Sunday, July 26, 2015

Seeking Higher Ground

Where I live, I'm at an elevation of about 100 feet above sea level. Back in 1839 when the Pioneers settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, the elevation was about 670 feet above sea level. In Salt Lake City, which the Pioneers settled in 1847, the elevation is found at about 4,220 feet above sea level.













When the Pioneers were run out of Nauvoo due to violence, not only did they not know where they were headed, but they also faced many trials along the Mormon Pioneer Trail. Some of these trials included extreme weather conditions, lack of food and water, and much more. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of faith they had to have had in order to leave their homes in Nauvoo and head into the wilderness, not knowing exactly what lay ahead of them. And for that, I thank them.

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I bring up the elevation analogy because often times in the church, we are taught to seek the higher ground. I didn't really understand this concept until a while ago, when I was reading a talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook titled We Follow Jesus Christ. In the talk, it reads:

"As we met with the families in Samoa, the significance of spiritually going to the higher ground, living a better life, and clinging to saving ordinances was abundantly clear. The Savior’s example and life teach us to spiritually avoid the low pathway, where the things of this world dominate. As I shook hands with the members after our meeting, one sister told me her family had not been to the temple and they had lost a daughter. She tearfully said their goal now was to prepare themselves for the sacred ordinances of the temple so they can be together eternally. As I have pondered what this sister said and the current condition of the world, I have felt an urgency to counsel each of us to seek the higher ground—the refuge and eternal protection of the temple."
I think part of seeking higher ground is drawing closer to God. In fact, it's like a cause and effect. The Pioneers left Nauvoo and sought for higher ground, and put all of their faith in God. In return, they had a lot of trials along the way. But it was through those trials that they grew closer to God. Finally, they reached Salt Lake City, and the blessings and rewards were eminent. 

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Another talk that stuck out to me was President Henry B. Eyring's talk titled To Draw Closer to God. It reads:
"If you want to stay close to someone who has been dear to you, but from whom you are separated, you know how to do it. You would find a way to speak to them, you would listen to them, and you would discover ways to do things for each other. The more often that happened, the longer it went on, the deeper would be the bond of affection. If much time passed without the speaking, the listening, and the doing, the bond would weaken."
I know this is how our relationship with our Heavenly Father works. I know that it is so very important to do the simple "Primary" things like reading our scriptures and praying in order to draw closer to God. Sister Burton has nine specific ways to draw closer to God, and a few that stuck out to me were:
1. Sincerely and humbly pray.
2. Act promptly on spiritual impressions. I could definitely work on this, especially the concept of NEVER postponing it.
3.  Search the scriptures daily. Not just reading, but actually studying it out in your heart and mind.
4. Living the law of fast. 
It starts with the little things. If you want to make a change, you can. I know, because that's exactly how I felt after coming home from EFY. I wanted to change. I wasn't even going down a really bad path, but I knew inside that I could be doing better. I still can. Life is about making mistakes and trying to fix them. No one is perfect, but we are doing all that we can when we try to do our best. 
It starts with a baby step. 

2 comments :

  1. Man I'll admit I stray from doing the small steps at times but I do try my hardest to keep "clean hands and a pure heart" so I may be worthy. I love your blog man. It's cool what you learn from EFY or Nauvoo or anything really. Keep posting baby;) stay sweet

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Your comment made my day. And don't worry, we all make mistakes. I stray from doing them all the time, too.

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