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I finally did it! I started my own LJ [blog]! It’s about time, wouldn’t you say? I decided this would be better than my exceedingly long away messages that I write like every night. I guess partly I like it too just because it’s a little bit more permanent. I mean, if I post things in an away message, by tomorrow, it’s gone. This can stay up for… forever. Well, maybe not that long, but you get the idea.

I just had a few things that I wanted to get out of myself so that I could get some sleep. Mostly stuff from my scripture study this evening.

I decided to start reading the True to the Faith book a little bit so I started flipping through it. Just sorta skimmed and as things caught my eye I would read them for a little while before finding the next interesting looking topic. Yeah, I know that all of the topics are interesting and important in their own right but this was just sorta my preliminary skimming of the book. I only made it as far as the P’s tonight, but that was ok. I found a lot of the things I was looking for.

The first thing I found was actually kinda unexpected. One of the topics that randomly caught my eye was fasting and fast offerings. For whatever reason I’ve sorta been on a fasting kick over the past year. It seems to help with just about anything you’re going through. Although, I think I almost ran into the problem of fasting too much to the point where it was almost dangerous to my health if you know what I mean. I don’t want that to sound self-righteous, it was just sorta that I got to the point where I was ok without eating, so really fasting didn’t have all that much effect. It was the same as any other day because I was never eating. Kinda weird.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own weaknesses and how I’m going to overcome them. Then I read this: “If you have a weakness or sin that you have struggled to overcome, you may need to fast and pray to receive the help or forgiveness you require.” I guess I just hadn’t really thought about having my own fast to overcome a weakness that I have. I guess I’ll be putting that one to use in the near future. The other thing I realized while I was reading it over was the importance of making a fast offering to go along with fasting. I guess I’d just never really thought of that before. But it totally makes sense. I think that’s going to be something that I’ll do a lot more as I get up to BYU this year and I’m really on my own as far as food and everything goes for the first time. So that was really good.

I found a lot of really interesting stuff under Honesty as well, but there was one thing that I found to be really interesting and another statement that I found to be truly profound. I really liked where it said: “If you lie, cheat, steal or neglect to give the full amount of work for your pay, you lose your self-respect.” I just really liked that last part about “[neglecting] to give the full amount of work for your pay..” I guess integrity has been something I’ve totally focused on probably since middle school, and it’s become really important to me. A lot of people don’t look at “working the system” as being dishonest. But I think it’s pretty clear in here that it is. No, maybe it doesn’t fall under what we generally classify dishonesty as in the clear cut “lying, cheating and stealing” sense, but it is every bit as dishonest as any of those.

Finally, I liked the very last bit in that section, “Being honest often requires courage and sacrifice, especially when others try to persuade you to justify dishonest behavior. If you find yourself in such a situation, remember that the lasting peace that comes from being honest is more valuable than the momentary relief of following the crowd.” I liked that a lot. It was just really profound.. and kinda a zinger. Enough said…

Another thing I ran across while studying my scriptures tonight was a quote that I got from my favorite sticker-loving seminary teacher (and no… I’m not talking about Brother Bryan) I keep flipping my scriptures open to this page and I constantly read D&C 132:16-19. But on Sunday night I finally read over the quote and realized that it was in relation to verses 20-24. Very interesting if you think about it. Anyways, after re-reading the quote the other night I really liked it and I sorta want to make it into a motto for my life. It’s from Joseph Fielding Smith in the Improvement Era from November of 1909. It says “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned and supreme… Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, even as the infant son of an earthly father is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and eons, of evolving into a God.”

On the same handout it also has Lorenzo Snow’s famous quote “As man now is God once was; As now God is, so man may be.” The thing that really has struck me as of late is that God used to be just like us. I know it sounds irreverent to put it this way… but God wasn’t perfect! He had to go through a life, same as us, so that He could become who He is now. At one point even God had weaknesses, and trials and failings that He had to overcome to become exalted. We’re ok!! Even if we have to reach perfection through lots of repentance, we’re not all that far behind. God had to do the same thing. Yeah, He’s over it now… but it doesn’t make him all that different from us.

Maybe an analogy would help this to make a little bit more sense. It’s kinda like looking at someone who has a doctorate. When you look at them you say “Wow, look at them, they’ve got a PhD.” But really, 10 years ago they were in your shoes. Just starting college, maybe failed a couple of classes. Changed majors 10-12 times. Had a hard time balancing friends and studies. They didn’t just suddenly appear and had a PhD, they started from the bottom and worked their way up. It’s the same way with God. At one point He was on an Earth and He probably had troubles getting along with His siblings. He might have needed to overcome laziness. Maybe He even had some big sins that he had to work through. But He did it. That’s why He can tell us with absolute certainity, “it’s going to be ok. You can do it.” He’s already done it! He wants to help us because He knows what it’s like to have a Father in Heaven that is willing to help. What a wonderful concept!!