Leman Copely, a Monkey’s Trap, and Me

Leman Copely, a Monkey’s Trap, and Me

How I’ve Heard The Voice of The Lord This Week

This week in Come Follow Me, we learn in D&C 49 that Leman Copley is having a hard time letting go of some of his beliefs from being a member of the Shaker religion to align with truth and become a fully functioning member of Christ’s Church. In fact, the Lord says, “that they [the Shakers] desire to know the truth in part, but not all” and that because of that, “they are not right” before the Lord and need to repent.

In classes this week, we likened this situation to a Monkey’s trap – you remember, the coconut (or other such contraption) with food in it and a hole cut big enough for a monkey to get its paw in to grab the food, but not big enough to get its hand out while holding food. So, unless the Monkey is willing to give up the food, he is trapped. We talked about how Leman was trapped by old attitudes and beliefs. We pondered how Modern Day Israel is trapped because some of them won’t let go of actions and attitudes that hold them back from all of the truth and blessings that Heavenly Father intends for them.

But it’s not enough to talk about them, is it? It has to be me. I have to look at my own Monkey’s paw – the trap that I’ve been caught in for years. And as I start my new diet for the ‘um-teenth’ time, I realize that I’ve been doing it all wrong. As I log my food and am tempted to bend the truth about how much I’m logging, or maybe not log the food at all, the Spirit sharply but lovingly (see D&C 121: 42-43) calls back the verse I’d been teaching to my own mind – “they [you] desire to know the truth in part, but not all” and I realize probably for the first time how not being honest with myself has been a Monkey’s trap for me. 

In saying that, you need not think that I’m a totally dishonest person. At least not to others. But to myself, now that is something that I have been pondering for the last few days as I’ve been logging my food on the app – rounding, guesstimating, and not being exact. And as the Spirit put it all together in my mind, I finally broke through another wall. I needed to start praying for the Spiritual gift of more honesty and accountability with myself. For years, I’d been begging for more temperance (i.e., self-control) and would cry at the thought of never being able to have the control I wanted. I thought that I was just a weak, weak woman. Turns out, I may just need to be a more honest one. And somehow, it seems like that is something that I have the ability to do. At least, for the first time, I feel hope in my weakness – that I finally have the tool that will help it to be made strong (Ether 12:27). 

And so, as a final act of not just hearing Him, but also of Hearkening to Him, I have been prompted by the Spirit to turn on the light and publicly write about my own issues with self-honesty so that I can “know the truth [and] chase the darkness” away from me – which, I’m sure not coincidentally, is the next chapter of Come Follow Me for this week (see D&C 50:24-25). At first, the idea of writing this seemed so humiliating. Now, I just feel humbled and thankful for answers that come when we take time to “Hear Him”.

~Laryssa Waldron

(This was originally written for my ward’s Relief Society Newsletter’s “Hear Him” Moment”.)

Virtue + Charity = Power – Trying to Be like Jesus in Deed and in Thought

I just got a new calling as a team teacher for the missionary prep class in our stake.  I taught my first lesson yesterday, and then saw this message today.   It’s so inspiring.  I am impressed today about the importance that virtue plays in doing the Lord’s work.

When the Savior was touched by the woman who was plagued with an “issue of blood”, the Lord knew that someone had touched Him because, as the scripture states,  he immediately [knew] in himself that virtue had gone out of him, Mark 5:25-34.  Virtue, or the power that flows freely from virtue was part of the Savior, because He was the perfect being, the Lamb without blemish, one without sin (see also Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46 – note that virtue and love are so vital to this scripture, and I am speaking about Christlike love, not lust, here.).

If we want to be effective leaders, teachers, mentors, spouses, parents, friends, etc. then it behooves us to follow the Master’s example on this point.  To quote from the talk that the video was taken from (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, We are all Enlisted, Gen. Conf. October 2011) –

Well, the Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called “forbidden paths”5 and expect to guide others to the “strait and narrow”6 one—it can’t be done.

I also have a calling as the Primary Chorister.  This month, our song is I’m trying to be like Jesus.  I scoured the internet for ideas and found some great ones on Sugardoodle.  I quoted the scripture, Alma 5:14 –  Have ye received his image in your countenance.  We discussed what that meant, and I  took a mirror and a picture of the Savior and asked the children how their image was like the Savior’s (head, hair, eyes, etc.) and then we talked about the fact that as we spend time with people, we begin to behave and act, and sometimes look, like the people that we spend time with (I joked here about pegging my pants in High School – if you are reading this and went to school in the 90’s you’ll know what I’m talking about :). )

We began to discuss the scripture, 2 Nephi 9:9, which states that if we had not had a Savior, that we would have become like Satan, And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; and then we talked about the song , line by line –

I’m trying to be like Jesus,
I’m following in His ways.
I’m trying to love as He did
In all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted
To make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen
As the still small voice whispers:

CHORUS  – Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.

I’m trying to love my neighbor.
I’m learning to serve my friends.
I watch for that day of gladness
When Jesus will come again.

I try to remember the lessons he taught,
And the holy spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

CHORUS

Note that the whole song is about kindness, and gentleness, and being loving, and listening to the Holy Spirit.  I talked to the kids about a friend of mine, who, one day when his child had made a mistake, got angry and yelled, “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?”  Well, for one thing, He probably wouldn’t have yelled.  He probably would have  taken the child aside to sit down and discuss the problem, and then, would have shown forth love and expressed faith that the child would make a better choice in the future.

Finally, we talked about Moroni 7:47-48, which talks about charity, the pure love of Christ, and that, if we ask, and are filled with this love, when he shall appear we shall be like him – what an amazing thought!  That by spending time with the Savior (through scripture study, worship, and following the Spirit), and by acting as He would act – acts of love and virtue,  we will become like Him.   If we become like Him, then we will have power to do His works (see John 15: 1-7 and John 14:12).  I can’t imagine that we would sit back and expect the Savior to “tow the line” and live virtuously, and then, conversely not expect  Him to have requirements for us to follow.  We use and appreciate the Grace that He provided through His infinite atonement, and then to not try to be virtuous and loving  in our daily walk – it just doesn’t make sense.

We just finished watching the London 2012 Olympics – how inspiring to watch those men and women who had worked for four years to become something great.  How wonderful is our Coach, who accepts us, yes, but then invites us to become something better.  Who sees our divine potential to become great, to do great things in this world, to be more than the man or woman sitting on the couch, eating doughnuts, and watching T.V.  He wants so much more for each of us, and the way that we start on the path is to begin to “try to be like Jesus.”