Day of rest. Went to church.
Update. I was in a hurry this morning and did not elaborate on what happened at church thinking nobody would miss it. I was wrong. At least Kory did. So I will correct the omission.
The Sacrament meeting talks focused on the Atonement of Christ. I later read an article in the Ensign on the same subject as well. Here is one great thing about the Atonement. It covers more than the sins. It covers everything that is wrong and makes it right. And you do not have to wait until the Second Coming either. The Atonement through our faith in Christ can fix things that are wrong even now. It is through that power that we can repent from our sins, are healed from illness or injury, or find the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. It is the power that I depend upon to heal my body from the inherent imperfections that keep me from running at the level that I believe God expects of me. Everything we do to fix the wrongs are works that help develop our faith. But once that faith is sufficient the actual miracle of healing happens through the grace of Christ by the power of his Atonement. Even the process of acquiring the faith involves the Atonement. We may want to have the faith, and we may do the works, but to receive the faith we need the gift of God.
I was also asked to teach Benjamin's Primary class because the regular teacher was out of out. The lesson was on the faith of the Pioneers. As I prepared for the lesson, I was again reminded of two concept. First, the faith itself. It is such a powerful principle, but it is so absent in the world today, so foreign to it. At least in the developed countries. We have gotten too comfortable to think we need it. How stupid! With all of the development we still have no cure against death.Even if we did, that would be even more stupid, to be stuck on earth forever in an infinite loop.
So we die having lived a rather easy life, and then we are up for a big surprise. We are in serious trouble. Our spiritual muscles are not trained, and we are being asked to do spiritual work, lots of it. Imagine yourself in the Olympic Trials but being barely fit to run a 5:00 marathon. That would be embarrassing, wouldn't it? Your ancestors are looking at you wondering what's wrong. Because they've lived hard lives, and they had to develop a lot of faith just to make it from day to day. To them faith is rather natural.
The second concept is the faith of the Pioneers that crossed the plains during the early days of the Church. Those people had to know something special. We read about it, but we have a hard time feeling what they felt. We can walk the Pioneer Trail, or run the Deseret News Marathon, but we still do not come any closer than an American tourist does to understanding the reality of Soviet life. Even if he was there for a couple of years, he was in and out. Russians were stuck there for a long time with no end in sight. So they might have eaten the same food (although usually not), and even lived in the same apartment (again usually not), but even so, the Russian was stuck there to live under the oppression of the regime, while the American was free to go home after he got tired of the experience.
The analogy that came to my mind is rather crude, and I must make something clear. While some points are applicable, there is a big difference between the hardship of the elements and the hardship of spiritual oppression. The Pioneers were free in spirit, and thus had the power to endure the oppression of the elements. The Soviet citizens, in the mean time, lived under a burden of spiritual oppression, and lacked the power to deal even with the modest oppression of the elements. It made many of them seek refuge inside the good old bottle of vodka.
But we have digressed. The Pioneers had faith. They knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth. They saw and acted by the spirit. Thus nothing was an obstacle to them. I hope I can learn from them and use that same power in my life.