Monday, February 23, 2009

Seminary Answers

I don't have any great scriptural or spiritual insights this time. I've tried to post numerous times, but lack the current clarity to formulate what I feel while preserving the privacy of others in my life. (My own privacy is not as important to me when it comes to sharing what I have learned in the gospel, but I can't make that choice for others. I've learned something of discretion.)

To be as blunt as possible, I have little control over events in my life for now, and I am very frightened. I have tried to do the best I know how, tried to consult the Spirit, but my confidence in my ability to hear well is weak. I have received a blessing that told me I had no need to be afraid, and that angels surrounded me in protection. Knowing I am not worthy of this protection, I have nonetheless used this assurance many times in the last several days to battle my fear as it wells up and threatens to destroy my peace. It is a very real and bloody battle I have fought to have faith in my Savior. It has left my spirit somewhat tattered, and I have yet to enter the real fight.

I would like to share a few things that have kept me from drowning in my fear.

I stand at risk to hear many accusations and attacks on my character. Although my faults are many, and I am not gaining progress against them as quickly as I would like, these particular accusations are false. They come from someone who is very hurt and angry, and probably no less afraid than I am. I fear that, despite the my best efforts at impartiality, truth and concern for all parties involved, I will not be believed. I have come to cling to the Spirit's reminders that I am not the first to be falsely accused. The scriptures have assured me that I stand in good company. Job was accused of evil by his friends, Joseph Smith was surrounded by former friends and enemies thirsty for revenge. Even, and most importantly, the Son of Man himself was silent before those who accused Him wrongly. Although I am far from equal to any of these men, I am comforted to know they landed safely in the arms of their Maker.

There have been friends calling when I need them most. The outpouring of support has left me feeling rather foolish for feeling alone. Home and Visiting Teaching has gained greater meaning to me. I do not refer to officially called Teachers, for I have seen little of them, but I refer to the spirit of Teaching, which is charity in its purest form. Many of those with no reason otherwise, have buoyed me up and shaken me out of the hands of the Adversary.

My lifeline has been prayer. I know that no matter what others think of me, my God knows my heart. He knows that I have sought nothing but what is right, though I have made a mess of it. I have always wanted more meaning in my prayers, but now that I must sometimes stand largely alone against the power of the destroyer, I have reached new depths of humility and pleading. Praying for His Spirit to be my constant companion has become the only thing to save me at times.

Prayer, Home and Visiting Teaching, the Holy Spirit, and the scriptures.

I hope I have learned never to use the term "seminary answers" again.


  1. I'm so sorry that this inspiring post comes as a result of your suffering through such a terrible experience.

    There is a good reason why the Brethren keep emphasizing those "seminary answers," isn't there? It's because they really are the true answers.

    May you continue to be sustained by your faith throughout this time of trial, and know that there are many of us who are fervently praying that you will be given all the strength and comfort you stand in need of.

  2. Dear friend,

    I am learning similar things in my struggles as well. It's hard to learn to trust myself (because I know how imperfect I am and YET, I know my heart, and I am trying to trust that God does, too, and that DOES matter to Him == angels aren't sent because we are perfect, but because we are trying to stay on the path) and to lean more on God rather than on mortals for the support, guidance, and reassurance I need so desperately.

    I just wanted to second witness the truths of what you share here. And to encourage you to keep moving forward on that path of faith.

    You are stronger than you think you are. And I know you are getting answers, in part because you are sharing them here and they just ring true to me.

    Mortality is hard stuff. And faith. Whew. Faith is HARD stuff.

    But it's in the end easier than the alternatives.

    Hugs, prayers and love being sent your way.

