Friday, November 22, 2013

My Children Will Doubt Not That Their Mother Knew It

It has been a while since General Conference, but one talk hasn't left my mind.  I keep hearing the theme repeated over and over. Maybe I ought to learn something.   It is time to write it down.

Edmond and I watched General Conference with a prayer in our hearts, desiring to know how we can lead out in the fight against pornography.  What is it that the Lord needs us to do and be?  Interestingly our answers were a little different-- we are different people after all.  Edmond needed to do something, and I needed to understand something.  And I keep hearing it....

I'll admit, I went into conference ready to and willing to rally the troops, take a stand and go big or go home.  I am (and have always been) an action oriented lady.  Let me get in there and roll up my sleeves and get it done!  Show me that wheel and I will push it along and invite everyone else to join me too!

Elder Scott's talk, Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, touched my heart and my mind and helped me understand how my efforts need to be directed.  Do you remember his talk?  Elder Scott related the conversion and subsequent dilemma faced by the people of Ammon.

After their conversion, the people of Ammon abandoned the weapons of their rebellion and covenanted to never again take up weapons.  The Nephites offered protection to the converts during a long and brutal war.  But Nephite army began to suffer and the people of Ammon considered taking up the weapons of war again to defend their people.

Elder Scott explains

The people of Ammon were at a critical moment of their spiritual lives. They had been true to their covenant never to take up arms. But they understood that fathers are responsible to provide protection to their families. That need seemed great enough to merit consideration of breaking their covenant.

Their wise priesthood leader, Helaman, knew that breaking a covenant with the Lord is never justified. He offered an inspired alternative. He reminded them that their sons had never been guilty of the same sins and therefore had not needed to make the same covenant. Though the sons were very young, they were physically strong and, more important, they were virtuous and pure. The sons were fortified by the faith of their mothers.  Under the direction of their prophet-leader, these young men took their fathers’ place in defense of their families and homes.

Our beloved husbands and fathers are like the converted men in this story.  They have been "a wild and a hardened ” people (Alma 17:4).  Their addiction to lust is as powerful and destructive as the Ammonties' addiction to blood and carnage.  But like the Ammonites, they have covenanted and are covenanting to leave behind forever the weapons of their rebellion and follow the Lord at all cost.

And the cost is high.  Our families are under attack.  Enemies seen and unseen are seeking out the souls of our children.  Who is left to defend the family?  I love Elder Scott's empathy,
Consider the tender feelings of those fathers. How must they have felt to know that the rebellious actions of their past prevented them from protecting their wives and children at that moment of need? Knowing personally of the atrocities their sons would now face, they must have privately wept. Fathers, not children, are supposed to protect their families! Their sorrows must have been intense....
However, sometimes our poor choices leave us with long-term consequences. One of the vital steps to complete repentance is to bear the short- and long-term consequences of our past sins. Their past choices had exposed these Ammonite fathers to a carnal appetite that could again become a point of vulnerability that Satan would attempt to exploit.
Satan will try to use our memory of any previous guilt to lure us back into his influence. We must be ever vigilant to avoid his enticements. Such was the case of the faithful Ammonite fathers. Even after their years of faithful living, it was imperative for them to protect themselves spiritually from any attraction to the memory of past sins.
At times I wish more men would join in the battle against pornography.  They know the devastating damage first hand.  But this talk helped me understand how Satan might use the battle to destroy and hurt men on the mend.  Elder Scott taught of the Ammonites,
Their humble, lifelong commitment to forsaking their sins did more to protect their families than anything they could have done on the battlefield. Their submission did not deprive them of blessings. It strengthened them and blessed them and blessed future generations.
Our men and our families must be fortified.  We must help build the fortifications that will protect and nurture and stregthen the rising generation who will face the enemy.  Elder Scott spoke of the righteous influence of women-- the mothers of the Stripling Warriors.  

Elder Scott clearly taught that, "their sons, who were blessed with righteous traditions, were not as vulnerable to the same temptations. They were able to defend their families faithfully without compromising their spiritual well-being."   "The sons were fortified by the faith of their mothers."  As I send off my sons and daughters into battle, I feel confident.  They know that I KNOW!  They doubt not my faith.

What better fortification can we build than the shield of faith?

Elder Scott taught,
Though the sons fought in fierce battles where all received at least some injury, not one life was lost. The young men proved to be a vital boost to the weary Nephite army. They were faithful and spiritually stronger when they returned home. Their families were blessed, protected, and strengthened.

Undoubtedly, our sons and daughters will fight fierce battles and be injured.  But their faith will grow strong and they will see miracles.   They will succeed where we can't.  They are the hope.  They will fight to protect the family and their fathers.

So where should my efforts lie in the fight against pornography.  I must fortify my family-- and all I love-- my biological sons and daughters and the sons and daughters I teach and love.  I must teach powerfully.  I must prepare my sons to face the atrocities of battle with faith the the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that He will deliver them and give them victory.  They must be surrounded and enveloped with love and hope and faith so they will have no cause to doubt.  They will KNOW that I KNOW!

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