Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Firm Foundation


 I lay in the hospital bed looking with joy and pride at my hour old daughter. It had been thirteen years since I had had this opportunity before, and as my son used to say “We’d been a-hoping and a-praying for this little sister. She was looking at me with her big round grey eyes, her perfect mouth formed into a little OH! I could just hear her thinking, “Who are you? What happened? I’m not so sure about this.” Besides that look of surprise I could see a little touch of trepidation.
What could I teach her as she started her earthly journey?
I believe that before we are born, our spirits live in a beautiful garden like world. I can’t imagine masses of strange atoms and mists just floating around waiting to be formed into a mass created by surprise.
I believe our spirits used to live with a God, our Heavenly Father, and that he created a world for us; that we are created in his image. That He has arms, and legs, and a head, and eyes, and ears. I believe he wants us to be in His world; to talk to him in prayer; to want to please Him as we do our earthly father and mother.
I believe we are here for a purpose; to learn how to be good and strong; to be helpful and kind; to serve each other.
In the April, 2016 issue of the Ensign Magazine, Jesus Christ, Our Firm Foundation  by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
The author writes,
“We live in a world that can be confusing—if we allow it, it can cause us to forget who we really are. President Thomas S. Monson has stated:
‘Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble—that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply embedded within us.’”
Elder Hallstrom continues,“
In addition to making covenants with God, we should be willing to make commitments to ourselves, to spouses (or to become a spouse), to friends, and to those with whom we serve…. Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to live consistently with our vision and commitments. Developing self-discipline is essential to progress because it seamlessly connects learning and doing. Ultimately, the strength of our spiritual foundation is shown by how we live our lives, especially in times of disappointment and challenge Possessing a firm foundation is the ultimate protection from the buffetings of the world.”

One of the sister wives of my great -great grandfather, Parley P. Pratt was Mary Ann Pratt
Mary Ann Pratt married Parley P. Pratt in 1837. Upon moving to Missouri, USA, along with other Saints, they endured horrific persecution. When Elder Pratt was taken, along with the Prophet Joseph Smith, by a mob in Far West, Missouri, and imprisoned, Mary Ann was confined to bed, gravely ill, while caring for two small children.
Later, Mary Ann visited her husband in jail and stayed with him for a time. She wrote, ‘I shared his dungeon, which was a damp, dark, filthy place, without ventilation, merely having a small grating on one side. In this we were obliged to sleep.’
After Parley’s release from jail, Mary Ann and her husband served missions to New York, USA, and to England and were among those who made “the final weary gathering to Utah,” as she described it. Elder Pratt ultimately died a martyr’s death while serving another mission.

Despite this tumultuous life, Mary Ann Pratt stayed true. She powerfully stated, “I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints … , being convinced of the truthfulness of its doctrines by the first sermon I heard; and I said in my heart, if there are only three who hold firm to the faith, I will be one of that number; and through all the persecution I have had to endure I have ever felt the same; my heart has never swerved from that resolve.’”

 (The women of Mormondom Edward Tullidge)

I hope that I will be able to continue to endure the challenges that I face in life and that my heart to will never swerve. I hope I am teaching my daughter that same faith.

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