Today’s church members live in a time the prophets of the Lord have foretold. A day of apostasy, anemic testimonies, and broken covenants. The internet is filled with faith destroying words and images. In order for the faithful to survive they will need to be committed to following the Lord’s “to do list” if they are to acquire a genuine testimony, a testimony that comes from the Holy Ghost as promised in the Book of Mormon. Living on borrowed light, in other words, a testimony that isn’t really our own. Something like renting a house as compared to owning one.
The following account illustrates what I mean.
“A little over six months into my [calling as a Bishop], I visited one evening with one of the brethren in my ward who suffered from what turned out, unfortunately, to be a fairly common problem. He was a good man, very active and serving in a leadership position. A returned missionary, he had been married in the temple to an outstanding woman. They had some great kids, and to every appearance they had it ‘all together’ spiritually speaking. Yet he was obviously troubled as he sat down across from me, and it didn’t take long to discover why.
‘I don’t think I believe in the Church anymore’, he said abruptly, ‘and I guess maybe I ought to be released.'” I Need Thee Every Hour, Blaine M. Yorgason, p. 83-85.
This brother had the courage to confront his feelings and tell his Bishop how he really felt. I wonder how many, seemly active, men and women in the church today harbor the same unspoken concern? In my opinion, there are many. This concerns me and is the main reason I came to the bloggernacle and started this blog.
The story continues: Bishop Yorgason listened as this brother told his story and soon realized the source of the problem.
“He unveiled a series of sad events and circumstances, mostly economic though also martial, that had occurred, he said bitterly, ‘even though I always paid a full tithing!’
At length I began to ask him questions pertaining to such things as his personal and family prayer habits, his temple attendance, his feelings about family home evening, and so forth. Neither did it take me long to recognize that he was one of that significant number of individuals (for a good portion of my adult life, myself included) who have relatively firm testimonies of the truthfulness of the Church and the gospel, who serve willingly and have enjoyed the blessings of the temple, but who are not yet committed enough to focus on keeping all the commandments or giving their lives wholly to the Lord. When I pointed this out to him, however, and suggested that the source of his difficulties might be not only spiritual but related directly to his own behavior, he was not only upset but deeply hurt. ‘How can you say that?’ he demanded. ‘I have always been active in the Church, and so has my family!’ ‘Yes, you have,’ I responded, ‘if active means merely attending meetings, doing your home teaching, and serving in your calling.’
‘What else could it mean?’
Well according to what you have told me tonight, your personal prayers are dictated by your schedule, you never pray with your wife before you go to bed or when you arise, you never study the scriptures except during Church classes, you use your temple recommend two or three times a year but find the experience boring and tedious, and you stopped holding family home evening at least two years ago because they always turned into family brawls. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I believe each of these things has been commanded, daily or at least regularly, by the Lord…
‘So, you’re saying I’m not really active?’
He was stunned by my question, and his belligerence had completely evaporated…He smiled a little sadly. ‘I guess the truth does hurt, doesn’t it.’ I Need Thee Every Hour, Blaine M. Yorgason, p. 83-85.
This experience illustrates how anyone of us can get caught up in spiritual slothfulness, “because of the easiness of the way” that Alma warned his son about (Alma 37:46).
In order to have the companionship of the Spirit, the Lord’s given his followers a “to do list”. When we fail to follow the relatively easy to do list, we leave ourselves open to the wiles of the devil and the natural man. We then can become prey to a host of spiritual viruses that assault our Spiritual immune system and weaken us to the point where we find ourselves, though “active”, one day saying, “I don’t think I believe in the Church anymore.”