Sacraments





My girls!

Thank you for letting me share my testimony (beliefs) about sacrament the other day in Family Home Evening.

Here is the book.  Thank you so much for your artwork.  I love it!

I love writing one-page books.  It fits my energy and needs.  I have a need to write books, but I also have a need to not spend a lot of time writing them.  So, mirco-fiction (yes it's really a term...google it) has become modus operendi.  Here is a lesson for you...I have learned that I should do things like this book, first for me (even if nobody else wants to read it)....I'm just did this book because it is who I am....and then second it is about you guys (my family), I want to share it with you and I hope it is useful to you.  And finally, third, this book is about others, other people who might be helped by believing what I believe or something similar.

So, I hope you enjoy my book as much as I do.

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Some thoughts I've had:

What is this book about?  

This book is about nurturing a belief inside of me...getting myself to believe something new (and/or perhaps getting myself to believe something I've long believed but in a new way).

Whichever.  For me this book is about getting my kit together....My OneLife Kit that will contain everything that I regard as crucial for my life.

This book points to a practical tool that has grabbed my attention for the past two or so years.   Namely, the sacrament(s).  To me the atonement is  the ultimate "compensating substitute".  That is, the ability to get clean....be clean....feeling clean....can compensate for so many of my/our inadequacies, failures and shortcomings.

I have come to see the sacrament as a crucial kit ...one that I intend to bring much, much more energy to than I ever have.  To me, cost-benefit-wise I suspect there is few, if any, other strategies for life enhancement that I can bring my time and energy to that will be worth it.  We'll see.   I only recently (in the last few month) seriously planted this seed.  I'll keep nurturing and assessing.  I'll share with you the results of my experience.

As I invited in our FHE, I invite each of you to nurture this same belief.

Bottom line, for me (and I believe others) can find great benefit in believing (recurring) that we have become clean, 100% clean (i.e. free from sin and guilt).

Does it have to be sacrament?  

For me, yes.  That is my religion, my way.  It is my belief.  Other people, for example people not of our faith, believe in other ways of getting/feeling/believing-they-are  "clean". 

I see people doing yoga, various forms of exercise, watching movies that confirm to goodness of people, and so on.  As I have pointed out to youredemption (forgiveness, fresh starts, getting clean, getting right) is one of the biggest themes in music, movies and other story telling. 

I believe that the sacrament (atonement)---getting clean---is the keystone of my religion that, as Joseph Smith said (I paraphrase), "everything else is an appendage to it." 

What is my hope for this book?  

I hope this book will help me, my family (you and your kids) and others plant this same kind of seed and nurture this belief.  I want to have (for me and those I love) more moments (at least once per week and hopefully more) when we strongly believe, feel and deeply sense that (in that moment) we are clean, forgiven of ALL sin, 100% clean.

In particular, I am aiming to do this when I take the sacrament.  So far, I have been working to convince myself of this during sacrament meeting (For example, I read and re-read sacrament hymns that testify that taking the bread and water can wash away sins).  I have felt that feeling.
Dad, you say you are "working to convince" yourself.  Haven't you always believed that your sins are forgiven when you take the sacrament right?  

Well, not really. It is true that I have had wonderful moments in my life when I sincerely believed that God forgave me of my sins.  And He did.

But, I can't say that in the past, that each time I took the sacrament earnestly that I believed what I am believing now (over the last few months).  I can say for sure that, until recently, it has been rare, very rare (if ever) that I have taken the sacrament and then immediately counted myself clean, that is...acknowledged to myself (let alone others), that I was 100% cleaned.

But that is exactly what I am doing/trying now, each and every time I take the sacrament.
It is ironic to me, that even though this belief seems new, given that is at the core (it is the keystone) of my/our (LDS) religious faith/doctrine---and that is it is clearly stated in the scriptures we read, and in the talks I've heard for years, and implied and stated in every sacrament hymn---this belief (the one that I have recently planted in my heart and begun to nourish), this belief that I am forgiven, 100% clean of all my sins when I take the sacrament on Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

It is surprising that something so obvious (that I am cleansed of sin when I take the sacrament) has been escaping me all these years.

In other words, until recently, on any given Sunday, had someone stopped me after sacrament meeting and asked me this question, "Greg, now that you have taken the sacrament are you clean, 100% clean, free from sin, as clean as the babies we bless at church?"  I would have been quite stunned.  I would have marveled.  I would have known immediately that they were asking a fair question.  But I until recently it had never before occurred to me to believe that each and every time I take the sacrament with sincerity that I am made totally clean, in that very moment that I partake of the sacrament.
How do you know that you are forgiven of all your sins immediately (in that moment), if at all, after you take the sacrament?
I don't know.  You see, it is a belief.  It is like many of my beliefs.  I believe that I have been blessed with a newer car because I paid tithing.  Do Iknow that the car came as a result of having paid my tithing.  No, but I believe it did.

You see, I am fine with believing things (as opposed to knowing them for sure).  And that is true with regards to getting clean by the sacrament.  I am content to move forward with faith (belief).  I can wait for the knowledge.  It is simple, I am choosing to believe that after I take the sacrament I am made clean by the sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus.  I put my faith (belief) in Him, and upon his word.  God has said that he will forgive us.  I believe it.

That is good enough for me.

Finally, I can say this.  I do have some evidence.  I have planted this belief in my heart and I know that it is a good belief.  It makes me happier(see Alma 32).  It makes me want to live my life better, cleaner.  For example, after I get cleaned on Sunday, I want to try (like Woowoo) to keep myself as clean as possible.

It also makes me have more hope.   I will tell you what is most promising about this belief.  I can sense that feeling clean compensates for a lot of failure in this life.  There are a lot of things that I fall short on (accomplishments that I fail to make progress on, habits that are slow in f I can beclean of my sins, other accomplishments in this life have become clean
I look forward to having discussions with you about WooWoo and the sacrament(s).  We can nurture our beliefs together!

Love,

Dad