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Today is Columbus Day, set apart to honor the fore-ordained adventurer who sacrificed his all to pursue his God-given inspiration and foreordained calling to discover the Land of Promise in 1492. We owe him much.
It is also exactly one week after the conclusion of an incredible and historic General Conference. I am thrilled to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I am awed by the events and feelings that are evolving for each of us personally and as a Church! Prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. Ready or not, the clock, the world, the Church and our individual lives are rapidly pressing forward to usher in the Second Coming.
My husband and I were sealed on January 31, 1984 in the Salt Lake Temple with our families and dearest friends gathered around us. Our sealer was a beloved man with a legendary ability to speak Gospel truths. We will never forget his piercing blue eyes as he looked deeply into ours. Gently but firmly he spoke to us about our life and the future:
“You will live to see the day when the scaffolding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will start to come down.”
“What could that mean?” we all wondered at the time.
Thirty-five years later with President Russell M. Nelson as our prophet, we are beginning to understand.
What is scaffolding? it is a temporary structure on the outside of a building, usually made of wooden planks and metal poles, used by workers while building, repairing or cleaning a building.
Symbolically for the Church, some elements of scaffolding were three hours on Sunday and specific, well-defined programs for children and youth. They and other organizational elements have literally been taken down. They are gone and have been replaced with a much more personal and self-initiated approach to learning, growth and progress — both temporally and spiritually. The Church is to be a support for the home. Homes are to be centers of gospel-centered learning. Members have been lovingly and clearly instructed to use time and resources more wisely, to turn homes into learning centers and to make the Sabbath day a joy. We know without a shadow of a doubt that we are to follow the Savior and place Him at the center. We are to seek and understand personal revelation as if our lives depended upon it. Because they do.
No doubt there will be even more demanding changes that will
challenge and strengthen those on the covenant path who yearn to “go and
For me, there was incredible fire in President Nelson’s concluding remarks as he invited us to be prepared for and attend General Conference next April. He couldn’t have done a better job than a Hollywood movie PR firm for creating excitement and passion for being a part of the Church in these the literal latter days. Is there anyone reading this that isn’t excited about being ready and present at General Conference next April 2020?!?
Six months is time for a great deal of personal growth! What can we do to prepare? And most importantly, what can we do to not lose the enthusiasm we feel after this past Conference?
So, back to Christopher Columbus!
On this the holiday that celebrates his life, we can draw upon his
personal inspiration and passion to keep our own personal motivation fueled for
the months ahead:
Jacob Wasserman, in his book Columbus, the Don Quixote of the Seas, quotes the discoverer as saying:
“The Lord was well disposed to my desire and he bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring he gave me in abundance . . and of geometry and astronomy likewise . . . The Lord with provident hand unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed.
Those who heard of my enterprise called it foolish, mocked me and laughed. But who can doubt that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1959, pp. 19-20.)
“Fire for the deed” are powerful words that, for me, create urgency and action just in the reading of them! We need them to burn in our hearts in every righteous endeavor and every aspect of daily life here in the latter days. We need them now as never before!
Several years ago at a Time Out For Women, I listened to Lisa Valentine Clark, the hysterically funny actress and member of the Church who is probably most famous for her main role in the Chatbooks commercials that went viral on YouTube. In them she plays a very humorous and incredibly realistic mom who works from home.
She was absolutely hilarious during her Time Out For Women presentation and shared one of her own remarkable experiences with personal revelation.
She and her family were experiencing some complex trials which she greatly needed help with. As she prayed and pondered, expecting and needing counsel and guidance, she heard four words in her heart:
“Get to the gym.” What!? That wasn’t what she wanted or expected! She didn’t have the time or the inclination. It was disappointing and not at all appealing. As the prompting continued over the next several, she decided she’d better follow it and figure out how she could get there regularly.
She laughed and groaned with the audience as she continued.
Guess what? Signing up at the neighborhood gym and getting there regularly were EXACTLY what she needed! It wasn’t easy with her young family, but she did it. As she worked out each day, the stress and worry began to dissipate. Answers from heaven came along with patience for things that there were no answers for.
Most important: The improvements to her physical body were secondary to the benefits she received spiritually!
The true life experience of 73-year-old Bruce Roberts of Centerville, Utah also demonstrates this exciting principle. It is well worth reading and especially so since it reached its climax during General Conference!
