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Highlights for Joseph Smith History 1:27-65
We have two sides. Whether you have discovered it yet or not, you have a glowing side. It is of divine origin and comes with gifts, talents, celestial traits, and capacity. Sometimes we hide our shine because we’ve learned it attracts negativity and brings adversity into our lives. Then, we have another side; it’s the one we might try to hide behind a Sunday smile. We certainly don’t want to broadcast our failures, weaknesses, or shortcomings.
We are brilliant, and we are broken. Would it surprise you for me to say, both of your sides are crucial to your mortal experience?
But here’s the catch – we’re afraid to let our talents and strengths get on the radars of the wrong people. Or we’ll become targets. So sometimes we allow that part of us to be shut down. And it’s way too scary to let our vulnerable, weak side show – so we wander around as a bottled-up, inauthentic version of ourselves.
How grateful I am for a gospel that shows us a better way! Let’s look at a few prophets and apostles and how they approach our sense of self and our worth.
Joseph Smith unabashedly embraces both realities, both the broken and the divine parts of himself. (Joseph Smith History 1:29)
Even though Joseph had sins and mistakes to apologize for to Heavenly Father, he understood the power of repentance and forgiveness. He knew of God’s tremendous love and felt confident before Him.
Later in his life, Joseph Smith taught that the angels love us and work with us, despite the silly, ridiculous things we do. Who would know more about angels than Joseph? He suggested to the Saints; we follow their example when dealing with others around us. Joseph also encouraged better friend-shipping and inclusion and explained that we all get more power and miracles from heaven when we are united.
James, the apostle, taught something quite similar. The early Saints were much more a part of each others’ lives and more self-disclosing than we are in our modern culture. They knew the value of fellowship and the warmth of congregation. Consider here what James shared in the New Testament.:
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5:16
Feeling safe enough to talk with others about problems, disappointments, and sharing challenges is a beautiful situation. Meaningful connections also empower us and speed our recovery. How would it feel to know that others at church are praying and hoping for us? Can you picture how much more healing and progress happens when we share rather than hide our follies and failures?
Because of these teachings, I have found inner strength, and I am much more open and disclosing about my shortcomings and mistakes. This influences how I teach and talk at church. I have found my liberation frees others when they realize they are not exceptional and alone in their trials and challenges.
The Other Side
Now let’s talk about our other side, the divine one. I love this quote from Lorenzo Snow, I think he frames us beautifully:
“We were born in the image of God our Father; he begat us like unto himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which he himself possessed, as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers and susceptibilities of its parent.”
“I believe that we are the sons and daughters of God, and that He has bestowed upon us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge, because He has given us a portion of Himself. We are told that we were made in His own image, and we find that there is a character of immortality in the soul of man…”
“We have divinity within ourselves; we have immortality within ourselves; our spiritual organism is immortal; it cannot be destroyed; it cannot be annihilated. We will live from all eternity to all eternity.” (Lorenzo Snow)
You are a divine daughter or son of God with his spiritual DNA imprinted on your soul. Your connection to Heavenly Father is direct and glorious. In fact, Michelle D. Craig of the General Young Women Presidency recently challenged us to ask Heavenly Father a great question:
Seeing Ourselves as God Sees Us: Perhaps the most important things for us to see clearly are who God is and who we really are—sons and daughters of heavenly parents, with a “divine nature and eternal destiny.” Ask God to reveal these truths to you, along with how He feels about you. The more you understand your true identity and purpose, soul deep, the more it will influence everything in your life. (Eyes to See ~ Oct 2020)
I love this quote! Sister Craig gave one of my favorite General Conference talks.
Now let’s talk about Joel. Joel is an Old Testament prophet who makes some rather powerful prophecies about our latter days and us. Moroni made a point to quote and teach some of those prophecies to Joseph Smith, which Joseph shares with us in his history. (Joseph Smith History 1:41)
When I look up and read those verses, I am amazed. Here’s Joel 2:28-32 – remember these verses are referring to you and the last days:
28 ¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
How remarkable – the Spirit of Christ will be poured out, in tremendous measure upon you, and you will be able to call upon the Lord to be delivered. What a miraculous, momentous time to be alive and witness God’s power leading up to the Second Coming. What more, you can experience the magnificent and be magnificent even during a dark era. The harder the times, the greater the miracles.
This sounds a lot like the promise President Nelson made last General Conference:
The Lord has promised that if we will ask, we may receive “revelation upon revelation.” I promise that as you increase your capacity to receive revelation, the Lord will bless you with increased direction for your life and with boundless gifts of the Spirit. (Embrace the Future ~ Oct 2020)
Boundless, magnificent, and remarkable. Please do remember that side of you, too, and perhaps seek ways to let the world see more of your brightness. You will bless others around you and glorify your Father in Heaven.