Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Grieving Soul

    Now that I had accepted the gospel back in my life I had to confront that my life that I was currently living and the life I had lived was not in acceptrance with the gospel and the standards that I should be upholding.  I came to really know the power of the atonement and just how it can change lives, even mine.  The part that came first was the guilt from having to deal with the things that I had done.  So I started the repentance process talked to the bishop, prayed, and read my scriptures but what I couldn't get a grasp on was forgiving myself.  I didn't know how I was going to accept and forget the things that I had done.
      What I know now is that not forgetting is the best part.  It is the worst part if you don't let the power of the atonement work if your life though.  If the process ended with you forgetting all your sins then you would never be able to learn from them and the same temptations from Satan would work again, and we would keep falling into similar traps. We need to learn from our mistakes, and know are weaknesses and strengths, in order to grow after (through the atonement) God has forgiven and forgotten (not going to hold those sins against you in judgement).
      For me the best part about remembering my sins is that I remember how I felt burdened by them and guilty for what I had done.  I felt that I couldn't be loved by God for the things I had done. I would go to sleep at night in tears just begging to forget cause how could I think I was a good person if I knew what I did.  I didn't realize just how selfish I was being at the time, and no wonder I wasn't reaching the last step of the atonement. I had done everything I needed to do: I recognized the sins, sought the bishop to confess my sins, sought after the forgiveness of God, I changed my thoughts and actions, but even though I had done all that I missed the most important part. In D&C 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.  
    I was holding onto that suffering, and letting it keep me from knowing the true power of the atonement which is to take that suffering away. It happened to me very suddenly, that when I realized I was being so selfish as to hold back the gift that God and Jesus Christ wanted to give to me. That Jesus Christ, our Savior, already suffered for me it shook me to my core. In that same moment I realized that I was causing my portion of his suffering to be in vain because I didn't want to let it go. I was overcome with my burden of what I was doing that again in just a moment I let him take it away. I gave up my hold to them and let him take away the suffering and pain and just as quick as I had done that a peace fell over me that filled me with such joy I had never felt before.  I not only can remember my sins and learn from them I can remember this moment. That I know God as forgiven me and as long as I keep the atonement working in my life, the greatest gift given to us, I shall have eternal life. D&C 29:1-4.... 3. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore you receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Beginning...

      I came from a place that was dark and corrupted.  I had let it get that way.  I let every thought and every action become corrupted, and the only thing that mattered was for me to have my wants for the moment be satisfied. I moved across the country to save myself.  Three years ago I wouldn't have been able to honestly tell that I would live to see 25.  And here I am 25 writing this blog to tell the story of my life saving conversion.
      I was born into the church, but when I was 12 I let seeds of anger and doubt take root and grow inside. Within a few short years I was a changed person, and not for the better.  I let that continue to bring my life to places I never thought I would go. I let very strong emotions like: fear, doubt, anger, scared, lonely, embarrassment literally control my choices in my life; and the only person that keeps you feeling that way is 1 yourself and 2 Satan. The Lord wants nothing more than to take those feelings away from you. 
      I have had many amazing spiritual opportunities, that looking back on it now I can realize they were just unbelievable.  But I would not hear or see or feel them at the time, and my favorite lie to tell myself whenever I would have a feeling that the church was making an impact I would simply tell myself "ya but I don't know that it's true" and that was always enough for me to just turn away and forget it ever happened. The only thing that would make that turn faster is if someone was there that pointed out that the was spirit present.  I was scared of what that would mean for my life, because embracing  the gospel would have meant a complete change of my life. Everything in my life would not have fit in the gospel. Friends, hobbies, girlfriend, thoughts, feelings, and as a teenager who already feels that simple things like having a bad hair day means the next six months of life are ruined. I was not ready for the gospel and I didn't want to keep having questions. So going to places like BYU ED Week, to listen to speakers like John Bytheway and Scott Anderson, and mutual activities and church on Sundays was now out of the question. SO I RAN, AND RAN FAST.


The Awakening!

      I was 22 years old when I fled across the country trying to save my life. I knew it was going to be a life saving move, but never would I have guessed it would end me here. Even at the first of this year  I wouldn't have even guessed this was going to happen to me.  Now, with no notice, this has been the most important, exciting, hardest, sorrowing, humbling, spiritual year of my entire life. This year at the Hill Cumorah Pageant my life was changed forever.

      Through introducing new influences into my life starting at the beginning of this year, it provided my life a small friendly dose of the gospel and the Holy Ghost back into my life. Slowly I realized feelings that had been missing from my life and that had been missing for a long time. So when the Pageant started in July I decided to really commit to the experience that was there to take part in. That meant spending both Saturdays to tour the The Church Sites: The Sacred Grove with the Joseph Smith Farm, The Book of Mormon Publication site, and the Hill Cumorah Visiter Center.  On the second Saturday my life was changed forever; after the visit of the B.O.M.P which I brought a set of elders with me. We were talking about how the tour went, and what we felt about it. When there was a break in the conversation and a very familiar question came into my head "ya, but I don't know if it is true." A very clear and defining answer came into my head, as clear as if one of the elders had spoke it that said "Yes Steven you know that this is true" and then followed up with "So stop asking that question." Accompanied with these words was the overwhelming sustaining spirit that I could not deny what I just heard was true.  That spirit stayed with me throughout the rest of the day and kept confirming the truth of what I was hearing and feeling throughout the tours and the performance of Pageant.