Friday, February 10, 2012

"Oh, Society" or "Satan's Many Lies"

I feel so strange today. It's a mixture. I feel very tired physically, very raw emotionally, and very sad mentally. Spiritually, I'm good --but I'm torn.

Sometimes, I think it would be awesome to lock the gates of my mind and my home against all of society; to bar the way, to rip out the wires that send information into the minds and hearts of my children. I want to yank them close to me, to protect them from so much evil in this world.

I know it's not possible; nor is it smart. My children would not benefit from the unprepared naivety of an evil society --they need to learn how to withstand it, not run from it. But does that mean they should immerse themselves in it? Hardly.

Do other parents feel this way? In less than 20 years, the innocence of children has been nearly erased. Eradicated by the "cunning plan of the evil one." My children know more about things I never learned until adulthood simply because they NEED to know so they can stand against it. Frankly, it breaks my heart.

I usually don't feel this morose nor do I usually give into fear and pessimism. I usually take the optimistic route; I see the good in society. It's there. I know it is there. But today, I'm feeling particularly down because of all the confused --and yet, good intentioned --stories floating upon the information waves. It's hard to understand how truth could become so warped, so stretched, so...full of lies. Even by the very people who have covenanted to withstand it. *

We are currently reading in Helaman in the Book of Mormon for our family scripture study. What keeps coming back to my mind is the fact that in less than 40 years, the society (Nephites) who had been led by Captain Moroni to victory through righteousness had fallen into massive amounts of wickedness. And it wasn't just "oh, I forgot to pay my tithing this month" --we are talking WICKED.NESS. Murders and plunderings, massive mafia/mob mentality, all kinds of crime, intrigue, sex, etc.

40 years. And they all forgot about God, about commandments, about covenants, about why they had been blessed. And society went to pot.

When I think about it at length, it makes sense. People forget rather quickly. Truth is changed to match justification and personality as well as sin. Faith is replaced with science. Guidance is no longer needed, thank-you-very-much, and quite often, those who still believe and have faith/humility are seen as idiots.

I know this is why we re-learn and re-read and re-do all the same things over and over in the Gospel. We hear the word "remember" so often; remember why we are here! Remember the commandments of God! Remember your covenants! Remember how to keep the Spirit with you! Remember what Christ did for you! Remember! Because when we don't remember, satan grabs a hold of that forgetfulness and clouds our minds with false ideas. And it can happen rather quickly.

What does give me comfort, however, is that there is still hope. There is still strength. Regardless of what people may say or how they may behave, we still have Prophets, we still have knowledge, we still have truth, we still have the Holy Ghost.

On the flip side, however, I've often thought about how much easier my life could be if I were to just "give in." Honest. I have. Have you? I've wondered if I were to just give up and "do whatever" that it would be fun. Easy. No arguments with society. No church on Sunday. Forget the word of wisdom. Service would be altruistic! Not forced! Ce la vie and all of that. "My truth and your truth are different, but somehow it's still truth."

But I realize that it's just another lie. I would not be happier. I would not have an "easy" life. Life is hard enough without the guidance of the Holy Ghost, without commandments that have kept me healthy physically and mentally (yes! The Holy Ghost prompted me to get on medication!), and without Prophets who warn of the danger in society. When I think of all the blessings that have come my way (very specifically) because of my faith in Christ and my obedience to all the covenants I've made, and commandments of God, and even the suggestions of the Apostles and Prophets and local church leaders, I'm overcome with emotion. My testimony is rock solid, because "of the rock upon which [it is] built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12)

This testimony of mine didn't come all at once, nor did it come because I am perfect. Who said anything about being perfect?! I'm certainly not! My testimony came because of all the sins which "so easily do beset me" and because of my weakness. Just like everyone else, I made choices day by day and minute by minute that have led me to where I am. I still have a long way to go, but I feel blessed because of how far I have come.

I pray, every day, that I will have the strength to keep going. I don't want to learn "the hard way" that God's way is easier and better. I don't want my children to learn it that way, either. I want them to know that even when life gets confusing, with society claiming one thing, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ claiming the other, that the Gospel will always win. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has...the only thing that ever will.

President Thomas S. Monson said this in October 2011:
We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts. The prophet Isaiah declared, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
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*[I hope those who are reading this post will not assume I'm speaking about them. I am very aware that we all struggle with different things in this life --some issues of faith are easy to obey, others are not. We all have our struggles and our demons. We all have temptations and sorrows. We are all in need of Jesus Christ --every single one of us. I don't write this to imply MY righteousness is somehow elevated. I write this to vent out my frustrations against satan, his followers, and his influence over the hearts of men, women, and society at large. My heart does weep, yes, when I see people making choices which take them further away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would be unfeeling if I didn't. I was very careful not to be specific in this post, so please do not assume any of my political or societal opinions. I am very aware, though, of the dangers which threaten the faith and health of my family --and I won't apologize for fighting against those dangers. If this is offensive to you, I'm not sure why. This isn't about you.]

4 comments:

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Nice.

Rachel Masterson said...

Oh Cheryl, my heart weeps with you. I'm so thankful for our miles away friendship and your example! Your posts mean a lot to me :) Love ya!!!

Ginger said...

I don't think your post is offensive in any way. It was very well written and sensitive and I don't know how anyone could think it was directed at them specifically. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

swedemom said...

It IS hard, isn't it. I feel much the same way.

I do think that we are better as Latter-day Saints in recognizing danger and teaching it than we were in the past.

I love my parents and they were really amazing, but they never had the frank talks with me that would have been deeply appreciated. I grew up in a small western town and heard jokes in kindergarten that would make your ears burn. My sister was sexually abused by a relative. That happened almost 30 years ago. We just didn't know what it was.

I think there has always been evil, it was just more hidden. But you know, some of the frankness we need to have today is good. I would much rather that my kids had knowledge so they can guard against instead instead of having a naive and potentially dangerous view of the world.