I am very excited about this guest post! Deborah was one of my first friends when we moved to Idaho and I have been so grateful for her example to me. She is an amazing mom of 7 great kids ranging in age from 6 month to 12 years. I had her oldest son in Webelos in our old ward and I am so, so impressed with this young man. I hope our boys grow up to be just like him.
She gave this talk about simplicity in church a few weeks ago. Since the boys were miraculously well-behaved, I was able to listen and I loved many of the messages she shared. Look forward to Part 2 in the next couple of days. Here is Part 1 –
When I was a little girl, I always wanted lots of babies. I continued to feel that way all of my life it was a dream of mine. Now I am a mom, and I have lots of babies and I couldn’t be happier. I love living my dream.
With that being said, there are parts of this role or job I had no idea even existed when I was small or even since I have grown up. I truly had no idea some of the things that would become part of my story. This leads me into my topic. The bishop called me and asked me to speak on simplicity, “let him do it with simplicity”. I’ll be honest – being a mom of 7 doesn’t often coincide with the word “simple”, so obviously I needed the topic more than probably most of you. Bear with me as I share some of my thoughts as I have studied this topic. I know everyone isn’t a mom or isn’t me and doesn’t view things the way I do, but hopefully I’ll be able to reach all of you as I speak “simply” in terms of the gospel.
After praying and reading a lot this week about this topic there were two things that stood out to me when it comes to simplicity, the first being:
The gospel is simple! Simple as that!
In Alma 37:6-7 it reads: Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
The Lord uses small and simple things to confound the wise. Often, I think as members of the church, we try and complicate things. The Lord used a very humble and unlearned boy to restore his gospel on the earth today. I think probably because he knew he would listen.
When I see people question things about the gospel it is often because they are way over thinking things and looking for answers to questions in unreliable sources because it just can’t be that simple. I really feel like it is that simple; God put it in simple terms so that even the child could understand and gain a testimony. If it’s not that simple to you, then maybe you are over thinking things.
There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions. For example, it wasn’t long after astronauts and cosmonauts orbited the earth that they realized ballpoint pens would not work in space. And so some very smart people went to work solving the problem. It took thousands of hours and millions of dollars, but in the end, they developed a pen that could write anywhere, in any temperature, and on nearly any surface. But how did the astronauts and cosmonauts get along until the problem was solved? They simply used a pencil.
The story is told that the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi had a ritual he performed on the first day of training. He would hold up a football, show it to the athletes who had been playing the sport for many years, and say, “Gentlemen, … this is a football!” He talked about its size and shape, how it can be kicked, carried, or passed. He took the team out onto the empty field and said, “This is a football field.” He walked them around, describing the dimensions, the shape, the rules, and how the game is played.
This coach knew that even these experienced players, and indeed the team, could become great only by mastering the fundamentals. They could spend their time practicing intricate trick plays, but until they mastered the fundamentals of the game, they would never become a championship team.
I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing. Printed material, wide-ranging media sources, electronic tools and gadgets—all helpful if used properly—can become hurtful diversions or heartless chambers of isolation.
Yet amidst the multitude of voices and choices, the humble Man of Galilee stands with hands outstretched, waiting. His is a simple message: “Come, follow me.” And He does not speak with a powerful megaphone but with a still, small voice. It is so easy for the basic gospel message to get lost amidst the deluge of information that hits us from all sides.
The holy scriptures and the spoken word of the living prophets give emphasis to the fundamental principles and doctrines of the gospel. The reason we return to these foundational principles, to the pure doctrines, is because they are the gateway to truths of profound meaning. They are the door to experiences of sublime importance that would otherwise be beyond our capacity to comprehend. These simple, basic principles are the key to living in harmony with God and man. They are the keys to opening the windows of heaven. They lead us to the peace, joy, and understanding that Heavenly Father has promised to His children who hear and obey Him.
I have a friend who recently left the church. As I saw the process unfold, it saddened me so much. I truly believe had she focused on the small and simple things she would have never ended up where she is at. I challenged her before she completely left the church to read her scriptures and pray daily for a month to see what that would do for her since at the time she wasn’t really doing those key things. She wouldn’t do it. All she had learned in her 30+ years of life about the gospel and she wouldn’t take the time to simply read and pray.
Focus on the small and simple things of the gospel, and, again, remember Alma 37:6-7.