Deep and Strong Currents

In the October 2014 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Larry Kacher gave a talk, "Trifle Not with Sacred Things." He started with a personal experience about swimming in the Indian ocean on the coast of Oman and being caught in a rip-current. The flow of water was quickly pulling him away from the safety of the shore and attempting to swim against the current was of no use. Ultimately, he escaped the current and returned to shore tired and grateful for his life, and the life of his wife who had followed behind him. At this point in the talk, Elder Kacher said:
There are many currents in this earthly life—some safe and others not. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that there are powerful forces in our own lives much like the unseen currents of the ocean. These forces are real. We should never ignore them.
As I was preparing for a talk in our congregation's Sacrament meeting (November 23, 2014), I decided to find out more about this reference. The original citation is from an October 1974 conference talk by President Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th president of the church, titled "Ocean Currents and Family Influences." The currents to which President Kimball referred were strong ocean currents, which are much stronger than the tides and winds. These currents would push icebergs on a steady course from the fjords of Greenland south to where they would meet the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.
President Kimball said:
It is true of us, as of icebergs, that our course is, in important measure, determined by forces we only partly perceive. It is true also, however, that we are more like ships than icebergs. We have our own motive power, and if we are aware of the currents, we can take advantage of them.
Accordingly, if we can create in our families a strong, steady current flowing toward our goal of righteous life, we and our children may be carried forward in spite of the contrary winds of hardship, disappointment, temptations, and fashion.

What currents can I set in motion?

Some of the currents that I identified as truly desirable include:

  • Consistent church attendance and making every Sunday a Sabbath day.
  • Establishing patterns of individual and family worship in the home: daily scripture study, daily prayer, and weekly family home evening.
  • Commitment to the principles of tithing and the law of the fast.
  • Regular service in the temple.
  • Answering the call to serve and watching for the opportunities to reach out.
  • Daily journal entries to record experience and spiritual progress.
I have certainly made more progress in some of these areas than in others. Some currents are still weak trickles, like I occasionally sweep my hand through the water in the tub and have not yet solidified; others have established strong currents that help me maintain my commitments when I may not otherwise have carried on. And sometimes, currents that were once strong have weakened due to inattention and need to be re-established.

What results do these currents have on my life?

In large part, the answer to this question is really an answer to the question of how would I testify as to the impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on my life. I find that the teachings of this church lead me to be a better person and I want to improve who I am and how I treat those around me. As I act on those desires and act in a manner consistent with the patterns identified above, I find that I enjoy personal spiritual communion with God in experiences that bring God's love, peace, strength and forgiveness.
In the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church, we have a promise from the Lord, "For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace" (D&C 93:20). A Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, taught about faith by saying:
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. (Alma 32:28)
Having experienced some of the fruit that has resulted from planting these seeds, I do see that they are good. Yes, I still find myself asking questions, have doubts and struggle with conflicts that I do not really understand. I am convinced that doubt and uncertainty is essential to our earth experience, and that this is why faith is the first principle of the gospel.
Faith is not just belief; faith is a principle of action and power that is motivated by belief. It requires active will. Having tasted of God's goodness in my life, I exercise my faith by working to build and reinforce these currents in my life. Subsequently, this faith leads to hope, a confidence that these choices are consistent with God's plan of salvation, knowing that this pattern will have a sanctifying power in my life and ultimately establish that ultimate trait of charity, the pure love of Christ.

An Invitation

I don't know who will read this blog. But if you felt God stirring your own heart, I invite you to act on that prompting, whatever it might have been. As I prepared for my talk and pondered these ideas, I felt inspired to do better and become better, to seek more earnestly to understand and live God's will. What currents can you build in your life and in the life of your family? I have found my life richly blessed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and if you want to learn more, you can start here.


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