So that phrase kinda means “awesome” but this week, it took on a more literal meaning. I’ll tell you about two spiritual experiences that happened in two different investigators’ lives.
My favorite investigator, Balu, returned from holiday this week. We “eased” her back in with two intense lessons. We were pleasantly surprised when she told us that she had read all of 1 Nephi 13 and the Restoration pamphlet! She even told us that this book (aka the Book of Mormon) was part of her now! Clearly, she was ready for the next level. Pentecostal churches looove fire, so we gave her a little. BAM! First Vision. I haven’t yet seen an African cry in my 8 months here, but on Tuesday I did. She was feeling the Spirit hard and so was I. I know she felt what I was trying to convey. We were speaking spirit to spirit. This is why I am serving a mission. Nothing can compare to the spiritual high you get from bringing people to truth.
Another good friend we have made here is Fudea. She has cooked sooo much for us. She is a wonderful devout Catholic. We have been teaching her without much success, so we decided to take a more direct approach. She said that she knows enough and she is happy with where she is. She doesn’t need us to tell her anything.
Now, I’ve been in the same position many times before. I used to take an entirely intellectual approach to religion and many other things because I felt that I could use that way to best prove others wrong and me right. I’ve learned otherwise. This state of mind is debilitating to spiritual health. You cannot take a wholly intellectual approach to much of anything, especially religion. Why deny a power infinitely greater than your mind? I have felt that power. I have felt pure intelligence flow into my mind through revelation from a being that created everything I know. It’s better.
We shared with her a couple really applicable scriptures from 2 Nephi 9.
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
As we lovingly explained how inferior our own wisdom is to that of God’s, we plead with her to just ask God like we did, like her uncle did, like Joseph Smith did, like 15 million+ other people did! It’s a simple thing, just to ask. I knew she was afraid of what she might have to accept and do if she did receive an affirmative answer, so she was not asking for that very reason. She never said that, but the scriptures are replete with references to spiritual perception. God granted me that gift to work with this sweet woman. I could see the immense struggle inside her. I wanted so badly just to put a pause on the adversary’s influence over her so it would be a little easier. We concluded with words of hope from the same chapter.
40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.
Her eyes welled up as she knew she would have to ask if she wanted to consider herself an honest Christian. She cannot deceive God at the last day. If it’s not true, fine, tell us that you have received that answer. But to be an honest seeker of truth, you have to ask! I invite all reading this to ask God for an answer to a spiritual question you may have this week. Maybe it is to know if the Book of Mormon is true, or maybe it is simply to know how you can help your child understand the importance of repentance. I encourage everyone to be an honest seeker of truth. Have an open mind! It’s hard to do, especially in today’s bitterly divided political scene. I’m right, you’re wrong is not the way to go. Remember the words of Paul to the Corinthians: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, and is not puffed up”; and Moroni to our generation: “And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God…”
Be charitable towards people’s ideas. Try them out! Who knows, maybe they have something that you don’t. Be humble enough to learn. It can only benefit you.
I have a testimony of this work. Weeks like this remind me of what I am working for. Have a blessed week!