  3. SilverRain,

    I have to admit I read this blog for the first time a couple of days ago, but I find myself going back and rereading it, so I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you. Your words are truly inspiring and have struck an emotional cord with me. Like you, I am going through some rather challenging times of my own right now. Without getting too personal (I too believe in protecting the privacy of those parties involved), recent events with my marriage have left me feeling quite helpless and alone. It seems my husband has been questioning his faith lately, and the more I try to encourage him to find strength in the scriptures, the further away he seems to withdraw from me. I’m afraid he may be beginning to resent me. I know my heart and my intentions are pure, and I know that God can see that in me, even if my husband cannot. So I turn to the scriptures for help and guidance. I pray every day and hope that God’s love and understanding will fill me with the patience I need to help my husband regain his faith.

    I truly feel for you in your plight right now. Whatever has happened to you seems to be a great and tragic burden on your life and makes me feel like my own woes are trivial in comparison. It saddens me to think that you do not feel worthy of the protection the angels have given you. You are to me such a strong and courageous person, and during these difficult times you have relied on your faith to see you through. I look towards your experience as support in helping me find strength to get through my own.

  4. Somehow I missed this post when it hit my blog roll. I'm sorry I didn't see it sooner.

    I don't know the details, but I don't need to know them to keep you in my prayers.

    I was teaching a lesson in our High Priests' group a while ago on Elder Wirthlin's April 2006 General Conference talk, "Life's Lessons Learned". (That man has become one of my all-time favorite apostles, fwiw.) I felt impressed as I was preparing the lesson to set aside the talk and simply go around the room and have each High Priest explain something he had learned in his life. I'll never forget what one brother said when we came to him.

    This man is very well educated, very dedicated to the Church and the Gospel, a wonderfully humble and soft-spoken man. He has been a Bishop, a High Councilor, a councilor to a Stake President, etc. He's a good, good man. A few years ago, he lost an adult daughter to a freak surgery accident - leaving behind a non-member son-in-law and a young granddaughter.

    He kept his head bowed slightly, never looked up and said in a soft voice:

    "I have learned that we draw closer to God in our darkest and deepest moments of sorrow than at any other time. I just wish I hadn't had to learn that lesson in the way I had to learn it."

    I don't know if that will help somehow, my sister, but it is what I felt like I should share. Please realize you are loved.

  5. Ray,
    I love you, brother. Is that ok to say on a blog?

    horsewhisperer, just wanted to add my hugs and prayers for you, too. It sounds so trite, but my concerns are sincere.

  6. Roann and M&ampM— thank you, my friends (and sisters). I am so grateful for your prayers and faith. I do not doubt that it is what is sustaining me.

    horsewhisperer—Thank you so much for your comments. Your name and your story suggest that we could be very good friends. Please email me. I have just set up a "public" email with gmail at rainscamedown. I'll send you an email from my personal email, if you choose to send me a message. I would really like to get to know you.

    Ray—Thank you, too. I have found what he said to be true. I have made a "mistake" not long ago in that I prayed to learn humility. I don't know whether or not I'm getting it, but I can certainly attest that this is a good chance to learn it. I needed that story. Thank you for your continued kindness and words of support.

  7. SilverRain-

    I found your blog by clicking on your name on Z.Daughters blog. I am glad I came upon it.

    I can tell you that you are not alone in being falsely accused. I am in a position in my life right now where I am experiencing false accusations and they are far from the truth. It seems to me that the Lord allows this to happen to refine us to become like Him. In some ways I have almost felt "set up" by Him or even betrayed and abandoned, but as you referenced, Job, JS, and the Savior Himself all were falsely accused and each had a time of feeling forsaken by our Father in heaven. There must be purpose in going through these incredibly difficult experiences even if we can't see them while we are in the thick of them.

    I hope that you know that even though you may feel deeply alone, you are not, and I KNOW there are many on the other side of the veil who are striving to buoy you up. Even if there are times where you feel like you can't breathe any longer, know those moments will pass and things will ALWAYS get better. In times like that I pull out a song I have by Howard Jones called "Things Can Only Get Better" and I play it over and over til I believe it. :)

    Hang in there~~

  8. Thank you so much, Jen, for your comments. I really appreciate them.


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