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Being Lost in Different Ways

02/15/2013

I wanted to write some thoughts following our RS lesson today. Yes, I actually went, marking my name in the roll book; I realized that it had been some time since I had attended RS. That really is besides the point…

It is Fast Sunday so the lesson was taken from the last conference issue of the Ensign. The Lesson was taken from the talk given by Elder Wirthlin entitled Concern for the One.  It sure caught my attention in a good and a bad way. I really wish I was one of the visitors there so I could have commented anonymously and five some insight to those in my ward that just don’t seem to “get it” and also to share a story on a positive note.

First, I will share a quote from the talk —

“Today I would like to talk about those who are lost—some because they are different, some because they are weary, and some because they have strayed.

Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike……….

Many feel discouraged because they have not measured up to their potential. Others simply feel too weak to contribute. And so, as the flock moves on, gradually, almost imperceptibly, some fall behind………..

………… Some are lost because they have strayed. Except for the Lord, we have all made mistakes. The question is not whether we will trip and fall but, rather, how will we respond? Some, after making mistakes, stray from the fold. This is unfortunate. Do you not know that the Church is a place for imperfect people to gather together—even with all their mortal frailties—and become better?………

This really got me to thinking about my life and how I have been “lost” for so long. I have been lost for all three reasons that Elder Wirthlin stated. Most of the time because of all of them at the same time, other times it has only been one or two, but still enough to keep me from church, but even more importantly away from my Heavenly Father, from Jesus, from a testimony, from hope. I can’t say how long I have even longed to know what it was that was “wrong” with me, why couldn’t I just go, just believe, just belong. I just fell further and further behind everyone else, including my own children and husband (who has only been a member for 8 years and I am the one that is a “lifetime” member). The words I heard today were a wonderful insight into myself, feelings I had actually being put into words, I wanted to shout “see you guys, I am not alone in how I feel, yes, in our “perfect” ward, people like me exist, sitting back here in the corner, alone, when I am able to drag myself here” I didn’t/don’t have the strength to say it, and may never will.

The precursor to all this is the time I have taken for myself over the last two months to really self evaluate what I wanted as far as church membership. I didn’t know if I wanted to “belong” or not. I was terrified to open and read any scriptures, I felt “unworthy” to pray. I don’t know exactly how or when, but some peace came to me and about the same time I found a book called The Book of Mormon Made Easy kind of a book for “dummies”. It took weeks to buy it and longer to open it, I have now read some, and actually had it make some sort of sense, more than just random letters and words on a page.

My RS president gave a plea for everyone to help find the “lost souls” amongst the sisters in our ward. She read the following quote from Elder Wirthlin’s talk.

I know that each of you bears a concern for a loved one. Give encouragement, service, and support to them. Love them. Be kind to them. In some cases, they will return. In others, they will not. But in all cases, let us ever be worthy of the name we take upon ourselves, even that of Jesus Christ.

I wanted to stand up and tell the story of my now friend ( one of several that I consider my best friends), my then RS president when I moved here in 2001. I wanted to tell them of how far from the gospel I felt then, how nasty I was. She came to my house to visit me, I basically shut the door on her, she called, she visited or at least attempted to. I don’t remember or know how long she tried, that part isn’t important. Somehow we became friends (part of which is another story) and I asked her how in the world she stuck with it when I was so horrible to her. She told me that she didn’t even remember how I treated her, she remembered the love she was inspired to give me. By the time I was ready to accept this, our ward had been split and I was left feeling lost again. The point of this is how much that concern meant and still means to me. She along with another friend still continue to love me when I once again become lost. I have accepted the fact that we are in different wards, in fact it gives us a chance to spend more time with each other as it has to be planned. But, not always planned, sometimes that knock at the door or phone call that I didn’t know I needed. Indeed, my true friends!

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