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[personal profile] thetatiana
What is this thing, called the Restored Gospel, which has helped me so much and transformed my life for the better?

I just felt the urge to describe the teachings that have had the most impact on my life. Things I never understood or accepted before I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the LDS or the Mormons.

1. The most important thing of all is that everyone is a child of living Heavenly Parents, who love us immensely and want to partner with each of us to help us develop and grow to fill our huge divine potential. That partnership has helped me overcome so many problems and wrong ways of thinking and responding to the world, that it's hard to describe them all. All my life I had a hard time feeling I had any worth. Now I know that I have unlimited worth and value, limited only by my own choices and views. I can make a huge positive difference in the world, even in the course of human history, if I consistently choose what's best. Eternal progression means that as we grow we develop our powers, empathy, kindness, strength and determination, willingness to give, intellect, knowledge, and understanding with no limits. Mortal life is just the start of this process. It's not even the start because there was more before mortal life, too. What we are is divine beings. This is literally true. We're all equal, what we do matters, and we're all amazing.

a. Some of the changes that made in my outlook this last decade since I've joined the church is I no longer feel it's okay to do things that damage me. I quit smoking, of course, and realized I deserve not to be treated badly, emotionally or physically abused. I learned to avoid relationships in which I'm treated badly, because they damage me.

b. I learned that I don't need to limit my aims to something achievable by myself. I know that when I engage in God's work, I'm lending my hands to work that's gone on for many thousands or millions of years before me, and will go on into the foreseeable future. I know that when my own hands falter, there will be others there to keep going. If we don't end racial prejudice in this generation, we'll do it in the next, perhaps. Seeing the changes in society toward more rights for women, more equality, heartens me. I don't have to limit myself to human time scales. It may take 200 years, but what is 200 years in the measure of eternity? What better can we be doing than struggling to make things better for everyone? My aims now are to feed all the hungry, clothe all the naked, heal the sick, end violence, teach the ignorant, and to learn to love everyone, even those (especially those) who aren't very loveable, and give everyone the scope (or help them find the scope) to express their creativity and greatness to the world around them. Also, my work is to express my own creativity and greatness, to let my light shine. I learned never to set my sights too low.

2. The purpose of life is joy. Not trivial passing pleasure, but real, wholesome, lasting joy. The kind you get when watching your child take steps for the first time, when snuggling into bed after a long hard day doing fulfilling work or serious play. The kind that comes from loving communities who appreciate each other's contributions. From channeling negative emotions and impulses into worthy causes, into bringing about positive change. The kind that comes when you know you made your best effort in meaningful pursuits.

3. The highest joy is to love and serve our fellow beings. We're meant to serve each other. To bear one another's burdens so that they may be made light. To lift up hands that are hanging down. To share one another's joys and sorrows both. Service is our great calling. We're called upon to share our bounty with those less fortunate.

4. True knowledge is to be cultivated, no matter its source. We should learn as much as we can about every subject there is. Read the best books. Teach each other. Learn our whole lives long. Get all the education we possibly can. Learn from others, and learn by teaching. The teacher usually learns more than the students, so by us always teaching each other, we learn the most ourselves. Science is good. Religion is good. All religions have some truth. The glory of God is intelligence.

5. We learn line upon line, and precept upon precept. It's not meet to run before we can walk. We must be humble and teachable. And no matter how much we already know, we can always learn more. Everyone has something to teach us. We should listen for those lessons, pray to understand and accept them, and take full advantage of the partnership with the terrifically advanced beings who are our Heavenly Parents. We should pray for enlightenment, listen for the answers, and put those answers into practice in our lives without delay. That's how eternal progress works.

6. When we make mistakes, that's one of the best times to learn. Mistakes are always forgivable. That's how we grow. When we realize we've made a mistake, rather than beat ourselves up and hate ourselves for our weaknesses, we should stop, repent, ask for help from above, analyze the situation and figure out what we would do now, with our new knowledge and understanding. Figure out how to fix the problem. Write ourselves a new script and rehearse it. Everyone is imperfect, everyone has shortcomings and weaknesses. We engage positively with our own weaknesses when we recognize our wrongs, repent, give reparations to put things as right as we can put them, incorporate the lesson into our life plan, and go on to do better in the future. God wants us to lay upon the altar a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We must be as little children, meek and teachable. Then when we're doing right by our best understanding, we need not fear the judgment of others. We need not tremble before the powerful. We can be straightforward, honest, open, and confident.

