When I was 21 and serving as an eager young sister missionary in the Canary Islands, we met some Jehovah’s Witnesses who were willing to talk to us. Anyone who would “talk gospel” was super exciting. We set up an appointment to come back later. I took their tract book home and tried working my way through it with scriptures showing how their understanding of doctrine was wrong. And I while I did make some progress, I couldn’t clearly think my way through it.
I finally stopped what I was doing, recognizing that I might actually be having a stupor of thought and randomly opened the scriptures and read, “Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” I recognized the voice of the Lord in those pages, gently correcting me, and I began to cry. Both ashamed and frustrated. He convicted me; I was preparing for a bible bash. I questioned, how could I teach them if I couldn’t point out what was wrong. And so, He and I had a conversation. Me asking questions and Him answering me in the next scripture passage I’d open to. He comforted me, knowing my heart was in the right place. He explained what he wanted prepared instead.
At our next meeting with the Jehovah’s Witnesses we taught restored doctrines using their existing scriptures and confirmed truths that they already had using the Book of Mormon. I taught exclusively from the scriptures, and in such a way that they said nothing to contradict what I shared. They both sat there quiet and almost dumb founded. I wonder if they were hoping for a fight, but the way the Lord had me prepare took away all the opportunity to do so. We weren’t invited back, which was disappointing. I don’t think they were open to having their minds changed.
I’ve learned through experience that when creativity and productivity flows forth effortlessly that God is pleased with my efforts. I give Him credit for adding that effortless oomph to the work. I’ve come to depend on that oomph. And the presence or lack of it is also a barometer helping me know whether or not I have heaven’s approval.
I’ve tried so many times to write out the reasons explaining my faith journey. But I haven’t been able to. I’ll get a good start, but a stupor overcomes me and I am left to flounder, incompetently rehashing the work of others without real progress. Ultimately wasting what could have been productive time.
Why Lord, won’t you let me explain myself? So, He walked me through it.
There are plenty of people who have thoroughly researched and eloquently written on such subjects. I see God’s hand in the work they are doing to preserve the restoration, open people’s understanding of Book of Mormon, defend the good name of the prophet Joseph Smith, and resolve cognitive dissonance that’s discernable but otherwise unrecognizable in established institutions. I am reassured that God has everything under control. He knew all that would happen. He, Himself, prophesied about it. The world does not crash down to know the truth. The gospel is still true.
Suffice it to say, the choices I’ve made and truths that I know for certain are not without hours of research, bruised knees, substantial scriptural cross-referencing and poring over official historical documents. God knows where I am. It may look to others that I am deluded and lost. But the lenses through which I have clearly seen are like any optical prescription. What helps me to understand may distort the view for someone else. I am content to know that the Lord is far more anxious for people to discern truth and know Him than am I.
I will be content to do the work in which I find His oomph and presence. Discerning my way to a greater understanding and knowledge of truth.
While I would love for this blog and website to already have the definitive formula in preparing for and establishing Zion, really, it’s a live-stream documentary of me figuring things out. I am no expert by any means. I am an eager student, albeit on the short bus, with hope and my eyes toward Zion.