I have so many things to write about...I keep this list of topics for the blog...dutifully take pictures when I do something cool...and then promptly never write about it. Remember when you thought that NB moving to Provo and attending BYU was going to provide endless humorous anecdotes?
Ugh. Well, the two years aren't over yet, and I will someday need somewhere to put all of the HILARIOUS flyers that I've begun collecting from the women's bathroom in the Brimhall Building...but for now, I'm going to record something kind of not funny, but still cool.
You know I didn't go to a "church" school for my undergrad right? And you know that I was called to be the Institute Council President during my senior year but then never ever went to institute, right? And of course you know that during college, my crowning religious achievement was organizing JELL-O wrestling at Valley Forge National Park, right? (no, seriously, it was awesome...a huge pool of rainbow jello and like 40 single mormons sliding around.)
But now here I am, 33 and at BYU where I am doing what many of you did years ago. I'm taking a religion class to round out my credit hours. I decided to take a Joseph Smith History class and was not disappointed when the professor turned out to be a softy with a penchant for open book quizzes and reading instead of papers. The thought did cross my mind that maybe I would learn something new about the founder of Mormonism and the man that I consider to be a modern day Prophet of God. But I think I'm getting way more than I bargained for.
You know what I thought about today? Repentence. I thought about sin. And not in that "OH, I'm going to be damned to hell" kind of way...but in that "maybe just maybe I have some unfinished business that I need to take care of if I'm going to be right with God" kind of way. And then I had a sweet prayer...the kind that reaffirms life and reminds you that you aren't alone. The kind that opens your soul and helps you to desire the things of the spirit more than you have in a long time. A prayer of repentence...and the end result is that I'm thinking about forgiveness now instead of sin.
All of this because of my Joseph Smith History class. I'm learning a lot about the prophet and his imperfections. We have to read a book of our choosing along with the other coursework, and I've chosen (probably unwisely due to the sheer length and weight of the tome) Bushman's cultural biography about JS, "Rough Stone Rolling". I like that Bushman doesn't shy away from the critics of the prophet and their theories. It's forcing me to decide if he was a charlatan or a prophet with an informed logical spirituality as I like to call it. Along with the details of his life, I'm finding application. Joseph Smith didn't go to a grove of trees to have a revelation and to see God and the Savior. Joseph Smith didn't go to a grove of trees to become a leader of a people, a standard bearer of what believers consider a restoration of religious truth. He went into the grove of trees to seek forgiveness of his sins and to be made whole as an individual. In fact, in the early days of the church's history, that was the part of the account that he relayed most often and most fervently. The other stuff, you know, that whole founder of a huge religious sect thing, was SECONDARY to his personal relationship with diety.
It's reminding me to take care. To be more connected. To believe in those things that are most important. Church governance and structure is a big deal and I believe inspired. The growth of the church is a big deal and I believe due to the truthfulness of the message. BUT, what's really important is this: One girl. On her knees. With God.
Joseph was a huge proponent of each person having a miraculous relationship with God and having big personal revelation just like him. And I believe. I believe.