You Are Not Alone
We all feel that way some times.
It’s an ugly word really. It even sounds lonely…”Alone”…”Alone“…”Alone“…I suppose if you say it in a dark and scary voice (like I just did in my head) it sounds even more sinister, like a demon of darkness of some sorts.
I know I feel that way often.
As the only active Young Single Adult in the Church in what feels like a fifty bajillion mile radius some times I feel like I’m on some sort of renegade mission to seek out, find, teach, and baptize people just to become my friends.
“Hi, I’m Stan,” I picture myself saying some times to some young lady while standing in the Walmart checkout line. “I know you don’t know me, but I’m a Mormon y’see, and would you like a copy of The Book of Mormon so that we can be best friends forever?”
I’m not that desperate, but I’m also not going to say that a conversation like that has never taken place before…But that’s another blog entry…
My branch is small. There are a few youth, and lots of older brothers and sisters, but no one in my age range except for two or three couples who are married and already have their “We’re Awesome Cause We’re Married Group” going on. And I hate to intrude. So most nights it’s me and my dog Brigham, which isn’t so bad because Brigham makes for great conversation, but even he is lacking some nights in the social arena.
I am grateful for the Church though, because despite the fact that the Gospel makes me the social outcast and anathema to a fair portion of the populace in small-town Jasper, Alabama, it also connects me to a word-wide community of Latter-day Saints. Paul told the Ephesians two millenia ago that they were “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Being a Mormon makes you part of this great big happy go lucky family, and I like that.
Days like today, when we’re all united to hear inspired counsel from the General Authorities and General Officers of the Church, bring us together even more. Whenever someone asks me what my favorite holiday is I always enthusiastically respond, “General Conference!” – Which brings a chuckle from most Mormons and great missionary opportunities from everyone else. – Millions of people strong, we are literally united in prayer, faith, praise, and fellowship as we commune in front of our televisions, sit in chapels, hunker over our computers, or peer at our smartphones. From the monolith which is the Conference Center we get to hear Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, and hear the words which our Lord would have us hear. That is truly awesome.
Today I didn’t feel alone.
As I tweeted General Conference today it was fun to not only be receiving answers to prayers via the speakers, but also read others’ insights on Twitter into the teachings we were hearing. It was awesome to be part of God’s covenant people and enjoy in the sacredness of the words we were hearing.
One of my favorite things to do during Conference is always jot down the Scriptures being read. If I don’t know the citation for the particular verse I’ll jot down key words and find it later. I’ve done it for years, and when I was an early morning seminary teacher I encouraged my students to do likewise. It’s not just fun, but educational, and I believe it is a great insight in to the things the Lord would have us be focusing on.
Today three references stood out, but I would like to focus on just one.
I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
Doctrine & Covenants 84:88
It was shared multiple times in multiple talks referring to multiple scenarios today. And it touched me. It stirred within me a great burning testimony that those words are true. And it made me thankful for this great Church of which I am a part.
God lives. He loves us so very much. And we are not alone brothers and sisters. I am just glad that the Lord saw fit to have His servants share that with me (and you) so many times today.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are not alone.
– Stan Way