At the beginning of
2015, Bruce Roberts was 73 and at least 65 pounds overweight. His story starts
with an accident while fishing in the canyons of Utah that became a wake-up
call. A badly broken ankle made it extremely
difficult (and embarrassing) to get to the
hospital as nine men were needed to
carry him out of the canyon strapped to a board. This situation led him to
study the Word of Wisdom and find Jane Birch’s book, “Discovering The Word of
In his words:
After that accident, we
decided to dedicate one full year to the lifestyle change recommended in the
book and see where it would take us.
SURPRISE! Five days after we started the change, we were sitting watching April Conference 2016, Saturday afternoon session and I began to have all the signs of a heart attack. People have asked me since then, as they chuckle, “Really – during conference?” I tell them, “I think the talk was on repentance.” I had chest pains, pain down my arms, I started sweating, got nauseous, and Helen said, “Get out in the truck, you are having a heart attack we are going to the ER, it’s 5 min away!” Later the doctors got really firm with us and told us to always call 911. Don’t drive over!
In the ER, the doctors
were running around crazy to save my life. When they finally got me on the
table in the operating room, my body started to jump all over and I asked the
doctor, what was wrong, he replied, “Your heart doesn’t like what we are doing
to it,” and at that moment my heart stopped. I flat-lined. I then felt like I
was floating off the table to the left and everything was gray, and it seemed
like I was out there a long time.
I know now it was only seconds. I then felt a jerk of my head and could see a little color and apparatus around me, but I didn’t know where I was, but I heard a voice that seemed a million miles away saying, “Hang in there Bruce, stay with us Bruce, fight it Bruce.”
I woke up in the hospital room sometime later. The nurse came in to see how I was doing and to bring me 6 medications. I told her I was feeling fine, but I would not take the medications. We discussed why, which had a lot to do with the awful side-effects. She talked me into taking them anyway so she wouldn’t get in trouble, and told me to talk to the doctor later, and then said, as she was leaving the room, “Good luck with the doctor!” Please! Do not get me wrong here. I was not trying to be disrespectful to the doctor. Thanks to his training and expertise, he saved my life. Without him I was dead!
It got interesting
when the doctor came in later that evening. He told me everything looked very
good. He had put a stent in an artery, and I should be fine. He wanted to see
me again in three months. Then I said, “Oh, by the way, I am not taking those
He looked firmly at me and replied, “THEN YOU DIE!” I then said, “Will you dicker with me?” He again replied, “I DON’T DICKER!”
“Ok,” I said, “When I come back in three months, and I am healthier than I am now, will you take me off the medications?” He gave me a little poke in the stomach and replied, “Get rid of this (referring to my weight) and we will talk.”
We went home and took
up the challenge because when he told me I had to take all those medications,
and for the rest of my life, that took HOPE away from me. I was determined to
not let that happen. Many people are dependent on drugs, and become addicted,
and suffer from so many awful side- effects. They just don’t know how to get
away from the drugs. They lose HOPE.
My goal was to eat healthier, using the new lifestyle, and get my weight down 50 pounds when I walked into his office 3 months later. It worked!! I think a big reason it did was that Helen and I did it together. It’s hard, spiritually and physically, to go it yourself if both partners are not willing to do it together. That is true of a lot of life’s challenges. It is much easier to face challenges if someone is by your side to do it with you. I started losing weight, and we ate well. It was amazing, Helen ate the same food and amounts of food that I did but didn’t lose any weight. She didn’t need to lose weight, but her physical in September, a few months later, showed she was healthier than she has ever been. Her blood tests were great.
When I walked into the
doctor’s office three months later he said, “Wow! You are looking good.” I
replied, “Thank you, I have lost 50 pounds, now will you take me off the
medications?” He smiled, and said, “Let me look at your tests.” He studied the
computer and told me my blood looked great and my cholesterol was a combined
84. “We don’t see that very often. What have you been doing?” he asked. I
replied, “I have chosen not to eat meat, dairy products, sugar, fats, oils or
other refined products. Now will you take me off the medications?”
He then had a huge smile and told me that he would take me off most of them but wanted to keep me on one and a half until February, my next appointment so he could be sure it was healed good around the stent, then from that point I could get by with just the baby aspirin.
