A Call to a New Life

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There’s a song at the end of the movie Prince Caspian that always makes me think of what it might have been like leaving our Heavenly Father’s presence to be born into mortal life.

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word
And then that word grew louder and louder
‘Til it was a battle cry

I’ll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Just because every thing’s changing
Doesn’t mean it’s never been this way before
All you can do is try to know
Who your friends are as you head off to the war
Pick a star on the dark horizon
And follow the light

You’ll come back
When it’s over
No need to say goodbye
You’ll come back
When it’s over
No need to say goodbye

Now, we’re back to the beginning
It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can’t feel it too
Doesn’t mean that you have to forget
Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
‘Til they’re before your eyes

You’ll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye
You’ll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye

We were born onto a battleground. Earth life is not always easy. There is a battle raging between good and evil; we are all called as soldiers. Do we fight for the Lord or do we desert Him and fight for the enemy of all souls?

“I’ll come back\ When you call me\ No need to say goodbye” We are all here on earth until we are called home (hopefully we don’t try to return before we are called, but it happens). Our time in mortality is short. We are from eternity to eternity so a few years here on earth in mortality is less than a blink. That’s one thing I love about the Narnia stories is all of the adventures that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy have are long and real in Narnia but when they return home, it is almost like they never left – I say almost because they still remember their time in Narnia when they return back to their original lives. I think that we will find that that is true about our mortal lives – we will find that we were just gone for a blink of an eye. Being gone for such a short time from the eternal worlds, there is almost no need to say goodbye.

“Just because every thing’s changing\ Doesn’t mean it’s never been this way before\ All you can do is try to know\ Who your friends are as you head off to the war\ Pick a star on the dark horizon\ And follow the light.” Life changes so much but we can learn from the past; that’s one of the purposes of the scriptures – the Book of Mormon, the Bible – to help us be able to learn from the past. One thing that is important in life is to know who our friends are, both seen and unseen. If we surround ourselves with good friends, people who will watch our backs in this battle against evil, we will be blessed and protected. Some of our best friends can be our family members. We need to stick together and follow the light of Christ.

“Now, we’re back to the beginning\ It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet\ But just because they can’t feel it too\ Doesn’t mean that you have to forget\ Let your memories grow stronger and stronger\ ‘Til they’re before your eyes\ You’ll come back\ When they call you\ No need to say goodbye.” When we return home, it will all be so familiar; we need to remember what we learned in this life. We will have memories from this life and the previous life, we will have our friends and family there before us, to embrace us in reunions of joy. Above all, we need to remember the words of Christ and build upon His foundation: “And now…remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

When we all return after the battle of this life, to God who gave us life, I pray we will have a happy reunion knowing that we were true and faithful to all God required of us. Life is a calling, are we magnifying it?

Song: The Call
By: Regina Spektor

The Church Marches On

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A couple Sundays ago I was teaching the lesson to our Priest (we only have one) when I made a comment about us leaders in the Church being easily replaceable. I meant the comment to be somewhat self-deprecating but honest. Our bishop started to disagree with me so I amended my statement by saying, “Some of us are easily replaceable.” Then we went on with the lesson. My point in making that statement was not to minimize myself or any particular individual; the point I was trying to make is that we are called to positions within the Church. We do not aspire to positions. We are set apart and/or ordained to positions and then released at some point (although there are callings that last for life but those are relatively few). Mainly the point I was making is that we leaders train others to take our place at some point in the future. Maybe not our particular calling but we want to teach the youth how to be leaders. I think a leader is best when the leader becomes largely expendable. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that a leader should be able to train others to replace him or her.

I am not minimizing the talents and particular callings of each individual nor am I neglecting fore-ordination; what I am doing is all church leaders are replaced at some point (it might be through death in some instances but we are all replaced). What this means is that we as leaders need to make sure that we help train others to be leaders. None of the operations of the Church are about specific church members (and yet, the Church is all about specific church members). What I mean is this: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus’ church. He is its head. He is its Ultimate Leader. The prophets and apostles and all other leaders are called as was Aaron of old – by prophecy and by the laying on of hands. They do not call themselves to the ministry, they are chosen. That’s how all church positions are filled – by prophecy. Okay, I know that’s not always the case but for the most part it is the case that church positions are filled by direct revelation. I also know that sometimes people volunteer for positions but in such instances they do not call themselves. This reminds me of what happened following the death of Joseph Smith.

While the early years of the Church were tumultuous in general, the death of Joseph Smith sent shockwaves though the membership. Some left the Church but most remained. Outsiders prophesied that the Church would die – cut off the head of a snake and the snake dies. But that’s obviously not what happened. It would have happened should some of the church leaders and members gotten their way. A meeting was called where the general membership were invited to hear “arguments” from Brigham Young (who was the president of the Quorum of the Twelve) and Sidney Rigdon (and others) over who would be the next leader of the Church. Brigham stated that Joseph taught that the authority remained with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Sidney Rigdon claimed that he, as the sole surviving member of the First Presidency should be the next Church President. Notice the difference – Brigham Young wasn’t claiming he should be the President, he claimed the authority rested with the Quorum of the Twelve. Sidney was seeking the honor for himself. Yes, Brigham would eventually be the President of the Church (in part because he was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) but his argument was that the authority was with the Twelve and not an individual.

Put all of this together and you have a church that is run by a lay ministry; people who volunteer their time to build up the Kingdom of God. Church leaders are called by those in authority over them through revelation. They do not call themselves, which is doctrine that is not only Biblical (see Hebrews 5:4) but was also solidified in the months following Joseph Smith’s death. This is why I stated that we as leaders are easily replaceable – we are called into positions for a while and then released. The Church moves onward with nary a blip. A bishop is release, a new one sustained, and the Church marches on. A Relief Society president is released, a new one called, and the Church marches on. A prophet dies, a new one is ordained, and the Church marches on. We are just part of God’s great work; it will go forward with or without us so it is up to us to choose whether or not we will help it along as best as we can..