I love all of you with all of my heart and soul. I do.
God’s team: winner
Satan’s team: not winner
God’s team: winner
Other team: not winner
God’s team won in both cases. In fact, the score might have even been the exact same in both games! The rules were the exact same in each game. When ever soccer is played, it’s played by the same rules; there is always a winner and a not winner, but the means by which those rules are followed are different. Even so, God uses different means to comply to the same rules in order to come off victor (because good always triumphs over evil.) There fore, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever just as any soccer game would be played under the same regulations, but a goal made using your feet is just as valid as one using your head.
Thank you for letting me express the things that have crept into my heart as I have studied and pondered. IT may seem like a silly analogy to think of in the temple, but it helped me and further concreted my understanding.
Sunday was a fantastic day. My uncle and aunt, Brent and Janet, showed up in the Lyon Drug store (a restored historic site I was serving at that day) and it was like a piece of heaven. I think that’s how dying is going to feel like. One moment we will be here and then we will come around the corner and see a family member or friend that we haven’t seen in years and we will first think, “oh look, It’s Brent and Janet” (or mom and dad, or grams and gramps, or our spouse) and think nothing of it and then all of the sudden we will think again and shout with joy! Brent! Janet! Mom! Dad! Mi amour! And we will realized that we have made it. That, just as we always knew He would, all His promises have been made and kept, that families are eternal and the we have come home. He has lead us safely there and all is well. I was in an incredible mood for the rest of the day and then went down to Carthage for the 166th commemoration of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s Martyrdom. The spirit was great and the weather impeccable. The morning had even “dawned cloudy and wet”. The song we sang was one from the very first hymn book and it went better than expected. I’m pretty sure angels stood behind me to whisper the notes in my ear. I think there has been a group of angels called to serve an 18 month mission in heaven just to help me with the songs I’ve sung on my mission. And another concourse assigned for the same duration to help with everything else. If they are suppose to be secret, they have some improving to do, because I can feel them.
After the “official” commemoration we all prepared to take part in what each of us looked forward to most on the commemoration. We went into the jail by ourselves. We listened to a program that the Carthage sisters had put together. They had pulled out different quotes and testimonials of that day and of those men and applied each accordingly to the rooms in that place. IT was amazing. As we went through and paid our tributes and listened with our hearts to the things that the spirit shared with us I was acutely aware that I was one of few who was privileged to have such an experience on that day. When we got to the martyrdom room three testimonies were shared of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s divine calling. We sang “Joseph Smith’s first prayer”. The song took on completely new meaning for me as I sang the song and then listened to the tape. I felt like him. As those men came marching up those stairs and he heard them, I felt his calmness. The first two verses of “Joseph Smith’s first prayer” became his thoughts as he reflected back on what now seemed like a simpler time, when he asked his question, and “saw a pillar of light exactly over his head, above the brightness of the sun, and as the light rested upon him he saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description standing above him in the air. One of them spake unto him, calling him by name, and said pointing to the other, 'This is My Beloved Son, hear Him!' ”. I felt his heart wrench as his brother Hyrum fell to the floor and I felt the peace as he walked to the window and the second two verses of that song began to happen. He was no longer remembering. A light descended and He heard a familiar voice, “Joseph, this is my beloved, hear Him” He had made it home.
I Cannot say that this is how that day happened, that this was Joseph Smith’s experience, but that is how it played out in my mind. June 27th 1844 is one of those “great and terrible” days on the earth. We then sang “Praise to the man” as the spirit bore witness of who that man was. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives! And I know that He will answer all and any of our questions in humble prayer before Him. He loves us.