7. We're in charge of our own development. We can learn and grow as quickly or as slowly as we choose. We can change in any direction we choose, if we consistently practice over time. We get to become whomever we truly want to be. This principle is called agency. Agency is one of the fundamental principles of existence. Agency should not be abrogated unless absolutely necessary, for instance, to protect a child from danger while he learns.

8. Negative influences or actions should be left behind so they don't encumber us. For instance, smoking costs a lot of money, and results only in harm to ourselves (which is harm to those we love and those who love us). The money could be used for better purposes. Smoking is a waste of resources. Our additional health and longevity from not smoking can be used to increase the love and service we give others. Another example is alcohol. It's expensive and destructive. Dozens of my family members have met early graves from drinking too much. The only positive benefit it has is the sort of "wooo, party!" type fun, which isn't really wholesome true fun, most of the time. People do destructive things, like drive and get in wrecks when under the influence. It causes injuries, deaths, health issues, addiction, depression, relationship issues, family issues, job issues, and so on. The whole community benefits when they all decide just to give up alcohol, and to teach their children not to drink. The money is better spent on more positive things like education, feeding the hungry, or a million other things. Alcohol is best left alone. Illegal drugs or recreational drugs all this is true of, and even more so. Gambling, ditto. Sum all this up by saying conspiring people (tobacco executives, drug dealers) are always willing to take your money and deal you harm in return. Don't help them!

9. Before the Restored Gospel was in my life, it seems like I spent about 45% of my energy negating the effects of another 45%, leaving only about 10% for forward progress. Now much more of my energy is aligned toward the positive. Probably now only about 10% of my energy goes the wrong way, negating another 10% and leaving 80% net for positive motion. It's my job to realign that last 10% so that 100% of my efforts will go toward heading me in the direction I want to go. I'm still working on this. Check back. =)

10. Our dead are still alive in the spirit world, able to make choices, and able to progress. When we go to join them it will be a joyous occasion, not sad. All losses will be restored and sorrows end. Everything we didn't get enough of here in our mortal life, we'll have ample opportunity to make up for in the next. I've received strong spiritual confirmation of these things. Any time the gospel seems to be telling us something grievous (such as that I'll have no eternal family since none of my mortal family has accepted the Restored Gospel, or that I can't get to the highest level of post-mortal life since I've never married) then that comes from our misunderstanding and it's not correct. The gospel is unmitigated good news. We get to pick. We judge ourselves. We are given to enjoy the highest level of happiness we can stand. =)

11. Reiterating again because it's so important. We are loved. We are greatly loved. We are dearly, enormously, overwhelmingly loved. Each of us is perfect in who we are. We are learning and growing in how we act, how we treat one another, but we're all exactly who we should be in our deepest selves. We may have a long long way to go until we're perfect, but who we are is good and right, it's who we should be; divine children of divine Parents, eternal beings, Gods in embryo.

12. Provident living: Spend less than you make. Save. Gradually build up stores of food, water, and everything you need to live for a month, then 3 months, then a year. Add a few food storage items to your grocery cart on every trip. Be prepared for emergencies. Have a 72 hour kit in a backpack, containing necessities for 3 days. Rotate out your food storage regularly and learn to prepare these foods in tasty ways. Buy in bulk when items are on sale. Store items that have a long shelf life and don't need refrigeration such as dried beans, rice, flour, wheat, powdered milk, cooking oil, etc. Make everything from scratch that you can. Grow a vegetable garden. Can the produce you can't use in season. Eat meat sparingly. Tithe 10% of your increase to help build up the kingdom, either to church or to other worthy causes. Be self-reliant, to the extent you can. Be willing to help others, and to ask help when needed, but do your very best to be prepared, to be wise, to have what you and your family needs. Keep some money in cash in case the banks fail or for any reason you're unable to get money from the bank. Learn how to make things yourself, to the extent you can. Learn how to sew clothes, to knit sweaters, to make quilts, make furniture, repair cars, etc. Learn all you can to be self-reliant and independent.

13. Pray often. Counsel with the Lord in all your doings. Pray to be given peace, to learn wisdom, to give worship, to lay your heart at His feet. Pray for all your righteous wishes. Pray for everyone. Our love is infinitely valuable to our Heavenly Parents. When we pray often, we show Them our love and they shower blessings upon us in return.

14. Families matter. No other success in life will compensate for failure in the home. Our homes should be sacred spaces. All the world is filled with love when there's love at home.

So many great teachings that have brought me so many blessings! I love the Restored Gospel!

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thetatiana

June 2015

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