Growing up as a Latter-day Saint youth, I had lots of infrastructure to help me stay clean. Much of that had to do with learning to receive help from the spirit of God, learning to receive the Holy Ghost. From 9th to 12th Grade, I had lots of friends through opportunities in education that I found in Seminary, a before-school Bible study class where they encourage lots of questioning and lots of peppered discussions. It was high school, and we were feeling our way in life. While others around us complained, whenever life’s worries got us down, we found friends, hugs, empathy, shared tears, and hearts that listened. All this infrastructure was strengthened by lessons we taught ourselves on our own initiative by learning to receive the Holy Ghost.
Not limited to youth, such lessons are ones I continually learn yet again as an adult. In my previous post, I shared an experience with a suicidal friend who had just lost his entire family in an accident, who soon changed and was able to seek on his own the further help that he needed. As I see it, the help that I received and the help that he received was because we were learning to receive the Holy Ghost.
Have you ever felt that your life was in the toilet? I know I have. Might you know someone who has hit rock bottom? I find the WAY OUT when I understand a need to change myself, to see myself as God sees me. That’s called repentance. I submit that the WAY OUT, wherever we find it, is always lit by God. We find it when we learn to receive the Holy Ghost. In psychological or sociological terms, here’s a great graphic, brought to us by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. She describes two mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. I have learned that I find a WAY OUT when I choose a growth mindset.
Throughout my life and through my own baptism in Missouri when I was eight years old, I’ve learned that baptism is a covenant, a two-way promise; we promise certain things to God, and He promises certain things to us. We promise to live His ways, to follow and remember Him; remembering brings us to asking Him for help. He promises to send us His Spirit if we remember Him. Baptism has two essential parts: By water and by fire (by the Spirit).
But why baptize? Why on earth should God teach us to be baptized? Joseph Smith taught: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Page 314.) David Bednar explains the tools of the Holy Spirit, how He works: “The influence of the Holy Ghost is described in the scriptures as ‘a still small voice’ and a ‘voice of perfect mildness’.”
My conclusion: “Forever clean” doesn’t exist. Along the way, I make lots of mistakes. We all do. The good news is that “Forever cleansing” is alive and well. The Holy Ghost helps us get back on track. By celestial design, that’s His job. I’ll be forever glad that He does it well.
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Watch, listen, or read Elder David A. Bednar’s entire address regarding overcoming both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin, entitled, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart”. (Length: 14:33.)
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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, “Seminary Teacher Laughs With His Class Of High School Students”—www. lds.org/church/news/parents-can-now-register-students-for-seminary-online?cid=HPTH012314379&im=true&lang=eng
- Photo, “Seminary Student Participates In Class”—www. lds.org/church/news/parents-can-now-register-students-for-seminary-online?cid=HPTH012314379&im=true&lang=eng
- Illustration, “Two Mindsets, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., Growth Mindset v. Fixed Mindset”—alumni.stanford.edu/content/magazine/artfiles/dweck_2007_2.pdf, from web article—alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=32124
- Photo, “Missouri Sunrise Over Ozark Mountain Country”—thepanoramapoint.wordpress.com/category/missouri/
- Photo, “Cleansing Hands”—yankeecandleblog.wordpress.com/
- Photo, “Bathing In The Ganges River To Cleanse Sins”—www. annbrooksphotography.com/blog/?p=1290
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