"Relief of poverty, relief of illness; relief of doubt, relief of ignorance--relief of all that hinders the joy and progress of a woman."
--John A Widtsoe

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Helena's lesson: "Returning to Faith"

Due to Self-Reliance lesson last week, this week's lesson, taught by Sis Helena Hodges, is from Sister Rosemary Wixom's April 2015 Conference talk, "Returning to Faith"

Returning to Faith

Sis Rosemary Wixom
The Lord can only teach an inquiring mind.

Sometimes we have doubts or questions. It's a natural part of our journey. However, we can get discouraged and lose our faith and testimony.

Sister Wixom tells a story of a faithful Latter-Day Saint woman who, as an adult, had questions in her life: "But as the questions grew harder, so did the answers. And sometimes there were no answers—or no answers that brought peace. Eventually, as she sought to find answers, more and more questions arose, and she began to question some of the very foundations of her faith." It was a difficult and confusing time. She wanted the satisfaction of answers.

Through this time she had the love and support of her family and ward, but she had to work through the question of what she truly believed on her own.

Sister Wixom shares, "In a 1953 letter, Mother Teresa wrote: “Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself—for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. It has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work.’ Ask Our Lord to give me courage.”

"Archbishop PĂ©rier responded: “God guides you, dear Mother; you are not so much in the dark as you think. The path to be followed may not always be clear at once. Pray for light; do not decide too quickly, listen to what others have to say, consider their reasons. You will always find something to help you. … Guided by faith, by prayer, and by reason with a right intention, you have enough.”5

"My friend thought if Mother Teresa could live her religion without all the answers and without a feeling of clarity in all things, maybe she could too. She could take one simple step forward in faith—and then another. She could focus on the truths she did believe and let those truths fill her mind and heart.

President Uchdorf said, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."  (Oct 2013 General Conference)  See what is causing your doubts and question that.

This sister had to focus on what she knew.

She started her journey back by looking at what remained of her testimony. Much of her testimony was in ashes, but what remained was a belief in Jesus Christ. She also had a desire to rebuild her faith.

She began with the basics--Primary songs, those deep, beautiful songs we teach our children. Soon, scripture reading and prayers became a priority.

Sister Wixom shares, "She learned that when she came up against a statement that caused her to doubt, she “could stop, look at the whole picture, and make the gospel personal.” She said, “I would ask, ‘Is this the right path for me and my family?’ Sometimes I would ask myself, ‘What do I want for my children?’ I realized I want them to have temple marriages. That’s when belief came back to my heart.”"

"I was reminded that “it is upon the rock of our Redeemer” that we all must build our foundation. I was also reminded of the counsel of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.”"

We may not know everything, and we may not have answers to every question in our heart. However, if you know that it is good, hold to that goodness and build your faith upon that. Take one step at a time. Trials come to us all. We may all go through the darkness, but we can come through the other side. Focus on truths to fill your mind and heart.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “We are all pilgrims seeking God’s light as we journey on the path of discipleship. We do not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have; rather, we nourish and encourage all light until it grows clear, bright, and true.”