Saturday, October 10, 2015

What were YOU born to do? Will you be true to your forerodained mission?

This week in seminary we discussed how God gave us certain assignments before we were born. Foreordination. It's a pretty cool concept. And it applies to you and me. 

Family Home Evening Idea: Use the ten true/false statements as an FHE for older kids/adults. Have family members write their answers on a paper, and then take turns reading the quotes that explain the answers, and discussing takeaways. Another FHE could be watching the Education Week talk at the end about finding your life mission. 

Ten True/False Questions about Foreordination, or What God Put You Here to Do 

1. Our generation has been foreordained to do something special. True or false? 
Ezra Taft Benson: "For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head—even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.

"All through the ages the prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time as there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power. ... But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth. And the showdown is fast approaching.

"Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good pick up new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this fight—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last-days, foreordained mission?" (“In His Steps,” BYU Fireside, March 4, 1979, emphasis added)

2. If you were foreordained to do something, you WILL do it. True or false? 
President Harold B. Lee: "Do not misunderstand that such a calling and such a foreordination pre-determine what you must do. …God may have called and chosen men in the spirit world or in their first estate to do a certain work, but whether they will accept that calling here is their right and privilege."(Decisions for Successful Living, pp. 168-169, emphasis added)

3. All Melchizedek Priesthood holders were foreordained to be Melchizedek Priesthood holders. True or false? 
Joseph Smith: "Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of heaven before this world was." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365)
Alma 13:2-3: "And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son … being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God."

4. Only men are foreordained to do certain things. True or false? 
President Russell M. Nelson: "...In 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 222–23, emphasis added)
"My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!" (A Plea to My ("A Plea to My Sisters," General Conference, October 2015)

5. If you don’t do what you were foreordained to do, you will be held accountable for it. True or false? 
President Spencer W. Kimball: "Before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you!" (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 102, emphasis added)

6. Everyone is foreordained to do something. True or false? 
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The whole house of Israel and with all the members of the Lord’s earthly church—all are participants in the blessings of foreordination." (Ensign, May 1974, p. 71, emphasis added)

7. We agreed to do the things we were foreordained to do. True or false? 
President Spencer W. Kimball: "We made vows, solemn vows, in the heavens before we came to this mortal life. …We committed ourselves to our Heavenly Father that if He would send us to the earth and give us bodies and give to us the priceless opportunities that earth life afforded, we would keep our lives clean and would marry in the holy temple and would rear a family and teach them righteousness. This was a solemn oath, a solemn promise." (Be Ye Therefore Perfect, University of Utah Institute Devotional, Jan. 10, 1975)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell quoting Orson Hyde: "It is not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with our own hands,—which articles may be retained in the archives above, to be presented to us when we rise from the dead, and be judged out of our own mouths, according to that which is written in the books. Just because we have forgotten, our forgetfulness cannot alter the facts.” (Journal of Discourses, 7:314–15.) Hence, the degree of detail may be a more highly customized thing than many of us surmise. (Neal A. Maxwell, Brigham Young University, 10 October 1978, emphasis added)
8. Our birth time and location was based on our pre-earth life activity. True or false? 
President David O. McKay: “. . . Our place in this world would then be determined by our own advancement or condition in the pre-mortal state, just as our place in our future existence will be determined by what we do here in mortality” (Home Memories of President David O. McKay, 228–30)
"An 'election of grace' has reference being born at a time, at a place, and in circumstances where one will come in favorable contact with the gospel. This election took place in the premortal existence. Those who are faithful and diligent in the gospel in mortality receive an even more desirable election in this life and become the elect of God. (Bible Dictionary: "ELECTION")

9. We can find out what we have been foreordained to do. True or false? 

What do you think? How can we find out what assignments God has given us before we came to earth?  Of course patriarchal blessings give us clues to what God put us on earth to do. So do our passions, strengths, interests, and even our weaknesses that we must work hard to overcome. The Holy Ghost can help us do what we came here to do, so it's always a good idea to pray and get God's guidance during important decisions like where to go to college and whom to marry, because those things can have great impact on us finding the path to our life missions. So can accepting church callings. 

Honestly, I think the most important thing is simply to get on the gospel path and stay on the path, praying for guidance and following promptings even when it's scary or doesn't make sense, accepting callings, and doing your best with God's help every step of the way. That is a safe way to know God is helping you do what He put you on earth to do. 

Here is an excellent talk by Randal Wright called "You Have a Mission to Perform on Earth" at BYU Education Week. Brother Wright gives some good ideas of how you can find out what you were born to do. 

10. If we have really important assignments from God, it's fine if we neglect our family. True or false? 
David O. McKay: "...No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” (Family Home Evening Manual [1968], iii)
It can be easy to dream big and forget the deeper life mission God gave us, which is our family. If I got so distracted in my life with being a seminary teacher, blogger, and speaker that I neglected my deeper life mission of being an excellent wife, mother, and homemaker, I would have missed the mark. Remember there are times and seasons for different parts of your life mission. Even though it can be tempting to pursue more glamorous "I'm making a difference in the world" causes at the expense of nurturing family and home, resist the temptation and pray to keep your priorities in God's order. This was especially hard for me during my years "in the trenches" of young motherhood. I yearned to do something more, to feel like I was making a difference and doing something important in the world. It's hard to see that you're making a difference when your days are filled with diapers, feeding, and cleaning. But you are. It's just the law of the late harvest at work. You don't see the results for a long time.  

Remember what the Savior said about really making a difference in the world? 
"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:34-40)
Isn't that the very essence of the trenches of young motherhood? We are ALWAYS feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, helping people feel loved and welcomed, clothing the naked, nursing the sick, and nurturing those in trouble. There is hardly time to do anything else. But remember, you are building great souls, teaching them to come unto Christ, and preparing them to do what they were born to do. This is a great work! 

The intense stage of young motherhood does pass, and you miss the toddler toys and pudgy finger prints, and in another stage you have a little more time to make a difference in other ways. I am forever grateful Heavenly Father kept reminding me that during the window of time of young children in my home, that deeper mission needed to eclipse virtually all else. It's an investment that pays back forever. 


Jodi Wilding said...

Oh Becky, I LOVE this! You are such a gift to me and mothers everywhere! Thank you for your insights on foreordination! You truly are inspired and I'm so grateful for our friendship!

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you Jodi! I don't take credit. When I find great quotes like this, they beg to be shared!