Today I have a guest writing on my blog. This guest is dear to my heart and sees the scriptures in a completely different way from me. He gave this talk when we went to my sisters tiny branch in Squamish this summer. I hope you enjoy his humble insights as much as I did.
I grew up in a pretty good family. My parents really encouraged me to read and study the scriptures everyday. I was the #2 out of 7 child and I think they were so spoiled by child #1 being so obedient that they just assumed I would do the same…well I did not. I was not like child #1 at all when it came to obedience.
I didn’t study the scriptures like I should. I was given many pairs of scriptures for my birthdays over the years but it was literally a once a month type deal. During church or seminary I wouldn’t actually listen to learn anything…I was daydreaming about other things like sports, girls and video games.
During general conference I had zero desire to absorb anything they were saying.
I seriously didn’t understand at all about what the gospel even was, other than I thought my family name was important in our little bubble, and I was a good person because we’ll my mom and dad are good..and their parents were good… and My dad was a bishop and stake president.
So that counts in heaven right?
Yaaaaa I coasted on that for a long time while I had other priorities like sports and trying to be popular.I didn’t have enough time to learn how to share or to look for opportunities to serve others…or do anything that wasn’t going to benefit me and me only.
And today’s life…
I look back at how I was and realize that I was trapped. I wasn’t physically trapped but I was spiritually tying bands on myself and I didn’t even know it. And there was no way I was going to change those spiritual idiosyncrasies without something major happening.
My lack of obedience growing up was a form of spiritual bands placed on me by my own selfishness and lack of righteous actions.
My talk is about bands.
In our lives there are many different bands. And if you remember anything from this talk today remember this “the band’s of our lives”. The saying partially goes:
“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the band’s of our lives.
For this talk I will define bands as something tangible or intangible which can prevent or severely limit physical, mental,and spiritual progression. But the breaking of these bands are what brings us closer to God, so the necessity of them is natural and part of life.
And I believe that if we know about and understand what our bands are, our lifes purpose is more understood, our desire to obey gods will will increase and our faith can be strengthened.
There are so many references to bands in the scriptures.
The Israelites were physically in bands to the Egyptians until the Lord loosened their bands through Moses. Those physical bands being loosed and eliminated, then opened the door for spiritual bands to come in and tighten their grip.
Look at what happened as Moses led them to the red Sea directly after their miraculous release. They were bound by the band’s of doubt and fear….saying, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?”
“Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”(exodus 14:11-12)
These were their complaints.
I think modern day equivalents come in any form of complaining about a prophets direction, or fearing the results of standing up for the direction we are counseled to go.
Moses counsel to their doubts so long ago is no less instructive, powerful and touching now as it was then.
He said: “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
This is perfect council for how we should deal with the band’s in our lives.The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Some of the bands that are placed on us are done so by our own doing and we don’t even know it.
Another term for this type of band is a pavilion. Many of life’s distractions cause us to place a pavilion between us and God, which prevents us from seeing God.
Henry B Eyring shares a story from his life.He had secured a prominent professorship at Stanford University. He was successful according to the world’s standards. But then Ricks College came to his door asking for him to leave that professorship. He said, “My lifetime professional objectives might have been a pavilion dividing me from a loving Father who knew better than I did what my future could hold.”
He served for 5 years. As that five years drew to a close, he again began to receive numerous other attractive job offers. Which he felt like those were bands of distraction for him because they were tempting. He said “My personal ambitions might have clouded my view of reality and made it hard for me to receive revelation.”
He ended up remaining at Ricks and thirty days after the Teton dam burst, which was a major testimony builder for president Eyring.
Some of the bands we know about from the book of Mormon come from Nephi.
As Nephi and his family were comfortably sailing along merrily to the promised land, there began to be some exceeding rudeness on the ship amongst his brethren and the sons of Ishmael and their wives. …which made them forget god…which is clearly a form of spiritual bands they are placing on themselves.
But wise Nephi saw these spiritual bands and makes an effort to loosen them. He says: “And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
And then, in an act of irony ….”And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness.”
Nephi was physically bound. He was following gods will by trying to help others not forget God. But yet he is bound against his will.
Nephi’s wisdom and faith show through as he says: “Nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power (1Nephi 18:11)….wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.”(1Nephi 18:15)
Have you ever felt like you are following God’s will, and you still feel like there are bands placed on you
Bands that hurt? Bands that make you sore?I sure have.
There are times in my life when I think “what?, why is this happening? Why now? “How am I suppose to get out of this? I feel bound by something and that something usually hurts.Sometimes it’s ironic, like the band’s Nephi felt, but usually, the band’s are my own weaknesses. And it’s the truth of those weaknesses that hurt.Brothers and sisters I can testify that the way out of our bands has not changed from Moses’s council so long ago
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace
And the purpose of his bands have not changed either: “the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word”
Turning to the Lord has always been the way out.
Moses led his people to the Red Sea. Nephi was trying to lead, on the sea, but in both instances, things that were bound together which prevented progression, we’re loosed and separated.
Whether it’s the original apostles being bound up like they were, or Nephi, or the Israelites physically and spiritually, our lives have bands.
But if we as Isaiah put it:”Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck.
We can see that the Lord does indeed part our Red Seas. The Lord heals if we look and live.The Lord shows us how to break our bands.
I am grateful for the band’s in my life. As much as they hurt they have excavated the needed real estate for more joy and a closer relationship to our Savior, who ultimately, being perfect, made it so.
He broke the band’s that No one else could break. And that’s the bands of death and sin.I know that our lives do not end here. I know that if we turn to the Lord, he will fight for us and we will be able to hold our peace, no matter what our external circumstance may be. He shall break all our bands.