I looked at my previous posts, and I haven't written anything worthwhile for a few weeks now. So, I'm sitting here trying to think of something profound to say. This may take a while.
Oh yeah, I wanted to mention something about the lesson manual for Relief Society/Priesthood this year. I think it's awesome. You know, there is just something about the teachings of Joseph Smith that just always rings home with me. I've enjoyed the other manuals that we've gone through over the past few years, but they don't seem to have the same impact on me as this one is having.
Of course, I think that part of it might have to do with our teacher. I think he is great. He was inactive for many years and just started coming back to church about six months ago. He has little knowledge, and a fairly weak testimony at this point. But, for some reason, the EQP was inspired to call him as a teacher in order to help him build his testimony as he prepares the lessons.
Each lesson is full of off-kilter statements, stories about being a Marine, and questions about if what he's teaching is really 100% true. It forces you to pay attention, because you are so interested in if he is going to say something totally whacked. But at the same time, his raw honesty about not having a very good understanding of the doctrine sparks some really good comments from the memebers of the quorum during the lesson. I love it.
Yesterday's lesson, in particular, was on the Atonement. He mentioned several times about how he didn't like the fact that Jesus had to suffer for him. Not that he didn't believe that Jesus suffered and died for us, but he didn't like it that Jesus had to do that. That steered the comments from the quorum members to focus on accepting the Atonement in your life. Jesus completed it. The Atonement is there for us to apply to our lives. He wants us to take advantage of it. Nowhere in the scriptures did He ever tell us to feel guilty for His suffering. He told us to feel sorrow for our sins, and then repent and forsake them and move on with our lives.
As I was listening to the lesson and skimming through the rest of the chapter looking at some of the quotes, I really felt caught up in the actuality of the Atonement and the importance of living a Christ-centered life. My struggles with holding onto my faith seemed to evaporate at that moment. All worldly aspects of my being melted away and I felt His presence. All of the sudden my earthly goals seemed unimportant, my homosexual attractions seemed like a distant memory, everything in my life that was not of a spiritual nature became insubstantive. The words of the Prophet about Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World, became the only important things to me at that moment. The white-knuckle grip that I've had on life for the last several months really loosened up a lot, and I was able to relax and feel comfortable with who I am and the challenges I face in this life. It was a really great moment.
I wish I could feel like that more often.