"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."This week I have been thinking a lot about what happens when people stop believing that God will comfort them--when people stop believing that God inspires people and helps them along in their life. There is a couple from my home state that was just excommunicated from the church. Many on social media are claiming that it is because this couple "expressed doubts", but it's amazing that as soon as you talk to them, they will tell you that they don't believe the church is true anymore. They weren't excommunicated for expressing doubts, they were excommunicated because they don't believe that this is Christ's church.
- Mosiah 24: 13-14
The thing is, I can relate a lot to some of the things that they said. They said that one of the reasons why they knew the church wasn't true because Bishops aren't inspired. I don't believe that, but I do know that Bishops aren't perfect. I do know that Bishops make mistakes--and that sometimes those mistakes can cause real harm. But I still believe they are inspired and this is why.
To me, it all comes down to burdens. Whether they are burdens of doubt, of harm, of bondage, of sickness, or of sin--burdens make it hard for us to live life.
Let me tell you a story. There was a time that I had to go speak with a Bishop about some problems that I had been having in my life. It was one of the hardest experiences I had ever come across in my life. Two things occurred in the following weeks that have stuck with me for a long time.
The first thing was that my loving Bishop never told me that he felt that I had been forgiven--at least to my memory. That just wasn't something that he said to me. And honestly, not hearing those words was really hard for me for years. But it taught me how to rely on God speaking to me instead of my Bishop, and I am so SO grateful for that.
The second thing was that my loving Bishop told me that if his newborn baby girl could grow up to be like me, he would be so happy. That one phrase brightened my life. That this man--who knew a lot about my past sins and troubles--could say that and mean it amazed me.
I know my thoughts are a bit scattered today, but here is the principle that I feel that I gain from this scripture. The voice of the Lord comes to us in our afflictions, but if you notice--that scripture also mentions covenants with Him. I cannot expect to have His voice in my life or his Hands lifting the burdens from my back if I am not willing to keep my covenants with Him.
But if I do seek Him in prayer and through scriptures study. If I do serve others as I have covenanted. If I do listen to my priesthood leaders and seek personal revelation about what they say--if I do all of those things, then I will be able to stand as a witness for him hereafter. I will be able to know of a surety that the Lord God visits His people in their afflictions. I will know that.
And the thing is, you can know that too.