Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Mormons Are Coming -Quick, Hide!

Well, I was reminded this morning of a promise I made not so long ago.  See, for the past few months we've been spending a lot of time with a couple of missionaries from a local Mormon Church.  For a while I wondered why God brought them into our lives, but now I know (not all of the reasons, but at least one).  At first I thought I was meant to convert to Mormonism, but that quickly changed to simple uncertainty.  "Well, God - what is this all about?" I asked in puzzlement.  I asked God this question countless times, and I now know that they were brought into my life, at least in part, to teach me a lesson in wisdom.  That lesson is this - keeping my mouth shut and remaining quiet proves me to be far wiser than I'll ever be when it's open and talking, but read on....
A bit of history in this area of my life may help.  I met Elder Hodges and Elder Almeada shortly after dropping out of nursing school.  As if I didn't feel enough like a failure, these two 20 year old boys came around and started making me question the one thing with which I felt secure - my faith.  "It's all I have left" and in the words of Natalie Grant, "I will not be moved," I thought. Well, something happened.  I started wanting them to be right.  I started wanting to believe that God was telling me to convert to Mormonism.  Sam even shared a little bit in this possibility for our life, and we quickly dove into getting to know them better.  They spent multiple evenings with us, but after really asking God to tell me if what they said was true, I was led to some pretty profound scriptures that led me to believe I need not move further into the Mormon faith.

Though I was actually a little disappointed, I knew I needed to follow what I believed God was instructing.  This changed the tune of our meetings quite a bit.  Initially receptive and eager to learn more, the passage of more time found me gently arguing with them about what was true.  As missionaries of the Mormon faith always will, they urged me to read on throughout the book of Mormon and pray for God to tell me whether or not it was true.  "Well, I've done that and He told me it's not," I said flatly one evening.  Locked in an almost stare down, I silently pleaded for God to guide me in what to say next.  Without thinking it through and waiting on God, I blurted out a promise to read the book of Mormon cover to cover in an effort to prove to them I wouldn't change my mind just by reading the book.  Not only did I make this promise, but I made it with God as my witness (literally.............I included "as God is my witness" into my promise).  Almost immediately after saying it, I knew I had made a mistake and spoken too soon, but it was too late.  Smiling from cheek to cheek, both Elder Hodges and Elder Almeada praised my rash decision and happily assured me that I would be transformed for the better.  "Yeah, whatever," I silently muttered.

This story gets a lot longer, but I'll keep it to the short version.  Days after making this vow, I started researching some things in the Bible and not surprisingly I continued to come across scriptures regarding the wise man and how his words are few.  Psalm 29 even makes mention of muzzling our mouths.  "Not so subtle, are ya God?" I winked.  I got it though.  I knew I had made a mistake, and as much as I wanted out of the promise, I knew I had to fulfill it.  Thus, I set out on my journey to read the book of Mormon - from cover to cover.  Eager to prove my ability to read it and still stand strong on my own faith, I started out with a bang.  I incorporated the book of Mormon reading into my daily routine and kept the missionaries updated on my progress.  This pattern continued for awhile, but I soon found that I was struggling to make it fit into my daily routine.  "I didn't have time today," I would report when they stopped by.  I eventually quit reading it each day and would read only when I had nothing better to do.....already trying to weasel out of a promise that I made all by myself. 

Well, more time passed and I began getting irritated when they would ask me for an update on my progress. "You're pressuring me," I would say.  It also reached the point when Sam and I would see them coming and say "The Mormons are coming....quick, hide!" Though undoubtedly, they "checked" up a little too regularly on my progression, my irritation was never with them. It was with myself.  I got myself into the situation.  My words, my promise, was the root of all of it.  I knew this in the back of my mind, yet I let myself blame them for my frustration.  Well, more time has passed and it has been over a week since I read in the book of Mormon.  I haven't wanted to and I began resenting two 20 year old boys who never even forced me to do it!  Sam has been faithfully listening to it on audio CD lately and it has therefore been in the back of my mind.  I knew I needed to get back to it, but wasn't nudged until this morning. 

I was reading in Numbers and as I was about to put the Bible down, I came to Numbers 30.  "Well, it's short, I'll read it real quick."  Numbers 30 is a chapter outlining  the obligation of fulfilling vows made and the reasons for which vows can be nullified.  Granted, these were regulations given by God to Moses concerning the Israelites many years ago, but I wanted to see any visible applicability to today.  As I was in the middle of reading, I stopped and asked out loud:  "God, do I have to read the book of Mormon?" I was encouraged by what I had read so far. It seemed there were occasions when God allowed a vow made to become null and void. Then I kept reading....

As it turns out, Numbers 30 relays the message that, had Sam spoken up in objection when I made the vow to read the book of Mormon, I might be able to forget my promise.  However, Sam made no such objections and he let me talk.  I'm not saying we have to live our lives according to strict adherence to Old Testament law, but I am saying that I know God was gently reminding me of a promise I made and have yet to fulfill. It's not a coincidence that the vow I so foolishly made months ago has been in my mind lately and I came across this chapter of the Bible just this morning.  God knew what He was doing, and I now know what I need to be doing.  While you may think I'm about to say "reading the book of Mormon," no - I was going to say that what I need to do is be quiet

Though I do plan to continue in my Mormon readings, I also plan to keep my mouth shut.  I've recently become intimately aware of my own need for a muzzle, but since that would leave me absolutely no way of driving my husband crazy, I'll have to just stay quiet through my own determination and with God's help.  The overall point?  Everything can be a learning experience if we make our minds up to learn. I will undoubtedly come out of this little ordeal more knowledgeable of both my own faith and the Mormon faith as well.  There's no need for us to literally hide (as I did) from our obligations, especially if we're the one who obligated ourselves. Most importantly, wisdom isn't found in many words.  It is found in silence.  May God help me to hold my tongue and remain silent the next time I'm in a situation where my body and flesh are eager to talk!

No comments:

Post a Comment