Here is how a recent Sunday of mine went:
I got up at 3:30 AM to go to work. I work at a hospital, which explains both the oddball hours and why I was at work on Sunday. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons, affirms the Law of the Sabbath and holds worship services on Sunday. However, the Church also allows servicemen, first responders, peace officers, and so forth to do their jobs on Sunday. A hospital, of course, comes under these obvious exemptions.
There is a relevant passage in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which Latter-day Saints believe to be scripture. The prophet Alma is confronting Korihor, a wicked philosopher. The discussion turns to the topics of God’s existence. Korihor says that he does not believe that God exists. He then asks Alma for a sign. Alma replies:
“Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44, emphasis added.)
Astronomy (not astrology) can be a faith-promoting science.
After I finished my shift at work, I came home and made a Carnation Instant Breakfast, put on some church music, and then had a catnap. When I woke up an hour later, I put on my church clothes and went home teaching with my companion.
Home teaching is a program in the church were two men are assigned to visit a certain number of families. We deliver a spiritual message, and then see how they are doing, both spiritually and with physical necessities. It helps unify the congregation, and eases the workload of the local leadership.
The first family we visited had recently graduated from university. The husband had a summer internship, while the wife was looking for a job. I referred her to LDS Employment Resources Services. This is a job-hunting and career planning service offered by the Church. They have several senior missionaries that help people in need. They help with writing résumés, interviewing practice, internet job-hunting, and so forth. They also have resources for self-employment, small business entrepreneurs, and home-businesses. All of this for free.
We then visited our second family. They dropped a bomb on us. The husband got an education opportunity in the San Francisco Bay Area, so they were moving next month. So we spent most of the time talking about their plans: How they were getting there? Did they have an agent or any buyers? What about the furniture? We got a nice tour of the house, which was good practice in dealing with potential buyers.
“When I was a boy, I enjoyed reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. I also saw adventure movies where several individuals had separate pieces of a well-worn map which led the way to buried treasure if only the pieces could be found and put together.”
“I recall listening to a 15-minute radio program each weekday afternoon—Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. As it began, a voice filled with mystery would emanate from the radio: “We now join Jack and Betty as they approach the fabulous secret entry to the elephants’ burial ground, where a treasure is concealed. But wait; danger lurks on the path ahead.” Nothing could tear me away from this program. It was as though I were leading the search for the hidden treasure of precious ivory.”
I pointed out that Raiders of the Lost Ark used a similar gimmick: Indiana Jones has to bring Marion Ravenwood along with him because she owned the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, which Indy needs to find the Ark of the Covenant. The friction between these two ex-lovers adds to the comedy of the film.
I also pointed out that we sometimes get funny ideas about spirituality. We sometimes get the idea that we aren’t supposed to like these adventure stories because they are not “churchy.” Righteous people just don’t watch these types of things. But the prophet of our church used these fun adventure stories to illustrate an important spiritual truth.
President Monson explained:
At another time and in a different setting, the Savior of the world spoke of treasure. In His Sermon on the Mount, He declared:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The promised reward was not a treasure of ivory, gold, or silver. Neither did it consist of acres of land or a portfolio of stocks and bonds. The Master spoke of riches within the grasp of all—even joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter.
I wish to provide the three pieces of your treasure map to guide you to your eternal happiness. They are:
1.Learn from the past.
2.Prepare for the future.
3.Live in the present.
(Thomas S. Monson, “Treasure of Eternal Value,” Ensign, Apr 2008, 4–9.)
The visits took two hours total. I came home, cooked a microwave dinner, reheated some homemade cornbread, then had a large salad. After my late lunch, I did some Sunday reading.
I am reading We Reach The Moon, a book about the Apollo 11 moonshot. Then I read a chapter in Miracle At Philadelphia, about the 1787 Constitutional Convention. I also read in a theological commentary, and then a chapter in a book on personal finance. I am also slowly plodding my way though The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim. I got about halfway through the chapter and realized that I had not yet written in my journal.
My memory is not as good as the already written page, so I stopped reading at a convenient break, and set the book aside. The journal entry was a short one, mostly recording three dreams I had.
The journal is really a writing journal for another project I am working on. And when your mind is purring like a Formula-1 engine, your dreams can take on a creative significance. And, of course, God speaks to people by way of dreams. The Bible says, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
So I recorded these dreams. When I finished putting my journal in order, I then retired.
I mention this “day in the life of a blogger” for one reason: There are two reasons why I spent my Sunday this way, instead of vegging-out in front of the idiot box, or hanging out at the beach or a casino.
The first reason is my faith in Jesus Christ. I have a testimony, or a witness that He is the Son of God, and that He died for my sins, and that He resurrected.
Since I actually and honestly believe these things, I change my behavior accordingly. I do what I do because I know what I know. I spent my time that Sunday in the way I did because of both Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith.
One hundred and eighty-eight years ago, Joseph Smith walked into a nearby grove and prayed. He had two concerns. One was about his sins—he wanted forgiveness. The second was about denominationalism—he wanted to know which church to join.
In response to that prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. The Savior said that Joseph’s sins were forgiven him. He was also told not to join any church, since they were not recognized by the Lord. He was also told that the fullness of the gospel would be made known to him at a future point.
What I did that one Sunday was a direct result of this First Vision of Joseph Smith. If you believe that God exists, that His Son died for our sins, and that there is a true church on the face of the earth, then it affects everything you do. Your priorities in life are completely different.
In this sense, I feel a close connection to Joseph Smith. Across the ages, Joseph Smith and I are coworkers and compatriots in this religious endeavor. Not in a mystical sense, but in a way that causes me to order my daily schedule in such a way to serve. It’s a matter of both faith and works.