My son and his wife had the chance of a lifetime recently to return to his mission field in South America. The love and appreciation of these good people is evident at every hand. His wife writes the following:

I love seeing my husband interact with the people of Argentina. He so obviously Mormon Missionarychanged so many lives here. The people love him so much. We stay up so late partying with Latinos and wake up so early because they have so much they want to show us! I’m getting attached to being kissed every time someone sees me.

A missionary force of tens-of-thousands evangelizes the Great Plan of Happiness to the world every day.

Telling is not enough, however. You must experience it for yourself. I am convinced that if our Father in Heaven in all his wisdom and love could have set us down and explained to his children all the hardships, joys, and experiences of life in full detail without risking our choosing wrong, that is exactly what would have happened, but it did not. Experience is key.

An analogy seems appropriate at this point: Think of a favorite song. Choose one that thrills you when you hear it. Millions of people around the world listen to musical tones every day to calm, excite, relax, inspire, or enjoy the stanzas of note and song. Many genres are represented. You have your favorites, just as they have theirs.

Again, select one of your favorite tunes. Now if I took this musical piece of work, whether notes or lyrics or both and shared it with another person who had never heard this piece before, do you think he would like it? Well, you might say it depends on his preferences, and you would be right. But it also hinges on the format I use to deliver it to him.

painter-4165_640Perhaps I provide the notes on the page and a printed copy of the words from the lyrics. Though that too could be moving, it would likely not have the power and the depth that you were hoping to share when it is performed.

Another example, I happen to live among a host of talented and creative artists. These folks are creators, illustrators, performers, and fine artists. Their work is inspiring, moving, and captivating all. But when I tell you about them and want to demonstrate their work for you, it would have a wholly different feeling if what I showed you were the box of oil paints and rolls of canvas instead of their completed work.

Or perhaps I revealed the stacks of lumber, intricate tools, and even the plans to turn these materials into fine pieces of furniture created through years of talented woodworking skills instead of the smooth, beautiful finished pieces. Though my intentions are sincere, my ability would fall far short of conveying the magnificence, inspiration, and emotion these artists themselves are able to display. That gift is something unique to each artist.

But with today’s technology, we can communicate feelings more succinctly than in former times with a link to a favorite rendition or possibly an image of the completed piece of work, and perhaps for a moment, others can feel the rapture we attempt to articulate.

The same principle applies to words on a page and emotions in one’s heart.

My family has read from the scriptures and learned the words of Christ from numerous sources: my father, friends, teachers, professors, and the brethren in particular. Fairly recently I was introduced to the Bible videos of the life of Jesus Christ available on the Church website. https://www.lds.org/bible-videos?lang=eng The Life of Jesus Christ Bible series includes nearly a hundred short videos that will inspire and strengthen your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Many stories that I learned as a young man have been reproduced and now influence my life even more so when viewed in this format. Naturally, I have my favorites. Just as we all have scripture stories that touch us and have unique meaning in our world, now we have video depictions of many of these events in the life of Jesus Christ. They offer even a fuller measure of emotion to our understanding. Of course you have your favorites just as I have mine. But that list is sure to grow because these simple descriptions become meaningful interpretations of the life and lessons of the most important Being to ever grace this earth.

This, too, is an example of experiencing the Great Plan of Happiness—vicariously perhaps—that we might see the gospel of Jesus Christ in action and implement this plan in our lives every day.

Telling is not enough. You can now experience it for yourself.

About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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