Sunday School Challenge Day 1 – Nov 18, 2013.
Lesson from November Sunday School:
How can I find answers to my own gospel questions?
Part of becoming spiritually self-reliant is learning how to answer our own gospel questions. Revelation often occurs when we earnestly seek answers to sincere questions and have faith in the promise made by the Savior: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). We can find answers to our own gospel questions as we pray, study the scriptures and words of the living prophets, and seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
In 2002, I was attending BYU and vivedly remember my Book of Mormon Class where my Scripture Study testimony began to grow and I learned for myself how to become spiritual self reliant. As I prepared for teaching the sunday school lesson I could not stop reflecting on my past. Then watching the Youth Fireside by Uchtdorf. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Reflection in the Water,” CES fireside for young adults, Nov. 1, 2009; see also the video of the address. He opens with the story of the Ugly Ducking. Teaching the 17-18 year olds I could not help but remember when I was in their shoes finishing off my senior year and applying for college. Comparatively I feel like I have made it to Swan Lake with my husband, house, college degree, four and a half children, pregnancy, bills, and big grown up decisions. But then I think of one of my best friends who is wise in her years. She has raised her children, grandchildren, great grand children, seeing the world change for over 80 years. Next to her I feel like a little ugly duckling again trying to find my way in my young motherhood.
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013 opens by saying he would like to talk to the young people: “I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church—young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another, that should include just about all of us.” And it is true everyone can be included in the “young”.
Now to the Week Challenge. As I said before I learned how to become self reliant in my BYU Book of Mormon Class as a freshman. Our entire grade was based on one thing: Daily Scripture Study. We had to read 30 minutes EVERYDAY! At the time I thought I would never pass! I was busy with school, full load of classes, working, playing, dating, studying, sleeping and all those other things college aged kids do on their own. When we studied we had to complete the following 5 steps:
- Study the Scriptures
- Write & Record in a Journal
At the beginning of the semester it was a difficult task to complete and I usually saved it for the last 30 minutes of my conscience before falling sound asleep. Then as I learned and saw how it worked I was able to make it a higher priority in my day. Going back and reviewing now I am able to see my self worth grow and my testimony of the gospel is rooted in those hours of study. That semester I truly came to know that I am a Child of God and that Heavenly Father answers my prayers. So I challenged my Sunday School class to do the same. Since they are “only Seniors” and not college age kids we took the time down to 15 minutes for this week. I hope next week they will take the challenge to move it up to 20 minutes.
Now to my 15 minutes of Study. First I had to set up my ideal study situations. With grapes, apple slices, drink of water, Book of Mormon, bucket of sharpies, pen, paper, and most importantly my phone on silent/airplane/do not distract mode. I set the 15 minute timer and got started reading. I opened the Title Page and read the “The Book of Mormon an account written by the Hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi” I pondered these ancient prophets and their example and wisdom to gather the spiritual matters of their lives. Then I opened to my favorite favorite favorite part of the scriptures the index in the back of the book. I looked up “Question” and was drawn to D&C 50:13, 16. I pondered the question “What to do?” What to do in my life, as a sunday school teacher, as a pregnant lady, a mother, a wife, a volunteer, a scout committee chair, an author, a Child of God. I love the answer that “He that is weak shall be made STRONG!” I need strength. I need strength. I need strength in all my weaknesses. In my physical body I need strength. In my attitude I need strength and knowledge. Then I moved onto the Joseph Smith History, the record of the beginning of the church. Joseph Smith had a question that he needed answered. He gives a history of his life and the religious freedom movement in America with different religious parties creating a division among the people with some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!”. In my life I have a division of my time with the decision of what/where I spend my time children, husband, school, friends, JOYrific, Pinterest, FaceBook, Instagram, scriptures, scouts, church, activities, homework, chores, laundry, dishes, crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!”. In verse 8 Joseph Smith describes “During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection”. Verse 10 Joseph Smith wrote down the questions that he was asking… and two pertain to my current situation, “What is to be done?” and “How shall I know?” He found his answer in studying the scriptures in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” In verse 12 he says, “NEVER did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man that this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did.
I know Joseph Smith asked God. I know God have an answer. Just as I have asked God on many occasions, What is to be done? How shall I know what to do? and he has given me answers. My answers are small and can seemingly be insignificant….but to me….they are very important matters that I have entered into serious reflection. There have been times that I have had those small simple answers come with POWER to my HEART with great force.
And then the 15 minute timer went off. I said my prayer of gratitude and thanks for the simple reminders. And now I am off to continue pondering as I tackle my day, dishes, children, and many responsibilities I have been entrusted.