995 and shortly thereafter BreeAnn came into our lives. We both had a belief of the church and we had to have BreeAnn blessed. I was able to stand in as a father but could not offer a blessing.

We attended college as parents and not just students. I spent the nights working and Hillary would often do my homework for me. There was some very lean times we lived through while in college. Bryan was born in May of 98 as we were finishing our schooling and we moved back to Star Valley.

Hillary and I both aquired jobs here in the valley. And life just started to sail by….

 In 2000 BreeAnn was diagnosed with Leukimia Cancer and our world was turned upside down. Hillary was pregnant with Brandon and taking BreeAnn to Primary childrens in Salt Lake City. I called upon my friend that had served a mission to come to Salt Lake and give my daughter a blessing. I believed in the teachings of the church but I was not a faithful attending member. So when my young daughter was sick I could only stand by while others administered the priesthood to her.

In 2005 we were asked if we would take the missionary discussions for BreeAnn as she was past the date when she could be baptized by the church. She would now be considered a convert. We sat through the discusions filled with the spirit and Bree decided to get baptized. I could only watch as ElderRonniser took Bree into the water and Baptized Her and Elder Chase Confirmed her a member of the church. Of course I was not the one administering the priesthood. And shortly thereafter quit attending church again.

Are you starting to see a theme here?

In the spring of 07 due the hard work of a very determined Elder Hubler. We began attending church again and my son Bryan was almost 9. Bishop wilford asked if I would like to be the one to baptize him. I jumped at it….. How cool would that be? To be able to administer the priesthoood to my children…

So after preparation and interview I was ordained a priest in the church which allows you to perform baptisms. I was able to baptize Bryan but not confirm him as those duties are reserved for the holders of the melchizedek priesthood.

Our progression in the church seemed to escalate… I was ordained and elder. I was able to Baptize, AND confirm my youngest son Brandon.

I was asked and able to give blessings too my two young nieces.

You can see my progression through the church on the wall of my house. I have all three of my childrens baptism certificates displayed on the wall of our home.

The first one for BreeAnn has the names of two elder missionaries baptizing and confirming her.

Bryan my second child has my name baptizing and Bishop wilfords confirming.

Brandon has my name as both the person baptizing and the person confirming.

So everything is going great…

 Hillary and I are attending a Temple preparation class, We are regular attendees at church, I was the elders quorum secretary.

Our next step was to attend the temple……

and I quit going to church… what happened???

The weight of a lifetime of not living according to the gospel began to crush down on me.  All of the sins of my years spent away from the church living as I saw fit, and not how God wants me to live began to settle in. I rationalized that I could not clear it up with the bishop there was no hope for me. And so I left.

Thankfully I was able to get past this and clear everything up but I had to first realize a few things first.

I had to realize that there is an adversary. And the closer that I would come to bringing my family to the temple the harder he would try to make us fail.

I would like to give advice to any of you who may be working toward the temple. Surround yourself with spiritual people, Read your scriptures, Pray every single day, attend your meetings. Wrap yourself up in the armor of god because you are going to be tempted.

I have a scripture that has been very helpful to me, it is when jesus was being tempted by the devil in Matthew chapter 4 verses 10,11

Then saith jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written , thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Aside from being tempted by the adversary, I have always struggled with the law of tithing.

And you may not be worthy to enter the temple until you obey this law.

Why should I work so hard for my money and then just give it away?

That is how I used to think…

I have learned from my testimony of tithing much more important things. I have learned that all things come to us from the mercy of god….including my job…and my paycheck.

 I have learned to strive to lay up treasures in heaven and not here on earth.

I have learned patience, sacrifice, gratitude and service through tithing.

I have learned how to better manage my familys finances.

And without taking the rest of the time to talk about the blessings I have seen because of tithing. I will let you all know that this commandment is not restrictive, Like all of gods commandments it is protective. It will bless your lives immensly if you obey the law of tithing.

Preparation for the temple does not just happen by yourself….

I can attribute our journey to many, many caring individuals.

Layer after layer of good missionaries coming to our home and giving us the discussions over and over again. Always patient and persistent with us.

My home teachers who kept showing up time and time again, despite how difficult I was being to contact and set appointments with.

My home teaching companion who showed me how to be a good home teacher, taught me the importance of making your home teaching visits and who continually volunteered to give the lesson because I was too scared too.

The countless member missionaries who have answered our questions. Taught our classes. And continued to reach out to us in fellowship. Even this ward who I felt the embrace of love from the very first day we entered.

Because of the good work of all these amazing saints, I will be taking my family to the temple this friday march, 18 2011. To be sealed to them for time and all eternity.

Exactly 16 years after Hillary and I were first married.

I am filled with so much joy to know I am worthy to enter and partake of the covenants of the temple.

I am so proud of Hillary and all the hard work she had put in to be ready to kneel with me at the altar. Without her effort it would not have been possible to get to the temple as it takes two worthy individuals to be sealed together.

Here has been my path getting to the temple and I know yours will be or has been very different. It is my hope to be able to attend temple sessions with each and every one of you. As we all prepare for our eternal exaltation.

I leave you this in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

 

Any questions about my journey feel free to ask,

 I don’t pretend to know all the precepts of my religion but I know I have a father in heaven and I know his son died for my sins.   

thank you for reading this,

Justin 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 16, 2011 Posted by | LDS, Mormon, Peace, spiritual | 1 Comment

   

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