Topic : Obedience

". . . thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Nephi 2:25)

I am comforted to know that I can gain experience and wisdom from afflictions.

“. . .I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things. . . .” (Mosiah 2:41)

I learn that I can have peace and happiness in this life by keeping His commandments.

“. . .ye should impart of your substance to the poor . . . such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief . . . .” (Mosiah 4:26)

I have come to understand how vital it is to give generously to care for the poor.

“. . .whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

While this life contains trials and afflictions, we can be strengthened by trusting God and can eventually return to his presence.

“. . . I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

My career has been in university education (professor, director, dean) and in consulting. I am married, have four daughters, and now enjoy grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My father was a laborer and my mother also worked full-time in a department store. My parents sent me to our nearby church and I always went willingly. My conviction of the truthfulness of the teachings of the Mormon Church grew slowly but steadily through my high school and college years. My certainty increased greatly through my reading of the scriptures, answers to my prayers, seeing the impact of the church on the lives of new members, and hearing testimonies of others.

I believe that The Book of Mormon, like The Holy Bible, contains the fullness of the gospel. The book is replete with scriptures that have influenced my life, like those I have listed above. Through my studying and pondering of The Book of Mormon, and the promised inspiration of the Holy Ghost, I am convinced that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he overcame physical death, and that without his sacrifice I would be hopelessly lost for the eternities.

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

This verse is important to me because it tells me that if the Lord asks me to go or to do something, then I should be obedient and listen to the Lord. My family was deciding whether to move to the U.S. or to stay in Vietnam. We were living in Vietnam at the time. We had a hard decision to make, so my parents went to the temple to pray and ask if we should move to the U.S. or not. The Lord gave them the prompting to go look for a house in the U.S., so they went and looked at different houses. When my Mom came into the house we are now living in, she said that we were going to get this house. My parents went back to the Provo temple just before we went back to Vietnam. They were comforted and decided we would move back to the U.S. Now we live in the house my Mom said we would buy. If I listen to the Lord and do as He asks of me, then I will be blessed in many ways.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)

If we really try to follow Jesus’ commandments, we can live forever with our families and with Him. Jesus made it possible through his suffering for us. Because of that we will not have to worry about an end. I know that because of Jesus Christ, death will not be the end. We no longer have to worry about just simply fading out of existence, for with this belief an end is only a new beginning.

"And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters." (I Nephi 17:17)

This verse is about how Laman and Lemuel murmur about building a boat. To most people, that scripture might not reach their hearts, but strangely I love that scripture. It teaches me that if I murmur or complain, I will not succeed. If Laman and Lemuel helped Nephi, the boat could have gotten done faster and the boat would have been more precise. So I believe that if I just do stuff I’m supposed to do without complaining, my life will be better. That is how the scripture and The Book of Mormon have helped me.

"I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15)

I have always loved The Book of Mormon. As I grew up, our family would read it or the Holy Bible every day. I learned scriptural principles just like I learned my letters and numbers, little by little, each day building upon the one before. My well of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world was being filled by learning and living what my parents and the scriptures lovingly taught to me.

Fast forward to my 7th grade year in school. Something happened in one of my classes and I was met with the decision to be honest or silent. I chose honesty. In so doing, I lost all the friends I had since childhood, and threats of bodily harm started coming daily. I was lonely and scared. I didn’t tell my parents because I mistakenly thought that it would make things worse. I found a place to hide outside during lunch and decided to read The Book of Mormon to calm my troubled heart.

This became my lunchtime routine for a couple of months. During this time, I journeyed with the Book of Mormon prophets who kept the records of the Lord’s work among His children. Prophets like Nephi, whose own brothers tried to kill him for doing what was right, but whom he “frankly forgave.” (See 1 Nephi 7:21) Or Enos, a record keeper, who prayed all day and night not only for himself and his family, but for his enemies “that . . . they might be brought unto salvation . . . .” (See Enos 1:11-17) Or Alma, a wicked priest who (at the peril of his own life) repented of his many sins and taught his people so that many became desirous “to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light . . . and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.” (See Mosiah 18:8-9)

It was a welcome and peaceful escape from the nervous worry that I felt daily. My constant companion in this journey with the prophets was the Holy Ghost, whispering to my heart that I was not alone, nor was I the only one who had suffered or been threatened for choosing right.

My greatest friend that I quietly found journeying with me was Jesus Christ. I came to know Him and His yearnings for us. His desires became my desires as well, and I found that I could face those who were bullying me with a courageous but forgiving heart. Though I am far from perfect, through The Book of Mormon I have felt that the Lord has “encircled me about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15) I know that I can always count on Him to be with me when I open my scriptures to find answers or peace.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

This verse of scripture has always helped me find the courage to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s scary trying to make the right choice when you’re faced with a hard decision and don’t know exactly how things are going to play out. It’s hard to stand up for what’s right when others don’t agree with you. It’s hard to go outside your comfort zone to talk to someone who needs a friend. It’s hard to make good life plans and move forward not knowing if everything will work out the way you hope. But just like this verse of scripture promises, every time I’ve tried to do the right thing and follow the example of Jesus, a path has appeared, I’ve found the right words to say, and things in my life have eventually worked out for the best. I know the Lord will take care of the things I can’t control when I’m trying to do the the things he’d have me do.

". . . I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

When I was a youth I attended MIA (Mutual Improvement Association), a youth organization in my Church. It convened on Tuesday nights, and there were opening exercises following which the boys and girls would go to various classes depending upon age and gender. The classes for me were various Scouting meetings. In that opening portion there were prayers, songs, youth talks, and various Book of Mormon scriptures, called “ themes”, that we would memorize as we recited them at the time they were spoken. This gave the youth the opportunity to get acquainted with several scriptures during a given year. These scriptures had a profound effect in shaping my values. I remember several of these scriptures. The one that is most salient in my memory is the one quoted above. This scripture has been very motivating and encouraging for me in all aspects of my life, especially as I have accepted invitations to serve in various positions. Often the job has seemed undoable, but I have been encouraged by this scripture to know that all commandments and requirements can be done if I seek the Lord’s inspiration and help. That scripture has increased my faith in the Lord, in His Church, and in me. I know the Lord prizes me, and has confidence that I can and will do what He asks.