Recently we had both stake conference and ward conference. There was a sort of theme that I noticed. I don't think it was intentional but I wanted to record some of my thoughts before I forget them.
There was a lot of reference to the straight and narrow path.
Elder Holland spoke at stake conference about how we're all on the same path but that some are further along the path than others. While talking to the youth he said that the reason adults say they understand youth is because we're on the same path, we're just further along because we're older. We've been walking it longer and had more time to learn.
He said the path is not easy. That if we're going through trials, then we know we're actually on the path. He said we all walk through our personal Gethsemane during our lifetime. That the Savior has walked a path and endured a Gethsemane that encompasses all of our own personal trials. Every living being in the history of our world.
Then today at ward conference, President Lee expounded on the path.
He asked "How is a path created?" By walking along an area so many times that a trail is created.
"Who created the path to eternal life?" The Savior. He walked it first. Back and forth til it was prepared for us to travel.
1 Nephi 8:24 talks about the path leading to the tree of life. We often think of the mists of darkness as swirling off to the side of the path. That you must leave the path to be lost in the mists of darkness. But that's not what the scriptures say. "and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree." The mists of darkness swirl over the path. It's not easy to walk the path. We must cling to the rod (the scriptures) to get through the mists of darkness. The mists are our trials. We can't say what any one person is going to endure while they walk the path though life. Perhaps our trial in life will be that we struggle with faith. Perhaps we will spend our entire life leaning on somebody else's testimony. Perhaps we'll struggle with illness, death, depression, loneliness, or addiction. Maybe we'll struggle with our job, our marriage, or our children. This IS the path. This IS the plan. Trials are meant to be part of our life.
The beauty of knowing this is knowing where to turn. Knowing we can turn to the Savior, to HIS words, to His disciples. Knowing that the Savior walked the path. He beat the path for us. He created it so that we could walk it with hope. With the belief that by holding fast to His word, we WILL be saved. We WILL get through the mists of darkness. There is a light for us even if we can't see it in the middle of the darkness.
Elder Holland calls this "the gospel of happy endings."
He also said to be glad if you're broken. God loves broken things especially a broken heart...
"It takes broken clouds to make rain. It takes broken ground to make grain. It takes broken grain to make bread. It takes broken bread to nourish you."
Elder Holland bore his testimony of the Savior. He said he has a perfect knowledge of the living Christ. He spoke of walking through some of his trials on his path. Of wondering if the sun would ever rise for him again. He assured us that the sun did rise for him again and that there is an eventual happy ending for all of us if we hold to our beliefs.
My friend, Tiff, wrote an addition to my thoughts that I'm adding to this because Hyrum was crying while Pres. Lee talked about this part and I only half heard it. Below is copied from her. Thanks, Tiff!
I also loved that our Stake President pointed out that they spell the word "straight" in the scriptures differently. It's not S.T.R.A.I.G.H.T. it is S.T.R.A.I.T. The difference between the two spellings:
Straight: adverb. without a bend, angle, or curve; not curved; direct: a straight path.
strait: adjective. narrow: Strait is the gate; affording little space; confined in area. Strict, as in requirements or principles.
Strait in the scriptures denotes a narrow way. Not a way lacking in turns or angles. The way is not a STRAIGHT path, but rather a STRAIT path. One that is narrow and difficult to navigate at times. Our path will not be laid out in front of us with no bends or angles so that we can see the end ahead of us at all times. It curves, bends, perhaps turns at sharp angles allowing us vision of only a few steps in front of us. Add to that treacherous path the mists of darkness and we would be totally lost without the Rod. THAT is our guidance. Our saving grace. The Savior built that rod. HE gave us the way through the path because He walked it until it was forever engraved into the world. There can be no covering it up. It has been burned through his blood. All we need is the fortitude to follow it. It will not be easy, but it will bring us eternal life.
I also thought long and hard about the SP's statements around leaving the gospel. He said, "if you are thinking of leaving then you better be sure you are heading toward something better. You better know that they have something better than a physical manifestation of God and Jesus Christ. They better have something better than Peter, James and John returning the Priesthood through their hands. They better have something better than Elias, Elijah, and many others restoring the keys of sealing powers to bind your family to you for eternity. They better have something better than Moroni bringing us the BOM. If you choose to leave, you better make sure what you are leaving for is something BETTER."