Now, I said, “The golden question. When you came to my room at the hospital you were very blunt about my refusing to take the medications, and you said, ‘THEN YOU WILL DIE!’ Now you seem to have changed your position, Why?” Now pay attention to his response. He said, “Because you were willing to change your ‘LIFE STYLE’. Most people lying in that bed won’t do that so they must take the medications, and I have to be firm about that.”
Just think, if you
have a desire to be as healthy as God has intended you to be and promised to be
in the Word of Wisdom, just change your “LIFESTYLE.”
Learning and understanding that simple concept, even though it is a real challenge, was worth falling down the mountain and having the heart attack. Heavenly Father really does work in simple but mysterious ways in our behalf. There is a special spiritual lifestyle for us, as well as a special physical lifestyle for us if we want to be happy.
When February rolled around I was as “Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.” I so wanted my tests to be even better than they were in July, and they were. I was now down about 65 pounds and the doctors first comment was, “Hi skinny.” After reviewing my tests, he smiled and told me he still wanted me to take one of the medications one more month and then only a baby aspirin every day from then on. I have now completed that. As the doctor left the room he turned to me, smiled and said, “You are my model patient.” HOPE returned!
The next day I had set
up an appointment with my family doctor for a complete physical. He looked at
everything and said, “I see you had a heart attack back in April, what
medications are you taking?” I replied,” In one month none.” He looked at me
very concerned and said, “That can’t be right.” I said, “Ok, what do you see
from all my tests to indicate that I need the medications?” He sat back in his
chair, paused, and replied, I guess
nothing. What have you been doing?”
I told him about the past 11 months and the LIFE STYLE and he responded, “Maybe we better have you come and teach some nutrition classes.” I said we would be happy to.
The cardiologist asked me to come back in three months for another blood test and to see how I was doing without the medication. I did and he said the results of the tests were still great.
I believe that the
direction which I set out to go several years ago, considering writing about
the Word of Wisdom, was on track. The abstaining from coffee, tea, tobacco, and
alcohol are very important and help us offer a sacrifice to become members of
the Church, gain entrance into the Temple, and have great health benefits.
The rest of the Word of Wisdom is the tough part—the use of our agency and choice. Wisdom comes in the righteous use of our agency and our ability to make wise decisions and choices. That is one of the reasons we came to this earth. I don’t think wisdom and understanding regarding our physical bodies comes if we are reluctant to follow God’s counsel (or suggestions), regarding the things we need to do in the Word of Wisdom to receive the full blessings of the Promise. It seems to be easy to just read the “words” and totally miss the “wisdom.” When we get a little lax it is easy to not think about His counsel and just live by our life’s habits.
If we want to enjoy the full and even greater blessings of the promise of good health, it is up to us, it’s our choice. We need to learn to live the complete Word of Wisdom, the DO’s, and the DON’TS. If we don’t, we will never recognize the warning in Section 89:4—
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation.
How will we ever recognize these “evils and designs” if we only live part of the Word of Wisdom? To receive treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures the promise refers to, we must choose to do more than we now do and understand more than we now understand. I do not believe God hides anything from us, but things stay hidden from us because we choose to not raise our faith and actions to the level that the hidden treasure is opened to us. God says, “Seek and ye shall find.” God loves us more than we can imagine. He wants us, and our families, to be both spiritually and physically healthy and happy. It’s our choice.
You can read his story and many others online at www.DiscoveringTheWordofWisdom.com
Back to Christopher
Columbus: His expression “fire for the deed” can be a hidden treasure of
strength and power when it comes to healthy living for our bodies which, in
turn, will inspire improved healthy living for our spirits!
And isn’t that what the Prophet is asking us to do?
Simply say the words, “Fire for the deed!” with enthusiasm, either quietly or out loud. It will open your heart and mind to choices and feelings that generate success and action.
These words can become an inspired mantra, a steadying influence, and most of all, a quick quiet prayer that invite the Spirit into our lives and choices.
Christopher Columbus’s prayerful trust of in the Lord can inspire our prayerful trust that no matter what choices others are making, our independent paths can be, and are blessed and inspired. We will NOT ever be alone as we seek to follow the prophet and become the people, individually and collectively, that the Lord needs us to be!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years, providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999. She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE