Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cleansing the Inner Vessel

(find the talk here)


I don’t want to say much about President Boyd K. Packer’s talk, because a lot of what I would say, I said back in October.

Sometimes, I am worried about the world and how wicked things seem to be getting. But then I see good people, repentant people, righteous people, and I remember that in the last days, the wicked will become wicked, and the righteous will become more righteous. I can definitely see that happening. And I hope that I am becoming more righteous.

Recently, I have been hearing this quote from President Packer’s talk constantly in my mind:

“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And … we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”

This commandment has never been rescinded.

We are still commanded to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. I thought this was interesting, especially in today’s world of having 2.5 children.

Even more interesting was when I found this policy from the Church’s Handbook 2: Administering the Church:

21.4.15 Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)

The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer.

Definitely if the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth still stands, then surgical sterilization would be strongly discouraged. Of course, as President Packer points out in his talk, “Lehi taught that men are free and must be ‘free … to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day.’ … our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcible taken from us.” So, of course, it is given us to choose what we will do. But it behooves us to choose the path that follows the Lord’s will for us. “There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.” My mind always goes back to the example of a kite being held by a kite string. When the kite is being held taught by the string, it can soar. If the string were to be cut, the kite would fall to the ground.

What can obedience do for us? It can help us break the chains of addiction and bad habits. “If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction.” I have bad habits in my life – maybe not particularly heinous sins, but there are parts of my parenting, and parts of my actions towards others in general that have become habits, and I would like to change them. President Packer’s message is one of hope:

Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use this key, the adversary cannot hold you. … If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you, and priesthood leaders will guide you through those difficult times.

I am so grateful for the power of the atonement, and the power of the priesthood to heal my life, and the lives of those around me. As a mother, I worry that some of my bad parenting will have a lasting a permanent effect on my children. But just when I feel that way, President Packer offers even more encouragement. “The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits …  however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of past mistakes.” If I can change how I parent – if I can become more patience, more humble, and more charitable toward my children – then my past mistakes of impatience, scolding, and punishment will be healed by the Savior, and I will still be able to raise healthy, well-adjusted, righteous children.

What scars would you have Christ heal? Are you willing to be obedient to the laws of God? Are you willing to submit to our Father and be obedient so that He might heal you and your family?

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