It is so CHAMPION to be able to stand before you and address you in this way, as brothers and sisters, you: our ward family, have become our family, taking care of us as such with everything that has happened with the automobile accident on August 1st 2010. I love you and wanted to thank you for your love, service and examples to me and my family.
to introduce us,Lex and I met in junior high school and started dating when I turned 16. We decided to go to Ricks college together and then I left to Antofagasta, Chile for my mission. We got married on Oct.16th 2003. Abby, our oldest, whose life is a musical, is turning 8 in July. Maxwell, our everything is awesome LEGOer, is 6, and Coleman, the life of the party, is already outsmarting his stay at home Mr. Mom dad, me,he is three and a half.
I have CHAMPION examples in my life of people who love to learn and live the truth, first my parents, my father, who I lovingly refer to as Pa, the shortened version of his favorite title of Grandpa, who is my resource and source for anything and everything, even now with google. I remember as a kid growing up believing that he knew everything and if he didn’t his hypothesis was said with so much confidence, that he made himself believe what he was saying,
and my mom, who always made family scripture study top priority with six kids.Lex who loves learning so much that she teaches high school. My father in law who is a convert to the church, he started to come to church with a friend when he was a kid and hasn’t stopped coming.My mother in law who has a library that makes me get almost as excited as a kid at Christmas, one of the many benefits of living with them now.
I have always had a love of learning and in part chose nursing to study and as a profession because of the potential to always be in school learning, nerdy, I know. I have attempted to follow the admonition (found in Nephi’s example in 1nephi 19:23 to liken the scriptures to myself and have used this as a format for my talk, picking parts of the chapter that stood out to me and relating them to my life. I invite you to do the same as you are listening to my likening of this chapter to my life.This invitation idea comes from a BYU devotional that annoyingly came on during PBS Kids programming.I wish that I could take credit for it with all of my missionary training I love that is still ingrained in me, but since I cannot, please use this invite at your own risk.
In preparing to speak on the tenth chapter of Teaching of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Feilding Smith, titled, Our search for Truth, I have reflected on my own search for truth and meaning with the accident, or “bump” as my kids like to call it . It has left me with a 20% permanent peripheral vision cut on my left side and the incredible, CHAMPION and challenging opportunity to relearn to walk and use the left side of my body. This makes me wonder how we all are "disabled" in one degree or another in our search for truth,when compared to our perfectly abled Heavenly Father or how we are not able to see everything that Our Father in Heaven is able to see from end to beginning, let alone beginning to end,and therefore we need to be reliant upon our Loving Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ who have and see a perfect plan for each one of us to get back to them.I know of their love and perfect plan. I am a living testament and standing witness that miracles happen by faith, prayer and fasting, with the righteous use of the priesthood power that was restored through Joseph Smith. I know that he was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet today. I am grateful for the way that I know theses things, which is by personal revelation, through the Holy Ghost, made available to all of us, as we live worthily of His companionship and serve one another, I Know that we will be able to live together as families forever.
I was impressed right from the beginning of this chapter, by the story about Joseph Feilding Smith’s first experience with reading the Book of Mormon,” When Joseph Fielding Smith was eight years old, his father gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked him to read it. “I received this Nephite record with thanksgiving,” he later recalled, “and applied myself to the task which had been assigned to me.” His love for the book motivated him to get his chores done quickly and sometimes even leave baseball games early so he could find quiet places to read. In less than two years after receiving the gift from his father, he read the book twice. “
He read it first when he was only 8 and was “thankful” to get the task to read the book. He read it not only once, but twice, his love for the book motivated him to continue reading and searching out more truth, even leaving one of the funnest things that an 8 year old boy loves to do and that he found a quiet place to read.How we need quiet places in our world today, and not just quiet from all the auditory noise, but also from all the competing distractions that we even carry always with us, no I am not referring to our children who cannot walk yet but our smart phones. When I worked for KUED channel 7, I was a coordinator and lead presenter over an outreach program that did monthly bilingual workshops for parents with children in title 1 schools and headstarts in the valley. Our first presentation was always media literacy, that helped teach the use of media as a tool, to help educate.The thing with media is that it teaches whenever it is on, only we can filter the content.Sister Linda S. Reeves, in this past April general conference said,quote, The greatest filter in the world … is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony unquote.I know that as we search for truth with the use of this filter the Spirit will give us the same thirst for truth that President Joseph Fielding Smith had.
