Have you ever felt the delight of rebirth from restoring a garden, breathing new life into the soil with the work of your hands? I’ve found that digging a hole in the yard can be a great stress reliever. Whether the result be a vegetable garden, flower garden, water garden, or rock garden, the creative act of re-awakening a previously well-tended plot grows plenty of comfort and joy.
The same sense of recovering something of worth may come from restoring a chair or a desk. Furniture restoration not only reclaims the beauty of an old furniture friend, it can add to the elegance of your home, and the joy of revival can be just as satisfying as for a restored garden.
Have you had the joy of restoring the trust of a friend? A renewed confidence is more poignant if, as a headstrong loved one, I have turned myself from unruly ways, returning from an unwise path of my own obstinate will, back to the path of submitting to the will of another—And by so doing, discovering that he was always the wiser. While a recalcitrant, I treasured my errant ways, blindly unaware of my short-sightedness, until I rebuilt the foundation of the original shared trust that I had dismantled. The reawakened trust is especially sweet when for years my friend has invited me to return to his wiser ways.
My topic in this post is restoring a faith that has fizzled. Since Father Adam and Mother Eve, God has established His teachings among us. Because He loves us and because we are prone to wander, God gave us guidelines of good, better, best. And because we are prone to wander, we all have strayed from those guidelines, even when we know better. Each time a person strays, he or she may return through repentance. Each time a people strays, God always has sent someone to teach and persuade society yet again. That’s what He did with the Children of Israel, with the people in Christ’s day, and with the people who lived long after Christ. Watch how one person explains that he noticed a period of falling away (length: 2:04).
So what did God do? Even when I notice a broken chair or a disregarded plot of ground, I may choose to do nothing but simply to continue to neglect it. But when it comes to truth, God chose to restore the teachings that we had chosen to neglect. He sees our unyielding self, misguided intents, resistant societies—And He continues to see something of worth in us and sends someone to recover it. Watch as someone explains how she learned this for herself (length: 1:27).
Consider how Heavenly Father works with us. When we strayed from Adam’s teachings, God sent a babe in the bullrushes to bring us back to His ways. When we strayed again, He sent His Son as the Babe of Bethlehem to restore the Balm of Gilead, to redeem the world, and to bring us back to His ways. When we strayed yet again, He sent an uneducated, unvarnished farm boy of no renown, who asked important questions with confidence that God would reveal to him the answers. And God answered his prayers, because He trusted him to care for His people and for His truths. He knew that the young man would tend them well and make them grow.
I have learned for myself the beauty and elegance of these truths that God has restored, truths that have allowed me to rebuild my trust in Him. I have renewed and strengthened my faith, so that no matter what happens, despite pain and trials and difficulties, I can be safe and secure. As I become a person that Heavenly Father may trust, as He rebuilds me into the simple beauty of a finished chair, I should not be surprised that, as did Harry T. Burleigh, I find “a religious security as old as creation, older than hope, deeper than grief, more tender than tears.” I know these things are true, that the faith that God has restored is true. Everyone on earth may know these truths for themselves, directly from God. And that’s why I’m a Mormon.
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1. Harry T. Burleigh, the pioneering African-American singer/composer, published in 1916 the song Deep River, which speaks both of emancipation from physical captivity and of an assurance of spiritual relief. It was the first (and would prove to be the most popular) of Burleigh’s published vocal arrangements. He regarded these songs as “prayers” that proclaim “a religious security as old as creation, older than hope, deeper than grief, more tender than tears.” (See The Crisis, Page 29.) Watch Paul Robeson sing Deep River in 1940:
2. Not all moments in time are alike. Some moments are more pregnant with meaning than others. It’s a rare experience to see God eye to eye. Such was the experience of Joseph Smith. Elder Neal A. Maxwell tells of the experience of Professor Arthur Henry King’s response, after he read it, to the prophet Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision. Brother King said: (By the way, this is the quintessential Englishman, with bowler hat and many degrees, and this is how he reacted to the First Vision.)
“When I was first brought to read Joseph Smith’s story, I was deeply impressed. I wasn’t inclined to be impressed; as a stylistician, I have spent my life being disinclined to be impressed. So when I read his story, I thought to myself: This is an extraordinary thing. This is an astonishingly matter-of-fact and cool account. This man is not trying to persuade me of anything. He doesn’t feel the need to. He is stating what happened to him, and he is stating it not enthusiastically, but in a quite matter-of-fact way. He is not trying to make me cry or feel ecstatic. That struck me, and that began to build my testimony, for I could see that this man was telling the truth. And his was not the prose of someone who was trying to work it out and make it nice. It is the prose of someone who is trying to tell it as it is, who is bending all his faculties to expressing the truth and not thinking about anything else. And above all, though writing about Joseph Smith, not thinking about Joseph Smith, not thinking about the effect he is going to have on others, not posturing, not posing, but just being himself.” (1991 CES Old Testament Symposium.)
All of us may know for ourselves that God has restored the fulness of the gospel to us through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon isn’t just a popular musical; it’s a book that changes lives every day. Will yours change?
3. Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, traditional American hymn, arrangement by Mack Wilberg, sung by Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
5. Watch a motion picture about the life and legacy of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Length: 1:02:04.)
6. Watch, listen, or read President Boyd K. Packer’s entire address regarding these restored eternal truths, entitled, “The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected”. (Length: 16:37.)
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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, family restores garden—www. watergardengems.com/index/index.php/about-us/our-testimonials
- Photo, restoring furniture—www. restorationsecrets.com/index.php/Home/Index
- Photo, “The Simple Beauty Of A Finished Chair”—ana-white.com/2010/04/plans-the-angle-chair-modern-simplicity-is-suprisingly-comfortable.html
- Video, “Deep River – Paul Robeson”—www. youtube.com/ watch?v=CE4z9J3diiA
- Video, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Mormon Tabernacle Choir”—www. youtube.com/watch?v=gPKpkrqBwNs
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