By the Weak and Simple
All blogs have to begin somewhere.
On 13 June I had gotten really pumped up about “writing a blog” after watching some YouTube videos of a couple of other Latter-day Saints who “YouTube”, “blog”, “podcast”, and broadcast themselves in a variety of ways via social media. Of course, due to my occasionally grand ego and pseudo self confidence, I even thought to myself that I could do “a better job” than a lot of other folks who are currently blogging, writing, and posting about being LDS in the 21st Century.
However, after a long night of typing multiple versions of what I thought would be a truly magnificent “First Blog” kind of entry, I finally gave up somewhere around 4AM and decided to leave the blogging alone. “It’s not as easy as it looks,” were my final thoughts as I fell asleep with a headache from peering at my monitor for hours on end trying to sound eloquent via the written word. It was a great reminder of a variety of gospel principles, but mostly how pride can make even the high and mighty fall.
Life is like that. Although we have been taught endlessly about the same simple principles, we still need to hear them over and over because, for most of us, one lesson just isn’t enough.
General Conference reminded me of that last weekend. As I sat on a pew in our small chapel with just a handful of Saints listening to the Brethren speak and teach us, it occurred to me that although I had heard all of these messages before they were exactly what I was needing at that time. I had prayed and asked for guidance and answers to literally dozens of questions as I approached that weekend, and although nothing new or groundbreaking was taught, I was getting exactly what I needed. The Lord doesn’t always need to be speaking in a booming voice or in a grand manner. The still small voice does everything quite well, and the Lord has layered the Gospel in such a manner that even me, a divorced, nearing-thirty, uneducated Mormon can get it.
That gives me hope.
That gives me peace.
Because, like so many others, I am truly weak and simple in so many ways. I was reminded of that so greatly that first night I attempted to write a first blog entry. And even though I am weak and simple, have no idea how to use WordPress, how to blog, and still can’t figure out those silly hashtags on Twitter, I still want to venture into this realm of social media to share my gospel experiences, good or bad, for what they might be.
The popular news magazine Newsweek recently defined the cultural discussion regarding our faith as “The Mormon Moment”. With the Book of Mormon Musical winning a variety of Tony Awards, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman both running for president, and an ever-growing number of Mormon.org media campaigns running across the country, it is more important now than ever for someone like myself, or any Latter-day Saint, to share our testimonies in whatever way possible to ensure that the facts of our faith are conveyed to those who are not Mormon. During the past few years we have been encouraged to do so as Latter-day Saints, especially from Elder M. Russell Ballard who has said:
“We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.” (BYU-H commencement address 15 Dec. 2007)
Although my words may be few, inarticulate, and full of bad grammar, I still want to share with the world what I know to be true, despite my many weaknesses. And because of this promise from the Lord, I have faith that whatever I share here might be for the profit of someone:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)
What a blessing it is to know that the Lord’s grace is there for us as long as we are willing to humble ourselves before Him.
This blog, affectionately called My Life in Zion, may never be a great compendium of gospel knowledge or strength for others. It may not ever entertain you, uplift you, or inspire you to go out and serve any more than you currently are. However, henceforth I hope that it if nothing else, it might be a simple look into the life of a Mormon man trying to live the gospel and follow the Lord to the best of his abilities. And so I invite you, my fellow brothers, sisters, and friends, to read this blog and partake of whatever good it might give to the world. To the weak, I extend my hand of love and fellowship, and to all I hope that we might continue to see Zion truly prosper here in our dispensation.
In closing, these words from Elder Clayton M. Christensen of the Seventy have been insightful as I’ve prepared to finally start blogging on this blog:
Building [the Lord’s] Church on the backs of the simple and weak (see D&C 1:19) was not a temporary, stop-gap staffing plan to tide the Church over during its early years until enough experienced, committed, qualified leaders had arrived on the scene. The Lord deliberately weakened Gideon’s army so that Israel wouldn’t get confused about whose power had led them to victory (see Judges 6; 7). None of Jesus’s original Twelve Apostles had evidenced adequate experience or commitment when He called them. Enoch, Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Amos, and Joseph Smith were unqualified by the world’s standards when the Lord put them to work. But God transformed them.
[The church] will grow when we stop relying solely on the strongest members—when the experienced and most talented of our leaders are called to supporting roles, to train and help those who can become strong as they serve in positions into which they can grow. (Ensign, Feb. 2007)
I look forward to the time we might spend together here in the realms of cyberspace. And I invite your comments, questions, concerns, or complaints as this blog moves forward.
It’s time to put my shoulder to the cyber-wheel…”Push along, push along, push along”…