President Smith maintained this thirst for gospel knowledge throughout his life. As he learned the truths of the gospel, he shared them and, when necessary, defended them. Three years after he was ordained an Apostle, he received a priesthood blessing that included the following counsel: “You have been blessed with ability to comprehend, to analyze, and defend the principles of truth above many of your fellows, and the time will come when the accumulative evidence that you have gathered will stand as a wall of defense against those who are seeking and will seek to destroy the evidence of the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph; and in this defense you will never be confounded,
What an amazing promise, but He first needed to learn the truths of the Gospel, then shared and defended them. It reminds me of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life and how when he had tasted of the fruit, he wanted to share it with others and how some who were pressing forward holding fast to the iron rod fell away because of those who mocked them from the great and spacious building, some even fell away after partaking of the fruit and were ashamed.None of us are immune to this mocking from the world, but we have been promised His peace. I have felt this peace in my struggle to go against the grain. In my struggle I came across this talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, titled Meek and Lowly, in it he says,” “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29) carries an accompanying and compensating promise from Jesus—“and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This is a very special form of rest. It surely includes the rest resulting from the shedding of certain needless burdens: fatiguing insincerity, exhausting hypocrisy, and the strength-sapping quest for recognition, praise, and power. Those of us who fall short, in one way or another, often do so because we carry such unnecessary and heavy baggage. Being thus overloaded, we sometimes stumble and then feel sorry for ourselves.” I am seeking this rest, from my own stumbling and feeling sorry for myself
With being meek and lowly in mind,I love the recognition that President Joseph Fielding Smith received, President Heber J. Grant once called him the “best posted man on the scriptures” among all the General Authorities.4 Not that we should seek to know more than others in order to be told by them that we do, but I love that a prophet would be esteemed by a predecessor so highly for his acting on his thirst for truth. not to boast, but to relate this to my life,Lex wrote to me,last valentines that one of the things that she loved about me was my search for truth.I am grateful that she chooses to emphasize that and not all the mistakes that I've made in my search, or how long it takes me, to get anything right.
Going back to the idea of using a filter to help us in this era of information and enlightenment and sometimes even overload. Since the accident, I have an even greater appreciation for our brains ability to filter, as I do not have this ability now, I cannot multitask or even follow a conversation when there are multiple ones going on in the same room. the chapter continues,
it is more important, a thousand times over, to have a knowledge of God and his laws, so that we can do the things which bring salvation, than it is to have all the worldly knowledge that can be obtained. How blessed we are to live in such a time when we have such a wealth of opportunities, in the words of Elder Ridd from the last priesthood session of general conference, he said quote,” young men, you have probably heard before that you are a “chosen generation,” meaning that God chose and prepared you to come to earth at this time for a great purpose. I know this to be true. But this evening I would like to address you as the “choice generation” because never before in history have individuals been blessed with so many choices.” unquote
The manual continues, ancient prophets, who saw our times, have spoken, not particularly for the benefit of the people of their day, but for the benefit of the people living in the days of which these prophecies speak. Not all truth is of the same value or importance. The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge. It is a knowledge of God and his laws, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord
We sometimes hear the complaint, “I haven’t time.” But we all have time to read and study which is our solemn duty. Can we not arrange to find at least fifteen minutes in each day to devote to systematic reading and reflection? This would be but a trifling amount of time, I am reminded of a sacrament talk that my twin brother Matthew heard in his ward from a neighbor who admitted, “If I have time to watch ‘Cake Wars, I have time to study the scriptures, we all have time and too many excuses.”
We may all know the truth; we are not helpless. The Lord has made it possible for every man to know by the observance of [His] laws, and through the guidance of His Holy Spirit, who is sent purposely to teach us when we comply with the law, so that we may know that truth which makes us free Lex gives me tough love by first reassuring me that she is there, to help steady me if I begin to fall, and then she allows me to do everything that I am able to do by myself. faith and works in action.
Continuing in the chapter on our search for truth, now, we will not get all that in this life.Speaking of the perfect light and knowledge that Our Heavenly Father has obtained. It is impossible for a man to reach that goal in the few years of mortal existence. But what we learn here, that which is eternal, that which is inspired by the Spirit of truth, will continue with us beyond the grave and then we shall go on, if still continuing in God, to receive light and truth until eventually we shall come to that perfect day. This echos one of my favorite talks that was given by Elder Oaks and is titled ‘The Challenge to Become’. I am an all or nothing thinker, a common ailment of a recovering perfectionist. One of my Pa’s favorite sayings what we call a ,“dadism,” in my family is, “49 to 50,one step at a time Curtis, you need to worry about going just on to the next step and not going from 0 to 100.” His own version of how to eat an elephant, one bite at a time. We will get there as we are facing the right direction
Everyone should learn something new every day. You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields. I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. In my mother in laws library, I've been reading one of John Bytheway’s books, Isaiah for Airheads, in it he reminds us that in our search for truth,quote, “Our Heavenly Father’s required reading list is shorter than OPRAH’s!” unquote, I was blessed with CHAMPION seminary teachers, one of them asked us why more of his students, because of their gospel knowledge, why they didn't answer that they were champion to the question how they were doing.I was challenged and read the old testament first, not that I understood any of it as a freshman, and studied all the standard works with their help. I know for myself that they are true.I like to think of the scriptures as letters from our heavenly home, back in the day when I served my mission, we wrote letters because we didn't have email yet. Those letters from my home kept me going and were and are treasured by me.Treasuring up his word is far more than merely reading it. To treasure it one must not only read and study, but seek in humility and obedience to do the commandments given, and gain the inspiration which the Holy Spirit will impart. That we all will do so is my hope.