WEEK SIXTY-SIX October 6, 2014
Our son noted after 14 years of emergency medicine that about 95% of the accidents he has dealt with, the injured party knew before hand, or at least had a thought, that what they were doing was dangerous and should be avoided. Believing in their own skills they proceeded anyway disregarding the thought. Certainly the Light of Christ not only leads us Christ but gentle guides and directs us, if we will listen, to safe harbors. As just as clearly, we, thinking too highly of ourselves or abilities, reason that we are okay and dismiss the gentle and caring thought of a kind Heavenly Father. How wisely did the prophet Nephi conclude: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (1 Nephi 4:34.)
We shared a sweet experience together this week, our son and I, when he asked me to pray about one of his children concerning what the Lord had in mind. The answer I received I thought would not be what our son wanted to hear. But when I shared it with him it was a specific confirmation to an answer he had received earlier. I have often thought, and then heard anew at the recent general conference, that Lehi’s joy as a father was not that his son Nephi was going to obey him, but that he realized it was the Lord directing his father and therefore determined to go and do what the Lord had commanded. My joy in that experience with our son was multiplied a hundred fold as his son prayed and came to the same conclusion himself. What a fine young man. I'm proud of him and feel blessed to be his grandfather and the father of such a wonderful son.
Had a good meeting with the Four family. The wife following a blessing, received a promotion at work, the husband started school for his new profession. We spent so much time talking about the day to day and sharing in their joy, that they suggested for the lesson I give them the talk I had prepared for a week ago Sunday, but never gave. We have been trying to learn the whereabouts of a senior couple who served in South Carolina nearly twenty years ago who first introduced Brother Four to the restored gospel, but have been unable to do so. Just received word from the church membership department that it is against policy to share that information. If it necessary to happen I believe the Lord will create the opportunity.
At our district meeting I had a couple of thoughts. A discussion was had on one minute introduction lessons. For me it felt like better would be 10-15 seconds. Followed by an invitation along the lines of the introduction. So I wrote for mine: God is our Heavenly Father. He is always there. He has not forgotten you. You are not alone. May we share a message of His son with you? Invitation: Do you know others who may need to feel God’s love?
Met with Pastor Forty-two this week. They are loving their experience in New York. The meeting today was very cordial, more of a social visit than it has been in the past. It appears he may be coming to the conclusion he is not going to unseat testimonies of the truth, but still enjoys the friendship.
We met with the One family. He said he went through the script I had written for him on terminating the real estate agreement he had to lease his home and everything worked out perfectly. I told him “Either you proved that all your worries paid off, or that you didn’t need to have so much anxiety about the whole matter.” “No,” he said, “I think it was knowing how to present my case, as you showed me, that made the difference.” We began a discussion on the existence of God from a scientific perspective which will be followed up next.
The Twenty-one family had a sweet temple interview experience with a very loving stake president and called and we joined them at Distribution to select their temple clothing. They said at the interview they told the stake president “we have been hanging out a lot with Elder and Sister Haddock and he responded ‘well I can’t think of anyone better for you to hang out with.” Later he sent us a note about the family expressing their love for us when he met with them. Their littlest daughter put her face into the candy bowl the stake president has on his desk, breathed two long breaths and exhaled with a sigh. President said, “Would you like a candy?” An obvious question.
One of our daughters called and shared a sweet story about one of our grandsons who went out of his way to show love for another in his fifth grade class. When asked by his mother how the other responded, he said, “Mom, I made her speechless.” I am in the midst of preparing material for a Bible Study class next week and our topic is Christ’s ministry to the poor an downhearted. I think our grandson’s story will be part of that presentation.
We received a request from one of the young missionaries about how to respond to an investigator who is suffering such sorrow and anger over her husband’s affair that she can’t listen, think or reason. He asked if I had anything on forgiveness or handling despair. I shared with him that as bishop I noticed and pled for direction in handling those situations when ward members came feeling they were alone, God had abandoned them, their prayers were not answered, that the heavens were as brass and wondering how to maintain their faith when it appeared to them that God was no longer there. I gave him a number of articles that I had found useful in such counseling, including “In the Strength of the Lord,” by Elder David A. Bednar, April 2013 Ensign.
Sister H and I had a very enjoyable two days of conference this week. Both of us feeling unusually energized. I was able to take both Brother Two and Brother Six to the priesthood session with me. When I asked Brother Six about the theme of the first two session he said, “How to get a testimony, keep a testimony and share a testimony.” I asked him if he found himself wondering why the first two sessions of conference were tailored by the Lord just for him. He smiled, “I think I know.” He was struck as was I by the speaker who said, “Fast offerings support life, not lifestyle.” I had received from Brother Two earlier in the day, “I just read Alma chapter 7. I really think it’s very good.”
There was one young Aaronic Priesthood brother was baptized just about a year ago and although he attended the priesthood session of general conference with me in April did not accept my invitation this October. I sent him a text that he had let me down as this would be my last opportunity to attend a session with him before we return home from our mission. He replied that he had watched it on television, but while watching wished he had accepted my invitation and then shared a number of things he learned from the session including the need to nourish his own tree.
One conference observer shared with me that sometimes when the brethren speak so glowingly about the immediate blessings of faithfulness, significant pain is often felt by those other faithful sons and daughters who like Aaron of the Sons of Mosiah it is just their “lot” not to receive immediate blessings. I suggested it must be so difficult to sow seeds of hope, which is very necessary, while all the while recognizing that the lot of some will be only to maintain faith in circumstances that defy hope. But as I've gotten older it appears to me that we all have Abrahamic tests although each tailored and different, but eventually requiring each to maintain faith regardless of consequence. Looking back now over 70+ years it appears that the statement in Alma 31:38 has proven true for me that all my afflictions have in reality been swallowed up in my joy of Christ.
We watched the final session of conference with the Six and Sixty-five families and presented the Plan of Salvation discussion.