Sunday, April 20, 2008


What's better than getting a gift? Giving one!

My Mormon husband just gave each of our grown sons copies of a book he read them in their youth, a book that enthralled them, inspired them, and even made them cry. He wanted them to have their own copies so they could re-experience that joy through re-reading that story.

Of all the gifts a perfect father could give his child, what would be the very best gift? I would answer "that which brings the most joy." And what if that gift was something that could be experienced over, and over, and over again?

I have experienced moments of great joy in my life. But for unalloyed joy, joy available to every soul, I recommend repentance.

If one truly has faith in Jesus Christ, one will act upon one of His most repeated requests--to repent. Our tragic refusal to repent, besides evidence of insufficient faith in Him, is rejection of a supernal gift no other being can give, a gift that can be accepted only individually.

I give you my witness that there is nothing more important than doing all one can to repent of sin, and nothing more overwhelming and soul-changing than the peace, joy and purity of God's forgiveness. The cleanliness that follows will empower you like nothing else can.

I echo President Boyd K. Packer: "I readily confess that I would find no peace, neither happiness nor safety, in a world without repentance. I do not know what I should do if there were no way for me to erase my mistakes. The agony would be more than I could bear."

May we all fall to our knees, begging for guidance as to what to repent of and how to best do it. Our Loving Father is waiting to give the Gift.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jump In

Confidence. Trust. Reliance.

These are synonyms for "faith," and as Mormons, we believe that the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I was a little girl and afraid of water (one of my zillion fears), my dad would stand in the swimming pool, I would stand at the edge, and he would exercise his best powers of persuasion, enticing me to exercise my confidence, trust, and reliance on him by jumping into the water. The promise was that he would be there to reach out and grab me, saving me from certain death by drowning.

Faith, confidence, trust and reliance all hint at something more than belief: they move beyond simple belief into the arena of action. In order to exhibit my faith in my dad, I had to jump in. In order to exhibit faith in Jesus Christ, one also has to act. In reality, faith is more a verb than a noun.

Personally, faith in Christ means the willingness to do what he asks all his followers to do-- repent, forgive, serve, and obey.

As a mother, faith in Christ means the willingness to raise my children (God's children, on loan for a while) his way, not my way. I begin by first having those children. Then I have the faith to set the world aside and focus on them, my most important task in life. In that focusing I teach them to pray; to love the scriptures; to love each other; to do all the things, on a child's scale, the Savior expects from all of us. And as they absorb these teachings, they begin to love the Lord and exercise personal faith in him.

I'm grateful for Mormon parents who taught me faith in Christ. I'm grateful for my children, who are teaching their children the same. And I'm grateful for the Savior, who gives us the great invitation to jump in, trusting that He is there to reach out and save us.